For years, I’ve been haunted by the “Proust Questionnaire” — a series of questions that was developed by French author Marcel Proust to discern personalities more or less as a parlor game. The idea is that by comparing different answers, one can discover somebody’s attitudes not just by their answers themselves, but even how they approach the answers. Do they blow it off? Go deep? Somewhere between? What does that say about the person answering?
My hope is that over time The Obelisk Questionnaire will be able to provide fodder for such understanding. The questions will be the same — the first of them left as purposefully vague as possible — and have been dealt out to a fairly wide swath of people of various levels of prominence whose work I deeply respect. Since I want to build a backlog as quickly as possible, we’ll have a new one each day this week, and I’m pleased to be able to debut the feature with Mike Scheidt of YOB this afternoon.
Since YOB made their full-length debut in 2002, they’ve gone on to stand among America’s most pivotal acts in the heavy underground. They’ve cast a wide net of influence and even up to 2011′s Atma (review here) have crafted essential, cosmic and wide-ranging songs with a deep undercurrent of spirituality. YOB are set to begin recording a new album Jan. 17, 2014, and this year, Scheidt also debuted the crust-infused side-project Vhöl, and contributed vocals to Lumbar‘s The First and Last Days of Unwelcome(review here), helping to make that one of 2013′s heaviest and most emotionally resonant offerings.
The Obelisk Questionnaire: Mike Scheidt
How did you come to do what you do?
I used to go and watch what was to become the band Dirtclodfight practice when I was 15. I was a massive music fan, but up until then I’d never known anyone who was actually in a band. After watching them jam once, I knew I had to do it too. I got my first electric guitar shortly afterward.
Describe your first musical memory.
My first musical memories are from when I was very little. My mom listened to the radio everyday, at home, in the car, everywhere we went. In the early ’70s, the radio kicked ass. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Doobie Brothers, Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren,Three Dog Night, Elton John… that was “pop” music.
Describe your best musical memory to date.
I have too many to name one. It would be impossible. If I had to say one, it would be the first one that I cannot remember which introduced me to music in the first place.
When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?
The belief that people are inherently good. That I am inherently good. That belief is validated, and tested, daily.
Where do you feel artistic progression leads?
If we are lucky, artistic progression leads us more deeply into our Self.
How do you define success?
Anything that allows one to truly love.
What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?
I do not regret anything I have seen. Some things have been much harder than other things, but there is no turning back, no escape. To say that sounds haunting, but actually I find it comforting.
Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.
There is quite a bit, musically and otherwise, that I would like to have the opportunity to create. Creation can be a bit of a violent affair. Struggling, fighting against all odds to make something happen. Willing it to be. I would love to be able to further foster the space within where creation is not encumbered with my shaky need to find meaning and identity in it.
Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the time where each of my children find their calling.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
With no slowdown in the music coming out as we move into the fall, it’s time for another audiObelisk podcast. Like last month, the idea here was to keep it super-simple, not go too long or get lost too much in including stuff just for the hell of it. Whether it’s a big band or someone you’ve never heard of in this tracklist, it’s all quality, and most of it is new. A couple of these albums haven’t even come out yet.
Things get pretty dark in the second of the two hours, but I figured what the hell? It starts off rockin’ with Sasquatch and The Freeks and so on, so it seemed there was room to doom out for a while, and once I threw in The Body, there was nothing to do but plummet even further. As it winds down, there’s some transition back to more rocking fare though with Earthless, so it’s not like it gets totally lost and drowns in the mire of dark tones and sonic abrasion. I know you were worried. I was too.
Like last time, it clocks in at just under two hours long. I hope you download and enjoy the tracks. Here’s the full rundown of what’s included:
Sasquatch, “The Message” from IV (2013)
Monster Magnet, “Mindless Ones” from Last Patrol (2013)
The Freeks, “The Secret Pathway” from Full On (2013)
Red Fang, “Blood Like Cream” from Whales and Leeches (2013)
Pyramido, “Tiden är Kommen” from Saga (2013)
Hollow Leg, “Ride to Ruin” from Abysmal (2013)
YOB, “Ether” from Catharsis (2013 Reissue)
Seremonia, “Suuri Valkeus” from Ihminen (2013)
Aqua Nebula Oscillator, “Human Toad” from Spiritus Mundi (2013)
Jesu, “Everyday” from Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came (2013)
Ayahuasca Dark Trip, “To the Holy Mountain” from Mind Journey (2013 Reissue)
All Them Witches, “Born under a Bad Sign” (2013)
The Body, “Prayers Unanswered” from Christs, Redeemers (2013)
Primitive Man, “Antietam” from Scorn (2013)
Windhand, “Cassock” from Soma (2013)
Atlantis, “Omen” from Omens (2013)
Earthless, “Violence of the Red Sea” from From the Ages (2013)
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Huge news out of the Roadburn camp today for the 2014 lineup. In addition to a pre-sale party for tickets that features New Keepers of the Water Towers and SardoniS, YOB will headline the Afterburner playing 2009′s The Great Cessation in full, and Sourvein, Graves at Sea, Crowbar, ASG, Lord Dying, A Storm of Light and Anciients have been added to the bill, ensuring that however much psychedelia has been announced and may yet still come, Roadburn 2014 won’t lack for crushed skulls either.
Oh, and in case you missed it, let me just repeat: Graves at Sea. Graves at fucking Sea. So yeah.
Here’s the latest:
Roadburn announces ticket prices and pre-sales party; Crowbar, Sourvein, Yob and more added to the line-up
Roadburn Festival 2014 Ticket Pre-Sales Start Friday October 11th 2013 at 21:00 CET; Pre-Sales Party at the 013 venue (NL) with New Keepers of the Water Towers and Sardonis.
Yob to Headline Roadburn Festival 2014 Afterburner; Crowbar, Yob, Sourvein and Graves at Sea among others added to 2014 Roadburn Festival Lineup.
As previously announced, tickets for Roadburn 2014 will go on sale on Friday, October 11th 2013. Set your alarm and get ready to score your tickets at 21:00 CET!
The majority of Roadburners live outside The Netherlands, which is why ticket pre-sales will start at 21:00 CET. This should be convenient for most time zones. Apologies to our friends in Oceania who will have to wake up early (or just stay up late)!
We are pleased to report that there will be NO price increase this year. Three-day tickets will be available for 165 euros; four-day tickets will cost 185 euros. Afterburner-only tickets will cost 32.50 euros. Please note that one-day tickets are not available for the Thursday, Friday or Saturday Roadburn dates. Online buyers can order a maximum of four tickets.
For everyone in the Netherlands and Belgium: we are aware that your local ticket outlets will not be open when pre-sales start, which is why we are throwing another pre-sales party at the 013 venue in Tilburg (NL). From 19:00 CET – 20:30 CET you will be able to purchase a maximum of two paper tickets for Roadburn Festival 2014. Guaranteed!
In addition to making it easy to get tickets, the pre-sales party is going to be a blast! This year, we have invited Sardonis and New Keepers of the Water Towers to provide the soundtrack. Both bands have been on the Roadburn radar for quite a while and this is the perfect opportunity for Belgium’s Sardonis to share their riff-heavy explorations and Stockholm heavyweights New Keepers of The Water Towers to take us on a progressive psychedelic trip. The live music part of the evening starts at 20:30 CET.
Roadburn’s artistic director/promoter Walter Hoeijmakers will be on hand to share the latest festival updates, too.
Roadburn favorites Yob will be making a highly anticipated return appearance in 2014, playing two crushing sets of their unique doom. They will play The Great Cessation for their album set on Saturday, April 12th, and headlining the Roadburn Festival Afterburner on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Yob founder Mike Scheidt says, “Coming back to Roadburn for a third time… to play our fifth and sixth sets total at this festival… it is difficult to come up with words to adequately express our feelings. We have made it very clear how much we love the spirit of the Roadburn Festival. It is an unparallelled experience encompassing everything we embrace as both artists and fans. We will bring what we hope to be the best we have ever done in both of our sets of music. Playing The Great Cessation live in entirety will be a YOB first. For our 2nd set, we will perform songs covering our entire discography, including something new as well. To be able to play, to be in attendance as fans, and to once again to walk the streets of Tilburg and live in the soul that is Roadburn is something we are very grateful for. April 2014 is too far away.” More info on Yob here:http://wp.me/p1m0FP-8aX
From deep in the earth you can feel massive vibrations… soon they become audible — huge distant riffs growing louder and turning into a sonic assault with a familiar feel and groove. Suddenly you realize… NOLA is in the house! Roadburn 2014 welcomes legendary New Orleans riffmasters Crowbar to the 013 venue main stage on Thursday, April 10th. With ties to Down, Eyehategod, Acid Bath and Pantera, Crowbar will definitely provide Roadburners with a perfect cure for their New Orleans metal jones in 2014. More info on Crowbar here:http://wp.me/p1m0FP-8aZ
Sludge legends Sourvein will be ratcheting up the sheer brutality of their damaged, blackend misery by playing all three of the band’s much acclaimed EP’s, Emerald Vulture, Ghetto Angel and Imperial Bastard, in their entirety exclusively at Roadburn Festival 2014. “We’re beyond excited to return to the mighty Roadburn Festival on our 20th anniversary tour” says T-Roy Medlin, “and this year we have a very special set prepared just for the Roadburn crowd. We will be doing our trilogy live, all three EP’s back to back and some songs off the first record that we’ve never done live… So we really look forward to this being an awesome time. See you at Roadburn 2014.” More info on Sourvein here:http://wp.me/p1m0FP-8b3
Underground favourites Graves at Sea will bring their crushing brand of slow, sluggish despair to Roadburn Festival 2014 on Thursday, April 10th at the 013 venue. More info on Graves at Sea here:http://wp.me/p1m0FP-8b1
Roadburn 2014 just got a whole lot heavier: Anciients, ASG, A Storm of Light and Lord Dying have been confirmed for Roadburn Festival 2014 as well.
Holland’s very own Roadburn Festival has become Europe’s leading festival for psychedelic, avant-metal, doom, heavy 70s or any other variation of leftfield sonic pleasures that push the boundaries of music.
Roadburn Festival 2014 (including Mikael Åkerfeldt’s curated event, Opeth and Loop) will run for four days from Thursday April 10th to Sunday April 13th, 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
A classic of modern doom and inarguably one of the most pivotal albums of the decade since its release, YOB‘s second full-length, Catharsis, is set to be reissued by Profound Lore on Nov. 12. The new version of the album — complete with new art by Aaron Edge, remastering by Tad Doyle and liner notes from YOB‘s own Mike Scheidt (the three parties also collaborating in the new project Lumbar) — is sourced from the original tapes and gives those who missed it the first time around or who came aboard a chance to experience an absolute cosmic masterpiece that has become a blueprint like very little before or since.
