Posted in audiObelisk on June 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Some good stuff here, but that’s pretty much like walking outside and noting all the oxygen in the air. Roadburn 2015’s newest batch of audio streams continues the thread from last time around in including one of the most talked-about performances at the festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands, this past April — namely Bell Witch. Many American bands head over there and make a special impression on the largely European crowd, but Bell Witch, the Seattle duo who were traveling abroad to herald the arrival of their 2015 sophomore outing, Four Phantoms (review here), on Profound Lore, seemed to earn extra acclaim from those who caught their performance. I wasn’t lucky enough to be one of them, but the response was universally positive.
Likewise the impact made by Monolord, who also feature here, but for my money, one of the highlights of the entire weekend was watching Uzala slay the Green Room. The ethereal doom trio who trace their roots to Boise, Idaho, were a surprise even though I’d seen them before, to the point that I did something I don’t often do at Roadburn, and that’s stay put for the entire set. Massive sound. Killer. Argus (pictured above) were a fist-pumping launch for the Afterburner on Sunday after the fest proper came to a close, and their classic metallurgy is no less welcome now as I pay it a revisit with the live stream.
Hope you enjoy the whole bunch:
Anthroprophh – Live at Roadburn 2015
Argus – Live at Roadburn 2015
Bell Witch – Live at Roadburn 2015
Monolord – Live at Roadburn 2015
Oozing Wound – Live at Roadburn 2015
Svartidauði – Live at Roadburn 2015
The Osiris Club – Live at Roadburn 2015
Uzala – Live at Roadburn 2015
Special thanks to Walter as always for letting me host the streams. To read all of this year’s Roadburn coverage, click here. For the first and second batches of streams, click here and then click here.
Some good Roadburn‘ll cure what ails you. Especially if what ails you — it’s what ails all of us, really — is the fact that the rest of your life isn’t Roadburn. Today was my busiest day, and it felt like it. A lot of back and forth. My dogs, such as they are, are barking. It was an early start and a late-enough finish, though it’s worth noting that the finish could’ve been even later. One has to find balance in these things. It’s a four-day fest. This was day one.
I sat on the backside of the photo-pit barrier before Sólstafir went on. They were opening the fest at 15.00, the same time Bell Witch were taking the stage at Het Patronaat — Roadburn means hard choices, always. I sat there, early, alone, tilted my head back and closed my eyes, took a breath in through my nose and let it out through my mouth. My last quiet moment, you see. I let it go, and a short time later, the Icelandic outfit took the stage, performing a live soundtrack to the 1984 film, also Icelandic, Hrafninn Flýgur (translated: When the Raven Flies). It would be my first time seeing them perform, and my first time seeing the movie, so I was probably at a significant disadvantage to some in the crowd, but essentially I was glad to be seeing the band at all, and knowing they’ve got a regular set scheduled for tomorrow, I went in with a pretty open mind. Whatever they were going to do, I was happy to be watching Sólstafir play. Not the most impartial of attitudes, but I dig the band.
Interestingly, a lot of what they did to accompany the movie, was rework their material as instrumental or atmospheric rock. Parts from last year’s Ótta (review here), the back end of the title-track — a landmark for the album if there ever was one — was distinct as the film went on, subtitles in English at the bottom of the big screen behind the band, who were spread out in a manner almost orchestral on the Main Stage. Maybe not surprising, but their sound fit pretty well with images of revenge-seeking Viking-types on horseback, distant mountains, stone weapons and the like. I’m still not entirely sure what was going on, but even to catch Sólstafir playing parts of their songs, I was glad to see it, and it made me look forward to their regular set. They took a bow when they were done, after the credits had rolled, and it seemed like they earned it. Over in the Green Room — the middle-size space, smaller than the 013‘s Main Stage or Het Patronaat, bigger than 013‘s Stage01 or the back of Cul de Sac where the stage is (got all that?) — Salem’s Pot were setting up for a buffet of riffs soon to unfold.
Swing, swing, swing. Swing like madmen, and they dressed the part too, all in masks, one in a dress and fishnets, like a troop of droogs gone stoner cult. The Swedish five-piece released their …Lurar ut dig på prärien debut LP (discussed here) last year on RidingEasy Records, and they had a new song for the Roadburn crowd as well as stuff from the album, which was more than solid in that heavy but kind of familiar way, but took on a different character live. Even apart from the theatrics, I guess so much on …Lurar ut dig på prärien was down to the rhythm, but on stage, the songs had different off-kilter melodies in the guitars, the dual vocals worked more dynamically, and the synth and effects swirl was a major factor in how it all came together. “Creep Purple” and “Nothing Hill” were rolling-groove highlights, and the shorter “Ego Trip,” released as the A-side of a 7″ last fall, was right on as well. I hate to think I had dismissed them, but in presence and performance, Salem’s Pot exceeded my expectations and not only had swing, swing, swing working in their favor, but a more complex approach overall than I saw coming.
