Prophecy Productions Announces Prophecy Fest USA 2018 for November in Brooklyn

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Man, I knew something was up with Prophecy Productions. The fact that Martin Koller, the founder of the long-running German imprint moved to California, is not to be understated in its importance. Prophecy is not a label of minor consideration when it comes to taste on the whole, and as they’ve picked up bands like Khôrada and Year of the Cobra, it not only speaks to those groups’ individual achievements, but the forward-moving nature of the current US heavy underground as a whole. The first-ever Prophecy Fest to be held in America will take place this November at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, with Eye of NixAlcestVolurXasthurKayo DotNovembers DoomYear of the Cobra, 1476 and So Hideous on the bill. Two nights and a pretty unbelievable international assemblage, featuring special sets. It’s the kind of event that you want to get dressed up for. I’m not saying you have to wear a suit, but we do want to make a good impression.

And would it kill you to put on a suit?

Very interested to see where Prophecy‘s US adventure takes the label over the next couple years, and Prophecy Fest, which is presented in conjunction with Stardust NYC, looks like a great place to start to find out.

From the PR wire:

prophecy fest usa 2018 new poster

PROPHECY PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCES U.S. EXPANSION & PROPHECY FEST USA

Following two decades of acclaimed success, with revered releases from some of the most prolific and groundbreaking acts in eclectic heavy music, Germany based Prophecy Productions has officially announced their expansion to North America with a division of the label now established in Los Angeles.

Further affirming their presence, Prophecy has unveiled the first edition of Prophecy Fest USA, which will take place at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY on November 2nd and 3rd. The inaugural event will feature performances by Alcest, Xasthur, November’s Doom, So Hideous and more. Those who purchase tickets to the Fest will receive a special edition 2xCD Prophecy Compilation. Two day tickets are available now at http://us.prophecy.de/prophecy-fest/prophecy-fest-us-ticket.html.

Prophecy Productions emerged in 1996, quickly earning worldwide regard for high quality releases and a selective, eclectic roster. Beginning as a self-run mail order, Prophecy owner & founder Martin Koller released Empyrium’s 1996 debut, A Wintersunset… To this day, he has continued to nurture and develop artists he loves, resulting in a staggering roster which sports artist such as Alcest, Khôrada, Bethlehem, Lantlôs, Falkenbach, etc.

With growing awareness of the vast differences and growing possibilities in the US metal community, Koller chose to expand into the US by opening a North American division. In 2017, Koller moved to California to explore new possibilities in the American market, establishing a diverse, talented and dedicated American team, consisting of Rayshele Teige (ex-Century Media and Osmose), Kay Shelton (ex-20 Buck Spin & Wolves in the Throne Room, Northwest Terror Fest), and Matt Bacon (Metal Injection, Dropout Media).

With Prophecy in the USA, this powerhouse team aims to enrich and expand the Prophecy roster, uncovering and cultivating fresh artists and supporting icons alike. So far, the US roster reads eccentric, eclectic and nicely unpragmatic; US black metal pioneers Nachtmystium and Xasthur, highly speculated and anticipated supergroup Khôrada (ex-Agalloch, Giant Squid), blackened-sludge abyss Eye of Nix, Oakland surrealists Silence in the Snow, black metal/noise crossover superstar Crowhurst, and brute-doom experimentalists Year of the Cobra.

To read more about the history and philosophy behind Prophecy Productions, here is an in-depth article by writer Jon Wiederhorn: http://us.prophecy.de/prophecy-productions-philosophy/

http://en.prophecy.de/
https://www.facebook.com/prophecyproductions/
https://www.instagram.com/prophecypro/
https://twitter.com/ProphecyProd
https://www.youtube.com/user/prophecyBC

Prophecy Fest USA 2018 lineup announcements

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Year of the Cobra Sign to Prophecy Productions for New Album in 2019; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

On the heels of their 2017 EP, Burn Your Dead (review here), Seattle duo Year of the Cobra toured Europe this past Spring, and they must’ve made a hell of an impression, as they’ve newly been picked up by respected German purveyor Prophecy Productions — which this year hosts its first-ever Prophecy Fest US in Brooklyn, which the band will also play — for the 2019 release of a new album to be produced by… wait for it… Jack frickin’ Endino. This after working with Billy frickin’ Anderson. Year of the Cobra certainly know how to pick ’em.

