The Munsens, Unhanded: When it’s Time to Let Loose

Posted in Reviews on February 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the munsens unhanded

Though The Munsens call the mile-high environs of Denver, Colorado, home, their roots are along the Northeastern Seaboard in New Jersey, and sure enough, their debut full-length was recorded across the Hudson River from New York City in a town called Hoboken, which claims distinction as the birthplace of both Frank Sinatra and baseball. They’ve been looking for their sound over the course of the last five years, tracing their way through stonerly crunch on the 2014 Weight of Night EP (review here) and 2016’s moodier Abbey Rose EP (review here), but as Shaun and Michael Goodwin, who handle guitar and vocals/bass/cover photography, respectively, and drummer Graham Wesselhoff embark on their first album for Sailor Records, the five-track/38-minute Unhanded — which it’s worth noting is shorter than Abbey Rose by about two minutes — takes on a much more extremity-fueled approach, basking in sludgy groove and harsh, biting vocals.

There are moments where their prior fuzz shines through, as in the early going of penultimate cut “Bleeding from the Ears,” but The Munsens seem to be bent toward plodding their way into a vision of sludge that’s informed by brutality as much as heft, and indeed the centerpiece track comes across like slowed-down Mantar, their deeply weighted tones as captured by Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile/Hoboken Recorders coming through all the more tectonic for their lumbering pace. But tempo too is malleable, and even in the 10:54 album opener and longest track (immediate points) “Dirge (For Those to Come),” the three-piece offset plod with blasting intensity. The result there as in several places on Unhanded is a sonic brutalism that is clearheaded in its intent and striking in its fluidity. They are not by any means friendly-sounding, but “Dirge (For Those to Come)” underscores at atmospheric approach late in its going, topping the nod-paced cacophony with an airier guitar solo that skirts the border of the hypnotic. Having become multifaceted certainly doesn’t hurt them, and the prevailing vibe throughout Unhanded is that The Munsens are hereby laying claim to the sound they’ve been seeking for the last five years.

It’s a convenient narrative, if nothing else, but there is evidence in the songs to back it up. The four-minute pummel and sway of closer “Rivers of Error” showcases The Munsens at some of their nastiest before its long fade brings the record to its end, but in the downtrodden riffing of second track “Pitiful” leads to a fervent gallop that’s straight out of heavy rock, even if its tones are coated in filth and the earlier vocals are guttural shouts reveling in their viciousness. That might be residual influence from what they were doing a couple years ago on Abbey Rose, but I don’t think so. The prevailing spirit of Unhanded seems to be more about honing who The Munsens are as a band. Even the title could be read as speaking to this kind of liberation — a sense of letting go. That’s what The Munsens seem to be doing here, and it’s a riskier proposition than was Abbey Rose.

the munsens

Certainly that release and Weight of Night — also recorded by Moebius; it’s a partnership the bass tone alone proves they were correct to resume — were dark, but the shift in vocal style puts them in a different category of bands entirely, and the ease with which their material careens from its noise-caked mania to either a slowdown or even just as standalone guitar as in the midsection of “Unhanded” itself willfully takes on that risk. If they alienate some heads, well, screw it. Plenty of skulls in the sea. The sense of crush they bring to Unhanded is purposeful and they wield it well, but even the act of taking it on in place of some of the far-back cavernousness of Abbey Rose is a bold move. The Munsens could have easily continued the path they were on, but frankly, Unhanded comes across front to back as more honest, and as the trio bask in this newfound freedom, it provides them with an energy of performance that bleeds into even their most lurching moments, as well as the brash onslaught of a piece like “Pitiful” or “Dirge (For Those to Come)” at its most raging.

But that’s just one way of taking Unhanded. The fact remains that by reuniting with Moebius, the Goodwins and Wesselhoff may indeed just be indulging an experiment of sound, and as resolved as they feel here, may be carried elsewhere by creative whims or the demands of future craft — i.e., “where the songs take them.” Given the context of Unhanded set against Abbey Rose and Weight of Night, I wouldn’t speculate, and while it’s telling that the newer release earns the distinction of being their first album while the prior EP had a longer runtime, that’s only part of the presentation, and it’s just as easy to regard the aesthetic shift as working in kind with Unhanded‘s overarching thematic, which is focused on a modern decay of environment and discourse. Lines like, “Not in my most fiendish of dreams/Could I have foreseen/Revolt so toothless/Preoccupied while pockets get lined,” from the title-track are tied to the current American social sphere, and likewise “Mountains of mistakes, ‘the promised land’/Rivers of errors flow with no delay/Buried in shit on our judgment day” from the finale, but neither goes so outwardly political as to name names.

