Alunah Announce Fall Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

alunah

UK forest doomers Alunah are getting ready over the next couple months to bookend their Spring 2018 tour with a string of shows through late-October and the rest of the year. They’ll support Diamond Head on Oct. 21 in Cheltenham, and on Nov. 10 travel to Austria to appear at Doom Over Vienna XIII alongside the respected likes of Apostle of Solitude, Castle, Iron Void, and others. That’s their only non-UK appearance this time around, and it’s not a one-into-the-next kind of tour so much as shows spaced out across different weeks, but a solid way for Alunah to round out 2018 as they continue to move toward their inevitable next album, which will be their first with vocalist Siân Greenaway in the lineup.

I seem to recall hearing at some point the plan was to get a record out in 2019, though that might just be wishful thinking. Somehow Alunah seem to wind up on my most-anticipated list every year, no matter what. Probably because they’re awesome. Yeah, I bet that’s it.

They announced the gigs on social media thusly:

alunah tour

This Autumn we will be heading out on these selected dates around the UK, with the exception of a brief jaunt in Europe to play Doom over Vienna – the Austrian Doom Metal Fest! We will be playing with some great bands including the legendary Diamond Head, and battle-hardened doomsters Conan. We can’t wait to get out and about and bring the heavy! We hope to see lots of friends too.

Tour artwork by Joe McEvoy Artwork. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Parry.

For more information visit www.alunah.co.uk

Alunah live:
21.10 The Frog and Fiddle Cheltenham UK w/ Diamond Head
27.10 The Angel Microbrewery Nottingham UK
03.11 The Green Room Welwyn Garden City UK
10.11 Doom Over Vienna XIII Vienna AT
17.11 Asylum 2 Birmingham UK*
24.11 Temple of Boom Leeds UK
01.12 Pilgrims Pit Stoke UK
08.12 The Swan Ipswich UK

Alunah is:
Siân Greenaway – Vocals
David Day – Guitar
Daniel Burchmore – Bass
Jake Mason – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/alunah.doom
http://twitter.com/#!/alunah_doom
http://alunah.bandcamp.com
http://www.alunah.co.uk
http://www.svartrecords.com

Alunah, “White Hoarhound” live at Sludgefest, Aug. 3, 2018

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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, Dehumanizer

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Black Sabbath, Dehumanizer (1992)

It’s both funny-ha-ha and funny-strange to think of it now, but Black Sabbath were old men in 1992. Think of what else was going on at the time. Dehumanizer, the band’s first studio full-length with Ronnie James Dio as frontman since 1981’s Mob Rules (discussed here), came out on June 30. On Sept. 24 the year prior, Nirvana released their breakthrough second LP, Nevermind, and in Sept. ’92, Alice in Chains would help solidify what became the “grunge era” along with Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and a 100,000 others who suddenly decided flannel and ripped jeans was a really good idea. Even as its more extreme forms — death, black, even doom if one thinks of it in the Peaceville sense of the word — were beginning to hit their vital prime in the underground, in the commercial sphere, metal was staid and overblown. Would bringing back a singer who’d fronted the band a decade earlier really do any favors for the past-trend Black Sabbath? Hindsight argues yes, it can and did.

Looking back on Dehumanizer some 26 years later, it’s easy to see the effect it had on Black Sabbath in general. They were never going to recapture the groundbreaking moment that was their early years. Simply couldn’t happen. The ’70s were long over, metal had codified into a varied rock and roll subgenre, and the band’s own production value and stylistic drive had shifted — as heard even before they parted ways with original frontman Ozzy Osbourne, let alone got Dio in for the first time on 1980’s landmark, Heaven and Hell (discussed here). What Dehumanizer allowed Black Sabbath — spearheaded as it always was by guitarist Tony Iommi, with co-founder Geezer Butler on bass and returned drummer Vinny Appice — to look back while moving forward. It was the first time they’d done so, and a decent portion of their career to come would be spent in that modus. Long since mature in their approach, Dehumanizer appealed in songs like “Computer God,” “TV Crimes,” “Time Machine” — lest we forget the Wayne’s World soundtrack — and “I” to Black Sabbath‘s established audience. A little older, but still wanting a metallic crunch in their guitars and still ready to groove on an Iommi riff. Dio, who’d spent the 10 years prior fronting his solo band and thereby helping to chart the course of ’80s metal with a string of hits across an essential first three albums-plus, was already the voice of classic metal even as “classic metal” first became a thing. On Dehumanizer, Black Sabbath took these established principles and brought them together with an approach that was modern in its production and presentation, and still allowed for a sense of rawness in the delivery.

