Buried Treasure on a Serpentine Path

Posted in Buried Treasure on February 28th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Once they figured out what they wanted to be as a band, Unearthly Trance only got heavier, so that the debut full-length from Serpentine Path — which unites that trio’s final lineup with guitarist Tim Bagshaw, formerly of Ramesses and Electric Wizard — should be darker and more extreme in its doomly ways isn’t so much a surprise as it is a natural evolution. Add to that vocalist Ryan Lipynsky‘s ongoing tenure in black metal progressives The Howling Wind and it makes even more sense, though Serpentine Path have little in common either with Lipynsky‘s other outfit or with Unearthly Trance. Some of Ramesses‘ death-doomiest moments might be recognizable in the eight-track/42-minute self-titled, but there’s little to none of the cultish psychedelia that offset such dirge marching in that band. With Serpentine Path, it’s pretty much all bludgeon.

The album was released last fall on Relapse and met with as positive a response as something so unabashedly negative can, and since it came out, Bagshaw (who wrote the music on the debut) has reportedly relocated to New Jersey from the UK and Winter guitarist Stephen Flam has joined as well, making the band a five-piece rounded out by bassist Jay Newman and drummer Darren Verni. I just recently came into contact with Serpentine Path courtesy of Flam, who was interviewed here a while back (if you didn’t read it, you should, it’s awesome), and having spent some time with the record, as usual, I a little bit regret not checking out it sooner. The drawn-out stomp of “Crotalus Horridus Horridus” and the ’90s-style leads infecting “Obsoletion” are a death-doomer’s missing link, and the purposeful unipolarity in Lipynsky‘s vocals there and elsewhere throughout the album only makes the band’s intentions clearer.

Bagshaw‘s guitar even on a shorter track like “Bats Amongst Heathens” — easy to hear a Winter influence there — crafts an abyss of tone, and as they’re no strangers to slow, lurching rhythms, Newman and Verni work well in walking the line between snail’s pace grooving and unhinged immobility. Periodic samples like that at the beginning of “Beyond the Dawn of Time” don’t so much ground the material as add to the chaos, and a song like the later “Compendium of Suffering” is given even more weirdness in its break for the vague spoken echoes playing out over the unceasing plod of the verse riff. I guess if you want the short version, Serpentine Path are seriously fucking heavy and seriously grim. They don’t stray from that modus throughout these tracks, but they don’t really need to either, since the more oppressive a song gets, the more it’s doing its job. They win no matter what.

Closer “Only a Monolith Remains” seems to have been the inspiration for the artwork as well, which seems to be nodding at Hellhammer on the front cover while on the back a sort of Cthulhu-meets-the-Pradator monolith plays host to the tracklist. The inside of the liner has snake scales embossed onto the paper, as do the lyrics, and the tray under the CD also has an embossed ouroboros, so clearly somebody was putting effort into the aesthetic from the ground up. Not the first time I’ve given Relapse‘s Orion Landau kudos and it probably won’t be the last. One way or another, Serpentine Path‘s Serpentine Path is a record I’m glad I got to check out, since given the changes in the band they’re not likely to repeat themselves next time around.

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Black Pyramid Get Nightmarish in New Video for “Onyx and Obsidian” from Adversarial

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 28th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

You might recall a couple weeks ago when battle-ready Massachusetts riffers Black Pyramid premiered the new track “Onyx and Obsidian” from their forthcoming LP, Adversarial. Well, last night — because all breaking news should hit at midnight — the trio revealed that they had partnered the track with the short video piece “Metachaos” by Italian artist Alessandro Bavari. Since I’ve never been one to let a Black Pyramid video go ignored, here we are.

