Worshipper Announce West Coast Touring with Horseburner & Zed

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

worshipper (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

Boston heavy rockers Worshipper will head out in November to the West Coast for a tour alongside West Virginia’s Horseburner. The bands go as ambassadors for some of the more progressive lineage of East Coast heavy, and they’ll meet up with the formidable likes of Zed and Holy Grove while making their way south more or less along the Pacific Coast, so all the better. Worshipper issued their second album, Light in the Wire (review here), this Spring via Tee Pee Records and toured in Europe already to herald its arrival, going over with Tee Pee Records labelmates The Skull and making a stop at Desertfest Berlin. They also played the inaugural Desertfest New York at the end of April, so yeah, pretty big year for these cats, who earn every bit of acclaim they get, even when it’s my own hyperbole-laden praise.

They’re sneaking in two East Coast dates with Horseburner as well before the two groups point their wagons west, and one’s at Ralph’s in Worcester, MA, and one’s at The Well in Brooklyn, where they played for Desertfest. See them wherever and whenever you can.

Here you go:

WORSHIPPER POSTER title=

WORSHIPPER – TOUR ALERT

We will be hitting the West coast again soon with our good buddies Horseburner and (sometimes) ZED. (Plus a couple bonus East coast dates!) STOKED.
————-
WORSHIPPER / HORSEBURNER
DESCEND ON THE WEST 2019

Sat, Nov 9 – Substation, Seattle, WA
Sun, Nov 10 – High Water Mark, Portland, OR (w/ Holy Grove)
Mon, Nov 11 – Luckey’s Club, Eugene, OR
Wed, Nov 13 – Elbo Room Jack London, Oakland, CA (w/ ZED)
Thurs, Nov 14 – Count’s Vamp’d, Las Vegas, NV (w/ Zed)
Fri, Nov 15 – The Lexington, Los Angeles, CA (w/ Zed & Goliathan)
Sat, November 16 – Pour House, Oceanside, CA (w/ Zed)

ADDITIONAL EAST COAST SHOWS w/ HORSEBURNER & Godmaker:
Thu, Oct 10 – Ralph’s Diner, Worcester, MA (w/ the Turbos)
Fri, Oct 11 – The Well, Brooklyn, NY

Worshipper features Alejandro Necochea (lead guitar / synth), John Brookhouse (vocals / guitar), Dave Jarvis (drums) and Bob Maloney (vocals, bass).

https://www.facebook.com/worshipperband/
https://www.instagram/worshipperband
https://worshipper.bandcamp.com/
http://teepeerecords.com

Worshipper, Light in the Wire (2019)

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Here’s the Bio I Wrote for Worshipper’s Light in the Wire

Posted in Features on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Today marks the release date of Worshipper‘s second album, Light in the Wire (review here). Out on Tee Pee Records, it lands immediately following the return of the Boston four-piece from a European tour alongside labelmates The Skull that included stops at Desertfest in London and Berlin to follow-up on both bands’ appearance at the inaugural Desertfest NYC a few weeks back (review here).

The release will be celebrated tonight in Cambridge, MA, with a live in-store performance at Newbury Comics in Harvard Square. The retail outlet also has an exclusive color vinyl edition available that looks just lovely in the pictures that I’ve seen. I was fortunate enough to be asked when they were putting the promo package together to write the bio for the album, and I did so happily.

For the occasion of the release, here’s that bio I wrote, as it appears currently on their Bandcamp page:

worshipper light in the wire

Worshipper – Light in the Wire bio

Whatever frame you want to give it, Worshipper’s story is one of growth. What started four years ago with a couple digital singles has blossomed — yes, blossomed — into an expansive and individualized sound that’s like nothing else in heavy rock and roll. With patient and graceful songwriting, and thoughtful, detailed arrangements, the Boston-based four-piece bring something new to the hordes of those building altars to the capital ‘r’ Riff. Their second album, Light in the Wire, presents a progressive vision that’s not just about “oh hey we threw a keyboard on some guitar,” but instead bleeds into every melody, every smoothly-delivered rhythmic change, and every performance captured on the recording.

Worshipper’s first album, Shadow Hymns, came out in 2016 on Tee Pee, and they followed it with the 2017 covers EP Mirage Daze, a four-song jaunt exploring influences like Pink Floyd, The Who, Uriah Heep and doom rockers The Oath. That release gave new context to Shadow Hymns, and it informs Light in the Wire as well, though with the new LP, Worshipper are most recognizable as themselves.

