Up in Smoke 2019 Announces Amenra, The Obsessed, Lo-Pan, Mantar, No Mute and Hathors

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Here we are, it’s not even March yet, and already the Fall festival season is starting to take shape. We know Amenra will be around celebrating their 20th anniversary, and The Obsessed and Lo-Pan have already had other confirmations as well — possible they’re touring together? — and Mantar continue to get heavy rock bookings despite not at all being a heavy rock band, which is hilarious and ongoing in kind. Up in Smoke, like Keep it Low, is a Sound of Liberation-backed event, so it makes sense to find the likes of agency mainstays Greenleaf and My Sleeping Karma on the bill, and we already know Elephant Tree will have a new album out, so they’ll be touting that as they go. I don’t think they’re anywhere near done announcing bands for the now-three-dayer, but it already looks like a win. Simple as that.

And airfare, I guess.

Announcement from the fest follows, as seen on the social medias:

up in smoke 2019 banner

UP IN SMOKE – AMENRA + THE OBSESSED + MANTAR + LO-PAN + NO MUTE + HATHORS!

Smokers!
We’re back with a new batch of great bands, who are eager to share their great music with you. This time we’re also presenting the first Swiss bands for this year’s festival. Legendary Z7 offers two big stages and a fantastic atmosphere. It’s with big honour that we present the following bands for you;

AMENRA, one of Europe’s leading forces when we’re talking about post metal. Their live performances are legendary and the heaviness from their music will probably make you gasp for oxygen. With six critically acclaimed albums on their CV, lots of splits and a few EP’s there will for sure be expectations and also dedication from you guys. Drum beats that sounds like an explosion, guitar and bass riffs so heavy that they turn your gut upside down and then everything breaks down to a melodic paradise. That’s very much what Amenra is all about.

THE OBSESSED, do they really need an introduction? The band has broken up a few times and somehow Wino has continued to believe in the bands mission and reformed it every time after a few years break. Last time he reformed The Obsessed were in 2016, then he also signed a deal with Relapse records. In 2017, 23 years after “The Church Within”, they released “Sacred” which is their fourth studio album. We are happy to give you the opportunity to experience the bands doomy sound and the great voice of Wino.

MANTAR shocked the metal underground five years ago with their debut album “Death By Burning”. During the past five years the duos extreme music has convinced lovers of heavy music that this is the real deal. You may call the music what you want, the only thing we’re sure of is that it isn’t doom or sludge. The duo’s live performances are an energetic madness that doesn’t leave anybody emotionally untouched. Get ready for heavy riffs, uncompromising music and an intense stage show, these two guys are heavier than most other bands.

LO PAN is the band that you can play on your first date with somebody who say they doesn’t like heavy music. The guys know how to perfectly blend melodies with heavy riffs. There is that intensity in the band’s music and still they manage to keep these melodies in there. A great vocalist that has the power and a great stage personality where he tries to hide behind the drumkit. There is a new album right around the corner and that’s going to be massive. If you can’t wait any longer, just put on “Marathon Man” and push that volume knob to 11.

HATHORS is a trio from Winterthur that has released three albums since their formation in 2010. Sometimes they bring some punk rock herbs to their music, which normally is in the vein of rock/alternative rock. It’s a nerve to their music that infects you, the listener, with energy and the desire jump around and be a part of the party.

NO MUTE is a Swiss rock band formed in 2006. They are from a little town called Olten between Zurich and Berne. Their music is dirty, distorted and energetic, simply put hotter than hell. They go with the classic rock ‘n’ roll line-up with drums, bass, guitar and a spastic vocalist. This is all about the good live performance, they always try to give you the show of your lifetime.

https://www.sol-tickets.com/produkte/36-tickets-up-in-smoke-konzertfabrik-z7-pratteln-am-03-10-2019
http://www.z-7.ch/event.php?eventid=1665
https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1811016498954043/
https://www.upinsmoke.de

Lo-Pan, Live in Cleveland, OH, Jan. 5, 2019

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Live Review: Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, The Obsessed & Mothership in Boston, 02.16.19

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

Corrosion of Conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Not every venue in the Boston metro area has been turned into yuppie-fuckbox condos as yet, and so it was with what felt like due urgency I crawled out of my hole in the frozen New England ground and headed to town to catch Corrosion of Conformity headlining on a four-band bill shared with Crowbar, The Obsessed and Mothership. That urgency would smash face-first into a hurry-up-and-wait half-hour of driving around the block of the Brighton Music Hall looking for a place to park, but I still made it in time to be there moments after doors opened. It was going to be a good night. The show was sold out, and rightly so.

The C.O.C. crowd is always an interesting mix. Metallers, rockers, stoners, boozers: mostly but not entirely dudes. As I leaned on the barrier waiting for the show to start, a father was telling his son about the bands playing. So one way or another, there were multiple demographics at play. The lineup would serve that well.

