Days of Darkness Lineup Finalized: Om to Headline Second Night; Captain Beyond, Boris, Cavity, Crypt Sermon and More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The first lineup announcement for the inaugural  Days of Darkness festival came through last month and brought with it confirmation that the autumnal two-dayer presented by the crew behind the Maryland Deathfest wasn’t screwing around either on scale — Neurosis headlining — or in scope, bring on board multi-genre acts from across a swath of underground styles. Well, the lineup is now complete. Om join Neurosis as headliners, and Cirith Ungol act as classic metal counterpart to the previously-announced Manilla Road near the top of the bill. Sizable additions like Captain Beyond, and Boris join the likes of WarningDälek and Elder — whose new album will be out by then — and Bongripper and Unearthly Trance find further tonal-onslaught companionship with word that Cavity will take part. All in all it looks like a pretty fucking good show.

Tickets are on sale now, and though they might not go before Maryland Deathfest proper, held in May as ever, I would be surprised if there were any left by the time Oct. 28 and 29 gets here. I’d think Neurosis or Om could probably sell out Rams Head on their own, never mind with the stellar support cast they’re both given across the Saturday and Sunday event. Bringing in Om has me wondering if maybe they’ll have a new record release coming up — that’s a long trip to the East Coast — but that might just be wishful thinking on my part. Either way, they’ll of course find welcome once they hit the stage, because they’re Om, and only jerks don’t like Om. That’s science. It’s proven.

Here’s the poster and the lineup as posted by the fest, as well as the link to get tickets:


Maryland Deathfest presents: Days of Darkness Festival

October 28 & 29, 2017
@ Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD

Saturday, October 28th:
Manilla Road
Captain Beyond
Dance with the Dead
Computer Magic
Crypt Sermon

Sunday, October 29th:
Cirith Ungol
Unearthly Trance
Le Matos
Magic Sword
Night Demon
Asthma Castle

No refunds. All sales final!

Om, Live at Saint Vitus Bar 2015

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Friday Full-Length: Cavity, Supercollider

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 19th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Cavity, Supercollider (1999)

Probably Cavity‘s most remembered work owing in no small part to a Hydra Head reissue in 2002, Supercollider first appeared three years earlier in 1999 on Man’s Ruin Records, with different artwork but a no less vicious roll, feedback-soaked riffing developed over the course of a tumultuous seven years since the band’s inception in 1992. By the time they got around to Supercollider, third of the four records they’d release before calling it quits after 2001’s On the Lam, bassist Daniel Gorostiaga was the only remaining founding member of the band, but their lineup changes had brought on board players who would and had already helped to shape the style of heavy for which Miami has since become known, a shared lineage with their contemporaries in Floor finding the roster of guitarist/vocalist Anthony Vialon and drummer Henry Wilson (both known for their work in that band and featured in the reunited trio now active) on board for these 10 tracks, along with Gorostiaga and guitarist/vocalist Ryan Weinstein. The stew they’d concoct over the 41 minutes of Supercollider showcased a hook early in its opening title-track but was ultimately more sinister in its purposes on subsequent pieces like “Damaged IV” and “Last of the Final Goodbyes.”

And as much as Cavity‘s impact these years later on Miami heavy stems from the people who were a part of its lineup and their ongoing contributions — Wilson went on to form Dove after Floor, and now also plays in House of LightningVialon is back in Floor, whose guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks (also Torche) also did a stint in Cavity, as did Holly Hunt drummer Beatriz Monteavaro, former Torche guitarist Juan Montoya, and both guitarist/vocalist Jason Landrian and drummer Rafa Martinez of Black Cobra, among many others — that’s not to understate the actual influence their music had. One can hear the roots of much of what came after in Cavity‘s earlier work, and even bands like Kylesa and Mastodon, who are both from a ways north, in Georgia, owed Cavity a debt in their early days. Supercollider is more heavy rock and less punk than some of what Cavity did, but it still retains an ethic and penchant for meanness, staring down the listener, and its blend has remained its own over the 16 years since its release.

Some form of Cavity, whatever lineup it might be, are due for a reunion — and there have been talks of such for the last several years — but until we get there, a revisit to Supercollider will have to do. Hope you enjoy.

This weekend is my grandmother’s 100th birthday. A hundred fucking years. More life than you or I can imagine. I’ll be heading down to Jersey to celebrate with family and then back up on Sunday, so the writing that I might otherwise be doing to get ahead of the game on Monday is pretty much out of the question. She may or may not know who I am when I get there, but you’d best believe I’m gonna be there anyway. Some things you don’t miss.

So look for a new podcast on Monday. We’re due anyway. That and whatever news comes up will have to suffice.

Tuesday, a track premiere from DoctoR DooM, and hopefully a review of some Anathema vinyl if I can find time to write it — those reissues; they’re awesome — and Thursday, a track premiere from boozy rockers Plainride. I’ll also have a Freedom Hawk review sometime next week in addition to the Anathema, but I’m going to start preparing the Quarterly Review this coming week ahead of getting those posts up — 10 reviews a day for five days — the week starting June 27, so if I keep it a little more sparing on actual posts up next week, three or four a day instead of five, or six, that’s why. I’m not just lazy; I’m working on other stuff.

