Writing About Music During a Pandemic

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

sars-cov-19

Mostly, I just feel stupid. Like I’m walking around with blinders on. Here I am, combing through my emails in the morning. Drinking a coffee. The act of feigning relevance feels even sillier than usual. So what? I’m supposed to pretend there’s nothing bigger happening in the universe than some band releasing an album? Some tour putting itself off until next year? What the fuck is next year going to look like? What the fuck is tomorrow going to look like?

I feel like I haven’t slept for more than two hours at a clip for the last three months, should I really be concerned with whatever it is waiting to be reviewed for tomorrow? My throat hurts. Should I have a panic attack about it, or should I go drink some water and remember that it’s also allergy season?

My position is one of privilege. I am untouched by racial discrimination, and so it’s not like I’m out there marching with or without a mask on, forsaking social distancing because COVID-19 might kill you in a week or two but a cop might kill you today. I’m in my house, and my nerves are frayed not because I have to go to work, but because my kid is whining he wants blackberries for breakfast and I need to go to the grocery store.

And the people at the store don’t wear masks anymore. And frankly, I don’t believe those fuckers ever washed their hands in the first place, never mind did it all special because if they didn’t their lungs would catch fire. This moment in which we reside is so, so, so fucked that actual human beings are deciding to ignore the advice of health officials for political reasons. I shit you not, the guy who lives down the street told me yesterday in all seriousness that he thinks Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff cooked up the coronavirus with the Chinese to try and undermine Donald Trump’s base of support. “Obviously didn’t work,” I told him.

Are you fucking kidding me? This is life?

I’ve whined about missing live music already, so I’ll spare you that, but doing this has gotten to the point where it feels weak. Like there are more important things I can and should be doing with my time. And I don’t just mean protesting. I should be raising my son, right now, not to be a racist dickweed. I should be cleaning the house, checking in on my mother, checking in on my wife’s mother, checking in on my wife, offering her support for her work THAT ACTUALLY SUPPORTS US FINANCIALLY and instead, I’m here at my keyboard formatting record label links for a news story about some release that I probably won’t even get to hear, let alone have time to review or, heaven forbid, actually appreciate. What is the point?

In the 11-plus years that I’ve run this site, I’ve never felt like it’s an empty venture as much as I do now. I’m not saying I’m going to stop — I couldn’t if I wanted to — but I can’t ignore the fact that there are those out there for whom the stakes are so incredibly much higher than they are for me. Music matters. Of course music matters. But nobody’s dying if I don’t do a track premiere. There are writers out there providing strength and vision. I’m putting up press releases. It feels like a cop-out. Feels cheap. Useless on a whole new level.

Whether it’s COVID-19 or the ongoing movement for civil rights happening across the US, the hugeness of right now looms overhead every time I open my computer, everytime I obsessively reload the news on my phone, and while I’ve in the past prided myself on putting my head down and getting to work, I’m not sure who or what the work is helping. Me? Is it making my life better? How and why?

I feel useless. Old. Sad. Like I’m waiting for a normalcy to return that isn’t coming back, and even if it did, what would that serve? Did I really just ask for a press pass to a Candlemass live stream?

Imagine the Titanic sinking, the band playing on. Do they really need someone there to review the show? Because that’s me. I’m that guy. That’s who I am.

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God Damn I Miss Festivals

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

roadburn 2018 (Photo by Niels Vinck)

By now, I could normally expect to be neck-deep in news about the upcoming Fall festival season. Never mind that last weekend I’d have been at Maryland Doom Fest or the week before that I would’ve traveled to Germany for Freak Valley only about two months after my annual pilgrimage to the Netherlands for Roadburn Festival; my inbox and social media feed should be overflowing with updates, whether it’s Psycho Las Vegas unveiling whatever remainders or updates to its bill for August or the regular batch of European festivals — Keep it Low, Desertfest Belgium, Up in Smoke, Høstsabbat, and so on — unveiling their lineups one, two or three bands at a time.

Most of those are canceled. I’m keeping my fingers crossed at hitting Oslo in October for Høstsabbat, then maybe Stockholm for Truckfighters’ Fuzz Fest in November, but who the hell knows if European countries will even be letting potentially contagious Americans in their borders by then. I know if I was an agent working the arrivals at some EU airport I’d be asking US passport holders if they injected their bleach today. With how much America’s alliances have deteriorated over the last few years, who the hell is going to give US travelers the benefit of the doubt? Why take the risk?