While I take a second to slap Year of the Cobra right into the notes for 2019’s most anticipated releases, I’ll also send heartfelt kudos and congratulations to the two-piece on the signing. Can’t wait to hear their new record as their ongoing ascent is sure to continue.

The PR wire makes it official, and as they will, Year of the Cobra also have tour dates coming up including the Stoned Meadow of Doom Festival in Omaha, Nebraska, on Aug. 12. Dig:

year of the cobra tour

PROPHECY PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCES SIGNING OF SEATTLE STONER DOOM DUO YEAR OF THE COBRA

It is with great honor that Prophecy Productions announces the signing of Seattle’s heavyweight stoner doom duo, Year of the Cobra.

Formed in 2015, Year of the Cobra became a rapidly ascending, radiant star in the horizon of the doom/stoner-scene for a reason: This powerhouse duo, consisting of Amy Tung Barrysmith (vocals/ bass) and Jon Barrysmith (drums), use their limitation in instrumentation to their advantage. Leaving space for every instrument to breathe and to shine, they create a vast, larger than life sound aesthetic. Their songs drift relentlessly from classic epic doom laments into oppressive heavy riff architecture; from catchy, almost upbeat rock moments into transfiguring psychedelia.

In 2016, just a year and one EP into their career, Year of the Cobra released their full-length debut, …in the Shadows Below. Using the natural, three-dimensional and massively heavy production of Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Sleep) they present themselves as an unbelievably mature and confident band who knows exactly what they want. Following their sophomore EP Burn Your Dead, they had successful tours of Europe and the US, playing a number of well-known festivals along the way, including Psycho Las Vegas, Freak Valley Festival, and Stoned Meadow of Doom. They are currently working on new material for their 2019 follow-up full length with legendary engineer/producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Tad, Soundgarden), and are confirmed to play the inaugural Prophecy Fest USA, taking place this November at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory.

Year of the Cobra Tour Dates:
7/27 – Seattle, WA. – The Funhouse
7/31 – Sacramento, CA. – Blue Lamp
8/1 – San Francisco, CA. – Elbo Room
8/2 – San Jose, CA. – The Caravan
8/3 – Santa Cruz, CA. – Blue Lagoon
8/4 – Los Angeles, CA. Five Star Bar
8/5 – Las Vegas, NV. – Beauty Bar
8/6 – Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
8/7 – Denver, CO. – Bar Bar
8/8 – Kansas City, MO. – Riot Room
8/9 – St. Louis, MO. – Fubar
8/10 – Chicago, IL. – Reggies
8/11 – Springfield, MO. Outland Ballroom
8/12 – Omaha, NB. – STONED MEADOW OF DOOM FEST
8/14 – Bozeman, MT. – Zebra Lounge
8/15 – Spokane, WA. – The Observatory

https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
https://twitter.com/yearofthecobra
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/prophecyproductions/
https://prophecy-de.bandcamp.com/
https://en.prophecy.de/

Year of the Cobra, “Persephone” official video

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Year of the Cobra Touring Europe with Toke; Playing Freak Valley and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

So hey, Seattle duo Year of the Cobra had a limited single go up for presale this past week over at H42 Records. Think maybe you’d like to purchase such a thing? Gone. Gone, gone, goneski. They made 220 of them and there they go.

Maybe the band will have some held back for the merch table on their European tour with Toke, which includes a previously-announced stop at Freak Valley as well as other stops in Germany, Norway, the UK, Denmark, and so on. It’s not Year of the Cobra‘s first European tour, and it’s not their first limited 7″ through H42 Records, but hell, if you’ve got a thing that works, run with it.

And if you’ve got a jones for some Year of the Cobra vinyl, their Burn Your Dead EP (review here) is available on repress from Magnetic Eye. You can also stream it at the bottom of this post.

Info from the PR wire:

year of the cobra toke tour poster

You’ve probably heard that Year of the Cobra will be back in Europe in May 2018 (with co headliner Toke) and will also be part of the honorable FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL.

Of course, Jon and Amy have something special for you in their luggage: a cool little vinyl 7″ with 45rpm ‘The Descent’ on side A and an exclusive screen print on side B!

