Brimstone Coven & Spillage Announce August Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

brimstone coven

spillage

This August, West Virginia’s Brimstone Coven and Chicago’s own Spillage will head out on tour together through Texas and various destination points in the Midwest. The run is 10 shows in 10 days, no nights off, and will begin on Aug. 8 as Brimstone Coven head out behind last year’s What Was and What Shall Be, which was their first offering as a three-piece after issuing their second album, Black Magic (review here), through Metal Blade in 2016. They also just appeared this past weekend at the New England Stoner and Doom Fest II in Jewett City, Connecticut, which by all accounts I’ve seen was a win.

Spillage meanwhile appeared at Maryland Doom Fest last year and in January released their second album, Blood of Angels, and their classic Chicago-style deep-dish doom/metal should make a fun pairing with Brimstone Coven‘s harmonies. The tour is presented by Mercyful Mike Management, which is long-since aligned with Spillage, having booked them as well as support for its Sheavy tour and featured the band on Days of the Doomed III way back when in Wisconsin. That was just about six years ago. Time flies and all that.

Texas gets its due here, but there’s plenty of non-TX dates as well for anyone not of a Lone Star persuasion. Cheers to the bands on getting out. An independent tour of 10 shows in a row could easily be a slog, but something tells me these guys will keep good company.

Dates follow:

brimstone coven spillage tour

Happy to officially announce all dates of the “Blood and Hellfire” tour featuring Brimstone Coven and SPILLAGE! See you all in August!

8/8 – Little Rock, Arkansas @ The White Water Tavern
8/9 – San Antonio, Texas @ Limelight
8/10 – Houston, Texas @ Dan Electros
8/11 – Austin, Texas @Beerland
8/12 – Kansas City, Missouri @ TBA
8/13 – Des Moines, Iowa @Lefty’s Live Music
8/14 – Bloomington, Illinois @ NIghtshop
8/15 – Indianapolis, Indiana @ Black Circle Brewing Co.
8/16 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin @ Club Garibaldi
8/17 – Lombard, Illinois @ Brauer House

https://www.facebook.com/brimstonecoven
https://brimstonecoven.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/spillagerocks
https://spillage.bandcamp.com/

Brimstone Coven, What Was and What Shall Be (2018)

Spillage, Blood of Angels (2019)

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Horseburner Premiere “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone”; Announce The Thief on Ripple Music

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on March 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

horseburner

It’s a time of change for West Virginian riffers Horseburner. A decade into their run and after releasing their incredibly well received debut, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (review here), on their own in 2016 and through Hellmistress Records in 2017, the band are getting ready to bid farewell to guitarist Zach Kaufman following some final dates together as part of their Spring tour, most of which will feature StonecuttersNick Burks in that role alongside guitarist/vocalist Jack Thomas, bassist Seth Bostick and drummer/vocalist Adam Nohe.

At the same time, Horseburner have signed to Ripple Music and are newly unveiling the single “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” taken from their upcoming second album, The Thief, which will be their first outing for the label. In a sharply-edged five minutes, the song burns horses and barns alike with heroic guitar lines and vocal harmonies drawn from modern progressive metallurgy, but manages as well to hold tight to an underlying groove and build in energy while touching on vibes as much NWOBHM as they are noise rock, the two-guitar dynamic and two-vocal dynamic working in concert to make the track unpredictable despite the solid rhythmic foundation on which it rests — or, when one considers the tempo, doesn’t at all rest.

Already confirmed for Grim Reefer Fest in Baltimore and New England Stoner & Doom Fest in Jewett City, Connecticut — with 40,000 other bands, apparently — Horseburner bring precise execution and weighted tones to bear with motion and largesse in like measure. Through clear production and intent, they would seem to be poised to bring their stamp to the pastiche of modern heavy, and if the purpose of an advance single is to pique interest, “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” is mission accomplished.

Kudos to the band and to Ripple on the signing. The PR wire brings a full update and you’ll find the premiere of “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” at the bottom of this post.

Enjoy:

horseburner-hand-of-gold-man-of-stone

HORSEBURNER: West Virginian Heavy Stoner Metalists To Release New Album ‘THE THIEF’ with Ripple Music; Share New Song “Hand Of Gold, Man Of Stone” & Announce U.S. Spring Tour

Together since 2008, borne from the wild Appalachian green of West Virginia, HORSEBURNER has never cowered from hard toil. From their first live show performed, a first EP ‘Dirt City’ self-released in 2009, an initial tour in 2011, to a second EP 7” ‘Strange Giant’ in 2013, and right up to a debut full-length ‘Dead Seeds, Barren Soil’ in 2016, it’s all been DIY and self-released.

