Posted in Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
The band let the news out earlier, but the PR wire makes it official: Texas metallers Venomous Maximus have joined forces with Napalm Records, who will reissue the band’s previously self-released Beg upon the Light(review here) come this summer ahead of a new studio album for 2014. Congratulations to the band, who will also put in an appearance at Days of the Doomed III this June, perhaps right around the time Beg upon the Light gets its second look.
That release date is still to come, so stay tuned for more on that and on Venomous Maximus‘ next effort. Until then, the news is good:
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS signs with NAPALM RECORDS, prepare summer release
Today, NAPALM RECORDS announces the signing of Texan doom occultists VENOMOUS MAXIMUS. The label will be releasing the band’s debut album, Beg Upon the Light, worldwide this summer, with their first new album for NAPALM slated for 2014. Says vocalist/guitarist Greg Higgins, “We are pleased to announce that we’ve signed with NAPALM RECORDS. They are going to release Beg Upon the Light this summer and another new full-length we are working on in 2014. All of this comes to a surprise, because this project was meant to be something that no one would ever hear about. So as time went on and we started to be successful, we always agreed to do everything ourselves, to keep it our way. The only way we were ever going to work with anyone was if we knew they were dedicated to worship the past as we were. Now that we are here with NAPALM, we will continue to create this hidden message. But with their help, they will be revealing this to the masses, and we are okay with that now. Because of the records we first created only for ourselves will be released with everything we dreamed from the beginning, destiny has come for us to work with NAPALM RECORDS. Our hearts are in Texas but our souls come from Europe. Now having a family in Europe that takes care of the land where we arose, our spirits fly, where we are able to focus on the beautiful.”
Adds Sebastian Muench, A&R for NAPALM RECORDS, “Sometimes, very seldom, you get the chance to discover a band that brings back the same feelings you first had when you listened as a teenager for the first time to Metallica’s Ride the Lightning or Black Sabbath’s Paranoid – you just know you’ve found something very magical and you are hooked for life. VENOMOUS MAXIMUS is such a band, and and we are thrilled, excited, and tremendously honored to call them part of the NAPALM family.”
Posted in Reviews on March 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Straightforward, heavy and almost making a billboard of their Texan-ness, the trio Mothership gleefully meld AC/DC stomp with ZZ Top boogie on their self-titled debut. Brothers Kyle (bass/vocals) and Kelley (guitar/vocals) Juett beat out a boozy but melodic rock classicism, taking a familiar approach in a familiar format and updating it with a crisp, engaging mark of their own, and following its initial release (short review here), Ripple Music stepped up to give Mothership‘s Mothershipits due in the form of a full release. As Mothership — the lineup completed by drummer Judge Smith – are currently embroiled in a tour with Gypsyhawk (dates in the flyer below), I thought I’d take an opportunity to give the record another look for anyone who may not have had the chance to catch it the first time out.
At eight tracks and 45 minutes, Mothership give their material plenty of time to flesh out. What are essentially classically-structured heavy rock tunes, that more than half of them should reach over five minutes long can come across as somewhat surprising, but I wouldn’t call Mothership‘s time misspent. Kelley‘s shredding solos are bluesy and rife with the kind of unscripted energy of someone who’s honed a natural talent, and when both brothers come together around a central riff with Smith behind, as on the side A closer “Angel of Death” — even the Ripple CD is broken into sides, as was the initial self-release — the groove is undeniable. They’re prone to swagger, but no more than is appropriate or called for by the songs, and with touches of classic metal and a crisp production by Wo Fat guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, who also makes a guest appearance in the former capacity on the eight-minute finale “Lunar Master,” Mothershipwas basically an album waiting to be picked up.
In my original review, I said that the album grew redundant after a while. I remember listening to it for the first time, in the car en route to Michigan ahead of hitting up the Days of the Doomed II fest last year, and thinking that the formula got stale as side B started to wind down. Revisiting the Ripple Music version now, I don’t necessarily disagree (lot of good it would do), though I think the issue might actually stem more from the initial impression made by opening instrumental “Hallucination,” which does little to pave the way for the intensity to come even with the relatively staid (again, relative to some of the shenanigans that ensue) beginning of second track “Cosmic Rain,” and which, by the time it picks up its tempo, has spent three of its five minutes undercutting a momentum and sense of immediacy Mothership do so well otherwise to present.
And if that seems like nitpicking, yeah, it probably is. Take the minute nature of that critique as a sign of how otherwise solid Mothership‘s Mothershipis, both in terms of the tightness of the performances of the Juetts and Smith and in the trio’s ready-to-roll grip on their aesthetic — all the more impressive when you consider this is their debut album. There remains room to grow in their sound, in terms of vocal arrangements and the overall dynamics there, but doubtless Mothership are undertaking the work of that growth on stage every night on their current tour — even if they are getting loaded in the process — and they’ll hopefully emerge even more of a force than they were when they hit the studio with Stump to put these songs to tape. It’s an easy bunch of songs to get excited about, and the potential Mothership show here is outshined only their obvious love of what they’re doing.
