Brant Bjork, Groundhogs, Child, Yawning Man and More Playing Black Deer Festival in London

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black deer desertscene banner

Desertscene in London — the same good people who put together Desertfest there and have worked to bring it to New York as well — have paired up with the country/Americana/blues Black Deer Festival to present a stage called The Roadhouse that’ll have custom motorcycles hanging around, camping and a lineup that’s pretty kickass front to back. It’s not exactly like they’re sneaking into the bill, but you’ve got Yawning ManAsteroidBrant Bjork and Groundhogs and King Buffalo and Radio Moscow and Duel and Steak and Child and so on bringing their wares to Edridge Park in Kent and it seems to me you could do a hell of a lot worse than kind of having a mini-Desertfest built into another festival. That’s how you reach a broader audience, by playing for people who maybe haven’t already heard you. Seems likely a few heads will be turned across the three-day event.

The PR wire has info:

black deer fest poster

BLACK DEER FESTIVAL REVEAL MORE NAMES FOR 2019

Another round of carefully curated names have been added to the Black Deer Festival lineup today, making for an impressive second year for the award-winning new event. The three-day celebration of Americana and Country, set in the beautiful Eridge Park in Kent, presents a unique experience combining music, food and Americana culture that can’t be found anywhere else in the UK.

Brant Bjork, the member of two of the most influential 90’s stoner rock bands Kyuss and Fu Manchu, whose desert rock and roots style will resonate from The Roadhouse stage in June. Brant Bjork joins the all American heavy blues contingent of previously announced Left Lane Cruiser, Radio Moscow and The Roadhouse ‘house band’ Steak – all curated by Desertscene for Black Deer.

Completing today’s line up is British blues rock band Groundhogs, who are best known for their 70’s single Cherry Red – a name adopted by one of Britain’s longest standing independent record labels – as well as heavy psych-blues trio King Buffalo, Australian blues-rockers Child, 60’s psychedelic songwriter Roxanne De Bastion, California’s experimental rockers Yawning Man, Country preacher Paul Cauthen, larger than life boatman and bluesman Sonic Gypsy and Hertfordshire’s rock band Redwood.

ARTISTS ANNOUNCED TO DATE (A-Z)
Asteroid, Band of Horses, Brant Bjork, Chance McCoy, Child, Daniel Antopolsky, Duel, Fantastic Negrito, Ferris & Sylvester, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Groundhogs, Hayseed Dixie, Irish Mythen, Jerron Blind Boy Paxton, John Butler Trio, John Smith, Justin Townes Earle, King Buffalo, Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers, Larkin Poe, Left Lane Cruiser, Lucero, Martin Harley, Morganway, Mountains, Neko Case, Paul Cauthen, Radio Moscow, Redwood, Roxanne De Bastion, Ryan Bingham, Sonic Gypsy, Steak, Stubb, The Black Wizards, The Dead South, The Marcus King Band, The Mavericks, The Sheepdogs, The Staves, The Vintage Caravan, The Wandering Hearts, The Trials of Cato, William Crighton, Worry Dolls, Yawning Man.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tier 1 tickets on sale now and are available from https://blackdeerfestival.com/tickets/
Ticket prices from £105 – subject to booking fees.

Tier 2 tickets will be on sale from 26th February.

https://www.facebook.com/events/342379713221524/
https://facebook.com/blackdeerfest
https://www.instagram.com/blackdeerfest/
https://blackdeerfestival.com/tickets/

King Buffalo, “Longing to be the Mountain” live in Philadelphia, Nov. 3, 2018

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Friday Full-Length: Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Blood Lust

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Blood Lust (2011)

Starting later this year, you’re going to start to see a bunch of best-albums-of-the-decade lists. Any such list of heavy records that doesn’t include Uncle Acid and the DeadbeatsBlood Lust is doing it wrong. Released in 2011 through Killer Candy Records as the UK band’s second full-length (also discussed here), it was soon picked up by Rise Above Records for a wider vinyl and CD pressing, and garage doom was born. I’m not sure another single album has come out between 2010 and 2019 that has had as much of an influence on underground heavy rock — maybe Graveyard‘s Hisingen Blues in 2011, but even that’s debatable. In its raw guitar fuzz, eerie melodies, early mystique and outright perfect presentation, Blood Lust was every bit the proverbial right album at the right time. Any given week, it’s a safe bet that even going on eight years later, I’m going to hear some band come along who’ve copped the riff to “I’ll Cut You Down.”

And reasonably so. With the formative Vol. 1 (reissue review here) behind them in 2010, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats unleashed a collection of tracks on Blood Lust that were not only aesthetically innovative, but impeccable in their construction. Even as they conveyed a sense of horror and VHS-style tonal grit, they did so over a classic heavy rock strut and swing on cuts like the aforementioned opener as well as “Death’s Door,” the shuffling side B opener “I’m Here to Kill You” and “13 Candles” that seemed to tempt you to snap along. With the short, quiet introduction of droning noise and a channel-flipping television — note the analog static scratch between channels; clearly it’s an old television — Blood Lust set its malevolent atmosphere early and only grew more evil in its purposes, lyrics shifting from stalking and murder to witches, cult ritualism and Satanic fervor. It was a record that most people would find angry, upsetting, and unpalatable, and that’s exactly what it was intended to be. A dogwhistle to an audience who didn’t know it was waiting for it, dressed in purple as an amalgam of style and substance up to that point that was largely unheard.