Led by would-be-reluctant-were-it-not-for-all-that-pesky-stage-presence frontman John Brookhouse (guitar/vocals/synth), with Alejandro Necochea on lead guitar/synth, Bob Maloney on bass and backing vocals and Dave Jarvis on drums, Worshipper recorded Light in the Wire with Chris Johnson (also of Deafheaven, Summoner, etc.) at GodCity Studios and The Electric Bunker. Their intention to capture a sonic narrative has resulted in a fluidity tying the two sides of the album together even as individual pieces stand out with a sheen of classic heavy metal, rock, psychedelia and prog. At the center, always, is the crafting of the songs themselves, so that each verse isn’t simply a placeholder for the next hook, but a statement unto itself, and each solo drips soul rather than devolving into a needless showcase of wankery.

Light in the Wire not only sees Worshipper grow as songwriters and performers, but it expands the palette they’re working with to do that. A stage-born chemistry pervades their musical conversation, but even more, the confidence with which they take on darkness and light, weight and drift, brings into focus how faithworthy their sound has become. They may push farther still, but hearing Light in the Wire leaves no question of their realization.

-JJ Koczan

https://www.facebook.com/worshipperband/
https://www.instagram/worshipperband
https://worshipper.bandcamp.com/
http://teepeerecords.com

Worshipper, Light in the Wire (2019)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 15

Posted in Radio on April 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

It was last Friday about an hour before I had to head out for the start of Desertfest NYC that I cut the voice breaks for this episode, once again on my phone, while in transit. I did the same thing last time and it sounded like crap. I know the stakes are pretty low — that is, nobody really cares — but if you’re going to do a thing, at least try to do it well. I backed off the phone this time and hopefully that cut some of the overmodulation in my voice.

I say “hopefully” because I actually haven’t heard the show yet. I was at the fest on Sunday while it aired, so I’ll be catching the rerun at 9AM this Thursday when that’s on. This is the 15th episode of The Obelisk Show and it’s been an exceptionally busy few weeks, but it’s still fun to put together, and there were some killer tracks included this time from Worshipper, Abrahma, Molasses, Stone Machine Electric, The Well, Kandodo, Methadone Skies, and so on. Any opportunity to throw in some Øresund Space Collective makes me happy, so that was a must, and I was kind of also doing myself a favor in including Natas as the “classic track” (yay! classic track!) for the episode.

So basically, unless I crapped it up, at least the music is good. That’s what matters anyhow, or so I’m told.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.28.19

Pelican Midnight and Mescaline Nighttime Stories*
Abrahma Lost Forever In Time for the Last Rays of Light*
Worshipper Coming Through Light in the Wire*
BREAK
Molasses Drops of Sunlight Mourning Haze*
Los Mundos Subterráneo Mar Jurásico Calor Central*
Kandodo King Vulture K3*
Omen Stones Fresh Hell Omen Stones*
The Well This is How the World Ends Death and Consolation*
BREAK
Natas Samurai Delmar
Smear Old Town A Band Called Shmear*
Methadone Skies Where Were You When We Were into the Void? Different Layers of Fear*
Stone Machine Electric Purgatory Darkness, Dimensions, Disillusion*
BREAK
Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens Freak Out in the Fjord*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Thursday at 9AM. Next show is April 28. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Live Review: Desertfest NYC Night Two, 04.27.19

Posted in Reviews on April 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Windhand (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Well — not to be confused with the Austin, Texas, band of the same name — is around the corner from where The Acheron used to be in Brooklyn and there still stands The Anchored Inn as a congregation point. I was there for not the day’s first cup of coffee before day two of the inaugural Desertfest NYC kicked off back at the venue. It was cloudy and the air was chilled — April in New York — but by the time Electric Citizen were done, the sun was out and would remain so for the bulk of the day. That helped all the more since the main stage was outside.

A large tent was erected on an expansive enclave of a patio space. In back was the merch area, seating at picnic tables and along the other side there was a bar, taco stand, and the raised shipping container up some stairs that had been converted to a backstage lounge, complete with deck. The vibe was immediately relaxed and cool, with another bar inside and the second stage, in a smaller room off to the side of The Well‘s main corridor. My first time in the space, and it seemed ready for the event from its basic structure to the tent outside, though if Desertfest NYC is going to be an annual event, they’ll need a bigger one.

The afternoon kicked off soon enough, but though the venue switched from the Saint Vitus Bar the evening prior, the mood around was much the same. It was something Ron Holzner of The Skull would effectively summarize in saying, “About damn time we had a European festival come to the States. A sign of good things to come.” One hopes he’s correct in the foresight.

