Neurosis Announce Sleep and Shellac as Support for 30th Anniversary Shows in San Francisco

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

This news came through the other day, but now that tickets are on sale, I didn’t figure anyone would really mind a retread of the fact that Neurosis have added Sleep and Shellac as openers for their 30th anniversary shows next March in San Francisco. They’ll play two nights at the Regency Ballroom March 4 and 5, doing career-spanning sets that they’ll be taking overseas a month later to perform again at Roadburn 2016. Hard to imagine a career as landmark as theirs being summed up even in two nights, but no doubt that 30 years after the fact, Neurosis know what the hell they’re doing.

And they’re certainly keeping good company. The PR wire has it like this:


NEUROSIS Announces Sleep And Shellac As Support For San Francisco 30th Anniversary Shows; Tickets Go On Sale Tomorrow

NEUROSIS announces the details for the band’s upcoming stateside 30th anniversary performances set to take place in San Francisco this March, including the opening support acts and ticket links.

Passing their thirty-year mark this Winter, NEUROSIS will celebrate this milestone with two stateside performances on March 4th and 5th at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, and then two more sets on April 16th and 17th headlining Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands. At these four very special performances, NEUROSIS will deliver a massive two-hour set list, invoking material spanning their entire recorded lineage, from 1987’s Pain Of Mind through 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, with varied set lists at each event. These sets will span the band’s entire career, showcasing the comprehensive evolution, from their primitive beginnings into the seminal, epic outfit of today, as the band’s ever evolving, sonic palette has become a genre-defying template for underground music over the last three decades, avoiding genre classification.

Support for NEUROSIS on Friday, March 4th will be provided by longtime Bay Area comrades and masters of the sonic doom riff, Sleep. Support for Saturday, March 5th will be handled by Steve Albini’s minimalist rock outfit, Shellac, also longtime friends of NEUROSIS through Albini’s involvement in helping capture much of the band’s recorded material since before the turn of the millennium.

Tickets to all of NEUROSIS’ San Francisco and Netherlands 30th Anniversary shows go on sale, Friday, November 20th, at Noon Pacific.

NEUROSIS 30th Anniversary Performances:
3/04/2016 Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
3/05/2016 Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
4/15/2015 Hat Patronaat – Roadburn, Tilburg, NL *STEVE VON TILL and SCOTT KELLY solo performances
4/16/2016 013 – Roadburn, Tilburg, NL
4/17/2016 013 – Roadburn, Tilburg, NL

Neurosis, Live at the Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, Aug. 10, 2015

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Southwest Terror Fest Vol. 4 Lineup Revealed

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Great googly-moogly. The full lineup — and set times, because apparently that’s how on their shit these cats are — for this year’s Southwest Terror Fest have been posted, and it’s breathtaking. Sleep and Acid King and Bongripper among the headliners, with the likes of Dropdead and Thou and the Body and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth strewn about a four-day span for the fourth edition of the festival, which in accordance with doomly mandate and the Order of Things has been dubbed Southwest Terror Fest Vol. 4. I doubt I’ll get to Tucson to witness it, but it looks like a hell of a time.

As the PR wire puts it:

southwest terror fest vol 4

SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST Vol. 4: Entire Lineup Of Annual Arizona Underground Metal Festival Announced; Tickets Available

Sleep, Thou & The Body, Acid King, Dropdead, Bongripper, Xibalba, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth And More Confirmed

The entire itinerary for the fourth edition of the annual SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST has been disclosed, as the 2015 installment is confirmed to consume Tucson, Arizona for four days once again this October.

SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST VOL. 4 will run from October 15th through 18th, with events scheduled at three Tucson venues — The Rialto Theatre, Club Congress and 191 Toole. The festivities will begin on Thursday, October 15th with a nighttime kickoff show, followed by both matinee and late club shows on Friday the 16th, and the main events on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th, and the running orders for each show has now been posted. The confirmed acts include headliners Sleep, Thou & The Body, Acid King, Dropdead and Bongripper, as well as Xibalba, Landmine Marathon, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Graves At Sea, Cult Leader, Call Of The Void, Demon Lung, Immortal Bird, In The Company Of Serpents, Abstracter, Gale, and more. Additionally, soloist Amigo The Devil will perform impromptu sets throughout the weekend once again.

