Electric Wizard Announce Nov. East Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Two years removed from their latest album, 2017’s Wizard Bloody Wizard (review here), and just a month removed from their headlining slot at Psycho Las Vegas, UK doom magnates Electric Wizard will do a select round of dates along the US Eastern Seaboard, and, well, that’s just nifty. It’ll be right before Thanksgiving, which is as appropriate a time as I can think of to hear the riff from “Funeralopolis,” and they’re playing some pretty decent-sized venues. It’s been a couple years since they were in this part of the world, but they’ve been touring in drips and drabs in various regions, so it was a matter of time before they got back. Good doom happens slowly.

Fresh off the PR wire:

electric wizard

ELECTRIC WIZARD ANNOUNCE EAST COAST TOUR DATES THIS NOVEMBER

England’s paramount doom act returns to U.S. soil once again…

Advancing their American assault, British doom legends Electric Wizard are one again returning to the United States. This November, Electric Wizard will level everything in their path and perform in St. Petersburg, FL, Atlanta, GA, Silver Spring, MD, Brooklyn, NY, Philadelphia, PA and Worcester, MA. The tour follows last month’s praiseworthy appearance at Las Vegas’ Psycho Festival where Electric Wizard shook the foundation of the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Soon, residents along the Eastern seaboard will have their chance to experience Electric Wizard’s massively monolithic wall of sound with a set list that traverses the group’s 9 album, 25-year-long legacy.

Electric Wizard continue to support their acclaimed 2017 album Wizard Bloody Wizard. Since its release, the band has played select shows in the United States and overseas including high profile appearances at the likes of London’s iconic Shepard’s Bush Empire, Up In Smoke (Switzerland), Deathfest (Netherlands), and more. Electric Wizard is commonly (and rightfully) referred to as “the heaviest band in the world,” with at least three of their nine LP’s widely recognized as genre benchmarks and heavy metal classics: 1996’s Come My Fanatics…, 2000’s Dopethrone and 2007’s Witchcult Today. Electric Wizard remain an undeniable influence over modern doom metal and how it is perceived today.

Tour dates and venues are detailed below — these shows are not to miss. More news from Electric Wizard to surface soon.

ELECTRIC WIZARD, ON TOUR w/ MIDNIGHT:
November 15 St. Petersburg, FL @ Janus Landing
November 16 Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
November 18 Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
November 19 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
November 20 Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
November 22 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium

Artist photo by: Ester Segarra

http://electricwizard.merchnow.com/
https://www.facebook.com/electricwizarddorsetdoom/
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http://www.spinefarmrecords.com/
https://open.spotify.com/track/5gG15aEI4zv1hohsjFBhtD

Electric Wizard, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2019

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Orange Goblin Announce US Dates Starting Aug. 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ORANGE GOBLIN DAVID BOULONGNE

Okay, got your calendar marked yet? Got a place to crash if you need one? Well, doesn’t matter. You can figure that out later. The point is Orange Goblin are coming to the US supporting their righteous 2018 offering, The Wolf Bites Back (review here), and they’re doing six shows, and that’s probably it for the entire album cycle. And while you’ve got your leather-bound day-planner out, you might want to make a note to yourself to send a thank you card to Muddy Roots Fest in Tennessee, because if they weren’t bringing the band over to play, the tour probably wouldn’t be happening at all, so really they’re just doing everyone a favor. So yeah, thanks Muddy Roots.

New York, Chicago, Muddy Roots, Dallas, Austin and Los Angeles. That’s it. They’re giving everyone plenty of times to get their lives in order and make showing-up happen. Frankly, if these shows don’t sell out, it’s a sad day in America.

From the PR wire:

orange goblin tour

Orange Goblin Announces U.S. Tour Dates

UK Heavy Metal Titans to Play Exclusive Live Shows in NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin and more this Summer

Orange Goblin, the heavy hitting British metal band that has inspired a generation of up-and-coming rock acts has announced summer U.S. headlining tour dates. The week-long set of exclusive live shows will kick off on August 27 in New York City and will include a performance as part of the 2019 Muddy Roots Festival on August 30, where the respected group will share the stage with MC50, Off!, and more.

Orange Goblin continues to tour in support of its most recent album, ‘The Wolf Bites Back’, the band’s ninth studio release. Support on the Orange Goblin tour will come from a slew of today’s best underground rock acts including The Skull, Mothership, Wo Fat and Black Cobra.

“We haven’t been able to tour the US since 2014 so it’s been a long 5 years, but we are excited to be coming back this year for a select few dates,” says vocalist Ben Ward. “We have gathered an amazing array of supports for this special tour and we can’t wait to bring the Orange Goblin thunder back to our rabid US fan base! Grab your tickets ASAP as these will be the most insane, wild and memorable shows we have done in the US, drawing on our full back catalog of material spanning the bands whole career! Let’s have it America, Orange fuckin’ Goblin is back!”

Orange Goblin US tour dates:
August 27 New York, NY Gramcery Theatre (w/ The Skull)
August 29 Chicago, IL Thalia Hall (w/ The Skull)
August 30 Cookeville, TN June Bug Boogie Ranch (as part of Muddy Roots Festival)
August 31 Dallas, TX Gas Monkey (w/ The Skull, Mothership, Wo Fat)
September 1 Austin, TX Come and Take It Live (w/ The Skull, Mothership)
September 2 Los Angeles, CA Regent Theatre (w/ Black Cobra)

Orange Goblin UK/Europe live dates:
06.04 – Faster & Louder Fest, Eindhoven, Netherlands
11.05 – HRH Road Trip, Ibiza, Spain
18.05 – Manorfest, Keighley, UK
23.06 – Graspop Metal Meeting, Dessel, Belgium
29.06 – Full Force Festival, Ferropolis, Germany
05.07 – Oltrasuoni Festival, Dro, Italy
06.07 – Traffic Club, Rome, Italy
07.07 – Cueva Club, Cagliari, Sardinia
28.09 – HRH Doom V Stoner IV, Sheffield, UK

In addition to vocalist Ben Ward, Orange Goblin features Joe Hoare (guitar), Martyn Millard (bass) and Chris Turner (drums).

https://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial/
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Orange Goblin, Live in Moscow, March 29, 2019

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The Obelisk Presents: THE TOP 30 ALBUMS OF 2018

Posted in Features on December 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the-top-30-of-2018

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2018 to that, please do.

It just wouldn’t be a year if it wasn’t completely overwhelming, right?

2018 has certainly met that standard and then some. The swath of output, whether it’s a new generation adopting and adapting established methods or out and out reinventing the stylistic wheel and then pushing it uphill on a seemingly endless barrage of tours, has been staggering, and it’s still happening. There’s a little more than a week to go in the year. You think a band isn’t putting something out today? Of course they are. It’s every day. It’s all the time.

But this year wasn’t just about quantity either. I think one of my biggest struggles in writing about albums in 2018 — and with the last Quarterly Review and various premieres and video posts that were basically album reviews in disguise, let’s estimate we’re somewhere past 300 records reviewed one way or another — was in conveying just how killer so much of the stuff coming through was. How many times can you say the word “awesome?” Well, I’m sure we’ll see it a few more times before this list is over, so there you go.

I say something like this every time I do a list, but please keep in mind these are my picks and I’m one person. But I am a person. I know there’s the whole internet-anonymity thing, but I assure you, I’m a human being (more of a cave troll, really) typing these words. I’m all for everyone sharing their own picks in the comments, and all for passionate advocating, but please, let’s keep it civil and respectful. These things can spiral out of control quickly, but let’s remember that we’re all human beings and worth of basic courtesy, even if some of us are dead wrong about a good many things. You should definitely punch nazis, though.