The single will be available on tour and from H42 Records. There will be only 220 copies in total so do not oversleep! We have decided to offer you a small part of the singles in advance, so that even those have a chance to get one who have no opportunity to attend a concert on tour.

You have the agony of choice between 4 different editions:
100x clear vinyl with orange screen-print
50x white vinyl with black screen-print
50x black vinyl with orange screen-print
20x special edt. with whitelabel and ‘suprise colored screen-print and alternative cover-art

YEAR OF THE COBRA European tour dates w/ Toke:
5/10/18: Copenhagen, DK @ Stengade
5/11/18: Oslo, NO @ Krosset
5/12/18: Malmo, SE @ Plan B
5/13/18: Kiel, DE @ Kieler Schaubude
5/15/18: Berlin, DE @ Zukunft
5/16/18: Slavonice, CH @ barak
5/17/18: Warsaw PL @ Hydrozagadka
5/18/18: Gdansk PL @ Protokultura
5/19/18: Wroclaw PL @ Ciemna Strona Miasta
5/20/18: Wien, AT @ Venster99
5/21/18: Salzburg, AT @ Rockhouse
5/22/18: Dresden DE @ Ostpol
5/23/18: Bregenz AT @ Between
5/24/18: Freiburg DE @ White Rabbit
5/25/18: Olten CH @ Le coq D’Or
5/26/18: Paris, FR @ L’international
5/27/18: Bristol, UK @ The Old England
5/28/18: London UK @ The Black Heart
5/29/18: Lille France @ TBA
5/30/18: Strasbourg, FR @ Molodoï
5/31/18: Wurzburg, DK @ Immerhin
6/1/18: Utrecht NL @ Db’s
6/2/18: Netphen, DE @ Freak Valley Festival

http://yearofthecobra.com
https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/
https://www.merhq.net/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords/
http://merhqradio.net/
stbrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/STB-Records/471228012921184

Year of the Cobra, Burn Your Dead (2017)

Year of the Cobra, …In the Shadows Below (2016)

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Freak Valley 2018: Russian Circles, Year of the Cobra, Black Bombaim, Ruff Majik & My Baby Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

freak-valley-2018-banner

Not taking anything away from anyone in this latest announcement from Freak Valley 2018, but for me, the find of the bunch is South African heavy-grooving three-piece Ruff Majik, who, what they lack in spelling they more than compensate for with riff-led immersive roll as well as a prolific rate of releases.

Again, that’s not to detract at all from the radness of the fact that Year of the Cobra are making the trip, or that Russian Circles will no doubt feature somewhere near the top of the bill, but I wasn’t familiar with Ruff Majik prior to this announcement and was happy to have the chance to check them out.

If you’d like to do the same, their latest EP is streaming at the bottom of this post. Go ahead and give it a shot. Maybe name your price on one of those downloads they have set up on such terms.

Here’s the full announcement from the fest, which, as it happens, I wrote:

freak-valley-2018-russian-circles

Happy New Year, Freaks!

We’re creeping ever closer to the start of FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2018, and you know what that means: More announcements, more reasons to come, and less time to plan your trip. If you missed out on tickets before they sold out, sorry, but you can’t say you weren’t warned. For everyone else, we’ve got FIVE awesome new confirmations to reveal for the lineup!

Please welcome Russian Circles, Black Bombaim, Year of the Cobra, Ruff Majik and MY BABY to the bill for Freak Valley 2018!

RUSSIAN CIRCLES

No way these guys need any introduction. For over a decade, Chicago instrumental trio Russian Circles have made themselves forerunners of heavy and psychedelic post-rock, and with their records Enter, Station, Geneva, Empros, Memorial and Guidance, they’ve become one of the most essential acts of their generation. Expect immersion like nothing else when they take the stage for all the Freaks! They might even leave the lights on! On second thought, nah, probably not.

BLACK BOMBAIM

If you’ve never experienced Portuguese jammers Black Bombaim live, you don’t even know what you’ve been missing. The raw chemistry, the dynamic turns – everything they do recalls the best of improvisational psychedelic rock. Their flow is molten and unlike anyone else’s in the style, and they come to Freak Valley as ready to explore new ground as ever in the far-out cosmic reaches.

