Mourn the Light Announce Suffer, Then We’re Gone to be Released on Argonauta

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

mourn the light

The title of the forthcoming full-length debut from Connecticut traditionalist doom metallers  Professional research paper Best Admissions Essays au help research paper service oriented . PLOS Medicine publishes research and commentary of general Mourn the Light reminds me of something my dear mother used to tell me. She said: “Life sucks then you die.”  Fight Club Essays Papers From Professional Writers. Writing thesis papers has always been hard. Even the most diligent students struggle with it because it requires much attention, knowledge, and strong skills to handle it. To complicate matters, such assignments also require much time because they have a significant impact on your overall success Suffer, Then We’re Gone, which the five-piece will issue through  http://www.homebox.net/help-with-dissertation-writing-block/: Blog Contact How to Write Good Thesis Proposal Using Free Online Samples. 7/19/2020 0 Comments A thesis proposal is a report that traces the theory theme, characterizes the issues that the thesis will address, and clarifies why there is a need for further exploration. It ought to recognize an issue and give a proposed answer and solution for that issue. It describes Argonauta Records, would seem to carry much the same spirit in its general perspective, and fair enough. The band released their split with http://bebcho.net/?for-my-daughter-weldon-kees-essay by Top Writers Online. Our team consists of experts with relevant degrees who used to be students just like you. They write papers for sale of the same quality they would complete tasks for themselves. Every assignment undergoes rigorous analysis to not only deliver the order on time - we do that to perfect your writing Oxblood Forge (review here) in 2019 and followed in 2020 by posting a couple tracks that, like the forthcoming long-player, were recorded by i need help writing a personal statement, i need a essay written, personal statement writing service london, source url, case study Dave Kaminsky at Funny College Application Essays At times, the whole world goes nuts, and you go nuts with it. This is when you need to buy dissertation paper but do not know where to find ithe right place. You have just a few weeks before the project is due, but you have no idea how to finish the dissertation on time. Studio Wormwood in Mansfield, CT. Whether or not they’ll feature on the album, I don’t know, but they’re on Bandcamp for the time being and you can hear one of the two — “When the Fear Subsides” — at the bottom of this post.

It’s the kind of doom that makes you say “doom on,” so yeah, do that.

From the PR wire:

mourn the light suffer then were gone

MOURN THE LIGHT Sign To Argonauta Records And Share First Teaser From Upcoming Album

US heavy doomsters MOURN THE LIGHT have inked a worldwide record deal with Italy’s powerhouse label Argonauta Records, who will proudly release the band’s first full-length album during 2021.

MOURN THE LIGHT was formed in early 2018 by Dwayne Eldredge, co-founder of The New England Stoner and Doom Festival. Driven by his passion for thunderous, traditional doom metal mixed with lofty progressive metal leanings, Dwayne was hell-bent on creating a band that could sonically push a message of hope in spite of despair.

Following on their highly acclaimed 2019- debut EP, touring the US and Canada including festival appearances at Stoner Jam 19 (during SXSW) or the second New England Stoner and Doom Festival, MOURN THE LIGHT returned to the studio to record their first album. Entitled Suffer, Then We’re Gone, the band’s debut album has a plethora of influences showcased, yet made all their own. At one moment, MOURN THE LIGHT delivers crushingly massive riffs, only to jump at the next turn, galloping along with shades of classic power metal taking hold and leading the way — all the while focused on incredibly memorable songs, with catchy hooks and sing-along choruses.

Suffer, Then We’re Gone features nine epic yet heavy as hell tracks, recorded by Dave Kaminsky at Studio Wormwood, and will most likely see MOURN THE LIGHT step out as one of North America’s best kept underground secrets, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon…

“Our debut album “Suffer, Then We’re Gone” is the culmination of hard work and determination to create something meaningful and special to us.” Says guitarist Dwayne Eldredge. “We have grown as a band so much over the last couple years and we think it really shows in our latest work. We are a metal family working together on our heavy metal legacy and we are proud to be working with Gero and Argonauta Records. We can’t wait to see what the future holds. Looking forward to getting out on the stage again soon….”

So better buckle up, take a ride with MOURN THE LIGHT, and stay tuned for many more album details to be revealed in the weeks ahead!

www.facebook.com/MournTheLight
www.mournthelight.bandcamp.com
www.mournthelight.com
www.instagram.com/mourn_the_light
www.argonautarecords.com

Mourn the Light, “When the Fear Subsides”

Mourn the Light, Suffer, Then We’re Gone teaser

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jessie May of Turkey Vulture, Owl Maker, MetalheadMoney, Alternative Control, and More

Posted in Questionnaire on February 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

jessie-may

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jessie May of Turkey Vulture, Owl Maker, AltCtrlCT, and More

http://www.arena-geisingen.de/?bachelor-thesis-service-marketing UK values your work and thus provides service to enhance your reading, writing and researching abilities to the full potential. Our Service is not only limited to PhD but we also help Undergraduates and Masters Students. When you are in college, you need to lay a strong foundation for your career. Dissertation Consultation Services in UK can help you build a solid base by providing you full-fledged assistance on essays and dissertations. You can be assured of on-time How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Defining what I do is the hard part. I enjoy writing and music, and do bit of both. My illustrious writing career began in middle school with an “underground newsletter” of dirty jokes called The Funky Chicken. (Apparently my bird obsession goes back a long way too.) Right now I edit the blogs Learn more about our http://www.bloch.de/?usa-phd-thesis. Hire your essay helper now and let professionals tackle your assignments to boost your grades! Alternative Control and If you would like to order paper online, but you are not sure where to find reliable Doctoral Dissertation Defense, you are welcome to find this information on Metalhead Money, and do some freelance copywriting on the side. I also self-published a book about personal finance last year, called Term Papers On Lord Of The Flies - Discover basic tips how to receive a plagiarism free themed term paper from a expert provider Use from our inexpensive Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials. I came to do that through a lot of research, personal screw-ups, and some extra time on my hands due to the pandemic.

Re: music… My most active band right now is Resume Writing Services - Reviews of the Best 5 Professional go here Turkey Vulture, where I play guitar and sing. My husband Jim plays drums. I like to think of us as a really loud Americana band, but there are influences from doom, punk, and 80s metal as well. Turkey Vulture’s journey started about twelve years ago when I joined Jim’s band Pink Missile. Several bands, a marriage, and one baby boy later, here we are!

Bass is my main instrument, or at least the one I’m decent at playing. I’m on “maternity leave” from a folk band called Dog Kennel Business Plan: Readily Available Assignment Solutions for Cheap. Are you struggling with any of your academic essays? Search no further! We offer the best buy essay UK writing services that you can never compare with any other company. We also have editing, formatting and proofreading services for any document of your choice. Buy our services now for cheap, and you will never search any The Shoutbacks and I’m also the bassist of school uniforms research paper Dissertation Abstracts Theses Online phd research proposal data mining homework help in geography Owl Maker If you are on this website, you likely need Custom Essay Term Paper assistance. Usually, our clients are students or teachers people, who deal with the academic type of writing. The thing is that in most cases such essays and theses can have an interesting topic, but plenty of requirements and bureaucratic approach to their check kill all the pleasure of process of analyzing and writing new thoughts , who I hope will come out of hibernation once all this pandemic stuff is over.