Looking back, there are moments throughout that run into the politically problematic. “I’ll Cut You Down” is direct in its glorification of violence against women, and in that context, “Death’s Door” and “Ritual Knife” seem to followuncle acid and the deadbeats blood lust suit. Uncle Acid have gotten a pass from a lot of accusations of misogyny because so much of what they do is storytelling and style-based, pulling from the influence of cult horror cinema and all that, but do I really need to say even pretending to kill ladies isn’t really cool? That’s something that their more recent work on last year’s Wasteland (review here) seemed to subtly pull away from, and fair enough for the change of political moment between 2011 and 2018 as issues of discrimination, violence against women and sexual violence became more a part of the international cultural conversation than they were when Blood Lust came out. Their third album, 2013’s Mind Control (review here), was more themed around cults and the inherent violence of thought as well as deed, but even 2015’s The Night Creeper (review here) seemed to return to its knife-wielding foundation even as it stripped away the grandiose production of its predecessor in favor of a rawer, nastier sound.

The overarching quality of Blood Lust, though, remains largely undeniable, and so does its impact. “I’ll Cut You Down,” “Death’s Door,” “13 Candles,” and closer “Withered Hand of Evil” are nothing short of landmarks, and even in “Curse in the Trees,” on which frontman and band mastermind Kevin R. Starrs donned the point of view of a witch being persecuted and burned alive, there was a nuance of their approach that begged the listener’s attention. At the time, roughly nothing was known about the band. There was no fanfare to the release of Blood Lust. It was simply out there one day — not that I’m any arbiter of what’s hip or anything, but for what it’s worth, I totally missed it — and its impact moved fast. It wasn’t really until Rise Above had it out on CD in 2012 as part of its then-allegiance with Metal Blade Records that the groundswell took hold, but even before that, there was significant word-of-mouth momentum behind it. And at that point, Uncle Acid hadn’t even played a show. They’ve hardly looked back since, but they didn’t start playing live until 2013.

Part of that, of course, was maintaining the mystery around the band. As mobile-based social media was allowing fans unfettered and direct access to artists — something taken for granted less than a decade later — Uncle Acid were minimal participants at best. They had a website that was a single page, then they had some shirts on it. They had a Facebook page with roughly no info. Their names weren’t known. Where they were from wasn’t really known, and most importantly, it wasn’t really known how they got that sound. The creepy, eerie vocals on “Withered Hand of Evil” or “I’m Here to Kill You” or the acoustic bonus track “Down to the Fire.” That wavering melodic sensibility on “I’ll Cut You Down.” It was all so new at the time, and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats had managed to pull off manifesting this previously untapped niche while basically letting no one know who they were or what they were doing. Listeners didn’t even know how many people were singing on any given track, and because the sound was so fresh and so interesting, the demand for it became a whirlwind.

I don’t know if I’ll do a list of the decade’s best albums. I might put up a poll. But there’s no question that Blood Lust, even with its high body count, is destined for consideration as a classic heavy rock album, and of course Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats have gone on to become one of their generation’s most pivotal acts, crossing over to a wider appeal in audience while maintaining the identity of sound that even going back to Vol. 1 was theirs and theirs alone, and which Blood Lust saw them perfect. They’re on tour in North America this March with Graveyard, as it happens. We should probably all go. I’ll drive.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

It’s Friday, right? Made it? That’s good.

Okay.

Tomorrow night I’m going to go see C.O.C., Crowbar, The Obsessed and Mothership in Boston. I’m doing that. It’s happening. Monday I’ll have the review up. It’ll be good. I’m going alone because no friends but still, it’ll be good.

I’ve also got a butt-ton of writing to do this weekend, including two bios, stuff for the Roadburn ‘zine and posts for next week to get ready, so I expect to be completely out of my mind for the next two days more than usual. I started feeling overwhelmed on Wednesday for this coming weekend. Something about that just kind of feels like I’m living wrong. Whatever.

The notes are packed, so here’s what I’ve got so far:

MON 02/18 COC LIVE REVIEW; GIMME RADIO WRAP
TUE 02/19 THE MUNSENS REVIEW/SAVER PREMIERE/REVIEW
WED 02/20 BEES MADE HONEY IN THE VEIN TREE PREMIERE/REVIEW
THU 02/21 THE RIVEN VIDEO PREMIERE
FRI 02/22 CANDLEMASS REVIEW; CURSED TONGUE SIGNING ANNOUNCE

It’s almost 6:30 — I slept until 5AM, miracle of miracles — and the baby is just starting to stir, so I better go grab him out of his hexagonal not-crib and start the day proper. Before I go:

This weekend is a new episode of ‘The Obelisk Show’ on Gimme Radio. I still need to cut the voice breaks for it. I’ll try my best to make them not suck. It airs Sunday at 7PM Eastern at http://gimmeradio.com.

Also, please buy shirts: http://dropoutmerch.com/the-obelisk.

Your support is appreciated.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and while I’m making demands on your time, please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Asomvel to Release World Shaker on Heavy Psych Sounds in May; Preorder Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

asomvel

It doesn’t take much more than passing glance at bassist/vocalist Ralph Robinson to see where UK classic metallers Asomvel are coming from. The Motörhead homage is palpable throughout “True Believer,” their latest single and the second track from their upcoming third long-player, World Shaker. It’s newly announced that Heavy Psych Sounds will release the album on May 3 with preorders up now, so if you’re feeling like you might indeed be a believer, you’ve got a chance to prove it. The band was founded in 1993 by guitarist Lenny Robinson — who also did a stint in Solstice — and lost original bassist/vocalist Jay-Jay Winter after the release of their 2009 debut. Ralph is his nephew, so only fitting he should carry the torch forward with this new album.

