Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle: Sunsets and Wildfires

Posted in Reviews on July 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Youngblood-Supercult-The-Great-American-Death-Rattle

With three albums to their credit in the four-year span since they got together in 2013, Topeka, Kansas, heavy garage rockers Youngblood Supercult are establishing themselves as working at a fairly prolific clip. Their debut was 2014’s Season of the Witch, which they followed with High Plains (review here) in 2016, and the four-piece’s third album is the rather severely-titled The Great American Death Rattle, which finds them aligned to The Company and DHU Records for US and EU distribution. Across this run, the band has kept a consistency to their aesthetic purposes, basking in an earthbound psychedelia and distorted grit, touching on the languid sleek of post-Uncle Acid buzzsaw tonality in the guitar of Bailey Smith, but not shy either about veering into fuller-on psychedelic wash, even if only for a quick lead on a song like “Master of None” from the new album.

Tone, in Smith‘s guitar and Brad Morris‘ bass, is essential to setting the vibe, and to-date, Youngblood Supercult have yet to not deliver on that level, but as it should, The Great American Death Rattle finds this aspect of their approach at its most realized. Songs are spacious enough to allow for echoes in David Merrill‘s vocals on the early cuts “Draugr” and the motor-shuffling hook-fest “Wormwood” that follows, but not strictly adherent to one methodology, so that when the semi-twang of “Mr. Gallows” unfolds in folkish layers of harmonized Zeppelin-ism, the proceedings remain fluid and the listener doesn’t feel blindsided by what’s a not-insignificant sonic turn. Youngblood Supercult, in other words, are in control, and in keeping with the strong pocket-dwelling swing provided by drummer Weston Alford — whose “tone” is no less essential here than either that of Smith or Morris and might be even more directly heavy-’70s — it’s the songwriting that allows them to keep that level of command at their foundation.

Craft. Sound. Performance. It’s an interesting circumstance around The Great American Death Rattle because there’s so much about Youngblood Supercult‘s style that’s been previously established. That is, they seem to have come into being knowing what they wanted to do, and they’ve set about working hard to do it over the last four years. Four years is less time than it takes some acts to put out their first record, let alone their third. And while there are elements that have been carried from one offering to the next, Youngblood Supercult also still come across very much as a growing band.

The Great American Death Rattle is their most refined presentation yet, but its nine tracks and 40 minutes — from the wah-soaked, languid, flowing roll and post-Alice in Chains vocal melody of the opening title-track onward — refuse to sound settled. There’s progression at work, a willful moving forward on the band’s part in how their material has come together, and it’s audible in the patience they show at the record’s outset and through the nod of “Burning Messiah,” which finds Merrill pushing his own limits effectively in delivering bluesy poetic metaphor as he will throughout the bulk of the subsequent tracks, malleable to the mood of what SmithMorris and Alford are doing behind him but having clearly honed a frontman presence that bolsters rather than competes with that instrumental chemistry while still speaking to the audience.

youngblood supercult

I don’t think a band would title a full-length something like The Great American Death Rattle if on some level they weren’t looking to engage a social theme, and certainly there’s plenty to talk about these days in the current US sociopolitical sphere if one wants to talk decline or regression, but even in “The Great American Death Rattle” and the penultimate “Liberty or Death,” the lyrics take a more general tack, couching any specific commentary in images of biblical destruction on “Burning Messiah” (though tanks do show up there) and four-minute centerpiece “The Hot Breath of God,” which tells a story of post-industrial economic disaffection leading to suicide even as its central riff reshapes the groove of Scorpions‘ classic “The Zoo” to back it, making for one of The Great American Death Rattle‘s most memorable overall impressions.

The mournful vibe there is countered immediately by the punch of “Master of None,” which further emphasizes the sense of dynamic and flow Youngblood Supercult bring to bear in these tracks. Particularly as they move through the headed-to-the-highway “Wormwood” after the shuffle that emerges in the Fuzzorama-worthy second half of “Draugr,” The Great American Death Rattle expands its range in execution and feel. “Master of None” draws on a cycling repetitions of a Sabbath-meets-NWOBHM riff before closing with a highlight solo from Smith, and the aforementioned “Mr. Gallows” taps even deeper into poise and pastoralia, showcasing a depth of arrangement that’s new from Youngblood Supercult and that one hopes gives them the confidence to work again along similar lines and build on what they accomplish in it.