That can be heard in the careening verses of “TV Crimes” or in the thudding and rolling highlight “After All (The Dead),” as each black sabbath dehumanizerpunch of snare from Appice seems the punctuation of a stomp Black Sabbath had never before elicited. Melody of course was central, on “After All (The Dead)” and the single “Master of Insanity” as well as “Time Machine” and the later “Sins of the Father” and “I,” but where Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules both seemed to carry over some of Iommi‘s late-’70s progressive aspirations, a decade later, Black Sabbath sounded fully assured of who they were as a unit, knew what their sound was at the time and how to capture it. They’d of course been doing so for years at that point on the 1986 would’ve-been Iommi solo album, Seventh Star and the beginning of the Tony Martin-fronted era in 1987’s The Eternal Idol (discussed here), 1989’s Headless Cross and 1990’s Tyr — all of which followed the Sabbath-meets-DeepPurple experiment that was 1983’s Born Again (discussed here) — and though it’s almost too easy to read this stretch as a descent into mediocrity, it served as a defining moment for Iommi in terms of style. The guitarist who’d helped to create metal learned what metal was during this time and began to find his place in it. His style of riffing became less bluesy, took away some of the progressive edge, and learned that sometimes the raw force of a riff was enough to carry a piece.

Some of that can be heard on Dehumanizer as well, on the brook-no-argument side A with “Computer God” — the lyrics both prescient and quaint over a quarter-century later — and “After All (The Dead),” as well as in the reaches of a less-immediate side B, which is bolstered by “I,” but requires deeper listening to “Too Late” or closer “Buried Alive,” the last of which is anticlimactic on the first impression but unfolds over time to be deceptively memorable. Dehumanizer was never going to be classic Sabbath, and it wasn’t intended to be. It was a pivot that not only helped recapture the mutually-beneficial-if-personally-tumultuous relationship between Iommi and Dio, but gave the band’s mature approach a kick as only the latter could provide. Sure, it was just one record and then Iommi and Butler would be back with Tony Martin and drummer Bobby Rondinelli for 1994’s Cross Purposes — both Butler and Rondinelli would be gone for 1995’s Forbidden — but one has to wonder if the late-’90s reunion with Ozzy, Butler and original drummer Bill Ward would’ve happened in the way it did had Dehumanizer not blazed that trail of getting back together with a former vocalist. Arguably, between touring with Osbourne and reuniting again with Dio in the late ’00s, first as Black Sabbath for new material on the The Dio Years compilation and then as the offshoot unit Heaven and Hell, whose lone studio album, The Devil You Know (review here), came out in 2009.

The death of Ronnie James Dio in 2010 and Tony Iommi‘s battle with cancer — he won, with riffs — seemed to drive Black Sabbath back together minus Bill Ward for the 2013 album, 13 (review here), and subsequent years of (alleged) retirement touring that wrapped with a hometown show in the band’s long-ago hometown of Birmingham, England, last year. A fitting enough end if it really was the end, I suppose. That’s what they called the live album, anyway: The End. Nowhere to go after that except The Epilogue, which would invariably be something of a comedown.

Either way, Black Sabbath remain unparalleled legends in doom, in metal and in the creation of what has come to be known as “heavy” in general. Dehumanizer is one of several outings in their catalog that served as a pivot point as they moved from one era to the next, and though its sound is inevitably a standout from the two original Dio-era albums, it’s a more than worthy addition to that catalog and, of course, essential listening.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Today’s Friday, right? Shit I hope so.

I’m in Massachusetts as of yesterday afternoon, hope to be leaving again as of this afternoon. Here just long enough to take out the recycling and try — probably fail — to obtain a new driver’s license. Yesterday we came up from Connecticut, today we’re going back, and then either Saturday or Sunday, depending largely on the weather and The Pecan — who’s even less predictable at this point — back down to New Jersey for I hope at least a full week. It would be nice to be someplace for a full week.

Not the least because there are no fewer than six shows I want to hit in various spots in the next two weeks. Next Friday, Saturday, Sunday, in order: Sasquatch at Saint Vitus, Backwoods Payback in New London, CT, and Bible of the Devil in Manhattan. Then, the week after: Sleep in Brooklyn, Acid King & Geezer in Brooklyn and Witch Mountain in Brooklyn. I’m thinking of going to all of them and calling it a “weekend warrior special,” but that too will no doubt either happen or not at the behest of the baby. We shall see. Gonna take it one day at a time like the alcoholics.

Seemed like a lot of in-transit this week, but a lot of it was basically just running around from place to place with the baby. It’s been nice out — summer and whatnot — so I’ve been trying to take him outside, let him try to eat grass, stop him immediately, then let him try again, etc. Going for walks and that kind of thing. That’s been facilitated by the fact that I’ve been waking up absurdly early. This morning was 2:40AM, yesterday was later, 3:30, but the two days before were both somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-1:30, so yeah, pretty silly.

I’ve been able mostly to get my shit handled though and then be available to The Patient Mrs. for baby-helpery early in the day, which has been good. Yesterday we all took a walk on the beach together and that was good, and the day before, he and I were out for an hour just basically killing time. Yeah, there’s some element of it that’s counting down to when he goes to bed, but there’s some element of it that’s counting down to when I go to bed too, so fair enough.

