Friday Full-Length: Vista Chino, Peace

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Vista Chino, Peace (2013)

Was it even real? Did it actually happen? And five years later, how are we supposed to think about Vista Chino‘s lone studio effort? Were they really as close to a Kyuss reunion as we’ll ever get?

Even when Napalm Records put out Peace (review here) in 2013, the story of the band was always going to be their second record. True, their beginnings might have been in vocalist John Garcia performing Garcia Plays Kyuss on tour in Europe — I was there at Roadburn 2010 when they played — and they did their time touring as the exclamatory Kyuss Lives! before a lawsuit from former Kyuss guitarist/Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme forced the name change, but wasn’t that going to be a blessing in disguise? By the time Vista Chino were touring in support of Peace, they were a completely different entity from a Kyuss reunion. True, the middle of the stage housed Garcia and Brant Bjork behind him playing drums, but to the right of the stage was guitarist Bruno Fevery and to the left was Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity, so the Garcia/Bjork collaboration, while the impetus for the band, was still only half the story. Particularly once Dean got involved, taking over for Nick Oliveri, the potential for Vista Chino to move forward from Kyuss‘ status as one of the principle sculptors of desert rock became huge. They were their own band. And it was going to be the second album that showed it.

Although, listening back, Peace was its own entity at the time as well. Even in its more active stretches — “Dargona Dragona” or “Sweet Remain” early in the tracklist — it didn’t feel outwardly aggressive in the same way Kyuss was, and moreover, it didn’t feel like it wanted to be. With Bjork and the Belgian import Fevery — for whose band, ArsenalGarcia had previously done a guest vocal spot — as the principle songwriters, tracks like “As You Wish,” “Adara,” “Barcelonian” and certainly the ending jam in “Acidize…. The Gambling Moose” carried the Bjorkian stamp of laid back swing as heard so often throughout his solo work, even if the tone of the fuzz in the guitar and bass was different and so many of the lyrics, and indeed, the album’s title, centered their theme around the aforementioned lawsuit. The name change allowed Vista Chino to be their own band, separate and distinct more than just legally from Kyuss and the insurmountable legacy thereof, vista chino peaceand allowed Peace to be considered on its own terms. Listening to Brant step in to trade off vocal duties with Garcia on “Planets 1 & 2,” there was so much there still to be explored. So much chemistry and so much still to say.

Peace wasn’t a perfect album by any means. “Dargona Dragona” pushes Garcia‘s vocals forward in the mix to an almost abrasive level — his voice would cut through either way, put it lower and make the guitar sound more spacious — and that made for a somewhat rough first impression, but as the record unfolded, the likes of “As You Wish,” the boogie-laden “Dark and Lovely” and the dreamily melodic hook of “Barcelonian,” as well as “Planets 1 & 2,” the interlude “Mas Vino” and the already noted ending jam-out, typified a mellow soul that in combination with the tonal weight helped exemplify one of the essential dynamics of desert rock. That something can still have presence without beating its chest in anger. And not that Peace didn’t have its angry moments — remember the legal trouble — but the ultimate character of the songs wasn’t defined entirely by that anymore than Vista Chino were going to be defined by who Kyuss were when they were around.

And a sophomore full-length would have been essential to that. In the narrative of the band, particularly with their lineup solidified as GarciaFeveryDean and Bjork, it would have been the moment where they fully transitioned from a reunion act to a forward-moving group engaged in a creative progression. No doubt a second LP would have learned some lessons from the first, but I believe firmly they would have been able to push themselves forward in terms of the songwriting and build on the accomplishments that came through in Peace, which were already considerable. A second Vista Chino album would have been the point at which they’d be able to prove once and for all that their aim wasn’t just to capitalize on the internet and social media-born cult popularity of Kyuss and play bigger venues than they Garcia and Bjork might otherwise on solo tours, but to establish a new dynamic as a four-piece and work with that in terms of songwriting and an overarching development of craft. Peace already started to push them forward from simply engaging with what Bjork and Garcia had done in the past — though certainly some of the lyrics dealt with it in positive and negative terms — but it was the next one that was going to really be the point where they came into their own.

One never says never in rock and roll, but half a decade later, there’s been no external sign of any Vista Chino activity whatsoever. Garcia released John Garcia (review here), his first solo album, on Napalm in 2014, and Bjork likewise stepped back into his already-in-progress solo career, building in some ways on what Vista Chino did with his next two records, 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here) before signing with Heavy Psych Sounds for this year’s excellent Mankind Woman (review here). Garcia has evolved solo work into band-leadership, and after the mostly-acoustic early 2017 outing, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here), he’ll front his newly-rebranded backing group as John Garcia and the Band of Gold on a fully-plugged self-titled LP due out early next year. Bjork did a full US stint in the company of Corrosion of Conformity and Mothership, but aside from an appearance at Planet Desert Rock Weekend in Las Vegas last week, Garcia‘s priorities in terms of live performance have been almost exclusively based in Europe.