YEAR OF THE COBRA

While the bass/drum two-piece recalled riffy greats like Sleep and Acid King on their debut album, In the Shadows Below, it was the 2017 EP, Burn Your Dead, that really showed off the diversity of sound Year of the Cobra could bring to bear. The Seattle duo hit Europe for the first time supporting the album and as they come back ahead of a new full-length in 2018, we’re thrilled to welcome them for their first visit to Freak Valley!

RUFF MAJIK

Traveling all the way from Pretoria, South Africa, the heavy-grooving trio Ruff Majik have been belting out releases at a prolific clip since their 2015 debut, The Bear. By the time they make it to Siegen this May, they’ll be riding high on the blues-psych vibes of their latest work, A Stag in the Leaves, and we can’t wait to introduce them to the Freaks and give everyone a taste of their laid back riffs and classic style.

MY BABY

Based in Amsterdam (because where else?), My Baby come to Freak Valley 2018 offering a spirit and a musical energy like nothing else on the bill. Their 2017 album, Prehistoric Rhythm, ran contrary to its name with a blend of soul, blues, funk, dance and classic rock that could only be from the future. Still, it spoke to something primitive in all of us – a basic need to move, to get up, to shake ass, and we know they’ll have the Freaks doing exactly that.

Freak Valley Festival 2018 // No Fillers – Just Killers

Line-up 2018:
OM, Russian Circles, My Sleeping Karma, My Baby, Yuri Gagarin, Dÿse, Black Bombaim, Year of the Cobra, Ruff Majik, Rage of Samedi, Nap
More tba soon

Have a freaky time – your Rock Freaks

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://www.facebook.com/events/738782742996668/
https://twitter.com/FreakValley

Ruff Majik, A Dragon and His Hoard (2017)

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2017

Posted in Features on December 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 short releases

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2017 to that, please do.

This is the hardest list to put together, no question. Don’t get me wrong, I put way too much thought into all of them, but this one is damn near impossible to keep up with. Every digital single, every demo, every EP, every 7″, 10″ one-sided 12″, whatever it is. There’s just too much. I’m not going to claim to have heard everything. Hell, that’s what the comments are for. Let me know what I missed. Invariably, something.

So while the headers might look similar, assuming I can ever remember which fonts I use from one to the next, this list has a much different personality than, say, the one that went up earlier this week with the top 20 debuts of 2017. Not that I heard everyone’s first record either, but we’re talking relative ratios here. The bottom line is please just understand I’ve done my best to hear as much as possible. I’m only one person, and there are only so many hours in the day. Eventually your brain turns into riffy mush.

With that caveat out of the way, I’m happy to present the following roundup of some of what I thought were 2017’s best short releases. That’s EPs, singles, demos, splits — pretty much anything that wasn’t a full-length album, and maybe one or two things that were right on the border of being one. As between genres, the lines are blurry these days. That’s part of what makes it fun.

Okay, enough dawdling. Here we go:

lo-pan-in-tensions

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2017

1. Lo-Pan, In Tensions
2. Godhunter, Codex Narco
3. Year of the Cobra, Burn Your Dead
4. Shroud Eater, Three Curses
5. Stubb, Burning Moon
6. Canyon, Canyon
7. Solace, Bird of Ill Omen
8. Kings Destroy, None More
9. Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam
10. Supersonic Blues, Supersonic Blues Theme
11. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
12. Rope Trick, Red Tape
13. Eternal Black, Live at WFMU
14. IAH, IAH
15. Bong Wish, Bong Wish EP
16. Rattlesnake, Outlaw Boogie Demo
17. Hollow Leg, Murder
18. Mars Red Sky, Myramyd
19. Avon, Six Wheeled Action Man Tank 7″
20. Wretch, Bastards Born

Honorable Mention

Across Tundras, Blood for the Sun / Hearts for the Rain
The Discussion, Tour EP
Fungus Hill, Creatures
Switchblade Jesus & Fuzz Evil, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter Seven
The Grand Astoria, The Fuzz of Destiny
Test Meat, Demo
Blood Mist, Blood Mist
Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell
Dautha, Den Foerste
Scuzzy Yeti, Scuzzy Yeti
Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2
Decasia, The Lord is Gone
Bible of the Devil/Leeches of Lore, Split 7″

I can’t imagine I won’t add a name or two or five to this section over the next few days as I think of other things and people remind me of stuff and so on, so keep an eye out, but the point is there’s way more than just what made the top 20. That Across Tundras single would probably be on the list proper just on principle, but I heard it like a week ago and it doesn’t seem fair. Speaking of unfair, The Discussion, Howling Giant, The Grand Astoria and the Bible of the Devil/Leeches of Lore split all deserve numbered placement easily. I might have to make this a top 30 in 2018, just to assuage my own guilt at not being able to include everything I want to include. For now though, yeah, this is just the tip of the doomberg.

Notes

To be totally honest with you, that Lo-Pan EP came out Jan. 13 and pretty much had the year wrapped up in my head from that point on. It was going to be hard for anything to top In Tensions, and the Godhunter swansong EP came close for the sense of stylistic adventurousness it wrought alone, and ditto that for Year of the Cobra’s bold aesthetic expansions on Burn Your Dead and Shroud Eater’s droning Three Cvrses, but every time I heard Jeff Martin singing “Pathfinder,” I knew it was Lo-Pan’s year and all doubt left my mind. Of course, for the Ohio four-piece, In Tensions is something of a one-off with the departure already of guitarist Adrian Zambrano, but I still have high hopes for their next record. It would be hard not to.

The top five is rounded out by Stubb’s extended jam/single “Burning Moon,” which was a spacey delight and new ground for them to cover. The self-titled debut EP from Philly psych rockers Canyon, which they’ve already followed up, is next. I haven’t had the chance to hear the new one yet, but Canyon hit a sweet spot of psychedelia and heavy garage that made me look forward to how they might develop, so I’ll get there sooner or later. Solace’s return was nothing to balk at with their cassingle “Bird of Ill Omen” and the Sabbath cover with which they paired it, and though Kings Destroy weirded out suitably on the 14-minute single-song EP None More, I hear even greater departures are in store with their impending fourth LP, currently in progress.

A couple former bandmates of mine feature in Tarpit Boogie in guitarist George Pierro and bassist John Eager, and both are top dudes to be sure, but even if we didn’t have that history, it would be hard to ignore the tonal statement they made on their Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam EP. If you didn’t hear it, go chase it down on Bandcamp. Speaking of statements, Supersonic Blues’ Supersonic Blues Theme 7″ was a hell of an opening salvo of classic boogie that I considered to be one of the most potential-laden offerings of the year. Really. Such warmth to their sound, but still brimming with energy in the most encouraging of ways. Another one that has to be heard to be believed.

The dudes are hardly newcomers, but Grief offshoot Come to Grief sounded pretty fresh — and raw — on their The Worst of Times EP, and the Massachusetts extremists check in right ahead of fellow New Englangers Rope Trick, who are an offshoot themselves of drone experimentalists Queen Elephantine. Red Tape was a demo in the demo tradition, and pretty formative sounding, but seemed to give them plenty of ground on which to develop their aesthetic going forward, and I wouldn’t ask more of it than that.

Eternal Black gave a much-appreciated preview of their Bleed the Days debut long-player with Live at WFMU and earned bonus points for recording it at my favorite radio station, while Argentine trio IAH probably went under a lot of people’s radar with their self-titled EP but sent a fervent reminder that that country’s heavy scene is as vibrant as ever. Boston-based psych/indie folk outfit Bong Wish were just the right combination of strange, melodic and acid-washed to keep me coming back to their self-titled EP on Beyond Beyond is Beyond, and as Adam Kriney of The Golden Grass debuted his new project Rattlesnake with the Outlaw Boogie demo, the consistency of his songcraft continued to deliver a classic feel. Another one to watch out for going into the New Year.

I wasn’t sure if it was fair to include Hollow Leg’s Murder or not since it wound up getting paired with a special release of their latest album, but figured screw it, dudes do good work and no one’s likely to yell about their inclusion here. If you want to quibble, shoot me a comment and quibble away. Mars Red Sky only released Myramyd on vinyl — no CD, no digital — and I never got one, but heard a private stream at one point and dug that enough to include them here anyway. They remain perennial favorites.

Avon, who have a new record out early in 2018 on Heavy Psych Sounds, delivered one of the year’s catchiest tracks with the “Six Wheeled Action Man Tank” single. I feel like I’ve had that song stuck in my head for the last two months, mostly because I have. And Wretch may or may not be defunct at this point — I saw word that drummer Chris Gordon was leaving the band but post that seems to have disappeared now, so the situation may be in flux — but their three-songer Bastards Born EP was a welcome arrival either way. They round out the top 20 because, well, doom. Would be awesome to get another LP out of them, but we’ll see I guess.

One hopes that nothing too egregious was left off, but one again, if there’s something you feel like should be here that isn’t, please consider the invitation to leave a comment open and let me know about it. Hell, you know what? Give me your favorites either way, whether you agree with this list or not. It’s list season, do it up. I know there’s the Year-End Poll going, and you should definitely contribute to that if you haven’t, but what was your favorite EP of the year? The top five? Top 10? I’m genuinely curious. Let’s talk about it.

Whether you have a pick or not (and I hope you do), thanks as always for reading. May the assault of short releases continue unabated in 2018 and beyond.

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Review & Track Premiere: Year of the Cobra, Burn Your Dead

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

year-of-the-cobra-burn-your-dead

[Click play above to stream ‘The Descent’ from Year of the Cobra’s new EP, Burn Your Dead, out Oct. 27 via Magnetic Eye Records.]

Play raw, take chances — this might very well be the ethic under which Year of the Cobra operate. The Seattle two-piece issued one of 2016’s finest debut full-lengths via STB Records with …In the Shadows Below (review here), and their follow-up EP, Burn Your Dead, arrives via Magnetic Eye Records with five songs that not only continue the thread from that offering, but push forward the sense of stylistic adventurousness that began to show itself there. To wit, no doubt the core of …In the Shadows Below was in the heavy rock roll conjured together by bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith (interview here) and drummer Jon Barrysmith.

Together, they offered thickened groove and memorable nod given all the more of a post-Acid King feel thanks to the production of Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, so many others I get embarrassed even listing them). A song like “Vision of Three” reveled in a churning tempo where “Persephone” and “White Wizard” offered a speedier take, but heft was at the root one way or the other, and while that continues on the 25-minute Burn Your Dead, there’s also significant branching out being done on aesthetic terms, as Amy and Jon not only reaffirm what they did with the preceding album in a piece like “Cold” or “The Howl,” but move brazenly and boldly forward as songwriters less bound by genre than they were even a year ago with the LP.

They’ve done a fair amount of touring to support …In the Shadows Below and did for the prior 2015 three-songer The Black Sun (review here) as well, and if that’s the source of the progression shown in Burn Your Dead, then all the better for it being so well earned, but wherever it might stem from, it finds Year of the Cobra with a burgeoning sense of fearlessness when it comes to their craft. Yes, songs like opener “Cold” and the subsequent “The Descent” are still heavy in the sense of the weighted tonality of Amy‘s bass and the crash of Jon‘s drums. However, the confidence and range of Amy‘s vocals has seen a marked increase, and a headphone listen reveals in “Cold” vague, deeply-mixed whispers behind her verse lines that, along with the keys playing the root notes throughout and other vague samples in the open, between-chorus midsection, add not only a sense of the ethereal, but a sense of horror atmosphere as well that comes through subtler and creepier than the average Hammer Productions movie clip.

year of the cobra billy anderson

“Cold” revives its shove patiently and builds intensity on Jon‘s snare as it makes its way back to the hook, but the immediate message is that Year of the Cobra didn’t even come close to playing their full hand on the debut, and each of the songs that follows adds something of its own to the proceedings, whether it’s the late-Kylesa proggy melodicism of “The Descent,” the raw punker scathe and gang shouts of “Burn Your Dead,” the doom pop croon and swirl of “The Howl” or how “And They Sang…” rounds out seeming to smash “The Descent” and “Burn Your Dead” together with sudden changes in pace and spaciousness.

In this jumping from one feel to another, Burn Your Dead is very much an EP — essentially a showcase for Year of the Cobra‘s growing audience of ideas that might or might not come to further fruition in their sound that simultaneously expands the context of the band as a whole — but that does nothing to undercut the quality of their performance, construction or attention to detail. Whether it’s the thrust of “Burn Your Dead” and “And They Sang…” or the taking-its-time fluidity of “The Descent” from whence the former charges out, the duo are careful in their presentation. Not necessarily in a way that undercuts the natural feel of their sound as two players — “play raw, take chances” — but the taking-chances part of that equation finds them perhaps capitalizing on the impulse that drove “Temple of Apollo” toward such poppishness on …In the Shadows Below; that same feeling of not shying away from manifesting an idea because it might not strictly conform to the tenets of genre.

If Burn Your Dead has an underlying purpose, it might be to realize this notion as a central aspect of Year of the Cobra‘s approach, and if so, the EP is all the more praiseworthy both on its own level and in the metamorphic sensibility it adds to the release that came before it, essentially enriching an already rich listen by building so gracefully on its foundation. It may make it harder to predict where Year of the Cobra might go with their next batch of material — other than on tour; that’s a pretty easy guess — but whether they seek to tie the melodic airiness of “The Howl” to a more earthbound nodder vibe or simply take Burn Your Dead as a model for adopting multiple sonic facets simultaneously across a broader collection of tracks and somehow manage to create fluidity between them, the band leaves little doubt as to their ability to manipulate and foster their individualism as they see fit while maintaining a strong grip on their songwriting.

Wherever they go on Burn Your Dead, they never seem lost, and thus it is all the more a joy to follow Year of the Cobra along this brief journey. A sure-fire bet as one of 2017’s best short releases.

Year of the Cobra on Thee Facebooks

Year of the Cobra on Bandcamp

Magnetic Eye Records website

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

Magnetic Eye Records on Thee Facebooks

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Year of the Cobra Tour Starts Sept. 28; Burn Your Dead EP out Oct. 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

So here’s the deal: I’ve heard the new Year of the Cobra EP, Burn Your Dead, which as the headline above says is out Oct. 27 on Magnetic Eye Records. It’s got five tracks on it and each one gives a different look at a new place the Seattle two-piece of Amy Tung and Jon Barrysmith are going with their sound coming off their 2016 debut, …In the Shadows Below (review here). That’s a pretty impressive feat it itself, but you should note that while a given song might be more leaning toward punk or ambient fare, whatever it is, it’s still all tied together through a sense of sonic weight and so the progression from the LP makes sense. It’s like they took a cue from “Temple of Apollo” on the record, which toyed with poppishness in a particularly brave way, and decided they could do whatever the hell they wanted with their sound and it would be fine.

I’ll have a proper review up sooner or later, but that’s the gist of it. Bottom line is it bodes really well for their next full-length in terms of showcasing genuine growth on the part of the band.

You might recall Year of the Cobra did the first leg of a tour this past summer when the initial hints of the EP release were dropped. Well, the second leg starts Sept. 28. Dates are below.

Here’s a press release I wrote, as circled back through the PR wire:

year-of-the-cobra-burn-your-dead

YEAR OF THE COBRA Put the Past Behind Them; New EP ‘Burn Your Dead’ out Oct. 27

Year of the Cobra (Amy Tung and Jon Barrysmith) are moving forward. Unmitigated, unhindered, unrestrained. The Seattle bass and drum two-piece boldly tackle new styles and new substance on new EP, Burn Your Dead.

Produced like their 2016 STB Records debut full-length, …In the Shadows Below, by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, the Melvins, etc.) at The Type Foundry in Portland, Oregon, Burn Your Dead still offers plenty of tonal largesse to go with its striking Joshua M. Wilkinson cover art.

But its five tracks also showcase new avenues of exploration for Year of the Cobra, whether it’s the ambience and creepy sampling worked into opener “Cold,” the progressive atmospheric rock of “The Howl” and centerpiece “The Descent,” reaching new heights of melodic accomplishment in Tung’s vocals, or the uptempo punker thrust of the gang-shouting title-track and the finale “And They Sang.”

That final track not only conveys the rawness of Year of the Cobra’s live show but – bolstered by the mastering work of Justin Weis at Trakworx in San Francisco – also the growth they’ve been able to enact through such relentless road work since their 2015 debut EP, The Black Sun, which has seen them quickly become coast-to-coast veterans, hit Europe for the first time and appear at Psycho Las Vegas and other festivals around the country, never failing to leave a trail of blown minds in their wake.

Look for Year of the Cobra to continue their refinement in live performances as they keep their momentum toward the future with Burn Your Dead. More tours, more fests, more trips abroad – and most of all – more evolution, because as YOTC put …In the Shadows Below behind them, they answer that album’s massive, rolling groove with a boldness of stylistic expanse that on Burn Your Dead serves as a funereal procession for the expectations of anyone who thought they knew what they were getting from the band. Pure, multifaceted fire.

