Wight Get Literal with “Through the Woods into Deep Water”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wight

The good news is that German trio Wight are getting ready to embark on their third record. The not-necessarily-a-downside-but-one-feels-compelled-to-make-it-a-contrast-anyway news is that means leaving their second outing, 2012’s continually-appealing Through the Woods into Deep Water (review here), behind as they move forward. Much to their credit, I think Wight are doing so in grand style. While it seems they’ll continue to play at least some of the material live, guitarist/vocalist René Hoffmann, bassist/saxophonist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn and drummer Thomas Kurek have nonetheless decided to give Through the Woods into Deep Water a sort of Viking funeral, taking the album’s title-track out into the forest for a ritual farewell.

In keeping with the full-length’s organic nature and psychedelic sprawl, Wight play “Through the Woods into Deep Water” live in their new video, with sound captured by Hoffmann (he’s done live audio for Monster Magnet, among others) and direction by Johanna Amberg. The woods in which they’re jamming are located in Eutersee, Hesseneck–Schöllenbach, and they seem to have found the perfect clearing among all the old growth to jam out. The purging is complete when, as the song winds its way toward its languid conclusion, Wight jump in a lake and wash themselves clean, a literal portrayal of going through the woods and into deep water of a mind with the slow movement of the track itself.

Through the Woods into Deep Water was a huge leap forward from Wight‘s 2011 debut, Wight Weedy Wight (review here), and the two were really only separated by one year. Since the three-piece’s next one isn’t likely to show up before 2015, that’ll be nearly three years between their second and third albums, so it should be fascinating to hear the direction they take their sound. One more to look forward to hearing in the New Year, and in the meantime, a stellar goodbye to this era of the band.

Enjoy:

Wight, “Through the Woods into Deep Water” live in the forest

Wight on Thee Facebooks

Wight on Bandcamp

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Frydee Wight — Live auf 603qm

Posted in audiObelisk on June 28th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Wight, Live auf 603qm

German heavy psych trio Wight released a new live album yesterday called Live auf 603qm that captures a set of theirs from Oct. 15, 2011, in the club of the same name. Being as I dig these guys and had their 2012 full-length, Through the Woods into Deep Water, on my mind after revisiting the Top 20 of 2012 yesterday, it seems only fitting to close out the week with this earlier live show.

Best of all, it’s a free download. Here’s what they have to say about it:

So here we are, we release our first live album with 40min “Wight Weedy Wight” songs only, performed at 603qm club in Darmstadt 2011!

It’s free to download but we would be really glad about a donation for all the blood and sweat in the performance and production.

Enjoy and SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAARE!

http://wight.bandcamp.com/album/live-auf-603qm

As always, I hope you dig the tunes.

It’s not every day you can end saying one of your heroes scolded you like a child, but it’s certainly often enough for my tastes. Hell of an interview this afternoon, if short. Needless to say, it won’t be posted, but wow, and awful. Portrait of my sails, windless.

So while I go back and regret every career decision I’ve ever made AGAIN and barrage my inner monologue with “I’m too old for this bullshit”-type admonishments, I think maybe I’ll go against my instinct to spend the night laying in bed watching Futurama in the dark and see if The Patient Mrs. wants to take a walk or something. At least take the little dog down the way.

Then, you know, bed, dark, Futurama. Moper’s delight.

Incidentally, The Patient Mrs.‘ response? “You need to stop interviewing people whose stuff you still like.”

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll be catching up on some emails, so if you’ve sent me something in the last week and a half or so and not heard back, I’m sorry and I’m working on it. Next week, reviews of Giobia, Carpet and maybe something else that’s summertime psychedelic.

At some point soon, Lo-Pan are going to be starting a tour diary as well, so keep an eye out for that. Until then:

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Revisiting the Top 20 of 2012

Posted in Features on June 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

They always say you there’s no going back. I don’t know who they are, but they’re right. As I searched back through posts to find the Top 20 of 2012, I realized it had been way too long since I heard some of these records. It’s so easy to get caught up with what’s current and what’s coming next that sometimes I forget to actually listen to albums I already enjoyed. That happened a couple times along the way.

When a year ends and the lists start coming out, it’s like records as numbered, stocked and then forgotten. I guess I’m guilty of it too. With that in mind, here’s a quick revisit to what I had as my favorites of 2012:

The Top 20 of 2012 Revisited

20. Mos Generator, Nomads
I can’t even look at this album cover without hearing the chorus to “Lonely One Kenobi” play in my head. Still a sentimental favorite.

19. Golden Void, Golden Void
Haven’t put it on in a while, but probably should.

18. Wight, Through the Woods into Deep Water
Ditto. This record was great and if I made the list today, it would probably be higher than it is here.

17. Lord Fowl, Moon Queen
Didn’t I start this week off with Moon Queen? Well, I guess it’s pretty fresh on my mind.

16. Pallbearer, Sorrow and Extinction
I’ve seen them three times so far this year and they’ve delivered each time, but haven’t put on the album itself in a while. Still looking forward to new stuff though.

15. Kadavar, Kadavar
I think I’ve had more fascinating conversations about Kadavar than any other band in the last year. So many opinions, so widely varied. I dig the self-titled, will probably have the follow-up on my list at the end of 2013. Nuclear Blast needs to bring them over to tour, maybe opening for Witchcraft?

14. Stubb, Stubb
Yay fuzz! Catchy songs, easy formula, well structured and impeccably performed.My favorite straight-up heavy rock record of 2012.

13. Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Damned
Hard to fuck with these dudes. The production here was a presence, but the songs still hold up.

12. Ararat, II
No shit, I live in terror of having Ararat release their third album and missing it. Like all of a sudden the album will have been out for three months and I’d have no idea.

11. Ufomammut, Oro
Haven’t listened to Opus Primum or Opus Alter since. Can’t help but think if Oro was released as one record, I’d put it on from time to time.

10. Conan, Monnos
I put this in the top 10 for a reason. Because it’s fucking ridiculously heavy. I stand by my reasoning. Looking forward to their new one.

9. My Sleeping Karma, Soma
An album I couldn’t manage to put down even when I wanted to, and one I still pick up from time to time. Glad I finally gave in an bought a copy to get away from the shitty digital promo version.

8. Graveyard, Lights Out
Maybe I burnt myself out on this? I went on a binge after their show in January for a bit and then put Lights Out away and that was that.

7. Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65
Every time I’m in a record store, flip through the Vitus selection and see my quote on the sticker on the front of the jewel case of Lillie: F-65, I feel like an entire decade of shitty career decisions is justified. No bullshit.

6. Ancestors, In Dreams and Time
Brilliant. Mostly brilliant for closer “First Light,” but that song was brilliant enough to get this spot on the list anyway.

5. High on Fire, De Vermis Mysteriis
Hard to argue with its intensity. Not much staying power as I would’ve thought, but god damn that’s a heavy record.

4. Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay
An overwhelming listen. I have to prepare my head for putting it on, but I continue to find it worth the effort.

3. Greenleaf, Nest of Vipers
It was the highlight of my year last year to see this material live. Greenleaf have a new lineup now and another album in the works, but if Nest of Vipersis how the last one was going out, they killed it.

2. Om, Advaitic Songs
Sometimes I fantasize about living in a temple where I wake up and Advaitic Songs is playing every day. That is 100 percent true.

