Doomstress Touring to Descendants of Crom, Doomed & Stoned and Heavy Mash Fests

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

doomstress

Science tells us that if you’ve got three festival appearances in the span of about two weeks, you should probably just make a tour of it. Accordingly, Texas heavybringers Doomstress are setting out on Sept. 25 for a round of shows that will take them to Descendants of Crom in Pittsburgh, Doomed and Stoned in Indianapolis and Heavy Mash in their home state. They’ll start out in Connecticut on the run and head into the Midwest for gigs in Michigan and Wisconsin and Missouri en route to finishing Oct. 13 in Arlington. Having had the chance earlier this year to see them at Maryland Doom Fest (review here), I’ll confirm they put on a killer set, though to be honest with the amount of touring they’ve put in at this point for a band who don’t yet have a full-length out, they damn well better.

And speaking of — Hey Doomstress, how ’bout a record, one of these days?

Maybe we’ll get there in 2019. Until then, there are fests to hit:

doomstress tour dates

Doomstress fall tour run will see the band playing 3 fests as well as dates w/Windhand, Satan’s Satyrs, Come to Grief & Sierra. The band continues to expand their tour reach and will play their 1st shows in the upper northeast.

Doomstress is also officially announcing the inclusion of touring guitarist Matt Taylor as a full member of the band on this tour and the trio will be joined by Spike the Percussionist (of Fiddle Witch & the Demons of Doom) handling drum duties for this tour.

9/25 New London, CT @ 33 Golden St.
9/27 Scranton, PA w/ Come to Grief & Curse the Son
9/28 Pittsburgh, PA @ Descendants of Crom Fest
9/29 Detroit, MI @ w/Sierra & Lucid Furs
9/30 Grand Rapids, MI @ w/Sierra
10/2 Milwaukee, WS @ Cactus Club
10/4 St. Louis, MO @ The Sinkhole
10/5 Indianapolis, IN @ Doomed & Stoned Fest 3
10/10 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall w/Windhand & Satan’s Satyrs
10/13 Arlington, TX @ Division Brewing – Heavy Mash Fest

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Duel Touring to Descendants of Crom Fest

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

duel

After touring Europe last Fall and appearing earlier this year at the Maryland Doom Fest, kickass Texas four-piece Duel will make their way north this month to Pittsburgh to take part in the festivities at Descendants of Crom 2018. They join a lineup there that features Mos Generator, Come to Grief, Worshipper, Forming the Void, Curse the Son and a vast slew of others, and they go supporting their indelicately-titled 2017 sophomore outing Witchbanger (review here), having also followed that up this past Spring with the live album, Live at the Electric Church (review here).

That live record made a pretty good case for seeing Duel onstage, but they’re quickly and rightly earning a reputation either way, and it seems that the more they tour, the more they should. Being on the road only helped them to solidify their approach between their 2016 debut, Fears of the Dead (review here), and the subsequent offering, and one only hopes the thread of progression in songwriting and performance will only continue as they perhaps work toward a new album in 2019. Pure speculation there, but they’d be due.

Anyway, it’s a quick string of dates around Descendants of Crom and you’ll find them below, courtesy of the PR wire:

Duel septmeber US tour 2018

DUEL ON TOUR

DUEL is heavy psychedelic stoner doom metal from Austin, Texas. Hugely influenced by the darker sounds of early 70’s Proto-metal. Features two ex Scorpion Child (Nuclear Blast)members. Their sound is menacing and brutally old school. Total purists, their tunes cut right to the bone with heavy, deep groove and blistering tone. Tough and Loud! Hard rock as it should be!

Our beloved “apple” rockers DUEL will smash US in 3 weeks, you can’t miss them !!!

Duel live:
25.09.2018 – Growlers / Memphis TN
26.09.2018- Best Friend Bar / Lexington KY
27.09.2018 – 1984 Club / Wilmimgton DE
28.09.2018 – Ortlieb’s / Philadelphia PA
29.09.2018 – Descendants of Crom Fest / Pittsburg PA
30.09.2018 – Little Harpeth Brewery / Nashville TN

DUEL are:
Tom Frank – Guitars / Vocals
Shaun Avants – Bass / Vocals
Jeff Henson – Guitars
Justin Collins – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/DUELTEXAS/
https://duel3.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Duel, Witchbanger (2017)

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ST 37 Premiere “War Fever” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

st 37 (Photo by John Foxworth)

Every now and then a band comes along to remind that if you’re looking for it to make sense, sometimes you’re the one with the problem. Granted, Austin’s ST 37 are past the 30-year mark in offering said reminder, so I don’t necessarily know if “comes along” is the right phrase so much as “was already there,” but you get the point.

