High Fighter Add Dates to Summer Tour

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

high fighter (Photo by Peter Kupfer)

Seems to me that every time I write about Germany’s High Fighter I use a different genre tag. That’s a pretty good sign. Some bands you go “stoner” and you’re done. The Hamburg-based five-piece make it a little more of a challenge. When they announced a string of UK dates last month supporting their 2016 debut album, Scars and Crosses (review here), I used “sludge metallers.” Not exactly wrong, but meh. Way general. I must’ve been in a hurry. Today I’m feeling more like something along the lines of “metallic sludgecore” when it comes to summing up their sound. It’s metallic in its aggression, -core in its charge and sludge in its tonality and focus on riffs. I feel pretty good about that one. Will I still next time around? Most likely not. Maybe next time I’ll add “progressive” to the mix to highlight the thoughtful nature of their craft. Progressive metallic sludgecore. Sounds like fun.

High Fighter have added dates to the previously announced run, and you’ll find the update below, courtesy of the PR wire:

high fighter summer tour poster

HIGH FIGHTER ANNOUNCE MORE UPCOMING SUMMER TOUR DATES!

Hamburg-based Sludge & Stoner Metal band HIGH FIGHTER, who just recently announced to return to the UK this summer with support from special guests TUSKAR and MY DIABLO, have added a bunch of new dates around their UK summer run! Beside gigs at Bolton’s Riff Fest and more UK cities, HIGH FIGHTER added some upcoming shows in France as well as Luxembourg.

It’s been three years since the band toured the United Kingdom while on their first European tour ever back in early 2015. This August, HIGH FIGHTER will bring their latest record ‘Scars & Crosses’ as well as some brand new material live on stage. It will be one of the last tours HIGH FIGHTER are going to play this year and before they will release their second full length album in early 2019. If you’re looking for a highly polished band then look elsewhere as HIGH FIGHTER play mean and dirty Blues, Stoner, Doom & Sludgy riffs to fuel your appetite with, make sure to catch them live on the following dates this year:

23.08.18 NL – Tilburg / Little Devil
24.08.18 UK – Bournemouth / The Anvil
25.08.18 UK – Bolton / Riff Fest
26.08.18 UK – Edinburgh / Bannerman’s
27.08.18 UK – Bristol / The Old England
28.08.18 UK – Milton Keynes / The Craufurd Arms
29.08.18 UK – London / The Devonshire Arms
30.08.18 FR – Lille / Bobble Café
31.08.18 FR – Paris / Rigoletto
01.09.18 LUX – Belval / Mix n Kawa

More upcoming HIGH FIGHTER dates:
14.09.18 DE – Hannover / Subkultur
20.10.18 DE – München / Keep It Low Festival

Born in the summer of 2014 by former band members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump and Pyogenesis, this band is a volatile cocktail of heavy as hell riffs! Add a heavy dose of the blues and these deadly schizophrenic vocals and HIGH FIGHTER offer something new to the Sludge, Stoner, Doom & Metal Scene. After their critically acclaimed debut EP ‘The Goat Ritual’ released end of 2014, followed by numerous shows all over Europe, including festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin & Antwerp, Sonic Blast, Up In Smoke and many more, as well as several gigs with bands alike Ahab, Conan, Crowbar, Mantar, Corrosion of Conformity, Elder, Downfall of Gaia, Mammoth Storm, Brant Bjork, The Midnight Ghost Train and Earth Ship to name just a few, HIGH FIGHTER released their first full length album ‘Scars & Crosses’ in June 2016 with Svart Records. The band’s second studio album will see the light of day in early 2019.

HIGH FIGHTER are:
Mona Miluski – Vocals
Christian Pappas – Guitar
Ingwer Boysen – Guitar
Constantin Wüst – Bass
Thomas Wildelau – Drums / Backing Vocals

www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/highfighter
www.instagram.com/highfighter_official
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.svartrecords.com

High Fighter, “Darkest Days” official video

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Acid King Announce Northeastern Shows in Philly and Brooklyn

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Hell’s bells, I know you don’t need me to tell you to go see Acid King whenever you get the chance. You already know that. Still, isn’t it all the more worth reinforcing the point when the long-running San Fran trio are coming east for all of two — count ’em: one, two — shows at the end of this month? And sure, their dates at new hotspot The Kingsland and prior-established hotspot Kung Fu Necktie happen to coincide with the same two nights Sleep will be in Brooklyn, but seriously, what the hell? You go to one one night and the other the other. It’s called logistics. I’m not making this shit up.

