Six Dumb Questions with The Roller

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on November 16th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

You know, I just sat here and wrote out a whole angry rant about how the dude from The Roller couldn’t be bothered to even finish the email interview for this Six Dumb Questions feature, all “Next time I think it’s a good idea to take an hour out of my work day…” blah blah blah. But now, looking over the responses vocalist Mike Morowitz sent back, I don’t necessarily think it was a malicious thing that he basically blew off the interview. I think he might have just been stoned. They kind of read either way, and since I’m a bitter fuck, I automatically go for the negative, but yeah. The explanation might be that he was really, really high at the time. Hazards of the trade, dude.

The Roller is Morowitz, guitarist Theron Rhoten, bassist Miguel Veliz and drummer Jeremy Jenkins, and the below Q&A has been corrected for spelling and grammar/formatting. I also added capital letters to the beginnings of the sentences, because I couldn’t stand looking at them the other way. I left the last question blank because that’s how it came back to me.

One thing: they’re definitely a sludge band. There. I said it. Call it an internet flame war scandal and maybe I’ll get some more hits for the site.

1. Wasted Heritage sounds a lot darker than the self-titled. Was there anything specific in the songwriting or recording that might have brought that out of the band?

The only thing darker about us is our bass player’s skin. We got a new bass player. Theron wrote more of this record than the last. Bands grow over time, no one wants to put out the same album twice. Unless you are AC/DC or The Ramones.

2. How did you decide to make this release vinyl-only? I thought the art for the CD last time was killer. No chance of doing that kind of thing again?

Cyclopean Records is an all-vinyl label. It isn’t our decision but we are okay with it. We have limited edition screenprinted tour CDs with us on the road. We are really happy with the new album cover. We liked the old one too but who wants to keep recycling the same thing?

3. Texas Beer Battle: Shiner Bock vs. Lone Star. Who wins and why?

Whatever is cheapest? I am a Pearl man myself. Texas’ oldest brewery.

4. I’ve only ever seen Austin during South by Southwest, and I hear the town is completely different during the other 360 days of the year. What’s the sludge scene like down there, and how is non-SXSW Austin different?

We are just a metal band. We don’t consider ourselves “sludge.” Austin is an eclectic city with a lot of good bands in all different genres and everyone is friends. SXSW is fun for a week-long party, but who wants 80,000 extra assholes in their city? A week is long enough.

5. How’s the West Coast tour going? Any especially killer shows or road stories you want to tell? Anything you’re looking forward to seeing that you haven’t yet?

Yeah. We plan on touring any and everywhere that will have us. As long as our van and amps are working, we will be too.

6. Anything else in the works for touring? How long do you think you’ll stay on the road to support the album?

The Roller on MySpace

Cyclopean Records

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The Roller’s Trashed Ancestry

Posted in Reviews on November 10th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

As I sit here to write this review, I’ve false-started no less than four times, because my real question when it comes to Austin, Texas, sludgers The Roller is what to say first. Sure, they’re heavy, sure, they’re riffy, and sure, their second album, Wasted Heritage (Cyclopean) is four tracks/39 minutes of only the nastiest kind of nasty nastiness, but I think even more than all of that, what strikes me about The Roller is how uncompromising this material is. To imagine these guys coming from the same place as disparate acts like Dixie Witch and The Sword; it’s like the town has multiple personalities. More than that, it’s hard to imagine a place that sees so much sunshine throughout the year could produce music so hateful.

My chief comparison point for The Roller’s 2008 self-titled debut on Monofonus Press was Sourvein, and the same holds true for Wasted Heritage, but The Roller sound even meaner here, more grim, more foreboding, with an atmosphere that has more in common with Darkthrone than Eyehategod. The album is structured meticulously and with vinyl in mind: two longer tracks sandwiching two shorter ones, so that the opener and closer are over 10 minutes apiece and the middle two under seven. Still, it’s the sound that seems most thought out. Wasted Heritage was recorded by Bryan Richie (The Sword), and the guitars of Theron Rhoten sound positively filthy, cutting a jagged buzzsaw through opener “Candle Black” and managing even to dirty up the atmospheric beginning of 14-minute closer “White Wing.”

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New The Roller Album Coming in November

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

I think what I like best about the news of The Roller‘s impending second album, Wasted Heritage, is that there are only four songs listed and nowhere does the press release even think about calling it less than a full-length album. We can only hope that one of the four songs is two minutes long and the rest are 13 or more. Hey, I like long songs.

What I remember about The Roller‘s debut: Cool art, sounded like Sourvein. Figure if they keep those two things up, it’s a win. Here’s the news off the PR wire:

Austin hesh-masters The Roller have been creating and honing their craft of riff mongering since the beginning of 2006. The band recorded their first demo that year and replaced their original guitarist Matt Sodeman with Theron Rhoten shortly after. The debut LP was released in 2008 and was praised by reviewers and metalheads alike. This year marks the release of their new LP, Wasted Heritage, an offering of earth-shaking, uncompromisingly grim doom metal.

With the edition of Miguel Veliz (Graves at Sea, Sub Oslo, Sourvein) in 2009, the band set out to write a follow up to 2008’s well received debut LP on Monofonus Press. After playing steadily in their hometown and across the country for the next two years, The Roller was ready to begin writing their new record. What came about is a massive, lumbering beast of an album. Four new songs spanning 40 minutes, recorded by Bryan Richie (The Sword) and dedicated to a limited vinyl pressing of 500 gatefold LPs.

Wasted Heritage is a ritual in abrasive meditation, an arrangement of riffs that become keys to a new dimension, for those seeking a heavier trip than most.

Wasted Heritage tracklist:
1. Candle Back
2. Of Feather and Bone
3. Passage
4. White Wing

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The Roller and the Punches

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

This house has lasers! That's gotta drive up the mortgage.Based out of the hipster Mecca of Austin, TX, sludge upstarts The Roller are probably less notable for what they do musically than their presentation of it. Even in its bare CD form — you can also get the vinyl or a CD version that comes with a book by O. Henry Prize-winning author Rebecca Bengal — the packaging of the band’s self-titled offering is innovative and unique; a kind of slipcase box with a painted cover by Virginia Yount, who, like Bengal and The Roller, is part of the Monofonus Press lineup. Put all of these elements together and The Roller do stand out somewhat among their set, even if superficially.

They’re also heavier than the type of stoner metal usually associated with Austin, typified these days by the expensive haircuts and Matt Pike-lite riffing of The Sword. Particularly from the vocals of screamer Mike Morowitz, the band is given that extra push over the line between abrasive sludge and run-of-the-mill riff-led doom. The Roller was mastered by the ubiquitous Sanford Parker, who’s obviously encountered this kind of stuff before and handles it suitably, bringing up the low end so that songs like “Spirit of the Sun” get the thickening they deserve. Sunns (provided by Theron), Ampegs (Ed) and big Ludwig drums (Jeremy) — we all know how it goes by now.

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