Scheidt will also kick off a cross-country solo tour with Uzala on Oct. 13 at the Fall into Darkness festival, and you can find the dates for that along with the PR wire info on the new version of Catharsisbelow:
Within doom metal circles, there are good number of YOB and doom metal fans alike that consider YOB’s second full-length album “Catharsis” as the trio’s shining moment. In turn it would become one of the most cult American doom metal albums over the succeeding years where YOB would build up their reputation as one of the penultimate titans in doom metal today. The only hindrance had been that “Catharsis” had been out of print for many years and would become the band’s most sought-after item from their repertoire as the initial label that released it folded and the album was never re-pressed or made available again for wider consumption. That is until now.
Ten years after its release (though “Catharsis” was recorded in 2002, much before it was first released in Nov of 2003) Profound Lore is proud to unveil the definitive re-issue of YOB’s sought after cult classic. Re-mastered from its original tape source by legendary grunge godfather Tad Doyle, making “Catharsis” sound that much more complete and monstrous than its original incarnation, along with new artwork and presentation by Aaron Edge and liner notes by YOB mastermind Mike Scheidt, this re-issue (which is just presented with the three tracks that comprise “Catharsis” as a whole) of one of the most colossal American doom metal releases of the last ten years is a reminder of how the vision of YOB culminated and began as a singular entity to what it has become today. That being YOB’s recognition as one of the most important bands in heavy music today.
UZALA and Mike Scheidt (YOB, VHÖL)
Autumnal Wanderings US Tour 13
(dates marked with ¥ include Mount Salem, dates marked with † include Sabbath Assembly) 10/13 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios FALL INTO DARKNESS FESTIVAL with The Skull (ex-Trouble) and Hammers of Misfortune 10/14 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey with Black Queen 10/15 Boise, ID @ Visual Arts Collective UZALA RECORD RELEASE PARTY with Muscle & Marrow 10/16 SLC, UT @ Bar Deluxe with Eagle Twin and Sub Rosa (cd release show) 10/17 Denver, CO @ Three Kings with Space in Time and Munimula 10/18 Madison, WI @ WISCO with Orogen (¥) 10/19 Chicago, IL @ Township with Bongripper and DJ Stavros (¥) 10/20 Columbus, OH @ Ruby Tuesday with Before the Eyewall (¥) 10/21 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus Bar with locals TBA (¥) 10/22 DAY OFF 10/23 Providence, RI @ Dusk with Bog of the Infidel (¥) 10/24 Worchester, MA @ venue TBA with SET and Keefshovel (¥) 10/25 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie with Heavy Temple (¥) 10/26 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar AUTUMN SCREAMS DOOM II FESTIVAL with LOSS, SOURVEIN, Churchburn, others (¥) 10/27 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter with Druglord (¥) 10/28 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 with Caltrop (¥) 10/29 Athens, GA @ venue TBA with Demonaut (¥) 10/30 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia early show with Red Shield (¥) 10/31 Austin, TX @ Red 7 with Communion (†) 11/01 Fort Worth, TX @ The Grotto with Solomon (†) 11/02 Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves with Dead to a Dying World (†)
Here’s the story of how I came into possession of over 250 audio and video bootlegs all at once:
A few weeks ago, when I could still consider myself gainfully employed and not go into some kind of simultaneous laugh-cry about it, I got an email from a dude who reads the site. Knowing I’d almost certainly post about it later, he asked pretty early on not to be named. He said he had a bunch of live stuff from Wino he was looking to get rid of, that he’d been a big CDR and DVDR trader for bootlegs over the years and had got together a good collection. Needless to say, my interest was piqued.
He wrote that he wanted it to go to “a good home.” I said I was happy to provide one and to send over his list. I’ve never traded boots, but I know that in the days when physical trading was a thing, you were your list. He sent it over and I read it in slow motion. As advertised, there was a ton of Wino, from The Obsessed playing in 1983 and Warhorse at their high school in 1978 up to Saint Vitus in New Orleans in 2009, with a healthy dose of Shine/Spirit Caravan and The Hidden Hand stuff in between, audio and video. I found a video of a show from TheHidden Hand that I went to at the Khyber Pass in Philly, Feb. 5, 2004. I’m pretty sure you can see my big goofy head in the shot.
But the Winory is just the start of it. From The Atomic Bitchwax live at Roadburn in 2003 to shows from Warning, Valkyrie and a slew of sets recorded at Emissions from the Monolith (there’s a lot of “Live in Youngstown, OH” in late May 2003 and 2004), there are gigs from Revelation, Solace, Blood Farmers, YOB, Buried at Sea, Goatsnake, Test-Site and Acid King, Iron Man and Paul Chain. I said to the guy that I’d take everything on the list, and that’s just what I did. For $100 to cover the cost of discs, sleeves and shipping, I got 266 discs, some with more than one show included on them.
Here’s the full list:
Live & Demo CDs
35007, Roadburn Festival 2003
Abdullah, Cleveland, OH 10/18/01
Acid King, Baltimore, MD 10/2/00
Acid King, San Francisco, CA 7/16/01
Acid Mothers Temple, Chicago, IL 10/20/02 (2 CDs)
Agony Bag, Piss Out Your Trash Demo
Asylum, Demos 1986-88 (3 CDs)
Asylum, Baltimore, MD 4/13/07
Atomic Bitchwax, New Jersey 9/10/99 Atomic Bitchwax, Roadburn Festival 2001
Atomic Bitchwax, Berlin, Germany 5/11/04
Atomic Bitchwax, Switzerland 5/6/05
Dax Riggs, The Skeletal Circus Derails – Demo
Dead Meadow, Peel Sessions 2002
Deadboy & The Elephantmen, Demos
Deadboy & The Elephantmen, 10/9/03 Lafayette, La
Debris Inc., Cincinnati, OH 5/27/04
The Dictators, Asbury Park, NJ 6/8/91
The Dictators, Philadelphia, PA 5/30/98
Fu Manchu, Sweden 6/18/99
Grand Magus, Demo + Live 3/30/02 London
Helmet, Compilation (Rare, B-Sides Etc.)
Helmet, Blacktop 2/28/91
Helmet, New Orleans, La 8/5/91
High Rise, NYC, New York 3/14/00
House Of Large Sizes, I.O.W.A. – Live
House Of Large Sizes, Iowa City, IA 8/11/90
House Of Large Sizes, Davenport, IA 2/9/91 (2 CDs)
House Of Large Sizes, Cedar Falls, IA 8/16/90
House Of Large Sizes, Cedar Falls, IA 2/16/91 (2 CDs)
Internal Void, Frederick, MD 6/13/98
Internal Void, Indianapolis, IN 6/19/04
Iron Boss, Baltimore, MD 12/31/02
Iron Man, Force (Pre Iron Man)
Iron Man, Frederick, MD 12/31/07
Iron Man, Cincinnati, OH 3/14/00
Kyuss, Black Jeweler (B-Sides Etc)
Kyuss, San Francisco, CA 11/12/94
Kyuss, Desert Heavies
Kyuss, Desert Storm
Kyuss, Live At Bizzare Fest
Kyuss, Mercurious Pools
Kyuss, Norfolk, VA 12/18/92
Kyuss, To Infinity And Beyond
Kyuss, “Sons Of Kyuss “”Demo”" 39 Mins.”