Maybe next time, maybe not. The point is not to know. The Munsens have made their way to where they are on Unhanded by means of a genuine creative exploration, and for being their first long-player, they sound remarkably sure of themselves and what they’re doing across the bleak five-song span, but one would be blind to think they’re finished growing or don’t have more to say in terms of style as well as substance. Will they end up blending some of the aspects of their past work with what they do here? Will they push further into extreme metal? Have they secretly been a black metal band all along and just not told anybody? It’s entirely possible their next offering could arrive and be as unrecognizable from Unhanded as Unhanded is from their earlier output. If this record proves anything, it’s that The Munsens are in their element when it comes to taking chances.

The Munsens, Unhanded (2019)

The Munsens on Thee Facebooks

The Munsens on Instagram

The Munsens on Bandcamp

Sailor Records on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 10

Posted in Radio on February 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

Yeah, this episode was cool except for the goober hosting it. I recorded the voice breaks pretty early in the day on Friday, and I don’t know if I wasn’t awake or what, but I just couldn’t get it together. I think I did the middle break in two takes and that was about as good as it got. I’d still like to go back and get another shot at the opening one. And by the time I actually got to the end of the show, I was so damned afraid of screwing it up again that I basically sprinted for the stop button to finish recording. They can’t all be gold, I guess.

The good news is the playlist itself was awesome. As I tried repeatedly and failed to explain during the show itself, this episode wound up being a pretty vast international swath of acts, and that was something that just happened out of the blue. I didn’t even realize it until afterward. Sweden, Greece, the US, Italy, Norway, Australia, Germany. It’s a broad mix of stuff from a variety of places, and I like that. it’s a lot of new music and I like that too. Really, it’s just the sound of my own voice I could do without. Ha.

I’ll get ’em next time, or something.

Playlist follows. Thanks for reading and/or listening.

The Obelisk Show – 02.17.19

Warp Out of My Life Warp*
Automaton Talos Awakens TALOS*
The Munsens Dirge (For Those to Come) Unhanded*
BREAK
Vokonis Grasping Time Grasping Time*
Terras Paralelas Bom Presságio Entre Dois Mundos*
The Pilgrim Peace of Mind Walking into the Forest*
SÂVER I, Vanish They Came with Sunlight*
REZN Quantum Being Calm Black Water*
BREAK
Colour Haze Love Colour Haze
Aver Disorder Orbis Majora*
Troll Legend Master, Book I: Proverbs of Hell Legend Master*
BREAK
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard The Spaceships of Ezekiel Yn Ol I Anwnn*
Monovine Throw Me a Bone D.Y.E.*
Demon Head The Night is Yours Hellfire Ocean Void*
Old Mexico Past the Western Wall Old Mexico*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Tuesday at 9AM. Next show is March 3. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Monolith on the Mesa Lineup Confirmed; Om, Dead Meadow, Wovenhand, The Obsessed, Cloud Catcher & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

monolith on the mesa banner

So, uh, you wanna go get weird in the desert for a weekend? Sure, we all do. And if you’re up for making it the trip of a lifetime, Monolith on the Mesa has a bunch of decked-out vintage trailers available for you to hide from the New Mexico sun while you wait for the show to start. From the pre-party to The Obsessed headlining the second day, the inaugural edition of Monolith on the Mesa looks like the stuff of pilgrimage dreams. Om and Dead Meadow? Wovenhand? Tia Carrera jamming in a brewery? Duel? It’s an obviously curated lineup very purposefully put together with the setting in mind, and whether it’s the indoor or outdoor stage, it’s easy to see where it has the potential to be an incredible time. I’ve gone on at some length about the growth of US festival culture over the course of this decade. Look no further if you need an example of the fruit that would seem to be bearing.

If you make it down, congratulations on your life. You pretty much win.

Lineup and ticket links as per the social medias:

monolith on the mesa poster

Monolith on the Mesa: A High Desert Rock & Art Experience

Join Us On May 16th, 17th, & 18th In Taos New Mexico At Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership For Monolith on the Mesa A High Desert Rock Experience Like Non Other! A Music Festival with Art Visuals & Installations from Local NM Artists. And Of Course Some Of The Worlds Finest Dark, Psych, Stoner, Doom & Heavy Rock from All Over the Globe and SW Region! Browse Our Website monolithonthemesa.com For VIP And check out our Vintage Trailer Packages!!

http://www.monolithonthemesa.com/vintage-trailer-experience/

Hold My Ticket Link:
Pre party Show* https://holdmyticket.com/event/329481
2 Day Pass Ticket * https://holdmyticket.com/event/329524
Day 1 Pass Ticket * https://holdmyticket.com/event/329477
Day 2 Pass Ticket * https://holdmyticket.com/event/329482

