Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Floridian two-piece Cave of Swimmers hit the road later this week on an East Coast tour that will take them into the beginning of August. Later on next month, they head west to Psycho Las Vegas to play alongside Pentagram, Sleep, YOB, and, well, name a name. Whether or not they’ll tour around that appearance, I don’t know, but this tour would seem to be a precursor to that slot either way, and they go supporting their 2015 album, Reflection, having already toured this past Spring in the Midwest and Southeast.
Dates and info follow:
Miami heavy duo Cave of Swimmers will be on tour this summer doing a US east coast run before playing Psycho Las Vegas Festival in August along with Alice Cooper, Blue Oyster Cult, Electric Wizard and more.
Cave of Swimmers is a band formed by two Venezuelan kids who met in the 4th grade. After moving to Miami in the mid 2000’s, they reunited to form a band with an original take on heavy music. Fast, slow, spooky, sludgy, progressive, you name it: Cave of Swimmers does it their own way.
Their self-titled debut album gained critical acclaim last year after a few tours. They made a name for themselves as a band that’s real with a live show like no other, outta control, and full of raw energy. Their new album “Reflection” was released in the summer of 2015 and they toured February/March 2016 and hit the road again this summer supporting the release.
Cave of Swimmers on tour: July 22 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia July 23 – Atlanta, GA – The Highlander July 24 – Memphis, TN – Murphy’s July 25 – Nashville, TN – Foobar July 26 – Winston-Salem, NC – Test pattern July 28 – Baltimore, MD – The Sidebar July 29 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie July 31 – Salem, MA – Koto August 1 – Brooklyn, NY – Sunnyvale August 2 – Richmond, VA – 25 Watt RVA August 3 – Chapel Hill, NC – The Cave August 5 – Jacksonville, FL House show August 6 – Gainesville, FL – The Atlantic
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
If at least one of the names in Onera‘s rather formidable pedigree doesn’t stand out to you, take the sheer abundance of them as a sign that you might want to get introduced. For me, it’s vastly underappreciated doomers Morgion and likewise overlooked heavy rockers Cortez that did the trick. The New Hampshire-based newcomers comprised from former members of these outfits and more have just issued their first release in the form of a three-song melo-doomer title Olde that they seem to be hoping will get picked up either itself for label support or will lead to same for their next offering. Digging into the tracks, they’d seem just as much at home on Cruz del Sur as Candlelight. Kind of a lot of dark-vs.-light playing out within each song, all of it very metal, very doomed.
The PR wire offers the following:
ONERA: Doom Outfit Featuring Morgion, Keen Of The Crow, Cortez, December Wolves, And Watchmaker Alumni Releases EP
New Hampshire-based doom metal quintet ONERA proudly presents their debut EP, Olde, which has just been independently released by the band, and is now streaming in its entirety. Though the entity of ONERA is very new, the outfit unites a team of veterans from a wide array of revered acts including Morgion, Keen Of The Crow, Cortez, December Wolves, Watchmaker, and others who have been active in the scene for several decades.
In September 2015, the members of ONERA entered Amps vs Ohms in Cambridge, Massachusetts to capture their debut recordings. The members’ cumulative resumes and influences intertwine and carve out a unique sound for the band. Mastered at New Alliance East, the three-song Olde EP presents just under thirty minutes of glorious doom metal rapture, rife with heavy, melodic, dynamic, and progressive elements which help create an intense, organic, and primeval aura.
Olde Track Listing: 1. Unruhe 2. Stil As Stone 3. Cold Hand’s Caress
ONERA is promoting the release, shopping their music to labels, and continuing to put on impressive live performances throughout the Northeast.
[Click play above to stream ‘Burn Out’ from The Company Corvette’s Never Enough. Album is out Aug. 5 on The Company Records.]
The Company Corvette don’t quite reinvent themselves on their third album, but they wind up pretty close to it by the time they’re done. It was five years ago that the trio of bassist/vocalist Ross Pritchett, guitarist Alexei Korolev and drummer Peter Hurd released their second album, End of the Summers (review here), and at the risk of being honest, it didn’t do it for me. I had seen the band live by then and found them engaging enough, but the record didn’t have the same effect. For the seven-track/38-minute Never Enough, the three-piece hit Gradwell House in New Jersey to work with engineer/mixer Matt Weber, and the resulting material, from the farty bass wah on “Devilwitch” to the spaced-out multi-layered solos of the ultra-stonerized “Burn Out,” showcase a fully developed sonic persona.