I don’t know that Vista Chino won’t get together five, seven, 10 years from now and do a follow-up to Peace. As right on as Garcia and Bjork‘s solo stuff has been — which is not to mention Dean and C.O.C., who reunited with guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan a couple years back and issued No Cross No Crown (review here) on Nuclear Blast early in 2018 –I wish they already had. But as it stands five years later, Vista Chino‘s lone full-length occupies an odd place as something of an underrated footnote in the Kyuss family tree. Tarnished by the lawsuit and abandoned by the players, its songs nonetheless continue in their vitality to carry the spirit of what could have been.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Oh my goodness.

The good news is we got through the first week of the first-ever two-week Quarterly Review, and there wasn’t really a point at which I didn’t think I wouldn’t live to tell the tale. Still another five days of 10 records per day to go, but you know. I get up, bust out a few reviews, finish what needs finishing during baby naptimes. I make it work. That’s what I’ve done with The Obelisk all along. I’ve made it work.

In thinking about the rest of this month: This week is obviously locked in, and the Year-End Poll is up. Sweet. My own Best of 2018 list will be up Dec. 20. I’m not sure if it’s going to be a top 20 or a top 30 this year, but somehow it always seems to involve at least 100 records anyway, so I don’t think it really matters. The next episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio is also a year-end edition. I already sent in the playlist.

And yeah, I kind of feel like I’m about to keel over, but whatever. Nothing in life is permanent. You do what you have to do to get through a day, then there’s another day until there isn’t.

That’s all.

This has been a weird year. Ups and downs. Severe. Stark contrasts. I saw The Pecan take his first steps and I still don’t go a day without just loathing every part of myself. I traveled to Tilburg, to London and to Oslo, to Vegas and Maryland, but I feel like there’s so much I haven’t seen. King Buffalo played Boston last weekend. The show was sold out at O’Brien’s. I didn’t go, in part because my sleep schedule is such that I need to be in bed early so I can get up early and write, and in part because the thought of going to a show makes me so anxious that I can’t really handle it anymore. Not only does no one give a shit when I do a live review — fests are one thing, and even that’s meh — but a regular gig? I’ll spend hours going through photos and writing it up, and it just falls flat. And it takes the space that otherwise would go to an album review. But it’s more the thought of talking to people, or not talking to people, or just being at a club, that has me locked in. I’m just not there in my head. Still, I was sorry to miss that show. I usually am.

Weird year. Weird couple weeks. I’d love to stop taking meds. Every time I try it’s a fucking nightmare.

This weekend I’ll catch up on email and get a jump the Quarterly Review and other stuff that’ll be posted next week. As I’m sure you can imagine, I’m way behind on news and whatnot, but thankfully it’s December and things are lighter to a degree as we move into list season for press. I don’t know if I’ll do the full round of lists — best debuts, best EPs, etc. — on account of having been set back for basically three months’ worth of stuff when I got robbed in May, but I’ve got my notes and I’ll cobble together whatever I can and have it up before the end of the month.

I’m also going to start doing a post wrapping up each episode of The Obelisk Show. I want to have my own archive of playlists, so that’ll be that.

Thank you for your continued support. Please have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum, radio stream, and merch.

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Domkraft Premiere “The Watchers” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

domkraft

Nothing like pulling an all-nighter if you’ve got to get something done, and that would seem to be how Swedish riffslingers Domkraft made their new video for “The Watchers” from their newly-issued second album, Flood (review here). An all-nighter guerrilla-style all the better. The story goes that the Swedish three-piece and their director, Peder Bergstrand made their way into an amphitheater in Stockholm — looks like Ralambshovparken, if my in-depth knowledge of the Swedish park system is anything to go by; they should do their next one in the skate park — and set up overnight to film at dawn. They don’t seem to have actually played the track live, which you can tell because of the lack of a generator behind the amps, but drummer Anders Dahlgren is still railing pretty hard on his cymbals, and even in syncing to a full-volume playback of the song, reportedly complaints were filed by the neighbors, whose domiciles you can see through the plantlife in the video.