An uptempo turn in “Liberty or Death” splits “Mr. Gallows” and the thicker chug that begins the finale “Sticky Fingers” before that song — the longest here at 5:30 — shifts into a rare and thoroughly earned indulgence of noise wash and the guitar lead that tops its last march outward, and the play back and forth sees the foursome’s collective guiding hand at its steadiest, leading their audience through easily-paced twists with a maturity that belies their we’ve-been-around-for-less-than-half-a-decade status. One is tempted to call that process graceful, though in truth there’s a good amount of dirt under the fingernails of Youngblood Supercult — left there on purpose; why bother getting rid of it when there’s still so much digging to be done? — and that’s not to be discounted as an aspect of what works so well about their third outing.

Perhaps most crucially, they bask in their heavily stylized take while refusing to be defined on the basis of their influences alone. If The Great American Death Rattle is anything in relation to its predecessors, it’s the moment at which Youngblood Supercult are the most their own, and the manifold achievements that album makes are all the more satisfying for that. May they continue to evolve, reshape and cultivate as they move forward from here.

Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle (2017)

Youngblood Supercult on Thee Facebooks

Youngblood Supercult on Twitter

Youngblood Supercult on Instagram

Youngblood Supercult on Bandcamp

The Company Records webstore

DHU Records webstore

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audiObelisk Transmission 062

Posted in Podcasts on July 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk podcast 62

Click Here to Download

 

It’s easy when you’re putting one of these things together to get locked into a headspace and all of a sudden everything you’re putting next to each other kind of sounds the same, kind of blurs together. I’m immensely pleased to say that’s not at all what happened this time around. The sounds throughout vary from heavy psych to rock to proggy jams to Blaak Heat who are on their own wavelength entirely to doom and space rock and so on. It flows though. I’m really happy with how it flows.

That includes the second hour, which has a couple different vibes as opposed to just the usual all-psych head-trip. Also, as you make your way through, keep in mind that a lot of this stuff is coming from debut albums. Moon Rats, Kabbalah, Eternal Black, Mindkult, The Raynbow, Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree. Hell, Steak’s track is their second album, and Youngblood Supercult too, so yeah, there’s a lot of fresh stuff included from newer bands. I didn’t come into it with a plan at all. This is just how it worked out, which of course is more fun anyway.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Moon Rats, “Highway Lord” from Highway Lord
0:03:36 Youngblood Supercult, “The Hot Breath of God” from The Great American Death Rattle
0:07:31 Kabbalah, “Phantasmal Planetoid” from Spectral Ascent
0:12:11 Wretch, “The Wretch” from Bastards Born
0:20:25 Steak, “Creeper” from No God to Save
0:24:28 Eternal Black, “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun” from Bleed the Days
0:31:44 Mindkult, “Howling Witch” from Lucifer’s Dream
0:36:51 Shooting Guns, “Flavour Country” from Flavour Country
0:45:04 Endless Boogie, “Vibe Killer” from Vibe Killer
0:53:22 Blaak Heat, “Marr El Kallam” from The Arabian Fuzz 7”
0:57:55 The Grand Astoria, “The Sleeper Awakes” from The Fuzz of Destiny

Second Hour:

1:02:45 Eggnogg, “Overture / Wild Goose Chase” from Rituals in Transfigured Time – Prologue
1:16:06 Elara, “Harmonia” from Deli Bal
1:31:41 Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, “Sail Away I” from Medicine
1:45:50 The Raynbow, “Changes” from The Cosmic Adventure

Total running time: 2:01:51

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 062

 

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Desert Survival: How to Do Psycho Las Vegas on a Budget

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

psycho las vegas 2017 banner

Hey, if you’re going to go broke, let’s face it: You’re not likely to run into many causes as worthy as the lineup culled together for Psycho Las Vegas. It ain’t cheap — any event that advertises a payment plan obviously knows it’s a considerable ask — but whether you’re going to see Slo Burn for their only US gig or King Diamond doing Abigail or Mulatu Astatke because going to see Mulatu Astatke is a life-event, the arguments in favor are plentiful and convincing. Whatever else you want to say, Psycho Las Vegas is the first annually-held American festival with a focus on heavy and underground rock to really establish itself as world class.