We are professional writing service you were looking! Here is the place to Writing Services Blog safely and get perfect content on time. Try it out! Describe your first musical memory.

Probably hearing that song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” as a nursery rhyme or something.

I also remember singing along to the Allman Brothers and Vanilla Ice cassettes in my dad’s truck!

Describe your best musical memory to date.

My best musical memory is a recent one: Jim and I made a playlist for the hospital to listen to during our son’s arrival. The playlist ended up being longer than the entire labor and delivery process lol… One highlight was hearing “Faithless” by Social Distortion in the delivery room shortly after our son was born, which was our wedding song.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I can’t think of a specific time, but I remember thinking during my first marriage (which ended in divorce), “Gee, this is a lot harder than it looks!”

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Speaking for myself, I’ve gotten more comfortable advocating for my own musical ideas. I no longer need other band members to confirm for me that a riff or something is “cool” — not that I want to run a band dictatorship lol, but it feels good to have more confidence.

On the other hand, my “artistic progression” of playing in basement metal bands also means I’m rusty at things like reading sheet music.

How do you define success?

Music-wise, I think success is creating something that connects with your audience and communicates a story or feeling to them. And if people like it enough to buy it, even better!

In broader terms, success is spending your time in a meaningful way and making your corner of the world a better place — whether that’s through your relationships, job, art, or all of the above.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I wish I could erase thousands of crime show episodes from my memory; I think they have made me distrustful and even paranoid about certain things. But on the other hand, there are a lot of disturbed people out there — and my aim is to avoid running into them.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

Welp, Turkey Vulture has another five or six songs we could possibly record. Jim and I have talked about giving it a try this summer if we can wrangle the cost and scheduling. Until then, it’s gonna be all home-recorded GarageBand demos!

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

To communicate ideas and feelings.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Watching our baby grow! And hopefully adding a little brother or sister to the lineup. ;)

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Turkey Vulture, Tummy Time (2021)

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2020

Posted in Features on December 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

london-news-etching-1854-newcastle-upon-tyne

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Invariably, the ultimate measure of 2020 will be in lives and livelihoods lost around the world. I have nothing to add to the discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic that others haven’t said in more articulate and precise language. Suffice it to note that 2020 was the year that the very concept of “unprecedented” itself became trite.

One does not have to look far to find positives amid the devastation. Creativity continues to flourish. Art cannot be killed. Even locked away from each other in quarantine, artists will continue to reach out, to collaborate, to fulfill the human need for expression that has driven the species since cave drawings and will no doubt be the ruins we leave behind us when we’re gone.

In underground music, it was simply overwhelming. And though I’ll admit it was hard at times to listen to music and divorce it from the larger context of what was happening in the world — it was there like a background buzz — this year reinforced how necessary music is, not only as an escape or a source of income for those who make/promote it, but as an integral component of life and community. Absences have been keenly felt.

I won’t try to sate you with platitudes, to say “things will get better.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. One year turning to the next does not fix broken systems and it does not cure raging plagues. It’s just a number. Arbitrary except as a convenient marker for things like this, births, deaths, and so on. Bookkeeping.

Before I turn you over to the lists: Please be kind in the comments if you choose to leave one. To me. To other people. To yourself. These lists are culled from my listening preference and what I consider of critical importance. But I’m one person. If there’s something you feel has been left out, say so. I ask you only to do so in a spirit of friendship rather than argument. Thank you in advance.

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Okay:

The Top 50 Albums of 2020

#50-31

50. Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion
49. Atramentus, Stygian
48. Arcadian Child, Protopsycho
47. Fuzz, III
46. Jointhugger, I Am No One
45. Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
44. Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns
43. Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted
42. Hymn, Breach Us
41. IAH, III
40. Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon
39. Acid Mess, Sangre de Otros Mundos
38. 1000mods, Youth of Dissent
37. Deathwhite, Grave Image
36. Soldati, Doom Nacional
35. Cortez, Sell the Future
34. Kadavar, The Isolation Tapes
33. Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
32. Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch
31. Insect Ark, The Vanishing

Notes: To say nothing of the honorable mentions that follow the rest of the list below, immediately we see the problem of so-many-albums-not-enough-space. People talk about a top 50 as ridiculous, like there’s no way you can like that much music. Bullshit. I agonized over how to fit Sun Crow on this list because their Quest for Oblivion felt like it deserved to be here. Ditto that for Arcadian Child. And the achievements of bands like Kadavar, 1000mods and Switchblade Jesus and Insect Ark in breaking the boundaries of their own aesthetics deserve every accolade they can get, and likewise those who progressed in their sound like Cortez, Shadow Witch, Lord Fowl, Hymn, Foot, Black Rainbows, Deathwhite and IAH. Add to that the debuts from Atramentus, Dirt Woman, Jointhugger, Acid Mess and Sergio Ch.’s Soldati, and you’ve got a batch of 20 records — some born of this year’s malaise, some working in spite of it — that vary in sound but are working to push their respective styles to new places one way or the other.

30. High Priestess, Casting the Circle

high priestess casting the circle

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed May 5.

There was no shortage of anticipation for what L.A. cultists High Priestess would do to follow their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), and the three-piece did not disappoint, instead gave a ritual mass that included the 17-minute concept piece “Invocation” alongside infectious and ethereal melodies like “The Hourglass.” And now that the circle’s been cast? Seems like they can do anything.

29. Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed Oct. 12.

High-powered cosmic metal from Finland pulling apart heavy psychedelia on an atomic level with an urgency that speaks of youth, progress and an ingrained need for exploration? Sign me up. A lot of bands on this list put out their first album this year. There are few for whom my hopes are as high as they are for Polymoon. If you haven’t yet heard Caterpillars of Creation, do.

28. Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

Released by Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Sept. 30.

Of the sundry horrors 2020 wrought, a new album from long-running Toronto three-piece Sons of Otis was an unexpected positive, and their ultra-spaced, murky riffs on their first studio album since 2012’s Seismic (review here, also here) launched like a slow-motion escape pod of righteous doom (s)tonality. There will never be another Sons of Otis. Be thankful for everything you get from them.

27. Lamp of the Universe, Dead Shrine

Lamp of the Universe Dead Shrine

Released by Projection Records. Reviewed May 25.

Organ, Mellotron, sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, various percussion elements, and of course the inimitable fragility in Craig Williamson‘s voice itself — the ingredients for Lamp of the Universe‘s Dead Shrine were familiar enough for those familiar with the one-man outfit running more than two decades, but the lush acid folk created remains a standout the world over. Dead Shrine was a much-needed gift of peace and meditation.

26. BleakHeart, Dream Griever

bleakheart dream griever

Released by Sailor Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

The debut album from Colorado’s BleakHeart collected pieces united by melody and overarching atmosphere, positioned stylistically somewhere around heavygaze or heavy post-rock, but feeling less limited to genre bounds than some others working in a similar sphere. As a first outing, it brought a promise of things to come even as the depths of its mix seemed to swallow the listener entirely, equal parts serving claustrophobia and escapism.

25. Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

Released by Cruz Del Sur Music. Reviewed June 3.

