ROADBURN 2016 DAY ONE: Cosmic Truth

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 14th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

roadburn 2016 day one (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.15.16 – 00:16 — Hotel room, Tilburg

Already it seems like Roadburn is in full swing. There’s no sense of the outside world, only Roadburn, which always has and always will. Familiar faces abound, and new ones too. A lot of them. That build-out on the 013 allowed for more tickets sold, so inarguably Roadburn 2016 is the most crowded this event has ever been. That’s saying something. Mostly, it’s saying, “get there early if you want to get up front.”

the poisoned glass 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)I did just that what seems like a million hours ago for The Poisoned Glass starting the day — the first day; my god, it’s still the first day — at Het Patronaat, aka the church. The band is new, but the players involved were clearly known to the early crowd, vocalist/noisemaker Edgy59 and bassist G. Stuart Dahlquist both veterans of widely influential doom extremists Burning Witch. By astounding coincidence, their debut album, 10 Swords, came out this week via Ritual Productions, and they played the vast majority of it and then some, the volume of Dahlquist‘s bass loud enough to vibrate earplugs and dissuade any accusations of minimalism one might try to make.

With Edgy59 switching between harsh screaming rasps and cleaner vocals, it was entertaining to look around the room and see so many smiling faces among those in attendance. Yes, the music is unspeakably dark. Yes, it sounds like your soul in a trash compactor. Doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Their post-Khanate dystopian oppression found its audience for sure, and it was gripping to watch the seething intensity in Edgy59‘s performance particularly, his movements restless in comparison to the slow motion tempos of the material. They were as heavy in mood as in Dahlquist‘s tone, and inescapable in their rumbling churn. Perfect for the church.

As they were wrapping up, Inverloch were taking the stage in the redone Green Room. I tried to catch some of Mantra Machine, but already the Cul de Sac was full and it would remain so for the duration. I thought about running over to Extase, which is around the other side of the alley behind the Patronaat, to get a sample of Grafir, but wound up marauding through the merch section — like a fucking champ — and back at the church to catch Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand, who, as it turns out, were exactly what I was looking for.

der blutharsch 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)Later on, I’d go back to the merch area to pick up a full copy of their new record, The Wolvennest Sessions, which came out in December, and grabbing 2012’s The Story About the Digging of the Hole and the Hearing of the Sounds from Hell on a whim, basically because that’s how good Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand Were, the Austrian experimentalists celebrating their 20th anniversary with a short tour in the winding-down stage. Their blend of classic krautrock and forward-thinking psychedelia was a joy to take in, and since their stuff is so far out, I didn’t really know what was coming. Anything would’ve been a surprise. With founder Albin Julius on synth and vocals, they spread their sound out over their hour-long set and seemed right at home in the flow.

There seems to be some threat that this is their last tour. Obviously, I don’t know if that’s true or not, and since they’re pretty prolific, I wouldn’t take that to mean they’re done overall — though one never knows — but even if it’s a year or a few years before they get out again, I felt fortunate to watch them play. It’s the kind of thing I’d never get to see anywhere but at Roadburn, something I didn’t even know how badly I wanted to watch, and though I checked out a little early to go catch The Skull on the Main Stage back at the 013Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand left one of the day’s most memorable impressions. Considering the course of the day, that’s saying something.

Yeah, I watched The Skull last night at the Hardrock Hideout (review here). It’s a fact. I thought this was their set of Trouble songs, and there were a few sprinkled in for good measure, of course — “R.I.P.,” “At the End of My Daze,” “Come Touch the Sky” and so on — the skull rb 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)but was awfully Skull-y for being the Trouble set, which as it turns out is late tomorrow night. Go figure. No harm done, of course. Let “A New Generation” and “The Longing” be the worst things that ever happen at Roadburn. They riffed on “I Want You/She’s so Heavy” and tossed “Till the Sun Turns Black” into the set, which was certainly welcome, and after the swinging “Send Judas Down,” which included a nod to “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida,” it was once again the title-track from For Those Which are Asleep (review here) rounding out.

To see them on such a huge stage less than 24 hours after seeing them in a club that holds about 200 people was something of a trip, but The Skull were no less in command of the cavernous space than they were the tiny Cul de Sac, where New Keepers of the Water Towers were going on shortly. I ran over quickly to see if there was any room in the building. There was enough for me to buy a copy of their new album, Infernal Machine (review here), but by the time you walked to the bar in the much-longer-than-it-is-wide venue, there was basically no passage through the throng of humanity. Buying the record seemed like the least I could do for having made the attempt to see them and failed, and once I got it, I headed back to the Main Stage to watch The Skull finish and to wait for Hexvessel, who were one of my most anticipated bands for the entire fest, to take the Main Stage.

