Satan’s Satyrs Tour Starts this Week; New 7″ Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Available as of today through Trash King Productions in North America and Bad Omen Records in Europe, the new Black Souls b/w There’s No Escapin’ (The Power of Satan) 7″ from Virginian scum rockers Satan’s Satyrs is that trio’s first release since the arrival of their 2012 debut, Wild Beyond Belief!, a record that — true to the band’s biker-cult aesthetic — earned fervent underground appreciation. Their catchy, blown-out, raw doom punk is well intact on “Black Souls,” and the three-piece hit the road this week to start a tour mostly on the East Coast to mark the single’s release, with clear orange vinyl and art from Adam Burke that fits almost too well.

Dates, info and the track “Black Souls” follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

TRASH KING PRODUCTIONS #009

Satan’s Satyrs return with their first studio release since 2012′s “Wild Beyond Belief” and it is nothing short of electrifying. “Black Souls” the lead-off single from their upcoming “Die Screaming” LP is a wild ride out of the dungeon that spawned them into a three-dimensional orgy of forbidden delights. Swirling guitars, grinding bass, and thundering drums propel their sound to new heights of rock and roll abandon. Never has their potent blend of psychedelic-hard-blooze-rock-a-punk-a-rolla sounded so crystal clear, and yet so earthshakingly heavy. This release marks their first recordings as a full band, with none other than Don Zientara (Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Fugazi) of Inner Ear Studios at the board. Recorded 100% analog, with real instruments- this young power trio lays waste to bands twice their age. Backed with a USA exclusive instrumental b-side that brings to mind the classic soundtracks of yore, this record is released in an extremely limited edition. Don’t delay, order today, and whet your appetite for the rock and roll experience of 2014: “DIE SCREAMING”- THE LP!

We’ve got a batch of US tour dates this April to coincide with the release of our new 7″ single “Black Souls.”

4/3 Philadelphia, PA @ Millcreek Tavern
4/4 Brooklyn, NY @ The Acheron
4/5 Wallingford, CT @ Knuckleheads
4/6 Providence, RI @ Dusk
4/7 Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
4/8 Buffalo, NY @ The Lair
4/9 Lakewood, OH @ The Foundry
4/10 Indianapolis, IN @ Satellite Distribution & Wholesale
4/18 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter w/ MIDNIGHT
4/19 Washington, D.C. @ Mary Graydon Center w/ PENTAGRAM

http://www.trashkingproductions.com
https://www.facebook.com/satanssatyrs
http://www.bad-omen-records.com/

Satan’s Satyrs, “Black Souls” (2014)

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Freedom Hawk Confirm European Touring in April

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Centered around their slot at Roadburn on April 10, Virginian dual-guitar fuzz rockers Freedom Hawk will embark April 5 on a stint that will also take them through Germany, Belgium and France over the course of a week of shows. The four-piece have been working on a follow-up to 2011’s Small Stone debut, Holding On (review here), and with new material expected in their set, their next full-length is due to be recorded over the summer for an early-2015 release.

The PR wire has the particulars:

Small Stone Records and Eclipse Productions Presents: Freedom Hawk (USA) European Tour including Roadburn Festival appearance

In April of 2014, the band known as Freedom Hawk will swoop into Europe complete with their shredding heavy riffs, rolling groove and soulful guitar melodies wrapped in metal packaging. They will be performing at a short run of club shows in Germany, Belgium, France, and Netherlands including an appearance at Roadburn in Tilburg, Netherlands. After tearing up SXSW last year, many showcase events and club shows in the U.S., this unsuspecting and highly underrated group is honored to be invited to the highly coveted Roadburn festival and will be ready to embrace European fans of heavy rock with open talons.

Hailing from the barrier dunes of Virginia, this quartet’s brand of heavy, dark stoner rock fueled by the sun coupled with a high energy live show, leaves many scratching their heads wondering if they’ve stepped through a time warp that has taken them to rock’s heyday of the 70’s. With their latest release ‘Holding On’ coursing through the night air for several years now , the album has had time to embed in the minds of many and grow on others to be regarded as a must have in any music collection.

You surely will not want to miss their live show that will be sure to include one or two unreleased new tunes feathered into the set list to test out on the European audience much like the one titled “Blood Red Sky” that has been exposed to the US audiences. Unfortunately for Europe, Freedom Hawk will need to get back to their creative home nest to continue working on their new full-length album set with the band to record in late summer. The new album is anticipated to be released to the masses via Small Stone Records in late 2014/early 2015 in hopes to please the need of the faithful and newcomers alike.

From the casual rock’n'roller to the rebellious riff-rastler, none of which will be put out to past, it’s guaranteed these new tunes will want to be heard on full blast. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and go get their latest album, Holding On, on CD or your usual digital providers like iTunes, Amazon, etc. and if you’re lucky 180g Vinyl on the bands merch table or at your local record store as they are sold out via Small Stone Records. Regardless, their latest album is sure to please in any format! Let’s Rawk!

