DVNE to Release Etemen Ænka March 19; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

DVNE have set March 19 as the release date for their new album, Etemen Ænka, which is to serve as their debut on Metal Blade Records. The arrival of the record would seem to have been a while in the making — the band had inked a deal with RidingEasy in 2019, shortly before they made a return appearance at Psycho Las Vegas, there they’d made their US live debut the prior year (review here) — but certainly the fact that it’s on Metal Blade that the full-length arrives is notable in itself. It’s not every day a band like this puts out a record on a label like this.

And when it comes to “a band like this,” DVNE stand largely apart despite pulling together familiar stylistic elements of progressive and post-metal. In their new single, “Sì-XIV,” their penchant for atmospherics does little to undercut the impact of harder-hitting stretches. This is actually the second audio to make its way to the public behind the issued-on-its-own Omega Severer (review here), which will also appear on Etemen Ænka when it arrives in March.

The PR wire has art and info to spare:

dvne Etemen Ænka

Dvne reveals details for new album, ‘Etemen Ænka’; launches video for new single, “Sì-XIV”

On March 19th, Dvne will release their sophomore album, Etemen Ænka, via Metal Blade Records. For a first preview of the record, a video for the new single “Si?-XIV” can be viewed at: metalblade.com/dvne – where Etemen Ænka can also be pre-ordered in the following formats:

– digisleeve-CD
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– raisin rouge marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 400 copies)
– grey / yellow-green marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– gold / black dust vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– clear / black dust vinyl (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– dark goldenrod marbled vinyl (US exclusive)
– clear ash gray marbled vinyl (US exclusive)

Dvne comments: “With the context of covid and the strong travel restrictions we’ve had in the UK and Europe, shooting ‘SI-XIV’ was a real challenge, but we’re glad we could make it happen.
The video was split between two shoots: we worked once again with our close friends Just-Aurèle Meissonnier, Louis Macéra, Gilles Garniers and Michel Jocaille for the creature part of the shoot (shot in Paris); the rest of the video footage was shot in Edinburgh by Calum McMillan and our light tech Sam Jones.

We’ve always loved prosthetic effects and wanted to use our own creations in the video, but the overall aesthetic takes no small amount of inspiration from some of our favourite 70/80s sci-fi horror films. We had this concept of a weird humanoid-type creature facing the overwhelming harshness and the hopeless nature of its existence.

The video symbolically follows the narrative theme of the track within the new album, with the creature attempting to escape its nature through metamorphosis throughout the video. It was an incredibly fun few days setting up and shooting all the creature parts in Paris.”

Dvne are a band of great contrasts, weaving titanic heaviness and intricate gentleness together, complex lyrical ideas with engaging storylines, and this has only been expanded upon and concentrated on second album Etemen Ænka. “It’s an album that has a narrative musically, and we hope that will encourage the listener to explore the universe we’ve created around it,” states guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart. “It is a very dense and layered album which will reward multiple listens, and while this is becoming a recurring aspect of our music, we feel that we went further with it this time. It’s also a very polarizing album, emotionally speaking. The heavy sections are, well, very heavy, while the clean sections are much more intricate and delicate – and in a way wouldn’t be out of place in a Studio Ghibli anime soundtrack.” Exploring everything in greater depth in every way, it is a profound step forward from 2017’s Asheran, starting an exciting new chapter in the existence of one of the most thrilling and imaginative metal bands active today. “We knew we wanted to include keys and synths in the equation. We wanted to be able to add new textures and new sounds that weren’t on our previous releases, and we felt that this was something that will give us more options creatively. Looking back, that was a great decision because we’ve used synths for everything, with ambient sounds, heavy subs and actual leads, which really added a new dynamic to this album. We’ve also kept this balance between down-tuned heavy riffs and clean movements, which were already present in ‘Asheran’, but we really wanted to make sure we could capture more details and subtleties once recorded,” explains Vicart. Synths are in fact so present, and at times so unapologetically 80s, that they sound like the soundtrack to a classic sci-fi, which may well surprise fans, the band confident in every step they took musically.

Etemen Ænka is also Dvne’s second collaboration with producer Graeme Young in Edinburgh’s Chamber Studio, having developed a great working relationship with him on Asheran – “he acts like an extra member of the band and really pushes us to do better takes.” This made for a smooth and productive recording process, the challenging part coming before they entered the studio. “The composition was challenging because we second guess every riff that gets written. We want to keep things fresh, and we want to keep the energy high too, so the initial creative stage can become intense. Then, because our tracks are pretty big and dense with ideas and movements, we didn’t finalize each track structure until we started laying down the drums. But I think it’s what made the whole recording process so much fun too, because it allowed us to really think about the different options available without committing to a final structure too early in the process.” The record also features guest vocals courtesy of Lissa Robertson, who sings on “Omega Severer” and “Asphodel” and contributes spoken word on “Weighing Of The Heart” – her voice adding yet another depth to the heavily layered collection.

