Windhand Post “Forest Clouds” Video; European Tour with Satan’s Satyrs on Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

windhand

If you needed a nine-minute refresher as to the badassery of Windhand‘s latest album, Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here), the Richmond, Virginia, outfit hereby offer up a new video from the Jack Endino-produced outing for the track ‘Forest Clouds’ for you to check out. Directed by Jordan Vance, it has all the purple-tinted murk one could ask for and comes along as Windhand return to Europe for their Fall 2017 tour alongside fellow Virginians Satan’s Satyrs, with whom they also hit the road earlier this year in the States.

As it happens, Windhand also tracked material for an upcoming 2018 split with the same outfit, so it seems pretty safe to say they’ve probably grown close over their time together and they may indeed plan to spend a little more of it. Fair enough for the complementary nature of the two bands, with Windhand‘s permanent tone-rolling mire hitting its stride sound-wise on Grief’s Infernal Flower and Satan’s Satyrs only growing more brash as time goes on in their doomly motor-ready boogie style. I wouldn’t tell you how to live your life or anything, but if the tour came or is coming through someplace you might happen to be, no question it’s worth showing up for.

You’ll note as well on the list of gigs below sent down the PR wire that it includes slots for both acts at Up in Smoke 2017 and Desertfest Belgium 2017. The latter is sure to be particularly riotous, as it’s the final date of what by then will have been a significant run. It’s already underway, in fact — the tour, not Deserfest — and hits Cologne, Germany, this very evening en route to continuing through a slew of dates in Germany, France, Austria, Italy and so on.

Clip and info follow here. Please enjoy:

Windhand, “Forest Clouds” official video

Richmond, VA’s WINDHAND have shared the official video for “Forest Clouds” off their latest full-length album Grief’s Infernal Flower. Watch the Jordan Vance directed video via YouTube HERE.

Additionally, WINDHAND kick off their headlining European tour with Satan’s Satyrs tomorrow night in Copenhagen, DK. A full list of confirmed tour dates is available below.

The band recently recorded songs for an upcoming split with Satan’s Satyrs that will be released by Relapse in early 2018. Details will be revealed shortly.

WINDHAND Tour Dates:
— All dates with Satan’s Satyrs —
Sep 29 Cologne, DE MTC
Sep 30 Wiesbaden, DE Kesselhaus
Oct 01 Leipzig, DE UT Connewitz
Oct 02 Berlin, DE Cassiopeia
Oct 03 Vienna, AT Arena
Oct 04 Munich, DE Feierwerk
Oct 05 Bologna, IT Freak-Out Club
Oct 06 Mezzago, IT Bloom Club
Oct 07 Pratteln, CH Up In Smoke Festival
Oct 08 Paris, FR Stoned Gathering
Oct 09 London, UK The Borderline
Oct 10 Leeds, UK Brudenell
Oct 11 Glasgow, UK Audio
Oct 12 Manchester, UK Rebellion
Oct 13 Bristol, UK Exchange
Oct 14 Antwerp, BE Desertfest BE

Windhand on Thee Facebooks

Windhand on Bandcamp

Windhand at Relapse Records

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Book of Wyrms and Heavy Traffic Announce Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Twin Earth Records labelmates Book of Wyrms and Heavy Traffic are set to hit the road together later this month. The run shared between the Richmond, Virginia, and Brooklyn, NYC, outfits will begin at Arlene’s Grocery at The Obelisk-co-sponsored Ode to Doom show on Sept. 23. That’s a bill that also features heavy blues specialists Geezer and Shadow Witch, and you can find out more info about it on the Thee Facebooks event page here. It’s a damn good way to spend a night in Manhattan.

The ultimate trajectory of the stint is South Dakota’s Stoned Meadow of Doom fest on Sept. 29, and both groups make their way there supporting new releases. I know I’ve said multiple times over at this point that if you’re looking for pure tone, there are few sources as trustworthy as the taste of Twin Earth Records, and you can definitely apply that here. If you need further proof, dig the streams at the bottom of the post.

From the PR wire:

heavy-traffic-book-of-wyrms-tour

BOOK OF WYRMS/HEAVY TRAFFIC ANNOUNCE US TOUR

Heavy psych-rock band Heavy Traffic and progressive doom band Book of Wyrms will join forces with a seven date tour that will culminate with appearances from both bands at Stoned Meadow of Doom Fest 2017.

Jay from Book of Wyrms commented “We have been excited about this tour for a long time; we get to play with a lot of bands we love and rage with a bunch of weirdos who get what we’re about. These are some places we’ve wanted to play for a while.”

Book of Wyrms will be touring in support of their recently released album Sci/Fi Fantasy, while Heavy Traffic is touring in support of their upcoming split 7″ with The Mad Doctors.

