Akris, Your Mantis: Burning, Rowing

Posted in Reviews on November 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

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It feels like longer than three years since bass-driven Virginia sludge outfit Akris offered up their self-titled debut (review here), but part of that may be due to the rather significant changes the band has undergone in that stretch. Founded as a two-piece in the wake of bassist/vocalist Helena Goldberg‘s prior outfit, AquilaAkris‘ second full-length, Your Mantis (on DGRecords), marks an entirely new beginning for the group, which in 2015 announced that joining Goldberg would be guitarist/vocalist Paul Cogle (NagatoBlack Blizzard) and drummer Tim Otis (Admiral Browning), establishing them as a trio for the first time. That’s no minor shift, adding guitar and second vocals for the first time, let alone a drummer with the fervor and intense personality and play that Otis brings, and the six-track/38-minute Your Mantis meets the change head-on with ambition, beginning a storyline reportedly intended to carry across a multi-album arc into the next Akris release, whatever form that may take when they get there.

This lineup made its opening statement with last year’s Fall EP (review here), so for those who heard that or the first record, perhaps Your Mantis won’t be so much a superficial sidestep from its predecessor — it’s still very much Goldberg at the core of group, and their blend of aggressive noise rock and weighted sludge tonality is consistent — but one can hear progression both in terms of the concepts with which Akris are working, and in the still-engagingly-raw sound they bring to bear, the track “Brown” offering a direct comparison point as it’s shared between both albums.

Worth noting that the version of “Brown” on Your Mantis is over a minute shorter than the one on Akris. The long-player itself follows suit. Recorded and mixed at Oubliette Studios with a mastering job by Noel Mueller of Grimoire Records and topped with Sean “Skillit” McEleny cover art, Your Mantis is over 20 minutes shorter than the preceding self-titled, and when it comes to a sound that plays back and forth between hypnotic melodicism and intense punkish fervor in the manner theirs does, building quickly into bursts of aggro thrust with a measure’s notice as Goldberg swaps out clean-singing for vicious screams, that brevity lends efficiency. Add to that a song like the well-placed “Burn with Me,” third of the six cuts, which finds Goldberg and Cogle working in duet-style vocals on a linear movement that’s clear and crisp in its execution, and Akris bring a sense of accomplishment and realization to Your Mantis that, while it may only be part of the story in terms of lyrical narrative, has plenty to say about how far they’ve come in the last three years.

akris

Since her days in Aquila, brashness has always been a feature of Goldberg‘s work, and that’s no different as opener “Profit” shifts from its early swaying and thudding into searing sludge and noise, setting up one of the essential trades the album will continue to make if not telling the full story in terms of atmosphere, which begins to flesh out with the fuzzier, more patient and winding “Sturgeon.” Melodically sung for the duration, it nonetheless hits into a slow-rolling finish before its five minutes are up, but even more, it provides a transition point between the scorch of “Profit” and “Burn with Me,” which brings Cogle forward vocally for the first time. It’s a quieter pulse at first, kept somewhat tense through percussion à la “Planet Caravan,” but that doesn’t last, and just past the halfway point heavier guitar kicks in and drives the song into its apex, leaving enough room on the other side to finish quiet and bring a sense of symmetry to what one presumes would be the end of side A.

Though it’s shorter as already noted, “Brown” feels more spacious in its early meanderings, but still locks into a blasting drive in its second half. That move between where-am-I-who-am-I and oh-yeah-I’m-here-to-rip-your-throat-out is in some ways the key to making Your Mantis work as it does, but Akris aren’t afraid to screw with the formula either, as the biting “Row” demonstrates with a near-blackened blend of rumble and screams at its start, giving way to the single angriest push of the record, an insistent noisy post-grunge chug still consistent atmospherically with echo on Goldberg‘s vocals, which relent as the three-piece move into the brief chorus only to trade back again as the next verse takes hold. It’s not chaos exactly — there’s a plan at work on a structural level — but it sure sounds like it. “Row,” as the penultimate cut before the 10-minute finale “Visitor,” is the most brutal piece on Your Mantis, and Otis, who so frequently shines as a drummer in moments of fury, makes a highlight of the frustrated crashes that accompany its late payoff, but it is ultimately the closer tasked to sum up the record as a whole.