I said as much in today’s Weirdo Canyon Dispatch (issue here) but nature-worshiping Finnish outfit Hexvessel‘s new record, When We are Death (review here), stands among the best albums of 2016 so far. Before they went on, I ran over to the merch area — more hexvessel 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)of a waddle, really — and picked up the artbook edition of the album as well as a patch with a fish head on it. They also had owls and bears and several other wildlife options, but you don’t see a lot of fish in underground heavy, so I was all about it. No idea what I’ll do with the thing, not being the battle-vest type, but whatever. For three euro? Sold. Their set more than justified both purchases, focused heavily on the new album and a huge shift in dynamic from when they were here in 2012, having departed from their folkish roots on the strength of infectious, progressive and deeply nuanced songs like “Mushroom Spirit Doors,” a set highlight, and “Cosmic Truth,” which frontman Mat McNerney prefaced by saying it was about, “true love and spaceships.” Needless to say, right up my alley.

Quietly percussive, “Hunter’s Prayer” finished off what seemed to be Hexvessel‘s regular set, after “Cosmic Truth,” “Mushroom Spirit Doors,” “Transparent Eyeball,” “Teeth of the Mountain,” “Mirror Boy,” and “Sacred Marriage” and the earlier “Woods to Conjure” from 2012’s No Holier Temple, but the band did an encore of sorts with “Earth over Us” and “When I’m Dead” back to back, both maddeningly catchy, the former delivered with surprising heft from the stage, before closing with “Invocation Summoning” from their 2011 debut, DawnbearerMcNerney encouraging the crowd to sing and clap along, which of course it did.

Timing worked out that as Hexvessel were finishing, Bang were starting in the Green Room, so I hobbled over there and waited for the Franks and Jake to follow-up their Hardrock Hideout set with another runthrough of their heavy ’70s lost classics. They did not disappoint, and their warm, laid back take on heavy rock continues to thrill. I’ve seen the band I don’t even know how many times at this point — let’s say circa 15 — but their vibe is always right on, and I don’t think I’ve heard bassist Frank Ferrara‘s tone sound as full and inviting as it has last night and tonight. He and guitarist Frankie Gilcken founded the band in 1969 and their self-titled debut was released two years later, and Ferrara remarked from the stage that their first European appearance — this one — was 46 years in the making. Time flies.

bang 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)Much to their credit, they lived up to the occasion, and though he’s far from being an original member of the band, Jake Leger‘s drums have become essential to Bang‘s live presence. Maybe they’ll do another record, maybe they won’t, but with Leger swinging away behind, Gilcken and Ferrara are that much more able to nail that spirit every time out. “Lions, Christians” was a highlight, and of course “Our Home,” both from the self-titled, but in the live setting, the much newer “The Maze” is no less vintage-sounding. I think Leger is a big part of that. A third in the power trio, at very least. As they always do, Bang looked to be genuinely enjoying making their European debut, and a crowd that already knew their songs made it seem all the more overdue.

Back on the Main Stage, Converge were finishing up their set playing 2001’s Jane Doe in full: The album that launched 100,000 metalcore bands who were nowhere near as interesting as Converge ever were. Hard to hold that against it, I suppose. I caught the tail end of the set, which was as furious as it would have to be, and the four-piece of vocalist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Nate Newton and drummer Ben Koller brought out former bassist Stephen Brodsky (also Cave In) to join them on guitar and melodic vocals for the closing title-track from Jane Doe, its sweep well on the other side of epic. Not really my thing stylistically, but people were jammed into the Main Stage space for them, and I watched as dudes had to be helped out of the front for what I guess was a rare Roadburn pit — unless someone just stepped on that guy’s foot, which would be sadder somehow — so it was clear the room was making the connection to the off-genre elements Jane Doe brought to hardcore, or more likely, they made that connection 15 years ago. Either way.

My second failure at Cul de Sac came after Converge were done when I ran over to try to see the reunited Gomer Pyle. No luck. Same as with New Keepers: I bought a CD and that was about as close as I could get. Fair enough. By this time, I was reconciling myself to the fact that I’d probably not get in to see either Zone Six at Cul de Sac or CHRCH at Extase, both of which were bigtime mental bummers. Still, as consolation, Paradise Lost playing their defining 1991 opus, Gothic, in its entirety ain’t bad. That album turns 25 this year, has been reissued multiple times over, and its paradise lost 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)influence continues to spread, now feeding a new generation a blueprint of how to do death/doom so very, very right.

It would’ve been an event to see Paradise Lost play anything, but “Gothic,” “Shattered,” “Dead Emotion” — this is the stuff of which doom extremity is made. I stayed a while to pay my respects and then did decide after all to not be a defeatist jerk and see if I could get in for Zone Six after all. I could. The key was to be early as hell. That’s an old Roadburn trick. The German space jammers, who feature in their ranks Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt and Komet Lulu, both of Electric Moon, played as a trio with Rainer Neeff on guitar, which meant that synth specialist Modulfix was missing, but the jams were happening either way. I dug the gosh darn heck out of last year’s Love Monster (review here), and they were another act where the safer assumption probably would’ve been that I’d never get to watch them do a set save at Roadburn. I am very, very fortunate to be here.

Zone Six played in the dark. I mean it. Cul de Sac isn’t exactly bright to start with, and Lulu asked before they went on to have the lights turned down so it was like shooting a show in Boston in there. With Sula filling in on synth, their swirl was certainly colorful enough that it would’ve justified a bit of brightness, but I’ll take what I can get and the pictures can work themselves out. I got to see Zone Six. That’s a win. And since I had a hot streak going, I thought maybe I’d give Extase a shot for CHRCH to round out the night on a bludgeoning note of tonal mass, their Unanswered Hymns (review here) debut album on Battleground Records continuing to resonate as one of 2015’s best. As fate would have it, my luck held.