Also been singing to him like nonstop. Little known fact that about me that no one cares about but is true anyway is that I’m a huge Beatles fan and I’ve been on something of a kick lately. Three hours in the car stuck in I-95 traffic? No problem when you’ve got a thumb drive filled with the entire catalog plus choice bootlegs set to random. Meandering around the neighborhood for untold amounts of time so The Patient Mrs. can check in on her students for the online class she’s teaching? The mental jukebox was built for these things. “Strawberry Fields,” take 30. It’s fun to pretend I’m not completely tone deaf, which, sadly, I am.

Distractions abound this morning, but before I go, of course, next week’s notes. Being home, my PhotoShop installation disc is handy, so I just loaded that onto The Silver Fox and I’ll be using it to make a Quarterly Review banner. Then it’s onto the 50-record madness throughout the next week. I’ll likely have fewer posts overall — going to try to keep it to three a day if I’ll actually let myself do so — but we’re at the moment of a great girding of loins. Tomorrow I build back ends and start writing. From there, all hell breaks loose. I expect by next Friday I’ll really, really want to get out to a show, which is fine because I hear there are a few happening.

Thunderbird Divine also play Ode to Doom in Manhattan next Wednesday. Dare I? We’ll see.

In the meantime, here are the notes, subject to change blah blah blah:

Mon.: Quarterly Review day 1; Saint Karloff track premiere.
Tue.: QR2; Electric Citizen track premiere.
Wed.: QR3; Gorm track premiere.
Thu.: QR4; Saturnia video.
Fri.: QR5; Atavismo full album stream.

Woof. I’m exhausted already.

Okay, let me get out of here and see if I can sneak a minute or two of back-end work before the day starts. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, Live in Asbury Park, NJ, Aug. 5, 1975

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Black Sabbath, Convention Hall, Asbury Park, 1975

In the annals of Black Sabbath bootlegdom, there are two unofficial documents of the original-lineup era that stand above the rest as utterly essential for their sound quality and the band’s performance. One is Paris 1970 (discussed here), and the other is this recording from Aug. 5, 1975, from Asbury Park, New Jersey. The show was at Convention Hall, right on the Boardwalk of the beach town, and the band were in the US promoting the yet-to-be-released Sabotage, and as one can hear in the renditions of “Hole in the Sky,” “War Pigs,” “Spiral Architect” and on and on, the band was pure stoned fire. Captured at what I’d gladly argue was his peak as an actual singer, if not as a frontman, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne engages the crowd and nails each song, even if he flubs the lyrics here and there, as on “Symptom of the Universe” early in the 100-minute set. With solos from guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward — sadly nothing from the bass; it would be amazing to have a Geezer Butler solo captured in such fidelity — the band is both vibrant and poised, and whether they’re ripping into “Supernaut” or jamming out an early version of what would become “Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor” on 1976’s Technical Ecstasy, Black Sabbath absolutely laid waste to Asbury Park (it would take the shore town decades to recover) and, seemingly, everyone in the vicinity. As Ozzy says at the beginning of “Hole in the Sky”: “Are you high?” Cheers. “Are you HIGH???” Louder cheers. “So am I.”

I won’t doubt the veracity of that claim, which is to say, he probably was high. Black Sabbath‘s adventures in weed, cocaine, booze, etc., are well documented, and as they were about to release their sixth album, they were about to enter the period in which that excess of excess would begin to take its toll, eventually leading to the split with Osbourne and a collaboration with then-Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Of course, they would put out Technical Ecstasy and 1978’s Never Say Die before that happened, and both of those albums certainly have their moments, but there’s a reason the t-shirt says you can only trust yourself and the first six Black Sabbath records, and it seems that no small part of that reason is because by the time they were six and then eight years removed from their genre-defining 1970 self-titled debut, they were fried on multiple levels. “Are you high?” Cheers. “So am I.”

That of course is just one example of choice banter from Ozzy throughout. He talks about the “new album” a lot, tells the crowd he loves them multiple times, and at the end of the set, says on behalf of himself and the band behind that the New Jersey crowd is, “a good bunch of people.” It’s the kind of thing that would rare make it onto an official live release, since it so directly ties it to the place and the specific date, but in hearing it some 43 years after the fact, it brings the listener that much more into the moment of what was happening that night, at that time, at that particular gig. And that’s the thing about the Convention Hall show. It was a stop on the tour. They’d have another show the night after and/or the night after that. This could’ve been Black Sabbath any other day of the week, and they’re utterly lethal. Even the slow-rolling beginning section of “Megalomania” sees them dominating.

There are various stories about this show. One that it was a radio broadcast. Another that it was recorded and intended for release as a live album that was subsequently shelved. I don’t know how true any of that is or isn’t — neither is outside the realm of possibility; it’s not like the rumor is it was actually recorded by time travelers who wanted to do the future a favor and record the best show the band ever played — but I know that this set is just as essential as any official live record Sabbath ever put out, if not more so, and that it demonstrates the power in Black Sabbath‘s delivery at the time. They were dead on.