Not as easy a job as it might initially seem. Across its first five tracks, Your Mantis has careened, lurched, thrust, wandered, pivoted and turned, remaining cohesive and even flowing front to back in a manner born of some of the same impulses as the debut but grown outward from them on nearly every level of theme and performance — and with a new lineup. “Visitor” is wise to take its time in covering all this ground, and whether or not it was written with the intent of closing, it does the job well, representing the dynamic in sound and style that Akris have come to proffer on what might itself feel like a first outing were it not so clearly benefiting from the experience of having made the self-titled before it. Clear-headed? Certainly as far as its purposes go. Your Mantis may well be the beginning of something of larger scope for Akris, but they still hold onto that basic rawness beneath, and their approach is all the richer for it.

Akris, Your Mantis (2016)

Akris on Thee Facebooks

Akris on Bandcamp

DGRecords webstore

DGRecords on Thee Facebooks

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Freedom Hawk to Reissue Sunlight on Ripple Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Virginia Beach four-no-three-no-four-piece heavy rockers Freedom Hawk just wrapped a tour up the Eastern Seaboard with Colossus supporting their 2015 fourth long-player, Into Your Mind (review here), released by Small Stone. Today brings word that their 2008 debut outing, Sunlight — which has been sold out on CD for long enough that I don’t know how long it’s been, but can still be streamed via the player below — will be pressed anew by Ripple Music, making Freedom Hawk the latest in a line of bands that includes Wo FatGozu and Roadsaw who’ve gone from one imprint to working with the other. Four bands. A noteworthy statistic.

Whether Freedom Hawk‘s relationship with Ripple will extend beyond this reissue, I don’t know, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye out as they move forward with their recently reconstructed lineup, detailed here. Here’s PR wire info for the interim:

freedom-hawk-sunlight

Ripple Music to Bring Freedom Hawk’s Debut Album, Sunlight, to Vinyl and World-Wide Release

Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of the long-lost debut album “Sunlight” from retro-rock pioneers, Freedom Hawk. Hailing from the barrier dunes of Virginia, this quartet blends heavy riffs, a rolling groove, and soulful guitar melodies to produce the sound that is Freedom Hawk. Widely recognized as one of the leading forces in the retro-rock movement, their brand of heavy rock coupled with a high energy live show, leaves many wondering if they’ve stepped through a time warp that has taken them to rock’s heyday of the 70’s by the power of their dark music fueled by the sun.

Originally self-released as a digital and very limited-run CD release in 2009, Ripple is proud to give this seminal album the full “Ripple” vinyl treatment. “Sunlight” is hard and powerful riff rock wrapped in core metal tones with melodic high pitched vocals and slight psychedelic edges. The driving beat and heavy guitars with timeless vocals gave light to the new birth in heavy music. Relegated to digital only status for too long, Sunlight will be released world-wide on January 27th, in two vinyl versions and CD.

Ripple is proud to help bring this amazing album to a whole new audience and spread the word on the killer riffs of Freedom Hawk.

https://www.facebook.com/freedomhawkmusic/
https://freedomhawk.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/freedomhawkband
http://www.freedomhawk.net/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

Freedom Hawk, Sunlight (2008)

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Quarterly Review: Blues Pills, Arctic, Major Kong, Hands I Annul Yours, Storm Ross, Sinister Haze, Love Gang, Nap, Manthrass, Astral Cult

