I’ve been pretty up front all along about my enduring affection for Virginian chaos weavers Lord, so I feel no need to search for excuses for posting this live video of their full-set from this summer’s inaugural Maryland Doom Fest. I dig the band, so there you go. Last month, they updated about the progress for their new album, Awake, which will be the follow-up to last year’s Alive in Golgotha EP (review here) and 2011’s Chief (review here), saying that the mix had been finalized and they’d be setting a release date soon, but part of the excitement with Lord is that you never really know. They could drop it tomorrow or they could completely revamp their lineup (again) and take three years off. They’re Lord. They’re not kidding when they say “No Explanations Necessary.”
Unsurprisingly, they crushed it at the Maryland Doom Fest in front of a not-quite-hometown-but-certainly-familiar crowd, playing new material and old. They’ve reportedly started writing for the follow-up to Alive already, and they’ve continued to do regional live shows, playing with the likes of Fistula and The Osedax, so they’re keeping plenty busy while they wait on artwork and so on for the pending release. One never really knows how things are going to shake out with Lord until they’re already shook, but a surge in activity would definitely be welcome by me, as I’ve said before, and I think the live video below gives a pretty good sense of why as they push into realms of extreme sludge and grind that no one else seems to capture with the same thickness or intensity. If you get the chance to check it out, hope you dig.
Filming was done by Jim Rosenkrans of LeadFoot Productions. Setlist and other info follow:
Lord, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2015
Setlist: 1) breathe 2) what you may call the devil is amongst us 3) reset the wave 4) no explanations necessary 5) strangers on the road 6) one step away
The final mix for our new full length, Awake, has just been completed by Vince Burke! We’re hoping to get it out as quickly as possible. While we’re waiting on the final aspects (artwork, etc.), we’ve started writing new material and are already 2 songs deep into the next release. The fire’s been stoked and we’re keep the momentum going. Stay tuned for release info coming very soon!!!
Chris Dugay-Bass Willy Rivera-Guitars/Vocals Kevin “Skip” Marimow-Drums/Percussion Todd Weurhmann-Guitars/Vocals Steven Kerchner-Lead Vocals/Synths
Like most Halloweens, the one depicted in Windhand‘s new video for “Two Urns” starts out with some innocent trick-or-treating and TP’ing houses and winds up in murder. Don’t act like you’ve never been there. The Virginian doom forerunners will head out this week — tomorrow, by golly — on a headlining tour to support their third album, the newly-released Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here), and the timing on a Halloween-themed video is eerily good, what, uh, with… Halloween… coming up — do I really need to explain that?
Point is Windhand have their shit together. The album proved that well enough, and as the five-piece move into headlining bigger stretches in bigger venues, that can only continue to serve them. Starting and ending on the East Coast, the stint alongside Danava and Monolord will make a stop at Night of the Shred on Halloween night, and hits just about every other choice market in the States either before or after, so kudos. They’ve busted their collective ass on the road the last several years to get to this point, and one hopes this tour goes well and leads to more. That’s what the work is for, right? More work? So yeah, keep it rolling.
Video and tour dates follow:
Windhand, “Two Urns” official video
Watch Windhand’s New Video “Two Urns”
Headlining North American Tour Kicks Off This Week
Windhand share a new evil video just in time for Halloween. The story goes: It’s Halloween, 1987. Four best friends are out trick-or-treating on their BMXs. Four older bullies in a muscle car have an appetite for something more sinister than candy.
Windhand’s headlining North American Tour kicks off next week with Danava and Monolord. Highlights include NYC’s Gramercy Ballroom, Chicago’s Empty Bottle, LA’s Roxy, San Diego’s Night of the Shred, Fun Fun Fun Fest and more – full list of dates below.