I’ve been a bootleg nerd for a while and have amassed a decent Sabbath collection at this point, but if you have a favorite you’d like to campaign for — I hear good things about London ’78, and of course there’s the 1974 California Jam — please feel free to let fly in the comments. In the meantime, as always, I hope you enjoy. How could you not?

I don’t know how many typos there are in the section above, but I was falling asleep pretty hard for a little bit while putting it together, so I’m sure there are some. I’ll try to read it over in the next day or so and make copy fixes. Sometimes that kind of thing happens when you start writing at five in the morning, even with a decent amount of coffee in your system.

This weekend is Desertfest in London and Berlin. If you’re going, I hope you have a great time. I’ll actually be in the UK from May 13-23, which is just a week late to catch the festival. Timing is everything. I’m planning on seeing Elephant Tree though while I’m in town at The Black Heart. That will be fun. Fingers crossed for a new song or two in the set.

Feels like the bulk of this week was still Roadburn recovery, but actually most of it was baby time. The weather in New England has turned from shit-miserable to less-shit-miserable — Spring has sprung! — so I’ve been able to take The Pecan out for walks and that kind of thing. He’s sitting up and proto-crawling, but not standing yet at all. We’ve started him on solid foods, puffs and the like. Obviously I regret not starting my “Doomestic Living” blog when he was born. I’d basically have to give this up though to do it right and clearly that’s not something I’m prepared to do.

My therapist this week told me I should write about my experience with having an eating disorder. That’d be a fun one. I’d like to do that. Don’t really have the time, aside from the odd mention here of starving myself or, alternately, not, and being miserable about one or the other or both. Front to back I’m pretty wretched either way.

To wit: my wife and I were talking about this or that old busted appliance the other day, and I said something about, “weighs 300 pounds and doesn’t work,” waited a second and then added, “I can relate.”

(pause for laughter)

As I’m flying to London next Saturday, I’ve of course packed as much into the coming week as possible. I’m not sure yet what my days will be like in the UK, but of course I’ll do as much as I can when I can. In the meantime, here’s what’s coming up as of now, subject to change of course:

Mon.: Dee Calhoun review.
Tue.: Tunguska Mammoth review/stream.
Wed.: Abramis Brama review; Big Kizz video premiere.
Thu.: Drug Cult review/video premiere.
Fri.: Mos Generator album stream.

Alright, y’all. I’m gonna check out. I’ve got work to do over the weekend, so I’ll be around. Would be nice to catch up on email and Facebook messages, but at this point that feels like a longer-term project. Way, way behind, as usual.

Have a great and safe weekend. Enjoy the Sabbath, have fun, be safe, and eat some ice cream. I’ll see you back here Monday for another onslaught of riffy whatnot.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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The Obelisk Presents: Alunah Spring 2018 Tour

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on February 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

alunah europe 2018 poster

I am a firm believer in Midlands, UK, naturalist doom rockers Alunah, who in 2018 find themselves engaged in perhaps the most difficult work they’ve done to-date. Their task is to find out who they are as a band without guitarist/vocalist Sophie Day at the forefront. After four strong full-lengths with the group — the latest of which, Solennial (review here), came out last year as their debut on SvartSophie announced she was leaving the band, and as her forest-worship lyrics provided so much of the band’s distinctive aesthetic, as guitarist Dave Day, bassist Daniel Burchmore and drummer Jake Mason move forward, the question remains what Alunah will be without that pivotal element.

While I don’t think we’ll really know for at least another album or two — in other words, not for years — Alunah have begun to play shows with new vocalist Siân Greenaway, and today I’m proud to announce that The Obelisk is among the sponsors for their upcoming May tour, which will obviously be the first with Greenaway at the mic. Ostensibly the band is still supporting Solennial, which, by the by, was fantastic, but more than that, they’re beginning the exploration of who they are in this new era and who they’re going to be going forward from here. As a fan of the band and the work they’ve done over the course of the last decade, I’m thrilled to be one of the sponsors for the tour and I will watch with great interest (also great distance) as they take to the Germany, France, and Belgium in May.

Alunah are also booked for Doom Over Vienna in Austria this November, and I imagine they’ll be keeping plenty busy in the interim over the summer, so stay tuned for more. In the meantime, here are the dates coming up, and presented with thanks to the band for having this site on board in this way:

alunah

After the first initial UK shows with our new line-up Alunah are very excited to confirm the following upcoming European run for 2018. We look forward to seeing old friends, and to also break new ground with festivals and venues we haven’t played before.