Kyuss, Muchas Gracias
Nebula, Sweden 6/15/00
Opeth, Chicago, IL 10/02
Orange Goblin, Osaka, Japan 6/11/99
Orange Goblin, Austin, TX 5/10/02
Orange Goblin, Cincinatti, OH 5/27/04
Pale Divine, Frederick, MD 6/13/98
Pale Divine, Wheaton, MD 6/18/99
Paul Chain, Rimini, Italy 4/10/82
Paul Chain, Milan, It 1/15/90 (2 CDs)
Saint Vitus, First Album Demos
Saint Vitus, Koln, Germany 3/12/95
Saint Vitus, Firburgo, Swi 3/17/89
Saint Vitus, Torino 12/02/90 + L.A. 1984 (2 CDs)
Saint Vitus, Brain Sabbath – Boot
Saint Vitus, Washington, D.C. – 4/2/86 (2 CDs)
Saint Vitus, (Tyrant) Rehearsal 1978
Saint Vitus, Torino, Italy (2 CDs) 3/29/89
Saint Vitus, Tilburg, Holland (2 CDs) 4/24/09
Shine, Washington, D.C.2/13/98
Shine, Hagerstown, MD 5/14/98
Shine, Powertime E.P. + 3 Live + 9/20/97
Shine, Dallas 5/21/98 + Interview
Shine, Live 1997
Shine, Wheaton, MD 12/31/98
Shine, Washington, D.C. 12/13/97 (2 CDs)
Shine, NYC, NY 8/15/98 (Cuts)
Shine, Wheaton, MD 12/31/97
Shine, Washington, D.C. 8/10/97 (Slight Glitches)
Shine, Washington, D.C. 10/29/98
Shine, Baltimore, MD 8/16/98
Shine, Frederick, MD 9/20/97
Shine, College Park, MD 8/21/98
Shine, Washington, D.C. 6/6/97
Sixty Watt Shaman, 6/26/99
Solstice, Demos 1992-93
Spirit Caravan, Long Branch, N.J. 7/8/99
Spirit Caravan, Chicago, IL 4/26/02
Spirit Caravan, San Francisco, CA 7/16/01 (Glitches)
Spirit Caravan, St. Louis, MO 4/23/02
Spirit Caravan, U.K. 12/1/01
Spirit Caravan, Philadelphia, PA 8/3/01
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 5/15/99
Spirit Caravan, Wheaton, MD 8/14/99 (39 Min)
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 7/27/00
Spirit Caravan, Maryland 5/18/01
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 5/4/02
Spirit Caravan, Chicago, IL 7/26/01
Spirit Caravan, Brooklyn, NY 5/2/02
Spirit Caravan, New York City, NY 1/16/00
Spirit Caravan, Old Bridge, NJ 1/21/01
Spirit Caravan, Long Branch, NJ 2/18/00
Spirit Caravan, Cambridge, MA 8/1/01
Spirit Caravan, Munich, Germany 9/14/99
Spirit Caravan, Denmark 9/22/00
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 5/3/99
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 7/22/00
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 10/02/00
Spirit Caravan, Wheaton, MD 12/31/98
Spirit Caravan, Wheaton, MD 1/12/00
Spirit Caravan, Toledo, OH 1/14/01
Spirit Caravan, Youngstown, OH 9/3/00
Spirit Caravan, Youngstown, OH 5/27/01
Spirit Caravan, Toledo, OH 4/27/02
Spirit Caravan, Washington, D.C. 10/4/00 (Gaps)
The Hidden Hand, Pittsburgh, PA 2/12/07
The Obsessed, History Of Vol. 1 (Doom Records)
The Obsessed, History Of Volume 2 (Doom Recs)
The Obsessed, Live At The Wax Museum (Doom Recs)
The Obsessed, Washington, D.C. 3/14/85
The Obsessed, 9 Song Demo
The Obsessed, Various ’80′s Live
The Obsessed, Tucson, AZ 7/31/92
The Obsessed, Tucson, AZ 10/15/92
The Obsessed, Columbia Studio Session
The Obsessed, FM Broadcast December 1992
The Obsessed, Stuttgart, Germany 12/28/92
The Obsessed, Carrboro, NC 4/19/94
Trouble, Stuttgart, Germany 1/2/93
Trouble, One For The Road
Trouble, Aurora, IL 5/4/02 (2 CDs)
Trouble, South Barrington, IL 5/18/02 (2 CDs)
Unida, Chico, CA 5/24/00
Unida, Vienna 11/5/00
Unida, Unreleased 2002
Unorthodox, Asylum Demos 12/15/90
Unorthodox, Frederick, MD 10/14/00
Unorthodox, Frederick, MD 12/31/07
Unorthodox, Baltimore, MD 4/14/07
Wino, Tilberg, Holland 4/26/09
Wino, Athens, Greece 10/12/10
Acid Mothers Temple, 4/22/07 Charlottesville, VA 80 Min Alabama Thunderpussy, 11/4/06 Richmond, VA 62 Min
Asylum, 6/26/88 College Park, MD 115 Min
Atomic Bitchwax, 1/12/99 New York City, NY 64 Min
Atomic Bitchwax, 7/8/05 Baltimore, MD 63 Min
Atomic Bitchwax, 11/23/05 Washington, D.C. 54 Min
Blood Farmers, 4/15/07 Baltimore, MD 57 Min
Brant Bjork & The Bros, 5/21/05 Washington, D.C. 78 Min
Buried at Sea, 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 30 Min
Clearlight, 8/14/99 Wheaton, MD 49 Min
Dead Meadow, 6/16/06 Washington, D.C. 46 Min
Debris Inc. – 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 45 Min
Delicious, 5/27/04 Youngstown, OH 33 Min
Dixie Witch, 5/27/06 Youngstown, OH 42 Min
Doomed Nation, Volume 1 2004 65 Min
Doomed Nation, Volume 2 2005 85 Min
Dragon Ass, 9/5/03 Baltimore, MD 38 Min
Earthride, 9/3/05 Frederick, MD 18 Min
Earthride, 11/23/05 Washington, D.C. 34 Min
Fu Manchu, 1/30/96 Los Angeles, CA 38 Min
Goatsnake – 5/24/99 – Eindhoven, Germany 55 Min
Grief, 5/27/06 Youngstown, OH 57 Min
High On Fire, 12/15/04 Richmond, VA 65 Min
Hounds Of Hasselvander, 3/14/08 Washington, D.C. 65 Min
Internal Void, 8/28/04 Washington, D.C. 60 Min
Internal Void, 3/4/05 Baltimore, MD 28 Min
Internal Void, 9/3/05 Frederick, MD 69 Min
Internal Void, 11/23/05 Washington, D.C. 48 Min
Internal Void / Kelly Carmichael, 12/10/05 Frederick, MD 101 Min
Iron Man, 12/31/99 Wheaton, MD 68 Min
Iron Man, 4/15/07 Baltimore, MD 57 Min
King Valley, 9/5/03 Baltimore, MD 31 Min
King Valley, 8/28/04 Washington, D.C. 32 Min
King Valley, 3/4/05 Baltimore, MD 39 Min
King Valley, 5/26/05 Youngstown, OH 27 Min
King Valley, 6/25/05 Newark, DE 36 Min
King Valley, 9/3/05 Frederick, MD 34 Min
King Valley, 2/3/06 Leesburg, VA 40 Min
Kramer, Wayne, 7/13/02 Baltimore, MD 70 Min
MC5 / DKT, 6/18/04 Washington, D.C. 81 Min
Nebula, 6/2/02 Baltimore, MD 50 Min
Nitroseed, 6/2/05 Washington, D.C. 39 Min
Ogre, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 46 Min
Ostinato, 5/26/04 Washington, D.C. 48 Min
Ostinato, 10/29/04 Washington, D.C. 40 Min
Pearls & Brass / The Amoeba Men, 1/29/06 Richmond, VA 80 Min
Penance, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 63 Min
Revelation I, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 63 Min
Revelation II, 4/15/07 Baltimore, MD 57 Min
Revelation, 3/14/08 Washington, D.C. 65 Min
Rwake, 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 40 Min
Saint Vitus, 7/21/87 Albany, NY 53 Min
Saint Vitus, 1987 Indianapolis, IN 42 Min Saint Vitus, 1993 Florida 100 Min
Saint Vitus, 7/1/03 Chicago, IL 56 Min
Saint Vitus, 4/11/09 New Orleans, LA
Shine, 12/29/96 Columbus, OH 27 Min
Shine, 2/14/97 Baltimore, MD 31 Min
Shine, 4/12/97 Washington, D.C. 54 Min
Shine, 8/15/97 Wheaton, MD 75 Min
Shine, 10/18/97 Wheaton, MD 65 Min
Solace, 5/28/04 Youngstown, OH 51 Min
Solace, 7/3/04 Baltimore, MD 30 Min
Solace, 9/5/04 Youngstown, OH 44 Min
Spirit Caravan, 7/8/99 Long Branch, NJ 61 Min
Spirit Caravan, 7/10/99 Richmond, VA 55 Min
Spirit Caravan, 8/14/99 Wheaton, MD 84min
Spirit Caravan, 2/2/00 Richmond, VA 59 Min
Spirit Caravan, 2/14/00 Cleveland, OH 67 Min
Spirit Caravan, 4/15/00 Youngstown, OH 53 Min
Spirit Caravan, 7/22/00 Baltimore, MD 28 Min
Spirit Caravan, 12/12/00 Hungary 68 Min
Spirit Caravan, 2/9/01 Springfield, VA 42 Min
Spirit Caravan, 5/18/01 Baltimore, MD 70 Min
Spirit Caravan, 8/1/01 Cambridge, MA 65 Min
Spirit Caravan, 1/19/02 Baltimore, MD 50 Min
Spirit Caravan, 5/2/02 Philadelphia, PA 60 Min
Spirit Caravan, 5/4/02 Baltimore, MD 56 Min
Stinking Lizaveta, 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 40 Min
Suzukiton, 12/15/04 Richmond, VA 35 Min
Suzukiton – 5/29/07 Charlottesville, VA 38 Min
Test Site, 9/5/04 Youngstown, OH 35 Min
Test-Site, 6/1/05 Washington, D.C. 39 Min
The Hidden Hand, 12/31/02 Baltimore, MD 37 Min
The Hidden Hand- 2/22/03 Washington, D.C. 48 Min
The Hidden Hand, 6/24/03 Baltimore, MD 47 Min
The Hidden Hand, 8/29/03 Washington, D.C. 63 Min
The Hidden Hand, 1/16/04 Baltimore, MD 50 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/5/04 Philadelphia, PA 60 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/10/04 Baltimore, MD 45 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/12/04 Lancaster, PA 30 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/13/04 Washington, D.C. 45 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/25/04 Washington, D.C. 54 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/26/04 Washington, D.C. 52 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 42 Min
The Hidden Hand, 10/28/04 Philadelphia, PA 56 Min
The Hidden Hand, 10/29/04 Washington, D.C. 67 Min
The Hidden Hand, 1/15/05 Washington, D.C. 52 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/12/05 Gaithersburg, MD 45 Min
The Hidden Hand, 4/16/05 Washington, D.C. 51 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/20/05 Hartford, CT 48 Min
The Hidden Hand, 6/25/05 Newark, DE 52 Min
The Hidden Hand, 7/2/05 Washington, D.C. 47 Min
The Hidden Hand, 12/29/06 Washington, D.C. 56 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/9/07 St. Paul, MN 60 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/13/07 London, England 60 Min
The Obsessed, 1993 Fort Worth, TX 27 Min
The Obsessed, 4/18/94 Hampton, VA 36 Min
The Obsessed, 4/19/94 Carrboro, NC 40 Min
The Obsessed – Documentary 27 Min
Trephine, 12/11/04 Baltimore, MD 28 Min
Unorthodox, 6/19/04 Tradesmen Party 22 Min
Unorthodox, 7/31/04 Washington, D.C. 44 Min
Unorthodox – 9/4/04 Youngstown, OH 48 Min
Unorthodox, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 74 Min
Valkyrie, 3/4/05 Baltimore, MD 39 Min
Valkyrie, 11/4/06 Richmond, VA 37 Min
Valkyrie, 3/9/07 Richmond, VA 41 Min
Valkyrie, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 37 Min
Valkyrie, 5/29/07 Charlottesville, VA 37 Min
Warning, 4/16/05 Goppingen, Germany 64 Min
Wino, 1/28/09 Washington, D.C. 25 Min
Wino, 2/7/09, Washington, D.C. 57 Min
Witchcraft, 5/28/05 Youngstown, OH 66 Min
Witchcraft, 11/11/06 Washington, D.C. 45 Min
Wooly Mammoth, 6/16/06 Washington, D.C. 36 Min
Wooly Mammoth, 10/29/04 Washington, D.C.41 Min
Wooly Mammoth, 12/29/06 Washington, D.C. 36 Min
Wretched, 8/28/04 Washington, D.C. 30 Min
Wretched, 9/4/04 Youngstown, OH 24 Min
Wretched, 4/15/07 Baltimore, MD 42 Min
YOB, 5/20/05 Hartford, CT 45 Min
Warhorse, 1978 Rockville, MD 28 Min
The Obsessed, 3/80 Rockville, MD 106 Min (2 DVDs)
The Obsessed, 7/3/82 Washington, D.C. 74 Min (2 DVDs)
The Obsessed, 11/83 Kensington, MD 45 Min
The Obsessed, 2/11/84 New York City, NY 35 Min
The Obsessed, 6/16/84 Long March, PA 40 Min
The Obsessed, 4/17/94 Washington, D.C. 45 Min
Shine, 9/29/96 Wheaton, MD 45 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/25/03 Youngstown, OH (Bass Heavy)
I’ve taken to calling it The Megabox.