Tickets for all SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST VOL. 4 events have been posted and are linked below alongside the running order for the entire weekend. Additionally, there are 100 VIP passes being sold this year, which are disappearing quickly; get them before they’re gone RIGHT HERE.


Thursday, October 15th // Kickoff show at 191 Toole (All Ages):
Main Stage:
10:15 – End — Thou & The Body
8:45 – 9:30 — In The Company Of Serpents
7:30 – 8:00 — Heat Dust
6:30 – 7:00 — Gale
Side Stage:
9:30 – 10:15 — Dead To A Dying World
8:00 – 8:45 — Abstracter
7:00 – 7:30 — Hanta
6:00 – 6:30 — Methra

Friday, October 16th // Matinee show at 191 Toole (All Ages):
Main Stage:
10:20 – End — Dropdead
9:10 – 9:50 — Landmine Marathon
8:00 – 8:40 — Xibalba
7:00 – 7:30 — Immmortal Bird
6:00 – 6:30 — Gatecreeper
Side Stage:
9:50 – 10:20 — Call Of The Void
8:40 – 9:10 — Bastard Feast
7:30 – 8:00 — 908
6:30 – 7:00 — Swamp Wolf
5:30 – 6:00 — Warmonger

Friday, October 16th // Late show at Club Congress (21+):
12:20 – End — Bongripper
11:10 – 12:00 — Graves At Sea
10:20 – 10:50 — Skycrawler
9:30 – 10:00 — Naught

Saturday, October 17th // Main show at The Rialto Theatre (All Ages):
10:30 – 12:30 — Sleep
9:10 – 10:10 — Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth
8:10 – 8:50 — Cult Leader
7:20 – 7:50 — Goya
6:30 – 7:00 — Languish

Sunday, October 18th // Closing show at Club Congress (All Ages):
10:30 – 12:00 — Acid King
9:20 – 10:10 — Demon Lung
8:20 – 9:00 — Night Demon
7:20 – 8:00 — Fuzz Evil
6:30 – 7:00 — Ice Sword

Now in its fourth consecutive year, SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST was founded in 2012 by members of Tucson-based underground acts Godhunter, Inoculara, Diseased Reason and Great American Tragedy, in conjunction with local venues, vendors and businesses, in order to bring a full-bore event to underground music fans. Each year the event expands into new directions and brings a massive variety of internationally-known headliners together with incredible acts from across the Southwest and beyond.

The Body, Live at Southwest Terror Fest 2014

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Sleep, Pentagram and Cult of Luna to Headline Psycho California 2015

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

True to their word, it’s Jan. 15 and Psycho California 2015 has announced the headliners for what looks like the best American festival lineup I’ve seen since the days of Emissions from the Monolith. That’s not to take away from the hard work anyone else is doing, but just look at the list of bands. It’s unreal. You’d want to be everywhere at the same time to see all of it. Absolutely wild.

Sleep and Pentagram were pretty clear choices to headline. Not only for being legends in the heavy underground, but for also being just about two of the only bands left. Sweden’s Cult of Luna were something of a surprise, but for a festival already showing a European reach in bringing aboard the likes of Samsara Blues Experiment and Stoned Jesus, they make sense. Hell of a bill. Kudos to anyone who actually gets to go to the thing.

Announcement follows, courtesy of the PR wire:





Psycho California, the west coast’s first annual metal festival and a must see for fans of doom, heavy psych and sludge, has announced the headliners for this year’s event: Cult of Luna (May 15), Sleep (May 16) and Pentagram, who will perform First Daze Here in its entirety (May 17).

“2015 is going to be a slow year for Cult of Luna. However as much as we are musicians we are also fans,” said Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson. “Evaluating if the offer to play Psycho California was worth dusting off our instruments was not hard after looking on the line-up. Being on the same bill as Pentagram, Sleep and a festival packed with the best bands around is a privilege in itself and we’ll try to live up to that honor.”

