High Noon Kahuna Premiere “Good Night God Bless” From This Place is Haunted

high noon kahuna this place is haunted

Maryland genre destroyers High Noon Kahuna will loose their second album, This Place is Haunted, on the unknowing ether May 17 with the 25-years-strong backing of Crucial Blast behind them. And as their debut, 2022’s Killing Spree (review here), willfully united the disparate worlds of black metal and surf rock, it seems only fitting that the 12-song/54-minute follow-up should go someplace else. Based in Maryland’s doom capitol, Frederick (home to Maryland Doom Fest, where the trio will celebrate this release on June 23) the pedigreed three-piece of vocalist/bass-VI-ist Paul Cogle, guitarist Tim Otis (also backing and other vocals throughout) and drummer Brian Goad present a sound that feels simultaneously broader and more solidified than on the first record, touching on a darker, heavier post-punk at the outset with “Atomic Sunset” that meets its semi-goth vibe and Otis‘ first lead vocal head-on with a wash of noise at the end, before “Lamborghini” — the first of three sub-three-minute instrumentals spread throughout the tracklisting, each with its own character, with the bassy stonerjazz meander of “The Devil’s Lettuce” and the thicker noise-rock riffing of “Midnight Moon” offsetting/bolstering some of the stylistic turns surrounding and giving preface to side B’s outward push in the drifting “Flaming Dagger” and the echoes emerging from the crashing void of seven-minute finale “Et Ita Factum Est” — redirects toward a more straight-ahead, riffer charge.

Returning producer Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations Studio in Baltimore does well in not so much corralling High Noon Kahuna‘s various whims and impulses, but in highlighting the multifaceted dynamic and tonality that draws their material together. That is to say, while This Place is Haunted doesn’t linger in any particular aural locale for too long and with 12 cuts included there’s no shortage of jumping around from place to place — to wit, “Prehistoric Love Letter” picking up after “Lamborghini” with Torche-style uptempo heavy rock reimagined as Chesapeake emo/post-hardcore with shared vocals from Otis and Cogle and the subsequent “Good Night God Bless” (premiering below) burning the ground with feedback before slamming into its densely-weighted roll with shouts cutting through, angular twists of effects and whatever else that is, and a bombast that gives over to residual noise, drone and buried voice(s) to lead into the aforementioned addled sway of “The Devil’s Lettuce”; or, you know, the rest of the thing — when taken as a whole, in a single dose, the album’s cohesion comes in part from its willingness to be itself apart from outside expectation, the imaginary limits of style, and, in the true spirit of Maryland’s doom underground, the direction of trend.

“Brand New Day” finds a Josh Homme-style vocal topping more gothic-ish proceedings, this time led by Cogle‘s bass, and leads one to wonder if it and “Atomic Sunset” aren’t intended to be complements; i.e., the morning of the next day. Certainly “Good Night God Bless,” “Midnight Moon,” and “Tumbleweed Nightmare” could be read into this theme as well, and given the nature of the project, that they aren’t necessarily in linear go-to-bed-dream-and-wake-up order hardly matters. That doesn’t account for cuts like “Sidewalk Assassin” though, with its alarm of feedback screech and tense intro drumming unfolding into a barrage of low noise riffing and shouting that turns to more spacious and less voluminous fare before it’s done without letting go of that tension, or the amalgam of chug-punk and atmospherics that arrive with “Mystical Shit,” which follows.

high noon kahuna

The lesson there, perhaps, is that it’s a mistake in the first place to try and find rules where for the most part there aren’t any, and that High Noon Kahuna‘s sundry divergences throughout This Place is Haunted are most of all linked by the fact that it’s all part of the band’s overarching scope. And as in the best of scenarios, it works because they make it work in pieces that aren’t trying to be defined as weird or outside this or that common ‘heavy’ expectation so much as they are a realization of the personalities behind the songwriting. A good bit of instrumental chemistry and breadth of production don’t hurt either, and This Place is Haunted benefits from those as well.

Airy in the high end, storytelling in its lyric and dense in its bassy fluidity, “Tumbleweed Nightmare” comes apart at the crunching staticky finish to give a fresh start to “Flaming Dagger,” which feels at least part-improvised around its core bassline — Otis is on a journey here — before the wash of guitar gradually consumes the bass and drums in the mix, leading to another noisy end that lets “Et Ita Factum Est” stand on its own. Fair enough. The closer’s title translates from Latin as “And So it Was Done,” and it is correspondingly declarative in the execution, from the pattern-setting onset to the howls of guitars that bookend the cacophony and lost-in-space echoing voice calling out (in Latin, though it’s hard to tell) near the end of its middle third.

The drums are first to depart as Cogle holds to the progression he set at the beginning and Otis channels animalian feedback, but soon the bass is gone as well and High Noon Kahuna cap with a suitable wall of amplified residual drone. It’s not as harsh as it could be, in terms of the noise offered elsewhere on This Place is Haunted, but I wouldn’t call it a gentle goodbye either. Like the rest of what surrounds, it is a moment defined mostly by being the band’s own. This is doubly impressive when one considers that two years ago their debut set a largely different context for its own definition.