Thanks in advance for reading. Here we go:

[UPDATE: You’ll notice the inclusion of an ’18a.’ I had Stoned Jesus in my notes as number 18 initially and they got dropped as I was adjusting things along the way. I’ve added them back in, but it didn’t seem fair to bump everyone else down after the post had already been published. That was the best I could come up with for a solution. If you’re pissed about one more killer record being added, please feel free to email me and tell me all about it.]

30. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark

The Skull The Endless Road Turns Dark

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Chicago’s The Skull had no small task before them in following up their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) — let alone living up to their pedigree — but their second album demonstrated a creative growth that sacrificed nothing of memorability when it came to songs like “Breathing Underwater” and “All that Remains (Is True).” They got down to work and got the job done, which is what a working band does. 2018 was by any measure a fantastic year for doom, and The Skull were a big part of why.

29. Foghound, Awaken to Destroy

foghound awaken to destroy

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 21.

The Dec. 2017 murder of Rev. Jim Forrester was tragic. No other way to say it. Foghound, who were in the midst of making Awaken to Destroy at the time, put together an album that not only features Forrester‘s last recorded performance, but pays respect to his memory while the wound is still raw and manages to kick ass all the while. It’s a record that can’t ever be divorced from its circumstances — just can’t — and so it can be a heavy listen in more than just its tones, but it’s basically Foghound proving they’re unstoppable. And so they are.

28. Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back

orange goblin the wolf bites back

Released by Spinefarm Records. Reviewed June 13.

Who among us here today is not a sucker for Orange Goblin? Come forward an be judged. I mean, really. Nine records deep, the London sceneforgers are nothing less than an institution, beloved by boozehounds, riffhounds, doomhounds, and really, a wide variety of hounds the world over. Also dudes. With its essential title-track hook and highlight cuts in “Ghosts of the Primitives” and “Burn the Ships” — or, you know, any of them — they added to one of heavy’s most unshakable legacies with an album as furious as it is welcoming to its generations-spanning fanbase.

27. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe

fu manchu clone of the universe
Released by At the Dojo Records. Reviewed Feb. 15.

There are two kinds of people in this world, and they’re both Fu Manchu fans. Clone of the Universe turned heads with a guest appearance from Rush‘s Alex Lifeson on the 18-minute side-B-consuming “Il Mostro Atomico,” but really to focus on that instead of “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Don’t Panic,” “Slower than Light,” etc., is only seeing half the point of the album in the first place. The long-running lords of fuzz hit a new stride with 2014’s Gigantoid (review here), and Clone of the Universe was in every way a worthy successor.

26. Witch Mountain, Witch Mountain

Witch-Mountain-Witch-Mountain
Released by Svart Records. Reviewed May 16.

It was an unenviable task before Witch Mountain in replacing vocalist Uta Plotkin, but founding guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nathan Carson found the right voice in Kayla Dixon and solidified the lineup with her and bassist Justin Brown enough to make a declarative statement in Witch Mountain‘s self-titled LP. That’s the story of it. They pulled it off. Met with what was unquestionably a bummer circumstance, they pushed through and moved their sound forward through a new beginning — and not their first one. Watch out when their next record hits.

25. Windhand, Eternal Return

windhand eternal return

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Oct. 3.

Richmond, Virginia, doomers Windhand‘s second collaboration with producer Jack Endino produced a marked and purposeful expansion of their sound, encompassing classic grunge influences and a heavy psychedelic swirl that added color their previously-greyscale sonic haze. Resonant in tone and emotionalism, Eternal Return readjusted Windhand‘s trajectory in such a manner that, where one might’ve thought they knew where the band were headed in terms of their progression, they’ve made themselves a less predictable outfit on the whole. For that alone, it’s a triumph. Then you have the songs.

24. Sun Voyager, Seismic Vibes

Sun Voyager Seismic Vibes

Released by King Pizza Records. Reviewed April 18.

I don’t even want to admit how long I was waiting for Sun Voyager‘s first long-player to show up, but when it finally did, the New York trio did not disappoint. Catchy, energetic, fuzzed-out tunes with driving rhythms and a heavy psych flourish, they tapped into shoegaze and desert vibes without losing any sense of themselves in the process, and if the extra wait was so they could be so remarkably coherent in their expression on their full-length, then I wouldn’t want it to have shown up any sooner. An easy pick to stand among 2018’s best debut albums. Now to wait for the next one.

23. Forming the Void, Rift

forming the void rift

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed July 27.

It should tell you something that after working quickly to produce three albums, Louisiana’s Forming the Void are still defined by their potential. If I had my druthers, I’d put the recent Ripple signees on tour for the bulk of 2019, across the US and in Europe for festivals and support-slot club shows, really give them an opportunity to hammer out who they are as a band and then hit the studio for LP four. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but they’d only be doing the universe a favor by kicking into that gear. As it stands, their progression is palpable in their material and they stand absolutely ready for whatever the next level might be for them.

22. Spaceslug, Eye the Tide

spaceslug eye the tide

Released by BSFD Records and Oak Island Records. Reviewed June 29.

Aside from the speed at which Spaceslug have turned around offerings — with Eye the Tide following 2017’s Mountains and Reminiscence EP (review here) and Time Travel Dilemma (review here) full-length and their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here) — the Polish outfit have undertaken significant progression in their sound, moving from pure heavy psychedelic warmth to incorporating elements out of extreme metal as they did on Eye the Tide. Adding to the latest record’s accomplishment is the smoothness with which they brought seemingly opposing sides together, only adding depth to an approach already worthy of oceanic comparison.

21. Conan, Existential Void Guardian

Conan Existential Void Guardian
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 14.

Conan‘s reign of terror has been unfolding for more than a decade now, and each of their albums has become a kind of step along a path of incremental growth. Consider the melody creeping into the shouts of founding guitarist Jon Davis, or the emergence of bassist Chris Fielding as a vocal presence alongside, the two sharing a frontman role more than ever before while welcoming drummer Johnny King to the fold of destructive tonality and doomly extremism. Existential Void Guardian may end up just being another stomp-print on their way to the next thing, but it affirmed the fact that as much as Conan grow each time out, their central violence continues to hold sway.

20. Pale Divine, Pale Divine

PALE DIVINE S/T
Released by Shadow Kingdom Records. Reviewed Nov. 21.

Look. A new Pale Divine record doesn’t come along every day, so yeah, their self-titled was probably going to be on my list one way or the other, but it definitely helps that not only was it their first outing in six years since 2012’s Painted Windows Black (review here), but it had the songs to live up to a half-decade-plus of anticipation. It marked the first studio appearance from bassist/backing vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis alongside guitarist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey — now both of Beelzefuzz as well — and made a strong argument for how much Pale Divine deserve more than 20 years on from their initial demo to be considered classic American doom.

19. Mos Generator, Shadowlands

mos generator shadowlands
Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed May 11.

The return and rise to prominence of Washington pure heavy rockers Mos Generator might be the underground’s feelgood story of the decade, but it hasn’t by any means been easily won. In addition to rebuilding the band however many albums ago, guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed has put in innumerable hours on tour and worked to actually develop the group creatively in addition to in terms of stage presence. This is shown throughout some of the classic prog elements making their way onto Shadowlands, and perhaps some of the collection’s moodier aspects are born of the aforementioned road time as well. Hard for that kind of thing not to be a slog after a while, but at least they have killer tunes to play.

18a. Stoned Jesus, Pilgrims

STONED JESUS PILGRIMS

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 5.

