Quarterly Review: Howling Giant, Rose City Band, The Tazers, Kavrila, Gateway, Bala, Tremor Ama, The Crooked Whispers, No Stone, Firefriend

Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

You know what? We’re through the first week of the Quarterly Review as of this post. Not too bad. I feel like it’s been smooth going so far to such a degree that I’m even thinking about adding an 11th day comprised purely of releases that came my way this week and will invariably come in next week too. Crazy, right? Bonus day QR. We’ll see if I get there, but I’m thinking about it. That alone should tell you something.

But let me not get ahead of myself. Day five commence.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Howling Giant, Alteration

howling giant alteration

Let the story be that when the pandemic hit, Nashville’s Howling Giant took to the airwaves to provide comfort, character and a bit of ‘home’ — if one thinks of live performance as home — to their audience. With a steady schedule of various live streams on Twitch, some playing music, some playing D&D, the band engaged their listenership in a new and exciting way, finding a rare bright point in one of the darkest years of recent history. Alteration, a crisp four-song/20-minute EP, is born out of those streamed jams, with songs named by the band’s viewers/listeners — kudos to whoever came up with “Luring Alluring Rings” — and, being entirely instrumental from a band growing more and more focused on vocal arrangements, sound more like they’re on their way to being finished than are completely done. However, that’s also the point of the release, essentially to showcase unfinished works in progress that have emerged in a manner that nobody expected. It is another example from last year-plus that proves the persistence of creativity, and is all the more beautiful for that.

Howling Giant on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings website

 

Rose City Band, Earth Trip

Rose City Band Earth Trip

Vaguely lysergic, twanging with a non-chestbeating or jingoistic ’70s American singer-songwriter feel, Rose City Band‘s Earth Trip brings sentiment without bitterness in its songs, engaging as the title hints with nature in songs like “Silver Roses,” “In the Rain,” “Lonely Planes,” “Ramblin’ with the Day,” “Rabbit” and “Dawn Patrol.” An outlet for Ripley Johnson, also of Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo, the “band” isn’t so much in Rose City Band, but there is some collaboration — pedal steel here and there, as on “Ramblin’ with the Day” — though it’s very much Johnson‘s own craft and performance at the core of this eight-song set. This is the third Rose City Band long-player in three years, but quickly as it may have come about, the tracks never feel rushed — hushed, if anything — and Johnson effectively casts himself in among the organic throughout the proceedings, making the listener feel nothing if not welcome to join the ramble.

Rose City Band on Facebook

Thrill Jockey Records website

 

The Tazers, Dream Machine

The Tazers Dream Machine

Johannesburg, South Africa’s The Tazers are suited to a short-release format, as their Dream Machine EP shows, bringing together four tracks with psychedelic precociousness and garage rock attitude to spare, with just an edge of classic heavy to keep things grooving. Their latest work opens with its languid and lysergic title-track, which sets up the shove of “Go Away” and the shuffle in “Lonely Road” — both under three and a half minutes long, with nary a wasted second in them, despite sounding purposefully like tossoffs — and the latter skirts the line of coming undone, but doesn’t, of course, but in the meantime sets up the almost proto-New Wave in the early going on “Around Town,” only later to give way to the band’s most engaging melody and a deceptively patient, gentle finish, which considering some of the brashness in the earlier tracks is a surprise. A pleasant one, though, and not the first the three-piece have brought forth by the time they get to the end of Dream Machine‘s ultra-listenable 16-minute run.

The Tazers on Facebook

The Tazers on Soundcloud

 

Kavrila, Rituals III

Kavrila Rituals III

Pressed in an ultra-limited edition of 34 tapes (the physical version also has a bonus track), Kavrila‘s Rituals III brings together about 16 minutes of heavy hardcore and post-hardcore, a thickened undertone giving something of a darker mood to the crunch of “Equality” as guitars are layered in subtly in a higher register, feeding into the urgency without competing with the drums or vocals. Opener “Sunday” works at more of a rush while “Longing” has more of a lurch at least to its outset before gradually elbowing its way into a more careening groove, but the bridge being built is between sludge and hardcore, and while the four-piece aren’t the first to build it, they do well here. If we’re picking highlights, closer “Elysium” has deft movement, intensity and atmosphere in kind, and still features a vocal rawness that pushes the emotional crux between the verses and choruses to make the transitions that much smoother. The ending fades out early behind those shouts, leaving the vocals stranded, calling out the song’s title into a stark emptiness.

Kavrila on Facebook

The Chinaskian Conspiracy on Bandcamp

 

Gateway, Flesh Reborn

gateway flesh reborn

Brutal rebirth. Robin Van Oyen is the lone figure behind Bruges, Belgium-based death-doom outfit Gateway, and Flesh Reborn is his first EP in three years. Marked out with guest guitar solos by M., the four-track/25-minute offering keeps its concentration on atmosphere as much as raw punishment, and while one would be correct to call it ‘extreme’ in its purpose and execution, its deathliest aspects aren’t just the growling vocals or periods of intense blast, but the wash of distortion that lays over the offering as a whole, from “Hel” through “Slumbering Crevasses,” the suitably twisting, later lurching “Rack Crawler” and the grandeur-in-filth 12-minute closing title-track, at which point the fullness of the consumption is revealed at last. Unbridled as it seems, this material is not without purpose and is not haphazard. It is the statement it intends to be, and its depths are shown to be significant as Van Oyen pulls you further down into them with each passing moment, finally leaving you there amid residual drone.