Of course, Dahlgren, guitarist Martin Widholm, bassist/vocalist Martin Wegeland and Bergstrand — known as well for his recent graphic work for Crippled Black Phoenix and for being in Lowrider — would have been long gone by the time the constabulary arrived, and they split with the ultra-widescreen “The Watchers” in tow. Edited together in rhythmic lockstep with the song itself, the muted colors of “The Watchers” speak to the depths of tone brought to bear by Domkraft as well. What the video serves to further emphasize, though — and I’ll admit this is something more about the track than the actual clip — is how fluidly Domkraft blend a progressive style of songwriting with their tone-fueled atmosphere. That’s true throughout Flood — which is out on Blues Funeral Recordings following 2016’s The End of Electricity (review here) on Magnetic Eye — but like the single it is, “The Watchers” distills that impression to its most essential components.

The video of course sets its own vibe with the lighting at dawn and Bergstrand‘s camera work, and it’s my pleasure to host the premiere today. My suggestion is to go fullscreen on it and enjoy. And keep an eye out for new stuff from Domkraft in 2019. I have it on good authority there’s something in the works.

PR wire info follows:

Domkraft, “The Watchers” official video premiere

A dystopian take on Pink Floyd’s “Live at Pompeii,” the video for The Watchers was shot illegally by director and fellow Swede Peder Bergstrand, also singer/bassist of seminal stoner rock outfit Lowrider.

At dusk, band and filmmaker snuck into an old amphitheater in Stockholm and set up their amps and gear. As the first rays of the 5am sunrise hit, Domkraft let rip and played at full volume to the empty amphitheater.

To capture that epic Pompeii vibe and get the desired grit, Peder filmed it on a vintage Russian movie camera with an anamorphic lens. With their completely unauthorized footage secure, the foursome packed up and bolted into the morning before the almost certain arrival of the law.

Domkraft “Flood” is the first release on Blues Funeral Recordings, but it’s the band’s second album to date, with their debut “The End of Electricity” ending up on numerous year-end top lists in 2016.

Domkraft also appears on The Wall [Redux] alongside The Melvins, Pallbearer, Mark Lanegan, and Scott Reeder.

They’re also part of the forthcoming PostWax project in 2019, a lavish limited edition record record series that includes new music from Elder, Spotlights, and Lowrider. Domkraft’s PostWax release will feature several new recordings including a 13-minute monster with guest vocals from Mark Lanegan, Lea from Besvarjelsen and Marty from Slomatics.

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Superlynx Premiere “Hex” Video; New Moon out March 15

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

superlynx (Photo by Kai Simon Fredriksen)

If the rolling waves and slow motion of their new video don’t make the point, I’ll just say outright that a lot of what Superlynx do is based around atmosphere. The Norwegian trio proffer a varied gamut of heavier styles brought into one cohesive approach, and it’s that atmosphere that allows them to range as far as they do between psychedelia, doom, post-this-and-that, and sludgier riffing. Dark Essence Records will issue their second album, New Moon, on March 15, 2019, and it follows in the spirit of 2016’s LVX in its lead single, “Hex,” for which the aforementioned video — premiering below — has been put together.

As much focus can be placed — and not wrongly — on their stylistic blend, “Hex” also emphasizes the structure acting as the foundation on which that blend takes place. With the airy vocals of bassist Pia Isaksen atop the toms Superlynx New Moonof Ole Teigen as they wait for Daniel Bakken‘s guitar to next sweep them into the straight-ahead instrumental drive, there’s a patience to the execution from Superlynx, but clearly they’re a band who have an intention toward craft in more than just mixing influences together. And as song becomes more intense, so too do the waters in the “Hex” video begin to churn faster, but still, that atmosphere — just a sense of the otherworldly — is maintained. In combination with their clear delineation between verses and choruses, it makes for a track that’s broad in its scope but still accessible even the first time through.

And this is the first time through. Superlynx have some shows booked already for 2019, including Norway’s famous Inferno Festival, so it seems incredibly likely we’ll be hearing more from them as we get closer to New Moon‘s release. In the meantime, enjoy “Hex” below, followed by a few words from the band about the song:

Superlynx, “Hex” official video premiere

Superlynx on “Hex”:

Like most of the new album, HEX was written in challenging times, with feelings of hopelessness caused by both personal and external circumstances. The song was given a ritualistic expression, representing a deep, primal feeling and a need to alter the dark reality. Through creative force, love and a wish for better times this feeling is transformed into music and given a positive outlet. In this way, HEX represents the essence of the album. We have all been through dark times and have dealt with a lot of it through music. You can say that making the album has been a sort of alchemical process. The focus has been on getting through the dark and holding on to what is good in this world. And one of the best things is that music has come of it.