1. Colour Haze, She Said
I’d probably listen to it even more if it was on one CD, but god damn, this record is amazing. Another one that’s kind of overwhelming, but it gets regular play as I expect it will continue to do into perpetuity.

All in all, pretty great year. Some stuff that’s fallen by the wayside, but a few landmarks as well that have carried over, and more importantly, some that seem like they’ll continue to carry over and grow in appeal as more time passes. Wight should’ve been higher on the list, but other than that, I’ll take it.

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 of 2012

Posted in Features on December 20th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Please note: This list is my personal picks, not the Readers Poll, which is ongoing — if you haven’t added your list yet, please do.

As ever, I’ve kept a Post-It note on my wall all year long, and as the weeks and months have ticked away, I’ve added names of bands to it in preparation for putting together my Top 20 of 2012. There was a glut of excellent material this year, and I know for a fact I didn’t hear everything, but from bold forays into new sonic territory to triumphant returns to startling debuts, 2012 simply astounded. Even as I type this, I’m getting emails about new, exciting releases. It’s enough to make you lose your breath.

Before we get down to it and start in with the numbers, the hyperbole, etc., I want to underscore the point that this list is mine. I made it. It’s not the Readers Poll results, which will be out early in January. It’s based on how I hear things, how much I listened to each of these records, the impressions they left on me — critical opinion enters into it, because whether or not I want to I can’t help but consider things on that level when I listen to a new album these days — but it’s just as much about what I put on when I wanted to hear a band kick ass as it is about which records carried the most critical significance or import within their respective genres.

With that caveat in mind, let’s do this thing:

20. Mos Generator, Nomads

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 7

Over the last couple years, I’ve come to think of the #20 spot as where I put my sentimental favorite. That was the case with Suplecs last year, and in 2012, the return of Mos Generator earns the spot. The band being led by guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed, Nomads marked a rehifting of Reed‘s priorities from Stone Axe, with whom he’d proffered ’70s worship for several years prior, and wound up as a collection of some of my favorite heavy rock songs of 2012 — tracks like “Cosmic Ark,” “Torches” and “Lonely One Kenobi” were as strong in their hooks as they were thorough in their lack of pretense. But the bottom line is I’m a nerd for Reed‘s songwriting, playing and production (more on that to come), and at this point it’s not really something I can even pretend to judge impartially. Still, the record’s friggin’ awesome and you should hear it as soon as you can.

19. Golden Void, Golden Void

Released by Thrill Jockey. Reviewed Nov. 20.

Seems like it would make sense to say Golden Void would be higher on the list if I’d spent more time with it — written up just a month ago, it’s the most recent review here — but the fact is I’ve sat with Golden Void‘s self-titled debut a lot over the course of the last month-plus, and I’ve been digging the hell out of it. Really, the only reason it’s not further up is because I don’t feel like I have distance enough from it to judge how it holds up over a longer haul, but either way, the Isaiah Mitchell-led outfit’s blend of heavy psych, driving classic rock and retro style gave some hope for beefing up the US’ take on ’70s swagger — usually left to indie bands who, well, suck at it — and also showed Mitchell as a more than capable vocalist where those who knew him from his work in Earthless may only have experienced his instrumental side. A stellar debut, a wonderful surprise, and a band I can’t wait to hear more from in the years to come.

18. Wight, Through the Woods into Deep Water

Released by Fat & Holy/Bilocation. Reviewed Aug. 3.

This was basically the soundtrack to my summer. From the catch-you-off-guard aggression in opener “I Spit on Your Grave” to the extended stoneralia of “Master of Nuggets” and the jammy “Southern Comfort and Northern Lights,” the follow-up to Wight‘s self-produced debut Wight Weedy Wight (review here) showed an astonishing amount of growth, and though it had the laid back, loose feel that distinguishes the best of current European heavy psych, Through the Woods into Deep Water was also coherent, cohesive and impeccably structured. I thought it was one of the year’s strongest albums when it was released, and its appeal has only endured — as much as I listened to it when it was warm over the summer, now in December I put it on wishing the temperature would change to match. The songs showed remarkable potential from the German three-piece and cast them in an entirely different light than did their first out. Really looking forward to where they might go from here, but in the meantime, I’m nowhere near done with Through the Woods into Deep Water yet.

17. Lord Fowl, Moon Queen

Released by Small Stone. Reviewed Aug. 29.

“Oh, Moon Queen! Flyin’ down the world on a moonbeam!” Somehow the first lines of the opening title-track to Lord Fowl‘s Moon Queen always seem to wind up stuck in my head. The Connecticut foursome made their debut on Small Stone with the loosely thematic full-length, and touched on a sense of unabashedly grandiose ’70s heavy rock in the process. That said, Moon Queen wasn’t shooting for retro in the slightest — rather, guitarist/vocalists Vechel Jaynes and Mike Pellegrino fronted the band’s classic sensibilities with a wholly modern edge, like something out of an alternate dimension where rock never started to suck. The classic metal guitar in “Streets of Evermore” and the swaying groove from bassist Jon Conine and drummer Don Freeman under the wandering leads of “Hollow Horn” made Moon Queen more stylistically diverse than it might otherwise have been, but at its core, it was a collection of stellar heavy rock songs, unashamed of its hooks and unafraid to put its passions front and center. They packed a lot into a 47-minute runtime, but I’ve yet to dig into Moon Queen and regret having pressed play. Another band to watch out for.

16. Pallbearer, Sorrow and Extinction

Released by Profound Lore. Reviewed Feb. 14.

It was impossible not to be swept up in the hype surrounding Pallbearer‘s Profound Lore debut, but one listen to Sorrow and Extinction and it was clear that its resounding praise was well earned. By blending thickened psychedelic tonality and emotionally resonant melodies, the Little Rock, Arkansas, four-piece concocted the single most important American doom release of the year. Their efforts did not go unnoticed, and as they supported the album on tour, the swell of the crowds spoke to the right-idea-right-time moment they were able to capture in songs like the stunning “An Offering of Grief” and “The Legend.” There’s room for growth — I wouldn’t be surprised to find guitarist Brett Campbell‘s vocal range greatly developed next time out — but Pallbearer have already left a mark on doom, and if they can keep the momentum going into wherever they go from here, it won’t be long before they’re being cited as having a significant impact on the genre and influencing others in their wake.

15. Kadavar, Kadavar

Released by Tee Pee. Track streamed July 9.

I already singled out Kadavar‘s Kadavar as the 2012 Debut of the Year, so if you need any sense of the reverence I think the German trio earned, take whatever you will from that. There really isn’t much to add — though I could nerd out about Kadavar‘s ultra-effective retroisms all day if you’re up for it — but something I haven’t really touched on yet about the record: When I was out in Philly last weekend, the DJ cleverly mixed Kadavar into a set of early ’70s jams, and it was all but indistinguishable in sound from the actual classics. That in itself is an achievement, but Kadavar‘s level of craft also stands them out among their modern peers, and it was drummer Tiger‘s snare sound that I first recognized in “All Our Thoughts,” so right down to the most intricate details, Kadavar‘s Kadavar was a gripping and enticing affair that proved there’s still ground to cover in proto-heavy worship.

14. Stubb, Stubb

Released by Superhot Records. Reviewed Feb. 2.