Acid King, with the new, partially-not-new lineup of founding guitarist/vocalist Lori S., returning bassist Rafa Martinez (see also: Black Cobra‘s drum madness) and drummer Bil Bowman will also head out on a tour of the Southwest as the only not-all-caps band alongside Oregonian cosmic doom forerunners YOB and L.A. doomcrafters CHRCH, and while personally I think they should change their name to ACID KING for the duration, that tour is the stuff of legend either way. Enough that I just asked The Patient Mrs. if we could fly out to Albuquerque to see it. No. No, we can’t. Nice thought though.

One is also expecting an imminent European tour announcement from Acid King, who’ve already been confirmed for Desertfest Belgium, Keep it Low and the Up in Smoke festivals this Fall in Antwerp, Munich and Pratteln, Switzerland, respectively. Worth keeping an eye out, as always.

What’s so far confirmed follows here, snagged from social media:

acid king

Acid King East Coast Shows in July! Philadelphia and New York only.

07.27 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia PA w/ Green Meteor
https://www.facebook.com/events/203608440235832/

07.28 The Kingsland Brooklyn NY w/ Geezer, Devoidov
https://www.facebook.com/events/522575644805795/

Yob + Acid King + CHRCH announce West/SW tour this September !

Thu 9/6 Harlow’s – Sacramento
Fri 9/7 Catalyst – Santa Cruz
Sat 9/8 Pappy & Harriet’s
Sun 9/9 Teragram Ballroom – LA
Tuesday 9/11 Hi-Dive Denver *Acid King only *
Wed 9/12 Sister – ABQ
Thu 9/13 Club Red – Phoenix
Fri 9/14 Brick By Brick – SD
Sat 9/15 Oakland Metro

Acid King is:
Lori S. – Guitar & Vocals
Rafa Martinez – Bass
Bil Bowman – Drums

www.facebook.com/AcidkingSF
www.acidking.com

Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (2015)

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High Fighter Announce UK Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

High Fighter (Photo by Rob Birdman)

German sludge metallers High Fighter — for whom that genre tag is woefully insufficient — are heading to the UK for a quick week of shows in August. They’re continuing to support their Svart-delivered 2016 debut album, Scars and Crosses (review here), but will reportedly have new material out with them on the road. A second long-player from the Hamburg-based is an intriguing prospect given the atmospheric elements that made their way into the first one despite an overriding outward intensity that defined much of its impression. Early 2019 release? Right on. Into the notes it goes with hopes for more to come before it’s out.

The UK tour — the topic at hand, recall — kicks off on Aug. 24 and is presented by Buried in Smoke Promo. Dates came down the PR wire as follows:

high fighter tour poster

HIGH FIGHTER ANNOUNCE UK SUMMER TOUR!

Hamburg-based Sludge & Stoner Metal band HIGH FIGHTER have announced to return to the UK this summer! Alongside British heavyweights TUSKAR and MY DIABLO, the band will be hitting the UK roads for 6 dates in August, including a festival show at Bolton’s Riff Fest.

Born in the summer of 2014 by former band members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump and Pyogenesis, this band is a volatile cocktail of heavy as hell riffs! Add a heavy dose of the blues and these deadly schizophrenic vocals and HIGH FIGHTER offer something new to the Sludge, Stoner, Doom & Metal Scene to fuel your appetize with. After their ciritically acclaimed debut EP ‘The Goat Ritual’ released end of 2014, followed by numerous shows all over Europe including festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin & Antwerp, Stoned From The Underground, Sonic Blast, Up In Smoke and many more, as well as several gigs and tours with bands alike Ahab, Conan, Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, Elder, Downfall of Gaia, Mammoth Storm, Brant Bjork, The Midnight Ghost Train, Mantar or Earth Ship to name just a few, HIGH FIGHTER released their first full length album ‘Scars & Crosses’ in June 2016 with Svart Records.

It’s been three years ago since the band toured the United Kingdom while on their first European tour ever back in early 2015. This August, HIGH FIGHTER will bring their latest record ‘Scars & Crosses’ as well as some brand new material live on stage. Beside some current dates with Mantar in Germany this summer, it will be one of the last tours HIGH FIGHTER will play this year and before they are going to release their second full length album in early 2019.