Posted in Reviews on October 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Today we hit the halfway mark on the Fall 2016 Quarterly Review. Always an occasion worthy of song — or, you know, another batch of 10 records — which happens to be precisely the plan. We pick up much where we left off yesterday in working across a broad spectrum of heavy, and though there are some major releases in here as seems to be the case increasingly, please make sure to note some of the deeper underground stuff as well, whether it’s Hands I Annul Yours or Astral Cult, as nothing here is included by mistake. Some of this I’m late on, some of it isn’t out yet, but all of it is pretty current, so if there’s something here you’ve missed, bigger name or smaller, I hope you get some use out of the lot of it. Here goes.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Blues Pills, Lady in Gold

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Blues Pills – like their Nuclear Blast labelmates in Witchcraft, Graveyard and Kadavar before them – have modernized. Their second album behind what became a landmark self-titled debut (review here) in 2014, Lady in Gold arrives with a slick production casting off the vintage vibes while holding onto classic sensibility and rightfully continuing to feature the soulfulness of vocalist Elin Larsson, joined in the band by guitarist Dorian Sorriaux, bassist Zack Anderson (ex-Radio Moscow) and drummer André Kvarnström (ex-Truckfighters). Its 10 tracks/40 minutes are unmistakably pop in their construction, and deftly, complexly arranged, and play to an alternative vision of commercial accessibility in rock that I’m not sure exists anymore even in Europe. Or needs to for an album like Lady in Gold to be successful. As they weave into and out of gospel and R&B conventions, Blues Pills take a bold step away from what one might have expected coming off their debut and ultimately define themselves precisely through that boldness. Whether that works for them in the longer term will have to remain to be seen. For now, Lady in Gold can be jarring at first, but one would be hard pressed to come up with something else out there that sounds quite like it.

Blues Pills on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast website

 

Arctic, Arctic

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Los Angeles three-piece Arctic make their entry into Southern California’s crowded sphere of heavy/psychedelic rock with their self-titled debut on Outer Battery Records. To call them skate rock seems fair enough, since guitarist Justin “Figgy” Figueroa (also Harsh Toke), bassist Don “The Nuge” Nguyen and drummer Frex are all professional skateboarders, but the core of Arctic’s five-track/half-hour-flat runtime is in mixing classic stoner impulses with heavy psych jamming. Most of the record is instrumental, including 8:51 opener and longest track (immediate points) “Over Smoked,” but vocals pop up to surprise on centerpiece “Burnt Ice” and return again in form drawled enough to justify their having called the nodding closer “High” as they do. At very least they make it believable. Between the dankness throughout, the guitar-led fuzz boogie of “Cryptic Black Sun,” the natural vibes, the Arik Roper cover art and the utter lack of pretense, Arctic summarize much of the appeal of the West Coast’s current heavy movement, and so, should have no trouble continuing to make their name as part of it.

Arctic on Thee Facebooks

Outer Battery Records

 

Major Kong, Brave New Kong

Robot

Three new tracks from Poland’s Major Kong is nothing to complain about. The Lublin trio have been not-at-all-quietly stomping out quality riffs for more than half a decade now, and with “Energy Whip,” “Escape from the Holodeck” and “Pollution Halo,” the instrumentalists are in and out of Brave New Kong in under 14 minutes, working quickly and efficiently with a crisp but still thick production that pulls away from some of the focus on crush from late last year’s Galactic Cannibalism EP (review here). That may well be the Brave New Kong to which the title refers, or it’s entirely possible they’re just having fun with their own moniker – subsequent offerings will tell the tale – but Major Kong continue to be a well-kept secret for Poland’s fertile heavy underground, and if nothing else, they sound like a group due for a third full-length album, which will hopefully arrive sooner than later.

Major Kong on Thee Facebooks

Major Kong BigCartel store

 

Hands I Annul Yours, Year of Death

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One could make the argument that given the swath of cultural icons passed away, 2016 is the Year of Death to which Hands I Annul Yours are alluding to in the title of their latest Major Destroyer Records three-song tape, but aside from the fact that they specify it was 2013, one seriously doubts they give a shit about famous people dying. Beginning with the drone and feedback noise of “Year of Death Part I,” the cassette moves into a 19-minute stomp and crush that’s as misanthropic as it is weighted, and much as there is one, the prevailing sentiment is less reflecting on loss than it is rolling out claustrophobic heft. Fair enough. Following the tape-only “Verloren,” “Year of Death Part II” boasts more sample manipulation and a discernible lead from the guitar, but finds its way toward abrasion as well, rounding out Year of Death with a dissolution into feedback that would seem to bring it full circle.

