Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
And now, a play:
Officer McWhitey: Uh, do you know why I pulled you over?
Officer McWhitey: You were driving erratically. Swerving all over the place. What’s that you’ve got there?
Me: Oh, it’s a CD by this band from Austin called Greenbeard.
(Officer McWhitey, as portrayed by the douchiest buzzcut-looking motherfucker you can find, takes the CD, examines it.)
Officer McWhitey: Stoned at the Throne, huh?
Me (Looking at Officer McWhitey and realizing he’s at least eight years my junior): Yup.
Officer McWhitey: Step out of the car, sir.
I hope you enjoyed this original play. I bet you didn’t know I wrote plays. I don’t. Greenbeard, however, write riffs, and that’s even better. The Austin, Texas, four-piece list July 10 as the release date for their full-length debut, Stoned at the Throne, but you can stream the thing now and since you can, you probably should.
Background follows, culled from the internets:
We present to you, “Stoned at the Throne”! Our first full length album. This collection of music represents everything we stand for. 8 tracks of blistering riffs, heavy grooves, hard hitting beats, and tastefully meticulated song writing. We urge you to sit back, clear your mind, turn up the volume, ready the rig, and get stoned at the throne with us. Enjoy!
Greenbeard assembled to honor and celebrate all things heavy, riff driven, stoner, desert, and above all else, rock and roll. “Greenbeard” was recorded in the spring of 2014. Chance Parker, Alex Smith, and Buddy Hachar collided visions to manifest a sonic liquification of heavy riffs, dark grooves, and hypnotic beats.
“Greenbeard” dove deep into the blueprints of heavy rock. Tracks like “Sludgito” will melt your mind with their never ending slow roasting bass groove. “Eris” shuffles through the Texas desert soil with driving riffs and hard hitting drums.
Desert rock from the sun stricken soil of Austin, TX. Greenbeard brings prolific vibrations to the universe via drums, bass, and guitar.
Stoned at the Throne comes in a CD jacket with custom artwork by Headbang Design of France. Stoned at the Throne was mixed by Adam Hamilton (Brian Jonestown Massacre/Counting Crows/LA Guns), and mastered by Paul Tavenner (Cleopatra Records). Recorded at Ohm Recording Facility and engineered by Chico Jones. Produced by Alfonso Gonzalez.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Kiev-based three-piece Stoned Jesus head out tomorrow on the beginning turn of their European tour to support their third album, The Harvest (review here), released earlier this year. They’ll do festivals this weekend and sporadically all the way into September, at which point they’ll pick up for a run alongside Swedish heavyweights Greenleaf that, well, is a show I’d very much like to see.
I won’t be so fortunate, but you might be, and so to help you mark your calendar if need be (though I think I might be the only one who still does that kind of thing), here are the tour dates off the PR wire:
STONED JESUS: European tour to kick off this week at Stoned From The Underground fest!
Ukrainian stoner rock frontrunners STONED JESUS are all set to hit the European highways this Thursday, for an extensive summer tour in support of their rocking third album “The Harvest”.
STONED JESUS SUMMER TOUR: 09.07 – ERFURT (De) Stoned From The Underground Festival 10.07 – PLESZEW (Pol) Red Smoke Festival 16.07 – ANYKSCIAI (Lit) Devilstone Festival 17.07 – STOCKENBOI (At) Woodstockenboi Festival 15.08 – RODATYCHI (Ukr) Zaxid Fest 28.08 – VALADA (Pt) Reverence Festival 05.09 – KAMINETS-POLDILSKIY (Ukr) Respublica Fest 11.09 – CHEMNITZ (De) Ajz Talshock 12.09 – BERLIN (De) Cassiopea 15.09 – SALZBURG (At) Rockhouse 16.09 – ZAGREB (Cro) Vintage Industrial 17.09 – BUDAPEST (Hun) Kvlt 18.09 – BELGRADE (Ser) Bozidarac 20.09 – LJUBLJANA (Slo) Klub Gromka
STONED JESUS is a trio hailing from Kiev, Ukraine, which has been one of the biggest bands to emerge on the Eastern Europe stoner scene these past few years. Formed in 2009 by guitarist and vocalist Igor, they first toured Russia and Ukraine extensively, after what they released their highly-anticipated debut “First Communion”.