MotherShip Outside Stage: Featuring Visuals By Mad Alchemist Liquid Light Show * Day 1: OM * Dead Meadow * Wovenhand * True Widow * EYE * Green Druid * Spirit Mother** Day 2: The Obsessed * Pinkish Black * Castle * The Well * Crypt Trip * WEEED * Cloud Catcher * The Munsens

Taos Mesa Worshipper Inside Stage: Day 1: * Tia Carrera * Wino (Acoustic) * Lord Buffalo * Pharlee * SuperGiant * YOU * Via Vengence * Deep Cross** Day 2 Duel * Stone Deaf * In The Company Of Serpents * Pale Horse\Pale Rider * Communion * Oryx * Sorex * Dysphotic * Devil’s Throne

https://www.facebook.com/events/260645364631316/
https://www.facebook.com/monolithonthemesa
https://www.instagram.com/monolithonthemesa/
http://www.monolithonthemesa.com/

Dead Meadow, “Good Moanin'” live at Endless Daze Fest 2018

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The Munsens Set Feb. 15 Release for Unhanded

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the munsens

I was lucky enough to be in the room this past August when The Munsens took the stage at Psycho Las Vegas (review here). It was an “oh shit!” kind of scenario. They’d timed the release of the single “Dirge (For Those to Come)” to the festival, but I hadn’t heard it, so the three-piece got going and started meting out scorched-sludge punishment the whole room knew what it did wrong and why it deserved it, and it was as much a surprise (to me) as it was killer. They owned the joint by the time they were done — or was it Vinyl; ha — and seeing them only made me look forward to what they’d do with their impending full-length debut.

We’ll find that out Feb. 15 as Sailor Records issues Unhanded, for which “Dirge (For Those to Come)” serves as the leadoff.

The PR wire brought the album art and details:

the munsens unhanded

THE MUNSENS: Denver’s Blackened Doom Trio To Release Debut Full-Length, Unhanded, Through Denver’s Sailor Records In February

Denver, Colorado’s THE MUNSENS will deliver their debut full-length album, Unhanded, on February 15th through their new cooperation with Denver’s Sailor Records. The LP comes following a productive 2018 Summer that included performances at Psycho Las Vegas, 71Grind IV, Austin Terror Fest, Electric Funeral Fest, and more. Album details and the opening track from Unhanded are now posted.

THE MUNSENS make noise from a Colfax Avenue dungeon, having carved out a place of their own in the much-lauded Denver metal scene over recent years. Their debut LP, Unhanded is a step in a new direction for the band, melding elements of the members’ early influences in punk, black metal, and hardcore. Offering a more complete representation of the outfit’s output from prior releases, Unhanded distinguishes THE MUNSENS as one of the more unique and enthralling bands on the metal touring circuit.

THE MUNSENS released the LP’s opening track for their Psycho Las Vegas performance over the Summer. Stream the monumental “Dirge (For Those To Come)” at YouTube RIGHT HERE, Spotify HERE, and Bandcamp HERE.

Produced by the band, Unhanded delivers nearly forty minutes of music through five mammoth songs, the album engineered by Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile Recording, mastered by Dennis Pleckham at Comatose Studio, and finished with photography by Michael Goodwin. The record will see release on February 15th, 2019 via Denver’s Sailor Records through all digital platforms and vinyl formats, with both black and clear/black splatter variants.

Preorders for the album and additional audio samples from the LP will see release in the weeks ahead. THE MUNSENS will tour across the Southwest US for the first half of March in support of the album, with a hometown album release show on March 2nd. The band will also support Monolord on May 2nd. The remaining dates for the March tour and more live dates will be announced shortly.

Unhanded Track Listing:
1. Dirge (For Those To Come)
2. Pitiful
3. Unhanded
4. Bleeding From The Ears
5. Rivers Of Error

THE MUNSENS Live:
3/02/2018 The Hi Dive – Denver, CO *Unhanded release show
5/02/2018 The Hi Dive – Denver, CO w/ Monolord

THE MUNSENS:
Michael Goodwin – bass/vocals
Shaun Goodwin – guitars/vocals
Graham Wesselhoff – drums

https://themunsensnj.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/themunsens
https://www.instagram.com/themunsens
https://www.facebook.com/Sailor-Records-359148970778780/
https://www.sailorrecords.com/
https://sailor-records.bandcamp.com/

The Munsens, “Dirge (For Those to Come)”

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Live Review: Psycho Las Vegas Friday, 08.17.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas

08.18.18 – 5:00AM – Saturday – Hotel room

Gluttons for punishment, unite! Cast off the chains of your dayjobs and journey to a druggy boozy place where you can smoke indoors and piss away your head-earned on, well, potentially, someone else’s hard-earned. You never liked those brain cells anyway, and what good have they done?