At times abrasive, The Company Corvette almost bring to mind a thicker-grooving take on Acid Bath‘s underlying sludge fuckall, and whether they’re messing with faster tempos on “The Stuff” or dug into all-out “Snowblind” nod on opener “Foot in Mouth,” they keep a sense of attitude central to the proceedings, Pritchett‘s vocals moving into harsher territory but even when clean holding onto a (purposefully) dazed drawl, calling to mind Thurston Moore at the start of closer “Pigeon.” Released once again through the band’s own The Company Records, Never Enough realizes the potential their earlier work showed and brings it to life with a sense of grunged-up heft that becomes its defining element. They’re an act who has clearly put work into sounding like they couldn’t give a shit.
To look at it on the surface, I don’t suppose much has changed since End of the Summers. Sure, Never Enough is a little shorter at 38 minutes (as opposed to 42), but both records end with an extended track, The Company Corvette are still very much a riff-based band, and there’s a consistent sense of dark humor — one can see it in the willfully grotesque album cover by Drew Elliott as well — that runs a thread between both releases. The development, then, is deeper. It’s in the songwriting, in the presentation, in the production and in the attitude, and all of these things come together to make Never Enough stronger from the rolling start of “Foot in Mouth” onward. They seem to wink at early Electric Wizard in “Devilwitch,” but it’s very much a wink, and hard to know if it’s influence or cynical parody — a question that makes the listening experience even more satisfying.
Either way, that added sense of misanthropic stoner-sludge informs the perspective of the tracks around it, and enhances the tuned-in-dropped-out atmosphere of the record as a whole. Feedback helps, of course. “Sick” starts off with a solo layered over its central riff and is somewhat shorter but rawer and more upfront in its groove, Hurd‘s kick drum punctuating as the solid foundation of an almost hypnotic sway, that solo returning after what may or may not be the chorus as Pritchett delivers indecipherable lines about who knows what in a blown-out drawl that’s no less suited to the faster thrust of “Sick” than to the slowed-down plod of album-centerpiece “Stomach,” which follows in garage doom fashion and nods its way through one of Never Enough‘s most memorable hooks across a five-minute duration.
In some ways, “Burn Out” might be thought of as a continuation of some of the same impulses as “Stomach” for its tempo and general crunchiness, but in addition to being longer at 6:38, “Burn Out” also toys more with dynamics, playing back and forth with verses and jams throughout, Pritchett‘s bass playing more of a role in holding together the groove as Korolev spaces out the guitar, adding semi-psych flourish to the proceedings in a manner both classic and weedian. The solo section that comes apart over the bassline at the end and leads directly into the quicker-swinging “The Stuff” in particular is not to be missed. And “The Stuff” is well placed too as the penultimate cut. Between “Burn Out” and “Pigeon,” it’s the shortest track on the record and keeps momentum forward where it might otherwise be too easy to get lost — more evidence for how the band has grown since their last time out.
Breaking at its halfway point, it chugs out a slowdown that serves as a bed for Korolev‘s lead and finishes in feedback and fading hum to let the languid fluidity of “Pigeon” close Never Enough by essentially summarizing what has worked about the record all along, loose vibe, easy flow, for-the-converted groove and all. It’s not a flashy finish in the sense of some grandiose payoff for everything that’s come before it, but they ride out the last riff effectively (with soloing) and in that represent well the barebones, dudes-in-a-room feel conjured so effectively on the prior tracks. As to what The Company Corvette might do next, with five years between records and obviously a fair amount of progression done in that time, I wouldn’t speculate whether Never Enough is the start of a surge of activity or an intermittent check-in, but stylistic leap they’ve made in these tracks should not be understated.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Miami sludge machine Shroud Eater will journey West next month in order to make an appearance alongside everyone and their cousin at Psycho Las Vegas. That in itself should be news enough to justify this post, since the Floridian trio have been stomping ass for years now, basically waiting for people to notice that fact, and a festival of that caliber would seem to be a good way to make that happen at least in part. However, that’s just the beginning of the story, and Shroud Eater, who premiered their video for the single “Face the Master” here, will also appear at the Tennessean Sludge Fest put on by Murfreesboro’s own Flummox, and at other assorted lucky venues along the way there and back again. To be blunt, it hurts me in organs I don’t know the names of that I’ve never seen Shroud Eater live. Don’t be like me, with my hurty organs.