A pleasant surprise, then, even though I kind of knew what they’d get up to. In the next room, the Main Stage was being set up for Floor. Now, I’ve seen Floor a few times at this point, and even since they put out their long-awaited studio comebacker Oblation (review here) about a year ago, and my general rule for Roadburn is that the bands I’ve already seen get low priority. Lower, anyway. The difference with Floor was that I’d been hearing all along about how excited people were to see them. I’m not 100 percent, but I think that until this tour, the trio of guitarist Anthony Vialon, drummer Henry Wilson (also of House of Lightning) and guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks (also of Torche) had yet to play Europe since getting back together half a decade ago. That would make them, if nothing else, due.
The bomb-toners lived up to what one might’ve hoped for on the big stage. As it will, their 2002 self-titled featured prominently in the set, starting off with the one-two-three of “Scimitar,” “Return to Zero” and “Downed Star,” Brooks and Vialon pushing out now-classic riffs as Wilson seemed to drum with his whole body behind the kit. The guitarists kept a more quiet presence, Brooks here and there on stage, moving with the music but hardly thrashing about, and Vialon more or less still in a zen-through-volume kind of fashion, but the thrust of those songs is undeniable, and as they moved into “Dove” and “Night Full of Kicks” and Oblation cuts like “Trick Scene” and “Find Away” and “The Key,” they kept their momentum, fast or lumbering. “Tales of Lolita” is always a good time, and it worked well next to the thudding “The Quill,” and closing duo “Loanin'” and “Triangle Song” wrapped up to ensure that no bases were left uncovered. They weren’t, and yeah, I’ve seen Floor before, but there was no question doing so again was the right choice.
That said, there was no way in hell I was missing Spidergawd. Largely unknown in the States, and I think known mostly to those in Europe who’ve heard their two Stickman/Crispin Glover Records LPs to date — 2014’s Spidergawd (review here) and 2015’s Spidergawd II (review here) — because of their affiliation with Norwegian prog magnates Motorpsycho, whose bassist, BentSæther,and drummer, Kenneth Kapstad, double in the more boogie-oriented outfit alongside saxophonist/vocalist Rolf Martin Snustad and guitarist/vocalist Per Borten, who is related to but not to be confused with a former Norwegian prime minister of the same name. Spidergawd were a must-see for me. One of several, but a must-see all the same, and they delivered all the way in the energy and upbeat feel of their songs. By the time they got down to “Fixin’ to Die Blues” from the new record, maybe three songs in, they had Het Patronaat eating out of their hands.
And rightly so. I saw a lot of music today and I’ll see a lot more before this weekend’s out, but I don’t know if anyone will give off a genuinely-happy-to-be-here vibe as much as Spidergawd did, still managing to both groove and be heavy while enjoying themselves. Their spirit was infectious, as are their hooks, and though it was hot in the church — damn hot — they had no letup, Snustad, Kapstad and Borten up front on the stage while Sæther played behind in a curious configuration, but one that obviously works for them. They’re a band more people should know, based solely on the merit of what they play and how they play it, never mind anyone’s pedigree or anything like that. They lit that room up, closing with the Thin Lizzy-style “Sanctuary” from Spidergawd II as if to portend even better things to come. They’ve been working quickly over the course of their first two records, and hopefully it’s not long before a third surfaces as well. The more the merrier.
I stopped by to see some of Primitive Man through the door of the Green Room before they finished. Unsurprisingly they were punishing as fuck. Floor had started something of a bang-bang-bang for the rest of my night, one to the next to the next, and I had planned on catching a bit of Uzala in the Green Room and moving on to the next set, but once they went on, the Boise, Idaho, three-piece held me in place. I didn’t know it at the time, but they were just what I was looking for. Guitarist Chad Remains, guitarist Darcy Nutt (also running her guitar through a bass rig, for extra low-end) and drummer Chuck Watkins had a new song in tow called “The Gallows,” and that moved a little faster than some of their more plodding material from 2014’s righteous Tales of Blood and Fire, songs like “Dark Days” and “Seven Veils,” but wherever they headed, they were just the right blend of beat-you-over-the-head heaviness in Remains and Nutt‘s tones, melody and lurching groove that I couldn’t have left even if I’d wanted to. They were not to be missed, in other words. Vocals were a little low, at least up front where I was standing, but Nutt has a powerful voice and as dense as those tones got — seriously, there were parts where they sounded like a machine grinding to a halt; I wondered how they’d restart it for the next measure — she cut through with little trouble and palpable soul.