It’s been here more than a week now and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it contains. A Spirit Caravan show here, some Acid King there. At that rate, it’ll probably be years before I get through everything — if I ever do — and I have no idea how to organize it, because it can’t stay in the Megabox forever, but screw it, there was no way I was going to let an opportunity to own such a collection pass me by, even if it is CDRs in sleeves. Someone poured their heart into getting all of this. I was flattered even to be asked if I wanted it.
Yeah, some of it is available on YouTube or whatever blog or forum group, but considering I spent less than 50 cents for each of these shows and especially considering the human element in the media and the passion that clearly went into putting the collection together, I’m still ready to call it the bargain of the year.
Nebula, “All the Way” Live at the Ottobar, Baltimore, MD, 06.02.02
It’s been a while since I’ve had a fully functional turntable, and by that I mean one that worked at all. Platters have been coming in for review for The Obelisk and I’ve managed to figure something out, either listening somewhere other than my office or whathaveyou, but really, it’s something that I’ve been missing up to this point. I tried several times to acquire a working one to no avail, until just this past week, Slevin rolled through with one he wasn’t using and set it up. Toss in a new cartridge, dust it off, and as you can see above, whamo, a working player of vinyl records.
Nifty, right? I traded him the busted Technics that formerly resided at the top of my office shelf system and he gave me this working Optimus, and since I don’t know the difference, I’m just happy to have one that actually can play an albums. I’ve had a pile of stuff here waiting to be written up or even just listened to, so at the end of last week, there was a bit of a binge in vinyl listening, one after another after another and so on. Can’t help it. Sometimes I get excited.
In the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d post the first five records I put on once I had the ability to do so. Needless to say, there have been several more since:
1. YOB, Demo
I haven’t asked to confirm, but I think this was actually the one that got Slevin on board for giving my pathetic ass in the first place. A couple weeks ago, I put up a rant, basically pissing and moaning at having bought myself the 2009 vinyl reissue of YOB‘s demo despite not being able to hear it, so when I finally could, it was the first thing I grabbed. Sure enough, the four tracks on the release — the three of the initial 2000 demo and one live track to close out side B recorded in 2005 — were as primitive as one would have to expect, way more Sleep-derived even than YOB‘s first full-length, but still a joy to hear after so long. Even as a curio, this one was worth the wait and since I’m planning on having this turntable for a while, I was glad I got to play this one first.
2. Asteroid, Move a Mountain 7″
Maybe this one was kind of obvious, since a review went up the other day, but wow, I was looking forward to hearing the latest from Asteroid. Aside from thinking they’re one of the best Swedish heavy rock acts going these days — balancing heavy psych jams with memorable songwriting and sounding so incredibly natural doing it as they do — I wanted to hear how they were developing with their new drummer and was glad to find that even on such a short, two-song release, they hadn’t lost that combination of structure and laid back exploration that has made both of their albums to date so much fun, indeed pushing it further on the B-side, “One Foot in the Grave,” which was some of their fastest material yet. I was already looking forward to their third full-length. Now even more so.
3. Mars Red Sky/Year of No Light, Green Rune White Totem
Mars Red Sky — whose new EP, Be My Guide, is due in April, in case you missed the news that just went up — were kind enough to send me a vinyl copy of their Green Rune White Totem collaboration with their countrymen black metal experimentalists Year of No Light, and I think it must have gotten lost in the shuffle around the time the hurricane hit, and then when I finally would’ve had the chance to hear it, there wasn’t a working record player to make it happen. I was bummed out, because although Green Run White Totem is up on the YuberToubes, I was dying to hear the real thing. The textures that Year of No Light bring to Mars Red Sky‘s rich, deep tonality make the 12-minute collaborative piece all the more fascinating, and the black and red vinyl give it a truly special feel. It’s one I’ll be returning to for sure, especially as Mars Red Sky get set for Desertfest next month and that aforementioned EP release.
4. Clutch, Strange Cousins from the West
The heartbreak of slightly ripping the sleeve when taking out the second of the two LPs in the special edition of Clutch‘s 2009 outing aide, Strange Cousins from the West was a listen a long time in the making. The packaging on the Weathermaker vinyl is astounding (and now ripped, god damn it) with foil and a six-panel gatefold, and when the first side of the first LP started, I swore up and down it was the wrong platter because it was “Freakonomics” instead of “Motherless Child.” Nope, just a different tracklisting than the CD. Given that this is an album with which I’ve spent significant time over the four years since its original release, it was probably the first one on this list that I could really get a sense for the difference the vinyl makes, the compression in the cymbals and warm pops, etc. Particularly in light of their new one (review here), it was cool to revisit Strange Cousins and hear the older material in a new light.
5. Black Sabbath, Dehumanizer
If I’m honest, I don’t even really know where this vinyl copy of Dehumanizer came from. Must have been a reissue that came through at some point, but it’s been in my office for a while now and so it was something of a matter of principle that it should get a play on initial run with the new turntable. The 1992 reunion album between Black Sabbath and vocalist Ronnie James Dio isn’t the best work of either party — and wow, that really came out on side B; I can’t even remember the last time I purposefully listened to “Too Late” or “Buried Alive,” and I named my dog after Dio — but for cuts like “I,” “Master of Insanity,” “Computer God” and “Sins of the Father,” Dehumanizer was well worth another visit. Now I just need to get a copy on tape and I’m all set.
Even though I have a working turntable in my possession, I don’t see myself going overboard as a vinyl collector or anything like that, but if someone’s got a 7″ for sale at a show or something is vinyl-only, at least I know I’ll be able to give it some due time without using someone else’s player or scrambling for a download. But mostly it’s just a review thing for stuff that comes in on LP. It’s not like I’m looking to start a vinyl library. Not like I’m already eying up Hypnos 69 splits on eBay or anything. Me? No way. Ha.
I remember when YOB‘s 2000 demo got re-released in 2009, I held off buying it. My thinking was that sooner or later the thing would show up on CD and I didn’t need to shell out for the vinyl, which, well, wasn’t a format I wanted to deal with anyway. Sure, YOB occupy a slot on my ever-rotating list of favoritist favorite bands, but what was the point in buying a copy of their demo on vinyl and feeling stupid later when I finally got it on the CD I wanted in the first place?
Well, the point turned out to be that there was no CD coming. Probably I could’ve asked someone and found that out, or done even the most cursory level of research and found out that Raven’s Eye Records, the label run by the artist Sean Schock (also of Geistus and H.C. Minds), wasn’t doing a CD pressing and that once the vinyl run was gone, that was it. That the label, like the band, was based in Eugene, Oregon, and that even in this day of interwebular immediacy, it might not be so easy to come by. But yeah, I didn’t do that research or ask anyone if a CD was coming. Hey, it was 2009. I was busy not having a job.
YOB‘s demo retreated to that place in my mind that holds the list of music I should pick up at some point. I guess half of me was still holding out hope that a compact disc release would come along sooner or later, and it just took that long for me to finally resign myself to the fact that one wasn’t, but at long last, I snagged a copy of the 12″ version on eBay late last year. It was my Xmas present to myself, a little something to get me through the cold months. Calling it a treat in such a manner didn’t really take away from the fact that I was a stubborn dumbass for not buying it in the first place, but it did give that all-too-familiar feeling of dumbassery a nicer frame than it usually gets.
The package showed up a couple weeks back. Not exactly timely for the holidays, but whatever. I was still happy to see it, except for the fact that at this point, I own two turntables and neither of them works. So yeah, after three-plus years, I decided to buy YOB‘s very first demo — three tracks, “Silence,” “Revolution” and “Dogma,” coupled with a live recording of a song called “White Doom” recorded in 2005 at CD World in Eugene, pressed up with artwork by Brian Mercer – and I don’t have a way to play it.
One of these days, I’m gonna hear this fuckin’ thing. “Revolution” is up on the YouTubes, so that’s easy enough to check out, but hearing how different it is from the version that appeared two years later on YOB‘s 2002 12th Records debut full-length, Elaborations of Carbon, does little more than tantalize and make me want to listen to the other tracks. I’m sure it’s up for download somewhere, but screw that. I’ve waited this long, I can keep on staring at the LP sleeve until one of the two turntables — which are stacked one on top of the other with posters on top, for that extra touch of class — is repaired or a third is acquired. Patience has always been one of my stronger qualities.
Posted in Reviews on February 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
There’s no doubt in my mind that when 2013 is over, this will have been one of its best shows. Out from Oregon prior to sequestering themselves to write a new album, YOB joined forces with Hull and Bezoar for the first of a two-night stay at the St. Vitus bar. It was Sunday as well — and I know the mystique of weeknight shows is that everybody acts like they don’t have to get up the next morning because rock and roll means more when it’s painful — but man oh man, whatever assault and battery I may have inflicted on myself, my neck, my hearing and my ongoing semi-conscious waking state, it was worth it. And not just to have my bald spot show up headbanging down front on those unARTigNYC videos, but you know, for the music, dude.
It was one of those front-to-back nights. They don’t come along all that often, where you can show up to a venue and rest assured that everything you see is going to blow your ass out of the room — without literally doing so, lest you miss a minute of the righteousness. The St. Vitus was sold out for the night, and it was through the much-appreciated grace of Bezoar that I was able to get into the show at all. Having seen an impressive couple of their gigs over the last few months (see here and here), you’re damn right I was showing up early so as not to let their frequently bizarre invocations and riffly conjuring pass me by. I dig that band more the more I see them, and I plan on seeing them more.
The more I see them, however, the clearer the picture becomes about what it is that I enjoy so much. It’s the blend. Their ability to play one influence off another and tip the balance at a moment’s notice between echoey ’90s art rock, visceral doom and scathing extreme metal. Aside from drummer Justin Sherrell‘s fluidity in fast or slow tempos, guitarist Tyler Villard‘s periodic bouts of shred-itis and bassist/vocalist Sara Villard‘s enviable rumbling tone and un-postured vocal ethereality, there’s the course of a given song itself, genre-free and off and running — now at an gallop, now a lurching crash — that nabs the attention and renders moot the bookmaking on what might come next. Factor in the sheer attention-deficit nature of what they’re playing, they almost can’t help but be fun to watch.