As to what that means for High Noon Kahuna going forward — the question being if they’ve found ‘their sound’ in the reaches here or if whatever they do next will embark on another stylistic course — it would be useless, stupid, and not the least in the spirit of This Place is Haunted to speculate. Given what they do here and what Killing Spree wrought, they’re somewhat less madcap than they were two years ago, but that has clearly allowed them to find poise in the control over what for many bands would be a chaos either too encompassing to wield or result in something outright unlistenable.

This Place is Haunted doesn’t bow to notions of accessibility, but it does leave room for the listener to find a place for themselves in the world the trio are making. Sometimes it even feels safe there after a while, in that maybe-ghost-ridden fray, which makes the procession across these songs all the more special to behold for those who can meet the band on their own, deeply individualized level.

“Good Night God Bless” premieres below, followed by more background, the invite to a Bandcamp listening party next week, live dates and such from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

High Noon Kahuna, “Good Night God Bless” track premiere

High Noon Kahuna is a power trio of veteran heavy musicians from Frederick, Maryland, with Tim Otis on guitar (Admiral Browning), Brian Goad on Drums (Internal Void / The Larrys / Nagato), and Paul Cogle on Bass VI and Vocals (Black Blizzard / Vox Populi / Nagato / Slagstorm). These three gents have known each other for years and have always supported each other in their respective bands.

High Noon Kahuna is back in 2024 to present their second album, This Place is Haunted. This collection of songs captures the raw vibe of their last album, Killing Spree, while expanding on the band’s diverse corners of influence. Spanning the genre sphere across Surf, Western, Deathrock, Noiserock, Punk, and Psych, these songs show HNK at their most aggressive… as well as most ethereal, spacey, and gothic.

All the songs on the album came from unrestricted jamming over the last 20 months. In fact, the very first notes and beats the three members ever played together was an instantly exciting song that is captured on this album (Brand New Day). In that time, the band has toured and played many shows, continuing to hone their unhinged live performances. This Place is Haunted is an evolution of the unique HNK sound and sees them at new creative heights.

Before entering the studio, roughly 80% of the songs were solidified, and most were played out live; the other 20% were based on free-form jams in the HNK archive and re-created on-the-fly, pseudo improv style. The band partnered with Kevin Bernsten and Developing Nations for recording, as they did with Killing Spree. His studio provided a vibe that sparked their creativity and gave them freedom to work at another level. Working with Kevin on this album was a creatively liberating experience; his knowledge, gear, recording space, and ear allowed the band to get wild.

Final mastering for This Place Is Haunted was completed by the ever-inventive James Plotkin at Plotkin Works. The album’s stirring cover art was created by HNK’s own drummer, Brian Goad.

The album is set for release on May 17th, 2024, on CD, cassette, and digital (vinyl TBA).

This Place Is Haunted – Tracklist:
01. Atomic Sunset
02. Lamborghini
03. Prehistoric Love Letter
04. Good Night God Bless
05. The Devil’s Lettuce
06. Brand New Day
07. Midnight Moon
08. Sidewalk Assassin
09. Mystical Shit
10. Tumbleweed Nightmare
11. Flaming Dagger
12. Et Ita Factum Est

Crucial Blast just announced a listening party for This Place Is Haunted:

The event is scheduled for:
Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 7:00 PM EDT

RSVP: https://crucialblast.bandcamp.com/merch/high-noon-kahuna-this-place-is-haunted-listening-party

Come and join Crucial Blast and the members of MD/WV noise rock / occult desert rock / phantasmagorical psychedelic punk power-trio HIGH NOON KAHUNA as we hang out next Wednesday (7pm EST) and listen to the upcoming full-length album “This Place Is Haunted”. We will all be in the chat, and would love to hear from you and blab with ya! We will also be doing an online raffle + trivia question for free HIGH NOON KAHUNA shirts and copies of the new album, only for participants in the listening party chat. Come and get it!

Upcoming Live Dates:
May 23 – Asheville, NC @ The Odd
May 24 – Richmond, VA @ Another Round
May 25 – Staunton, VA @ The Brick
May 26 – Lexington, KY @ Green Lantern
May 28 – Washington, DC @ The Pie Shop
Jun. 23 – Frederick, MD @ MARYLAND DOOM FEST (Local Release Party)

High Noon Kahuna:
Tim Otis: Guitar / Vocals
Brian Goad: Drums
Paul Cogle: Bass / Vocals

High Noon Kahuna, This Place is Haunted (2024)

High Noon Kahuna linktr.ee

High Noon Kahuna on Bandcamp

High Noon Kahuna on Instagram

High Noon Kahuna on Facebook

Crucial Blast linktr.ee

Crucial Blast on Bandcamp

Crucial Blast website

Crucial Blast on Facebook

Crucial Blast on Instagram

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One Response to “High Noon Kahuna Premiere “Good Night God Bless” From This Place is Haunted

  1. […] Frederick, Maryland based noise rock/shoegaze trio High Noon Kahuna premieres new single »Good Night God Bless« exclusively at The Obelisk! […]

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