Freedom Hawk Tour Dates:

April 5 Siegen, Germany VORTEX
April 6 Antwerp, Belgium AMC
April 7 Paris, France Le Glazart
April 8 Dusseldorf, Germany The Pitcher
April 9 Berlin, Germany Jagerklause
April 10 Tilburg, Netherlands **Roadburn Festival
April 11 Wurzburg, Germany Immerhin
April 12 Munster, Germany RARE Guitar

New Merch available on-line now and on the merch table.

freedomhawk.bandcamp.com/merch
www.freedomhawk.net
www.smallstone.com
www.facebook.com/freedomhawkmusic
www.twitter.com/freedomhawkband
www.instagram.com/freedomhawkband
smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/holding-on

Freedom Hawk, Live at the Jewish Mother (2913)

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On Wax: Druglord, Enter Venus (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, On Wax on February 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The STB Records vinyl for Virginian psychedelic doomers Druglord‘s Enter Venus comes in three editions. The “diehard” is limited to 48 copies, has custom art from W. Ralph Walters, and comes with foil stamp, hand-numbered, clear vinyl with “dopesmoke” green splatter. An “OBI” version is what it sounds like — it comes with an OBI strip in Japanese and English. The vinyl is green with a white swirl and it’s limited to 90 copies. Given the quality of the presentation and its still-limited pressing of 115 copies, I hesitate to call third version “standard,” but I suppose of you think of it as a “high standard,” it makes more sense.

As ever, my photos don’t do the package justice. W. Ralph Walters‘ cover is part-glossy and part-matte on the front and back, the platter is the same milky-clear/green splatter as the diehard version, and both the cover and the liner sleeve are of a stock thick enough to do justice to the four cuts on Enter Venus itself, which hurls forth an otherworldly swirl of low end rumble and psychedelic echo. The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist/organist Tommy Hamilton, bassist Greta Brinkman and drummer Hufknell have reveled in righteous-order aural fuckery since (probably before) their 2010 self-titled demo (review here), and while 2011′s Motherfucker Rising (review here) expanded that form, Enter Venus is in a different class of sonic fullness. A recording job by Windhand‘s Garrett Morris positions the guitar and bass at the fore with Hufknell‘s cymbal wash behind and the vocals calling out as through trapped within the barrage of languid, drawling riffs.

On headphones, Enter Venus is all the more consuming, through the opening “Grievous Heaving” — still the best description I’ve encountered for Druglord‘s sound — and “Feast on the Eye” on side A, but particularly into the depths of side B’s “Enter Venus” and the closing “Let us Bleed.” This is something that was true of STB‘s limited tape version (review here), but while the tape benefited from the claustrophobic compression of the format, the LP — set for 45RPM presumably so that if you want to play it even more inhumanely slow than it already is, you can — likewise capitalizes on the expansive breadth and clarity. It’s like staring at a really clear blur. Hamilton, Brinkman and Hufknell shift into ambience here and there, as on the title-track, but the sense of plod is never completely gone, and at atmosphere of horror emerges not just because the lyrics (presented in the inner sleeve) throw in lines like “Rest in pieces/Ripped up and thrown in the grave” in “Let us Bleed” and “Haunt me forever/Demons underneath my skin” in “Grievous Heaving.” Vocals are often indecipherable without the lyric sheet. It’s the overarching dreadful impression of the vocals along with the morass of distortion, all of it taken together, that results in the brutal sensibility.

All told, the LP checks in at 27 minutes, so one could hardly accuse it of overstaying its welcome, but even just with two songs on each side and both sides clocking in under 15 minutes, there’s no lack of substance. An opening sample gives darkly religious overtones and from there it’s a slow-motion slaughter. Still, the vivid colors of the packaging in which Enter Venus arrives suit it well, playing to the psychedelic elements brought through in the recording, which even if they’re brought forth in a grueling, wretched manner hold strong to an otherworldly feel. It just so happens that the other world is populated by monsters.

Today I have the extreme pleasure in addition to checking out the vinyl itself of hosting a full stream of the album. Find it on the player below and please enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

The Enter Venus LP is available now for preorder through STB Records and will be released Feb. 22. More info at the following links:

Druglord on Thee Facebooks

Druglord’s BigCartel store

STB Records on Thee Facebooks

STB Records’ BigCartel store

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The Loomis Fargo Gang, The Prettiest Shade of Blue: A Brief Sojourn

Posted in Reviews on December 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The peaceful character that permeates Virginian folk/alt. country outfit The Loomis Fargo Gang‘s second self-released album is immediate in the unassuming digipak of the CD itself. No plastic tray houses the disc, just a nub to perch it, and soft photos credited to Iva Nash appear on the front and back cover and with the lyric notes. Names are given — the band is listed as Michael Bosler, Winky Nash, Michael Pilapil, Matthew Michels and Brad Martin — and the band as a whole is credited with writing, recording, mixing and mastering The Prettiest Shade of Blue, but no individual roles are noted; i.e., who plays the loosely-strummed acoustic guitar on “She Will be Mine” or adds pedal steel to the lightly rambling “Hazy, Lazy, Blue.” If The Prettiest Shade of Blue, which follows The Loomis Fargo Gang‘s 2008 debut, Humans, Nature and Human Nature, is meant to be taken as a whole, with focus not on the specifics of where each element is coming from, but rather the overarching effect those elements have when used in combination, the eight songs themselves are certainly amenable to that. Totaling just under half an hour, The Prettiest Shade of Blue is as friendly a listen as one could ask, and while its sense of twang will probably put off some listeners, particularly in longer songs like opener “Seventeen White Azaleas” and the aforementioned “She Will be Mine” (tied for the longest at 5:20; partial points), which acts as an opener for what would be side B of an evenly-split vinyl, have room for greater depth of mood, and variety in vocal styles if not vocalists and instrumental arrangements makes The Prettiest Shade of Blue a quick but endearing listen that straddles several genre lines.