In the interview posted last summer with the band, the Juett brothers credited their father (who also plays drums on some of these songs) for instilling them with a love of classic heavy rock. That love is all over the self-titledMothership, and if they’re looking for something to build on for their next time out, that’s a better starting point than most.
Now a trio with bassist Mark Cook on board, Arlington-based heavy fuzz rockers Stone Machine Electric nonetheless recorded their self-titled, self-released debut as the core duo of Mark Kitchens and William “Dub” Irvin. The album (review here) was recorded by Kent Stump of Dallas heavyweights Wo Fat, and shares some of that band’s tonal thickness as a result, but Dub and Kitchens take tracks like “Carve” and “Mushroom Cloud” in a direction more their own, jamming out organic fuzz with psychedelic flourish, sounding raw live and studio lush all at once.
Stone Machine Electric, who are aligned to the fertile Dallas scene that also includes OrthodoxFuzz, Kin of Ettinsand the rip-rocking Mothership as well as the aforementioned Wo Fat, made their debut in 2010 with the live demo Awash in Feedback(review here), on which the audio was rough but still gave some idea of where they were coming from. Emphasis on “some” only because the self-titled feels so much more fleshed out and shows them as having a clear idea of what they want Stone Machine Electric to be as a band and where they want to go with their music. It’s a big jump from one to the other, and as they’ve since undergone the pivotal change of bringing Cook in on bass, there’s potential for another such leap next time around.
Given that, it seemed time to hit up Dub and Kitchens for Six Dumb Questions about the self-titled, recording with Stump, having Darryl Bell from Dub’s prior band play bass on the track “Hypocrite Christ,” their striking album art, and so on. They were much quicker in obliging than I actually was in sending out the questions, and you’ll find the results below. Please enjoy:
1. Tell me about the time between the live demo and recording the full-length. Was there anything specific you learned from the demo that you tried to being to the studio?
Dub: The demo was just a live recording that we were ok with releasing. Something for people to hear until we could get in the studio. We did try to bring that “liveness” of the demo to the studio by playing together as much as possible.
2. How long were you in the studio with Kent from Wo Fat? What was the atmosphere like and how did the recording process go? Did Dub record bass parts first or after the guitar?
Kitchens: We were in the studio with Kent for about two and a half days. The first day and a half was spent recording, and the rest was just getting the mixes done. We’re friends with Kent, so that made it feel like we were just hanging out, but recording at the same time. We recorded the drum and guitar tracks together (other than the additional guitar tracks) to get a more live and rawer sound. “Hypocrite Christ” was the only exception. Daryl played the bass with us on that track.
Dub: Yeah, since Kent is a brother it was real laid back. He already knew what we sounded like, so it was all gravy. Like Kitchens said, all the basic guitar and drum tracks (and bass on “Hypocrite Christ”) were recorded with us in the same room together. After that I laid down the remaining bass tracks. Followed by vocals, then guitar overdubs last.
3. How did you wind up including “Hypocrite Christ” from Dub’s Dead Rustic Dog days, and how was it having Daryl Bell in the studio on bass for that?
Dub: Man, having Daryl in there was great. We don’t get to hang out or jam together much at all anymore, so I’m really glad he was able to do it. Not to mention that no one can play that tune quite like him.
That tune just seems to fit into what we do. It’s almost like it was written for SME before there was SME. Actually, Kitchens was also in the band at the time this song was written, so it seemed almost natural to bring it into SME. We played this tune early on and then dropped it for a while. We’ve been wanting to resurrect it again, and what better way than to put it on the album.
4. How has bringing in Mark Cook on bass changed the band’s sound? Have you started to write new material yet? If so, how much of a role does he play?
Kitchens: Mark is helping fill out our sound. We’ve had people tell us we sound great as a two- piece live, and that we pull it off well. You just can’t beat having that low end though. We are working on new material now, so I’m looking forward to what he’ll bring.
Dub: Cook not only helps fill out our sound but also opens it up. He brings in a whole other dimension. We are just now beginning work on new material, and hearing what Cook has brought to the existing tunes I’m excited to see how the new stuff will turn out.
5. Where did the idea for the collage cover art come from? Is there a message being conveyed there, and if so, what is it?
Kitchens:Terry Horn, who was our bassist for a while, did the artwork. I had given him some ideas that I had, but he came back with the collage. I’d never thought of that, and I loved it. We ended up not have any logo or text on the cover because it didn’t look right, and I like that idea as well. Terry is an exceptional artist.
Dub: Yeah, I dig Terry‘s work.
Terry Horn: It was spontaneous. I just put the CD on and listened to it and started flipping through magazines and sketchbooks. Ultimately, I wanted to do something for the cover that was different than most artwork you see on stoner rock/doom stuff today.