With an amalgam of freaked-out noisy punk and even more freaked-out psychedelic freakouts, improv-style and otherwise — there’s time for a little bit of everything in the 14-minute “KBDP,” nestled into side C of the 2LP as it is, let alone anything else in the record’s total 12 tracks/79 minutes — the vibe swings way, way open quickly as the jangly “War Fever” fuzz-grooves its way into a wash with a swath of voices and a deceptively playful bouncing rhythm, some sax, and echoing noise, eerie whispers and pretty much whatever else you want to hear in it. From there, it’s headfirst into the swirling made-up-on-the-spot “Shaper of Worlds” and the massive, organ-led eight-minute linear build of the Elegant Doormats cover “Grey Area,” before another cover, this one of The Vast Majority‘s “Hollywood Cemetery,” adds early-punk fervor to the proceedings.

The grounding effect of that cover, plenty swirling though it is, isn’t to be understated. It’s a kind of structural variety throughout ST 37 that speaks to the narrative circumstance of the album’s making, with recordings begun in 2015 and finished last year after a month-long tour with Japanese weirdo-legends Acid Mothers Temple. Not that ST 37 were exactly hurting for doing-whatever-the-hell-they-want anyway, but there’s an inspired spark behind the drifting rhythm and soaking wet overlaid lead guitar on “Shadesty,” as well as the manic laughter peppered into the later “Rooster Feather Paycheck,” and the tension of the repetitions in “Boss” that give way to the sleepy nine-minute improv “Inward, Please” speak to a will to throw the listener off-course that makes ST 37 both a challenge and an enjoyable listening experience.

In its makeup as well as its runtime, in the horror-surf harmonica of “Snootle y Choobs,” in the maybe-everything’s-backwards “Vengeance of Faces” and the space-consuming resolve of closer “Informed by Death,” there’s a refusal on the part of ST 37 to compromise with itself, and that gives it both an overarching sincerity of expression and a sheen of hypercool that’s an immediate weedout for lighter-weight heads. Real deal noise. You can try not to pass out, but I’m not entirely sure that isn’t the whole idea anyway.

ST 37 came out in late July on Super Secret Records, and I’ve got the privilege of hosting a premiere for the video of “War Fever,” which makes its statement pretty plain in the grainy news footage from a variety of military conflicts — so many to choose from! Interspersed with some live footage of the band in its final minute — you can see founding bassist Scott Telles in the midst of all that churning fluidity — it’s a fitting-enough representation for the track, though as noted above, that’s only the beginning of what the album soon unfurls.

PR wire info follows the clip below. Please enjoy:

ST 37, “War Fever” official video premiere

Super Secret Records proudly presents the new ST 37 double album (following up last year’s 12″ split with Acid Mothers Temple on our subsidiary label Self Sabotage Records).

After playing 30 shows in 31 days all over the US and Canada with Acid Mothers Temple in 2015, ST 37 felt an immediate need to decamp for Ohm Studios to capture some shit-hot lightning in a bottle with Chico Jones at the helm in an attempt to translate the incredible energy that was exchanged between these two psychedelic juggernauts as they battled their way across North America. It seemed as if the Japanese sonic wizards and the Texas space rockers were rubbing off on each other: AMT guitarist Makoto Kawabata guested live several times with ST 37 on the Twin Peaks cover “Just You” and the bands made immediate plans to issue a TP-themed split 12″ 45 with AMT’s version of “Sycamore Trees” (Self Sabotage Records SS-08); AMT bassist Atsushi Tsuyama found himself channeling ST 37 bassist Scott Telles’s lyrics onstage at the Mercury Lounge in Mahattan; and Telles suddenly started adopting Mitsuru Tabata’s idiosyncratic vocal style.

Thus: a band changed translates this newfound energy into a brand new double LP and CD, three years in the making from the initial basic tracks at Ohm through more sessions with Evan Kleinecke at 5th St. Studios to numerous efforts at various band members’ home studios. The new eponymously-titled record is in effect both current (new songs like War Fever, Boss and Shadesty) and timeless, as the band explores its roots with tracks like Houston punk chestnut Hollywood Cemetery and the old Elegant Doormats classic Grey Area.

ST 37 is available on 2xLP vinyl, CD and download on July 27th, 2018 via Super Secret Records.

Bobby Baker – guitars, synare
Bob Bechtol – electronics, tapes, backing vox
Lisa Cameron – drums, percussives, electronics
Joel Crutcher – guitars, lead vox on “Informed By Death”
SL Telles – bass, vox, drones
Matthew Turner – guitars, electronics, tapes
Chris “Sauce” Sorrentino – saxophone on “War Fever”
Michael Chamy – electronics on “Shaper of Worlds” and “Vengeance of Faces”
Kirk Laktas – piano on “Shadesty”
Walter Daniels – harmonica on ” Snootle y Choobs”

ST 37 on Thee Facebooks

ST 37 website

ST 37 at Super Secret Records webstore

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The Well Headed Back to Europe in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the-well-photo-by-david-brendan-hall

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Gee, but didn’t The Well tour Europe just last month?” Correctamundo, your inner-dialogue. That was the Summer tour. This is the Fall tour. And anyway, the thing about going to Europe is once you go, it’s pretty much all you want to do. You get over there and everything’s awesome and old and different looking and they have different cars and not everything is slapped with a corporate logo on it — The Roman Coliseum, brought to you by Supercuts — and yeah, it’s not really much of a mystery why The Well would be headed back so soon. Plus, they’re booked for Up in SmokeDesertfest Belgium and Keep it Low, so who’s gonna argue with their turning it into a three-week run? Jerkwads, that’s who.