Me, I prefer my brains melted or otherwise obliterated with fatigue. Dripping out my ears, either way. But I see some folks around here going nuclear, and hey, I get it. Safe environment, plenty of support, nothing to lose. It’s self-directed cruelty more than anything else that keeps me sober. I don’t deserve the good time everyone else is having. Kablooey.

It was an early start for a busy day. 12:30PM. I’d imagine there were people who hadn’t gone to bed yet. But DVNE were not to be missed, so, I didn’t miss them. A lot of back and forth early and not really much staying-put later makes for a hell of a time, but everything is right there around the corner and everyone here is very nice. At least the people who’ve said hi to me. I’m sure just by simple population-sample math there are one or two jerks running around, but none I’ve run into.

Witchcraft didn’t make it. That’s a band I’ve dug on some level or other for more than a decade, but wasn’t gonna cry over it. Plenty to see besides with three stages open: The Joint, Vinyl and the Pool.

And like I said, early start. Went like this:

DVNE

dvne (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Good band. That’s what I wrote in my notes. Direct quote: Good band. Pro shop. For DVNE‘s first appearance on a US stage — and sizable US stage at that, in The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino — they hit it like absolute professionals. Crisp in their sound, intense in delivery, every bit in command of the room, from “go” onward. With full lighting and production behind them, CO2 canisters firing and lasers behind and their logo blasted on massive stage-side screens, the Edinburgh progressive post-metal four-piece certainly seemed to be made to feel welcome on what to them was foreign shores. Killed. Just nailed it. They have a new record out next year following up on last year’s righteous Asheran, and playing beneath oranges and reds that echoed that album’s cover art, they delivered a set that quite frankly, unless they break up tomorrow, I sincerely doubt will be their last time on an American stage. In other words, they seem ready to hit the road in a we’re-a-full-time-band-now kind of way, and more power to them. It’ll be worth keeping an eye out in 2019 for when they come through supporting their next full-length, but in the meantime, this set was basically serving early notice of a significant arrival.

Night Horse

Night Horse (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Sure, it’s been eight years since L.A.’s Night Horse released their second album, Perdition Hymns (review here), but what the hell? The double-guitar five-piece — one of those guitarists happens to be Justin Maranga from Ancestors — took the stage and quickly warmed up their classic your-dad’s-rock-was-better vibe that, with added charm from vocalist Sam James Velde introducing them by saying, “We’re Integrity from Cleveland, Ohio,” was a total blast. I’ll admit it’s been a while since the last time I had Perdition Hymns or their 2008 debut, The Dark Won’t Hide You, on for a spin, but even though Maranga forgot his slide and no one seemed to have a beer bottle to use instead, they definitely made it work. With guitarist Greg Buensuceso and bassist Nick D’Itri holding down the other side of the stage and drummer Norm Block swinging away in the middle, they were way more locked in than one might think for a band who haven’t really kicked around all that much in at least a half-decade. Velde stepped over the barricade and into the crowd during the last song and asked everyone to sit with him on the floor — a proposition that I’d imagine would be way stickier later in the day — while he told the story of the song, and it made for a special moment, as almost everyone actually did it. He got back up and they rocked to a finish, but if you ever needed to know how much Night Horse owned that room, they literally sat it down to give some background on their material. He could do that at every show for all I know, but it was something special here anyway and I felt lucky to see it.

The Munsens

The Munsens (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Denver trio The Munsens posted a new single earlier this week called “Dirge (For Those to Come)” as a preview of their upcoming full-length, Unhanded, and with it, gave a first look at a notable change in direction, pushing more into the territory of extreme sludge than even two years ago found them on their Abbey Rose EP (review here). With guitarist/vocalist Shaun Goodwin and bassist/vocalist Michael Goodwin welcoming drummer Graham Wesselhoff, the shift is easy enough to place, but a corresponding turn to harsher vocals and more grueling fare would seem to be at hand. Most, if not all, of what they played in Vinyl was also from Unhanded, and they unfurled an onslaught of tone and noise that seemed to bounce right off the back of the room and make a wall of death with the next riff cycle. It was brutal, and not as given to crust as Dopethrone, but seemed to be somewhat of that spirit. Delivered with a likewise visual assault of strobe, their time went quick — unless I passed out from all the flashing lights — but was well enough to get the point of the evolution they’ve undergone. I don’t know if I’ll be ready when Unhanded, hits, but at least I’ll see it coming.