Not to sound too cliché, but sometimes art is just art.
6. Any other plans, gigs or closing words you want to mention?
Kitchens: It would be great if we could do a few weekend tours this year hitting some places around Texas or the adjoining states. I’d love to play one of the festivals that happen here in the states. Hoping in a year or so we are back in the studio with Kent. I’ll end with a big thanks to our friends and fans for digging our stuff!
Dub: I think he just summed it up right there. Don’t just keep your finger on the pulse, become part of the pulse!
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Interested to get some thoughts on this one, if you’ve got a minute. Austin, Texas, natives Scorpion Child have signed to Nuclear Blast for the release of their first album, about which you can find the details below. Record’s due in May, like the headline says.
Below that, you can see a lyric/performance video of the cut “Polygon of Eyes,” from the record. The band certainly seems to fit with Nuclear Blast‘s recent splurge of ’70s-worship worship, with a vintage metal sound, rightly compared to Rainbow, Zeppelin, etc. I guess I’m on the fence after just hearing the one track and will have to hear the full LP to make up my mind, but if you’ve got an opinion, please feel free to share.
Here’s the info and clip:
SCORPION CHILD SIGNS TO NUCLEAR BLAST ENTERTAINMENT; ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM DETAILS
Attributes in music are known to be cyclical. Every few years, a band comes along who borrows just enough from the revered past to bring a new infusion of vitality to the musical present. SCORPION CHILD’s sound invokes a time when guitar-driven rock ruled radio’s airwaves, when being hypnotized by a frontman and his bandmates in a concert arena was one of life’s ultimate main events. A five-piece from Austin, Texas, SCORPION CHILD have spent the last few years perfecting both their songwriting and stage show. Guitarists Chris Cowart and David Finner deliver their finessed twin guitar attack with experience older than their years; bassist Shaun Avants and drummer Shawn Alvear are steadfast sentinels of their driving rhythm section; and lead singer Aryn Jonathan Black fronts the psychedelic rock cavalry with a passion & voice reminiscent of the early eras of Robert Plant and Ronnie James Dio.
“I’ve always wanted to hear new musical ingredients within a classic heavy sound,” states vocalist AJB. “It’s great to witness captivating performances where both the live show and the band’s recorded material can complement one another. The heavy-prog sounds of Uriah Heep, Hairy Chapter, and the epic delivery of early Rainbow showcases these crossovers brilliantly and gave us all honest – yet relentless – sonics to aspire to. That’s why it’s important for us as a band to maintain spontaneity while putting a special emphasis into integral hooks.”
This May, Nuclear Blast Entertainment will release SCORPION CHILD’s self-titled, full-length debut. Produced and arranged by Chris “Frenchie” Smith (The Answer, Jet, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Toadies, Dax Riggs), the album uses analog recording technology to organically capture a hybrid of nine, hook-filled chapters of heavy psych rock. The goal? To breathe new life into a neglected yet still important musical heritage.
Dangerous guitar riffs, soul-ridden bass lines, and thunderous drums with powerful rock vocals as lead conductor convey the on-stage swagger of SCORPION CHILD and will prepare you for the live experience awaiting you when the band tours the U.S. and Europe throughout 2013.
To watch the lyric video for “Polygon Of Eyes” or to stream the song, visit SCORPION CHILD at www.facebook.com/scorpionchild
Scorpion Child track listing is:
1. Kings Highway 2. Polygon Of Eyes 3. The Secret Spot 4. Salvation Slave 5. Liquor 6. Antioch 7. In The Arms Of Ecstasy 8. Lover’s Leap 9. Red Blood (The River Flows)
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Truth be told, they’ve been putting on shows during SXSW since 1997, but 2013 makes it a full decade that Small Stone has been doing an official SXSW showcase, and the venerable Detroit imprint are celebrating in style. I always get a little wistful thinking about my days in Austin at these parties — I went four years from 2003-’07 — and from seeing Suplecs touring on the strength of a post-Man’s Ruin demo to watching Sasquatch and The Brought Low lay waste to the room. Good friends, cheap beer, occasionally Mexican food. Some of the best times I’ve had at shows were at those things, and not just for the refried beans.
I won’t be making the trip this year, but consider it highly recommended nonetheless if you can get down that way. Brian Mercer has once again provided the poster for the shindig, which is below, followed by the lineup and set times:
Marking 10 years of official SXSW showcases, Detroit’s Small Stone Records returns to Headhunters (720 Red River) on March 14 with some of the finest in heavy rock. This year’s Small Stone showcase is headlined by New Orleans veterans Suplecs and Connecticut upstarts Lord Fowl, and features Virginia’s Freedom Hawk and Texan natives Wo Fat along with Luder, Supermachine and Mellow Bravo. For lovers of classic guitar and motor-ready grooves, it gets no better than Small Stone, and with a decade under their belts, they still throw a party like none other. Expect the epic.