The fuzz was great — don’t get me wrong, I loved the fuzz — but with Stubb‘s Stubb, it was even more about the songs themselves. Whether it was the interplay between guitarist Jack Dickinson and bassist Peter Holland (also of Trippy Wicked) on vocals for the chorus of “Scale the Mountain” or the thickened shuffle in “Soul Mover” punctuated by drummer Chris West‘s (also Trippy Wicked and Groan) ever-ready fills, there wasn’t a clunker in the bunch, and though it’s an album I’ve basically been hearing since the beginning of the year, its appeal has endured throughout and I still find myself going back to it where many others have already been forgotten. With the acoustic “Crosses You Bear” and more laid-bare emotionality of “Crying River,” Stubb showed there was more them than excellence of tone and with the seven-minute finale “Galloping Horses,” they showed they were ready to jam with the best. Truly memorable songs — and also one of the live highlights of my year.

13. Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Damned

Released by Candlelight Records. Reviewed Dec. 15, 2011.

Orange Goblin‘s purpose seemed reborn on their seventh album and Candlelight Records debut, A Eulogy for the Damned. Culling the best elements from their last couple albums, 2007’s Healing Through Fire and 2004’s Thieving from the House of God, the long-running London troublemakers upped the production value and seemed bent from the start on taking hold of the day’s sympathy toward their brand of heavy. With tales of alcoholic regret, classic horrors and a bit of cosmic exploration for good measure, they marked their ascent to the top of the British scene and took well to the role of statesmen, headlining Desertfest and proceeding to smash audiences to pieces around the continent at fests and on tours. Look for them to do the same when they bring the show Stateside in 2013 with Clutch. Their plunder is well earned, and I still rarely go 48 hours without hearing the bridge of “The Fog” in my head. Can’t wait to see them again.

12. Ararat, II

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed March 28.

While I still miss Los Natas, my grief for their passing has been much eased over the last two years by frontman Sergio Chotsourian‘s doomier explorations in Ararat. The first album, 2009’s Musica de la Resistencia (review here), ran concurrent to Los Natas‘ swansong, Nuevo Orden de la Libertad, but with II, the new three-piece came into their own, setting space rock synth against low-end sprawl, thick drumming and Chotsourian‘s penchant for experimenting with structure. Extended tracks “Caballos” and “La Ira del Dragon (Uno)” were positively encompassing, and showed Ararat not only as a distinct entity from Los Natas, but a turn stylistically for Chotsourian into elephantine plod, wide-open atmospherics and a likewise expansive creative sensibility. The acoustic “El Inmigrante” and piano-led “Atenas” offered sonic diversity while enriching the mood, and closer “Tres de Mayo” hinted at some of the melding of the various sides that might be in store in Ararat‘s future. If the jump from the first record to the second is any indicator, expect something expansive and huge to come.

11. Ufomammut, Oro

Released by Neurot. Reviewed April 3 & Aug. 16.

Italian cosmic doom meganauts Ufomammut outdid themselves yet again with Oro, breaking up a single full-length into two separate releases, Oro: Opus Primum and Oro: Opus Alter. But the album — which I’ve decided to list as the single entity Oro rather than its two component parts basically to save myself some brain space — was more than just big in terms of its runtime. More importantly, Ufomammut were able to hold firm to their commitment to stylistic growth, drawing on their greatest triumph yet, 2010’s Eve (review here), the trio pushed themselves even further on their Neurot Recordings debut, resulting in an album worthy of the legacy of those releasing it. I don’t know if Oro will come to define Ufomammut as Eve already seems to have — dividing it as they did may have made it harder for listeners to grasp it as a single piece — but it shows that there’s simply no scaring the band out of themselves. Brilliantly tied together around a central progression that showed up in “Empireum” from Opus Primum and “Sublime” on Opus Alter, I have the feeling Ufomammut will probably have another album out before Oro‘s breadth has fully set in.

 10. Conan, Monnos

Released by Burning World/Gravedancer. Reviewed March 1.

Behold the standard bearers of heavy. It wasn’t long after hearing UK trio Conan for the first time that I began using them as a touchstone to see how other bands stacked up, and to be honest, almost no one has. Led by the inimitable lumber provided by the tone of guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis (interview here), Conan stripped down their approach for Monnos, returning to Foel Studio in Wales to work with producer Chris Fielding — who’d also helmed their 2010 Horseback Battle Hammer EP — and the resulting effort was both trim and humongous. Early tracks like “Hawk as Weapon,” “Battle in the Swamp” (an old demo given new life) and “Grim Tormentor” actually managed to be catchy as well as sonically looming, and the more extended closing duo of “Headless Hunter” and “Invincible Throne” showed that Conan could both use their tone to build forward momentum and plod their way into ultra-slow, ultra-grim despairing nothingness. Monnos affirmed Conan as one of the most pivotal acts in doom, and with new material and a home studio reportedly in the works, as well as further European touring on the docket for early 2013, their onslaught shows no signs of letting up. Right fucking on.

9. My Sleeping Karma, Soma

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 6.

In some ways, it seems like the easiest thing in the world, but with My Sleeping Karma‘s fourth full-length, Soma, it really was just a question of a band taking their sound to a completely new level. The German heavy psych instrumentalists brought forth the sweetness of tone their guitars have harnessed over the course of their three prior offerings, but the progressive keyboard flourishes, the warmth in the bass, the tight pop of the drums — it all clicked on Soma in a way that the other records hinted was possible and made the album the payoff to the four-piece’s long-established potential. Wrapped around the titular theme of a drink of the gods and with its tracks spaced out by varying ambient interludes, no moment on the album felt like it wasn’t serving the greater purpose of the whole, and the whole proved to be a worthy purpose indeed. Hands down my favorite instrumental release of the year and an effort that pushed My Sleeping Karma to the front of the pack in the crowded European heavy psych scene.

8. Graveyard, Lights Out

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Oct. 11.

The damnedest thing happens every time I turn on Graveyard‘s third album, Lights Out, in that before I’m halfway through opener “An Industry of Murder,” I have to turn it up. The reigning kings of Swedish retro heavy wasted no time following up 2011’s stunning sophomore outing, Hisingen Blues (review here), and with the four-year gap between their self-titled debut and the second record, it was a surprise from the moment it was announced, but more than that, Lights Out showed remarkable development in Graveyard‘s sound, offering elements of classic soul on songs like “Slow Motion Coundown” and “Hard Times Lovin'” to stand alongside the brash rock and roll of “Seven Seven” or the irresistible hook provided by “The Suits, the Law and the Uniforms” or the single “Goliath.” A landmark vocal performance from guitarist Joakim Nilsson and newly surfaced political bent to the lyrics hinted that Graveyard were nowhere near done growing, but seriously, if they put out four or five more records in the vein of Lights Out, I doubt there’d be too many complaints. Already one can hear the influence they’ve had on European heavy rock, and Lights Out isn’t likely to slow that process in the slightest.

7. Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65

Released by Season of Mist. Reviewed March 26.