Temple of Void

Temple of Void (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I don’t know whether Temple of Void are the doom of death or the death of doom, but fucking hell they’re heavy. The Detroit five-piece released their second LP, Lords of Death, last year on Shadow Kingdom, and they’d only dip back once to 2014’s Of Terror and the Supernatural (review here) for “Examinate Gaze,” while everything else was from the new album. Fair enough for the significant assault factor of their death metal plunge. They took the stage to the Lords of Death intro “The Charnel Unearthing” — which given the intensity of what followed, I almost found unnecessary; they hit it so hard, why give people the chance to get ready? — and from there proffered an extremity that went beyond even the death metal to the atmospheric weight of what they were doing. Vocalist Mike Erdody had a soulful, tortured aspect to his headbanging and while behind him drummer Jason Pearce slammed into his kit with palpable resentment thereof and guitarists Alex Awn and Eric Blanchard tore into searing riffs and leads given all the more weight by Brent Satterly‘s bass, the sense of emotionalism Erdody brought to his growls was something rare on either side of the genre. It was another level on which Temple of Void make their impact felt, and a distinguishing factor that resonated throughout their time.

Church of Misery

Church of Misery (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There was something of a crunch at this point in the schedule. Church of Misery were going on in the Joint while Temple of Void finished up in Vinyl, and then by the time the serial-killer-crazed Japanese riff lords were done, Yakuza would have already started, also in Vinyl. Still, history said “go see Church of Misery,” and history wasn’t wrong. Bassist/founder Tatsu Mikami is nothing less than doom royalty, and while I’ve seen him perform with several different lineups over the years, it always seems like he’s ready to deliver no matter who’s joined him on stage at the time. Psycho was no exception as he, vocalist/thereminist Hiroyuki Takano, guitarist Yasuto Muraki and drummer Junichi Yamamura ran through a selection of the hits: “Shotgun Boogie,” “I, Motherfucker,” “Born to Raise Hell” and so on. I’m not huge on the whole serial killer thing — by coincidence, I wound up in an elevator today with one of Charles Manson’s descendants who was telling his friends it’s way less cool when it’s your family — but regardless, Church of Misery did plenty of slaying on their own and made it easy to hope they record with this lineup, as it seemed like they were more than ready to get down to business at the Sabbathian core of what the band has always been about. I did end up poking my head in to see Yakuza for a moment — and Bruce Lamont is still way ahead of his time — but Church of Misery weren’t taking no for an answer. I was back in the Joint before long as they blew out the rest of their set and any number of eardrums in the process.

Tinariwen

Tinariwen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Absolutely stunning. I knew next to nothing about the Tuareg group Tinariwen going into the announcement they’d play Psycho Las Vegas, but the schedule cut off both the pool and Vinyl stages while they played, so clearly they were an act Psycho wanted people to see. Rightly so. Dressed in robes and traditional garb and backed by hand percussion, the band led by guitarist/vocalist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib brought a desert blues that tied to Psycho better than one might’ve ever expected. With acoustic and electric guitars, bass and deep-running vocal arrangements, dancing on stage — some dancing in the crowd too — and video of them on huge screens on either side, it was no less of a production in terms of lighting and staging than Church of Misery or DVNE had been, but the soothing vibe and ebbs and flows in the music made it a total standout. They were another one I was going to stay for a bit and then wander off and find some more coffee, but I was hooked. They could’ve played twice as long and I don’t think I would’ve moved. Their set felt like a gift and on a day that wasn’t exactly hurting for highlights anyhow, they were something truly special to behold. Their 2017 album, Elwan, was recorded in the California desert and has quickly made its way to the front of my must-purchase line.

Boris

Boris (Photo by JJ Koczan)

In their 25-plus years, enough wax poetry has been written in honor of Japanese noise and heavy rock innovators, droners, experimentalists, J-poppers and anything-else-they-want-to-be-that-day Boris that even attempting to talk about their set feels superfluous. I’d only be echoing a chorus of praise that’s resounded for the last two decades. Suffice it to say, they’re masters at what they do. Individually and collectively, guitarist Wata, drummer Atsuo and guitarist/bassist Takeshi are relentless in their forward progression, and though most of what they played after a drifting, slower opening came from the Heavy Rocks and Pink-style, the wash of noise and over-the-top push were never far off. Their 2017 album, Dear (review here), was a stunning glimpse at where they’ve been in their time and where they might still go, and bathed in fog on the Joint stage, they captured much the same feel in celebrating their past while continuing to move ahead toward something new. I don’t know if it’s possible for Boris to be underrated, but the chemistry between them on stage — whether it’s Atsuo shouting into his headset mic to raise the energy level or Wata scorching out another solo or Takeshi switching from his rhythm guitar neck to his bass neck and hurling out blistering low end runs — is among the most pivotal aspects of what they do, and as much as they’ve done to push heavy rock to multiple avenues over their tenure, they’ve only gotten to be a more potent force live.