They head back over still supporting 2016’s candlelit-good-timer Pagan Science (review here) on RidingEasy Records, and though I was speculating for the summer tour that maybe they’d have a new record out — their debut, Samsara (review here), was released in 2014, so a two-year span between LPs would be on target — I still haven’t heard anything about such doings, so I’ll keep my speculations to myself this time. Lesson (probably not) learned.

Dates and whatnots from the PR wire:

THE WELL TOUR

***THE WELL – EUROPEAN FALL TOUR 2018***

Austin-based power trio The Well blossomed when guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham was fired from his previous band. Determined to redirect his musical focus, Graham hooked up with bassist Lisa Alley and the two began picking out riffs in their east-side garage. Rounding out their sound, they stole drummer Jason Sullivan from Graham’s old band in a tale of vengeance and karma. His solid groove and reckless tribal beat gave the three-piece their ideal primal attack.

Due to their psychedelic doom edge, The Well reap comparisons to Black Sabbath, Sleep, Electric Wizard and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. As fans of cult horror films, they embrace the sinister, revel in dark themes and find inspiration in haunting echoes. The dual vocals of Graham and Alley evoke an ancient language that carries a mystic spell..

THE WELL EUROPEAN FALL TOUR 2018:
04.10.2018 IT Roma-Traffic
05.10.2018 IT Pisa-Albatross
06.10.2018 CH Basel-Up In smoke
10.10.2018 FR Lorient-Le Galion
11.10.2018 FR Nantes-La Scene Michelet
12.10.2018 FR Paris-Olympic Café
14.10.2018 BE Antwerp-Desert Fest
15.10.2018 DE Osnabruck-Darty+Dancing
16.10.2018 DE Tubingen-Shedhalle
17.10.2018 CH Basel-Hirschneck
18.10.2018 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
19.10.2018 DE Augsburg-City Club
20.10.2018 DE Munich-Keep It Low Fest
22.10.2018 DE Berlin-Toast Hawaii
23.10.2018 DE Erfurt-Tiko
24.10.2018 DE Frankfurt-DKK
25.10.2018 CH Olten-Coq D’Or
26.10.2018 CH Frauenfeld-Kaff
27.10.2018 CH Rorschach-Treppenhaus

THE WELL ARE
Ian Graham – Guitars / Vocals
Lisa Alley – Bass / Vocals
Jason Sullivan – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/thewellband
http://thewellaustin.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

The Well, Pagan Science (2016)

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Burn Ritual Preorders up for Blood of the Raven

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

burn ritual

Late last year, San Antonio doom rockers Burn Ritual signed to Cursed Monk Records on the heels of their successful debut EP, Like Suffering. That two-songer, released on limited tapes (gone) and CDs (gone and back), showcased a weighted tonality and flourish of classic Sabbathian melody, and the two songs currently streaming from their upcoming full-length, Blood of the Raven, would seem to follow suit. Play your cards right — i.e., look at the bottom of this post — and you can hear “The Mirror” and the album’s title-track now, and they’re both a clarion to the converted, calling to worship. Preorders are up for the album now through Cursed Monk ahead of the official release date, which is Oct. 1.

The PR wire put it like this:

burn ritual blood of the raven

Cursed Monk Records are thrilled to announce that pre-orders are now open for Burn Ritual’s highly anticipated debut album Blood of the Raven

Blood of the Raven will be released October 1st on CD and Digital Download via the Cursed Monk Records Bandcamp. Each preorder comes with the immediate download of the first two tracks from the album, plus a free woven Burn Ritual patch for the first number of orders, although patches are limited. Preorders can be made directly from our Bandcamp.

Based out of San Antonio, TX, Burn Ritual brew their own brand of heavy riffs, bluesy hazy vocals, and massive hypnotic fuzzed out tones. The band combine their love for traditional doom and stoner rock bands with modern elements making it a unique but familiar journey for the listener. Originally the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Jake Lewis, who performed and recorded on most of the band’s positively received debut EP Like Suffering. The one man project soon paved way for the necessity for a full band of musicians to bring the songs to the stage the way they were meant to be heard. Now a full four piece band, Burn Ritual has shared the stage with bands such as The Lucid Furs, Black Pussy, and Goya.

The Black Sabbathian foursome has really cemented their sound with Blood of the Raven. And what they have delivered is an album full of monster hooks and gargantuan riffs drenched in a fuzzy psychedelic haze. A must have for every fan of the genre.

Let the burn ritual commence.