But even apart from even the potentiality of going to one or more of these festivals in the course of the year that 2020 might’ve been, I miss posting about festivals. It’s not for lack of potential content — I still can’t keep up with news or reviews. But just the events themselves. SonicBlast in Portugal. Esbjerg Fuzztival — which is now scheduled for the beginning of September, just sold out and is still adding bands — in Denmark. The annual return of Colour Haze to Keep it Low in Munich. I miss seeing the tour routings take shape with successive weekend stops. The regulars showing up here and there, while maybe new bands from the US go abroad for the first time, like Geezer did for Freak Valley a few years ago, or like Forming the Void were set to do this Spring.

I know live music isn’t gone forever, and that in Europe, groups are starting to schedule events even in more than just the moving-this-2020-thing-to-2021 fashion, but not only do I miss live music, I miss the idea of live music. I’m trying not to get my hopes up for Maryland Doom Fest this October but it’s hard. I miss daydreaming about Duna Jam, or about Desertfest in London and Berlin — or New York, for that matter. This year I was going to melt my own brain with mushrooms at Psycho Las Vegas just to see what happened when I subsequently set fingers to keyboard. Stoned and Dusted. Monolith on the Mesa. Stoned From the Underground. Lake on Fire. Sonic Whip. Even Hellfest and those bigger ones that throw an occasional bone or stage up for heavy stuff. Is Muddy Roots going to happen in September in Tennessee? Is anything?

I miss losing myself in the thought of traveling to a place outside the norm of my day-to-day and seeing a special moment while it’s happening. The streams some bands are doing are cool. They give me something to write about. And I know the world has bigger concerns between America’s semi-reckoning with its ongoing systemic racism and the aforementioned pandemic, but everything feels that much harder without even that mental escape. God damn I miss festivals.

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Days of Rona: Mattia Mazzeo of AyahuascA and Black Gremlin

Posted in Features on June 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

Mattia Mazzeo AyahuascA Black Gremlin

Days of Rona: Mattia Mazzeo of AyahuascA and Black Gremlin (Collecchio, Italy)

Our aim is your status and your career. We put in our best to meet your needs and protect your status. Our custom Help My Community Essay service is glowing How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

First of all, thank you for getting in touch with me. I was in Naples for a show with Black Gremlin (action rock band) a few days before the lockdown (a few places were already locked in the north of Italy) and we were already worried about our near future. With AyahuascA has been the same, the lockdown started on the same day we were supposed to play in Rome, and then all the shows we booked have been canceled including Crystal Mountain Festival which was a great show for us with a lot of great bands (Kadavar, Giobia, Monkey3 any many more). So a lot of hard work vanished into thin air, we were booking two tours with both bands (Black Gremlin and AyahuascA) for November/December but now there are too many uncertainties to book shows, so we decided to focus on new material for the next album. As an individual, I started to write a lot of new stuff, especially for AyahuascA. On this side I’m quite satisfied, isolation helped me to take a trip inside of me, I tried to turn this situation into something positive for me and I knew it could be a good time to write new riffs and lyrics. Everything has changed overnight, all of us started writing new songs on our own at home and now we have enough material for at least two albums and I’m really excited about that, I can’t wait to start to work on it with my bandmates in our rehearsal room, since writing albums is the most intense and beautiful part of the work for me.

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Well, Italy was hit hard by the virus, I was afraid especially the first month (my father also took a light form of the virus). Remembering the first weeks of lockdown is like entering in a separate dimension, a very strange moment in the life of all of us. I think there was a lot of fear in general, the media bombed us with numbers of dead and infected people every day. Personally I have sometimes avoided reading the news, not to get too discouraged. Speaking of our government’s response, I think managing something of this magnitude is really difficult. Some members of the government have shown themselves to be ridiculous individuals, without culture and sense of duty. I also believe that others have done more or less what has to be done. But the perception that I have about it is deviated by an aberrant amount of news, fake news, etc. I think this was the main problem of this situation: the almost total impossibility of having a clear idea of what was going on. But on the other hand, I don’t think it could have been otherwise.