The lineup for Psycho California is: Sleep, Pentagram, Cult of Luna, Kylesa, OM, Earth, Russian Circles, Bedemon, Conan, Wrench, Eyehategod, Indian, Earthless, Pallbearer, Stoned Jesus, Old Man Gloom, Cave In, Acid Witch, Truckfighters, Tombs, Bang, Electric Citizen, Coffinworm, SubRosa, Eagle Twin, Mammatus, True Widow, Anciients, Bellwitch, Dead Meadow, Lord Dying, Death By Stereo, Radio Moscow, Ancient Altar, Samsara Blues Experiment, Atriarch, Elder, Mothership, The Well, Deathkings, Wo Fat, Rozamov, Destroyer of Light, Highlands, Bloodmoon, Slow Season, Goatsnake, Crypt Trip, Wrench, Lords of Beacon House, Tumbleweed Dealer, Sinister Haze, Blackout, Red Wizard, Banquet and Loom.

Festival interludes will be provided by Housecore Records’ artist Author & Punisher and vinyl DJ set from Bob Lugowe (Relapse Records) and Sean Pellet (Last Daze Here).

Previously announced early bird tickets sold out immediately. Tickets for the festival are on-sale this morning with both a 3-day pass ($149.50) and a 3-day VIP pass available ($256.66)

VIP packages include a 3-day festival pass, a signed screen print concert poster by David D’Andrea, express entry via artist check-in booth, access to artist VIP lounge, a limited edition Thief X Obey festival tee, a Psycho record bag and patch as well as access to a complimentary craft tequila bar, premium microbrews and artisan snacks.

Sleep, “The Clarity/Dragonaut” Live in Chicago, Aug. 28, 2014

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2014

Posted in Features on December 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster


Please note: These are not the results of the Readers Poll. That’s still going on. Please feel free to submit your list.

I did this last year mostly as a result of not having somewhere to put Elder‘s Spires Burn/Release EP in 2012, but it went pretty well, so I thought we’d do another round for 2014. The 2013 list covered demos, singles, EPs and splits — basically everything that’s not a full-length album — and the same rules apply here. It’s a pretty basic idea, but it makes sense to me to consider short releases apart from full-lengths because very often they’re trying to accomplish different things.

For example, if an album is trying to tell a story or describe a central theme, either blatantly in its lyrics or atmospherically through the music itself, a demo might just be the work of a band trying to feel their way into their sound. It doesn’t strike me as fair to judge the two on the same standard. Likewise, if a band releases a single, should that really be judged alongside an hour-long release? Granted, some bands’ singles actually are an hour long, but that’s another category entirely. “The ‘Dopesmoker’ Awards” will be handed out at another date.

No, not really. At least not this year.

If you didn’t see the full-albums Top 30 of 2014, please feel free to check it out and think of this and the year-end podcast as companion pieces, albeit both a little more casual. Let’s get to it:


The Top 20 Short Releases of 2014

1. Sleep, The Clarity
2. Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate, Early Shapes
3. All Them Witches, Effervescent
4. Cortez/Borracho, Split 7″
5. Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes, 4-Way Split
6. Heavy Temple, Heavy Temple
7. Death Alley, Over Under/Dead Man’s Bones 7”
8. Geezer, Live! Full Tilt Boogie
9. The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues
10. Demon Head, Demo 2014
11. Gold & Silver, Azurite and Malachite
12. The Proselyte, Our Vessel’s in Need
13. Hull, Legend of the Swamp Goat
14. Lamp of the Universe/Krautzone, Split
15. The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter
16. The Heavy Co., Uno Dose
17. Wren, Wren
18. He Whose Ox is Gored, Rumors 7”
19. Lewis and the Strange Magics, Demo
20. Godhunter/Secrets of the Sky, Gh/0st:s
21. Lord, Alive in Golgotha

Some honorable mentions to the Young Hunter/Ohioan split tape (the Young Hunter portion of which was included last year, otherwise it would probably be number two on this list), Inter Arma‘s The Cavern 40-minute single-song EP/LP, Harvest Bell‘s debut EP, Goya and Wounded Giant‘s split, Fuzz Evil and Chiefs‘ split, Cruthu‘s demo, Disenchanter‘s second EP, the White Dynomite/Hey Zeus split 7″, Humo del Cairo‘s EP, The Golden Grass‘ Realisations EP, Dune‘s ProgenitorGodflesh‘s comeback EP, and Blackwitch Pudding‘s reinterpretations/covers EP, Covered in Pudding.