28th April UK Brighton “Green Door Store”
2nd May UK London “Nightclub Kolis/The Lounge”
3rd May Belgium Antwerp “Music City”
4th May Germany Oldenburg “MTS Records”
5th May Denmark Copenhagen “Northern Discomfort” Festival
7th May Germany Jena “Kulturbahnof”
8th May Germany Dresden “Chemiefabrik”
9th May Germany Stuttgart “Keller Klub”
10th May Germany Aachen “Musikbunker”
11th May France Paris “Fuzzy Sounds” Festival
12th May France Lille “Le Biplan”
18th May UK Coventry “The Phoenix”
19th May UK Bristol “The Old England”
10th Nov Aus “Doom over Vienna” Festival

Alunah is:
Siân Greenaway – Vocals
David Day – Guitar
Daniel Burchmore – Bass
Jake Mason – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/alunah.doom
http://twitter.com/#!/alunah_doom
http://alunah.bandcamp.com
http://www.alunah.co.uk
http://www.svartrecords.com

Alunah, “White Hoarhound” live at the Portland Arms, Cambridge

Alunah, Solennial (2017)

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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, The Eternal Idol

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

Black Sabbath, The Eternal Idol (1987)

It’s taken me a really, really long time to come around to anything from the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath. I’d say without hesitation it’s still a work in progress. In a way, it’s a matter of overcoming the narrative of the pre- and between-reunion years of Black Sabbath‘s ’80s and ’90s as a lost era for the heavy metal godfathers; a time spent wandering the wilderness for founding guitarist Tony Iommi that arguably began with 1983’s Born Again (discussed here) bringing in replacing Deep Purple‘s Ian Gillan to replace vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who himself took the reins following the band’s ultra-crucial first eight albums with Ozzy Osbourne. Aside from having an outright impossible standard to meet in following in the footsteps of three of rock and metal’s greatest frontmen ever, plus short-lived incarnations of the band as they worked with Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) and Ray Gillen (Badlands), the Birmingham-born Martin was nowhere near the veteran presence of the likes of Iommi, who by 1987 was just coming off releasing the would’ve-been solo album Seventh Star with Hughes in 1986 and was long since the only remaining founding member of the band.

So what did Tony Iommi‘s Black Sabbath sound like on The Eternal Idol? Unsurprisingly, the band’s days of the innovative blend of heavy rock, dark psychedelia and blues that we’d come in the decades since to think of as doom were long gone. They’d settled into a mature, largely straightforward, hyper-produced commercial form of heavy metal, still very much driven by Iommi‘s guitar work, but without the loose swing and dynamic of their earliest days or the progressive majesty that emerged on the Dio-fronted albums, 1980’s Heaven and Hell and 1981’s Mob Rules. 30 years later, the snare from former KISS drummer Eric Singer sounds dated. Does that mean that The Eternal Idol and thus Martin‘s tenure were doomed from the start? If so, Martin still had a pretty good ride with the band. Admittedly, not every track on The Eternal Idol is a gem — “Nightmare” on side B feels like filler, despite being catchy, and though its last-minute uptick of energy is appreciated, the penultimate “Lost Forever” doesn’t accomplish much that “Hard Life to Love” and the following “Glory Ride” didn’t already bring to bear earlier on in dudely ’80s keyboard-drama — but even in opener “The Shining,” the subsequent “Ancient Warrior” one can hear shades the band working on a self-referential level, calling out pieces of the live version of “Heaven and Hell” (think “A big black shape…”) and “Children the Sea,” respectively. Which is to say nothing of the closing title-track’s semi-political bent — something Sabbath had proffered since “Hand of Doom” on 1970’s Paranoid — but rendered largely toothless on “The Eternal Idol” with a more generic, less pointed social critique. Ah, the Thatcher years.

So rather than necessarily pushing brazenly forward, as one might argue even the Gillan-fronted Born Again did in 1983 as arguably the harshest sounding record Sabbath ever put out, The Eternal Idol seems to be playing to form even as it presents a new incarnation of the band that would continue for the better part of the next decade, interrupted only by the temporary reunion with Dio for 1992’s triumphant Dehumanizer LP and corresponding tour. What, then is the appeal that finally won me over? Well, first of all, Martin is a killer vocalist. Having bassist Bob Daisley, who just a couple years before had played on the first couple Ozzy solo records, alongside Singer in the rhythm section didn’t exactly make for a powerhouse in the Butler/Ward tradition, but they could certainly hold down the straightforward roll of “Eternal Idol” or the motor-thrust of “Hard Life to Love,” and that allowed both Iommi and Martin to shine in their own performances, and while again, they’re not really breaking any ground, they did manage to give a more than solid showing of what Black Sabbath could be in the bizarre heavy metal climate that was the pre-grunge late ’80s. Big as their hair got — it got sort of big — Iommi was the spearhead of a prior generation, and The Eternal Idol was the beginning point of the band becoming stable and sustainable for the better part of the next decade. Like Black SabbathHeaven and Hell and Born Again before it, it set a tone that future outings would follow. Granted, they’re hardly considered the pinnacle of the band, but without The Eternal Idol, no question the shape of 1989’s Headless Cross1990’s Tyr (my personal favorite of this era), 1994’s Cross Purposes and 1995’s Forbidden — which was the final Black Sabbath studio recording until the band got back with Ozzy to record the “Psycho Man” single in 1998 and then the Dio-fronted bonus tracks included with the 2007 compilation The Dio Years that prefaced the splintering off of what became for all too short a time Heaven and Hell.