Gateway on Facebook

Chaos Records website

 

Bala, Maleza

Bala Maleza

Admirably punk in its dexterity, Bala‘s debut album, Maleza, arrives as a nine-track pummelfest from the Spanish duo of guitarist/vocalist Anx and drummer/vocalist V., thickened with sludgy intent and aggression to spare. The starts and stops of opener “Agitar” provide a noise-rock-style opening that hints at the tonal push to come throughout “Hoy No” — the verse melody of which seems to reinvent The Bangles — while the subsequent “X” reaches into greater breadth, vocals layered effectively as a preface perhaps to the later grunge of “Riuais,” which arrives ahead of the swaggering riff and harsh sneer of “Bessie” the lumbering finale “Una Silva.” Whether brooding in “Quieres Entrar” or explosive in its shove in “Cien Obstaculos,” Maleza offers stage-style energy with clarity of vision and enough chaos to make the anger feel genuine. There’s apparently some hype behind Bala, and fair enough, but this is legitimately one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in 2021.

Bala on Facebook

Century Media Records website

 

Tremor Ama, Beneath

Tremor Ama Beneath

French prog-fuzz five-piece Tremor Ama make a coherent and engaging debut with Beneath, a first full-length following up a 2017 self-titled EP release. Spacious guitar leads the way through the three-minute intro “Ab Initio” and into the subsequent “Green Fire,” giving a patient launch to the outing, the ensuing four songs of which grow shorter as they go behind that nine-minute “Green Fire” stretch. There’s room for ambience and intensity both in centerpiece “Eclipse,” with vocals echoing out over the building second half, and both “Mirrors” and “Grey” offer their moments of surge as well, the latter tapping into a roll that should have fans of Forming the Void nodding both to the groove and in general approval. Effectively tipping the balance in their sound over the course of the album as a whole, Tremor Ama showcase an all-the-more thoughtful approach in this debut, and at 30 minutes, they still get out well ahead of feeling overly indulgent or losing sight of their overarching mission.

Tremor Ama on Facebook

Tremor Ama on Bandcamp

 

The Crooked Whispers, Dead Moon Night

The Crooked Whispers Dead Moon Night

Delivered on multiple formats including as a 12″ vinyl through Regain Records offshoot Helter Skelter Productions, the bleary cultistry of The Crooked Whispers‘ two-songer Dead Moon Night also finds the Los Angeles-based outfit recently picked up by Ripple Music. If it seems everybody wants a piece of The Crooked Whispers, that’s fair enough for the blend of murk, sludge and charred devil worship the foursome offer with “Hail Darkness” and the even more gruesome “Galaxy of Terror,” taking the garage-doom rawness of Uncle Acid and setting against a less Beatlesian backdrop, trading pop hooks for classic doom riffing on the second track, flourishing in its misery as it is. At just 11 minutes long — that’s less than a minute for each inch of the vinyl! — Dead Moon Night is a grim forecast of things to come for the band’s deathly revelry, already showcased too on last year’s debut, Satanic Whispers (review here).

The Crooked Whispers on Facebook

Regain Records on Bandcamp

 

No Stone, Road into the Darkness

No Stone Road into the Darkness

Schooled, oldschool doom rock for denim-clad heads as foggy as the distortion they present, No Stone‘s debut album, Road into the Darkness, sounds like they already got there. The Rosario, Argentina, trio tap into some Uncle Acid-style garage doom vibes on “The Frayed Endings,” but the crash is harder, and the later 10-minute title-track delves deeper into psychedelia and grunge in kind, resulting in an overarching spirit that’s too weird to be anything but individual, however mmuch it might still firmly reside within the tenets of “cult.” If you were the type to chase down a patch, you might want to chase down a No Stone patch, as “Devil Behind” makes its barebones production feel like an aesthetic choice to offset the boogie to come in “Shadow No More,” and from post-intro opener “Bewitched” to the long fade of “The Sky is Burning,” No Stone balance atmosphere and songcraft in such a way as to herald future progress along this morose path. Maybe they are just getting on the road into the darkness, but they seem to be bringing that darkness with them on the way.

No Stone on Facebook

Ruidoteka Records on Bandcamp

 

Firefriend, Dead Icons

Firefriend Dead Icons

Dead Icons is the sixth full-length from Brazilian psychedelic outfit Firefriend, and throughout its 10 songs and 44 minutes, the band proffer marked shoegaze-style chill and a sense of space, fuzzy and molten in “Hexagonal Mess,” more desert-hued in “Spin,” jangly and out for a march on “Ongoing Crash.” “Home or Exile” takes on that question with due reach, and “Waves” caps with organ alongside the languid guitar, but moments like “Tomorrow” are singular and gorgeous, and though “Three Dimensional Sound Glitch” and “666 Fifth Avenue” border on playful, there’s an overarching melancholy to the flow, as engaging as it is. In its longest pieces — “Tomorrow” (6:05) and “One Thousand Miles High” (5:08) — the “extra” time is well spent in extending the trio’s reach, and while it’s safe to assume that six self-recorded LPs later, Firefriend know what they want to do with their sound, that thing feels amorphous, fleeting, transient somehow here, like a moving target. That speaks to ongoing growth, and is just one of Dead Icons‘ many strengths.

