Castle Launch One Tour, Immediately Announce Another

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

My only concern with California’s Castle continuing to tour forever in support of last year’s Welcome to the Graveyard (review here) is it leaves me wondering when they’ll actually get around to making the next album they moved to the desert to write and record earlier this year. Castle have spent much of 2017 on the road — you might say they’re on tour now and will be through the end of this month, and hey, that’s cool — and they’ve newly announced a string of West Coast dates for November that will follow. Could the plan be to record around the holidays? Early in 2018?

Or hell, for all I know the record might be done. Someone should really drop Castle a line and find this shit out. Let me see if I can get on that.

While I do, here are the dates from the PR wire:

castle

CASTLE: Heavy Doom/Metal Unit Announces Stone Thrones West Coast Dates; Endless Graveyard Tour Underway

Heavy doom/metal unit CASTLE — currently in the midst of their Endless Graveyard live takeover — will take to the streets again in November for the west coast Stone Thrones tour. The trek begins November 24th and runs through December 2nd winding its way through nine cities spread across Washington, Oregon, and California. See all confirmed dates below.

CASTLE continues to tour in support of their molten Welcome To The Graveyard full-length, issued last summer via Ván Records. Welcome To The Graveyard was captured by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Eyehategod, Ommadon et al) at Type Foundry Studios in Portland, Oregon and is currently available at THIS LOCATION.

CASTLE – Endless Graveyard Tour:
9/12/2017 The End – Nashville, TN
9/13/2017 Odditorium – Asheville, NC
9/14/2017 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
9/15/2017 Shadow Woods Metal Fest – White Hall, MD
9/16/2017 O’Brien’s – Boston, MA
9/17/2017 Cherry Street Station – Wallingford, CT
9/18/2017 Saint Vitus Bar – New York, NY
9/19/2017 Bug Jar – Rochester, NY
9/20/2017 Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
9/21/2017 Maple Grove – Cleveland, OH
9/22/2017 Cattivo – Pittsburgh, PA
9/23/2017 Smalls – Detroit, MI
9/24/2017 Taps Live – Indianapolis, IN
9/25/2017 Northside Yacht Club – Cincinnati, OH
9/26/2017 FuBar – St. Louis, MO
9/27/2017 Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
9/28/2017 The Elbow Room – Wichita, KS
9/29/2017 Stoned Meadow Of Doom Fest – Sioux Falls, SD
9/30/2017 Triple Nickel – Colorado Springs, CO

Stone Thrones Tour:
11/24/2017 The Valley – Tacoma, WA
11/25/2017 Funhouse – Seattle, WA
11/26/2017 Shakedown – Bellingham, WA
11/27/2017 Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR
11/28/2017 Old Nick’s – Eugene, OR
11/29/2017 Spirits – Dunsmuir, CA
11/30/2017 Elbo Room – San Francisco, CA
12/01/2017 Blue Lamp – Sacramento, CA
12/02/2017 5 Star Bar – Los Angeles, CA

CASTLE’s Welcome To The Graveyard offering was captured by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Eyehategod, Ommadon et al) at Type Foundry Studios in Portland, Oregon and is currently available at THIS LOCATION.

heavycastle.com
facebook.com/CastleSF
https://heavycastle.bandcamp.com/
https://www.van-records.de/
https://www.facebook.com/vanrecs/
https://vanrecords.bandcamp.com/

Castle, “Black Widow” official video

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Castle Announce US Tour; “Black Widow” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

They go. They go, and go, and go. It’s what Castle do, and they do it all the time. Even as they continue to write for their impending fifth full-length and unveil a new video for the track “Black Widow” from 2016’s righteous Welcome to the Graveyard (review here), the recently-moved-to-the-desert band can’t seem to stop themselves from announcing another coast-to-coast US tour. After shows in July and on the Obelisk-presented Tour of the Doomed with Sheavy (info here), Castle will head out on a September run that takes them once again from one end of the country to the other. And I don’t know if you know this, but it’s not like this is a small country. It’s a significant frickin’ trip. But Castle go. They go, and go, and go. It’s what they do.

I bet they squeeze in another tour after this one before the end of 2017. I don’t have the inside track on that or anything, I’m just saying. I bet they do. Will keep an eye out for it.

From the PR wire:

castle-tour-poster

CASTLE: Occult Rock Alchemists Announce “Endless Graveyard” Fall Tour; “Black Widow” Video Unveiled + New Full-Length Underway

Newly relocated to the Mojave Desert where writing for a fifth full-length is currently underway, occult rock alchemists CASTLE will be taking a break from conjuring the as-of-yet untitled album, to take on another round of live takeovers.