Their set was a highlight of the day for me, all the more because I’d seen them before, knew what I was getting into and they still managed to surprise with how switched on they were. Remains shredded his solos in top form and had some technical trouble along the way that was fixed so promptly by the Green Room crew that I’m not even sure he noticed. Only complaint? No “Tenement of the Lost.” The closer from Tales of Blood and Fire that begins with a wash of feedback and culminates in one of the sweetest minimalist doom ballads my ears have heard in the last five years — it’s my go-to sad song — would’ve certainly been welcome, but honestly, I think the maximum-volume approach they took was probably a more practical call given the room. I could’ve gone to see Russian Circles on the Main Stage, or Thou at Het Patronaat, or Moaning Cities, whose merch I later looked for and could not find, in Stage01, but Uzala kept me where I was. They were a thrill to watch.
Somewhere in there, it would’ve made sense to have dinner. I did not. No time. Wovenhand would be on the Main Stage shortly, and I knew that was where I wanted to be. It was a return appearance for them and the second time I’d have seen them at Roadburn — never seen them anywhere else, come to think of it — but as I consider the set they played in 2011 a personal landmark, as in, “before I saw it” and “after I saw it,” I’d been very much anticipating their arrival. They were headliners this time along with Eyehategod, who’d play the Main Stage afterwards, but Wovenhand had the longer set, and put their 80 minutes to use in the most dynamic manner I saw all day, frontman David Eugene Edwards far to the left side of the stage while drummer Ordy Garrison had the middle, and guitarist/backing vocalist Chuck French and bassist Neil Keener anchored the right. Edwards is among the more charismatic stage presences I’ve ever seen, and though he said before they ended that they knew they were “out of their league” in coming back to Roadburn, I felt more like I was out of mine watching them.
Last year’s Refractory Obdurate (review here) featured prominently in their set, which opened with “Hiss,” arguably their heaviest work to-date. Ultimately, it would be a much different kind of intensity they brought than four years ago, when Edwards, seated, laid bare a deeply spiritual — religious, Christian — neo-folk, worldly in its arrangements and deeper than the eye could follow. Standing, the vocalist/guitarist still had a feather in his hat and still taunted or teased the audience in a kind of war-whoop, but he also softshoed while he played, and Wovenhand this time around was a much more stripped-down, rawer, meaner-toned outfit. Garrison‘s drums, aided now and then by some extra percussion by French, were a driving force, and the seething energy of their rhythm could be felt throughout the main hall, whether they happened to be raging at the time, as in “Hiss,” or engaged in a more quiet brooding, à la “Closer” from 2012’s The Laughing Stalk (review here). Opener “Long Horn” from that album was also a highlight, and I was amazed what a few years could do for band like that progressing in unexpected ways and pursuing different avenues of sound. “Good Shepherd” lacked nothing for its melody, but even that had a coinciding element of pummel.
It was to the point where, I knew I wanted to see Monolord. I’d wanted to see Monolord all along, and they were playing Het Patronaat at the same time Wovenhand were on the Main Stage — Roadburn giveth and Roadburn scheduleth conflicteth. I left Wovenhand and went down the block to the other venue just as Monolord were going on. How heavy were they? They were superlatively heavy. A monumental sonic impact that seemed to hit all at once, as though the guitar and bass were also kick drums. It was ridiculous, and the line outside the Patronaat was backed up the longest I’d seen it yet to get in, but as I stood there and watched them, I couldn’t take the fact that Wovenhand were playing Roadburn and I wasn’t in the same room where it was happening. Monolord slayed the place, absolutely. I saw people coming out of there when they were done and they looked even more in a daze than usual. But me, I had to back and watch Wovenhand finish. They were too good to let it pass. And when they were done, they came back out and did an encore. Fucking a.