Three drum hits and then the lurching “Let Them Fall” — the leadoff track on the first Saint Vitus studio album since 1995 — is underway, and it’s exactly that lack of pomp, that lack of pretense, that makes Lillie: F-65 so righteous. Admittedly, it’s a reunion album. They toured for a couple years playing old material, then finally decided to settle in and let guitarist Dave Chandler (interview here) start coming up with a batch of songs, but you can’t argue with the results. They nailed it. With Tony Reed‘s perfect production (discussed here), Vitus captured the classic tonality in Chandler‘s guitar and Mark Adams‘ bass and kept to their sans-bullshit ethic: A short, 33-minute album that leaves their audience wondering where the hell that assault of noise just came from. Scott “Wino” Weinrich‘s presence up front was unmistakable with Chandler‘s punkish, no-frills lyrics (as well as his own on “Blessed Night,” the first song they wrote for the album), and drummer Henry Vasquez not only filled the shoes of the late Armando Acosta but established his own persona behind the kit. I hope it’s not their last record, but if it is, Saint Vitus came into and left Lillie: F-65 as doom legends, and their work remains timeless.

6. Ancestors, In Dreams and Time

Released by Tee Pee. Reviewed March 23.

Talk about a band who shirked expectation. Guitarist/vocalist Justin Maranga and I discussed that aspect of Ancestors a bit in an interview over the summer, but it’s worth underscoring. There was next to nothing in either of Ancestors‘ first two albums to hint at where they’d go with the third. Both Neptune with Fire and Of Sound Mind (review here) were rousing, riff-led efforts that headed toward a particular heavy sensibility, but it was with last year’s Invisible White EP (review here) that the L.A. outfit began to show the progressive direction they were heading. And In Dreams and Time is even a departure from that! It’s kind of a departure from reality as well, with the Moog/organ/synth mesh from Matt Barks and Jason Watkins (also vocals), dreamy basslines from Nick Long and hold-it-all-together drumming of Jamie Miller — since out of the band. Closer “First Light” was my pick for song of the year, and had the album been comprised of that track along, it’d probably still be on this list somewhere, but with the complement given to it by the piano sprawl of “On the Wind” and driving riffs and vocal interplay of “Correyvreckan” (if you haven’t heard Long‘s bass on the latter as well, you should), there was little left to question that this was the strongest Ancestors release of their career to date and hopefully the beginning of a new era in their sound. They’ve never been what people wanted them to be, but I for one like not knowing what to expect before it shows up, at least where these guys are concerned.

5. High on Fire, De Vermis Mysteriis

Released by E1 Music. Reviewed March 12.

After what I saw as a lackluster production for 2010’s Snakes for the Divine, Oakland, CA, trio High on Fire aligned themselves with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge) for De Vermis Mysteriis and completely renewed the vitality in their attack. Built on the insistence of “Bloody Knuckles,” furious fuckall of “Fertile Green,” unmitigated piracy of “Serums of Laio” and eerie crawl in “King of Days,” De Vermis Mysteriis was both aggressive in High on Fire‘s raid-your-brain-for-THC tradition and extreme in ways they’ve never been before. Groovers like the instrumental “Samsara” and earlier “Madness of an Architect” offered bombast where the thrash may have relented, while “Spiritual Rites” proved that guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike (also Sleep; interview here), bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensell had arrived at a new threshold of speed and intensity. Whatever personal issues may have been in play at the time, High on Fire delivered a blistering full-length that stands up to and in many ways surpasses any prior viciousness in their catalog, and their level of performance on their current tour makes it plain to see that the band is ready for ascendency to the heights of metal. They are conquerors to the last, and if De Vermis Mysteriis is what I get for wavering, then I’ll consider my lesson hammered home in every second of feedback, tom thud and grueling second of distortion topped with Pike‘s signature growl.

4. Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay

Released by Neurot. Reviewed Sept. 21.

When I interviewed interviewed Steve Von Till about Honor Found in Decay, the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist called the band “a chaos process” in reference to their songwriting. I have no trouble believing that, because while Neurosis stand among the most influential heavy metal bands of their generation — having had as much of an effect on what’s come after them as, say, Meshuggah or Sleep, while also having little sonically in common with either of them — it’s also nearly impossible to pinpoint one aspect of their sound that defines them. The churning rhythms in the riffing of Von Till and his fellow frontman, guitarist/vocalist Scott Kelly (interview here), Dave Edwardson‘s intensity on bass and periodic vocal, the assured percussive creativity of Jason Roeder and the experimental edge brought to bear in Noah Landis‘ synth and sampling all prove to be essential elements of the whole. On Honor Found in Decay — and this isn’t to take away anything from any other particular member’s songwriting contributions — it would be Landis standing out with his greatest contributions yet, becoming as much a defining element in songs like “At the Well,” “Bleeding the Pigs” and “Casting of the Ages” as either Kelly or Von Till‘s guitars. Had I never seen the band before, I’d have a hard time believing Honor Found in Decay could possibly be representative of their live sound, but they are every bit as crushing, as oppressive and as emotionally visceral on stage — if not more so — as they are on the album, and while their legacy has long since been set among the most important heavy acts ever, period, as they climb closer to the 30-year mark (they’ll get there in 2015), Neurosis continue to refuse to bow to what’s expected of them or write material that doesn’t further their decades-long progression. They are worthy of every homage paid them, and more.

3. Greenleaf, Nest of Vipers

Released by Small Stone. Reviewed Feb. 28.

It’s hard for me to properly convey just how happy listening to Greenleaf‘s Nest of Vipers makes me, and I’ve got several false starts already deleted to prove it. The Swedish supergroup of vocalist Oskar Cedermalm (Truckfighters), guitarists Tommi Holappa and Johan Rockner (both Dozer), bassist Bengt Bäcke (engineer for Dozer, Demon Cleaner, etc.) and drummer Olle Mårthans (Dozer) last released an album in 2007. That was Agents of Ahriman, which was one of my favorite albums of the last decade. No shit. Not year, decade. With a slightly revamped lineup and Dozer‘s maybe-final album, 2008’s Beyond Colossal, and the never-got-off-the-ground side-project Dahli between, Nest of Vipers landed this past winter and with the shared membership, Karl Daniel Lidén production and consistency of songwriting from Holappa (interview here), I immediately saw it as a sequel to the last Dozer, but really it goes well beyond that. Tracks like “Dreamcatcher,” “Case of Fidelity,” “The Timeline’s History” and soaring opener “Jack Staff” show that although they’d never really toured to that point and been through various lineups over the years, Greenleaf was nonetheless an entity unto its own. Cedermalm‘s vocals were a triumph, Mårthans‘ drumming unhinged and yet grounded, and guest appearances from organist Per Wiberg and vocalists Peder Bergstrand (Lowrider/I are Droid) and Fredrik Nordin (Dozer) only enriched the album for repeat listens, which I’m thrilled to say it gets to this very day. If I called it a worthy successor both to Dozer and to Agents of Ahriman, those words alone would probably fall short of conveying quite how much that means on a personal level, so let its placement stand as testimony instead. This is one I’ll be enjoying for years to come, and when I’m done writing this feature, this is the one I’m gonna put back on to listen through again. It has been, and no doubt will continue to be, a constant.

2. Om, Advaitic Songs

Released by Drag City. Reviewed Aug. 13.