Adversarialwill be released in April on Hydro-Phonic Records, and even if you’ve heard the song before, I think you’ll agree it’s worth another visit, especially with the Bavari video accompanying. Stick around for more updates on the album, artwork, tracklisting, etc. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. In the meantime, here’s the clip:

Black Pyramid, “Onyx and Obsidian” from Adversarial

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Clutch, Earth Rocker: Like Greyhounds in the Slips

Posted in Reviews on February 28th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

By the time Marylander stalwarts of groove Clutch release Earth Rocker through their own Weathermaker Music imprint on March 19, it will have been nearly four years since they last issued a studio album. That record, 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West, pushed the four-piece’s blues/funk fetish to its furthest reaches to date, with cuts like “Abraham Lincoln” and “Let a Poor Man Be” enacting a successful blend of the blues and Clutch’s long-running thread of heavy rock consistency while “50,000 Unstoppable Watts” and “Minotaur” offered the lyrical quirk that fans have come to expect over the course of their career. Four years is the longest stretch ever between Clutch offerings, but during that time the band was hardly idle. In addition 2010’s “King of Arizona” digital single, Live at the 9:30 double-DVD set (review here) and overseeing Weathermaker reissues in 2011 of the three albums initially released on DRT Records – 2004’s Blast Tyrant, 2005’s Robot Hive/Exodus and 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion (group review here) – the first of that set also including the Basket of Eggs EP of tracks from throughout their catalog reworked acoustically – as well as releasing a new single, Pigtown Blues, for Record Store Day in 2012, Clutch toured the holy hell out of Strange Cousins from the West (live reviews here, here, here and here), only really stopping to start up again in the US or Europe. Doubtless they could have kept going – theirs is a fanbase loyal and prone to showing up – but speaking as a fan of the band (which, make no mistake, is the point of view from whence this review comes) it was past time for a new album, and if you want a sense of how Earth Rocker relates to Clutch’s discography as their 10th outing, there’s really no need to look past the title. Where Strange Cousins from the West was long, somewhat meandering, vague in its origin, From Beale Street to Oblivion clear in its place but also on the longer side of a title, and Robot Hive/Exodus had that pesky slash offering grammatical complexity, Earth Rocker – the mere phrase – lands with a stripped-down thud as one imagines a large book might on a dusty table. The band has noted their drive to write faster songs and between that and their returning to producer Machine to record, Earth Rocker has no little amount in common with Blast Tyrant nearly a decade later. Even the syllabic rhythm of the two titles is the same, and you know Clutch get down with some syllabic rhythm.

If that’s the starting point, so be it, but Clutch – vocalist/sometimes-guitarist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster – are in no way repeating themselves with Earth Rocker, and whatever similarities of approach the latest work might share with Blast Tyrant, those similarities are filtered through the subsequent years of blues influence and road dogging. These songs are not a step backward. They are, however, some of the most straightforwardly heavy rocking tracks Clutch have written since Blast Tyrant, or, I’d argue, the preceding album, 2001’s Pure Rock Fury, albeit with a thicker, larger production sound. An impeccably structured 44-and-a-half-minute collection of 11 tracks, Earth Rocker is also the shortest of the band’s full-lengths (by about three minutes, but still), and telegraphs its side A/B split no matter the format, with the subdued blues moodiness of “Gone Cold” just as potent a centerpiece for the linear listen (CD/digital) as it is a cap for the first side of an LP, following the quick rush of an initial salvo in “Earth Rocker,” “Crucial Velocity,” “Mr. Freedom,” “D.C. Sound Attack” and “Unto the Breach,” all of which feed into a considerable sense of momentum. The opening duo of “Earth Rocker” and “Crucial Velocity” are especially indicative of the record’s course, coming on short, crisp and tight in casting aside (for the moment and relatively speaking) funk groove in favor of forward thrust. In its verses, “Earth Rocker” is a bold declaration of intent, with an acknowledgement of audience in the chorus that’s not to be overlooked. Gaster and Sult introduce the song with a tense quiet beginning, but when the track begins to move, it doesn’t stop again, Fallon injecting mwa-ha-ha-ha bogeyman laughter into the chorus as though the very notion of being an “earth rocker” – one who might proclaim, “I don’t need your stinking laminates/I don’t need your VIP/I don’t need your validation/’Cause I wear mine on the sleeve” – is something other or intimidating. He’s probably right, and as the song hits its peak, the frontman offers the plainspoken perspective, “Yes I’ve lost many battles/And even more days/But if I had to do it over/I’d do it just the same,” leading to a last chorus that in a few minutes has gone from mission statement to victorious decree. Not a bad jump to make in just three and a half minutes, and though the pace continues on “Crucial Velocity,” the lyrics move to a semi-sci-fi thematic with Fallon being pursued perhaps by his own future and escaping in an Oldsmobile.