I’m not saying it’s all gold, or that the decade Iommi spent working with Martin — split up in ’92 by the reunion with Dio, overshadowed subsequently by the reunion with Ozzy — is some magical lost trove of groundbreaking heavy rock and/or metal. But it’s got some choice Iommi riffing, and whatever else you can say about Martin‘s style being very post-Dio, he’s better at it than most, so what the hell is there to lose? Hardly the first point in their career Black Sabbath went through the motions to keep themselves on the road, and frankly, I’m not inclined to hold that against them, especially now that their career is — allegedly — over.

You certainly know the drill by now. Whatever your preconceptions about this stage of Sabbath‘s tenure, I hope you’ll give The Eternal Idol a fair shot, and of course, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

So far this week I’ve had The Pecan home alone — that is, sans The Patient Mrs. — for parts of three days. On each of those days, he has taken food from me out of a bottle. Given our prior experience in this regard, this is a huge fucking triumph. Huge. Yesterday, she came home while he was still eating and he kept going — didn’t even stop because she was there. No way that would’ve gone down like that before. He’d have immediately been like, “Fuck this, give me the real deal,” and gone for the boob. I get it, but was still frustrating when it happened.

What led to turning that corner? I kind of just realized he doesn’t want to be held by me when he’s eating. I’ve alternated putting him flat on his back on the playmat and in his sit-upright chair in the kitchen while giving him the bottle, and that’s been okay. I’ve also been having oranges with breakfast, so I’ve been kind of rubbing my finger on the pulp there and giving him a taste of the juice off my finger, just to get him more used to different flavors and taking food from me in general. He still takes bites of scrambled egg from me as well and we have some sweet potato in the fridge that we’ve been waiting to try, but we haven’t really needed to because it’s gone so well with the bottle. I’m not willing to say we’re 100 percent out of that woods, but it felt really, really fucking good this week to be able to feed my kid after three months of complete and total failure at it.

I guess I should follow up on last week’s Friday post. Shit was pretty dire feeling and I conveyed that in the most honest, truest-to-my-mindset language I could. I spent a good portion of last week thinking of death as an easier out than the way I was living. That’s just how it was. I don’t apologize for that, and I don’t expect sympathy, or “tough love” or whatever else. I can only be the person I am at a given moment and I can only write from that perspective about being in that place.

If you’re concerned, I’m under the care of several professionals. I have a nutritionist I’ve started seeing twice a week for eating disorder counseling — she’s making me eat; it’s fucking torture but I’m doing it — as well as a regular therapist and my primary care physician, who just this week put me on klonopin in addition to the 30mg anti-depressant dose I take every day. It seems to put me to sleep, which may prove somewhat inconvenient in the long run, but after being up half the nights last week I’m at very least looking at as something of a win for the immediate.

That’s where I’m at. I’m in a really, really hard place, working through a lot of really, really hard shit that I think unless you’ve been where I am you probably neither understand nor particularly give a shit about. Even then, probably questionable on that second part. But I’m doing the work I’m supposed to be doing. I’m doing what I’m told. I ate roasted potatoes the other night. I’ve been eating bread. Fruit. Lots of fruit. It’s madness. I never knew I was into pineapple. Or grapefruit. Let alone mixing them together like I just did. Sheer madness. It has me out of my head.

So that’s that. For what it’s worth, I had to put on a second pot of coffee just to get through those paragraphs. Light roast, but still.

Next week is packed. Here’s what’s in the notes for next week. It’s stupid how full it is:

MON.: Beneath Oblivion track premiere; new Ararat video.
TUE.: Malady full-album stream/review; other stuff I don’t want to give away yet.
WED.: MaidaVale video premiere; Six Dumb Questions with Somnuri.
THU.: Lowburn EP stream/review.
Fri.: Cataclysmic Events track stream.

Goes without saying that all this is subject to change with no notice whatsoever. I’ve kind of decided to nix my 2018 most-anticipated list for the time being. Not enough hours in the day and I’ve got a lot going on otherwise, but if I can still make it happen even in some preliminary way — a list of names — I will try to do so. I’ve also started kicking around the notion of doing more t-shirts if there’s a way I don’t have to ship them out, because that was awful. We’ll see where I end up on that. I said “never again” on merchandise which would seem to make it inevitable, right?

If you’re interested or not, I’ll probably keep you posted.

Thanks again for reading, and please have a great and safe weekend. Don’t forget to hit up the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Judas Priest Unveil Firepower Preorders; Post “Lightning Strike” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

judas priest Justin Borucki

I’ve said on multiple occasions that I consider classic metal within the purview of capital ‘h’ Heavy, and if you’ve got a problem with me covering Judas Priest, I don’t really know what to tell you. The metal legends are set to release full-length number 18 — 18! — on March 9. It’s up for preorder now, called Firepower, they’re touring like mad to support it in North America and Europe and no doubt beyond, and they’ve got a new video for the track “Lightning Strike” that, if you can deal with flashing lights and that sort of thing, showcases a truly badass song.

Make no mistake, it’s Priest sounding like Priest, but again, if that’s an issue, the issue isn’t with the band.