My two gotta-sees for today were Hexvessel and CHRCH. I wish I could say I stayed for the latter’s full set, but between the fact that it zone six 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)was getting on midnight and I had writing to do and the full-crowd press up against the stage in Extase bringing on a need for breathable air that smelled like something other than beer sweat, I indeed did not. Was enough to see them play “Unanswered Hymns” though to justify my anticipation. The Sacramento five-piece are touring to support the aforementioned first LP, and they’re doing numerous fests in the US as well as putting in this abroad road time, so it probably won’t be the last time in my life I run into them, but I was extraordinarily glad I did. Partially veiled frontwoman Eva played up a ritualistic sensibility with incense at the front of the stage, but really, so much of what they did was about absolutely crushing everything in their path — which is a kind of ritual, granted — that their primary impression was one of sheer impact. Switching between screams and cleaner croons, Eva shared vocal duties with guitarist Chris, whose growls underscored the death/doom aspects of CHRCH‘s sound, making them all the more crushing.

Listening to Unanswered Hymns, it was clear CHRCH (who were called Church at the time) were onto something that could be really special. After watching them bring that material to life, I feel no less vehement in my appreciation for just how on-the-right-path they absolutely are. Their second offering will be a big tell. I can’t wait to hear what it has to say.

When it was time to go, I fought my way through the wall of humans at Extase and eventually out into the street wherechrch 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan) some non-Roadburn-type tourists were taking their picture in front of the big cathedral. Dudes were plastered. I took their picture with one of their phones and told them to have a good night. Theirs might’ve just been beginning, and I suppose in a way mine was too, but with Day One of Roadburn 2016 down, I felt like something really substantial had been accomplished even as I looked at the schedule for tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday and knew that there remains so much more to come.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Live Review: Roadburn 2016 Hardrock Hideout with Jucifer, The Skull and Bang

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

jucifer 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

For the last couple years, the Hardrock Hideout has served as both a precursor to Roadburn proper and a showcase for a different side of the fest’s scope: namely thrash. Clearly Roadburn is changing the script somewhat in 2016, however, since this year’s Hardrock Hideout lineup worked in a range of styles and expanded its bill from two to three acts. To the best of my knowledge, Jucifer was on board first, but either The Skull or Bang is worth making room for, despite the fact that they’ll both also play as part of Roadburn itself, which starts tomorrow. In the case of The Skull, twice.

The Hardrock Hideout also made for a handy reminder of one other thing: Just how unbelievably crowded this weekend is going to be. I got to the Cul de Sac — located right in the heart of Weirdo Canyon — about half an hour before Bang went on and still there were other people up front. It’s only Wednesday! I’m willing to wager that a good portion of the people attending this weekend aren’t even in town yet. Absolute madness.

I’d slept for about 40 minutes beforehand, but that didn’t stop the show from being killer front to back. Here’s how it went down:

Bang

Bang (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It’s been about a year and a half since the last time I saw Bang (review here), and that interim has clearly had some effect on guitarist Frankie Gilcken and bassist/vocalist Frank Ferrara and drummer Jake Leger in an expanded setlist with cuts like “Come with Me” and “Future Shock” from their 1971 self-titled debut, which has been newly reissued via Svart Records. They had copies of that and the concurrent Mother reissue, but I didn’t see Death of a Country or Music, though to be fair, I couldn’t just missed it. Either way, it would’ve been hard to find a better-suited opener for Roadburn‘s festivities than Bang. Their sound is so laid back and classic in its tone and execution that it gave The Skull and Jucifer a foundation from which to expand with their own sets, at the same time, providing Bang with a fantastic European debut. That’s right. In the band’s 40-plus-year history, this was the first time they ever gigged in Europe. Talk about setting high standards. Of course, “Our Home” was a highlight, and they closed out with “Questions,” leaving the crowd shouting for more when they were done.

The Skull

the skull 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Feels a little like tattling to say so, but Eric Wagner smoked three cigarettes on stage tonight. Three. It may have been smelly, but it didn’t stop the band from going full-force into Trouble classics like “R.I.P.,” “At the End of My Daze” and “Bastards Will Pay,” which showed up early and was among the most welcome inclusions in the set. As noted, The SkullEric Wagner (ex-Trouble), guitarists Lothar Keller and Rob Wrong (also Witch Mountain), bassist Ron Holzner (ex-Trouble) and drummer Sean Saley (ex-Pentagram) — will play two more sets this weekend. One will be comprised of Trouble material, the other The Skull originals from their 2014 Tee Pee Records debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), and presumably some newer material as well. To that end, they included the new song “The Longing” from their recent tour EP (streamed here), and “Until the Sun Turns Black” from the full-length, and after pushing toward the end with a couple Trouble standards, it seemed especially telling that they closed with the title-track from For Those Which are Asleep, which was, it’s well worth noting, more than up to the task, Saley hammering the heavy groove of its choruses while Rob Wrong — a relatively recent addition to a seemingly perpetually fluid lineup around Keller, Wagner and Holzner — shredded out solos in trade with Keller on the other side of the stage. Wagner, on his third butt by then, joked about having just come through Tilburg a month ago and played Little Devil, but he and the entire band seemed glad to be back, and if Tilburg was showing any sign of The Skull fatigue, I certainly couldn’t see it.

