Drug Honkey Post Lyric Video for “Pool of Failure”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drug honkey

If you haven’t yet heard it, the new album from Chicago’s Drug Honkey contains some of the most thoroughly fucked-sounding audio you’re likely to encounter in 2017. I mean it. Not only is Cloak of Skies (review here) unremitting in its bleakness, but the sheer aural harshness the band conveys with their industrialized sludge is like almost nothing else out there. With a background in extreme metal, they bring that intensity to their first outing since 2013’s Ghost in the Fire (review here), and the aggressive, malevolent place they wind up with the record is as brutal in its atmospheric purpose as in its raw assault factor. By the time it’s over, one feels as though they’ve earned this sonic punishment, even if one isn’t entirely sure what it is they’re supposed to feel so guilty for.

A noteworthy guest remix by Justin Broadrick has helped get the word out some about what Drug Honkey are doing, and sure enough Godflesh are a central influence or at very least a starting point when it comes to trying to understand where Cloak of Skies is coming from, but the real impact of the album comes from its deranged vibe and opaque violence. As the leadoff track, “Pool of Failure” offers the first signal of this mission and gets it underway in terrifyingly immersive form. Like much of what follows throughout Cloak of Skies, it is a nightmarish pulse peppered with impressionist lyrics, expressive and evocative half-thoughts that lead the listener downward on a course that will only continue in that direction.

Do you get the fucking point yet that Drug Honkey are basically out to wreck consciousness? Good. They’ve got a new video for “Pool of Failure” posted now with even more nightmare-style imagery, and I’d hate for you to go into such a thing unprepared to have your day melted by the song or the clip’s depressive disaffection. You have, as the saying goes, been warned.

Dig it:

Drug Honkey, “Pool of Failure” lyric video

Chicago-based industrial doom lords DRUG HONKEY have premiered their macabre new video for ‘Pool of Failure.’

Recorded by the band themselves at SOS Studio in Chicago and Everflow Studios in Berwyn, IL, Cloak of Skies boasts seven tracks, including a remix by the legendary Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) and a guest saxophone feature from Bruce Lamont (Yazuka, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles). Cover art was hand-painted by renowned artist Paulo Girardi (Inquisition, Power Trip).

DRUG HONKEY is:
Paul Gillis (Honkey Head) – Vocals/Synths/Samples/FX
Gabe Grosso (Hobbs) – Guitars
Ian Brown (Brown Honkey) – Bass
Adam Smith (BH Honkey) – Drums

Cloak of Skies is currently available for purchase (vinyl, CD, digital) at this location: http://drughonkey.bandcamp.com

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Drug Honkey Premiere “Pool of Failure”; Cloak of Skies out May 5

Posted in audiObelisk on March 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drug honkey

Chicago extremists Drug Honkey will release their fifth album, Cloak of Skies, May 5 via Transcending Obscurity Records. For those unfamiliar with the industrially-tinged sludge dystopias the band conjures, the opening roar of “Pool of Failure” will likely catch you off guard. Hell, even if you caught wind of their last outing, 2013’s Ghost in the Fire (review here), it’s entirely likely that Cloak of Skies will offer more than a few shocking moments in its play toward unremitting darkness, the breadth over which that darkness seems to stretch, the crushing nature of their churn and the somehow punkish undertones at work beneath cuts like “Sickening Wastoid” and “Outlet of Hatred,” which together with “Pool of Failure” form an opening salvo reimagining early C.O.C. or at times even Napalm Death through the lens of a terrible future that, one might argue, has actually come to pass.