For Bezoar, it was a good night to make a lasting impression, and they did precisely that, settling into a groove here and there throughout complex compositions as Tyler‘s variable riffing through a steady hand provided the foundation on which Justin and Sara enacted sped-up post-metal churn, blackened squibblies belted into doomed time-change, ignoring the improbability of it all working as Tyler plucked out a purposefully strange sub-blues lead to somehow answer back. The song about Jim Jones doesn’t have a name yet. I asked Sara afterwards if I could call it “The Song about Jim Jones,” and she said it was cool, so yeah, they played that. Closed with it, in fact, as the new lighting at the St. Vitus bar flickered around the early rush of the cut, which will presumably (hopefully) surface on their next full-length, due sometime this year.
They’ve begun to click as a band on stage, which made them a suitable fit alongside fellow Brooklynites Hull in representing the borough’s heavy creative set. I was up front, but by the time Bezoar had finished, the room was all but packed. Hull aren’t exactly lacking in draw on their own, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but what occurred to me watching them open for YOB was the same thing that occurs to me almost every time I’m lucky enough to see them, and it’s just how much I absolutely take them for granted. It shames me to say it, because I try not to — their last album, 2011′s Beyond the Lightless Sky(review here), I loved and still keep on my person at most times in my trusty CD wallet, but when it comes to seeing them live, I’m way too blase about it. “Oh, I’ll catch them whenever,” or wait for a night like this to come along when they’re on a bill with someone I can’t miss like YOB, or maybe EyeHateGod.
To wit, this was my first time seeing Hull since guitarist Drew Mack left and they embarked on a new era as a double-guitar four-piece last fall. The change was notable, but it’s not like they went from two guitars to one or one to none. The real kicker was how overwhelmingly heavy they were, guitarist Nick Palmirotto and bassist Seanbryant Dunn splitting vocal duties as they sprinted masterfully through the tense thrashing of “Earth from Water” from the last record, hitting the point of no return for payoff largess and ignoring the signs on their way to cliffdiving doom slowdown. Lead guitarist Carmine Laietta, far off to the right and largely in the dark, tore into the stops of the open solo section given thrust by Jeff Stieber‘s kick drum. How had I let it go so long since the last time I saw Hull?
Like the openers, they also had yet-unreleased material which they used as a follow-up for the massive apex of “Earth from Water” and the chugging heft of “Architect” from 2009′s Sole Lord, mentioning after the fact that the song was new in an “oh by the way” kind of fashion. The central method — create tension, release tension, rebuild and dismantle — seemed roughly the same as ever, and Hull‘s ability to turn a churning riff on its head is nothing short of world class, though it was the extended “Viking Funeral” that made the closing statement of their set, parts weaving out in movements over the course of 15-plus minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I remember when they put out that EP in 2007. I spent a lot of time dorking out over that track.A lot. And I appreciate it when a band doesn’t forget their earlier accomplishments in favor of indulging more recent efforts.
But here’s the thing: It’s only an indulgence if the more recent efforts are in any way weaker than the earlier accomplishments, and Hull‘s aren’t. So much as I was thrilled to hear the undulating riff of “Viking Funeral,” I’m not entirely sure I would’ve taken it over “Fire Vein” or “False Priest” (oh hell, both) from Beyond the Lightless Sky. Perhaps it’s not something they do every show and save for special occasions which something like supporting YOB most definitely is, but there’s so much depth to what they do now that I think it’s worthy of highlighting, however epic their first outing may have been. It’s not a complaint, exactly — that is, “Viking Funeral” kicks ass and we all know it — I just also think the Beyond the Lightless Skymaterial could just as easily have provided the peak Hull were carrying across in closing out their set.
In any case, they destroyed in a manner befitting what was still to come once YOB took the stage, drummer Travis Foster emerging first from the crowd, then bassist Aaron Rieseberg, then finally guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt. There was a bit of a delay as Scheidt had to run and grab a vocal mic, but they were sharing Hull‘s gear, so it wasn’t that long before YOB got going, with “Kosmos” from 2005′s The Unreal Never Livedserving as an entry point to their consuming, space-quaking tonality. A band I once thought I’d never have the chance to see live, I’ve caught a handful of YOB shows in the years since they resumed their ascent with 2009′s The Great Cessation — Manhattan, Roadburn, Roadburn, Brooklyn — and have had few experiences as life-affirming in a concert setting. I mean that. I knew I’d only get to see them this one of the two nights they were at the Vitus bar (the next night, Sea of Bones and Batillus opened), so I did my best to make the most of it. You never know when next they’ll come back, if at all.
And while I took a second to pause and wonder, if I lived in Oregon, would I take YOB for granted the way I do with Hull, I soon enough had my face torn off and handed to me. When they finished “Kosmos,” someone in the crowd shouted “play anything!” and they answered with the soft opening strains of “Catharsis.” At first, I didn’t believe it, but Scheidt, his eyes closed, slowly rocking back and forth, kept it going and gradually, the song built to its full breadth, Foster and Rieseberg joining in the long journey to the initial verse. At one point, I looked down on the stage and there was my right earplug, but if it’s any indication as to how loud the band actually were, I don’t think I’d have known it was missing if I hadn’t actually seen it there. The slow rise of “Catharsis” to the chorus, “The tyranny/Built upon our philosophies/Not for me in solitude again,” indeed lived up to the title of the song, the middle chugs and Scheidt‘s echoing deathly growls — somehow not at all in conflict with the psychedelic-shamanistic delivery through which they were metered out — leading to the extended, ultra-slow plod, crashing, lumbering, chaotic. I stood and watched myself be dismantled by it, piece by piece, broken apart and put together the right way at last.
The final movement of the song, its faster rush, swirls to an Olympus Mons of a culmination before cutting off, and though it’s impossible to me to think of anything following that — perhaps because “Catharsis” closes the record of the same name, which turns 10 this year, or perhaps because it’s the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard — but YOB weren’t long in breaking into The Illusion of Motion‘s “Grasping Air,” the rolling groove of which launched on a sea of nodding and banging heads. Not moshing exactly, but there was a crowd push. Maybe it was moshing. I don’t know. I ignored it, and frankly, was so mentally and spiritually gone by the time they got there that it didn’t matter. I didn’t care. It’s been a while since the last time I was subsumed enough into a performance that I felt that way. The religious call it communion. I was just glad to be in the room.
Rieseberg‘s bass swell under Scheidt‘s solo for “Grasping Air” was steady enough to hold up the walls of the place, and in the stop before the last slowdown, Scheidt let out a high-pitched shriek off mic but still picked up by it that was both jarring and awesome at the same time. The finger-picked opening of “Adrift in the Ocean,” which closed 2011′s Atma(review here), made for a somber moment complemented by Foster‘s cymbal washes and the rumbling bass, but there was still energy left in the band when they moved into the faster core of the percussive build and takeoff, and that energy only built over the stretch, cleaner vocals wailing out in the verse en route to one of the most infectious chorus hooks YOB has ever written, taking the universe personally in a way few lyricists would dare, speaking in images that show more than they say.
A long instrumental push begun with seething whispers — led to the mounting final build, cut off suddenly but to which Scheidt added a last slow strum on his guitar. That was to be the end of the set proper, but they added “Burning the Altar” from The Great Cessationto finish an “encore” and as one of YOB‘s several strong album-openers, it made a great closer to their first night at the St. Vitus bar. I was dizzy by the time they were done, but gathered my camera bag, which I’d put on the floor in front of me, and made my way out. It must have been almost one in the morning? Something like that. I don’t know. I was home before two, which was earlier than the night before, the whole world having that “congratulations, you’ve just done serious damage to your hearing” tin-can sound for the next 36 or so hours. At least when it’s gone I won’t be able to say I wasted it.
Extra pics after the jump. Thanks for reading as always.
Posted in audiObelisk on January 30th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Every year at Roadburn since 2010, I’ve allowed myself to watch one set from the side of the stage in the main room at the 013. I attended in 2009 too, but too chickenshit to actually get up there and make it happen. In 2010, it was Garcia Plays Kyuss. In 2011, Acid King. Last year, it was YOB playing Catharsis in its entirety at the Afterburner — one of the last sets of the whole weekend. I held out for it, and when they started up with “Aeons,” took to the photo pit with the bevvy of far-more-professional Euro photographers, but knew that by the time they hit into the title-track (the third of three songs on the album), I wanted to be up there watching.
So I went. Catharsisis a landmark for me, an album that expanded my definition of what heavy could be, and from the opening guitar lines to the massive, earth-cracking apex and Mike Scheidt‘s deathly roar and desperate space ethereality, the song “Catharsis” is a doomed masterpiece. I got to the side of the stage by the time the band was through “Ether” and didn’t move from that spot for the rest of the hour. They’d already done 2005′s The Unreal Never Lived– the swan song of their original run — earlier in the fest (streaming here), but this one was something special. It was one of those things I couldn’t miss, had to see, was so glad to be there to see. Everything else revolved around this set. I can’t imagine anyone in the room felt differently about it.
Today Roadburn made YOB‘s Catharsis set available for streaming and you’ll find it embedded on the player below, with my gratitude as always to Walter, Marcel and the whole Roadburn crew. If I’m not mistaken, YOB are doing the album elsewhere this year, and if you can see it, consider yourself urged to do so. Until then, this:
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was a nice thought to imagine YOB and Elder arriving in the Southern hemisphere to align themselves with the thunderous New Zealand outfit Beastwars and stomp their way across Australia, but seems it’s not to be. At least not now. Elder and Beastwars both put out word that the tour (which was alluded to here back in November) was a no-go. Bummer, but hopefully it’s not the last opportunity for these bands to get together.
Here’s Elder‘s announcement followed by the whole of their Spires Burn/ReleaseEP from their Bandcamp just because it rules and some local East Coast dates they have coming up this week and beyond:
It is with great regret that we have to announce the official cancellation of our Australian/New Zealand appearances coinciding with the cancellation of Doomnations 2013. We received word this morning that the festival would not be taking place this year due to “logistical issues”.
I assure you that we are deeply disappointed to postpone our travels, but would nevertheless like to thank all bands, fans and promotors who supported us in this endeavor. We hope to one day have the privilege of performing for you!