I was back and forth while the night played out, but even when I was standing off to the side of the stage in the kind of hallway to back bar, the sound was full and the production, lights, etc., were dead on. The short version is it was a joy to witness and I felt stupid lucky to be there, but of course there was more to it than that. Here’s how it went:

Mothership

Mothership (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Before Dallas trio Mothership went on at 7:30PM to launch the night, I overheard a guy telling his friend he knew nothing about the band. I didn’t look back after the band started to see, but no doubt he like the rest of the place had his ass blown out of the room by the classic rocking three-piece. Kelley Juett is a ’70s-style madman shredder on guitar, and his energy quickly became a catalyst for the crowd. With Kyle Juett holding down primary vocal duties and bass and Judge Smith behind on drums, Mothership were way less an “opening” band and way less of a “support” act than they were a warmup for the rest of the show to come. There was not a head in the room that was not into it by the time they were wrapping up “Angel of Death” from their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), and as it was their second time touring with C.O.C., they were pro-shop all the way through. Though this was my first experience seeing them live — something for which I’ve long been overdue — the impression I’ve gotten from all their work to-date has been they’re a live band, and they brought that to to the stage at the Brighton Music Hall. They’ve put in significant road time over the last half-decade-plus, and it showed. With Kelley and Kyle headbanging away and Smith twirling a drum stick every now and again, they were a reminder that rock and roll doesn’t have to be a joke to be a good time. Short set, but killer set. Killer band. Will see again as they headline the first night of this year’s Maryland Doom Fest.

The Obsessed

The Obsessed (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Theoretically, The Obsessed are touring behind their 2017 return album, Sacred (review here), which was their first record in more than two decades, but really, it feels like anytime you get to see The Obsessed, it’s less about any single album than the sheer groove that holds sway for however long their set might be. With the inimitable — not for others’ lack of trying — Scott “Wino” Weinrich as the founding principal on vocals and guitar, Brian Constantino on drums and Reid Raley (also Rwake) slow-headbanging on bass, The Obsessed came across way less as a reunion band than a working one. This was their first night of the tour — I’d thought they’d joined earlier, but nope — but if there was rust being shook off or anything like that, it didn’t show. Theirs was a different kind of presence from Mothership to coincide with the doom-infused sound, but songs like “Streetside” and “Neatz Brigade” are nothing short of landmarks and a significant chunk of the foundation of what one generally thinks of as “traditional doom,” so yes, I was glad to be there to bear witness. Standing by Raley‘s side of the stage, the floor shook from the low end, and each pulse of Constantino‘s kickdrum was easy to feel in the chest. Topped off with Wino‘s signature tone and blues-drenched solo style, it was less of an assault of volume than a celebration of it, and The Obsessed‘s legacy — coming up on 40 years since their first demo — remains utterly vital to the landscape of modern doom.

Crowbar

Crowbar (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Right down to business with “All I Had I Gave” opening the set, which was enough to get a heartfelt “fucking a” out of me. Founding guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein, as ever, introduced them by saying they were Crowbar from New Orleans, Louisiana, and as far as the room was concerned, there was no more explanation necessary. There was barely space to stand but somehow the crowd parted for a mosh, and the four-piece sludge progenitors ate it up, drummer Tommy Buckley making a bid for being the hardest-hitting of the evening through “To Build a Mountain” and “The Cemetery Angels,” which found him, Windstein, guitarist Matt Buckley and bassist Shane Wesley all locked into a massive, build-up-into-slowdown chug that had heads nodding front to back. They played nothing from 2016’s The Serpent Only Lies (review here), going only so far as “Walk with Knowledge Wisely” from 2014’s Symmetry in Black, but with “Planets Collide” and “Like Broken Glass” tucked together as a grand finale, I’m not sure there was anything more I’d have asked of them anyhow. As Crowbar celebrate 30 years, their history remains someplace between metal, sludge and even hardcore, but whatever genre elements one might want to tag, they are an act unto themselves, and with Windstein as the central figure, they pummeled and pounded Boston to a pulp of local sports logos, blown eardrums and sticky dried beer. This was the best I’d seen them in a while, and for being so perennially downtrodden, their spirits seemed awfully high.

