Zed Announce July 26 Release for Volume; Stream “The Other Kind”

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

zed

New Zed is a ripper, which definitely makes it kin to old Zed. The album, out in July, is called Volume, and fairly enough so, and the track they’re streaming from it — available for listening at the bottom of this post, among other places — is called “The Other Kind.” If you want to think of it as a kind of check-in to let all interested parties know that Zed haven’t lost the chip on their collective shoulder since 2017’s Trouble in Eden (review here), I think that’s probably reasonable. Dudes know how to both turn and knock heads.

They’re fresh off their first excursion to European soil for a quick run that wrapped at Desertfest London 2019, so it’s hard to imagine the record announcement coming at a better time in terms of momentum. Their second album, Desperation Blues (discussed here), was also reissued by Ripple earlier this year, so you know, full calendar and all that. Busy busy.

Details come via the PR wire:

zed volume

ZED return with VOLUME on RIPPLE MUSIC | Stream and share new song ‘THE OTHER KIND’

Volume by ZED is officially released on 26th July 2019

Making their roaring presence felt in the Bay Area rock scene since 2007, with heavy footprints and sonically indelible marks are San Jose earth shakers ZED. With a sound based on the core principles of blues, heaviness and groove, this quartet is the genuine article. No bell bottoms, wizard sleeves or hip huggers for this crew. Instead, it’s a barrage of head-bobbing, air-guitaring, hip-shaking, blues-driven riffage as delivered by the true bastards of rock and roll.

From their inception ZED made a name for themselves with their crushing live shows and incessant grooves. Having played together in various projects since 1998, including releasing several albums with the band Stitch for Prosthetic and Metal Blade Records, guitarist/vocalist Peter Sattari and bassist Mark Aceves joined up with guitar wizard Greg Lopez and drummer extraordinaire Sean Boyles to create a sound that was uniquely their own. Drawing from their varied influences, ranging from classic ’70s rock to punk and hardcore, by way of metal and old school funk, ZED write music fuelled by nasty grooves. The band has even been called, “a pissed off Led Zeppelin with Chris Cornell meets Ian Astbury on vocals.”

In recent years the band’s momentum has exploded, signing to Ripple Music and growing into a household name in the stoner rock community. Their hard-grooving live show has seen the band perform as headline support at Maryland Doom Fest and numerous SXSW events. They recently capped off their first European tour with a benchmark performance at Desertfest Lodon, where Kerrang! Magazine caught their set and said, “Their booze-drenched blues’n’roll almost breaks into a riot as both band and audience raise the roof and plenty of Hell in the process, leaving the most triumphant first impression.”

Volume by ZED is officially released on 26th July 2019 on Ripple Music.

TRACK LISTING:
1. The Other Kind
2. The End
3. Wings of The Angel
4. Hollow Men
5. Take Me Home Again
6. Chingus
7. Poison Tree
8. The Great Destroyer
9. Time and Space
10. The Troubador

Zed is:
Pete Sattari- Guitar/Vox
Sean Boyles – Drums
Greg Lopez – Guitar
Mark Aceves – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/zedrocknow/
https://zedisded.bandcamp.com/
http://www.zedisded.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

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Zed Announce European Tour Dates to Desertfest London 2019

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

zed

There’s a lot of repetition in what I do, inherently. You cover the same kinds of bands, use a lot of the same phrasing, and when it comes to the news stuff, that part of it, there are a few different kinds of stories you generally run into. Band has new album. Band doesn’t have new album. Band is touring. Band breaks up. Band has a new member. And so on. Of all the categories for stories I see on a week-in-week-out basis, this might be my favorite: Band is going to Europe for the first time.

In this case, it’s San Jose heavy rockers Zed, who’ll bring their straightforward, hard-hitting craft to stages in Belgium, Germany and France alongside Ripple Music labelmates Plainride ahead of an appearance at Desertfest London 2019. And maybe if I was European I’d feel the same way about bands touring the US for the first time, but it’s a special level of achievement for a group to get out and go abroad, to make that happen, and I’m glad to see the cats from Zed making the trip. It’s a feelgood story. So feel good. Then go rock out.

They go on the heels of a reissue for 2013’s Desperation Blues (discussed here) that came out last month on Ripple and are sure to make a boatload of new friends along their way. Awesome.