In terms of folk, pick a Guthrie and you’ll probably be able to pinpoint somewhere on the album the influence appears, but of course The Loomis Fargo Gang have a much richer sound overall than a solo singer-songwriter would, and that shows itself in the variety throughout. “Seventeen White Azaleas” sets the tone in being based around acoustic guitar, but its far-back, echoing shoegaze vocals are a standout, and the flourish of piano gives another component to the space created. To contrast, the rest of the first half of The Prettiest Shade of Blue is comparatively lighthearted. It’s entirely possible that “Trampoline”‘s chorus and title were inspired by the bounce of the music itself, and the key work, plucked strings, later electric guitar solo and loose vocal harmonies further its natural warmth, “Hazy, Lazy, Blue” following suit with multiple voices and a fuller arrangement still very much in a traditional style. Quiet drums and a light bass rhythm give it a toe-tap readiness, and while “Birds” has a more distinct solo feel to start, as its quick 90 seconds unfold it comes to play no worse with others. The divide between sides is clear particularly looking at the runtimes of the songs, with “She Will be Mine” matching “Seventeen White Azaleas,” but the feel of the songs follows suit as well, though where “Trampoline” and “Hazy, Lazy, Blue” meandered into a kind of pastoral traditionalism, “Tootsie in the Breeze” and “Sugar Cane” veer more toward quiet indie; the former of the two particularly sounds like it’s waiting for Wes Anderson to transpose its wistful nostalgia onto a closeup of some determined adolescent. As a group, The Loomis Fargo Gang are just as able to work in one sonic feel as the other.

Read more »

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Freedom Hawk Post Live at the Jewish Mother for Download

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Virginia fuzzdudes Freedom Hawk have been confirmed for Roadburn 2014. The four-piece are a lock. Now it’s just a matter of paying for it. They could’ve probably done a Kickstarter or something, but everybody’s got one of those, and frankly, “Hey pay for my flight and here’s the vague promise of some future reward,” doesn’t inspire much confidence. Freedom Hawk are a classically-styled band, so they’re taking a classic approach. They’re selling music and merch.

The full story of how the recording of Live at the Jewish Mother came to be you can see below — essentially it’s a bootleg; soundboard recording, I’d grade it an A for quality — but I wanted to feature the tracks here because for a $5 download, you’re getting something pretty killer and Freedom Hawk are a good band who are going to kill it on the continent. Music and info are below, merch and such is at their Bandcamp.

Dig it:

Freedom Hawk, Live at the Jewish Mother (2013)

Please donate to our European Tour fund raiser to ensure we get there! This a Live Bootleg Recording @ The Jewish Mother, November 23, 2011/The night before Thanksgiving (which happens to be our 8yr anniversary) unknown to the band by Matthew Archerson (sp?) who gave the tracks to Chris Kendrick in the Influence band on the bill that night before he disappeared to LA. Club sound guy got a hold of em and mixed it and gave it to us 2 months ago. Matthew wherever you are – thank you!

Also added are some very limited merch items that include downloads and a limited (50) edition of of our 2008 Sunlight CD in Digipack packaging that includes immediate download.

The live tracks includes tracks off Sunlight and tracks off the S/T release — mixed but unmastered. “Bad Man” and “Stand Back” are very different than the recordings. This live recording is kind of a bootleg really… A dude who was with another band that played that night recorded us on his MacBook Pro hooked into the soundboard (we can’t even confirm if he had the sound engineer’s permission/or if the sound guy knew?). Well long story short the tracks surfaced via the other band’s guitarist (Chris Kendrick) giving it to the sound engineer who also mixed it (Jim Woodling of Phunk Junkies bass player/Highland Studios, Phoenix, AZ).

Jim mixed it for us and gave it to us a month or so ago. We thought it was ok enough to offer to the public to help fund our European tour expenses while not having to stoop to Indiegogo or some other “give me money” scheme. We also put up merch there too that is very limited. The tracks will be combined for inclusion on a European only CD for sale on our Euro Tour/Roadburn performance only. Several of the unreleased live tracks may also show up on a bonus CD included with our new SS album (if it is determined SS worthy quality) we are putting together for a 2014 release (exact date TBD). All donations go directly to our Euro flight purchases!!!

Freedom Hawk on Bandcamp

Freedom Hawk on Thee Facebooks

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10 Days of SHoD XIII, Pt. 9: The Final Lineup and Teaser Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on November 5th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s a rather formidable group of bands playing Stoner Hands of Doom XIII, and I won’t lie, part of the reason I wanted to do this “10 Days of SHoD XIII” series was because of the drama that surrounds this year’s fest. Early last month, founder and promoter Rob Levey bowed out of Stoner Hands of Doom XIII, saying simply that his heart wasn’t in it anymore. Understandable. Levey‘s work at the head of SHoD has gone unnoticed and underappreciated for more than a decade; some measure of burnout is not only expected but damn near mandatory. It was the timing of it, with bands and venue booked, tours in place and all systems go about a month before the event itself, that created such a stir. If Levey had said in May he didn’t want to do it anymore, I don’t think anyone would have been able to argue he should keep going in what for years has been a passion-driven endeavor.

