Posted in Features on July 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]
Get yourself some free vinyl now by entering to win Music for Nations reissues of Opeth‘s Lamentations and Paradise Lost‘s Shades of God. Both releases came out through the reborn imprint on July 22 and are available now to purchase, but if you leave a comment on this post, you can get them both for free. No personal information will be kept, and you sign up for nothing by entering.
I’m going to guess if you’re reading this you’re already familiar with both bands, but here’s more info on these releases from the PR wire:
Lamentations features a live performance of Opeth’s Damnation album in full, interspersed with songs from the band’s masterpieces Blackwater Park and Deliverance. Conceived and recorded alongside Deliverence, Damnation marked a radical shift in style and tone. The band took the opportunity to move away from their earlier death metal sound and towards a style reminiscent of 1970s progressive rock, taking inspiration from their Blackwater Park collaborator and producer Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree).
Lamentations was recorded live at the prestigious Shepherd’s Bush Empire venue, shortly after both albums were released.
Paradise Lost, Shades of God
The album, a follow up to 1990’s Gothic album, is seen as the moment where Paradise Lost moved towards a more doom-centric sound, while still encompassing a wide range of other musical genres, showing off the band’s creativity and inventiveness in forging their own distinct take on doom metal, a style that would be continued on 1993’s Icon.
The album also saw the band’s initial transition away from using traditional death metal growls by blending them in with clean vocals, and quieter passages at times throughout the record.
Special thanks to Music for Nations and Atom Splitter PR for letting me host the giveaway. Winners will be chosen one week from today.
[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Naturally, they wouldn’t want to give away too much at this point, but 11Paranoias‘ audio teaser derived from the closing track to their fourth album, Reliquary for a Dreamed of World does find what’s becoming a trademark bleak psychedelia well intact and is just long enough to give some impression of their swirling psychosis to the listener who may have been previously drawn to their work either for 2014’s Stealing Fire from Heaven or Spectralbeastiaries or their 2013 debut, Superunnatural. The album will be released Oct. 28 via Ritual Productions, the track in question is called “Milk of Amnesia” and the band is comprised of the returning lineup of bassist/vocalist Adam Richardson (ex-Ramesses), guitarist Mike Vest (also Bong) and drummer Nathan Perrier (ex-Capricorns).
A couple of live dates in their native UK have been announced — one this weekend, one next — but more are reportedly impending, so when and if I hear of whatever I hear, I’ll be sure to pass along word. In the meantime, word from the PR wire about the album is below, followed of course by links and that teaser.
11PARANOIAS announce new LP Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World; and share ‘Milk Of Amnesia’, plus live shows incoming
RELEASE DATE: 28 OCTOBER ON RITUAL PRODUCTIONS
11PARANOIAS send back their latest report from the frontiers of heavy psychedelic rock, bringing to Ritual Productions their staggering fourth LP, Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World.
The trio of Adam Richardson, Mike Vest and Nathan Perrier have aroused gargantuan riffs from ancient slumber, mustered streams of irradiated noise, and arranged them to form an impressive, kaleidoscopic creation that shall see the light of day on October 28th.
More details regarding the new record will be announced over the coming months. In the meantime, 11PARANOIAS are planning on more live rituals, beginning this week with two shows – details below.
July 23rd – Doomlines Festival, Yorkshireman Rock Bar, Sheffield July 28th – Big Red, London (extended set)
Posted in Features on July 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
One could wax philosophical all day about the combination of weighted groove, lush melody, songcraft and tonal depth playing out across Elephant Tree‘s self-titled Magnetic Eye Records debut LP (review here), but as far as doing it justice, it seems like a futile enterprise. The album’s richness, the ease of its execution — nothing sounds labored, nothing feels overwrought — and its consistent sense of movement make it easily one of 2016’s best debut records, and one of the best records of the year overall. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to tell a friend they need to hear it, because invariably they do.
How’d they get there? The London-based four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Jack Townley, bassist/vocalist Peter Holland (also Trippy Wicked), drummer Sam Hart and sitarist/vocalist/engineer Riley MacIntyre offered up their debut EP, Theia (review here), in 2014 (also through Magnetic Eye), and showed immediately a penchant for laid back heavy roll and psychedelic flourish, but a few key changes took place in the short time between Theia and Elephant Tree, among them a shift in focus away from incorporating screaming vocals — I’ll say that the advent of a genuinely psychedelic sludge is an intriguing prospect, and they made it work well — and MacIntyre‘s sitar alongside Townley‘s guitar and Holland‘s bass.