That in itself is a reason to support the cause, whether it’s through a day ticket or a pass for the entire weekend, but it doesn’t necessarily lesson the expense of making the trip or staying in one of the US’ most lucrative tourist traps, let alone things like band merchandise, meals and the occasional adult beverage if you’re inclined to have one. The thought of seeing NeurosisSleep and Carcass share a stage over the course of a weekend or watching Conan, the new trio-incarnation of Pentagram and Yawning Man poolside or from the balcony of a room in the Casino Tower is incredible, and after hearing stories from those who undertook the journey in 2016 or attended the prior Psycho California in 2015, the idea wants nothing for appeal. Fiscal issues can be a bummer. By the time August rolls around, I’ll have been out of paid work for two months. I know how it goes.

And I’m hardly the most responsible person when it comes to money, but the truth of the matter is there are ways to mitigate costs for travel, lodging and other concerns, and if the thing preventing you from picking up a ticket to the show has been the seeming impossibility of affording a stay at the Hard Rock or of finding a cheap-enough flight to get there, maybe it’s worth trying to shift finances around to make it happen. Music is important, and when debt collectors are spamming your phone it’s hard to think about the non-cash value of life experiences, but the fact is the bills you need to pay will still be there. The bill with Corrosion of Conformity in a lineup alongside Kylesa‘s Laura Pleasants, Domkraft, Swans, Elephant Tree and Heavy Temple? Much less so.

Here are a few pointers that hopefully can save you a couple bucks. Some of it’s day-one stuff, but things like hotel picks and transportation nuances are good to know either way.

Check it out:

psycho-las-vegas-2017-poster

Flying In
• Buy tickets on a Tuesday for the cheapest rates.
• Use a discount flight search.
• If you can, fly in on Thursday and leave on Monday for better rates, search different days and times to come in and leave.
• Book early. Rates go up in the summer.

Getting There
• Ride apps cost less than cabs.
• The Hard Rock is less than a mile from the airport. Cheap trip anyway.
• There are free shuttles from most Vegas hotels to the strip and tourist attractions.

Staying There
• This one is huge… don’t stay at the Hard Rock if you can’t afford it! Alexis Park, RUMOR, Red Roof Inn are all across the street and cheap. Scope out a position on a map if you need to; that’s what Street View is there for.
• Partner up to share rooms. You’ve got social media and it’s not like you’re going to do more than sleep and (hopefully) shower there anyway. Might as well join forces and save expense where you can.

Drinks
• BYO. Vegas has open-container laws. If you think hooch is too expensive at the Hard Rock, get loaded on the sidewalk before you go in.
• One way or another, hydrate. You’re staying in the desert in August. Don’t be stupid.

Psycho Las Vegas 2017 Lineup
Abbath, Ace Frehley, Black Anvil, Blood Ceremony, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Buzzov*en, Carcass, Celeste, Chelsea Wolfe, Cirith Ungol, Cloud Catcher, Code Orange, Conan, Corrosion of Conformity, Cough, Cult Leader, Cult Of Luna With Julie Christmas Diamond Head, Domkraft, Earthless, Elephant Tree, Eternal Tapestry, Fister, Floorian, Gatecreeper, GEQ, Gojira, Gost, Graf Orlock, Heavy Temple, Hollow Leg, Inter Arma, Khemmis, King Diamond, Laura Pleasants & Special Guests, Magma, Manilla Road, Merlin, Minsk, Morne, Mothership, Mouth of the Architect, Mulatu Astatke, Murder City Devils, Mustard Gas & Roses, Myrkur, Neurosis, North, Oathbreaker, Pelican, Pentagram, Psychic TV, The Rods, Ruby the Hatchet, Sasquatch, Saturndust, Sleep, Slo Burn, Slomatics, Snail, Sons of Otis, Sumac, Summoner, Swans, The Skull, Toke, Urchin, Usnea, Vhol, Weedeater, Windhand, Wizard Rifle, Wolves in the Throne Room, Yawning Man, Year of the Cobra, Youngblood Supercult, Zeal & Ardor.

http://www.vivapsycho.com
https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas
https://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas

Pentagram, “Relentless / Broken Vows” Live in Richmond, VA, 2017

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Psycho Las Vegas Completes Lineup: Ace Frehley, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Corrosion of Conformity, Sasquatch, Mothership, Ruby the Hatchet, Heavy Temple & Many More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The Psycho Las Vegas lineup wasn’t exactly lacking in ‘holy shit’-factor before, but, uh… holy shit. The poster below is so god damned packed it’s got me wondering if they’re going to sneak in an extra day to fit it all. Well, I guess they are if you count the pre-party — a fest unto itself with the additions of Ruby the HatchetSasquatch, ConanYawning Man and Great Electric Quest — but to see acts like EarthlessCorrosion of ConformityDiamondheadLaura Pleasants of KylesaMothershipSaturndust, Heavy TempleToke and so many others added to the bill for the fest proper, it borders on the overwhelming. Sons of OtisYear of the CobraEternal Tapestry? I take back that part about “borders on.” Shit’s giving me the vapors.

Swoon.

Blah blah blah tickets, blah blah blah on sale, blah blah blah how much you don’t need me to tell you this is probably the best heavy lineup the US has ever seen. Also Ace Frehley will be there.

Full lineup follows:

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS

Psycho Las Vegas 2017

-CONFIRMED LINEUP-
KING DIAMOND (USA 2017 Exclusive)
THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
ACE FREHLEY
GOJIRA
SWANS
NEUROSIS
MAGMA
SLEEP
MELVINS
CARCASS
MURDER CITY DEVILS
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY
SLO BURN
DIAMONDHEAD
CIRITH UNGOL
ABBATH
CHELSEA WOLFE
CULT OF LUNA WITH JULIE CHRISTMAS
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
MULATU ASATKE
PSYCHIC TV
EARTHLESS
SUMAC
MANILLA ROAD
CELESTE
WINDHAND
PELICAN
BLOOD CEREMONY
CODE ORANGE
WEEDEATER
MINSK
COUGH
VHOL
ZEAL & ARDOR
OATHBREAKER
MYRKUR
BUZZOV-EN
THE SKULL
INTER ARMA
SLOMATICS
GOST
YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
GATECREEPER
MOTHERSHIP
CULT LEADER
LAURA PLEASANTS & SPECIAL GUESTS
MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT
SONS OF OTIS
SNAIL
MORNE
DOMKRAFT
KHEMMIS
ETERNAL TAPESTRY
JEX THOTH
FISTER
NORTH
WIZARD RIFLE
USNEA
ROYAL THUNDER
YOUNGBLOOD SUPERCULT
TOKE
SATURNDUST
HEAVY TEMPLE
SUMMONER
BLACK ANVIL
FLOORIAN
HOLLOW LEG
YEAR OF THE COBRA
MERLIN
ELEPHANT TREE
CLOUD CATCHER

PSYCHO PRE-PARTY:
PENTAGRAM
CONAN
YAWNING MAN
SASQUATCH
MUSTARD GAS & ROSES
GRAF ORLOCK
RUBY THE HATCHET
URCHIN
GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST

Psycho Las Vegas 2017 is set for Aug. 18-20 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Tickets are available at https://www.vivapsycho.com

http://www.vivapsycho.com
https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas
https://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas

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Smokestock Announces First Lineup: Greenbeard, Youngblood Supercult, Merlin and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Right away, the intent behind the new fest Smokestock is clear. Set for May 27 at the All Star Rock Bar in Kansas City, Missouri, the 10-band lineup finds it focused heavily on promoting the heavy rock underground local to the region. With a reach that dips down to Texas to bring Greenbeard aboard as headliners, it boasts Kansas and Missouri-based acts Youngblood Supercult, Merlin, Sons of Mourning, Custom Black, Gnarly Davidson, Spacetrucker and Hyborian, as well as Ohio’s Druid, so it’s safe to say that the native scene is well represented.

The plan seems to be to squeeze in 10 bands between 6PM and 12AM, so it’s gonna be a packed night for sure, but hard to argue with the righteousness of the mission. As a side note, Greenbeard, Youngblood Supercult, Spacetrucker and Merlin all have new releases in the works, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find them sharing some of that recent material from the stage, and I’ve heard rumors this isn’t the only fest Youngblood Supercult will be playing this year. Merlin have already been confirmed for Psycho Las Vegas, so there’s a legitimate groundswell happening in the Midwest, and I’ll be interested to see how what’s billed itself as a “stoner rock revival” — playing off tent churches? — plays out in fostering the movement of bands.