Windhand Live Dates: Oct 21: New York, NY – Gramercy # Oct 22: Buffalo, NY – Waiting Room # Oct 23: Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose # Oct 24: Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle # Oct 27: Seattle, WA – Neumos # Oct 28: Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret # Oct 29: Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios # Oct 30: San Francisco, CA – The Chapel # Oct 31: San Diego, CA – Night of the Shred ^ Nov 1: Los Angeles, CA – Roxy # Nov 2: Mesa, AZ – Club Red # Nov 3: Albuquerque, NM – Sister # Nov 4: Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater # Nov 6: Dallas, TX – Dada # Nov 7: Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites # Nov 8: Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern # Nov 11: Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups # Nov 12: Ferndale, MI – Loving Touch # Nov 13: Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop # Nov 14: Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery # Nov 15: Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts # # – w/ Danava and Monolord ^ – w/ Monolord
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
An Oct. 30 release for a Satan’s Satyrs record seems only fitting. The newly announced Don’t Deliver Us will be the Virginian trio’s third, and it arrives bolstered by bassist/vocalist Clayton Burgess‘ double-tenure in Electric Wizard, for whom Satan’s Satyrs opened on their Spring 2015 US tour (review here). Speaking of touring, that seems to be precisely what the still-youngin’ three-piece have in mind to support the new album, as they’ll be out in the coming months with Pentagram and Electric Citizen in the US and with Kadavar in Europe, continuing to keep good company and spread the word of their biker-infused proto-doom. Maize, you call it heavy rock and roll.
The PR wire brings album details and copious calendar fodder:
SATAN’S SATYRS to Unleash New Album Don’t Deliver Us October 30
DC-area Psych / Doom Gang Unveils Electrifying New LP, Announces U.S. Tour with Pentagram
Bloodcurdling Virginia rock & roll creepers SATAN’S SATYRS will release their highly-anticipated new album Don’t Deliver Us on October 30 via Bad Omen Records. The underground trio, featuring bassist / vocalist Clayton Burgess (also of Electric Wizard), guitarist Jarrett Nettnin and drummer Stephen Fairfield, whose sound has been hailed as, “positively seething with a frenzied, untamed energy that takes everything you love about doom metal and punk rock and smashes them together in a glorious, technicolour explosion,” recorded the album in Nashville, TN and calls it, “more stripped down, more raw, and definitely heavier.”
“We wanted to recapture the primitive thrust of rock ‘n’ roll with our sound,” asserts Burgess, who recently achieved the considerable feat of completing a sold-out U.S. tour performing double-duty in both SATAN’S SATYRS and Electric Wizard. “I’ve watched Tony Iommi rip into the opening chords of ‘War Pigs’ from 30 feet away. I’ve had Bobby Liebling look me straight in the eyes as he sang ‘All Your Sins’. I’ve had my hair stand on end and felt strange frissons from the music which means so much to me. My ultimate desire is to reach people in the same way with our music. That’s what I strive for”
Track listing: 1.) Full Moon and Empty Veins 2.) Two Hands 3.) (Won’t You Be My) Gravedancer 4.) Spooky Nuisance 5.) Germanium Bomb 6.) Creepy Teens 7.) Crimes and Blood 8.) You-Know-Who 9.) ‘Round the Bend
Prior to the Halloween-ish release of Don’t Deliver Us, SATAN’S SATYRS will hit the road as hand-picked guests of the aforementioned Liebling and Pentagram for a slew of east coast U.S. tour dates. The terrifying trek will kick off on September 30 in Philadelphia, PA. The just-announced dates are as follows:
SATAN’S SATYRS U.S. tour dates: (All shows with Pentagram) September 30 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts October 1 Providence, RI The Met October 2 Amityville, NY Revolution October 3 Washington, DC Rock N Roll Hotel October 6 New York, NY Saint Vitus October 7 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls October 9 Chicago, IL The Abbey October 10 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme October 11 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
SATAN’S SATYRS European tour with Kadavar: 05.11. F Strasbourg – La Laiterie 06.11. D Cologne – Kantine 07.11. NL Nijmegen – Doornroosje 08.11. UK Manchester – Sound Control 09.11. UK Glasgow – Audio 10.11. UK Leeds – The Brudenell Social Club 11.11. UK Wolverhampton – Slade Rooms 12.11. UK Bristol – Marble Factory 13.11. UK Cardiff – The Globe 14.11. UK London – The Dome 15.11. FR Tourcoing – Le Grand Mix 17.11. F Paris – La Trabendo 18.11. F Nantes – Stereolux 19.11. F La Rochelle – La Sirene 20.11. E Madrid – Penelope 21.11. E Barcelona – Razzmatazz II 22.11. F Bordeaux – Le Krakatoa 23.11. F Lyon – Ninkasi Kao 25.11. CH Zurich – Dynamo 26.11. CH Geneva – L’Usine 27.11. D Stuttgart – Wizemann 28.11. D Munich – Backstage 30.11. D Frankfurt – Batchkapp 01.12. D Hamburg – Markthalle 02.12. DK Copenhagen – Pumpehuset 03.12. N Oslo – Vulkan 04.12. S Gothenburg – Brewhouse 05.12. S Stockholm – Debaser Medis 07.12. FIN Jyväskylä – Lutakko 08.12. FIN Helsinki – Nosturi 09.12. EST Tallinn – Club Tapper 10.12. LT Vilnius – Propaganda 11.12. PL Gdansk – B90 12.12. PL Warsaw – Progresja 13.12. PL Krakow – Fabryka 15.12. A Vienna – Arena 16.12. D Nuremberg – Hirsch 17.12. B Brussels – Vk* 18.12. D Berlin – Astra 19.12. D Oberhausen – Turbinenhalle II 20.12. NL Amsterdam – Melkweg
Posted in Reviews on September 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
More and more, the leadup to each new album release from Virginian doomers Windhand feels like an event. The five-piece have wanted little for vehemence of response going back to their 2012 self-titled debut (streamed here), which in combination with the considerable amount of road time they put in was enough so that Relapse Records came calling for the follow-up, 2013’s Soma (review here). Their touring has only helped expand their reach, and they arrive at their third album (second for Relapse), Grief’s Infernal Flower, ready to take the next step, not only as headliners, but as one of current doom’s most prevalent acts.
A comparison one might make — not sonically — is to where High on Fire were after Blessed Black Wings. A couple killer records under their belt, an underground reputation for volume and badassery, a rising profile, and a swath cut into the US and Europe through consistent touring. High on Fire‘s 2007 outing, Death is this Communion, could easily be argued as their breakout moment, and positioning Windhand‘s Grief’s Infernal Flower next to that album seems all the more appropriate when one notes that both LPs were recorded and mixed by Jack Endino (both also have cover art by Arik Roper). So we see Windhand enter into this album cycle as a band ready for the next level — and whatever that next level turns out to be will unfold over the next couple months and years as Grief’s Infernal Flower is released and received by critics and the public at large; I’m not interested in speculating how “big” it or they will be — and Endino as the producer to help them get there.
For what it’s worth, I do not think this album is as far as Windhand — the five-piece of vocalist/acoustic guitarist Dorthia Cottrell guitarists Garrett Morris and Asechiah Bogdan, bassist Parker Chandler (also Cough) and drummer Ryan Wolfe — are able to go with their sound. The nine tracks/71 minutes of Grief’s Infernal Flower are, however, easily the farthest they’ve gone with it yet. Whether it’s the consuming mire of “Hesperus” and the penultimate “Kingfisher,” both of which top 14 engrossing minutes of aired-out plod, or the acoustic tracks “Sparrow” and “Aition,” both positioned to close a second side of a 2LP release (the latter, thus, finishing the album), Windhand are the most realized and individualized they’ve yet been across Grief’s Infernal Flower‘s considerable span.