Hands I Annul Yours on Bandcamp

Major Destroyer Records website

 

Storm Ross, Welcome, Sunshine

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Fortunately, the fact that Storm Ross named the opening track of Welcome, Sunshine “We Need to be Fugazi Now, More than Ever” is only the start of the 37-minute/10-track LP’s experimentalist charms. The follow-up to the Michigan-based guitarist’s 2014 return full-length, The Green Realm (review here), this new collection finds Ross himself once again making his way through soundscapes manic and pastoral with like ease, and as one piece feeds into the next on “Please Don’t Kill My Family” and “Benzie County Farm Fire, 1973” or the synth-infused, tech-shredding “Atheon” fading into the penultimate post-rock drift of “The Smiler” later (think Dylan Carlson solo gone sentimental for the West, plus a late uptick of noise), the sense of Welcome, Sunshine as a whole work is even more palpable than was the last outing, even as Ross jumps from one style to another or incorporates keys, percussion, etc., following various whims toward a universally progressive payoff. Limited to 300 copies on yellow vinyl or on cassette through Already Dead Tapes and Records.

Storm Ross on Thee Facebooks

Storm Ross on Bandcamp

 

Sinister Haze, Laid Low in the Dust of Death

STB_SINISTER_Cover

Virginian doomers Sinister Haze follow-up their 2015 debut EP, Betrayed by Time (review here), with the raw and scummed up Laid Low in the Dust of Death LP on STB Records. Recorded by Chad Davis (Hour of 13), it’s their first outing to feature Naam’s Eli Pizzuto on drums, and they do trip out a bit on guitar, but if you’re thinking slow space rock here you’ve got the wrong picture. Guitarist/vocalist Brandon Marcey (ex-Cough) and bassist/vocalist Sam Marsh lead the charge – the low-end is particularly satisfying in its roll throughout – and fellow newcomer JK (Lost Tribe) adds to the mix as well, so the spirit of Laid Low in the Dust of Death is bare-bones and classic, but positively covered in its titular dust. And maybe one or two other kinds. Six tracks split easily onto two sides, Sinister Haze’s first full-length outing comes across as a reaction against cleanliness in doom – call it gutter doom – flowing in its 12-minute closer “A Buried Dream,” but still clearly from the gut.

Sinister Haze on Thee Facebooks

STB Records BigCartel store

 

Love Gang, Love Gang

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The flute-laden heavy rock with which Denver’s Love Gang open their debut EP might stand among the best outcomes of Colorado’s marijuana legalization. A four-piece with a full sound only enhanced by the organ/woodwind work of Leo Muñoz, Love Gang self-release their first outing as four tracks that sap classic prog of its pretense and offer ‘70s heavy chemistry without leaning on vintage production. Guitarist/vocalist Kam Wentwork, bassist Grady O’Donnell and drummer Shaun Goodwin, together with Muñoz, get down to business on “Can’t Seem to Win” and the instrumental “Lonely Man,” go bluesy on “Highway” and boogie to a finish in “Sands of Time,” all the while sounding ready in their songcraft and execution for whatever label might come calling to stand behind their work. It’ll be somebody. Some bands take time to develop into their own sound, and some break the doors down out of the gate. Love Gang are the latter. Whenever they get around to a first full-length, I hope they remember to weird out a little bit.