2011 saw STONED JESUS kept exploring and changed direction with the “Stormy Monday” EP, but it is mostly with their second full-length “Seven Thunders Roar” that the band really drew attention , pushing their songwriting to another level. Less doom, more psychedelic, the album peaks with 16-minute long epic « I’m The Mountain », which remains the most progressive and ambitious song the band has written so far.
After a slight lineup change and a couple of more material released, STONED JESUS returned in 2015 with their third album to date, « The Harvest ». One thing is for sure: it didn’t leave the fans indifferent, by getting away from the trio’s psychedelic roots to offer a more fun and straightforward approach. From its catchy hooks and compelling vocals to its darker auspices, « The Harvest » can be seen as a red hot rock’n’roll meteor, probably the most ardent album STONED JESUS has ever released. It will prompt you to jump in the pit asap, and mosh as if it was your last night on Earth. Louder!
STONED JESUS IS Igor Sydorenko – Guitar & vocals Sergii Sliusar – Bass Viktor Kondratov – Drums
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Mind you, I don’t actually know if there are 1,000 guitar tracks on the forthcoming second EP from UK trio Dr. Crazy, 1,000 Guitars, but if there were, I’d believe it. The three-piece made their debut last year with the four-song Demon Lady, and 1,000 Guitars seems to be following suit at least in the number of cuts included, though one can only imagine there’s a conceptual theme underlying “Demon Lady” from the first EP and “Mistress of Business” from this one. Could it be the same person? Notice how you never see the two of them in the same room.
Or for that matter the “Bikini Woman.” The plot thickens.
Since they last checked in, guitarist/bassist Chris West (formerly of Trippy Wicked) and vocalist Andreas Mazzereth (Groan) apparently brought on board drummer Mike Pilat (ex-Groan guitarist, currently also of Biggus Riffus) in place of one Tony Reed, whose absence is understandable considering the uptick in activity from Mos Generator so far this year. Rumor also has it Stubb‘s Jack Dickinson also lent a guitar solo to the cause somewhere on these tracks. Hopefully he doesn’t get lost among the thousand.
EP announcement follows, found on the internet!
Wrap your peepers round the amazing artwork created for us by Justin T Coons Art for our new EP, 1000 Guitars. The EP will be released on Friday this week and features these four bangers:
Hands off My Rock and Roll Bikini Woman 1000 Guitars Mistress of Business
Some of you may be wondering why it took so long to squeeze out the next 4 tracks of sweet rock n roll, well lemme tell you, tracking one thousands takes of guitar all in perfect unison so it sounds like just one guitar is no mean feat and takes time.
More news in a few days. Stay loose.
Mazz (Groan) – vocals; Chris West (ex-Trippy Wicked) – guitar, bass; Mike Pilat (Biggus Riffus) – drums
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Seattle instrumental trio Giza will issue their third album, Migration, at the start of next month. Quite a title. I can’t help but wonder if the three-piece were thinking purposely of Buried at Sea when they chose the name or if the Chicago outfit’s 2003 offering of the same name — one of the heaviest records ever released, flat out — was unknown to them, but either way, they’ve set a significant standard for themselves. It’s not quite like calling it Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, but you know what I mean.
With production by Matt Bayles (Isis, Mastodon, etc.), Migration will be out Aug. 1. The PR wire brings art and details:
GIZA Announces New Album “Migration” Out August 1st
Upcoming LP Produced by Matt Bayles, Special Guest Vocals by Irene Barber of Dust Moth and More
GIZA was formed in early 2012 by Richard Burkett, Steve Becker, and Trent McIntyre, with the idea of creating immensely heavy instrumental music. The first record, “Future Ruins”, was recorded/mixed by Matt Bayles and released not long after their formation in 2012, with high praise in the Doom/Sludge scene. Following the departure of their first drummer, Trent McIntyre, and the acquisition of their current drummer, Justin Rodda, a second record (also recorded/mixed by Matt Bayles) was released in April of 2014, entitled, “I Am The Ocean, I Am The Sea.” The record was a significant mechanism in the evolution of the group. While not a departure from “Future Ruins”, “I am the Ocean, I am the Sea” showed steady progress towards a more psychedelic amalgam rather than a pure metallic trudging. “I am the Ocean, I am the Sea” can be thought of as the stepping stone to their third release “Migration”, again recorded/mixed by Matt Bayles.