Corrosion of Conformity

Corrosion of Conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There wasn’t one act on this bill I wouldn’t call veteran, even if the degree to which that applies might vary. Still, there’s an unmistakable presence when C.O.C. takes the stage. It’s not just Pepper Keenan, either. From Woody Weatherman on one side of the stage to Mike Dean on the other, Corrosion of Conformity were unquestionably the headliners of what had already been a great night. They came on with “Stonebreaker” from 2005’s In the Arms of God and with Eric Hernandez on drums in place of Reed Mullin, they stomped and stormed through “Wiseblood” and the newer “Wolf Named Crow” from last year’s No Cross No Crown (review here) before making highlights of “Diablo Blvd.” from 2000’s undervalued America’s Volume Dealer and “Seven Days” from 1994’s ultra-landmark, Deliverance (discussed here), the 25th anniversary of which they’ll be celebrating later this year at least in Europe and probably also the US — they’ve already been announced for Freak Valley in Germany and one suspects more will come. “Vote with a Bullet,” even for being the first song Keenan fronted the band, seemed a little past its date in light of a culture of mass shootings, but it’s still catchy, and “Seven Days” reined in some of that vibe, while “Paranoid Opioid” reminded of the band’s punk roots and of course the final salvo of “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds” served as reinforcement of the heavy Southern groove that’s helped make C.O.C. an institution for the last however many decades. After all the righteousness that preceded them, it was their show without question, and they delivered on any level of expectation and then some.

Special thanks to Liz Ciavarella-Brenner for hooking this one up, and thanks to you for reading. Many more pics after the jump.

Read more »

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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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Freak Valley 2019: Wolfmother, Brant Bjork, YOB, The Obsessed, Minami Deutsch and Dead Lord Added

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

FREAK VALLEY 2019 BANNER

The three-night Freak Valley fest has unveiled its first headliner in the form of Australia’s Wolfmother. You know, I wrote this announcement. Like two weeks ago. And I thought I put it up and then I got a message yesterday off of Jens, who runs the festival and he was like, “Uh dude, were you going to post that?” Hey, look. Forgetting to post a press release is one thing. It happens regularly enough around here. A lot of stuff comes in, people asking for coverage and so on. Forgetting to post a press release that I wrote? That’s a new level of head-up-my-ass for me. So yeah, if you saw this news already, my apologies, but I wanted to get it up here because, yes, I wrote it, and also because the lineup for Freak Valley 2019 is kicking ass. Next announcement I’ll be more timely. I hope.

The holidays are a special time for us all.

With apologies for tardiness:

FREAK VALLEY 2019 poster

°!° WOLFMOTHER °!° BRANT BJORK °!° YOB °!° THE OBSESSED °!° MINAMI DEUTSCH °!° DEAD LORD °!°

Freaks!

Some of you may have already seen the news that leaked, but in case not, Wolfmother are coming to headline Freak Valley Festival 2019! What you didn’t know yet is that Brant Bjork will also headline, and we’ve added Yob, The Obsessed, Minami Deutsch and Dead Lord to the bill!

WOLFMOTHER

The Australian ambassadors of classic heavy rock are celebrating 15 years since the release of their first EP next year, and we couldn’t be more proud to host them as a part of that amazing anniversary. Led by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Stockade, Wolfmother’s four albums have transcended the underground to earn acclaim from all corners of the globe.

Whether it was their landmark 2005 self-titled LP or 2016’s aptly-named Victorious, the band has never given up its roots in classic ‘70s rock and has never failed to push their ideas forward to new stages. Wolfmother have been a generation’s entrée to the ways of ‘70s heavy and its modern incarnations. We are thrilled and proud to have them headlining Freak Valley in 2019!

BRANT BJORK

Make no mistake, Brant Bjork is the godfather of desert rock. This year he joined forces with HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS to release Mankind Woman, a soulful dive into fuzzy funk and heavy groove with his signature jammy smoothness.

Brant Bjork sounds like the kind of cool we’d all like to be, and his live shows are not only a celebration of that and a chance to gawk at a living legend from Kyuss and Fu Manchu, but a chance to feel that righteousness in every fuzzy note and low desert punk vibe. He is unmistakable and we can’t wait to host him on the Freak Valley stage.

YOB

Some day, some place, in some context, you’ll be telling people about the time you saw YOB. Maybe FREAK VALLEY will be the first time you’ve ever caught the Oregonian trio live. Maybe not. But either way, that story will take place. Mark our words. YOB’s 2018 album, Our Raw Heart, continues a progressive thread that’s made them not only one of the most distinct bands in doom, but among the most pivotal heavy acts of their generation. Whether you’ve seen them before or not, they are utterly essential, like a spiritual restoration.

The Obsessed

Scott “Wino” Weinrich returns to Europe bringing with him the modern incarnation of ultra-classic doomers The Obsessed. The storied guitarist/vocalist known also for his work in Saint Vitus, The Hidden Hand, Spirit Caravan, Shrinebuilder, etc., leads the lineup of bassist Reid Raley (also Rwake) and drummer Brian Costantino in the revitalized power trio, and their 2017 album, Sacred, showed that their years away did nothing to dull the force of their impact. Mandatory doom.

Minami Deutsch

Tokyo space rockers Minami Deutsch make an exclusive European appearance at FREAK VALLEY 2019! That’s right: if you want ‘em — and you do — then Netphen/Deuz is the place to be. Working with the label Guruguru Brain, Minami Deutsch released their second LP, With Dim Light, this year, and mellowed out some of the space rocking furies of their self-titled debut, but the journey has just begun for these psychedelic explorers, and we can’t wait to be bathed in the warm lysergic sounds they’ll bring (only!) to FREAK VALLEY.