Love Gang on Thee Facebooks

Love Gang on Bandcamp

 

Nap, Villa

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Though five of the eight tracks on Nap’s debut, Villa, have words at one point or another, it’s probably still fair to note the psych-inflected German trio as a mostly-instrumental outfit. The lyrics, when they’re there, arrive in short verses, lines included it seems more to create the impression of a human presence rather than affirm a structure. They are vague in theme for the most part, but there, though there isn’t a song in the bunch that goes as far as a chorus. No complaints. Nap, as a project, feel much more given toward the spacious and atmospheric exploration one finds in the midsection of second cut “Sabacia” than the four or five lines in the driving riff subsequent. As the record plays out, they incorporate elements of surf – surprisingly more on “Duna” and closer “Autobahn” than “Xurf,” but it could also be a Yawning Man influence surfacing – resulting in an overarching progressive feel that serves their fluidity on this first album.

Nap on Thee Facebooks

Nap on Bandcamp

 

Manthrass, Blues del Destino

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Heavy rocking Buenos Aires three-piece Manthrass issued their debut, Blues del Destino, last year and were subsequently snagged for release through South American Sludge Records, no doubt for the record’s cohesive, hard-driving bluesy push, natural tones and easy-grooving feel. The shuffle of “Una Flor” is a highlight, but neither will you find me arguing with the Pappo’s Blues cover “El Brujo y el Tiempo,” with a burlier vocal and a rolling progression that seems to sum up a lot of where Manthrass are coming from to start with, though closer “Navegar” gets down with more raucous fare. A quality first full-length with a crisp production balanced by a fervent live feel in the energy from the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mariano Castiiglioni, bassist/vocalist Ángel Rizzo and drummer/backing vocalist Fede Martínez, who are clearly versed in modern heavy as well as the classics, and are able to control their own destiny here accordingly.

Manthrass on Thee Facebooks

South American Sludge on Bandcamp

 

Astral Cult, The Sacred Flame

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Commencement comes on Astral Cult’s second album, The Sacred Flame, via the ritualized psychedelic incantations of “Prayer,” and from there, the Californian four-piece unfold a molten vision of heavy space rock that stands apart from a lot of what bands further sound in San Diego or even San Francisco are doing, vocalist Alexandre Lapuh, guitarist Ryan Musser, bassist Stefan Henskens and drummer Brazdon Goodwin (since replaced by Cristian Gonzalez) finding their footing in a lumbering and deceptively doomed “Quetzalcotl” after so much lysergic preaching on “Call of the Wild” and “Beacon of Darkness.” The range is surprising, but more so is the fluidity Astral Cult conjure between what are often disparate styles, the four-piece nearly hitting the 13-minute mark on the closing title-tack as they lay the two sides together, one into the next. It’s a rarer blend, but The Sacred Flame, at nearly an hour long, gears itself for maximum immersion.

Astral Cult on Thee Facebooks

Astral Cult on Bandcamp

 

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Beaten Back to Pure Post First New Song in More than a Decade

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

beaten-back-to-pure

Between 2001 and 2004, Beaten Back to Pure released three albums of unrepentantly kickass Southern metal. With elements of thrash, death metal, classic heavy rock and more, they were a ferocious, drunk force to be reckoned with, and across ’01’s Southern Apocalypse, the next year’s The Last Refuge of the Sons of Bitches, and ’04’s The Burning South, they ripped through heavy and metallic convention and cast their own identity at a time before a new generation was about to discover what sonic weight sounded like. That timing means that, while they kicked ass at Emissions from the Monolith, they never quite got the recognition they deserved, as was the case with many acts of that same era. MySpace was a long time ago.

This past weekend, Beaten Back to Pure vocalist Ben Hogg (also Night Magic, Birds of Prey, ex-Hour of 13) put out word he’d be posting the band’s first new song since The Burning South was released on behalf of himself and guitarist/engineer Vince Burke (also Hail!Hornet), who also helmed the recording at his Sniper Studio. The track has the working title “Life Time Served,” which I’m told might change, and while it revives some of the core push and extremity that made Beaten Back to Pure so righteous during their initial run, that spacious guitar intro at the start and all those cleaner, more soulful vocals are hard to ignore. Nor do I want to, frankly. “Life Time Served” would seem to benefit from the work Burke and Hogg have done since their last outing together, and from where I sit, that only makes it stronger.