There is not enough space here to properly commend Pale Divine founding guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener on how much he opened up the band by bringing in his and drummer Darin McCloskey‘s former Beelzefuzz bandmate Dana Ortt on shared guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. Completed by Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass/vocals, Pale Divine are a refreshed and ready powerhouse of American traditional doom.

24. Uncle Woe, Phantomescence

uncle woe phantomescence

Released by Packard Black Productions. Reviewed Oct. 21.

One is going to have to get used to the idea of Uncle Woe residing in the places between, I think. An inward-looking cosmic doom that’s likewise morose and reaching, opaque and translucent, Phantomescence could be almost troubling in its feeling of off-kilter expression. Yet that’s exactly what multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rain Fice was going for. Thriving on contradiction, exploratory, and individualized. Start from doom, move outward.

23. REZN, Chaotic Divine

rezn chaotic divine

Released by Off the Record Label. Reviewed Oct. 15.

I don’t feel like I’m cool enough to offer any substantive comment on what Chicago’s REZN do, but their sax-laced heavy psychedelia comes across warm and is invitingly languid while still delivered with a sense of energy and purpose. It rolls and you want to roll with it, so you do. They were clearly hurt by not being able to tour this year, as were audiences for not seeing them. Call them neo-stoner metal or whatever you want, these songs deserve to be played live.

22. Ruff Majik, The Devil’s Cattle

ruff majik the devils cattle

Released by Mongrel Records. Reviewed Oct. 29.

A revamped lineup for South African desert-ish heavy rockers Ruff Majik brought producer Evert Snyman in as co-conspirator with frontman/principal songwriter Johni Holiday, and found the former trio working as a five-piece with a broader sound underscored by an electric sense of purpose and willingness to push themselves to places they hadn’t gone before. Their third record, it seemed as well to be a new beginning, and they met the challenge head-on.

21. Curse the Son, Excruciation

Curse The Son Excruciation

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 8.

The underheralded children of rolling fuzz riffage, Connecticut’s Curse the Son found new depths of emotion to bring to Excruciation — and I do mean “depths.” Dark times for dark times. Fueled by personal hardship, turmoil, motorcycle accidents and a pervasive sense of struggle, the LP was nonetheless a triumph of their songwriting and brought new melodic character to their established largesse of tone. Your loss if you missed it.

20. The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 26.

Business as usual in ferocious heavy/speed rock from The Atomic Bitchwax on Scorpio — and that was only reassuring since the band’s eighth full-length marked the first since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and his replacing with Garrett Sweeny, a bandmate of founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet. They barely stopped to cool their heels and yet still managed to be catchy as hell. How do they do it? Jersey Magic.

19. Cinder Well, No Summer

cinder well no summer

Released by Free Dirt Records. Reviewed July 21.

Such pervasive melancholy could only be derived from Irish folk, and so it was on Cinder Well‘s No Summer, which managed to move between singer-songwriter minimalism from Amelia Baker and arrangements of deceptive and purposeful intricacy. Wherever it went, from traditional songs “Wandering Boy” and “The Cuckoo” to originals like “Fallen” and the nine-minute “Our Lady’s,” it was equal parts gorgeous and sad and resonant. It remains so, despite the fleeting season.

18. Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Dec. 24.

Their fourth album and first since crossing the decade-mark since their inception, Pallbearer‘s Forgotten Days wasn’t just heavy, emotional or big-sounding; it was the most their-own of anything they’ve done. It felt exactly like the record they wanted it to be, and reconfirmed that the generation of listeners being introduced to doom by their music is going to be just fine if they follow the cues laid out for them here.

17. Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

Released by Stolen Body and Vicious Circle Records. Reviewed March 26.

Less a reinvention of space rock than a kick in its ass, Slift‘s Ummon pushed well past the line of manageability at 72 minutes and reveled in that. The French outfit were greeted as liberators when they released the album, and with the way the respect has been maintained in the months since they’ve given themselves a high standard to meet, but there’s only promise to be heard as you get lost in the nebular wash of this sprawling 2LP. They’ll have two more records out before this one’s fully digested.

16. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion

my dying bride the ghost of orion

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Feb. 25.

The first album in half a decade from long-established UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride found vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe coping with his daughter’s cancer diagnosis and translating that into the morose poetry for which the band is so well known and with which they’ve been so influential. My Dying Bride has never wanted for sincerity, but to call them affecting here would be underselling the quality of their craft and the heart they put into it. Follow-up EP is already out with extra non-album tracks.

15. Causa Sui, Szabodelico

causa sui Szabodelico

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Nov. 11.

Denmark’s Causa Sui may be on a mission to unite jazz and heavy psychedelia — and blessings on them for that — but the mellow jammy vibes they conjured on Szabodelico only emphasized how much it’s the character of what they do and the chemistry they’ve brought as bandmates that has allowed them to branch thusly in terms of aesthetic. It was the kind of album you wanted to put on again even before it was over, and its sweet instrumentals felt born to a greater timeline than a single year can encompass.

14. All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 21.

I’m not a punk rocker, but All Souls make me wish I was. Their emotive and engaged heavy rock looks out as much as in on Songs for the End of the World — their second LP behind a 2018 self-titled debut (review here) — but it’s undeniably punk in its foundation, and what the four-piece of Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (both ex-Totimoshi), Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson) have put together builds on that in exciting, inventive and individualized ways, while staying nonetheless true to its roots.

13. Kind, Mental Nudge

kind mental nudge

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 20.

Five years after their debut album, Rocket Science (review here), Boston four-piece Kind return with Mental Nudge. And despite the different situations in which it finds the band’s members — bassist Tom Corino is now ex-Rozamov, drummer Matt Couto now ex-Elder — the group’s focus remains on carving memorable, mostly structured tracks out of ethereal heavy psychedelia, guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, etc.) and vocalist Craig Riggs (RoadsawSasquatch, etc.) adding space and melody to the crunching, driving grooves.

12. Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Released by Season of Mist. Featured Aug. 17.

Founded by vocalist Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood) and guitarist Oeds Beydals (ex-Death Alley, also ex-The Devil’s Blood) and commissioned as a project for Roadburn Festival 2019 (review here), Molassess are inextricably tied to Lemouchi‘s groundbreaking former outfit and its tragic ending, but the musical branching out into darkened progressive textures on Through the Hollow isn’t to be understated. It was an album that pushed past the past, not overlooking it, but finding new ways of moving forward in life and sound.

11. Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 28.

While of course the Mos Generator frontman is no stranger to writing or recording on his own, Funeral Suit was Tony Reed‘s debut as a solo artist and it carried his progressive stamp in melody and arrangement. It was not just a guitarist playing acoustic instead of electric, and it was not a manifestation of self-indulgence. Whether it was reworking a Mos Generator song like “Lonely One Kenobi” or pursuing a new piece like the title-track or “Waterbirth,” Reed found balance between personal and audience, evoking traditional songsmithing even as he reminded listeners of his dual role as a producer.

10. Geezer, Groovy

Geezer Groovy

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed May 18.

Spectacular showing from Kingston kingpins Geezer with Groovy as their first offering for Heavy Psych Sounds. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, the three-piece brought material that flowed with the organic feel of jams despite being structured and catchy songs. In pieces like “Dead Soul Scroll” and “Drowning on Empty,” they melded stonerized groove with what felt like genuine emotional expression, and “Dig” and “Groovy” still managed to be a heavy fuzz-blues party. And they still had room at the end to jam out on “Slide Mountain” and “Black Owl.” It was nothing but a win, rising to the occasion on every level.