Elder upcoming live dates: Jan 23 O’Brien’s Allston, MA Jan 24 St. Vitus Bar Brooklyn, NY Jan 29 Ralph’s Worcester, MA Mar 14 Great Scott Allston, MA
Posted in audiObelisk on June 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Today it is my extreme pleasure to host the first of what I hope will be many batches of audio streams from Roadburn 2012. This year, instead of links, I’m honored to host the audio streams themselves, which you’ll find on the players below. Extra special thanks to Walter and the Roadburn crew, and to Marcel van de Vondervoort and his team for recording these sets.
Alkerdeel – Roadburn 2012
Ancestors – Roadburn 2012
BlackCobra – Roadburn 2012
Bong – Roadburn 2012
Horisont – Roadburn 2012
Sigiriya – Roadburn 2012
YOB – The Unreal Never Lived live at Roadburn 2012
Posted in Reviews on May 24th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
When I admit that I spent much of the day waffling back and forth on whether or not to trek from my office in Jersey into Brooklyn to catch the London and Maryland Deathfest-bound YOB, Virginian cult doomers Cough and Mike Scheidt‘s opening solo set, I hope you’ll take it more as a sign of what the day was like than any wavering of affection for the doom involved. Perhaps too my experience the other night played some role in my ambivalence, but as soon as I parked right around the corner and strolled into The Bell House, I knew I’d made the right decision in showing up. Stuck in traffic on my way, I wound up right on time to watch YOB‘s own Scheidt get the night started with an acoustic set.
It was my first time at The Bell House, which was mostly empty when I got there. The room was wider than it was long — the bar up a few steps and off to the left side of the stage serving, among other things, Brooklyn Lager on draft for $6 — but though at times throughout the night it seemed like the sound had nowhere to go, Scheidt‘s acoustic material was subdued enough that it came through crisply and clearly, tracks from his forthcoming Thrill Jockey debut, Stay Awake, showing their freshness amid another that the guitarist/vocalist said was, “barely a song.”
Having seen Scheidt‘s solo set at Roadburn Day Three, I was relatively familiar with his onstage approach — calm, collected, sincere — and my chief observation remains the same now as it was just over a month ago: that Scheidt is really new to the acoustic form. A video was released this week for one of the album tracks and met with strong opinions on either side, but what some complained about is exactly what I find most exciting about the endeavor, which maintains some of YOB‘s psychedelic elements but obviously redrafts them into a new context. Where YOB has a well-established modus — most importantly so for Scheidt as the principle songwriter; a clear idea in his head of what the band sounds like — this doesn’t. Songs vary widely from one to the next, and it’s the exploratory nature of it that I’m most intrigued by.
Think of it like hearing a band’s first demo. There’s a rawness and an energy there that can never be duplicated again, and as cool and engaging as the tracks themselves might be, it’s almost as much about the potential as it is about their starting point. It’s the same with Scheidt‘s acoustic material. YOB‘s development is ongoing and they legitimately change from album to album, they’re doing so within a framework. Here, that framework isn’t set, and as long as Scheidt keeps an open mind with his songwriting methods — which I’d argue Stay Awake already shows he is — I think there’s a basic foundation there for something unique among the current bumper crop of doomer solo acoustic projects.
Cough followed not long after Scheidt left the stage to a much larger crowd than was present when he started. I’d seen them at SHoD last year, but it was especially interesting to watch them again having recently watched British doomers The Wounded Kings. The two acts shared space on the 2010 An Introduction to the Black Arts split on Forcefield Records, and it was surprising to hear in context just how much they actually have in common tonally. They take those tones in different directions within the overall context of doom — or if you want to be more specific, “post-Electric Wizard cult doom” — but it seemed an odd pairing to me when I reviewed the split, and actually it makes a lot of sense. Made me want to break out that vinyl.
The last Cough album, 2010′s Ritual Abuse (review here), was a broad reinterpretation of Electric Wizard‘s earlier abrasion, but watching Cough in Brooklyn, they seemed to be developing more of their own take. Maybe that’s just me trying to put a narrative to their progression — we’ll find out when they release their next album — but guitarist David Cisco‘s clean vocals behind bassist Parker Chandler‘s low-mixed screams added a budding sense of dynamics to their set that worked heavily in their favor. And if you have to take one word away from that last sentence, let it be “heavily,” because Cough are a fucking lurching beast. The formula is pretty simple — play slow, play loud and play through killer amps — but drummer Joseph Arcaro makes it, swinging his arms way above his head and crashing them down for each hit like he’s trying to puncture his drum heads and crack his cymbals. No doubt he often succeeds in doing just that.
They closed with “The Gates of Madness” from the Wounded Kings split, Cisco noting that they’d never played it live before. It was a 20-minute cut on that recording and probably the nastiest portion of their set, emphasizing sludge alongside the constant darkness of mood and tone, but they reveled suitably in the song’s horror-minded filth and ended with a mash of noise and feedback before cutting out and making way for YOB to unleash what turned out to be nearly two hours’ worth of material, ranging as far back as 2003′s Catharsis and finishing with a slew of tracks from last year’s monolithic Atma.
Should say something, though, that in that time YOB didn’t wear out their welcome in the slightest. Running through Hull‘s amps, it was almost like they played two sets, starting with (someone please correct me if I’m wrong) “Burning the Altar” from 2009′s The Great Cessation and sorting out some technical issues before harkening back to Catharsis for the highlight “Ether.” Part of me was hoping for the title-track of that album as well — I’ll be honest, part of me is always hoping for the title-track of that album — but instead, Scheidt, who was using Kevin Hufnagel of Dysrhythmia‘s guitar, bassist Aaron Reiseberg (also of Norska) and drummer Travis Foster gave the best rendition of “The Mental Tyrant” that I’ve ever seen. The galloping culmination was beyond epic, and of the several times I’ve seen them play the closer of 2005′s The Unreal Never Lived, this was the most raging and adrenaline-fueled. Maybe that sounds strange for a song that is at times painfully, unbelievably slow, but it’s true nonetheless.
“The Mental Tyrant” made for an appropriate break point between what I’ve been thinking of since as two sets. Scheidt announced they wouldn’t be doing an encore but were going to keep playing anyway. “How late do you want to be out?” he asked the crowd, who responded with cheers instead of numbers. Meshuggah and Baroness were also playing in Manhattan, and though I’m sure many would also be making the trek to Deathfest, the effect seemed to fill the room with those who really wanted to be there rather than diminish the draw. It thinned out some as the second portion of YOB‘s set progressed, but there was a genuine moshpit for Atma opener “Prepare the Ground,” and it was a thrill to see that kind of response as the music cut out and Scheidt held out his “Prepare!” just a little longer than on the record.
A thrill, but not really all that shocking. “Prepare the Ground” is probably the catchiest song YOB have ever written — at least up there with other strong album openers like “Quantum Mystic” from The Unreal Never Lived and “Ball of Molten Lead” from 2004′s The Illusion of Motion — and as the band’s profile has increased over the last couple years, that the audience would feel more kinship to the newer material is reasonable. I’d had a chuckle earlier in the set whenScheidt said something about playing old songs before starting “The Mental Tyrant,” realizing it’s been seven years now since that album came out. People were shouting requests all night, mostly for “Quantum Mystic” or “Ball of Molten Lead” from what I could hear, but the band made Atma the theme for their “encore,” running through “Upon the Sight of the Other Shore” and “Adrift in the Ocean,” which made for a fitting conclusion to a show no one was quite sure of when it would end, despite the two-song warning before “Upon the Sight of the Other Shore.”
Whether it’s true or not, it seemed like they extended the “Adrift in the Ocean” intro for some extra noodling, which made the percussive force that much more potent once the drums kicked in with more than cymbal washes. Scott Kelly adds percussion to the album version, but Foster did an excellent job filling out that space, and it was a dramatic finish to the night, the band looking genuinely exhausted by the time they were done. Perfectly understandable that they would be. I was, and all I did was stand there and bang my head.
Even with the extended set, it wasn’t especially late, but by the time I got back to Jersey, it was well after two and by the time I took out the recycling (there was a lot of it), past three, so I crashed out as soon as I could, well aware of the fatigue that would and has bled into today. Worth it. If you’re getting to see YOB as part of either I’ll be Your Mirror in London or the Maryland Deathfest this weekend, kudos. As I have every time I’ve seen them to date, I felt lucky to catch them in Brooklyn.
Posted in Features on April 15th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
04/15/12 — 22.37 — Sunday — Hotel Mercure
Roadburn‘s annual Afterburner is a brilliant idea. Essentially, it’s a scaled-down version of the larger festival. Two stages instead of four, merch moves into the 013 proper, there are fewer tickets sold — and they’re sold separately from those of Roadburn‘s prior three days — and all in all, it’s a more relaxed experience. I’ve come to think of it over the last couple years as a sort of transition point from the intensity of Roadburn back to normal life.
True, as Roadburn as a whole has grown, the Afterburner has followed suit, but its atmosphere is less hurried — or maybe it’s just that by the time the Afterburner comes around, I’m so worn out I can’t help but have it be less hurried — that is, I couldn’t hurry if I wanted to. Fortunately, there’s been no call to do so as of yet on the day. I woke up with the alarm at noon and reset it for 13.00, deciding that the extra hour was an investment in future consciousness. Yesterday was I think the busiest day I’ve ever had at a Roadburn, and even as I stood at the front of the Green Room stage at 013 this afternoon and readied myself or Electric Orange, I felt like I could barely keep my eyes open. No coffee today, unfortunately.
But, as the evening followed a mostly linear course and there was roughly no back and forth, and in keeping with the laid back approach of the Afterburner, I think I’ll run down today in note form rather than narrative all at once. Here goes:
Electric Orange: The German psychedelic rockers are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, and sure enough, theirs was a finely-honed wash of tones and effects; clearly took some time to carve it out. They were more of a thrill sonically than visually, though I guess that’s to be expected, but I really like this kind of post-Krautrock jamming psych, and they did it well. Next door in the main room, the Mt. Fuji Darkjazz Corporation opened the Afterburner with a swell of man-made and electronic drones (one guy in the back sat in front of a laptop and looked by the end of the set like he was checking his email on some of that free wifi the city of Tilburg granted for festival use this year), but Electric Orange were more my speed, and as I’ve been working up the gumption for a while now to give their latest record, Netto, a review, seeing them live, I feel like I have a better context in which to do so. They played for an hour and a half, which was the longest set of the day. Pretty much you could’ve gone, gotten a pizza, come back, watched Internal Void start up, and gone back into the Green Room, and they’d still be playing. A fitting 20th anniversary blowout.