Of course, one can still hear shades of Jus Oborn‘s creeping influence in the leads of the one-two opening salvo of “Two Urns” and “Forest Clouds,” but the surrounding context in which that influence plays out has shifted to be more identifiable as Windhand‘s own, and while Soma boasted plenty of atmosphere, the reaches Windhand take the crawling “Tanngrisnir” and “Hyperion” come across as a natural extension and step forward from that. In particular, the performance of Cottrell on “Hyperion,” while layered, stands as an easy showcase for her growth as a singer and the confidence in general with which these songs are executed. She carries the acoustic tracks fluidly, as one might expect given her similarly-minded solo work, but even “Kingfisher,” which by the time it hits is not just the apex of the album but the deepest plummet of its hypnotic dive, is made richer for her delivery, which feels mirrored in the echoing guitars as only hinted prior.
And while doom is still very much at the heart of what Windhand have to offer, they continue to expand the definition of what that doom means in terms of their own sound. The early-arriving “Crypt Key” is as tonally cumbersome as “Hesperus” or “Kingfisher” once it gets past its acoustic intro and suddenly lurches forward, heavy-swaying and dreamy in kind, Chandler adding organ for even more flourish, but it’s also among the catchier tracks the band has ever written and especially in its chorus has a distinctive grunge vibe, which “Tanngrisnir” complements gorgeously. Not sure I need to note that Endino also helmed records for Soundgarden, L7 and Nirvana, but I will anyway, though the nuance feels more naturally brought to bear and less calculated than the band writing a song to suit the style of their producer.
Still, it’s hard not to listen to Grief’s Infernal Flower with that collaboration in mind, which no doubt was part of the intent in working with Endino in the first place, and pivotally, it’s the band who makes the lasting impression when the album is done, Cottrell‘s resonant self-harmonies on “Aition” backed with the sound of wind to fill out the mix and remind of the foreboding ambience the band has conjured all along. Wherever Grief’s Infernal Flower takes them, and whatever its impact on the band over the long-ish term until their next outing (and beyond, I suppose), it remains Windhand‘s defining work to-date and a fresh take on ideas that, while superficially familiar, are given new life in the hands of a band reshaping their genre to suit their purposes. I’m not convinced it’s their masterpiece or their creative peak, but it’s a definite step in that direction and one that feels integral to the work Windhand want to do.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been about a year since Fredericksburg, Virginia, chaosbringers Lord streamed their latest EP, Alive in Golgotha, in this space, and while they’ve continued to have some lineup shifts and whatnot since, that’s nothing new. The band marks a decade of existence this year, and they’ve recorded a new LP called Awake with Vince Burke that as of their latest update is in the mastering stage and nearing completion (they have a new split in the works as well).
A release through the band-associated Heavy Hound Records seems likely, though one never knows exactly who or what to expect from Lord, or how to expect it, or when, but the progress is encouraging. Easy to imagine they could have Awake out before the end of the year, but if it winds up being 2016 by the time it’s pressed, that doesn’t seem unreasonable either.
Whenever it shows, new Lord is always welcome by me. I’ll keep an eye and when I hear of a definite release date, will let you know.
Some words from the band and live dates:
Just checkin in to let ya know what the LORD camp is gonna be up to for the next few months: We’re currently waiting for the final mix/master of our latest full length, Awake, from Vince Burke to see if we can move forward with the printing process.
The artwork will be handled by James Hanley this time around whose vision and visual aesthetic will help us move into the next phase of this band.We were originally planning to record a covers ep at our home studio but we decided to scrap that idea and instead focus our efforts into writing new material. The “new” line-up has truly developed some great chemistry and that’s bled into the writing process. We’re aiming to capitalize on the momentum we’ve been creating and the creativity we’ve tapped into with our latest release. We’re looking to focus on material for proposed split ep w/our buds in Dead Hand from Georgia and then moving onto to a new ep with a lyrical concept that Kerch has been working on since we left the studio.