Dead Lord

How are you gonna say no to Dead Lord? You’re not. The Swedish Thin Lizzy-style bouncers have kicked around the underground in Europe and the UK for the last five years, and we’ve hosted them before at other events, but this will be their first appearance at FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL itself, and we can’t wait to welcome their uptempo, classic-styled heavy rock to our stage. Their third album, In Ignorance We Trust, came out last year on Century Media Records, so make sure you’re schooled by the time they get here, because you won’t want to miss it.

Line-up 2019:
WOLFMOTHER, BRANT BJORK, YOB, The Obsessed, The Vintage Caravan, Electric Moon, Minami Deutsch, Spaceslug, Arc of Ascent, Dead Lord, Slomatics

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2019 // No Fillers – Just Killers

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://www.facebook.com/events/299339670806919/
https://twitter.com/FreakValley

YOB, Our Raw Heart (2018)

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SonicBlast Moledo 2019: Orange Goblin, Om, My Sleeping Karma, Minami Deutsch, Windhand, Zig Zags, Dopethrone and The Obsessed to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I was this close — this frickin’ close — to going to SonicBlast Moledo earlier this year. It was an enviable lineup, and when I saw the pictures after the fact, it only confirmed for me how much I wanted to have been there. So it goes.

Will I get that close to SonicBlast Moledo 2019? Probably not. Opportunities like that don’t come along every day or every year, and I know that. Still, in part because I’m a glutton for punishment — also for peanut butter — I’ll be doing my best to keep up with the lineup as it’s announced for next August’s edition of the beachside fest in Moledo, Portugal. Already, as I think you can see, they’re well on their way to destroying and winning hearts and minds.

To wit, a first lineup announcement that brings Om to Europe for the summer (they’ll be there in Spring too; I have to wonder just how long the band is spending abroad or if they’re racking up frequent flier miles), Orange Goblin, My Sleeping Karma (some day I will see that fucking band), Windhand, The Obsessed, Minami Deutsch, Zig Zags and Dopethrone is as righteous as it is varied, and it sets a pretty wide open sphere for what the rest might bring. I don’t have an inside track on that or anything, but 2018’s SonicBlast was certainly awesome looking and I see no reason why 2019 would be any different.

Tickets are available and I’m sure it’ll sell out. Words from the fest:

sonicblast moledo 2019

First bands for SonicBlast Moledo 2019! Let’s start the pilgrimage.

We’re so stoked to announce the first bands for SonicBlast Moledo 2019! Aug. 8-10.

Let’s start the pilgrimage.

OM, Windhand, Orange Goblin, MY SLEEPING KARMA, The Obsessed, Dopethrone, Minami Deutsch and Zig Zags are ready to burn the beach!
3 days that you’re never ever forget!

Om (usa) + Orange Goblin (uk) + My Sleeping Karma (ger) + Windhand (usa) + The Obsessed (usa) + Dopethrone (can) + Minami Deutsch (jp) + Zig Zags (usa) +++ many more tba +++

Artwork by Branca Studio

Tickets are now available at here.
(Also available in Portugal, through BOL physical point of sales: Fnac, Worten, Ctt’s…)

https://www.facebook.com/sonicblastmoledo/
https://sonicblastmoledo.com/

Orange Goblin, “The Wolf Bites Back” live at StoneFree Festival

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce Tour Dates with Crowbar, Weedeater, The Obsessed & Mothership; Tickets on Sale Today

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

corrosion of conformity live (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Hey look, I don’t usually post ticket links with tour announcements. Looks shitty — you know I’m all about vanity — makes it harder to read the dates, and if you’re on any form of the internet reading about music you already know how to use said internet to buy tickets. But this isn’t just any tour. Corrosion of ConformityCrowbar and Mothership teaming up with Weedeater and The Obsessed rotating in and out for stretches. It’s fucking significant. And tickets are on sale today, so yeah, I’m posting the links. Can’t help but notice there are three days off after the New York show. Have to wonder what’s up there… Hmm…

Anyway, I don’t know how else to put it but this tour is pretty astounding, so yeah, just get tickets. Whatever. You know these bands. You know why you need to be there. So mark your calendar and go. Easy as that.

Here’s the info (and links) from the PR wire:

corrosion of conformity crowbar tour

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Announces 2019 North American Headlining Tour With Support From Crowbar, Weedeater, The Obsessed, And Mothership; Tickets On Sale This Friday

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will kick off 2019 with a long-anticipated North American headlining tour! Set to commence January 19th in San Antonio, Texas, and run through February 27th in Nashville, Tennessee, the month-long trek will include support from Crowbar and Mothership as well as Weedeater and The Obsessed on select shows. Tickets go on sale this Friday! See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY released the critically-acclaimed No Cross No Crown full-length earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Captured in North Carolina with longtime producer John Custer, the record marks the first studio recording with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan in over a decade and, earning the #67 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, #12 on the Billboard Top Current Albums Chart, and #3 on the Top Hard Music Albums Chart upon its first week of release, is the highest charting album of the band’s career.