Purchase dissertation of premium quality from custom dissertations writing service. Copywriting Services written from scratch by highly qualified PhD/MD What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I think the music community answered well, our balconies were full of musicians who played for the neighborhoods as you may have noticed hahaha. Apart from this, in Italy, there is no real support for those who work in the music business (I am not only talking about musicians, but about promoters, club managers and other figures). Since the lockdown started, new realities have emerged to protect those who work with music and this could be a good starting point for our future. Despite this, I am really worried about many small clubs that have given us fantastic concerts in the last years. I hope that they will be able to resist in this moment of extreme restrictions and start again asap. Personally, I can’t wait to get back on stage. Now it is unthinkable to organize a punk concert with these restrictions(just to name a couple: everyone must be seated with masks and well-spaced, you can not serve drinks), but maybe it is possible to organize some psychedelic or ritual band and enjoy the show in a different way, taking advantage of the distances. Social distancing has a different impact on everyone of us. Surely this new reality is asking us to look within us, whoever has the strength to do so could come out really changed and more “centered” than before. I think great albums can come out of that. I see this period as a call to arms towards our sensitivity, the perception of what we call our world.

Can I pay someone to Source? Hire us if you are looking to earn an A or B for your homework What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

If you have the opportunity to support the bands you love, do it. Buy albums and share the music you love to keep your passion alive, whether you are a musician or a listener. To the bands, on the other hand, I say that this is the best time to dedicate yourself to writing new music and get out of this stronger than before. I believe that from now on the keyword will be “adaptation”, but I believe it is also a good time to create new realities, new projects.

https://www.facebook.com/ayahuasca25/
https://ayahuascatheband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/ayahuascatheband/
https://www.facebook.com/blackgremlinofficialpage/
https://blackgremlin.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/blackgremlin_rocknroll/

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Days of Rona: Melissa Pinion of Stygian Crown

Posted in Features on June 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

stygian crown melissa

Days of Rona: Melissa Pinion of Stygian Crown (Los Angeles, California)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

We all live in areas that are under lockdown, so we can’t rehearse as a group. Numerous shows and festivals we were scheduled to play have been canceled or postponed as a result of the pandemic. However, we have been keeping up our chops so we can come out strong when venues begin to reopen. This downtime has given us the chance to begin developing riffs, basic song structures and lyrics for a follow-up album.

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It’s hard to say without actually seeing the inside of hospitals, but based on statistics, it appears that the stay-at-home orders are actually working at the moment and our healthcare sector is handling our cases without having to turn away anyone else with critical needs. The initial panic that we saw in mid-March has vanished, and in its place has appeared an anticipation for the world around us to get back to “normal.” The problem is, no one really knows what that means.

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There are two sides to this. Obviously, we feel badly for all the bands whose primary source of income comes from touring. Countless support staff in the entertainment industry have lost their jobs too. What many artists have done in the wake of this crisis is turned a negative situation into something positive. All of the live-streaming performances have been inspiring to see. And the money being raised by these artists for various causes shows us that listeners really care about the bands they follow.

Additionally, Germany’s “Keep It True” festival compiled hours and hours of past footage and presented it on YouTube to give fans something to enjoy on the weekend the festival was supposed to take place. We hope this positive vibe continues when the virus gets under control.

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Stygian Crown will release its debut album amid a pandemic, but our passion to create and perform will not be stopped by the coronavirus. And with the support of the metal community, we’ll be back with a vengeance before you know it!

facebook.com/stygiancrown/
cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: Giorgio Trombino of Elevators to the Grateful Sky, Assumption, Sixcircles and Dolore

Posted in Features on June 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

elevators to the grateful sky Giorgio Trombino

Days of Rona: Giorgio Trombino of Elevators to the Grateful Sky, Assumption, Sixcircles and Dolore (Palermo, Italy)

Alpha http://www.polzer.net/?custom-thesis-skin provides you the best in class, plagiarism free and value for money Content at your convenient time from experts. How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

We had scheduled our final pre-album rehearsals when the lockdown kicked in. Everything was already in the pipeline but now all plans have been postponed to who-knows-when. That being said, Assumption has always been a long-distance band since we all live in different places, basically three in Northern Italy and one in Slovenia. I mean, our regular band life is already about getting to meet just for specifically planned occasions, so we know the hassle. We would love to stick together much more than we are allowed to and not just for playing and recording. On a personal level, lockdown was ok and I’ve tried to make most out of it. I even managed to move to a new house with my girlfriend as we had like a special permit to carry the furniture, drive back and forth and so on. I have been reading, watching movies and writing new music the rest of the time.