It was a packed nine-band day, mostly alternating back and forth between the stages, and it went vaguely like this:

Electric Citizen

Electric Citizen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It had been a few years since I last caught Ohio heavy rockers Electric Citizen, but their 2018 album, Helltown (review here), was a stripped down and switched on groover that at the same time offered the band’s most developed sense of melody yet, so yes, it was something to look forward to. I don’t think they were helped by the early slot, but with the bill as stacked as it was, there wasn’t really anywhere else to put them. There was, fortunately, a good crowd to start the day off, and that only grew in number as the RidingEasy Records five-piece went on, their sound pulling elements from cult rock, glam, doom and proto-metal in order to create a brew that’s readily familiar and nuanced at the same time. They played as a five-piece, with keys alongside the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and frontwoman Laura Dolan noted from the stage that this was their sendoff for a European tour. They’ll spend the month of May in the UK and EU, playing Desertfest in London and Berlin as well as other dates before and after. They sounded ready to go, to say the least.

Tower

Tower (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Immediately after Electric Citizen wrapped on the main stage, the second stage launched with the classic metal stylings of Tower, who continue a tradition of gritty NY homage to the NWOBHM and early thrash that goes back pretty much to when that sound was current. There’s always been a place for that stuff in New York, and Tower represented well what Brooklyn has done in the wake of bands like Early Man in the last decade and Natur and others in this one, two guitars blazing to coincide with the first off-stage frontperson of the weekend — presumably not the last, though one never knows — and a riotous stage presence that all the more justified that spillover onto the floor. They were probably the most metal act of the day, but still well accessible to the Desertfest NYC crowd. I’ve made the argument a thousand times at this point that classic metal is the domain of the heavy underground. Tower were another notch in favor of that position, and they effectively captured the spirit of the metal to which they were paying homage via their material. Not unfamiliar, but that’s the point.

Danava

Danava (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Back on the main stage, Portland, Oregon, stalwarts Danava answered such metallurgy with a bit of boogie, a bit of NWOBHM dual-guitar action, and a lot of soul. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Danava a couple times over the years, and though my initial impression of them wasn’t positive, they’ve proven consistent in terms of the high-quality of their work on stage and off — my initial impression, in other words, was wrong. The simple fact that they haven’t put a record out in eight years and continue to get booked on shows like Desertfest NYC and Psycho Las Vegas, where they’ll play the pool party in August, should speak volumes to their continued relevance, and though they had the At Midnight You Die single (review here) out through Tee Pee in 2016, you would have to say they’re due for a record. Overdue. But they killed. Founding guitarist/vocalist Gregory Meleney warned the crowd before they played what was presumably a new song, “Nothing but Nothing,” that they might screw it up, but by all appearances they nailed it, which was basically the case for their entire set.

The Skull

The Skull (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Yeah, I know The Skull is Ron Holzner and Eric Wagner from Trouble, and I know they’ve got Rob Wrong from Witch Mountain on guitar alongside Lothar Keller and they’ve got Brian Dixon from Cathedral on drums (though it was Chad Walls for this show). They’ve got all that, and I won’t take away from anyone’s pedigree whatsoever. But you know what else The Skull have? Songs. Songs. Songs. They’ve got songs that are memorable. Songs that stay with you after you put the album down and move onto the next thing. Songs that, when they play them on stage, you go, “Oh shit yeah, this song!” as I did when they launched into “When the Sun Turns Black” from their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) and the title-track of last year’s follow-up, The Endless Road Tuns Dark (review here). Stage presence is a factor, of course, and if you’re going to call anyone in American doom a supergroup, it’s probably fair to do so for The Skull, but whatever they do, their foundation is there in the songs, and it’s the songs that carry them most of all. They were and are the best example I can think of for a band building something new out of a storied legacy.

Worshipper

Worshipper (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Boston’s Worshipper packed the second stage room beyond capacity — there was a line out the door to get in — and played like a band who are about to release one of the best records of the year, which they are in the form of their second album, Light in the Wire (review here). They opened with “Visions from Beyond” and “Coming Through” from that offering and gave a preview of what they’re soon to take on the road in Europe with their Tee Pee labelmates in The Skull — they too will be at Desertfest‘s London and Berlin editions — as guitarist John Brookhouse and bassist Bob Maloney proffered dead-on vocal harmonies on material new and old, guitarist Alejandro Necochea tore into leads and offered more harmony alongside Brookhouse‘s guitar, and drummer Dave Jarvis pushed the entire thing forward, grounding the psychedelic stretches and keeping momentum on their side, which it was for the duration. They were the band I was most looking forward to in the lineup for the day, particularly in light of their new album, and they very clearly played to the momentousness of the occasion at the first American Desertfest. It was the kind of thing I’ll be glad to have seen.

Weedeater

Weedeater (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Some technical trouble with the bass amp before Weedeater went on, but plenty of shenanigans to fill the time and bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Colins spat out auctioneer’s chatter and lines like “crack rocks” and “wow, wow, mom” in checking the mic. The North Carolinian trio — Collins, guitarist Dave “Shep” Shepherd, drummer Ramsey Ateyeh (I think; someone please correct me if I’m wrong) — are on a forever-tour, their last record, Goliathan (review here), having come out in 2015, but they absolutely packed that tent and people went apeshit for them to the point that, when I went into the photo pit later for Windhand, the barricade had moved up in front of the stage to the point that there was no more access to the other side. Weedeater do nothing but deliver, and I know Dixie is kind of playing to character, but dude is working from the moment he hits stage to the moment he leaves. He’s the James Brown of sludge, and Weedeater‘s legend has grown all the more over their nearly-25-years because of that. They played the songs they always play, they kicked ass like they always do, and they proved once more that there’s only ever been and there only ever will be one Weedeater. Accept no substitutes.

Mirror Queen

Mirror Queen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Let’s face it: you’re never going to beat Weedeater at their own game. Luckily for all involved, Mirror Queen were on a different wavelength entirely. Their progressive-tinged classic heavy rock is a staple of New York’s underground, and with guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal‘s dual-role as the head of Tee Pee Records, their inclusion was all the more fitting. The four-piece, with Morgan McDaniel on guitar, James Corallo on bass and Jeremy O’Brien on drums, bounced and careened through a set that acquitted them well with the Desertfest crowd — doubly fortunate since they’ll be in Berlin soon enough — and asked nothing by way of indulgence while bringing to bear material of melody and weight that wanted neither in perspective or delivery. Mirror Queen have been around, and have had their share of lineup turnover, but the band as they are now was only engaging, and to those familiar with them and not in the crowd, they were a return to consciousness after the bash over the head that the main stage had just delivered. Heavy rock and roll is always welcome, and Mirror Queen were a fitting reminder why.

Windhand

Windhand (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Like Weedeater before them, like Black Cobra the night prior and like Monolord and Elder to follow the next day, Windhand were not an unknown quantity, but for a festival brand feeling its way out in a hard city, they made perfect sense for the bill, and their doom was absolutely massive in the tent that held the main stage. I had been thinking after The Skull played that there was no doom left for anyone else — and certainly Windhand‘s 2018 album, Eternal Return (review here), had more going on than just that — but the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece managed to scrape enough together in order to feel like they were burying the crowd alive in low end. I will gladly argue for Windhand as being among the most important bands of their generation, particularly for those who’ve come up since and have taken influence from the sense of atmosphere they bring to their material in the studio and on stage, and though they had a hard act to follow on the main stage, they lived up to even the mighty expectations that are placed on them at this point wherever they go. They are a headlining band, full stop. They’ve worked hard to become one, and they deserve every bit of significant acclaim they’ve garnered over the years, while still sounding like they want nothing more than to move forward.

Steak

Steak (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Ambassadors from London’s populous heavy underground, Steak were nothing short of a refreshing way to close out the night. They’ve been a staple act of Desertfest London, which guitarist Reece Tee is also involved in organizing via Desertscene, as he was with Desertfest New York, so like Mirror Queen, they also had a family connection to the proceedings, but even their soundcheck drew a crowd keyed in to the fuzz tone and heavy roll they let loose. They were not halfway through the first song before frontman Chris “Kippa” Haley was standing on the front-of-stage riser, and he’d spend a goodly portion of the set up there, toasting the crowd and personifying the entire band’s really-glad-to-be-here mood, which was infectious. They too packed out the second stage room and held the crowd for the duration, begging a revisit for 2017’s No God to Save (review here) and showing off the development in their dynamic since which is set to manifest on their next record, due out before they play Keep it Low in Munich this October. Seeing them live for the first time in I don’t even want to count how many years only made me look forward to that more, whenever and however it might actually show up, and for the first Desertfest New York, they hit stage like a mission statement of what the festival brand is all about, from top to bottom. It was right on and then some.

It was not a small amount of day. As of now, it’s about two hours until it’s time to get back on the road from New Jersey to Brooklyn for the third and final round with Desertfest New York. The weather thus far seems to be uncooperative, but we’ll see how it all pans out this afternoon. Shower first. Shower first.

That’ll be good.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Review & Track Premiere: Worshipper, Light in the Wire

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

worshipper light in the wire

[Click play above to stream ‘Visions from Beyond’ from Worshipper’s new album, Light in the Wire, out May 17 on Tee Pee Records. European tour dates here.]

“Become one with the circuit/Come alive with a purpose/You are light in the wires/Transcend, higher and higher,” croons Worshipper frontman John Brookhouse on the mid-paced pluralized-title-track “Light in the Wires” from his band’s second album, Light in the Wire. Brookhouse, guitarist Alejandro Necochea, bassist Bob Maloney and drummer Dave Jarvis make their return through Tee Pee Records and find a suitable home for their richly melodic, guitar-based proggy heavy rock, seeming to draw influences from across decades — and no, that’s not limited to the ’70s and ’90s, as one might usually expect; there’s an unmistakable ’80s sheen to the sound, and the interplay of humans and technology is as much of a theme as I could possibly think of for the aughts, unless they wanted to write about needless war — to create a sound that’s forward thinking, impeccably modern, righteously arranged, sharply executed, and engaging in its craft and structure, with verses, choruses, solos aplenty and an overarching atmosphere that all work to pull the listener in further as the band progresses.

It feels like a relatively quick turnaround but isn’t for Worshipper, whose debut, Shadow Hymns (review here), was released through Tee Pee in 2016 and who also had the Mirage Daze EP (review here) out last year as a stopgap with covers of Uriah Heep, The Oath, Pink Floyd and The Who, but more important than the span of time between records is the clear growth the Boston-based outfit have undertaken since their first record. They’ve had songwriting on their side since their 2015 singles, Black Corridor b/w High Above the Clouds (review here) and Place Beyond the Light b/w Step Behind (discussed here), but as dynamic tracks like “Wither on the Vine” and the second cut “Who Holds the Light” demonstrate, the level at which they’re working has simply become more complex and more cohesive at the same time. Worshipper‘s identity as a band, and more, their identifiability — that is, the “hear a song and know it’s them” factor — is more prevalent and offers more depth throughout Light in the Wire, and with that same foundation in craft and performance supporting that the first album made so plain, it is the work of a band beginning to realize their potential and one of the best albums of 2019. “Come alive with a purpose.” And so they have.

They make that clear early on in opening with “Coming Through.” Also the longest track on Light in the Wire (immediate points), it is the proverbial closer-as-opener, with a stirring build to its crescendo beginning at about the halfway point that consumes much of the rest of what follows, a resonant sense of melody throughout and a style that blends psychedelia, heavy rock, cult riffing, classic metal and probably six or seven other factors that blend together naturally to give Worshipper their own style. Whatever else it might be, it is guitar rock, most certainly. Necochea is a six-stringer’s six-stringer, and his interaction with Brookhouse‘s melodies is a big part of what makes Light in the Wire — and “Coming Through” at the outset — so fluid. That’s not to minimize the work of Maloney on bass or backing vocals or Jarvis on drums, just to note that it’s called “lead guitar” for a reason, and “Coming Through” very much sets that tone for the rest of the record to follow, as well as establishing the science-fiction thematic that continues to play out loosely to some degree or other in tracks “Lights in the Wire,” “Visions from Beyond” and closer “Arise.”

worshipper (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

In terms of lyrics, these ideas are brought into an interpersonal context, so Worshipper aren’t just talking about uploading your consciousness into the cloud and attaining digital immortality, but approaching these concepts from a perspective based around the human heart. That suits the emotionality of Brookhouse‘s vocals well, and in songs like “Nobody Else,” which follows “Who Holds the Light” as side A plays out, that plays a forward role in the delivery of the songs while also setting up the easy flow into the subdued beginning of “Light in the Wires,” which slows down the forward push but still moves readily and gives way to “Visions from Beyond” with the kind of smooth transition that argues for linear formats. Otherwise, “Visions from Beyond” starts side B with a subtle urgency to its central riff and rhythm and one of Light in the Wire‘s strongest hooks.

Plenty of competition in that regard, but the turns from “Nobody Else” to “Light in the Wires” and “Visions from Beyond” should serve to emphasize the reach that Worshipper have made their own here. While remaining consistent in tone, they’ve massively expanded their sound, and done so with confidence and poise enough to actually pull it off. “It all Comes Back” ups the tempo in its central progression and features some highlight bass from Maloney in its second half before turning back to the guitar to show the way out, and the arrival of “Wither on the Vine” with a stomping riff that immediately conjures images of early-’80s Iommi feels like a landmark indeed for the entire album. Momentum is long since on Worshipper‘s side, and they make the most of it in the 6:37 cut, playing with pace and melody while holding to that central figure on a long fade that mirrors what “Coming Through” did at the beginning of the record as it provides a seeming apex for the end of it. That would seem to make “Arise” something of an afterthought, which it isn’t really, despite a more straightforward progression and a right-on wash of crash from Jarvis behind the lumbering guitars.

Another particularly Sabbathian riff — I’m thinking Vol. 4, but could be the mid-’70s era — serves as the foundation for the finale, and Worshipper seem happy to ride that groove all the way through, leaving the listener off with some residual amp noise feeling refreshed and, as perhaps was the intent, not overwhelmed by the twists and turns preceding. It’s almost as though in putting the closer first with “Coming Through,” they also decided to put what would otherwise be the rocking opener “Arise” as the closer. Tricky, tricky. Bottom line, it works, and it’s another example of Worshipper knowing just what the album needs not only to stand out from its predecessor or the heavy rock underground at large, but to create a more memorable impression generally as an entire piece. Light in the Wire very much functions in that way, and while that leads one to wonder if a concept record might be in their future, what matters now is the sheer accomplishment Worshipper have made with these songs and how they’re put together. That is not a minor consideration, and if Light in the Wire has any core statement to make, it’s that Worshipper are onto something that could be really special. I don’t know about becoming one with the circuit, but there would seem to be plenty of transcendence to go around.

Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Worshipper on Instagram

Worshipper on Twitter

Worshipper on Bandcamp

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Worshipper Stream “Coming Through” from Light in the Wire out May 17; UK & Europe Touring with The Skull

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

worshipper (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

I keep a running list of what I think are the best songs of the year. The standouts of the standouts. The first entry I put on that list this year was the track you can hear at the bottom of this post. Titled “Coming Through” — Sligo all day — the song begins Worshipper‘s upcoming second album, Light in the Wire, and is both forward-thinking in its progressivism and growth from their first record and still rooted in a memorable structure such that as the band’s craft expands, it doesn’t lost its heart. Couple that with the performance the four-piece bring to it, and yeah, I’ll put it down as one of the best songs I’m gonna hear this year, absolutely. Only one way to find out if you agree.

Light in the Wire is out May 17 through Tee Pee Records, and in addition to playing Desertfest New York in April, Worshipper will hit the road for 10 days in Europe with labelmates The Skull and make stops at Desertfest in London and Berlin as well.

The PR wire has all the info:

worshipper light in the wire

Worshipper to Release New LP, ‘Light in the Wire’, May 17

Through its unique mix of contemporary and classic influences, Boston’s Worshipper proves that the fiery soul of melodic heavy music still burns brightly. The award-winning band takes all the fragments we love about legendary metal groups and molds them into shining shards of standout R’N’R. Worshipper will release its new LP, ‘Light in the Wire’, on May 17 via Tee Pee Records. The record is the full-length follow up to Worshipper’s 2016 debut, ‘Shadow Hymns.’

A sneak-peek as to what ‘Light in the Wire’ holds in store can be heard now, as Worshipper has made the album’s lead track, “Coming Through” available for streaming.

On its glowing new LP, ‘Light in the Wire’, Worshipper rocks like a hurricane as its high energy songs surge behind standout songwriting, shredding solos and memorable melodies. Classic rock-inspired arrangements meet modern rock creativity when Worshipper cranks it to 11. Worshipper recorded ‘Light in the Wire’ with Chris Johnson (also of Deafheaven, Summoner, etc.) at GodCity Studios and The Electric Bunker with the intention to capture a sonic narrative resulting in a fluidity tying the two sides of the album together even as individual pieces stand out with a sheen of classic heavy metal, rock, psychedelia and prog.

Worshipper will kick off live dates in support of ‘Light in the Wire’ with a performance at the inaugural Desertfest New York, set to take place April 26-28 in Brooklyn. For more details, visit this location.

Track listing:
1.) Coming Through
2.) Who Holds the Light
3.) Nobody Else
4.) Light in the Wires
5.) Visions From Beyond
6.) It All Comes Back
7.) Wither on the Vine
8.) Arise

Pre-order ‘Light in the Wire’ at this location.

Worshipper w/ The Skull:
05.01 – TBA
05.02 – Brussels, Belgium @ Magasin 4
05.04 – London, Desertfest @ The Underworld Camden
05.05 – Berlin, Desertfest @ The Arena
05.07 – TBA
05.08 – Goteborg, Sweden @ Truckstop Alaska
05.09 – TBA
05.10 – Helsinki, Finland
05.11 – Sala, Sweden @ Rockland

Worshipper features Alejandro Necochea (lead guitar / synth), John Brookhouse (vocals / guitar), Dave Jarvis (drums) and Bob Maloney (vocals, bass).

Worshipper, “Coming Through”

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Desertfest Berlin 2019: Greenleaf, The Shrine, Blackwater Holylight, Worshipper, Mirror Queen, R.I.P., The Great Machine and Lucidvox Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2019 banner

Yes. This. Cool update from Desertfest Berlin 2019, with Greenleaf and The Shrine and The Great Machine along for the ride with LucidvoxR.I.P., BlackWater HolyLightMirror Queen and Worshipper, and the pairings of the last four between RidingEasy Records and Tee Pee Records leads me to wonder if maybe Mirror Queen and Worshipper won’t hit the road together for a bit and if R.I.P. and BlackWater HolyLight won’t do likewise. For all I know, that’s already announced, but it’s speculation as far as my brain and limited, I’m-writing-in-the-car internet connection are concerned, but either way, they all bring something different Desertfest Berlin 2019, and pretty much anywhere Greenleaf goes is someplace you want to be. Man, I’d love to see that band again one of these… years.

Full announcement came down the PR wire:

desertfest berlin 2019 poster

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 ADDS THE SHRINE + GREENLEAF + THE GREAT MACHINE + LUCIDVOX + MIRROR QUEEN + WORSHIPPER + R.I.P. + BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT!

Spring is almost around the corner, which also means DESERTFEST BERLIN is coming close and will be again opening its holy grounds for the annual and 8th festival edition in the heart of Berlin, the Arena, this May. While desert rock fans and riff lovers from all over the globe come together at the leading cult underground festival specialising in all aspects of the Stoner Rock, Doom, Heavy Psych and all its great subgenres soon, today DESERTFEST BERLIN announced the next batch of great names and high class acts to their already eclectic line-up!

If Black Flag, Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath would have a baby, it would be definitely named THE SHRINE. Hailing straight out of the local rock scene at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles and delivering a breed of heavy, psychedelic, riff based Rock n’ Roll, THE SHRINE will make their long awaited return to DESERTFEST BERLIN this year, and are gonna light it up!

You eagerly asked for them, so you get them! As a most welcome guest and longtime member of the DESERTFEST family, we are thrilled to have GREENLEAF rocking out the Arena stage this year! The Swedish power rock unit will not only present their brand new album live on stage, but as always showcasing some of their finest riffs, haunting melodies to sing along, a unique groove and energetic stage presence the band is known and loved for. Welcome back at DESERTFEST BERLIN, guys!

Furthermore DESERTFEST is proud to confirm THE GREAT MACHINE will be coming all the way from Israel to Berlin! This trio creates a strong psychedelic, stoner rock experience with a heavy dose of the punk rock attitude, join THE GREAT MACHINE on their wild trip into the freedom of heaviest sounds, live at the ARENA Berlin 2019!

With the hints of folk and kraut-rock, LUCIDVOX from Moscow will join to represent full ladies power at this year’s DESERTFEST BERLIN! Sometimes psychedelic rock can extend beyond clichés of shaggy-haired ruffians; LUCIDVOX, the forerunner in a new and burgeoning Russian DIY rock scene, prove that more than well. While the brains behind this Moscowian four-piece, Alina, Nadezhda, Galla and Anna, have played outside of Russia just once, DESERTFEST BERLIN will be their very first show in Germany to date. Please give these killer ladies a very warm welcome!

Cult fuzz rock label Tee Pee Records (home of bands such as Witch, Sleep, High On Fire among many more ) are presenting us two more exciting and up&coming acts from their excellent artist roster: US-based MIRROR QUEEN and WORSHIPPER are currently rising from the psychedelic hard rock underground, both perfectly proving that the soul of melodic heavy music still burns brightly!

After several years of hammering the US west coast with their blunt scythe of street-doom, R.I.P. are about to embark on an extensive tour this Spring with a stop at DESERTFEST BERLIN! The band’s debut “In the Wind”, out on RidingEasy Records, closes the casket on the trends and exhumes the notion that doom isn’t always about how slow and de-tuned you can play, but about fear, death, leather and playing as heavy as possible.

Rounding up today’s announcement with another MUST-SEE tip from the underground, please welcome BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT to the 8th edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN! The Heavy Psych quintett from Portland, who released their critically acclaimed debut just last year on RidingEasy Records, are currently on their way to the top of the biggest hopes in psychedelic rock music, and we are more than psyched DESERTFEST BERLIN will be part of their journey.

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 takes place between May 3th – 5th 2019 at the riverside in the heart of Berlin, the ARENA. The festival will not only provide a new sound-and payment-system on the ground, but also more space PLUS a psychedelic wonderland chillout- and live zone on the ‘Hoppetosse’ boat!

Day- and Weekend passes are selling fast, make sure to grab yours at the following link:
www.desertfest-tickets.de

www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
www.instagram.com/desertfest_berlin

BlackWater HolyLight, “Wave of Conscience” official video

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Desertfest London 2019 Adds 29 Bands to Complete Lineup; Madness Ensues

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

What am I even supposed to say here other than ‘yes please?’ As Desertfest London 2019 rounds out its lineup and once again demonstrates its willful growth year after year, I’ll tell you this: there are a lot of bands listed below, and a lot of good bands. And if you’re reading this and you’re in London or you’re fortunate enough that you’re going to be in London for this festival, I know you’re hip to where it’s at. I get that. But seriously, if you don’t know, there re a few really must-see bands here, and it’s not all Amenra headlining. That’s great, and I’m sure it’ll be super-intense and very cool and all that.

But I’m telling you: don’t sleep on seeing High Priestess, BlackWater HolyLight, Worshipper, Salem’s Bend, Skraeckoedlan and Great Electric Quest. Some of those names are kind of buried near the bottom of this announcement, but really, you’d only be doing yourself a favor if you caught them. Let’s put Zed in that category too, and when they’re done, tell them I said hi. You probably already know all this, but I just wanted to highlight the point, since there’s a lot here and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I get that too.

Kudos to the Desertscene team for focusing on what matters — the music — even amid pulling double-duty in putting together the first-ever Desertfest NYC, the lineup for which is still in progress. This fest looks amazing and I wish I could say I was going. Quite simply, it’s been too long.

Here’s the announcement:

desertfest london 2019 final announcement

Amenra to headline Saturday at DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 + day tickets and 28 more bands announced!

Showcasing the best of what the underground has to offer is at the core of DESERTFEST LONDON and this year’s line-up is the most eclectic, yet satisfying to date by ticking those “wish-list old school desert rock” boxes with Fu Manchu and Witch at The Roundhouse, whilst pushing the boundaries of heavy with the likes of HHY & The Macumbas and Grave Miasma. Year after year it’s about offering up a diverse bill that allows for discovery, whilst celebrating the musical foundations of the festival, and the final Saturday headliner and remaining 28 acts do just that.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
Weekend and day tickets on sale at this location

Desertfest are honoured to reveal that the incomparable AMENRA will celebrate their 20-year anniversary across the London weekend this May, bringing their uniquely atmospheric sound as headliners of Saturday’s mainstage and, for the first time in the UK, an even more intimate side of the band takes place at The Underworld on Sunday with solo performances from CHVE & SYNDROME. We would be proud to have Amenra headline Desertfest on any year, but to have them on the year they celebrate their 20th anniversary makes it all the more special for us and also the band themselves.

Desertfest are also pleased to announce a stage takeover from the mighty Riding Easy Records, the righteous west coast label will not only bring the sun (we hope) but a hefty dose of fuzzed out riffs from their roster. Headlined by rock’n’rollers ELECTRIC CITIZEN who refuse to be pigeonholed with a 70s proto-metal sound that chimes into psychedelic realms. Street-doom killers R.I.P will hit the UK for the first time and vocalist Fuzz is ready to bring it hard and loud. Completing the stage showcase are 80s punk heavy metal hybrids ZIG ZAGS, hazy Swedish doom newcomers ALASTOR and the low and slow psych goth-rock sounds of BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT.

If that wasn’t enough Desertfest also adds thunderous space-rock psychedelic masters MONKEY3 to upcoming proceedings, the unforgiving primitive metal sounds of THE SECRET and LA party starters THE SHRINE, who haven’t graced DF with their amped up stoner-skate vibes for well over 5 years.

We also welcome back our long-time partners Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide for another takeover of The Underworld on Saturday. Topping the bill, the riff muscle of Savannah, Georgia is brought back to The Underworld by the mighty bruisers BLACK TUSK. Dropping in straight underneath we’re living the doom dream of olde with Chicago legends in THE SKULL. Glasgow gives us two offerings this year in the form of explosive riff n roll filth-party heads ACID CANNIBALS, and to lower the tone whilst severely twisting some melons we also welcome their fellow city dwellers HEADLESS KROSS. As ever we chose to open up with a cataclysmic attack, hence why we’ve invited Brighton’s bleak hardcore oblivionists KALLOUSED to set the day into fittingly venomous motion. Bring your ear plugs, it’s gonna be a floor shaker!

And finally, Desertfest round off with the brilliant SKRAECKOEDLAN, BLANKET, SALEMS BEND, SURYA, HIGH PRIESTESS, ZED, KUROKUMA, GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST, PSYCHLONA, VIDEO NASTIES, ONE FOR SORROW, WORSHIPPER, MOUNTAIN CALLER & 1968 all added to the monumental 2019 line-up.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
All tickets on sale at this location

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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