Burn Ritual is:
Jake Lewis – vocals, lead guitar, keys
Brent Standifer- drums
Richard Perez – guitar
Chris Trezona – bass

https://www.facebook.com/burnritualband/
https://burnritual.bandcamp.com/
https://cursedmonk.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/cursedmonk/
https://www.instagram.com/cursedmonkrecords/

Burn Ritual, Blood of the Raven (2018)

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Review & Full Album Stream: Mr. Plow, Maintain Radio Silence

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mr plow maintain radio silence

[Click play above to stream Mr. Plow’s Maintain Radio Silence in its entirety. It’s out Aug. 10 on Ripple Music.]

Can you ever really know what to expect from a band after a 12-year absence? Sure, Houston’s Mr. Plow played sporadic local shows every now and again in between, but their last album, the self-released Kurt Vonnegut tribute Asteroid 25399 (discussed here), came out in 2006. I don’t know that they were ever broken up in the sense of making a public statement to that effect, but guitarist/vocalist Justin Waggoner went on to form Sanctus Bellum a few years back and it seemed like Mr. Plow, who had issued their first two albums — Head On and Cock Fights and Pony Racin’ — in 2000 and 2003, respectively, were yet another casualty of the pre-social media age of heavy rock.

In May 2017, the band announced a return with Cory Cousins of Sanctus Bellum (also Blues Funeral) taking over on drums, Waggoner, and original bassist Greg Green and guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Stone. They subsequently signed to Ripple Music and one has been looking forward to their fourth record, Maintain Radio Silence, ever since. And they’ve obviously been eager as well. Cousins doesn’t even give a full four-count on his hi-hat before opener “Sigil” kicks in. He only gets to two. But 12 years is not a short amount of time.

I’ll cop to being a Mr. Plow fan gladly, but even so, there were a few things it seemed fair to anticipate on Maintain Radio Silence. Straightforward songwriting has always been an asset for the band, and they’ve always had a full, natural sound on their records. The latest is no exception. With eight tracks and 40 minutes, Mr. Plow hit the standard easily — there were more songs recorded than wound up on the final LP; “Paxton,” “Southbound,” “Spark Arrester” and “Million Bucks” were on an earlier version that temporarily made its way out on Bandcamp — and aren’t through the aforementioned leadoff before they’ve dropped their first signature-style hook with Waggoner‘s gravely vocal up front as backed by Stone.

Their fuzz carries a familiar grit and their tracks overall, while (at least mostly) not based on the same kind lighthearted of references as, say, “Festivus” or “The Dude” from the second record, or working around the kind of central theme they did on Asteroid 25399, flow smoothly together and Cousins brings a touch of metal with him that can be heard in the cymbal work on “Samizdat” and the hard-hitting snare of the penultimate “Hammer Smashed Face,” which, no, is not a Cannibal Corpse cover. Between those and the wash of noise in third cut “Matchstick” and the airy lead and sense of space brought to the title-track, Maintain Radio Silence not only brings a mature incarnation of Mr. Plow‘s sound — something they had over a decade ago — but a bit of an edge.

It’s absolutely true some of that might be my reading into the context of Waggoner and Cousins‘ work in Sanctus Bellum, which was more aggressive on the whole, but in listening to the screaming at the end of “Sigil,” or even the deeper-in-mix shouts toward the end of “Matchstick,” there would seem to be a chip on the band’s collective shoulder. To coincide with this is the (presumed) side A closer, “Shaolin Cowboy,” which may or may not be based on the comic of the same name. It’s the shortest inclusion on the album at 3:49 — side B’s finale, “Memento,” is likewise brief at 3:56; “Matchstick” is the longest at 6:39 — and a dead-ahead uptempo rocker that seems to nod at Helmet in some of its start-stop riffing, but is nonetheless a rousing and catchy heavy rocker in line with some of Mr. Plow‘s older work.

mr plow

Accordingly, it fits well between “Matchstick” and the subsequent “Johnny Gentle,” with a half-time drum progression under a duly large-sounding riff and a title presumably nodding to the Infinite Jest character rather than the one-time Liverpool singer who toured with what would become The Beatles. “Johnny Gentle” has a slower, doomier roll to its rhythm and is more patient especially than “Shaolin Cowboy” before it, and that helps set up the title-track as well, which starts off gradually with guitars spacing out over solid bass and drum movements before easing its way into a fuzzy groove and the initial chorus.

Maintain Radio Silence, with its mix of elements new and old, is well summarized by the song that shares its name, which has some more aggressive push but an overarching sense of restraint and keeps composition first. One might expect “Hammer Smashed Face” to operate in the opposite manner, but it stays consistent. More upbeat than either of the two before, it acts as a bridge to “Memento” at the end and offers a dead-on hook that’s ultimately one of many throughout the record but a standout all the same. Hard not to get the line “My fellow man’s an asshole” stuck in your head.