As one might figure, Godflesh are a key influence. Enough so that the four-piece of vocalist/synthesist Paul Gillis, guitarist Gabe Grosso, bassist Ian Brown and drummer Adam Smith sought out Justin K. Broadrick to remix “Pool of Failure” as a bonus track. Vast, Jesu-style drone plays a role as well, as “(It’s Not) The Way” drug honkey cloak of skiesdemonstrates, and certainly the more extended finale duo of the 10-minute “The Oblivion of an Opiate Nod” and the eight-minute title-track have their elements of soundscaping as well, but as textured as they are, they’re full of horrors, which is Drug Honkey‘s specialty to be sure. Their roots are in noise and Chicago’s extreme metal underground, but the actual sonics the band emits are twisted beyond whatever their inspirations might be, and through layered growls and spoken lines and a steady wash of synth and effects over the grueling roll of “The Oblivion of an Opiate Nod,” Gillis feels just as much like the one calling down the storm as the one being consumed by it. A deathly expanse at its most ranging, Cloak of Skies is defined by its tortured sensibility and passes its cruelty onto the listener in hyperbole-ready fashion. However one might feel about it listening to “Pool of Failure,” chances are ambivalence won’t be a factor.

But gruesome art is still art, and the band — now also veterans of Denmark’s prestigious Roskilde Festival — are frank in the purposefulness of what they’re doing on Cloak of Skies. These songs, from “Pool of Failure” through the title-cut, are built around the intent to convey a truly misanthropic feel, and accordingly, their churn is simply going to come across as overwhelming to some listeners. That’s been the case with their work for a long time, and while if we’re going by the level of what’s happening in terms of the superficial audio it certainly doesn’t sound like anyone is coming out on top, it’s the source of Drug Honkey‘s success on the record. They revel in these miseries, and by the time “Cloak of Skies” rounds out with its looped vocals — not even words, just syllables at that point — samples, guest saxophone from Corrections House/Yakuza‘s Bruce Lamont and droning abrasion, they’ve turned them into a potent ritual that’s as immersive as it is off-putting. Imagine swirling psychedelia but every color is black. Across seven songs and 50 minutes (including the remix), Drug Honkey bask in tragedy and come out on the other side having covered themselves in filth as if to show us our own complicity in its creation. If there were any justice in the universe, they’d be playing in art galleries.

Cloak of Skies will be out May 5 on Transcending Obscurity. I’m not sure “enjoy” is the right word, but you can hear the premiere of “Pool of Failure” below, followed by more info off the PR wire.

And yes, I hope you enjoy:

US band DRUG HONKEY have always been a step ahead of their peers, if there were any in the first place. There’s a form of tenacity in their music of the same kind that will have you crawl ahead in life despite all its inherent ugliness pinning you down. They are taking things to a different level, with guest contributions from the legend himself, Justin K. Broadrick (GODFLESH, JESU) and Bruce Lamont (YAKUZA, CORRECTIONS HOUSE) with his saxophone eeriness, and having the hand-painted artwork of Paolo Girardi (INQUISITION, CHTHE’ILIST) represent the pulsating sickness of this ambitious and unconventional release.

Album lineup –
Paul Gillis (Honkey Head) – Vocals, Synths, Samples, FX
Adam Smith (BH Honkey) – Drums
Gabe Grosso (Hobbs) – Guitar
Ian Brown (Brown Honkey) – Bass

Official release date – May 5th, 2017.

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Altar of Betelgeuze Premiere “The Offering”; Among the Ruins out April 15

Posted in audiObelisk on January 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

altar of betelgeuze

Helsinki-based death-doomers Altar of Betelgeuze release their second album, Among the Ruins, April 15 on Transcending Obscurity Records. With it, they continue to make themselves a part of Finland’s long, storied and pivotal history with death-doom, which dates back to early ’90s outfits like Skepticism, Unholy and Thergothon, and follow their 2014 debut, Darkness Sustains the Silence, with a pointed shift toward riffly focus and heavy rock tonality. This might be the root of what the four-piece means when they position their new record as “stoner death doom,” but the question then becomes one of balance between the three elements named — i.e., the stoner, the death, the doom — and how that shakes out over the course of the seven-track/49-minute outing as a whole.