Date: Thursday March, 14th, 2013 Venue: Headhunters – 720 Red River – Austin, TX – 78701 1 am: Suplecs (New Orleans, LA) 12 mid: Lord Fowl (New Haven, CT) 11pm: Freedom Hawk (Virginia Beach, VA) 10pm: Wo Fat (Dallas, TX) 9pm: Luder (Ferndale, MI) 8pm: Supermachine (Dover, NH) 7pm: Mellow Bravo (Boston, MA)
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last heard from with 2010′s underrated slab of rockin’ doom, Dusk(review here), Texan burl-bringers Las Cruces are on the move as regards their fourth album. According to a comment left yesterday, the four-piece are currently writing tracks set to be recorded later this year and released on John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus‘ label, the venerable Brainticket Records. Obviously this is good news for lovers of trad or biker doom, and I can only hope they top Duskby having the word “wizard” in the titles of three songs this time out.
Texas Doom-Metal Veterans LAS CRUCES To Enter Studio For New Album In 2013
Viva Las Cruces
Texas doom-metal veterans Las Cruces are currently writing new material and preparing to enter the studio for their 2013 as-yet-untitled fourth full-length album. The album will be a follow-up to 2010?s “Dusk” released worldwide via Brainticket Records. The band will also re-release their entire catalogue to include a vinyl edition of 1998?s “Ringmaster”, initially released via Brainticket Records.
In other news, Las Cruces will now be managed by Leigh Olson Management and Media Relations who is the wife and personal manager of Jeff “Oly” Olson, original drummer of doom-metal legends Trouble. Moreover, Las Cruces is currently entertaining new record labels as well as scheduling a summer 2013 U.S. tour. Tour dates will be announced soon.
Guitarist George Trevino founded Las Cruces back in 1994 in San Antonio, Texas and has since made his mark across The Lone Star State and the American doom-metal scene. It’s no wonder why Daniel Bukszpan, author of “The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal,” acknowledges Las Cruces as “one of the genre’s leading proponents.”
Las Cruces‘ current lineup is as follows: George Trevino – Guitar Mando Tovar – Guitar Jimmy Bell – Bass Paul DeLeon – Drums/Vocals
Posted in Reviews on January 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Their prior 2010 live demo, Awash in Feedback, served notice of their arrival, and with a thickly-fuzzed 39-minute full-length, Arlington, Texas, duo Stone Machine Electric make their self-titled debut. Immediately notable is the production job of Wo Fat guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, who brings to these songs a similar sense of warmth captured on his band’s 2011 outing, The Black Code, though Stone Machine Electric are somewhat rawer in their approach, and much like Awash in Feedback (review here) was very much a demo, Stone Machine Electric is very much a first album. In fact, opener “Mushroom Cloud” and closer “Nameless” appeared as highlights on the demo, so there’s even more of a link between the releases – as if being put out by the same band wasn’t enough, I guess? – but the leap in development is not to be understated. That was a live demo. This is an album. Its five component tracks all top six minutes – the longest, second cut “Hypocrite Christ” jams its way past 10 – and there’s a firm sense that both William “Dub” Irvin, guitar/vocals and all bass save for the aforementioned longest track, and Kitchens, drums/vocals, have a grip on what they want Stone Machine Electric to sound like. They are of their genre and of their region, and while Texas has one of the most densely populated scenes in the union – as much as anything can be densely populated in such wide open spaces – Stone Machine Electric shows enough potential in the band to begin to stand them out in a manner no less striking that the CD’s manic, Terry Gilliam-esque cover. It is the beginning, but one listen to the thickness with which Dub’s guitar and Kitchens’ toms are presented in the rolling grooves of “Mushroom Cloud,” and especially hearing how big a role the bass plays for a band that, at the time of the recording, didn’t have a bassist (Mark Cook has reportedly since come aboard in that slot), and there’s a palpable potential in what they do. Also helps that, when he needs to, Dub can tear ass through a psychedelic solo, as he does on “Mushroom Cloud,” and though the vocals are understated pretty much front to back, that works well in the mix to play up the thickness of the guitars, bass and drums.