And whether or not it’s intended to callback to the 2000 film of the same name, “Memento” caps the album with another straight-ahead heavy rocking groove that also works in some of the earlier aggro tendencies in Waggoner‘s vocals atop a winding lead line and weighted low end from Green. It might be as heavy as they get on Maintain Radio Silence, but I’d have to put it on a scale next to “Johnny Gentle” to be sure, and, well, that’s just silly. What matters more is that as “Memento” rounds out with a vigilant final push, Mr. Plow make their return plain to hear and show with no question they had more to say when they seemed to fade out those many years ago.

At the same time, one of the most crucial elements at work across Maintain Radio Silence that the band maintained from their original run is an utter lack of pretense. I don’t think Mr. Plow reunited in order to go on tour and play 150 or 200 shows a year. I don’t think they got back because someone offered them a ton of money to play a fest or something like that. I think it had been a while and they enjoy creating and playing music together. I don’t know what the future holds for Mr. Plow and with 12 years between their third and fourth outings, I won’t dare to predict when/if a fifth might arrive, but if anything could be carried over from their past, it’s clearly their passion for what they do, and with that as their motivating force, there’s no telling what might be next.

Mr. Plow website

Mr. Plow on Thee Facebooks

Mr. Plow on Instagram

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Twitter

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Jody Seabody & The Whirls Premiere “Grenade Green” from Hawksamillion

Posted in audiObelisk on August 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Jody Seabody and the whirls

Houston heavy thrashers Jody Seabody and the Whirls will release their third album, Hawksamillion, on Aug. 24 through Artificial Head Records. The first thing you should know is there’s no Jody Seabody. I mean, I’m sure there is somewhere, but not in this band. And I’m not sure what a Whirl is as applies to human beings, so I suppose there could be one or two among the lineup of Bryce Perkins, Dave Merriett, Clint Rater and Stuart Cooper, but there’s little on the record to indicate either way. What there is, however, is an eight-song/32-minute mostly-barrage of bruiser hardcore punk ripped through with classic thrash intensity. Remember when you couldn’t decide whether Suicidal Tendencies were punk or metal? It’s kind of like that, only way rawer in the production.

The effect that has, naturally, is to play up the punker edge along with the youngest-Metallica lights-hitting of the opening salvo in “Ultra Defiant,” the gang-shout-laden “Malignant Terror” and “Terror TV,” Jody Seabody and the whirls Hawksamillionwhich starts off with a sample and tears into a visceral riff topped with harsh shouts. That’s the course of a lot of Hawksamillion, but what that doesn’t necessarily convey is the fluidity with which Jody Seabody and the Whirls play various genre elements off each other. The frenetic energy and Slayer-inspired howl at the end of “All Gone White,” or the anti-genre turns the album makes in its second half, with the semi-ballad “Making Demons” and the tempo-shifting “Grenade Green” finding a balance between heavy rock and hard punk, working in more Slayer references in in both the riff that emerges just past the halfway point and the screams that accompany before the track turns to a slower march backed by organ and rambling guitar, shades of Texan twang arriving to make the band just a little bit harder to pin down even than the meld of “Malignant Terror” did on its own.

All the better for it, because even as the penultimate “Nightmares” kicks in and returns to ground heading into the even-more intense closer, the context has shifted such that one knows less what to expect from the band in general. And that departure in “Making Demons” and “Grenade Green” — the latter of which does well in bridging the gap between their core modus and the weirdo excursion — not only adds nuance to the proceedings overall here but brings Jody Seabody and the Whirls to a different level of execution overall while remaining consistent in the production. While so much of it hits like a blast following the Cro Mags cronk riff that launches the record in “Ultra Defiant,” the simple truth of Hawksamillion is that the truth of it isn’t so simple. And similar to, say, naming themselves after someone not in the band, they revel in the shenanigans and are all the more righteous in crossing genre lines for that.

They’re on tour starting Aug. 17 in their hometown, and you’ll find the dates for that run under the player below, on which you can hear the premiere of “Grenade Green.”

Please enjoy:

Jody Seabody and The Whirls has long been as difficult to define as its mysterious moniker — of which there is no Jody Seabody nor a group of Whirls among them. However, the Houston quartet’s forthcoming third album Hawksamillion seems an effort, at least, for the band to define itself.

Whereas the band’s 2015 sophomore album Holographic Slammer dabbled in psychedelia, garage-prog, proto-punk and neo-grunge with manic bouts of aggression, their new album is pure, refined bile and vitriol. The band had hinted at the sound to come on the last 3 tracks of their previous album, but even those hadn’t hit the extent of urgent fury evidenced throughout the 8 incendiary songs of Hawksamillion. With cover art by legendary Dead Kennedys/Alternative Tentacles collage artist Winston Smith, a sharp 180-degree turn from the work of Dutch ‘60s psychedelic artist Marijke (Cream, Apple Records, Procol Harum, The Hollies) even the album art is like a line drawn in the sand.

