Posted in Whathaveyou on January 11th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hardly a better time to hear about an impending sophomore full-length from UK trio Coltsblood than these cold winter hours. The bleak doom extremists will issue their second long-player, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness, sometime in the next couple months via Candlelight/Spinefarm as the follow-up to their similarly-titled 2014 debut, Into the Unfathomable Abyss (review here), and early next month, they head out with London’s Bast on an eight-day UK tour to herald its arrival. Bast offered up their Spectres album through Burning World/Black Bow Records in 2013 and also seem likely to have new material en route sooner than later.
Info from the PR wire:
Hailing from the North of England, COLTSBLOOD prepare to release their second full length ‘Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness’ this winter via Candlelight Records/Spinefarm Records. Following 2014’s highly acclaimed album ‘Into The Unfathomable Abyss’, COLTSBLOOD toured throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe, appearing at Roadburn Festival, North Of The Wall Festival and Doom Over London, gaining a reputation as crushing, devastating, other-worldly, bleak and horrific. COLTSBLOOD now return to many parts of the UK for the first time in over a year to celebrate the release of their new album and immerse the UK in darkness once again!
Formed in South London, 2008, BAST is a trio specialising in an unhealthy blend of Black Metal and Doom, with a flair for experimentation and emphasis on storytelling. Following the release of their debut full-length ‘Spectres’ in 2014 (Burning World/Black Bow Records), and numerous tours across the continent with the likes of Pallbearer and Conan, the band is currently crafting the second part of their journey, exploring the depths of humanity in the far reaches of a cosmic nightmare.
Posted in Reviews on August 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Wounded Kings began their career in 2004. They ended it in 2016. By the time they got around to releasing their first album, 2008’s Embrace of the Narrow House, their lineup consisted of guitarist Steve Mills and vocalist George Birch. The UK outfit’s fifth and last long-player, Visions in Bone (released by Candlelight/Spinefarm), was recorded in part by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio and also features those two founders, but to call the route they took to get to that point circuitous would probably be underselling it. They’d appear together again on 2010’s The Shadow over Atlantis (review here), but by the time the band got around to releasing their split with Cough, An Introduction to the Black Arts (review here), that same year, the lineup had begun to shift from a duo to a four-piece, and the changes would continue for the next half-decade-plus.
By the time 2011’s In the Chapel of the Black Hand (review here) arrived, Birch was out and Mills had already revamped the rhythm section, as he’d continue to do for the next several years. Vocalist Sharie Neyland took the reins and worked fluidly enough with the band’s cultish themes that 2014’s Consolamentum (review here) found them swapping labels from I Hate to Candlelight, taking advantage of wider distribution despite continued lineup shifts. They were a double-guitar five-piece at that point, but Visions in Bone brings their number back down to four, with Mills and Birch joined by drummer Mike Heath (on board since 2011) and bassist Alex Kearney (who also joined in 2011, but on guitar).
In some ways, it feels like a miracle The Wounded Kings pushed ahead as long as they did, and I’d call it a miracle but for all of the obvious hard human effort put into their songwriting and presentation, which have always provided stability despite whatever tumult surrounded. The Wounded Kings never had a “down” album. Well, unless you count in mood, in which case they’re all pretty “down,” but whoever happened to be in the band at any given time, they never failed to deliver quality output and as they wrap their tenure after a respectable 12-year run with these five tracks, they remain a forward-thinking, progressive outfit working in defiance of expectation for what one might commonly think of as “traditional doom,” turning convention on its head with a sound it nonetheless seems fair to think of as classic in its roots.
Birch‘s vibrato makes itself welcome almost immediately as he takes command of 14-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Beast,” and while his reunion with Mills — whose guitar, as ever, conjures the kind of darkened swirl that worshipers of Electric Wizard would envy if they knew what was good for them — is a bit part of the narrative of Visions in Bone, as is the ending of the band, neither should be considered without due thought to the level of execution across the album’s 48 minutes, “Beast” webbing its way into a creeper solo section around the halfway mark and building to a Candlemass-worthy crescendo before Birch returns and a final slowdown brings on “Vultures.”