The social medias has it like this:

zed plainride tour

Zed – European Tour Dates 2019

Europe, we’re finally gonna bring the rock to you! Stoked to get out there with our bros in Plainride and capping it off with Desertfest London!

April 27 Ghent BE Den Drummer
April 28 Hamburg DE Bar 227
April 29 Volmerange-les-Mines FR No Man’s Land
April 30 Dresden DE Chemiefabrik
May 1 Cologne DE Stereo Wonderland
May 2 Brussels BE Jeudhuis de Schackel
May 4 London UK Desertfest London 2019 (Zed only)

Replete with new album artwork and bonus material (previously unheard first time around) Desperation Blues is an honest collection of blood, sweat, Desperation Blues was officially re-released on 18th January 2019 through Ripple Music. Order the album now at www.ripple-music.com.

Zed is:
Pete Sattari- Guitar/Vox
Sean Boyles – Drums
Greg Lopez – Guitar
Mark Aceves – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/zedrocknow/
https://zedisded.bandcamp.com/
http://www.zedisded.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

Zed, “Halo” official video

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the announcement:

desertfest london 2019 final announcement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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Zed Premiere “Halo” Video from Desperation Blues Reissue

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

zed

I can’t give away too much at this point, but this Spring, Zed are going to Europe. The San Jose-based heavy rockers this month will oversee a reissue of their 2013 Desperation Blues album, billed through Ripple Music as Desperation Blues Deluxe and including refreshed art and bonus tracks culled from the band’s 2010 debut, The Invitation. The four-piece have been building momentum over the last several years on tour and with the signing to Ripple for the release of Trouble in Eden (review here), their third LP, and after doing gigs on both coasts — they’ll make a return in 2019 to the Maryland Doom Fest as well — the initial incursion abroad seems nothing if not earned. One expects they’ll be well received.

It would seem on an initial reading that the lyrics of “Halo” are all the more relevant in today’s climate of political unrest, troubling surges of populism and crumbling international relations, but the truth is the US has been at war since before Zed put out The Invitation nine years ago, and lines like, “So confused, so afraid/What if the pigs come back today?/All I’ve worked for, all I’ve saved, so easily taken away,” aren’t so much finding new meaning as simply still applicable to the same degradation. The video premiering below works on similar ground, pitting footage of protesters engaging riot police alongside shots of the band playing live, the wobbly closed-circuit effect giving unity to the two as though to underline the notion of expression as an inherent act of defiance in a system of oppression. That is, if you want to piss someone off, make good art.

Though in that regard, throwing shit at cops works too.

Some would say that is art.

In any case, the spirit of the video suits the track’s workmanlike chug and subtle undertone of aggression, and the song remains catchy and well-composed without getting weighed down by its theme. Putting it in the context of what Zed would do on their two to-date subsequent outings, it’s a strong indicator of the band they would become — the band that will make themselves ambassadors of US heavy in a few months’ time — and shows how songwriting has been at their core all the while through their career, along with no small supply of swagger. That also continues to serve them well.

Safe travels to come, Zed. I’m looking forward to the tour announcement.

Desperation Blues Deluxe is out Jan. 18 on Ripple Music. Enjoy the video. It’s not the last one they’ll have for the reissue:

Zed, “Halo” official video premiere

Zed on “Halo”:

Wanted to make a video that honors the spirit of the song which is about how there is so much unrest and strife in the world and it doesn’t matter whether you are right or left leaning, there are movements and machinations at the highest levels of government that are being done to further oppress, devalue and control the common man. Yet the human spirit is unstoppable and will stand up even when the odds are stacked high against it.

Music Video for the song Halo off of “Desperation Blues Deluxe” the Ripple Music re-issue of ZED’s critically acclaimed self-released album.

Replete with new album artwork and bonus material (previously unheard first time around) Desperation Blues is an honest collection of blood, sweat, Desperation Blues will be officially re-released on 18th January 2019 through Ripple Music. Pre-order the album now at www.ripple-music.com.