We have a few shows lined up w/some great bands over the next few months that will bring us to the climax of the Brew & Fire Fest that will be taking place in the place where our history began, Fredericksburg, VA, back in 2005. That show will feature a bunch of great bands,many of them are vets from F’Burg’s old school scene who’ve gone on to make a name for themselves regionally.
We’re stoked to be a part of it and couldn’t be happier to be this busy after years of turbulence and strife. Cheers to all of you who’ve stayed loyal and supportive, we’ll never take that for granted…
09/19 Fat Tuesday’s, Fairfax, VA W/ Aurelian 10/09 The Sidebar, Baltimore, MD w/ Fistula, Fortress, Foehammer and Musket Hawk 11/14 Brew and Fire, KC’s Music Alley, Fredericksburg, VA w/ Foehammer, The Osedax and more
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I caught onto Inter Arma‘s 2014 single-song outing, The Cavern, pretty late. Waited until I bought it to dig in, essentially, but had no regrets once I did, and so it’s that much easier to look forward to their next album’s arrival in 2016. Once again, they’ll be recording with Mikey Allred (Across Tundras, All Them Witches) when they enter the studio on Sept. 19, and they also have tour dates with Kylesa upcoming next month. Seems likely the record will be done by then, unless they’re planning to finish it over the winter after they tour, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they took some of the new material on the road.
They offer some comment on what to expect (hint: the unexpected), and the PR wire brings those tour dates as follows:
INTER ARMA: Prepare New Album; Announce Tour Dates With Kylesa
Richmond, VA’s INTER ARMA have announced their plans for their highly-anticipated third full-length record. The as-yet-to-be-titled album follow-up to 2013’s Sky Burial will again be recorded and produced at Dark Art Audio with Mikey Allred (Yautja, Hivelords), where the band has produced its last two releases. The record is due out early next year via Relapse.
The band commented on the new album, “On September 19th we’ll return to Dark Art Audio in Madison, TN to begin recording our third full length record. The sonic alchemist Mikey Allred will once again sit in the captain’s seat for this journey. Album title, etc. are TBA. As always, expect the unexpected.”
After having completed a US tour this past May with pessimistic Nashville sludge crew Yautja that also included an appearance at Maryland Deathfest, INTER ARMA have also announced new touring plans. The band will be embarking on a series of US shows this October directly supporting Kylesa. Further support will come from Indian Handcrafts and Irata. INTER ARMA are still touring in support of their two latest releases, 2014’s The Cavern and 2013’s Sky Burial, both of which can be streamed via INTER ARMA’s official Bandcamp. See below for a full list of dates:
INTER ARMA Tour Dates: ***All dates with Kylesa, Indian Handcrafts and Irata*** Oct 06 St. Petersburg, FL State Theatre Oct 07 Miami, FL Churchills Pub Oct 08 Orlando, FL The Social Oct 09 Savannah, GA Jinx Oct 10 Asheville, NC New Mountain Oct 11 Nashville, TN The Basement East Oct 13 Columbus, OH The Basement Oct 14 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme Oct 15 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle Oct 16 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop Oct 17 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar Oct 19 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall Oct 20 Philadelphia, PA Black Box at Underground Arts Oct 21 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus Oct 22 Jersey City, NJ Monty Hall Oct 23 Richmond, VA The Broadberry Oct 24 Washington, DC Rock & Roll Hotel
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
As Richmond doomers Windhand gears up for the Sept. 18 release of their third album, the Jack Endino-produced Grief’s Infernal Flower, vocalist Dorthia Cottrell will be stepping out solo to perform at Vultures of Volume II in Hagerstown, Maryland, which runs on Sept. 4 and 5. Cottrell, who released her self-titled solo debut on Forcefield Records earlier this year, will fill the slot vacated by Philadelphia psych rockers Ruby the Hatchet, who will instead be on the road alongside Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, playing between Wretch and Elder among the evening’s headliners.