Visions in Bone‘s structure is such that it works from longest to shortest in terms of track runtimes, but on two different wavelengths. Three longer tracks — “Beast” (14:03), “Kingdom” (11:14) and “Vanishing Sea” (10:12) — appear as the opener, centerpiece and closer, while two shorter ones — “Vultures” (8:40) and “Bleeding Sky” (4:21) — split them. Probably still fair to call “Vultures” extended, but particularly coming right after “Beast,” it feels like a marked shift in approach, is speedier and more raucous in its crash early on and the hypnotic wash of bleak psychedelia in its second half, to which Birch adds far-back chants even as Mills‘ last solo rounds out, bringing on the big-rock opening of “Kingdom,” soon giving way to a more swinging doom boogie that the band have rarely embraced.
It swings in the first half, but the song essentially breaks in two, a long sample setting up the foundation for another dark-psych build to start, but Heath‘s drums signal a change and a slower rumble begins as the vocals return and the band rides out the slower groove for the remaining two minutes, fading on feedback as the penultimate “Bleeding Sky” takes hold with a simple hi-hat march soon joined by guitar, bass and vocals.
One might expect “Bleeding Sky” to be more straightforward with its relatively abbreviated runtime, and that’s more or less how it works out, though The Wounded Kings never really depart from the dreary lurching mood regardless of tempo or structure. They end with “Vanishing Sea,” which announces the arrival of its first verse with a quick sample and a righteous roll, Birch once more obscure in the mix but unmistakably present. Layers of guitar surround, the bass and drums provide effective anchor and movement, and the band once more follow the construction of breaking around halfway through to set up a larger build, this time going deeper and closer to absolute silence before working their way back to that pivotal explosive moment of resurgence.
The last two-plus minutes of Visions in Bone are dedicated to an instrumental apex of multi-tiered soloing, rolling crash and rumbling low end. It’s as fitting an end to The Wounded Kings‘ swansong — if it is (never say never in rock and roll) — as anything one might script, since it underlines just how much they went from “project” to “band” during their time together and what a force they ultimately were by the end. In a crowded UK market for doom and other forms of underground heavy, The Wounded Kings never failed to distinguish themselves in their atmospherics, their tone and their craftsmanship, and it’s easy to imagine their records will continue to be discovered for years to come.
As a final edition to their catalog, Visions in Bone answers their earlier work in summarizing some of what’s always been best in their sound, but even more appropriately, it represents the band’s ethic never ceasing to progress from one release to another. 12 years seems like too few.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
An official release date for The Wounded Kings‘ fifth album, Visions in Bone, has been long in the coming. The UK progressive doomers’ last offering was 2014’s Consolamentum (review here), and though two years is hardly a long stretch between a band’s fourth and fifth long-players, for The Wounded Kings, as ever, it’s brought some significant changes in the group. Rejoining founding guitarist Steve Mills is original vocalist George Birch, who was part of the initial duo lineup when the band got started. It’s been a wide circle to complete, but go figure they got there in the end.
Visions in Bonewill be a joint operation between Candlelight and Spinefarm, which bodes well in terms of it being heavy enough to require two labels to lift. Mills is always a great interview, so I think I might try to chase him down again and talk about the record sometime closer to the release on Aug. 26.
Till then, the PR wire:
THE WOUNDED KINGS To Release New Album Visions In Bone, August 26th Via Candlelight / Spinefarm Records
THE WOUNDED KINGS, doom metal warriors from the South West of England, are due to release their fifth full-length album, Visions In Bone, on August 26th via Candlelight / Spinefarm Records.
Visions In Bone was jointly produced and engineered by Chris Fielding and the band at Mwnci Studios in Wales and Skyhammer Studios in Cheshire, UK. The album swirls and flows with vintage tones and smoky vibes, with the themes of death, despair and redemption very much to the fore.