And yes, I do mean thick drums. Kitchens’ toms are high in parts, as on “Hypocrite Christ,” but on most stereos, it shouldn’t be an issue, and the fullness in their sound is fitting complement to Dub’s wall of fuzz. “Hypocrite Christ” has a laid back, jammy haze, and a rougher, more forward vocal, but the riffing is choice and the feel is that much more relatable to a live sense of the band with guest bassist Daryl Bell, who’s given no small task in providing a foundational rhythm to the jam in the song’s second half, topped by Kitchen’s toms and a sliding, echoing solo from Dub. The lyrics are a touch juvenile, but the hook of “Bleed for me/I won’t bleed for you” is drawn out and strong enough to stand on its own despite any over-familiarity of theme, and in any case, it’s an older song, written in 2005 by Dub’s prior band, Dead Rustic Dog, in which Bell also played bass. Centerpiece “Carve” nestles itself into a niche close to the rhythmic bounce of the first two Suplecs records, and follows a vocal cadence accordingly, beginning with a heavy-footed lumber in the opening jam before Dub’s guitar chug leads into the verse while Kitchens adds flourish with quick punctuating fills between each line. A more hectic chorus emerges, but the hook is less prevalent than that of “Hypocrite Christ,” and the most memorable aspect of the song winds up being its classically stoner central riff, which wouldn’t have been out of place on the first Sasquatch album, or indeed on either of Wo Fat’s last two records. Such is the sonic company that Stone Machine Electric seem most intent on keeping, but though some of the self-titled’s most effective moments come when engrossed in fuzzy lurch, the near-shuffle that consumes the middle-third jam on “Carve” winds up being what most justifies it as the album’s centerpiece, Dub and Kitchens working a trio dynamic into a two-piece, sounding their most assured of anywhere on the recording. The groove is plotted and the transition back to the verse easy, and they cap the 9:19 track with a bass interlude leading to a big rock finish of leads and crash.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 20th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’ve never been big on birthdays — something about a complete lack of self worth — but apparently the dudes in Houston dark metal outfit Sanctus Bellum have no such reservations. In celebration of the shared birthday of guitarist Jan Kimmel and bassist Ben Yaker, Sanctus Bellum have gone so far as to import Bobby Liebling for a set of Pentagram classics and James Rivera of Helstar for a round of heavy ’70s rock gems, pulling a bit of triple-duty with a set of their own material as well on a bill that also includes Serpent Sun, Cauldron, H.R.A. and Owl Witch.
The show is set for this Saturday at Rudyard’s British Pub in Houston, and if you’re in the neighborhood, it sounds like it’s going to be a blast. Check it out:
Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling and Sanctus Bellum’s Ben Yaker Interviewed on Upcoming Collaborative Performance
Bobby Liebling of doom metal legends Pentagram and Ben Yaker of Houston’s Sanctus Bellum have been interviewed by Free Press Houston in preparation for their upcoming collaborative performance at The El Birthday Metal Fest II on Saturday, Dec. 22.
At the festival, which takes place at Rudyard’s British Pub in Houston, TX, Liebling will take the stage with members of Sanctus Bellum (collaboratively styled as Sanctus Bellum Sanctuary) to perform a one-time-only set of classic 70s Pentagram songs, many of which have not been performed since the 1970s, and some of which have never been performed live at all.
In the interview, which can be read in its entirety here: http://www.freepresshouston.com/music/the-el-birthday-metal-fest-ii/, Yaker states “…Not only do I get to essentially be in my favorite band for the night, but I get to hand pick the set list. These are my favorite, unheralded Pentagram songs–songs that I always wish would have gotten more play. I would always go to Pentagram shows, hoping to get them to play some of these songs, knowing it would never happen, but now I can make it happen.”
Speaking on the set, Liebling says “We’ll be doing songs I haven’t played in close to 40 years, most of ‘em. They decided to pick a lot of off the wall ones [laughs]… You know, the bands I used to listen to, I would have given anything to have gotten to do a set with Mountain or Grand Funk or Cactus. I’m very happy to do this show with them.”
The El Birthday Metal Fest II also features a set of classic metal covers performed by Sanctus Bellum and James Rivera of Houston metal legends Helstar (styled Sanctus Bellum Sanctus), in addition to sets by Sanctus Bellum, H.R.A., Owl Witch, and Serpent Sun.
The festival, which is 21+, is scheduled to begin promptly at 6:00 pm. Admission is $15. Advance tickets and commemorative posters can be purchased at www.sanctusbellum.bigcartel.com.
Okay, so it works like this. Houston stoner garage rockers The Linus Pauling Quartet – who are a five-piece — have a 3CD box set coming out next week called Assault on the Vault of the Ancient Bonglords. They’ll be releasing it themselves on their own Homeskool Records, as they did earlier this year with their eighth album, Bag of Hammers(review here). To mark the occasion of the release, they’ve written a theme song for the box set. No surprise, it’s called “Assault on the Vault of the Ancient Bonglords.”