A couple notes: The Sleep single was a given. I don’t think anything could’ve topped it one way or another, even if I hadn’t listened to it 100 times since its release in July as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. In any case, there was no debate about where to place it. You might notice on the other end the list goes to 21. I thought that being the element of chaos suited Lord well, and since I’m not entirely sure their Alive in Golgotha EP has been officially released, they warranted inclusion just in case.

One thing that struck me in putting this list together was the amount of splits included. You’ll notice Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes right in behind Sleep. That one was an utter joy, as far as I’m concerned, and made me wish both of them would get on putting out full-lengths as soon as possible. Not far behind is Cortez and Borracho‘s split single, which had killer tracks from both bands, and the Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes split from Heavy Psych Sounds that, even with four bands involved, managed to keep a flowing atmosphere front to back, which was impressive enough in and of itself, never mind the individual contributions of those four acts, which were also top quality. The Krautzone/Lamp of the Universe split also provided a considerable psych blissout, and Godhunter‘s split/collaboration with Secrets of the Sky earned extra points for its adventurous spirit and the payoff its risk-taking brought to bear.

Like their Lightning at the Door LP, All Them Witches‘ Effervescent 25-minute jam figured heavily in my 2014 listening habits, as did Heavy Temple‘s self-titled debut EP. Dutch garage/heavy punkers Death Alley earned spins with their debut 7″, a lack of pretense in melding proto-thrash and heavy rock impulses allowing them to quickly find a niche that one hopes they continue to develop. Their debut single, along with Demon Head‘s Demo 2014 (and, indeed, that band’s follow-up single) and the Lewis and the Strange Magics demo were an allay to concerns retro-minded rock might be stagnating.

Geezer featured on the Short Releases list last year as well. I wasn’t sure what to do with their Gage 12″, since it was released in 2013 as an EP and 2014 as an LP, but either way, their Live! Full Tilt Boogie tape effortlessly recalled classic blues rock performances and demonstrated the fluid chemistry at work in the New York trio, I hope it’s not the last live release they do. Along similar bluesy lines, The Heavy Co.‘s Uno Dose found the Hoosier three-piece dipping into heavy jams more than their last full-length, and if that’s the direction they’re headed, you won’t hear me argue. Hailing from Sweden and arriving as an offshoot of Asteroid, the single-song EP from The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues had more than a touch of heavy blues to it too, and made me look forward to that project’s development from here on out.

There’s little I’m going to complain about less than hearing Ed Mundell bust out Miles Davis-inspired solos, so yeah, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s Through the Dark Matter EP gets a nod. Impressive guitar work ran a current through Boston duo Gold & Silver‘s debut EP, Azurite and Malachite, but the proggy feel was what ultimately sold me on the two extended instrumentals included there, whereas with fellow Beantowners The Proselyte, it was the catchy songwriting and variety they showed in just four tracks. The He Whose Ox is Gored 7″ was likewise modern and satisfyingly weighted, though obviously shorter, and last but not at all least, the progressive sludge of Wren‘s self-titled EP seemed to fly under a lot of people’s radar but was a markedly individual take on a well established form that portended of good things to come.

As with everything, I’m sure there’s something in this mix that I forgot. If you’ve got a call you want to make on something, please let loose in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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audiObelisk Transmission 043

Posted in Podcasts on December 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click Here to Download


Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Since I don’t do theme podcasts or anything, the thoroughly unofficial subtitle of this latest one is “SOME of the Best of 2014.” Truth be told, it’s four hours long and I feel like I barely scratched the surface, so definitely the emphasis should be on “some.” By no means is it meant to be comprehensive, or am I claiming that it’s all the best and the rest sucked or anything like that. But some of the best stuff is here, so, you know, I hope you enjoy.

My intent was to make it three hours long, and then I got there and it just didn’t feel done without another hour’s worth of extended psych jams. That’s an odd habit to have. Could be worse. For what it’s worth, I was thinking of this as a companion for some of the year-end coverage that’s already been posted and is still to come. Some of this was inspired by picks from the Readers Poll, the submissions for which are still open. If you haven’t added your list yet, I’d greatly appreciate it.