Internal Void: It took every ounce of restraint I had in my body not to shout out, “Fredrick, Maryland!” as these Doom Capitol-ists took the stage. Fredrick’s about three and a half hours from where I live, but still, Internal Void were a slice of East Coast home. They didn’t get much of a light show, but considering the music’s so straightforward, no bullshit, biker riffs and punch you in the face, it worked well enough. They brought with them some recently-pressed vinyl of their 1991 Voyage demo, which I’m sure was well-received in the merch area — shifted from its previous location to Stage01, which hosted no bands — and played a cut or two from it, as well as “Blindside” from 2000′s Unearthed, which vocalist J.D. Williams dedicated to The Obsessed‘s Guy Pinhas, who was sitting at the side of the stage, and “Devil in Drag” from 1993′s Standing on the Sun. My only real context for watching Williams on stage is the War Injun set at last year’s Stoner Hands of Doom, at which he was all over the place and very charismatic, holding the crowd’s attention for the whole time. With Internal Void, he went behind the amps during solos and seemed less sure of himself in general. For what it’s worth, he and the rest of the band sounded great. Perhaps it was the Mt. Fuji Doomjazz Corporation‘s spell left unbroken responsible for holding back the more personable side of Williams‘ presentation.
Bongripper: People were really, really stoked on seeing Bongripper. I guess I was too, but there was an energy through the room I couldn’t match, and even though Urfaust and Atlantis were finishing and starting, respectively, in the Green Room, the main stage area stayed full the whole time for the Chicago instrumental foursome, who despite sharing a hometown and number of members in the band (the same amount of people, not the people themselves) with Pelican, have little else in common with that band, who played the same stage yesterday. Bongripper are ultra-aggressive sludge doom. All that’s missing is some guy screaming his throat out to the songs and they’d probably be in line with however many other sludge bands you want to name, but by keeping their approach instrumental, they’re able to immediately stand themselves out from the sludgly hordes and cut to the heart of what the genre is about, namely the power of the riff and how it doth compel. Their barrage of feedback kind of felt like they’d been taking notes while Sleep played last night, but one could hardly hold that against them or say they would be wrong to have done so. Musically, they weren’t really inventing anything new, but they did what they did well, drew and kept a huge crowd in the main room, and were undeniably heavy as balls. Quite an opening trio on the main stage today, with Mt. Fuji, Internal Void and Bongripper, but nobody seemed thrown off. Those who’d been to Roadburn proper, whether 2012 was their first or not, should’ve been well used to transitions like that by now, and for everyone who just had Afterburner tickets, any way you slice it, it’s all heavy. Bongripper certainly were that.
YOB: To back up their set Friday night doing all of The Unreal Never Lived (plus a stellar rendition of “Adrift in the Ocean” from last year’s Atma), and guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt‘s solo acoustic set yesterday, YOB joined the lineup of the Afterburner to play 2003′s Catharsis front to back. Now, all fanboy hyperbole aside, Catharsis is a record that’s very special to me. It was the first YOB album I heard when it came out, and it was probably the one record that showed me that psychedelia, stoner rock and doom did not have to all be separate entities if you do it right. The song, “Catharsis,” is the 23-minute blueprint by which other YOB album-ending epics have been constructed since, and as the album approaches its 10th birthday next year, I find its power has diminished none. It is a breathtaking work, not only of genre defiance, but of genre definition. Just three tracks — “Aeons,” “Ether” and the title cut — but a lifetime’s worth of depth. You know the desert island scenario? Catharsis is one of those albums for me, so to get to see Scheidt, bassist Aaron Reiseberg and drummer Travis Foster play those three songs in a single set — that was special too. I don’t know how else to put it. It was emotional for me to watch, and I meant to count the chills up my spine, but after five, I didn’t want to pay attention anymore. For me, it was on the same level as watching Sleep last night, that same kind of feeling of culmination. I’ve been away from home now for 11 days on this trip, and as Scheidt strummed the melodic introduction to “Catharsis,” I felt like I’d hit the end of a pilgrimage. It was beautiful. They reportedly hadn’t had much time to rehearse, and there were some awkward changes in “Ether” that I thought I picked up, but just for the fact that it was those songs, unbelievable. I stood on the side of the stage for the first time all weekend — it was something I’d been saving for just that moment, when the distortion, drums and bass kick in on “Catharsis” and you get your first sense of the journey you’re on. Glorious. They closed out with “Upon the Sight of the Other Shore” from Atma and reinforced the dynamics of Catharsis while showing all the growth they’ve undertaken since. No bullshit, I was floored. YOB is love.
Coroner: Frankly, after YOB, just about anyone would’ve seemed like a comedown to me, and that includes post-reunion Swiss tech-thrashers Coroner. They were probably the most metal band on the bill this weekend, in terms of acts who don’t add a qualifier to it — i.e. “doom” or “black” or whathaveyou — but they filled the main room anyway and got underway in good time. “Hello, Tilburg!” shouted bassist/vocalist Ron Royce. Compared to the exaltation that Mike Scheidt or even Al Cisneros from Sleep left at the feet of the festival, it wasn’t much, but the crowd dug it, and it worked with Coroner‘s overall context. They were cool, and, again, very metal, but I went and tried to check out some of Fleshpress in the Green Room, only to find it packed out and watching for a few minutes through the doorway until I went back to the main stage in time to hear Royce announce “Masked Jackal” from their 1988 full-length, Punishment for Decadence, as the first video they ever made. Good fun, but the weekend and the fact that I needed to be up early for a flight to London tomorrow morning began to weigh on me once again and I ultimately split out.
In doing so, I missed Black Cobra, who I saw last week at Desertfest, and also Bong, who I saw last year here at Roadburn, but what’s worse, I officially put the finishing stamp on another Roadburn experience. The last two years especially, as I’ve gone to leave, I’ve hesitated, as though by just standing in the hallway, I could somehow prolong the experience. Needless to say, it didn’t work. It was time for the Afterburner and for the whole of Roadburn to be over — for me, at least — and time once more to come back to the hotel and get ready to leave in the morning to get back to New Jersey.
I’ll be traveling most of the day tomorrow, but I’m too tired to give any kind of full conclusion to this trip and to Roadburn tonight, so if I can, I’ll write that on the plane and post it as soon as I am able. In the meantime, thank you as always.
Posted in Features on April 13th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
04.13.12 — 00.10 — Friday Night — Hotel Mercure
Today was going to be my calm day. Yesterday was a ton of running around, tomorrow indeed will also be a ton of running around. Today the idea was fewer bands, but more full sets. I wanted to let the fest sink in a little. To savor it for a while without having to be off somewhere else immediately.
Day two of the 17th annual Roadburn festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands, was dedicated to Canadian legends Voivod‘s curated event, Au-delà du Réel (the French translation of “the outer limits,” keeping with the band’s oft-affirmed affection for sci-fi). With the likes of Farflung and Barn Owl on the bill, though, it was as Roadburn as ever, but the idea — at least according to the literature — was to blend loud and quiet around the Voivod set doing all of Dimension Hatröss, and in that, they succeeded. It was probably the most mixed Roadburn lineup I’ve ever seen.
I’d been up until about 05.00 in the morning putting together the writeup of day one, so I slept late and got up after noon to get ready for the next round. Wino & Conny Ochs provided a subdued beginning at Het Patronaat, which was welcome. They both mentioned that they’d been on the road together touring Europe for six weeks, and they sounded like it. The harmonies between the two singers were tighter even than on the Heavy Kingdom collaborative album (review here), and they opened with the first cut from that, the ultra-quiet “Somewhere Nowhere.” Cameras around me clicked off pictures, and the music was so quiet that each click of a camera sounded like someone was breaking a window.
They picked up the energy level, though, at least somewhat. “Labor of Love” was a high point, as was “Heavy Kingdom,” and they played a new song they wrote while on tour called “Hellbound Train” that was bluesy enough to earn its title. It’s good to know that their collaboration will continue, or that they’re thinking it will at this point, anyhow. It will be interesting to hear how (and see when) they follow Heavy Kingdom and in what ways they expand their approach. Wino kicked some fuzz into his acoustic guitar for a solo — it might have been during “Old and Alone,” it might not — and later, Ochs brought out a bow and started playing his guitar with that as he also worked a kickdrum with his foot to provide more of a rhythm. Not exactly fireworks, I know, but it was an unplugged set, and seeing how well Wino and the malleable-voicedOchs work together was excitement enough.
Nachtmystium was taking the main stage at the 013 just as Wino&Conny Ochs were finishing, but I stayed put and waited a short while until Hexvessel came out and delivered their take on alternately Satanic and pagan folk. Before they took the stage, the Het Patronaaat DJ — whose name was Kevin, we’d later eat dinner together — played Black Widow and Coven, and that was appropriate enough a lead-in for Hexvessel, whose sound is very purposefully in that vein, but a tad more Finnish. I give it about five more months before avant garde pagan folk is the new doom, everyone wearing forest tunics and selling the good word of Satan’s majesty made flesh in the indulgent wonders of the earth. Not that I’d care if it happens, but if it does, I’d like another band to add to the list of comparison points. One gets tired of repeating, “Black Widow and Coven” all the time.
I did not stay in Hexvessel‘s darkened forest for long. Los Angeles psych unit Farflung — who I believe are actually in the process of being legally adopted by Europe — were in the Green Room, and I stood and watched some through the door, but my main thing was hitting the merch area at that time. I know I didn’t mention it yesterday, but buying merch is a major part of the Roadburn experience, whether it’s the festival t-shirt itself, exclusive vinyls, limited CDs. Whatever itch you’ve got to scratch as regards doomly commerce, all the bands are there at V39, which is right across the alley from the 013, and they’re all ready to sell. Groups playing Het Patronaat also get to sell their stuff at the church’s downstairs room, and it was there I bought six short-run handmade CDRs from GNOD, who I’d wind up not seeing tonight but am still glad to have dealt with. The dude took me through each CD one at a time and explained what the band was doing at that point, which order the discs were in, etc. It was actually pretty fascinating.
Back at the main merch area, though, it was crowding up. Depending on who’s at what table, it can be just as hard to move through there as it is to get into the Green Room or Stage01, but the difference I suppose is the merch area is a constant flux. I got myself a much-needed espresso from the machine (could use one now; my eyelids are getting heavy as I type) in the lower room that looks out onto the little courtyard smoking area, and conducted some business, picking up discs from Farflung, Black Rainbows and Dopethrone. The same people selling The Obsessed‘s new limited live LP were also selling CD/DVD digipaks of the new Saint Vitus record, Lillie: F-65 (review here), so I grabbed that too, and a Voivod shirt specially made for the Dimension Hatröss performance at Roadburn.