But make no mistake. This is a new song — as in, it doesn’t actually appear on the box set for which it’s named. What it does do, however, is make fantastic accompaniment to the charming and Shiner Bock-fueled video the band put together, half as a commercial for the box set and half as a showcase for the track itself. Because I’m a firm believer in the power of charm and the power of killer riffing, here’s the clip for the song:
If you find yourself digging the track and wishing you could hear more of it, you’re in luck as along with the video, The Linus Pauling Quartet also sent along the song itself, which is apparently just a couple weeks old. My understanding is this version isn’t mastered and they’ll have a final up soon as a free download, but here’s “Assault on the Vault of the Ancient Bonglords” to stream in the meantime if you’re up for digging in:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
The Linus Pauling Quartet will release the 3CD box set Assault on the Vault of the AncientBonglordson Dec. 18 through Homeskool Records. For more info, hit them up at their Thee Facebooks page.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 27th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
You can’t argue with pretty, and Wo Fat‘s The Black Codevinyl is most certainly that. The Dallas-based riffers have their Small Stone debut (review here) available on LP as of now, and they’ll be playing a release show on Dec. 8 with fellow Texan upstarts Venomous Maximus and Mothership. More info on that is here, and in addition to sending on word about the vinyl release, Wo Fat also updated on the progress for their Kickstarter campaign to find their European tour, which includes a stop at next year’s Roadburn.
Black Code vinyl has arrived!
We now have “The Black Code” on vinyl available in theWo Fat Hoodoo Shop. It is of the finest quality 180 gram vinyl and comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve. You have 3 color choices for the vinyl: Black, Opaque Orange and Transparent Blue. Take a look at the photo below. If you buy the vinyl directly from Wo Fat, it comes with a download card for a free download of the album (you don’t get this anywhere else). Get yours now while they last.
Also, we’ve got 20 days left in our Kickstarter Campaign that is raising funds to help us cover the cost of going to Europe for a tour next spring. This tour is being entirely funded by the band, which is why your help is so important and tremendously appreciated. You can reserve an autographed copy of vinyl through the kickstarter page if you like. Yes, it costs more, but that donation will go directly to cover the costs of airfare. There are also other bitchin’ rewards for your donations that are available only through this campaign.
Posted in Reviews on November 23rd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s hard to know where to start with Seven, the debut 7” single by Austin, Texas-based trio The Well. The band self-released the two-track outing, featuring the songs “Act II” and “Trespass,” at the end of September in a limited marble-vinyl edition of 300, and coupled the record with a variety of artworks in what they called a “rip-off series,” with hand-drawn sketches from Casey Cork and bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley reinterpreting album art from Electric Wizard, Wicked Lady (the one I got, hence the flapper above), Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer to suit their own purposes, as well as some with an original design. Musically, I suppose The Well do pretty much the same thing. Having formed in 2010, the band are pretty clearly gettingtheir bearings in terms of their development, but they already have a firm grip on their aesthetic, taking new (nouveau?) American laidbackitude and melding it with simple grooving riffs, obscure but catchy lyrics and an echoing sense of open space. Seven doesn’t really find The Well coming out of the gate with anything that’s never been done before, but it works no less well for them in 2012 than it did for Lords of the North in 2008, and the oft-concurrent dual vocals of Alley and guitarist Ian Graham are an immediate distinguishing factor on “Act II,” which rolls in casual-like on a stonerly bounce from drummer Jason Sullivan and nod-ready bassline from Alley. Graham offers crunch in his rhythm tone and classic fuzz for the bluesy lead he takes near the halfway point, and when the song breaks following the next verse into a post-Vitus noisefest, the effect is jarring in probably the best way it could be. Alley’s bass and Sullivan’s drums keep going while the guitar drops out and Graham and Alley – whose voices already prove impeccably matched – take the fore and make a viable hook out of the lines “Twisting ropes and needle pokes can’t harm me/Pious minds can’t understand what charms me,” and lock into wah-driven shuffle for what seems like it will be the instrumental outro until they pull back for one last run through the chorus, well timed and crisply executed on the live-sounding recording, helmed by Jason Morales of Austin heavy psych improvisators Tia Carrera.
Such moves make it easy to get into both songs on Seven, accessible in a totally non-commercialized but still traditional sense of pop songwriting. “Trespass,” which is more explicitly led by Graham’s guitar, shorter by just over a full minute and overall thicker in its chug, is no less catchy. Graham opens with a wash of Hendrix wah and is joined in time by Alley and Sullivan for another solid mid-paced groover, Sullivan’s fills telegraphing the transitions but not detracting from them. After the intro, which takes up 50 seconds of the total 4:43, “Trespass” follows a much simpler structure than did “Act II,” but the vocals tap into that same lysergic drawl that made the first Witch album so irresistible and a double-layered solo from Sullivan provides a point of interest leading into the build of the bridge, even if the song is clearly a B-side. As they did with “Act II,” they pull back to the central groove just when it seems like they’ve gone too far out to recover, and they end Seven with a return to the chorus, giving a final nod to the potential in their craft before the guitar clicks off and the release is over. The Well have reportedly already returned to the studio to record a full-length, this time with Mark Deutrom (who played bass in the Melvins during their Atlantic years), and their commitment to aligning themselves to producers with experience in heavy rock speaks to a professional mindset as much as any last chorus speaks to a quality of craft, so while Seven is the first time The Well have made their presence known, it seems unlikely it will be the last. All the better. Both “Act II” and “Trespass” give an impression of a trio taking off on a creative trip. Their efficiency on a musical level and their penchant for strong hooks can only serve them well as they continue to develop, and whatever they do next, I’ll be interested to hear what other tricks they might have up their collective sleeve in terms of changing up their approach or adding diversity to their sound or even just establishing a flow over the course of a debut LP. For now, though, Seven makes a welcome introduction.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Dub and Kitchens of Texas-based outfit Stone Machine Electric return. The pair recorded their self-titled debut full-length with Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump and will release the album on Jan. 11, 2013.