My evening was more or less done and I knew it, but when Wovenhand finished their encore, I swung back to Het Patronaat to watch some of Kandodo, who are led by guitarist Simon Price of The Heads and were doing a special set with Robert Hampson of Loop sitting in as part of The Heads‘ residency. I didn’t know what that collaboration might bring, but it brought a fervent run of heavy psychedelia that was perfect for me to close out the night. They started in the dark, Price and Hampson on guitar on opposite sides of the stage, bassist Hugo Morgan (also The Heads) and drummer Wayne Maskell (also also The Heads) between, but the lights gradually came up as they jammed their way through a first song — read as “Kandy Rock” on the setlist — and into the next. Watching them made me want to buy many albums, I’ll say that, but time was getting on and I had a review to write, so I cut out after a bit and made my way back to the hotel. It was a mindbender of a first day, but I know there is still much more to come over this weekend.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Just days after announcing Anathema‘s special reunion set, Roadburn 2015 turns around and lets loose with another round of lineup additions, including Wovenhand headlining Thursday night — ask me about how they were the heaviest band I saw at the fest in 2011; I’d love to tell you all about it — and Enslaved and Wardruna each playing individual sets on top of their collaborative Skuggsja set. Russian Circles will also play, and Helms Alee with whom they’ll be on tour in Europe, and it’s kind of buried under all the other details, but some other killer acts have joined the bill as well.
Among those, an immediate standout is Uzala, whose “Tenement of the Lost” has been stuck in my head the last few days, with its glorious wash of feedback and the sweetly depressive melody that emerges therefrom. The thought of Argus taking stage at Roadburn is a thrill as well, and Tombstones, who released their Red Skies and Dead Eyes (review here) album last year, and Bell Witch and Eagle Twin and Sun Worship and even more than that. It’s an astounding and exciting bunch of acts.
I won’t delay any further. Dig in:
Wovenhand, Russian Circles, and more announced for Roadburn 2015; Enslaved and Wardruna unveil more show details
Roadburn is very pleased to announce Wovenhand, Russian Circles, Wardruna, and a second Enslaved performance among the latest additions to the 20th edition line up of the festival which will take place in April 2015.
Wovenhand and Russian Circles added to Thursday line up
Wovenhand’s incendiary performance at Roadburn 2011 remains one of the most talked-about shows in the festival’s history, and it’s a great pleasure to have David Eugene Edwards and his band back at the festival for what should be another thrilling, transformative concert. The band will reignite the 013 stage as the headline act on Thursday April 9.
Led by former 16 Horsepower frontman Edwards, Wovenhand similarly delves deep into the darker, more gothic side of Americana, only on a much more personal, introspective level. The latest album ‘Refractory Obdurate’ is the band’s most visceral work yet, with its heavier arrangements packing a devastating punch.
Already veterans of Roadburn, Chicago instrumental trio Russian Circles will return to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival for a much anticipated main stage performance on Thursday, April 9, filling the main hall with their spacious, tonally lavish sound.
With a blend of post-rock airiness, heavy riffing and progressive rhythms, they are one of the most evocative instrumental bands in the underground today, and we at Roadburn couldn’t be more excited to welcome them back.
Roadburn curators confirm details of special performances
After a stunning sneak preview of the upcoming Enslaved album, we can only conclude that the band keeps blasting past their own and their associated genres’ limits. Listening to the album prompted us to invite the band for a second show at Roadburn 2015 on Saturday, April 11th, so that all of our beloved attendees can bask in the band’s creativity and talent, and share our excitement about what is sure to become another Enslaved classic.
We at Roadburn are huge admirers of Enslaved, thus it won’t have come as a suprise that we have invited their guitarist/composer, Ivar Bjornson, along with Einar Selvik (Wardruna), to curate the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival (a special event named ‘Houses of the Holistic’) on Friday, April 10 at the 013 venue.
Besides performing Skuggsjá, the sound of Norway’s Norse History, together with Wardruna, Enslaved will also perform a show dubbed ‘House of Northern Gods’, which will consist of a set list specially put together for ‘Houses of the Holistic’, featuring songs from the band’s entire catalogue that embody the Norse gods, with accompanying visuals created by revered Romanian artist, Costin Chioreanu.
“The Friday show during Roadburn 2015 will indeed be a special one”, says Ivar Bjørnson. “We have named the concert ‘House of Northern Gods’ and it will consist of a walk-through of an imaginary, magical house. It is a mental construction that could represent the mythological Valhalla with its inhabitants – or in Jung’s school of psychology: the archetypical roles of the human psyche. This will be the foundation for the set-list and the framework around the concert; there’s a stem of thematic songs from ‘Allfadr Odinn’ (the Paternal archetype) on ‘Hordanes Land’ in 1993 up to ‘Materal’ (the Maternal archetype) from 2012’s ‘RIITIIR’ where various characters/ roles in the ‘House of Northern Gods’ are represented and materialized into music. These are the songs that will make up the Friday show at Roadburn 2015!”