Order Sci/Fi Fantasy here: https://bookofwyrmsrva.bandcamp.com/album/sci-fi-fantasy

Per-Order the Heavy Traffic/Mad Doctors split here: https://heavytraffic.bandcamp.com/album/heavy-traffic-the-mad-doctors-split-7

HEAVY WYRMS TOUR 2017
September 23 -New York, NY @ Arlene’s Grocery with Geezer
September 24 – Rochester,NY @ Firehouse Saloon with Fox 45
September 25 – Detroit,MI @ New Dodge Lounge with Vicious Circles
September 26 – Chicago,IL @ GMan Tavern with Black Road
September 27 – Madison,WI @ Micky’s Tavern with Vanishing Kids
September 28 – Sioux City,IA @ The Marquee with Port Nocturnal
September 29 – Sioux Falls,SD @ STONED MEADOW OF DOOM FEST 2017

BOOK OF WYRMS is:
Jay Lindsey: bass
Ben Coudriet: guitar
Kyle Lewis: guitar
Chris DeHaven: drums
Sarah Moore-Lindsey: vocals, effects

HEAVY TRAFFIC is:
Ian Caddick
Tav Palumbo
David Grzedzinski
Dan Bradica

https://www.facebook.com/Bookofwyrms/
https://www.instagram.com/bookofwyrms/
https://bookofwyrms.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/heaviesttraffic
https://twitter.com/heaviesttraffic
https://heavytraffic.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/twinearthrecords/
https://twinearthrecords.bandcamp.com/
twinearthrecords.storenvy.com/

Book of Wyrms, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (2017)

Heavy Traffic, Plastic Surgery (2016)

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Review & Track Premiere: Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mindkult-lucifers-dream

[Click play above to listen to the premiere of ‘Behold the Wraith’ from Mindkult’s Lucifer’s Dream, out Sept. 20 through Transcending Obscurity Records and Caligari Records.]

Virginian one-man outfit Mindkult quickly affirms the potential of 2016’s debut EP on the full-length follow-up, Lucifer’s Dream. Released through Transcending Obscurity and Caligari Records, the album arrives with some measure of fanfare as compares to last year’s Witch’s Oath (review here), but that’s a considerable testament to the niche that multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Fowst immediately carved out for himself between doom, shoegaze, dreary psychedelia and garage cultistry. At six tracks and 42 minutes, Lucifer’s Dream gracefully, patiently fleshes out these textures and weaves them together to form not a mesh of disparate or semi-disparate approaches, but a coherent and individualized aesthetic that, were the word “kult” not already in such wide use, one might call “kult doom” in the project’s honor.

That is, though one can recognize flashes of Uncle Acid in an uptempo shuffle like second cut “Nightmares,” even that track pursues its own path via resonant lead guitar, Fowst sounds most of all like himself, and by placing more extended cuts “Drink My Blood” (8:06), “Behold the Wraith” (9:20) and “Lucifer’s Dream” (9:24) at the beginning, middle (-ish) and end positions of the tracklisting, Mindkult ensures a dirge-style vibe is maintained throughout. A rough production becomes an essential facet of the presentation in the blown-out guitar and bass tones, and whether they’re real drums or programmed, the march they elicit in “Infernals” on side B and the slow-swing of “Drink My Blood” at the outset help to ground and punctuate the downer trajectory. Mindkult, as a vehicle for Fowst in the tradition of black metal’s adopted monikers — see Wrest in Leviathan, Malefic in Xasthur, etc. — is going to bum you out and smile malevolently as it does. Accordingly, Lucifer’s Dream is one of 2017’s best debut albums, and in building out the potential of the EP before it, it also sets Fowst up for a longer term progression of songwriting and sonic persona.

The future of Mindkult will be whatever it will be, but what’s more important for the moment is the level of accomplishment that Fowst brings to cuts like “Behold the Wraith,” third of the six and the finale of side A, which fluidly shifts pace as it nears its midpoint from an initial slog to which the drawn-out, shoegazing vocals are perfectly suited, toward a relatively speedier chug. Layering in solo guitar over the rhythm adds to the sense of forward motion, and though the stretch is short-lived ultimately, it shows the deft hand with which Fowst already controls the proceedings within Mindkult. Lucifer’s Dream is rife with these moments of detail and nuance, and though from its artwork, overarching mournful spirit, loosely horror-derived thematics and sundry don’t-worry-about-all-of-us-being-doomed-because-it’s-already-happened miseries one gets a distinctly misanthropic impression, the songs themselves remain accessible, melodic and engaging. As much as “Drink My Blood” repels outwardly, it does so in a manner that engages the listener.