9. Big Scenic Nowhere, Vision Beyond Horizon

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Jan. 29.

So Bob Balch from Fu Manchu and Gary Arce from Yawning Man have a band. They get Tony Reed from Mos Generator on board. Mario Lalli from Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson comes and goes. Nick Oliveri comes and goes. Bill Stinson from Yawning Man plays drums. Alain Johannes sits in on vocals. Reed does a bunch of vocals; his kid does a track too. Per Wiberg from Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, Candlemass, etc., lends some keys. What do you call such a thing? Who cares? You call yourself lucky it exists. They called the record Vision Beyond Horizon. Can’t wait to find out what they call the next one.

8. Elder, Omens

elder omens

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed April 27.

Omens marked a new beginning for Elder as the band pushed deeper into the realm of progressive rock and beyond their weightier beginnings. The arrival of Georg Edert (also Gaffa Ghandi) on drums in place of Matt Couto shifted the band’s dynamic in a number of ways, providing not a swinging anchor for the rhythm section necessarily, but another avenue of prog fluidity. Bassist Jack Donovan brought a steady presence in the low end as guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Risberg embarked on new melodic explorations while staying loyal to the band’s established penchant for sweeping changes. Omens may live up to its name as a sign of things to come, but either way, it was a strong display of the band’s will to pursue new ideas and methods.

7. Forming the Void, Reverie

forming the void reverie

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed April 15.

First words that come to mind here: “eminently listenable.” With seven tracks and 36 minutes, Reverie may not have taken up much of your afternoon… once. But by the time you gave it its proper respect and listened through three times in a row, the situation was somewhat different. The Lafayette, Louisiana, four-piece gracefully brought together structured songwriting with proggier leanings and were able to bring together rampaging hooks like “Trace the Omen” and “Manifest,” casting a sense of sonic hugeness without forgetting to add either melody or personality along with that. The band — who here welcomed bassist Thorn Letulle alongside guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa and drummer Thomas Colley — have worked quickly and evolved with a sense of urgency. Is Reverie the goal or another step on that path?

6. Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

Released by Translation Loss Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

Vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz (interview here), guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell comprise Grayceon, and with their fifth record, the band looks around thematically at environmental devastation through the lens of record-breaking California wildfires from their vantage point in the Bay Area. Even as the world shifted priorities (at least most of it did) to yet another global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, genre-melting-pot songs like “Diablo Wind,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “This Bed” reminded of the horrors humanity has wrought on its battered home, and still managed to find hope and serenity in “And Shine On” and “Rock Steady,” a closing duo that shifted to a more personal discussion of family and one’s hope for a better future for and by the next generation. 2020 had plenty of horror. At least we got a new Grayceon record out of it.

5. Brant Bjork, Brant Bjork

brant bjork brant bjork

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed April 28.

When Sho’Nuff asked Bruce Leroy “who’s the master?,” dude should’ve said Brant Bjork. It would’ve been a confusing end to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon, but ultimately more accurate, as Brant Bjork‘s homegrown kung fu was unfuckwithable as ever on the album that shares his name. After two decades of solo releases in one form or another, Bjork is not just a pivotal figurehead for desert rock, he’s a defining presence, as well as one of its most treasured practitioners. Brant Bjork, the album, brought initial waves of funk in “Jungle in the Sound,” explored weedy worship in “Mary (You’re Such a Lady)” and toyed with religious dogma in offsetting that with “Jesus Was a Bluesman” while still tossing primo hooks in “Duke of Dynamite” and “Shitkickin’ Now” ahead of the more open “Stardust and Diamond Eyes” and the acoustic closer “Been So Long.” With Bjork recording all the instruments himself, a due feeling of intimacy resulted, and yet he still found a way to make it rock. How could it be otherwise?

4. Enslaved, Utgard

enslaved utgard

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Sept. 29.

Why do I feel the immediate need to defend this pick? I’m not sure. Norway’s Enslaved are an institution, not just of black metal, but of bringing an ideology of creative growth to that style that often willfully resists it. They are iconoclastic even unto their own work. Utgard was released as the band stood on the precipice of 30 years together and yet it stood as their most forward-looking offering yet, as co-founders Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals) and Ivar Bjørnson (guitar/sometimes vocals), as well as longtime lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal backed up the change from 2017’s E (review here) that brought in new keyboardist/vocalist Hakon Vinje with the incorporation of drummer Iver Sandøy, who doubles as a vocalist (and triples as a producer). The “new blood” made all the difference on Utgard, allowing Enslaved to piece together new ranges of melody in their work and offset instrumental shifts into and out of krautrock-derived progressions. Simply the work of a band outdoing itself from a band who does so at nearly every opportunity.

3a. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten and Ripple Music. Reviewed Dec. 3, 2019.

Every year I allow myself one addendum pick, and this is it. We Are was on last year’s list because it was digitally released, but the vinyl came out this year and it received its North American release this year as well, so it seemed only right to acknowledge that. So here it is in its proper place.

3. All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal

All-Them-Witches-Nothing-as-the-Ideal

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 3.

This is a band controlling their own narrative. Instead of Nothing as the Ideal being ‘the one they made as a three-piece,’ the Nashville outfit decided to make it ‘the one they recorded at Abbey Road.’ Were they thinking of it on those terms? Yeah, likely not, but it goes to demonstrate all the same just how much of themselves All Them Witches put into what they do musically, since not only are they continuing to refine and define and undefine their approach, but they’re setting the terms on which they do it. Each of their records has been a response to the one prior, but that conversation has never been so direct as to make them predictable. So what are they chasing? Apparently nothing. I’m not entirely sure I buy that as a complete answer, but I am sure I love these songs and the experiments with tape loops and other sounds that fill these spaces. Whatever they do next — or even if nothing — their run has been incredible and exciting and one only hopes their influence continues to spread over the next however many years.

2. Elephant Tree, Habits

elephant tree habits

Released by Deathwish Inc.. Reviewed April 13.

There was a high standard set by Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but their second LP, Habits, surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. With vocals centered around harmonies from guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland, the former trio completed by drummer Sam Hart brought in guitarist/keyboardist John Slattery (also sometimes vocals), and the resultant breadth gave the material on Habits spaciousness beyond even what the first album promised. Drifting, rolling, unflinchingly melodic and somehow present even in its own escapism, Habits was not just an early highlight for a rough 2020, but a comforting presence throughout, and the further one dug into tracks like “Sails,” “Exit the Soul,” “Faceless,” “Wasted” and the acoustic “The Fall Chorus,” the more there was to find — let alone “Bird,” which I’ll happily put against anything else one might propose for song of the year. As their former UK label crumbled, Habits emerged unscathed and Elephant Tree‘s future continues to shine with ever more hope for things to come. Being able to say that about anything feels like a relief.