Dates and assorted links follow:
Shroud Eater – Summer Tour
Join us as we raid across the states this summer starting Friday, August 19 through Saturday September 3!
Sunday August 21: Murfreesboro, TN @ Tennessean Sludge Fest with Place of Skulls, Order of the Owl, Doomstress, Act of Impalement, Dead Hand, Close the Hatch, and more… https://www.facebook.com/tnsludgefest/
Thursday August 25: Flagstaff, AZ @ The Green Room
Friday August 26: Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with Pentagram, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Converge, Yob, Wovenhand, The Shrine and many, many more… http://psycholv.com/
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
There’s plenty of groove underlying the winding progressiveness of the leadoff track to Howling Giant‘s awesomely-titled Black Hole Space Wizard Part 1, which you can hear below, and for that reason it seems fair to include an Elder comparison along with one for Mastodon, whose methods one can hear particularly early on. On the whole, Howling Giant seem less manic than that band was — one does not begin a series of releases called Black Hole Space Wizard without being a very specific kind of laid back — but listening to “Mothership,” there’s nothing lazy about it, including the songwriting, which is catchy and bodes well for what the other three tracks on the release might hold.
Details on the story of the series and more follow, as well as the song, courtesy of the PR wire:
Fuzz Rockers HOWLING GIANT Releasing ‘Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1’ / New Single Streaming
Nashville, TN Fuzz Rockers HOWLING GIANT will release Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1 on August 12.
The forthcoming release is the first installment of the fascinating Black Hole Space Wizard EP concept series. As guitarist Tom Polzine explains, “Musically we aim to write songs that are melodic, catchy, and head bang-able. As a concept series, we strive to conjure up space-themed imagery of heroes and villains at war, introducing the story and setting the scene of things to come within the Black Hole Space Wizard Universe. We’re not trying to spell out the entire story so much as we are creating scenes to provoke your imagination.”
Conceptually, the EP paints four distinct scenes: 1. The pinnacle of mankind; 2. An exodus from Earth; 3. The Black Hole Space Wizard destroying everything; and; 4. A lone survivor trapped on a ravaged Mother Earth. In Roger Mark’s (bass/vocals) own words, “The first track is a little more progressive, packed with riffs both dark and triumphant. The second track is all about build and groove. The third track is thrash, metal, and destructive. The final track is spacey with doom elements.”
Overall, it you are one of the many that wishes MASTODON had continued in the cosmic, crushing progressive manner of Crack The Skye and Blood Mountain, HOWLING GIANT is your dream band!
Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1 was produced by HOWLING GIANT, mixed by Kim Auch, and mastered by Chris Fasco.
[Click play above to stream Naevus’ ‘Black Sun’ from Heavy Burden. Album is out Aug. 19 on Meta Matter Records.]
In the crowded annals of the last two decades-plus of doom, one might be forgiven for letting Naevus slip through the cracks. Why? Well, it’s been 18 years since the German double-guitar four-piece made their debut on Rise Above Records with 1998’s Sun Meditation, and though they took part in a split on Game Two with Revelation, Mood and Twisted Tower Dire, took part in the 1999 Trouble tribute, Bastards Will Pay (discussed here) and even issued a comp of rare tracks in 2009 before actually getting back together in 2012, their second long-player, Heavy Burden, arrives through Meta Matter Records as 11 tracks/55 minutes light on fanfare and heavy on classic doom. They leave little to wonder about what’s the burden in question. It’s riffs, and so be it.
With stylistic debt to Maryland-style doom — The Obsessed and Pentagram, specifically — Naevus follow up their long-ago first album and their 2012 Universal Overdrive limited 7″ without missing a beat, as though Sun Meditation came out three years ago and Heavy Burden was simply the next phase of a songwriting progression playing out, not necessarily a reunion offering. Granted, production styles have changed in the last 18 years and Heavy Burden isn’t as raw as its predecessor, but that would likely be the case one album to the next to some degree anyway, and the point is that Naevus don’t sound any rustier in “Naked,” “Black Sun,” or “Future Footprints” than they want to — which is to say that doom almost always wants to sound a little rusty — and their material comes across as a fresh take on the traditional form.
Guitarist/vocalist Uwe Groebel and drummer Mathias Straub went on to play in VoodooShock, while guitarist Oliver Großhans is formerly of Sacred Steel (in which Straub also plays) and bassist Sven Heimerdinger of Rebirth, so Naevus has by no means been its members’ only outlet over the years. That might play into how smoothly they seem to slip back into action with cohesive songwriting on the opening title-track and songs like “Timeless Illusion” and “Dead Summer Day,” which follows “Heavy Burden,” “Black Sun” and “Naked” as part of a strong and immersive salvo to begin the journey of the record as a whole.
It’s not a short journey at nearly an hour, but as noted, it’s been almost 20 years, so one seems inclined to forgive the band for indulging the CD-era convention of a longer runtime, and their craft proves largely unwavering throughout, Groebel establishing a range and sticking to it while his and Großhans‘ guitars lead the way with thick-grooving riffs rolled along Straub‘s forward-minded drumming and given heft through Heimerdinger‘s low end. They toy with pace on “Dancing in the Summer Rain,” a side B dive into lyrical nostalgia — lines about dancing naked in the summer rain and drinking beer; must have been quite a camping trip — and bring to bear some faster thrust in the spirit of the aforementioned Trouble, but by then Heavy Burden has already set its own identity with its tones and overarching moodiness. What ties the album together, ultimately, is a consistency of sound via the production and that emotional crux. It’s not showy by any means, even when they get to the organ on “The Dwarves’ Revenge” before the closing “Outro,” but remains expressive all the same.
That closer, by the way, is more than just a simple interlude. It leaves behind the distorted heft in favor of acoustic textures that further highlight Groebel‘s vocals, and though it’s shorter than the other tracks at just over three minutes, it brings additional context to Heavy Burden as a whole and offers a sweeter take particularly in its final moments than one might expect from a record that’s spent so much time riffing out on “The Whistling Tree” or a bruiser like “Cloudless Sunstreams.” Naevus‘ roots stretch back to 1991 and their first demo was issued in 1993, so the band has plenty of history, and their earliest work was in a much more extreme aesthetic, so I don’t want to make it seem like they’ve simply regrouped and put Heavy Burden together like it’s no big deal — worth pointing out that they’ve been back for four years and the album is only now complete — or that there’s no stylistic growth from Sun Meditation. That’s simply not the case. Rather, Heavy Burden succeeds precisely because it’s so plainspoken in its presentation, and what it captures in traditional doom would ring false any other way. Naevus do many things in these tracks, but ring false is not one of them.
“Richard the Elder” is the second single that Boston heavy rockers Hey Zeus have issued this year behind “Caveman” (premiered here), which came out in May. The hard-driving New England traditionalists have yet to disappoint in either their hooks or the force with which they’re delivered, and “Richard the Elder” is no exception. It’s a right-on rush, in and out in just over three minutes of sans-frills heavy rock and roll, recorded live and engineered by vocalist Bice Nathan at New Alliance Audio in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Nathan is joined in the band by bassist Ken Cmar (also of Wonderdrug Records), guitarist Pete Knipfing and drummer Todd Bowman (both ex-Lamont), and recording live suits them remarkably well. For a style so lacking in pretense and so heated in its intensity, the setting could hardly be more perfect, and though Hey Zeus don’t have a record out or even an EP — they did release a split 7″ with White Dynomite in 2014 (review here) and seem to be working their way toward one sort of larger offering or another with this ongoing series of single tracks — they’ve clearly found a method that works for them, and that’s obviously a significant start.
The video is somewhat manic — GoPros hooked up to instruments in motion and so on — but that only suits the song itself, which you’ll almost have to hear twice before you can really feel like it’s begun to sink in even vaguely. Clip was directed by Michael Cimpher and follows here along with a couple live dates Hey Zeus have this month.
Hey Zeus, “Richard the Elder” official video
Richard the Elder by Hey Zeus Recorded live in studio. Tracked and Mixed by Bice at New Alliance Audio-Cambridge, MA Mastered by Dean Baltulonis at Wild Arctic-Portsmouth, NH Directed by Michael Cimpher Edited by Michael Cimpher and Bice
Hey Zeus live: 7/15 O’Brien’s Allston MA w/ Black Helicopters and Wolfsmyth 7/22 Higher Ground Burlington VT w/ Scissorfight, Murcielago and The Road Trash Band
Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
One of the most impressive aspects of Sollicitus es Veritatem is that it is so grounded in its theme while being so open and spaced out musically. It’s the self-released second full-length from Texas heavy jam duo Stone Machine Electric — William “Dub” Irvin on guitar/vocals, Mark Kitchens on drums/theremin — and in relatively impressionistic fashion, its five increasingly extended tracks take on the current political climate with predictive fervor and a healthy sense of dread. They’re not running down poll results by any means, but the interpretation of the album’s cover, its rat in a red tie, and Dub‘s gravely repetitions of “I really wish I was dreaming” in second cut “Dreaming” (10:17) both make the message pretty clear.