The perpetually road-bound unit will take to the streets later this month on the previously announced “Stormbringer” trek which will run from June 30th in West Hollywood, California through July 9th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The band will play three more shows the following month before kicking off the “Endless Graveyard” tour set to commence on September 7th in Riverside, California and come to a close on September 30th in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

CASTLE will make some festivals stops throughout their upcoming journeys including performances at the Fire In The Mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Tour Of The Doomed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,

Shadow Woods Metal Fest in White Hall, Maryland, and the Stoned Meadow Of Doom Fest in Omaha, Nebraska. Since the release of their most recent offering, Welcome To The Graveyard, issued last summer via Ván Records, CASTLE’s massive 170-date world takeover has included tours of the US, Europe, Canada, and the band’s first ever tour of Japan last December. See all confirmed dates below.

In anticipation of the upcoming shows, CASTLE is pleased to unveil the visual accompaniment to the track “Black Widow,” compiled from footage from their Canadian tour last year and viewable at THIS LOCATION.

CASTLE:
6/30/2017 Viper Room – West Hollywood, CA
7/01/2017 Starlite Lounge – Sacramento, CA
7/02/2017 High Water Mark Portland, OR
7/03/2017 3rd St. Pub – Bend, OR
7/04/2017 Shredder – Boise, ID
7/05/2017 The Pin – Spokane, WA
7/06/2017 Back Alley Pub – Great Falls, MT
7/07/2017 Railyard – Billings, MT – Railyard
7/08/2017 Fire In The Mountains – Jackson Hole, WY
7/09/2017 Beauty Bar – Las Vegas, NV
8/11/2017 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
8/12/2017 Tour Of The Doomed @ The Metal Grill – Milwaukee, WI
8/13/2017 The Frequency – Madison, WI –
9/07/2017 Aurea Vista – Riverside, CA
9/08/2017 Tower Bar – San Diego, CA
9/09/2017 Green Room – Flagstaff, AZ
9/10/2017 Blue Note – Oklahoma City, OK
9/11/2017 Hi-Tone – Memphis, TN
9/12/2017 The End – Nashville, TN
9/13/2017 Odditorium – Asheville, NC
9/14/2017 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
9/15/2017 Shadow Woods Metal Fest – White Hall, MD
9/16/2017 O’Brien’s – Boston, MA
9/17/2017 Cherry Street Station – Wallingford, CT
9/18/2017 Saint Vitus Bar – New York, NY
9/19/2017 Bug Jar – Rochester, NY
9/20/2017 Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
9/21/2017 Maple Grove – Cleveland, OH
9/22/2017 Cattivo – Pittsburgh, PA
9/23/2017 Smalls – Detroit, MI
9/24/2017 Taps Live – Indianapolis, IN
9/25/2017 Northside Yacht Club – Cincinnati, OH
9/27/2017 Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
9/29/2017 Stoned Meadow Of Doom Fest – Omaha, NE
9/30/2017 Triple Nickel – Colorado Springs, CO

CASTLE’s Welcome To The Graveyard offering was captured by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Eyehategod, Ommadon et al) at Type Foundry Studios in Portland, Oregon and is currently available at THIS LOCATION.

heavycastle.com
facebook.com/CastleSF
https://heavycastle.bandcamp.com/
https://www.van-records.de/
https://www.facebook.com/vanrecs/
https://vanrecords.bandcamp.com/

Castle, “Black Widow” official video

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Castle Announce Even More West Coast Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

castle

As they continue to work on the follow-up to 2016’s Welcome to the Graveyard (review here), subgenre-defier metallers Castle have announced another slew of shows in the Western half of the US. Their last tour? Last month. So yeah, I guess they’re about due. When last we heard from them at the end of February, they had moved to the Mojave Desert in order to put the next record together, and while I look forward to hearing the kind of desolation that might bring out in their sound, I can’t help but wonder just how much time they’re actually getting to spend there with all the touring they’ve done so far this year and no doubt will continue to do in the months to come.

Of particular note? Check out that Wyoming show. Secret location? Outdoor show? High altitude? Kind of sounds awesome, right? It’s called Fire in the Mountains. Also consider the Shadow Woods Metal Fest in Maryland, which has a spectrum broad enough that it might be the only place on the planet Castle actually fit in.

That’s not to take anything away from the other shows — hey, they’re playing with Year of the Cobra in June, and that’s awesome — I’m just saying Castle have some cool stuff coming up throughout the next few months. Hopefully their album arrives before the end of the year to make the most of it, though if it doesn’t, they’re hardly likely to stop touring in 2018 or anything like that.

From the PR wire:

castle tour poster

CASTLE ANNOUNCE U.S. WEST TOUR, BAY AREA DATES

Newly relocated to the Mojave Desert where writing for a fifth full length is currently underway, genre bending doom-metallers CASTLE have announced their Stormbringer tour, a 10 date headlining romp through the Western United States. The tour will kick off Friday, June 30 at The Viper Room in West Hollywood, CA and include an appearance on July 8 at Fire In The Mountains – a 2 day outdoor concert taking place near Jackson Hole, WY in an as-of-yet undisclosed location.