Cottrell has a number of appearances coming up in addition to Vultures of Volume II, appearing in Richmond on Aug. 22 with Demon Eye and others, playing the Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Sept. 10, and appearing in Richmond again on Oct. 10 with King Dude. Add to that Windhand‘s upcoming coast-to-coast headlining run with Swedish devastators Monolord (info here) and it’s a pretty packed few months, even before you include the actual Windhand album release and everything that goes along with it.
The festival announced her addition and revised the timetable thusly:
We have DORTHIA COTTRELL!!! The voice of Windhand will be bringing her haunting solo material front and center at this years VULTURES OF VOLUME!! We couldn’t ask for a better addition to the fest, we’re super excited!!
As stated before Sadly Ruby the Hatchet will not be playing the show this year. We wish them luck and success on their upcoming tour with Uncle Acid!
Posted in Reviews on July 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The final day of the Quarterly Review is upon us. It has been one hell of a week, I don’t mind saying, but good and productive overall, if in a kind of cruel way. I hope that you’ve been able to find something in sifting through all these releases that you really dig. I have, for whatever that’s worth. Before we dig into the last batch, I just want to thank you for checking in and reading this week. If you’ve seen all five of these or if this is the first bunch you’ve come across, that you’re here at all is appreciated immensely.
Quarterly Review #41-50:
Lucifer, Lucifer I
Vocalist Johanna Sadonis, who burst into the international underground consciousness last year with The Oath, resurfaces following that band’s quick dissolution alongside former Cathedral guitarist and riffer-of-legend Gary “Gaz” Jennings in Lucifer, whose Lucifer I eight-song debut LP is released on Rise Above Records. Joined by bassist Dino Gollnick and drummer Andrew Prestidge, Sadonis and Jennings wind through varied but thoroughly doomed atmospheres across songs like opener “Abracadabra” – the outright silliness of the “magic word” kind of undercutting the cultish impression for which Lucifer are shooting – or early highlights “Purple Pyramid” and “Izrael.” A strong side A rounding out with “Sabbath,” Lucifer I can feel somewhat frontloaded, but on repeat listens, the layered chorus of “White Mountain,” “Morning Star”’s late-arriving chug, the classically echoing “Total Eclipse” and the atmospheric finish of “A Grave for Each One of Us” hold their own. After a strong showing from Lucifer’s debut single, the album doesn’t seem like it will do anything to stop the band’s already-in-progress ascent. Their real test will be in the live arena, but they sustain a thematic ambience across Lucifer I’s 44 minutes, and stand ready to follow Rise Above labelmates Ghost and Uncle Acid toward the forefront of modern doom.
Drone-prone Philadelphia post-metallers Rosetta return with Quintessential Ephemera, the follow-up to 2013’s The Anaesthete and their fifth LP overall, which resounds in its ambience as a reinforcement of how little the band – now a five-piece with the inclusion of guitarist Eric Jernigan – need any hype or genre-push to sustain them. Through a titled intro, “After the Funeral,” through seven untitled tracks of varying oppressiveness and rounding out with the unabashedly pretty instrumental “Nothing in the Guise of Something,” they continue to plug away at their heady approach, relentless in their progression and answering the darker turns of their prior outing with a shift toward a more colorful atmosphere. At 52 minutes, Quintessential Ephemera isn’t a slight undertaking, but if you were expecting one you probably haven’t been paying attention to the last decade of Rosetta’s output. As ever, they are cerebral and contemplative while staying loyal to the need for an emotional crux behind what they do, and the album is both dutiful and forward-looking.