Hex is the first single from Superlynx’s upcoming album “New Moon”, to be released by Dark Essence Records on March 15th 2019.

Superlynx is:
Pia Isaksen – Bass/Vocals
Daniel Bakken – Guitar
Ole Teigen – Drums/Vocals

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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, Forbidden

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Black Sabbath, Forbidden (1995)

Even the most strident of Black Sabbath apologists have a tough time with Forbidden. Tony Iommi himself, who by the time 1995 came around had been at the core of the band as its founding guitarist for over 25 years and was the sole remaining original member, ragged on it pretty hard in his 2011 autobiography, Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. He went so far as to title the short chapter about it, “The One that Should’ve Been Forbidden,” and to blame the band’s record label at the time, IRS Records, for hooking them up with producer Ernie Cunnigan, aka Ernie C, guitarist of Body Count — who Iommi alleges wasn’t familiar with Black Sabbath at all — in an attempt to regain street cred. And while Iommi acknowledges that if it had worked, he’d probably feel differently about the record, he goes on to describe an unpleasant studio situation with drummer Cozy Powell before shifting into nonsequitor stories about pranks pulled on the subsequent tour. So maybe this is needless to say, but Forbidden isn’t necessarily Black Sabbath‘s finest hour.

To wit, 20 years earlier, the original lineup issued Sabotage as their sixth album in five years, which is a run the impact of which is still rippling outward today. Even the beginnings of the era in which the band was fronted by Tony Martin in 1987’s The Eternal Idol (discussed here) held promise for what the group might still accomplish — or at very least that they’d do right by the legacy they’d already built. Martin‘s tenure in Black Sabbath has the odd distinction of being interrupted when Iommi did a reunion with the band’s second vocalist, Ronnie James Dio, for 1992’s Dehumanizer (discussed here). Already in addition to The Eternal Idol, he’d appeared on 1989’s Headless Cross and 1990’s Tyr, so it was not a case of a one-and-done spot in the band as had been experienced by Glenn Hughes on the would’ve-been-an-Iommi-solo-record Seventh Star in 1986 or even Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan, let alone Ray Gillen and others who’d come and gone in the ’80s. Still, Sabbath‘s left turn was sudden with the Dio reunion — lest we forget that founding bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Vinny Appice also returned at that point and left again, the latter with Dio and the former after the band’s subsequent LP, 1994’s Cross PurposesMartin was back in two years for that album as well, but the next year, ’95, Forbidden would be his final outing with Black Sabbath.

So what happened, and is Forbidden really all that bad? Yes and no. I don’t think anyone is about to argue that its 11-track/47-minute run is a landmark like anything Sabbath in their original incarnation, or when they were fronted by Dio, or even that its held up with age as well as the Gillan-fronted 1983 outing, Born Again (discussed here) — to which history has been particularly kind — but neither is it to be entirely written black sabbath forbiddenoff as Iommi would seem to do in his book. Whatever his conflict in the studio, Powell (who would pass away three years later) gave a rousing performance on songs like “Loser Gets it All,” which closes, and the earlier “Sick and Tired.” Bassist Neil Murray stands in well for Butler and keyboardist Geoff Nichols (R.I.P. 2017) fleshes out Iommi‘s guitar with characteristic melodies that enhance the atmosphere of the record overall. But it was a weird time for metal. The genre had already survived the commercialism of glam and grunge by going underground, but a band like Black Sabbath — so long a major presence both on the touring circuit and in terms of influence — couldn’t really do that. And the idea of “classic metal” that would let Judas Priest and eventually Black Sabbath flourish well into the 2010s didn’t really exist yet. So they were in a position of either trying to keep up with the times or continue to ride a steady decline in wider relevance. Which I guess is how you get Ice-T doing a short spoken word appearance on Forbidden opener “The Illusion of Power.”