They’ve played hundreds of shows over the past decade, alongside such acts as Torche, Weedeater, Skeletonwitch, Goatwhore, Obituary, Corrosion of Conformity, The Obsessed, Karma to Burn, Prong, Byzantine, Cough, ASG, Rosetta, and Bell Witch. In 2017, the band altered their DIY stride with a reissue of their full-length through Hellmistress Records and reignited their flame with writing and recording new music during 2018.

Horseburner continues to step up the pace in 2019, with a recent signing with RIPPLE MUSIC to release their sophomore full-length, ‘THE THIEF’, later this year, as well as the announcement of a U.S. Spring Tour. To introduce the upcoming album, a new song is being released today – “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” off the upcoming album ‘The Thief.’

The band’s reaction to the new venture:
“We are thrilled to finally be putting out new music after almost three years and several member changes, and we can’t wait for people to hear “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone.” It was the first song we finished for this new album, and we think it really sets the tone for what’s to come this summer when the full album is released. It’s loud, it’s aggressive, it’s a little weird… It’s also the shortest song. Brevity has never been our strong suit, but there is a much larger story waiting to be told, and this song is just one chapter. We’re even more excited to be teaming up with Ripple Music for the new record. We love so many bands on their roster, it’s such a well curated label. We’re honored to be joining the Ripple Family, and honestly, that’s what it feels like, a family. “

Some excitement from Todd Severin of Ripple Music:
“It’s not that often that a band comes by and just blows my mind, but Horseburner is one of them. They’re taking the raw soul of stoner and taking it in fresh, exciting new directions. The sky is the limit for where these guys will soar.”

The band also shares some words about the upcoming tour:
“We’re definitely ready to be back on the road, as well. We haven’t been out there as much as we like to this past year, and we’re ready to throw off the rust and see some new faces. We’re hitting a few places for the first time ever, and returning to some old favorites, so this will be a good time.

On top of all that, we’ve got one of our best pals, Nick Burks from Louisville’s Stonecutters, filling in on guitar for the April tour and some of the May dates, it’s going to be killer. Then with Zach’s exit from the band, and him doing a handful of farewell shows before he leaves for good… having Zach’s last show with us in Columbus, Ohio in May – ten years from our first ever show, which was also in Columbus – bittersweet is definitely one way to put it.”

horseburner-tour-spring-2019U.S. Spring Tour Dates:
March 22 – Huntington, WV @ V Club (w/ Cavern, Embracer, Signals)
March 23 – Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway (w/ Indighost, Haal)
*April 12 – Detroit, MI @ The Fireside (w/ Gear Jammer, Black Heiron)
*April 13 – Toronto, ONT @ The Bovine Sex Club (w/ Ol’ Time Moonshine, Jahgernaut, Quiet Earth)
*April 14 – Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place (w/ Malarchuk, Yanari, Tines)
*April 15 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Desperate Annie’s for Super Dark Monday (w/ Ghastly Sound, The Tenants)
*April 16 – Winooski, VT @ The Monkey House (w/ Ghastly Sound, Wolfhand, Sachem)
*April 17 – Bangor, ME @ Downunder Club (w/ Ghastly Sound, + more)
*April 18 – Boston, MA @ OBrien’s (w/ VOS, Greylock)
*April 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Well (w/ Godmaker, + more)
*April 20 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar for Grim Reefer Fest (w/ Ruby the Hatchet, Heavy Temple, Haze Mage, Mountainwolf, Book of Wyrms, YATRA, Tombtoker)
May 3 – Pottsville, PA @ Goodfellas (w/ 44 Mag, Brain Candle, The Hands Resist, Faith in Exile) *Playing as a trio*
*May 4 – Jewett City, CT @ Altone’s for New England Stoner Doom Fest (w/ Stonecutters, Brimstone Coven, + 40,000 bands)
*May 5 – Washington, D.C. @ Atlas Brew Works (w/ Stonecutters, Dirt Eater)
May 17 – Parkersburg, WV @ The Dils Center (w/ Lo-Pan, Louts, + more)
May 18 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups (Zach’s last show!)