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Situations differ a lot from region to region. Northern regions like Lombardia and Piemonte are still facing the toughest tasks, whereas both major islands and southern Italy in general have seen slightly better times. Veneto, the region I currently live in, has received much praise and is now regarded as a national model in contagion management in spite of the idiotic and extremely unstable discourses of regional President Luca Zaia. It seems like he basically did all he could to try and dismantle this region’s efficient healthcare system during the last few years but in the end he took all of his staff’s credit for the good results. I mean, what else would you expect from someone whose political party (Lega, formerly Lega Nord) is one of the most arrogant, self-righteous and repulsive right wing piles of shit ever in this country? As for the people I know and love, a good percentage of them was freaking out at home. I decided to choose just a few pieces of daily information I felt essential, switched off the rest of the panic-inducing media and focused on other stuff. I, for one, am really grateful for how things turned out for my family and me.

http://www.sampans.fr/?i-t-masters-projects-thesis - work with our scholars to receive the quality coursework following the requirements Benefit from our cheap custom research What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

First it seemed like house streaming and people doing stuff live on Facebook were the answer. I stand with what Nick Cave said about them in early April, I think most of that stuff is plain self-indulgence. Live music is mostly a social thing, there’s no way a surrogate experience can ever avoid being boring and feel adulterated. I have written tons of music for almost all of my projects, worked on commercial tunes for advertisement, home demoed 90 percent of a future Sixcircles album did a lot of stuff that I always wanted to focus on and I have been waking up each morning wanting to do more and go to places I hadn’t been musically before. You know, Moody Blues once said thinking is the best way to travel. For what concerns the broader music community, I know many people in the live music world that are struggling to survive and some drive-in gig isn’t simply enough to change things. I can only wish for a speedy twist in the plot for people dealing with this.

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A disproportionate event such as the one we’re all going through now offers a whole array of free lessons to be learned. Biggest one is that all things must pass. Inhabitants of the privileged sector of the planet are now familiar with a redefined concept of “personal restriction” to some extent. Covid has pulled the best and worst out of everyone and hung a huge question mark over our heads. Franco Maresco, a Sicilian director whose art I admire, has recently said in an interview that mankind won’t learn much from the pandemics, just like many times before. I partly share this vision and feel like covid is a portion of a bigger dysfunctional picture anyway. I’m essentially hoping for best and preparing for worst. I can say I felt nauseauted by the trendy optimist logorrhoea that flooded the Italian web when everybody started writing, painting, drawing the phrase “ce la faremo” (“we will make it”) on whatever available surface. After all, Turgenev once stated that there are situations, however touching, from which one nevertheless wants to escape… as for Assumption, the band is made of people I love. We will simply carry on and do our stuff whenever it’s possible again.

https://www.facebook.com/assumptiondoom/
https://assumption.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/assumption_band/
https://www.facebook.com/sixcirclesband/
https://phonosphera.bandcamp.com/album/sixcircles-new-belief/
https://www.facebook.com/ElevatorstotheGratefulSky/
https://elevatorstothegratefulsky.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/doloremeanspain/
https://dolore1.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: Jose Maldonado of 3 Wheeler Band

Posted in Features on June 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

3 wheeler band jose maldonado

Days of Rona: Jose Maldonado of 3 Wheeler Band (Monterrey, Mexico)

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As a band we have been really close using video calls and social media to connect, uploading some old tracks on Bandcamp and recently went back to rehearsal but only 2 of us, so it’s kind of hard right now to be all 3 of us in the same room jammin’ some tunes.

As an individual, I’ve been taking care of my Family, staying in touch with Friends and Family via video calls and I’m very fortunate to be able to work from home, so just trying to keep my mind busy.

On band plans, this coming August we are going to turn 10 years as a band and we were planning the anniversary gig and this covid crap hit us hard, so that’s on standby right now but we have uploaded music to our Bandcamp and are talking about making a video. Regarding the creative process this lockdown has helped us in working on some riffs for new tracks so we have been busy doing that. We try to stay positive about all of this and eager to get back on stage and have a good time.