And once again, hope you dig it:

First Hour:
YOB, “Nothing to Win” from Clearing the Path to Ascend
Fu Manchu, “Radio Source Sagittarius” from Gigantoid
Radio Moscow, “Death of a Queen” from Magical Dirt
The Golden Grass, “Stuck on a Mountain” from The Golden Grass
Monster Magnet, “No Paradise for Me” from Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrol
Pallbearer, “The Ghost I Used to Be” from Foundations of Burden
The Skull, “Sick of it All” from For Those Which are Asleep
Electric Wizard, “Time to Die” from Time to Die
Orange Goblin, “The Devil’s Whip” from Back from the Abyss
Moab, “No Soul” from Billow

Second Hour:
Sleep, “The Clarity” from The Clarity 12”
Mars Red Sky, “Hovering Satellites” from Stranded in Arcadia
Floor, “Rocinante” from Oblation
Slomatics, “And Yet it Moves” from Estron
Conan, “Foehammer” from Blood Eagle
Druglord, “Feast on the Eye” from Enter Venus
Apostle of Solitude, “Die Vicar Die” from Of Woe and Wounds
Pilgrim, “Away from Here” from II: Void Worship
Blood Farmers, “The Road Leads to Nowhere” from Headless Eyes

Third Hour:
Lo-Pan, “Regulus” from Colossus
Elephant Tree, “Vlaakith” from Theia
The Well, “Mortal Bones” from Samsara
Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, “Counting Time” from The Shining One
Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, “Stokely up Now” from Black Power Flower
Joy, “Driving Me Insane” from Under the Spell of Joy
Greenleaf, “Depth of the Sun” from Trails and Passes
Mothership, “Priestess of the Moon” from Mothership II
Truckfighters, “Get Lifted” from Universe
Mos Generator, “Enter the Fire” from Electric Mountain Majesty
Mammatus, “Brain Drain” from Heady Mental

Fourth Hour:
Øresund Space Collective, “Beardlandia” from Music for Pogonologists
My Brother the Wind, “Garden of Delights” from Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One
The Cosmic Dead, “Fukahyoocastulah” from Split with Mugstar
Montibus Communitas, “The Pilgrim to the Absolute” from The Pilgrim to the Absolute

Total running time: 4:02:57


Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 043


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Revisiting 2014’s Most Anticipated Albums

Posted in Features on December 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster


[PLEASE NOTE: This is not my Top Albums of 2014 list. That’s coming later in the month.]

First of all, the math was wrong. The list went to 42, not 40…

I did two major “stuff is coming out” posts this year. The first was January’s Tomorrow’s Dream: 42 of 2014’s Most Anticipated Albums, and the second was July’s 30 Before ’15: Records Not to Miss Before the New Year Hits. Apparently I have thing for cumbersome titles.

At best, this stuff is a crapshoot. Until something’s just about in your hand, you never really know when or if it’s going to come out. But they’re fun, and it’s exciting to think of good music being released, so you do it anyway. On the whole, I don’t think I did that badly between the two lists. Of course there was stuff that wasn’t anticipated — Colour Haze‘s new album, To the Highest Gods We Know, walks by and waves en route to its Dec. 15 release date — but for what we got, it worked out well.

That’s the general overview, but because I hold myself to a standard of accountability more rigorous than, say, my nation’s torture-happy secret police, here’s a full rundown of the list as it was, now (as then), presented alphabetically and with the titles listed as they were at the time:

42 of 2014’s Most Anticipated Albums — REVISITED!


1. Acid King, TBA: Word is Acid King‘s first in 10 years was mastered last month and will be out in Feb. 2015 on Svart.

2. Alcest, Shelter: Was way less post-black metal than their prior stuff, and I think it threw a lot of people off. Not a bad record (review here), but worked against lofty expectations.

3. All Them Witches, TBA: I remember including this because they said they were going back into the studio. Turned out they were recording the Effervescent EP/jam (review here). No regrets.

4. Alunah, TBA: Their new one was their Napalm Records debut, Awakening the Forest (review here). It was awesome. Score one for the list.

5. Blackwolfgoat, Drone Maintenance: Yeah, it was cheating to include this since I was there when it was recorded. Still a killer record though.