I don’t have the answer. What I do have is the pleasure of hosting opening track “The Offering” as a premiere below. You can hear in its initial tonal rollout, precise but classically-styled lead altar of betelgeuze among the ruinsand overall groove the aspects of heavy rock at work, but the song still settles neatly into a doomed lurch and makes its way between Paradise Lost-style spoken vocals and harsher, deep growls. Stoner, death and doom? Yeah, pretty much, but I’d say the balance definitely tips toward the death-doom on “The Offering,” whereas the closing title-track to Among the Ruins, which you can stream on Altar of Betelgeuze‘s Bandcamp page (linked below), pushes further outward in its atmosphere and feels more patient in its execution — though I’ll admit the nine-minute runtime might also have something to do with that.

Launching the album with a rocker and closing with the longest song? Maybe Altar of Betelgeuze really are a stoner rock band — though however the rest of Among the Ruins might shake out as it works its way toward the finale, it’s clear immediately that they’re coming at these various styles from more than one angle, and one can hear that distinguishing factor even in the relatively quick five-minute sample of “The Offering.”

Again, Altar of Betelgeuze‘s Among the Ruins is out April 15 on Transcending Obscurity. More info follows “The Offering” below.

Please enjoy:

Altar of Betelgeuze from Finland are onto something special. Not content with playing either doom or death metal, the band merge influences from both realms so to speak and create a seamless sound where clean singing and growls both have a place. Essentially Altar of Betelgeuze play stoner doom but with the heaviness and relative structuring of death metal.

Long, winding songs that are at once emotive and crushing enthrall the listener for extended periods of time, while you are left wondering about suitable parallels for this unique band. ‘Among the Ruins’ is a definitive present-day album, when it’s no longer about mimicking your idols but taking the sound forward in a logical, sincere manner.

Altar of Betelgeuze is:
Matias Nastolin – Bass, Vocals (Growling)
Olli “Otu” Suurmunne – Guitars, Vocals (Clean singing)
Juho Kareoja – Guitars
Aleksi Olkkola – Drums

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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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Drug Honkey Announce Cloak of Skies LP out May 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drug honkey

Been looking forward to news of Drug Honkey‘s next release for a while now, and the word from the band that they’ll issue the full-length Cloak of Skies through emergent Indian imprint Transcending Obscurity Records is welcome, since there’s little question the label will know exactly how to handle the Chicago-based outfit’s particular and at times peculiar brand of extremity. Their last album was 2012’s horrifying Ghost in the Fire (review here), which came out through Transcending Obscurity predecessor Diabolical Conquest, and the new record features guest contributions from Bruce Lamont and Justin Broadrick, meaning it could be as expansive as it is brutal. Sign me up.

Cloak of Skies is out May 5 and I’ll hope to have more to come on the subject before then. The band had the following to say about it:

drug honkey cloak of skies

We are very pleased to announce the new full-length “Cloak of Skies” will be unleashed on May 5th 2017 via the booming & ever-expanding Transcending Obscurity Records label.
CD, digital, & vinyl platforms will all be available, along with some killer box set/bundle options as well.

Cover art painted by the ultra-talented Italian madman Paolo Girardi.

Avant-garde sax shaman bruce lamont (Correction House/Yakuza/Brain Tentacles) has etched his indelible mark on the title track of the album, and none other than one of our biggest influences – the main man himself; Justin K Broadrick (Godflesh/Jesu), has done an extraordinarily crushing remix/reconstruction of the opening track “Pool of Failure”, which bookends the album…

Pre-order details will be made available in the next week or so..