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I live in Monterrey, Mexico, an industrial city northeast of the country (a two-hour drive from Texas). At first people were kind of freaking out and being really afraid of the virus and nobody was going out for anything except groceries and basics. Now, two and a half months later, people are tired of staying indoors, local government closed the Heineken brewery which makes, of course, Heineken but also Tecate beer and the people just freaked out, panic beer shopping until we ran out of beer. The brewery remains closed and currently there is no beer in the city and folks are just losing it. Besides, local and federal government communications are not clear and people are starting to go out a bit more. We hear similar stuff happening in Texas, so we are taking care of each other but we had enough of the lock down really.

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The local music scene has responded great by doing a lot of online collaboration through videos and creating songs from the distance so yeah, the local scene has been busy, very creative and active on social media. And inspired? Yes, we and other band friends have been doing our homework, my side band Artesano de Piedra also uploaded unreleased tracks to Bandcamp, members of 3 Wheeler Band, Moonwatcher and Tres Cabrones created a new acoustic venture named Moon Dweller Trio and some other friends are taking advantage of the time they have on their hands to be creative. So we’re good, we all will come back stronger.

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As a band 3 Wheeler Band will continue to work on new riffs and turn them into new tracks, we will be busy doing that and staying in touch with Friends/Fans and placing some CDs out for distribution in the States, so stay tuned for that.

Regarding our situation as a City and Country, we basically are not doing that bad regarding the virus, some government agencies are tricking numbers and giving out fake info. If you have Friends and Family in Mexico reach out to them and ask them directly, do not fall for the info shown in the media, they are just creating panic and fear.

Personally, just take care of you and yours. Do not lose touch with Friends, use technology to connect with them and don’t fall for the news in the media. Try to stay positive as much as you can. We will get through this and heavy music and live music will be back stronger than ever. And if you are enjoying some cold beer send some our way! Salud!

https://www.facebook.com/3WheelerBand/
https://www.instagram.com/3wheelerband/
https://3wheelerband.bandcamp.com/

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Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on June 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

[Click play above to see the premiere of Pale Divine’s lyric video for ‘Saints of Fire.’ Consequence of Time is out June 26 and available to preorder from Cruz Del Sur: CD preorder, LP preorder w/ poster & download, digital release June 19.]

Even among American traditionalist doom — which as a whole is underrated — there aren’t many who reach the same echelons in that regard as  Pale Divine. Also their debut release for Cruz Del Sur MusicConsequence of Time is their sixth full-length, and as it arrives just two years after 2018’s self-titled LP (review here), it also marks the quickest time differential the Chesapeake-region group — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware — have ever had between two offerings. Pale Divine, the record, was notable for marking the first appearance of Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass and backing vocals, who brought the five-string acumen he’d demonstrated in Admiral Browning and countless others to the classic-style rolling riffs and searing leads of guitarist Greg Diener (also vocals) and the ever-steady, never-flashy, always-efficient drumming of Darin McCloskey. On the eight-song/42-minute Consequence of Time, there is another significant change in the band’s makeup.

Even as they were releasing the self-titled, Pale Divine announced the addition of Dana Ortt on guitar and vocals alongside Diener, a shift that was essentially a merging between Pale Divine and the Ortt-led Beelzefuzz, in which Diener and McCloskey had both been members. The end result is that between DienerOrtt and McGinnisPale Divine now have three vocalists capable of carrying a song on their own, whether it’s Diener‘s metal-tinged proclamations, Ortt‘s bizarro-prog otherworldliness, complemented by his nuance of guitar tone, or McGinnis with his lower register bluesy take. Unsurprisingly, Consequence of Time is easily the most diverse album Pale Divine have ever made, and perhaps also the richest in terms of its general approach, since the influences especially of its two guitarists are readily on display, whether it’s in the Beelzefuzzian chug and dreamstate lumber of “Phantasmagoria” or in Diener‘s veritable clinic on how to shred a solo and still give a sense of soul in the process.