Go figure that the Om record two albums after the one called Pilgrimage would feel so much like a journey. Further including multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Robert A. A. Lowe (also of experimental one-man outfit Lichens) alongside the established core duo of drummer Emil Amos (also of Grails) and bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (also of Sleep), as well as incorporating a range of guest appearances from the likes of Grayceon‘s Jackie Perez Gratz on cello and Worm Ouroboros‘ Lorraine Rath (who appeared on 2010’s God is Good as well) on flute, Om fleshed out what was once a signature minimalism to the point of being a lush, constantly moving and markedly fluid entity. Cisneros, as the remaining founder and lead vocalist, served as a unifying presence in the material — his bass still was still very much as the center of  “Gethsemane” or the more straightforward and distorted “State of Non-Return” — but those songs and “Addis,” “Sinai” and gloriously melodic closer “Haqq al-Yaqin” amounted to more than any single performance, and where prior Om outings had dug themselves deep into a kind of solitary contemplation, Advaitic Songs looked outward with a palpable sense of musical joy and a richness of experience that could only be called spiritual, however physically or emotionally arresting it might also prove. I’ve found it works best in the morning, as a way to transition from that state of early half-there into the waking world — which no doubt has more harshness in mind than the sweet acoustics and tabla at the end of “Haqq al-Yaqin” — so that some of that sweetness can remain and help me face whatever might come throughout the day. A morning ceremony and a bit of meditation to reorder the consciousness.

1. Colour Haze, She Said


Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed Sept. 18.

Didn’t it have to be Colour Haze? Didn’t it? Two discs of the finest heavy psychedelic rock the world has to offer — yes I mean that — plus all they went through to get it out, the drama of building and rebuilding a studio, recording and re-recording, pressing and repressing, what else could it have been but She Said? After two-plus years of waiting, I was just so glad when it actually existed. Late in 2008, the Munich trio released All, and that was my album of the year that year as well (kudos to anyone who has that issue of Metal Maniacs), but I feel like even if you strip all that away and take away all the drama and the band’s influence, their standing in the European scene, guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek (interview here) fostering next-gen talent on Elektrohasch and whatever else you want or need to remove, She Said still holds up. Just the songs themselves. The extra percussion layered in with Manfred Merwald‘s drums on “She Said,” the horns and Duna Jam-ambience on “Transformation,” the unpretentious boogie of “This” on disc one, or the rush of “Slowdown” on disc two and the culmination the whole album gets when the strings kick in on “Grace.” Those strings. God damn. Suddenly a 2CD release makes sense, when each is given its own progression, its own destination at which to arrive, and tired as I am I still tear up like clockwork when I put on “Grace” just to hear it while I type about it. Beautifully arranged, wonderfully executed, She Said couldn’t be anywhere but at the top spot on this list. The warmth in Koglek‘s guitar and Philipp Rasthofer‘s bass on “Breath” and the way their jams always seem to have someplace to go, I feel like I’m listening to a moment exquisitely captured. There isn’t a doubt in my mind Colour Haze are the most potent heavy rock power trio in the world, and that their chemistry has already and will continue to inspire others around them, but most importantly, She Said met the true album-of-the-year criteria in not seeming at all limited to the confines of 2012 — as though it had some kind of expiration date. Not so. Even though I’ve already been through them more times than I know or would care to share had I counted, I look forward to getting to know the songs on She Said over the years to come, and as I have with Colour Haze‘s works in the past, seeing their appeal change over time the way the best of friends do. It couldn’t have been anything but Colour Haze. Whatever hype other albums or bands have, for me, it’s this, and that’s it.

Honorable Mentions

If this list went to 25, the next five would be:

21. Snail, Terminus
22. Revelation, Inner Harbor
23. Wo Fat, The Black Code
24. Groan, The Divine Right of Kings
25. Caltrop, Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes

Honorable mention goes to: Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight (another one about whom I have a hard time being impartial), Mighty High, At Devil Dirt, Bell Witch, Samothrace, Enslaved, Viaje a 800, and Larman Clamor.

Also worth noting some conspicuous absences: Witchcraft, Swans, Baroness, Royal Thunder, The Sword, Torche. These albums garnered a strong response and have done well in the Readers Poll looking at the results so far, but please keep in mind, this is my list, I took a night to sleep on it, I stand by it and I’ve got my reasons for selecting what I did. You’ll find about 5,000 words of them above.

Thank you as always for reading. If you disagree with any picks, want to add your own take on any of the above, or anything else — really, whatever’s cool — please leave a comment below.

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Wight & Trippy Wicked Give us all a Lesson in Charming Tour Names

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I mean, seriously. The chihuahua from Mars Attacks? I don’t know whose brilliant idea that was, but I both tip my hat and wish I could be there to see it when British heavy riffers Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight take on German heavy psych upstarts Wight in a cage match known as nine shows in nine days. I’d hit up a show, but there seems to be an ocean in my way. Stupid ocean. Never done nothin’ for nobody.

Been on the PR wire long enough to get stale, but it still smells fresh to me:

Fat&Holy Records is proud to present you the upcoming tour of the two Psychedelic Stonerrock bands WIGHT from Darmstadt, Germany and TRIPPY WICKED from St Albans, England…. it will be totally wicked! Both bands know how to rock, without compromises, evil and dark, but without losing humour. There are a lot of different moods and feelings and these bands totally reflect the real life in their songs.

You can listen to the new albums on bandcamp!
http://wight.bandcamp.com
http://trippywicked.bandcamp.com

The tour will be all over Germany and also in France! Check out the route:

FR 12.October – GER – Immerhin Würzburg
SAT 13.October – GER – Metzgerstraße Hanau
SUN 14.October – GER – Oetinger Villa Darmstadt
MON 15.October – GER – Radio Unerhört Marburg
TUE 16.October – FRA – Les Combustibles Paris
WED 17.October – FRA – Jimmy’s Pub Strasbourg
THU 18.October – GER – Hühnermanhattan Halle (Saale)
FR 19.October – GER – White Trash Berlin
SAT 20.October – GER – Rock The Hall Festival Mitwitz

Wight have just released their second album “Through The Woods Into Deep Water” on LP on Bilocation Records and CD on Fat&Holy Records. The feedback has been incredible with album of the day at roadburn.com, album of the summer at theobelisk.net and a lot of high rated reviews. Wight planned to write a rock album with all their influences from 70s Classic Rock to the 90s Grunge Scene and true to that have ended up with a mix of high overdriven guitars and groovy rhythms. The album was released in July 2012 and Wight had already played it live at Festivals like Desertfest Berlin, Stoned From The Underground and Misty Mountain to a great reception.

After a meeting of both bands at the beginning of the year they decided to tour together.

Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight’s most recent album, Going Home, was released 30th April 2012 on CD and LP via the band’s own label Superhot Records. Going Home is the band’s second full length album and continues their alternative take on the stoner and doom genres, injecting some much needed positive vibes and generally turning expectations on their head. And of course, there are drinking songs. Lots of drinking songs.

Going Home was recorded by the band themselves in late 2011 and after a successful European tour with the USA’s Stone Axe, Tony Dallas Reed, who counts the latest Saint Vitus album among his credits, was put in charge of mixing and mastering the record (Reed also mastered the Wight album, so the triangle closes).

Not content with just working the desk for Trippy Wicked, Tony has offered to step in on drums for the upcoming October tour as drummer Chris West will be filling in for Dicky King on bass.

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Album of the Summer of the Week: Wight, Through the Woods into Deep Water

Posted in Features on August 28th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I know it hasn’t yet been a full month since I reviewed Wight‘s Through the Woods into Deep Water, but it actually arrived much earlier than that, and in a lot of ways, the second album from the German stonerly trio has summed up the crux of my summer. It’s languid in some parts and unrepentantly heavy in others, and as we round out this weekly feature and approach Labor Day — the traditional end of summer here in the States, at least as regards back-to-school time and vacationing — there doesn’t seem to be a single record that comes to mind more than Wight‘s as having been such a regular feature throughout the season.