No Cross No Crown is available on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various order bundles are available at nuclearblast.com/coc-nocrossnocrown.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY w/ Crowbar, Weedeater (1/19 – 2/13), The Obsessed (2/16 – 2/27), Mothership:
1/19/2019 Alamo City Music Hall – San Antonio, TX [tickets]
1/20/2019 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK [tickets]
1/21/2019 The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO [tickets]
1/22/2019 Gothic Theatre – Denver, CO [tickets]
1/24/2019 Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ [tickets]
1/25/2019 Fremont Country Club – Las Vegas, NV
1/26/2019 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA [tickets]
1/27/2019 Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA [tickets]
1/29/2019 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA [tickets]
1/31/2019 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR [tickets]
2/01/2019 Neumos – Seattle, WA [tickets]
2/02/2019 Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC [tickets]
2/04/2019 Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB [tickets]
2/05/2019 Marquee – Calgary, AB [tickets]
2/07/2019 Park Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
2/08/2019 Fine Line – Minneapolis, MN [tickets]
2/09/2019 Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL [tickets]
2/10/2019 Machine Shop – Flint, MI [tickets]
2/12/2019 Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH [tickets]
2/13/2019 The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
2/16/2019 Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA [tickets]
2/17/2019 Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA [tickets]
2/18/2019 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD [tickets]
2/20/2019 Opera House – Toronto, ON [tickets]
2/21/2019 Mr. Smalls Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA [tickets]
2/22/2019 Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, NC [tickets]
2/23/2019 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA [tickets]
2/24/2019 Orpheum – Tampa, FL [tickets]
2/26/2019 Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL
2/27/2019 The Cowan – Nashville, TN

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

http://www.coc.com
http://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity
http://www.twitter.com/coccabal
http://www.nuclearblast.com
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa

Corrosion of Conformity, “Wolf Named Crow” official video

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The Obsessed Touring with Eyehategod Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the obsessed (Photo_by_Susie_Constantino)

I have to think a couple of the rooms Eyehategod and The Obsessed are playing together next month won’t be the same after they go. Not that places like Geno’s in Maine and Ottobar in Baltimore haven’t seen their fair share of comings and goings, but if any single gig was going to leave a scar, this pairing might. It’s a pretty insane bill if you think about it. Two legendary bands, from the most dug-in doom of The Obsessed to the history-of-violence sludge of Eyehategod, and yeah, it’s pretty much a two-band festival doing the East Coast circuit. At very least, it’s the kind of show that those fortunate enough to see it talk about incessantly, much to the annoyance of those around them at whatever their next gig is who weren’t so lucky.

Not that that kind of thing has ever happened to me or anything. You know. Hypotheticals. The PR wire has this:

the obsessed tour

THE OBSESSED: Doom Rock Icons Confirm September Tour With Eyehategod

Doom rock icons THE OBSESSED will take to the streets next month on a near-two-week US tour alongside Eyehategod. The journey kicks off September 12th in Hamden, Connecticut and runs through September 24th in Memphis, Tennessee. See all confirmed dates below.

View a tour trailer, created by Chariot Of Black Moth, At THIS LOCATION.

THE OBSESSED w/ Eyehategod:
9/12/2018 Space Ballroom – Hamden, CT
9/13/2018 Middle East – Cambridge, MA
9/14/2018 Brooklyn Bazaar – Brooklyn, NY
9/15/2018 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
9/16/2018 The Pour House – Raleigh, NC
9/17/2018 Voltage Lounge – Philadelphia, PA
9/18/2018 Geno’s Rock Club – Portland, ME
9/19/2018 Buffalo’s Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
9/20/2018 Northside Yacht Club – Cincinnati, OH
9/21/2018 Sanctuary – Detroit, MI
9/22/2018 Spirit Hall – Pittsburgh, PA
9/23/2018 Cobra Lounge – Chicago, IL
9/24/2018 Growler’s – Memphis, TN

Originally released in 1990 and out-of-print for almost two decades, THE OBSESSED’s now-legendary self-titled debut was completely remastered by Relapse Records last fall. The collection boasts previously unreleased bonus tracks, including the highly-sought after four-track Concrete Cancer demo (1984), expanded artwork, never-before-seen photos, and extended liner notes from frontman Scott “Wino” Weinrich making for a true piece of doom rock history.

The deluxe 2xCD version of the record includes a bonus disc containing the Concrete Cancer demo as well as a full live set from 1985 in Washington, D.C.. The Concrete Cancer demo is also available separately as a limited-edition LP.