6. Causa Sui, Live at Freak Valley: Ruled. Reviewed and streamed here. Made me want to see them even more.

7. Conan, Blood Eagle: What does complete dominance sound like? Sounds like Conan to me.

8. Eggnogg, You’re all Invited: Was dying to hear what the Brooklyn trio came up with. No word on it yet.

9. Elder, Live at Roadburn 2013: Still don’t have a copy of this. Maybe I can pick one up when I get their forthcoming third studio album, Lore, out early next year.

10. 40 Watt Sun, TBA: More like “MIA” than TBA. Anyone heard from these guys?

11. The Golden Grass, TBATheir self-titled debut (review here) was one of the finest first-albums I heard all year.

12. Greenleaf, Trails and Passes: Any Greenleaf is a treat. Trails and Passes (review here) was no exception.

13. Grifter, The Return of the Bearded Brethren: Solid follow-up (review here). Grifter‘s humor and lack of pretense serves them well.

14. Hull, TBA: Well, they had the Legend of the Swamp Goat single (review here) to coincide with their Euro tour. Waiting on the album.

15. Lowrider, TBA: I wouldn’t mind if this materialized right now. Or now. Or now. Or 2015. Or 2016.

16. The Machine, TBA: Might’ve jumped the gun on this. Hopefully in 2015.

17. Mars Red Sky, TBA: Easily one of the year’s best records. Stranded in Arcadia (review here) continues to get regular spins.

18. Mos Generator, Electric Mountain Majesty: A highlight of early 2014. Darker record (review here), but inarguable songwriting.

19. Mr. Peter Hayden, Archdimension NowFitting end to their trilogy and hopefully not their last outing.

20. Pallbearer, TBA: Their Foundations of Burden has topped year-end lists already. It’s still on my desktop. I’ve barely listened to it.

21. Papir, IIII: Very, very good. They seem to be developing, but IIII (review here) was a satisfying chronicle.

22. Pilgrim, TBA: Can’t say II: Void Worship (review here) wasn’t a win for the band since they did a month on the road with Spirit Caravan. Maybe overshadowed by more recent stuff, but a quality record.

23. Radio Moscow, Magical Dirt: Their incendiary heavy blues was in top form on Magical Dirt (review here). Glad I got to see them live once or twice (or 18 times) as well this year.

24. Sigiriya, Darkness Died Today: Also residing on my desktop. A vocalist switch caught me off guard and I feel like I still haven’t given it a fair shot.

25. Sixty Watt Shaman, TBA: Really? I had Sixty Watt on the list? That seems ambitious. No doubt they’ll have something new eventually, but that was a pretty high expectation it would be out this year.

26. Skraeckoedlan, Gigantos: If this came out, no one told me. Seems like not yet.

27. The Skull, TBA: A stunner. As much as I looked forward to it, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) exceeded the excitement.

28. Sleep, TBA: Included as wishful thinking. Their The Clarity single (review here) was something to celebrate.

29. Slough Feg, Digital Resistance: I was really looking forward to this one. Kind of fell off with Digital Resistance (review here) after a while. Hard to argue with Slough Feg though.

30. Snail, FeralWaiting on it for 2015.

31. Steak, TBAThe London four-piece followed two strong EPs with Slab City (review here), as heartfelt a showing of desert rock loyalty as I’ve heard.

Damn, this was a long list.

32. Stubb, TBA: I had my doubts it would arrive, but Stubb‘s Ripple Music debut, Cry of the Ocean (review here), found welcome when it did.

33. SunnO))) & Ulver, Terrestrials: One of two collaborations SunnO))) would have out in 2014. Heard a lot about it at the beginning of the year. Less now.

34. Tombs, Savage Gold: Good band, doing interesting stuff. I have a hard time transitioning from appreciating it to actually being a fan.

35. Triptykon, Melana ChasmataSorry, but when Tom G. Warrior puts out a record, you hop to. I didn’t review it to save myself having to buy a copy, but dug it anyway.

36. Truckfighters, Universe: I feel like this one picked up steam as the year went on. I didn’t go back to it as much as its predecessor, but Universe (review here) was a logical next step for them.