Firefriend on Facebook

Cardinal Fuzz store

Little Cloud Records store

 

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Album Review: Eyehategod, A History of Nomadic Behavior

Posted in Reviews on March 17th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

eyehategod a history of nomadic behavior

If there’s one thing Eyehategod aren’t short on, it’s history. Though just their sixth full-length in a career that goes back more than 30 years, the New Orleans sludge forebears represent a style of volatility that more than two generations of bands have sought in one way or another to emulate, and almost no one has come close to their chaotic, held-together-by-a-thread spirit. A History of Nomadic Behavior is their first outing for Century Media since 2000’s Confederacy of Ruined Lives and is separated from that record — in terms of studio LPs, at least — only by 2014’s self-titled, a “return” offering through Housecore Records that followed years of touring resurgence and legend-building.

There is almost nothing one might reasonably ask of A History of Nomadic Behavior that it doesn’t deliver. Certainly, the band — who also stylize the name as EyeHateGod — have seen several changes over the last 10 years, with the 2013 death of drummer Joe LaCaze and the departure of guitarist Brian Patton, who had been with Eyehategod since 1989 and 1993, respectively. Founding guitarist Jimmy Bower (also The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight and drums for Down) and vocalist Mike IX Williams are well intact, and along with longtime bassist Gary Mader and drummer Aaron HillEyehategod present their stage-honed antipathy across 12 tracks and 42 minutes of the willfully destructive riff-punk that became sludge largely in their (and Crowbar‘s, to be fair) wake, because to call it anything else was and is simply inappropriate.

Inevitably, A History of Nomadic Behavior will be some listener’s first Eyehategod record. For as long as the band is tenured and as much of their audience might have aged along with them, their regular touring over the last 15 or so years has ensured that subsequent generations of listeners are likely to take them on, and while their early work in 1990’s In the Name of Suffering and the essential 1993 follow-up, Take as Needed for Pain, remain staples of the genre canon, it’s just not where everyone is going to start.

So what of the album as an introduction to the band? Williams is a poet, and, yes, he knows it. His vocals — recorded by esteemed producer and his Corrections House bandmate Sanford Parker — are arguably the rawest element on display throughout songs like “Fate What’s Yours,” “High Risk Trigger” and the closing “Every Thing, Every Day,” and his lyrics are spit through in guttural, vocal-cord-straining fashion, and by now it’s hard to think of him doing anything else except for the periodic drawl that complements, as in “Current Situation.” It’s easy to imagine his approach as a physical sensation; guttural in the truest sense in being from the gut. His disaffection, accompanied by a long and chronicled past of addiction, is nothing less than a hallmark of Eyehategod‘s work, and that’s true from the moment he arrives following the initial feedback of opener “Built Beneath the Lies” to the last shouts of “Kill your boss!” before “Every Thing, Every Day” cuts to noise and a final manipulated sample about being scared to go to sleep.

eyehategod

The narrative around A History of Nomadic Behavior — beyond the simple ‘there’s a new Eyehategod record and this is it’ — is that it finds Williams as a lyricist engaging with sociopolitical issues in a new way. Fair enough, but one would by no means call these songs, even “Current Situation,” political. “Circle of Nerves” strikes as a fitting summary of the anxiety of the last year of pandemic and social division, and “High Risk Trigger” takes a somewhat similar perspective in waiting for the shoe to drop, whatever shoe that might be and whatever its dropping might bring, but the lyrics are impressions and the delivery is harsh, and if you find you’re turned off by Williams feeling ‘ways about stuff,’ as Futurama once put it, my simple advice is to get over yourself.

For accompaniment, Bower‘s riffs are no less integral to Eyehategod being Eyehategod, and he wields feedback with the hand of a master. Noise is a crucial factor throughout A History of Nomadic Behavior, whether it’s serving as an intro as on “Current Situation” — how could it not? — or offsetting the start-stop chug of presumed side B opener “Anemic Robotic.” Fast or slow, punked or stoned, the guitar captures the sense of sway and crash that makes up so much of the band’s rhythm — and of course Mader and Hill have their roles in that too — and as recorded by James Whitten (who also mixed and mastered, with Parker having a hand in the mix as well), the guitar, bass and drums come through balancing thickness and grit, clarity and rawness as if to preserve the latter without sacrificing the former. It’s a tough niche to find, sound-wise, but listening to “The Trial of Johnny Cancer” — which introduces the paranoid sample that “Every Thing, Every Day” concludes — there’s still plenty of dirt in Bower‘s tone as Williams declares, “I’d rather be a corpse than a coward.”