The only safe bet about Stoned Jesus‘ fourth long-player, Pilgrims, was that it was going to sound different than the third. That 2015 outing, The Harvest (review here), preceded the band touring to celebrate the fifth anniversary and after-the-fact success of 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), but Pilgrims defied narrative in that instead of incorporating elements from the second record in more of a heavy psych or jam sound, Stoned Jesus instead showcased a tighter, more sureheaded sense of craft than they’ve ever displayed before, and arrived on Napalm Records with a collection of songs that demonstrated the growth and sense of creative will that drives them. While one can take a look at their moniker and think immediately they know what’s coming, Stoned Jesus have made themselves one of the least predictable bands in heavy rock.

18. Backwoods Payback, Future Slum

backwoods payback future slum

Self-released. Reviewed Aug. 15.

“Pirate Smile.” “Lines.” “Whatever.” “It Ain’t Right.” “Threes.” “Cinderella.” “Generals.” “Big Enough.” “Alone.” “Lucky. Mike Cummings, Jessica Baker, Erik Larson. Every player, every song, every minute. If you want to know what heart-on-sleeve sounds like, it fucking sounds like Backwoods Payback. In their line from hardcore punk to grunge to heavy rock, they encompass experiences and emotionalism that are both shown in raw form throughout Future Slum, and build all the while on the chemistry they set out in developing with 2016’s Fire Not Reason (review here), when they welcomed Larson to the lineup on drums and revitalized their mission. Also worth noting, they were the best live band I saw this year. Anywhere.

17. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown

corrosion of conformity no cross no crown

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Jan. 3

No question the excitement of C.O.C. putting out their first record with frontman Pepper Keenan involved since 2005’s In the Arms of God was one of this year’s top stories in heavy. And No Cross No Crown tapped directly into the spirit of 1994’s Deliverance (discussed here) and 1996’s Wiseblood (discussed here) in terms of direction, while updating the band’s style with a four-part 2LP in mind. In some ways, it’ll be their next album that really gives listeners a sense of where they’re at and where they might be headed, but as welcome returns go, having Keenan alongside Mike DeanWoody Weatherman and Reed Mullin is in no way to be understated, and neither is the quality of their output together, then and now.

16. Naxatras, III

naxatras iii

Self-released. Reviewed Feb. 14.

It is no simple feat to hypnotize an audience and convey serenity while at the same time holding attention with songcraft, so that the listener isn’t actually so much unconscious as malleable of mood and spirit in such a direction as the band suggests. Greek trio Naxatras have worked quickly to become experts at this, and their third full-length fosters tonal warmth and jammy progressions with an overarching naturalism that finds them so committed to analog recording that one can buy direct transfers of the tape master of III. Some acts take classic-style practices as an aesthetic choice. With Naxatras, it seems to be the stuff of life, yet their sound is only vibrant and human in a way that, at least one hopes, is even more representative of the future than the past.

15. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions

clutch book of bad decisions

Released by Weathermaker Music. Reviewed Aug. 27.

It was time for Clutch to make a change in producers, and the Maryland overlords of groove seemed to know it. Known as a live band, they went with Vance Powell, who’s known a live band producer. The results on Book of Bad Decisions might not have been so earth-shatteringly different from 2015’s Psychic Warfare (review here), which was the too-soon follow-up to 2013’s Earth Rocker (review here) — both helmed by Machine — but the inimitable four-piece indeed succeeded in capturing the electricity of their stage performance and, as ever, treated fans to a collection of songs bearing Clutch‘s unmistakable hallmarks of quirky lyrics, funky rhythms and heavy roll. They may always be a live band, but Clutch‘s studio work is in no way to be discounted, ever, as this record reaffirmed. Plus, crab cakes.

14. Ancestors, Suspended in Reflections

Ancestors Suspended in Reflections

Released by Pelagic Records. Reviewed Aug. 3.

After 2012’s In Dreams and Time (review here), I wasn’t sure Ancestors were going to put out another record. They kicked around word of one for a while, but it wasn’t until the end of last year that it really seemed to congeal into a possibility. And by then, who the hell knew what they might get up to on a full-length? With Suspended in Reflections, in some says, they picked up where they left off in terms of finding a niche for themselves in progressive and melodic heavy, but I think the time showed in the poise of their execution and the control of the material. Suspended in Reflections can’t help but be six years more mature than its predecessor, and that suits its contemplative feel. In tracks like “Gone,” and “The Warm Glow,” they tempered their expansive sound with an efficiency that can only be had with time.

13. High on Fire, Electric Messiah

high on fire electric messiah

Released by eOne Heavy. Reviewed Sept. 28.

The narrative here was hard to beat. Matt Pike spending an album cycle talking about Lemmy Kilmister and paying homage to his dirt-rock forebear and the gods of old? It doesn’t get much more perfect than that. Electric Messiah was the third collaboration between High on Fire and producer Kurt Ballou behind 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here), and while it seemed after the last record that the formula might be getting stale, the band only sounded more and more lethal throughout the latest offering. Even putting aside their contributions to underground heavy, they’ve become one of the most essential metal bands of their generation. Metal, period. Doesn’t matter what subgenre you’re talking about it. If you’re listening to High on Fire, you know it. Usually because you’ve just been decapitated.

12. Yawning Man, The Revolt Against Tired Noises

yawning man the revolt against tired noises

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed July 2.

You know, if you take the time to separate Yawning Man from their 30-plus-year history and their legacy as one of the foundational acts of what later became desert rock, and you listen to The Revolt Against Tired Noises, you’re still left with basically a dream of an album. Mostly instrumental, as is their wont, they nonetheless had bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso Jetson) sing this time around on a version of the previously-unreleased “Catamaran,” which Kyuss covered once upon a whenever although Yawning Man had never officially put it to tape. But really, that and all other novelty aside, guitarist Gary Arce, Lalli and drummer Bill Stinson are a chemistry unto themselves. I don’t know if they’ll ever be as huge as they should be, but every bit of acclaim they get, they’ve earned, and if The Revolt Against Tired Noises helps them get it, all the more so.

11. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers

greenleaf hear the rivers

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Nov. 26.

Swedish heavy rock mavens Greenleaf have become an entirely different band than they once were. No longer a Dozer side-project from guitarist Tommi Holappa with a rotating cast of players, they’re a solidified, road-tested, powerhouse unit, and Hear the Rivers bleeds soul as a result. Holappa, frontman Arvid Hällagård, bassist Hans Fröhlich and drummer Sebastian Olsson sound like they’re absolutely on fire in the album’s tracks, and far from being staid or formulaic as one might expect a sixth long-player to be, Hear the Rivers built on what the band accomplished with 2016’s Rise Above the Meadow (review here) and came across as all the more vital and nearly frenetic in their energy. I won’t say Greenleaf has seen their last lineup change, because one never knows, but the band as they are today is the realization of potential I don’t think even Greenleaf knew was there.

10. Gozu, Equilibrium

gozu equilibrium

Released by Blacklight Media / Metal Blade Records. Reviewed April 4.

Five records deep into a career into its second decade, Gozu haven’t had a miss yet. Admittedly, some of their early work can seem formative considering where they are now, but still. And after the 2016 rager, Revival (review here), to have the band return to the same studio — Wild Arctic in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where strides producer Dean Baltulonis — for the follow-up allows for the four-piece to directly show how their sound has grown more encompassing in the last couple years. And it has. Equilibrium is a rich and varied listen that holds true to Gozu‘s well-established penchant for soulful vibes and crunching, hard-hitting riffs and groove, but while it shares the directness of approach with Revival, it makes moves that a band could only make moving from one record to the next. I expect nothing less their next time out as well, because a decade later, that’s Gozu‘s proven track record.

9. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker

monster magnet mindfucker
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 23.

The battle for the best album title of 2018 ended early when New Jersey everything-rockers Monster Magnet announced the release of Mindfucker. And what else to call a Monster Magnet LP at this point? They’ve stopped writing to genre. They’re driven by the creative mania of frontman/founder Dave Wyndorf, and they’ve seen psychedelic expanses and commercial success the likes of which would serve the tenure of four lesser bands. What’s left to do but whatever the hell you want? So that’s what Monster Magnet are doing. It just so happens that while they’re doing it, they’re still basically outclassing the entirety of the former planet earth as songwriters. As Monster Magnet fan in 2018, there was nothing more I could’ve asked than what Mindfucker delivered. And if you’re still trying to get your brain around it however many months later, you’re not alone. I think that’s the idea.

8. Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash

Apostle of Solitude From Gold to Ash

Released by Cruz del Sur Music. Reviewed Feb. 20.

Best doom album of 2018. The combination of craft and passion behind the delivery. The way the dark tones fed into the emotions so clearly on display and sheer presence of it in listening to songs like “Keeping the Lighthouse,” “Ruination by Thy Name” and “My Heart is Leaving Here.” Apostle of Solitude never seem to be the highest profile band out there, but their work seems never to be anything less than outstanding, and I refuse to accept them as anything less than among the most pivotal American acts out there making traditional doom. And not just making it, but making it their own, with a sense of new pursuits and individualism that extends to playing style as well as atmosphere. I know doom isn’t exactly in short supply these days — figuratively or literally — but if you miss out on what Apostle of Solitude are doing with it, you’ll only regret it later. I’ll say it one more time: Best doom album of 2018.

7. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II

holy grove ii
Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 31.

Every now and again, anticipating the crap of an album really pays off, and such was the case with Holy Grove II, the Ripple Music debut from the Portland outfit whose 2016 self-titled (review here) seemed like such a herald of excellence to come while also, you know, being killer. Holy Grove II brought the four-piece of vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs, bassist Gregg Emley and drummer Eben Travis to entirely new levels of composition and execution. In songs like “Blade Born,” the shorter, sharper “Aurora,” the patiently rolling “Valley of the Mystics,” “Solaris” and closer “Cosmos,” which boasted a not-really-necessary-but-definitely-welcome guest vocal appearance from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt, — and oh wait, that’s all of the tracks — Holy Grove entered a different echelon. Anticipation will likewise be high for Holy Grove III, but it’ll be hard to complain with this record to keep company in the meantime.

6. All Them Witches, ATW

all them witches atw
Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 18.

Over five All Them Witches albums, the Nashville four-piece have gone from a nascent heavy Americana jam band to one of the most distinct acts in the US underground. Their development in sound is chemistry-driven, so it was a risk when the founding trio of bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod (who also produced) and drummer Robby Staebler welcomed new keyboardist Jonathan Draper into the lineup to take the place of Allan van Cleave. Amid a more naturalist production than that of 2017’s Sleeping Through the War (review here), the revamped four-piece flourished in terms of songwriting and conveying their stage-born sonic personae. From the gleeful fuckery of opener “Fishbelly 86 Onions” to the memorable moodiness of “Diamond” and the back-end jam “Harvest Feast” en route to the stretched-out end of “Rob’s Dream,” All Them Witches essentially confirmed they could do whatever they wanted and make it work.

5. YOB, Our Raw Heart

yob our raw heart
Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed June 7.

Actually, if you want a sample of YOB‘s raw heart, the place to go is probably 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), but whatever the Eugene, Oregon, shapers of cosmic doom might’ve lacked in titular accuracy on their eighth long-player, they made up for in a new, statesman-like posture. Their approach was mature, hammered out to a professionalism working completely on its own terms, and they never sounded so sure of who they are as a band or as confident of their direction. In extended cuts “Beauty in Falling Leaves” and “Our Raw Heart,” they explored new and progressive textures and melodies, and managed to reaffirm their core aspects while finding room for conveying emotion that came across as nothing but ultimately sincere. They have been and still are one of a kind, and as they continue to move forward, they remain a band that makes one feel lucky to be alive to witness their work. Our Raw Heart was perhaps more refined than it let on, but the heart was there for sure, as always.

4. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman

brant bjork mankind woman

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 13.

I’m not going to say I wasn’t a fan of the (relatively) harder-hitting approach Brant Bjork and his Low Desert Punk Band took on 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here), but Mankind Woman brought in some more of his soul influences, and whether it was the subtly subversive funk of “Chocolatize” and “Brand New Old Times” or the callout “1968” and laid back vibes of the title-track and “Swagger and Sway,” Bjork — working with guitarist Bubba DuPree on songwriting and production — offered a definitive look at what has made his 20-year solo career so special and demonstrates not only his longevity and his legacy, but his will to continue to progress as an artist honing his craft. His discography is well populated by now to be sure, but Mankind Woman represents a turn from the last couple records, and if it’s in any way portentous of things to come, it bodes well. Bjork is right at home nestled into classic-style grooves, and his legacy as one of the principal architects of desert rock is continually reaffirmed.

3. Earthless, Black Heaven

earthless black heaven

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed March 15.

They’ve been great, not just good, for a long time now, and as forerunners of the San Diego heavy scene, they’re godfathers to an up and coming generation of bands taking their influence — let alone acts from the rest of the world — but Black Heaven is a special moment for them because of its departure. No, it wasn’t not the first time guitarist Isaiah Mitchell sang on an Earthless recording, but it did represent a tip of the balance in that direction for the band on a studio full-length, and that resulted in a special moment. Album opener “Gifted by the Wind” was one of the best songs I heard this year, and while “End to End” and the all-thrust “Volt Rush” affirmed that more traditional songwriting was well within the grasp of Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba, they still found space for a sprawling jam or two, keeping their claim on the instrumentalism that’s (largely) fueled their tenure to date. Earthless don’t want for acclaim, but every bit of it is earned, and while their primary impact has always been live, Black Heaven saw them construct a traditional-style LP that still bore the hallmarks of their collective personality. It was the best of all worlds.

2. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain

king buffalo longing to be the mountain
Self-released/released by Stickman Records. Reviewed Sept. 27.

In the dark early hours of 2018, the Rochester, New York, trio of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson issued the Repeater EP (review here) as a follow-up to their 2016 debut, Orion (review here), so Longing to Be the Mountain didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but even with Repeater preceding its arrival, I don’t think anyone necessary expected King Buffalo‘s second album to have such a scope or to be so engrossing with it. In its melody, patience, atmosphere and heft, it was an absolute joy to behold. Its songs were memorable at the same time they were far-reaching, and while Orion was already my pick for the best debut of 2016, Longing to Be the Mountain realized even more potential than that record had hinted toward. It could be intimate or majestic at its whim, and its dynamic set an individual characterization of heavy psychedelia and blues-style sprawl that the band wholly owned. With production by Ben McLeod of All Them Witches behind them, they worked to serve notice of a progression undertaken the results of which are already staggering and still seem to be looking ahead to the next stage, literally and figuratively. One of the principal standards I use in constructing this list every year is what I listen to most. That’s this record.

1. Sleep, The Sciences

sleep the sciences

Released by Third Man Records. Reviewed May 1.