Pressed up by Brutal Panda Records for Stateside issue following a 2014 release in Europe on Svart, Death by Burning is the debut full-length from sans-bass Hamburg duo Mantar – vocalist/guitarist Hanno, drummer/vocalist Erinc – and as much as it pummels and writhes across its thrash-prone 10 tracks, opener “Spit” setting a tone for the delivery throughout, there are flourishes of both character and groove to go with all the bludgeoning throughout standout cuts like “Cult Witness,” “The Huntsmen,” the explosive “White Nights,” “The Stoning” and the more lumbering instrumental closer “March of the Crows,” the two-piece seamlessly drawing together elements of doom, thrash and blackened rock and roll into a seething, tense concoction that’s tonally weighted enough to make one’s ears think they’re hearing bass strings alongside the guitar, but still overarchingly raw in a manner denoting some punk influence. Bonus points for the Tom G. Warrior-style “ough!” grunts that make their way into “The Stoning” and the rolling nod of “Astral Kannibal.” Nasty as hell, but more subtle than one might expect.
Though it seems King Giant’s fate to be persistently underrated, the Virginian dual-guitar five-piece offer their most stylistically complex material to date on their third full-length, Black Ocean Waves (released on The Path Less Traveled Records and Graveyard Hill), recorded by J. Robbins (Clutch, Murder by Death, etc.) as the follow-up to 2012’s Dismal Hollow (streamed here). Still commanded by the vocal presence of frontman Dave Hammerly, the album also finds moments of flourish in the guitars of David Kowalski and Todd “T.I.” Ingram on opener “Mal de Mer,” the leads on “Requiem for a Drunkard” or the intro to extended finishing move “There Were Bells,” bassist Floyd Lee Walters III and drummer Keith Brooks holding down solid rhythms beneath the steady chug of “The One that God Forgot to Save” and “Blood of the Lamb.” Side A closer “Red Skies” might be where it all ties together most, but the full course of Black Ocean Waves’ eight tracks provides a satisfying reminder of the strength in King Giant’s craftsmanship.
The 14 single-word-title tracks of Si Ombrellone’s Horns on the Same Goat were originally recorded in 2006, but for a 2015 release, Connecticut-based multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli (Vestal Claret, King of Salem) took them back into his own UP Recording Studio for touch-ups and remastering. The endeavor is a solo outing for Tuozzoli, styled in a kind of post-grunge rock with Frank Picarazzi playing drums to give a full-band feel, and finds catchy, poppy songwriting coming forward in the layered vocals of “Innocence,” while later, “Forgiveness” and “Darkness” offset each other more in theme than sound, as “Love” and “Hate” had done earlier, the album sticking to its straightforward structures through to six-minute closer “Undone,” which boasts a more atmospheric take. It’s an ambitious project to collect 14 sometimes disparate emotional themes onto a single outing, never mind to do it (mostly) alone – one might write an entire record about “Trust,” say, or “Rage,” which opens – but Tuozzoli matches his craftsmanship with a sincerity that carries through each of these tracks.
Boasting a close relationship to Duster69 and Mother Misery and featuring in their ranks Daredevil Records owner Jochen Böllath, who plays guitar, German heavy rockers Grand Massive revel in commercial-grade Euro-style tonal heft bordering on metallic aggression. 2 is their aptly-titled second EP (on Daredevil) and it finds Böllath, lead guitarist Peter Wisenbacher, vocalist Alex Andronikos, bassist Toby Brandl and drummer Holger Stich running through six crisply-executed tracks of catchy, fist-pumping riffy drive, slowing a bit for the creepy ambience of the interlude “Woods” or the more lurching tension of “I am Atlas,” but most at home in the push of “Backseat Devil” and closer “My Own Sickness,” a mid-paced groove adding to the festival-ready weight Grand Massive conjure. Word is they’re already at work on a follow-up. Fair enough, but 2 has plenty to offer in the meantime in its tight presentation and darker vibes, Grand Massive having been through a wringer of lineup changes and emerged with their songwriting well intact.