Just like the Bad Brains going from jazz-funk to inventing hardcore punk and onward, JS&TW have the musical chops to pull off any sound that takes their interest. Album opener “Ultra Defiant” starts off like a doom-inflected version of the aforementioned legends before jostling into a breakneck metalpunk storm with an ever-morphing riff and throat-searing vocals. “Malignant Terror” bursts out incisively decimating everyone in under 2 minutes, with the last 40 seconds dedicated to an instrumental jam. “Terror TV” shows the band’s melodic and acrobatic skills with blistering guitar work and multiple vocalists overlapping one another. Elsewhere, “Grenade Green” is the album centerpiece at nearly 7 minutes long, flitting between old fashioned punk rock and Kill ‘Em All-era thrash that may embody the fury of Hawksamillion best. Throughout, the level of intensity and anger is relentless, but not at the expense of the music.

Somewhere over the past two years, the people and society that the band members loved and trusted have betrayed them. This album is a response to that betrayal of the promise of a better life and the “good times” of rock and roll. These are ugly, bitter days, and these guys are watching, like a hawk.

Hawksamillion will be available on LP and download on August 24th, 2018 via Artificial Head Records.

JODY SEABODY & THE WHIRLS LIVE:
08/17 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
08/18 Norman, OK @ Red Brick Bar
08/19 Tulsa, OK @ The Soundpony
08/20 Wichita, KS @ Kirby’s
08/21 Topeka, KS @ Boobie Trap Bar
08/22 Lincoln, NE @ 1867 Bar
08/23 Lawrence, KS @ Gaslight Gardens
08/24 Columbia, MO @ Cafe Berlin
08/25 Hot Springs, AR @ Maxine’s Live
08/27 Denton, TX @ Killer’s Tacos
08/29 San Marcos, TX @ Valentino’s
08/30 Austin, TX @ Dozen Street
08/31 San Antonio, TX @ Bexar Pub
09/01 Bryan, TX @ Revolution

Jody Seabody & The Whirls on Thee Facebooks

Jody Seabody & The Whirls on Bandcamp

Artificial Head Records on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Glanville, Destroyer of Light, The Re-Stoned, Ruff Majik, Soldat Hans, High Priestess, Weed Demon, Desert Storm, Ancient Altar, Black Box Warning

Posted in Reviews on July 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

So Day 1’s done and it’s time to move on to Day 2. Feeling stressed and totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff still to be done? Why yes, I am. Thanks for asking. In the past, I used to handle the Quarterly Review well ahead of time. It’s always a lot to get through, but the week before, I’d be setting up back ends, chasing down links and Bandcamp players, starting reviews, etc., so that when it came time, all I had to do was the writing and plug it all into a post and I was set.

There was some prep-work done this past weekend, but especially this time, with my old laptop having been stolen in May, it’s all been way more jazz-improv. I was still adding releases as of last Friday, and writing beforehand? Shit. With the baby having just figured out how to climb? Not bloody likely. Accordingly, here we are, with much to do.

It’ll get done. I haven’t flubbed a Quarterly Review yet, and if I took an extra day to get there, I’m under no delusion that anyone else would care. So there you go. Let’s hit it for Day 2:

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Glanville, First Blood

glanville first blood

First Blood is the aptly-titled five-song debut EP from Glanville, a newcomer dual-guitar outfit with established players Philip Michel (The Earwix) on lead and Christopher West (Named by the Sun, ex-Stubb, etc.) on rhythm, Wight’s Peter-Philipp Schierhorn on bass and René Hofmann on vocals, and Thomas Hoffman (ex-Bushfire) on drums. Based in Germany and the UK, the group present 23 minutes of material on their first outing, drawing from the guitar-led likes of Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest to capture early metal and present it with a heavy rocking soulfulness and modern production. The most raucous of the cuts might be centerpiece “Durga the Great,” but neither “God is Dead” nor “Dancing on Fire” before nor “Demons” and “Time to Go” after want for action, and especially the latter builds to a furious head to close out the release. Hofmann as a standalone singer wants for nothing in range or approach, and the band behind him obviously build on their collective experience to dig into a stylistic nuance rarely executed with such confidence. They’ve found a place willfully between and are working to make it theirs. Can’t ask for more than that.

Glanville on Thee Facebooks

Glanville on Bandcamp

 

Destroyer of Light, Hopeless

destroyer of light hopeless

Having just recently signed to Argonauta Records for a new album in 2019, Austin doomers Destroyer of Light follow their 2017 long-player, Chamber of Horrors (review here), with a further auditory assault in the lumbering Hopeless. Psychedelic and yet still somehow traditional doom lingers in the brain after “Nyx” and “Drowned” have finished – the latter with an Alan Watts sample discussing alcoholism – and the band moves into demos for Chamber of Horrors cuts “Into the Smoke,” “Lux Crusher” and “Buried Alive.” Between the two previously unreleased songs and those three demos, Hopeless pushes to 39 minutes, but it’s probably still fair to call it an EP because of the makeup. Either way, from the miserable plod of “Nyx,” in which each chug in the riff cycle seems to count another woe, to the rolling nod early and surprising melody late in “Drowned,” Hopeless is anything but. Anticipation was already pretty high for Destroyer of Light’s next record after the last one, but all Hopeless does is show further depth of approach and more cleverly-wielded atmospheric murk. And the more it sounds like there’s no escape, the more Destroyer of Light seem to be in their element.