“As if it wasn’t a big enough honour to play one show at Roadburn 2015, we get to play a second show Saturday!” Ivar continues. “We are already hard at work with planning to turn these into the most spectacular two Enslaved shows possible, as we know that this double-Roadburn-whammy is not likely to happen again (we’ve heard of lightening striking twice, but thrice?). This second show will be one of the first European shows where we present our new album, that will be released something like a month prior to Roadburn 2015. We don’t like to brag; but be prepared for something monumental! We will also make use of the fact that Tilburg will be loaded to the brim with friends and colleagues at this point, so don’t be surprised if the show culminates in Enslaved having good friends on stage to make sure we go out with a blast! He who lives will see…
Ivar Bjornson’s fellow curator, Einar Selvik will also be performing with Wardruna in a special performance, dubbed ‘House of the Spinning Seer’. The winners of Metal Hammer’s Golden God award for Best Underground Band, will take to the stage on Friday 10th of April as another part of ‘Houses of the Holistic’.
“We are very excited as well as honored to be back to perform at Roadburn 2015″‘ says Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, “and so we plan to use this occasion to give the audience a concert out of the ordinary. It will be a Wardruna concert in an all-new form. With almost twice the amount of musicians that we normally have on stage our sonic threads of old and new shall be majestically spun and our soundscape carefully woven on the loom of the spinning seer.”
Argus, Bell Witch, Darkher, Eagle Twin, Helms Alee, Sun Worship, Terminal Cheesecake, Tombstones, Brimstone and Uzala have also been confirmed for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.
Curated by Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Wardruna‘s Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Roadburn Festival 2015 (including Fields of the Nephilim, Anathema, Skuggsjá, Enslaved, Wardruna, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin performing Dawn of The Dead and Susperia in its entirety, Zombi, Sólstafir, White Hills, Bongipper, Floor, Eyehategod and The Heads as Artist In Residence among others) will run from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Boise ethereal doom trio Uzala will hit the road for two weeks starting Nov. 1. The impetus behind the trip in support of last year’s way-better-than-the-amount-of-coverage-I’ve-given-it Tales of Blood and Fire seems to be a stop at the No Thanks Fest in Texas on Nov. 8 with a varied host of badass acts, but just as well since they’re playing with some excellent company along the way there and back, including Sorxe, He Whose Ox is Gored and Eagle Twin. After an initial pressing of Tales of Blood and Fire on tape in chrome red — I managed to pick one up at a gig in Rhode Island last year — they’ve also got a new version through Gypsyblood Records in a variety of colors, each limited to 100 and linked below.
The PR wire takes us there:
UZALA: Boise Psych-Doom Coven Announce November Tour
Following the release of last year’s critically-acclaimed LP Tales of Blood & Fire and a triumphant appearance at this year’s Gilead Fest, Boise fuzz-doom peddlers UZALA will once again take their spellbinding show on the road, joined by a few very special guests. For the first leg of their upcoming NovemBer tour, the Northwestern trio will be joined by Oakland doom raiders CARDINAL WYRM before meeting up with PINKISH BLACK at No Thanks Fest and forging ahead towards home.
UZALA NOVEMBER TOUR Nov. 1 Bay Area, CA TBA with Cardinal Wyrm Nov. 2 San Bernadino,CA with Cardinal Wyrm and Ancient Altars Nov. 3 Las Vegas, NV at Dive Bar with Cardinal Wyrm, Demon Lung, He Whose Ox is Gored Nov. 4 Phoenix/Tempe, AZ at Yucca Tap Room (FREE SHOW) with SORXE, Cardinal Wyrm, Funerary, He Whose Ox Is Gored Nov. 5 Albuquerque, NM at Launchpad with Cardinal Wyrm Nov. 6 drive day/look at Texas out the van window/day off Nov. 7 Austin, TX at The Lost Well with Pinkish Black, Old and Ill, Garrett T. Capps Nov. 8 Emory, TX NO THANKS FEST with In the Company of Serpents, Sabbath Assembly, Pinkish Black, and many more!!! Nov. 9 Little Rock, AR at The Rev Room with Iron Tongue and others Nov. 10 Columbia, MO at TBA Nov. 11 Kansas City, KS at Vandals Nov. 12 Omaha, NB at The Hideout Nov. 13 Denver, CO at Bar Bar Nov. 14 SLC, UT at Bar Deluxe with Eagle Twin and Making Fuck Nov. 15 Boise, ID at Crazy Horse with Eagle Twin and Black Cloud
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
If you’re in the States and celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I thought maybe a new podcast would be good to have along for the travel. Maybe you take it with you on the road, or maybe put some headphones on in one of those need-to-get-away moments that invariably crop up over the holidays. I always get very stressed out at this time of year. I’d be lying if putting this together wasn’t a bit of therapy for my own anxiousness, but I also thought that if someone else was in the same boat, they might also appreciate it. Or maybe not and you just want to rock without using it as an escape for deep-rooted psychological issues. That’s cool too.