mindkult-logo

Fowst‘s obscure moans and howls in “Drink My Blood” and “Nightmares” set the tone for the significant and headphone-worthy presence that “Behold the Wraith” and the five-minutes-apiece pair of “Infernals” and “Howling Witch” flesh out ahead of the title-track, a full-album flow enacted that bridges one side to the next even as it stays vinyl-ready with “Infernals” opening side B with a psycho-Satanic lyric to follow the the distinct movements within “Behold the Wraith.” Dark immersion is at the root of Mindkult‘s style, and while Fowst‘s vocals are at times buried (alive) beneath the guitars and bass — the drums are a steady but never really forefront presence so much as the strings — the intent doesn’t seem so much to create a spaciousness as to demonstrate the feeling of being lost within the whole muck that is the end product of Lucifer’s Dream as a whole.

Of course, the record succeeds in no small part because it never actually gets lost. As “Behold the Wraith” slows itself back down and heads into the mid-paced “Infernals” and the sample from the 1976 horror flick Satan’s Black Wedding (“He is pleased with you, Nina…”) that starts the speedier, hookier “Howling Witch,” Fowst smartly hones a palpable momentum to carry into the finale, which starts out at a stomp and makes its way toward wah-drenched psychedelic garage doom in its middle third. Hypnotic, it’s the kind of passage one might miss on an initial listen, but in terms of furthering Mindkult‘s potential, it opens another avenue for future exploration on the part of Fowst, and one hopes he’ll pursue it, especially since he’s able to transition so smoothly into its reaches and back toward a more grounded solo section as he delivers the title line after the five-minute mark.

A crunching slowdown provides a bridge to the return of the snare-punctuated stomp that began the closer and “Lucifer’s Dream” rounds out the album that shares its name with a marked showcase of the symmetry that’s been at the foundation of the material all along. It’s not chaos, though it might sound like it at times with the rough-hewn recording, persistent tonal buzz and so on. The truth of the matter is Fowst is more mastermind or perhaps mad scientist when it comes to Mindkult than he is conjurer, but the results of his work on Lucifer’s Dream are otherworldly just the same. Listening in the context of these tracks serving as Mindkult‘s debut, their cohesion becomes all the more striking, and once again, as much work as Fowst does here to realize the potential shown on Witch’s Oath, the affect of Lucifer’s Dream is just as much in accomplishing that as it is beating its path toward new depressive reaches still to be discovered.

Mindkult on Bandcamp

Mindkult on Thee Facebooks

www.tometal.com/store

Transcending Obscurity Records on Thee Facebooks

Caligari Records on Bandcamp

Caligari Records on Thee Facebooks

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Sinister Haze European Tour with Cough Starts Tonight; New EP Emperor of Dreams Released

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sinister haze

For anyone who heard Virginia’s Sinister Haze make their full-length debut with last year’s filth-caked Laid Low in the Dust of Death (review here), the just-released, limited-to-100-copies follow-up Emperor of Dreams EP is going to hit as a marked surprise. Reveling in dreary psychedelic atmospheres, it’s not a complete departure from the preceding LP in terms of atmosphere, but as one can hear on the melancholy post-punk centerpiece “Astral Procession” and in the inclusion of ambient interludes surrounding its tracks, the four-piece are clearly looking to engage a different wavelength. If not several different wavelengths.

It works for them, as showcased in “Astral Procession,” the preceding title-track and the eight-minute “Divine” — which is the high point achievement-wise of the release and perhaps of Sinister Haze‘s output to-date — as well as the aforementioned interludes, which carry an air of experimentation the would seem to have extended to the songwriting as well. In short: fucking a. Does this mean Sinister Haze won’t turn back to the graveyard-dirt-under-the-fingernails approach they had on the record? Not a clue, but I’m digging the vibe of the new outing, and today, that’s enough for me.

They’re on the road in Europe starting tonight in the Netherlands with fellow Virginians Cough. Dates, more info and audio follow, courtesy of the band:

Sinister Haze – Emperor of Dreams

Out August 2nd via Graven Earth Records
Limited to 100 copies

Production for this has been all DIY, recording/mastering/artwork has been handled by us and were excited to show it off in due time. It’s easily the most psychedelic thing we’ve achieved thus far.