Zed is:
Pete Sattari- Guitar/Vox
Sean Boyles – Drums
Greg Lopez – Guitar
Mark Aceves – Bass

Zed on Thee Facebooks

Zed on Bandcamp

Zed website

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

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Maryland Doom Fest 2019 Early-Bird Tickets Limited; Day Lineups Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2019 poster square

The actual schedules aren’t out yet for the four days of Maryland Doom Fest 2019, but even the day-splits for the massive lineup are good to know since this will be the first one with two venues and, thus, the first one with schedule conflicts (assuming the rooms run at the same time). That will invariably lead to some difficult choices, but so it goes in the land of doom — aka Frederick, MD. One way or another, the lineup is maddeningly good from its headliners in Pentagram, Conan, Earthride and Mothership right on down through the likes of Seasick Gladiator and Greenbeard, playing earlier in the day. But it’s good to get some basic idea of who will be where, when, because given the swath of bands, it’s going to be one to schedule where your feet are at any moment in order to miss as little as humanly possible.

By the way, how fucking awesome is the idea of Maryland Doom Fest paying homage to the 20th anniversary of the long-running/now-defunct Stoner Hands of Doom festival? That lineup could hardly be more perfect if they got Eternal Elysium over for it as SHoD once did. Especially the top three there. Unstoppable.

Here’s the info. There’s a lot of it:

Early Bird Discount Ends 12/31! THE MARYLAND DOOM FEST 2019 – 5th Anniversary – June 20th-23rd with PENTAGRAM, CONAN, EARTHRIDE, MOTHERSHIP, WARHORSE, 40+ More!

The Maryland Doom Fest celebrates its 5th anniversary this upcoming June and has confirmed FIFTY of today’s heaviest bands to grace the stages of two venues in 2019. For the first time in its history, MD Doom Fest brings international artists, the mighty CONAN from the United Kingdom and INTERITUM from Tasmania, with 48 hallowed USA acts coming from coast to coast!

In a dual-ceremonial event, the MD Doom Fest Pre-Party on Thursday, June 20th is a 20th Anniversary celebration of the Stoner Hands of Doom Festival (ShoD), with a spectacular lineup. All bands have performed at fantastic SHoD fests of years past! The Pre-Fest / SHoD 20th Anniversary Celebration will be monumental. We invite everyone to become part of the family at The Maryland Doom Fest 2019 events for #4daysofdoom!!

THE MARYLAND DOOM FEST 2019
June 20th – 23rd, 2019 + Frederick, MD

PENTAGRAM + CONAN + EARTHRIDE + MOTHERSHIP

Year Of The Cobra + Lo Pan + Freedom Hawk + Warhorse + Pale Divine + Apostle Of Solitude + Kings Destroy + Solace + Foghound + Beelzefuzz + ZED + Wasted Theory + The Age Of Truth + Atala + Toke + Backwoods Payback + Weed Is Weed + Forming The Void + Sixes + After The Sun + Shadow Witch + Faith In Jane + Clouds Taste Satanic + Pale Grey Lore + Knoxxville + Devil To Pay + Eternal Black + Thonian Horde + Kingsnake + Greenbeard + Interitum + Benthic Realm + Horehound + Funeral Horse + Thousand Vision Mist + Deer Creek + Crooked Hills + Stone Dust Riders + Thunderchief + Wolf Blood + The Druids + Atomic 26 + Dead Sisters + Seasick Gladiator + Electric Age + Temptations Wings

+++ Early Bird Discount Weekend Passes available until December 31st +++

https://www.marylanddoomfest.com/tickets/

MD Doom Fest Pre-Party
SHoD 20th Anniversary Celebration
Thursday, June 20th

+ Cafe 611 +
Earthride
Warhorse
Solace
Wasted Theory
Devil to Pay
Deer Creek
Weed is Weed
Freedom Hawk
After the Sun

DAY ONE
Friday, June 21st

+CAFE 611+
Mothership
Pale Divine
Lo Pan
Year of the Cobra
The Age of Truth
Backwoods Payback
Kingsnake
Interitum
The Druids

+GUIDO’S SPEAKEASY+
Clouds Taste Satanic
Benthic Realm
Dead Sisters
Funeral Horse

DAY TWO
Saturday, June 22nd

+CAFE 611+
Pentagram
Apostle of Solitude
Foghound
Beelzefuzz
Atala
Sixes
Forming the Void
Knoxxville
Atomic 26
Eternal Black
Greenbeard

