Pelander, Time: Colour and Irony

Posted in Reviews on October 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

pelander-time

It’s fitting somehow that Time should ask more questions than it answers. Six years ago, Witchcraft frontman and retro heavy rock innovator Magnus Pelander (also previously of Örebro forebears Norrsken) issued his four-song solo outing, titled simply EP, on Svart Records. It was an intricate, intimate and progressive offering, if short, and the context in which it arrived was wholly different from that which sees Time arrive via Nuclear Blast.

In 2010, it had already been three years since Witchcraft‘s third album, The Alchemist added elements of classic prog to the vintage stylization of 2005’s sophomore effort, Firewood, which had already cleaned up the band’s presentation from the live-feeling rawness of their 2004 self-titled debut (discussed here); still a landmark in helping define the tenets its subgenre continues to follow.

In 2016, in addition to Pelander taking his last name for a solo moniker as he puts forth the six-song/37-minute Time, Witchcraft released their fifth LP, the sprawling, fully-modernized, 69-minute Nucleus (review here), building on the massive shift in lineup and crisper production style that their 2012 return and Nuclear Blast debut, Legend (review here), began.

All the more curious, then, that Time should arrive with such stripped-down, minimal arrangements — a sweet combination of guitars, strings and voices on “The Irony of Man,” or the UK-style folk flute on opener “Umbrella,” or Pelander and his accompanying guest vocalist backed by acoustic guitar, bass and simple, intermittent percussion on the closing title-track — bearing his name as its banner, since it’s so far removed from the direction his songwriting has taken over the course of the last half-decade. Maybe that’s the point.

One way or another, Time presents the most willfully organic production in which Pelander has taken part at least since Firewood if not since Witchcraft‘s self-titled. I’m reasonably sure that isn’t how he’d want it measured, but it’s true nonetheless. Beginning with the warm welcome of “Umbrella”‘s folksy balladry and classic lyrical patterning — “Never thought I,” and so on — the album holds to a clean but natural sound that, at least in some degree, still translates to a full-band fullness. That is, though parts are quiet, minimalist, rarely is Pelander actually sounding alone on this solo album.

There’s flourish of violin and the aforementioned flute and backing vocals to go with the guitar, bass and percussion working under his lead on “Umbrella,” and a quick ’60s-style psychedelic electric guitar solo even shows up briefly before the acoustic guitar takes the fore once again in a final movement that seems to be referencing Black Sabbath‘s “Sweet Leaf.” Bottom line is it’s not like all Time is working from is Magnus Pelander and an acoustic guitar, but it has an intimate vibe in part due to personal-feeling lyrics like “Family Song,” which directly names mother, father, brother, sister and self as characters early on to a humble strum and some sweet fret work setting up a powerful vocal push as the track moves into its second half.

Some kind of keys — might just be piano — are introduced briefly but not out of place in their coming and going before the last verse section, and “Family Song” ends with a quieter feel, suitable for the transition into the soft open of “The Irony of Man.” The aforementioned backing vocals — I don’t know accompanies Pelander throughout, but her harmonies add enough to the tracks on which she appears that I’d give credit if I could — and another showcase of melodic prowess, this time over a more melancholic instrumental arrangement, driven once more by acoustic guitar but building outward with strings as it moves through toward the two longest cuts on Time, “True Colour” and “Precious Swan.”

pelander-1

Between them, “True Colour” (8:57) and “Precious Swan” (9:53) comprise more than half of the total 36:50 runtime of Time, and with Pelander having proved his mettle in structure and creating a full-album flow across five Witchcraft full-lengths, it’s hard to imagine their placement next to each other is an accident.

Back to back, they make for the most immersive section of the record — admittedly less if you get the version with the bonus track “Rebecka” — broadening the context with Spanish-style guitar and more active percussion before the halfway point of “True Colour” only to dip back into the quiet verse like nothing ever happened before stretching out with broader strumming, progressive string turns in the back end and a subtle, wistful finish with a ticking clock at close. The play in “Precious Swan” is “precious one.” The song starts with that line and individually plucked notes to set up a patient development that, once it starts unfolding with the drawn violin and more forceful vocals, does not seem to stop.