Formed in 2004, THE WOUNDED KINGS proudly uphold Britain’s occult heritage via a unique blend of spectral doom and psychedelic horror, creating a desolate, end-of-the-world vibe filled with suffocating heaviness.
The two-time Roadburn alumni are cherished by attendees and popular festival promoters alike, the latter citing them as, “British doom of staggering power”.
To date the quartet has released four full-length studio albums, plus a well received ‘split LP’ with American band, Cough.
Visions In Bone is a journey to the void… and beyond!
UK classic psychedelic rockers Purson — and I mean ‘UK’ both in terms of where they’re from and the particular classic psychedelia from which they draw — just recently finished up a US tour supporting their new album, Desire’s Magic Theatre, which came out at the end of April via Spinefarm Records. Their new video for “The Window Cleaner” from that album takes performance footage, presumably from earlier or otherwise recorded for the purpose of the clip itself, and psychs it up with ’60s-looking cartoon mermaids and lighting effects, in case the mellotrons, gorgeous harmonies and maddeningly efficient songwriting weren’t enough to get the vintage point across.
Whatever, it all works. Purson made their debut in 2013 with The Circle and the Blue Door via Rise Above/Metal Blade and received due praise for their stylistic loyalty and otherworldly vibe. What I think “The Window Cleaner” emphasizes well is the songcraft that backs up the aesthetic accomplishment. Not a second of the track’s crisp three-and-a-half-minute runtime is misspent, and yet it in no way feels rigid or overly wrought. It flows easily and fluidly, and keeps a sense of motion without coming across as rushed. It’s in finding that balance that Purson outdo many of their backwards-through-time-looking peers, but of course a mellotron never hurts either.
Rosalie Cunningham (vocals/guitar) offers some comment on the track and the album as a whole under the video below.
Purson, “The Window Cleaner” official video
Vocalist/guitarist Rosalie Cunningham said, “The songs on Desire’s Magic Theatre are very personal, like a diary. They tend to be about the psychedelic experience, something that’s been important to me since my teenage years, figuring out my own sense of spirituality, and ‘The Window Cleaner’ is a prime example.”
She continued, “I’d been up all night at a party, and I wasn’t really enjoying myself. It was all quite seedy. So in the morning, I went to the park with a friend to do some mushrooms. Afterwards, everything had become so beautiful that I went home and demo’d up the song in a couple of hours, and the album version is pretty much the same as that first demo. I think the video is a good representation of where the song sprang from.”
Desire’s Magic Theatre draws inspiration from the rock operas of the late ’60s and early ’70s. This 10-track outing sees the UK group touching on a variety of realms, including folk, prog, psychedelic, gothic, and classic rock, making telling use of classical instruments and complex arrangements along the way.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Having headlined this past weekend at Desertfest in London and Berlin, and ahead of playing Psycho Las Vegas this August, Up in Smoke in October and likely more to be announced, UK doom mainstays Electric Wizard announce the Halloween release of a new studio album. Yet untitled, the upcoming Electric Wizard LP is set to arrive through their own Witchfinder Records imprint, a subsidiary of Spinefarm Records, and will follow-up 2014’s Time to Die (review here). Adding intrigue to the prospect is the statement below that the ninth Electric Wizard outing will “represent a fresh turn of the turf.” I’m not entirely sure what it means, but it’s an intriguing thought either way.
Just off the PR wire:
ELECTRIC WIZARD TO RELEASE NEW STUDIO ALBUM IN 2016
DELIVERY EXPECTED IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS…
Spinefarm Records are aware that free and wild cult leaders, ELECTRIC WIZARD, are working on their ninth studio album, with delivery expected in time for a Halloween 2016 release.
This is all the information available. The whereabouts of the band and the recording / mixing details are not currently known, but more news should follow in due course…
This new offering will be the follow-up to 2014’s ‘Time to Die’ – which can be purchased HERE– and will be the second release on the band’s ‘Witchfinder Records’ imprint, the result of a worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records.
‘Time to Die’ effectively closed the lid on a particular part of the band’s career, and this new album will represent a fresh turn of the turf…
Until that time, get your fix of pure evil at one of these live performances:-
08/26/16 – Psycho Las Vegas, Las Vegas, US
EW recently headlined ‘Desertfest’ in both Berlin and London, finishing off the festivals (and the attendees’ ear drums) with the sort of performances that have made them the true gate-keepers of UK metal’s great & glorious traditions.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Anyone who tells you that’s not a good get for Spinefarm Records doesn’t know what they’re talking about. After more than 20 years of slogging it out in the doom underground, London’s Orange Goblin are not only legitimately a key influence for a generation of British heavy, but their last couple albums, 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) and 2012’s A Eulogy for the Damned (review here), have put them on an upswing in terms of audience. To be more than two decades in and be ascendant? That’s something special, which Orange Goblin most definitely are. Thus, a good get.
Cool to know they’re working on a new album as well, which as part of Spinefarm‘s acquisition of Candlelight Records will be released on the label sometime in 2017. I’ll be interested to see how much touring Orange Goblin do to support it. They’ve rode the hell out of the past few years, become the genuine headliners that they actually were for a long time, and I guess the question is whether they’ll keep that up or take a different strategy. Got a while to go before we get there, but I’m sure it won’t be long before we find out either way. They’re not exactly quiet about anything they do.
From the PR wire:
ORANGE GOBLIN JOIN THE SPINEFARM FAMILY VIA CANDLELIGHT
WORKING ON NINTH STUDIO ALBUM
Orange Goblin are very proud to announce that we are now part of the Spinefarm Records family following Spinefarm’s recent acquisition of Candlelight Records. Moving forward, all new Orange Goblin recordings will be released via Spinefarm/Candlelight Records; OG now take their place amongst metal heavyweights such as Ghost, Venom, Electric Wizard, Airbourne and Rammstein (to name but a few).
This new relationship kicks off in considerable style, with Orange Goblin appearing as Special Guests to Monster Magnet on the latter’s one-off headline London show at The o2 Forum, Kentish Town on Saturday, March 19th.
Following this, we can reveal that we will be touring in late September / early October, playing select shows in towns and cities that we did not visit on the 20th Anniversary Tour last December.
‘The Shortest Tour’ will hit the following: 30.09 – Reading, Sub 89 01.10 – Sheffield, HRH Doom Vs Stoner Festival* 02.10 – Cardiff, The Globe 03.10 – Southampton, Engine Rooms 04.10 – Brighton, Concorde 2
Support on all headline dates comes from US psych-rockers ELECTRIC CITIZEN and UK doom metal merchants POSEIDON. (* – Please note that Poseidon are not as yet playing at HRH Doom Vs Stoner Fest in Sheffield)
Posted in Reviews on April 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Knowing that on a Friday night the Royale would have its dance club going by 10PM, I made sure I was at the venue early. Doors were slated for six for Electric Wizard and Satan’s Satyrs, and the venue would be cleared out before the dance party began. I neither begrudge Royale its double-booking — gotta make money, and the more the merrier as long as you can get away with it — nor mind an early night. While I’ve shown up late for shows in the past elsewhere and been pissed off missing this or that band, so long as the clientele are aware of the situation, an early end to the show isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One might go out to the bar with a group of friends and talk about how much the show kicked ass, feeling good and energetic after watching someone kill it. In my case, I went home and sat with the dog afterwards, but you know, you could go out and do something. If you’re in your 20s, maybe.