The band have also announced a trio of Bay Area shows leading up to the July run with Seattle doom duo Year of the Cobra. In addition, CASTLE, who are currently touring in support of their most recent offering Welcome to the Graveyard, are slated to appear at Shadow Woods Metal Fest in White Hall, Maryland, Sept 14-17.

6/1 San Jose, CA – Back Bar SoFa *
6/2 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill *
6/3 Santa Cruz, CA – Blue Lagoon *
6/30 West Hollywood, CA – Viper Room
7/1 Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
7/2 Portland, OR – High Water Mark
7/3 Bend, OR – 3rd St. Pub
7/4 Boise, ID – Shredder
7/5 Spokane, WA – The Pin
7/6 Great Falls, MT – Back Alley Pub
7/7 Billings, MT – Bones Arcade
7/8 Jackson Hole, WY – Fire in the Mountains
7/9 Las Vegas, NV – Beauty Bar
9/15 White Hall, MD – Shadow Woods Metal Fest
* w/ Year of the Cobra

Since the release of Welcome To The Graveyard, issued last summer via Ván Records – CASTLE’s massive 150 date world takeover has included tours of the U.S., Europe, Canada and the bands first ever tour of Japan in December. Welcome To The Graveyard was captured by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Eyehategod, Ommadon et al) at Type Foundry Studios in Portland, Oregon and is currently available at THIS LOCATION.

heavycastle.com
facebook.com/CastleSF
https://heavycastle.bandcamp.com/
https://www.van-records.de/
https://www.facebook.com/vanrecs/
https://vanrecords.bandcamp.com/

Castle, “Down in the Cauldron Bog” official video

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Quarterly Review: Pallbearer, Dread Sovereign, Lizzard Wizzard, Oulu Space Jam Collective, Frozen Planet….1969, Ananda Mida, Strange Broue, Orango, Set and Setting, Dautha

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Here we are, on the precipice looking out over a spread that will include 50 reviews by the week’s end. Somehow when it comes around to a Quarterly Review Monday I always end up taking a moment to ask myself if I’ve truly lost my mind, if I really expect to be able to do this and not fall completely flat on my face, and just where the hell this terrible idea came from in the first place. But you know what? I haven’t flubbed one yet. We get through it. There’s a lot to go through, for me and you both, but sometimes it’s fun to be completely overwhelmed by music. I hope you agree, and I hope you find something this week that hits you in that oh-yeah-that’s-why-I-love-this kind of way. Time’s wasting. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartless

Three albums and nearly a decade into their tenure, Pallbearer stand at the forefront of American doom, and their third outing, Heartless (on Profound Lore), only reinforces this position while at the same time expanding beyond genre lines in ways that even their 2014 sophomore effort, Foundations of Burden, simply couldn’t have done. A seven-song/hour-long sprawl is marked out by resonant melodies, soulful melancholy conveyed by guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell – the returning lineup completed by guitarist Devin Holt, bassist Joseph D. Rowland and drummer Mark Lierly – and tonal weight set to a mix by Joe Barresi, who from opener “I Saw the End” onward arranges layers gorgeously so that extended pieces like “Dancing in Madness” (11:48) and closer “A Plea for Understanding” (12:40) become even more consuming. What comes through most resolute on Heartless, though, is that it’s time to stop thinking of Pallbearer as belonging to some established notion of doom or any other subgenre. With these songs, they make it clear they’ve arrived at their own wavelength and are ready to stand up to the influence they’ve already begun to have on other acts. A significant achievement.

Pallbearer on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls

dread-sovereign-for-doom-the-bell-tolls

With the considerable frontman presence of Primordial’s Alan Averill on vocals and bass, the considerable riffing of guitarist Bones (also of Wizards of Firetop Mountain) and the considerable lumber in the drumming of Johnny King (ex-Altar of Plagues), Dread Sovereign make some considerable fucking doom indeed. Their second album, For Doom the Bell Tolls (on Ván Records), follows three years behind their debut, 2014’s All Hell’s Martyrs (review here), and wastes no time giving the devil his due – or his doom, if you prefer – in the span of its six tracks and 37 minutes. Atmospheric and seemingly on an endless downward plod, the 13-minute “Twelve Bells Toll in Salem” is a defining moment, but the trad metallurgy of “This World is Doomed” rounds out side A with some welcome thrust, and after the intro “Draped in Sepulchral Fog,” “The Spines of Saturn” and the thrashing “Live Like and Angel, Die Like a Devil” play dramatic and furious intensities off each other in a manner that would seem to truly represent the fine art of not giving a shit what anyone thinks about what you do or what box you’re supposed to fit into. Righteous. Considerably so.