*Nick Burks from Stonecutters on Guitar

Horseburner:
Adam Nohe – Drums/Vocals
Jack Thomas – Guitar/Vocals
Seth Bostick – Bass
Zach Kaufman – Guitar

https://www.horseburner.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Horseburner/
https://horseburner.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/horseburner/
https://twitter.com/horseburner
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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Negative Reaction Execute “Order 66”; New Album in Progress

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on October 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

It’s been a couple years now since Negative Reaction frontman Kenny ‘Ken-E’ Bones moved himself and therefore the band from Long Island, New York, to Central West Virginia. In that time, he’s partnered with bassist Trey Crane and drummer Kevin King in a new incarnation of the band, embarked on a solo career playing outlaw country, and taken the helm at Steer Run Studios, his own recording facility. Not too shabby, and a rebuilding of band and life alike go a long way to explaining the years it’s been since Frequencies from Montauk (review here) came out in 2011. These things take time.

But the next record — the title of which is decided but not yet revealed — is being recorded with Bones himself as producer/engineer, and in order to demonstrate progress toward its completion, Negative Reaction are premiering the new single “Order 66.” The title is a Star Wars reference, as Order 66 was that which then-Senator Palpatine gave to the Stormtroopers to start executing the Jedi. I think that was Episode III? Obi-Wan and Yoda got away, so yeah. Bones is a big fan, which is an understatement, what with the tattoos and all.

The song bridges the two sides of Negative Reaction‘s long-established approach in its sludgy aggression and spacey jamming. No coincidence that in the note below, Bones refers to “captain of the spaceship.” HawkwindMonster Magnet — this is the stuff of life, and “Order 66” serves those impulses well in its second-half cosmojam. Whatever it’ll be called, the album is still in progress, so keep an eye out, but you can hear the song at the bottom of this post. Ken-E‘s always up to something.

Dig it:

negative reaction

A word from the Captain of the Spaceship Negative Reaction………

Hello my fellow Sludgenaughts. I hope this transmission finds you well.

NR has finished mixing and mastering the single to our next release. The single is a song called Order 66. We have sent it out to multiple parties but one in particular that, We, NR are most attracted to has sent very positive feedback to it. We hope to release this next album Of SLUDGE with this said group of great people.

The title of this album has been established but it will remain unknown until an agreement has been reached between NR and said record label to agree on the release. This song and the new album are recorded and mastered at Steer Run Studios, engineered and produced by Ken-E Bones. We are currently recording new songs for the album.

A NR bandcamp page will also be up in a few days as well. It will have ALL of our releases up including some rare tracks from the past!

Thank you all for the love and support. I love each and every one of you. I mean it when I say NR has the greatest fans and family a band could hope for. All the best to you and thanx again for believing in us. Cheers to YOU!!!!”

End Of Line…….
-Capt’N KB

Negative Reaction is:
Ken-E Bones: guitar, vocals
Trey Crane: bass guitar
Kevin King: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/NegativeReaction

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R.I.P. Rev. Jim Forrester, 1974-2017

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

rev jim forrester photo shane gardner

UPDATE 1:00PM: According to the Baltimore Sun, Jim Forrester was shot outside Baltimore Tattoo Museum, where he worked. Tina Giles Forrester also elaborated on the situation:

I know that there are many questions. I will not keep this private. I want everyone to know that Jim was murdered. He was shot to death by a gutless coward. This may seem harsh to put out there, but this piece of fucking shit is still out there. I will continue to tell each and every person until this waste of a fucking life is caught and has to look me in my eyes. I want justice. I will not stop until I have justice.

6:00AM Details are few and far between at the time of this writing, and it seems likely that one way or another some sort of memorial fund or benefit will be set up in his honor, so this post may be updated in the near future, but word has been made public about the passing of Rev. Jim Forrester, current bassist for Foghound and Serpents of Secrecy and a co-founder of Maryland-based heavy rockers Sixty Watt Shaman.

Born Dec. 5, 1974, Forrester, with his body covered in tattoos all the way up to the top of his shaved head — bandanna-clad, of course — his piercings and his wide smile, cut a figure that was both larger than life and deeply human. His wife, Tina Giles Forrester, made the announcement on social media:

Tina Giles Forrester:

I cannot convey the amount of sadness in my heart as I type this post. Tonight.. my husband was tragically ripped from my life, from all of our lives. I cannot express the amount of love he had for the music, his fellow artists, and fans. I am left with tragic sadness and a searing rage. I will use my last breath to make sure the animal who did this will be caught and held accountable for this senseless atrocity. I love you Jim Forrester my sweet dark prince.