Check it out below, followed by an update on where the band is at now. When and if I hear of a new release, I’ll keep you posted.

Enjoy:

Beaten Back to Pure, “Life Time Served”

First new song in over a decade. We got 9 of em. We’re calling it an album but maybe just 9 singles. Like Flo Rida.

Aight folks uploading this was a bitch. Vince is passing out like a lame. Anyway, here’s what I was speaking on earlier. There’s some intro but it’s all sick

Actually just occurred to me I hope y’all dare this shit.

That makes no sense^ we were drinking like broz do. I’m not sure what I was trying to say.

Beaten Back to Pure:
Ben Hogg – crooner
Vince Burke – drunk
Richie Scharr – friend of Scott Travis
Slam Jacobs – impoverished
David Vaughn – new guy

Beaten Back to Pure on Thee Facebooks

Ben Hogg on YouTube

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Freedom Hawk Announce Northeast Tour; Add New Guitarist

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Virginian heavy rockers Freedom Hawk will head out on a tour of the Eastern Seaboard next month. Freedom Hawk head out in support of their 2015 offering, Into Your Mind (review here), their fourth album and second for Small Stone Records, and will kickoff with a D.C. gig alongside King Giant and Serpents of Secrecy. From there, they’ll be out with North Carolina’s Colossus, and this tour will also act as the inaugural run with new guitarist Brendan O’Neil, who recently joined on to make Freedom Hawk a reborn four-piece.

Have to wonder how that will change the dynamic of the band, particularly considering just how metal O’Neil‘s background seems to be, but even more, what that does for Into Your Mind, which was recorded as a trio, and how that material might change with the addition of a second guitar. Of course, Freedom Hawk were a four-piece previously, as heard on 2011’s Holding On (review here), so that would seem to make Into Your Mind even more of a standout in the band’s catalog. Interesting times.

They’re also dropping hints — as you can see below — for big announcements to come for 2017. I have a pretty good feeling what that might mean, but don’t want to hazard a guess and have it turn out wrong, which it almost invariably would. Needless to say, more to come when I hear it.

Till then, dig this:

freedom-hawk-tour-poster

Freedom Hawk Tour News

After being quite for a while after last years European tour, we have no worked in a new guitarist (Brendan O’Neil from the thrash band Pestilence Choir) to round us out as a 4 piece once again and have been busy writing new material. We have decided to take a pause from writing to get out on the road to do a very short tour run around the Northeast accompanied by our metal maniac mates in Colossus (Raleigh, NC). We have relatively exciting news (at least to us that is) coming up to announce… 2017 is looking bright.

Tour News:

Burn Sweet Booking and Small Stone Records presents:
Freedom Hawk – Into Your Mind – US Northeast Tour w/ Colossus
Oct 11 Washington DC @ DC 9 w/ King Giant, Serpents of Secrecy (DC debut show)* – https://www.facebook.com/events/327139544302114/
Oct 12 Pittsburgh PA @ Gooski’s – https://www.facebook.com/events/1152277241498688/
Oct 13 Pennsylvania PA @ The Fire
Oct 14 New York, NY @ Fat Baby
Oct 15 Baltimore, MD @ Sidebar w/ Foghound – https://www.facebook.com/events/565340517000833/
Oct 16 Richmond, VA @ Wonderland – https://www.facebook.com/events/1772594016344983/
*No Colossus

www.smallstone.com
www.freedomhawkband.com
www.itunes.com/freedomhawk

Freedom Hawk, Into Your Mind (2015)

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Akris Premiere “Brown” Video; Your Mantis Due Sept. 23