GIZA’s newest effort finds the band in it’s most creative/heavy/mild-melting/amp-worshiping effort to date. It’s also the bands first foray into added musicians. “Migration” boasts two guest appearances by Bryce Shoemaker (Bronze Fawn, Jules, Vermillion) on guitar on “Hashteroid” and Irene Barber on vocals (Dust Moth, XVIII Individual Eyes) on “March of the High Priests.”
* Album art by Ryan Frederiksen
“Migration” Track List: 1. Cenotaph 2. Hashteroid 3. Strawberry Caviar 4. March Of The High Priests
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If there was such a thing to be sounded as a “good dude alert,” it would be ringing. The reigning Prince of Long Island, drummer Joe Wood — known best for his work in long-running hard rockers Borgo Pass, but also formerly of sludge-slingers 12 Eyes, a former bandmate of mine and all around one of the best guys you could hope to know on the Eastern Seaboard — has a new band going. The Brooklyn-based trio, with Wood on drums, Ken Wohlrob on guitar/vocals and Hal Miller on bass, are called Eternal Black after an initial introduction as The Black Hand, and their self-titled EP has just been released through their own Obsidian Sky Records.
Announcement and stream follow. More to come:
Eternal Black Unleashes Their Doomy Self-Titled EP
Brooklyn-based doom band Eternal Black have unleashed their debut self-titled EP via their own Obsidian Sky Records. Steeped in the American doom tradition of Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, and EyeHateGod, Eternal Black’s music is full of heavy and bluesy riffs, Bonham-esque drums, and rumbling low-end. Sonically and lyrically, the three tracks on the EP are Armageddon blues songs.
Formed in late 2014, Eternal Black is made up of Joe Wood on drums (Borgo Pass, Bloody Sabbath), Hal Miller on Bass, and Ken Wohlrob on guitar and vocals. The group came together out of a desire to create dark songs driven by fuzz-drenched riffs and old-school heavy grooves.
The Eternal Black EP was produced by Kol Marshall (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Absu, Ministry) and Joe Kelly (Provan, John Hovorka and the Dawn of Mechanized Farming) at the latter’s Suburban Elvis studios. Digital downloads of the album are available now via Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, and other digital music retailers. https://eternalblack.bandcamp.com https://itun.es/i6L54nk
Details for Eternal Black’s self-titled EP
Track listing: 1. Obsidian Sky 2. The Dead Die Hard 3. Armageddon’s Embrace
Produced, mixed, and mastered by Joe Kelly and Kol Marshall Recorded at Suburban Elvis Studios, May 2015 Released by Obsidian Sky Records
Band members: Hal Miller: Bass Joe Wood: Drums Ken Wohlrob: Guitars, Vocals
Posted in Reviews on July 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
We’re on the downhill swing of this edition of the Quarterly Review, so it’s time to get into some extremes, I think. Today, between death-doom lurch, drone-as-fuck exploring, gritty aggression and a whole lot more, we pretty much get there. I’m not saying it’s one end of the universe to another, but definitely a little all-over-the-place, which is just what one might need when staring down the fourth round of 10 reviews in a row in a week’s time. Feeling good though, so let’s do it.
Quarterly Review #31-40:
Kamchatka, Long Road Made of Gold
It would really be something if Swedish blues rockers Kamchatka released six albums over the course of the last decade and didn’t know what they were doing by now. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Long Road Made of Gold (Despotz Records), their sixth, as the Verberg three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Thomas Juneor Andersson, bassist Per Wiberg (see also: Spiritual Beggars, Candlemass, Opeth, etc.) and drummer Tobias Strandvik modernize classic heavy rock with equal comfort in including a banjo on “Take Me Back Home” and progressive-style harmonies on “Rain.” They seem to get bluesier as they go, with later cuts “Mirror,” “Slowly Drifting Away,” “Long Road” and “To You” rounding out the album with Clutch-style bounce, but the prevailing impact of Long Road Made of Gold is one of unflinching class, the chemistry of its players – not to mention Wiberg’s bass tone – ringing through loud and clear from the material as Kamchatka make their way down that long road to their inevitable next outing.