While the exact circumstances of his death remain unknown — and from the statement above, it would seem some outside party was involved one way or another — the veteran heavy rocker had suffered numerous health problems over the course of this past year stemming from a blood clot in his liver, which he detailed here in an interview just over a week ago:

Jim Forrester on health issues:

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Sunday to be exact, I awoke from a dead sleep to the most abhorrent abdominal pain I’ve ever experienced… I had a blood clot in my portal vein (liver) that was cutting off blood flow to my liver, pancreas, intestines, and various extremities… Blood thinners saved my ass, but also caused esophageal varices to burst, resulting in me puking up half my blood supply, intubation, and a three-day medically induced coma in which I almost checked out a few times as well… Three days later I awoke to what I thought was a heart attack. Returned to the hospital to find a pulmonary embolism, and a grouping of blood clots behind my right knee. Another week in the hospital, and back home with increased blood thinners (self-administered stomach injections, very metal)…

I had liver issues back in 2012 that I had worked through, I thought pretty successfully… It’s no secret I previously was a drink and drug enthusiast (no hard drugs for years now I will note) as cliche as it is, and I managed to do some significant damage to myself over the years. At various points I’ve been a bit of a mess, and have a lot of regrets regarding that aspect of my time. That aside, I lived a pretty hard life for an extended spell, pushed myself physically in ways that have consequences, and some of that is a factor as well… (read more here)

Forrester was also waiting to undergo hip surgery in the New Year after dealing with long-term damage due in part to a past ACL tear, though again, whether or not any of this was a factor in his passing is unconfirmed.

After cutting his teeth in the mid ’90s and early ’00s in Sixty Watt Shaman, Forrester moved to from Maryland and took part in a band called Angels of Meth before eventually relocating to West Virginia and rejoining his Sixty Watt Shaman bandmate Chuck Dukehart in Foghound and Serpents of Secrecy. In 2014, Sixty Watt Shaman got back together to play Desertfest Berlin and a few other limited engagements to celebrate their three albums — Ultra Electric (1998), Seed of Decades (2000) and Reason to Live (2002) — but the reunion would be short-lived as old personal issues resurfaced and the band once again split.

In 2016, he added low-end charge to Foghound’s second album, The World Unseen, fueling a more aggressive take from that band as they made their debut on Ripple Music. The debut single from Serpents of Secrecy was released earlier in 2017 through an alliance with Salt of the Earth Records, and both groups had or have new material in progress for issue in 2018. His last performance was an acoustic set with Foghound on Dec. 17 at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum’s annual holiday party.

On behalf of this site and on behalf of myself, I send condolences and strength to Rev. Jim’s many friends, fans and of course his family. As a personal note, even aside from this recent interview, he and I have been in touch for years and I know he was excited to get his health problems behind him, get back on stage full-boar and get back in the studio to make new music with bandmates he truly loved. He was someone second to nobody in passion for what he did, and his death is a significant loss. As much as I’ve enjoyed his work over the years, I will remember more the sincerity of his character and the wholesome spirit beneath his gruff exterior, and like all who were lucky enough to know him during his time, I will miss Jim.

Rest in Peace Jim Forrester, 1974-2017.

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Negative Reaction Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Holy macaroni, it’s been six years since Negative Reaction released their last record. Wow. Not that it doesn’t feel like it’s been a while, but once you put a number to it the whole context changes. Six years! That album from the early sludge innovators and mainstays was Frequencies from Montauk (review here), a collection that was arguably their most adventurous to-date, bringing in elements of psychedelia and drone and languid heavy rock alongside the trademark Eastern Seaboard hardcore punk-influenced intensity that they’ve always brandished so passionately.

In the years since sending FrequenciesNegative Reaction‘s inimitable frontman, Kenny Bones (who seems to have dropped the “Ken-E” spelling previously used for what seemed like forever), has relocated himself and thus the band from Long Island, New York, to Normantown, West Virginia — a significant geographic shift that’s also brought an entirely new lineup with it. Hardly the first time Bones has revamped Negative Reaction, but it’s still a major part of the change. He’s also embarked on a solo career playing outlaw country under his own name and opened Steer Run Studio to track his own work as well as that of other area groups.

To that end, Negative Reaction have apparently begun recording their next studio offering. I’ve got no details on what it might be called, when it might be done or what it might sound like — been a while since I had a proper chat with Kenny — but after so long and so much realignment on his part and the band’s, it would be pointless to speculate anyway. It could go pretty much anywhere, which only means it’ll be more fun to find out where it ends up.

Here’s a quick update Bones posted on the social medias:

negative reaction

Wow what a busy few days here at Steer Run Studio….

The Kenny Bones Solo album is finally finished….(Details on the release soon)

Negative Reaction has just started recording a new album here….