The PR wire has it like this:

asomvel world shaker

ASOMVEL SIGNS WITH HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS

Unleash album details and pre-order!

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS is proud to welcome a new member to their eclectic artist roster and family: Heavy Metal overlords ASOMVEL have signed a worldwide deal with the Italian cult label! Today the band is sharing the first and hotly anticipated details about their forthcoming new album, World Shaker.

ASOMVEL released their well-respected debut LP, Kamikaze, in 2009. Barely a year later, the band was shaken to its core when front-man, Jay-Jay Winter, was killed in a road accident in 2010. Although a devastating tragedy, co-founding guitarist, Lenny, knew that the band had to continue in tribute to the determined spirit of their founder.

Since releasing their 2013 album, Knuckle Duster, with Bad Omen Records to much critical acclaim, and recruiting Jay-Jay’s nephew, Ralph, the band has spent the last couple of years playing around the world; including a tour of Brazil, dates in Japan, Slovenia, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland – these dates included many respected festivals such as Hammerfest, Party San Open Air, Siege of Limerick, and MetalDays.

May 3rd 2019 will see the band release their third album titled World Shaker, followed by a heavy touring cycle all over the globe. Says vocalist & bassist Ralph: “We’ll be releasing World Shaker in May, through Heavy Psych Sounds. We’ve got 11 tracks ready to go; the best you’ve heard in a son-of-a-bitch long time!”

World Shaker is dedicated to the founding ASOMVEL member, Jay-Jay Winter. Carrying with it Jay’s attitude, grit, and determination this album is the first to feature the new line-up; Finnish drummer, Jani Pasanen, and Jay-Jay’s nephew, Ralph Robinson. Produced by James ‘Atko’ Atkinson, World Shaker was recorded in September 2018 at The Stationhouse, and comes with a blistering master by Jaime Gomez Arellano at Orgone Studios. Sticking to the traditions of the very best in rock ‘n’ roll, while remaining utterly relevant, World Shaker is eleven heavy metal songs to live your life by; this is the album Moses would have brought down from Mount Sinai.

The tracklist of World Shaker reads as follows:
1. World Shaker
2. True Believer
3. Payback’s a Bitch
4. Runnin’ the Gauntlet
5. Reap the Whirlwind
6. The Law is the Law
7. Steamroller
8. Every Dog has its Day
9. Railroaded
10. Smokescreen
11. The Nightmare Ain’t Over

Just recently, ASOMVEL released another smashing single to the track True Believer, with more than a million views on the band’s socials. Watch it HERE!

Coming out May 3rd 2019, the pre-order for World Shaker has started today with HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS in the following album formats:

– 50 Test press vinyl
– 500 white vinyl
– 250 trasp background / Splatter black-red-brown-yellow vinyl
– 250 gold vinyl
– Black vinyl
– CD Digipak
– Digital Download

ASOMVEL is:
Ralph Robinson – Bass/Vocals
Lenny Robinson – Guitar
Jani Pasanen – Drums

ASOMVEL live:
25.04.19 ES – Valladolid /Porta Caeli
26.04.19 ES – Logrono / Sala Stereo
27.04.19 ES – Vitoria / Hel Dorado
28.04.19 ES – Bilbao / Nave 9
03.05.19 IRE – Belfast / Voodoo
04.05.19 IRE – Dublin / On The Rox
05.05.19 IRE – Limerick / The Kasbah

www.facebook.com/ASOMVEL
www.asomvel.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com

Asomvel, “True Believer” official video

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Pagan Altar to Reissue Judgement of the Dead and Lords of Hypocrisy; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

pagan altar

We’re probably decades and a few book projects away from Pagan Altar‘s complete story being told and the band getting their long-overdue due when it comes to blazing the trail for doom in the NWOBHM era. All they can do in the meantime — and hey, if anyone needs a ghost writer, my rates are reasonable — is keep putting the stuff out there, and by “the stuff” I mean their records. Shadow Kingdom stood behind the last batch of Pagan Altar re/issues, and Temple of Mystery steps forward to do likewise even as the band continues to move forward after the 2015 passing of Terry Jones in their new incarnation fronted by Brendan Radigan of Magic Circle. One has to wonder if a new album with the current lineup could be in the offing, but it doesn’t seem like we’re there yet, if we’ll get there at all. You might recall Temple of Mystery released Pagan Altar‘s heretofore swansong, The Room of Shadows (review here), in 2017.

In the meantime, Judgement of the Dead and Lords of Hypocrisy (discussed here) will be out on Temple of Mystery April 17 and Time Lord (review here) and Mythical and Magical will follow later this year.

Preorder links and whatnot below, courtesy of the PR wire:

TEMPLE OF MYSTERY reissuing PAGAN ALTAR’s entire discography – release dates, preorder links, festival shows announced

In 1976, from the mysterious English countryside, emerged Pagan Altar – a band whose arcane doom rumblings have changed the face of the genre. Despite their infamous debut album, Judgement of the Dead, taking decades to be officially released, their short-yet-bright star finally took off in the mid 2000s when the band unleashed The Time Lord, Lords of Hypocrisy, and Mythical and Magical, ending decades of setbacks and unintentional silence. Today, each record in their discography is fanatically hoarded by fans and damn near impossible to find — unless you are willing to depart with a large chunk of your wallet.