Make sure to catch the band live on the following UK summer dates, with support from TUSKAR & MY DIABLO, and presented by Buried In Smoke Promotions:

24.08.18 Bournemouth / The Anvil
25.08.18 Bolton / Riff Fest (*High Fighter only)
26.08.18 Edinburgh / Bannerman’s
27.08.18 Bristol / The Old England
28.08.18 Milton Keynes / The Craufurd Arms
29.08.18 London / The Devonshire Arms

www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/highfighter
www.instagram.com/highfighter_official
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.svartrecords.com

High Fighter, “Darkest Days” official video

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Superfjord Announce New LP All Will Be Golden on Svart; New Single Posted

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

superfjord

The hypnotic insistence of the new Superfjord single pretty much guarantees its imprint on the frontal lobe of your brain, and when you’re walking around singing ‘Bow down to the rainbow’ to yourself, there will be little wonder as to why. All Will Be Golden, which is the long-player from whence the aptly-titled “Rainbow” stems, has been confirmed for a Sept. 21 release through ultra-respected purveyor Svart Records. It’s their second album overall and the herald it receives bodes well for what’s to come, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the spaciness that shows up in “Rainbow” is more fleshed out elsewhere. We’ve got time before September hits — though apparently less than I think, as the calendar tells me it’s currently late June (the mind explodes) — so there will probably be more info to come in stuff like the cover art, tracklisting and so on, but you can stream “Rainbow” at the bottom of this post and there’s some preliminary data as regards the Svart signing that came down the PR wire:

It looked an awful lot like this:

superfjord rainbow

SUPERFJORD sign with SVART – release digital single, prepare new album for autumn

Svart Records announces the signing of Finnish prog-psych giants Superfjord. The band will be releasing a digital single titled “Rainbow” through the label, on all major digital platforms, in anticipation of their sophomore album (and first for Svart), All Will Be Golden, which is set for international release on September 21st. These will be Superfjord’s first brand-new releases since a limited 7″ single cover of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” released by cult psych label Fruits De Mer in the UK.

We shall all be redeemed, one way or another. Shall we pass through the golden gates towards the light, up to which myriad mysterious paths lead? Is the journey more important than the destination? Are we dreaming? Regardless of the questions asked, eventually All Will Be Golden.

Superfjord’s sophomore album is about it all: the journey, the destination, and the vehicles. All Will Be Golden is an ambitious musical trip formed of long arcs, mesmerizing mandalas, harmony vocals, and a multitude of aural colors. Have you heard the ayahuasca-inspired collaboration album from Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and Spiritualized? Neither have we, but All Will Be Golden could possibly exist in such a parallel dimension. Whether you’re looking for a cure, a way of escape, a catalyst for spiritual expeditions, something to groove to, or just some chakra-opening psychedelic rock ’n’ roll with a 21st century cosmic twist, this might just be it.

“Rainbow,” the first single off the album, is a message from the end of the rainbow: surrender to the force, human. Superfjord’s psychedelic temple contains the whole cosmic color palette. Can you fit The Who, Frank Zappa, and, well, William Orbit into the same congregation? Well, apparently you can – with love.

Superfjord are:
Jussi Ristikaarto: guitars, electronics, vocals
Mikko Kapanen: guitar, vocals, percussion
Ilari Kivelä: drums, percussion
Teemu Soininen: bass
Juho Ojala: keyboards
Jussi Peevo: drums, percussion

www.facebook.com/superfjord
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Superfjord, “Rainbow”

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Death Hawks Post Video for New Single “Atitlán”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

death hawks photo Sami Sänpäkkilä

So good. So good. New Death Hawks. So good. Post over. Okay, go watch the video.

Really?

Nah, not really, but if you read the above, you pretty much have the point of everything I have to say about the Finnish psychedelic rockers’ new clip for their single “Atitlán,” which as fortunate fate would have it is the predecessor to a fourth long-player to be released this Fall by Svart Records. The band’s blend of classic progressive elements and forward-thinking spaciousness is entirely their own, and if you heard their last album, 2015’s still-put-it-on Sun Future Moon (review here), you know that the result of their sonic meld lacks nothing for memorability for being so otherwise far, far out. Did I mention “so good?” Okay, right on.