“Rocket 88” was a 1951 single by Ike Turner and his band Kings of Rhythm that legend has it featured the first distorted electric guitar, so with that reference, the chorus of “My Rocket 88/Fastest in the land/Crucial, crucial velocity!” taps into more than one kind of escapism, Fallon going self-referential in the third verse with the lines, “Everybody, everybody keeps telling me/Neil you got to quit your lowdown ways.” The band behind is suitably motoring, Sult adding wah flourish while Gaster claims debt from his snare (beating it like it owes him money) and Maines builds himself a summer cottage in the pocket of a signature start-stop verse groove. On some level, this is Clutch sounding like Clutch, but it’s also bigger and tonally heavier than they’ve been since they last collaborated with Machine. The faster songs are refreshing without sacrificing their rhythmic presence, and they set up Earth Rocker to unfold its diversity with “Mr. Freedom” and the subsequent tracks. It’s a tricky turn between “Mr. Freedom,” – as politically-minded lyrically as the title would indicate – “D.C. Sound Attack,” “Unto the Breach” and “Gone Cold,” but they pull it off and keep a flow going without so much as batting an eye, keeping hints of the opening rush in “Mr. Freedom” while dialing back the tempo slightly, upping the funk for “D.C. Sound Attack” and delving, as previously noted, into quiet blues for “Gone Cold.” Clutch aren’t strangers to political material – digging back through lyrics, even “One Eye Dollar” as it appears on 1999’s Jam Room is easy to read that way – and “Mr. Freedom” stands on the shoulders of cuts like “Mr. Shiny Cadillackness” from From Beale Street to Oblivion and “Freakonomics” from Strange Cousins from the West in a line of recent excursions into progressive social commentary. Like the first two tracks and Earth Rocker as a whole, however, it’s also more blatant in calling out those who play on fear for political ends or find cause for righteousness in the superficial trappings of patriotism, not even through the first verse before Fallon gives it straight: “Every time you open up your mouth a load of horse shit comes flying right back out.” The stance notwithstanding (I’m not one to debate even if I felt a need), Sult’s wah should be enough to win any conservative holdouts. Maines, who at times can seem to be lost in the mix beneath layers of guitar, fills out the chorus well as part of what I consider heavy rock’s best rhythm section alongside Gaster, and though “Mr. Freedom” is the shortest piece on Earth Rocker at 2:45, it lacks nothing in impression left. I haven’t seen the preachy rear someone’s vehicle since I first heard it and not thought of the second verse line, “And every bumper sticker on the back your car makes you feel a little more real.”