Following the untimely passing of iconic frontman Terry Jones in 2015, it took several years for the band’s final album, The Room of Shadows, to be released. Acclaimed internationally as a befitting swan-song, the album was lovingly issued by Canadian label Temple of Mystery Records. The release catapulted the band back into the limelight, encouraging the label to undertake the task of reissuing their highly sought-after back catalog on vinyl, CD, and cassette tape formats. It also brought the band back to the stage in tribute to their fallen frontman, with Magic Circle’s Brendan Radigan taking up the vocal role with aplomb.

First in the series of reissues are Judgment of the Dead and Lords of Hypocrisy, set for international release on April 17th via Temple of Mystery. Judgment of the Dead features remastered audio, with the vinyl edition including an updated 32-page booklet detailing the early history of the band. A limited edition of 250 copies will be pressed on silver vinyl. Meanwhile, the Lords of Hypocrisy reissue features an original painting by fantasy surrealist Adam Burke, who also created the haunting cover to The Room of Shadows. A limited edition of 250 copies will be available on blue vinyl. The CD editions of both albums will feature exclusive liner notes.

To celebrate the legacy reissues, Pagan Altar will undertake select shows around Europe and North America this summer. These performances will include founding member Alan Jones on lead guitar, Diccon Harper on bass, Andres Arango on rhythm guitar, Andy Green on drums, and Brendan Radigan on vocals. Dates for those shows will be announced in April, to coincide with the official release of the first series of reissues. The vinyl, CD, and cassette versions of Time Lord and Mythical and Magical will be released in the fall of 2019.

The first confirmed festival appearances are after the jump. Respective covers, tracklistings, and preorder links for Judgement of the Dead and Lords of Hypocrisy are as follows:

racklisting for Pagan Altar’s Judgement of the Dead
1. Pagan Altar
2. In the Wake of Armadeus
3. Judgement of the Dead
4. The Black Mass
5. Night Rider
6. The Dance of the Banshee
7. Reincarnation

Originally recorded in 1982 during the NWOBHM movement, Pagan Altar’s debut album, Judgement of the Dead, is a timeless classic of macabre heavy/doom metal centered around magic, witchcraft, and the occult. This holy grail album is one of the purest, most magical records that were ever written, and had a tremendous influence on the heavy/doom metal scene. Gatefold LP version includes a 32-page booklet about the early history of the band, new layout, and remastered songs, and jewelcase CD version includes exclusive liner-notes and remastered songs.

Preorder
Limited silver vinyl: https://www.templeofmystery.ca/shop/paganaltar-jotd-vinyl-silver
Regular black vinyl: https://www.templeofmystery.ca/shop/paganaltar-jotd-vinyl
CD: https://www.templeofmystery.ca/shop/paganaltar-jotd-cd
Cassette: https://www.templeofmystery.ca/shop/paganaltar-jotd-mc

racklisting for Pagan Altar’s Lords of Hypocrisy
1. The Lords of Hypocrisy
2. Satan’s Henchmen
3. Sentinels of Hate
4. Armageddon
5. The Interlude
6. The Aftermath
7. The Masquerade
8. The Devil Came Down to Brockley
9. March of the Dead

Featuring songs written between 1976 and 1983, Pagan Altar’s second album, Lords of Hypocrisy, is a timeless classic of macabre heavy/doom metal centered around man’s inhumanity to man and its ultimate demise. The album’s unique atmosphere is shaped by its dark ’70s heavy rock riffs with a generous NWOBHM touch, haunted vocals, and majestic lead guitar parts. A gem of a record whose mysterious songs inspire total and complete devotion. Gatefold DLP version includes new layout with cover art from artist Adam Burke and remastered songs, and jewelcase CD version includes exclusive liner-notes and remastered songs.

Preorder
Limited blue vinyl: https://www.templeofmystery.ca/shop/paganaltar-loh-lp-blue
Regular black vinyl: https://www.templeofmystery.ca/shop/paganaltar-loh-lp
CD: https://www.templeofmystery.ca/shop/paganaltar-loh-cd
Cassette: https://www.templeofmystery.ca/shop/paganaltar-loh-mc

upcoming European shows
Holy Festival, Neudegg Alm/Austria, 20.–22.06.2019
Muskelrock Festival, Tyrolen/Sweden, 30.05.–01.06.2019

www.paganaltar.co.uk
www.facebook.com/paganaltarofficial
www.paganaltarofficial.bandcamp.com
www.templeofmystery.ca
www.facebook.com/templeofmysteryrecs

Pagan Altar, Live at Old Grave Fest, Oct. 13, 2018

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Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Yn Ol I Annwn: Mirages and Beginnings

Posted in Reviews on February 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

mammoth weed wizard bastard yn ol i annwn

In a few short years, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have made themselves one of the most essential up and coming heavy acts in the UK. The Wrexham five-piece of vocalist Jessica Ball, guitarists Paul Michael Davies and Wes Leon, bassist Stuart Sinclair and drummer James Carrington began their assault of ethereal and cosmic doom with Nachthexen (review here) in 2015, and since then, they have issued two albums — 2015’s Noeth Ac Anoeth (review here) and 2016’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll (review here) — and a split last year with Slomatics (review here), each one taking a mark stepped forward from its predecessors. The latest footprint left by their ongoing progression is the eight-track/65-minute Yn Ol I Annwn on New Heavy Sounds, which finds the five-piece not only continuing to embrace Welsh language for titles — the translation is “back to go” according to a major internet company’s matrix — but actively pushing their style to new degrees of individualism.