Neither is this the first time Stoner Hands of Doom has called it quits. Between 2010 and 2012, it looked like the festival — which over the years has taken place in Ohio, Arizona, Germany, Oregon, Maryland, and so on — was done for. Last year’s fest in New London, Connecticut, was killer but poorly attended. Richmond, Virginia, where SHoD XIII will take place at Strange Matter from Nov. 7-10, is home to a slew of creative heavy acts, from Valkyrie to Lord and many more on the bill, and I assume it was Levey‘s hope that by delving into the local scene, the festival would be able to capitalize on a grassroots, word-of-mouth kind of promotion from the bands. Whether or not that happened, I don’t know. I don’t have numbers on ticket sales, but the fact of the matter is I think SHoD, both with its history and its impending lineup for this coming weekend, is a cause worth supporting in any way I can. Obviously Brendan Burns of The Eye of the Stoned Goat, who stepped in to take Levey‘s place as the promoter, felt similarly. However things turn out, his efforts are to be commended.

I won’t be traveling to Virginia this weekend, contrary to my initial plans, and we close out the series tomorrow with an interview with Beelzefuzz guitarist/vocalist Dana Ortt, but I just wanted to get one more plug in for what I feel is a perfect example of some of the best in doom’s motivations. If this is or isn’t the final installment of Stoner Hands of Doom, it will have lived and died as a festival put on out of love for music and the community of people making it. Long live SHoD.

See the lineup card with set times here.

Stoner Hands of Doom XIII promo video

Stoner Hands of Doom XIII

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10 Days of SHoD XIII, Pt. 8: Gritter Welcome You to the Sinkhole

Posted in Features on November 4th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Richmond natives Gritter have been banging around abrasive sludge metal since they started out as Rube with the Angry at the Missus EP in 2009 (review here). That record worked within some engaging-if-familiar sludge methods, but it was clear Gritter had outgrown even a year later when they switched monikers and put out the Vince Burke-recorded Sour Mash and Spanish Moss LP (review here). Likewise, it seems their 2013 six-song EP, Welcome to the Sinkhole, put to tape by Kevin Willoughby, is another jump in approach, if not in the band’s actual name, taking cues less from underground sludge and more in the modern Southern metal of Lamb of God on songs like “Black Teeth” and “Welcome to the Sinkhole” itself. If it seems like a fine line, there are times where it is, but because most of Welcome to the Sinkhole keeps an upbeat push to its chugging riffs and because vocalist Ryan Kent has dialed back some of his Phil Anselmo-isms, Gritter emerge from their latest outing sounding their most individualized yet. Also metal. Very, very metal.

I have yet to post something about this band — Kent on vocals, Adam Kravitz on guitar, Justin Wolz on bass and Kevin White on drums — and not have someone they’ve rubbed the wrong way chime in about it (you can check the comments on past reviews for proof if you’d like), but I think there’s something to be said for an act who elicit a strong response one way or another, and it’s hard not to have an opinion listening to Welcome to the Sinkhole. Superficially, the elements at work are familiar, but to dig below the surface of a song like “Sayonara” is to reveal something not only ably structured in terms of its verse and chorus progression, but a thick, professionally-presented groove. Kent‘s balance of screams and cleaner singing adds drive to the arrangements throughout, whether it’s propelling the adrenaline of “Bowie” or adding just a touch of melody to the early verses in “Sayonara,” and the music behind him is no less thoughtfully constructed. I’m not sure where the animosity comes from, but there are a whole lot of bands out there working from a similar base of influence as Gritter on Welcome to the Sinkhole who don’t put as much of themselves into their songs as these guys seem to do.

The penultimate instrumental “Sea of Trees” makes a well-placed change of pace after four pummelers in a row, and a linear build not only showcases the foursome’s ability to work in more than verse/chorus songwriting, but provides a lead-in to the resurgent aggression of closer “Drunk Tank,” also the longest song on Welcome to the Sinkhole at 5:51, the extra time dedicated to a stretch of this-is-the-mosh-part riffing and a final slowdown that only makes the chugging more vicious and which Kent can’t seem to help himself from topping with like-minded screams and venomous spitting. Can’t say I blame him. Gritter‘s sound is less burly than some, but lacks nothing for chestbeating, and with the crisp production and clear intent toward Southern metal brutality, they’re just about asking for every scream they get. After three years since their last release, they’re almost frighteningly mature on Welcome to the Sinkhole, and whatever attention they’re able to glean from it is attention earned more or less by a punch in the face. Something tells me these guys are alright with pissing people off.