In the spring of 2017, THE OBSESSED unleashed Sacred, the band’s first studio album in over twenty years. With renewed energy and purpose, THE OBSESSED sounds heavier and more relevant than ever before. On Sacred, the band doubles down on enormous, heaving riffs and pummeling low-end across twelve tracks of eternal doom. Rounded out by Wino’s lyrical honesty and iconic throaty vocals, Sacred is an album that further pushes THE OBSESSED into the annals of heavy metal history, well worth the two-plus decade wait. The band performs once again as three piece featuring Wino, Reid Raley and Brian Costantino.

https://www.facebook.com/TheObsessedOfficial
http://relapse.com/the-obsessed-sacred/
https://theobsessed.bandcamp.com/
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords
http://www.twitter.com/RelapseRecords
https://www.facebook.com/tonedeaftouring/

The Obsessed, Sacred (2017)

Eyehategod and The Obsessed tour trailer

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Live Review: Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Night One, 06.22.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on June 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2018 night one poster

Over the last four years since its inception, Maryland Doom Fest has become a defining force for its many-storied local scene and for the Eastern Seaboard at large. Its reach nowadays goes well beyond those imaginary borders, of course, but its lineup has always remained cognizant of its core inspiration and purpose — you’re always going to find some Maryland doom at Maryland Doom Fest. 2018’s roster of acts, which is the broadest in terms of style and geopgraphy to date, is no exception. With headliners The Obsessed, Windhand and Weedeater, Maryland Doom Fest 2018 reaffirms its commitment to the oldschool groove and its newer-school interpretations, even as acts like HorseburnerUnorthodoxCavern, DuelEarthrideCaustic Casanova, and many others with them, speak to the same meld of styles and origins.

I could go on all day about that, but as ever with festivals, there’s little time for musing amid the 15-minute set-changeovers and sheer onslaught of stuff to catch. Held as ever at Cafe 611 in Frederick, Maryland Doom Fest 2018 boasts a lineup of 32 bands — nine tonight, 12 tomorrow and 11 on Sunday. My goal? To see all of them. Front to back. Staring down the barrel at the outset it seems nigh-insurmountable, but the truth is it’s going to be a total blast and I know it.

Travel south to Maryland from Massachusetts, with an about-to-be-eight-month-old, is a days-long process, and I’m reminded that two years ago when I made the trip, I was bogged down by a car breakdown and about to start a new job the following Tuesday. It was insane. I’m sure 2018 will be much more relaxed. Ha.

Enough preamble. Let’s boogie:

Horseburner

Horseburner (Photo JJ Koczan)

I’m not sure the world knows it’s anxiously awaiting the third full-length from West Virginian progressive heavy rockers Horseburner, but it probably is. First band of the weekend and they had heads banging both onstage and off. They were exciting to watch, and their 2016 album, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (review here) — which was reissued last year by Hellmistress Records; the vinyl was in the merch area to the side of the venue — remains a favorite in its manifestation of what might’ve happened had Mastodon become a heavy rock band while keeping their initial heft instead of going ultra-prog as they did. There were some technical difficulties in the drums, but no real delay, and the trio dynamic — could’ve sworn they used to be a four-piece — played well during the set, with no shortage of crunch in their tone but an overarching groove that they never seemed to relinquish. The record’s good, but they’re better live, with the melodies cutting through the push and a bit of hop-into-the-crowd interaction in the finale.

Geezer

Geezer (Photo JJ Koczan)

Back in January, New York psych-blues jammers Geezer announced they were working on a new album. Accordingly, the triumvirate of guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Steve Markota shared three new songs for the Maryland Doom Fest 2018 crowd. I hounded Harrington after they finished for the titles: “Spiral Fires,” “Dig” and “Black Owl.” The latter provided some highlight low end work from Touseull, and it was “Dig” with a particularly fuzzed out guitar solo and a bit of cowbell from Markota that I’m dying to hear a studio version of. Supporting their latest release, Psychoriffadelia (review here), they also celebrated 2016 self-titled (review here) at the end of their set with the memorably catchy “Dust” and the spacious “Sun Gods.” Having made their debut in 2013, they’ve moved into veteran status and stage presence relatively quickly, and I took particular interest in a lack of slide guitar from Harrington, wondering if perhaps he put it down in order to focus on more intricate styles of playing in the newer songs. Seems like maybe an interview question to file away for later. In any case, they pulled a packed early crowd and were well known to them, playing out the story of a band whose potential is being realized at that very moment for all to see.