For those who’ve been listening, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have each time out managed to surpass their prior work — in cosmic doom, one thinks of the run Ufomammut had earlier in their career, say from 2004-2010, as a comparison point — while remaining prolific and building significant momentum behind them. Yn Ol I Annwn feels like a moment of arrival, and for more than just its monolithic hour-plus runtime. In the four-minute “Du Bist Jetzt Nicht in der Zukunft” — “you are not now in the future,” in German — Ball‘s echoing and ethereal melody tops a wave of keyboard that’s boldly poppish, and the penultimate “The Majestic Clockwork” brings in strings to introduce what soon enough becomes its central chugging lumber, adding breadth to an already vast atmosphere, and maybe a bit of humor as well. These are surface impressions, striking on initial listens, but the truth of the band’s evolution runs deeper.

In the wash of effects created by Davies and Leon, and particularly in the emergent use of synth alongside the guitar, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard come into their own with more of a reach than they’ve ever had before, and demonstrate a burgeoning mastery of their approach. Introduced by the John Carpenter-style keyboard pulses of “Tralfamadore” — bonus points for the Vonnegut reference — Yn Ol I Annwn unfurls a multifaceted showcase of craft and performance. It’s not just the dip into synthpop on “Du Bist Jetzt Nicht in der Zukunft,” or the resonant echoing of the prior “Fata Morgana” that makes it so, either. A variety of structure and general approach brings a feeling of movement to the proceedings from the beginning swirls of “The Spaceships of Ezekiel” onward, and as the thickened riffs enter the fray and the first deeply-weighted march soon gets underway with Ball‘s melodic vocals floating overhead, the feeling of consumption arrives early and holds for the duration, even as Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard introduce shifts between shorter songs and longer ones.

Three cuts on Yn Ol I Annwn top 10 minutes: “Fata Morgana” (12:08), “Katyusha” (13:24) and closer “Five Days in the Abyss” (10:12). “The Spaceships of Ezekiel” is the longest of the rest at over eight minutes, and the way the songs are paired two-per-side so as to allow for a double-LP playthrough gives the listener a feeling of never quite being settled. Similar to how they bounce from language to language in their titles — here in English, there Welsh, there German, Russian, fictional, etc. — it’s not as if Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard rev themselves up through a couple shorter tracks and then lumber into extended material and flatline. Side B is only 16 minutes long with “Fata Morgana” — its early subdued guitar and later wash of crushing riffs and nod — and “Du Bist Jetzt Nicht in der Zukunft,” but that’s a pivotal moment in itself in that it reverses the structure to come on sides C and D.

mammoth weed wizard bastard

Simply, it goes longer-to-shorter where sides A, C and D work shorter-to-longer. That reversal, like a brief interlude on some albums or the odd acoustic track or something like that, is enough to give all of Yn Ol I Annwn a feeling of unpredictability to which the actual sound and arrangements correspond. As the band moves through the spacious and mournful title-track and into the instrumental triumph that is “Katyusha,” they mark an outward path for the second of the two LPs that showcases not only the depth of the mix in its layers of keys and guitar, bass and drums, but just how immersive the flow of the album has been up to that point. As dense as their work is and as much as it rolls itself forward in apparent steamroller fashion, it is likewise hypnotic in its repetition — another lesson perhaps from Ufomammut — but worthy of close attention for moments like the post-midpoint chimes in “Katyusha” or the aforementioned cello in “The Majestic Clockwork.”

That later track is would seem to be the apex of Yn Ol I Annwn as it pushes faster in tempo than anywhere else on the album dares to go, Carrington building intensity on his snare hits measure by measure until finally cutting out to a concluding rumble and wave of effects, but “Five Days in the Abyss” answers back in quiet/loud trades that are as otherworldly as any sci-fi influence manifested in the circuitry of its cover art could hope to be. Soft at first, the finale swells for a verse and recedes again, and when the full brunt returns, there’s pretty clearly no coming back. The last march begins shortly before the six-minute mark and ascends to a full wash of vocal melody before a guitar solo comes sweeping to the fore to lead the way out. It is psychedelic and blissful, but still weighted by low end at its fade, though Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard go to the album’s end as gracefully as they entered with “Tralfamadore.”

For all the side-flipping involved in a 2LP, Yn Ol I Annwn is remarkably linear, and the expanse it charts is thoroughly its own. If this is what Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have been moving toward over their prolific half-decade, then it’s easily been worth the journey, but with the glimmers of arrangement manipulation and the affecting emotional crux in the vocals, one does not at all get the sense they are done growing. That is, I’m willing to commit to Yn Ol I Annwn as being their highest achievement to-date, but there remains an open and seemingly ongoing exploration at the root of their sound. Billed as the final act in a trilogy, this may in fact just be the start.

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard on Bandcamp

New Heavy Sounds on Thee Facebooks

New Heavy Sounds on Bandcamp

New Heavy Sounds website

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Desertfest London 2019 Adds 29 Bands to Complete Lineup; Madness Ensues

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

What am I even supposed to say here other than ‘yes please?’ As Desertfest London 2019 rounds out its lineup and once again demonstrates its willful growth year after year, I’ll tell you this: there are a lot of bands listed below, and a lot of good bands. And if you’re reading this and you’re in London or you’re fortunate enough that you’re going to be in London for this festival, I know you’re hip to where it’s at. I get that. But seriously, if you don’t know, there re a few really must-see bands here, and it’s not all Amenra headlining. That’s great, and I’m sure it’ll be super-intense and very cool and all that.