Obviously, right? To some extent, when Sleep surprise-announced on April 19 they’d release their first album in 15 years the next day, and then did, they took ownership of 2018. Even with records still to come at that point from YOB and Sleep guitarist Matt Pike‘s own High on Fire, there was no way that when the end of the year came around, it wasn’t going to be defined by the advent of a new Sleep record. And even if it sucked, it would probably still be Album of the Year, but fortunately, as Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (also Om) and drummer Jason Roeder (also Neurosis) took their long-running stage reunion to the studio, they brought material that highlighted the best elements from all players. Pike‘s wild soloing, Cisneros‘ meditative vocals and Roeder‘s intricate but smooth style of roll all came together in older pieces like “Antarcticans Thawed” and “Sonic Titan” and newer highlights “Giza Butler” and “Marijuanaut’s Theme,” and aside from the excitement at their existence, they showed the mastery of form that Sleep had been demonstrating live since 2009 and which they hinted toward in the 2014 single, The Clarity (review here). A new Sleep full-length was something long-discussed, long-rumored and long-considered, but when it finally happened, I think the results vaporized expectation in a way no one could’ve anticipated. There’s a reason Sleep are Sleep. Having The Sciences as a reminder of that brought about the defining moment of 2018.

The Next 20

Indeed, it wouldn’t be much of a Top 30 at all if it didn’t go to 50. Don’t try to make sense of it, just look at the records.

31. Atavismo, Valdeinfierno
32. Grayceon, IV
33. Clamfight, III
34. Seedy Jeezus, Polaris Oblique
35. Megaton Leviathan, Mage
36. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland
37. Arcadian Child, Superfonica
38. Freedom Hawk, Beast Remains
39. The Machine, Faceshift
40. Messa, Feast for Water
41. Black Rainbows, Pandaemonium
42. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Science Fiction
43. Domkraft, Flood
44. Träden, Träden
45. Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music
46. Samavayo, Vatan
47. Foehammer, Second Sight
48. Bongripper, Terminal
49. Mansion, First Death of the Lutheran
50. Sunnata, Outlands
51. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Come and Chutney

Believe me when I tell you, I sweated over this section more than I did the actual top 30. Mansion should be higher. So should Chubby Thunderous, though something in me thought they might like being #50 on a list of 30. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Clamfight, Black Rainbows, Foehammer, Seedy Jeezus, Messa, Domkraft. All of these were fucking awesome. And there are more (we’ll get there). Eventually numbers add up. I won’t say a bad word about any of these. That’s it.

Honorable Mention

This section always winds up expanded as other people point out things I missed and so on, but here’s what I’ve got in the immediate, alphabetically:

  • Alms, Act One
  • Ape Machine, Darker Seas
  • Belzebong, Light the Dankness
  • Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord
  • Blackwater Holylight, Blackwater Holylight
  • Bong, Thought and Existence
  • Carpet, About Rooms and Elephants
  • Churchburn, None Shall Live… The Hymns of Misery
  • Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree
  • Dead Meadow, The Nothing They Need
  • Death Alley, Superbia
  • Drug Cult, Drug Cult
  • Dunbarrow, II
  • Electric Citizen, Helltown
  • Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard: Songs of Hoof and Horn
  • Evoken, Hypnagogia
  • Funeral Horse, Psalms for the Mourning
  • Fuzz Evil, High on You
  • Graven, Heirs of Discord
  • Graveyard, Peace
  • Green Dragon, Green Dragon
  • Green Druid, Ashen Blood
  • Here Lies Man, You Will Know Nothing
  • High Priestess, High Priestess
  • Horehound, Holocene
  • IAH, II
  • JIRM, Surge ex Monumentis
  • Killer Boogie, Acid Cream
  • Lonely Kamel, Death’s Head Hawkmoth
  • MaidaVale, Madness is Too Pure
  • Moab, Trough
  • Mountain Dust, Seven Storms
  • Mouth, Floating
  • Mr. Plow, Maintain Radio Silence
  • T.G. Olson, Earthen Pyramid
  • Onségen Ensemble, Duel
  • Orango, Evergreen
  • Owl, Nights in Distortion
  • Pushy, Hard Wish
  • Rifflord, 7 Cremation Ground/Meditation
  • River Cult, Halcyon Daze
  • Rotor, Sechs
  • Somali Yacht Club, The Sea
  • Sumac, Love in Shadow
  • Sundrifter, Visitations
  • Svvamp, Svvamp II
  • Thou, Magus
  • Thunder Horse, Thunder Horse
  • Weedpecker, III

Special Note

Somehow it didn’t seem appropriate to include these in the list proper because they’re not really underground releases, but there were two more records I especially wanted to highlight for their quality:

  • Alice in Chains, Rainier Fog
  • Judas Priest, Firepower

Best Short Release of the Year

Normally I’d do this as a separate post, but as a result of being robbed earlier this year, I feel like my list is woefully incomplete. If you have any demos, EPs, splits, singles, etc., to add to it, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Still, the top pick was clear:

  • Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard & Slomatics, Totems Split

Rarely do two bands work in such coherent tandem to their mutual benefit. Here are a few other essential short releases for 2018, alphabetically:

  • All Them Witches, Lost and Found
  • Alunah, Amber & Gold
  • Canyon, Mk II
  • Demon Head, The Resistence
  • Destroyer of Light, Hopeless
  • Ecstatic Vision, Under the Influence
  • Godmaker & Somnuri, Split
  • Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul
  • King Buffalo, Repeater
  • Minsk & Zatokrev, Split
  • Sleep, Leagues Beneath
  • Stonus, Lunar Eclipse
  • Sundecay, Gale

Looking Forward

A good many albums have already been announced or hinted at for 2019. I in no way claim this to be a complete roundup of what’s coming, but here’s what I have in my notes so far, in absolutely no order:

Kings Destroy, Lo-Pan, Cities of Mars, Heavy Temple, Mr. Peter Hayden, Curse the Son, High Fighter, Destroyer of Light, Year of the Cobra, Buffalo Fuzz, Zaum, The Sonic Dawn, Alunah, Candlemass, Elepharmers, Grandier, Dorre, Abrahma, Mars Red Sky, Eternal Black, Elephant Tree, Atala, No Man’s Valley, Sun Blood Stories, Crypt Sermon, The Riven, Hibrido, Snail, Red Beard Wall, 11Paranoias, Dead Witches, Monte Luna, Captain Caravan (LP), Swallow the Sun, Oreyeon, Motorpsycho, Vokonis, Hexvessel, Saint Vitus, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Kind, Mastiff, Shadow Witch, Om.

Okay, That’s It

Yeah, no, I’m serious. List is done. Everybody go back to your lives. Your families miss you.

Really though, while this is by no means my last post of 2018, I can’t let it pass without saying thank you so much to everyone for checking out the site this year, or for just digging into this, or for sending me music, or hitting me up on social media, sharing a link, anything. Thank you. Thank you. I could never have imagined when it started out where it would be now. Or that I’d still be doing it. Your support means more to me than I can say, and I thank you so much for being a part of this with me.

So thanks.

If you have something to add to the list, please do so by leaving a comment below, but keep in mind as well the above note requesting civility. Please don’t make me feel stupid because I forgot your favorite record. I forgot a lot of people’s favorite records. I’m one dude. I’m doing my best.

And please keep in mind if you’ve got a list together that the Year-End Poll is open and results will be out Jan. 1.

Everybody have a great and safe 2019.

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Orange Goblin Confirm UK Shows, Fests and More for 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

orange goblin (Photo by Alex Francis)

London heavylords Orange (fuckin’) Goblin (baby!) haven’t really announced and massive-stretch tours for 2019, and my understanding is they might do a few weeks here and there at some point and leave it at that. They say they have more to come and I have no trouble believing it.