And Browbeater has been recording here and I have just started the mix down and mastering for the new Browbeater EP!!!!!! It’s gunna be some Heavy shit!!!!!!

https://www.facebook.com/Negative-Reaction-166679340107961/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steer-Run-Studio/152766388654183

Negative Reaction, “Docking Bay 94” Live at Stoner Hands of Doom XII, 2012

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Horseburner Sign to Hellmistress Records; New Video & Tour Dates Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

horseburner

Just a scant couple of days before West Virginian progressive heftbringers Horseburner strike out on tour with Maryland’s Cavern, shooting as far north as Canada in support of their 2016 debut album, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (review here). Today, the newly-minted Hellmistress Records announces it will put its stamp on an official release for that record before the end of 2017, CD and LP both. Horseburner are the first pickup for Hellmistress, and as they’ve already sold through self-released pressings of the album, yeah, it seems like a solid grab on the part of label founder Melanie Streko, formerly of MeteorCity.

Marking both occasions — the tour and the signing; keep up — Horseburner also have a new video for “Eleleth” that you can see at the bottom of this post, right under the press release I wrote and received back down the trusty PR wire, which follows here:

horseburner-cavern-tour

HORSEBURNER Sign to Hellmistress Records; On Tour Starting this Week

West Virginia progressive heavy rockers unveil “Eleleth” video

Horseburner will release their debut full-length, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil, via Hellmistress Records on July 14 to coincide with the launch of a tour alongside Maryland’s Cavern. Today, they premiere a video for “Eleleth,” the album’s longest and closing track.

The progressive heavy rockers – recently announced as taking part in the inaugural Descendants of Crom Festival on Sept. 30 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – originally issued Dead Seeds, Barren Soil digitally in July 2016. After a massive response to the album, Hellmistress Records snapped up the band for the CD and an impending vinyl release due later this year.

“I’ve had my eye on Horseburner for a while,” notes Hellmistress Records founder Melanie Streko, formerly of MeteorCity. “They’re the perfect band to launch the label, with a take on heavy that’s their own. Dead Seeds, Barren Soil kicked my ass and I’m excited to give their album a wider audience! They put on an amazing high energy show so be sure to catch them live when they come to town!”

Horseburner are set to begin their stint of East Coast tour dates this week, and will head through Ohio and into Canada before circling back into New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington D.C., with bassist Mike Lorenzen pulling double-duty also playing in Cavern. Dates follow here:

HORSEBURNER Tour Dates w/ Cavern:
7/7 Toledo, OH – New Longhorn Saloon
7/8 Toronto, ON – Bovine Sex Club
7/9 Montreal, QC – Turbo Haus
7/10 Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place
7/11 Philadelphia, PA – Safety Meeting
7/12 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus
7/13 Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theatre
7/14 Baltimore, MD – Sidebar
7/15 Washington, DC – The Pinch
7/16 Pittsburgh, PA – Howlers
9/30 Pittsburgh, PA – Descendants of Crom Fest

Dead Seeds, Barren Soil will be available via the Hellmistress webstore at: https://hellmistressrecords.com/collections/label

Stay tuned for more from Horseburner and Hellmistress Records in the weeks and months to come!

Horseburner is:
Adam Nohe – Drums/vocals
Jack Thomas – Guitar/vocals
Zach Kaufman – Guitar
Mike Lorenzen – Bass

www.facebook.com/Horseburner
www.twitter.com/horseburner
www.instagram.com/horseburner
horseburner.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/HellmistressRecords
www.hellmistressrecords.com

Horseburner, “Eleleth” official video

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Quarterly Review: Ulver, Forming the Void, Hidden Trails, Svvamp, Black Mirrors, Endless Floods, Tarpit Boogie, Horseburner, Vermilion Whiskey, Hex Inverter

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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

Feeling groovy heading into Day Two of the Spring 2017 Quarterly Review, and I hope you are as well. Today we dig into a pretty wide variety of whatnots, so make sure you’ve got your head with you as we go, because there are some twists and turns along the way. I mean it. Of all five days in this round, this one might be the most wild, so keep your wits intact. I’m doing my best to do the same, of course, but make no promises in that regard.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Ulver, The Assassination of Julius Caesar

ulver-the-assassination-of-julius-caesar

Norwegian post-everything specialists Ulver have reportedly called The Assassination of Julius Caesar (on House of Mythology) “their pop album,” and while the Nik Turner-inclusive freakout in second cut “Rolling Stone” (that may or may not be him on closer “Comign Home” as well) doesn’t quite fit that mold, the beats underscoring the earlier portion of that track, opener “Nemoralia” and the melodrama of “Southern Gothic” certainly qualify. Frontman/conceptual mastermind Kristoffer Rygg’s voice is oddly suited to this form – he carries emotionally weighted hooks like a melancholy George Michael on the electronically pulsating “Transverberation” and, like most works of pop, shows an obsession with the ephemeral in a slew of cultural references in “1969,” which in no way is likely to be mistaken for the Stooges song of the same name. While “So Falls the World” proves ridiculously catchy, “Coming Home” is about as close as Ulver actually come here to modern pop progression, and the Badalamenti-style low-end and key flourish in “1969” is a smooth touch, much of what’s happening in these eight tracks is still probably too complex to qualify as pop, but The Assassination of Julius Caesar is further proof that Ulver’s scope only grows more boundless as the years pass. The only limits they ever seem to know are the ones they leave behind.