Tracklisting:
1. Cold
2. The Descent
3. Burn Your Dead
4. The Howl
5. And They Sang…

Band:
Amy Tung: Bass / Vocals / Keys
Jon Barrysmith: Drums

On Tour:
Thu Sep 28 – Bozeman MT – The Filling Station
Fri Sep 29 – Black Hills Vinyl – Rapid City SD
Sat Sep 30 – Stoned Meadow of Doom – Sioux Falls SD
Sun Oct 1 – Kansas City – TBA
Mon Oct 2 – Highland’s Taproom Metal Monday – Louisville KY
Tue Oct 3 – Frequency – Madison WI
Wed Oct 4 – Reggie’s Music Joint – Chicago IL
Thu Oct 5 – Green Bay WI – TBA
Friday Oct 6 – Doomed and Stoned – Indianapolis IN
Saturday Oct 7 – Doomed and Stoned – Indianapolis IN
Sunday Oct 8 – Des Moines IA – TBA
Monday Oct 9 – Denver CO – TBA
Tuesday Oct 10 – Salt Lake City UT – Beehive Social Club
Wednesday Oct 11- Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco CA
Thursday Oct 12 – Bunk Bar – Portland, OR
Friday Oct 13 – Manette Saloon – Bremerton WA
Saturday Oct 14 – Eugene OR – The Black Forest

Pre-orders: https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/album/burn-your-dead

http://yearofthecobra.com
https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/
stbrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/STB-Records/471228012921184

Year of the Cobra, …In the Shadows Below (2016)

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Year of the Cobra Announce First Leg of US Tour; New EP Due Oct. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

Leading up to and through an appearance at Psycho Las Vegas on Aug. 20, Seattle duo Year of the Cobra will once again hit the road in support of last year’s stunner debut album, …In the Shadows Below (review here). The band, who were recently interviewed here, have wrapped up tracking a new EP with none other than Billy Anderson, and they’ll have that out Oct. 29 to follow-up the album and hopefully lead into more good stuff to come.

As to that, they note below “some other big news” that’s forthcoming — in addition to a second leg of the US tour. Anyone care to speculate with me? They’ve got the EP, so it’s early for second album plans. Could be word on a different label releasing the EP. The long-player was released by STB Records, who did a killer job with it, but neither would it surprise me if someone picked up Year of the Cobra like Relapse or Napalm. They’ve broken their collective ass on the road supporting the album and, well, they’re a good band, which also never hurts when it comes to that kind of thing. Could also just be details of the EP release, art, tracks and whatnot. Or a return trip to Europe, perhaps for Fall festival season and to coincide with the EP release?

So many different possibilities. And of course I could be way off on all of the above and it could be something else entirely. If I had to place one, that would probably be my bet. Ha.

The band sent the following down the PR wire:

year-of-the-cobra-tour-poster

Year of the Cobra – US Tour First Leg

Year of the Cobra hits the road in August for the first leg of their US tour, including an appearance at Psycho Las Vegas. The band also just finished recording a new EP with Billy Anderson. Tentative release date for that is October 29th. Expect an announcement soon about the second leg of their tour, along with some other big news.

Year of the Cobra live:
8.9 – Kalispell, MT at Old School Records
8.10 – Billings, MT at Smiling Dog Records
8.11 – Denver, CO at Squire Lounge
8.12 – Omaha, NB at The Lookout Lounge
8.13 – St. Paul, MN at Agharta Records (in-store performance during the day)
8.13 – Minneapolis, MN at Nomad
8.14 – Chicago, IL at Reggies
8.15 – Lawrence, KS at The Bottleneck
8.17 – Albuquerque, NM at Launchpad
8.18 – El Paso, TX at Boomtown
8.19 – Tempe, AZ at Yucca Tap Room
8.20 – Las Vegas, NV at Psycho Las Vegas
8.21 – Salt Lake City, UT at Urban Lounge
8.22 – Idaho Falls, ID at The Roadhouse Saloon
8.23 – Bozeman, MT at The Filling Station

http://yearofthecobra.com
https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/
stbrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/STB-Records/471228012921184

Year of the Cobra, …In the Shadows Below (2016)

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