When it hits, “D.C. Sound Attack” is a highlight among highlights. Its groove is a little funkier, Gaster riding the riff while Fallon throws in some blues harp for the quick intro into the first verse, and the layering in the chorus makes it a standout as the vocals respond to their own calls and the lyrics, “Hell hounds on your trail/What a pity/But that’s the price you pay/Shakin’ hands in Necro City” lead to a cowbell-infused bridge no less memorable, calling for the titular D.C. sound attack. Of all the material on Earth Rocker, “D.C. Sound Attack” is a takeaway – one of those songs that will likely feature in the live set for years to come, and one well suited to that environment in spite of what the layering adds to the guitar and vocals in the studio version, the lyrics still consistent in their roughly sociopolitical lean with the much more blatant “Mr. Freedom.” Gaster’s drums prove as integral to the song’s ultimate success as Sult’s riffing, and the overall result proves immediately infectious where a track like “Crucial Velocity,” because it moves faster, needs a few listens to really sink in on the listener. That’s the case as well with “Unto the Breach,” which follows “D.C. Sound Attack” and revives the initial speediness of “Crucial Velocity” and the title cut. As it’s positioned between “D.C. Sound Attack” and “Gone Cold” – both distinguished right away in the tracklist – it’s easy to pass over “Unto the Breach” as an afterthought, but it fits well on side A, reviving the uptempo thrust and exuding a lyrical paranoia full of hobgoblins, Morris men, and the Swiss guard, dropping references to the Gutenburg press and of course the title call, snatched from Shakespeare’s Henry V. All these actors end their revels in just 3:31, so “Unto the Breach” is nothing if it’s not densely packed, and whatever landmark “D.C. Sound Attack” may have provided before it or “Gone Cold” might provide after, “Unto the Breach”’s full-run chorus is effective and engaging. Another track, less intricately arranged in its layering, that seems to be built for the stage, Sult taking a wah solo to break up the thud from Gaster’s drums and Maines poking through with low end just before the last verse/chorus rush. It’s a deceptive song in the spirit of “Child of the City” from From Beale Street to Oblivion, but its qualities emerge over a longer term of listens and its merits ultimately prove greater than one might initially believe.

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Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Fans: Spill the Bloodstock

Posted in Reviews on February 27th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

The immediate implication in the title of Orange Goblin‘s new live record, A Eulogy for the Fans, is that the fans in question — those who attended the Bloodstock festival on Aug. 11, 2012 — are dead. More specifically, that Orange Goblin killed them. An actual death toll for Bloodstock 2012 has yet to be released to my knowledge, but at least figuratively, over the course of their hour-long set, the British riff brutalizers did in fact hand the festival its own ass — thus “killing,” thus requiring a eulogy, thus making the title even more of a clever play on words than its relation to the band’s 2012 opus, A Eulogy for the Damned (review here). Brash and drunk as they might be, never let it be said Orange Goblin aren’t also up for a good pun every now and again.

This one comes especially well timed. A Eulogy for the Damned, which was the foursome’s first studio outing in half a decade following 2007’s righteous Healing through Fire (it provided little healing, but much fire), marked a resurgence point for Orange Goblin, who’d been hinting at their own demise more or less from the moment they got through the touring cycle. Aligned to new label Candlelight Records, the band — vocalist Ben Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard and drummer Chris Turner — emerged as forerunners of a potent UK heavy rock underground, their influence spread wide in their absence, and hit the road hard to support the album, which was their most sleekly-produced to date and full of landmark choruses like that of “The Fog” and the anthemic “The Filthy and the Few.” At Bloodstock, at Desertfest, and elsewhere, Goblin met an enthusiastic response and so, arriving just as they get ready to hit the road in the US alongside Clutch, A Eulogy for the Fans (also released by Candlelight) couldn’t be better timed.

Along with an audio CD of the Bloodstock set — which, as advertised, is a killer — A Eulogy for the Fans also includes a DVD with complete video coverage of that, their set at the 2012 Hellfest in France, the promo clip for A Eulogy for the Damned leadoff track “Red Tide Rising” — which also starts the set here — and a behind-the-scenes look at making that video, playing Hellfest. There’s also reportedly a photo gallery and other content included, but because we live in an age of digital wonder, I have no idea about any of that stuff and can only speak to the audio of the thing. If it’s any consolation (it isn’t), here are a few things I’m sure one would notice on the DVD: Ben Ward is tall and spends a lot of time with his arms raised, the Bloodstock crowd loved Orange Goblin, and the band very much enjoy the taste of liquor. I’d love to do a tally of how much is actually consumed throughout the DVD, but again, digital wonder. Did you know my cellphone keeps tabs on where I buy pants? Digital wonder.

I’m not sure there was any question of Orange Goblin‘s destructive force in the live arena, but as they’ve gone more than 15 years since their first LP, Frequencies from Planet Ten, was released without showing official documentation of it, A Eulogy for the Fans is probably overdue. Nonetheless, there’s more to the band’s presentation at this stage of their career than simply bashing either the crowd at Bloodstock or you, the vigilant consumer listening or watching at home, over the head with their riffs, grooves and gruff vocals. Opening with a blistering trio of rockers in “Red Tide Rising,” “The Filthy and the Few” and “The Ballad of Solomon Eagle” (the latter culled from Healing through Fire), Orange Goblin use that initial burst of energy as setup for a comedown groove that commences with “Time Travelling Blues” — the title-track of their 1998 second album — before running an up/down course with “Some You Win, Some You Lose” from 2004’s Thieving from the House of God and “The Fog” from A Eulogy for the Damned, which Ward rightly announces as a doom number, though to a certain extent the same could be said about everything Orange Goblin play and probably when they walk down the street to get a sandwich. Pretty much everything they do is doom.

“Some You Win, Some You Lose” is a longtime personal favorite, but I won’t discount the sing-along appeal of the ending to “Time Travelling Blues” or “Round up the Horses,” which follows “The Fog.” By that point, Orange Goblin are in the thick of their set, Hoare giving an especially raging performance while Turner‘s drums have that sound only heard at pro-recorded fests, somewhere between tinny in the snare and the fullness one might hear at a studio — better than most live recordings but still not quite all the way clean — and Millard runs circles around the central riffs in Sabbathian tradition. Not as immediate as some from A Eulogy for the Damned, “Acid Trial” proves a highlight of A Eulogy for the Fans, well-suited to the inherent grit of a live album and played perhaps slightly faster than it might be on the studio version. Hoare‘s solo and lead lines shine through again, and Ward rides the groove and eggs the audience on to do the same — paying off some of the between-song “Go fuckin’ crazy”-type banter — leading to “They Come Back,” which is shouted out to fans of zombie movies.

Actually, the line there is, “Let’s hear it for zombie movies!” and indeed, if it’s zombie movies that brought to life the chorus of “They Come Back,” then let’s hear it for them. That song, also a highlight of Healing through Fire, signals the final stretch of A Eulogy for the Fans, Ward going to his most guttural delivery for the line “The dead cry out in hellbent misery” before giving Lee Dorrian‘s horror-scream a run for its money in the bridge on the way to the final verse and chorus. From there, Orange Goblin depart from recent triumphs to answer back the fresh-faced material they began with by dredging up the time-hewn sludge revelry of “Blue Snow” — “‘Cos when the dream is over/Blue snow will fall on you” — from Time Travelling Blues and “Quincy the Pigboy” and “Scorpionica,” the opening duo (presented in reverse order) from 2000’s landmark third full-length, The Big Black. In perspective almost as much as their sound, these songs summarize the crux of what Orange Goblin does, and though they’ve just spent the better part of an hour delivering at top speed, Ward, Millard, Hoare and Turner can’t help but give their closing argument its due adrenaline.

It’s probably a good thing Orange Goblin were headlining the Sophie Lancaster Stage that night (Machine Head and Testament were reportedly on the Ronnie James Dio Stage; woe to Machine Head if they played following), as I can’t imagine anyone getting on stage after them and saying, “Okay, now here’s this.” The crowd chanting their name as they take the obligatory onstage photo following “Scorpionica,” the band prove victorious yet again, perhaps with a few nicks in their battle-axes, but only from so many beheadings. As anyone who’s seen them will probably tell you louder than you want to hear it, Orange Goblin are an unfuckwithable live act, and even though they don’t really need to prove that at this point in their career, it’s handy to have A Eulogy for the Fans as a means of serving notice to the not-yet converted or those who’d simply like to revel in their riffery one more time. Like me, as I press play for another run through this Bloodstock set. Fucking right on.