Tension rises with electric guitar leading to start-stop bass and far-back swirl of guitar that fades out to let piano and acoustics take hold at the halfway mark, building in volume and arrangement to a noisy cacophony that, at 6:29, finally cuts to let a strummed electric guitar play the central line of the song. Then, only then, does the acoustic figure return, Pelander once again crooning “precious one” or “precious swan,” whichever it might be. Strings come back in the instrumental meandering that follows, and there’s a sample of a woman singing in what seems to be Swedish — unsure who or when, but regardless the sense of nostalgia is palpable.

That emotional resonance would seem to stand in direct contrast to the actual last lines of the album, in which Pelander, with an audible sigh, declares, “I don’t want to live here/My enemy is time.” This comes after clever plays off words that rhyme with the title, delivered in succession, a flash of percussion, and a final guest vocal appearance that seems to tie everything together as it gives way to the final movement of subdued acoustic guitar that closes the song and the record as whole.

In its last moments, Time brings listeners back to that sense of asking questions. We don’t, in the end, know whether time is an enemy or an ally, as “Precious Swan” might lead one to believe. We don’t know whether it’s a sense of looking back on his career that caused Pelander to revive this solo-project, or if the very sound of Time itself is an acknowledgement of the role that notions of the bygone have played out in his work aesthetically over the course of his career.

And we don’t know how, or if at all, Magnus Pelander will continue to develop Pelander as an entity separate from Witchcraft, or if Time is a one-off as collections of its ilk sometimes can be; a collection of tracks accumulated over some measure of time — there’s that word again — that he felt it was finally time to get out of his system. All of these things, and more, have yet to be answered, but there’s value in the asking, and for as much as it revels in the uncertain, Pelander‘s Time is guided by the surest of hands.

Pelander, “The Irony of Man”

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Pelander at Nuclear Blast

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Pelander: Witchcraft Frontman Unveils Time Title and Tracklisting

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

More details have started to trickle out about Witchcraft frontman Magnus Pelander‘s debut solo album. The title, for example, will be Time, and it will feature six tracks plus a bonus cut and run about an LP-ready 44 minutes. No artwork or audio or even a solid release date yet, but Nuclear Blast seems to be doling out details one or two at a time — the last press release was “Hey, an album exists and we’re putting it out” and this one is “Hey, it has a name and songs” — so you know, there’s still plenty to learn in the months ahead. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect a release date sometime in October/November, but don’t go quoting that or anything. Pure speculation on my part.

And not to give away state secrets or anything, but if you’ve been missing Witchcraft‘s pioneering retro-doom aesthetic, there are definitely some parts of this record to which you’re going to want to pay particular attention. There. I can be vague with the best of ’em.

This is the part where there’s a photo and then the text changes color to signify its origins on the PR wire:

pelander

PELANDER – WITCHCRAFT main man’s solo project announces title & track list

WITCHCRAFT main man, Magnus Pelander’s solo project PELANDER has announced the title as well as the track list for his upcoming debut album.

Time will contain 7 tracks with an approximate running time of 44 minutes.

Time track list:
1. Umbrella
2. Family Song
3. The Irony Of Man
4. True Colour
5. Precious Swan
6. Time
7. Rebecka (BONUS TRACK)

After his latest journey with WITCHCRAFT, Nucleus, multi instrumentalist and lyricist extraordinaire, Magnus Pelander, returns to his solo career which without a doubt can be recognized as being tied to the cult doom/rock band, still exploring other paths and going full on acoustic.

Magnus Pelander comments: “At last my first solo album is done and soon to be released. I cannot believe this is true.”