Bailjack

Bailjack (Photo JJ Koczan)

Double-guitar four-piece Bailjack had the distinction of being the first Maryland-based act at the festival. Based out of Boonsboro, they had four songs on the setlist, none of which seems to have stemmed from their 2016 debut, Show Me Your Heart. I’d been fortunate enough to see them once before down this way (review here), but they struck me all around as a tighter and more cohesive band. Guitarists Jason Barker and Blake Owens shared lead vocal duties effectively, changing up the soulful and classic heavy rock moods between them with support from Ron “Uncle Fezzy” McGinnis (also Pale DivineAdmiral Browning, Thonian Horde, etc.), which left drummer Alex Llewellyn as the only one without a mic. He kept plenty busy with the locked-in groove of “Predominantly Green,” though, which like just about everything else they played was deceptively complex in its execution, working around a straightforward groove with personality and depth. They were a fitting complement to Geezer‘s ultra-roll, and at one point while they played I looked around and couldn’t believe we were only three bands into the night. The vibe was so set and so thick in the room that it felt like everyone had been there for a day already. Awesome.

Lightning Born

Lightning Born (Photo JJ Koczan)

North Carolina’s Lightning Born played Maryland Doom Fest last year as well, but as they went public earlier this month about signing to Ripple Music for the release of their debut album this Fall, it seems only appropriate that they should make a return appearance. Their bassist, who just so happens to be Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity, just happened to be in France playing another festival — some little shindig called Hellfest or something like that; ha — so filling in was guitarist Erik Sugg‘s Demon Eye bandmate, Paul Walz. I don’t know if it was Walz‘s first time holding down bass duties in Lightning Born or what, but he obviously knew the songs well, and despite some hi-hat difficulties at the outset for drummer Doza Hawes (ex-Hour of 13), once they got going, they were locked in and clearheaded in their intent between heavy rock, doom and classic-style songcraft led by the powerful presence of frontwoman Brenna Leath (also of The Hell No). My first time seeing them and they did nothing but impress, and even putting the pedigree aside for a moment, it’s easy to see why Ripple — who already had a showing in Geezer and would have another before the night was out — would pick them up. Not only do they make the most of their members’ experience in terms of knowing what they want to do, but they obviously have the chemistry between them to make it happen. Would be interested to see them with Dean, and I won’t say he wasn’t missed — nothing against Walz‘s work, it just happens to be that that’s Mike fucking Dean we’re talking about and anytime you get to catch him play is a win — but Lightning Born might as well have named themselves Lightning in a Bottle, as that seems to be what they’ve got.

Disenchanter

Disenchanter (Photo JJ Koczan)

This was by no means Disenchanter‘s first trip to the East Coast — they’ll also be (relatively) back this way later this year for Descendants of Crom in Pittsburgh — but it was the first time I’ve been lucky enough to see the band play. Having toured from their home in from Portland, Oregon, over the last week, the trio sounded like it. Pro shop. Guitarist/vocalist Sabine Stangenberg expressed the band’s gratitude for being included in the lineup and sent out “Green Queen” to any pot smokers in attendance. There may have been one or two. She and bassist Joey DeMartini and drummer Huwy Kilgora Williams set forth a set that pushed even further into the doomed elements that Lightning Born featured in some of their riffs, but had a distinguishing factor that marked them out as a West Coast act nonetheless. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was; tempo? Melody? Rhythm? I actually kind of lost myself while they were playing trying to get an answer. They fit right in with the lineup in tone and influence, to be sure, but there was still some individualized edge to their approach that was a standout factor. Eventually I whittled my hypotheses down to the upbeat nature of their grooves and was willing to leave it at that and, oh, I don’t know, just enjoy the rest of their set, but whatever it was, it made them a highlight of the evening at Cafe 611. Glad I finally was able to watch them.

Thousand Vision Mist

Thousand Vision Mist (Photo JJ Koczan)

Statistically speaking, three out of the four top acts for the evening could be called locals, and Thousand Vision Mist, who also played Maryland Doom Fest 2016 (review here), and a fest-associated gig during last year’s edition, came supporting late-2017’s Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow (review here), their debut album. Between that record and having seen them before, they were pretty familiar to me as well as to the assembled in front of the stage, but guitarist/vocalist Danny Kenyon, bassist/vocalist Tony Cormulada and drummer Chris Sebastian still had a few surprises up their collective sleeve in terms of the twists and turns of their material. By the time they started, it was clear just what a special night this was. The flow of bands was right on, each group pulling something different together from the one before while still making sense in the overall context of the night, and with Kenyon‘s roots in Life BeyondThousand Vision Mist maintained a Maryland doom feel despite not really playing doom so much as doom strung through a filter of progressive metal. Precise, driven and complex, they nonetheless had a central groove to tie it all together, and even when Kenyon broke a string, prompting an interlude from emcee Dave Benzotti, they were able to pick back up and end out as though nothing happened. The place was jammed in any figurative sense you want to think of it, and Thousand Vision Mist signaled a turn toward the headlining portion of the night. Right band, right slot.