The simple truth of A History of Nomadic Behavior is that the stakes aren’t that high for Eyehategod in putting out a new release, and nothing I say about it is going to matter in the slightest. They’re a live band, and they’ve worked hard to earn that reputation. New album or not, they were going to tour, and it doesn’t seem likely that A History of Nomadic Behavior is going to usurp their ’90s-era records as the foundation of their legacy. They steamroll through this collection of songs as they steamroll through everything. They know their audience — new or old — and there’s even a “Smoker’s Place” tucked late into the tracklisting to give a breather before “Circle of Nerves” and “Every Thing, Every Day,” reminiscent of Down‘s “Doobinterlude.”

Three-plus decades later, Eyehategod have kicked their way through every last expectation of their demise and stood the test of time. Their output is pivotal sludge, and though they’re not by any means prolific in terms of LPs, they know how to harness their signature ferocity in a studio setting when it comes right to it. Maybe the highest compliment one could pay A History of Nomadic Behavior is to say it sounds like Eyehategod. There was no way it would’ve come out otherwise.

Eyehategod, “High Risk Trigger” visualizer

A History of Nomadic Behavior lnk.to

Eyehategod website

Eyehategod on Thee Facebooks

Eyehategod on Instagram

Century Media website

Century Media on Thee Facebooks

Century Media webstore

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EyeHateGod to Release A History of Nomadic Behavior in Spring 2021

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

New Orleans sludge institution EyeHateGod will release their first album in seven years, A History of Nomadic Behavior, in Spring 2021. They’ve re-signed with Century Media for the new offering, which will be the follow-up to their 2014 self-titled, a record for which they’ve consistently toured since its release. Actually, they were kind of on tour before they released it too. Pretty much since they started up again, they’ve been touring. You might say: they have a long track record of moving around from place to place.

There has to be some better way to phrase that.

I’ll confess I never really checked out the self-titled, because the rest of the universe was slathering it with hyperbole anyway and at that point why bother, plus I kind of found it easier to live without than I expected. I don’t know if I’m even cool enough to get to hear this one — the answer to that question more often than not is “no” — but A History of Nomadic Behavior is due out in Spring just the same, and it’s the joy of my day to get to post a quote from Mike Gitter, whom I remember fondly from his days at Roadrunner Records in NYC.

From the PR wire:

eyehategod a history of nomadic behavior

EYEHATEGOD RETURN TO CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS

NEW ALBUM, A HISTORY OF NOMADIC BEHAVIOR, ARRIVES SPRING 2021 (DATE TBA)

EyeHateGod have returned to Century Media Records, with an eye towards a Spring 2021 release for the band’s first album in seven years: A History of Nomadic Behavior (date TBA).

A joint statement from the band on the band and label reunion: “EyeHateGod are pleased to announce we’ve signed a licensing deal with Century Media Records USA and Europe…! We welcome the new changes along with the new year coming, and want this union to benefit everyone involved, especially our rabid and disturbed fans across the globe!”

“We’re happy to announce solidifying our worldwide relationship with EyeHateGod,” added Director of Century Media Records, Phillipp Schulte. “While Century Media has worked with the guys in the past, we’re excited to begin a new chapter with a record that easily ranks amongst this hard-working, heavy-touring band’s best. We are very much looking forward to releasing EyeHateGod’s A Historic of Nomadic Behavior.”

“EyeHateGod are survivors on every level,” says Century Media Records Vice President of A&R, Mike Gitter. “Since 1988 they’ve been part of the framework of extreme music and A History of Nomadic Behavior will be no exception. Theirs is a tough and turbulent road that would have stopped most bands dead in their tracks. Not these NOLA legends. Century Media has been part of their career from the early days and we’re excited to be working together again. EyeHateGod is here to stay.”

The cover art for A History of Nomadic Behavior has been revealed as the band and label prepare to share additional details about the album in coming weeks.

http://www.eyehategod.ee
http://www.facebook.com/OfficialEyeHateGod
https://www.instagram.com/eyehategodnola
http://www.centurymedia.com
http://www.facebook.com/centurymedia
http://www.cmdistro.com

EyeHateGod, “Medicine Noose” official video

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Voivod Announce Streaming Show Aug. 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Fifteen bucks Canadian isn’t nothing, but it’s frickin’ Voivod. What, you’re gonna tell me it’s not worth it to watch Voivod play live? Of course you’re not gonna tell me that, and even if you were I wouldn’t listen because I know otherwise. I saw Voivod most recently last April in Brooklyn (review here) and like few I’ve ever seen on a stage, these bona fide legends of progressive thrash — still a microgenre they more or less entirely own — play with an infectious joy for which simply there is no wrong time. Sunday at 4PM it is. Weirdos’ll be lined up around the virtual block for this one in their War & Pain t-shirts. It’s been so long since I wore any that I don’t actually know where they are, but if I had a pair of jeans handy, I might even put them on for this one.

Nah, let’s not go that far. But still, it’s Voivod.

And hmm… they have a live album coming later this year on Century Media. Is it possible the two things might be related? We’ll have to wait and see.