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

akris

As I understand it, the new Akris video is the beginning point for a storyline that will continue into their next clip and maybe even their next release, but from the artfully shot slow-motion closeups, the ’90s-style walking toward the camera while the camera backs up at pace — see also Mantar‘s recent “Cross the Cross” video (posted here) — and the focus on performance throughout, there’s plenty in “Brown” to represent what the Virginian trio are all about. They’ll issue the band’s second full-length, Your Mantis (with fabulous Skillit artwork), Sept. 23 on DGRecords, marking the long-play debut of Akris‘ current lineup of bassist/vocalist/founder Helena Goldberg, guitarist/vocalist Paul Cogle (also Black Blizzard) and drummer Tim Otis (also Admiral Browning) after the release of last year’s Fall EP (review here).

akris your mantisAnd for a standalone representation of what this version of Akris — they started as a duo and released their self-titled debut (review here) in 2013 — are all about, there’s little more one could ask of “Brown” than what the song delivers. Goldberg is front and center and her vocals melodic in a post-grunge tradition, always with a kind of riot grrl undercurrent, but the additional fuzz that Cogle‘s guitar brings to the mix lets her explore more fleshed out basslines, and of course Otis is a master of on-the-beat drumming, his tight style perfectly suited to Akris‘ noise rock tendencies, which come out more later in the track as Goldberg moves into and out of more vicious screams and leads the three-piece through d-beat rush that’s a surprise after the initial groove they lock in, but not at all out of place.

DGRecords has Your Mantis available for preorder now (linked below). The release show is set for Sept. 23 at Guido’s Speakeasy in Frederick, Maryland, and under the “Brown” video, you’ll find some comment from Goldberg about how the song and video tie together and where they might be headed from here.

Please enjoy:

Akris, “Brown” official video

Helena Goldberg on “Brown”:

This video for “Brown” is a preface to our next album and video (projected release 2017/2018). This multiple album-spanning storyline is based on a dream that I had in 2011, in which three brown-robed travelers journey in a timeless and seemingly empty world, united by a common purpose that will not be revealed until the end of our next album and video. Seen through the “eyes” of an unknown entity, the video offers an intimate glimpse into the projected origins of this group of travelers (the three members of Akris). The viewer finds the travelers coming to an old warehouse, discovering their robes and instruments, then packing them up and beginning our journey that will be continued next with the Sleeping Village album.

The Akris sophomore full-length, “Your Mantis” will be the first album released by DGRecords with the new lineup (Paul Cogle on guitar, Tim Otis on drums). The album has songs that listeners may recognize from past albums (“Brown,” “Profit,” “Row of Lights”), as well as brand new tracks such as “Visitor,” “Burn with Me,” and “Sturgeon.” The visual imagery and storyline that you will see in the video for “Brown” seems to have been as much a part of the song as the words and music, and constantly in my mind over the years. I can’t say enough good things about Three Goats Moving Pictures. Their commitment and passion was completely inspiring, and it has been extremely moving to me that they were so dedicated to creating visually these images I’ve had in my head for so long. They were incredibly professional (worked nonstop for about 10-12 hours the day of the shoot, one guy literally just grabbing a handful of bread and peanut butter at one point and continuing working, that was his “break”!). It’s also been amazing how supportive DGRecords has been in helping us to create this video. Your Mantis drops September 23rd, and we will be touring out to the Southwest Terror Fest in October in support of the release!

Akris on tour:
Fri 09/23 Frederick MD – Guidos- CD release show
Fri 10/14 Asheville NC – Odditorium
Sat 10/15 Nashville TN – Springwater
Sun 10/16 Little Rock – TBA
Mon 10/17 Austin, TX – The Lost Well – w/ Order of the Owl and Destroyer of Light
Wed 10/19 Rogue bar Scottsdale AZ w/ order of the owl
Thurs 10/20 Tucson AZ – Southwest Terror Fest- Gary’s place
Sat 10/22 TBA
Mon 10/24 TBA
Tues 10/25 Hattiesburg – The Tavern
Wed 10/26 Birmingham – the Fireside

Akris on Thee Facebooks

Akris release show event page

Akris on Bandcamp

Your Mantis preorder from DGRecords

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Windhand Announce East Coast Shows for December

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

At this point, one almost receives an email with a subject announcing a Windhand tour and expects it to list a month-plus of dates. That’s kind of just how the Virginian outfit have operated for the last couple years — already they’ve put in considerable time supporting last fall’s Jack Endino-produced Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here) — but this time around it’s just a handful of gigs for December alongside Relapse Records labelmate extremists Ilsa that will take them as far north from Richmond as the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn before they head back, a quick run of pre-holiday dates.