Stone Machine Electric‘s Awash in Feedbackdemo (review here) gave a good sense of the band’s presence in a live setting, so it should be interesting to hear how they follow it with a proper studio recording (which Stump is bound to provide) two-plus years later.
Here’s the latest off the PR wire:
Stone Machine Electric to Release First Full Length Album
Arlington, Texas duo (yeah, still looking for a bassist), Stone Machine Electric, are set to release their first full length album on CD the beginning of next year on January 11th, 2013. This release is Stone Machine Electric’s follow up to their demo “Awash in Feedback” that was released at the end of 2010.
Recorded this past September, “Stone Machine Electric” is being self-released by the band. This 5 song, 40 minute album was recorded and mixed by Kent Stump (of Wo Fat) and mastered by Nolan Brett at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, Texas. Though there is not a bassist in the current line-up, the tracks do contain that heavy low-end. The band’s friend, Daryl Bell, laid down the bass for the song “Hypocrite Christ.” Dub tracked the remaining bass lines for the other songs.
The album will be officially released at their CD release show on January 11th, 2013 at Lola’s in Fort Worth, Texas. The line-up for that night will include Orthodox Fuzz, The Cosmic Trigger, and china kills girls.
Posted in Reviews on November 15th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
The sound that Houston-based four-piece Venomous Maximus capture on their Beg upon the Light full-length debut is a Frankenstein’s monster of influence. Here and there, one gets flashes of NWOBHM gallop in the guitars of Gregg Higgins and Christian Larson, that, combined with Higgins’ trad metal vocal style brings to mind a modernized version of Pagan Altar or some such cult curio. Theirs is heavy metal thunder, no doubt about it, and while some of the “occult” elements on Beg upon the Light (out, by no coincidence, on Occulture Records) feel like a put-on, there’s a genuine sense of atmosphere underlying the dudely thrust and all the talk of witches and “What name is this carved in my body?” The record is dark, as one might expect from its name, the band’s name (though it actually comes from G.I. Joe), the artwork, the song titles, etc., but also accessible musically in a way that reminds a bit of the horror rock that the Misfits once made seem so dangerous even though it was essentially pop songwriting sped up. Venomous Maximus’ prior EP, the self-released The Mission (review here), was by no means rudimentary, but one gets a clear sense of development in listening to Beg upon the Light, whether it’s the guitars, vocals, the bass work of Trevi Biles or the drumming of Bongo Brungardt, whose grounding effect seems at points to be the roots from which the album’s memorable hooks spring. Higgins proves a strong vocalist as the intro “Funeral Queen” gives way to “Path of Doom,” his approach straddling the line between semi-spoken and dramatic heavy goth metal wailing. They take elements from the genre, but more than they’re doom or singularly anything else, Venomous Maximus are a metal band, and these songs bear that out. With crisp production and flourishes of organ on “Funeral Queen” – it’s the first thing you hear on the album – and the soon to follow interlude “Father Time,” which also boasts spoken word vocals and acoustic guitar – violin on closing duo “Mother’s Milk” and “Hell’s Heroes” and a rich variety of vocal arrangements – a few guest spots persist there as well – the album never veers close to redundancy of method, and yet there’s a pervasive sense of cohesion throughout, heard as early as “Give up the Witch” follows from “Path of Doom” that underscores the professionalism at work throughout these tracks.
“Give up the Witch” is a highlight, and also likely among the oldest material here included, since Venomous Maximus made their debut with a 7” single of the same name. Still, if it has wear and tear for the band having trudged it through the last couple years since they got together, it doesn’t show. One of the strongest hooks plus one of the strongest riffs equals one of the strongest songs – it’s a pretty easy formula. Higgins lets out a couple screams as he backs himself on vocals, and the guitars behind showcase a touch of the extreme as well. More than enough to qualify as dangerous. Yet an overlying groove remains, and in that, “Give up the Witch” does even more of the work in setting a course for what follows than did the opener. Larson and Higgins bust out classic riff after classic riff, so that you’re through “Father Time” – curious to place your interlude two tracks after your intro, but it works in the overall context – and into “Dream Again (Hellenbach)” and the ensuing “Moonchild” (not a King Crimson cover, though part of me hoped for a dramatic reinterpretation) in the center of Beg upon the Light before you even realize the considerable amount of momentum the band has amassed. With 10 tracks and a runtime just under 46 minutes, the album is right in line with what one commonly thinks of as “full-length,” but it moves remarkably quick from one cut to the next, keeping a strong flow while not sacrificing a sense of the songs as individual pieces. “Dream Again (Hellenbach)” culminates with well-mixed interplay between the two guitars and formidable thud from Brungardt, and when Higgins says, “Everybody,” urging an imagined crowd to join him on the final chorus, it’s emblematic of the accessibility at the root of what Venomous Maximus are doing. There’s an audience for this kind of metal, they know it, and that’s who they’re reaching out toward. The push continues on “Moonchild,” which features guest spoken vocals, more strong screaming, and the begging question, “Why did the gods have to make us this way?” backed by mounting chants in the bridge, offering one of the most dramatic moments of the album.