Jucifer

jucifer 2 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

From thunderous, plodding doom to teeth-gnashing grindcore — often in the span of a measure or less — Jucifer have a reputation for onslaught that is well earned. The long-running two-piece of guitarist/vocalist Gazelle Amber Valentine and drummer Edgar Livengood seemed to have some technical trouble as they were setting up Valentine’s two guitar half-stacks (one for each side of the stage) and bass rig, and also early in the set, but it would’ve taken heavy industrial/construction equipment and trained professionals to derail their momentum. Their sound a force of extremity in its purpose and its sheer sense of attack, they were quickly off and running, Livengood reaching up to hit his high crash cymbals with twirling sticks and a primal joy in his work that one occasionally sees in drummers truly born to do what they’re doing, which I’d argue Livengood is. This was my first time seeing Jucifer, I’ll confess. It should’ve been much sooner. Valentine‘s vocals were a little low in the mix, buried under the immense slab of weight that was her guitar tone, but one would be hard pressed to say they didn’t get their point across. By then, the Cul de Sac was packed beyond the point of being able to move through the crowd, and standing in front of Valentine and Livengood was like being able to watch the gleeful steamroller about to flatten you into pavement and being able to do nothing about it. Far worse ways to go. They’re of course known for their stylized wall of cabinets that they take on tour with them — they’re pretty much constantly touring; a few years ago there was word they were fully nomadic, living out of their camper, but I’ve no idea if that’s still the case — but even without that imposing wall of speakers, Jucifer were loud enough to vibrate earplugs in the ear and they gave Roadburn the riotous start it deserves.

It’s after one in the morning, local time. Tomorrow I need to be up to finalize the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch issue, so I’ll cut it there and just say thanks for reading and there’s much more to come.

Tomorrow begins Roadburn 2016.

More pics after the jump.

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The Skull Stream “The Longing” & “The Skull” from New EP

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the skull

In Fall 2014, Chicago doomers The Skull offered up their debut album, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), on Tee Pee Records. For a few years prior, the band had been kicking around as a solid five-piece, mostly playing out with takes on classic material from Trouble, of which vocalist Eric Wagner (who also has a new solo album out) and bassist Ron Holzner were members during what might be called that band’s peak era. The Skull has seen a number of other players come and go around WagnerHolzner and guitarist Lothar Keller, including former Trouble drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson and guitarist Matt Goldsborough, who has filled in with Pentagram for Victor Griffin. And their evolution continues in 2016. Their new self-titled five-song EP, called simply The Skull, finds the trio of KellerHolzner and Wagner joined by former Pentagram drummer Sean Saley and Witch Mountain guitarist Rob Wrong and presents the first new studio material from the group since For Those Which are Asleep in its leadoff track “The Longing.”

The classic doom swing of Trouble‘s landmark works lives on in The Skull — not to mention Trouble, who are also still active — but even as Wagner and Holzner continue to pay homage to what that band did, The Skull has its own progression under way as well. The LP showed that and the EP does likewise, whether it’s the high-low pairing of vocal the skull the skull eplayers in the chorus or the solo shredded out over the song’s transmoded “Hole in the Sky” riff. “The Longing,” which lives lyrically up to that title in describing a particular kind of soul torture, is paired with a remake of the Trouble song after which The Skull are named, taken from the 1985 sophomore outing of which it also served as the title-track. A cover, since Wagner is the only member tying the band to the album (Sean McAllister played bass on that record), tapping into Trouble‘s Christian lyrical themes and meeting them with an updated tonality, production, and sense of depth in the mix, which remains even in the furious thrashing apex late in the track, in which the guitars put on another clinic and Wagner pushes his voice to the point of breaking without going over that line.

Admittedly, the new studio material — these two songs — is a draw, but 2016 will see considerable touring from The Skull as well, and in addition to the perhaps-underappreciated “A New Generation” from For Those Which are Asleep, the recently-recorded live tracks “Assassin” (another Trouble cover, from Psalm 9) and “Til the Sun Turns Black,” captured just last month at Reggies in Chicago, make a solid case for the band’s live dynamic, even with this still-new lineup, and as they make ready to head to Europe for the first time — not before they represent their hometown in supporting Sleep at Thalia Hall on Jan. 27 — it seems apparent they chose to name the EP The Skull not just because of the Trouble tune they’re covering on it, but because of how well it represents the various sides of what they do, whether that’s reinterpreting a classic, forging ahead in developing their own identity, or bringing both to the stage with vitality that helped craft that legacy in doom in the first place.

The Skull‘s The Skull EP is out Jan. 22, and its studio tracks are available now to stream on the player below. More info on the release follows, as well as The Skull‘s tour dates, of which there are many.

Please enjoy:

New song, “The Longing” and updated take on “The Skull”. Also, ‘A New Generation” + 2 live tracks, recorded 12.4.15 in Chicago.