Dig into the lineup info and links below, as found on the social medias:

smokestock poster

RIP Presents Smokestock: A Midwest Stoner Rock Revival

Saturday, May 27
The All Star Rock Bar
7210 NE 43rd St, Kansas City, Missouri 64117

RIP Productions is proud to present a newly conceived annual event– SMOKESTOCK: A Midwest Stoner Rock Revival

SMOKESTOCK is a Kansas City-based festival aimed at bringing stoner rock, doom metal, and psych/fuzz to the Midwestern masses.

This year’s confirmed performing artists at The All Star Rock Bar:

Greenbeard (Texas)
Youngblood Supercult (Topeka, Kansas)
Druid (Ohio)
Custom Black (KCMO)
Sons Of Mourning (KCMO)
Keef Mountain (KCMO)
Merlin (KCMO)
Gnarly Davidson (Lawrence, Kansas)
Spacetrucker (St. Louis, Mo.)
Hyborian (KCMO)

All ages until midnight!
$10 for 21+/$12 for under 21
Doors at 5pm, music starts at 6!!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1035751783228166/
https://www.facebook.com/smokestock/

Youngblood Supercult, High Plains (2016)

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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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FreakTulsa 2016 Posts Updated Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

I’d be interested to witness the gathering of weirdos that FreakTulsa 2016 brings out. The festival — based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and of no relation to the German Freak Valley fest that I know of — culls bands from around the Midwest and well beyond, groups like King Buffalo and Destroyer of Light sharing the stage with Merlin and Red Wizard, among many others. It’s a three-day affair, June 17 through June 19, and while I won’t make it out for it, I’ll look forward to finding out how it goes. Seems like an event in the middle of the country could be a good regional pull, a haven of sorts, for followers of riff.

Bottom line, it looks like a good time. Hope it goes well.

Updated lineup, info and ticket links follow:

freaktulsa 2016 poster

Get it together folks, for the most fuzzed out, brain-jarring, facemeltingest fest to trample Tulsa, June 17th-19th at the Downtown Lounge. We’ve got an incredible and diverse lineup, from the deep and fuzzed out valleys to the peaks of devestating alpine thrash glory. Get your tickets now.

Freaktulsa 2016 is a 3 day psychedelic rock festival celebrating all that is hard, doomy and heavy. Join us and our diverse lineup at the Downtown Lounge in Tulsa Oklahoma June 17 – 19th. This is a show presented by and for enthusiasts of dark rock of all types. The Mid West Heshfest exists for the love of music above all else, driving our focus to be on providing the best possible musical experience for you.

FreakTulsa 2016 lineup:
Friday 6.17
Silver Screen Monsters, Violent Wednesday, Cobra Jab, Psychotic Reaction, Brother Gruesom, Senior Fellows, Burn Thee Insects, Merlin, Contagion 237, Dr. Rock Doctor, Oberon

Saturday 6.18
Smoke Offering, Idre, P.R.I., Sun Vow, King Buffalo, Grind, Destroyer of Light, Constant Peril, Rifflord, Book of Wyrms

Sunday 6.19
Skeleton Farm, Blunt Splinter, Lucid Awakening, Youngblood Supercult, The Great Electric Quest, Forever in Disgust, Red Wizard, Chainmail

https://www.facebook.com/FreakTulsa/
https://www.facebook.com/events/985580904860408/
https://www.picatic.com/FreakTulsa

Rifflord at FreakTulsa 2016 teaser

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Youngblood Supercult, High Plains: Mindful Drift (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

youngblood-supercult-high-plains

Midwestern fuzz ideologues Youngblood Supercult release their sophomore full-length, High Plains, on Feb. 19. An 11-track/48-minute CD with double-vinyl impending for this summer, it follows early 2014’s debut, Season of the Witch, and marks a significant change in vibe on the part of the graphic-design-inclined Topeka, Kansas, three-piece. Where the debut took a classic metal bent toward heavy rock, more straightforward and rhythmically driving, High Plains offers plenty of sonic weight — the guitar and bass working together on “Black Hawk,” or the clawing “Nomad” earlier on — but takes a more lurching, atmospheric approach overall. This seems to have been a purposeful shift in aesthetic as much as one of lineup, but either way, it suits them.