It’s hard to begrudge Iommi taking a stab at it, and however much he might disavow Forbidden now, the album does have enduring qualities. The single “Get a Grip” remains catchy with a strong performance from Martin over a trademark later-Iommi riff. Ballads “I Won’t Cry for You” and especially the six-minute “Kiss of Death” tend toward redundancy with other cuts from the Martin era, but still serve the purpose of adding diversity to the album, while “Rusty Angels” finds a kind of midpoint between that style and the grittier push of “Guilty as Hell” and “Sick and Tired,” which form a tandem in the middle of the record — recall it was the mid-’90s, so they would’ve been structuring for CD rather than vinyl — that holds resonant vitality, while the odd, jerky vocal patterning in “Shaking off the Chains” actually hearkens back to Black Sabbath‘s earliest days and the immediately prior “Can’t Get Close Enough” finds Martin doing his best in conjuring Dio‘s swagger and nearly getting there. There are ups and downs, as the title-track is mostly forgettable and “Kiss of Death” plays toward Sabbathian epics while landing well short thereof, but even “The Illusion of Power” stands as a demonstration that the band so often credited with codifying heavy metal was still willing at the time to try to make it do different things. There was precedent for metal/rap crossover, but it was still a risky proposition. I don’t know if it worked or not, but it’s especially bold that that track leads off the record, and for all the purported incongruity, Ernie C‘s production does well in contrasting some of the grandiosity in the band’s sound at that point and bringing them back down to earth. Onto the street. Where the cred happens.

Alright.

Those looking to further mine some positive aspects from Forbidden should also consider the fact that it was the album that led to Iommi‘s 1997 reunion with original vocalist Ozzy OsbourneButler, and original drummer Bill Ward and nearly two decades of touring on and off with Ward in and eventually finally out of the band owing to a contract dispute. Black Sabbath was finally laid to rest last year, but their 2013 studio album, 13 (review here), was widely hailed as a return to their past glories. That proposition, like everything, is debatable, but how could it not have been the flop of Forbidden that was at least in some part responsible for making that reunion happen?

I’ve been working over the course of the last year or so to reconcile myself and really explore what is more typically considered Sabbath‘s darker period in the Martin years. I don’t think I’d put on Forbidden before Headless Cross or Tyr, but neither should it be entirely discounted. It’s emblematic of the time in which it was made, and for 18 years, it stood as the last Black Sabbath studio full-length. That in itself makes it all the more worthy of consideration.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Next week, Quarterly Review. It’s about quarter to 5AM right now, and after I finish this post I’m going to make the banner image and set up the back end for the posts. It’s a double-size deal. 100 records in 10 days, because if you’ll recall, we missed the Fall one owing to that whole I-got-robbed thing.

I have some premieres slated besides that — actually, I just got hit up for a full album stream on Wednesday that I really, really want to do, but a full review aside from 10 shorter ones? oof — for videos and the like, but as it’s still coming together and the point is that it’s the Quarterly Review, you’ll pardon me if I skip the notes. I’ve been doing that more lately. Should I stop doing the notes altogether? Does anyone care? I’m asking, really. If you get a second and have any idea what I’m talking about, please leave a comment.

You may have also noticed the Year-End Poll is up! I’m stoked. Get stoked. Add your list. Tell two friends to add their list, and then have them tell two more friends, and so on. I’d love to see this one really do well. It’s been a hell of a year for music.

And while I’m plugging stuff, this Sunday is a new episode of ‘The Obelisk Show’ on Gimme Radio. I spend the whole episode talking with Mike Cummings from Backwoods Payback, who is awesome. He picks tracks and some of it is pretty out there, so I hope you enjoy. 7PM Eastern on Sunday night. Listen at http://gimmeradio.com.

Ah hell, the baby’s awake. It’s early. I hope he goes back down or this is going to be a rough day. Yesterday — ugh.

If you dig what’s going on with the site, please buy a shirt from Dropout Merch. The sales have slowed down a bit since the start, but as I hate doing merchandise in the first place, I really want to get rid of what’s there so I don’t have to think about it anymore. They’re at http://dropoutmerch.com/the-obelisk.

That’s it for me. I gotta go stare stressfully at the baby monitor and then diaper, feeding, day, etc. Have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading and please hit up the forum, radio stream, merchandise, and so on.

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Castle Post “Red Phantom” Video; Wrapping West Coast Tour

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

castle

Of course, if you’re going to make a video for a song called ‘Red Phantom,’ it’s going to be red. In that regard, Castle live up to blood-hued expectation, melding horror-creeper imagery, thrashy riffs and footage of the band rocking out to give a primal showcase of what their new album and Ripple debut, Deal Thy Fate (review here), is all about. Castle are currently on the road as they so often are, finishing up a West Coast run supporting the record. More touring will naturally follow next year, along with what will no doubt be a wide smattering of festival appearances and other whathaveyou. In the meantime, the band have never been shy about engaging visual media one way or another, and “Red Phantom” finds them once again working with director Jaan Slimberg of Pistoltrixx in Toronto.