02/08 NL Haarlem – Patronaat
03/08 DE Stuttgart – Jugendhaus West
04/08 AT – Innsbruck PMK
05/08 IT Giavera del Montello – Disintegrate your Ignorance Festival
06/08 AT Wien – The Viper Room
07/08 HU Budapest – A38
08/08 PL Krakow – WARSZTAT
09/08 CZ Pevnost Josefov – Bastion Brutal Assault Festival
10/08 DE Berlin – Cassiopeia
11/08 NL Eindhoven – Stroomhuis
12/08 BE Ieper – Ieper Festival
13/08 PT Vagos – Vagos Metal Fest
14/08 UK London – Electrowerkz
15/08 UK Leeds – Brudenellsocialclub
16/08 FR Paris – Gibus

Sinister Haze is:
Brandon Marcey
Sam Marsh
Eli Pizzuto
JK

http://www.facebook.com/sinisterhazeband
http://sinisterhaze.bigcartel.com/
https://sinisterhaze.bandcamp.com/

Sinister Haze, Emperor of Dreams (2017)

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Mindkult Set Sept. 20 Release for Lucifer’s Dream; Teaser Video Playing Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Misanthropic Virginian one-man garage doom outfit Mindkult will release Lucifer’s Dream on Sept. 20. A debut full-length to be released on Transcending Obscurity Records, the new outing follows last summer’s Witch’s Oath EP (review here) which impressed in both the form of its aesthetic and the substance of its songwriting. I’m not saying I’ve heard it or anything, but as Fowst moves his project forward with this debut long-player, songs like the nine-minute “Behold the Wraith” and the closing title-track assure that both of those aspects are kept well intact and that there’s plenty of misery to go around. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

It was a pretty considerable list, but Mindkult‘s debut was among my most anticipated releases for 2017 back at the start of the year, and — again — not that I’ve heard it or anything, but it’s awfully nice to have that anticipation so thoroughly vindicated. Will hope to have more on it as we get closer to the release, but there’s a teaser clip playing now that you can see at the bottom of this post to whet your appetite.

And of course, info follows off the PR wire. Dig it:

mindkult lucifer's dream

MINDKULT announce new doom/stoner/shoegaze release on Transcending Obscurity Records

MINDKULT (US) – ‘Lucifer’s Dream’ Silver-embossed Box Set / CD / Merch / Digital (September 20th, 2017)

US band MINDKULT are turning the genre on its head. Stepping out of the confines of what can be called doom, they are going back in time musically to create all over again raw, heavy and stoner-tinged music that oozes horror appeal and bears a soothing post-punk sensibility. Call it doom, stoner or even shoegaze, all of it is correct because it’s a distilled blend to forge a sound that MINDKULT can call it its own. Nostalgic and dark, this is the band’s much-awaited debut full length that displays rare charisma and soulful expression.

Track list:
1. Drink My Blood
2. Nightmares
3. Behold the Wraith
4. Infernals
5. Howling Witch
6. Lucifer’s Dream

Line up:
Fowst – Everything

Mastered by James Plotkin (CONAN, ELECTRIC WIZARD, ISIS, JUPITERIAN, NADJA).
Artworks by Misanthropic Art (HOODED MENACE, FUNEBRARUM, HERESIARCH, INTERMENT).
Logo by Maldo Illustration (Spain).

https://mindkult.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/mindkult/
https://tometal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgViVqEZ6aiW7G9O-lGWiAg

Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream teaser

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Quarterly Review: Alcest, Galley Beggar, Pontiak, White Light Cemetery, Fever Dog, Duel, Seven Nines and Tens, Automatic Sam, The Next Appointed Hour, Blown Out

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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

Always a special moment in the Quarterly Review when we pass the halfway mark. That’s where today’s batch brings us, and in rocking style as well. You might say I’ve been taking it easy on myself with the selections this time out — albums there’s plenty to say on and generally good stuff — but the basic fact of the matter is even with 50 reviews in a week, this is still just a fraction of what’s out there and still just a fraction of what I’d cover if I had the time. I couldn’t in terms of my own sanity, but one could probably do 10 reviews a day every day of the year and still have room for more. I do the best I can. Picking and choosing is a part of that process. Let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Alcest, Kodama

alcest kodama

After the bold departure presented in 2014’s Shelter (review here) toward even-airier, more indie-hued fare, French post-black metal innovators Alcest make a no-less-bold return to their core sound – screams included, as they’re quick to show on “Eclosion” – with 2016’s Kodama (on Prophecy Productions). It’s a less progressive move, and for that distinct in Alcest’s discography, but one can’t argue with their execution of a track like “Je Suis d’Ailleurs” and the immediately recognizable melodic wash they craft, as resonant emotionally as it is heavy in its tone. Most of the six cuts seem contented to have (re-)found their place, but “Onyx” finishes out with just under four minutes of layered guitar droning, and so Alcest seem to tease that perhaps they’re not completely ready to settle the issue of their aesthetic just yet. One hopes that’s the case, and in the meantime, the reorientation that Kodama brings with it should no doubt please those longtime fans who bristled at the turn they made their last time out.