Director Sami Sänpäkkilä, who also helmed the camera and edited the video for “Atitlán” and has worked with the band before, put up a pretty interesting blog post about its making in both conceptual and technical terms, which I’ve cut and pasted below since you don’t often see something so detailed about the actual putting together of a video. That post talks as well about Death Hawks frontman Teemu Markkula‘s providing the stage costumes from his work as a professional drag performer, and the glamorous visual elements end up making “Atitlán” both subversive and all the more a trip into the band’s own world, which makes it suitable that the song itself comes from Markkula‘s traveling to Guatemala and staying for a month by the side of a volcano-surrounded lake. As far as inspiration goes, that’ll probably do the job.

I’ll hope to have (much) more on Death Hawks‘ next record as we get nearer to its arrival, but until then, “Atitlán” has a catchy enough hook to set up residence for heavy rotation on the mental jukebox, and you can hear it and see the accompanying video on the player below. Keep an eye out for the parts where they’re waving crystals in front of the camera. Sänpäkkilä mentions it in his post and you can totally see it in the clip itself once you know what you’re looking for. And if watching drag artists makes you uncomfortable, one suspects that’s part of the point.

So dig it:

Death Hawks, “Atitlán” official video

Today, Death Hawks – the most successful Finnish psychedelic rock act of modern times – reveal a new video for the track “Atitlán.” A new recording two-and-a-half years after their smash-hit album, Sun Future Moon, for Svart Records, “Atitlán” is a special digital-only single currently available on all major digital platforms.

As vocalist/guitarist Teemu Markkula reveals, “We’ve been playing around with the song’s characteristic theme for about a year during soundchecks all over Europe. At some point, our bass player Riku made a demo from it, and we decided to produce this new single from it. The song is a melodic and vocal-driven pop song. It has an interesting variety of instruments and a lot of layers which makes it possible to immerse oneself into the song.”

Continuing about the song’s genesis, he says, “At that time, I had just spent a month in a little Guatemalan village by the lake Atitlán. It’s a magical place! A big lake that has three volcanoes rising up from the shorelines – even more if you count in the ancient volcanoes. This song actually is a kind of a postcard from there, and it is dedicated to the most wonderfully bizarre and liberal people. Travelling really broadens the mind! Whaddaya know?”

Sami Sänpäkkilä on “Atitlán”:

Death Hawks new song Atitlán from their fourth full length album is also my third video for the band. All the videos we’ve done have been very different in technique. Black Acid was shot on super 8 and on Beyond Thyme we used UV lights and paints.

Teemu Markkula and myself cooked up the idea on what the video should include in terms of looks and story. The choreography, lights and the visuals were mostly done at the studio. Teemu had some reference images so we kind of had an idea of the colors we wanted. The clothes were all Jukka’s stage clothes as he’s a professional drag artist.

The whole shoot only took about 6-7 hours including lunch and that speed is due to the fact we had a good studio (Visual Works in Helsinki) and loads of people doing their thing. Lighting and VJ setup was simple. We had a 650W tungsten with a soft box and a grid high up on the ceiling. We also had an amazing portable and wirelessly triggered fog machine that was super easy and fast to use. Jonne Pitkänen did the front projections and Ilona Lehtonen did all the back projections.

All the effects except for the double exposure shots are in-camera effects. We had a few crystals that we shaked in front of the camera.

Directed by Sami Sänpäkkilä
Script: Sami Sänpäkkilä, Teemu Markkula
Music by Death Hawks
Actors: Teemu Markkula, Jukka Kuronen
Gaffer: Anna-Mari Nousiainen
VJ’s: Ilona Lehtonen, Jonne Pitkänen

Death Hawks website

Death Hawks on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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Review & Full Album Stream: Pelagos, Revolve

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

pelagos revolve

[Click play above to stream Pelagos’ Revolve in its entirety. Album is out June 8 via Svart Records.]

Evocations of space and water meet on “River (Proxima Centauri),” and that would seem to summarize at least a goodly portion of where Pelagos are coming from on their Svart Records debut album, Revolve, but the key idea is of finding some other place. Listening to the Finnish outfit’s eight-track/48-minute offering, one can’t help but wonder how much of it was crafted with an intent, either conscious or not, for escapism. At the same time, there are flashes of traditional folk rhythms amid the washes of e-bow guitar, synth, keys, and so on, so something keeps even “River (Proxima Centauri)” grounded, and as it follows the immediately echoing vocals and expansive welcome of opener “Code” — as in “blue?” is that the kind of other place we’re visiting? — that sense of ground definitely has a purpose to serve.