Whether it was the bleak weirdness of “Kiss Your Friends Goodbye” or the reconfigured Pentagram riffing of “I Spit on Your Grave,” the sleepy psychedelia of the title-track or the dirty blues of “You!,” Wight‘s jam-ready platter made for an easy go-to, suitable to any number of moods and atmospheres. In the car, in the yard and in the office (where I was more than anywhere else these past few months), the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Rene Hofmann, bassist/saxophonist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn and drummer Michael Kluck proved malleable to whatever was going on at the time, and the songs made a reliable fit, no matter what.

If you go back over the past Album of the Summer of the Week picks, you’ll notice that none of them were from this year. A couple from 2011, and others scattered throughout the past few decades, but Through the Woods into Deep Water is the only 2012 pick for this whole series of posts and that’s on purpose. There are a ton of records I’ve been immersed in for review and just general listening purposes, but Wight has been a consistent presence throughout the last couple months and I continue to appreciate its varied and rich atmospherics even as I tilt my head back and just let the riff of “Master of Nuggets” carry me where it will.

In case you’ve not yet had the chance to be carted off by their boogie shuffle or bass heavy grooving, here’s Wight‘s Through the Woods into Deep Water in its entirety, courtesy of their Bandcamp page, where the album is available in an array of CD and LP editions: 

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Wight, Through the Woods into Deep Water: Getting in Touch with Their Inner Goat

Posted in Reviews on August 3rd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

“Clear-headed” probably isn’t a fitting descriptor for something so fuzzed out as Through the Woods into Deep Water, but in trying to sum up the progression of German stoner trio Wight on their second album, nothing else quite fits. The Darmsdadt three-piece made their debut early in 2011 with the Sabbathian heavy psych of Wight Weedy Wight (review here), and for all the potential that record showed, the follow-up seems to be the band taking their sound to a new level. What that means, essentially, is a more professional approach all around and a firmer idea of what they want their style to be. Hence “clear-headed.” Available through Bilocation Records as a limited double-vinyl or in a Fat and Holy Records CD digipak edition of 500 with a foldout poster of the Arik Roper artwork, the physical presentation of Through the Woods into Deep Water is just one way in which the band has developed from their already impressive beginnings. The nine-track/58-minute release shares in part with its predecessor the recording work of Jorge MedinaLorenz “Lolo” Blümler also engineered five of the songs – and there are sonic consistencies on account of that, but on the whole the mix is better and guitarist/vocalist Rene Hofmann, oft-sunglassed bassist/saxophonist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn (also of black metallers Fallen Tyrant) and drummer Michael Kluck have more of a sense of what they want to do as a band. Songs blend elements from modern European heavy jamming, as on the thoroughly-percussed, thoroughly-soloed instrumental opening stretch of the 11:20 “Southern Comfort and Northern Lights,” with classic heavy rock boogie and shuffle – see “Master of Nuggets” – and the organic live feel of the first album is maintained even as Hofmann layers solos over top of each other and he and Schierhorn come together in sub-harmony for creepy opener “Kiss Your Friends Goodbye,” giving a sense of foreboding to what might otherwise just seem to be stonerly shenanigans and weighted jamming.

Not to say that stonerly shenanigans and weighted jamming aren’t part of it and a big part at that –Wight maintain a lighthearted atmosphere even in darker moments like the opener or the somber acoustic interlude “Halfway to Infinity” – but altogether, Through the Woods into Deep Water is a more professional record than was Wight Weedy Wight on nearly every level. More importantly, it’s among the best representations of next-gen heavy rock and psych that I’ve heard this year. The band’s songwriting purpose is clearly established, but a loose vibe is maintained, and even as Kluck crashes to emphasize the dooming plod of “Kiss Your Friends Goodbye” and the creepy lines, “My lap will be your graveyard/Kiss your friends goodbye,” are repeated in a manner reminiscent of a thicker take on The Kings of Frog Island, there’s something laid back in Wight’s mood that doesn’t take away as much from the threat as makes it even more vague and mysterious. After five minutes in, the opening fades and a slow, open jam fades up, underscored by Hofmann’s organ work. It’s a curious transition, but just as likely intended to defy expectation as anything else. As an introduction, it sets you up to not know what’s coming next. Fitting since what’s coming next is “I Spit on Your Grave,” an almost direct port of the riff to Pentagram’s classic “Forever My Queen.” Now, I don’t hold it against a band like Wight to cull parts from a band like Pentagram – it’s so obvious here what’s going on sonically and they take it somewhere else in the chorus, so I don’t at all get the sense that they’re trying to pass that riff as something they just came up with. Hell, even the drums are same in the intro. By the halfway point, however, it’s clear “I Spit on Your Grave” is repurposing more than it’s simply adopting, and the song puts that classic musical hook to good use. After five minutes in, the pace picks up and Wight unveil the first of Through the Woods into Deep Water’s several effective shuffles, only to shortly turn it on its head with metallic crunch. Only 13 minutes in, and the band has shown they’re nothing if not big on surprises.

“Southern Comfort and Northern Lights” arrives not entirely without precedent. Both “Let Me Know When You’ve Found God” and “Wight Weedy Wight” from Wight Weedy Wight were extended jams on either side of 11 minutes long. There’s more to “Southern Comfort and Northern Lights” than that, however. It basically breaks down into four parts: the opening jam, a boogie verse and chorus that cycles through twice, an organ-led break that also boasts some excellent interplay between Schierhorn’s sax and Hofmann’s guitar, a return cycle through that verse and chorus, and beginning just after 10 minutes in, a swaggering riff that’s too thick to really be a shuffle, but moves nonetheless. The structure isn’t what stands out in listening so much as the catchy chorus or the performances of all three players, but it shows that Wight, however far out they might go, still have a sense of not letting the song they’re writing get away from them, and with the dreamier acoustic interlude “Halfway to Infinity” following “Southern Comfort and Northern Lights,” it shows they feel that way about the whole of Through the Woods into Deep Water as well. After the sprawl of the preceding cut, it makes sense to have the classic Zeppelin-style acoustics where they are, the 3:32 track gradually introducing Kluck’s drums and Schierhorn’s bass to the mix before blowing out to an echoing and distorted finish that somehow keeps its otherworldly sweetness. Aside from sounding warm on its own, it’s a good bridge between “Southern Comfort and Northern Lights” and the 9:52 centerpiece “Master of Nuggets,” the riff of which is quick to infect and long to let go. Again Wight unleash a shuffling rhythm, the bass and drums holding it down while Hofmann breaks out a verse of lead lines on guitar and matches it vocally, pulling strings and holding notes at the same time in a classic kind of indulgence. After two verses, they move to a bouncing chorus of “oohs” that brings to mind Colour Haze’s falsetto non-verbal vocalizing, and where “Master of Nuggets” really distinguishes itself is in the extended jam that follows the next verse/chorus cycle. Schierhorn’s bass takes the fore for a moment and Hofmann answers back with a solo – Kluck holding the rhythm the whole time until shortly before eight minutes in the chorus begins again and Wight use it to transition into another meaty riff, an assortment of grunts topping until a stop brings back a couple measures of winding guitars and the age-old question, “What’s wrong with being sexy?” – the This is Spinal Tap reference delivered totally deadpan – launches the warm “wanna love ya”-type rocker “You!”