It bears underscoring just how significant of a turn Consequence of Time is for Pale Divine. The band mark their 25th anniversary in 2020, having begun with McCloskey and Diener in 1995 before releasing their first demo a couple years later. It seems to me not just a marked change in terms of the band’s sound that welcoming Ortt has enacted, but a genuinely admirable openness on the part of Diener. Yes, there’s “sharing the spotlight,” as much as such a thing exists in a genre where one might be inclined in the first sentence of a review to point out how underrated it is, but more than that, to have the ability after some 20 years of having the band as a vehicle for his songwriting to be able to adjust the entire process in such a way is staggering.

pale divine

Ortt doesn’t just sing backup on Consequence of Time, and he makes a mark in terms of the overall style of riffs and tones as well on songs like “Broken Martyr,” “Satan in Starlight,” and even the Diener-led opener “Tyrants/Pawns (Easy Prey).” It’s a rare band and a rare player who would allow that kind of shift to take place at any point, let alone after 20 years, and Pale Divine are unquestionably stronger for it. The patience in the 10-minute unfolding of the 10-minute title-track alone is proof of the subtle level on which the change can be felt, a melding of purpose between what Beelzefuzz were by their finish and the roots-doom mindset that Pale Divine have always portrayed so well.

Perhaps it’s sharing vocal duties that has allowed Diener‘s guitar to shine all the more, but his leads soar throughout Consequence of Time in striking fashion, and with McGinnis‘ bass and McCloskey‘s drums behind, there’s never any risk of the band losing their trajectory whatsoever. As the title-track approaches the halfway mark, Diener and Ortt share vocals against a stark and largely quiet backdrop ahead of the next classic metal lead (it might be Ortt‘s, I can’t be sure), but that moment sums up the incredible, throw-the-doors-open spirit of Consequence of Time. Ortt takes the fore later, and Diener rejoins and the two guitars lock purposes in solos and riffs to close out, but in that moment, not only the change of the band’s sound, but the creative spirit that drove that change are palpable. The risk and the reward both are right there for the listener to absorb.

The subsequent closing pair “No Escape” and “Saints of Fire” would seem to be an epilogue of sorts, or at least a movement unto themselves after the title-track, but their purpose isn’t lost for existing in the shadow of the 10-minute cut preceding. In the speedy “No Escape,” Diener fronts, and they trade for “Saints of Fire,” and it’s a last-minute showcase of the multifaceted nature of who Pale Divine are in 2020 and what they can accomplish as a group in this new form. “No Escape” gallops in brash form and is probably the most fun I’ve ever heard Pale Divine have on a record, and “Saints of Fire” pushes in its second half into a quirky dark gorgeousness that feels like pure inheritance from Beelzefuzz put to righteous use. Pale Divine, the power-trio turned four-piece after 20-some years, march their way out of Consequence of Time and into an unknowable future as a stronger, more versatile and more vibrant unit.

The band they were is still very much present in their sound, and they remain as sonically committed to doom as they’ve ever been, but the foundation of influence has expanded and their craft is all the more affecting and progressive for it. Between the quick turnaround, the new label and the new construction, Pale Divine move into their second quarter-century with an almost impossible feeling of potential, and one can only look forward to what they might yet accomplish as they move on from here. 25 years on and reaching new heights. That is a special band, and yes, vastly underrated. They may stay that way and they may not, but one way or the other, Consequence of Time will stand as one of 2020’s foremost offerings in doom, and deservedly so.

Pale Divine on Thee Facebooks

Pale Divine website

Cruz del Sur Music website

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Days of Rona: Bill Kole of Ol’ Time Moonshine

Posted in Features on June 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

ol time moonshine bill kole

Days of Rona: Bill Kole of Ol’ Time Moonshine (Toronto, Canada)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

Ol’ Time Moonshine was in the studio laying down drums and bass for our new record at the beginning of March when the reports of the virus started to become more frequent. It wasn’t long before the shelter in place/quarantine orders came down. It’s now been a bit more than 10 weeks since we’ve all been in the same room playing together. We’ve been working on our parts for the record and taking care of some band business and promotion, including uploading our releases to streaming services after more limited release. The uncertainty of what the musical landscape will look like when this is all over has been weighing a bit heavily – a number of venues in our province have already shut down permanently since the pandemic began, and a lot more are close. Even when they open up, the capacity restrictions are likely to devastate their businesses. As a band we’re just taking everyday and doing what we can; looking after all the little projects we always said we’d do if we ever had time. The plan right now is to get back and start tracking guitars and vocals in June, which was our original target for completing the record. We’re lucky to live in an era of connected technology that can keep us together and informed if we choose to use it that way.