The next several moves I made can basically come down to one goal, and that was to see Conan at Stage01. I tried to get into Stage01 twice yesterday and failed both times. Couldn’t even get to a point where I could see in the doorway. It was pitiful, and as a result, I adjusted the course and direction of my afternoon with the single trajectory in mind: To be up front, Stage01, 19.15 as the British megadoom trio hit the stage. Was a bit of a process, beginning with seeing J.G. Thirlwell’s Manorexia in the main room. I think Sólstafir at Het Patronaat was drawing a lot of the crowd away, not to mention what remained of Farflung‘s packed-out set, but I wanted to catch J.G. Thirlwell’s Manorexia specifically because I knew nothing about the project. When I walked into the main hall, there was a string quartet setting up and piano, extra percussion — bit of chamber music to balance out the Au-delà du Réel mission. So be it. Excellently performed and it was great to watch these burly beardo sludge heads in the crowd shut their eyes and did on the cello. I’d have stayed longer, but for the mission of my own.
Dinner was a necessity. I was dragging ass already and it was only 17.50. Still a lot of Day Two left. So I went and ate as fast as I could so that I’d be in time to catch some of Kong in the Green Room — but upstairs, on the balcony. You see, the balcony of the Green Room connects to Stage01 in a way that already puts you in the room. No more waiting by the door. Well, yes, you’re still waiting by the door, but it’s a different door, and you don’t have to be in the hall — ah, forget it. It made sense at the time. Let’s just say that and roll with it. I made my way through and up to the Green Room balcony as Kong were setting up. They were pretty decent, instrumental heavy stuff with a bit of electronics thrown in in a way that was satisfyingly creative without being weird on purpose or desperate for attention. I snapped some shots, most (if not all) of which were terrible, but could not linger, lest I mistime my approach to the smallest of 013‘s three rooms and blow the entire Conan operation.
No way I was going to let that happen. Danava were on stage in there, and I’ve never been a fan. Back home in the States, we call it “hipster metal,” but I guess that matters less here. No wonder the Euro scene is so strong. Some dude leaned over to me and in an accent I’m pretty sure was Italian said, “They’re good like The Atomic Bitchwax!” The Bitchwax with a marketing budget. Had all the right t-shirts — Ted Nugent, Blue Öyster Cult — but weren’t nearly as tight as the last three Bitchwax gigs I’ve seen. Nonetheless, when traveling away from home, one hesitates when it comes to engaging debate on these points. No real cause to do so anyway. I’d just be a prick who doesn’t like popular bands. Better to just save the time and realize that at the outset. Whatever. They were fine and the crowd loved them.
And I probably wouldn’t have been there at all, but Danava — who, of course, more drew Stage01 to be more-than-capacity full — were another means to the my already stated end. They still had more than 20 minutes of their hour-long set left, but during that time, I put my plan into action and slowly made my way into the crowd. I didn’t push. I wasn’t a jerk about it. As people made their way back, I made my way up, and then, when Danava were finally done, I bolted (as much as I ever “bolt” anywhere) toward the front of the room and nabbed a spot right in front of the stage. Victory was mine, and victory was sweet. Not even the carts of road cases and amps that were wheeled up to go on the stage would deter me from my position in front of it. Of course, I made room, but when Conan was done loading their equipment on and those carts were pushed away, I was right back to where I was, which was just where I’d wanted to be. It had taken me the better part of an hour and a half to do it, but I was up front for Conan at Roadburn.
Sure enough, I stayed put for the entirety of their performance. There wasn’t much choice in the matter, but I wanted to be as close as possible to that tone that’s been my litmus test for “heavy” ever since I first heard Horseback Battle Hammer in 2010 (review here). Their new full-length, Monnos (review here), proved no less uncompromising, tone-wise, so I knew it would be worth my time, and it was. They played cuts from Monnos including opener “Hawk as Weapon” and did “Retaliator” and “Older than Earth” (I think) from their split with Slomatics (review here), bassist Phil Coumbe adding metallic growls and screams to guitarist Jon Davis‘ shouts and cleaner yelling. Conan were one of my impetus bands this year — that is, one of the reasons I’m here — and there was no letdown to be had. The lights, the fog, the overwhelming crush of sound — it was all astoundingly heavy whether they were playing fast or slow.
It also gave me a new appreciation for drummer Paul O’Neil‘s work in the band, as he not only manages to keep time through their tidal morass, but does so interestingly and works in subtle flourishes on his cymbal work that maybe get lost in the shuffle because they’re not as obvious as, say, the giant riff that’s bashing your brains out. Either way, Conan were so heavy that my earplugs vibrated in my head, and that hadn’t happened yet this weekend, so it’s worth noting. I was glad too to be trapped up front the whole time, so I didn’t get the itch to go and wait for YOB to come on in the photo pit. I still had plenty of time to get there watching all of Conan, and since it’ll probably be the only time I can get in there this weekend — Mike Scheidt of YOB opens up in there tomorrow doing solo acoustic stuff, but that’s a hard one to work out the logistics on making it to, much as I’ll try — I’m glad it was for a band I couldn’t see anywhere else at this point.
I say, “At this point,” because with a band as massive as Conan, you never know what’s going to happen. Already they were too big for the stage they played on, so hell, maybe they tour the US in some future either near or distant and demolish everything in their path. Who knows? There was a time — a few years, actually — when I was sure I’d never get the chance to watch YOB play a show, and it’s been four times now and by Monday it’ll be five. I caught Midian when they came through New York, but I knew there was no way I’d ever get to see YOB, and it was a bummer. I’m sure I’ve told the story before, so I’ll spare it, but as I made my way back over to the main stage to watch the Eugene, Oregon, trio unleash the 2005 full-length, The Unreal Never Lived, in its entirety, I couldn’t help but feel glad to have the chance to do so.
Fact: In my CD wallet, there is only one disc I’ve never been able to remove, and that disc is The Unreal Never Lived. The swan-song of YOB‘s original run, it was the culmination of everything the band had built to creatively up to that point; a four-song masterwork of psychedelic undulations that capped with the 21-minute monolith that was “The Mental Tyrant.” YOB has played “Quantum Mystic” every time I’ve seen them, and usually at the start of their set, so that was familiar enough, but as they progressed through the rolling groove of “Grasping Air,” another regular, and “Kosmos,” not so much, the tension seemed to be building to get to the final onslaught. When it arrived, it was glorious. They cut nothing out of the long opening and the gradual course of the song held its flow the whole time. There was one point during “Grasping Air” where I thought the whole rhythm was going to come crashing down, but kudos to drummer Travis Foster. He kept it together and pushed YOB forward into reaches of slow so desolate they were more or less stopped.
Decked out in Iron Maiden sneakers, the aforementioned Mike Scheidt only came more alive as the set progressed, and when it finally was time for “The Mental Tyrant” to begin its galloping payoff, I got a chill up my spine. It wasn’t the first claw I’ve hoisted over the last two days, but it was the most automatic, visceral response. Bassist Aaron Reiseberg (also of Norska) stepped back to let Scheidt riff out, true to the album, but every hit, every time he played a note, the floor I was standing on toward the back of the room shook. Not to overstate it, but it’s basically been seven years that I’ve wanted to see “The Mental Tyrant” played live, and the only reason I don’t go further into hyperbole is because I’m saving it for Sunday when YOB is set to do all of 2003′s Catharsis. Worth the flight to hear those two records alone. When they were done, I had to sit down.
There were a lot of bands today I didn’t see. Some, like Dopethrone, or Gnod, or Barn Owl, or End of Level Boss, I would’ve liked to. As Voivod came on stage, though, I was glad to have held firm on the course I’d charted for myself, staying through whole sets and not volleying from room to room, only to catch the first couple songs before having to tear myself away to get to the next thing. I mean, that’s fun too, that rush, but I very much needed a day of standing relatively still, and I was glad the schedule could accommodate. Voivod — vocalist Denis “Snake” Bélanger, bassist Jean-Yves “Blacky” Thériault, drummer Michel “Away” Langevin (also responsible for much of the visual aesthetic of this year’s fest) and guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain — come preceded by 30 years of individualistic innovation. I won’t pretend to have a grip on their entire catalog, but even if I hadn’t seen them at Roadburn last year, I knew they were a sight I had to see, and more so for their doing Dimension Hatröss.
Of course, one can hardly think of Voivod and not recall the untimely passing of guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour in 2005, but Mongrain (also of Martyr and formerly of Cryptopsy) has become more than a hired gun in his position. D’Amour having been so instrumental in constructing Voivod‘s sound and progression, I don’t know if he’ll ever be as heralded in the guitarist spot, but he was clearly playing the songs with feeling and seemed natural on stage with Langevin, Bélanger and Thériault. As they were last year, Voivod was a pleasure to watch and had a presence on stage that spoke to their decades of influencing forward-thinking heavy music. It should say something that as they continue to push their career to its own seemingly expanding outer limits, as much as one gets excited at something like the prospect of hearing Dimension Hatröss done live, the prospect of finding out what they’ll do on their next record is no less thrilling.
They were the finale of my evening. I thought I’d maybe catch some Dopethrone, but you know how that goes, with the doorway and all that, and anyhow, it was getting on time to come back to the hotel and start typing. It’s three in the morning now as I wrap this and look at the prospect of having to find images for these bands, but hell, at least I can sleep late tomorrow, since the only thing I have to do is wake up and go to Roadburn for the final day of the fest proper, which will feature much back and forth between the main stage and the Green Room for the likes of 40 Watt Sun, Church of Misery, The Wounded Kings, The Obsessed, Mars Red Sky and Sleep, among others. It’s the most packed day yet, so please, stay tuned.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 5th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
By now, you probably know that YOB were hand-picked to open for apparently-revived progressive metallers Tool — who are also supposedly going to have a new album out this year — on Tool‘s upcoming winter tour. If you hadn’t heard, no worries, the info’s here. Just a bit ago, YOB announced a string of headlining dates around the run of shows, some of which will also include a solo set from frontman Mike Scheidt, whose acoustic debut is also set to be released in 2012. Look forward to that, but in the meantime, here’s the poster with the info. Click to enlarge, as always: