Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
The Psycho Las Vegas lineup wasn’t exactly lacking in ‘holy shit’-factor before, but, uh… holy shit. The poster below is so god damned packed it’s got me wondering if they’re going to sneak in an extra day to fit it all. Well, I guess they are if you count the pre-party — a fest unto itself with the additions of Ruby the Hatchet, Sasquatch, Conan, Yawning Man and Great Electric Quest — but to see acts like Earthless, Corrosion of Conformity, Diamondhead, Laura Pleasants of Kylesa, Mothership, Saturndust, Heavy Temple, Toke and so many others added to the bill for the fest proper, it borders on the overwhelming. Sons of Otis? Year of the Cobra? Eternal Tapestry? I take back that part about “borders on.” Shit’s giving me the vapors.
Blah blah blah tickets, blah blah blah on sale, blah blah blah how much you don’t need me to tell you this is probably the best heavy lineup the US has ever seen. Also Ace Frehley will be there.
Full lineup follows:
Psycho Las Vegas 2017
-CONFIRMED LINEUP- KING DIAMOND (USA 2017 Exclusive) THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE ACE FREHLEY GOJIRA SWANS NEUROSIS MAGMA SLEEP MELVINS CARCASS MURDER CITY DEVILS CORROSION OF CONFORMITY SLO BURN DIAMONDHEAD CIRITH UNGOL ABBATH CHELSEA WOLFE CULT OF LUNA WITH JULIE CHRISTMAS WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM MULATU ASATKE PSYCHIC TV EARTHLESS SUMAC MANILLA ROAD CELESTE WINDHAND PELICAN BLOOD CEREMONY CODE ORANGE WEEDEATER MINSK COUGH VHOL ZEAL & ARDOR OATHBREAKER MYRKUR BUZZOV-EN THE SKULL INTER ARMA SLOMATICS GOST YOUNG AND IN THE WAY GATECREEPER MOTHERSHIP CULT LEADER LAURA PLEASANTS & SPECIAL GUESTS MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT SONS OF OTIS SNAIL MORNE DOMKRAFT KHEMMIS ETERNAL TAPESTRY JEX THOTH FISTER NORTH WIZARD RIFLE USNEA ROYAL THUNDER YOUNGBLOOD SUPERCULT TOKE SATURNDUST HEAVY TEMPLE SUMMONER BLACK ANVIL FLOORIAN HOLLOW LEG YEAR OF THE COBRA MERLIN ELEPHANT TREE CLOUD CATCHER
PSYCHO PRE-PARTY: PENTAGRAM CONAN YAWNING MAN SASQUATCH MUSTARD GAS & ROSES GRAF ORLOCK RUBY THE HATCHET URCHIN GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST
Psycho Las Vegas 2017 is set for Aug. 18-20 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Tickets are available athttps://www.vivapsycho.com
Posted in Features on December 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.
Yeah, I know I said as much when the Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016 went up, but I take it back: this is the hardest list to put together. And to be honest, there’s a part of me that’s hesitant even to post it because I know as soon as I do someone’s going to be like, “No way you dick your entire existence is shit because you forgot Release X,” and very likely they’ll be right. Up to the very moment this post is going live, I’ve been making changes, and I expect I’ll continue to do so for a while after it’s out there.
So what’s a “short release?” That’s another issue. Pretty much anything that’s not an album. Singles, digital or physical, as well as EPs, splits, demos, and so on. The category becomes nebulous, but my general rule is if it’s not a full-length, it qualifies as a short release. Sounds simple until you get into things like, “Here’s a track I threw up on Bandcamp,” and “This only came out as a bonus included as a separate LP with the deluxe edition of our album.” I’m telling you, I’ve had a difficult time.
Maybe that’s just me trying to protect myself from impending wrath. This year’s Top 30 albums list provoked some vehement — and, if I may, prickishly-worded — responses, so I might be a bit gunshy here, but on the other hand, I think these outings are worth highlighting, so we’re going forward anyway. If you have something to add, please use the comments below, but remember we’re all friends here and there’s a human being on the other end reading what’s posted. Thanks in advance for that.
And since this is the last list of The Obelisk’s Best-of-2016 coverage, I’ll say thanks for reading as well. More to come in the New Year, of course.