Ulver on Twitter

House of Mythology website

 

Forming the Void, Relic

forming-the-void-relic

Last year, Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void had the element of surprise working to their advantage when it came to the surprising progressive edge of their debut album, Skyward (review here). Now signed to Argonauta, the eight-song/55-minute follow-up, Relic, doesn’t need it. It finds Forming the Void once again working proggy nuance into big-riffed, spaciously vocalized fare on early cuts “After Earth” and “Endless Road,” but as the massive hook of “Biolazar” demonstrates, the process by which guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Jordan Boyd meld their influences has become more cohesive and more their own. Accordingly, I’m not sure they need the 11-minute closing take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” since by then the point is made in the lumber/plunder of “Plumes” and in the more tripped-out “Unto the Smoke” just before, but as indulgences go, it’s a relatively easy one to make. They’re still growing, but doing so quickly, and already they’ve begun to find a niche for themselves between styles that one hopes they’ll continue to explore.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Hidden Trails, Instant Momentary Bliss

hidden-trails-instant-momentary-bliss

Though it keeps a wash of melodic keys in the background and its approach is resolutely laid back on the whole, “Beautiful Void” is nonetheless a major factor in the overall impression of Hidden Trails’ self-titled debut (on Elektrohasch), as its indie vibe and departure from the psychedelic prog of the first two cuts, “Lancelot” and “Mutations,” marks a major distinguishing factor between this outfit and Hypnos 69, in which the rhythm section of the Belgian trio played previously. “Ricky” goes on to meld acoustic singer-songwriterism and drones together, and “Hands Unfold” has a kind of jazzy bounce, the bassline of Dave Houtmeyers and drumming of Tom Vanlaer providing upbeat groove under Jo Neyskens’ bright guitar lead, but the anticipation of heavy psych/prog never quite leaves after the opening, and that doesn’t seem to be what the band wants to deliver. The sweetly harmonized acid folk of “Leaving Like That” is on a different wavelength, and likewise the alt-rock vibes of “Space Shuffle” and “Come and Play” and the grunge-chilled-out closer “Denser Diamond.” If there’s an issue with Hidden Trails, it’s one of the expectations I’m bringing to it as a listener and a fan of Houtmeyers’ and Vanlaer’s past work, but clearly it’s going to take me a little longer to get over the loss of their prior outfit. Maybe I’m just not ready to move on.

Hidden Trails on Thee Facebooks

Elektrohasch Schallplatten website

 

Svvamp, Svvamp

svvamp-svvamp

Naturalist vibes pervade immediately from this late-2016 self-titled Svvamp debut (on RidingEasy Records) in the bassline to “Serpent in the Sky,” and in some of the post-Blue Cheer heavy blues sensibility, the Swedish trio bring to mind some of what made early Dirty Streets so glorious. Part of the appeal of Svvamp’s Svvamp, however, is that among the lessons it’s learned from heavy ‘70s rock and from Kadavar‘s own self-titled is to keep it simple. “Fresh Cream” is a resonant blues jam… that lasts two and a half minutes. The bouncing, turning “Oh Girl?” Three. Even the longest of its cuts, the slide-infused “Time,” the subdued roller “Big Rest” and the Marshall Tucker-esque finale “Down by the River,” are under five. This allows the three-piece of Adam Johansson, Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren to build significant momentum over the course of their 35-minute run, casting aside pretense in favor of aesthetic cohesion and an organic sensibility all the more impressive for it being their first record. Sweden has not lacked for boogie rock, but even the most relatively raucous moments here, as in the winding “Blue in the Face,” don’t seem overly concerned with what anyone else is up to, and that bodes remarkably well for Svvamp’s future output.