Commented Nuclear Blast A&R representative Markus Jakob: “We’re thrilled to not only work with a gifted artist as Magnus on his main band but now also on his solo career. Both WITCHCRAFT and PELANDER have always stood for variety, artistic freedom and development which we’re more than happy to support. Prepare yourself for another deep and intense look into the mind and musical vision of a genius!”

www.nuclearblast.de/pelander
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa/

Magnus Pelander, “Stardust” Live in Gothenburg, Sweden, 2010

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Magnus Pelander of Witchcraft to Release Solo LP on Nuclear Blast

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Witchcraft spearhead Magnus Pelander released a solo EP, A Sinner’s Child, through Svart Records in 2010. As I recall, it was only four songs, but it didn’t need any more than that to showcase a folkish side that hadn’t shown up in Witchcraft at all since even their earliest going. Having dropped his first name to operate under the solo moniker of Pelander, he’ll release a full-length before the end of the year through Nuclear Blast, also now the label home of Witchcraft, who released their fifth album, Nucleus (review here), earlier in 2016.

Not that I’ve heard it or anything, but it’s got some pretty gorgeous moments in string arrangements atop a current of acoustic guitar, and I don’t know what Pelander‘s voice has ever sounded better. Not that I’ve heard it or anything.

From the PR wire:

pelander

PELANDER – WITCHCRAFT main man’s solo project signs to Nuclear Blast

We are happy to announce that WITCHCRAFT main man, Magnus Pelander’s solo project PELANDER has officially signed to Nuclear Blast Records.

After his latest journey with WITCHCRAFT, Nucleus, multi instrumentalist and lyricist extraordinaire, Magnus Pelander, returns to his solo career which without a doubt can be recognized as being tied to the cult doom/rock band, still exploring other paths and going full on acoustic.

Magnus Pelander comments: “At last my first solo album is done and soon to be released. I cannot believe this is true.”

Commented Nuclear Blast A&R representative Markus Jakob: “We’re thrilled to not only work with a gifted artist as Magnus on his main band but now also on his solo career. Both WITCHCRAFT and PELANDER have always stood for variety, artistic freedom and development which we’re more than happy to support. Prepare yourself for another deep and intense look into the mind and musical vision of a genius!”

Today, PELANDER also announces the as of yet untitled successor to 2010’s A Sinner’s Child EP to be released later this year. More details about Magnus Pelander’s second solo album will be revealed soon.

www.nuclearblast.de/pelander
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa/

Magnus Pelander, “Hope”

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Witchcraft, Nucleus: At the Center of it All

Posted in Reviews on January 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

witchcraft nucleus

To date, across five albums, Sweden’s Witchcraft have never repeated themselves. Even their first two outings, 2004’s landmark self-titled debut and 2005’s similarly-intentioned Firewood, showed marked progression one into the next. Those records have become landmarks of heavy ’70s retro methodology in the decade-plus since their release, a brand of classic doom that Witchcraft founder Magnus Pelander first began to foster in Norrsken alongside members of what would become Graveyard. Following the more prog-rock vintage styling of Witchcraft‘s third album, The Alchemist, the band took a five-year break, and when they resurfaced in 2012 with Legend (review here), it was clear some changes had taken place. Amid a more modern production than ever before, Pelander led a five-piece incarnation of the band in which bassist Ola Henriksson (now Troubled Horse) was the only other founding member.

Four years after Legend, Pelander brings Witchcraft to places both familiar and strange on their fifth full-length and second for Nuclear Blast, Nucleus, stripping back some of Legend‘s grandiosity for a nine-track/69-minute 2LP that, while it still maintains the modern crispness of its predecessor, is arguably the doomiest atmosphere they’ve conjured on an album. Witchcraft 2016 being comprised of Pelander on guitar/vocals, Tobias Anger (ex-2 Ton Predator) on bass and Rage Widerberg on drums, it’s a completely revamped outfit, and Nucleus marks the first time the band has ever worked as a trio. And perhaps the title is meant directly to speak to that notion of stripping things down to their core, to expose the basic element at the center of it all, I don’t really know, but if that’s the case, then it seems like Nucleus does that even before it’s started. At the center of it all for Witchcraft, there’s always been change.