I don’t need to tell you that if Orange Goblin are in a place and there’s a stage then that’s where you want to be. I mean, if they’re out to dinner or something, you can probably leave them alone, but given the stage, then yeah. Go fucking see Orange Goblin.

Their three UK shows for Jan.-Feb. are newly-announced, and among the list of dates, expect more festivals to come and take particular note of the HRH Doom v. Stoner fest in Sheffield next September. If you get a chance, chase down the full lineup of that thing, because it’s monstrous. Orange Goblin sit atop it as headliners, which is precisely where they should be.

Here’s what’s currently confirmed:

orange goblin UK shows poster

Tickets for our 3 UK shows in January and February are now on sale, as are tickets for all other 2019 shows that have been announced so far. Here is a recap of what we have coming up next year and there is a lot more still to come! This weekend we play our last show of 2018 when we headline the Dome of Rock Festival in Salzburg, Austria.

26.01 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, UK
08.02 – KK Steelmill, Wolverhampton, UK
09.02 – o2 Academy 2, Liverpool, UK
21.03 – Tapper Club, Tallinn, Estonia
22.03 – Serdce, St. Petersburg, Russia
23.03 – Aglomerat, Moscow, Russia
06.04 – Faster & Louder Fest, Eindhoven, Netherlands
11.05 – HRH Road Trip, Ibiza, Spain
18.05 – Manorfest, Keighley, UK
23.06 – Graspop Metal Meeting, Dessel, Belgium
29.06 – Full Force Festival, Ferropolis, Germany
05.07 – Oltrasuoni Festival, Dro, Italy
06.07 – Traffic Club, Rome, Italy
07.07 – Cueva Club, Cagliari, Sardinia
28.09 – HRH Doom V Stoner IV, Sheffield, UK

…..plus more to come!

https://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial/
https://twitter.com/OrangeGoblin1
https://www.instagram.com/orangegoblin1/
http://www.orange-goblin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm
www.spinefarmrecords.com/

Orange Goblin, “Burn the Ships” and “Acid Trial” live Oct. 26, 2018

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Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back: Gnashing of Teeth

Posted in Reviews on June 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

orange goblin the wolf bites back

More than two decades on from making their debut in 1997 with Frequencies from Planet Ten, what else to call Orange Goblin but an institution? The Wolf Bites Back is the London four-piece’s ninth album, their first for sort-of-new label Spinefarm/Candlelight Records (they were on the latter, it got taken over by the former, voila: new label), and it comes after a four-year drought of studio work since the release of 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here), which only continued to raise their profile following the 2013 live record A Eulogy for the Fans (review here) and the preceding long-player it was intended to complement, A Eulogy for the Damned (review here). Most of that time the band spent on tour, so it’s not like they’ve been sitting around actively not recording an album or something like that. They’ve been otherwise occupied, and with the sheer sense of attack that’s present in the songs that comprise The Wolf Bites Back — to say nothing of the aggressive mindset of the title or the threatening nature of the artwork — one could only argue it’s been to their benefit. In its bullshit-free 10-track/41-minute run, The Wolf Bites Back summarizes much of what’s always been righteous in Orange Goblin‘s sound.

It covers nearly every side of the band’s approach, from the Sunlight Studios-infected doom rock of “Swords of Fire” to the crisp, three-minute opening anthem “Sons of Salem” to the Motörhead speed-strut of “Renegade” and down to the last hook and long-fading solo of closer “Zeitgeist,” The Wolf Bites Back finds the band going song-by-song through the varying stylistic aspects of their own particular style, from all-out fury to dug-in groove and back again. They enter direct Southern-heavy conversation with (upcoming) tourmates Corrosion of Conformity on “The Stranger,” and do so only after the raw punker blast of the two-minute “Suicide Division” scathes and scorches and stomps into the ground the peaceful and psychedelic strumming of the actually-longer layered guitar interlude “In Bocca al Lupo” before it. There’s more reaffirmation happening throughout than breaking new aesthetic ground, but as much as The Wolf Bites Back quantifies the diversity in what Orange Goblin do, it also reminds that it’s the strength of their songwriting that has always tied their work together, and it’s on that level that their ninth full-length sees them refining their take.

Not that it doesn’t have its patient stretches or its purposefully languid moments, but frontman Ben Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard and drummer Chris Turner have been playing together since at least 1995, and in the musical conversation happening between them, they sound like it. Produced with thickness and depth by Jaime Gomez Arellano (Cathedral, Primordial, Paradise Lost, many more) following the sharper, metallic tinge Jamie Dodd brought to the last two outings, The Wolf Bites Back strikes with its efficiency and ferocity alike. “Sons of Salem” is quintessential Orange Goblin, a fist-raising chorus that finds Ward inviting a sing-along without actually asking. They’ve never had trouble knowing how to launch a record, and with the title-track immediately following, there’s a moment of letup in the guitar intro to the second song, but soon enough, Turner starts a tense gallop in the drums and heavier riffing kicks into the first verse and they’re underway. An especially gruff vocal there leads to the more open chorus and “The Wolf Bites Back” makes its way through twists and turns remaining nonetheless memorable all the way.

ORANGE GOBLIN DAVID BOULONGNE

The aforementioned “Renegade” follows and pushes the throttle to the fullest it’s gone yet — “Suicide Division” will top it for sheer speed — and Millard‘s bass opening leading the way into the subsequent “Swords of Fire” not only reconfirms his place as Orange Goblin‘s not-so-secret-secret-weapon, but also sets a doomier tone to the track itself, as Ward waits until the song is more than halfway over to start the vocals, everything dropping out for a moment as Hoare quickly establishes a faster riff and the band shift into a more thrusting progression. Highlight cut “Ghosts of the Primitives,” with an immediate groove and intricate guitar style, pushes into a more standard riff soon enough but never quite loses its proggy edge, even as Hoare dips into a bluesy solo backed by Millard and Turner. Messing with structure and expectation, the real hook doesn’t arrive until shortly before four minutes into the total 5:28, and Orange Goblin earn bonus points in charm for the meta fade-out-and-back-in-and-out-again that accompanies the line “Ghosts of the primitives fade away.” You see, because he’s talking about fading and the song faded out. Sometimes nothing else will do, and though one assumes it wraps side A, it’s to the band’s credit that “Ghosts of the Primitives” doesn’t close the album as a whole, as that’s usually where such tricky fades happen.

A swath of strums and leads in “In Bocca al Lupo” — the underlying rhythm of which would seem to coincidentally call to mind Neurosis‘ “Stones from the Sky” — introduce side B before, again, “Suicide Division” rip them to shreds, gang vocals and all. That stretch of three tracks, with “In Bocca al Lupo,” “Suicide Division” and “The Stranger,” is as disjointed as The Wolf Bites Back gets, hopping between three different styles in the span of three songs and about 10 minutes total, throwing caution and continuity to the wind and trusting — rightly — that their craft will carry them through. It’s not the kind of move a band would make earlier in their career, but for longtime Orange Goblin fans, the instant swapping out of one side of their personality for another (and another) is an easy jump to make, and frankly, it makes the album more exciting since they actually pull it off. By the time the chorus of “The Stranger” hits, and really before that, they’ve succeeded in the shift, and the arrival of organ in the song’s second half is like a victory lap for the turn just made. A psycho shuffle in “Burn the Ships” brings The Wolf Bites Back back to ground stylistically, returning to the core straightforward approach of the opening duo early while saving a Pepper Keenan-style vocal for the midsection to provide a bit more context to “The Stranger” before it and saving its most vicious groove for the return to the chorus near the more winding finish.