+GUIDO’S SPEAKEASY+
Electric Age
Pale Grey Lore
Thunderchief
Seasick Gladiator
Crooked Hills

DAY THREE
Sunday, June 23rd

+CAFE 611+
Conan
ZED
Kings Destroy
Toke
Thousand Vision Mist
Horehound
Thonian Horde
Shadow Witch
Faith in Jane

+GUIDO’S SPEAKEASY+
Temptations Wings
Wolf Blood
Stone Dust Riders

Early Bird Discount Weekend Passes are available until December 31st, 2018!
(Early Bird Discount is only for Weekend Passes- $74.)

On January 1, 2019, all regular price ticket options will be available.
Weekend Passes $89. Single Night: Fri. $35 / Sat. $40 / Sun. $35
Weekend Pass holders can attend Pre-Fest/SHoD for $15 at the door, all others: $30.

https://www.facebook.com/events/371836710006412/
https://www.facebook.com/MdDoomFest/
https://www.themarylanddoomfest.com/

Apostle of Solitude, “Keeping the Lighthouse” official video

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Zed Post “Skin + Bones” Video; Desperation Blues Reissue Due Jan. 18

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

zed

San Jose heavy rockers Zed will reissue their 2013 album, Desperation Blues, on Jan. 18 through Ripple Music. And if the band are feeling somewhat sentimental for what was their second album following 2010’s The Invitation, that’s certainly fair enough. It was the record that solidified their approach in hard-hitting, semi-aggro heavy rock and roll, as well as the one that led to their signing with Ripple Music for the follow-up, Trouble in Eden (review here), in 2016. Well worth a special place in the band’s heart, I should think.

With an eye toward marking the occasion and an apparent backlog of images to share, Zed have posted a kind of collage reminiscence video for the song “Skin + Bones” that has photos included from their last several years of shows. Of particular note was the excursion that took them to the East Coast where they played the first night of Maryland Doom Fest 2018 (review here). They have shots with the organizers of the fest, other bands, and even one of yours truly if you’re quick enough to see my dopey mug pass by en route to the next pic. I usually charge a licensing fee for my image, but since it’s Zed, I’ll let it go this time around.

I was glad to catch the four-piece at that fest, as I was to see them for the first time at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta in 2016 (review here). They’ve grown as songwriters, as I think Trouble in Eden showed, but Desperation Blues captured the root of their sound in terms of conveying their passion for straightforward, direct-line heavy rock with more than just a chip on its shoulder. I don’t know what else they might have in the works for the New Year, but if they’re running at an every-three-year pace, they’re due for a new studio release at some point.

In the meantime, a bit of nostalgia.

PR wire info follows the video below. Please enjoy:

Zed, “Skin + Bones” official video

Blasting out onto the San Francisco Bay Area rock scene in 2007, ZED quickly made a name for themselves with their crushing live shows and incessant grooves. Having played together in various projects since ’98 (including releasing an album with the band Stitch for Prosthetic/Metal Blade Records), guitar player/vocalist Peter Sattari, drummer Rich Harris and bassist Mark Aceves joined up with guitar wizard Greg Lopes to create a sound that was uniquely their own. A sound with the sole purpose to rock with no concerns for genre classifications and idle labeling.

Showcasing equal appeal to fuzz-box mercenaries, ’74 Chevy van-driving stoners and horns-thrusting metalheads, ZED truly made their mark in May 2013 with the self-release of Desperation Blues, an album which, with the help of the Californian label Ripple Music gets an official worldwide reissue on CD/LP this January.

Replete with new album artwork and bonus material (previously unheard first time around) Desperation Blues is an honest collection of blood, sweat, Desperation Blues will be officially re-released on 18th January 2019 through Ripple Music. Pre-order the album now at www.ripple-music.com.

Zed on Thee Facebooks

Zed on Bandcamp

Zed website

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

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Maryland Doom Fest 2019 Announces Lineup: Pentagram, Conan, Earthride, Mothership, Lo-Pan and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2019 announcement

Holy fucking shit. It’s a good thing Maryland Doom Fest 2019 isn’t until next June, because it’s going to take me that long to process how badass this lineup is. It’s like JB decided this was the year everybody plays. A fourth day has been added. A second venue has been added — it’s Cafe 611 and Guido’s Speakeasy now — and wow. Just, fucking, wow. The headliners: PentagramConanEarthride and Mothership. And the list of bands that follows is absolutely staggering. Of course some things are bound to change between now and then, and there are announcements yet to be made about the pre-show, but really. They’ve absolutely, positively gone to a completely new level of festival here.