I don’t know how many ways to say it or whether I even need to at this point, but Castle continue to kick ass, and their vision of worshiping at the altar of classic metal by reinventing it to their own purposes holds a singular appeal in the heavy underground. “Red Phantom” is right on in its hook and its tone, and with the band’s well-established collaboration with producer Billy Anderson, the angularity of their rhythmic shifts isn’t lost in the depth of their sound or the darkness — in this case, dark redness — of their atmosphere. As guitarist Mat Davis explains, the track works on a theme centered around the Zodiac killer, but as they do with their sound overall, they twist that story to suit the needs of the song itself. It appears in the second half of Deal Thy Fate, and so highlighting “Red Phantom” with a video seems all the more a worthy cause to make sure it isn’t swallowed by the surrounding material on side B. The focus is more than well earned.

Seems likely this will be the last we hear from Castle before 2019 hits, though I wouldn’t necessarily put it past them to sneak in a couple December shows, but they never stay dormant for long. Still, if you can see them in California or Arizona as they wrap this tour — or whenever you can catch them — you should. It is not a decision you’ll regret.

PR wire info follows. Enjoy the video:

Castle, “Red Phantom” official video

Directed by long-time collaborator Jaan Silmberg of Pistoltrixx – who also worked with the band on previous videos, Blacklands and Hammer and the Cross, Red Phantom was recently shot in Toronto, Ontario between tours of Canada and Europe.

Elaborates guitarist Mat Davis,”The lyrics for Red Phantom are based on Zodiac as seen through the lens of his adopted persona from Poe’s Masque Of The Red Death. For the video we projected visuals from the 1907 film version ‘Le Spectre Rouge’ in reference to one of the main Zodiac suspects, Rick Marshall – who was a film projectionist in the Bay Area and had an obsession with the movie.”

Recorded by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis) at Hallowed Halls in Portland, Oregon this past spring Deal Thy Fate is currently available at https://heavycastle.bandcamp.com/ and http://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com.

CASTLE is currently on a U.S. West Coast tour. The trek, which kicked off November 23 continues through to next month, wrapping up in Ventura on December 7. Expect a full US Tour to be announced early in the new year.

11/30 Sacramento, CA – Blue Lamp
12/01 San Jose, CA – Caravan
12/04 Phoenix, AZ – Yucca Tap
12/05 Los Angeles, CA – Resident
12/06 San Diego, CA – Tower Bar
12/07 Ventura, CA – The Garage

Castle, Deal Thy Fate (2018)

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The Sixth Chamber Premiere “Entrance to the Cold Waste” Video; Single Available Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the sixth chamber entrance to the cold waste video

If you find yourself wondering what’s going on with the new video from Los Angeles-based goth-tinged doom rockers The Sixth Chamber, that’s okay. Between the desert and the bellydancing and the demon sultan, there are a fair amount of references to various mythological concepts, and bellies, and yeah, it’s all pretty wild. Not the least counterintuitive is the fact that the song is called “Entrance to the Cold Waste” and the clip was filmed in Death Valley on what looks like a stinking-hot kind of afternoon. Whatever else you listen to today, it’s not gonna sound like this.

Founded by guitarist/vocalist Rahne Pistor around the turn of the century, The Sixth Chamber‘s new single features members of Crypt Sermon and Salem’s Bend, and if pulling playersthe sixth chamber cover from across the country (Crypt Sermon being based in Philadelphia) seems out there, that’s just the start of it. Their first show was in 2002 opening for Chuck Dukowski. They played Buddy Miles‘ funeral, and their last video had Ron Jeremy in it. So, even before you click play on the YouTube embed below, you need to understand that “out there” is a big part of what The Sixth Chamber do. And if you hear a hint of New York goth metal â la Type O Negative in “Entrance to the Cold Waste,” you’re probably not far off. Pistor spent time in the late ’90s in New York doing Misfits tunes alongside Bobby Steele in The Undead, so there’s about no way he would’ve escaped that band’s sphere of influence.

But “Entrance to the Cold Waste” isn’t at all so easy to pin down as just that. Rather, its theatricality comes coupled with an underlying course of classically doomed grooving and fuzzed-out tones. It’s a rare balance of stylistic elements, and the visuals to which they’re set — from the swordfight to the actual eating of a heart — tell a story that’s as entrancing as it is obscure. I’m not sure you’ll want to look away, but even if you did, you probably wouldn’t be able to do so.

“Entrace to the Cold Waste” is available as a single now, and the video was directed by Constantin Werner. It’s my pleasure to host the premiere below.