With its long fade-in at the outset, “Zeitgeist” seems to be of a kind with “Ghosts of the Primitives,” which is fair enough since it wraps side B and thus the album as a whole, with Ward adding some echo behind a quick bridge following the first chorus and Hoare layering solos over top each other give a particular NWOBHM affect as the organ subtly returns beneath. A second stage lead takes hold just past the halfway mark, leading back to the hook and bridge, the latter repeated, and as the line “The search goes on and on…” echoes out, HoareMillard and Turner lock in for the last dive into the fadeout, the latter two holding together the rhythm as Hoare solos over top. The ending is as clean and purposeful as everything before it, and in addition to answering back the side A finale, it speaks one more time to the fact that all along throughout The Wolf Bites Back, it’s been the songwriting holding the album together. One doesn’t doubt that Orange Goblin could write a sloppier record and probably nail some of the turns they do here in terms of style, but the fact that they not only do what they do, but do it and maintain a full-album flow, present a collection of memorable tracks and still manage to sound like their mission is nothing more or less than kicking every ass in sight, well, that’s why Orange Goblin are Orange Goblin. Over their years, their influence has justifiably spread to a generation of London heavy rockers, and The Wolf Bites Back is the latest manifestation of why that is. In its energy, persona and vibe, as well as in its basic sound, The Wolf Bites Back shows Orange Goblin at the top of their game.

Orange Goblin, “Sons of Salem”

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Spinefarm Records website

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce UK Tour with Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry and Black Moth

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Can you frickin’ imagine C.O.C. and Orange Goblin on the same bill? I’m sorry, but that’s just awesome. Both will be supporting new records — for Corrosion of Conformity, it’s earlier-this-year’s No Cross No Crown (review here), and for Orange Goblin, the impending The Wolf Bites Back (review later this week) — and with support from Fireball Ministry, lest we forget their own new album, Remember the Story (review here), which came out toward the end of 2017 — and Black Moth, the proceedings are all the more righteous for those who’ll be fortunate enough to witness them.

As fate and clever timing would have it, C.O.C. were in the UK this weekend playing Download and they’ve got another date in Colchester tonight ahead of hitting mainland Europe tomorrow to begin a tour that includes a couple dates meeting up with Converge and a stop at Hellfest. This of course will lead to the next tour, which is another run with Black Label Society in the States following up on the one at the start of the year. That’s in July/August, then in Oct./Nov. it’s back to the UK for the aforementioned excellence alongside Orange Goblin et al. It’s been a busy year for these dudes, especially as they’ve been largely without drummer Reed Mullin, who’s been unable to tour with the band following knee surgery and is, as of the last social media post on the subject, understandably anxious to return.

The PR wire brings the latest, but really, the point here is go see C.O.C. You have the means, motive and opportunity, so make it happen:

corrosion of conformity photo by Dean Karr

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY To Kick Off European Tour This Weekend; Band Confirms Fall UK Dates + Second Leg Of North American Tour With Black Label Society And Eyehategod Nears

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will return to Europe this weekend for a stretch of live dates set to commence June 9th and run through June 24th. The journey includes special performances with Converge as well as appearances at Download, Hellfest, Copenhell, and Graspop. In July, the band will return to North American stages to kick off the second leg of their tour supporting Black Label Society. Slated to begin July 15th, the tour will make its way through nearly two dozen cities upon its conclusion on August 11th. Additional support will again be provided by Eyehategod. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will close their summer live takeover with a performance at Loud And Heavy Fest in Fort Worth Texas sharing the stages with the likes of Cody Jinks and Whiskey Myers! In October, the band will take on an eight-date UK headlining tour with Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry, and Black Moth. See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY continues to tour in support of their critically lauded No Cross No Crown full-length, released earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Captured in North Carolina with longtime producer John Custer, the record marks the first studio recording with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan in over a decade and, earning the #67 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, #12 on the Billboard Top Current Albums Chart, and #3 on the Top Hard Music Albums Chart upon its first week of release, is the highest charting album of the band’s career.

No Cross No Crown is available on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various order bundles are available at nuclearblast.com/coc-nocrossnocrown.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY:
6/09/2018 Download – Donnington Park, UK
6/11/2018 Colchester Arts Centre – Colchester, UK
6/12/2018 FortaRock – Nijmegen, NL
6/13/2018 Den Atelier – Luxembourg, LU
6/14/2018 Universum – Stuttgart, DE
6/16/2018 Konzertfabrik Z7 – Pratteln, CH
6/17/2018 Santeria Social Club – Milan, IT
6/18/2018 Orion – Rome, IT w/ Converge
6/19/2018 VAZ Hafen – Innsbruck, AU w/ Converge
6/20/2018 La Belle Electrique – Grenoble, FR w/ Converge
6/22/2018 Hellfest – Clisson, FR
6/23/2018 Copenhell – København, DK
6/24/2018 Graspop – Dessel, BE

w/ Black Label Society, Eyehategod:
7/15/2018 Inkcarceration Music Festival @ Ohio State Reformatory – Mansfield, OH *
7/16/2018 Monarch Music Hall – Peoria, IA *
7/17/2018 The Forge – Joliet, IL *
7/18/2018 20 Monroe Live – Grand Rapids, MI
7/20/2018 Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE
7/21/2018 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
7/22/2018 Cotillion Ballroom – Wichita, KS
7/23/2018 The District – Sioux Falls, SD
7/25/2018 The Clyde Theatre – Wayne, IN
7/27/2018 Si Hall At The Fairgrounds – Syracuse, NY
7/28/2018 Impact Music Festival – Bangor, ME
7/29/2018 The Webster – Hartford, CT*
7/30/2018 The Queen – Wilmington, DE
8/01/2018 The Mill & Mine – Knoxville, TN
8/02/2018 The Fillmore Charlotte – Charlotte, NC
8/03/2018 Phase 2 – Lynchburg, VA
8/05/2018 The Norva – Norfolk, VA
8/07/2018 Rebel – Toronto, ON
8/08/2018 Metlus – Montreal, QC
8/09/2018 Sherman Theater – Stroudsburg, PA
8/10/2018 Paramount – Huntington, NY
8/11/2018 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
8/18/2018 Loud And Heavy Fest @ Panther Island Pavilion – Fort Worth, TX w/ Cody Jinks, Whiskey Myers

w/ Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry, Black Moth:
10/26/2018 Engine Rooms – Southampton, UK
10/27/2018 02 Institute – Birmingham, UK
10/28/2018 Rock City – Nottingham, UK
10/30/2018 Ritz – Manchester, UK
11/01/2018 02 ABC- Glasgow, UK
11/02/2018 Plug – Sheffield, UK
11/03/2018 The Great Hall – Lardiff, UK
11/04/2018 02 Forum Kentish Town – London, UK
* No Eyehategod

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

http://www.coc.com
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Corrosion of Conformity, “The Luddite” official video

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Witchsorrow to Release Hexenhammer May 25; New Song Streaming

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

witchsorrow

Preorders are up now for Hexenhammer, the fourth full-length from UK doom trio Witchsorrow and the follow-up to their 2015 offering, No Light, Only Fire (review here), which will be released on May 25 via Spinefarm Records. The three-piece were a doomly thrill to catch last September at the inaugural Emerald Haze fest (review here), and I can only say I’ve been looking forward to hearing new stuff from them ever since. As it happens, they have a track streaming right now called “Demons of the Mind,” and I’ve included it at the bottom of this post. I can’t actually make the stream work because I’m running wifi off my phone because — well, because life is fucking complicated sometimes — but needless to say I’m planning on checking it out as soon as I’m able.