Two bands on the bill: Satan’s Satyrs and Electric Wizard. I was maybe fifth on line, which was enough to get me in and allow me to get a spot up front when the doors actually opened, closer to 6:30 than not. Satan’s Satyrs were slated to start at that point, but they didn’t actually go for another half an hour, the Virginia three-piece sharing bassist Clayton Burgess with the headliner. Satan’s Satyrs have been kicking around for the last six years, proffering ’70s boogie and doomly atmospherics — disciples conceptually, if not exactly sonically, of Electric Wizard — and they have two records out in 2012’s Wild Beyond Belief! and last year’s Die Screaming, as well as a handful of other EPs and live releases. Their third record is in the can, having been tracked in February, but the impression they give on stage, other than guitarist Jarrett Nettnin and drummer Stephen Fairfield winning any contest for big hair that might be going on, is of a young band.
The energy in their delivery, their presence on stage, the underlying vigor with which they present their material — it’s something they’ve managed to hold onto despite having a decent amount of experience under their collective belt at this point. They toured Europe last year, played Roadburn twice, and I don’t think that was their first time on the road. The kicker is that in addition to being young, they’re also ridiculously tight. So you’ve got Burgess spinning around on stage, Fairfield bounding around his teased-out coiffure, and Nettnin hitting Iommi poses for the leads, but they’re nailing it. All of it, really. Cuts like “Instruments of Hellfire” and “Lucifer Lives” from Die Screaming were boogie doom ragers, and they played a new song that, had it not been announced as such, it would’ve been easy to imagine they’d been kicking around for a couple years. It was my first time seeing them and they tore it up. Yeah, people were there to see Electric Wizard and it was Electric Wizard‘s show, but I didn’t hear one complaint while Satan’s Satyrs were on stage.
It felt like a long changeover, though I’ll allow that could’ve just been anticipation. I’ve seen Electric Wizard before, when guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn curated a day at Roadburn 2013 (review here), but in the two years since, he and guitarist Liz Buckingham (ex-13, for New York types) have totally swapped out the rhythm section, bringing in Burgess on bass and drummer Simon Poole, and well, this was their first US tour since reactivating in 2007 — and several years before that — so it felt a bit like an event even before they took the stage. They did so preceded by burning enough incense to give me raised-Catholic flashbacks, which were perfect for Good Friday, and by bringing the lights all the way down for the intro “Crypt of Drugula.” A one-two punch of “Witchcult Today” from the 2007 landmark of the same name and “Black Mass” from 2010’s Black Masses (review here) followed and reaffirmed why we were all there: to worship. The riff, the nod, the horror. A crowd of scumbags and normal heads, hipsters, hippies and crust kids, headbangers and stoners, all of us drawn in by the eerie power and undeniable hooks of Electric Wizard, as beautiful as it is deranged. Altered movie clips playing behind them, the foursome wasted little time that could’ve otherwise been dedicated to Heavy, and they had plenty of that to go around.
Sound at the Royale can vary pretty widely depending on where you stand. It’s a club, remember. After “Satanic Rites of Drugula” came “Dopethrone” and I started make my way back from up front by the stage, found I could hear Oborn‘s vocals better and more of a balance between the guitars and bass. Earplugs pulled halfway out, the wash of noise was near-physical, a push that seemed to have presence. “Dopethrone,” taken from the 2000 album of the same name — 15 years later, its influence continues to spread — got a huge response, and while I’ll never understand people moshing to doom riffs, sometimes you just have to shrug your shoulders. Nothing to be done about it anyway. In back the audio was clear and I could see the screen behind them better, the cover of Dopethrone projected interlaced with ’60s/’70s horror boobage and other sundry whatnots, motorcycles and the like. Come My Fanatics (1997) opener “Return Trip” followed “Dopethrone” and only after that, more than halfway through the set, did they touch on the new album, 2014’s Time to Die (review here), with “Incense for the Damned” and “Time to Die” one into the next. Easy to get lost in that murk of riffage, but that’s the point. A quick second to catch breath later, and “The Chosen Few” from Witchcult Today once more had the room in a trance, the line “legalize drugs and murder” — also the name of an EP the band put out with a track on it based around the line copped from “The Chosen Few” — getting an extra-loud chant from the crowd.