I’m blessed to work for a wonderful, family owned film audio support business that has kept me on payroll, even when the office was shut, and we’ve reached a point where I’m able to come in to the office safely, mostly working alone, for a few hours a few days a week. It helps break up the monotony of the days, and I’ve been walking the few kilometres to work to avoid public transit and get some exercise. It’s been wonderful to see my family pull together and be strong in the face of this, and to have friends and family making masks for one another, shopping for those less mobile, trying to make the kids in the neighbourhood feel special on their birthdays, etc. I finally was able to teach my daughter the basics of riding her bike after several seasons of trying, and we’ve done lots of work on our apartment to freshen it up. I’ve been working on a few album covers and posters in my free time (and a lot of revisions on posters due to shows moving). I’ve tried to keep getting up at the same time everyday and keeping somewhat of a schedule so that the days don’t just fade away into one another. Motivation has its good days and bad days, but I try not to be hard on myself. I’ve found my emotions bubble closer to the surface; joy and sadness bring me to tears pretty quickly these days. Trying to look at the positives each day and stay strong for my family and friends.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

I generally feel that the federal and provincial and municipal governments have done a decent job of looking after their people in this crisis, though there is always room for improvement and some communities have been more affected than others. Unfortunately, a few have felt that the rules they make do not apply to them. We’re seeing that in a lot of places, though, not just Canada. I fear that a lot of restaurants, theatres, venues and other cultural institutions may not weather this storm without further intervention. It will certainly be interesting to see what survives and thrives on the other side of this unprecedented economic disaster. On a personal level, most of my friends and family have remained rational and followed precaution. I’m proud of them. I am particularly proud of my friends and family in health care and food service that have sacrificed so much to ensure our safety and wellbeing. I haven’t had anyone close to me pass from COVID-19 complications, but I do have several friends and family members that have lost loved ones. It’s probably too late and too difficult for most, but I feel a stricter lockdown, sooner, would have been more effective then and less painful now. We’re a bit too eager to get back to “normal” and I fear that opening up too soon will undo the progress we’ve made. We just loosened a few restrictions last week, and already people are getting lax about wearing masks and distancing. As someone with asthma and autoimmune issues I need to be a bit extra cautious, and it can be disheartening to see someone not wearing a mask in an enclosed space like a store, or just as bad, wearing it as a chin strap or taking it off to lean over a protective barrier and speak to them.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I think most of the people in my musical circle have adapted well, but miss being able to see each other and hang out at shows. I’ve watched a number of great live streams, and some cool pro-shot shows are coming online soon. It’s not entirely the same without the atmosphere and immersion, but it’s the best we’ve got for the moment. I’ve had more time to listen to music, so I’ve been diving in and doing a lot of deep listening, catching a lot of great records I missed the first time around. There have been some great articles and discussions in the scene, and it’s been fun to see what a lot of my fellow musicians have been listening to. I’ve talked to a few groups of musicians about contributing guitar or vocals to a few different projects outside of OTM. I’m really proud of the record Ol’ Time Moonshine is working on, and I REALLY want to get it finished and out there. We’ve gone through a lot these past few years since the release of “The Apocalypse Trilogies”, so it has been a bitter pill to swallow to see us get all of our game pieces in order just for the game to change, but we’ll adapt and move forward, we always do. It could have been much worse, though, so I’m grateful we haven’t lost more. So many friends have had to cancel their release parties and tours. So many promoters and touring companies have lost their livelihood for the perceivable future. So many recovering addicts and people with mental health issues have lost their support. If you are having a good, positive day and feel you can handle it, please, reach out to someone you know who might not be and let them know they have someone that loves them.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

I don’t think things can possibly go back to the way they were. It’s all going to be a bit different, and take some getting used to. I think some have found they are stronger than expected, and some are not as strong as they thought. We need to be compassionate and help one another, especially those that fall through the cracks, and we need to take better care of our mental health. We need to be kinder, and more honest with ourselves and loved ones. I miss my US and worldwide doom family, and hope the borders open back up soon and that everyone stays safe so we can enjoy live music again soon.

https://www.facebook.com/oltimemoonshine/
https://oltimemoonshine.bandcamp.com/
http://www.oltimemoonshine.com/

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