I’m stoked on this one. Hope you are too. Here’s the latest from the PR wire:

Judas Priest Firepower

JUDAS PRIEST FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS WITH BRAND NEW STUDIO ALBUM – ‘FIREPOWER’

Judas Priest could easily rest on their laurels at this stage of their highly successful and influential career. However, the legendary metal band – singer Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis – refuse to do so as evidenced by the arrival of their eighteenth studio album overall – ‘Firepower,’ which can be pre-ordered via the link http://smarturl.it/Firepower.

Set for release on Friday, March 9th, 2018 via Epic Records – the album is comprised of fourteen tracks of pure and highly inspired metal. And to mark the occasion Priest has reunited with producer Tom Allom (the man behind the board for all of the band’s releases from 1979-1988, including such stellar classics as ‘Unleashed in the East,’ ‘British Steel,’ ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ and ‘Defenders of the Faith’) and with Grammy Award-winning producer Andy Sneap also helping to raise the sonic bar even higher.

“Tom Allom has got this classic metal thing,” explains Halford. “And Andy is a bit more of a ‘modern metal producer’ but his thinking is a little bit different to Tom’s. And I think to get this balance between that classic old school metal to what Andy’s world is was just a remarkable coalescence.” “Tom Allom has been with us since 1979, so his knowledge of ourselves and our music in general is immense,” adds Hill. And according to Travis Priest returned back to a recording method that worked incredibly well on the band’s earlier classics – “We went back to the organic way of recording where it’s all of us in a room and we got to play together.”

The album’s first single, ‘Lightning Strike’ will be available worldwide on Friday, January 5, 2018, and on the same day the song’s music video will be premiered. Full album pre-order and a PledgeMusic pre-order (https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/judas-priest) will also begin the same day which includes exclusive limited autographed colored vinyl, autographed vinyl test pressings, an exclusive Judas Priest t-shirt and an extremely limited number of Judas Priest autographed guitars.

With the impending arrival of ‘Firepower’ and its ensuing tour (which kicks off on March 13th), THE PRIEST IS BACK!

‘FIREPOWER’ TRACKLISTING:
1. Firepower
2. Lightning Strike
3. Evil Never Dies
4. Never The Heroes
5. Necromancer
6. Children of the Sun
7. Guardians
8. Rising From Ruins
9. Flame Thrower
10. Spectre
11. Traitors Gate
12. No Surrender
13. Lone Wolf
14. Sea of Red

Firepower 2018 North American Tour Dates
March 13 Wilkes Barre, PA Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
March 15 Youngstown, OH Covelli Centre
March 17 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
March 18 Washington, D.C. The Anthem
March 20 Newark, NNJ Prudential Center
March 22 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
March 23 Worcester, MA The Palladium
March 25 Ottawa, ON The Arena at TD Place
March 27 London, ON Budweiser Gardens
March 28 Oshawa, ON Tribute Communities Centre
March 30 Orillia, ON Casino Rama
March 31 Detroit, MI Detroit Masonic Temple
April 03 Milwaukee, WI Riverside Theater
April 05 Green Bay, WI Resch Center
April 08 Bloomington, IL Grossinger Motors Arena
April 10 Casper, WY Casper Events Center
April 11 Loveland, CO Budweiser Events Center
April 15 Kent, WA ShoWare Center
April 17 Portland, OR. Veterans Memorial Coliseum
April 19 San Francisco, CA The Warfield
April 22 Los Angeles, CA Microsoft Theater
April 24 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre
April 26 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
April 28 Dallas, TX The Bomb Factory
April 29 Sugarland, TX Smart Financial Centre
May 01 San Antonio, TX Freeman Coliseum

http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest
https://twitter.com/judaspriest
http://www.instagram.com/judaspriest
https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/judas-priest
judaspriest.com
www.epicrecords.com/

Judas Priest, “Lightning Strike” official video

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Alunah Welcome New Vocalist Siân Greenaway; Live Debut this Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Just about five weeks after it was announced that founding guitarist/vocalist Sophie Day was leaving Birmingham, UK, doomers Alunah and that the band would continue on in her absence with her husband, guitarist David Day and drummer Jake Mason as the remaining original members, the four-piece have confirmed adding Siân Greenaway as their new singer. Greenaway, whose CV includes handling guitar/vocals in the more uptempo Bear Legs and other groups, steps into Alunah after the release of their fourth and arguably broadest ranging album, Solennial (review here), was released earlier in 2017 as their first offering through Svart Records.

As Sophie Day‘s nature-themed lyrics were a big part of Alunah‘s forest doom aesthetic both on that record and in the past, a huge question that remains to be answered is what Greenaway will bring to the band in that regard. It seems like we might have a while before we find out. The band will make their live debut on Nov. 27 in Birmingham, supporting Royal Thunder, and look to tour in 2018 while also working to solidify new material over that time. It doesn’t seem like they’re rushing to get back in the studio, but then, they did just put a record out, so one wouldn’t necessarily expect them to anyhow.