Destroyer of Light on Thee Facebooks

Destroyer of Light on Bandcamp

 

The Re-Stoned, Stories of the Astral Lizard

the re-stonEd stories of the astral lizard

The inevitable question is “Why a lizard?” and if you make it four minutes into 11-minute opener “Fractal Panorama” and don’t have your answer, go back ad start over. Moscow heavy psych instrumentalists The Re-Stoned intend the reptile as a spirit guide for their new outing Stories of the Astral Lizard (on Oak Island Records), which follows quickly behind their late-2017 offering, Chronoclasm (review here), and given the ultra-patient desert vibes in the opener, the acoustic-laced folk-prog of “Mental Print for Free,” the languid meander of “A Companion from the Outside,” the swirling sprawl of the 16-minute “Two Astral Projections” and the final cowpoke drift of “The Heather Carnival,” one might indeed just find a lizard sunning its belly amid all the atmospheric evocations and hallucinatory vibes. I’ll take “Two Astral Projections” as the highlight, but mostly because the extra length allows the band to really dig in, but really the whole album feeds together gorgeously and is a new level of achievement when it comes to atmosphere for The Re-Stoned, who were already underappreciated and find themselves only more so now.

The Re-Stoned on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Ruff Majik, Seasons

Ruff Majik Seasons

Right on fuzz, right on groove, right on vibe – there isn’t much else one might say about Ruff Majik’s Seasons (on Rock Freaks Records and Forbidden Place Records) beyond “right on.” Heavy rock with twists of psychedelia, the Pretoria, South Africa, three-piece of Johni Holliday, Jimi Glass and Benni Manchino make their home on the lines of various subgenres, but wherever they go, the proceedings remain decisively heavy. To wit, a cut like “Breathing Ghosts” or the later “Birds Stole My Eyes” might dig into shuffle boogie or extreme-metal-derived thrust, but there’s a chemistry between the members and a resonant looseness that ties the material together, and as the last 14 of the total 66 minutes are dedicated to “Asleep in the Leaves,” there’s plenty of progressive weirdness in which to bask, one song moving through the next such that neither “Hanami Sakura (And the Ritual Suicide” nor the semi-doom-plodding “The Deep Blue” nor the funky twists of “Tar Black Blood” come across as predictable. Seasons might take a few listens to sink in, but it’s easily worth that effort.

Ruff Majik on Thee Facebooks

Ruff Majik at Rock Freaks Records webstore

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Soldat Hans, Es Taut

SOLDAT HANS ES TAUT-750

Hyperbole-worthy post-ism from Switzerland’s Soldat Hans makes their sophomore outing, Es Taut – on Wolves and Vibrancy Records as a 2LP – a forward thinking highlight. As rich in atmosphere as Crippled Black Phoenix and as lethal as Converge or Neurosis or anyone else you might dare to put next to them, the six-piece made their debut with 2014’s Dress Rehearsal (review here) and served notice of their cross-genre ambitiousness. Es Taut finds them four years later outclassing themselves and most of the rest of the planet across three extended tracks – “Story of the Flood” (26:15), “Schoner Zerbirst, Part I” (8:03) and “Schoner Zerbirst, Part II” (18:56) – that sprawl out with a confidence, poise and abrasion that is nothing short of masterful. Es Taut may be a case of a band outdoing their forebears, but whatever their legacy becomes and however many people take notice, Soldat Hans singlehandedly breathe life into the form of post-metal and prove utterly vital in so doing, not only making it their own, but pushing forward into something new in ambience and heft. This is what a band sounds like while making themselves indispensable.

Soldat Hans on Thee Facebooks

Wolves and Vibrancy Records website

 

High Priestess, High Priestess

high priestess high priestess

Calling to order a nod that’s immersive from the opening strains of leadoff/longest-track “Firefly” (still immediate points), Los Angeles trio High Priestess build out the psych-doom ritualizing of their 2017 demo (review here) to make their self-titled full-length debut through Ripple Music. The difference between the demo and the album in terms of what’s included comes down to artwork and the track “Take the Blame,” which adds its bell-of-the-ride swing between the atmosphere and melodic focus of “Banshee” and the spacious roller “Mother Forgive Me.” Potential is writ large throughout from guitarist/vocalist Katie Gilchrest, bassist/vocalist Mariana Fiel and drummer Megan Mullins, as it was on their demo, and even the harsh growls/screams on “Despise” seem to have found their place within the proceedings. As they wrap with the guitar-led jam of “Earth Dive,” High Priestess put the finishing touch on what’s hands-down one of 2018’s best debut albums and offer a reminder that as much potential as there is in their sound for future development, the accomplishments here are considerable unto themselves.