Read more »

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Here are Five Reasons I Wish I Went to Desertfest Berlin

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 27th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

True, my existence has been a diseased and stress-filled shambles ever since my return from Europe now nearly two weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I’d stayed there another week. Quite the opposite. As documentation begins to emerge from Desertfest Berlin, it only seems to underscore how righteous the fest was and makes me even sorrier to have missed it. I found a few clips on the YouBigTruck — oh wait I’m sorry, it’s not a big truck, it’s a series of tubes — that emphasize the point, and figured I’d share in case you hadn’t seen them yet.

For fun, here are five reasons I wish I was there:

1. Greenleaf
Granted, I got to see Greenleaf — the Swede-rock heavy supergroup populated by members of Dozer and Truckfighters — in London, but here’s the thing about it: They were really fucking good. Blindingly so, and another opportunity to catch a set would’ve been greatly appreciated. It’s hard to argue  with “Alishan Mountain,” since it’s one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard, and this just looks like good times to me:

 

2. Wight
As their recorded output proves, the jam-heavy German stoner rockers aren’t messing around when it comes to riff worship, but as righteous as the guitar solo that leads this Desertfest jam is, it’s the bass runs underneath that have me totally hooked. Charm is half of Wight‘s game, and that’s clearly on display here as they jump headfirst into the recognizable blues rocking grooves of “You!,” a demo of which was previously streamed on this very site. This one would’ve been fun to watch live:

 

3. The Grand Astoria
If I live to be 100, I’ll probably never make it to Russia, and while I don’t know for certain, I’m pretty sure the St. Petersburg four-piece — who seem to be in the process of acquiring a new rhythm section — don’t have any plans to hit the US anytime soon, so this would’ve been a crime of opportunity as much as anything else. I’ve dug both their records that I’ve heard (see here and here), and if this clip is any indicator of the shenanigans they threw down on stage for the duration of their set, hard not to feel like I missed out:

 

4. The Machine
At this point, what’s a trip to Europe without seeing The Machine? I kept hoping the Dutch natives — whose new album, Calmer than You Are was reviewed last week — would add a show on the sly sometime in the week before Roadburn kicked off, but no such luck, and after seeing them two years in a row on their native shores (or at least at the 013), they only seem to have gotten better as a live act, as this clip of opener “Moonward” from Calmer than You Are proves:

 

5. Operators
I’ve got their self-titled record on deck for review sometime in the next couple weeks (or months, if my current pace is maintained), and as they’re Berlin natives and I don’t know the band all that well yet, I think it would’ve been cool to check out organ-ized six-piece Operators at Desertfest. If nothing else, there’s six of ‘em! That’s like two trios! And part of being at any fest worthy of the name is finding new acts you hadn’t really been familiar with previously, so they probably would’ve filled that role well:

If we’re being honest with each other, there are way more than these five reasons I wish I’d been able to go to Desertfest Berlin, but some you win, some you have to go back to Jersey and spend two weeks staring at your computer monitor waiting for your work to finish itself. I think that’s how the song goes. Credit where it’s due, all these clips were shot by YouTube user MrJdelgadolopez, whose efforts and timely uploading are much appreciated.

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Wight Make Cheap Videos Look Cool Again with “Shaman Woman”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 10th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

If stonerly German trio Wight have anything in their favor at all — other than riffs — it’s charm. The Darmstadt three-piece just today released a new video for the song “Shaman Woman” from their Wight Weedy Wight debut. They reportedly made the video in homage “to all the awesome live videos of the TV show Beat Club! Beat Club was produced by Radio Bremen from 1965 to 1972.” Anyone who’s seen the classic Black Sabbath clip for “Iron Man” should have some idea of the style they’re talking about.

As ever for these dudes, it looks like they’re having a blast. If you missed the Six Dumb Questions with the band, it’s here. Enjoy the video:

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Six Dumb Questions with Wight

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on December 21st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Included at the bottom of this post is a live clip of German stonerly trio Wight performing in their native Darmsdadt. Taken from the band’s upcoming DVD Wight Home Weedio (get it?) and the same audio source as their split 10″ with Stone Axe, the song is the title-track from their 2011 Wight Weedy Wight debut (review here), which was self-released through Fat and Holy Records and among the most sincere executions of unabashed stoner groove I heard all year. If you watch the video, you’ll notice the band has trails.

Now, that could be an effect put on in editing, but I prefer to think that wherever Wight go, they have those trails with them. They’re just that stoner rock. So, if Wight goes to the cash machine? Trails. Wight orders a sandwich for lunch? Trails. Wight lets loose some awesome languid riffing and heady jams? Trails. In fact, even if that’s not the case, don’t tell me. I’d rather live with my fantasy, however contradicted by the fire and sundry psychedelic visuals that come up later on as the song progresses.

Wight Weedy Wight followed a simple and familiar enough formula for crafting cool and natural sounding heavy psych, and though it was still obviously a first album and pretty rudimentary in terms of style, it rocked and showed potential for righteous jams to come. Having already previewed the follow-up sophomore outing — to be titled Through the Woods into Deep Water — with a free download of a new demo called “You!” (streaming here), Wight look to already be developing the classically spaced-out side of their sound and balancing it with their organically jammed mentality. Right on.

Before Through the Woods into Deep Water hits this coming spring, I wanted to bug the three-piece with Six Dumb Questions just to get some basic idea of what they’re all about and what went into making Wight Weedy Wight, and caught them just as they were hitting the road with Bushfire on their “Malakas of the Universe” tour.

Wight is guitarist/vocalist Rene Hofmann, bassist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn (also of black metal outfit Fallen Tyrant) and drummer Michael Kluck. Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

1. Tell me about how the band got together. What was it that first sparked the idea for Wight, and how did the three of you join up?

Rene: When I came to Darmstadt, I wanted to found a new band because I had a lot of ideas. In all of my previous bands, I was only the vocalist, and this time I wanted to play guitar too in order to combine my ideas for vocal and guitar melodies.

Peter and I met in late 2007, and after some months of searching we found a drummer in April 2008. We started with some of my ideas, and with the input of the other two band members we developed a heavy, doomy style. On our first demo and a lot of unreleased material you can hear that. We played a couple of gigs in 2009 before we parted ways with our old drummer. Michael and I knew each other from working in a record store. Michael joined the band in February 2010, and we really started all over from there. We developed a really awesome workflow and wrote, arranged and recorded Wight Weedy Wight within a couple of months.

2. How much of Wight’s songwriting comes from jamming out on the riffs? How are the riffs pieced together, and if that’s the way it goes, how are the songs kind of carved out of those jams?

Peter: Rene usually comes up with the riffs, we start jamming on them in the practice room and Michael and I develop our parts. Usually, Rene also has some rough ideas for the structure, and we refine them together. On one or two occasions, we also started from a drumbeat or a bass line, but usually Rene‘s guitar riffs are the base for our compositions.

3. Tell me about recording Wight Weedy Wight. How much of the album was recorded live, and as your debut, how much does it show what you want the sound of Wight to be?

Rene: We recorded the album live, together in a 200sqm studio. It was a cool experience recording that way. Our engineer Jorge [Medina] also helped a lot with that. I recorded some guitar overdubs afterwards, as well as all of the vocals.