Tracklist:
1. Pool of Failure (5:44)
2. Sickening Wasteoid (6:12)
3. Outlet of Hatred (6:48)
4. (It’s Not) The Way (6:36)
5. The Oblivion of an Opiate Nod (10:00)
6. Cloak of Skies (8:11)
7. Pool of Failure (JK Broadrick remix) (6:29)

Paul Gillis – Vocals/Synths/Samples/FX
Adam Smith – Drums
Gabe Grosso – Guitar
Ian Brown – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/drughonkey
https://drughonkey.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurity/
http://tometal.com/

Drug Honkey, Ghost in the Fire (2012)

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Transcending Obscurity Records Releases 55-Song Label Sampler

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Now, I know that not all 55 inclusions on this new Transcending Obscurity label sampler are really going to be applicable to all tastes, and the Indian-based imprint seems to know it as well. Nonetheless, from oldschool crust to ambient post-black metal, the lineup spans continents the world over and features some form of extremity that’s bound to pique interest somewhere along the line — especially since it’s name-your-price.

For me, I’m glad to find among the blasting onslaught a new track from Virginian one-man doom outfit Mindkult, whose debut EP, Witch’s Oath (review here), continues to resonate. That track is called “Howling Witch” and is number 21 of 55 if you’d like to look for it. Mindkult‘s sole inhabitant, Overlord Faustus, let slip in a year-end post on the social medias that the outfit’s debut full-length will be released through Transcending Obscurity and Caligari Records in Spring, will be titled Lucifer’s Dream, will have artwork from Branca Studio and Misanthropic Art, and will be accompanied by a new video courtesy of Suspiric Noir. Needless to say, much to look forward to there.

More on that hopefully as we get closer to the release, but there’s plenty to dig into here in the meantime, so have at it:

transcending obscurity label sampler

Transcending Obscurity releases year-end 55 bands strong Label Sampler on Bandcamp

This is the current and relevant label sampler showcasing acts signed to Transcending Obscurity Records (main international label) followed by those enlisted by the sub-labels Transcending Obscurity Asia and India respectively. This time around, we haven’t repeated any releases nor have we included bands from the phased-out distribution legs of the label as was the case last year. The focus will remain from now on on bands that are serious about their art and ones that are unique in their vision, execution or passion.

We’re trying to expand our scope to include new formats such as vinyls (and perhaps tapes, too) so any funds that can be achieved through this will be used towards that.

We thank you sincerely for allowing us to nurture the career of a significant number of bands from all over the world, operating from the spiritual hub of the world – India.