The PR wire brought news to make it all official:

witchsorrow hexenhammer

WITCHSORROW TO RELEASE FOURTH ALBUM HEXENHAMMER VIA CANDLELIGHT RECORDS ON MAY 25

FIRST TRACK “DEMONS OF THE MIND” AVAILABLE NOW

Hampshire doom metal maniacs Witchsorrow will release their fourth studio album, Hexenhammer on May 25 via Candlelight/Spinefarm Records.

Written during a hermetic period following an intense run of live shows, and recorded at Skyhammer studio in Cheshire with longtime co-conspirator Chris Fielding (Conan, Primordial, Electric Wizard), and mastered at the legendary Orgone studios by Jaime “Gomez” Arellano (Ghost, Paradise Lost), the seven featured songs find Witchsorrow continuing to explore the darker corners of doom, illuminating them with the blinding light of sheer heavy metal forged of the strongest steel. It’s an almost anthemic soundtrack to the end of the world lyrics.

“I’ve always been obsessed with the end of the world,” explains vocalist/guitarist Necroskull. “On previous albums, I’ve been wanting it to happen, because I was caught in a very dark place. On No Light, Only Fire, I was almost angry that it hadn’t happened. Now, it’s a massively confusing time where we’re basically staring at it and waiting for it. I have no solutions. There are none to be had.”

If 2018 needs a soundtrack to its madness, Witchsorrow have provided it. Heavier, darker, doomier, and more metal than ever before, with a title relating to “Malleus Maleficarum” (“The Hammer of Witches”), a famous fifteenth century treatise, perfectly captured in the artwork by legendary Italian metal artist Paolo Girardi (Diocletian, Inquisition, Bell Witch), one of doom’s leading lights have made the perfect album for our times.

Digital and physical pre-orders for Hexenhammer are now live HERE.

https://www.facebook.com/witchsorrowdoom/
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Witchsorrow, “Demons of the Mind”

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From Beyond Premiere “The Fall to Earth” from The Band From Beyond

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

from beyond

Safe to say that the debut full-length from Austin, Texas, heavy rockers From Beyond has been a while in the making. Six years at least. The four-piece, who signed to Candlelight/Spinefarm last summer with word of getting the album out in the Fall, have set an April 20 release for what’s been dubbed The Band From Beyond with a clever sense of deceptiveness in that they are both actually called From Beyond and throughout the album they show an affinity for classic horror and sci-fi, and so the title works on that level as well, like some grainy black and white horror flick you end up watching in the middle of the night on a tube television during your formative years after everyone else has gone to bed, forever warping your young mind and REM patterns as you fall asleep on the couch with the flashing lights and screams peppering their way into your subconscious.

By the way, any band that starts calling out Coffin Joe titles — see “At Midnght” — is cool by me.

All told, The Band From Beyond teems with vibrancy at a vinyl-ready 42-minutes and 14 tracks, and while the band has put an obvious focus on getting the most out of individual songs — there are times where the record reads like a choose-your-adventure book as it moves from track to track, especially early on through direct-standout cuts like “The Fall to Earth,” “Blooming Sun” and “The Slip.” But intro pieces like “11:59,” which precedes the particularly Uncle Acidic (though one also gets shades of fellow Texans From Beyond The Band From BeyondVenomous Maximus) “At Midnight,” the opening “Invocation” that leads into “The Fall to Earth,” the acoustic “White Marble” ahead of the pre-outro finale “Black Mirror” — as well, of course, as the JohnCarpenter-horror-cinema synth that follows and rounds out on “Synthetic Skin Pt. 1,” mirroring the earlier “The Color into Space,” which complements and flows into “The Color out of Space, — and so on, serve a critical function in not only tying together with whichever cut they happen to lead into or out of, but also adding complexity to the some more straightforward arrangements from Rob (guitar, vocals, synth), Dave (guitar), Brooks (bass, vocals, synth) and Anthony (drums, vocals) and giving The Band From Beyond a more resonant full-album flow.

As the record careens through the Queens of the Stone Age-plus-synth-style “The Slip” or the later “Machine Gun,” which adds gang shouts to the mix, From Beyond‘s intentions toward sonic individualism become all the more palpable, and though they again seem to reference Uncle Acid on “Blooming Sun” (the repeated lyric “I’ll cut you down” arrives amid further QOTSA elements), taken in context of the larger riffing of “The Color out of Space,” the Nine Inch Nails-with-better-melody-style brooding early on “Lost Way” that leads to a largesse of chug and synth drama that foreshadows some of the the lumbering roll and Alice in Chainsian low-in-the-mouth vocals of “Black Mirror” later on, the album is varied through straightforward hooks like that of the desert rocking “Laura Palmer” but no less memorable or based around quality songcraft in “The Slip” or “The Fall to Earth,” which culls together various impulses between grunge, heavy rock and progressive doom in order to make the first of The Band From Beyond‘s crater-worthy impacts.

Though arrangements prove complex and diverse throughout as From Beyond work in a range of moods, styles and tempos, ultimately their debut album holds itself together with a surprising fluidity considering the amount of ground actually being covered. It’s hard to get a full sense of that in one track, whether it’s the melancholy heft that emerges in “Lost Way” or the pure thrust of “Machine Gun” or the flourish that the interludes bring to the surrounding material. I’m thrilled today to be able to host the premiere of “The Fall to Earth” ahead of the album’s release in April, and you’ll find the track below, followed by a quote from the band and more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

From Beyond on “The Fall to Earth”:

I wrote “The Fall to Earth” on keys, with what was originally just the progression, and then the melody. I loved the way it felt to play, but when I plugged it into my Juno-106, it turned into something more than I could have expected. I wanted this song to be heavier than gravity. I think we achieved that in spades.

From Beyond are otherworldly and ominous. The music on their Candlelight debut lives up to the implications of the Texas band’s moniker. Sonically, the quartet-Rob [guitars, vocals, synthesizers], Dave [guitar, effects], Brooks [bass, synthesizers, vocals], and Anthony [drums, vocals]-gracefully resemble an orchestra of Kyuss, Soundgarden, and Rush, as if they were conducted by John Carpenter.

The band will release its full-length debut The Band From Beyond on April 20 via Candlelight Records.

On their debut, From Beyond wanted to do something that was steeped in psychedelic horror. They did so by fusing movie elements from the late ’60s and early ’70s. “Films like Simon King of the Witches, Psychomania, and the work of Coffin Joe come to mind. At the same time, I love the scores for Escape from New York and Halloween. I got really into that sparse and minimal approach to synthesis. I wanted to bring those elements to music inspired by Queens of the Stone Age, Sleep, and the writing of H.P. Lovecraft,” frontman Rob McCarthy explains.

In order to capture that combination, the band hunkered down in an Austin, Texas studio with The Sword bassist Bryan Richie in the producer’s chair. Over the course of seven days, they tracked the 14 songs comprising The Band From Beyond, utilizing everything from guitars to vintage analog synths and mellotron.

THE BAND FROM BEYOND TRACK LISTING:
1. Invocation
2. The Fall to Earth
3. Blooming Sun
4. The Slip
5. Lost Way
6. The Color Into Space
7. The Color Out of Space
8. 11:59
9. At Midnight
10. Laura
11. Machine Gun
12. White Marble
13. Black Mirror
14. Synthetic Skin Pt. 1

The Band From Beyond preorders

From Beyond on Thee Faceboks

From Beyond on Bandcamp

Spinefarm Records on The Facebooks

Spinefarm Records on Twitter

Spinefarm Records website

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