Svvamp on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Black Mirrors, Funky Queen

black-mirrors-funky-queen

There are few songs ever written that require whoever’s playing them to “bring it” more than MC5’s “Kick out the Jams.” True, it’s been covered many, many times over, but few have done it well. Belgium’s Black Mirrors signal riotous intent by including it as one of the four tracks of their Napalm Records debut EP, Funky Queen, along with the originals “Funky Queen,” “The Mess” and “Canard Vengeur Masqué,” and amid the post-Blues Pills stomp of “The Mess,” the mega-hook of the opening title-track and the more spacious five-plus-minute closer, which works elements of heavy psych into its bluesy push late to welcome effect, “Kick out the Jams” indeed brings a moment of relative cacophony, even if there’s no actual threat of the band losing control behind the powerful vocals of Marcella di Troia. As a first showing, Funky Queen would seem to be a harbinger, but it’s also a purposeful and somewhat calculated sampling of Black Mirrors’ wares, and I wouldn’t expect it to be long before an album follows behind expanding on the ideas presented in these tracks.

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Black Mirrors at Napalm Records

 

Endless Floods, II

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No doubt that for some who’d take it on, any words beyond “members of Monarch!” will be superfluous, but Bordeaux three-piece Endless Floods, who do indeed feature bassist/vocalist Stéphane Miollan and drummer Benjamin Sablon from that band, as well as guitarist Simon Bedy, have more to offer than pedigree on their three-song sophomore full-length, II (on Dry Cough vinyl and Breathe Plastic cassette). To wit, 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Impasse” rumbles out raw but spacious sludge that, though without keys or a glut of effects, and marked by the buried-deep screaming of Miollan, holds a potent sense of atmosphere so that the two-minute interlude “Passage” doesn’t seem out of place leading into the 19-minute lumber of “Procession,” which breaks shortly before its halfway point to bass-led minimalism in setting up the final build of the record. Slow churning intensity and longform sludge working coherently alongside ambient sensibilities and some genuinely disturbing noise? Yeah, that’ll do nicely. Thanks.

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Dry Cough Records on Bandcamp

Breathe Plastic Records on Bandcamp

 

Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam

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Boasting four eight-plus-minute instrumentals, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam finds New Jersey trio Tarpit Boogie rife with classic style heavy rock chemistry, bassist John Eager running fills around the dense-toned riffing from guitarist George Pierro as drummer Chris Hawkins propels a surprising thrust on opener “FFF Heavy Jam.” I’ve been a fan of Pierro and Eager’s since we were bandmates a decade ago, so to hear them unfold “Chewbacca Jacket” from its tense opening to its righteously crashing finale is definitely welcome, but the 37-minute offering finds its true reasoning in the swing and shuffle of the eponymous “Tarpit Boogie,” which digs into the very challenge posed by the title – whether or not anyone taking on the album can handle its balance of sonic impact and exploratory feel – inclusive, in this case, of a drum solo that sets a foundation for a moment of Cactus-style rush ahead of a return to the song’s central progression to conclude. They round out with “1992 (Thank You Very Little),” Chevy Chase sample and all, bringing more crashing nod to a massive slowdown that makes it feel like the entire back half of the cut is one big rock finish. And so it is. A well-kept secret of Garden State heavy.

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Tarpit Boogie on Bandcamp

 

Horseburner, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil

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The self-released Dead Seeds, Barren Soil is Horseburner’s second full-length, and it arrived in 2016 from the four-piece some seven years after their 2009 debut, Dirt City. They’ve had a few shorter outings in between, demos and 2013’s Strange Giant EP, but the West Virginia four-piece of Adam Nohe, Chad Ridgway, Jack Thomas and Zach Kaufman seem to be shooting for a definitive statement of intent in the blend of heavy rock and modern, Baroness-style prog that emerges on opener “David” and finds its way into the galloping “Into Black Resolution,” the multi-tiered vocals of “A Newfound Purity” and even the more straight-ahead thrust of “The Soil’s Prayer.” Marked out by the quality of its guitar work and its clearly-plotted course, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil caps with “Eleleth,” which at just under eight minutes draws the heft and the complexity together for a gargantuan finish that does justice to the ground Horseburner just flattened as they left it behind.

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Horseburner on Bandcamp

 

Vermilion Whiskey, Spirit of Tradition

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Lafayette, Louisiana, five-piece Vermilion Whiskey telegraph participation in the New Wave of Dude Rock to the point of addressing their audience as “boy” in second cut “The Past is Dead,” and from the cartoon cleavage on the cover to the lack of irony between naming the record Spirit of Tradition and putting a song called “The Past is Dead” on it, they sell that well. The Kent Stump-mixed/Tony Reed-mastered six-tracker is the band’s second behind 2013’s 10 South, and basks in dudely, dudely dudeliness; Southern metal born more out of the Nola style than what, say, Wasted Theory are getting up to these days, but that would still fit on a bill with that Delaware outfit. If you think you’re dude enough for a song like “One Night,” hell, maybe you are. Saddle up. Listening to that and the chunky-style riff of closer “Loaded Up,” I feel like I might need hormone therapy to hit that level of may-yun, but yeah. Coherent, well written, tightly performed and heavy. Vermilion Whiskey might as well be hand-issuing dudes invitations to come drink with them, but they make a solid case for doing so.