It’s gonna be crowded.

And it’s gonna be a blast. If you need me, I’ll be booking my room at the Motel 6 in Frederick.

The announcement was simple and came just in the form of the poster — art is by Kyle Stratton, whose band Atala also make a return to the bill — and from near and far, far and wide, acts are coming in to make what looks like it’ll be an absolutely unforgettable weekend (-plus) of heavy.

Here’s the lineup:

maryland doom fest 2019 poster

MARYLAND DOOM FEST 2019 – JUNE 20-23

DOOMSTERS, GRUNGERS, SLUDGERS, STONERS, & PAGANS —

We are extremely pleased to present to you……The Maryland Doom Fest 2019 lineup!!!

50 of the heaviest, most talented bands to grace the stage.

We bring you INTERITUM from Tasmania, CONAN from England, PENTAGRAM from our soil, and an additional 47 top performing USA acts traveling from all across the continent!!

As if that’s not enough, the MDDF Pre-Fest Party will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the SHoD (Stoner Hands of Doom) Festival with a spectacular lineup of bands who have performed at the great SHoD fests in years past!! The Pre-Fest / SHoD 20th Anniversary Celebration will be monumental in countless ways!!!!

Please support the Doom scene and share this epic event with your comrades and we will see you at #4daysofdoom !!!!

EARLY BIRD Discounted ticket sales start Dec. 17th, 2018 – for two weeks only.

This astronomical lineup and the 2019 festivities are dedicated to my very good friend and prior MDDF partner from 2015 – 2018, Mark Cruikshank!!

DooM !!! ~JB

Lineup:
Earthride
Warhorse
Solace
Wasted Theory
Devil to Pay
Deer Creek
Weed is Weed
Freedom Hawk
After the Sun
Mothership
Pale Divine
Lo Pan
Year of the Cobra
The Age of Truth
Backwoods Payback
Kingsnake
Interitum
The Druids
Clouds Taste Satanic
Benthic Realm
Dead Sisters
Funeral Horse
Pentagram
Apostle of Solitude
Foghound
Beelzefuzz
Atala
Sixes
Forming the Void
Knoxxville
Atomic 26
Eternal Black
Greenbeard
Electric Age
Pale Grey Lore
Thunderchief
Seasick Gladiator
Crooked Hills
Conan
ZED
Kings Destroy
Toke
Thousand Vision Mist
Horehound
Thonian Horde
Shadow Witch
Faith in Jane
Temptations Wings
Wolf Blood
Stone Dust Riders

https://www.facebook.com/events/371836710006412/
https://www.facebook.com/MdDoomFest/
https://www.themarylanddoomfest.com/

Earthride, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2018

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Live Review: Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Night One, 06.22.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on June 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2018 night one poster

Over the last four years since its inception, Maryland Doom Fest has become a defining force for its many-storied local scene and for the Eastern Seaboard at large. Its reach nowadays goes well beyond those imaginary borders, of course, but its lineup has always remained cognizant of its core inspiration and purpose — you’re always going to find some Maryland doom at Maryland Doom Fest. 2018’s roster of acts, which is the broadest in terms of style and geopgraphy to date, is no exception. With headliners The Obsessed, Windhand and Weedeater, Maryland Doom Fest 2018 reaffirms its commitment to the oldschool groove and its newer-school interpretations, even as acts like HorseburnerUnorthodoxCavern, DuelEarthrideCaustic Casanova, and many others with them, speak to the same meld of styles and origins.

I could go on all day about that, but as ever with festivals, there’s little time for musing amid the 15-minute set-changeovers and sheer onslaught of stuff to catch. Held as ever at Cafe 611 in Frederick, Maryland Doom Fest 2018 boasts a lineup of 32 bands — nine tonight, 12 tomorrow and 11 on Sunday. My goal? To see all of them. Front to back. Staring down the barrel at the outset it seems nigh-insurmountable, but the truth is it’s going to be a total blast and I know it.