From the PR wire:

voivod stream

VOIVOD Announce live-stream concert for August 9th, 2020.

Canadian progressive sci-fi metal innovators VOIVOD have announced an exclusive livestream appearance for Sunday, August 9th, 2020:

Come one, come all! In an event not to be missed, VOIVOD performs a live in-studio set for an exclusive one time streaming broadcast on Aug 9, 2020 at 4 PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). This multi camera shoot and audio mix will happen in real time at the same studio VOIVOD recorded their Juno winning album “The Wake”.

Why Aug 9? It’s Denis “Snake” Belanger’s birthday and he wanted to party safely with all his friends and fans from around the globe since VOIVOD touring the planet has been grounded by the Pandemic.

Tickets are $15 CDN plus applicable taxes based on your location. Buy a single ticket or group rates here https://lepointdevente.com/tickets/voivodshowlive

Check out further details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/590841571621202/

Most recently, VOIVOD have released a 3-track 12” Vinyl and Digital EP entitled “The End Of Dormancy” earlier this month worldwide via Century Media Records.

The EP is centered around a special “Metal Section” version of the title track “The End Of Dormancy” (Off VOIVOD’s latest album “The Wake”) with added trumpets, saxophone and trombones. The complementary tracks on this release are exclusive live versions of “The End Of Dormancy (Metal Section)” and the group’s classic “The Unknown Knows” recorded at Montreal Jazz Fest 2019. Here is the exact track-listing for the EP:

VOIVOD – “The End Of Dormancy” EP:
Side A:
1. The End Of Dormancy (Metal Section) [08:15]
Side B:
1. The End Of Dormancy (Live Montreal Jazz Fest 2019) [09:08]
2. The Unknown Knows (Live Montreal Jazz Fest 2019) [05:08]

“The Wake“ can still be ordered in various editions here: https://VOIVODBand.lnk.to/TheWake

Other VOIVOD news? “A live record will be released later this year on Century Media Records. VOIVOD hope to see you next year on tour!”. Indeed, stay connected…

VOIVOD are:
Denis “Snake” Belanger – Vocals
Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain – Guitar
Dominic “Rocky” Laroche – Bass
Michel “Away” Langevin – Drums

http://voivod.com
http://www.facebook.com/Voivod
http://www.centurymedia.com
http://www.facebook.com/centurymedia
http://www.cmdistro.com

Voivod, “The End of Dormancy (Metal Section)” official video

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Wolves in the Throne Room Announce European Tour; New Album in February

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

wolves in the throne room (Photo by VeledaThorsson)

Did you know Wolves in the Throne Room had signed to Century Media? Did you know they’ve got a new record coming out in February? I didn’t. I mean, I’m not the be-all-end-all of news-awareness or anything, but I’d hope that if word of such a thing came down the PR wire, I’d have noticed. Still, in the announcement of their Jan. 2020 European run with Dimmu Borgir (meh) and Amorphis (yay) is that somewhat buried lede, which only further piques interest since it means their new album will follow less than three years after Sept. 2017’s Thrice Woven (review here). That’s the shortest span between offerings they’ve had since 2011.

There has to be a word for when a tour is announced and you get all excited and then are disappointed to learn it’s not happening anywhere near where you’re going to be. It’s not quite FOMO, but definitely more than just an “aw shucks” kind of scenario. That specific feeling needs a word. “Geographical displacement,” maybe? I’ll think about it. You do too. We’ll come up with something. Either way, it’s been too damn long since I last saw either Wolves in the Throne Room or Amorphis, so this would be one to catch if I could. Which I can’t.

The PR wire has the info:

dimmu borgir amorphis wolves in the throne room

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM TO SUPPORT DIMMU BORGIR & AMORPHIS CO-HEADLINE TOUR FOR JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2020

The year 2020 is set to start with a roll of thunder! American post black metallers Wolves In The Throne Room are set to support Norwegian black metal band Dimmu Borgir and Finnish melodic prog metallers Amorphis on their co-headline tour that no metal fan should miss – dates and details below.

Wolves In The Throne Room remark “We are ready to blaze forth across Europe with these two titans of Heavy Metal! Dimmu Borgir and Amorphis are bands that we love and we are looking forward to supporting them on this tour. We will be playing songs off our new album (released by Century Media in February) as well as some classic Wolves material. Thank you!”

Dimmu Borgir comment “We’re going to crush Europe in January next year, and together with AMORPHIS, we’ll make sure that Nordic darkness will create a perfect winter’s storm. See you all soon!”

Amorphis’ Esa Holopainen added: “When the idea of doing a co-headline tour with DIMMU BORGIR came up, it sounded great, but at the same time we were really surprised. However, the more we thought about it, the more it sounded like a perfect match. Musically we are different, but deep down, it’s not really by that much. There’s a lot of similar elements where both bands take their inspiration. Both bands are absolutely unique on stage. It is needless to say that this tour is going to be a true killer with a massive production, that will undoubtedly bring even more coldness into people’s hearts in January 2020. We would also like to welcome WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM to open the evenings.”

See the bands on one of the following exclusive tour dates. Tickets go on sale on August 14th at 10:00 CEST.