Pori, from whence the three-maybe-four-piece — they list Teemu Elo, Petri Hagner and Janne Peltomäki as members, but there sure are four people in their promo photos — hail, is known for having produced the mega-weirdo progressive outfit Circle, and sure enough Pelagos share a lineage with that group going back decades, but the new band seem on a more distinct sonic mission, and with the synthesizer pushing them farther and farther out throughout pieces like “Island of Pelicans,” the somewhat more brooding and decidedly urbane “Aphrodite’s Shore,” and into Revolve‘s second-half depths, amid the acoustic-guitar-based “Invisible,” the darker and electronic-beat fueled “Sea of Tranquility,” the encompassing soundscape of “Muted Stars” and closer “Embryo”‘s reimagining of New Wave as an extension of progressive rock with manipulated vocals and repetitive electronics complemented by airy guitar and a steady underlying groove, a key factor in the outing overall is immersion. It’s the kind of record you might get caught in a ridiculous run-on sentence describing, as each song seems to have something of its own to offer while adding to the overarching atmosphere.

And atmosphere is central to Revolve, to the point that one wants to read a story into the idea that they begin with “Code” and end with “Embryo,” as though the songs between are stages in a journey from death to reincarnation. Certainly there’s room to create that narrative in the ethereal sonic affect Pelagos have donned, and though there’s a definite tonal presence throughout, they refuse to let any element get overblown. That is, as much breadth as there is in the material, it’s never simply wandering for its own sake, and a keen balance holds firm for the duration. There’s a temptation to call is psychedelic, but it’s not psychedelic in terms of the traditional mushroom-munching definition of the genre. Whatever the proclivities of the band’s members — I wouldn’t speculate — what they seem to share with psychedelic rock is the idea of space, both thematically and in the music itself. “Code” opens with a subtly gripping drumless section, letting the wash gradually consume the listener before the album makes its way into the journey ahead.

pelagos

After the hypnotic “River (Proxima Centauri),” “Island of Pelicans” takes hold with a more rhythmic feeling behind it, shifting to a more synthesized vibe at around the midpoint, winding up in strumming acoustic guitar with other elements swirling around, in front of and behind it, the idea seeming to be a constant motion either forward or in its own roundabout spirit, moving without feeling like it needs to be anywhere. That, given that it’s purposeful, is a compliment. In truth, even at its most repetitive, Revolve — the title itself a repetitive motion — loses neither its will nor the gracefulness of its execution. As “Aphrodite’s Shore” gives way to “Invisible,” the shift in approach is clear. Both songs are just over five minutes long, and yet the sound of each, from the utter wash of the former to the more folkish impression of the guitar on the latter, is tied together by the ambience that permeates so much of the record and, though it’s mostly at the fore in introductory sections or leadouts, defines it.

I won’t take away from the more active sections of Revolve or the effectiveness of the shifts in structure Pelagos bring to bear, pushing verses forward on “Sea of Tranquility” or “Island of Pelicans” while the ringing tones of “Muted Stars” and “Aphrodite’s Shore” cast a vision of what Yawning Man might’ve been if they were born on an ocean planet instead of in the desert, but there’s no mistaking the focus on ambience — which I wouldn’t exactly classify as “inactive” either — as being crucial to the impression the album gives as a front-to-back listen. And though it should somewhat go without saying, but a work this fluid and smooth in its shifts between one song and the next should be taken in its entirety.

Not that a given song can’t give an impression of the core sound of its surroundings, just that the full breadth of Revolve is best experienced when the whole voyage is made. And it is a longer go than the 48 minutes of its runtime might convey, but whether or not the narrative intended is the one purported, what really matters is that Pelagos put their audience in a place where the experience is engrossing enough that the mind wants to engage with it as one might the chapters of a novel. Particularly given their pedigree, it would be futile to guess what Pelagos might have to offer in the long term or how or along what path their style might develop, but their debut is rich and resonant, and it brims with the openness of spirit that seems to have driven its creation. Especially considering it as a first album, it is a considerable achievement in its balance and aesthetic.