And if it seems strange to think of a 69-minute album — the longest Witchcraft has produced by 13 minutes over its predecessor — as also being “stripped down,” that very contrast seems to be the beating hard that pumps the record along. Witchcraft continue to have grand aspirations, and the band show them in the side-consuming finales of each of its two LPs, “Nucleus” (14:08) first and album closer “Breakdown” (15:55) second. Each component record in the whole also receives a somewhat-less extended opener, whether it’s the morose album launch “Malstroem” (8:31) or the contemplative build of “An Exorcism of Doubts,” which shifts from open-spaced minimalism to some of Nucleus‘ most bombastic output, and then shifts back, unexpectedly. Pelander, long since the master of his domain in terms of making the band what he wants it to be, also produced in cooperation with Philip Gabriel Saxin and Anton Sundell, and when it wants to, as on “Malstroem,” or the trudging final five minutes of “Breakdown,” the album can be an absolute slog, and that’s clearly something done on purpose.

witchcraft nucleus band pic

It’s not intended to be simple or forgettable in its impact, even if what’s really at work across much of it is guitar, bass, drums, vocals and keys — maybe plus some percussion and flute on the more shuffling “The Outcast,” one of the more upbeat and catchier inclusions here — and though much of its material stretches well beyond, the two-minute second cut, “Theory of Consequence” stands in as an analogy for a lot of what follows; it is riff-led doom, still driven by a classic dynamic as I think Witchcraft almost can’t help but be, but taken to a darker place atmospherically than the band have ever taken it before. Arrangement flourishes are subtle throughout compared to some of what hits hardest, but keys and acoustic guitars in the title-track set an expansive tone early and with guest vocals and slow-push crashing at the end, “Nucleus” rounds out the first LP in surprisingly large fashion and gives way to CD centerpiece “An Exorcism of Doubts,” which toys back and forth with volume before bursting into a central nod that holds sway onto relinquish to a quiet, almost Graveyard-ian finish.

“An Exorcism of Doubts,” with its rolling riff and accompanying organ, swaying shifts one way or the other in volume, emergent chorus, etc., is responsible in no small part for setting the more brooding ambience of Nucleus‘ second LP, but even it has its brighter moments. To wit, “The Obsessed” has a lead-in riff and bounce worthy of its namesake trio, even if Pelander‘s vocals remain so thoroughly his own, though “To Transcend Bitterness” reaffirms a moody swirl and emotional tumult even as it also highlights a nascent chemistry between Pelander, Anger and Widerberg (also one between Pelander, anger and rage) instrumentally. Its apex-into-finish satisfies like a miniature “Nucleus” and leads to the softer beginnings of the penultimate “Helpless,” which channels the tension built up over the record’s tempestuous course into a linear build that starts at guitar alone and crests with the album’s best solo over a lurching rhythm before finishing out with the full-toned fuzz riffing out.

That would be a suitable conclusion to Nucleus on its own, but “Breakdown” is the thick underline beneath all the emotional chaos preceding, comprised of two parts demarcated by misanthropic samples as a far-back psychedelic minimalism gives way circa seven minutes in to the doomed march that continues through the remainder of the track, only growing more unhinged — are those strings? — as it makes its way toward the chorus-topped finish, and instead of the fuzz guitar, it’s a single string plucked in the same rhythm that caps the album. Perhaps that’s Witchcraft hitting the titular nucleus after all the careening and lumbering. Maybe it’s that last few seconds that Nucleus is inextricably pushing toward. One way or another, it is a significant journey to get there. Could Witchcraft have cut this down to make it a single LP? Probably, but the fact that the stretch is challenging in form and execution seems like part of the intent. Their breadth of influence may continue to stem from their earliest work, but Witchcraft, and Pelander as the band’s own nucleus, have never stopped growing. Whatever they do next, don’t be surprised when it’s not this.

Witchcraft, “Theory of Consequence”

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Witchcraft at Nuclear Blast

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Witchcraft to Release New Album Nucleus on Jan. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

witchcraft-band-pic

Nuclear Blast has announced a Jan. 15 release date for Nucleus, the next LP from Swedish revivalist progenitors Witchcraft, who brazenly adopted a more modern take on their last album, 2012’s Legend (review here). That record was their fourth overall and their first for the label, and as founding guitarist/vocalist Magnus Pelander has once again revamped the lineup, it’s even harder to know what to expect for full-length number five. Doubtless that’s the whole idea, but my interest is piqued with the label’s mentioning of capturing the rawness of their early work in the upcoming tracks. We’ll see how it pans out. Either way, preorders are up now and linked below.