I said as much when the Tokyo duo released their 2013 debut EP (review here) as well, but their first long-player Iron Scorn (on At War with False Noise) only confirms it: Legion of Andromeda are fucked. Theirs is a doomed-out death metal given further inhumanity by programmed drums and the blown-out growls of vocalist -R-, while guitarist/programmer –M- holds down grime-encrusted chug and dirge riffing. Perhaps most fucked of all is the fact that Iron Scorn uses essentially the same drum progression across its seven tracks/44 minutes, varying in tempo but holding firm to the double-kick and bell-hit timekeeping for the duration. The effect this has not only ties the material together – as it would have to – but also makes the listener feel like they’ve entered into some no-light-can-escape alternate universe in which all there is is that thud, the distortion and the growls. Not a headphone record, unless you were looking to start psychotherapy anyhow, its extremity is prevalent enough to feel like a physical force holding you down.
Relentlessly creative and geographically amorphous drone warriors Queen Elephantine compile eight tracks from eight years of their perpetual exploration for Omen on Atypeek Music, which launches with its titular cut, the oldest of the bunch, from 2007. It’s a gritty rolling groove that, even as nascent and riff-noddy as it is, still has underpinnings that might clue the listener in to what’s to come (especially in hindsight) and comes accompanied by the sludgy “The Sea Goat,” a rawer take recorded the same year in Hong Kong. Newest on Omen is the blissfully percussed “Morning Three” and an 18-minute live version of “Search for the Deathless State” from 2010’s Kailash full-length. Lineups, intent and breadth of sound vary widely, but even into the reaches of “1,000 Years” (2012, Providence, RI) and “Shamanic Procession” (2009, New York), Queen Elephantine remain unflinching in their experimentalism and the results here are likewise immersive. Vastly underrated, their work remains a world waiting to be explored.
Consuming undulations of tectonic riffing. Two of them, actually. Watchtower’s Radiant Moon EP serves as their debut on Magnetic Eye, and like their fellow-Melbourne-resident labelmates in Horsehunter, the four-piece Watchtower slam heavy-est riffs into the listener’s cerebral cortex with little concern for lasting aftereffects, all in worship of nod and volume itself. Where the two acts differ is in Watchtower’s overarching sense of grit, harsh vocals pervading both “Radiant Moon” (9:03) itself and the accompanying “Living Heads” (7:09), standalone vocalist Nico Guijt growing through the tonal fray wrought by guitarist Robbie Ingram and bassist Ben Robertson, Joel McGann’s drums pushing the emergent roll forward on “Living Heads,” a High on Fire-style startoff hitting the brakes on tempo to plod over any and all in its path. I’m trying to tell you it’s fucking heavy. Is that getting through? Watchtower had a live single out before Radiant Moon, but I’d be eager to hear what they come up with for a full-length, whether they might shift elsewhere at some point or revel in pure onslaught. Now taking bets.
The use of multiple vocalists gives Roman trio Ape Skull’s ‘70s fetishism a particularly proggy air. Fly Camel Fly is their second full-length for Heavy Psych Sounds behind a 2013 self-titled, and the boogie of “My Way” and “Early Morning,” the solo-topped groove of “Fly Camel Fly,” and the raw Hendrixology of “A is for Ape” position it as a classic rocker through and through. Vocalist/drummer Giuliano Padroni, bassist/vocalist Pierpaolo Pastorelli and guitarist/vocalist Fulvio Cartacci get down to shuffling business quick and stay that way for the 39-minute duration, the Mountainous “Heavy Santa Ana Wind” missing only the complement of a sappy, over-the-top ballad to complete its vintage believability. Even without, the triumvirate stand tall, fuzzy and swinging on Fly Camel Fly, the cowbell of “Tree Stomp” calling to mind the earthy chaos of Blue Cheer without direct mimicry. A quick listen that builds and holds its momentum, but one that holds up too on subsequent visits.