37. Valley of the Sun, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk: Nothing to complain about with the Ohio three-piece’s debut (review here) or the effort they put into supporting it throughout the year.

38. Weedeater, TBA: Nope. At least I knew it at the time.

39. Wolves in the Throne Room, TBA: Surprised a lot of people when Celestite (review here) was a companion piece for their last record instead of a new album proper, myself included.

40. The Wounded Kings, Consolamentum: 2014 was quite a year for doom, and The Wounded Kings were right there at the start. This lineup may be gone, but Consolamentum (review here) holds up.

41. Yawning Man, Gravity is Good for You: Rumor is guitarist Gary Arce has a few projects in the works for next year. Not sure if this is one of them or not.

42. YOB, TBA: We certainly know how this worked out, don’t we? If the votes in the Readers Poll are anything to go by, yes. Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here) was a landmark, and this won’t be the last year-end list around here on which YOB make a showing.

The list from July had a few winners on it as well — Apostle of Solitude, Blues Pills, Bongripper, Brant Bjork, Earth, Lo-Pan, The Well, Witch Mountain, etc. — but I think we’ve probably got enough as it is.

With the year starting to wind down, I’ll be putting together my Top 30 Albums of 2014 in the next week or so. Please keep an eye out for that, and thanks for reading.

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Sleep Should be Making Money on Sleep’s Holy Mountain

Posted in The Debate Rages on December 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

sleep sleep's holy mountain

Riff legends and Iommic scholars Sleep launch an Australian tour this coming weekend. The other night, I saw they posted the following on their Thee Facebooks page. I guess they had been getting requests — probably daily, if not hourly — for a reissue of 1992’s ultra-classic Sleep’s Holy Mountain, and this was their response:

For those asking…

Sleep cannot re-issue Holy Mountain on vinyl. Or CD. Or MP3.

Nor can Sleep print t-shirts or posters, etc with the original Holy Mountain artwork.

All rights to that album (and any related art) are owned by Earache records. Forever.

…and no, Sleep doesn’t make a dime from that record and hasn’t since the early 90’s.

Bands: Please be very careful what you sign.

My immediate reaction is, “Really, Earache?” and that seems as good a place to begin as any.

With landmark back catalogs from Napalm DeathEntombedGodfleshCathedral and many, many others, UK imprint Earache Records has one of the most enviable discographies in heavy music. Formed in 1986, it’s seen trends come and go and like few others — Metal Blade comes to mind first as a comparison — it has managed to thrive. Is Earache well within its rights to hold onto Sleep’s Holy Mountain and use that property for all it’s worth? It would seem so. They reissued it on CD in 2009 (review here), still press t-shirts with the cover art (or at least they did last time I bought one), and the above indicates that Earache owns copyright on the music and art for the record into perpetuity and there’s nothing the band can do about it.

Not a great contract if you’re Sleep.

The answer for the trio — bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike and then drummer Chris Hakius (now drummer Jason Roeder) — at first seems like an easy one. Bootleg it. Fuck it. They’ve done it before, as the initial, unofficial self-release of Jerusalem with its righteous Arik Roper cover showed. Not as simple to do now as it was in 1998, however. Look at the response they got to the new single “The Clarity” (review here) this year. Granted, it wouldn’t be the same for a reissue as for the first new music to come from them in over a decade, but still. Sleep are a much higher-profile band than they were in the late ’90s, and if they were to just press up a bunch of copies of Sleep’s Holy Mountain, even to sell at shows, they’d probably catch hell for it one way or another, probably with litigation.

A pretty great contract if you’re Earache.

I won’t pretend to know the circumstances of the label’s wares, that is, how much of its back catalog it owns as thoroughly as it seems to own Sleep’s Holy Mountain, and neither will I give into some doomer-hippie impulse and say something like, “Oh man, they should just give Sleep the rights because it would be the cool thing to do and art for artists and whatever blah blah.” That’s naive as shit and not in any way reflective of the world in which we live. Earache has the rights, Sleep signed that deal. Bam. Done. The label is under no obligation to let the band have anything, so if they don’t want to, that’s their prerogative.

No question Sleep’s Holy Mountain is one of the most pivotal records in heavy rock and doom. What PikeCisneros and Hakius crafted has spread through influence the world over, to bands from Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. They’re as close as an underground band can be to being a household name, and their work helped define a generation of heaviness. It is timeless, integral, and essential. They deserve to be making money from it.