Townley is quick to point out there are still screams on the record, they’re just buried for atmospheric effect, but even that is a change from two years ago. Part of the driving force behind that would seem to be MacIntyre‘s work as producer, steering the sonic concepts with which the band would work as well as contributing to the music itself. Indeed, Elephant Tree sounds like an album thought out beforehand and during the process, and while recording the basic tracks in the room together gives it a natural underlying character, the blues and greens of its tones and the harmonies in the vocals over them are emblematic of the willful progression the band has undertaken.
And perhaps most encouraging of all, that progression would seem to just be at its outset. It’s important to keep in mind as the melancholy piano notes close out “Surma” that Elephant Tree is still just Elephant Tree‘s first full-length. In speaking to Townley, I tried to get an idea both of how this record came together and how the next one might move forward from here. The interview took place admittedly a while ago, just before Elephant Tree teamed up with Bordeaux, France-based heavy psych forerunners Mars Red Sky for a run of shows in the UK — they’ve also done stints with Bright Curse and they’ll play Cardiff’s Red Sun festival on July 29 with Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Grifter, Desert Storm, Old Man Lizard and many others — and so there was much to discuss.
Please find the complete Q&A after the jump, and enjoy. Thank you for reading.
This record was recommended to me years ago by a friend along with several others. She died a few years back and I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it, but the CD version has continued to languish on my Amazon wishlist as I’ve waited for the price to drop below about the $25 mark. I think if it was going to happen it would’ve happened by now, but hearing Chicken Shack‘s Accept — also known as Accept Chicken Shack — I can kind of understand why the cost is so high. The UK band’s fourth album, it was released in 1970 and seems to offer a prescient blend of nascent prog and heavy blues rock, where their prior outings skewed more decisively toward the latter. That it came out in 1970 and not 1971 is a big difference considering the changes in the rock scene that the next year would bring — if one had to pinpoint a moment when “rock got heavy,” even factoring in Blue Cheer‘s prior contributions, there are solid arguments to be made for ’71 — but though Chicken Shack weren’t the first to blend blues jams and more progressive and melodic flair, what with Jethro Tull around and all, Accept Chicken Shack does it with remarkable balance between the two sounds that, over the ensuing years, would only grow more and more incongruous.
Recorded with the lineup of founding guitarist/vocalist Stan Webb, bassist Andy Sylvester, keyboardist/vocalist Paul Raymond and drummer Dave Bidwell, it would be their final outing through Blue Horizon Records and after it came out, Webb would have to completely revamp the lineup after losing Sylvester, Raymond and Bidwell all to Savoy Brown. All the same, listening to the rolling start of “Diary of Your Life,” the gritty swing and harmonies of “Never Ever,” the complex structure and arrangement of “Some Other Time” — vaguely post-Beatles but grown outward — and the soft departure of “Andalucian Blues,” whatever friction there might’ve been in the band doesn’t show up in the compositions, which are more varied than some of what would follow in the UK (also a good deal of what preceded), but hit with no less impact when they choose to do so. At 35 minutes, Accept Chicken Shack leaves one wondering how anybody couldn’t with its niche blend of elements and confident execution, earning its place in that great dusty canon of heavy ’70s classics just waiting to be discovered by new generations of listeners in a vinyl shop or online. In this case, clearly the latter.
Webb has kept Chicken Shack going. Over the years he’s brought in nearly 50 players, but they still perform as Chicken Shack from time to time (seem like a good bet for the next installment of Psycho fest) and had releases out as recently as 2008. Accept Chicken Shack is more than a footnote in a larger career, however, and as you can hear in these songs, whatever came later, this lineup was able to come together to accomplish something special during their time.
As always, I hope you enjoy.
Well, it’s back down to Maryland this weekend. Yes, really. For a wedding. It’ll be the third trip in the last four weeks, and if you’re somewhere in the world other than the Eastern Seaboard and unsure just how far it is, it’s at least seven hours in the car — the first time down this round it was 10 — each way. Not an easy trip.
The good news is I’ll have an interview with Jack Townley from Elephant Tree on Monday and a track premiere from Cuzo on Tuesday. I’m hoping to review High Fighter before the end of the week, and I’ll have Pentagram‘s new video up on Monday and there’s a bunch of news to be put together as well. I expect I’ll be doing that on the highway this Sunday while The Patient Mrs. drives north. She’s wonderful. I’m lucky.