Gritter play Stoner Hands of Doom XIII on Thursday, Nov. 7, at Strange Matter in Richmond, Virginia, sharing the bill that night with Clamfight, Druglord, Compel, Pillbuster and more. Welcome to the Sinkhole was released in July in a variety of vinyl editions — black and red swirl, white with black swirl, lavender with black swirl — as well as on CD and download, all of which (except for some of the vinyl, which is sold out) are available from the band via Bandcamp, from whence I also nabbed the player with the album below:

Gritter, Welcome to the Sinkhole (2013)

Gritter on Thee Facebooks

Gritter on Bandcamp

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Windhand Interview with Dorthia Cottrell: Unbroken Continuity

Posted in Features on November 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

After making their Relapse debut earlier this year with the Reflection of the Negative split with fellow Richmond, Virginia, natives Cough, ultra-doomed five-piece Windhand unleashed Soma (review here), their sophomore full-length behind a 2012 self-titled (streamed here). At 75 minutes long, it’s a formidable undertaking before you even get to the dark sensibilities the band proffers throughout in songs like “Woodbine,” the sprawling “Cassock” or half-hour-long closer “Boleskine,” varying in intensity and tension while toying with a grueling pace throughout, expanding beyond the relatively straightforward riff-led approach of the first album and into atmospherics that make Soma all the more individualized.

Windhand toured heavily for the first LP, which was released on Forcefield Records, and seem already to be keeping the ethic intact in support of Soma. Already they spent September into early October going coast-to-coast on a full US tour. Tonight, Nov. 1, they begin a run of dates in Europe alongside Pilgrim that will go for more than three weeks, and upon their return to the States, they’ll pick up five days later and do the West Coast and Canada along with Kvelertak and High on Fire. Both runs are a continuation of the momentum Windhand has established through consistent road-time, and the new album seems certain to receive its due as well. Here are the tour dates:

Windhand
with Pilgrim
01/11 BE Ghent Charlatan
02/11 NL Venlo Mudfest
03/11 FR Paris t.b.a.
04/11 UK Birmingham Asylum
05/11 UK Manchester Star & Garter
06/11 UK London Our Black Heart
08/11 ES Barcelona Rocksound
09/11 ES Madrid Rock & Pop
10/11 ES Bilbao Sentinel Rock Bar
11/11 FR Bordeaux Heretic Club
12/11 FR Paris Le Club
14/11 NL Tilburg Little Devil
15/11 DK Aalborg 1000 Fryd
16/11 SE Gothenburg Truckstop Alaska
17/11 DK Copenhagen KB18
18/11 DE Hamburg Rote Flora
19/11 DE Berlin Cassiopeia
20/11 DE Leipzig Zoro
21/11 AT Wien Vrena
22/11 DE Günzburg Donaustüble
23/11 DE Köln MTC
24/11 NL Amsterdam Occii

Windhand
with High on Fire and Kvelertak
11/29 Lawrence, KS Granada Theatre
11/30 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
12/02 Winnipeg, MB West End Cultural Center
12/04 Edmonton, AB Starlite Room
12/05 Calgary, AB Republik
12/07 Vancouver, BC Venue Vancouver
12/08 Seattle, WA El Corazon
12/09 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theater
12/11 San Francisco, CA Regency Center Grand Ballroom
12/12 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre

As they’ve already been confirmed for Roadburn 2014 and the next installment of Heavy Days in Doomtown, you can expect much more to come on Windhand. The band is comprised of vocalist Dorthia Cottrell, guitarist/recording engineer Garrett Morris, guitarist Asechaiah Bogdan, bassist Parker Chandler (also of Cough) and drummer Ryan Wolfe. Cottrell recently took some time out to talk about the making of Soma and how their road ethic came into play in terms of putting the album together, plus the European dates — it’s their first time out of the country — prospects for 2014 and much more.

Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.

Read more »

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10 Days of SHoD XIII, Pt. 5: Druglord, Enter Venus Limited Tape

Posted in Duuude, Tapes!, Features on October 30th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

You can turn on the “noise reduction” if you want when you’re listening to Richmond trio Druglord‘s new Enter Venus tape, but be warned that if you do, there might not be anything left. The cave-echo sludge three-piece will play Stoner Hands of Doom XIII at Strange Matter in their hometown on Thursday, Nov. 7, with fellow Richmonders Gritter, as well as Compel, Clamfight and others, and they bring a presence to the festival like few others. Released in limited edition by STB Records, Enter Venus follows behind 2011′s Motherfucker Rising (review here) and their 2010 self-titled debut demo (review here), and if I call it their most solidified outing yet, please take that in the appropriate context of viciously misanthropic and lurchingly cavernous sludge. The three-piece band of guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hamilton, bassist Greta Brinkman and drummer Hufknell may be cohesive across the four songs recorded by Windhand‘s Garrett Morris at The Darkroom in Richmond, but their pummel continues molten and unhinged.

Starting with a snare fill from Hufknell, the title-track — third of the four cuts included on Enter Venus and the first on side 2 — is Southern sludge as filtered through a nightmare, but a guitar solo emerges on an almost hopeful note from the morass of distortion and plod. Like everything else in the song’s path, it’s ultimately consumed, but it’s flashes like this that mark out the development in Druglord‘s approach, and the complementing nod is the most hypnotic they’ve concocted to date. Hamilton‘s vocals echo from the depths of the mix, consistent in their approach but not entirely amelodic, and he seems to be setting himself up for more sonic adventurousness their next time out. In his and Brinkman‘s tone, there’s bound to be some similarity to Windhand‘s Soma, the two releases having both been helmed by Morris, but Druglord maintain a more misanthropic resonance from their earlier works, though the lyrics of the songs and the image of Aleister Crowley screenprinted onto the hand-numbered bag in which the cassette arrives do give some impression of vague cultish leanings.