High on Fire

High on Fire (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If a single person could embody what Psycho Las Vegas is, it might be Matt Pike. The High on Fire frontman and Sleep guitarist has played all three editions of this festival in some form or other — time for a Kalas reunion? — and he, bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensel came out like the statesmen they are; one of the most crucial bands not just in underground heavy, but in the wider sphere of metal. Hugely influential, with a maddening signature gallop and tales of war and bludgeonry to delight the downtrodden of spirit. Their upcoming LP, Electric Messiah, marks the third collaboration between the trio and producer Kurt Ballou, and while they didn’t play anything from it, they did give due representation to 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) in “The Black Plot,” “Carcosa” and “Slave the Hive,”  and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here) with “Fertile Green” and “Serums of Laio,” while older works like 2007’s Death is This Communion (discussed here) and 2005’s Blessed Black Wings (discussed here) made their presence felt with cuts like “Rumors of War” and “Sons of Thunder.” I’d argue they were the night’s headliners even before Witchcraft dropped off, but either way, High on Fire were more than up to the occasion, and with “Blood from Zion” from 2000’s The Art of Self-Defense late in the set, they brought together past and present in a way that was every bit the culmination of the evening. There was still plenty more Psycho after them, but no doubt High on Fire left their mark on the night and all who assembled to see them.

I don’t know if you saw it, but on the social medias I posted a picture of The Pecan and asked if anyone could turn it into the cover of Vol. 4 by Black Sabbath. Several came in, which was hugely appreciated, and among them was this one from Slevin, which I subsequently spent the rest of the night staring at because it’s so friggin’ awesome. If you need me, I’ll be meme-ing my baby. Next up, his head on Jean-Luc Picard’s body. It will happen.

Anyway, I came back to the room after the show and sorted pictures and whatnot and then crashed out pretty soon thereafter to get up early and write. My alarm was set for six and I woke up a bit before five and decided to roll with it. Psycho starts an hour later today, but is another super-busy day, so I’m going to get some more rest in preparation for that. I may or may not check in again before that review goes up, depends on time, but there are more pics after the jump here and I appreciate you reading and taking time to have a look if you do.

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The Munsens Post New Single “Dirge (For Those to Come)”; Playing Psycho Las Vegas This Friday

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

the munsens (photo by Underground Chuck)

If you go back to 2014’s Weight of Night EP (review here), the trio The Munsens, then based in New Jersey, recorded with Mike Moebius (PilgrimKings Destroy) at Moonlight Mile in Hoboken. The band has roots in my beloved Garden State, but made their way out to Denver, Colorado, in time to track 2016’s follow-up EP, Abbey Rose (review here), out that way with Jamie Hillyer at Module Overload. Fair enough. I don’t know what brought them back to the Eastern Seaboard — tour, family, etc. — to record their debut album, but the forthcoming Unhanded finds The Munsens back with Moebius, and the leadoff single “Dirge (For Those to Come)” shows some significant stylistic shift from the prior outing. It’s an oozing, charred sludgy rollout, not about the heft of tone so much as that of the atmosphere, and there’s a consistent threat lurking just beneath the surface of it. It’s down there at the bottom of this post if you want to check it out.

The Munsens will be at Psycho Las Vegas later this week — hey, me too! — as the PR wire details:

the munsens dirge for those to come

THE MUNSENS: Denver Trio Releases Single From Impending LP As Band Prepares For Psycho Las Vegas Performance

Denver, Colorado-based THE MUNSENS will hit the road to perform at Psycho Las Vegas in the coming days. In conjunction with the festivities, the band has issued a single, “Dirge (For Those to Come),” which is pulled from their recently-completed new LP, Unhanded, which will see release this Fall.

THE MUNSENS make noise from a Colfax Avenue dungeon. Having carved out a place of their own in the much-lauded Denver metal scene, the band’s debut full-length comes on the heels of a productive summer that included appearances at 71Grind IV, Austin Terror Fest, and Electric Funeral.

The band’s impending Unhanded comprises five new tracks, running approximately forty minutes in length. It is the band’s most caustic and critical release to date. “Though it’s roughly the same running length as our last release, the Abbey Rose EP, we were able to put more time into the writing and recording of this one,” issues the band. “For a number a reasons, this release feels like a much more comprehensive effort from us” says the band. Call it what you will.”

Recorded at Hoboken Recorders with Mike Moebius of Moonlight Mile Recording, who recorded the band’s Weight of Night EP, and mastered by Dennis Pleckham (Comatose Studio), Unhanded is being finalized for release in the months ahead, with a release date and outlet to be announced.

The band plays Friday, August 17th alongside the likes of Witchcraft, High On Fire, Boris, Church Of Misery, Integrity, Rocket From The Crypt, and many others. A more extensive US tour will follow later this year; stand by for additional tour and album updates shortly.