I have some stuff to take care of on Thursday and may or may not be out of commission for the rest of the week thereafter. I’ll post as much as I’m able. You know that. Gonna try to get a long-awaited (by me) podcast up to fill the space. I’m sure some huge announcement will come through — the first round of Roadburn 2017 adds or a new Electric Wizard video or something ridiculous like that — at just the most inopportune time to remind me the world doesn’t revolve around my silly little blog.
If you’re wondering, work continues to be good. I’m getting settled in, figuring out that balance. I’ve still been going to bed early and getting up to write reviews, so have gotten to be pretty burnt out by the time evenings come around, but The Patient Mrs. has been great and helpful and have I mentioned I’m lucky?
To wit, as I write this, she’s taking my camera in for repair. We’ll see how that goes.
Thanks for reading. Please come to The Obelisk All-Dayer (tickets here) Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar, please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream. I know that’s a lot to ask, but it’s very much appreciated on this end.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
With 12PM doors and 13 bands on the bill, the Buried in Smoke All Dayer should most certainly live up to its name. The dirt-cheap and dirtier-heavy onslaught is set to take place Nov. 12 at The Bullingdon in Oxford, UK, and along with Desert Storm — who are also directly involved in putting the event and all of Buried in Smoke Promotions‘ shows together — the lineup boasts several noteworthy names out of the UK’s ultra-fertile underground heavy scene. Worth noting that Desert Storm fit right where they are in closing out the night, and to have them joined by Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Grifter, Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters and Lacertilia at the top of the bill shows the utter strength of the scene in which this show is taking place.
No less encouraging, however, are the names toward the earlier part of the day: Morass of Molasses, King Goat, Mastiff, The Atrocity Exhibit, Black Skies Burn, The Darkhorse, My Diablo and Crimson Tusk. You’re doubtless already familiar with all of the above (also below), because you’re more in touch than I am and/or you live in the UK, but they would seem to represent a decent cross-section of underground rock and metal, and as always with this kind of gig, it’s as much about seeing the bands you don’t know as the bands you do.
At least that’s how it should work. Full lineup info and links follow here, as hoisted from the social medias:
Nov. 12 – B.I.S. All Dayer
The Bullingdon 162 Cowley Road, OX4 1UE Oxford, United Kingdom
Buried In Smoke promotions present:
Desert Storm Trippy Wicked Grifter Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters Lacertillia Morass Of Molasses King Goat Mastiff The Atrocity Exhibit Black Skies Burn The Darkhorse My Diablo Crimson Tusk
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
UK heavy psych rockers Lacertilia will release their debut, We’re Already Inside Your Mind, on July 29. Due out through Red Sun Sounds, the album follows last year’s Crashing into the Future EP, which found the band working in a post-Steak vein of desert influence but bringing their own swirling twist to the style as well, leaving space in their songs for the driving riffs to melt away into hypnotic jams, almost Naam-esque in how utterly liquefied they became. They also recently played Hellfest 2016 in France, which is pretty good for a band still waiting to release their first record, what with the thousands of people in attendance and whatnot.
As to what the full-length holds, I’ll keep you posted. Here’s the release announcement from the PR wire:
LACERTILIA REVEAL DETAILS OF DEBUT ALBUM
South Wales-based psychedelic heavy rockers, LACERTILIA are gearing up to unleash their first full-length album, We’re Already Inside Your Mind, on July 29.
Since their inception in 2013, LACERTILIA have built up a solid reputation through their energetic live shows and relentless gigging, having already shared the stage with the likes of Karma To Burn, Elder, Trippy Wicked, Bloody Hammers, Sir Admiral Cloudesley Shovell, Peter Pan Speedrock, and countless others. With an EP and two UK tours under their belt, the band are now ready to release their debut album.
We’re Already Inside Your Mind was recorded at One Louder Studios in Newport by Phillip Smith (Hogslayer, Haasts Eagled), and mastered by Joe Gibb (Jane’s Addiction, Depeche Mode). Intent on capturing their live sound in the studio – a mix of primal rock ‘n’ roll energy, heavy psychedelia and sludgy groove rock, with nods to proto-punk, 60?s psych, 70?s heavy rock, the free festival movement and contemporary stoner and doom – LACERTILIA have created a rich melting pot of sonic indulgence that takes the listener on a journey. This heady mix of influences is perfectly enraptured on lead track The Wired And The Weird.