THE SKULL recently recorded two songs for a 7″ single for Tee Pee Records to be released in April. “The Longing” is a bluesy doom metal traditional Skull song while B-side “The Skull” is an updated version of the classic song that originally appeared on Trouble’s 1985 record of the same name.

1. The Longing
2. A New Generation (from “For Those Which Are Aleep”)
3. The Skull
4. Assassin (LIVE in Chicago)
5. Til the Sun Turns Black (LIVE in Chicago)

“Having named the band THE SKULL after the classic horror movie of the same name it seemed fitting to do an updated version of a song I co-wrote called “The Skull” for its 30 year anniversary,” commented vocalist Eric Wagner. ” Its the perfect B-side and Lyrically resonates in the World we live in Now….and it happens to be the name of our band. Funny how that works out.”

THE SKULL recorded their packed concert December 4th at Reggies Rock Club in Chicago and picked two additional songs to add to the new EP/CD. “Till the Sun Turns Black” a heavy Bluesy number and the crowd favorite “Assassin” will join “The Skull” and “The Longing” (from the 7″) as well as the single “A New Generation” from their critically acclaimed debut record “For Those Which Are Asleep.”

“We are eagerly anticipating having the EP in our hands and for sale at our SOLD OUT pre-tour show with SLEEP at the Thalia Hall in Chicago, added bassist Ron Holzner. This year is starting off with a bang and gonna be a busy one.”

THE SKULL ON TOUR:
Jan 27 Thaila Hall Chicago, IL w/ Sleep
Feb 26 Little Devil Tilburg, Netherlands
Feb 27 Poppodium Q-Factory Amsterdam, Netherlands
Feb 29 Underground Koln, Germany
Mar 01 Forum Bielefeld, Germany
Mar 03 Klubsen Hamburg, Germany
Mar 04 Bandhaus Leipzig, Germany
Mar 05 JUZ Klex Greifswald, Germany
Mar 06 Ucho Gdynia, Poland
Mar 08 Paunchy Cats Lichtenfels, Germany
Mar 09 Chemiefabrik Dresden, Germany
Mar 10 Cassiopeia Berlin, Germany
Mar 11 Framus & Warwick Music Hall Markneukirchen, Germany
Mar 12 Backstage München, Germany
Mar 14 Explosiv Graz, Austria
Mar 15 Museum Obchodu Bratislava, Slovakia
Mar 16 Dürer Kert Budapest, Hungary
Mar 17 Viper Room Wien, Austria
Mar 18 Weekender Club Innsbruck, Austria
Mar 19 Freakclub Bologna, Italy
Mar 20 Jubez Karlsruhe, Germany
Apr 14 Roadburn Festival Tilburg, Netherlands
Apr 15 Roadburn Festival Tilburg, Netherlands
Apr 16 1000Fryd Aalborg, Denmark
Apr 17 Stengade København N, Denmark
Apr 19 Truckstop Alaska Gothenburg, Sweden
Apr 20 Revolver Oslo, Norway
Apr 21 Onkel Aksel Kristiansand, Norway
Apr 22 Tribute Sandnes, Norway
Apr 23 Inside Bergen, Norway
Jun 18 HellFest Clisson, France

The Skull on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

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Eric Wagner Posts Acoustic Track “An Absurd Jurisdiction”

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

eric wagner

Apparently it’s been a busy couple weeks for Eric Wagner. The former Trouble vocalist has got a new solo album out, an acoustic release called Highdeas Vol. 1 that seems to be drawn from demos and raw versions of material that would later be developed for records by his current bands The Skull and Blackfinger. A self-release put on sale in Wagner‘s BigCartel store, it’s available now, which if you’ve ever heard him sing is probably about all you need to know to make you click onward to a purchase. Fair enough.

In addition to that, The Skull have added guitarist Rob Wrong of Witch Mountain to their lineup, which, frankly, was something of a surprise. Wrong takes the place of sometimes-Pentagram axeman Matt Goldsborough alongside The Skull‘s Lothar Keller, Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Sean Saley, the latter of whom is also a Pentagram expat. The Skull also recently filmed a hometown show in Chicago for who knows what purpose, and will head out on a rather extensive European tour come Spring that includes a stop at Roadburn 2016. I’m assuming they’ll head back to the US sometime between, but they’ll also be appearing at Hellfest in France come June.

Like I say, a lot going on for Wagner, who posted the track “An Absurd Jurisdiction” in order to get word out about the release of Highdeas Vol. 1. Find the cover — reminiscent of some self-released Trouble live records from years past — album info, links, and of course the song itself, below:

eric wagner highdeas vol. 1

The legendary voice of Trouble, Blackfinger, and The Skull, Eric Wagner enters the studio with nothing more than his acoustic guitar.

“Highdeas Vol. 1” is a collection of early song drafts that would eventually become part of The Skull and Blackfinger. Just Eric and his acoustic. Released 2015.