Here we go:
The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016
1. Scissorfight, Chaos County EP
2. Earthless / Harsh Toke, Split
3. Mars Red Sky, Providence EP
4. Mos Generator, The Firmament
5. Soldati, Soldati
6. Monolord, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze EP
7. Wren, Host EP
8. Goya, The Enemy EP
9. The Sweet Heat, Demo
10. River Cult, Demo
11. Stinkeye, Llantera Demos
12. Megaritual, Eclipse EP
13. Ragged Barracudas / Pushy, Split
14. Mindkult, Witchs’ Oath EP
15. Iron Jawed Guru, Mata Hari EP
16. Brume, Donkey
17. Bison Machine / Wild Savages / SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. 1 Split
18. BoneHawk / Kingnomad, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Three Split
19. Wicked Gypsy, EP
20. Love Gang, Love Gang EP
An expansive category as ever. In addition to what’s above, the following stood out and no doubt more will be added over the course of the next few days. If you feel something is missing, please let me know.
Cambrian Explosion, The Moon EP
Candlemass, Death Thy Lover EP
Cultist, Cultist EP
Danava, At Midnight You Die 7″
Dos Malés, Dos Malés EP
Druglord, Deepest Regrets EP
Fu Manchu, Slow Ride 7″
Geezer, A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness 12″
Gorilla vs. Grifter, Split
Holy Smoke, Holy Smoke! It’s a Demo!
Karma to Burn, Mountain Czar
LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place EP
Pallbearer, Fear and Fury
Reign of Zaius, Planet Of…
Sea of Bones / Ramlord, Split
Shallows, The Moon Rises
The Skull, EP
Snowy Dunes, “Atlantis Part I” digital single
Sun Voyager / The Mad Doctors, Split
Valborg, Werwolf 7″
Was it just the raw joy of having Scissorfight back? No, but that was for sure part of it. It was also the brazenness with which the New Hampshire outfit let go of their past, particularly frontman Christopher “Ironlung” Shurtleff, and moved forward unwilling to compromise what they wanted to do that made their Chaos County so respectable in my eyes. Having always flourished in the form, they delivered an EP of classic Scissorfight tunes and issued a stiff middle finger to anyone who would dare call them otherwise. They couldn’t have been more themselves no matter who was in the band.
At the same time, it was a hard choice between that and the Earthless / Harsh Toke split for the top spot. I mean, seriously. It’s Earthless — who at this point are the godfathers of West Coast jamadelica — and Harsh Toke, who are among the style’s most engaging upstart purveyors, each stretching out over a huge and encompassing single track. I couldn’t stop listening to that one if I wanted to, and as the year went on, I found I never wanted to.
I was glad when Mars Red Sky included the title-track of the Providence EP as a bonus cut on their subsequent album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), both because it tied the two releases together even further and because it gave me another opportunity to hear it every time I listened to the record. Their short releases have always shown significant character apart from their full-lengths, and this was no exception. I still tear up when I hear “Sapphire Vessel.”
To bounce around a bit: Had to get Mos Generator on the list for the progressive expansion of the live-recorded The Firmament. Stickman was right to put that out on vinyl. Both Monolord and Goya provided quick outings of huge riffs to sate their respective and growing followings, while Megaritual’s Eclipse basked in drone serenity and the debut release from Sergio Ch.’s Soldati provided hard-driving heavy rock with the particular nuance for which the former Los Natas frontman is known. It’s the highest among a slew of first/early outings — see also The Sweet Heat, Wren (Host was their second EP), River Cult’s demo, Stinkeye, Mindkult, Iron Jawed Guru, Brume, Wicked Gypsy and Love Gang.
Ultimately, there were fewer splits on the list this year than last year, but I’ll credit that to happenstance more than any emergent bias against the form or lack of quality in terms of what actually came out. The BoneHawk and Kingnomad release, the Ragged Barracudas and Pushy split, and that heavy rocking onslaught from Bison Machine and company were all certainly welcome by me, and I’ll mention Gorilla vs. Grifter there too again, just because it was awesome.
One more time, thank you for reading, and if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below. Your civility in that regard is appreciated.
This is the last of my lists for 2016, but the Readers Poll results are out Jan. 1 and the New Year hits next week and that brings a whole new round of looking-forward coverage, so stay tuned.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Take a deep breath before you dive into the new lineup announcement from Psycho Las Vegas 2017. With 35-plus bands added, it officially qualifies as huge, and considering who those bands are — Slo Burn for a US-exclusive, plus bringing over the likes of Elephant Tree to play alongside Summoner, Hollow Leg, Gatecreeper and others — it can be a lot to take in. If you haven’t had a meal yet today, you might want to eat something. Make sure you’re hydrated. Basically I want to avoid anyone fainting as a result of reading the list of bands. If you’re sensitive to flashing lights… you’re probably okay. But otherwise, check to see you have something soft to land on nearby, should you need it.