This one has a lot of good stuff that I’ve come across lately, from the opening Foghound track on through the Clamfight single that was featured here a couple weeks back, and on to the B-side of the single that Ice Dragon released just this weekend, finally rounding out with the closing track from Uzala‘s new album, Tales of Blood and Fire, “Tenement of the Lost,” which was so captivating when I saw them in Providence last month. It’s a wide variety, but it flows well from song to song and I think it’s a good time.
Hopefully you agree. I’m especially happy with how well the last three songs, which make up the bulk of the second hour, came together. My hope is you’ll be too hypnotized by one song to realize when it’s gone into the next. Whether or not that happens, please enjoy.
Foghound, “Dragon Tooth” from Quick, Dirty and High (2013)
Lizzard Wizzard, “Total Handjob Future” from Lizzard Wizzard (2013)
Summoner, “Into the Abyss” from Atlantian (2013)
Groan, “Slice of that Vibe” from Ride the Snake EP (2013)
The Vintage Caravan, “Let Me Be” from Voyage (2013)
Run After To, “Melancholy from Run After To/Gjinn and Djinn (2013 Reissue)
Clamfight, “Bathosphere” from single release (2013)
No Gods No Masters, “Lie to Me” from No Gods No Masters EP (2013)
Horseskull, “Arahari” from 2013 Promo
Gudars Skymning, “Gåtor I Mörkret” from Höj Era Glas (2013)
Ice Dragon, “Queen of the Black Harvest” from Steel Veins b/w Queen of the Black Harvest (2013)
T.G. Olson, “Return from the Brink” from The Bad Lands to Cross (2013)
EYE, “Lost are the Years” from Second Sight (2013)
Øresund Space Collective, “Black Sabbath Forever in Space” from Live at Loppen 2013.11.19
Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies, “The Ghost of Valentine” from Earth Air Spirit Water Fire (2013)
Uzala, “Tenement of the Lost” from Tales of Blood and Fire (2013)
Posted in Reviews on October 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was a weird kind of night, but I like weird. Uzala were coming from the other side of the country — Boise, Idaho, and Portland, Oregon — and had brought YOB‘s Mike Scheidt along for the tour, also picking up still-nascent Chicago outfit Mount Salem on the way. The three acts weren’t exactly lacking variety between them, with Scheidt playing acoustic, Mount Salem indulging Korg-inclusive cult rock and Uzala crushing with plodding noise, but the show, which took place at Dusk in Providence, Rhode Island, was rounded out by local black metal shredders Bog of the Infidel. So yeah, kind of all over the place with a sphere of underground heavy, but still definitely a good time.
Providence is about an hour away from me. It still took me less time to get to Dusk than it ever took me to get across Manhattan and into Brooklyn from New Jersey, though, and I suspect that once I get used to the drive, I won’t find it at all unpleasant. I had Druglord‘s new tape (review forthcoming) along for the ride to set the mood and was excited to see Uzala particularly. The flyer for the show listed Scheidt at the bottom, so thinking there was a chance he’d be going on first, I took it as an instruction to get there fairly early. He did indeed wind up playing before any of the others, but even so, his set didn’t start until a little before 10PM. It was going to be a late night.
Sure enough, that’s how it played out. To get things moving and make up for lost time from the late kickoff, Scheidt played a shorter set, starting with a Townes van Zandt cover — pretty sure it was “Rake,” but don’t quote me on it — and part of a new song before going into two from last year’s solo debut, Stay Awake(review here), including the churning set-closer “Stay Awake,” which has only proved more of a landmark in Scheidt‘s songwriting in the year since the album was released and with a couple tours like this one under his belt. In that time, he’s clearly gotten more comfortable with the form of playing by himself. His set was loose, casual and relaxed, but still conveying emotion and the sense of purpose behind the songs. It looked like something he was doing because he enjoyed it, rather than an experiment in something new, and when he fucked up the new song, he laughed it off like it didn’t matter at all, and so it didn’t.