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
Supporting DIMMU BORGIR + AMORPHIS

22.01.20 (UK) London – O2 Forum Kentish Town
23.01.20 (F) Paris – Bataclan
24.01.20 (CH) Zurich – Komplex 457
25.01.20 (NL) Tilburg – 013
26.01.20 (D) Wiesbaden – Schlachthof
28.01.20 (D) Munich – TonHalle
29.01.20 (D) Filderstadt – FILharmonie
30.01.20 (D) Berlin – Columbiahalle
31.01.20 (D) Oberhausen – Turbinenhalle
01.02.20 (D) Hannover – Swiss Life Music Hall

Tickets available on www.dimmu-borgir.com & www.amorphis.net

http://wittr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/wolvesinthethroneroom/
https://shop.wittr.com/
https://artemisiarecords.bandcamp.com/

Wolves in the Throne Room, “Born from the Serpent’s Eye” official video

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Death Alley Announce Indefinite Hiatus and Last Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Is this the end for Death Alley? I’d no more place a bet on it either way than I would’ve predicted where they were headed after their earlier-2018 second album, Superbia (review here), came out on Century Media. But they’re calling it hibernation and at very least stepping back for an indeterminate amount of time, so who the hell knows what will happen, and if this is it for them, I didn’t want to let it pass unmarked. If you ever got to see Death Alley live, you already know why.

The Amsterdam four-piece revitalized the idea that hard rock didn’t have to be boring or an overly commercial enterprise. On Superbia and their 2015 Tee Pee Records-released debut, Black Magick Boogieland (review here), their 2017 Live at Roadburn (review here) outing, and their sundry singles along the way dating back to their first 7″, 2014’s Over Under b/w Dead Man’s Bones (review here), they showed that heavy rock could have an edge, and that if a band has the presence, the confidence, and the songwriting ability, they can be as raw or as embellished as they want to be and still bring their audience along for the ride. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill to host them in 2016 at The Obelisk All-Dayer (video here) in Brooklyn, and though they were subject to lineup changes along the way, I still recall fondly the hour I spent on Skype interviewing them in 2015 for the first album. They were a total blast, front to back.

Their last shows (at least for the time being) are set for this month through January, and they’ll finish at Paradiso in Amsterdam, which I have no doubt will be an absolute blowout. Hard to imagine Death Alley would have it any other way.

Their announcement went out via the social medias as follows:

death alley (Photo by Stradlin Guitars)

Alright, wörld… After years of hypermotion, time has come for hibernation.

These final shows of our Superbia tour will be your last chance to dance with us for a while. After the 3rd of January in Paradiso, we’ll be off the radar for an indefinite period.

So you predators better not sleep on it… boogie while it lasts!

Tour dates:
13 OCT – Hengelo (NL) Beerland
17 NOV – Eindhoven (NL) Helldorado
29 NOV – Berlin (DE) Cassiopeia
30 NOV – Cottbus (DE) Zum Faulen August
01 DEC – Dresden (DE) Noteingang
13 DEC Deventer (NL) Burgerweeshuis
15 DEC Leiden (NL) Gebr. de Nobel
20 DEC Leeuwarden (NL) Neushoorn
21 DEC Bergen Op Zoom (NL) Gebouw T
22 DEC Dordrecht (NL) Bibelot
27 DEC Venlo (NL) Grenswerk
28 DEC Arnhem (NL) LuxorLive
29 DEC Uden (NL) De Pul
3 JAN Amsterdam (NL) Paradiso

DEATH ALLEY is:
Douwe Truijens – vocals
Oeds Beydals – guitar
Uno Bruniusson – drums
Sander Bus – bass

http://deathalleyband.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/deathalleyband
http://deathalley.bigcartel.com/
http://www.deathalley.nl/
http://www.centurymedia.com/
https://www.facebook.com/centurymedia

Death Alley, “Murder Your Dreams” official video

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Voivod to Release The Wake in September; European Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

voivod

Ten million metal bands. Only one Voivod. And woe unto those who can’t do the math on that. The stalwart-among-stalwarts Canadian prog-metal pioneers will release their umpteenth long-player this Fall via Century Media. It’s been dubbed The Wake and will arrive in time to catch the four-piece on their way out to Europe for a huge round of touring that includes support from Maggot HeartNightrage and Bio-Cancer in alternating slots. No audio or track titles yet for the record, but the release is still three months out and CM is pro-shop, so they’re not about to give everything away in one press release. In any case, who could read another list — say, one of the album’s tracks — without getting exhausted after looking at all those tour dates anyway? I’m out of breath by the time they get to Krakow.

More details forthcoming, then, and fair enough. The more I get to talk about Voivod kicking ass, the merrier. And you know my disposition can get pretty merry. I know it’ll certainly be that way watching them at Psycho Las Vegas in August.

To the PR wire, then:

VOIVOD EURO TOUR POSTER

VOIVOD – Announce new album “The Wake” and European tour!