Carlton Melton Meets Dr. Space, Live from Roadburn 2014
If you guessed “spacey as hell” as regards this meeting between NorCal psych explorers Carlton Melton and Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Danish jammers Øresund Space Collective, go ahead and give yourself the prize. Limited to 300 copies worldwide courtesy of Lay Bare Recordings and Space Rock Productions, Carlton Melton Meets Dr. Space’s Live from Roadburn 2014 is a consuming, near-100-minute unfolding, Heller joining Carlton Melton on stage for four of the total seven inclusions, adding his synthesized swirl to the swirling wash, already by then 26 minutes deep after the opening “Country Ways > Spiderwebs” establishes a heady sprawl that only continues to spread farther and farther as pieces unfold, making “Out to Sea” seem an even more appropriate title. It will simply be too much for some, but as somebody who stood and heard the sounds oozing from the stage at Cul de Sac in Tilburg, the Netherlands, as part of the Roadburn 2014 Afterburner event, I can say it was a special trip to behold. It remains so here.
According to El Paraiso Records, Sela was held up as so many releases have been owing to plant production having been overwhelmed by Record Store Day and will be out circa August. Fair enough. Consider this advance warning of Danish improve collective Shiggajon’s first outing for the Causa Sui-helmed imprint, then, and don’t be intimidated as we get closer to the release and people start talking about things like “free jazz” and dropping references to this or that Coltrane. The real deal with Shiggajon – central figures Mikkel Reher-Lanberg (percussion, drums, clarinet) and Nikolai Brix Vartenberg (sax) here joined by Emil Rothenborg (violin, double bass), Martin Aagaard Jensen (drums), Mikkel Elzer (drums, percussion, guitar), Sarah Lorraine Hepburn (vocals, flute, electronics, tingshaws) – is immersive and tipped over into music as the ritual itself. One might take on the two 18-minute halves of Sela with a similarly open mind as when approaching Montibus Communitas and be thrilled at the places the album carries you. I hope to have more to come, but again, heads up – this one is something special.
“The Spell” proves right away that Alps-based heavy rockers Mount Hush (I love that they don’t specify a country) have the post-Queens of the Stone Age fuzz-thrust down pat on their debut EP Low and Behold, but the band also bring an element of heavy psychedelia to their guitar work and the vocals – forward in the mix – have a bluesier but not caricature-dudely edge, so even as they bounce through the “Come on pretty baby” hook of “The Spell,” they’re crafting their own sound. The subsequent “King Beyond” showcases how to have a Graveyard influence without simply pretending to sound like Graveyard, even going so far as to repurpose a classic rock reference – “Strange Days” by The Doors – in its pursuit, and the seven-minute “The Day She Stole the Sun” stretches out for a more psychedelic build. Most exciting of all on a conceptual level is closer “Levitations.” Drumless, it sets ethereal vocals and samples over a tonal swirl and airy, quieter strumming. Hardly adrenaline-soaked and not intended to be, but it shows Mount Hush have a genuine will to experiment, and it’s one I hope they continue to develop.
Joined for the first time by drummer Bas Snabilie (apparently since replaced by Aletta Verwoerd) Amsterdam heavy art rockers Labasheeda mark four full-length releases with Changing Lights on Presto Chango, the violin/viola of vocalist/guitarist Saskia van der Giessen and guitar/bass/keyboard of Arne Wolfswinkel carrying across an open but humble atmosphere, touching here on Sonic Youth’s dare-to-have-a-verse moments in “My Instincts” and pushing into more blown-out jarring with the slide-happy “Tightrope.” They bring indie edge to a cover of The Who’s “Circles,” and round out with a closing duo of the album’s only two tracks over five minutes, “Cold Water” and “Into the Wide,” van der Giessen’s croon carrying a sweetness into the second half of the former as the latter finishes Changing Lights with a rolling contrast of distortion and strings as engrossing as it is strange. Labasheeda will go right over a lot of heads, but approached with an open mind it can just as easily prove a treasure for its blatant refusal to be pinned to one style or another.