From the PR wire:

Witchcraft - Nucleus

WITCHCRAFT announce new album details!

Swedish classic / doom rock masters WITCHCRAFT have announced the release date, track list and cover art for the band’s eagerly anticipated new album.

Nucleus is scheduled for a January 15, 2016 release worldwide via Nuclear Blast and will be available as CD, lavish digipak (also as a t-shirt bundle), vinyl (black, clear, splatter, gold) and digital download.

The first single, ‘The Outcast’ will be released on 7″ vinyl (black, clear) and as digital download on December 4, and will exclusively be available via the Nuclear Blast Mailorder. The single will include the NIRVANA cover ‘Even In His Youth’.

Pre-order Nucleus and The Outcast 7″ from the Nuclear Blast web shop, here: http://nblast.de/WitchcraftNucleusNB

The track lists for both releases read as follows.

The Outcast 7″:
Side A
01. The Outcast (edit)
Side B
02. Even In His Youth (NIRVANA cover)

Nucleus:
01. Malstroem
02. Theory Of Consequence
03. The Outcast
04. Nucleus
05. An Exorcism Of Doubts
06. The Obsessed
07. To Transcend Bitterness
08. Helpless
09. Breakdown
Limited digipak CD & 2LP vinyl bonus track
10. Chasing Rainbows

The successor of 2012’s globally extremely successful album, Legend, will be entitled Nucleus. The record seemlessly mixes the rawer side of WITCHCRAFT’s early roots, with a slightly more melancholic modern sound.

With an all new line-up (Rage Widerberg on drums and Tobias Anger on bass) the band sounds more hungry and powerful than ever before. In combination with the thrilling, yet very down-to-earth production by mastermind Magnus Pelander himself, Philip Gabriel Saxin and Anton Sundell, the album throws you into a dreamy sonic landscapes that will mesmerize and haunt you alike.

www.witchraftswe.com
www.facebook.com/witchcraft
www.nuclearblast.de/witchcraft
http://nblast.de/WitchcraftNucleusNB

Witchcraft, “Deconstruction” Live in Finland, 2013

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Friday Full-Length: Witchcraft, Witchcraft

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 6th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Witchcraft, Witchcraft (2004)

I know the retro thing is getting kind of played out at this point with a lot of bands trying their best to sound like the heavy ’70s, and that even Witchcraft themselves moved on from the sound with last year’s Nuclear Blast debut, Legend (review here), but man, when their self-titled debut came out in 2004, it was a fucking revelation. It’s funny to think of a record that was trying to sound like classic albums becoming one, but I think you can point to the first Witchcraft as a major contributor to kickstarting the retro rock scene in Europe in the middle of the last decade. The 2005 follow-up, Firewood, would smooth out the aesthetic somewhat, but even that has to be a factor, and although so much has come along since one way or another working in a similar vein, these songs still have a swing to them that very few others have been able to capture. They were both behind the times and ahead of them.

Thanks to everyone so far who’s added a list to the Top 20 of 2013 Readers Poll! We’re over 120 contributions already and it’s hugely appreciated. I can’t wait to see which record comes out on top. Seriously. I’m such a nerd for this it’s ridiculous.

As George Carlin once asked, “What the hell am I doing in New Jersey?” It’s a fair question. I came down from Massachusetts on Wednesday night to see a couple shows and handle some work stuff that couldn’t be done remotely. Last night was Mountain God and Eggnogg in Brooklyn, tonight’s The Golden Grass and Weird Owl, also in Brooklyn. I wanted to close out the week before I headed into the city, and I might try to grab some dinner before I cross the river, which I don’t doubt will make the whole evening a more pleasant experience. Gotta get all my Jersey eats in while I can, even if it means more driving.