I missed Psycho this year owing to a new job and a general lack of funds. I’m not sure I can do the same in 2017. This one might just be a gotta-go kind of scenario. Fuckin’ Slomatics are gonna be there.
There are still more than 40 bands to announce, including headliners, whose names will be out at random points over the next 30 days.
To the PR wire:
Psycho Las Vegas 2017
August 18, 2017 – August 20, 2017 Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas
Psycho Las Vegas today announces over 35 new additions to its massive 2017 lineup. The festival has quickly become the premier event in the US for underground heavy rock, psych, doom, alternative and beyond, and as the roster grows for this year’s edition, they’re clearly looking to push their boundaries even further.
Headliners remain TBA, but joining previously-announced generation-defining acts like Neurosis, Swans and French prog lords Magma, come UK grind legends Carcass, whose reunion continues to bring gruesome tales of dissections and unparalleled.
They’ll be in good company with Norwegian black metal legend Abbath, formerly of Immortal, who released a raging self-titled debut album under his own name this year, New York’s Myrkur, whose own debut, M, disrupted black metal genre convention on nearly every level, and USBM innovators Wolves in the Throne Room, who continue to refine a style they helped establish more than a decade ago.
Look for the Melvins to boggle brains with their brand of heavy rock – still unique unto itself after more than three decades – as well as for the new project Crystal Fairy with Buzzo and Dale from the Melvins, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (Mars Volta) and Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes) to bring to life their debut album, which releases in February on Ipecac Recordings.
This latest announcement also brings sludge-laden chaos from the pair of Weedeater and Buzzov*en, and Chelsea Wolfe to emit a darkness that even Las Vegas in the summer won’t be able to hold at bay.
The reunited Slo Burn (vocalist John Garcia’s first project post-Kyuss) will play an exclusive US show at Psycho, and a special highlight performance from psych-jazz legend Mulatu Astatke is open eyes, ears and minds alike as he celebrates a career spanning more than 50 years.
Also added have been long-running mischief-makers Murder City Devils, alt-rock legends Echo and the Bunnymen, progressive thrashers Vhöl (members of YOB and Agalloch), Pelican, Cult of Luna, Psychic TV, and as it did with the landmark 2016 edition, the fest digs deep into the heavy rock underground once again to unearth the best of up-and-coming bands from the States and beyond. Along with the already confirmed riff-crushers Windhand, Blood Ceremony, Slomatics and Domkraft, Elephant Tree (UK) have signed on alongside fellow fest-newcomers Khemmis, Sumac, Gatecreeper, Snail, North, Cult Leader, Hollow Leg, Summoner, Floorian, Wizard Rifle, Merlin and Morne.
Further lineup announcements will follow in the New Year — including headliners — so stay tuned for more from the best and biggest heavy festival the US has ever seen.
Psycho Las Vegas 2017 Confirmed lineup: MURDER CITY DEVILS NEUROSIS MULATU ASTATKE SWANS CARCASS WOLVES IN THE THRONEROOM CRYSTAL FAIRY MAGMA CHELSEA WOLFE SLO BURN CULT OF LUNA ABBATH SUMAC MYRKUR PELICAN WEEDEATER ZEAL & ARDOR SLOMATICS OATHBREAKER VHOL COUGH BLOOD CEREMONY INTER ARMA THE SKULL WINDHAND BUZZOVEN MINSK CODE ORANGE KHEMMIS GATECREEPER NORTH CULT LEADER SNAIL WIZARD RIFLE MERLIN FLOORIAN DOMKRAFT ELEPHANT TREE MORNE HOLLOW LEG SUMMONER
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
So I guess we’re pretty much ready to roll on Maryland Doom Fest 2017, right? We’ve had the lineup announced, we’ve got the schedule now. Might be another couple weeks getting t-shirts together — and hoodies; should’ve gotten a hoodie this year, which admittedly is something that occurs to one way less at the end of June than in mid-November — but then I’d say we’re about good to go. No need to wait until next summer on it. Let’s do this thing.
Maybe that’s just me being excited at the prospect of that Friday night lineup, which seems particularly strong front to back — not to take away from any of the other days, but you know I dig me some Lo-Pan — but either way, if Maryland Doom Fest‘s now-three-year tenure has been marked by anything it’s a lack of bullshit. A fervent get-down-to-business-and-kick-as-doing-it mentality. It’s perhaps the most “Maryland doom” aspect to the whole event. Maryland Doom Fest 2017 is clearly no different. Here we are more than half a year from the event kicking off and I know what time I need to be there on Thursday to watch Spillage start the pre-party. This is information I’m glad to have.