Alcest on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Galley Beggar, Heathen Hymns

galley-beggar-heathen-hymns

Galley Beggar’s fourth offering and second for Rise Above, Heathen Hymns, brings 42-minutes of the traditional acid folk one has come to expect from them over the last half-decade plus, no less graceful in its melodies, harmonies and weaving into and out of psychedelia, Eastern inflections on the sitar-laced “The Lake” and cleverly rhythmic in the post-rocking electric flourish of “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme.” Knowing what to expect, however, does nothing to diminish the joy of the listening experience. Rather, the return of Galley Beggar’s fluid string and/or more rock-based arrangements, memorable songcraft and gorgeous vocal treatments is welcome, and perhaps most of all on closer “My Return,” which draws their multiple sides together in a cohesive vision of futures past that only benefits from the maturity they’ve grown into. With poise as a defining feature as much as their British folk stylistic lineage, Galley Beggar remain a special outfit doing deeply individualized and satisfying work.

Galley Beggar on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Pontiak, Dialectic of Ignorance

pontiak-dialectic-of-ignorance

A steady foundation of low-end drone underpins songs like “Ignorance Makes Me High” and “Hidden Prettiness” on Pontiak’s Dialectic of Ignorance (released via Thrill Jockey), and though they move away from it somewhat in the more active freakout “Dirtbags,” the patience shown by the Virginian trio forms a key part of the album’s personality. To wit, they open with “Easy Does It,” essentially telling their listener their intention for what will ensue throughout the eight-track/46-minute offering. Brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney bring forth willful drift in that opener and across the percussive-but-still-shoegazing “Tomorrow is Forgetting,” finding an organ-laced folkadelic middle ground later in “Youth and Age” and punctuating the dreamy harmonized gorgeousness of “Herb is My Next Door Neighbor” with fervent tom runs and ping ride before closer “We’ve Fucked this Up” starts out amid blistering chaos only to smooth itself as it goes. Serene and somewhat moody to the same degree their last outing, 2014’s Innocence, was raw, Dialectic of Ignorance carries the feel of a personal journey undertaken, but is ultimately too warm in tone and melody not to welcome its audience to be a part of that as well.

Pontiak on Thee Facebooks

Pontiak at Thrill Jockey Records

 

White Light Cemetery, Careful What You Wish For

white-light-cemetery-careful-what-you-wish-for

Nearing the mark of their first decade together, Louisiana Southern heavy four-piece White Light Cemetery issue their second full-length, Careful What You Wish For, through Ripple Music and keep a steady focus on songcraft throughout. Heavy riffs, a bit of boogie on “Sky River” and the stomping “Better Days,” boozy Southern-isms on the directly countrified “On a Dime” and a cowbell-infused finish with “Bullet to Erase” – it’s only fair to say White Light Cemetery hit all the marks. The beery post-Deliverance execution of “Looking Out (For Number One)” will likely ring familiar to many who take it on, but that’s the idea, as vocalist/guitarist Shea Bearden, guitarist Ryan Robin, bassist Tara Miller and drummer Thomas Colley are clearly less concerned with reinventing rock in their own image than honoring the pantheon of those who’ve come before them in the style. Hard to argue with the ethic preached or the dual-guitar harmonies of “Quit Work, Make Music,” though the record as a whole seems awfully “workingman’s rock” for any such bohemian aspirations.

White Light Cemetery on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Fever Dog, Mainframe

fever dog mainframe

It’s been three years since next-gen Californian desert trio Fever Dog released their last album, Second Wind (review here), which was long on potential, big on songwriting and resonant in vibe. I’d been hoping for a third long-player in 2017, but even the arrival of new single Mainframe – which of course doesn’t preclude a subsequent album release – is fine by me, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Graham, bassist Nathan Wood and drummer/organist/synthesist/vocalist Joshua Adams digging into progressive vibes on the title-track and the subsequent, talkbox-inclusive “Let Me Out.” I don’t know if they’re planning to press a 7” – somebody call H42 Records! – but the cover art certainly justifies one if the songs themselves don’t (and they do), and the name-your-price download comes with the raw 19-minute classic heavy rock jam “Alpha Waves Medley Live at Club 5,” which emits buzz like it’s a bootleg from 1973. If Mainframe is the process of Fever Dog getting weirder, it bodes well. All the more reason one might keep their fingers crossed for a new full-length.

Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks

Fever Dog on Bandcamp

 

Duel, Witchbanger

duel witchbanger

“If you see him it’s much too late/Close your eyes, girl, accept your fate.” So goes the title-track hook of Duel’s Witchbanger, the Austin-based rockers’ second album for Heavy Psych Sounds. Released on a quick turnaround from last year’s debut, Fears of the Dead (review here), the eight-track/34-minute swaggerfest delves into fantasy themes drawn from classic metal – hard not to look at six-minute closer “Tigers and Rainbows” and not think of Dio, at least thematically – but cuts like “Astro Gypsy” and “Heart of the Sun” in the record’s midsection build on the ‘70s loyalism of the first outing and find guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, guitarist Jeff Henson, bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants and drummer JD Shadowz clear in their intentions in that regard. Though it takes a sizable grain of salt to get over that title, Duel’s heavy rock traditionalism comes complemented by efficient songwriting and a natural-sounding recording that’s neither completely retro nor totally modern but draws strength and fullness from both sides. A worthy and rousing follow-up.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Seven Nines and Tens, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums

seven-nines-and-tens-set-the-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-slums

If the dates are to be believed, the second full-length from Vancouver’s Seven Nines and Tens, cleverly-titled Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums, has roots going back to 2014, when basic live tracks were recorded and subsequently built on for about two years. Indeed, the four-song offering – whose tracks “I Come from Downtown,” “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” and closer “Rave Up” have been presented in the meantime as singles and/or on early 2017’s Live at the Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret – has plenty of layers in its heavy post-rock wash, and it’s with depth and heft that guitarist/bassist/vocalist David Cotton and drummer Mario Nieva (the current incarnation of the band has a different lineup), make their prevailing impression, be it in the roll of 13-minute “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” or the loud/quiet trades of “Dope Simple,” which follows. With a focus on atmosphere over structure, Seven Nines and Tens offer a quick 32-minute immersion that feels less pretentious than purposeful and would seem to have been worth the time it took to construct.

Seven Nines and Tens on Thee Facebooks

Seven Nines and Tens website

 

Automatic Sam, Arcs

automatic sam arcs

With their third album, Nijmegen’s Automatic Sam bring together a straightforward and coherent collection of well-intentioned semi-psychedelic heavy rock. Their past works, 2011’s Texino and 2013’s Sonic Whip, have been conceptual or at least thematic pieces, and it may be that the 13-track/38-minute Arcs (on Goomah Music) is as well, but if so, it would seem to find that theme in a vision of post-grunge ‘90s alt rock, cleanly and clearly executed and vibrant in the performance of vocalist/guitarist Pieter Holkenborg, guitarist/vocalist Rense Slings, bassist/vocalist Erik Harbers and drummer/vocalist Lars Spijkervet, who open with the five-minute “Ukiyo” (their longest inclusion; immediate points) and then run through a varied swath of shorter pieces from the attitude-laden “City Lights” through the uptempo post-punk of “This is Not a Holiday” and the fuller push of “Parnassia.” Side B seems more flowing, with that song, “Tarantula,” a complementary reprise, the title-track and drifting acoustic closer “So Long in E Minor,” but Automatic Sam manage to hone a diverse approach across Arcs’ span while skillfully directing themselves around choppier waters.

Automatic Sam on Thee Facebooks

Automatic Sam at Goomah Music

 

The Next Appointed Hour, Not the End of the World

the-next-appointed-hour-not-the-end-of-the-world

Ambition may be the defining aspect of Not the End of the World. The 2016 self-released debut from Birmingham, Alabama’s The Next Appointed Hour willfully refuses easy categorization, basking in bright psychedelic space rock harmonies one minute and digging into folkish melancholia the next in a way that one is left with no other option but to call “progressive.” What ultimately makes songs like “Keeper’s Heart” and the ethereal pop of “Back to You back to Me” work is an underlying cure of songcraft, and whatever ground the six-piece cover on the 10-track outing, from the fuzzy rush of “Drone Riot” to the trippy shimmer of the penultimate “Red Flame,” that core is maintained, uniting the material and making Not the End of the World a work of scope rather than haphazard. It requires an open mind, but rewards open-mindedness with moments like the accordion on “Valley,” or the rhythmic drift of “Any Who but Here,” the nuance of which is no less gracefully held together than the overarching flow of the album as a whole.

The Next Appointed Hour on Thee Facebooks

The Next Appointed Hour on Bandcamp

 

Blown Out, Superior Venus

blown out superior venus

Already sold out on preorders, the vinyl edition of Superior Venus from UK cosmic jammers Blown Out features two tracks – one per side – of space-wash heavy righteousness. “Impious Oppressor” and “Superior Venus” both top 15 minutes (and are accompanied by demo versions if you get the download), and proffer the kind of progressive improvisation-based flow that, indeed, might make one inclined to get an order in while the getting’s good. Blown Out, with members of Bong and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, have put out a slew of live and studio releases over the last three years, but as planets invariably revolve in cyclical patterns, so too does the regular frequency of their work become part of the expression itself. If you’re going to jam, do it all the time. On Superior Venus, Blown Out once more bring this ethic to life, and the resulting material spreads itself wide over its still relatively brief span. A short trip to orbit, perhaps, but well worth the undertaking.