But I’m telling you: don’t sleep on seeing High Priestess, BlackWater HolyLight, Worshipper, Salem’s Bend, Skraeckoedlan and Great Electric Quest. Some of those names are kind of buried near the bottom of this announcement, but really, you’d only be doing yourself a favor if you caught them. Let’s put Zed in that category too, and when they’re done, tell them I said hi. You probably already know all this, but I just wanted to highlight the point, since there’s a lot here and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I get that too.

Kudos to the Desertscene team for focusing on what matters — the music — even amid pulling double-duty in putting together the first-ever Desertfest NYC, the lineup for which is still in progress. This fest looks amazing and I wish I could say I was going. Quite simply, it’s been too long.

Here’s the announcement:

desertfest london 2019 final announcement

Amenra to headline Saturday at DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 + day tickets and 28 more bands announced!

Showcasing the best of what the underground has to offer is at the core of DESERTFEST LONDON and this year’s line-up is the most eclectic, yet satisfying to date by ticking those “wish-list old school desert rock” boxes with Fu Manchu and Witch at The Roundhouse, whilst pushing the boundaries of heavy with the likes of HHY & The Macumbas and Grave Miasma. Year after year it’s about offering up a diverse bill that allows for discovery, whilst celebrating the musical foundations of the festival, and the final Saturday headliner and remaining 28 acts do just that.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
Weekend and day tickets on sale at this location

Desertfest are honoured to reveal that the incomparable AMENRA will celebrate their 20-year anniversary across the London weekend this May, bringing their uniquely atmospheric sound as headliners of Saturday’s mainstage and, for the first time in the UK, an even more intimate side of the band takes place at The Underworld on Sunday with solo performances from CHVE & SYNDROME. We would be proud to have Amenra headline Desertfest on any year, but to have them on the year they celebrate their 20th anniversary makes it all the more special for us and also the band themselves.

Desertfest are also pleased to announce a stage takeover from the mighty Riding Easy Records, the righteous west coast label will not only bring the sun (we hope) but a hefty dose of fuzzed out riffs from their roster. Headlined by rock’n’rollers ELECTRIC CITIZEN who refuse to be pigeonholed with a 70s proto-metal sound that chimes into psychedelic realms. Street-doom killers R.I.P will hit the UK for the first time and vocalist Fuzz is ready to bring it hard and loud. Completing the stage showcase are 80s punk heavy metal hybrids ZIG ZAGS, hazy Swedish doom newcomers ALASTOR and the low and slow psych goth-rock sounds of BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT.

If that wasn’t enough Desertfest also adds thunderous space-rock psychedelic masters MONKEY3 to upcoming proceedings, the unforgiving primitive metal sounds of THE SECRET and LA party starters THE SHRINE, who haven’t graced DF with their amped up stoner-skate vibes for well over 5 years.

We also welcome back our long-time partners Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide for another takeover of The Underworld on Saturday. Topping the bill, the riff muscle of Savannah, Georgia is brought back to The Underworld by the mighty bruisers BLACK TUSK. Dropping in straight underneath we’re living the doom dream of olde with Chicago legends in THE SKULL. Glasgow gives us two offerings this year in the form of explosive riff n roll filth-party heads ACID CANNIBALS, and to lower the tone whilst severely twisting some melons we also welcome their fellow city dwellers HEADLESS KROSS. As ever we chose to open up with a cataclysmic attack, hence why we’ve invited Brighton’s bleak hardcore oblivionists KALLOUSED to set the day into fittingly venomous motion. Bring your ear plugs, it’s gonna be a floor shaker!

And finally, Desertfest round off with the brilliant SKRAECKOEDLAN, BLANKET, SALEMS BEND, SURYA, HIGH PRIESTESS, ZED, KUROKUMA, GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST, PSYCHLONA, VIDEO NASTIES, ONE FOR SORROW, WORSHIPPER, MOUNTAIN CALLER & 1968 all added to the monumental 2019 line-up.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
All tickets on sale at this location

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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Friday Full-Length: Acrimony, Hymns to the Stone

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Acrimony, Hymns to the Stone (1994)

If you weren’t sure about Acrimony‘s roots in more deathly/doomly fare, look no further than the gracefully morose logo that’s on front of their debut CD, Hymns to the Stone. Released through Godhead Recordings — don’t worry, they’d sign to Peaceville soon enough — Acrimony‘s first outing arrived and helped jumpstart a pivotal moment in UK heavy. And their departure from the melancholic vibes proffered by their serif-logo forebears in Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Anathema, etc., came at just the right time. As those bands also sought out different sonic territory and in some cases more than flirted with gothic vibes, Acrimony went in another direction entirely. They got high and they rocked out.

1994: When stoner rock was stoned.

I don’t know if it’s Dorian Walters‘ vocals or the fact that they’ve got songs like “Leaves of Mellow Grace,” “Herb” and “Cosmic AWOL,” but something about Acrimony just always seemed that much more under the influence. The overarching sound of Hymns to the Stone shows some of its age these 25 years after the fact, but that hardly makes it less righteous. The guitars of Stu O’Hara and Lee Davies, Paul Bidmead‘s bass and Darren Ivey‘s drums managed to take some influence from the grunge that was saturating the US at the time, meld it with their own history in metal, and add more than a flourish of Sabbathian undertones — looking at you, “Spaced Cat #6” — and create something new from it. And they were legitimately right there at the start. Cathedral had embraced something of a rocking side with their 1993 sophomore outing, The Ethereal Mirror, but Acrimony took even that to a new level entirely. Consider that Orange Goblin were just getting together at the time, and Electric Wizard as well. Consider that Hymns to the Stone came out the same year as Welcome to Sky Valley. Acrimony were a nexus band. They helped craft the direction the UK heavy underground would take as it moved into the mid ’90s and beyond, and their impact can still be felt today in swaths of bands in the UK and out.

While it is a mystery how there hasn’t been a band who’s named themselves after the song “Urabalaboom,” that centerpiece track remains ACRIMONY HYMNS TO THE STONEessential to Hymns to the Stone as Acrimony conveyed a jammier sensibility ahead of the acoustic start to “Herb” — also duly Iommic in its riff — and “Magical Mystery Man,” which follows and brings back some of the earlier catchiness of “Leaves of Mellow Grace,” “The Inn” and “Second Wind” at the outset. The vibe of the album is set largely by the tonal largesse of the opener and the looseness of its swing, taking a heavy crunch and making it roll with two guitars working in tandem to shove it along the path laid out with bass and drums. When Walters‘ vocals arrive, they’re lower in the mix than on some of the later tracks, and the riff-comes-first ethic is as plain to hear as the weed-worship of the lyrics. “The Inn” makes the most of some swirling wah as it marches forth, as well as some late-arriving shuffle, and “Second Wind” plays with tempo shifts effectively to convey a doom rocking feel with a nod in its midsection leading to more butt-boogie chicanery as they round out.

The fluidity there serves them well moving into the ultra-compressed start of “Space Cat #6” and the ensuing touch of psychedelic rock fervor brought to its arrangement that will be even further fleshed out soon enough on the penultimate “Whatever.” That song, which is the only one on Hymns to the Stone to hit the seven-minute mark, is little short of a revelation, playing out across a molten linear build that’s all the more about the journey than the payoff, taking the message of the prior “Urabalaboom,” “Herb” and “Magical Mystery Man” and bringing it to life in sound. Stretching out in this way suited Acrimony well, and it was a lesson they’d take to heart by the time they got around to their second full-length, Tumuli Shroomaroom (discussed here), in 1997, which even in its opening track, “Hymns to the Stone” (but wait! that’s the name of this album!), topped nine minutes en route to a total 65, as opposed to Hymns to the Stone‘s manageable 44-minute run. Likewise, the pairing of “Magical Mystery Man” and “Whatever” right next to each other hardly feels accidental, with the shortest and longest tracks offering direct contrast. “Magical Mystery Man” has a punkish feel, and “Whatever” is more spaced than “Spaced Cat #6,” so yeah. “Cosmic AWOL” finishes out by returning that massive cannabinoid sprawl somewhat to ground, still loading in plenty of wah to its just-over-4:20 push, ending with a languid percussion-laced jam on a long fade as it moves farther into the great far out.

Acrimony‘s legend, like that of a lot of heavy rock from their era — see also the aforementioned Kyuss — would grow in their absence. They put out Tumuli Shroomaroom in ’97 and had done The Acid Elephant EP before that in 1995 and a split with Iron Rainbow in 1996, but their last recording session was in 1999 for tracks that would later see release in 2003 on a split with Church of Misery and they were long since done by then. Lee Davies would go on to play in Lifer, but the rest of the lineup was quiet until coming together in 2009 as Sigiriya, a four-piece with Walters, O’Hara, Bidmead and Ivey. They released their debut, Return to Earth (review here), in 2011 and would lose Walters afterward, bringing in Matt Williams from Suns of Thunder for 2014’s Darkness Died Today (review here; also discussed here). Ivey would also depart in 2015 and the band brought in Rhys David Miles on drums and they’ve continued to play locally in Swansea and around the UK, doing fests and support slots as well as the occasional short run of tour dates — they were out with the reformed Iron Monkey twice last year.

According to their social media, Sigiriya, now with O’Hara and Bidmead as the connection to Acrimony have a third album they’re putting the finishing touches on, so it may well be that they’re heard from later in 2019. Here’s hoping. However that might come together, Acrimony‘s stoner-is-as-stoner-does heavy rock legacy continues to be a standout from the United Kingdom, and though in current music culture it’s almost too easy to neglect anything that isn’t punching you in the face with streaming videos capturing every fart at every rehearsal, Hymns to the Stone is a reminder of the roots from which what we think of modern heavy has grown out from over the last two and a half decades.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Yesterday was amazing, thank you. Incredibly heartening and reinforcing. It felt like what I imagine birthdays probably feel like to most people. Thank you.

If you didn’t catch it, Shy Kennedy from Blackseed Design’s t-shirt for The Obelisk went up earlier this week at Dropout Merch. It’s awesome and I call it ‘Doom on the Moon,’ which is fun because I enjoy a slant rhyme as much as the next guy.

See it here: https://www.dropoutmerch.com/the-obelisk

Next week is busy. They’re all busy. Did you know I’ve got the Quarterly Review for March booked already? I might push it up and do five this year. I’m not sure I’d be able to call it Quarterly so much as Everynowandagainly at that point, or Bimonthly or whatever, but yeah. I’m thinking about it. For all the planning out ahead of time I do, I don’t do much planning out ahead of time. Ha.

Did you catch the slant rhyme above? Good.

Let’s do some quick notes for next week. Honestly, my head’s been so deep in everything for yesterday I’ve kind of slacked on mapping it out, but there’s still some cool stuff slated. As such:

MON: Static Tension video premiere; News catchup.
TUE: The Asound album review/video premiere.
WED: BLACKWVS track premiere; Soldati video premiere.
THU: Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard review.
FRI: Open right now. Maybe Old Mexico review unless something else grabs me.

It’ll be fun either way.