If your calendar isn’t marked yet, you might want to get on that:
The Maryland Doom Fest 2017
June 23, 2017 – June 25, 2017
611 N Market St, Frederick, Maryland 21701
SATURDAY JUNE 24 • The Skull 1245 – 150 • Bang! 1140 – 1235 • Wo Fat 1050 – 1130 • The Well 1000 – 1040 • The Watchers 910 – 950 • Hollow Leg 825 – 900 • Iron Man 740 – 815 • Dark Music Theory 655 – 730 • War Injun 610 – 645 • Thonian Horde 525 – 600 • Witches of God 440 – 515 • Black Tar Prophet 355 – 430 • Conclave 305 – 345
SUNDAY JUNE 25 • Headliner 1140 – 1245 • The Atomic Bitchwax 1045 -1130 • Serpents of Secrecy 955 – 1035 • Lightning Born 905 – 945 • Lifetime Shitlist 815 – 855 • Akris 730 – 805 • Burn Thee Insects 645 – 720 • Faith In Jane 600 – 635 • Cavern 515 – 550 • Old Blood 430 – 505 • Horehound 345 – 420
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Brooklyn’s Kings Destroy will head to Europe this fall. The genre-defiant five-piece will head overseas with Chicago’s The Skull for the first time since the release of their 2015 self-titled third album (review here), which was released by War Crime Recordings, who, in the interest of full disclosure, also pressed up my book. I’ll confess I was invited to go along with Kings Destroy on this tour as I did twice in the US circa 2014, but the basic fact of the matter is those kinds of things are way easier to do when you’re out of work, which, at the moment, I’m not. Unless I get canned between now and then. If that happens, I’m fucking there.
The Obelisk All-Dayer veterans will be keeping good company one way or another, both in touring with The Skull and in bringing aboard none other than the Mayor of Boston Heavy, Darryl Shepard (Kind, The Scimitar, Hackman, Milligram, Blackwolfgoat, so many others) himself — to play bass no less. Shepard had a few words about filling the low-end position this time out, and you’ll find those, Kings Destroy‘s announcement, the dates, and the stream of the self-titled below, because I’m thorough like that when I like a band this much.
Have at you:
Excited to announce that Kings Destroy will be joining The Skull for the majority of their British/European tour in November! Some additional German KD-only dates TBA. See you on the road!
Darryl Shepard on touring with Kings Destroy:
When Kings Destroy ask you to play bass for them on their European tour, you say yes. I’m very honored and excited to be joining these guys on bass for their tour with The Skull in November.
The Skull & Kings Destroy Nov. 2016 European tour: 03.11.2016 GB London @ Koli’s Night Club 04.11.2016 GB Bristol @ Exchange 05.11.2016 GB Milton Keynes @ Crauford Arms 06.11.2016 GB Birmingham @ The Rainbow 07.11.2016 NL Tilburg @ Little Devil 08.11.2016 NL Utrecht @ DBs 09.11.2016 DE Karlsruhe @ Jubez 10.11.2016 AT Vienna Doom Over Vienna Festival @ Viper 12.11.2016 NL Nijverdal @ Cult-Art Shop 13.11.2016 NL Drachten @ Iduna 14.11.2016 DE Wiesbaden @ Schlachthof 15.11.2016 DE Kassel @ Schlachthof 16.11.2016 DE Hamburg @ Hafenklang
This is one of those tour-to-end-all-tours tours. Beginning in Austin on Sept. 27, including a stop Oct. 14 at Erosion Fest and culminating Oct. 23 at Southwest Terror Fest, the newly-announced tour with Saint Vitus, The Skull and Witch Mountain also covers both coasts in nearly its month-long stretch. I’ll admit the prospect of seeing these three bands together at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn has my arm hair standing on end, remembering the Vitus-at-Vitus gig from 2012 (review here) as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, at that venue or anywhere else. It’ll be a different lineup of the band this time, with original vocalist Scott Reagers back in that position as the Die Healing-referential poster art indicates, but they’re keeping excellent company in The Skull and Witch Mountain as well, so kudos all around, including to Nanotear, which put the package together.