Pelagos on Thee Facebooks

Pelagos on Bandcamp

Pelagos Tumblr

Pelagos on Svart Records webstore

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on Bandcamp

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Witch Mountain, Witch Mountain: Burning and Rebuilding

Posted in Reviews on May 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Witch-Mountain-Witch-Mountain

Let’s be honest: Losing a singer like the singer Witch Mountain lost is a worse fate than a band should have to endure. In 2014, following three each-better-than-the-last records in 2011’s South of Salem (review here), 2012’s Cauldron of the Wild (review here) and 2014’s gorgeous and sad Mobile of Angels (review here), frontwoman Uta Plotkin left the Portland, Oregon, doomers, and for a minute there, it looked like it might be the end. At least from the outside. But Witch Mountain existed before Plotkin — founding guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nathan Carson released the band’s debut, Come the Mountain (discussed here), in 2001 — and it would continue to exist after.

In a matter of months, the band was reformed in early 2015 with Wrong (who now also plays in The Skull), Carson, bassist Justin Brown (formerly of underrated trio Lamprey) and new vocalist Kayla Dixon, a transplant from Ohio with a background in the more straightforward metal outfit Demons Within, but whose voice was powerful enough to make one believe in fate. Tours with EnslavedThe SkullSaint Vitus and others followed, and in releasing their fifth album overall, first with the new lineup and first on Svart in North America as well as Europe, Witch Mountain‘s naming their latest LP Witch Mountain feels like a declaration in and of itself.

Or perhaps a victory lap, because what they came through and the manner in which they did is not to be understated. And the five-track/35-minute collection that’s resulted from three years of work on stage and an obviously thoughtful songwriting process is less about meeting the expectations of their audience than about making a definitive statement of who they are. Witch Mountain‘s Witch Mountain did not happen by accident.

From the first slogging riff and on-the-bell ride hits of opener “Midnight,” that’s readily apparent, and Dixon is about two lines into the first verse before she gives a first glimpse at the throat-ripper of a scream that seems a constant threat to be unleashed amidst her soulful melodic delivery. As a showcase of range and arrangement for her, the opener also boasts a choice solo from Wrong and gives Brown a chance to establish himself as indispensable on the low end. Witch Mountain has been through a succession of bassists but as the march of “Midnight” slams to starts and stops under Dixon‘s soaring voice, he proves an excellent fit with Wrong and Carson, and when they roll into a scream-laced hook in the second half of the track, the bass is all the more essential in setting the groundwork for that turn and the shift into the memorable Spirit cover “Mechanical World.”

The bluesy lyrics and vibe are an excellent fit for Witch Mountain‘s style of doom, Wrong adding subtle flourish around the central riff as Dixon again showcases her breadth as a vocalist, the song moving into manic thrust from its verse just for a minute before running into an even slower, minimal stretch of open, vocal-led atmospherics. If one thinks of “Midnight” as an introductory statement, and “Mechanical World” as helping to set the tone and range for the album as a whole, then the seven-minute side A closer “Burn You Down” is where Witch Mountain really seem to dig into the proceedings.

witch mountain photo whitey mcconnaughy

Dixon is nigh-omnipresent save for solo spots but not overbearing in the mix, and the drums and bass behind do well in setting up a build just past the midpoint where layers of backing choral vocals push her forward to set up a section of vitriolic screams and growls and spiteful lyrics. Wrong likewise tears into another echoing solo as Brown and Carson plod away behind, and “Burn You Down” lumbers to its finish and comes apart to silence at the close of the record’s first half.

As much as the narrative of Witch Mountain is invariably going to be based around the band pressing forward after what would have been the undoing of many acts — and not unreasonably so; that’s the story here and not a minor accomplishment — the truth is that happened three years ago and what’s even more striking is the movement and command within these songs. “Burn You Down,” inarguably the angriest track on the record, still keeps its sense of control as it shifts from one part to the next, and its motion is consuming.

There’s less time for swapping out vibes, but 2:23 acoustic-based side B opener “Hellfire” finds Dixon backed by a simple guitar line and cymbal washes, some piano, as she becomes an entire gospel choir and backs her own central lyric with professional-level ease. There’s a pause as if to say, “Okay, you just let that sink in,” and then the far-back guitar of howl of 14-minute closer “Nighthawk” arrives, complemented by a drum build and bass rhythm that slams into the fullness of its slow push. The band trades back and forth in volume and Dixon drawls out early verses and at the three-minute mark gorgeously matches notes with the start of a short solo from Wrong before the next verse.