2020 Album of the Year

1. Lowrider, Refractions

Lowrider Refractions

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Twenty years ago, Sweden’s Lowrider put out what would become a heavy rock landmark in their 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). A follow-up years in the making even after the band got back together to play Desertfest in London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, Refractions first saw limited release in 2019 as part of Blues Funeral‘s PostWax series (discussed here), but its proper arrival was in early 2020, and there was really no looking back after that. It wasn’t just the novelty of a new Lowrider album that made Refractions such a joy, but the manner in which the band went about its work. There was no pretending that 20 years didn’t happen. There was no attempt to recapture the bottled lightning that was the first record, and Lowrider did not sound like a band “making a comeback” rife with expectations and fan-service. Refractions acknowledged the legacy of Ode to Io, sure enough, but as a step toward adding to it in meaningful and engaging ways. The songs — “Red River,” “Ode to Ganymede,” “Sernanders Krog,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe,” “Sun Devil/M87” and the 11-minute finale “Pipe Rider” — were fashioned without pretense and came across as the organic output of a band with nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They made it their own. In a wretched year, Lowrider shined.

The Top 50 Albums of 2020: Honorable Mention

Yeah, okay. There are a lot of these, so buckle in. Last year I just threw out a list of bands. This year I’m a little more organized, so here are bands and records alphabetically.

Across Tundras, LOESS ~ LÖSS
Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush
Alain Johannes, Hum
Arboretum, Let it All In
Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1
Black Helium, The Wholly Other
Boris, No
Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth
CB3, Aeons
Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings
Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst
Cruthu, Athrú Crutha
Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2
DOOL, Summerland
Dopelord, Sign of the Devil
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Elder Druid, Golgotha
Ellis Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
EMBR, 1823
Familiars, All in Good Time
Forlesen, Hierophant Violent
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines
Hum, Inlet
Human Impact, Human Impact
Humulus, The Deep
Jupiterian, Protosapien
Kariti, Covered Mirrors
Khan, Monsoons
Kingnomad, Sagan Om Ryden
King Witch, Body of Light
Kryptograf, Kryptograf
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu
Lord Loud, Timid Beast
Lotus Thief, Oresteia
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Motorpsycho, The All is One
Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual
Mr. Bison, Seaward
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Mugstar, GRAFT
Murcielago, Casualties
Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost, Obsidian
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls
Psychlona, Venus Skytrip
Puta Volcano, AMMA
Ritual King, Ritual King
River Cult, Chilling Effect
Rrrags, High Protein
Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)
Sigiriya, Maiden – Mother – Crone
Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises
16, Dream Squasher
Slomosa, Slomosa
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough
Stone Machine Electric, The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld
Sumac, May You Be Held
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
Temple of Void, The World That Was
The Kings of Frog Island, VI
Tia Carrera, Tried and True
Turtle Skull, Monoliths
Uffe Lorenzen, Magisk Realisme
Ulcerate, Stare Into Death and Be Still
Vessel of Light, Last Ride
Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret
Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories
Wight, Spank the World
Wino, Forever Gone
Yatra, All is Lost
Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

By no means is that list exhaustive. And to look at stuff like Psychlona, Oranssi Pazuzu, Wight, Wino, Puta Volcano, Kingnomad, Ellis Munk Ensemble, Paradise Lost, Alain Johannes, Arbouretum, Uffe Lorenzen, Tia Carrera — on and on and on — I can definitely see where arguments are to be made for records that should’ve been in the list proper. I can only go with what feels right to me at the time.

Together with the top 50, this makes over 110 albums in the best of 2020. If you find yourself needing something to hang your hat on, be glad you’re alive to witness this much excellent music coming out.

Debut Album of the Year

Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Other notable debuts (alphabetically):

Atramentus, Stygian
Bethmoora, Thresholds
BleakHeart, Dream Griever
Crystal Spiders, Molt
Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Electric Feat, Electric Feat
Familiars, All in Good Time
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
Human Impact, Human Impact
Jointhugger, I Am No One
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Might, Might
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation
Ritual King, Ritual King
SEA, Impermanence
Slomosa, Slomosa
Soldati, Doom Nacional
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
SpellBook, Magick & Mischief
Spirit Mother, Cadets
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies
White Dog, White Dog

Notes: I sparred with myself every step of the way here. The last couple years I’ve tried to give the top-debut spot to not just a new band, but a new presence. Green Lung, King Buffalo, etc. Molassess, with members from The Devil’s Blood, Death Alley and Astrosoniq, isn’t exactly that. So what do I do? Do I go with something newer like Polymoon, Dirt Woman, BleakHeart, SEA, White Dog or The Crooked Whispers, or something with more established players like Molassess, Soldati, or even Light Pillars?

In the end, what made the difference was not just how brilliant the songs on Molassess’ Through the Hollow, but how honestly the band confronted the legacy they were up against. The songs had a familiar haunting presence, but they were also moving ahead to somewhere new. It was that blend of old and new ideas, and the resonant feeling of emotional catharsis — as well as the sheer immersion that took place while listening — that ultimately made the decision. Turns out I just couldn’t escape it.

And why not a list? Because this feels woefully inadequate as it is. I reviewed over 250 records this year one way or another — and that’s a conservative estimate — but a lot gets lost in the shuffle and somehow it just seemed wrong this time around to call something the 13th best first record of the year. I wanted to highlight the special achievement that was the Molassess album, but really, all of these records kicked my ass one way or the other.

Short Release of the Year 2020

King Buffalo, Dead Star

King Buffalo Dead Star

Other notable EPs, Splits, Demos, etc.:

Big Scenic Nowhere, Lavender Blues
Coma Wall, Ursa Minor
Conan/Deadsmoke, Doom Sessions Vol. 1
Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1
Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie
Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (split)
Oginalii, Pendulum
Kings Destroy, Floods
Lament Cityscape, The Old Wet
Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine +2
Merlock, That Which Speaks
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Mos Generator/Di’Aul, Split
Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets
Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus
Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller
Spaceslug, Leftovers
10,000 Years, 10,000 Years
The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission
Thunderbird Divine, The Hand of Man
Witchcraft, Black Metal

Notes: If you were wondering why King Buffalo’s Dead Star (review here) wasn’t on the big list, this is why. It was pitched to me as an EP and that’s how I’m classifying it. I’m taking the out. Is it an EP? Not really, but neither is it a full-length album, given its experimental nature and focus around its extended two-part title-track. Whatever it was, it was the best that-thing, and this is the category where such things go.

Again, tough choices after King Buffalo. Thunderbird Divine’s EP was wonderfully funk-blasted and woefully short (new album, please). The newly-issued Spaceslug EP branches out their sound in fascinating ways as a result of the lockdown. Witchcraft’s acoustic EP, Coma Wall’s EP and Big Scenic Nowhere’s EP all signaled good things to come, and Howling Giant’s split with Sergeant Thunderhoof was a highlight of the most recent Quarterly Review. There really isn’t a bummer on the list there, from the bitter psych of Oginalii to the industrial metal of Lament Cityscape, the unadulterated riffery of Merlock to the live-captured rawness of Monte Luna.

So again, why no list? Same answer. I want to highlight the progression King Buffalo made in their sound and leave room open elsewhere for things I missed. Please let me know what in the comments. Cordially.