Maybe they’re testing out new material ahead of 2017? Maybe they’re taking a victory lap for Grief’s Infernal Flower? Or maybe they just feel like getting out and doing a couple nights to wrap the year. Can hardly hold it against them either way.

The PR wire has details and a couple September shows as well:

windhand

WINDHAND Announce US Tour Dates With ILSA

Stoner/doom heavyweights WINDHAND have announced a new run of US tour dates this coming December along with labelmates and recent Relapse signees ILSA. The bands will be leveling Washington D.C., Boston, and New York beginning December 1; WINDHAND will also be playing select US dates in September. Check out a full itinerary below.

WINDHAND Live:
Sep 06 Atlanta GA The Earl
Sep 07 Nashville TN Exit/In
Sep 15 Durham NC Motorco Music Hall

***All Dates With Ilsa***
Dec 01 Washington DC Black Cat Mainstage
Dec 02 Boston MA Brighton Music Hall
Dec 03 New York NY Mercury Lounge
Dec 04 Brooklyn NY St Vitus

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.

D.C. death metal crew ILSA signed to Relapse last year and released a two-song split with labelmates COFFINS this past February. The split is available for streaming and purchase at this location.

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

Windhand, Grief’s Infernal Flower (2015)

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Cough Touring Europe with Elder this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

I like a tour with an element of contrast, and to pair Virginia’s Cough with Massachusetts trio Elder strikes me as particularly brilliant. It’s a classic light and dark. Cough head overseas behind their new album, Still They Pray (review here), a massive slab of full-on bum-you-the-fuck-out doom that rolls its grooves like boulders. Elder? Still supporting 2015’s album of the year Lore (review here), they lead the charge with fleet-footed progressive heavy rock that even as it maintains its tonal crunch only seems to be becoming brighter in its tone.

So yeah, like I say: Some contrast. Awesome.

From the PR wire:

cough

COUGH Announce EU Tour Dates With Elder

Fresh off the release of their highly-acclaimed new record Still They Pray, Richmond stoner/doom veterans COUGH have announced a European tour with contemporaries Elder set to begin this coming October. The band will be performing throughout Western Europe and the UK, including appearances at Up In Smoke Festival in Switzerland and Desertfest in Belgium. The band will also be performing select US dates before their departure – see a full list of dates below.

COUGH Live:
Aug 12 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
Aug 13 Brooklyn, NY Union Pool

***European Tour***
Oct 01 Pratteln, CH Up In Smoke Festival @ Z7
Oct 02 Nürnberg, DE Kunstverein / Z – Bau
Oct 03 Budapest, HU Dürer Kert
Oct 04 Berlin, DE SO 36
Oct 06 Nantes, FR TBD
Oct 07 Lyon, FR TBD
Oct 10 London, UK Underworld
Oct 11 Edinburgh, UK Bannermans
Oct 12 Manchester, UK Rebellion
Oct 13 Coventry, UK The Phönix
Oct 14 Bristol, UK Exchange
Oct 15 Antwerp, BE Desertfest Belgium @ Trix

Nov 12 Long Beach, CA Di Piazza’s – Midnite Communion Festival
Nov 18 Indianapolis, IN 5th Quarter – Doomed and Stoned Festival

COUGH’s new album Still They Pray is out now via Relapse Records on CD/2xLP/Digital. Physical orders and bundle deals are available via Relapse.com here, and digital copies can be ordered through COUGH’s Bandcamp page at this location.

http://www.facebook.com/cough666
http://www.cough.bandcamp.com
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

Cough, Still They Pray (2016)

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