Mount Salem formed in 2012 in Chicago, and I was going to say something about how in another couple years they’d be ready to hook up with Metal Blade‘s current cult rock fetish, but it appears they already have, so kudos. Money’s tight, but I will at least admit to picking up a CD of their self-released debut EP, Endless, and since I’d seen their name around over the last few months, I was eager to see what they had on offer. Vocalist Emily Kopplin started the set alone on stage setting a mood with keys and vocals before being joined by bassist Mark Hewett, guitarist Kyle Morrison and drummer Cody Davidson for a round of songs mostly culled from that EP. Everything sounds likeSaint Vitus to me lately, but the stomp at the beginning of “Hysteria” seemed specifically indebted to “Born too Late,” though Morrison was sure to toss in lead notes and add personality to the familiar rhythm, and I found that though I had a pretty clear understanding of where Mount Salem were coming from in terms of their influences — taking that Vitus pace and offsetting it with strong cult/stoner blues chug while Kopplin topped with her powerful, versatile voice — they delivered everything I could have reasonably asked for such a new band on the road.
They had the tone, the vibe, and the approach pretty much down — not to mention the songs — and considering a lot of bands never get to that point, it’s all the more impressive that Mount Salem would essentially start out that way. The overall feel of “Good Times” was familiar within the genre, but the song nonetheless lived up to its name, and it seemed in watching them that all Mount Salem really needed to do was continue to put in work touring to refine their take. I’ll look forward to getting to know their EP, which came out earlier this year, and to finding out where their next batch of songs brings their sound. When they were done, they quickly loaded their gear off stage so that double-guitar five-piece Bog of the Infidel could get started.
My opinions on black metal vary widely depending on mood. Sometimes it’s all pretenders to the throne of two or three bands (what genre isn’t?) or dudes trying their best to sound Norwegian without thinking about why, and other times it’s ripping good fun, the brutality and extremity of something like Dark Funeral or Averse Sefira or any number of others providing its own excuse for being within a style that at this point has had three decades of development. Bog of the Infidel were tight and fast with some underpinnings of brutal groove amid a few showings of technicality — also armbands — and though I wondered why they, as the locals on an already late night, wouldn’t take the closing slot of the show and let Uzala play to what would almost certainly be the bigger crowd while also making more sense sonically coming after Mount Salem, they were solid at what they were doing and we should all enjoy anything in life as much as drummer Wraitheon seemed to delight in each blastbeat. Midnight came quickly as they ran through their set, as one imagines it would have no matter what time they’d gotten going.
After they were finished, Scheidt helped Bog of the Infidel load their gear out and Uzala set up on the quick, their logos cut into steel frontplates for their backlined cabinets. They’ve been too easy a band for me to let slide, frankly. Their 2012 split 7″ with Mala Suerte was streamed here, as was a bonus track from the cassette version of their 2011 self-titled debut full-length, but seeing them, I still didn’t feel like I’d ever really dug into what they were doing. Now a trio after parting ways with bassist Nick Phit (Graves at Sea), they split the guitar signals of Darcy Nutt and Chad Remains (whose name sounds even more like “charred remains” when said with a proper New England accent) through bass amps so the set lacked nothing for low end. Their new album, Tales of Blood and Fire, was released last week on King of the Monsters Records and they had both the tape and CD on hand and kept the setlist focused heavily on that material, only delving back to the self-titled to open with “Death Masque” and otherwise playing exclusively new cuts.