Live Album of the Year 2020

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock

yawning man live at giant rock

Other notable live releases:

Ahab, Live Prey
Amenra, Mass VI Live
Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)
Author and Punisher, Live 2020 B.C.
Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse
Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011
Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble
Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019
Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1
King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready: Live and Loud
Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019
Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop
SEA, Live at ONCE
Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018
Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective
Temple Fang, Live at Merleyn
YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Notes: In this wretched year (mostly) void of live music, marked by canceled tours and festivals, the live album arguably played a more central role than it ever has, whether it was a band trying to keep momentum up following or leading into a studio release, taking advantage of the emergence of the Bandcamp Friday phenomenon or just trying to maintain some connection to their fans and the process of taking a stage. Or even playing in a room together. Or not a room. Anything. What was once a tossoff, maybe an afterthought companion piece became an essential worker of the listening experience.

You might accuse desert rock progenitors Yawning Man of playing to their base with Live at Giant Rock (featured here), and if so, fine. At no point in the last 50 years has that base more needed playing-to. And in the absence of shows, being able to hear (and watch, in the case of the accompanying video) Yawning Man go out to the landscape that spawned them and engage with their music was a beautiful moment of reconciliation. An exhale for the converted that didn’t fill one with empty promises of better tomorrows or tours to come, but served to remind what’s so worth preserving about the spirit of live music in the first place. The fact that anything can happen. A replaced note here, a tuning change there — these things can make not just an evening, but memories that go beyond shows, tours, to touch our lives.

There were a ton of live records this year. Some were benefits for worthy causes between saving venues, Black Lives Matter, voting rights organizations, and so on. And whether these were new performances from captured livestreams (Monte Luna, Kadavar) or older gigs that had been sitting around waiting for release at some point (Sumac, Dead Meadow), this, very much, was that point, and these live offerings kept burning a fire that felt at times very much in danger of being extinguished.

Looking Ahead to 2021

A list of bands. Some confirmed releases, some not. Here goes:

Dread Sovereign, Sasquatch, Year of Taurus, Apostle of Solitude, Weedpecker, Borracho, Love Gang, Jointhugger, Demon Head, Iron Man, Greenleaf, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Mammathus, Evert Snyman, Wo Fat, Conclave, Here Lies Man, Kabbalah, Komatsu, Hour of 13, Wedge, Amenra, La Chinga, Spidergawd, Wolves in the Throne Room, Vokonis, Freedom Hawk, Masters of Reality, ZOM, Eyehategod, Sanhedrin, Green Lung, The Mountain King, Albatross Overdrive, Elder, King Buffalo, Sunnata, Howling Giant, SAVER, Conan, Slomatics, Ruff Majik, Kind, Mos Generator, Yawning Sons, Lantlôs, Brant Bjork, Spiral Grave, Crystal Spiders, Lightning Born, Samavayo, Wovenhand, Merlock, Comet Control, The Age of Truth, Eight Bells, BlackWater Holylight, DVNE, Monte Luna.

Thank You

You’ve read enough, so I will do my best to keep this mercifully short. Thank you so much for reading — whether you still are or not — and thank you for being a part of the ongoing project that is The Obelisk. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such incredible support throughout not just this year, but all the years of the site’s existence. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you most of all to The Patient Mrs. for her indulgence in letting me get this done. I’m am amazed forever.

More to come.

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When the Deadbolt Breaks Premiere “Floyd’s Machine” From Until it All Collides Remix out Nov. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

So just to make your life confusing, here’s a remixed track from a remixed record. But the remixed track is a bonus track that’s not part of the remixing process the rest of the record underwent, instead an outside collaboration. But the rest of the record, Until it All Collides — originally released in 2016 on Salt of the Earth Records — has been remixed and remastered. When the Deadbolt Breaks, in sound or style or method, have never taken it easy on the listen. It’s just not the way of founding guitarist/vocalist Aaron Lewis or the Connecticut outfit that’s been his destructive, extremist sludge vehicle for 15 years.

To wit, the premiere of “Floyd’s Machine (Remix)” below is one of two Juno6 remixes included on the forthcoming new version of Until it All Collides is fascinating and unlike anything the band has done before. Think Godflesh or some of Napalm Death‘s techno experimentations and you’ll be on the right track. When the Deadbolt Breaks have always been able to harness an atmosphere of threat, and certainly “Floyd’s Machine” keeps that as part of the foundation from which it builds, but it also takes an unexpected — and effective; like, Lewis might want to consider doing a whole record like this — turn with the outside reinterpretation of the band’s work.

When the Deadbolt Breaks have a new LP in the works for Desert Records in 2021 and a new lineup as well. Lewis updates below and “Floyd’s Machine (Remix)” premieres down at the bottom:

when the deadbolt breaks

When The Deadbolt Breaks will be releasing the album Until It All Collides as remix on Friday Nov. 29th via Desert Records along with the songs Floyd’s Machine and Just Before Twilight. The band will also release a new full-length album in 2021 on Desert Records.

“WTDB was the first band I signed to the label in 2018,” says Desert Records founder Brad Frye. “I couldn’t be happier to help them release these two albums. The remixes are dirty, grimey, filthy and disgusting in the best way possible and will be released on Black Friday 2020, as a digital album for ‘name your price’ on Bandcamp. I heard one of the new songs from the upcoming album…killer stuff. Get ready for new music from the Psychedelic Doom hailing from the woods of Connecticut.”

Aaron Lewis on Until it All Collides remixes:

I was never really quite happy with the way the Until It All Collides EP sounded, which, I can only blame myself for since it was recorded at my studio like all of our records have been. But, I probably wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be working on that project at that time due to personal issues I was facing. So, I wanted to give the album the proper mix and master that it deserves. However this time, we removed the live songs and have added two remix versions of older When the Deadbolt Breaks songs as remixed and reimagined by our friend Juno6.

Those remixes will include ‘Floyd’s Machine’ from our 2018 album Angels are Weeping… God has abandoned.,. and ‘Just Before Twilight,’ from our 2010 double album The Last Day of Sun. Juno6 first sent us the remix of Floyds Machine close to two years ago now, and we wanted to wait for the right time to release it. Now is that time through Desert Records.

Over the past few months, we have also been working on a new record, which honestly I couldn’t be more pleased about. With the addition of Charlie Platterborze on guitar and Rob Birkbeck on drums, a whole new pathway has been opened for our music. The new music is more extreme, more diverse and more crushing than anything we’ve done in the past.

We are extremely excited to welcome both Rob and Charlie to the band, and to work with Desert Records on both of these releases.

https://www.facebook.com/WhentheDeadboltBreaks/
https://whenthedeadboltbreaks.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/desertrecordslabel/
https://desertrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://desertrecords.bigcartel.com/

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Friday Full-Length: Hour of 13, Hour of 13

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Think Hour of 13‘s history is complicated? They have three Bandcamps. Three of them. Foremost among them is that from which the player above comes, run by Northern Silence Productions imprint Eyes Like Snow, where the 2013 reissue of their 2007 self-titled debut, originally on Shadow Kingdom Records, and physical editions of their other two full-lengths can be found. There’s also one from Earache Records, which signed the band in Sept. 2010 to release their 2010 second album, The Ritualist (discussed here), and third, 333 (discussed here), in 2011 and 2013, respectively. The third — because, yes, we’re still listing Bandcamp pages — is the band’s and it’s operating under the semi-changed moniker of Hour of Thirteen, in order to represent the shift from doom to classic metal and horror punk and the continuation of the band as a solo-project of founding guitarist Chad Davis. By the way, it was announced earlier this week that Hour of 13 — not Hour of Thirteen — will release a new full-length called Black Magick Rites. That’ll be out on — wait for it — Shadow Kingdom. Lest the circle lack fullness.