Even so, the crash and drown of opener “Grievous Heaving” — a more than fairly apt description of the song itself — mark out this material as Druglord‘s most encompassing. A sample launches the opener, but the first verse of “Grievous Heaving” is quick to arrive and fittingly malevolent, slow, punishing, and “Feast on the Eye,” which follows as the second half of side 1, is perhaps more atmospheric, but ultimately similarly minded in its dreary course. If one encounters it or any of this material through a player with substantive low end, then a warning is in order. One hardly thinks of tapes as busting woofers or sounding big, but whether it’s Brinkman‘s low end or Hufknell‘s kick, Enter Venus makes a considerable sonic presence for itself and is all the more threatening at loud volumes, the organ that shows up layered into “Feast on the Eye” giving creepy classicism to what’s already a cinematic-feeling horror show.

As I understand it, the Enter Venus tapes are almost gone if they’re not gone already, but even of Druglord don’t have any on hand for SHoD, there will be a vinyl version of Enter Venus coming early in 2014. Think of the cassette as an early warning alert system ahead of that, and hopefully a harbinger of where Druglord‘s continued progression might be leading them for their next outing.

Druglord, “Feast on the Eye” from Enter Venus (2013)

Stoner Hands of Doom XIII

Druglord on Thee Facebooks

Druglord on Bandcamp

STB Records

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10 Days of SHoD XIII, Pt. 1: Catching up with Lord

Posted in Features on October 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

For the next 10 days I’m going to take a look at just a sampling of the killer acts playing this year’s Stoner Hands of Doom festival in Virginia from Nov. 7-10 at Strange Matter, and I couldn’t think of a better place to start than with the unhinged Southern sludge aggression of Lord. A band whose history is filled with underappreciation, makeups, breakups, lineup changes and whatever else you can think of, Lord has nonetheless served over the years as a proving ground for those who’s also make a stamp in Fredericksburg and Richmond bands from Ol’ Scratch and Ancient Astronaught to Akris and The Might Could. What’s been consistent for them over all this time is the intensity of their sludge, which they most recently demonstrated on the 2011 full-length, Chief (review here), which was alternately violent and brooding, a torrent of chaos that mirrors the band itself.

Of course, that being the case, there’s a kind of permanent X-factor around the band. Since the days of their 2006 long-play debut, Built Lord Tough, you’ve never known quite what you’re going to get with Lord, who’s going to be there and what kind of madness is going to be unleashed. They played Stoner Hands of Doom two years ago at Krug’s Place in Maryland (review here) along with Cough, Earthling, Fire Faithful and others, and what seemed to be becoming an annual gig at the festival was cut short in 2012 when vocalist Steven “Kerch” Kerchner announced they had called it quits:

Lord will unfortunately not be playing SHOD this year. Lord has officially disbanded. We had a blast rocking while we did and appreciate the love and support everyone has given us over the years!! Everyone is still jamming in other projects – definitely check them out: Bourne of Ash, Lacy, House Size Giant, Akris, Palkoski. There are still a limited number copies of Chief available from the members of Lord and it can still be downloaded from iTunes and so on. Love you guys – Kerch

As someone who’s been a fan of the band since the long, long ago, in the beforetimes, naturally it was a bummer to hear they were done, but though the members were busy in the projects listed by Kerch above — Akris have a new record out now (stream it here), and Palkoski never seem too far removed from another challenging slab of noise — apparently the split didn’t take, and they’ve once again joined the SHoD and are set to bring their melee to Richmond this year. Not only that, but the band’s lineup of Kerchner, guitarist Willy Rivera, bassist Helena Goldberg and drummer Stephen Sullivan are also reportedly at work writing a new full-length, which they’ll record sometime after the appearance at Stoner Hands of Doom XIII.

How that will come together remains to be seen, but if Lord are working on something at all, you won’t hear me complain. They play SHoD on Sunday, Nov. 10, and share the bill with Devil to Pay, Black Thai, Wizard Eye and others. Check out “Zoh K Zo Kay” from Chief below and find more details at the that follow:

Lord, “Zoh K Zo Kay” from Chief (2011)

Stoner Hands of Doom XIII

Lord on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Hound Records

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Sinister Haze, Demo

Posted in Radio on October 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

They may or may not have pared down to a trio since, but it appears that for the bulk of their short tenure, Richmond, Virginia’s Sinister Haze were fronted by Brandon Malone, also of Fire Faithful. He’s not listed as being in the band now — the current lineup given is guitarist/vocalist Brandon Marcey (Cough), bassist Sam Marsh (Dry Spell) and drummer Joe Dillon (Balaclava) — but Malone‘s low, Southern metal soul delivery definitely has left a mark on Sinister Haze‘s aptly-titled 2013 Demo, whether it’s the bluesy Church of Misery-style swagger of “Changin’ Ways” or the loose Electric Wizard affiliation shown through the nine-minute “Black Shapeless Demon.” Marcey‘s own vocals are mostly screams that come forward more on the shorter “Betrayed by Time,” which closes out the three-song affair, but there are times especially on the first two tracks when it’s pretty clear there are two voices working in tandem, and presumably that’s a result of Malone and Marcey both contributing, not just different layers on the Griffin IV-recorded CD and tape, which is set for release through Unholy Anarchy Records in time for the band’s headlining gig at the first night of this year’s Autumn Screams Doom at The Ottobar in Baltimore, Oct. 25.