1. On Tuesday Morning
2. Trapped Inside My Mind
3. Ima Ghost
4. All The Leaves Are Brown
5. An Absurd Jurisdiction
6. Here Comes The Rain
7. My Many Colored Days
8. Yellowood
9. Heaven
10. As Long As I’m With You

http://ericwagner.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull/

Eric Wagner, “An Absurd Jurisdiction”

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Roadburn 2016 Announces Ticket On-Sale Date; Adds Amenra, The Skull, Green Carnation, and More to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Much good news coming out of the Roadburn 2016 camp today, and multifaceted. First, tickets will be on sale on Oct. 2. That’s a good one to know. Second, Becky Cloonan has been announced as the official artist of Roadburn 2016, and her poster for the fest, which you can see below, rules. Would and probably will look very cool on a t-shirt. Third, the lineup has grown even richer and broader, from neofolk to death metal to proggy extremity with the likes of Of the Wand and the Moon, Amenra, The Skull and Green Carnation added.

The Skull being added isn’t much of a surprise after the initial announcement of their Spring 2016 European tour last month, but confirmation is always nice anyhow, and a return from Amenra is most welcome. I always dug those Green Carnation records too, so hopefully Tchort brings out some of that stuff from his weirdo prog-death outfit. There’s a lot, and I mean a lot to get to, so I won’t delay.

To the PR wire:

roadburn 2016 poster

ROADBURN FESTIVAL: ticket on sale date confirmed; new additions to the bill; official artist announced

  • ROADBURN 2016 tickets will be on sale from October 2.
  • New additions to the festival line up: AMENRA, THE SKULL, GREEN CARNATION, LA MUERTE, DER BLUTHARSCH AND THE INFINITE CHURCH OF THE LEADING HAND, OF THE WAND AND THE MOON, LYCHGATE, and CHAOS ECHOES.
  • ROADBURN FESTIVAL is proud to announce renowned illustrator and comic book creator, BECKY CLOONAN is our official poster artist for 2016.

TICKETS

Mark the date in your diaries – we can now confirm that Roadburn tickets will go on sale on October 2, 2015.

Three-day (Thursday – Saturday) and four-day (Thursday-Sunday) will be available to purchase via Ticketmaster.nl for €165 and €185 respectively. Day tickets for Sunday only will be available, priced at €39. A limited number of individual day tickets for the remaining days will be released for sale at a later date.

NEW LINEUP ADDITIONS

With a sonic arsenal behind them that covers a broad spectrum of emotive intricacies, AMENRA are perfectly placed to showcase their diversity at Roadburn 2016. The performances at Roadburn are currently the only planned live outings for AMENRA in 2016: an acoustic set, with an expanded band of musicians, immediately before Neurosis on the Saturday, and again taking to the main stage on the Sunday night to play an electric set.
To find out more about AMENRA at Roadburn 2016, click HERE.

Breathing new life into one of doom’s most enduring legacies, THE SKULL will also play Roadburn 2016 twice. On Thursday, April 14 THE SKULL will perform songs from For Those Which Are Asleep (out on Tee Pee records), plus classic Trouble, 90s era tracks. The following day, the band will hark back to Trouble’s Metal Blade years, only playing songs from Psalm 9, The Skull and Run To The Light.
To find out more about THE SKULL at Roadburn 2016, click HERE.

Norwegian avant-garde progsters GREEN CARNATION will perform Light of Day, Days of Darkness in its entirety on Sunday, April 17. 2016 marks the fifteen year anniversary of this epic, prog, avant-metal masterpiece. “The people involved in this are all buzzing”, says founder / guitarist Tchort, “Light of Day, Day of Darkness is a very special album in many different ways for so many people, and we are looking forward to start rehearsing this beast live.”
To find out more about GREEN CARNATION at Roadburn 2016, click HERE.

We’re elated to announce the international return of Belgium’s legendary riders of the apocalypse, LA MUERTE, at Roadburn 2016. LA MUERTE’s massacre thrashed Europe and the UK in the 80’s, resulting in a John Peel Session at the BBC, full pages of interviews in Melody Maker, and, infamously, bomb threats in Paris by extremists French Catholics for the track Ecoute cette Prière, before eventually disbanding in 1994. They will make their highly anticipated return at the 013 venue, for eager fans at Roadburn.
To find out more about LA MUERTE at Roadburn 2016, click HERE

Denmark’s OF THE WAND AND THE MOON has become a leading staple of contemporary neofolk; albums such as 2011’s The Lone Descent are widely regarded as masterpieces. Heavily thriving on Nordic mythological influences, with lyrics mainly in Danish and English, Kim Larsen’s melancholic, often acoustic take on the genre paints devastating portraits of irreconcilable loss, love and death in a traditional romantic sense.
OF THE WAND AND THE MOON will play Incubate Festival in Tilburg this month. To find out more about their performance at Roadburn 2016, click HERE.

Over the past two decades DER BLUTHARSCH AND THE INFINITE CHURCH OF THE LEADING HAND’s Albin Julius found his alchemical, musical perfection: parts krautrock, psychedelia, and dark experimentalism. Theatrical and tense, sonically dark and perverse, ritualistic and confusing – don’t miss out on Albin Julius’ mushroom aesthetics on Thursday, April 14, when DER BLUTHARSCH AND THE INFINITE CHURCH OF THE LEADING HAND will celebrate their 20th anniversary. To find out more about their performance at Roadburn 2016, click HERE.