Speaking of, the job is going well, if you’re wondering. It doesn’t look like they want to shitcan me, which is important, and I was able to bring the little dog Dio to the office twice this week, so I mark that a win. Looking like they’re going to send me to San Francisco next month as well to write about a conference on semiconductors that runs from July 14-16, so you know I’ll be parlaying that to a visit to Amoeba Music and hopefully Aquarius Records too, the two of them comprising something of a record-buying Mecca I’ve been fortunate enough to stop through on more than one occasion in my life. Would be cool to find a show to hit as well. Mammatus play on July 9 with Trans Am. Just missed it. Timing is everything.

Alright, it’s just after 6PM and I’m pretty sure I’m the only person still in this office building, so time to get the hell out and go sit in traffic for an indeterminate amount of hours. I hope you have a great and safe weekend, wherever you’re at, and I hope you please take some time to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Buried Treasure: Cheap Thrills and Soundcentral in Montreal

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 26th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Had I been there longer than two days, I probably would’ve visited more shops than I did, but as it was, two weeks ago, The Patient Mrs. and I escaped to Montreal for a couple days and as is my habit in places I’ve never been before, I decided to do some CD shopping. I asked and was immediately given many helpful pointers on Thee Facebooks, and that was excellent, but again, with limited time, limited funds and a limited ability on my part to be like, “No honey I don’t want to go take a walk by the river I want to go sift through musty record stores,” I picked the two that showed the most immediate promise: Cheap Thrills on Metcalfe St. and Soundcentral on Rue Coloniale.

Cheap Thrills was first since it was closer to where I was staying. Located on the second floor of its building — an older structure surrounded by taller, newer ones, it looks a little bit like something out of a time warp — getting there required a walk up a staircase that was warped almost to the point of psychedelia but proved to be worth the risk. A table of used paperbacks outside the door provided greeting and inside, a varied selection of vinyl and CDs and more books (half the store was dedicated to books, half to music) awaited perusal. The LPs looked like the way to go, but I wasn’t looking to pick up vinyl and so, finding nothing in metal, waded through the retro section hoping for Chicken Shack or some other heavy ’70s obscurity.

There were a couple that piqued my interest, but nothing so much so that I actually bought it. Tapes were behind the counter and I looked at some of them as well, but well, it was early, I was only halfway through my coffee and barely awake. It wasn’t until I found the cheapo bin — three discs for $5 — that I started to really feel inspired. Going for some local flavor, I grabbed the 2007 Blackhorse full-length from native dronegazers Aun, and was dumbfounded when I stumbled on a copy of the 1999 outing from Floridian sludgers Cavity, Supercollider. Not only was it that album, but the original Man’s Ruin pressing. Yeah, I already owned it, but it seemed like an issue of principle. No way I could leave it there. I didn’t wind up hitting that three for $5 special, but between those and some books The Patient Mrs. picked up, I felt like I did reasonably well.

My magical track-my-movements-and-tell-me-where-to-go robot (aka my phone) didn’t work above the border, so finding Soundcentral was something of a challenge, but it worked out in the end. I knew I was in the right place when, as I started to check out the bins by the door, the dude behind the counter took one look at my Vitus shirt and told me the sludgy, doomy, stoner stuff was in the back. Off I went. Sure enough, up a couple stairs — Soundcentral is deceptively spacious, but creatively laid out, and again, there are books in back (also VHS tapes) — and around the hardcore section, there was a pretty wide variety of heavy styles, used and new, neatly enough organized and running a full gamut of subgenres.

Montreal has a history of diverse metal, from Cryptopsy to The Great Sabatini, but I knew from the modicum of research I did beforehand that Soundcentral was the official distro point for local trio Dopethrone, and having bought their two prior offerings at Roadburn 2012, I knew I didn’t want to leave without picking up a physical copy of the third. The aptly-titled III was readily on hand, so I snagged that, and have been delighting in its Bongzilla-style stone-sludge ever since. For further Montreal-atry, I got Hell in Montreal by Mister Bones, who are from — wait for it — Montreal, and veering from the local stuff, was glad to find a CD copy of Egypt‘s 2013 return outing, Become the Sun (review here), and the 2012 debut, Wild Beyond Belief!, by Virginian outfit Satan’s Satyrs.

Those four probably would’ve been enough to send me out of Soundcentral confident I’d come out on the winning end, but my interest was also piqued by a self-titled outing in a sleeve by a band called Gruel. Normally, I wouldn’t shell out the cash for something in a sleeve — at a show, maybe — just as a moral standpoint, but already being out of my element in an unfamiliar city, I went with my gut and picked it up. The UK band released it in 2009 and played their last show in 2011, it was limited to 500 copies and it’s got a vicious threatening ambience to its sludge, something like Thou but with the additional off-puttingness of being an hour’s worth of material broken into four tracks that are slabs of 15 minutes apiece. Vinyl sides, in other words. On CD they make for a formidable challenge.