Posted in audiObelisk on November 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
In mid-November, King of the Monsters Records will release a new split 7″ between Uzala and Mala Suerte. Now, if like me you’ve lost all sense of time and space, that sounds like a really long way away, but you’ll pardon if I blow your mind and say that mid-November is next week. So yeah, it’s sooner than you might think.
This isn’t the first time I’ve streamed material from Uzala. The Boise, Idaho/Portland, Oregon, psychedowner four-piece premiered the cassette-only “Cataract” from their self-titled debut here late last year, and it was awesome. Their album was unremittingly atmospheric, biting fuzz off Electric Wizard and adding a touch of newer West Coast fuckall, Darcy Nutt‘s vocals keeping a mystique in the croon while bassist Nick Phit (ex-Graves at Sea) thickened the tonal lurch into a fine oozing mess.
Their new track for this split, dubbed “Burned,” follows a similar but developed course, and pairs well with the more stripped down riffing of Austin, Texas-based doomers Mala Suerte. The cut they contribute, “The Veil of Secrecy,” takes a conspiracy-minded political bent, calling for — among other things — an end to the Federal Reserve, vocalist Gary Rosas noting in its opening lines that, “The road to Utopia is paved/With the bones and blood of the common man.” I guess that settles that.
When I posted the news that this split 7″ was coming, the response cool enough that I asked permission to host the release in its entirety for streaming, and I was lucky enough that said permission was granted. You’ll find “Burned” and “The Veil of Secrecy” on the player below, followed by info from the PR wire and a preorder link. Dig it:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
King of the Monsters has announced the upcoming release of one of the heaviest splits of 2012 – a 7″ collaboration between Boise fuzz-doom shamans UZALA and Austin, TX’s own psych-minded doom fiends MALA SUERTE. Preorders are now up on the label website, and orders will ship in early November. The split features a brand-new track from each band, as well as mind-blowing cover art, courtesy of UZALA chanteuse, axe-slinger, and celebrated tattoo artist Darcy Nutt and MALA SUERTE vocalist Gary Rosas.
The release is limited to 500 copies, with the first 100 available on black/white split vinyl and the remaining 400 entombed in obsidian black.
MALA SUERTE’S ”The Veil of Secrecy” is an older fan favorite, recorded in winter 2012. The UZALA song was recorded at Type Foundry in Portland, OR in August 2011 with Alex Yusimov at the helm, mixed by Blake Green at WOLVSERPENT STUDIOS, and mastered by Mell Dettmer.
Posted in audiObelisk on November 5th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
The movement in Blood of the Sun‘s “Burning on the Wings of Desire” is immediate. It’s the title-track of the fourth album by the Texas ’70s worshipers, and the band, led by drummer Henry Vasquez (also of Saint Vitus) and organist/keyboardist Dave Gryder, have tapped the vein of a boogie rarely captured so well. They shift from shuffle to adrenaline-quickened builds, from organ melodies to the swaggering vocals of John O’Daniel and killer leads of guitarist Rusty Burns, both of Southern rockers Point Blank, come aboard for this, Blood of the Sun‘s first release on Listenable Records.
Burning on the Wings of Desirewill be issued on Nov. 27, and to herald its arrival, I’ve been granted permission to host the title cut for streaming. The album (full review here) is quick to build classic rock momentum, and does well to hold it for the duration. Its title-track is well chosen, as it more or less embodies the ethic of the whole, with a strong hook, unpretentious style and unabashed love for the glory days of guitar-led heavy rock. But in the grand tradition — and Blood of the Sun reside in several grand traditions — of eponymous songs, it’s worthy of being the one by which the album is defined.
You may also recognize some elements in the songwriting or production as reminiscent of Stone Axe/Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed. Reed, who also recorded Saint Vitus‘ Lillie: F-65, played bass and some guitar on the album, also overseeing the process of putting it to tape. So if Blood of the Sun wasn’t already familiar enough, that’s one more element working in favor of their accessibility.
Please find “Burning on the Wings of Desire” on the player below, and please enjoy.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!