Formerly a four-piece with a standalone singer, Youngblood Supercult lost both their bassist and frontman between the two records, leaving guitarist Bailey Smith and drummer Weston Alford to pick up the pieces and continue ahead, recruiting David Merrill first to fill the vocalist role and eventually the bassist one as well prior to recording with Jon Pederzani at Bone Hag Studios. That’s no minor challenge to overcome, and it’s produced no minor shift when listening to the first record next to the second one, the most lysergic vibe of which bleeds through from the intro “Stone Mountain Blues” through the penultimate buzzer “Acid Tongue” and the folkish closer “Down 75.” Merrill has a decidedly ’70s bent to his vocals and while the band overall boasts a mostly modern sound — if one drawing somewhat from the New Millennium Analog pastiche — their core sensibility is organic throughout and effective in signaling the shift in their intent.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are distinct moments where High Plains sounds like a debut. Youngblood Supercult have been a band for two and a half years, and they’ve worked quickly in that time, but with a sonic turn and new lineup, it makes sense these songs would sound fresh. That doesn’t hurt them. Hypnotic grooves persist as they play bright guitars over warm low-end on “Monolith,” Smith‘s guitar chugging a lurker verse behind Merrill‘s echoing vocals pushed along by Alford‘s fills in the chorus. A more forward-directed stomp takes hold for a brief solo and they end to give way to “Nomad,” one of several memorable highlights throughout High Plains, with tinges of Uncle Acid and maybe even Mars Red Sky prevalent in the guitar and vocals and a Sabbathian nod that holds sway even as they pick up the pace after the midpoint.

youngblood supercult

The ensuing “Before the Dawn” is shorter but no less tonally engrossing than “Nomad” before or “Mind Control” after, the heady vibe adding a level of confidence as the song seems to cut itself short (granted that might be an error with the file I got), as the folkier centerpiece “White Nights” begins to unfold on tom rolls, subdued guitar and Merrill‘s best included vocal performance, tapping into a quiet/loud dynamic range as it moves into its second half that emphasizes the growth underway in Youngblood Supercult‘s sound. Guitars space out over a languid bassline and swinging drums, and that expansion persists until eventually the track is pulled apart around the solo. A purposeful departure from the structural soundness the band has thus far shown, it’s another example of how they’re finding their way with these songs.

What I’ll assume marks the start of the second LP, “Hell Hath No Fury” begins with a more swinging progression that recalls “Monolith” or “Nomad” in its verse/chorus intent but features especially satisfying lead work from Smith, first in its midsection and then in its fadeout, moving into the seven-minute album high-point “Forefather,” which blends the semi-psychedelic aspects of Youngblood Supercult‘s style with the folkish impulse of “White Nights” into the most resonant hook on offer, “Oh man, oh man/I got my mother’s eyes,” departing from some of the cult rock lyricisms present elsewhere as it turns on a dime into a prog-metal riff with stops and starts before hitting the brakes and tripping out behind its guitar solo, as extended as it is satisfying when the verse kicks back in.

They end with that hook, and rightly so, and the more raucous early going of “Black Hawk” effectively buries Merrill‘s voice under crash cymbals and guitar and bass fuzz, and playing well against “Acid Tongue”‘s later shuffle to summarize much of what’s working in the band’s favor throughout High Plains before the acoustic “Down 75” closes out. There’s a substantial part of me that wishes they worked in more quiet, subdued moments like the closer across the album, since they do it so well and it makes an excellent showcase for the vocals, but as noted, they’re still growing and it would be just as easy to overdo it as to do it, so perhaps that would be fixing what isn’t broken in their sound. Still, as a last-minute expansion of their approach, it fits well, and reminds that while Youngblood Supercult clearly have their aesthetic path carved out for them as the trio they are now, they remain engaged in a growth process that, one hopes, will continue as they move forward from here, having taken full advantage of this opportunity to partially revamp what they do.

Below, you can hear a track premiere of “Hell Hath No Fury,” as chosen by the band. Under the player, Smith offers some comment on the song. Please enjoy:

Bailey Smith (guitar) on “Hell Hath No Fury”:

Well, a lot of people think it’s about a scorned lover. I actually wrote it in the throes of a bad panic attack. It’s a personification of anxiety, and how unforgiving it can be, in musical form. A lot of our songs have very personal, subliminal meanings. People hear the shell of a song’s lyrics and create their own meanings for them. That’s what music is for — it’s all subjective.

Youngblood Supercult on Thee Facebooks

Youngblood Supercult website

Youngblood Supercult on Bandcamp

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