This Sunday at 7PM Eastern is also the ninth episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. I need to go cut the voice breaks for it, so I’m going to wrap this up on the quick and plug in the mic and pretend to be interesting for 20 minutes or so. If you get the chance to listen: http://gimmeradio.com.

And again, thanks for all the kind words yesterday.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and the radio stream and the merch at Dropout. Like such:

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Review & Track Premiere: Green Lung, Woodland Rites

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

green lung woodland rites

[Click play above to stream ‘Let the Devil In’ from Green Lung’s Woodland Rites. Album is out March 20 on Kozmik Artifactz.]

London’s Green Lung announced themselves with the 2017 single, Green Man Rising (review here), and have worked quickly since to distinguish their sound from the bulk of the UK’s nigh-on-saturated heavy underground. Through last year’s Free the Witch EP (review here) and now their Kozmik Artifactz-issued debut full-length, Woodland Rites, the five-piece unit have worked efficiently to develop a stylistic take drawing from classic rock and metal as well as nature-worshiping Britfolk, garage doom, goth rock, solo-era Ozzy, as well as contemporary countrymen standouts like Alunah, Elephant Tree and even Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, the latter of whose influence can be heard in the creative vocal arrangements of frontman Tom Templar.

With a steady stream of organ lines from John Wright alongside Scott Masson‘s guitar, Andrew Cave‘s bass and Matt Wiseman‘s drumming, Green Lung offer righteousness of performance and put songwriting first throughout and draw thematically from pagan-style horror films in the lyrical play between sex, nature and evil, but manage to avoid a trap of misogyny that most of those films didn’t, and as the opening salvo of “Woodland Rites” and “Let the Devil In” gets underway in picking up from the intro “Initiation” — the beginning quiet guitar of which proves crucial in setting the atmosphere for what follows — the point of view of the lyrics remains more about ritual than discrimination. The choruses of songs like “The Ritual Tree” and “Call of the Coven” and even closer “Into the Wild” are catchy, and not unfortunately so for what they’re actually saying. Even the willfully sleazy nunsploitation hook of “Let the Devin In” — “Sister, you’ve been told that making love’s a sin/Open up your heart and let the devil in” — manages to capture the spirit of the grainy cinema from which it derives and periodically samples audio while leaving behind a dated objectification. This is but one element working to the advantage of an early contender to stand among 2019’s best debut albums.

And at no point throughout Woodland Rites‘ witch-rocking eight-song/42-minute run is craft sacrificed to theme one way or the other. Masson offers several solos that are marked accomplishments in and of themselves, including that in the apex of the penultimate “May Queen,” which is well plotted and complemented by Cave‘s bass and Wright‘s work on keys, but even beyond those performances or that of Templar across the earlier cuts or closer “Into the Wild,” there’s an overarching thoughtfulness to the LP’s construction that speaks to a specific intent on the part of the band. Its tracks break cleanly into two four-song sides, but more than that, each side has a progression of its own and a function that makes the entire album stronger while clean and clear in its own mission.

green lung (Photo by Sally Patti)

Each works its way toward its longest song in “The Ritual Tree” (6:49) and “Into the Wild” (6:51), respectively, and while this is nothing new, tapping into classic elements of sound and structure is part of the point stylistically. In addition, the movement from “Initiation,” which comes across an awful lot like something that might be played to introduce the band live, directly into the “Oh lord yeah!” that starts the title-track and through “Let the Devil In” to the end of side A with “The Ritual Tree” is not only fluid, but based around a quality of memorability in the material that conveys a sense of mood and ambience without giving up its direct impact. Wiseman‘s crash in “The Ritual Tree” is no less a standout than the melody that accompanies, and as the organ fills out that melody, Templar sounds smooth and comfortable over the rolling progression in a way that for many vocalists would prove awkward.

Going by a classic side A/B dynamic, the first half of Woodland Rites would be the place where the up front is upfront, and the second where they then branch out and expand their overall reach. The whole record is a multifaceted showcase of progression, but indeed, Green Lung follow the pattern and shift in side B from “Templar Dawn” and the Sabbath-swinging “Call of the Coven” to the mellowing out that happens in the first stretch of “May Queen,” which flows easily into its swell of volume before it hits its midsection, only to recede in the second half for another verse and rise again as it rounds out. This is a marked change of structure from what’s come before, and it signals not only the intended growth on the part of the band and their bringing that to bear, but their ability to work in multiple songwriting contexts and still maintain their sense of composition. Further, “May Queen” feeds directly into the initial riff of “Into the Wild,” which is tasked with summarizing the proceedings and lives up to that ably while pushing further and highlighting the promise so present in what Green Lung are doing. Another excellent guitar lead begins to draw the closer down, and “Into the Wild” ends somewhat suddenly but with a considerable impression that the band know that and are doing it on purpose.

The message there, and indeed of the album as a whole, would seem to be that Green Lung aren’t actually finished — which is fortunate. As quickly as they’ve cohered their take on heavy and found a recording partner in Wayne Adams of Bear Bites Horse Studios — who also helmed the EP — to bring their vision forward, I wouldn’t predict where they might go in terms of following-up their debut, but Woodland Rites is a significant opening statement for them to make, and if they have it in them to do the gritty work of honing their approach, could be well en route to a marked individualism that, in complement to their songwriting, is the stuff of something truly special. But as much as it’s an exciting showcase of what could be, and as much fun as it is to think of what Green Lung might go on to accomplish, it’s worth recognizing that wouldn’t be the case were Woodland Rites not as strong and as complete an offering as it is.

Green Lung on Thee Facebooks

Green Lung on Instagram

Green Lung website

Green Lung on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz website

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

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