Please enjoy:

The Sixth Chamber, “Entrance to the Cold Waste” official video premiere

An entheogenic seeker and sorcerer (Rahne Pistor) stalks an irresistible will-o’-the-wisp sorceress (Mahafsoun) through the vast tortured waste far beyond the waking world toward the marvelous sunset city. En route of his dream quest he encounters the creeper from the great beyond and other grim perils. What unspeakable horrors lie at the prehistoric stone monastery in the dominion of the crude and mischievous demon sultan Azathoth (Stanton Lavey), that evil devil? Who is left to trust? Do the seeker’s true enemies lie within? Is reaching the wondrous Kadath in all its glory worth the wholesale scourging of his soul?

Directed by Constantin Werner.

STARRING:
Rahne Pistor
Mahafsoun
Stanton Lavey
Brian Bodt

Other notable facts about the production:
*It features a cameo by the grandson of Satanic Bible author and Church of Satan Founder Anton Lavey, who plays a crude heathen elder god of a guttural devil sect too awful to mention.
*It was shot in the scorching heat and otherworldly wastelands of Death Valley, CA this past summer
*The video stars the illustrious gothic metal belly dancer Mahafsoun, a well-known YouTube personality and early adopter of this dance sub-genre.
*The song includes lead guitarist Steve Jansson of Crypt Sermon and bassist Bobby Parker of Salem’s Bend

SONG CREDITS:
Rahne Pistor – Vocals, Guitar
Steve Jansson – Guitar
Bobby Parker – Bass
Jameson Cluchey – Drums
Adam Thompson – Keyboards

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Rifflord Premiere “The Other Side” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

rifflord

Playing before a monolithic wall of citrus-hued amps and cabinets, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, five-piece Rifflord give a taste of their tonal-worship vibes and catchy songcraft in their new video for “The Other Side,” an early cut from their forthcoming second album, 7 Cremation Chant / Meditation, which is no less at home tapping into David Eugene Edwards-style Americana than it is digging into High on Fire gallop or Electric Wizard riffing with Fu Manchu-esque vocals. By the time “Seven” has made its way into “Dead Flower Child” — note the veer into Sabbath‘s “Hand of Doom” in the latter — and “The Other Side” itself, there’s no question why STB Records would pick them up for the vinyl. Shit, somebody was bound to do it.

Rifflord work quickly across the album, almost deceptively so. To wit, “The Other Side” is one of only three out of the total 13 tracks to top four minutes in runtime, and other pieces like the 2:16 “BB Gun” is a sharp boogie that takes the murderousness out of its Rifflord 7 Cremation Ground-Meditationunderlying prairie feel, while “Lucid Trip” brings together acoustic guitar and underlying keyboard/voice drones that lead into the charging second half of the album with the immediacy of “Poison Mother,” a vocal change bringing keyboardist Tory Jean Stoddard into the foreground with guitarist Wyatt Bronc Bartlett stepping back after the more aggro chug of album centerpiece “Transcendental Medication.” Momentum is swiftly built and rigorously maintained throughout, but the songs themselves don’t feel rushed in either their composition or delivery. The keys help flesh out the melodic presence of the vocals and Bartlett and Paul Pinos‘ guitars, while bassist Matthew Mcfarland and drummer Tommy Middlen carry through the molasses-thick tones with a sense of movement that continues even into the lumbering “Electric Grave” — as opposed to, yes, an “Electric Funeral” — or the aptly-named “The Riffman Cometh,” which is a cold-ending celebration of all things heavy rock, doom and otherwise Iommic.

The blend of Western and heavy principles on “Dead Flower Child” or “Coyote Fodder” and “Holy Roller” early on adds depth to the personality of 7 Cremation Chant / Meditation — the number in the title is still something of a mystery and I suspect that’s intentional — and as the closing pair of “Hou Dou Vou Dou” and “Thunder Rider” present the record’s most fervent boogie and a corresponding shove to respond to that of “Transcendental Medication” earlier, the variety in Rifflord‘s songwriting would seem to undercut their moniker. That is, they’re by no means simply a “riff band.” Certainly riffs are a factor, but the roles they play throughout the material run in different if still cohesive directions, and the organ and other key sounds throughout come off as no less of a focus. ‘Keylord’ or ‘Choruslord’ wouldn’t necessarily make for a great band name, but the point is don’t go into “The Other Side” thinking it’s just about the riffs, because there’s a lot more to Rifflord, and a lot more to 7 Cremation Chant / Meditation, than might at first be implied.

PR wire with vinyl info, preorder link, etc., follows the video below.

Please enjoy:

Rifflord, “The Other Side” official video

Battle-scarred heavy rockers RIFFLORD are set to release their second album, 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation, via STB Records in the coming weeks. This follow-up to their self-released 2010 debut 26 Mean and Heavy is the product of mushroom-induced brawls, dashed expectations, and a band that’s coming back stronger than it ever was before.