Dread Sovereign on Thee Facebooks

Ván Records website

 

Lizzard Wizzard, Total War Power Bastard

lizzard-wizzard-total-war-power-bastard

Noise, largesse of riffs and shouted vocals that distinctly remind of Souls at Zero-era Neurosis pervade the near-hour-long run of Lizzard Wizzard’s Total War Power Bastard, but as much as the Brisbane four-piece willfully give themselves over to fuckall – to wit, the title “Medusa but She Gets You Stoned Instead of Turning You to Stone, Instead of Snakes She has Vaporizers on His Head… Drugs” – songs like “Shithead Nihilism,” “Pizza” and the droning “Snake Arrow” brim with purpose and prove affecting in their atmosphere and heft alike. Yes, they have a song called “Nerd Smasher,” and they deserve all credit for that as they follow-up their 2013 self-titled (review here), but by the time they get down to the roll-happy “Crystal Balls” and the feedback-caked “Megaflora” at the record’s end, guitarists Michael Clarke and Nick McKeon, bassist Stef Roselli and drummer Luke Osborne end up having done something original with a Sleep influence, and that’s even more commendable.

Lizzard Wizzard on Thee Facebooks

Lizzard Wizzard on Bandcamp

 

Oulu Space Jam Collective, EP1

Oulu-Space-Jam-Collective-ep1

Should mention two things outright about Oulu Space Jam Collective’s EP1. First and foremost, its three songs run over 95 minutes long, so if it’s an EP, one can only imagine what qualifies as a “full-length.” Second, the Finnish outfit releasing EP1 on limited tape through Eggs in Aspic isn’t to be confused with Denmark’s Øresund Space Collective. Oulu is someplace else entirely, and likewise, Oulu Space Jam Collective have their own intentions as they show in the 57-minute opener “Renegade Spaceman,” recorded live in the studio in 2014 (they’ve since made two sequels) and presented in six movements including samples, drones, enough swirl for, well, 57 minutes, and a hypnotism that’s nigh on inescapable. I won’t take away from the space rock thrust of 14-minute closer “Artistic Supplies for Moon Paint Mafia” (also tracked in 2014), but the smooth progressive edge of three-part 24-minute centerpiece “Approaching Beast Moon of Baxool” is where it’s at for me – though if you want a whole galaxy to explore, hit up their Bandcamp.

Oulu Space Jam Collective on Thee Facebooks

Eggs in Aspic webstore

 

Frozen Planet…. 1969, Electric Smokehouse

frozen-planet-1969-electric-smokehouse

They freak out a bit toward the end of 12-minute opener “Ascendant” and in the second half of the subsequent “Supersaturation,” but for the most part, Aussie three-piece Frozen Planet…. 1969 play it weirdo-cool on their fourth full-length, the excellently-titled Electric Smokehouse (on Pepper Shaker Records). From those jams to the dreamy beachside drift of “Shores of Oblivion” to the funky-fuzz bass of “Sonic Egg Factory” to the quick noise finish of “Pretty Blown Fuse” – which may or may not be the sound of malfunctioning equipment run through an oscillator or some other effects-whatnot, the instrumentalist Sydney/Canberra trio seem to improv a healthy percentage of their fare, if not all of it, and that spirit of spontaneity feeds into the easygoing atmosphere only enhanced by the cover art. On a superficial level, you know you’re getting psych jams going into it, but once you put on Electric Smokehouse, the urge to get lost in the tracks is nigh on overwhelming, and that proves greatly to their credit. Wake up someplace else.

Frozen Planet…. 1969 on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Bandcamp

 

Ananda Mida, Anodnatius

ananda-mida-anodnatius

Ananda Mida make their debut on Go Down Records with Anodnatius, fluidly working their way around heavy psychedelic and more driving rock influences propelled by drummer Massimo “Max Ear” Recchia, also of underrated Italian forebears OJM. Here, Recchia anchors a seven-piece lineup including two vocalists in Oscar de Bertoldi and Filippo Leonardi, two guitarists in Matteo Scolaro and Alessandro Tedesco, as well as bassist Davide Bressan and organist Stefano Pasqualetto, so suffice it to say songs like the subtly grungy “Passvas,” the dreamy highlight “Heropas” or the vaguely progressive “Askokinn” want nothing for fullness, but there seem to be moments throughout Anodnatius as on “Lunia” and the shuffling “Kondur” early into the proceedings where the band wants to break out and push toward something heavier. Their restraint is to be commended since it serves the interests of songcraft, but part of me can’t help but wonder what might happen if these guys really let loose on some boogie jams. Keep an ear open to find out, as I have a feeling they might be headed in just that direction.