It is important to know that we recorded Wight Weedy Wight after only about half a year together as a band. So the songs have a kind of impulsive vibe to them, which really forms the sound. It’s always that way when we write new songs, and you will hear that on future recordings.

4. How did the split with Stone Axe come about? When were those jams recorded, and will any of that material make it onto Through the Woods into Deep Water? Do you know yet when the next record will be out?

Michael: Yeah, man, ask Tony.

Rene: Michael and I saw Stone Axe at Roadburn 2011 and were blown away by the performance. I took out my camera, filmed two songs and sent the videos to Tony [Reed] later. I told him about Fat & Holy Records. Together, we had the idea to release a split because I told him we had recorded a jam session during the Wight Weedy Wight sessions – the “Cosmic Rhythm #2.” He said he was about to record three jams in the studio with his band for the B-side. The other Wight track on the split LP is a live version of “Wight Weedy Wight” which was recorded in Darmstadt early this year.

Peter: The tracks are exclusively released on the split, they will not be included on the new album. We will release Through the Woods Into Deep Water in March or April, but we do not have a fixed date yet.

Rene: It all depends on how soon the mixing and the layout are done.

5. You guys have signed on to play the Berlin Desertfest. Will you tour around that, or do other strings of dates in Europe for the new album? Any chance you’d hook up with Wiht from the UK and do a “Wight on Wiht” tour?

Rene: We don’t have any tour dates confirmed for the new album. We will play a couple of gigs in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in February and March together with our friends from Bushfire, though. We hope to play some more gigs around or after Desertfest. The Wiht guys seem to be nice, I hope to see them live or even play with them some day. Like they said, a “Missing G Tour” … ;-)

6. Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

If you ask something like that, we go Darkthrone on you and just drop a bunch of names of bands and friends you should check out: Bushfire, Fallen Tyrant, Black Lizard, Godless Funk of Bonanza, The Wolves, Manges, Burden, The Gasoline Disaster, Okta Logue, 1000mods, Sun of Nothing, Cherry Choke, Coogans Bluff, Hyne, Toner Low, Broken Spirits, Negativvm, Robotnik.

Wight’s website

Wight on Thee Facebooks

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audiObelisk: Wight Stream New Demo Track; Free Download Available

Posted in audiObelisk on November 29th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Things have been pretty busy for stonerly trio Wight since they last checked in with their Wight Weedy Wight debut full-length (a whole month and a half ago that it was reviewed). They’re getting ready to release a jam-centric split 12″ with Stone Axe on their own Fat and Holy Records imprint, and at the start of next month, they’ll be embarking on a weekender tour through their native Germany with fellow riff-minded Darmsdadters Bushfire that’s been dubbed the “Malakas of the Universe” tour. Good fun.

Perhaps the best of all, though is that Wight are set to release their second album in the first part of the imminent New Year. February/March 2012 will see the release of Through the Woods into Deep Water, both on CD through Fat and Holy, and also on vinyl through Bilocation Records. Wight will celebrate in April with a performance at the Berlin Desertfest.

To help spread the word about Through the Woods into Deep Water, Wight have made a demo of the new song “You!” available for free download through their website. The sound is rough, but still plenty clear to give an idea, and the blues jam that ensues is unmistakable. To complement the killer soloing of guitarist Rene Hofmann, guest vocal spots from Bill Brown (of Bushfire) and Sami Isin (of Jamie’s Backyard) add to a loose, grooving atmosphere worthy of the second The Kings of Frog Island record.

The band offered me the chance to host the track for streaming and after taking a listen and nodding my way through “You!,” the choice seemed obvious. You’ll find it on the player below. Hope you dig:

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

Wight‘s Through the Woods into Deep Water is expected to release in early 2012. The free download of the “You!” demo is available from Mediafire here. To keep up to date on all Wight‘s many doings, check out their website.

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Wight, Wight Weedy Wight: They Found Their God, and His Name is Tony

Posted in Reviews on October 17th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Sometimes there’s no other way to say it: Stoner rock. Among some bands who play it, the genre is spurned, and with decent reason. It’s a commercial dead end, a hard pigeonhole to get out of, and an automatic implication of lifestyle. For German trio, Wight, however, it’s the only thing that fits. And somehow, as the Darmstadt band has named their self-released debut Wight Weedy Wight and guitarist, vocalist, co-engineer and seeming principle figure Rene Hofmann has adorned the front cover with trump l’oeil spirals and psychedelic impressions of the band themselves, amps and other fractals, I don’t think they’d mind the designation. Wight play stoner rock. They do it without shame, in a fog of sleepy-groove reverb, and with a focus on the riff that carries through nearly every move they make on Wight Weedy Wight. The album is four plus two bonus tracks of pure weedian aesthetic, with one eye toward heavy ‘70s spacey classicism and another right on the fuzz pedal. It’s relatively simple in terms of structure, but still loose-feeling and jammed, and Wight are aware as much of the footprints they’re standing in as the ones they’re leaving behind. Like I said: Stoner rock.

More than a lot of the bands in the genre, though, Wight can be viewed as a showcase for Hofmann’s guitar work. From the moment he takes his first echo-drenched solo on opener “Cosmic Rhythm #1,” he’s in the lead, and he doesn’t relinquish the position anywhere across Wight Weedy Wight’s 46 minutes. Sabbathian references abound to coincide with the album’s title; “All Beyond the Piend of Being” breaks after about a minute and a half of its total nine-plus into a guitar line built from Paranoid’s “Jack the Stripper” intro to “Fairies Wear Boots,” and later in that song, Hofmann pans two overlapping solos (with the reverb, the effect is a glorious wash of sustained high notes over the mid-paced bass line) in spirited Iommic homage. While he’s journeying into tonal subspace in these lengthy jams – and there are several of them over the course of the ensuing and even more extended “Let Me Know When You Found God” (10:51) and “Wight Weedy Wight” (11:39) to come – it’s up to the rhythm section of bassist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn and drummer Michael Kluck to keep the songs grounded. They’re strong enough as an entity to do it, and as “All Beyond the Piend of Being” flows into subdued start-stop hits to set up Hofmann’s next solo toward the end, where the vocals come back after who even knows how long, it’s so fluid you barely know the band is taking you somewhere until you’ve arrived.

They keep those hypno-cosmic vibes consistently across “Let Me Know When You’ve Found God” and “Wight Weedy Wight,” which, were it not for the two more straightforward bonus cuts, “Shaman Woman” and “Hammer Boogie,” would comprise more than half of Wight Weedy Wight’s runtime. “Let Me Know When You Found God” picks up the pace and activity level from “All Beyond the Piend of Being” somewhat, but the methodology is still largely the same: riff and solo until you find infinity. Hofmann’s vocals feel prominent over the heavy sections of the song (I take that back, it’s all heavy), but aren’t mixed improperly, and since the breadth of the music and the length of the breaks and jams means they come up infrequently, there’s nothing offensive about his somewhat throaty but still natural approach. Rather, he fits well into the groove when he’s there and then steps back to let the instruments – again, particularly his own – hold sway, which it does even as Schierhorn, who’d immediately prior had some of his warmest bass lines yet, and Kluck drop out to leave the guitars on their own in “Let Me Know When You Found God” in true ‘70s solo fashion. It sounds like something off Made in Japan or any number of Sabotage-era bootlegs, and fits right in with the rest of Wight’s organic feel.

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