Uncompromising, unsettling, utterly confounding, and heavily funeralizing Black Metal, London’s LYCHGATE – with Esoteric’s Greg Chandler on vocals – know how to craft a vibe. Let LYCHGATE drag you deeply down the rabbit hole on Friday, April 15, when they play An Antidote for the Glass Pill in full, and employ the church-organ to full effect on stage for the first time ever.
To find out more about LYCHGATE at Roadburn 2016, click HERE.

CHAOS ECHOES create an aesthetically complex body of work that sweeps death metal into a black hole of deconstructed improvisations. To find out more about their performance at Roadburn 2016, click HERE.

BECKY CLOONAN

We at Roadburn are ecstatically proud to unveil the official artwork for Roadburn 2016, lovingly wrought by acclaimed comic-book illustrator BECKY CLOONAN – who will be following in the illustrious footsteps of such predecessors as Michel Langevin, Costin Chioreanu, and Arik Roper.

CLOONAN’s mix of clean, bold lines mixed with subtle intricacies, Manga-influenced angularity and artful use of chiaroscuro and colour has marked her out as an artist to pay serious attention to. Having provided stunning illustrations for a new edition of Bram Stoker’s immortal Dracula, collaborated with My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way on the art for his Dark Horse miniseries The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoy, and become the first woman to draw DC’s Batman – CLOONAN has already left an indelible mark on the comic book world

Her intricate linework, art-deco sensibilities and dark psychedelic edge make her the perfect match for Roadburn, with her comics background providing a fresh edge to the Roadburn aesthetic. She’ll be providing the official poster art for Roadburn 2016 along with four individual day posters – yet to be revealed – and taking part in the official exhibition of art at Projectspace Tilburg – Gust van Dijk.

To read more about BECKY CLOONAN at Roadburn 2016, click HERE.

Roadburn Festival takes place between 14 – 17 April 2016 at the 013 venue, in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Ticket announcements will follow in due course.

http://www.roadburn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival
https://twitter.com/roadburnfest

The Skull, Live at Santos Party House, NYC

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Lineup Announced for Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous; Saviours, Witch, The Skull and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Respected purveyor Tee Pee Records will host what they’ve dubbed the Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous on Sept. 5 and 6 at The Wick in Brooklyn. The two-day fest is headlined by Witch and Saviours, and will feature a pair of sets from The Bevis Frond as well as Tee Pee label-denizens CarouselMirror Queen and The Skull, as well as Brooklyn natives The Golden Grass and Boston’s Worshipper. Pretty badass to get The Bevis Frond over at all, so yeah, two sets makes sense, and it’s not like Witch play out every day, so mark it down as a win for brand extension and rock and roll in general.

This one doesn’t really need me to sell it. The PR wire brings details:

tee pee cosmic sonic rendezvous

TEE PEE RECORDS & THE WICK PRESENT: COSMIC SONIC RENDEZVOUS!

September 5th & 6th at The Wick in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Day 1: doors 6pm, show at 7pm. featuring SAVIOURS, THE SKULL, MIRROR QUEEN, THE BEVIS FROND
tickets: http://bit.ly/1KjuqRK

Day 2: doors 6pm, show at 7pm. featuring WITCH, CAROUSEL, THE BEVIS FROND, THE GOLDEN GRASS, WORSHIPPER
tickets: http://bit.ly/1Kjuv82

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous! Tee Pee Records has always been proud to offer a lovingly loud collection of the finest rock bands to the world, and it seemed only natural to create a unique event and annually bring together many of our favorites to New York City.

While most of the bands on the Tee Pee roster have a definite guitar-based sensibility, there is quite a range therein that we and the bands are constantly exploring. Fans of underground rock know that they are witnessing a contemporary explosion of creative bands purveying in everything from joyous riff-rock to full-on psych; from the heaviest doom to neo-thrash; from bands who nod to the occult to a new wave of space-rock to bands who hearken to the blues; etc, etc.

We hope you enjoy these two fantastic nights of music, comprised of bands both rising and those that are stalwarts. Some have albums out on Tee Pee, while others we gleefully listen across what is not a great divide. We feel they all represent what is at least one part of the underground rock ethos: you do it because you simply have to, and you love it loud.

See you there!

THE WICK
260 Meserole Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206

http://teepeerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords

Saviours, “Final Live” at the DNA Lounge, San Francisco, CA

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The Skull to Tour Europe in Spring 2016

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the skull

Good news out of the camp of Chicago doomers The Skull in that the five-piece band, which features two former members of Trouble and now two former members of Pentagram, are headed to Europe for the first time since the release of their 2014 debut album, For Those Which are Asleep (review here). That record was a trad-doom gem issued by Tee Pee that boasted highlight work from some of those who set the traditions of doom in motion in the first place. With the still-relatively-recent addition of ex-Pentagram drummer Sean Saley to the lineup, The Skull will set out late in Feb. 2016 and continue through a goodly part of March with more dates still to be added.

While these cats are known for regularly breaking out Trouble songs during the set — you might say that’s how they started out — it says something at this point that if you’re going to see them play, it’s probably even more to get the cuts from For Those Which are Asleep. If you haven’t heard that record, you probably should.