High Priestess on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Weed Demon, Astrological Passages

weed demon astrological passages

Four tracks of gurgling riffy plunder pervade Astrological Passages, the 41-minute – longer if you get the digital version or the tape/CD, which includes the 7:24 “Dominion of Oblivion” – debut album from Columbus, Ohio’s Weed Demon. Delivered on vinyl through Electric Valley Records, the nodder/plodder carves out a cave for itself within a mountain of tonally thick stoner metal riffing, infusing a sense of sludge with shouted and growled vocals from guitarists Andy and Brian and bassist Jordan – only drummer Chris doesn’t get a mic – and an overarching sense of bludgeoning that’s Sleep-derived if not Sleep-adjacent in terms of its actual sound. Nasty? Why, yes it is, but as “Sigil of the Black Moon” heads toward the midpoint of its 10-minute run, the repetitive groove assault makes the band’s intention plain: worship weed, worship riff. They get faster on “Primordial Genocide” and even sneak a bit of speed in amidst the crawl before the banjo takes hold in the second half of 12-minute closer “Jettisoned” – more Americana sludge please; thank you – but they never lose sight of their mission, and it’s the uniting factor that makes their debut hit like the brick to the head that it is.

Weed Demon on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Desert Storm, Sentinels

desert storm sentinels

With Sentinels, Oxford, UK, five-piece Desert Storm pass a decade since making their self-titled debut in 2008. They followed that with 2010’s Forked Tongues (review here), 2013’s Horizontal Life and 2014’s Omniscient (review here), and though they had a single out in 2014 on H42 Records as a split with Suns of Thunder (review here) in 2016, Sentinels is their first outing on APF Records and their first long-player in four years. Burl has always been an important factor in what they do, and the High on Fire-meets-Orange Goblin slamming of “The Brawl” backs that up, but Desert Storm have left much of the hyper-dudeliness behind in favor of a more complex approach, and while Sentinels isn’t a minor undertaking at 10 songs and 51 minutes, longer cuts like “Kingdom of Horns” and “Convulsion” demonstrate the maturity they’ve brought to bear, even as the one-two punch of “Drifter”  and “The Extrovert” offer swinging-fist hooks and beard-worthy chug that assures any and all testosterone quotas are met.

Desert Storm on Thee Facebooks

APF Records on Bandcamp

 

Ancient Altar, Cosmic Purge/Foie Gras

ancient altar cosmic purge foie gras

Based in Los Angeles, Ancient AltarScott Carlson (bass/vocals), Barry Kavener (guitar/vocals), Jesse Boldt (guitar) and Etay Levy (drums) – were last heard from on 2015’s dug-in atmosludger Dead Earth (review here), and they return lo these several years later with the two-tracker Cosmic Purge/Foie Gras, pushing into more extreme crush-of-riff with an abandon that’s anything but reckless. On the contrary, there’s some clear development in the 10-minute “Cosmic Purge” and 13-minute “Foie Gras,” rolling out oppressive grooves with blended screams/shouts and cleaner vocals. As with the last album, a drive toward individuality is central here, and Ancient Altar get there in tone while bringing forth a sense of scope to a sound so regularly thought of as closed off or off-putting in general. In its early going, “Foie Gras” hypnotizes with echoing melody and spaciousness only to resolve itself in a deeply weighted dirge march, furthering the pummel of “Cosmic Purge” itself. I don’t know if the EP – on vinyl through Black Voodoo Records, CD on Transcendental Void Records – will lead toward another album or not, but the sense of progression in Ancient Altar’s style is right there waiting to be heard, so here’s hoping.

Ancient Altar on Thee Facebooks

Black Voodoo Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Black Box Warning, Attendre la Mort

black box warning attendre la mort

Listen to it on headphones and the kickdrum on Black Box Warning’s Attendre la Mort is downright painful. Next-level blown-out aggro pulsations. Brutal in a physical sense. The rest of the band doesn’t follow far behind in that regard. Riffs are viscous and violent in noise rock tradition, but denser in their tone despite some underlying punkishness, and the vocals are likewise distorted and abrasive. The five-song/23-minute EP’s title translates to “Waiting for Death,” and each of the tracks is a dose: Opener “5 mg” is followed by “4 mg,” “1 mg,” “2 mg” and “3 mg.” Unsurprisingly, pills are a theme, particularly on “4 mg,” and the sense of violent threat is clear in “2 mg” and 3 mg,” which boast lines like, “Watch them all scream/Watch your enemy bleeded,” and “You are the pig/I am the butcher,” respectively. Between the lyrical and the general aural cruelty, the dis-ease is consuming and unmitigated, sludge becoming a slow-motion grindcore, and that’s clearly the point. Not stabbing, but gouging.

Black Box Warning on Thee Facebooks

Black Box Warning on Bandcamp

 

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