1. Officium Triste (Netherlands) – Your Heaven, My Underworld (Death/Doom Metal)
2. Mythological Cold Towers (Brazil) – Vetustus (Death/Doom Metal)
3. Paganizer (Sweden) – Adjacent to Purgatory (Old School Death Metal)
4. Ursinne (International) – Talons (Old School Death Metal)
5. Echelon (International) – Lex Talionis (Classic Death Metal)
6. Henry Kane (Sweden) – Skuld Och Begar (Death Metal/Crust)
7. Stench Price (International) – Living Fumes ft. Dan Lilker (Experimental Grindore)
8. Sepulchral Curse (Finland) – Envisioned In Scars (Blackened Death Metal)
9. Fetid Zombie (US) – Devour the Virtuous (Old School Death Metal)
10. Infinitum Obscure (Mexico) – Towards the Eternal Dark (Dark Death Metal)
11. Altar of Betelgeuze (Finland) – Among the Ruins (Stoner Death Metal)
12. Illimitable Dolor (Australia) – Comet Dies or Shines (Atmospheric Doom/Death)
13. The Furor (Australia) – Cavalries of the Occult (Black/Death Metal)
14. Warlord UK (United Kingdom) – Maximum Carnage (Old School Death Metal)
15. Norse (Australia) – Drowned By Hope (Dissonant Black Metal)
16. Soothsayer (Ireland) – Of Locust and Moths (Atmospheric Doom/Sludge)
17. Swampcult (Netherlands) – Chapter I: The Village (Lovecraftian Black/Doom Metal)
18. Seedna (Sweden) – Wander (Atmospheric Black Metal)
19. The Slow Death (Australia) – Adrift (Atmospheric Doom Metal)
20. Arkheth (Australia) – Your Swamp My Wretched Queen (Experimental Black Metal)
21. Mindkult (US) – Howling Witch (Doom/Stoner Metal)
22. Warcrab (UK) – Destroyer of Worlds (Death Metal/Sludge)
23. Isgherurd Morth (International) – Lucir Stormalah (Avant-garde Black Metal)
24. Lurk (Finland) – Ostrakismos (Atmospheric Doom/Sludge Metal)
25. Come Back From The Dead (Spain) – Better Morbid Than Slaves (Old School Death Metal)
26. Somnium Nox (Australia) – Apocrypha (Atmospheric Black Metal)
27. MRTVI (UK) – This Shell Is A Mess (Experimental Black Metal)
28. Veilburner (US) – Necroquantum Plague Asylum (Experimental Black/Death Metal)
29. Jupiterian (Brazil) – Permanent Grey (Doom/Sludge Metal)
30. Exordium Mors (New Zealand) – As Vultures Descend (Black/Thrash Metal)
31. Embalmed (US) – Brutal Delivery of Vengeance (Brutal Death Metal)
32. Gloom (Spain) – Erik Zann (Blackened Brutal Death Metal)
33. Marasmus (US) – Conjuring Enormity (Death Metal)
34. Algoma (Canada) – Reclaimed By The Forest (Sludge/Doom Metal)
35. Cemetery Winds (Finland) – Realm of the Open Tombs (Blackened Death Metal)
36. Marginal (Belgium) – Sign of the Times (Crust/Grind)
37. Chalice of Suffering (US) – Who Will Cry (Death/Doom Metal)
38. Briargh (Spain) – Sword of Woe (Pagan Black Metal)
39. Ashen Horde (US) – Desecration of the Sanctuary (Progressive Black Metal)
40. The Whorehouse Massacre (Canada) – Intergalactic Hell (Atmospheric Sludge)
41. Rudra (Singapore) – Ancient Fourth (Vedic Metal)
42. Dusk (Pakistan) – For Majestic Nights (Death/Doom Metal)
43. Ilemauzar (Singapore) – The Dissolute Assumption (Black/Death Metal)
44. Severe Dementia (Bangladesh) – The Tormentor (Old School Death Metal)
45. Warhound (Bangladesh) – Flesh Decay (Old School Death Metal)
46. Assault (Singapore) – Ghettos (Death/Thrash Metal)
47. Gutslit (India) – Scaphism (Brutal Death/Grind)
48. Plague Throat (India) – Inherited Failure (Death Metal)
49. Darkrypt (India) – Dark Crypt (Dark Death Metal)
50. Against Evil (India) – Stand Up and Fight! (Heavy Metal)
51. Grossty (India) – Gounder Grind (Grindcore/Crust)
52. Dormant Inferno (India) – Embers of You (Death/Doom Metal)
53. Carnage Inc. (India) – Defiled (Thrash Metal)
54. Lucidreams (India) – Ballox (Heavy Metal)
55. Nightgrave (India) – Augment (Experimental Black Metal/Shoegaze)

Please download the label sampler for FREE over HERE.

https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurity/
http://www.tometal.com/

Various Artists, Transcending Obscurity Label Sampler 2016

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Swampcult Premiere “Chapter I – The Village” from The Festival

Posted in audiObelisk on August 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

swampcult

Netherlands-based extreme metallers Swampcult will release their debut album, The Festival, via Transcending Obscurity Records on Oct. 2. That’s nearly still two months out, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to get an early glimpse at it. If you’ve ever read the work of Romantic-period horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, you know it can be a dense experience, full of challenging concepts and language and invented chants and rhythms that take so long to digest they might as well exist in the belly of whatever swampcult the festivalgargantuan otherworldly monster is being described at the time. The drama is severe; nothing held back. Swampcult — who base their debut album on Lovecraft‘s story “The Festival” — put in a marked effort to work in very much the same way, honing an immediately atmospheric sound that seeks to span genres as Celtic Frost once pioneered. As cavernous as it is multifaceted, The Festival bridges sludgy chug, blackened ambience, raw death metal and doomed groove with ease and captures both the narrative and the mood of Lovecraft‘s work with spoken dialogue, varied growls and shouts, and the music itself, which is irrepressibly dark and somehow classically metallic.