Orange Goblin on Thee Facebooks

Candlelight Records

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Sannhet, Known Flood

Posted in Radio on February 27th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

With shades of industrial, black and post-metal, Brooklyn’s Sannhet cast a deep shadow with Known Flood, their debut LP. And then they hide in that shadow, and they lurk around for a while, all creepy-like. The trio released Known Flood on vinyl last week through Sacrament Music, the new imprint cast by the crew at the St. Vitus bar, and with its forward-thinking approach to churning tonal oppression, transitional drones and ambient heft, I can’t help but think it’s a good fit. Very easy to imagine this noise filling that room.

The record (produced by Colin Marston of Behold… the Arctopus!, et al) is consuming when played at high volume, with a kind of surrounding effect coming from tracks like the centerpiece “Moral” or the subsequent “Slow Ruin,” which effectively touches on Neurosis crunch without simply aping it. Sannhet sound bigger than three people and add chaos by means of an assortment of loops and samples handled by drummer Christopher Todd and guitarist John Refano — the lineup is completed by AJ Annunziata on bass — but at the root of Known Flood is a fierce grip on aesthetic and directionality and an obvious push toward the sonically extreme. Whether it’s an earlier bruiser like “Safe Passage” or the final ambient swell of closer “Flatlands,” screaming or instrumental, Sannhet make each turn consistent, dark and intricate.

Textures unveil themselves more with each listen as vague samples become clarified standouts, and repetitions become all the more engrossing and hypnotic. “Still Breathing,” the penultimate and longest track (7:46), also proves the most patient in its unfolding, but when it reaches its apex, there is a shattering effect that’s not to be missed, Refano and Annunziata mounting a linear build that Todd makes turbulent with the addition of blastbeats and corresponding open crashes. Eventually, they break through it with a sweeping payoff that, but for the malevolent noise underscoring “Flatlands,” would be a fitting end to the album.

Glad to have Known Flood added to The Obelisk Radio, and if you’d like to experience it en masse, please refer to the stream below, courtesy of the Sannhet Bandcamp:

Sannhet on Thee Facebooks

Sacrament Music

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The Latest from Desertfest: Free Fall Added to Berlin; Mother Corona, Wodensthrone and Blackstorm Added to London

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Stages are starting to take shape and lineups are being finalized, so we must be getting close to the kickoff of this year’s Desertfest. Still, with just under two months to go until the 2013 fests launch in London and Berlin, more bands are being announced for both. As London digs into the UK’s ultra-fertile underground to add the likes of Blackstorm, Wodensthrone and Mother Corona, Berlin has announced that Swedish rockers Free Fall, who will be on the road with Witchcraft and Orchid (both also playing), have joined the lineup for at the Astra Kulturhaus.

Here’s a wrap-up of the latest announcements:

Desertfest Berlin – FREE FALL (SWE)

We are very pleased to announce that retro-rock band FREE FALL is added to DESERTFEST line-up !!

From Stockholm, Sweden, FREE FALL was formed in 2009 by guitarist Mattias Bärjed (The Soundtrack Of Our Lives) who felt the urge to form a classic 4-piece band playing a straight up heavy rock ‘n roll. He was joined by long time friend and bass wizard Jan Martens, drummer Ludwig Dahlberg (International Noise Conspiracy) and lead vocalist Kim Fransson.

Sweden really seems to be the current spiritual home of the ongoing Retro-Rock revival, and FREE FALL don’t need occult lyrics, don’t need LSD driven imagery to convince any fan of 70’s music. The band let their tunes speak for themselves. Together, they have formed something that swings hard with an energetic, authoritarian and powerful sound they called “Freedom Rock”. A huge slice of grooving rock that is very much inspired by the greats of the 70’s.

After signing a deal with Nuclear Blast in October 2012, the band recorded their debut album “Power and Volume”, which was unleashed all over Europe few days ago ! Last Friday, they have also been confirmed to be touring Europe in April/May alongside fellow Nuclear Blast label mates WITCHCRAFT and ORCHID. As they both take part in DESERFEST BERLIN, it was logic for us to also welcome FREE FALL, and help them to succed their “quest to liberate people through Freedom Rock” !

FREE FALL’s “world domination through Power and Volume” is starting now !!