Ananda Mida on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records website

 

Strange Broue, Seance

strange-broue-seance

The heart of Séance – The Satanic Sounds of Strange Broue might come in the 11-minute sample dump that is “Cults and Crimes,” late into the second half of the 52-minute album. Capturing meticulously compiled news and talk-show clips from the late ‘80s, some of which talk about the Satanic roots of heavy metal, it gets to the ritualism that Quebec four-piece Strange Broue proliferate elsewhere on the record in the lo-fi post-Electric Wizard doom of “Satan’s Slaves,” “Kill What’s Inside of You” and the rolling opener “Ritualize” (video here). These pieces offset by other interludes of noise and drone and samples like “Satanic Panic,” “In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanis, Luciferi Excelsis,” the acoustic-until-it-gets-shot-in-the-woods “Las Bas,” the John Carpenter-esque “Séance IV – L’Invocation” and the extended penultimate drone of “Séance V – The Mystifying Oracle with Bells” ahead of the countrified pop gospel of “Satan is Real,” which finishes in subversive fashion, interrupted by more news reports and a finishing assault of noise. Like an arts project in the dark arts, Séance crosses some familiar terrain but finds Strange Broue on their own trip through cultish immersion, as psychological as it is psychedelic.

Strange Broue on Thee Facebooks

Sunmask Records webstore

 

Orango, The Mules of Nana

orango-the-mules-of-nana

Not much to argue with in the sixth long-player from Helge Kanck, Trond Slåke and Hallvard Gaardløs, collectively known as Orango. As they make their way onto Stickman Records (which also handled Euro distro for their last album, 2014’s Battles) with The Mules of Nana, the Norwegian trio deep-dive into harmony-topped ‘70s-style vibing that, well, leaves the bulk of “retro” bands in their V8-crafted dust. Mind you they do so by not being a retro band. True, the fuzz on “The Honeymoon Song” and “Head on Down” is as organic as if you happened on it in some forest where all the trees were wearing bellbottoms, but if you told me it was true, I’d believe Orango recorded The Mules of Nana onto – gasp! – a computer. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but “Heirs,” the sweetly acoustic “Give Me a Hundred” and motoring “Hazy Chain of Mountains” find Orango making no attempt to cloak a lack of songwriting or performance chops in a production aesthetic. Rather, in the tradition of hi-fi greats, they sound as full and rich as possible and utterly live up to the high standard they set for themselves. Pure win in classic, dynamic fashion.

Orango on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

 

Set and Setting, Reflectionless

set-and-setting-reflectionless

There’s an undercurrent of metal that’s quick to show itself on Set and Setting’s Reflectionless. The instrumentalist Floridian five-piece delve plenty deep into heavy post-rock on cuts like the shoegazing “Incandescent Gleam” and subsequent “Specular Wavefront Of…” but they’re not through opener “Saudade” before harder-edged chug emerges, and “…The Idyllic Realm”’s blastbeating nods at black metal while the churning endgame build of closer “Ephemerality” holds tight to a progressive execution. While its textural foundation will likely ring familiar to followers of Russian Circles ultimately, Reflectionless finds distinction in aligning the various paths it walks as it goes, creating an overarching flow that draws strength from its diversity of approach rather than sounding choppy, confused or in conflict with itself. Not revolutionary by any means, but engaging throughout and with a residual warmth to complement what might seem at first to be a purely cerebral approach. It offers more on repeat listens, so let it sink in.

Set and Setting on Thee Facebooks

Set and Setting webstore

 

Dautha, Den Foerste

dautha-den-foerste

Primo short offering of pure, fistpump-ready, violin-infused doom traditionalism. I don’t know what Norrköping, Sweden’s Dautha – the five-piece of vocalist Lars Palmqvist, guitarists Erik Öquist and Ola Blomkvist, bassist Emil Åström and drummer Micael Zetterberg – are planning to do for a follow-up, but this Den Foerste (or Den Förste) two-tracker recalls glory-era Candlemass and willfully soars with no sense of irony on “Benandanti” and “In Between Two Floods” after the intro “Horkarlar Skall Slås Ihjäl,” and having already sold out a self-released pressing leaves little to wonder what would’ve caught the esteemed tastes of Ván Records. And by that I mean it’s fucking awesome. I’m ready for a full-length whenever they are, and from the poise with which Palmqvist carries the melodies of these tracks, the quality of the riffing and the depth of arrangement the violin adds to the overarching mournfulness, they definitely sound ready. So get on it. 15 minutes of dirge-making this gorgeous simply isn’t enough.

Dautha on Thee Facebooks

Ván Records website

 

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Castle Move to the Desert to Write New Album; Announce March Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

castle

Castle continue to live the dream, and by that I mean break their ass working on new material and touring. They’re up to a bit of both, as it happens. Next month, they’ll take to the streets in the Midwest before hitting up the West Coast for what can only be called the umpteenth time, and simultaneously, they’ve moved to the desert and begun to write the follow-up to last year’s Welcome to the Graveyard (review here), which saw release through the esteemed Ván Records. Reportedly, they have an eye on getting a new record out before the end of 2017. An admirable goal and I wouldn’t put it past them, what with that breaking of ass and all. You know damn well they’ll be touring more too. They rarely stop.