And which release came out where and when — that’s really just the beginning when it comes to the story of Hour of 13 and the tumultuous path the band has walked since their 2007 Hour of 13 Hour of 13 originalinception as a studio-only duo of Davis and vocalist Phil Swanson. With Davis based then in Hickory, North Carolina, and operating as a member of U.S. ChristmasTasha-YarSetAnu, etc. — he can now be found in San Francisco, working through The Crooked WhispersJenzeits and probably six or seven more — and Swanson living in Connecticut and working in bands like Upwards of Endtime and Earthlord — I saw him in Maryland last year but I’m not sure if he lives there or what; he’s currently in Vestal Claret and Seamount, and likely others — the workings of the band were immediately complicated. It was possible if more difficult than it is now to send recordings back and forth to work remotely as a group, but with Davis providing guitar, bass and drums and Swanson adding his Satanic, ritual-fueled, sometimes murderous lyrics and enviable post-Sabbath vocal approach, the self-titled was indeed tracked in-person in two sessions between 2006 and 2007 ahead of that Shadow Kingdom release. Bringing together eight songs across 42 minutes, it was simply an album ahead of and outside of its time.

By that I mean it arrived early for what soon enough took hold as a more cultish branch of doom metal. A few years later, or even now, it would be readily in league with a slew of other groups — if more lyrically deranged; Swanson always had a knack for skirting and sometimes crossing the line between good-fun devil worship like the un-Trouble and uh-that’s-not-okay kidnap and ritualistic murder, as on Hour of 13 closer “Missing Girl” — but at its time it was an immediate standout, despite also taking on the genre trappings of traditionalist doom. On their face, songs like early cuts “Call to Satan” and “Submissive to Evil” are straightforward and ask little of the listener. Riffs roll out, vocals follow the established rhythmic pattern, groove is had, doom is purveyed. But between an edge of rawness to the production and a flourish of classic metal in “The Correalation” (sic) and the relatively brief “Grim Reality,” which is snuck in like three and a half minutes of Judas Priest to lead off side B as though no one would notice, Hour of 13‘s invocations of darkness found a resonance that few in the traditional sphere of doom could hope to capture — not quite retro in style, but willfully primitive in aesthetic and construction. With each song carrying something of a narrative, whether it was obscure in “Endurement to the Heirs of Shame” or straight-ahead spellcasting in “Hex of Harm,” trying to get the devil on the line in “Call to Satan” and “Allowance of Sin,” the debut not only established Hour of 13 as a band with a clear mission in terms of what they were going for sound-wise, but a perspective of their own through which they’d manifest that. It would be hard to overstate the potential that could be heard in this record when it came out.

“Missing Girl,” which even 13 years later remains singularly fucked up in a Buffalo-Bill-wearing-your-face-like-a-mask kind of way, caps the album and is its longest track at eight minutes even, but all across its span there’s immersion in and consorting with a sense of evil. It’s not supposed to be comfortable when Swanson sings about Hour of 13 Hour of 13cutting himself and jerking off into the blood in “Call to Satan,” and that interplay between sex, violence, and ritual is, if not ubiquitous in the songs, then certainly lurking in the background. It is the one adult male at the playground sitting on the bench watching the children who clearly has no child of his own. Call-the-cops creepy. The reality behind “Aqualung.”

Fruitful as their collaboration was, Davis and Swanson never seemed to click as a lineup. They played few gigs together — I was fortunate enough to see them in 2010 (review here) — and the vocalist left the band in 2011, following the release of The Ritualist, and Davis hooked up with Beaten Back to Pure‘s Ben Hogg shortly thereafter as part of what became a touring configuration of the band. But shifts in personnel were common, and though Hogg was on board for a tour with Kylesa and fronted some demos, by the time Hour of 13 issued 333Swanson was back in the band. Still, the momentum they’d had leading into Earache releasing the second album had largely evaporated, and touring was never a huge priority. When the band posted a single in tribute to The Gates of Slumber bassist Jason McCash (R.I.P.) in 2014, that was to be their final recording, but Davis revived the project two years later for the Salt the Dead: The Rare and Unreleased (review here) compilation, before shifting in 2018 to Hour of Thirteen, seeing Davis release a debut in 2019 with The Sabbathian (review here) on Svart, while still issuing a couple EPs to keep the flame burning and now, apparently, moving toward a fourth Hour of 13 full-length done completely as a solo affair.

Whatever the future brings for Hour of 13 — you can understand I’m sure why one might hesitate to predict, but maybe more Bandcamps? — their self-titled continues to be a defining document of their take on doom and what they represented at their outset. It is one of those kinds of albums that had more of an effect than people generally realize, and in discussion of acts who helped foster revivalist doom in the last ten years-plus should in no way be ignored.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

It’s 7:20AM and I’ve already had half a xanax this morning, which may or may not be a good sign for how the rest of the day is going to go. The Pecan has been up for an hour — woke up early as I was finishing the above, ran in his closet and proceeded to take a massive dump in his diaper as he will; fortunately it was contained — so I grabbed him, changed him, started him on breakfast. He’s had a snotty nose the last three days or so but seems to be on the mend if his bouncing-off-the-walls, complete-lack-of-focus is anything to go by. It was after I found myself on my knees on the rug begging him for not the first time in my life to eat a spoonful of yogurt that I hopped up and took a pill. I expect in about 20 minutes life will seem more manageable in that particular my-blood-is-moving-slower-than-it-was kind of way that the medication induces.

What a week.

The dog continues to be what I feel is an unnecessary challenge. Case in point she went to doggy-daycare on Tuesday — same time The Pecan was at actual-daycare — and the two-plus hours I had to sit quietly were some of the most satisfying I’ve experienced in at least the last two months since she came into our home. I was on board with getting this dog. I am now on board with getting rid of this dog. Sometimes it just doesn’t work, and while The Patient Mrs. — being more patient as she is — is advocating professional training, unless we’re going to do the same for our child, I fail to see how that substantial, multi-thousand-dollar investment might pay off. As projects go, I’d much prefer to get started redoing the kitchen now that we own the house.

These are adult concerns, and shitty besides. Far more fun is that I’ve had Cardi B. and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” stuck in my head for the better part of the last 72 hours. “Catchy” doesn’t begin to cover it.

New Gimme Metal show today at 5PM Eastern: http://gimmemetal.com or their app to listen. The app is easier.

Alright, I gotta get this kid to leave the house before it burns it down so I’m punching out. Have a great and safe weekend. Be well, hydrate. All that good stuff.

FRM.

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Curse the Son Premiere “Novembre” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

curse the son novembre video

By now the narrative of 2020 being a crap year — period — should be well familiar. If you want to know just how deep that extends, consider a record like Curse the Son‘s Excruciation (review here). It came out through Ripple Music in June and is unquestionably the broadest ranging and most accomplished outing of the Connecticut-based band’s tenure, building on 2016’s Isolator (review here) while marking the second appearance of bassist Brendan Keefe alongside founding guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore, who this time acted as a writing partner and whose experience following a motorcycle accident and subsequent recovery formed much of the thematic basis for the album as a whole. As one might expect, it is not easy listening.