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Vermilion Whiskey on Bandcamp

 

Hex Inverter, Revision

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If the cover art and a song title like “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts” weren’t enough of a tip-off, there’s a strong undercurrent of the unsettled to Hex Inverter’s second long-player, Revision. The Pennsylvania-based experimentalists utilize a heaping dose of drones to fill out arrangements of keys, guitar and noise that would otherwise be pretty minimal, and vocals come and go in pro- and depressive fashion. Texture proves the key as they embark on the linear centerpiece “Something Else,” with a first verse arriving over a sweetened bassline after four minutes into the total 9:58, and the wash of noise in “Daphne” obscures an avant neo-jazz groove late, so while opener “Cannibal Eyes” basks in foreboding ambience prior to an emotionally-driven and explosive crunch-beat payoff, one never quite knows what to expect next on Revision. That, of course, is essential to the appeal. They find an edge of rock in the aforementioned “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts,” but as the loops and synth angularity of closer “Fled (Deadverse Mix)” make plain, their intentions speak to something wider than even an umbrella genre.

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Hex Inverter on Bandcamp

 

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Horseburner Announce US Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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West Virginian progressive heavy rockers Horseburner were among those recently confirmed for the inaugural Descendants of Crom fest to be held in Pittsburgh this September (info here). It’s the latest bit of acclaim for the band following the successful 2016 release of their debut album, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil, which brought the winding rhythms of post-Baroness modernity to the fore amid a still-weighted tonalism, finding a balance and cohesion rare for a first full-length while setting in motion a creative development they’ll look to continue on their next release. As they move forward, they’ll be touring next month alongside Kentucky’s Stonecutters in the Southeastern US, and I wouldn’t be surprised if sooner or later somebody picked up Dead Seeds, Barren Soil for a proper physical issue, since despite its title, the record is so very much alive.

The PR wire as well as the band’s social medias bring dates and whatnots, and if you haven’t heard it, the album can be streamed in full via the Bandcamp player below. Because the internet, and multimedia, and attention to detail. Boogers.

Have at you:

Horseburner – Southern Tour

In support of their debut full length, “Dead Seeds, Barren Soil,” West Virginia’s Horseburner are bringing their brand of high energy, riff-laden stoner metal to the southern United States this April. Joining them in their trek are Louisville, Kentucky’s metal veterans, Stonecutters.

We are excited to announce our upcoming dates for the rest of winter and spring. 2017 is shaping up to be a fun year. See you in the world!

HORSEBURNER ON TOUR:
Special St. Patty’s tour preview: 3-17: Louisville, KY @ The Cure Lounge*
3-18: Huntington, WV @ V Club
3-25: Parkersburg, WV @ Sixpence Pub
4-01: Peoria, IL @ Rail II for Mates Fest 8
4-07: Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway*
4-08: Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor*
4-09: Charleston, SC @ Burns Alley*
4-10: Jacksonville, FL @ Shantytown Pub*
4-11: Miami, FL @ Churchill’s Pub
4-12: St Petersburg, FL @ Fubar*
4-13: Albany, GA @ Oglethorpe Lounge*
4-14: Marietta, GA @ Swayze’s Venue*
4-15: Asheville, NC @ The Odditorium*
4-16: Cincinnati, OH @ Junker’s Tavern
4-28: Athens, OH @ The Union
5-05: Baltimore, MD @ The Depot [relocated from Metro Gallery]
5-06: Brooklyn, NY @ Lucky 13
5-19: TBA
5-20: Dayton, OH @ Blind Bob’s
6-01: Pittsburgh, PA @ TBA
6-02: TBA
6-03: Warren, MI @ The Ritz for Rune Fest
9-30: Pittsburgh, PA @ Descendants of Crom Fest
*On tour with Stonecutters from Louisville, KY

We’re looking to add a few more dates as we go along, so check back in!

And check www.horseburner.com for music, merch, and any additional info. Stay dirty.

Horseburner is:
Adam Nohe
Chad Ridgway
Jack Thomas
Zach Kaufman

https://www.facebook.com/Horseburner/
http://www.twitter.com/horseburner
https://www.instagram.com/horseburner/
https://horseburner.bandcamp.com/
http://www.horseburner.com/

Horseburner, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (2016)

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