This run is called ‘Still Reaping’ and it starts March 3. Look for Castle later this year on the Shadow Woods Metal Fest in Maryland and at Fire in the Mountains in Wyoming over the summer. See? I told you they rarely stop.

From the PR wire:

castle-still-reaping-tour

CASTLE Announce ‘Still Reaping Tour’, Festival Dates, Album News

Fresh off a tour of Japan, heavy metal alchemists CASTLE have announced the ‘Still Reaping Tour’, a 17 date headlining trek of the U.S. Midwest this March. Newly relocated to the Mojave Desert where writing for a fifth full length is currently underway, CASTLE will be taking a break from conjuring the as-of-yet untitled album, due for release later in the year, to complete the tour – which includes a stop at the second installment of the Minneapolis Menagerie Fest on March 11.

CASTLE – Still Reaping Tour:
3/3 Phoenix, AZ – Yucca Tap
3/4 Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
3/5 Dallas, TX – Three Links
3/6 Austin, TX – Lost Well
3/7 Wichita, KS – The Elbow Room
3/8 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
3/9 Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
3/10 Chicago, IL – Reggie’s
3/11 Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis Menagerie
3/12 Milwaukee, WI – The Metal Grill
3/13 Louisville, KY – Highlands Taproom
3/14 Indianapolis, IN – 5th Quarter
3/15 Lansing, MI – Mac’s
3/16 Omaha, NE – Dr. Jacks
3/17 Denver, CO – 3 Kings Tavern
3/18 Salt Lake City, UT – Club X
3/19 Oakland, CA – Golden Bull

In addition, the band has announced they will also be performing at the upcoming Fire In The Mountains in Jackson Hole, WY on July 8 and Shadow Woods Metal Fest in Whitehall, MD, September 14-17.

Since the release of their most recent offering Welcome To The Graveyard, issued last summer via Ván Records – CASTLE’s massive 120 date world takeover has included tours of the U.S., Europe, Canada and the bands first ever tour of Japan in December. Welcome To The Graveyard was captured by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Eyehategod, Ommadon et al) at Type Foundry Studios in Portland, Oregon and is currently available at THIS LOCATION.

heavycastle.com
facebook.com/CastleSF
https://heavycastle.bandcamp.com/
https://www.van-records.de/
https://www.facebook.com/vanrecs/
https://vanrecords.bandcamp.com/

Castle, “Down in the Cauldron Bog” official video

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Heavy Temple Touring with Pilgrim in March

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Kind of an ICYMI here, in the parlance of our times, but good to note either way that next month, Philly’s Heavy Temple will hit the road alongside Rhode Island doomers Pilgrim. The latter seem poised to make something of a comeback this year after nearly grinding themselves into dust in support of their last full-length, 2014’s II: Void Worship (review here), and in joining them, Heavy Temple make their most significant leap into touring life yet. It’s an East Coast run, and they did hit the Midwest last fall, but 10 dates on the road is the longest I’ve seen from them to-date. Doubt it will be the last.

They of course go supporting the 2016/2017 release Chassit (review here), alternately billed as a debut full-length and a second EP (the latter below). I had thought I read of a parting of ways with guitarist Archbishop Barghest, but maybe I’m wrong about that or bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk and drummer Siren Tempestas are heading out as a duo? I’d be interested to know for sure either way.

To be perfectly honest, half my impulse in posting these dates a couple weeks after they were first announced is in making sure they’re here for future reference. Seems like the kind of thing I’ll want to have to look back on down the line.

From the PR wire:

pilgrim heavy temple tour

Heavy Temple to tour with Pilgrim

Heavy psych/doom band HEAVY TEMPLE released their new EP Chassit on January 27th 2017. The EP was initially available on cassette and digital formats via Tridroid Records and CD is now available via Van Records.

Heavy Temple formed at the end of 2012 with High Priestess Nighthawk on bass and vocals and presently features Siren Tempestas on drums and Archbishop Barghest on guitar.

The band will also be playing some shows with doom heavyweights PILGRIM in March:

TOUR DATES:
March 2nd The Fire, Philadelphia, PA
March 3rd The Broadberry (With Windhand), Richmond, VA
March 4th Pilgrim (With Subrosa) Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY
March 4th Heavy Temple (With Toke) TBA, Winston, Salem NC
March 5th Riffhouse Pub,, Chesapeake, VA
March 6th Sidebar, Baltimore, MD
March 7th Meatlocker, Montclair, NJ
March 8th O’Briens, Boston MA
March 9th Mohawk Place, Buffalo, NY
March 10th Bug Jar, Rochester, NY
March 11th Geno’s, Portland, ME
March 12th AS220, Providence, RI

https://www.facebook.com/HeavyTemple/
https://heavytemple.bandcamp.com
https://www.van-records.de/
https://tridroid.bandcamp.com/album/chassit

Heavy Temple, Chassit (2017)

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

Posted in Features on December 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 debut albums of 2016

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Of all the lists I do to wrap up or start any given year, this is the hardest. As someone obviously more concerned with first impressions than I am and thus probably better-dressed once said, you only get one chance at them. For bands, that can be a vicious bite in the ass on multiple levels.