Mad-as-hell trio Hordes have had a slew of releases out over the last eight years or so – EPs, splits, full-lengths with extended tracks – but their experimental take on noise rock topped with Godfleshy shouts arrives satisfyingly stripped down on their latest self-titled five-track EP, recorded in 2013 and pressed newly to tape and CD (also digital). “Eyes Dulled Blind” dials back some of the pummeling after the bruises left by “Cold War Echo,” guitarist/vocalist Alex Hudson at the fore in the JK Broadrick tradition. Centerpiece “Summer” starts with a slow and peaceful ruse before shifting into brash and blown-out punk – Chris Martinez’s hi-hat forward in the mix to further the abrasion – and finally settles into a middle-ground between the two (mind you, the song is four minutes long), and bassist Jon Howard opens “Life Crusher,” which unfolds quickly into the most oppressive push here, while a churning atmosphere pervades the more echo-laden closer “Fall” to reinforce Hordes’ experimentalist claims and steady balance between tonal weight and noise-caked aggression.
There’s a theatrical element underlying Welsh rockers Dead Shed Jokers’ second, self-titled full-length (on Pity My Brain Records). That’s not to say its eight songs are in some way insincere, just that the five-piece of vocalist Hywel Davies, guitarists Nicky Bryant and Kristian Evans, bassist Luke Cook and drummer Ashley Jones know there’s a show going on. Davies is in the lead throughout and proves a consummate frontman presence across opener “Dafydd’s Song,” the stomping “Memoirs of Mr. Bryant” and the swinging “Rapture Riddles,” Dead Shed Jokers’ penultimate cut before the cabaret closer “Exit Stage Left (Applause),” but the instrumental backing is up to its own task, and a clear-headed production gives the entire affair a professional sensibility. They veer into and out of heavy rock tropes fluidly, but maintain a tonal fullness wherever they might be headed, and Cook’s bass late in “Made in Vietnam” seems to carry a record’s worth of weight in just its few measures at the forefront before Davies returns for the next round of proclamations.
Berlin’s These Hands Conspire aren’t through the two-minute instrumental “Intro” before they’re showing off the heft of tone that pervades their metallized debut album, Sword of Korhan, but as they demonstrate throughout the following seven tracks and the total 45-minute runtime, there’s plenty to go around. Vocalist Felix delivers an especially noteworthy performance over the dual-guitars of Tom and Stefan, the bass of Paul and Sascha’s drums, but heavy metal storytelling – the sci-fi narrative seems to be a battle in space – is just as much a part of the record’s progressive flow, longer cuts like “Praise to Nova Rider,” “The Beast Cometh,” which directly follows, and “Ambush at Antarox IV” feeding one into the next sonically and thematically. The penultimate title-track brings swinging apex to an ambitious first outing, but the foreboding, winding guitar echoes of “Outro” hint at more of the tale to be told. Could be that Sword of Korhan is just the beginning of a much longer engagement.
Maybe it doesn’t need to be said, since if it weren’t the case, they wouldn’t have paired at all, but Enos and Mangoo pair well. The UK chimp-obsessed space metallers – that’s Enos, on side A – and the Finnish modernized classic heavy rock outfit – that’s Mangoo, on side B – don’t ask much of the listener across their Son of a Gun/The Grey Belly split (on H42 Records) beyond a little over 10 minutes of time and a willingness to follow a groove. “Son of a Gun” finds Enos blending particularly well with Mangoo’s methodology via the inclusion of organ in their swinging but still forward-directed movement, and after that, it’s an easy mesh to flip the platter and find Mangoo’s “The Grey Belly” waiting, its own keys playing a huge role in carrying across the ‘70s-via-‘90s vibe the band projects so well. Flourishes of percussion in the former seem to complement the progressive guitar work in the latter, and whichever side happens to be spinning, it all works out just fine.