If it seems strange that a band just putting out their first demo of whom there seems to be no record going back any further than the start of 2013 would be playing last for the night at a fest that also features Negative Reaction, Weed is Weed, Iron Man, Wizard Eye and Serpent Throne — all of whom have been around considerably longer and are not without pedigree of their own in varying degrees — one might chalk it up to the immediately recognizable and acknowledged Saint Vitus influence in Marcey‘s guitar, delivered in kind with Dillon‘s bombastic crash. Or hell, maybe they know someone. Point is it’s a fucking quality demo, full of Southern grit without the post-Down dudely posturing, and raw and fucked-up sounding without making a lo-fi caricature of garage doom. “Black Shapeless Demon” is probably my pick of the three cuts here, but “Betrayed by Time” has a creeper catchiness to it that begs for repeat listens and even “Changin’ Ways” makes a hook out of its chorus, as oddly dismantled as it might seem. If nothing else, they make it apparent that their interest in fucking around is slim to none.

And with the prospect of what could be a different configuration that’ll either position Marcey as the frontman or bring someone else into the band to replace Malone, there’s even more intrigue for Sinister Haze as they move past their Demo, but most importantly for their first time out, these songs are heavy as hell and show Sinister Haze as being more than able to take the reins on a drunken sludge lurch. Always a welcome find, and bonus if it leads to further distorted misanthropy down the road.

You can hear Sinister Haze‘s Demo now streaming as part of the 24/seven The Obelisk Radio playlist, or check it out on the Bandcamp player below:

Sinister Haze, Demo (2013)

Sinister Haze on Thee Facebooks

Sinister Haze on Bandcamp

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Freedom Hawk Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

What can you call the news that Freedom Hawk will tour Europe around their Roadburn 2014 appearance other than awesome? The dual-guitar Virginia Beach four-piece will make their European debut next April with shows in Belgium, France, Germany and of course the Netherlands, where Roadburn is held. It’s not an especially long tour, but the point is they’re going, and yeah, the only word I can come up with for it is the one already used above. Kudos to these guys. I’m looking forward to seeing them at Stoner Hands of Doom XIII next month as well, and I hear a rumor that there’s new material in the works, so maybe 2014 will also bring a follow up to their 2011 Small Stone debut, Holding On (review here). Hopefully that’s what the “tba – asap” is all about below.

Here’s the official word from the band, and of course the dates:

 

Cat’s out of the bag: To our European fans and friends we’ll be seeing ya in April 2014 with a Roadburn appearance included. We’ll be bringing our brand of in your face southeast coast barrier dune stoner metal surf rock to your shores. Jump on! We have some goodies up our sleeves for ya too – tba – asap!

Eclipse Productions is stoked to announce Virginia rockers Freedom Hawk will hit European continent for the first time ever in april 2014 hitting some stages over Europe including Roadburn Festival—

5-4 Vortex Siegen (DE)
6-4 AMC Antwerp (BE)
7-4 Le Glazart Paris (FR)
8-4 Pitcher Düsseldorf (DE)
9-4 TBC Berlin (DE)
10-4 Roadburn Tilburg (NL)
11-4 immerhin Würzburg (DE)
12-4 Rare Guitar Münster (DE)

https://www.facebook.com/freedomhawkband
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eclipse-Productions/258690507485730

Freedom Hawk, “Indian Summer” official video

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Stoner Hands of Doom 2013 Canceled? NO!!!

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Word has come down this morning that the venerable Stoner Hands of Doom fest has been canceled for 2013. Set for Nov. 7-10 at Strange Matter in Richmond, Virginia, the lineup was to feature bands from across the country, concentrating on Northern and Southern acts from along the East Coast like Gozu, Weed is Weed, Valkyrie and Black Thai, but also bringing in groups from the Midwest such as Devil to Pay, Grel, Lo-Pan and many others. A note was reportedly sent to the bands from fest organizers Rob and Cheryl Levey that read as follows:

We regret to inform you that after careful consideration Cheryl and I have decided we cannot go through with SHoD Festival this year or in the future. We appreciate all that have helped and support our efforts and regret and problems this will create but we are done with our festival thank you for all you do and hope to see you in the future.

Peace, Rob and Cheryl

As of this post, SHoD has yet to make an official announcement of the reason behind the cancellation and what could bring them — after the work of booking and finding slots for 40 bands and with just over a month to go before the first night — to call it quits on the long-running and underappreciated festival. With tours booked surrounding and the dates reportedly in place, steps are being taken to save the fest. When I get updates, I’ll give them.

Obviously the cancellation of Stoner Hands of Doom would be a massive bummer, even when you take away the tours set up with it as their centerpiece. One can only hope that, should the Leveys really be done — and again, there’s been no official word from SHoD as of now — someone can possibly step in and at least get through 2013, if not continue the fest in the future.

More to come, I’m sure.