Knowing nothing about that, I got it basically just for the fun of taking a chance on it and on my way out, was given a copy of Coloniale, an also-limited 2010 3.5″ CDR from local and affiliated instrumentalists Squalor. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to play it when the time came — those tiny CDs can be trouble — but it wound up working fine in my laptop, and Squalor‘s garage-sounding noise-rock hit with suitable bombast. There are just three tracks on it, sort of like the compact disc version of a 7″ with one song on one side and two shorter ones on the other, but though the sound was raw the band kept my attention anyway, middle cut “Dos de Mayo” holding a line somewhere between psychedelia and caustic punk. They’ve reportedly got a new one in the works, so that’s something to keep an eye out for.

By the time I was done in Soundcentral, the afternoon was starting to wear on. Plans to hit the contemporary art museum proved ambitious and were tossed in favor of a nap. Poutine dinner and a semi-comatose walk by the aforementioned river followed, and in the morning, The Patient Mrs. and I started the long drive back down south. We’d talked about hitting Montreal for about a decade before we finally got to do it — we’ve stopped a few times over the years because of the sheer distracting gorgeousness of the Adirondacks — but if I make it back anytime soon, at least I’ll know where to get my shopping in.

Squalor, Coloniale (2010)

Cheap Thrills website

Soundcentral website

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Buried Treasure Where I-75 Meets I-280

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 25th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Though we drove through Canada to get to Michigan, the plan for the trip back to New Jersey was to make it happen as quickly and as painlessly as possible. That meant jumping on I-75 and meeting up with I-280 in Toledo, Ohio, and from there, picking up I-80 East, which The Patient Mrs. and I would be on for the next however many hours until we could get off 80 literally 10 minutes from home. Toledo to home on one road. Not an exciting drive, by any stretch of the imagination, but easy enough to navigate.

And wouldn’t you know that in Toledo there resides Ramalama Records, from whose logo alone I knew was someplace I wanted to shop? As The Patient Mrs. and I paid for our breakfast at the newly-remolded Original House of Pancakes and the girl behind the counter asked us what we were doing in town, she recommended Culture Clash, another shop that I probably would have wanted to stop at had the wait at said pancakery been the 20-25 minutes we were quoted and not the 45-50 it was. Nonetheless, arrival back in the valley would just have to wait, because Ramalama wouldn’t.

About a minute after I walked in the shop, the dude working there put on YOB‘s The Great Cessation, and I knew that in the whole stretch of Toledo, Ohio — which, like a lot of Midwestern cities, reminded me viscerally of Rt. 46 in Parsippany, NJ — I was in the right place. The store’s used metal section was more than impressive. There weren’t any discs in it, but the fact alone that they had a spot for Trouble was massively encouraging, and the general vibe was that the place was well organized and reasonably priced. A store like that is always a welcome find, even if I don’t end up buying anything.

That, however, would not be the case at Ramalama. I picked up a slew of goodies from the aforementioned used section, up to and including a copy of the self-titled Sod Hauler EP, which was a surprise, since I wouldn’t necessarily expect to find a Seattle local band’s disc at a store more than halfway across the country. Noosebomb‘s Brain Food for the Braindead, released on Shifty Records, from Akron, made more sense. I grabbed both, as well as the Southern Lord reissue of Burning Witch‘s Crippled Lucifer, just for the hell of it.

I made my way through the alphabet in reverse and was surprised to find both Enslaved and Opeth discs. I didn’t buy them, because I didn’t need to, but usually people who purchase those records do so with the intent of keeping them. It was that kind of store; had me thinking at several intervals, “Who gave this up?” The 2000 Koch reissue of Judas Priest‘s Sad Wings of Destiny sounds poorly remastered, but the original issue Screaming for Vengeance is just right. And in light of their being a band I always kind of overlooked and the swirling rumors of a reunion at next year’s Maryland Deathfest, I snatched the Hydra Head reissue of Cavity‘s Supercollider. I own the original, but figured it was a chance to revisit the record, and seriously, how often do you see a used Cavity CD sitting around?

At that point, I could have wrapped it up and let it stand at that, but honestly, after finding that much good shit, I wanted to support the store, and so I picked up new (unused) copies of The Local Fuzz by The Atomic Bitchwax and the 2011 Heavy Rocks by Boris. I probably could have gotten those discs somewhere else, or online, but for a brick and mortar independent store to be featuring both in its “recent releases” section, and to be playing YOB, and to have the Cavity, the Sod Hauler, the Burning Witch — well, at that point, here, please take more of my money. Just keep doing what you’re doing.

I’d brought more than a handful of discs along for the rides to Detroit and back, but I was more than glad for the additions to the playlist. Cavity tested The Patient Mrs.‘ titular virtue, but Boris was most welcome alongside the Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Buffalo and Dio albums that — along with the Cleveland Indians losing to the Chicago White Sox — provided accompaniment for our long ride home.

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