Travel south to Maryland from Massachusetts, with an about-to-be-eight-month-old, is a days-long process, and I’m reminded that two years ago when I made the trip, I was bogged down by a car breakdown and about to start a new job the following Tuesday. It was insane. I’m sure 2018 will be much more relaxed. Ha.

Enough preamble. Let’s boogie:

Horseburner

Horseburner (Photo JJ Koczan)

I’m not sure the world knows it’s anxiously awaiting the third full-length from West Virginian progressive heavy rockers Horseburner, but it probably is. First band of the weekend and they had heads banging both onstage and off. They were exciting to watch, and their 2016 album, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (review here) — which was reissued last year by Hellmistress Records; the vinyl was in the merch area to the side of the venue — remains a favorite in its manifestation of what might’ve happened had Mastodon become a heavy rock band while keeping their initial heft instead of going ultra-prog as they did. There were some technical difficulties in the drums, but no real delay, and the trio dynamic — could’ve sworn they used to be a four-piece — played well during the set, with no shortage of crunch in their tone but an overarching groove that they never seemed to relinquish. The record’s good, but they’re better live, with the melodies cutting through the push and a bit of hop-into-the-crowd interaction in the finale.

Geezer

Geezer (Photo JJ Koczan)

Back in January, New York psych-blues jammers Geezer announced they were working on a new album. Accordingly, the triumvirate of guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Steve Markota shared three new songs for the Maryland Doom Fest 2018 crowd. I hounded Harrington after they finished for the titles: “Spiral Fires,” “Dig” and “Black Owl.” The latter provided some highlight low end work from Touseull, and it was “Dig” with a particularly fuzzed out guitar solo and a bit of cowbell from Markota that I’m dying to hear a studio version of. Supporting their latest release, Psychoriffadelia (review here), they also celebrated 2016 self-titled (review here) at the end of their set with the memorably catchy “Dust” and the spacious “Sun Gods.” Having made their debut in 2013, they’ve moved into veteran status and stage presence relatively quickly, and I took particular interest in a lack of slide guitar from Harrington, wondering if perhaps he put it down in order to focus on more intricate styles of playing in the newer songs. Seems like maybe an interview question to file away for later. In any case, they pulled a packed early crowd and were well known to them, playing out the story of a band whose potential is being realized at that very moment for all to see.

Bailjack

Bailjack (Photo JJ Koczan)

Double-guitar four-piece Bailjack had the distinction of being the first Maryland-based act at the festival. Based out of Boonsboro, they had four songs on the setlist, none of which seems to have stemmed from their 2016 debut, Show Me Your Heart. I’d been fortunate enough to see them once before down this way (review here), but they struck me all around as a tighter and more cohesive band. Guitarists Jason Barker and Blake Owens shared lead vocal duties effectively, changing up the soulful and classic heavy rock moods between them with support from Ron “Uncle Fezzy” McGinnis (also Pale DivineAdmiral Browning, Thonian Horde, etc.), which left drummer Alex Llewellyn as the only one without a mic. He kept plenty busy with the locked-in groove of “Predominantly Green,” though, which like just about everything else they played was deceptively complex in its execution, working around a straightforward groove with personality and depth. They were a fitting complement to Geezer‘s ultra-roll, and at one point while they played I looked around and couldn’t believe we were only three bands into the night. The vibe was so set and so thick in the room that it felt like everyone had been there for a day already. Awesome.

Lightning Born

Lightning Born (Photo JJ Koczan)