Born in 2007 as Spice and the RJ Band and rechristened Band of Spice in 2010 prior to their third album, Feel Like Coming Home, the Swedish unit boasting vocalist Christian “Spice” Sjöstrand (founding vocalist of Spiritual Beggars, also Mushroom River Band, currently also in Kayser) release their fourth full-length half a decade later in the form of Economic Dancers on Scarlet Records. It’s a straightforward heavy rocker in the organ-laced European tradition that Spice helped create, with some shades of quirk in the intro to “The Joe” and the arena-ready backing vocals of “In My Blood,” but mostly cutting its teeth on modernized ‘70s jams like “On the Run,” “Down by the Liquor Store” and “True Will,” though the six-minute centerpiece “You Will Call” touches on more psychedelic fare and is backed immediately by two metallers in “You Can’t Stop” and “Fly Away,” so it’s not by any means one-sided, even if at times the mix makes it feel like the 11 tracks are a showcase for the singer whose name is on the marquee.
Posted in Reviews on July 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
And so we cruise into day three. Not sure how you’re holding up, but I feel like I’m hanging in pretty well. We pass the halfway point today, which is significant, but of course there are still plenty of records to come. I’m not sure I have a favorite day — I tried to spread stuff around as best I could when I was planning the whole thing — but there are definitely a couple highlights today as well. No doubt the standouts will stand out as we make our way through.
Quarterly Review #21-30:
Minsk, The Crash and the Draw
Six years after the release of their third album, With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (review here), the 75-minute breadth of The Crash and the Draw (on Relapse) marks a welcome resurgence for Illinois post-metallers Minsk. Only keyboardist/vocalist Timothy Mead and guitarist/vocalist Christopher Bennett (also of Lark’s Tongue) remain from what was a four-piece and is now five with Aaron Austin on guitar/vocals, Zachary Livingston on bass/vocals and Kevin Rendleman on drums, but Minsk’s cascading heft is well intact as they show immediately on 12-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) “To the Initiate.” True enough one is bound to be initiated after it, but it hardly scratches the surface of the atmospheric sludge Minsk continue to develop over the course of the four-parter “Onward Procession,” the glorious later melodies of “The Way is Through,” or the tribal tension in the percussion-led “To You there is No End.” They cap with the 10-minute “When the Walls Fell” and find themselves standing after all else has crashed down. A sprawling and triumphant return.
Not to be confused with New York’s King Buffalo, Michigan’s Bison Machine or any number of other large mammals in the well-populated fur-covered contingent of American heavy rockers, King Bison make their self-titled debut via Snake Charmer Coalition, comprising seven riffy bruisers owing a deep debt to Clutch and, in that, reminding a bit of their Pennsylvanian countrymen in Kingsnake. Songs like “One for the Money” and “March of the Sasquatch” signal a watch for stoner-roller grooves to come in “Queen of the South” and “Pariah,” the dudeliness of the proceedings practically oozing from the speakers in the gruff vocals of guitarist/vocalist Chris Wojcik, who’s joined in the trio by bassist Dean Herber and drummer Scott Carey. The penchant for booze and blues, ladies and US auto manufacturing holds firm in “Night Ride” and the slower “I’m Gone,” and while one might expect a closer called “Space Boogie” to flesh out a bit, King Bison instead reinforce the foundation they’ve laid all along of Southern-style heft, remaining light on pretense and heavy on riffs.
Originally issued digitally late last year, Salzburg, Austria, instrumental trio Les Lekin are set to give their debut long-player, All Black Rainbow Moon, a second look with a 180g vinyl pressing in Fall 2015. Comprised of six tracks, the record is a spacious 49 minutes, and the three-piece of guitarist Peter G., bassist Stefan W. and drummer Kerstin W. enact a fluid heavy psych groove, somewhat less dense in its fuzz than the post-Colour Haze sphere and following plotted courses throughout, whether it’s in the Arenna-esque “Solum,” which unfolds after the album’s wash of an intro, the efficient exploration of “Useless,” which seems to pack a 12-minute jam into a six-minute song, or the still-open-sounding bluesy stretchout of “Loom,” the longest inclusion here at 13:16. Familiar in aesthetic perhaps, the songs are nonetheless complex enough to represent the band’s beginnings well, the closer “Release” coming to a heavier apex that could perhaps foreshadow future expansions of the chiaroscuro elements at which the title of this debut is hinting.