“Novembre” might be the best song Curse the Son have ever written. You’re not going to hear me say a bad word about really anything they’ve done along the way, from the earlier straight-up tone-and-riff-rolls of their first two records through this latest one — unless it’s a bad word like, “shit, this is pretty cool” — but the development of the melody in “Novembre” is just another league, as is the scope of its production. KeefeVanacore and drummer Robert Ives (making his first appearance) deep-dive into turmoil and a grueling, harrowing mindset, conveying sonic and emotional weight in kind in a way that Curse the Son have hinted toward but never manifest to the degree they do in this one song.

Newsflash: doom band is miserable? Yeah, maybe there’s some of that happening here, but that’s not the end of the story by a longshot. If you missed Excruciation either due to the pandemic or you were out protesting or you were fretting about the state of democracy worldwide, consider yourself invited to stream it at the bottom of this post. The video for “Novembre” is mostly atmospheric images — as opposed to band performance, that is — but it certainly gets the point across in terms of vibe. See the empty hallway above if you’re not sure what I’m talking about.

Enjoy:

Curse the Son, “Novembre” official video premiere

From the album ‘Excruciation’
Ripple Music (2020)
Available at http://cursetheson.com
Directed By: Ron Vanacore

Footage from:
‘The Horrors of Pennhurst Asylum’
‘Psychiatric Hospitals & Asylums in 1950’s’
‘Amazing Nature Scenery, Suns and Sunsets’

CURSE THE SON are:
Ron Vanacore – Guitars & Vocals
Brendan Keefe – Bass & Vocals
Robert Ives – Drums

Curse the Son, Excruciation (2020)

Curse the Son on Thee Facebooks

Curse the Son on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Vestal Claret Self-Titled Album out Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

vestal claret

The 15-year history of Vestal Claret is nearly as murky as the cult-minded doom in which the Connecticut-based outfit specialize. Their new self-titled full-length arrives as a return for multi-instrumentalist/engineer Simon Tuozzoli (also of Owl Maker) and vocalist Phil Swanson (Seamount, ex-Hour of 13, etc.), as it’s been six years since they issued The Cult of Vestal Claret (review here) through Cruz del Sur Music. That offering was as cohesively metal as anything the band had done up to that point, and it seems that the new one is looking elsewhere for inspiration. I dig that, and medieval folk and cult doom go together pretty well, so yeah, sign me up for this one. Justin de Tore on drums don’t hurt either.

Interesting though that for the record they wanted to get less metal they got a dude who’s worked with Power Trip and Cavalera Conspiracy to mix it.

Wonder if they’ll do shows when such a thing becomes possible? It’d be something to see Vestal Claret live after all this time.

From the PR wire:

Vestal Claret Vestal Claret

Vestal Claret release new album

Critically acclaimed occult metal band VESTAL CLARET are pleased to announce that they have released their new self-titled album via Bandcamp.

Purchase/Stream the album here: https://thecultofvestalclaret.bandcamp.com/album/vestal-claret

After a dozen physical releases on various formats and labels, to a more and more saturated genre, Vestal Claret set off to compose something musically broader and songwriter-oriented. Cliches were avoided, as well as anything that could gallop or be muted in its riffing.

The first two songs written from the new record were “Abandoned” and “Shadows.” Their creation, released as the demo Two Stones 2017, was meant to be an experiment to pursue the possibility of stepping away from any heavy metal tendencies. Those two songs became a template for creating a new life for Vestal Claret, while also bringing the band back closer to its original intent.

Musically, the new recording relies on Simon’s natural progressive nature. Influenced by his years in the New England music scene and his love of medieval folk, the creative process for this recording was an ideal situation. He had complete freedom to perform and produce as broadly as he could imagine.

Phil wrote the lyrics while driving cross country, spending well over a year living in a van, split between the beaches of Southern California and the Sedona Arizona desert. Isolation and recluse are its strongest influence.

Mixing and mastering was provided by Arthur Rizk (Powertrip, Sacred Riech, Cromags, Cavalera Conspiracy, Code Orange, Pissed Jeans, Ghostmane, Inquisition) and drums were performed by Justin de Tore (Magic Circle, Innumerable Forms, Mind Eraser, No Tolerance, Rival Mob).

No boundaries or barriers confine this new vision of Vestal Claret. It contains as much simplicity as it does complexity. It has no intent nor idea to be a genre recording. Its only ambition is to complement the bands maturity as musicians and songwriters to the best of its current ability.

Vestal Claret is:
Phil Swanson: Vocals
Justin DeTore: Drums
Simon Tuozzoli: Guitars, Bass, Organ, Percussion, Vocals, Various Instruments

Additional musicians:
Matt Campbell: Piano
David Caldarella: Violin
Jessie May: Cello
Madeline Baldwin: Vocals
The Mother: Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/VestalClaret/
https://thecultofvestalclaret.bandcamp.com/

Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret (2020)

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Curse the Son Post “Suicide by Drummer” Video; Excruciation out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

curse the son

Connecticut’s Curse the Son released their new album, Excruciation (review here), through Ripple Music, and their posting of the video below for opening track “Suicide by Drummer” at the end of the week is a bit of late promotional push that the record well earns. In a time where so much struggle is focused on outward factors, sociopolitical or otherwise, Excruciation focuses on inner and personal experience, drawing the listener into a tumult and turmoil that is at times exemplified by the riffs that seem to roll out of the speakers one after the other.

I could go on about the record, how it blows the roof off what Curse the Son have done before, the writing collaboration between guitarist/vocalist/founder Ron Vanacore and bassist/vocalist Brendan Keefe bringing new complexity and melodic reach in collaboration with producer Eric Lichter (who also participated instrumentally and on vocals), drummer Robert Ives, and guest vocalist/guitarist Joetown (who takes lead in both regards on CD bonus closer “Phoenix Rising”). I could, but hell, I already reviewed the album, and you can hear the whole thing for yourself with the Bandcamp stream at the bottom of this post, so don’t let me spoil it. Suffice it to say that Excruciation stands among 2020’s most welcome arrivals. See you at list time, boys.

Enjoy the video below, followed by more from the PR wire and that album stream:

Curse the Son, “Suicide by Drummer” official video

From the album ‘Excruciation’
Ripple Music
Release date: June 12, 2020

Vinyl, CD and Digital Download available at:
http://cursetheson.com
http://ripplemusic.com

Produced and Edited by : Todd Rawiszer
Live footage : Steve Wytas & Brandon J. Rashan

New Haven’s doom rock warriors CURSE THE SON unleash a second video taken from their dark and genre-defying fourth album ‘Excruciation’, available Friday 12th June on Ripple Music.

Marking their great return, their 2020 full-length ‘Excruciation’ was recorded at Dirt Floor studios in August 2019, produced by Eric Lichter.

CURSE THE SON are:
Ron Vanacore – Guitars & Vocals
Brendan Keefe – Bass & Vocals
Robert Ives – Drums

Curse the Son, Excruciation (2020)

Curse the Son on Thee Facebooks

Curse the Son on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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