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Review & Track Premiere: Lord, Blacklisted

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

lord blacklisted

[Click play above to stream ‘The Heart of a Hero’ from Lord’s new album, Blacklisted, out May 26 via Heavy Hound Records.]

A year is easily the fastest turnaround Lord have ever had between albums, so their latest, Blacklisted, arrives with immediate intrigue. Not only that, but I’m fairly certain it also marks the first time the band has had two full-length releases with the same lineup playing — the other in this instance being 2016’s Awake (review here), which was five years after 2011’s Chief (review here), which was four after 2007’s Built Lord Tough debut. They’ve had other offerings along the way like the 2014 EP, Alive in Golgotha (review here), issued as is Blacklisted through the band-affiliated Heavy Hound Records, and earlier demos and splits, but yes, that Blacklisted exists and finds Lord working with the returning lineup of founding guitarist Will Rivera along with vocalist Stephen Kerchner, guitarist Todd Wuehrmann, bassist Chris Dugay and drummer Kevin Marimow is something of a surprise.

And that extends likewise to the execution of the six-track/28-minute full-length as well. The Fredericksburg, Virginia-based outfit, who recorded this time at Adept Audio Lab with Sean Sanford, have always basked and reveled and wallowed in chaos. From their songcraft to their lineup to the fact that for many points between records one has often been left wondering if they’re still a band — not so much between Awake and Blacklisted, obviously, but in the past — Lord have been as nebulous and difficult to chart as their aesthetic has been destructive, proffering a blend of hardcore punk, grind, sludge, Southern metal and thrash as it seemingly followed whatever whims of extremity happened to occur for any given riff. That unhinged feel has been a part of their drive since their inception, and should rightly be considered a defining element of the band.

All of this is leading, of course, to the fact that Blacklisted is the most cohesive and arguably the least chaotic release they’ve ever put out, and somehow, that becomes its strength as it bull-charges through songs like opener “Mile After Mile,” the furious “They Lied” and the mournful penultimate cut “The Heart of a Hero.” That’s not to say Lord don’t still proffer riffs in torrential onslaught — they’re not 30 seconds into “Mile After Mile” before that reassurance is granted — just that their sense of control in doing so has never come through so plainly. With Kerchner backed by Wuehrmann (and maybe Rivera) on vocals, Lord flesh out arrangements of screams, growls and effects-laden shouts to go with the Southern metal lead style of the guitars and the forward-shoving rhythm.

“Mile After Mile” is the shortest piece on Blacklisted at 3:52 — closer “Not Your Problem?” is the longest, at 6:25 — and it feels tight to the point of being almost spare, casting off frills in favor of a raw thrust that continues in “They Lied,” which makes a hook of its title line, and “The Bandage,” which starts out as the most tumultuous grinder on the record before departing, just past the 1:40 mark, into an open groove and a build back toward full heft that features not only the best solo work here, but also at its end the most fluid transition, leading back to the song’s maddening, blasting sprint. Momentum feels all the more on Lord‘s side because the album is short, and they seem to be through the first three tracks before the listener has had time to process, so indeed, still plenty of attack in their approach, but it’s the precision and the sense of intention behind what they’re doing that makes Blacklisted the most accomplished and realized Lord outing to-date.

lord

The thrashing title-track picks up where “The Bandage” left off and mounts an assault of its own, playing between chugging groove and windmill-worthy squibbly riffing, growls and shouts emanating from beneath the guitars and bass as Marimow plows ahead. Seems fitting enough that the last half-minute or so of “Blacklisted” would be dedicated solely to feedback, because noise has always been an essential part of Lord‘s take, and because it seems to draw the first-four-cuts section of the record to a close ahead of the marked tempo shift that “The Heart of a Hero” brings, slowing down and riding a weighted but less outwardly brutal progression. There’s an emotional core behind the verse and chorus, somewhat obscured by what remains a vicious sonic core, but after a longer solo bridge, Kerchner‘s vocals return to underscore the expressive point and round out with a sense of structure before a last-measure slowdown brings the song to a no-less-resonant close.

Well placed, that departure is key to the album after “Mile After Mile,” “They Lied,” “The Bandage” and “Blacklisted,” but Lord return to more scathing ground with “Not Your Problem?,” beginning the finale with something of a cultural indictment in the lyrics — the most clearly audible on the release — over the drums before the guitars and bass join in. While less of a hurricane than, say, “The Bandage,” “Not Your Problem?” seems to find a middle-ground between that song and “The Heart of a Hero” and in so doing summarizes much of what’s working across Blacklisted while issuing a directive in what’s probably as much a “Lord riff” as can be heard here, the sharp-but-winding thrashiness of Rivera‘s style shining through as they make their way toward the last, cold finish as if to tell their audience that there’s no way they’re actually done.