After releasing their 2012 debut, Voyage, on Nuclear Blast last year, young Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan return in 2015 with their sophomore full-length, Arrival – the second record seeming by title to be an answer to the first. Maybe that’s the intention musically, but the 10 tracks/55 minutes comprising Arrival do well to stand on their own, with the impressive lead work of guitarist/vocalist Óskar Logi never too far from the fore on songs like the standout “Babylon” or “Sandwalker,” though backed capably by the rhythm section of bassist Alexander Örn (also backup vocals) and drummer Stefán Ari Stefánsson. While unquestionably a more mature outing than their debut and more accomplished in its chemistry and songwriting, Arrival still gives a sense of the progression to come, and it’s easy to worry that by the time the listener gets to the powerful closing trio of “Innerverse,” “Carousel” and “Winter Queen,” the dizzying play throughout will have dulled the senses past the point of full appreciation. Room to tighten? Perhaps, but still a strong second outing for a band loaded with potential.
Guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey is known more for the aggressive edge he’s brought over the years to bands like We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai and most recently Shatner, but his solo material brings a different look. Joined in this “solo” endeavor by guitarist/vocalist/organist Joe McMahon, cellist/backing vocalist Dana Fisher, drummer Kyle Rasmussen and accordionist/backing vocalist Bridget Nault, Healey’s songwriting is nonetheless front and center across the nine tracks of This is What the End Looked Like, memorable cuts like “A Whole Lot of Nothing,” the more subdued “Radio” (written by Eddy Llerena) and closer “World War Eight” fleshing out arrangements that could work and/or have worked just as well on solo acoustic guitar for Healey in live performances. Worth noting that for all the vocal and instrumental embellishments on the studio incarnations, the songs lose none of the heartfelt feel at their core, Healey’s voice remaining a lonely presence despite obviously keeping good company.
Nighthymns marks a return for ANU and the band’s sole inhabitant Chad “Drathrul” Davis (Hour of 13/Night Magic, Tasha-Yar, The Sabbathian, and so many others) after a four-year absence following the release of 2011’s III EP. Offsetting blasting, ripping black metal on cuts like “Enter the Chasm” and “The Eternal Frost” with the ambient drones of “Risen within the Mist of Obscurity,” the longer “Winterfall” and the title-track, Nighthymns nonetheless gnashes its teeth in a dense blackened murk, screams far back in “Enter the Chasm” beneath programmed-sounding thud and full-on guitar squibblies. A project Davis has had going in one form or another since releasing a first demo in 1999, and likely before that, ANU’s slicing extremity and atmospherics rest well alongside each other, but neither is accessibility a remote concern. If you get it, you get it, and if you don’t, you don’t. Nighthymns is way more concerned with separating wheat from chaff than it is with making friends, and that plays much to its ultimate success.
Comprised of gruff-shouting vocalist Henning L., guitarists Christopher P. and Stephan M., bassist Matthias B. and drummer Torsten H., German riff idolizers Iron and Stone debuted in 2013 with an EP titled Maelstrom and Old Man’s Doom is a follow-up short release. Pressed to DIY cassettes, the three-tracker preaches loud and clear to the nod-ready converted in “Place in Hell” and “Into the Unknown,” big riffs lumbering out stone vibes, intertwining rhythms and leads in the latter as Henning works his shouting into a corresponding notation. “Into the Unknown” ends large and Sabbathy, but speedier closer “Bliss of Diversion” is a high point unto itself for the consistency of the tonal morass that the uptick in pace brings out of the guitar and bass, resulting in a kind of noisy, dense-in-the-low-end punk that suits Iron and Stone well despite operating in defiance of the EP’s title. New material reportedly in the works as well.
Their first album, Second Sun follows a 2012 self-titled EP from Indiana trio Gorgantherron, but is in a different league entirely. A well-set mix balance establishes itself on the opening title-track and develops throughout “Superliminial” and “Bookbinder” as they get rolling, and Gorgantherron – guitarist/vocalist Clint Logan, bassist/vocalist Toby Richardson and drummer Chris Flint – continue to foster grooving largesse over the nine tracks/47 minutes, veering skillfully between boogie and doom on “Pre-Warp Civilization” before airing out an atmospheric take on “Seventh Planet,” the rough-edged vocals prevalent in quieter surroundings. Richardson’s fuzz on “The Stone” ensures the song lives up to its name, and the soft guitar noodling that opens “Paranoia” brings a surprising touch of Colour Haze influence out of the blue before a count-in from Flint puts the band’s roll back on its appointed track. Closing duo “Entropy” and “Defy” offer some shuffle and chug, respectively, but by then the trio have already made the album’s primary impression in their heavy riffs, burl and more than capable execution.