The news came late last night down the PR wire:

the-skull-european-tour-poster

The Skull NEW tour dates

THE SKULL featuring former Trouble members including vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner are heading to Europe in March 2016 for performances across the continent!

Featuring original TROUBLE vocalist Eric Wagner and long time TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner, THE SKULL are giving their legendary former band a run for their money with their new Tee Pee Records / Plastic Head release “For Those Which Are Asleep”.

In 2012, THE SKULL hit Europe as headliner for the Hells Pleasure Fest in Germany, and then followed up as headliner for their own European tour in November 2012 which included performances in Germany, Netherlands, and Sweden; including co-headlining the Hammer of Doom Festival with Pentagram in Wurzburg, Germany. In 2014, THE SKULL’s European headlining tour included headlining the Day of Doom Festival in Barcelona, Spain, as well as venues in Portugal and a headline show at Camden World in London, England playing the classic Trouble album “Psalm 9” in its entirety on this tour.

THE SKULL’s current show includes a large blend of Trouble classics and rarities spanning the Eric Wagner and Ron Holzner periods with the band as well as new “The Skull” material from their critically acclaimed record “For Those Which Are Asleep” played in Europe for the first time ever. The show also includes the occasional cover and expanded live jam versions. It’s doom that rocks.

THE SKULL
(ex-Trouble, ex-Pentagram)
For Those Which Are Asleep European Tour 2016
Presented by Rock Hard Magazine, Guitar Magazine, DrumHeads Magazine, & Grow!
26.02.2016 NL-Tilburg, Little Devil
27.02.2016 NL-Amsterdam, Q-Factory
29.02.2016 DE-Cologne, Underground
01.03.2016 DE-Bielefeld, Forum
03.03.2016 DE-Hamburg, Klubsen
04.03.2016 DE-Leipzig, Bandhaus
09.03.2016 DE-Dresden, Chemiefabrik
10.03.2016 DE-Berlin, Cassiopeia
11.03.2016 DE-Markneukirchen, Framus & Warwick Music Hall
12.03.2016 DE-Munich, Backstage
14.03.2016 AT-Graz, Explosiv
15.03.2016 SK-Bratislava, Muzeum Obchodu
17.03.2016 AT-Wien, Viper Room
18.03.2016 AT-Innsbruck, Weekender
19.03.2016 IT-Bologna, Freakclub
20.03.2016 DE-Karlsruhe, Jubez

https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull
http://theskullusa.com/
https://twitter.com/TheSkullUSA
http://shop.teepeerecords.com/

The Skull, “Sick of it All” Live at The Foundry

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The Skull Announce West Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the skull

Fascinating transition for The Skull, who since the release of their 2014 Tee Pee Records debut album, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), have gone from being more Trouble than Trouble to owing just as much of their collective pedigree to Pentagram with the addition of drummer Sean Saley alongside guitarist Matt Goldsborough — both of whom I’m pretty sure were in Pentagram when I saw them at Desertfest London in 2013. Go figure.

What that means to The Skull‘s overall aesthetic will of course remain to be seen, guitarist Lothar Keller (who was never in either Trouble or Pentagram — yet!) having such a huge role in what they do, as well as bassist Ron Holzner and vocalist Eric Wagner, but wherever they go from their first album, I’m glad to see them getting out for a decent bit of touring, even if it’s headed west instead of east. The rest will sort itself out, but more time on stage can only make them a tighter unit and expand on what they were already able to bring to the studio the first time around.

The PR wire has tour details:

the skull tour dates

The Skull Announces North American Tour Dates

Doom Titans featuring Ex-Members of Legendary Metal Bands TROUBLE and PENTAGRAM Set to Hit the Road

THE SKULL, featuring vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner, formerly of metal legends TROUBLE, guitarist Matt Goldsborough and drummer Sean Saley (both ex-PENTAGRAM) and guitarist Lothar Keller, has announced a North American tour in support of its debut album, For Those Which Are Asleep.

THE SKULL will launch the 16-city trek on September 11 in Milwaukee, WI. The tour will run through September 29 in New Orleans, LA. At the shows, THE SKULL will perform both songs from For Those Which Are Asleep and time-tested favorites from its canon of TROUBLE classics. The just-announced live dates are as follows:

THE SKULL tour dates:
September 11 Milwaukee, WI Metal Grill
September 12 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
September 13 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge
September 15 Spokane, WA The Pin
September 16 Boise, ID Neurolux
September 17 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw
September 18 Seattle, WA El Corazon
September 19 Portland, OR Star Theatre
September 20 Oakland, CA Opera House
September 22 Los Angeles, CA Satellite
September 23 San Diego, CA Hideout
September 24 Phoenix, AZ Pub Rock
September 25 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad
September 26 Fort Worth, TX Lola’s
September 27 Tulsa, OK Downtown Lounge
September 29 New Orleans, LA Sibera

https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull
http://theskullusa.com/
https://twitter.com/TheSkullUSA
http://teepeerecords.com/

The Skull, “Send Judas Down” live in Dayton, OH, Dec. 2014

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