UPDATE:

Brendan Burns of The Eye of the Stoned Goat has sent the announcement around that he’s hoping to take over the fest under his banner. This message went out a bit ago:

To all bands playing SHoD this year-
I am working on trying to take over this event as a ‘Eye of the Stoned Goat’ event. I would really love your support and if we can get Robert Levey to give us his blessing I would still like to see the event go as planned….
-Brendan

UPDATE:


Brendan Burns of The Eye of the Stoned Goat has stepped in, spoken with SHoD‘s Rob Levey and Strange Matter in Richmond, and the fest will take place, at least for this year. He says:

Just talked to Mark at strange matter we are still good to go! Spoke to Rob, I have his full support… SHoD XIII will go on as planned

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Wino Wednesday: Premonition 13 Live in Richmond, VA, Nov. 7, 2011

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Their tenure was not long at all. Videos of Wino jamming in an instrumental two-guitar four-piece called Premonition began to surface around 2010. Early in 2011, a debut 7″ from Premonition 13 was released (review here) and that was followed soon enough by their first full-length, 13 (review here), on Volcom. They toured that fall with The Gates of Slumber and by the time they got around to releasing a song on a three-way split with Earthless and Radio Moscow (streamed here) last year, they weren’t a band anymore. Quick. A year together, maybe a little more, and then gone.

It’s still something of a mystery what happened on their last European tour in 2011 that led to them finishing that run as a trio, but that was the end of it. Guitarist/vocalist Jim Karow, who shared those duties with Wino, was out and I guess at that point, with Saint Vitus‘ reunion running concurrent, there was no reason to find someone else to fill that slot, since the Wino/Karow collaboration was the core of the group. They had some cool songs though, and it was interesting to hear another guitar alongside Wino‘s after his standing alone for so long in The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan and The Hidden Hand. The only other times I can think of when he was joined by another guitarist (in a non-guesting situation) was on the Heavy Kingdom album with Conny Ochs and on the similarly brief Shrinebuilder run, which paired Wino with his soon-to-be unplugged tourmate Scott Kelly of Neurosis. Both pretty recent examples.

But Premonition 13 was more a “Wino band” than either the supergroup Shrinebuilder or the acoustic Ochs collaboration, with his tone, songwriting and vocals as a major factor in the draw, so though it was brief, Premonition 13 remains something unique within Wino‘s canon. And with The Gates of Slumber having announced their breakup this week as well, that tour was on my mind, so it seemed even more appropriate to find this live Premonition 13 full set from Richmond, Virginia, from that stint.

Filmed Nov. 7, 2011, by TubeVisionDotCom, here’s Premonition 13‘s gig at Strange Matter in its entirety. Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Premonition 13, Live in Richmond, VA, 11/07/11

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audiObelisk: Akris Self-Titled Debut Now Streaming in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on September 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

For a band that rests so comfortably on the brown note, there’s surprisingly little bullshit to what Akris do. On their self-titled Domestic Genocide Records debut, the Virginia bass/drum two-piece proffer sludge that ranges from unrepentantly abrasive punk-derived aggression (hello, “Unidentified”) to languid stoner nod topped with harmonized vocals (hello, “Riverbed”). At the fore is bassist/vocalist Helena Goldberg, whose varied approach and blanket of low-end tonal gorgeousness drives the band along with drummer Sam Lohman, and whether she’s cleanly hitting notes in the slow-churning “Suffocate” or screaming in layers on the raging push that emerges within the earlier “Profit,” her leading role is never really relinquished. It would be easy for Akris to fall in a trap of samey-sounding tracks of the course of the album’s hour-long runtime, but though it’s Goldberg and Lohman for the duration — Ron “Fezz” McGinnis of Admiral Browning/Pale Divine also guests on the 12-minute “Vomit Within” — the record wants neither for sonic nor structural variety.

There’s a tension, however, that remains consistent throughout the songs, and whether they’re raging or subdued or somewhere between the two, Akris — who recorded Akris with the venerable Chris Kozlowski at his Polar Bear Lair Studio – always seem to maintain a gut-tightening vibe that coincides with the emotionality on display in Goldberg‘s lyrics. Working around the lines “Fighter pilot/Why’d you do it?” opening cut “Fighter Pilot” holds a sense of melody even as the bass pushes air like it’s trying to collapse a lung, vague notions of ’90s-style riot grrrl defiance coming through in the vocals. Since they’re essentially a rhythm section, that Goldberg and Lohman would execute quick time-changes isn’t necessarily a surprise, but shifts in pace like that of “Row of Lights” go a long way especially when the arrangements are so elemental. Likewise, where “Unidentified” bludgeons at a straight-ahead blister and offers no relief, the turning mood present in “Riverbed” and longer pieces like “Brown” (7:19) and “Vomit Within” — or even closer “Part of Me,”  which taps out after seven minutes to leave room for an engagingly melodic hidden track — speak of a dynamic at work that’s all the more difficult to realize with so little wriggle room in the arrangements.

Multiple tours over the last couple years (they played SHoD in 2012) have tightened this material, some of which was also included on Akris‘ 2011 live demo, and though Lohman has left the band since the self-titled was finished and been replaced by Cheyka Bessid, harkening back to Goldberg‘s days scouring the NYC underground in her previous duo, Aquila, the album still gives an excellent display of the band’s craft and their aesthetic, which says nearly as much in its rawness as it does in its lyrics. If you listen to it for nothing other than the bass tone, you’re going to get what you came for.

Ahead of the release next Tuesday, I have the pleasure of hosting a full-stream of AkrisAkris. Please find it on the player below and enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Akris is set for release Sept. 24, 2013, on Domestic Genocide. Pre-orders can be placed now.

Akris on Thee Facebooks

Domestic Genocide Records

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