Wodensthrone Complete Seven Churches Stage at Desertfest

We are please to announce Wodensthrone will be playing the Seven Churches stage at Desertfest. Wodensthrone was formed in Winterfylleð of 2005, in the Sundered Lands of North Eastern England, by founding members Brunwulf, Wildeþrýð, Gerádwine, and Hréowsian.

In these formative days, the clan’s sound was raw and primitive, but still hinted at a sense of sorrow, with lyrics focusing on the darker aspects of England’s history.However, by Eostremonað of 2006, the clan’s music had developed both technically and melodically, and so Æðelwalh was recruited on synths. It was at this point that Wodensthrone truly began to resemble their current incarnation, growing both musically and conceptually.

However, the clan still felt incomplete, and so comrade Eldbeorn joined the clan on guitar in the Blotmonað of 2006, completing the line-up and adding further depths of melody and savagery to the clan’s sound.


The final band to be added for the HDP/WPC stage are the mighty Brighton rifflords BLACKSTORM. Like the most powerful and destructive of storms this hardened troop of musicians rarely appear and this will be the 2nd ever London show since their creation, but when they have made an appearance it has been with powerful intent alongside the likes of Cancer Bats, Kruger, Lesbian, Saviours, & Orange Goblin. Featuring the amazingly talented vocalist Karl Middleton (of Earthtone9 fame) alongside side a fair few other familiar faces of the Brighton Music scene including guitarists Neil Kingsbury (ex- fall of Efafra) and Gez Walton (ex The Ghost of a Thousand, This is Menace).

They have been described as combining elements of drone, stoner, down-tuned sludge with classic rock and the vitality of hardcore and punk, Blackstorm combines crushingly heavy, catchy-as hell riffs with juggernaut proportioned rhythmic grooves and killer hook laden vocals. And their most recent release ‘The Darkness is Getting Closer’ was released in November last year showing a much more melodic and groove driven beast. If you like you your riffs served up with a nice juicy sing-along chorus then these guys are for you, just remember that rumble you hear is the sound of an oncoming storm, a BLACKSTORM!!

Words Courtesy of Gareth Kelly

Mother Corona Play Desertfest

Oxfordshire’s Mother Corona began their mission to eclipse the UK stoner rock scene in 2008 and have made two records to date. The most recent was last year’s “Out Of The Dust” LP. If we suggested “, and Into The Void” would be a good adjunct to that title, you’d be getting a good idea of where these guys are coming from.

If Ozzie’s mob had stayed on that rocket for longer they’d probably have reached the vicinity of where Mother Corona are now; fat riffs and cosmic doom of the highest order. They also add a welcome soupcon of psychedelic shimmer into the sound which helps to give it that all-important element of individuality, as do the melodious flanged croons of singer Daveo.

Come join the crew at Desertfest 2013 while they set the controls for you. Mother Corona have played with a host of scene favourites like Trippy Wicked, Enos, Alunha and fellow Oxfordians Desert Storm so you know you’ll be in good company during your travels to the outer-reaches.

Words Courtesy of Rich After Sabbath

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Wino Wednesday: Premonition 13, 13 in Full

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 27th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

There hasn’t been an update to Premonition 13‘s Thee Facebooks page since last July, and even that was about Wino doing the South of Mainstream festival with The Obsessed, so with their last release as a contribution to a Volcom split with Radio Moscow and Earthless (featured here), and the band having ended their European tour playing as a trio, I think it’s probably safe to assume they won’t be following up their 2011 debut LP, 13 (review here) anytime soon. So it goes.

Aside from having been the first Wino Wednesday post, Premonition 13 had something unique to offer from among Wino‘s many projects — namely, the jam. It didn’t really come across on 13, because after so many years of doing so I don’t think Wino can help but turn a jam into a song, but particularly seeing the double-guitar four-piece live, the character of the project revealed itself most of all in the spontaneous interplay between Wino and fellow guitarist Jim Karow. Wino‘s played with few enough other six-stringers over the course of his career, and whatever else the band may have done, they jammed the hell out of those riffs. That was, as they themselves stated, the foundation of the band.