Canadian progressive sci-fi metal innovators VOIVOD are not only celebrating their 35th band-anniversary, but have also just wrapped up studio-work for their upcoming new studio album entitled “The Wake”. Expected for a late September worldwide release via Century Media Records, “The Wake” is the highly anticipated successor to 2013’s “Target Earth” album and the 2016 mini-album “Post Society”.

VOIVOD drummer Michel “Away” Langevin checked in with the following comment:

“We are thrilled to let you know that our new album, “The Wake”, is completed! The music is like a futuristic prog thrash metal trek with many twists and turns, and the story involves the usual Voivodian topics: disasters, chaos, conflicts, strange plots and alternate consciousness. We are excited with the result and can’t wait to get the material out to you this fall!

Also, try to catch us when we tour Europe in September and October. It will be a great opportunity for the band to test some songs from our upcoming album.”

Here is a list of the comprehensive European run, which will feature the following rotating support acts: Maggot Heart (from 7th until 16th Sept), Nightrage (from 18th until 26th Sept) and Bio-Cancer (from 28th Sept until 20th Oct):

VOIVOD – European Tour 2018:
07.09.2018 Prague (Czech Republic) – Futurum *
08.09.2018 Poznan (Poland) – U Bazyla *
09.09.2018 Warsaw (Poland) – Hydrozagadka *
10.09.2018 Krakow (Poland) – Kwadrat *
11.09.2018 Bratislava (Slovakia) – Randal Club *
13.09.2018 Cluj-Napoca (Romania) – Flying Circus Pub *
14.09.2018 Belgrade (Serbia) – Elektropionir *
15.09.2018 Budapest (Hungary) – Durer Kert *
16.09.2018 Vienna (Austria) – Szene *
18.09.2018 Bologna (Italy) – Locomotiv **
19.09.2018 Rome (Italy) – Largo **
20.09.2018 Milan (Italy) – Santeria **
21.09.2018 Winterthur (Switzerland) – Gaswerk **
22.09.2018 Seyssinet Pariset (France) – Ilyade **
24.09.2018 Barcelona (Spain) – Boveda **
25.09.2018 Madrid (Spain) – Nazca **
26.09.2018 Porto (Portugal) – Hard Club **
28.09.2018 Marseille (France) – Jas’ Rod ***
29.09.2018 Paris (France) – Petit Bain ***
30.09.2018 Nantes (France) – Ferrailleur ***
02.10.2018 Southampton (UK) – The Joiners ***
03.10.2018 Cardiff (UK) – The Globe ***
04.10.2018 Leeds (UK) – Temple Of Boom ***
05.10.2018 Glasgow (UK) – Cathouse ***
06.10.2018 Manchester (UK) – Rebellion ***
07.10.2018 London (UK) – Underworld ***
09.10.2018 Brussels (Belgium) – Magasin 4 ***
10.10.2018 Amstelveen (The Netherlands) – P60 ***
11.10.2018 Eindhoven (The Netherlands) – Dynamo ***
12.10.2018 Cologne (Germany) – Luxor ***
13.10.2018 Hamburg (Germany) – Logo ***
14.10.2018 Copenhagen (Denmark) – Pumpehuset ***
15.10.2018 Stockholm (Sweden) – Klubb Nalen ***
17.10.2018 Helsinki (Finland) – Tavastia ***
18.10.2018 Tampere (Finland) – Klubi ***
20.10.2018 Oslo (Norway) – John Dee ***

Support bands:
* Maggot Heart (from 7th until 16th Sept)
** Nightrage (from 18th until 26th Sept)
*** Bio-Cancer (from 28th Sept until 20th Oct)

Previously, VOIVOD will also appear at selected festivals in North America as follows:

VOIVOD – Live 2018:
29.06.2018 Jonquière (Canada) – Jonquiere en Musique Festival
29.07.2018 Montreal (Canada) – Heavy Montreal Festival
08.08.2018 Lévis (Canada) – Festivent
18.08.2018 Las Vegas (USA) – Psycho Las Vegas Festival

More details and news and VOIVOD and “The Wake” following soon…

VOIVOD line-up:
Snake – Vocals
Chewy – Guitar
Rocky – Bass
Away – Drums

http://voivod.com
http://www.facebook.com/Voivod
http://www.centurymedia.com
http://www.youtube.com/centurymedia
http://twitter.com/centurymediaeu
http://www.facebook.com/centurymedia
http://www.cmdistro.com

Voivod, “Target Earth” official video

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Death Alley, Superbia: How Hungry the Lions

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

death alley superbia

Space punk, proto-metal, heavy progressive glam and enough hooks to get you from here to Alpha Centauri — it can only be the return of Amsterdam’s Death Alley, whose 2015 Tee Pee Records debut LP, Black Magick Boogieland (review here), was a lesson in the fine art of making “heavy” sound like a party you really want to go to. The four-piece toured consistently enough after the release that they wound up trading out their rhythm section — Sander Bus for Dennis Duijnhouwer on bass and the seems-to-be-everywhere-these-days Uno Bruniusson (also Black Salvation and Procession, ex-In Solitude) for Ming Boyer — a move that left vocalist Douwe Truijens and guitarist Oeds Beydals as the remaining founders. It is no small feat for a band to trade out half its lineup from one record to the next, but, now signed to Century Media, Death Alley‘s second collection, Superbia, shows they’ve done nothing but move forward as a result of the work they’ve put in the last three years.