Comprised of guitarist/bassist/narrator D and drummer/vocalist/narrator A, the band works in chapters across the album’s span, beginning of course with “Chapter I – The Village” and working through “Chapter III – Al-Azif Necronomicon,” “Chapter VII – The Dawning” and so on before finally getting to “Chapter VII – The Madness” and the finale “IX Epilogue – Betwixt Dream and Insanity.” All the while songs tie together fluidly so that The Festival flows as a single piece comprised of many different changes, both between and within individual tracks, and Swampcult execute their material with command that undercuts the fact that this is their first album. They call it “Lovecraftian metal,” which is fair enough given their clear allegiance to theme as an essential component in what they do, but that doesn’t necessarily speak to the entirety of their breadth. That is to say, one imagines had they picked a different author or maybe a different story, they’d have no trouble constructing as complete a world for that as they do for this. And it is a world being made. You can hear it in the work they do in the Swampcult story cardsfirst 90 seconds of “Chapter I – The Village” as the bleakness begins to gel and sets the tone — grey, dark — that the rest of The Festival will continue to build on.

If you’ve never read “The Festival,” the album includes story cards so you can follow along with what’s happening in each track. An almost uncharacteristic play toward accessibility, but convenient all the same. Today I have the grim pleasure of hosting “Chapter I – The Village” as a song premiere ahead of The Festival‘s release this Fall. As alluded to above, it’s not immediate in the the sense of “here’s the hook” and it’s by no means a friendly listen, but it is very clearly exactly what Swampcult intended it to be, and so all the more worthy of respect for its final outcome. Please keep in mind as you make your way through its six minutes that it’s just the first of a nine-chapter story, and thus only a fraction of what the album as a whole has on offer, though it should be enough to give an impression of the horrific wonders that await this October.

More info from the PR wire follows. Please enjoy:

Dutch band Swampcult aren’t just inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, they’ve based an album entirely on his highly acclaimed story ‘The Festival’. Each song is divided into chapters tracing the original ‘The Festival’ story, bringing it to life. The sounds of dread were never before so easily captured in this genre.

The very vibe of H.P. Lovecraft’s story has been recreated using a mixture of various extreme sounds; from the strange murmurings in the village to the toll of bells, it’s all encapsulated perfectly in one album. To give it visual appeal, a special ‘story card’ is created for each chapter, each having its own artwork and writings, which is given out free with the purchase of any physical product.

Swampcult, in addition to devoting an album entirely to H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Festival’ story, have written excellent, contemporary music that’s seamless, laden with surprises, and consistent. If there could be a genuine soundtrack for H.P. Lovecraft’s story, this is it. ‘The Festival’ is meant to be heard from start to finish, with at least the lyrics sheet in hand if not the book itself, and is recommended to all those who’re into things horror and extreme.

‘The Festival’ Track list:
1. Chapter I – The Village 06:01
2. Chapter II – The Old Man 02:55
3. Chapter III – Al-Azif Necronomicon 03:54
4. Chapter IV – Procession 05:28
5. Chapter V – The Rite 08:23
6. Chapter VI – The Flight 02:21
7. Chapter VII – The Dawning 06:09
8. Chapter VIII – The Madness 03:11
9. IX – Epilogue – Betwixt Dream and Insanity 02:49

Line up:
D – All strings and narration
A – Percussion, vocals and narration

Swampcult on Thee Facebooks

Swampcult on Bandcamp

Transcending Obscurity Records website

Transcending Obscurity on Thee Facebooks

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