North Carolina’s Lightning Born played Maryland Doom Fest last year as well, but as they went public earlier this month about signing to Ripple Music for the release of their debut album this Fall, it seems only appropriate that they should make a return appearance. Their bassist, who just so happens to be Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity, just happened to be in France playing another festival — some little shindig called Hellfest or something like that; ha — so filling in was guitarist Erik Sugg‘s Demon Eye bandmate, Paul Walz. I don’t know if it was Walz‘s first time holding down bass duties in Lightning Born or what, but he obviously knew the songs well, and despite some hi-hat difficulties at the outset for drummer Doza Hawes (ex-Hour of 13), once they got going, they were locked in and clearheaded in their intent between heavy rock, doom and classic-style songcraft led by the powerful presence of frontwoman Brenna Leath (also of The Hell No). My first time seeing them and they did nothing but impress, and even putting the pedigree aside for a moment, it’s easy to see why Ripple — who already had a showing in Geezer and would have another before the night was out — would pick them up. Not only do they make the most of their members’ experience in terms of knowing what they want to do, but they obviously have the chemistry between them to make it happen. Would be interested to see them with Dean, and I won’t say he wasn’t missed — nothing against Walz‘s work, it just happens to be that that’s Mike fucking Dean we’re talking about and anytime you get to catch him play is a win — but Lightning Born might as well have named themselves Lightning in a Bottle, as that seems to be what they’ve got.

Disenchanter

Disenchanter (Photo JJ Koczan)

This was by no means Disenchanter‘s first trip to the East Coast — they’ll also be (relatively) back this way later this year for Descendants of Crom in Pittsburgh — but it was the first time I’ve been lucky enough to see the band play. Having toured from their home in from Portland, Oregon, over the last week, the trio sounded like it. Pro shop. Guitarist/vocalist Sabine Stangenberg expressed the band’s gratitude for being included in the lineup and sent out “Green Queen” to any pot smokers in attendance. There may have been one or two. She and bassist Joey DeMartini and drummer Huwy Kilgora Williams set forth a set that pushed even further into the doomed elements that Lightning Born featured in some of their riffs, but had a distinguishing factor that marked them out as a West Coast act nonetheless. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was; tempo? Melody? Rhythm? I actually kind of lost myself while they were playing trying to get an answer. They fit right in with the lineup in tone and influence, to be sure, but there was still some individualized edge to their approach that was a standout factor. Eventually I whittled my hypotheses down to the upbeat nature of their grooves and was willing to leave it at that and, oh, I don’t know, just enjoy the rest of their set, but whatever it was, it made them a highlight of the evening at Cafe 611. Glad I finally was able to watch them.

Thousand Vision Mist

Thousand Vision Mist (Photo JJ Koczan)

Statistically speaking, three out of the four top acts for the evening could be called locals, and Thousand Vision Mist, who also played Maryland Doom Fest 2016 (review here), and a fest-associated gig during last year’s edition, came supporting late-2017’s Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow (review here), their debut album. Between that record and having seen them before, they were pretty familiar to me as well as to the assembled in front of the stage, but guitarist/vocalist Danny Kenyon, bassist/vocalist Tony Cormulada and drummer Chris Sebastian still had a few surprises up their collective sleeve in terms of the twists and turns of their material. By the time they started, it was clear just what a special night this was. The flow of bands was right on, each group pulling something different together from the one before while still making sense in the overall context of the night, and with Kenyon‘s roots in Life BeyondThousand Vision Mist maintained a Maryland doom feel despite not really playing doom so much as doom strung through a filter of progressive metal. Precise, driven and complex, they nonetheless had a central groove to tie it all together, and even when Kenyon broke a string, prompting an interlude from emcee Dave Benzotti, they were able to pick back up and end out as though nothing happened. The place was jammed in any figurative sense you want to think of it, and Thousand Vision Mist signaled a turn toward the headlining portion of the night. Right band, right slot.

Unorthodox

Unorthodox (Photo JJ Koczan)

A decade has passed since Unorthodox issued their last album, Awaken, via The Church Within Records, but if you want to be fair, that album came a full 14 years after 1994’s sophomore outing, Balance of Power, which was of course preceded by their 1992 debut, Asylum, but their set was still enough of an event that both Bobby Liebling of Pentagram and Dave Sherman of Earthride — pivotal figures in this scene if ever there were any — stood at the side of the stage to watch them. From their beginnings as Asylum, whose 1985 demo, The Earth is the Insane Asylum of the Universe, saw reissue via Shadow Kingdom in 2008 (review here), guitarist/vocalist Dale Flood has remained the sole founding presence, and as he’s now based in Nashville, Tennessee, he’s settled in with bassist/vocalist Blake Dellinger and drummer Alan Pfeifer, both also of the band Flummox, injecting a youthful vigor into the rhythm section that seemed to bring Unorthodox‘s classic downtrodden MD doom to life. They even had a new song, called “Horus,” that found Dellinger taking lead vocal duties, and Flood couldn’t help but smile as the set played out, the crowd eating up every single second of the rare live set. New album? Hell if I know. To my knowledge, Unorthodox played the first Maryland Doom Fest in 2015 and as I recall were going to play 2016 as well but didn’t end up making it, so I’m not sure I’d count this set as indicative of a full return to activity, whatever that would mean anyway, but if they wanted to build something from it, that vitality was right there in the band waiting to be harvested. They killed. End of story.