A linear build is underway subtly, and the Dixon choral layers reemerge as the band approaches five-minutes in and pick up the tempo ahead of another open stretch and highlight vocal performance, self-harmonies and all. At about 8:20, the guitar takes the fore again and leads the transition into a section of tom fills, chugging riffs and growls and screams working in unison. There’s a break from the onslaught about two minutes later as the guitar seems to nod at fellow Oregonians and former tourmates YOB, but the churn fades back in and soon enough they’re back to destruction-mode. The final break is just after 12 minutes in and sets up a crescendo of spoken and sung vocals, full-on riffing and dirge march behind until the last wash of cymbal and fading feedback signals the end.

I’ve said as much before, but it bears repeating: They did it. They pulled it off. There’s no question in listening to Witch Mountain‘s Witch Mountain that the band is aware of who they are and what they want to be, but as much as one might argue the album is a reset, it’s not at all a step backward. They’ve set themselves on a new course that holds over elements of who they were before and will allow them to continue to progress as an outfit, and while for sure there will be some who doubt, once or twice through the album is enough to vaporize any question whatsoever. The statement is made. This is Witch Mountain. Long live.

Witch Mountain on Thee Facebooks

Witch Mountain on Bandcamp

Svart Records website

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Witch Mountain Announce Headlining Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

You know what the thing about the new Witch Mountain record is? They pulled it off. They did. Somewhere along the way, maybe you doubted they’d do it, but they did it. Some bands switch singers and you hardly notice. Witch Mountain had the task before them of replacing one of the most unmistakable voices in metal — period — and they not only found someone who could carry the old material, but who could put her own stamp on the new. They absolutely, one hundred percent, pulled it off. If you don’t think so, you’re pretty much in denial.

And there. That’s basically the spoiler for my review, which I’ll hope to have up sometime before their self-titled releases on May 25 but which, at the rate I’m going, probably won’t actually be up until July. Because it’s like that over here these days.

Headlining tour announced. Shows presented of course by Nanotear. Info, naturally off the PR wire:

witch mountain tour

WITCH MOUNTAIN ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN SUMMER TOUR; FIRST HEADLINING RUN SINCE 2012

WITCH MOUNTAIN ARRIVES MAY 25 VIA SVART

Witch Mountain, who recently announced the May 25 release of their self-titled album via Svart, have confirmed a month-long tour of North America, kicking off on July 11 in Sacramento.

“Since Justin and Kayla joined, we’ve had the amazing fortune to tour with YOB, Danzig, and Saint Vitus… Time flies, and we realized that Witch Mountain hasn’t headlined North America since 2012. Can’t wait to be back out on the road for a summertime adventure, seeing our fans, and sharing our new music with them,” said founding member/drummer Nathan Carson. Bass player Justin Brown and singer Kayla Dixon joined Carson and guitar player Rob Wrong following the release of the critically acclaimed album, Mobile of Angels.

Witch Mountain pre-orders will be announced soon. Listen to “Burn You Down,” from the forthcoming album, here: https://witchmountain.bandcamp.com/album/burn-you-down.

Witch Mountain tour dates:
May 31 Seattle, WA North West Terror Fest
June 23 Portland, OR Star Theater #
July 11 Sacramento, CA Blue Lamp
July 12 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
July 13 San Diego, CA Til Two
July 14 Los Angles, CA Lexington
July 15 Phoenix, AZ Club Red
July 16 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad
July 18 Austin, TX Lost Well
July 19 Denton, TX Dan’s Silverleaf
July 20 Memphis, TN HiTone
July 21 Knoxville, TN Pilot Light
July 22 Atlanta, GA The Earl
July 23 Asheville, NC Mothlight
July 25 Chapel Hill, NC Cat’s Cradle
July 26 Richmond, VA Strange Matter
July 27 Baltimore, MD Metro
July 28 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
July 29 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus
July 31 Boston, MA Great Scott
August 1 Portland, ME Geno’s
August 2 Montreal, QC Vitrola
August 3 Ottawa, ON House of Targ
August 4 Toronto, ON Garrison
August 5 Buffalo, NY Mohawk
August 7 Lexington, KY Cosmic Charlie’s
August 8 Chicago, IL Reggie’s
August 9 Omaha, NE Lookout Lounge
August 10 Denver, CO Hi-Dive
August 11 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge

# – Will Haven, Atriarch and Worm Ouroboros open (Record release show)

www.facebook.com/witchmountain
http://witchmountain.bandcamp.com
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Witch Mountain, “Burn You Down”

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