Unorthodox

Unorthodox (Photo JJ Koczan)

A decade has passed since Unorthodox issued their last album, Awaken, via The Church Within Records, but if you want to be fair, that album came a full 14 years after 1994’s sophomore outing, Balance of Power, which was of course preceded by their 1992 debut, Asylum, but their set was still enough of an event that both Bobby Liebling of Pentagram and Dave Sherman of Earthride — pivotal figures in this scene if ever there were any — stood at the side of the stage to watch them. From their beginnings as Asylum, whose 1985 demo, The Earth is the Insane Asylum of the Universe, saw reissue via Shadow Kingdom in 2008 (review here), guitarist/vocalist Dale Flood has remained the sole founding presence, and as he’s now based in Nashville, Tennessee, he’s settled in with bassist/vocalist Blake Dellinger and drummer Alan Pfeifer, both also of the band Flummox, injecting a youthful vigor into the rhythm section that seemed to bring Unorthodox‘s classic downtrodden MD doom to life. They even had a new song, called “Horus,” that found Dellinger taking lead vocal duties, and Flood couldn’t help but smile as the set played out, the crowd eating up every single second of the rare live set. New album? Hell if I know. To my knowledge, Unorthodox played the first Maryland Doom Fest in 2015 and as I recall were going to play 2016 as well but didn’t end up making it, so I’m not sure I’d count this set as indicative of a full return to activity, whatever that would mean anyway, but if they wanted to build something from it, that vitality was right there in the band waiting to be harvested. They killed. End of story.

ZED

ZED (Photo JJ Koczan)

For my up-at-5AM-usually-asleep-by-nine ass, it was getting late, and I don’t mind saying so. Ibuprofen for a sore back; protein bar for stamina; water on the face for refreshing; water down the gullet for sheer survival — these are the essential tools of the sober weekend festival. One could simply pound six or 12 beers and none of it would matter, I suppose, and from the look of the dudes falling asleep in the side room of Cafe 611, some had clearly gone that route, but the truth was that ZED were all the shove I need to get through to the end of the evening. Everything else was overkill in comparison to their noise-tinged heavy rock, one riff after the next crunched out at max volume through the guitars of frontman Peter Sattari and Greg Lopez, the bass of Mark Aceves adding even further heft to be shoved forward at an impressive pace considering the mass of it by drummer Sean Boyles, who when the Bay Area outfit were done turned around and held up his hat to deliver the message “fuck everything” as plainly as possible. New song “Strippers” signaled a follow-up in progress to their 2016 third album, Trouble in Eden (review here), and one assumes that will arrive like its predecessor via Ripple Music, given how hard ZED were repping the label, from Lopez‘s beanie to Sattari‘s Freedom Hawk hat and Ripplefest shirt to Aceves‘ High Priestess tee. Gotta fly that flag, and they did it proud with a raucous delivery that lost nothing of its professionalism for its blanket electricity. Seemed like the crowd up front was pretty familiar with their stuff — at one point I also looked over and saw fest co-organizer JB Matson singing along stage-side — but I’d be willing to be they turned a few heads as well and made some new fans. It was that kind of set. If “fucking a rock” was a genre, that’s what ZED would be.

The Obsessed

The Obsessed (Photo JJ Koczan)

I don’t think there’s anywhere you could put The Obsessed on a Maryland Doom Fest bill except at the top. That’s where they were in 2016 and it’s where they deserved to be again. Would Maryland doom exist without them? Maybe, but certainly not in the form it has today. It’s been an eventful couple of years for guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich and the outfit in which he cut his teeth beginning back in the late ’70s when they started under the moniker Warhorse, but with their first album in 23 years behind them in 2017’s Sacred (review here) on Relapse, the trio of Weinrich, bassist Reid Raley (see also: Rwake) and drummer Brian Costantino were as classic as one could ask and a reminder of just how much of a blueprint for the style The Obsessed have always been. Copious touring in support of Sacred has made them maddeningly tight, and with a blend of new material and old in the set, they spoke to where they are today as well as where they came from — perfectly on theme for the night and the weekend as a whole. As the last of the nine bands playing, they shut the place down and it’s hard to imagine there’s any more one could’ve asked for when they were done. The Obsessed, like basically Pentagram and no one else of the region (Black Sabbath being, of course, universal), are essential and foundational when it comes to Maryland doom. Maryland Doom Fest 2018 welcomed them accordingly, and honestly, I think if they played every year here for the next five headlining one of the nights, they wouldn’t meet with any complaints. From “Sacred” itself to “Neatz Brigade” and “Sodden Jackal,” they proved how hard the heart of this scene and this aesthetic continues to beat. Oh yeah, and they were unbelievably loud. Like, might-as-well-take-your-earplugs-out loud. So, you know, bonus.

After flailing toward a 24-hour gas station and a 90-minute ride back to the town of Sparks, where I’m staying, I crashed out around 2:30 and was up a tragically short time later. Still, first day was excellent and there’s nothing I could ask of a leadoff night that wasn’t delivered. Maryland Doom Fest 2018 day two kicks off in a couple hours and, hell’s bells, I need a shower, so I’m gonna get on that, but there are more pics after the jump if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading.

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