To wit, you put out a great debut, fine, but there’s a whole segment of your listeners who’re bound to think you’ll never live up to it again. You put out a meh debut, you sell yourself short. Or maybe your debut is awesome but doesn’t really represent where you want to be as a band, so it’s a really good first impression, but a mistaken one. There are so many things that can go wrong or go right with any LP, but with debuts, the stakes are that much higher because it’s the only time you’ll get the chance to engage your audience for the first time. That matters.

And when it comes to putting together a list of the best debuts of the year, how does one begin to judge? True, some of these acts have done EPs and singles and splits and things like that before, and that’s at least something to go on, but can one really be expected to measure an act’s potential based on a single collection of songs? Is that fair to anyone involved? Or on the other side, is it even possible to take a debut entirely on its own merits, without any consideration for where it might lead the band in question going forward? I know that’s not something I’ve ever been able to do, certainly. Or particularly interested in doing. I like context.

Still, one presses on. I guess the point is that, like picking any kind of prospects, some will pan out and some won’t. I’ve done this for enough years now that I’ve seen groups flame or fade out while others have risen to new heights with each subsequent release. It’s always a mix. But at the same time, it’s important to step back and say that, as of today, this is where it’s at.

And so it is:

KING BUFFALO ORION

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

1. King Buffalo, Orion
2. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree
3. Heavy Temple, Chassit
4. Holy Grove, Holy Grove
5. Worshipper, Shadow Hymns
6. Vokonis, Olde One Ascending
7. Wretch, Wretch
8. Year of the Cobra, In the Shadows Below
9. BigPig, Grande Puerco
10. Fuzz Evil, Fuzz Evil
11. Bright Curse, Before the Shore
12. Conclave, Sins of the Elders
13. Pale Grey Lore, Pale Grey Lore
14. High Fighter, Scars and Crosses
15. Spirit Adrift, Chained to Oblivion
16. Bellringer, Jettison
17. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Is Satan Real?
18. Merchant, Suzerain
19. Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae
20. King Dead, Woe and Judgment

Honorable Mention

There are many. First, the self-titled from Pooty Owldom, which had so much weirdo charm it made my head want to explode. And Iron Man frontman Dee Calhoun‘s acoustic solo record was technically a debut. And Atala‘s record. And Horehound. And Mother Mooch. And Domkraft. And Spaceslug. And Graves at Sea? Shit. More than a decade after their demo, they finally put out a debut album. And Second Grave‘s full-length would turn out to be their swansong, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the thing. There were a lot of records to consider in putting this list together. As always, it could’ve been a much longer list.

For example, here are 20 more: Swan Valley Heights, Arctic, Blues Funeral, Teacher, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Nonsun, Duel, Banquet, Floodlore, Mindkult‘s EP, Mountain Dust, Red LamaRed Wizard, Limestone Whale, Dunbarrow, Comacozer, Sinister Haze, Pants Exploder, Akasava, Katla and No Man’s Valley. That’s not even the end of it. I could go on.

Notes

It was a fight to the finish. There’s always one, and as late as yesterday I could be found kicking back and forth between King Buffalo and Elephant Tree in the top spot. What was it that finally put King Buffalo‘s Orion over Elephant Tree‘s self-titled? I don’t know. Ask me tomorrow and the answer might be completely different.

They had a lot in common. Not necessarily in terms of style — King Buffalo basked in spacious Americana-infused heavy psych jams while Elephant Tree proffered more earthbound riffing and melodies — but each executed memorable songs across its span in a way that would be unfair to ask of a debut. The potential for what both bands can turn into down the line played a part in the picks, but something else they share between them is that the quality of the work they’re doing now warrants the top spots. Orion and Elephant Tree were great albums, not just great first albums.

From there, we see a wide swath of next-generation encouragement for the future of heavy rock, whether it’s coming from Sweden’s Vokonis or Philadelphia’s Heavy Temple, or London’s Bright Curse, or Los Angeles duo BigPig. The latter act’s punkish fuzz definitely benefited from guitarist/vocalist Dino von Lalli‘s experience playing in Fatso Jetson, but one hopes that as the years go on his own multifaceted songwriting style will continue to grow as well.