More when I hear it, I guess, but until then, best of luck to Alunah, Greenaway included, as they head into this new era. Here’s a press release I wrote for the band to make it official:

alunah

Alunah Announce New Vocalist Siân Greenaway & Live Debut

Midlands, UK, doom rockers Alunah have announced the addition of vocalist Siân Greenaway to their lineup. The new incarnation of the four-piece will make their live debut on 27 November at Mama Roux’s in their native Birmingham, supporting Royal Thunder.

Tickets for that show can be purchased here: https://www.seetickets.com/event/royal-thunder/mama-roux-s/1147450

Greenaway joins Alunah after the stunning departure in September of founding vocalist/guitarist Sophie Day, who fronted the band across four full-length releases, the latest of which, Solennial, was issued earlier this year on Svart Records. In conjunction with Day’s leaving, Alunah vowed to press on, and with the arrival of Greenaway, they will look to tour in 2018 and begin writing material for their next album.

“I’m honoured to be part of Alunah,” enthuses Greenaway. “I look forward to being part of the future of the band and am excited to take it forward.”

Bassist Dan Burchmore echoed the sentiment: “We were instantly impressed with Siân’s vocal ability, passion and commitment. We feel she will be a welcome addition to the band and we can’t wait to see what 2018 holds.”

Tour dates for 2018 are forthcoming. Booking enquiries can be sent to booking@alunah.co.uk.

Alunah is:
Siân Greenaway – Vocals
David Day – Guitar
Daniel Burchmore – Bass
Jake Mason – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/alunah.doom
http://twitter.com/#!/alunah_doom
http://alunah.bandcamp.com
http://www.alunah.co.uk
http://www.svartrecords.com

Alunah, Solennial (2017)

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Godflesh to Release Post Self Nov. 17; New Song Streaming; Streetcleaner Live at Roadburn 2011 Reissue out Dec. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

godflesh

As Godflesh make ready to perform Streetcleaner in full this coming Sunday night, Nov. 5, at Warsaw in Brooklyn to mark the 20th anniversary of Hospital Productions, the legendary Justin K. Broadrick-led outfit are preparing to unveil two new releases. First is a new studio outing titled Post Self, which is a follow-up for 2014’s return long-player A World Lit Only by Fire (review here), and second is a CD reissue Dec. 1 on Burning World/Roadburn Records of the 2013 live outing, Streetcleaner Live at Roadburn 2011, capturing the performance six years ago that basically kicked off the duo’s resurgence, Broadrick and Benny Green taking the stage together and laying waste to the entire fest. I was there. It was a work of technology advanced enough to be considered magic by my feeble brain.

The title-track of Post Self is streaming now and the PR wire brings the latest on both releases:

Godflesh share the title track of their new album, Post Self; the legendary duo’s first album in three years, due out on November 17th

Godflesh Streetcleaner Live At Roadburn (CD) out Dec. 1

Industrial metal pioneers Godflesh will release their new album Post Self on November 17th via Justin K. Broadrick’s Avalanche Recordings on CD, digital and LP formats, with a cassette version incoming on Hospital Productions. Over two years in the making, Post Self explores a different side of Godflesh, taking in their formative influences to conjure something informed by late 70’s/early 80’s post-punk and industrial music. The album deals with themes of anxiety, depression, fear, mortality, and paternal/maternal relationships.

The previous Godflesh album, A World Lit Only By Fire, was released in October 2014.

Post Self track listing
1. Post Self
2. Parasite
3. No Body
4. Mirror Of Finite Light
5. Be God
6. The Cyclic End
7. Pre Self
8. Mortality Sorrow
9. In Your Shadow
10. The Infinite End

GODFLESH performed their seminal debut full-length album, 1989’s “Streetcleaner”, in its entirety at the 2011 edition of the Roadburn festival on Thursday, April 14 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. In addition, founding members Justin Broadrick and Benny Green played the “Tiny Tears” EP, which was conceived as part of the overall “Streetcleaner” vision, in full as well.

– Mastered specially for cd by James Plotkin.
– Originally released as a double album on Roadburn Festival Records in 2013. Now for the first time out on cd.

Tracklist
1. LIKE RATS (LIVE) 05:34
2. CHRISTBAIT RISING (LIVE) 07:46
3. PULP (LIVE) 04:21
4. DREAM LONG DEAD (LIVE) 05:36
5. HEADDIRT (LIVE) 04:20
6. DEVASTATOR / MIGHTY TRUST KRUSHER (LIVE) 09:40
7. LIFE IS EASY (LIVE) 04:25
8. STREETCLEANER (LIVE) 06:47
9. LOCUST FURNACE (LIVE) 04:36
10. TINY TEARS (LIVE) 03:21
11. WOUND (LIVE) 03:12
12. DEADHEAD (LIVE) 04:06
13. SUCTION (LIVE) 08:48

http://avalancherecordings.tumblr.com/
https://godflesh1.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/jkflesh/
https://twitter.com/jkbroadrick
https://www.instagram.com/justinkbroadrick/

Godflesh, “Post Self”

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