THE MUNSENS Tour Dates:
8/17/2018 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas

THE MUNSENS:
Michael Goodwin – bass/vocals
Shaun Goodwin – guitars/vocals
Graham Wesselhoff – drums

https://themunsensnj.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/themunsens
https://www.instagram.com/themunsens

The Munsens, “Dirge (For Those to Come)” official video

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The Munsens on Tour Now; Recording Plans Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Denver’s okay-seriously-somebody-out-there-it’s-time-to-sign-this-band trio The Munsens are on tour now. For not the first time, they go in support of their 2016 EP, Abbey Rose (review here), the raw groove of which continues to thrill — just take a listen for yourself at the bottom of this post — even as they begin to play material from their forthcoming debut LP, which they’ll record come Spring with the esteemed Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile in my beloved Garden State of New Jersey.

Ah, North Jersey in Springtime. Cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon, chilly at night. New life all around. I won’t lie, I miss it.

Before they make their way east, The Munsens will hit SXSW and much more besides. As noted, the tour’s already on, so we better get to the PR wire stuff quickly. Keep an eye out for more album news though. I hope to keep up with this one as we get closer to a release date, whenever that might be:

the munsens travis heacock

THE MUNSENS: Denver Metal Trio Embarks On Speedfreak Tour This Week; Band Announces New Record Plans

Denver metallers THE MUNSENS kick off their Speedfreak 2018 Tour February 14th, with additional tour and recording plans to follow.

THE MUNSENS’ upcoming ten-day Speedfreak 2018 will run through Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, then crossing into Mexico for a show in Juarez, before heading home, closing the tour down in their hometown on February 24th. The tour will encompass both new and return cities for the band and include bills with notable heavy acts including two North Carolina shows with TOKE, as well as shows with Forming the Void, Doomstress, Communion, Bridge Farmers, Abrams, Necropanther, and more.

Two weeks after the Speedfreak dates, THE MUNSENS head back down to Texas for a trio of unofficial SXSW festival appearances 13th, 14th, and 15th, including a return to Boss Tweed Backline’s Black Smoke Conjuring, Wicked Bad’s SX Stoner Jam, and a prime slot at the brand-new Stoner Daze festival.

THE MUNSENS will be unveiling a majority of the material off their upcoming album on these tour dates, and directly following the Austin dates, the band heads back to the East Coast to record a new album, where they will bunker down at Moonlight Mile Recording in Hoboken, New Jersey with Mike Moebius (Pilgrim, Natur, Kings Destroy), who recorded their 2014 EP Weight Of Night. “We’ve been dying to get back and record with Mike for a long while, but the logistics have been tough,” says bassist Mike Goodwin. “We’ve got a really good idea of what we want as a final product with this album and Mike is the guy to get us there.”

The follow up to 2016’s Abbey Rose, the yet-to-be-named new album from THE MUNSENS be the band’s first official “full-length” title; a decidedly caustic and critical assemblage of new tracks running roughly fifty minutes in length. The band has experimented with their sound to a greater degree since Graham Wesselhoff joined the band on drums in the summer of 2016 and this new album will continue to reflect that shift. “Simply put, we want a more aggressive sound on this album,” says Goodwin.

The new album title and release details will be announced later this spring, with a rough album release date of mid-July.

THE MUNSENS Tour Dates:
2/14/2018 Bottleneck – Lawrence, KS w/ Hyperbor, Braingea
2/15/2018 Green Lantern – Lexington, KY w/ Dirtbag, Non Compliant, Yellow Cuss
2/16/2018 The Odditorium – Asheville, NC w/ TOKE, Covenator, Reverend Reach Around
2/17/2018 New York Pizza – Greensboro, NC w/ TOKE, Born Hollow, Noctomb, Darth Kannabyss
2/18/2018 The Nick – Birmingham, AL w/ Doomstress, Beerwolf, Murder of Jane Crow
2/19/2018 Santos – New Orleans, LA
2/20/2018 Freetown Boom Boom Room – Lafayette, LA w/ Forming the Void, Cheater Pipe
2/21/2018 The Lost Well – Austin, TX w/ Communion, Thunderkief
2/22/2018 The Mix – San Antonio, TX w/ Bridge Farmers
2/23/2018 Hysteria – Ciudad Juarez, MX w/ Tarantula, Ultimo Trip
2/24/2018 Hi Dive – Denver, CO w/ Abrams, Necropanther
3/13/2018 Black Smoke Conjuring Festival – Austin, TX
3/14/2018 SX Stoner Jam – Austin, TX
3/15/2018 Stoner Daze – Austin, TX
6/10/2018 71Grind Fest – Colorado Springs, CO
6/16/2018 Austin Terror Fest – Austin, TX
6/30/2018 Electric Funeral Fest – Denver, CO

https://themunsensnj.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/themunsens
https://www.instagram.com/themunsens