A few offerings weren’t necessarily unexpected but still lived up to the anticipation. High Fighter‘s EP prefaced their aggro sludgecore well. Ditto that for the grueling death-sludge of Massachusetts natives Conclave. The aforementioned Bright Curse, Merchant, Fuzz Evil, Atala, Bellringer, Holy Grove, Wretch and Worshipper all had offerings of one sort or another prior to their full-length debuts — in the case of Bellringer, it was just a series of videos, while Wretch had the entire The Gates of Slumber catalog to fall back on — but each of those albums offered surprises nonetheless.

It would’ve been hard not to be taken by the songwriting on display from the likes of Holy Grove, Year of the Cobra, Pale Grey Lore and Beastmaker, who between them covered a pretty broad variety of atmosphere but found ways to deliver high-quality crafted material in that. Those albums were a pleasure to hear. Put Boston’s Worshipper in that category as well, though they were just as much a standout from the pack in terms of their performance as what they were performing. Speaking of performance, the lush melodies from Church of the Cosmic Skull and classic progressive flourish were enough to make me a believer. Simply gorgeous. And one-man outfit Spirit Adrift shined, if in that matte-black doom kind of way, on an encouraging collection of modern melancholic heavy that seemed to hint at sprawl to come.

As we get down to the bottom of the list we find Pennsylvania ambient heavy post-rockers King Dead. Their Woe and Judgment was released digitally last year (2015) but the LP came out earlier this year, so I wasn’t quite sure where to place them ultimately. I know they got some mention on the 2015 lists somewhere, but while they’re an act who’ve flown under a lot of people’s radar as yet, I have good feelings about how they might continue to dig into their sound and the balance of bleakness and psychedelic color they bring to their material. They’re slated for a follow-up in 2017, so this won’t be the last list on which they appear in the next few weeks.

Like I said at the outset, putting out a debut album is a special moment for any band. Not everyone gets to that point and not everyone gets beyond it, so while a list like this is inherently bound to have some element of speculation, it’s still a worthy endeavor to celebrate the accomplishments of those who hit that crucial moment in their creative development. Hopefully these acts continue to grow, flourish, and build on what they’ve thus far been able to realize sonically. That’s the ideal.

And before I go, once again, let me reinforce the notion that I recognize this is just a fraction of the whole. I’d like it to be the start of a conversation. If there was a debut album that kicked your ass this year and you don’t see it here, please drop a note in the comments below. I’m sure I’ll be adding more honorable mentions and whatnot over the next couple days, so if you see glaring omissions, let’s have ’em.

Thanks for reading.

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Heavy Temple to Release Chassit Jan. 27 on Ván Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

I’m not going to attempt to hide my affection for Heavy Temple‘s debut album, Chassit (review here), and I think it would be silly to try. There was a reason I asked them to open the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer this past August in Brooklyn, and it’s because I believe in their blend of hard-hitting tone, songwriting and rolling groove, and the force with which they delivered all of them from the Saint Vitus Bar stage that day was vindicating in the extreme. Three years from now, you’re gonna wish you’d been there to see it. If you weren’t. They did pull a pretty good early crowd.

This is just a quick update to let you know that if you haven’t gotten a copy of Chassit or have an aversion to tapes, respected purveyor Ván Records — which also released Heavy Temple‘s 2014 self-titled debut EP (review here) — will have a CD version out Jan. 27, 2017. Only question I have now is whether to count it as one of 2016’s best debuts or one of 2017’s. Either way, you know damn well it’s on the list, which’ll be posted here next month.

Till then, this from the PR wire:

heavy-temple-chassit

Heavy Temple – ‘Chassit’ Update

Chassit will now be released on January 27th via Van Records and Tridroid Records. The CD version of Chassit will be released via Van Records and the cassette will be released via Tridroid Records.

Heavy psych/doom band HEAVY TEMPLE are pleased to announce that they will release their new EP Chassit on January 27th 2017. The EP will initially be available on cassette and digital formats via Tridroid Records and will CD will be available via Van Records.

Tridroid Recordsl owner Christine Kelly commented about the signing “Tridroid Records is proud to bring Chassit into the physical realm. I was floored by their first EP and drove to Philly to see them play live 2 years ago. The performance was so enthralling that I’ve gone on to see them 3 more times, each performance better than the last. They’re a Heavy Temple in the truest sense, massive both sonically and psychically.”

Heavy Temple formed at the end of 2012 with High Priestess Nighthawk on bass and vocals and presently features Siren Tempestas on drums and Archbishop Barghest on guitar.

The band will also be playing some shows throughout the next few months. All dates can be found below:

Nov. 15th – Philly, w/ Toke
Nov. 16th – Pittsburgh w/ Toke
Nov. 17th – Dayton, OH w/ Toke
Nov. 18th – 1st Annual Doomed and Stoned Fest , 5th Quarter Lounge, Indianapolis, IN w/ Toke, COUGH, Youngblood Supercult, and more

https://www.facebook.com/HeavyTemple/
https://heavytemple.bandcamp.com
https://www.van-records.de/
https://tridroid.bandcamp.com/album/chassit

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