The two cuts of Spanish trio Elephant Riders’ Challenger EP take Kyuss-style desert riffing and reset the context to something altogether less jammy. Tight and presented with a near-metallic crispness in their production, both “Challenger” – rerecorded from an earlier EP – and its more rolling B-side “Lone Wolf” push the line between heavy and hard rock, but riffs remain central to their purposes. Having released their debut full-length, Supernova, in 2014, they’re still getting settled into their sound, but a blend of heavy rock, grunge and metal impulses pervades these two songs, and when “Lone Wolf” shifts into a couple measures of start-stop fuzz riffing in its second half, they show off just a reminder nod for where they got their name. Two catchy tracks that maybe aren’t reinventing the stoner rock game, they nonetheless provide a quick sample of Elephant Rider’s songwriting development in progress and plant the seeds of future hooks to come.
When placed next to each other, the five one-word titles on Lend Me Your Underbelly’s Hover – either the project’s third or fourth full-length, depending on what you count – result in the phrase “Everything” “Was” “Deep” “Dark” “Green.” Whether or not that is of special significance to Netherlands-based multi-instrumentalist/sampler Christian Berends, I don’t know. The whole idea across these tracks seems to be experimentation and improvisation, so if the titles were grabbed from somewhere at random or carrying a rich emotional connection, either is just as likely. Not knowing turns out to be half the fun of Hover itself – not knowing that, not knowing what Berends is going to do around the next turn as each track builds, not knowing where all this noise is leading as the swirls and riffs of “Green” close out. Layers careen, appear and disappear throughout, but the wide open structures and creative sensibility remain consistent and tie Hover together as an intricate work of exploratory psychedelia.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Brooklyn doomers Clouds Taste Satanic will release their second album, Your Doom Has Come, on Sept. 1. The record follows the band’s 2014 debut, To Sleep Beyond the Earth, which was formatted as a single piece, and is broken down into separate tracks, though the first three of them — as you can see in the tracklisting — are also meant to be taken as a whole.
The instrumental double-guitar four-piece has made the last installment of that three-parter, “Beast from the Sea” available to check out in a new video, and you can find that under the album announcement below, snagged off the PR wire:
Brooklyn-based instrumental doom quartet CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC will release their highly anticipated sophomore full-length on September 1st. Titled Your Doom Has Come, the six-track follow-up to 2014’s critically-heralded To Sleep Beyond The Earth full-length was engineered and mixed by Nadim Issa at Let Em’ In Studios in Brooklyn and mastered by Alan Douches (High On Fire, Mastodon) at West West Side Music.
Thematically, Your Doom Has Come traces its inspiration to the darkest corners of the Book of Revelation. Sonically, Your Doom Has Come finds the band at their fastest and most aggressive. While To Sleep Beyond The Earth took a more Dopesmoker approach (with one forty minute plus song spread over 2 sides of vinyl), Your Doom Has Come takes a more De Vermis Mysteriis approach, compressing its conceptual storytelling into six minute plus songs of riff-filled Armageddon. While all of Side A is joined together thematically to form the title song, the individual pieces work just as well on their own.
CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC formed in Brooklyn, New York in 2013 and have spent the past two years building a reputation as one of the finest underground doom bands playing today. They’ve patiently and deliberately developed a unique sound that melds riff dominated stoner rock with heavy doom. With their live show, they work to create a multi-media mood that offers a true experience and companion piece to their albums. CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC’s debut album, To Sleep Beyond The Earth was released in 2014.
Your Doom Has Come Track Listing: Your Doom Has Come I. Ten Kings II. One Third of The Sun III. Beast From The Sea Out of The Abyss Dark Army Sudden…Fallen
CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC: Steven Scavuzzo – Guitar David Weintraub – Guitar Sean Bay – Bass Christy Davis – Drums