The Munsens, Abbey Rose (2016)

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Electric Funeral Fest III Lineup Announced; Speedwolf and Weedeater to Headline

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I wanna go to this. Let me not mince words. I know it’s the week after Maryland Doom Fest and that for a dude who lives in Massachusetts and has a baby and is already planning on hitting the Netherlands, Germany and Las Vegas this spring and summer that’s an awful lot of travel, but man, Electric Funeral Fest III looks like an absolute blast. How could you look at a lineup with The Midnight Ghost Train, Amplified Heat and Cloud Catcher and not want to be there? And then after all that boogie you’ve got Primitive Man to flatten the earth so Weedeater have a nice clean surface to get absolutely filthy with their sludge? Come on.

Will I get to go? Yeah, probably not. But it’s nice to think about. Check out the poster and the full lineup from the PR wire and see if you don’t agree:

electric funeral fest iii poster

ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST III To Take Place June 29th-30th In Denver; Initial Lineup Includes Headlining Appearances By Speedwolf And Weedeater + Tickets On Sale TODAY

The third edition of Dust Present’s ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST will return to Denver, Colorado on June 29th-30th, 2018!

The annual South Broadway festival, known loosely as The Blowout on Broadway, will be grander than ever in its third iteration, expanding to include a third stage inside the Mutiny Information Cafe, a spot known city-wide for its welcoming atmosphere and promotion of DIY events of all types. Located across the street from Hi Dive and just a block north of 3 Kings Tavern – the two hosting venues of last year’s festival, and two Denver favorites – the Mutiny stage will be the first all-ages stage offered at ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST and its central location will bolster the street festival environment cultivated over the last two years that’s become an integral part of the Electric Funeral’s attraction.

Friday June 29th will mark the one-night return of Denver speed metal legends Speedwolf as the group reunites for their first show in over four years with a headlining slot at 3 Kings. There may be no band in recent memory that’s achieved the cult status in Denver that Speedwolf has, and a raucous in-your-face performance inside 3 Kings will surely invoke wild memories (or forgotten ones) of infamous Speedwolf appearances of yore. Friday’s support spans from the soaring dual harmonies of 2017 MVPs Spirit Adrift, crushing Iowa doom trio Aseethe, the unmatched ’70s blues-boogie of Amplified Heat, Portland’s self-proclaimed street doom merchants R.I.P. and many more.

The top slot Saturday June 30th will see the aggressive stoner metal onslaught of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Weedeater. Driven by the gutteral growl and enthralling stage energy of bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Collins, North Carolina’s manic sons are poised to lift the crowd a bit higher than usual. The meat of the day two lineup matches the versatility of day one, including the misanthropic punishment of Primitive Man, Duel’s high-flying proto-metal roar, the manic blues attack of The Midnight Ghost Train, Opoponax Records sleepers Grey Gallows and many more.

A full festival lineup will be released in the coming weeks.

ELECTRIC FUNERAL is Denver’s premiere heavy music festival, built as a bridge between one of North America’s most powerful and vibrant cities for heavy music and the legions of bands and fans who visit the Mile High City each year. ELECTRIC FUNERAL, an event run and produced by musicians, stands as the antithesis to corporate driven rock festivals. Founded as a beacon for the Denver scene, ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST 2018 ramps the spotlight up a little brighter this year, showcasing over fifteen bands from Denver, including a few behemoths holding down headlining and top support slots.

Venues:
Hi Dive (21+), 3 Kings Tavern (21+), Mutiny Information Cafe (all ages)

Ticket Options:
$50 early-bird two-day pass (50 available)
$32 one-day pass
$60 two-day pass

Tickets available at: http://www.electricfuneralfestiii.eventbrite.com

Friday, June 29th:
Headliner: Speedwolf (reunion show)
Support: Spirit Adrift, Aseethe, R.I.P., Amplified Heat, Forming The Void, Love Gang, Urn, Smokey Mirror, Augur, Necropanther, Bandits, Green Druid, Keef Duster

Saturday, June 30th:
Headliner: Weedeater
Support: Primitive Man, The Midnight Ghost Train, Duel, Grey Gallows, Cloud Catcher, The Munsens, Loom, White Dog, Vexing, Wizzerd, Space in Time, Smolder & Burn, Alone, Still Valley

https://www.facebook.com/events/1976102246000271/
https://www.eventbrite.com/o/dust-presents-12848870878
http://www.facebook.com/dustpresents
http://instagram.com/dustpresents

Cloud Catcher, “The Whip” Live at Electric Funeral Fest 2017

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