The album’s main theme centres around the human brain, a prison for the psyche which has been subdued by modern technology, and law and order. LACERTILIA are personified as wise elders, here to help the inhabitants of planet Earth to see things as they really are. The cosmic vibrations and messages within their music are designed to make mankind face its fears, strip away the layers of mental conditioning bestowed upon us and ultimately reveal the power and utmost truth that lies within us all.
We’re Already Inside Your Mind 1. Inside Your Mind Part 1 2. The Wired And The Weird 3. Tangled Up 4. Never See The Sun 5. Ride With Us 6. EARTH 7. Journey To Agartha 8. Fire Up The Engine Of God 9. Round And Round 10. Inside Your Mind Part 2
We’re Already Inside Your Mind is scheduled for release through Red Sun Sounds on July 29, 2016 via the band’s Bandcamp HERE. The album will be available digitally and as a digipak CD limited to 500 copies.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
An official release date for The Wounded Kings‘ fifth album, Visions in Bone, has been long in the coming. The UK progressive doomers’ last offering was 2014’s Consolamentum (review here), and though two years is hardly a long stretch between a band’s fourth and fifth long-players, for The Wounded Kings, as ever, it’s brought some significant changes in the group. Rejoining founding guitarist Steve Mills is original vocalist George Birch, who was part of the initial duo lineup when the band got started. It’s been a wide circle to complete, but go figure they got there in the end.
Visions in Bonewill be a joint operation between Candlelight and Spinefarm, which bodes well in terms of it being heavy enough to require two labels to lift. Mills is always a great interview, so I think I might try to chase him down again and talk about the record sometime closer to the release on Aug. 26.
Till then, the PR wire:
THE WOUNDED KINGS To Release New Album Visions In Bone, August 26th Via Candlelight / Spinefarm Records
THE WOUNDED KINGS, doom metal warriors from the South West of England, are due to release their fifth full-length album, Visions In Bone, on August 26th via Candlelight / Spinefarm Records.
Visions In Bone was jointly produced and engineered by Chris Fielding and the band at Mwnci Studios in Wales and Skyhammer Studios in Cheshire, UK. The album swirls and flows with vintage tones and smoky vibes, with the themes of death, despair and redemption very much to the fore.
Formed in 2004, THE WOUNDED KINGS proudly uphold Britain’s occult heritage via a unique blend of spectral doom and psychedelic horror, creating a desolate, end-of-the-world vibe filled with suffocating heaviness.
The two-time Roadburn alumni are cherished by attendees and popular festival promoters alike, the latter citing them as, “British doom of staggering power”.
To date the quartet has released four full-length studio albums, plus a well received ‘split LP’ with American band, Cough.
Visions In Bone is a journey to the void… and beyond!
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
London heavy rockers Oak have issued Oak II, their aptly-titled follow-up to their self-titled debut EP (review here), which came out late last year. Like that release, the new four-tracker is available now as a name-your-price download via the band’s Bandcamp page. I haven’t seen anything about a physical release for either EP, or both together for that matter, or anything else, but Oak seem to be making their way toward these things one step at a time, and I look forward to digging into these new tracks to hear what they’ve been up to for the last seven months.
Art and release info follow, courtesy of the PR wire, Bandcamp, and the social medias:
We’re proud to announce that we’ve just released another batch of 4 tunes for you to enjoy. Several sets of strings, a few drumsticks and a studio loudspeaker have given their lives during the making process of this EP. So we’re hoping you’ll have as much of a blast listening to it, as us making it.
Recorded over a weekend in London’s Kore Studios back in May, Oak II sees the band take on a heavier, more focused sound with the new addition of Clinton Richie on drums.
Formed in the summer of 2015, London stoner rockers Oak have just released Oak II, the follow up to November 2015’s debut EP Oak.
The band combine desert rock grooves with fuzzed out 70s inspired hard rock and have spent 2016 gigging – sharing the stage with bands such as Elephant Tree, Welsh uber-dudes Sigiriya and Black Lung from the USA.
Oak II tracklisting: 1. Mirage 05:36 2. Against The Rain 05:41 3. A Bridge Too Far 06:30 4. Smoke 05:48
Andy Valiant: Lead Vocals Kevin Germain: Guitars, Backing Vocals (tr. 1 & 2), Talk Box Voice Scott Masson: Bass, Backing Vocals (tr.3), Talk Box Guitar Clinton Ritchie: Drums
All songs by Oak Engineered, mixed and mastered by Kevin Germain Artwork by Unexpected Specter