ZED

ZED (Photo JJ Koczan)

For my up-at-5AM-usually-asleep-by-nine ass, it was getting late, and I don’t mind saying so. Ibuprofen for a sore back; protein bar for stamina; water on the face for refreshing; water down the gullet for sheer survival — these are the essential tools of the sober weekend festival. One could simply pound six or 12 beers and none of it would matter, I suppose, and from the look of the dudes falling asleep in the side room of Cafe 611, some had clearly gone that route, but the truth was that ZED were all the shove I need to get through to the end of the evening. Everything else was overkill in comparison to their noise-tinged heavy rock, one riff after the next crunched out at max volume through the guitars of frontman Peter Sattari and Greg Lopez, the bass of Mark Aceves adding even further heft to be shoved forward at an impressive pace considering the mass of it by drummer Sean Boyles, who when the Bay Area outfit were done turned around and held up his hat to deliver the message “fuck everything” as plainly as possible. New song “Strippers” signaled a follow-up in progress to their 2016 third album, Trouble in Eden (review here), and one assumes that will arrive like its predecessor via Ripple Music, given how hard ZED were repping the label, from Lopez‘s beanie to Sattari‘s Freedom Hawk hat and Ripplefest shirt to Aceves‘ High Priestess tee. Gotta fly that flag, and they did it proud with a raucous delivery that lost nothing of its professionalism for its blanket electricity. Seemed like the crowd up front was pretty familiar with their stuff — at one point I also looked over and saw fest co-organizer JB Matson singing along stage-side — but I’d be willing to be they turned a few heads as well and made some new fans. It was that kind of set. If “fucking a rock” was a genre, that’s what ZED would be.

The Obsessed

The Obsessed (Photo JJ Koczan)

I don’t think there’s anywhere you could put The Obsessed on a Maryland Doom Fest bill except at the top. That’s where they were in 2016 and it’s where they deserved to be again. Would Maryland doom exist without them? Maybe, but certainly not in the form it has today. It’s been an eventful couple of years for guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich and the outfit in which he cut his teeth beginning back in the late ’70s when they started under the moniker Warhorse, but with their first album in 23 years behind them in 2017’s Sacred (review here) on Relapse, the trio of Weinrich, bassist Reid Raley (see also: Rwake) and drummer Brian Costantino were as classic as one could ask and a reminder of just how much of a blueprint for the style The Obsessed have always been. Copious touring in support of Sacred has made them maddeningly tight, and with a blend of new material and old in the set, they spoke to where they are today as well as where they came from — perfectly on theme for the night and the weekend as a whole. As the last of the nine bands playing, they shut the place down and it’s hard to imagine there’s any more one could’ve asked for when they were done. The Obsessed, like basically Pentagram and no one else of the region (Black Sabbath being, of course, universal), are essential and foundational when it comes to Maryland doom. Maryland Doom Fest 2018 welcomed them accordingly, and honestly, I think if they played every year here for the next five headlining one of the nights, they wouldn’t meet with any complaints. From “Sacred” itself to “Neatz Brigade” and “Sodden Jackal,” they proved how hard the heart of this scene and this aesthetic continues to beat. Oh yeah, and they were unbelievably loud. Like, might-as-well-take-your-earplugs-out loud. So, you know, bonus.

After flailing toward a 24-hour gas station and a 90-minute ride back to the town of Sparks, where I’m staying, I crashed out around 2:30 and was up a tragically short time later. Still, first day was excellent and there’s nothing I could ask of a leadoff night that wasn’t delivered. Maryland Doom Fest 2018 day two kicks off in a couple hours and, hell’s bells, I need a shower, so I’m gonna get on that, but there are more pics after the jump if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading.

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