Witch Mountain have a couple dates as well en route to meeting up with the others. Find the complete routing, including those shows, below:
SAINT VITUS tour dates All dates with THE SKULL, WITCH MOUNTAIN Sept. 27 Austin, TX @ Midway Field House Sept. 28 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Dallas Sept. 29 San Antonio, TX @ The Mix Sept. 30 Shreveport, LA @ Riverside Warehouse Oct. 1 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s Saloon Oct. 2 Atlanta, GA @ The EARL Oct. 3 Raleigh, NC @ Kings Oct. 5 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts Oct. 6 Boston, MA @ @Middle East Oct. 7 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus Bar Oct. 8 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop Oct. 9 Indianapolis, IN @ 5th Quarter Lounge Oct. 10 Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Bar Oct. 11 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon Oct. 12 St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club Oct. 14 Missoula, MT @ Erosion Festival Oct. 15 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon Oct. 16 Portland, OR @ Star Theater Portland Oct. 18 Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge Oct. 19 Oakland, CA @ Oakland Metro Operahouse Oct. 20 Costa Mesa, CA @ Wayfarer. Oct. 21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Viper Room Oct. 22 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick Oct. 23 Tucson, AZ @ Southwest Terror Fest
Witch Mountain shows on the way to meet up with Saint Vitus + The Skull: 9/22 Portland, OR – Dante’s (WM only) 9/23 Boise, ID – Neurolux (WM only) 9/24 Salt Lake City, UT – Metro (WM only) 9/25 Denver, CO – Hi-Dive (WM only)
Have to chuckle a bit at The Skull calling a tour ‘November of Doom,’ when they’re from Chicago and that same city is host to Novembers Doom, but hey, sometimes coincidences happen. On their latest run of Europe, which follows two earlier this Spring, including one that stopped for a total of three sets at Roadburn 2016, they’ll be joined by Portland, Oregon’s Witch Mountain. As coordination would have it, the two bands share a guitarist in Rob Wrong at this point, so though he’ll be pulling double-duty, the pairing makes an awful lot of sense. The Skull, who are continuing to support their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), as well as a self-titled follow-up EP (review here), features vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Lothar Keller and drummer Sean Saley, in addition to Rob Wrong.
To my recollection, this is the first time Witch Mountain will be headed to Europe since acquiring vocalist Kayla Dixon. They toured North America last Spring alongside Enslaved and YOB and are about due for a follow-up to 2014’s Mobile of Angels (review here), their gorgeous and fraught fourth full-length.
Both bands also play Erosion Festival 2016 (info here) in Missoula, Montana, this October.
From the PR wire:
THE SKULL featuring former Trouble members including vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner are returning to Europe in November 2016!
The Skull & Witch Mountain: 11/04 Bristol, UK Exchange 11/05 Milton Keynes, UK Crauford Arms 11/06 London, UK Underworld 11/07 Tilburg, NL Little Devil 11/08 Utrecht, NL DBS 11/09 Karlsruhe, DE Jubez 11/10 Vienna, AT Doom Over Vienna 11/11 Arnstadt, DE Rockjunfer 11/12 TBA 11/13 Drachten, NL Iduna 11/14 Wiesbaden, DE Schlachthof 11/15 Kassel, DE Schlachthof 11/16 Hamburg, DE Hafenklang 11/17 Dortmund, DE Piano 11/18 Würzburg, DE Hammer Of Doom 11/19 Winterthur, CH Gaswerk
Some good shit here. I was bummed to miss Atomikylä and Oranssi Pazuzu both at Roadburn 2016, but having caught the likes of Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, The Skull, Bang, Tau Cross and Repulsion, it’s not like you’re going to find me complaining. Even less so now, since though we’re not yet a month out from when the festival actually took place in its home of Tilburg, the Netherlands, the first round of the traditional audio streams have arrived. All of the above mentioned are included, as well as Sinistro, Dark Buddha Rising and Abyssion, making it a pretty succinct summary of the breadth of the fest as a whole, from warm-toned classic rock to raging grind and black metal to the dreariest depths of doom. Yup, that about covers it.
As always, these streams were captured by Marcel van de Vondervoort — who also played this year with Astrosoniq; can’t wait till their set gets posted — and I’m thrilled to host them both for the memories they bring back and for the chance to hear stuff I didn’t get to see. I don’t mind telling you and I don’t think I’m giving away any state secrets when I say it was a hard transition back to real life this year, so to have a bit of escapism in the form of these sets is most welcome.
I hope you also enjoy digging in:
Abyssion – Live at Roadburn 2016
Atomikyla – Live at Roadburn 2016
Bang – Live at Roadburn 2016
Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Live at Roadburn 2016
Dark Buddha Rising – Live at Roadburn 2016
Oranssi Pazuzu – Live at Roadburn 2016
Repulsion – Live at Roadburn 2016
Tau Cross – Live at Roadburn 2016
Sinistro – Live at Roadburn 2016
The Skull – Live at Roadburn 2016 (Thursday, April 14)
The Skull – Live at Roadburn 2016 (Friday, April 15 – playing Trouble’s Psalm 9 in its entirety)
Special thanks as always to Walter for letting me host the streams. For all of this site’s coverage of Roadburn 2016, click here.