RIFFLORD was founded in 2007 by vocalist/guitarist Wyatt Bronc Bartlett and guitarist Tom Davoux after discovering a love affair the two had with vintage tube amps, Hammond organs, and tinnitus-inducing volume. Today RIFFLORD is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reanimated by Bronc and a wall of Orange amps. Bronc says of the band’s music and journey:

Some things are the result of calculated decision making. Other things drag you face down through the dirt by virtue of their own momenta. RIFFLORD, for me, has been a combination of both. The album […] is a visceral product of struggle, mottled with the fingerprints of both terrible and glorious human beings. It is the sound of countless trips across rural South Dakota and hours of refinement in one studio session after another. The album was mixed five separate times, and remastered three. It is the true and living testament of the Riff. Thank you for waiting.

7 Cremation Ground / Meditation will be released digitally on November 27th, 2018 with a variety of personalized vinyl options coming out on December 1st.

https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/album/7-cremation-ground-meditation

Vinyl Pressing Information
-Test Press: Limited to 15. Comes with a Handmade leather LP jacket hand whip stitched and branded by Wyatt Bronc Bartlett of RIFFLORD
-Die Hard Edition: Limited to 100 units on black smoke and transparent brown vinyl comes with a special high-density high-quality LP jacket that is foil stamped with “die hard edition” as well as some other foil stamping and Spot UV upgrades on the jacket. Each die hard edition also comes with Special edition band specific tarot cards exclusive only to the die hard pressing. Exclusive booklet with “The Story Of Rifflord” and Picture outtakes.
-OBI Series: Limited to 100 units hand numbered alternate art work spine wrapped OBI strip. Vinyl is a clear base with silver center and brown and white splatter. Jacket comes with floor UV effects.
-Not So Standard Edition: Limited to 150 units on white and brown swirl. Jacket comes with floor UV effects.
-Band Edition / Distro: Limited to 150 Units on Cloudy White vinyl. Jacket comes with floor UV effects.

Rifflord is:
Lead Guitar and Vocals: Wyatt Bronc Bartlett
Guitar: Paul Pinos
Bass: Matthew Mcfarland
Keys: Tory Jean Stoddard
Drums: Tommy Middlen

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King Buffalo Post “Cosmonaut” Video; Last Shows of 2018 This Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

king buffalo (Photo by Mike Turzanski)

Just a bit of gorgeousness to make your day better. Because it’s precisely the kind of nerd I am, I’ve already been thinking of where to place King Buffalo‘s second album, Longing to Be the Mountain (review here), on my year-end list. Hey, you know, the poll goes up this Friday on here, so I’m not actually that early. But they’re pretty high up, and the more I listen to the record, the more that number seems to climb. The record hits such a perfect balance of the ephemeral and the ethereal, a cosmic lushness and an earthy undertone of groove playing out across its wide-ranging but still cohesive span. It is vast and welcoming in equal measure. I’m not sure yet where it’ll finally end up, but yeah, it’ll be up there somewhere among the bigger covers when the list goes live next month.

They have two shows left this year — Albany and Boston — and I haven’t heard much about tour plans for 2019, but it’s easy to imagine something’s in the works. Europe, maybe? Another US run? Whatever it is, King Buffalo are pushing themselves into new territories in sound and presence with Longing to Be the Mountain, and clearly the mission is to share that with as many people as possible.

Like the song “Cosmonaut” itself, I’ll keep it relatively short and leave it there. Some more info and those show details follow the video, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

King Buffalo, “Cosmonaut” official video

We wanted to thank everyone for their overwhelming support for our new record Longing to Be the Mountain! We’ve already well surpassed our expectations and it’s only been out just over a month. We’re completely DIY, so to see so many people sharing and spreading the word means everything to us. We’re currently planning tours for 2019 across North America, Europe and beyond, so we hope to see you all soon. Stay tuned friends.

We’ve SOLD OUT of both the Deluxe and Standard Edition Vinyl, so we’ve put up a 100 copies of the Tour Edition while we wait for a repress. Grab a copy or some other merch and show your support for King Buffalo!

We only have two more shows for the rest of 2018. Don’t miss them!

King Buffalo live:
11/29 Albany, NY @ The Low Beat
11/30 Boston, MA @ O Briens Pub

King Buffalo is:
Sean McVay – vocals, guitar, synth
Dan Reynolds – bass, synth
Scott Donaldson – drums

King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain (2018)

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