I hadn’t heard Tales of Blood and Fireyet, but it didn’t make a difference. Uzala‘s grooves were immersive on the immediate, and the periodic onslaughts of noise that came with Remains‘ solos only added to the overarching gnarl of their doom. They were, as so few bands are, an example of the difference a great drummer can make, as Chuck Watkins (also of Graves at Sea) alternately propelled and lumbered songs like “Burned” and “Dark Days,” the band hitting their own Vitus moment in the noisier wash of the former. Highlight moments came later into their set though, as the extended “Countess” proffered choice tempo shifts and a particularly right on performance from Nutt on vocals to go with the slowly unfolding riffs, and the subdued later stretches of “Tenement of the Lost” closed their set and Dusk alike. The house lights came up as Nutt, Remains and Watkins continued the quiet trance of what would be their last song (the image of the three of them continuing to pursue the demons in that song I expect will be what stays with me longest about this show), and as soon as they were done, one of the bartenders stood in the big, open window from outside and told the crowd in no uncertain terms to fuck off right out the door if they weren’t buying merch or in one of the bands. It was past one in the morning and I’ve always had a knack for following simple instructions.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Nanotear Booking has put together a considerable and genre-crossing lineup for the 2013 incarnation of its Fall into Darkness fest, to be held from Oct. 10-13 in Portland, Oregon. From snagging the whole bill of the Orange Goblin tour on its way through town and adding local destroyers Lord Dying to the mix to bringing in Nik Turner’s Space Ritual and Trouble-offshoot The Skull to give a classic sensibility, it’s forward-thinking on a couple levels. Taking place at Mississippi Studios and the Star Theater, the final rundown on the schedule looks a bit like this.
Okay, more than a bit:
FALL INTO DARKNESS 2013
Started in 2008, the three-day March Into Darkness music festival showcased a variety of both touring and local bands, each adding their particular stamp of sonic heaviness and emotional depth that has since become Into Darkness trademark. Followed up in October 2008, Halloween weekend 2009, and each October since, the Fall Into Darkness fests have featured bands like YOB, SunnO))), Agalloch, Acid King, Earthless, Saint Vitus, Atriarch, Russian Circles, Red Fang, Wolves in the Throne Room, SubArachnoid Space, Witch Mountain, Black Cobra, and Krallice, all among an ever-growing roster.
Fall Into Darkness 2013 is now upon us. Check out the schedule.
FALL INTO DARKNESS 2013 October 10 – October 13, 2013 Mississippi Studios & Star Theater Portland
Thursday, October 10th Mississippi Studios
Nik Turner’s Space Ritual White Manna Billions & Billions Hedersleben
Posted in audiObelisk on November 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
In mid-November, King of the Monsters Records will release a new split 7″ between Uzala and Mala Suerte. Now, if like me you’ve lost all sense of time and space, that sounds like a really long way away, but you’ll pardon if I blow your mind and say that mid-November is next week. So yeah, it’s sooner than you might think.
This isn’t the first time I’ve streamed material from Uzala. The Boise, Idaho/Portland, Oregon, psychedowner four-piece premiered the cassette-only “Cataract” from their self-titled debut here late last year, and it was awesome. Their album was unremittingly atmospheric, biting fuzz off Electric Wizard and adding a touch of newer West Coast fuckall, Darcy Nutt‘s vocals keeping a mystique in the croon while bassist Nick Phit (ex-Graves at Sea) thickened the tonal lurch into a fine oozing mess.
Their new track for this split, dubbed “Burned,” follows a similar but developed course, and pairs well with the more stripped down riffing of Austin, Texas-based doomers Mala Suerte. The cut they contribute, “The Veil of Secrecy,” takes a conspiracy-minded political bent, calling for — among other things — an end to the Federal Reserve, vocalist Gary Rosas noting in its opening lines that, “The road to Utopia is paved/With the bones and blood of the common man.” I guess that settles that.
When I posted the news that this split 7″ was coming, the response cool enough that I asked permission to host the release in its entirety for streaming, and I was lucky enough that said permission was granted. You’ll find “Burned” and “The Veil of Secrecy” on the player below, followed by info from the PR wire and a preorder link. Dig it:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
King of the Monsters has announced the upcoming release of one of the heaviest splits of 2012 – a 7″ collaboration between Boise fuzz-doom shamans UZALA and Austin, TX’s own psych-minded doom fiends MALA SUERTE. Preorders are now up on the label website, and orders will ship in early November. The split features a brand-new track from each band, as well as mind-blowing cover art, courtesy of UZALA chanteuse, axe-slinger, and celebrated tattoo artist Darcy Nutt and MALA SUERTE vocalist Gary Rosas.
The release is limited to 500 copies, with the first 100 available on black/white split vinyl and the remaining 400 entombed in obsidian black.
MALA SUERTE’S “The Veil of Secrecy” is an older fan favorite, recorded in winter 2012. The UZALA song was recorded at Type Foundry in Portland, OR in August 2011 with Alex Yusimov at the helm, mixed by Blake Green at WOLVSERPENT STUDIOS, and mastered by Mell Dettmer.