Tomorrow morning I’ll split out as early as I can stand it (and stand up) and head back north. I was thinking about trying to make the drive tonight, but it seems like that might be a false economy. Getting home so I can crash out until sometime tomorrow afternoon certainly has its appeal, but I’m pretty sure I’d be tired through the next week if I did that, then once you get into the holidays everything’s only more of a mess — one that, indeed, will include a trip south on I-95 — so maybe conserving energy as much as I can is the better course. Turns out I’m not 20 years old anymore. Funny how that works.

Next week I’ll be seeing both Monster Magnet and Queens of the Stone Age, so I should have reviews up accordingly. I’ll also have one for tonight’s The Golden Grass show, which I’ve been much anticipating, an overdue look at some Tia Carrera vinyl from Small Stone, I’m sure a bunch more fest news, and whatever else rears its head. This trip’s been such constant movement. It’ll be good to get back home.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend, whatever you might be up to.  Thank you again. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

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Desertfest Berlin 2013 Announces Witchcraft as Third Headliner; Danava and Lecherous Gaze Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The linup for Desertfest in Berlin gets a little more unfuckwithable with the addition of Witchcraft in a headlining spot. Danava and Lecherous Gaze were also added over the course of the last couple days, and the fest sent over a couple announcements. Desertfest Berlin 2013 is set for April 25-27 at the Astra Kulturhaus, and the list of bands is monstrous with Unida, Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man representing the Californian desert scene while Euro heavy answers back with classics like Lowrider and Dozer and newcomers Kadavar and Belzebong. Not much more you can really ask of three days of doom and music.

As seen on the Berlin Desertfest website:

WITCHCRAFT (SWE) – 3rdHeadliner !!

After a 5 year wait for all the fans that have been watching out for a new sign of life, the Swedish band WITCHCRAFT have marked the fall of 2012 with their new album ! And we are thrilled to say they will mark 2013 by playing at the DesertFest Berlin on Saturday 27th !!

From Örebro, Sweden, WITCHCRAFT was founded in 2000 when Magnus Pelander wanted to record PENTAGRAM tribute album. It took until 2002 when the band finally released a first single which caught the ear of Lee Dorian’s label, Rise Above Records, who quickly signed them. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2004, followed by their 2nd one “Firewood” in 2005, and “The Alchemist” in 2007. They manifested their very seventies-esque distinctive signature sound that made WITCHCRAFT known as Swedish finest psychedelic/classic rock band that helped to spearhead the now very bright Swedish rock scene.

After a five year break, WITCHCRAFT released in September 2012 their 4th studio album “Legend” on a new label, Nuclear Blast. The new album marked the recording debut of the band’s new members, including Simon Solomon (guitar), Tom Jondelius (guitar), and Oscar Johansson (drums), with singer Magnus Pelander focusing only on vocals instead of both vocals and guitar. Now a double-guitar five-piece, WITCHCRAFT reinvented their sound and shirked off most of the vintage stylization that marked their previous work and boldly opted for something new and heavier. And they delivered the most rocking album of their career!

DANAVA (USA)

To start this rocking new year, we are very happy to announce that DANAVA comes back in Europe in April/May, and will play at the DESERTFEST BERLIN!!! DANAVA is a band based out of Portland, Oregon, that has been steadily rising in the metal underground over the past eight years. The band turned heads with a a lysergic cocktail of stoner sludge, prog pomp, and rocket blastoffs!

They released 3 full-length albums in the past, the self-titled debut in 2006, “UnonoU” in 2008, and “Hemisphere Of Shadows” in 2011, all three on Kemado Records. Through the latter part of the decade, DANAVA also toured with the likes of Witchcraft, Voivod, The Melvins, Acid Mothers Temple, and Down (who have invited the band out three times now.) In 2012, they made an European tour with Saviours including Roadburn Festival!

Now it’s time for them to play at the DesertFest ! Get ready to enjoy their bombastic sound!!