But the album 13 was still very much an album in its construction; a collection of songs put together in such a way as to create an overall arc or full-length flow. Though it moved away from the basic jams that served as its starting point, there were still plenty of memorable moments on it, whether it was the single “La Hechicera de la Jeringa” or Karow taking on the frontman role for the classically hooky “Modern Man.” As always, groove and tonal warmth abounded, and though Premonition 13 will likely remain a short-lived experiment in the longer run of Wino‘s career, they did touch on something distinct within that vast catalog.

Here’s the album in full. Have a great Wino Wednesday:

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Wo Fat Update on Spring Gigs – Roadburn, Desertfest, SXSW and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

I love a bit of fuzz in the springtime. Okay, really any time of the year, I’ll take it when I can get it, but either way, I’m glad to read the news that Texas trio Wo Fat are heading overseas to act as fuzz ambassadors. Following gigs at SXSW and the inaugural Fuzzed Out! fest in Fort Worth, they’ll stamp their passports and hit up Roadburn, Desertfest London and a slew of other European outlets. Living the dream as it were. Always glad to see things coming together for bands who kick ass, which Wo Fat most certainly do.

They sent an update down the PR wire:

Upcoming Spring Gigs!

Wo Fat has got a number of great shows coming up and we wanted to make sure you knew about them. In March we will be doing a weekend Texas tour that will start with a performance at the Small Stone Records showcase at SXSW in Austin with a killer lineup of our labelmates, followed by a mini Small Stone showcase in San Antonio with Freedom Hawk, Lord Fowl and doom masters Las Cruces. Then we’ll finish up the weekend at the first annual Fuzzed Out! Fest in Fort Worth, which features a great lineup of bands that are part of the new wave of stoner rock, including Ape Machine, Mothership, Freedom Hawk, Lord Fowl and Been Obscene.

Coming up in April is our “Lost Highway Across Europe Tour” which includes stops at Roadburn and Desertfest London. We won’t be able to hit as many places in Europe as we would have liked this time around due to commitments at home, but we hope to do a more extensive European tour in the future.

Check out the dates below. We hope to see you at one of our shows!

Mar 14, 2013 – Small Stone Records SXSW Showcase – Headhunters, Austin, TX with Mellow Bravo, Supermachine, Luder, Freedom Hawk, Lord Fowl and Suplecs
Mar 15, 2013 – Small Stone San Antonio Showcase – Nightrocker Live, San Antonio, TX with Lord Fowl, Freedom Hawk, Las Cruces and Maneaters of Tsavo
Mar 16, 2013 – Austin Heavy Music Showcase – Special afternoon show at the Spiderhouse Ballroom, Austin, TX. Wo Fat plays at 1:15pm.
Mar 16, 2013 – Fuzzed Out! Festival 2013 – The Grotto, Fort Worth, TX
The new wave of Stoner Rock with Lord Fowl, Wo Fat, Freedom Hawk, Southern Train Gypsy, Ape Machine, Been Obscene and Mothership
April 12, 2013 – Boiler Room, Dallas, TX with Mothership, Hawk Vs. Dove and Mount Salem
Apr 20, 2013 – Roadburn Festival – 013, Tilburg, Netherlands
Apr 21, 2013 – White Trash Fast Food, Berlin, Germany with Abrahma
Apr 22, 2013 – Vera, Groningen, Netherlands
Apr 23, 2013 – Les Combustibles, Paris, France with Witch Mountain, Cough and Abrahma
Apr 24, 2013 – L’Usine, Geneva, Switzerland with Abrahma
Apr 25, 2013 – Vortex, Siegen, Germany with Maserati and Abrahma
Apr 26, 2013 – De Pit, Terneuzen, Netherlands, Terneuzen is On Fire Pre Party with Abrahma, Swamp Machine and Idealus Maximus
Apr 27, 2013 – Desertfest London, The Underworld, Camden, United Kingdom

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