People don’t like to talk about money and its effect on creativity, as though art and commerce are church and state, but in practice, they’re no more separate. Sleep probably do well at this point in terms of their take-home from shows, but it took them 20 years and success in other bands — OmHigh on Fire — to get there, and they don’t tour 100 gigs a year. I don’t know if they have dayjobs or not, and I highly doubt any income earned on Sleep’s Holy Mountain would be life-changing in that regard one way or another, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it.

But “deserve” is irrelevant. Sleep “should” earn money from Sleep’s Holy Mountain? So what?

It seems to me there’s some opportunity for middle ground somewhere between “label gets all” and “band gets all,” whether that’s a licensing fee Sleep pay to Earache or something like that — hell, I’m sure if Earache were to put the rights up for sale, the band could crowdfund just about any price named and not even have to go out-of-pocket — or like a rent-to-own deal on the publishing. I’m not going to call Earache dicks for not coming to the table if there’s been any discussion of a discussion, they’re a business acting like a business needs to act in order to survive, but if Sleep were able to work Sleep’s Holy Mountain again in some way mutually beneficial to themselves and the label, I don’t see where anyone loses.

Doesn’t matter if Earache doesn’t want to budge and if they’re still able to sell those shirts with the cover on it or repress the album every so often. An unfortunate situation for a band that have earned their place in the pantheon of heavy and managed to, like the label, remain vital where so many others haven’t, but as they say, be careful what you sign. Too bad that’s a lesson that had to be so harshly learned, and too bad a record so warmly loved by fans has to carry such baggage for the band themselves.

Sleep, Sleep’s Holy Mountain (1992)

Sleep on Thee Facebooks

Sleep on Twitter

Sleep’s webstore

Earache Records

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London DesertFest 2015: Sleep, Orange Goblin and My Sleeping Karma Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Three bands deep and already DesertFest London — which from here on out I’ll be presenting with the capital ‘f’ in accordance with their own stylization and in contrast to years past; I’m tired of feeling like I’ve got it wrong — has an enviable lineup. Sleep was already confirmed shortly after this year’s fest, and they’ll headline Koko, a place about which I know nothing but assume is sizable, as Orange Goblin celebrate their 20th anniversary. Not bad shakes. I’ve seen both of those bands, and they destroy, but I’ve never seen My Sleeping Karma and they’re on my wishlist at this point, their last several records having been so very, very good.

While I consider the finer points of starting an NPR-style pledge drive in order to cover travel expenses (no, not really), check out the announcement from the PR wire:

DESERTFEST LONDON 2015 : Sleep, Orange Goblin and My Sleeping Karma confirmed

European stoner/doom/psych festival DESERTFEST LONDON just unveiled the first batch of bands to be part of its fourth edition, taking place on April 24-26th, 2015 in Camden. Tickets are on sale now, so it’s time to make plans for next spring!

First bands confirmed are:

SLEEP (headlining Koko’s on Sunday 26th)

For the fourth year running, Camden’s finest venues will be hosting one of the most exciting stoner/doom/sludge/psyche gatherings in Europe, for a full weekend of fuzzed-out tunes, psychedelia and partying. After they announced their long-awaited return a few weeks ago, American stoner rock pioneers SLEEP will be treating the Desertfest crowd to their twenty minutes long smoked-out sonic odysseys, with an exclusive headlining set at London’s famous venue Koko’s on the Sunday. Camden’s ground is set to tremble once again this year, with UK metal heavyweights ORANGE GOBLIN delivering their fiery metal anthems, for a one-off 20th anniversary special performance. This first announcement couldn’t be complete without a cosmic touch (because it wouldn’t be DESERTFEST if we weren’t sonically high at least once), brought to you by German psych trio MY SLEEPING KARMA.

Keep an ear to the ground as more bands will be announced really soon!

April 24-26th 2015 in Camden Town
Koko – Electric Ballroom – The Underworld – The Black Heart

3-day tickets (£99.50) available at THIS LOCATION

More infos on

Sleep, “Sonic Titan” Live in Boston, Aug. 24, 2014

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