With the creative percussiveness of Bruniusson propelling a telltale hook like “Feeding the Lions” and Bus adding low-end complement, Beydals and Truijens both absolutely shine in a number of contexts. Whether it’s the shimmer brought to the guitar in “Headlights in the Dark” or the rawer-but-still-melodic command of Truijens‘ vocals in the three-minute “Murder Your Dreams” (video premiere here), the pair find themselves in the forward position throughout the Pieter Kloos-helmed eight-track/50-minute effort, which is as powerful in its hooks as one could possibly hope on cuts like “The Chain,” “Feeding the Lions” and the aforementioned “Headlights in the Dark,” while retaining some experimentalist edge in the progressive melodies of the penultimate “Pilgrim” and a purposeful sense of exploration in extended opener “Daemon” (9:10) and closer “The Sewage” (11:37).

It’s nearly impossible to guess how much of any sonic shift has been brought on through personnel change as opposed to naturalist or purposeful growth of Death Alley‘s songwriting, but it’s palpable when one sits Superbia alongside anything prior in Death Alley‘s catalog, whether it’s last year’s Live at Roadburn (review here), which by its very nature would be more about capturing a raw performance, or Black Magick Boogieland, or their initial 2014 single, Over Under b/w Dead Man’s Bones (review here). Strength in songwriting remains firm and makes highlights of “Headlights in the Dark,” “Shake the Coil,” nine-minute opener “Daemon” and others, and the sense of energy that’s driven them since their beginning hasn’t diminished in the slightest, as “The Chain,” “Feeding the Lions” and “Murder Your Dreams” demonstrate plainly, but even on the latter track, which is as hard-edged as Death Alley get on Superbia, one can hear their focus has changed from raw impact to more deeper melodic arrangements and a deeper sense of atmosphere on the whole, as manifest in the lush chorus of “Pilgrim” and the all-consuming summary of “The Sewage” at the finale of the record — which finds Truijens singing about “psychic sewage”; about as clever a euphemism as I’ve heard for “shit for brains.”

death alley photo lupus lindemann

The central question is does it work, and the central answer is yes, but it means Death Alley are more complex in their intentions than even those who dug deep into Black Magick Boogieland‘s spacious closer, “Supernatural Predator,” might have suspected, because the purposeful sense they give from “Daemon” is that they’re not just picking up where they left off, but using their past as a launchpad to push even further out. That they get there is what ultimately makes Superbia such a success, never mind the band’s ability to tie together disparate ideas like the jammy build of “Daemon,” the straight-ahead thrust of “The Chain” and the near-gothic strum and keys of “Shake the Coil” — lest one forget that Pieter Kloos also produced fellow Netherlanders Dool, among many others — into one complete, flowing entirety. So not only are Death Alley more complex, but they’re more realized.

Given their time on the road, this isn’t necessarily surprising, but they’re also half a new band. Still, listen to the twisting first 40 seconds of “Pilgrim,” or the weirdo break that starts 5:10 into “Feeding the Lions,” or really every single second of “The Sewage,” which stomps and struts as much as it reaches into the cosmic ether — almost an answer to “Supernatural Predator,” but not quite aiming for the same goal. To wit, the progressive harmonies circa the three-minute mark are something I simply don’t think Death Alley would’ve attempted their last time out, and it’s worth noting that as they shift into the open midsection of the track via Bruniusson‘s crashes, residual noise and foreboding riffing from Beydals and Bus, it’s the guitar that comes to lead the charge through the “21st Century Schizoid Man”-esque chase, and into the jazzy movement that follows (though that’s not to take away from the snare work there, which is fantastic), and as “The Sewage” heads toward and past the eight-minute mark, it’s Beydals‘ solo that really seems to be doing the work of summarizing the album; extended, echoing, coated in effects, poised in a way but still delivered with vitality, it puts the emphasis on just how special a player he’s emerged here as being.

Truijens returns for repeated final lines and the closer more or less works its way toward a fading oblivion. To those who heard Black Magick Boogieland, no doubt Superbia will offer more than a few surprises, and it’s plain to see that was the band’s goal all along. What they’ve managed to do is put themselves on a trajectory of progression that’s both unexpected — not to say one didn’t anticipate evolution in their approach from their first to their second album, but there are a few genuine leaps here in Truijens‘ and Beydals‘ performances and in the depth of their craft overall — and richly satisfying, especially on well-earned repeat listens. If this growth was born of touring and the tumult the band has been through in the last couple years, they’ve emerged from same sounding stronger than ever and on their way to a maturity that one finds it easy to imagine will surprise even the band in terms of its breadth and sonic impact. When Death Alley gets where they’re going, watch your ass. Superbia is another crucial forward step along their way.

Death Alley, “Murder Your Dreams” official video premiere

Superbia preorder portal

Death Alley Tumblr

Death Alley on Thee Facebooks

Death Alley webstore

Death Alley website

Century Media website

Century Media on Thee Facebooks

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