That may in fact be the case, and Lord could turn around and have another full-length out in 2018 with the same players returning. Maybe, after more than a decade, they’ve found a way to sustain a balance between their aural and existential uproar. As someone who’s been a fan of the band since their early demo work, I hope all the more that’s the case given the direction Blacklisted shows them as taking, since while it expands their dynamic and brings them to levels of clarity never before heard from them, it also maintains the spirit of the work they’ve done before it, drawing strength from the experience of all that bludgeoning of days gone by.

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Windhand to Tour Europe with Satan’s Satyrs

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

windhand

So yes, Windhand are going to do a headlining European tour this Fall. That’s the news. Hardly the extent of the touring the Richmond doomers are doing in the next several months, however. In about two weeks they head over to Australia and New Zealand for a run there, then it’s back to the US for some quick dates in the Pacific Northwest, then in May, with fellow Virginians Satan’s Satyrs, they do the Eastern Seaboard and dive a bit into the Midwest. Psycho Las Vegas follows in August, and then it’s off to Europe, once again joined by Satan’s Satyrs, for the aforementioned autumnal run. So yes. Windhand are touring Europe. Windhand are also touring everywhere. Pretty much all the time.

It’s enough to make one wonder what’s going on June and July and why they won’t be on the road again before Psycho. OR WILL THEY???

I also wouldn’t be surprised if more Fall Euro dates got added to that stint. Seems like they’re right in the thick of festival season over there at that point (as if “festival season” ever ends anymore), and one imagines Windhand aren’t short on invites as they continue to support 2015’s righteous Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here). Worth keeping an eye on, anyhow.

From the PR wire:

windhand satan's satyrs tour poster

WINDHAND Announce Headlining European Tour Dates With Satan’s Satyrs

Richmond, VA doomsters WINDHAND have announced a new run of headlining European tour dates this coming fall with fellow Virginia based group Satan’s Satyrs. The tour commences September 21st in Copenhagen, DK and runs till October 13th in Bristol, UK. The two bands will also do a short North American run preceding the European Tour. A full listing of WINDHAND tour dates is available below.

WINDHAND Tour Dates:

— All Dates 3/31 – 4/8 with Cough —

Mar 31 Wellington, NZ San Fran
Apr 01 Auckland, NZ King’s Arm Tavern
Apr 02 Fortitude Valley, AUS Crowbar
Apr 05 Newtown, AUS Newton Social Club
Apr 06 Adelaide, AUS Fowlers Live
Apr 07 Melbourne, AUS Corner Hotel (+ Inverloch)
Apr 08 Perth, AUS Badlands

Apr 21 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
Apr 22 Vancouver, BC Fortune Sound Club
Apr 23 Seattle, WA Neumos

— All dates 5/17-5/25 with Satan’s Satyrs —

May 17 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
May 18 Pittsburgh, PA Cattivo
May 19 Toronto, ON Horseshoe Tavern
May 20 Detroit, MI Loving Touch
May 21 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
May 22 Minneapolis, MN 7th St. Entry
May 23 Milwaukee, WI Cactus Club
May 24 Indianapolis, IN The Hi-Fi
May 25 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups

Aug 18-20 Las Vegas, NV Psycho Las Vegas Festival

— All dates 9/21 – 10/14 with Satan’s Satyrs —

Sep 21 Copenhagen, DK Loppen
Sep 22 Oslo, NO BLA
Sep 23 Stockholm, SE Debaser Strand
Sep 25 Helsinki, FI Kuudes Linja
Sep 27 Gothenburg, SE Pustervik
Sep 28 Hamburg, DE Hafenklang
Sep 29 Cologne, DE MTC
Sep 30 Wiesbaden, DE Kesselhaus
Oct 01 Leipzig, DE UT Connewitz
Oct 02 Berlin, DE Cassiopeia
Oct 03 Vienna, AT Arena
Oct 04 Munich, DE Feierwerk
Oct 05 Bologna, IT Freak-Out Club
Oct 06 Mezzago, IT Bloom Club
Oct 08 Paris, FR Stoned Gathering
Oct 09 London, UK The Borderline
Oct 10 Leeds, UK Brudenell
Oct 11 Glasgow, UK Audio
Oct 12 Manchester, UK Rebellion
Oct 13 Bristol, UK Exchange

WINDHAND are still touring in support of their critically-acclaimed 2015 full-length Grief’s Infernal Flower, which can be streamed and purchased at the band’s Bandcamp page here.

https://www.facebook.com/WindhandVA/
https://www.instagram.com/windhand/
http://windhandva.bandcamp.com/
http://store.relapse.com/

Windhand, Grief’s Infernal Flower (2015)

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