That just left “Funeralopolis” to close out, and when the undulating Dopethrone track hit, there was little doubt that it was the culmination of Electric Wizard‘s set. The insistent riffs of the song’s early going were the night’s most engrossing nod, and the later tempo burst was met with a suitable audience response as it thrust forward into its own destruction into shouts, and noise, the whole set seeming to come off the rails with Oborn shouting out misanthropics as Buckingham and Burgess added to the mound of feedback and Poole attacked his drums to further the sense of chaos. One couldn’t ask a more fitting end to an Electric Wizard show than to have the whole thing dissolve right there on stage. No encore, nothing left to say, they took off. About a minute’s tease later, the lights came up and the early goers at the Royale shuffled their way downstairs and out of the building. I was home before 10:30.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Stylish UK outfit Purson issued their In the Meantime EP late last year as a stopgap to help keep the momentum going that they’d built over the couple years prior leading up to the 2013 release of their debut full-length, The Circle and the Blue Door, on Rise Above. That album, remarkably well-received, springboarded them to a wider public consciousness, and with signing to Spinefarm Records and working toward completing their sophomore LP, Desire’s Magic Theatre, they’ll look to continue winning converts to their classically cultish rock (or is it their classically rockish cult?) with a new release hopefully later in 2015.
The PR wire brings reason for anticipation:
PURSON Sign Worldwide Deal With SPINEFARM RECORDS
Second Album, Desire’s Magic Theatre, Nearing Completion
Download Appearance Confirmed!
PURSON have joined forces with Spinefarm Records for a worldwide deal that will see their second studio album, Desire’s Magic Theatre, released this autumn in the wake of a number of high-profile festivals and shows, including Download in the UK.
The UK outfit, whose music touches a variety of realms, including folk, prog, psychedelic, gothic and classic rock, blending other-worldly romance with shadowy foreboding are currently in the studio putting the finishing touches to Desire’s Magic Theatre, which will be released under the Spinefarm/Machine Elf Records banner.
Says singer/guitarist/songwriter Rosalie Cunningham, “As I sit here in the control room at Gizzard Studios, the pride of East London, I’m excitedly realizing that our second album has turned out to be everything I’d imagined and more! My world has been so consumed by it that I’ve barely been able to reflect on what it has become: a technicolor variety show, a playful display of the musical whims only briefly hinted at in our previous work; a psychedelic rock opera dedicated to our good friends Sarge Pepper and Zig Stardust.”
She continues, “The twists in the tale have been carved out by the path we’ve taken over the last 12 months. It’s been constantly shape-shifting and developing with all the wonderful experiences we’ve had.On behalf of the band, I give thanks to everyone who has bought a PURSON record and been to our shows. Your continued support means everything… and you have our promise that the best is yet to come…”
Says Spinefarm Records General Manager UK, Dante Bonutto, “I’ve been following PURSON since the early days of their career, and I’ve always considered the band something special; I like their vision, their theatricality, and their refusal to be corralled by a single musical genre. PURSON really do have an expansive approach to their craft, and as a song-writer, Rosalie is a unique talent on the rise. In all ways, their future is bright, and I’m delighted that Spinefarm and PURSON have now forged this fresh alliance…”
PURSON are also thrilled to confirm an appearance at this year’s Download Festival, playing live on the hallowed ground of Donington Park for the first time.
The band-Cunningham, George Hudson (guitars), Justin Smith (bass), and Sam Shove (keyboards)- will once again meet up with KISS at Download, having opened for them on last year’s KISS Kruise.
PURSON also rounded off 2014 with a nomination in the “Limelight” category for new and emerging talent at the Classic Prog Awards. They also released the four-track In the Meantime EP, mastered by John Davis from Metropolis (Zeppelin, U2, Lana Del Rey) in November.