That’s an aspect of their approach that has developed in the three years since their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), though looking back there were certainly real-world elements at play there, as well as in the 2015 The Amazing Terror EP (review here) that arrived at the start of primary season to set the table for this album, the Latin title of which translates to “Nightmares are Reality.” They may well be, but Stone Machine Electric meet them head on with languid roll, heavy tones and an underlying cohesion to their jams. Recorded by Wo Fat guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, the groove at times bears some resemblance to Stump‘s own outfit, but Sollicitus es Veritatem goes far, far out when it goes, and from the quiet, creeping three-minute start of opener “I am Fire” (7:08), the flow that Dub and Kitchens conjure is almost entirely their own, a darkened and spacious vision of psychedelic jamming and heavy blues melded together in seemingly amorphous shapes.
Together, the five tracks total 57 minutes, so Sollicitus es Veritatem is a substantial commitment in the listening if you’re going front to back, but the individual pieces that make it up sort of blur the lines one into the next and that makes the journey more fluid. That’s not to say that “I am Fire,” which is arguably the most straightforward-feeling of the inclusions even with that intro, doesn’t stand well on its own, just that while too long to fit on a single LP, the CD version of Sollicitus es Veritatem benefits from the smooth and linear progression of its component parts. In addition to leading the listener into the band’s world via cymbal wash, drone atmospherics, and guitar minimalism, “I am Fire” offers a declarative hook in its title line, and in light of the apparent thematic intention one has to wonder just who the speaker in the song might be.
A chugging riff keeps the second half earthbound, but already Stone Machine Electric have set a focus on ambience, and the rest of the material — including the slight-return-style complementary closer, “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” (6:57) — continues to build on that, beginning with “Dreaming,” which picks up from the end of “I am Fire” with exploratory guitar feeling its way through the surrounding emptiness. Around two minutes in, after Kitchens has joined, the riff solidifies and the verse starts with Dub working quick to deliver dire warnings — not directly political in a naming-names sense, but applicable nonetheless — before a first chorus and quick trip solo that’s a precursor for the extended instrumental jam to come, brought back around to the chorus at the end for a satisfying bookend effect.
In centerpiece “PorR” (14:25) and the subsequent “Demons” (18:46), Stone Machine Electric get to the thick of Sollicitus es Veritatem‘s jam-room vibe, though layering would seem to be an essential part, obscure volume swells and noises in the background — could be theremin with effects, I suppose — an essential part in the quiet open of “PorR,” the main progression of which is a rolling guitar figure that kicks in loud in a manner with which I’ll admit some personal association I can’t quite shake, but serves as the foundation for the album’s most resonant jam, Dub pulling back on his gruff vocal delivery for a more melodic take well suited to the creeper vibe. Though it ultimately has enough room to cover its wide swath, “Demons” is more progressive at its heart, dooming out on either side of a long middle stretch of jazzy shuffle that starts after “Moonchild”-style noise past the seven-minute mark and eases into a long and welcome airy solo topping a steady rhythm.
Guitar and vocals harmonize together past 14 minutes in, and from there the riff re-thickens, diminishes, and returns with YOB-esque push toward the fadeout, giving the album a fitting apex before “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” begins its cymbal washes recalling the opener. The lyrics are different and the instrumental approach is different — definitely some theremin — almost like Dub and Kitchens took the basic instrumental foundation they had put down for “I am Fire” and built it out in another way. A studio experiment, maybe, but its weirdo vibe is right at home on Sollicitus es Veritatem, and its raucous, noisy and swirling crescendo not only serves as an epilogue post-“Demons” but a manifestation of the otherworldly nightmarish realization Stone Machine Electric would seem to have been moving toward all along. I’ve been a fan of the band since I first heard their demo in 2010 (review here), and though they’ve walked a difficult, sometimes rough path between trying out third members and so on, their second full-length brings a sound and vibe that suits them remarkably well and, as a fan, I can only hope they continue to move forward in this direction.
Stone Machine Electric, Sollicitus es Veritatem (2016)