 

LECHEROUS GAZE (USA)

Some of you maybe guessed when we announced Danava : LECHEROUS GAZE is added to the DesertFest’s line-up!! The history of LECHEROUS GAZE goes back to 2001 when guitarist Graham Clise and bassist Chris Grande started the hardcore punk band, Annihilation Time. After several personnel shake-ups, the band chose to lay the name to rest and begin with another project. They re-emerged with a new vocalist under the name LECHEROUS GAZE.

And after a few more line-up changes, the band released a self-titled 4 song EP with singer Lakis Panagiotopulos on Tee Pee Records in 2011. However, after some brief touring of the US and a full European tour, the Gaze decided to part ways with Lakis, again taking a brief period off to expand their arsenal of riffs. They soon enlisted the help of long time friend, Zaryan Zaidi to join the Gaze as their new front man. With his raspy delivery coupled with aggressively dark tones Zaryan gelled perfectly with the frustrated and heavy sonic assault the band had been building up for release since the break up of Annihilation Time.

October 2012 sees the release of the debut full-length 3 years in the making; which with its maelstromic mixture of heavy rock riffage, punk snarl attitude, and Zep-like attention to detail, “On The Skids” comes across as a hesher’s record collection melted together into one crushing slab of volcanic rock and roll that leaves nothing but burning embers and ringing ears .

Harsh and heavy, LECHEROUS GAZE is now ready to play destructively nasty music for fiendish people !

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Readers Poll Results: The Top 20 of 2012

Posted in Features on January 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Happy New Year to everyone around the world. It’s January 1, 2013, and to celebrate the New Year the best way I know how, I got right to work on tabulating the results of the 2012 Readers Poll. I’ve been tracking the results as they’ve come in over the course of December, and as you can see in the list below, it was a tight race for the top spot right up to the end.

Before we run down the finished list, I want to extend gratitude to each and every one of the 296 people who contributed their top 12 so this list could be put together. It’s an amazing response and I was super stoked that so many of you were able to take part. Thank you for that. Right from the first day the form went up, I knew this was going to be awesome, and it wound up exceeding my every expectation. It was a great sendoff to the year. Much appreciated.

Here are the results of the Top 20 of 2012 Readers Poll:

1. Om, Advaitic Songs – 108 votes

2. High on Fire, De Vermis Mysteriis – 106

3. Graveyard, Lights Out – 86

4. Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay – 65

5. Ufomammut, Oro – 63

5. Witchcraft, Legend – 63

6. Colour Haze, She Said – 56

6. Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65 – 56

7. Kadavar, Kadavar – 49

7. Pallbearer, Sorrow and Extinction – 49

8. Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Damned – 46

9. Baroness, Yellow and Green – 39

10. Conan, Monnos – 38

11. Swans, The Seer – 35

12. Astra, The Black Chord – 31

13. Greenleaf, Nest of Vipers – 31

13. The Sword, Apocryphon – 31

14. Royal Thunder, CVI – 26

14. Wo Fat, The Black Code – 26

15. Ancestors, In Dreams and Time – 25

16. Torche, Harmonicraft – 23

17. Corrosion of Conformity, Corrosion of Conformity – 22

18. Enslaved, Riitiir – 19

19. Goat, World Music – 18

19. Melvins Lite, Freak Puke – 18

19. Soundgarden, King Animal – 18

20. Amenra, Mass V – 17

20. Samothrace, Reverence to Stone – 17

16 Votes

Witch Mountain, Cauldron of the Wild
Rush, Clockwork Angels
Stoned Jesus, Seven Thunders Roar
Troubled Horse, Step Inside

15 Votes

Converge, All We Love We Leave Behind – 15
Mighty High, Legalize Tre Bags – 15
My Sleeping Karma, Soma – 15

Pretty wild to have Om and High on Fire so close, and they were tied for a long, long time, but Om retained an early lead and managed to pull it out in the end. As you can see, there were a number of releases that tied with others for their position. Seemed only fair to me to include all of them, and I also threw in those with 16 and 15 votes as well, just because it was close. In total, there were an astounding 1,200+ albums entered into consideration.

Once again, thanks to everyone for making this Readers Poll happen and for taking the time to be a part of it. Already looking forward to some fantastic things to come in 2013, so please stay tuned and keep your lists handy.

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