Tracklisting:
1. Enûma Eliš
2. Towers
3. Court of the Matriarch
4. Weighing of the Heart
5. Omega Severer
6. Adræden
7. Sì-XIV
8. Mleccha
9. Asphodel
10. Satuya

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords
https://www.instagram.com/metalbladerecords/
https://www.metalblade.com/

DVNE, “Sì-XIV” official video

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Quarterly Review: Boris, DVNE, Hydra, Jason Simon, Cherry Choke, Pariiah, Saavik, Mountain Tamer, Centre El Muusa, Population II

Posted in Reviews on December 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Kind of a spur of the moment thing, this Quarterly Review. I’ve been adding releases all the while, of course, but my thought was to do this after my year-end list went up, and I realized, hey, if I’ve got like 70 records I haven’t reviewed yet, maybe there’s some of that stuff worth considering. So here we are. I’ve pushed back my best-of-2020 stuff and basically swapped it with the Quarterly Review. Does it matter to you? I seriously, seriously doubt it, but I believe in transparency and that’s what’s up. Thought I’d let you know. And yeah, this is going to go into next week, take us through the X-mas holiday this Friday, so whatever. You celebrate your way and I’ll celebrate mine. Let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Boris, No

boris no

As a general project, reviewing Boris is damn near pointless. One might as well review the moon: “uh, it’s big and out there most of the time?” The only reason to do it is either to exercise one’s own need to hyperbolize or help the band sell records. Well, Boris doesn’t need my push and I don’t need to tell them how great they are. No is 40 minutes of the widely and wildly lauded Japanese heavy rock(s) experimentalists trying to riff away existing in 2020, delving high speed into hardcore here and there and playing off that with grueling sludge, punk, garage-metal and the penultimate “Loveless,” which is kind of Boris being their own genre. Much respect to the band, and I suppose one might critique Boris for, what?, being so Boris-y?, but there really isn’t a ton that hasn’t been said about them because such a ton has. I’m not trying to disparage their work at all — No is just what you’d expect as regards defying expectation — but after 20-plus years, there’s only so many ways one wants to call a band genius.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris on Bandcamp

 

DVNE, Omega Severer

DVNE Omega Severer

Kind of a soft-opening for Edinburgh’s DVNE as an act on Metal Blade Records, unless of course one counts the two songs on the Omega Severer EP itself, which are post-metallic beasts of the sort that would and should make The Ocean blush. Progressive, heavy, and remarkably ‘next-wave’ feeling, DVNE‘s awaited follow-up to 2017’s Asheran may only be about 17 and a half minutes long, but it bodes remarkably well as the band master a torrent of intensity on the 10-minute opening title-cut and answer that with the immediately galloping “Of Blade and Carapace,” smashing battle-axe riffing and progressive shimmer against each other and finding it to be an alchemy of their own. Album? One suspects not until they can tour for it, but if Omega Severer is DVNE serving notice, consider the message received loud, clear, dynamic, crushing, spacious, and so on. Already veterans of Psycho Las Vegas, they sound like a band bent on capturing a broader audience in the metallic sphere.

DVNE on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Hydra, From Light to the Abyss

hydra from light to the abyss

There’s no questioning where Hydra‘s heart is at on their debut full-length, From Light to the Abyss. It belongs to the devil and it belongs to Black Sabbath. The Polish four-piece riff hard and straightforward throughout most of the five-track offering (released by Piranha Music), and samples set the kind of atmosphere that should be familiar enough to the converted — “No One Loves Like Satan” reminds of Uncle Acid in its initial channel-changing and swaggering riff alike — but doomly centerpiece “Creatures of the Woods” and the layered vocal melodies late in closer “Magical Mind” perhaps offer a glimpse at the direction the band could take from here. What matters though is where Hydra are at today, and that’s bringing riffs and nod to the converted among the masses, and From Light to the Abyss offers no pretense otherwise. It is doom rock for doom rockers, grooves to be grooved to. They’re not void of ambition by any means — their songwriting makes that clear — but their traditionalism is sleeve-worn, which if you’re going to have it, is right where it should be.

Hydra on Thee Facebooks

Piranha Music on Bandcamp

 

Jason Simon, A Venerable Wreck

jason simon a venerable wreck

Dead Meadow guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon follows 2016’s Familiar Haunts (review here) with the genre-spanning A Venerable Wreck, finding folk roots in obscure beats and backwards this-and-that, country in fuzz, ramble in space, and no shortage of experimentalism besides. A Venerable Wreck consists of 12 songs and though there are times where it can feel disjointed, that becomes part of the ride. It’s not all supposed to make sense. Yet what happens by the time you get around to “No Entrance No Exit” is that Simon (and a host of cohorts) has set his own context broad enough so that the drone reach of “Hollow Lands” and sleek, organ-laced indie of closer “Without Reason or Right” can coexist without any real interruption of flow between them. The question with A Venerable Wreck isn’t so much whether the substance is there, it’s whether the listener is open to it. Welcome to psychedelic America. Please inject this snake venom and turn in your keys when you leave.

Jason Simon on Bandcamp

BYM Records website

 

Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse

Cherry Choke-Raising Salzburg Rockhouse-Cover

You won’t hear me take away from the opening psych-scorch hook of “Mindbreaker” or the fuzzed-on, boogie-down, -up, and -sideways of “Black Annis” which follows, but there’s something extra fun about hearing Frog Island’s Cherry Choke jam out a 13-minute, drum-solo-inclusive version of “6ix and 7even” that makes Raising Salzburg Rockhouse even more of a reminder of how underrated both they are as a band and Mat Bethancourt is as a player. Look no further than “Domino” if you want absolute proof. The whole band rips it up at the Austrian gig, which was recorded in 2015 as they supported their third and still-most-recent full-length, Raising the Waters (review here), but Bethancourt puts on a Hendrixian clinic in the nine-minute cut from 2011’s A Night in the Arms of Venus (review here), which is actually less of a clinic than it is pure distorted swagger followed by a mellow “cheers, thanks” before diving into “Used to Call You Friend.” A 38-minute set would be perfect for an vinyl release, and anytime Cherry Choke want to get around to putting together a fourth studio album, well, that’ll be just fine too.

Cherry Choke on Thee Facebooks

Cherry Choke on Bandcamp

 

Pariiah, Swallowed by Fog

Pariiah swallowed by fog

It’s a special breed of aggro that emerges as a result of living in the most densely populated state in the union, and New Jersey’s Pariiah have it to spare. Bringing together sludge tonality with elder-style New York hardcore lumbering riffs on their Trip Machine Laboratories tape, Swallowed by Fog, they exude a thickened brand of pissed off that’s outright going to be too confrontation for many who take it on. But if you want a middle finger to the face, this is what it sounds like, and the six songs (compiled into four on the digital version of the release) come and go entirely without pretense and leave little behind except bruises and the promise of more to come. They’re a new band, started in this most wretched of years, but there’s no learning curve whatsoever among the members of Devoid of Faith, The Nolan Gate, Kill Your Idols, Changeörder and others. I’d go to Maplewood to see these cats. I’m just saying. Maybe even Elizabeth.

Pariiah on Bandcamp

Trip Machine Laboratories website

 

Saavik, Saavik

saavik saavik

So you’ve got both members of Holly Hunt in a four-piece sludging out with spacey synth and the band is named after a Star Trek character? Not to get too personal, but that’s going to pique my interest one way or the other. Saavik — and they clearly prefer the Kirstie Alley version, rather than Robin Curtis, going by drummer Beatriz Monteavaro‘s artwork — are damn near playing space rock by the end of “He’s Dead Jim,” the opener of their self-titled debut EP, but even that’s affected by a significant tonal weight in Didi Aragon‘s bass and the guitar of Gavin Perry, however much Ryan Rivas‘ synth and effects-laced vocals might seem to float overhead, but “Meld” rolls along at a steadier nod, and “Horizon” puts the synth more in the lead without becoming any less heavy for doing so. Likewise, “Red Sun” calls to mind Godflesh in its proto-machine metal stomp, but there’s more concern in Saavik‘s sound with expanse than just pure crush, and that shows up in fascinating ways in these songs.

Saavik on Thee Facebooks

Other Electricities on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual

mountain tamer psychosis ritual

There’s been a dark vibe all along nestled into Mountain Tamer‘s sound, and that’s certainly the case on Psychosis Ritual, with which the Los Angeles-based trio make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. It’s their third full-length overall behind 2018’s Godfortune // Dark Matters (review here) and 2016’s self-titled debut (review here), and it finds their untamed-feeling psychedelia rife with that same threat of violence, not necessarily thematically as much as sonically, like the songs themselves are the weapon about to be turned on the listener. Maybe the buzz of “Warlock” or the fuckall echo of the prior-issued single “Death in the Woods” (posted here) aren’t out there trying to be “Hammer Smashed Face” or anything, but neither is this the hey-bruh-good-times heavy jams for which Southern California is known these days. Consider the severity of “Turoc Maximus Antonis” or the finally-released screams in closer “Black Noise,” which bookends Psychosis Ritual with the title-track and seems at last to be the point where whatever grim vibe these guys are riding finally consumes them. Mountain Tamer continue to be unexpected and righteous in kind.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

 

Centre El Muusa, Centre El Muusa

centre el muusa centre el muusa

Hypnotic Estonian psychedelic krautrock instrumentals not your thing? Well that sounds like a personal problem Centre El Muusa are ready to solve. The evolved-from-duo four-piece get spaced out amid the semi-motorik repetitions of their self-titled debut (on Sulatron), and that seems to suit them quite well, thanksabunch. Drone trips and essential swirl brim with solar-powered pulsations and you can set your deflectors on maximum and route all the secondaries to reinforce if you want, there’s still a decent chance 9:53 opener an longest track “Turkeyfish” (immediate points, double for the appropriately absurd title) is going to sweep you off what you used to call your feet when that organ line hits at about six minutes in. That’s to say nothing of the cosmic collision later in “Burning Lawa” or the just-waiting-for-a-Carl-Sagan-voiceover “Mia” that follows. Even the 3:46 “Ain’t Got Enough Mojo” lives long enough to prove itself wrong. Interstellar tape transmissions fostered by obvious weirdos in the great out-there in “Szolnok,” named for a city in Hungary that, among other things, hosts the goulash festival. Right fucking on.

Centre El Muusa on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Population II, À La Ô Terre

Population II a La o Terre

The first Population II album, a 2017 self-titled, was comprised of two tracks, each long enough to consume a 12″ side. Somehow it’s fitting with the Montreal-based singing-drummer trio’s aesthetic that their second long-player, À la Ô Terre, would take a completely different tack, employing shorter freakouts like “L’Offrande” and “La Nuit” and the garage-rocking “La Danse” and what-if-JeffersonAirplane-but-on-Canadian-mushrooms “À la Porte de Demain” and still-more-drifting finisher “Je Laisse le Soleil Briller” amid the more stretched out “Attaction,” the space-buzzer “Ce n’est Réve” while cutting a middle ground in the greaked-out (I was gonna type “freaked out” and hit a typo and I’m keeping it) “Il eut un Silence dans le Ciel,” which also betrays the jazzy underpinnings that somehow make all of À la Ô Terre come across as progressive instead of haphazard. From the start to the close, you don’t know what’s coming next, and just because that’s by design doesn’t make it less effective. If anything, it makes Population II all the more impressive.

Population II on Thee Facebooks

Castle Face Records website

 

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 47

Posted in Radio on November 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

It’s Thanksgiving here in the US as I write this post. The early morning thereof, to be more specific. There’s one voice break in this episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal, and I cut it yesterday afternoon. I had just put The Pecan down for his afternoon nap and was in the process of getting dinner started (slow cooking) ahead of crashing out myself for about an hour.

The point of my telling you this? Maybe I wasn’t at my best.

Maybe I was a little harried, a little distracted, a little uh-oh-um. I did my best. I didn’t talk at all last time, so it seemed like a good idea at least to jump on and say thanks for listening and offer some setup for the second half of the show, which plays out in a succession of long, increasingly far-out cuts. But it’s not my best vocal work. Not gonna put it on my audition tape for KROQ.

Does KROQ still exist?

Anyway, I know it doesn’t matter, but still. Thank you for checking the show out if you do. For what it’s worth — plenty, to me — the playlist kicks ass.

If you tune in, I hope you enjoy. Thanks again.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmemetal.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 11.27.20

Samsara Blues Experiment End of Forever End of Forever*
Onségen Ensemble Stellar Fear*
Sun Crow Quest for Oblivion Black it Out*
VT1
Lykantropi Kom ta mig ut Tales to Be Told*
Urtidsdjur Vandringssång Urtidsdjur*
Murcielago Blues for the Red Lobster Casualties*
Switchblade Jesus Red Plains Death Hymns*
DVNE Omega Severer Omega Severer*
Dark Buddha Rising Sunyaga Mathreyata*
Morpholith Monocarp Null Dimensions*
Tomorr The 1001 Windows Village Tomorr*
Phog Hillside Whole Horse Both Barrels*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Dec. 11 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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DVNE Sign to RidingEasy Records; New Album Due Later This Year

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

RidingEasy Records would likely have been on hand last August when Edinburgh’s DVNE made their debut US appearance on the main stage at Psycho Las Vegas (review here), and having seen that performance, it leaves little to wonder why the label might have snagged them for the release of the follow-up to 2017’s widely-lauded Asheran. I seem to recall hearing at some point that Psycho was managing the band as well, so the West Coast connection there and the fact that they’re playing the festival again this year kind of brings it all together. They’ll hit the studio sometime in the next couple months to record an album, and whether it makes it out before the end of 2019 or not, I have little doubt its arrival will be hotly anticipated.

They’re something of a standout in terms of style for RidingEasy as well, which I imagine will only help them as they go forward with the backing from the label. US tour next year? Doesn’t seem like an unreasonable ask following the album’s release.

The PR wire makes the signing official:

dvne

DVNE sign to RidingEasy Records, play Psycho Las Vegas

Edinburgh, Scotland band to release new album in 2019

Edinburgh, Scotland quintet DVNE have signed to L.A. purveyors of heavy, RidingEasy Records for worldwide release of future recordings.

The band also returns to the US this summer to perform at the hugely popular Psycho Las Vegas festival on August 17th.

DVNE (pronounced dune) is a 5 piece progressive rock/metal band from Edinburgh Scotland. Founded in 2013, the band was then called Dune in reference to Frank Herbert sci-fi masterpiece of the same name.

The band consists of Victor Vicart (guitar, vocals, keys), Dudley Tait (drums), Daniel Barter (guitar, vocals), Jack Kavanagh (bass) and Richard Matheson (keys).

To date, the band has released one studio album and two EPs. They emerged within the UK scene with their first EP Progenitor (2013), shortly followed by a second EP, Aurora Majesty (2014). At their releases, both EPs received very favourable receptions. Dvne quickly began to make a name for themselves in the UK and around Europe, with various tours over these territories and support shows of households names such as Eyehategod, Crowbar, Dragged Into Sunlight to name a few. The band’s sound at the time was already crossing over various music style including post-metal, progressive rock and sludge metal, but it is with their first full-length album Asheran that the band established further their unique blend of heavy music.

Released in August 2017, on double-disc vinyl, CD and digital, Asheran was overwhelmingly praised by the press. Since Asheran’s release, Dvne has toured all over the UK, Europe and North America and appeared at prestigious festivals such as Psycho Las Vegas, Desertfest London and Inferno Festival Norway to name a few.

Not content to repeat their previous releases and always looking to push their sound forward DVNE are about to enter Chamber Studio in Edinburgh this summer to record their 2nd full-length concept album, planned for release on RidingEasy in late 2019.

DVNE LIVE:
08/17 Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/
ridingeasyrecs.com

DVNE, Asheran (2017)

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Psycho Las Vegas 2019: Carcass, Black Mountain, Grails, DVNE, Ilsa, Goatwhore & More Added

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

Psycho Las Vegas makes a point to say this isn’t the complete 2019 lineup — headliners and others are still to come. But if it was, would you really be able to complain? This is three days’ worth of bands, easy. But it wouldn’t be Psycho if it wasn’t completely over the top, and as it continues to solidify its primacy among American festivals that want anything whatsoever to do with the heavy underground, the latest batch of bands proves duly sick. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Triumph of Death — and what on earth will Tom G. Warrior make of the Mandalay Bay? — The Heavy Eyes, Grails, Black Mountain, a return from DVNE and Night Horse, Ex Minor and a host of others. All you have to do is look at the list bands to know it’s going to be wild.

So here’s that list of bands:

psycho las vegas 2019 poster

America’s rock ‘n’ roll bacchanal returns as PSYCHO LAS VEGAS brings its annual debauchery and unbridled volume to the Strip itself, with a move to the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino that sets the stage for a Las Vegas Boulevard takeover, the likes of which have never been seen.

Lineup so far:
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
High on Fire
Triumph of Death
The Faint
Cold Cave
Nothing
Tomb Mold
Royal Thunder
The Heavy Eyes
Night Horse
Ex Minor
Candy
Goatwhore
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
The Obsessed
Tobacco
Glassjaw
YOB
Perturbator
Kadavar
Oranssi Pazuzu
Electric Wizard
Fu Manchu
Graveyard
Truckfighters
WarHorse
L.A. Witch
The Black Angels
Devil Master
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Hangman’s Chair
Amenra
Deafheaven
Old Man Gloom
Clutch
Power Trip
Bad Religion
Rotting Christ

Slated for August 16th through August 18th, PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2019 will feature four stages, including the newly renovated Events Center, the iconic House Of Blues, the Mandalay Bay Beach, featuring a wave pool and lazy river, and an old-school Vegas-style Lounge smack dab in the middle of the casino floor. While all of the venues are located on the property, Mandalay Bay is connected by a complimentary tram service that provides easy access to affordable accommodations such as Luxor and Excalibur. Attendees will have access to discounted rates at all of these properties and other MGM hotels and resorts down the Strip.

The highly coveted “Psycho Special” passes, notorious for selling out instantly, are priced at $99, plus taxes and fees and go on sale Thursday, November 29th at 10:00am PST. Weekender General Admission passes are priced at $249, plus taxes and fees, and will increase to $299, plus taxes and fees, once the first tier sells out. Only 300 High Roller VIP passes will be sold at $499, plus taxes and fees, with package details to be announced in December. Single-day tickets will be available in the Spring at $109, plus taxes and fees. While the festival format will remain largely the same as previous years, the Thursday pre-party at DAYLIGHT Beach Club will be a more intimate event for attendees and will require a separate ticket from the festival pass. Tickets and more information available at VivaPsycho.com.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2035404693146567/
https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas/
https://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas/
http://vivapsycho.com

Black Mountain, “Future Shade”

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Desertfest London 2019 First Announcement: Earthless, All Them Witches, Colour Haze, Kadavar, Witch, We Hunt Buffalo & DVNE Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2019 banner

What’s more exciting than a killer first festival announcement? Not much. So many possibilities, and with its first lineup additions, Desertfest London 2019 throws the door wide open with some massive names. Earthless, All Them Witches, Colour Haze and Kadavar? Hell, I’d take any of them as a headliner, and you can pretty much throw Witch in there too. That’s five acts right out of the gate, any of whom could sell out a show on their own in London, plus the just-reviewed We Hunt Buffalo and Edinburgh’s DVNE, whom I had the pleasure of seeing at Psycho Las Vegas for their US live debut, rounding out an initial seven that’s absolutely massive.

The key part of the announcement below, though? It’s where it says “we’re aiming for our biggest bill to date.” Desertfest London has only grown huger each year, more forward-thinking and broader in its reach. The Desertscene crew have their work cut out for them in topping 2018, but if this is a taste of the scale to come, they might just get there.

From the PR wire:

desertfest london 2019 poster

DESERTFEST LONDON 2019

Friday, May 3, 2019 – Sunday, May 5, 2019

It begins! Desertfest is returning to Camden for our eighth edition over the Bank Holiday weekend of 3rd to 5th May, and as ever we’re bringing you the finest stoner, doom, sludge and psych bands from around the world. Over the next few months, we’ll be revealing our lineup of dozens of the heaviest bands around, so without further ado, here’s the first seven names for Desertfest 2019.

Over the last half-decade, Nashville’s All Them Witches have made themselves indispensable with a sound that has never stopped evolving, with their roots in heavy blues and psychedelia flourishing over time into an approach that is undeniably their own. The Tennessee four-piece arrive at Desertfest with a reputation that precedes them for jammy explorations and a kind of heavy that, while regularly imitated, has yet to be reproduced by anyone else.

Joining them on the bill are Kadavar, who make their long awaited Desertfest return with their fur-coated, barreling riot of a set at the Jazz Cafe in 2013 as fresh in our minds as ever. There are very few who perform the retro-rockin’, ’70s proto-metal revival with the power, prestige and passion of our favourite Berlin trio. The boogie train that is Kadavar won’t be making any emergency stops as it ploughs through Camden this May.

Vermont spell-casters Witch will be enrapturing Desertfest with their stoner rock incantations in 2019. Combining psychedelic rock, Sabbath-ian doom, and Black Flag sludge-punk, stoner aficionados who were around for the noughties boom will fondly remember Witch for releasing some of the hookiest albums of the decade. After a stint lurking in the shadows, Witch are hitting up Desertfest to make magic once again.

Even after seven mammoth editions of Desertfest, there are bands we’ve been chomping at the bit to get over to Camden to grace our stages; finally, we’ve grabbed us the hardest jamming band in the universe, Earthless, are touching down to shred our corner of London to the ground. The epitome of psyched-out Hendrixian-krautrock from day one, San Diego’s ultimate power trio will melt your entire body this May.

Colour Haze make their return to the Desertfest stage in 2019 after six long years. The German trio, in whose image modern heavy psychedelia is in large part cast, have affirmed their position as unflinching masters of the form in their absence, finding a new niche between heavy riffs and expansive arrangements. The Colour Haze that return to Desertfest are, somehow, even better than the one we saw in 2013.

Vancouver trio We Hunt Buffalo‘s brand of prog-minded fuzz rock has been stampeding out of amps and trampling audiences since 2010. Professing a love of all things stoner and psych and citing influences from all genres of rock, all underpinned with driving fuzz lines, We Hunt Buffalo will be just the ticket to a sore neck at Desertfest.

Last but not least in our first batch of bands are Edinburgh’s DVNE who play their own unique brand of night sky-gazing melodic sludge. Early-period Mastodon fans should take note, as the progressive changes and all-conquering vocals conjure up scenes of destruction, desolation and absolution in their epic soundscapes of post-metal ebb and flow.

So there you have it, our first seven bands. With dozens more names to come, including all three headliners, we’re aiming for our biggest bill to date. Weekend tickets are on sale now at the link below, so be sure to book your place at the heaviest lineup in town; Desertfest 2019!

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

All Them Witches, ATW (2018)

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Live Review: Psycho Las Vegas Friday, 08.17.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas

08.18.18 – 5:00AM – Saturday – Hotel room

Gluttons for punishment, unite! Cast off the chains of your dayjobs and journey to a druggy boozy place where you can smoke indoors and piss away your head-earned on, well, potentially, someone else’s hard-earned. You never liked those brain cells anyway, and what good have they done?

Me, I prefer my brains melted or otherwise obliterated with fatigue. Dripping out my ears, either way. But I see some folks around here going nuclear, and hey, I get it. Safe environment, plenty of support, nothing to lose. It’s self-directed cruelty more than anything else that keeps me sober. I don’t deserve the good time everyone else is having. Kablooey.

It was an early start for a busy day. 12:30PM. I’d imagine there were people who hadn’t gone to bed yet. But DVNE were not to be missed, so, I didn’t miss them. A lot of back and forth early and not really much staying-put later makes for a hell of a time, but everything is right there around the corner and everyone here is very nice. At least the people who’ve said hi to me. I’m sure just by simple population-sample math there are one or two jerks running around, but none I’ve run into.

Witchcraft didn’t make it. That’s a band I’ve dug on some level or other for more than a decade, but wasn’t gonna cry over it. Plenty to see besides with three stages open: The Joint, Vinyl and the Pool.

And like I said, early start. Went like this:

DVNE

dvne (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Good band. That’s what I wrote in my notes. Direct quote: Good band. Pro shop. For DVNE‘s first appearance on a US stage — and sizable US stage at that, in The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino — they hit it like absolute professionals. Crisp in their sound, intense in delivery, every bit in command of the room, from “go” onward. With full lighting and production behind them, CO2 canisters firing and lasers behind and their logo blasted on massive stage-side screens, the Edinburgh progressive post-metal four-piece certainly seemed to be made to feel welcome on what to them was foreign shores. Killed. Just nailed it. They have a new record out next year following up on last year’s righteous Asheran, and playing beneath oranges and reds that echoed that album’s cover art, they delivered a set that quite frankly, unless they break up tomorrow, I sincerely doubt will be their last time on an American stage. In other words, they seem ready to hit the road in a we’re-a-full-time-band-now kind of way, and more power to them. It’ll be worth keeping an eye out in 2019 for when they come through supporting their next full-length, but in the meantime, this set was basically serving early notice of a significant arrival.

Night Horse

Night Horse (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Sure, it’s been eight years since L.A.’s Night Horse released their second album, Perdition Hymns (review here), but what the hell? The double-guitar five-piece — one of those guitarists happens to be Justin Maranga from Ancestors — took the stage and quickly warmed up their classic your-dad’s-rock-was-better vibe that, with added charm from vocalist Sam James Velde introducing them by saying, “We’re Integrity from Cleveland, Ohio,” was a total blast. I’ll admit it’s been a while since the last time I had Perdition Hymns or their 2008 debut, The Dark Won’t Hide You, on for a spin, but even though Maranga forgot his slide and no one seemed to have a beer bottle to use instead, they definitely made it work. With guitarist Greg Buensuceso and bassist Nick D’Itri holding down the other side of the stage and drummer Norm Block swinging away in the middle, they were way more locked in than one might think for a band who haven’t really kicked around all that much in at least a half-decade. Velde stepped over the barricade and into the crowd during the last song and asked everyone to sit with him on the floor — a proposition that I’d imagine would be way stickier later in the day — while he told the story of the song, and it made for a special moment, as almost everyone actually did it. He got back up and they rocked to a finish, but if you ever needed to know how much Night Horse owned that room, they literally sat it down to give some background on their material. He could do that at every show for all I know, but it was something special here anyway and I felt lucky to see it.

The Munsens

The Munsens (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Denver trio The Munsens posted a new single earlier this week called “Dirge (For Those to Come)” as a preview of their upcoming full-length, Unhanded, and with it, gave a first look at a notable change in direction, pushing more into the territory of extreme sludge than even two years ago found them on their Abbey Rose EP (review here). With guitarist/vocalist Shaun Goodwin and bassist/vocalist Michael Goodwin welcoming drummer Graham Wesselhoff, the shift is easy enough to place, but a corresponding turn to harsher vocals and more grueling fare would seem to be at hand. Most, if not all, of what they played in Vinyl was also from Unhanded, and they unfurled an onslaught of tone and noise that seemed to bounce right off the back of the room and make a wall of death with the next riff cycle. It was brutal, and not as given to crust as Dopethrone, but seemed to be somewhat of that spirit. Delivered with a likewise visual assault of strobe, their time went quick — unless I passed out from all the flashing lights — but was well enough to get the point of the evolution they’ve undergone. I don’t know if I’ll be ready when Unhanded, hits, but at least I’ll see it coming.

Temple of Void

Temple of Void (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I don’t know whether Temple of Void are the doom of death or the death of doom, but fucking hell they’re heavy. The Detroit five-piece released their second LP, Lords of Death, last year on Shadow Kingdom, and they’d only dip back once to 2014’s Of Terror and the Supernatural (review here) for “Examinate Gaze,” while everything else was from the new album. Fair enough for the significant assault factor of their death metal plunge. They took the stage to the Lords of Death intro “The Charnel Unearthing” — which given the intensity of what followed, I almost found unnecessary; they hit it so hard, why give people the chance to get ready? — and from there proffered an extremity that went beyond even the death metal to the atmospheric weight of what they were doing. Vocalist Mike Erdody had a soulful, tortured aspect to his headbanging and while behind him drummer Jason Pearce slammed into his kit with palpable resentment thereof and guitarists Alex Awn and Eric Blanchard tore into searing riffs and leads given all the more weight by Brent Satterly‘s bass, the sense of emotionalism Erdody brought to his growls was something rare on either side of the genre. It was another level on which Temple of Void make their impact felt, and a distinguishing factor that resonated throughout their time.

Church of Misery

Church of Misery (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There was something of a crunch at this point in the schedule. Church of Misery were going on in the Joint while Temple of Void finished up in Vinyl, and then by the time the serial-killer-crazed Japanese riff lords were done, Yakuza would have already started, also in Vinyl. Still, history said “go see Church of Misery,” and history wasn’t wrong. Bassist/founder Tatsu Mikami is nothing less than doom royalty, and while I’ve seen him perform with several different lineups over the years, it always seems like he’s ready to deliver no matter who’s joined him on stage at the time. Psycho was no exception as he, vocalist/thereminist Hiroyuki Takano, guitarist Yasuto Muraki and drummer Junichi Yamamura ran through a selection of the hits: “Shotgun Boogie,” “I, Motherfucker,” “Born to Raise Hell” and so on. I’m not huge on the whole serial killer thing — by coincidence, I wound up in an elevator today with one of Charles Manson’s descendants who was telling his friends it’s way less cool when it’s your family — but regardless, Church of Misery did plenty of slaying on their own and made it easy to hope they record with this lineup, as it seemed like they were more than ready to get down to business at the Sabbathian core of what the band has always been about. I did end up poking my head in to see Yakuza for a moment — and Bruce Lamont is still way ahead of his time — but Church of Misery weren’t taking no for an answer. I was back in the Joint before long as they blew out the rest of their set and any number of eardrums in the process.

Tinariwen

Tinariwen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Absolutely stunning. I knew next to nothing about the Tuareg group Tinariwen going into the announcement they’d play Psycho Las Vegas, but the schedule cut off both the pool and Vinyl stages while they played, so clearly they were an act Psycho wanted people to see. Rightly so. Dressed in robes and traditional garb and backed by hand percussion, the band led by guitarist/vocalist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib brought a desert blues that tied to Psycho better than one might’ve ever expected. With acoustic and electric guitars, bass and deep-running vocal arrangements, dancing on stage — some dancing in the crowd too — and video of them on huge screens on either side, it was no less of a production in terms of lighting and staging than Church of Misery or DVNE had been, but the soothing vibe and ebbs and flows in the music made it a total standout. They were another one I was going to stay for a bit and then wander off and find some more coffee, but I was hooked. They could’ve played twice as long and I don’t think I would’ve moved. Their set felt like a gift and on a day that wasn’t exactly hurting for highlights anyhow, they were something truly special to behold. Their 2017 album, Elwan, was recorded in the California desert and has quickly made its way to the front of my must-purchase line.

Boris

Boris (Photo by JJ Koczan)

In their 25-plus years, enough wax poetry has been written in honor of Japanese noise and heavy rock innovators, droners, experimentalists, J-poppers and anything-else-they-want-to-be-that-day Boris that even attempting to talk about their set feels superfluous. I’d only be echoing a chorus of praise that’s resounded for the last two decades. Suffice it to say, they’re masters at what they do. Individually and collectively, guitarist Wata, drummer Atsuo and guitarist/bassist Takeshi are relentless in their forward progression, and though most of what they played after a drifting, slower opening came from the Heavy Rocks and Pink-style, the wash of noise and over-the-top push were never far off. Their 2017 album, Dear (review here), was a stunning glimpse at where they’ve been in their time and where they might still go, and bathed in fog on the Joint stage, they captured much the same feel in celebrating their past while continuing to move ahead toward something new. I don’t know if it’s possible for Boris to be underrated, but the chemistry between them on stage — whether it’s Atsuo shouting into his headset mic to raise the energy level or Wata scorching out another solo or Takeshi switching from his rhythm guitar neck to his bass neck and hurling out blistering low end runs — is among the most pivotal aspects of what they do, and as much as they’ve done to push heavy rock to multiple avenues over their tenure, they’ve only gotten to be a more potent force live.

High on Fire

High on Fire (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If a single person could embody what Psycho Las Vegas is, it might be Matt Pike. The High on Fire frontman and Sleep guitarist has played all three editions of this festival in some form or other — time for a Kalas reunion? — and he, bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensel came out like the statesmen they are; one of the most crucial bands not just in underground heavy, but in the wider sphere of metal. Hugely influential, with a maddening signature gallop and tales of war and bludgeonry to delight the downtrodden of spirit. Their upcoming LP, Electric Messiah, marks the third collaboration between the trio and producer Kurt Ballou, and while they didn’t play anything from it, they did give due representation to 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) in “The Black Plot,” “Carcosa” and “Slave the Hive,”  and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here) with “Fertile Green” and “Serums of Laio,” while older works like 2007’s Death is This Communion (discussed here) and 2005’s Blessed Black Wings (discussed here) made their presence felt with cuts like “Rumors of War” and “Sons of Thunder.” I’d argue they were the night’s headliners even before Witchcraft dropped off, but either way, High on Fire were more than up to the occasion, and with “Blood from Zion” from 2000’s The Art of Self-Defense late in the set, they brought together past and present in a way that was every bit the culmination of the evening. There was still plenty more Psycho after them, but no doubt High on Fire left their mark on the night and all who assembled to see them.

I don’t know if you saw it, but on the social medias I posted a picture of The Pecan and asked if anyone could turn it into the cover of Vol. 4 by Black Sabbath. Several came in, which was hugely appreciated, and among them was this one from Slevin, which I subsequently spent the rest of the night staring at because it’s so friggin’ awesome. If you need me, I’ll be meme-ing my baby. Next up, his head on Jean-Luc Picard’s body. It will happen.

Anyway, I came back to the room after the show and sorted pictures and whatnot and then crashed out pretty soon thereafter to get up early and write. My alarm was set for six and I woke up a bit before five and decided to roll with it. Psycho starts an hour later today, but is another super-busy day, so I’m going to get some more rest in preparation for that. I may or may not check in again before that review goes up, depends on time, but there are more pics after the jump here and I appreciate you reading and taking time to have a look if you do.

Read more »

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DVNE to Release New Album in 2019; Playing Psycho Las Vegas

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’m not saying you’ll be telling your grandkids about it however many years from now — though one never knows — but DVNE‘s onstage debut in the US seems to me the kind of thing that you want to see if you can help it. They’ve got two — count ’em: one, two — dates booked Stateside. One is Psycho Las Vegas, which comes first, and second is a Psycho-affiliated San Diego gig at Brick by Brick with Elder and Red Fang. Nothing like being made to feel welcome in a new place.

Oh, and speaking of Psycho-affiliated, DVNE are also the first client for the fest-promoter’s new management wing. They’ll have a new album out in 2019 to follow-up last year’s much-lauded Asheran, which was released by Wasted State Records.

The PR wire brings tales of things to come:

dvne

DVNE: Progressive Metal/Sludge Collective To Make First-Ever US Appearance At Psycho Las Vegas; New Album In The Works

In just a few short weeks, Edinburgh-based progressive metal/sludge behemoths DVNE will make their way stateside to play Psycho Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada, followed by a special show at Brick By Brick in San Diego, California with Elder and Red Fang. The two shows will mark DVNE’s first-ever US live performances!

Comments guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart, “We’re gearing up for the US and couldn’t be more excited to play our first shows over there. Psycho is going to be mental; loads of bands we love and it looks like we’re going to have a three-day non-stop party too. We also have a show in San Diego with Elder and Red Fang the following Monday so our post festival blues are sorted!

“Following those shows,” he continues, “we’ll be back home in Edinburgh and the plan is to lock ourselves in the practice room and finish our next album. We’re really excited to enter the studio again and explore with new sounds and instruments; it’s going to be a blast!”

DVNE recently completed a UK tour supporting New Orleans icons Eyehategod. Lauded The Moshville Times of their performance in Glasgow, “I’ve seen [DVNE] a handful of times now, they’ve always impressed me live, and tonight they were at their best, flying through an absolutely blistering set focused on the Mastodonian Asheran. On yet another uncharacteristically hot Glasgow evening, Audio was stiflingly clammy so as the mellow segue music from Asheran filled the short gaps between songs the guys caught their breath and wiped sweat from their gear. On occasion, vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart used these pauses to switch between his nine-string and six-string guitars. During the likes of ‘Thirst’ Victor’s vocals and guitar parts acted as lighter, emotive counters to Dudley Tait’s growled hollers and chunkier riffs. All the while Dan Barter’s swift fills and Allan Paterson’s rolling basslines kept the songs driving forward. The local(ish) boys done great!”

DVNE:
8/17/2018 Psycho Las Vegas @ The Hard Rock Hotel And Casino – Las Vegas, NV
8/20/2018 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA w/ Elder, Red Fang

DVNE (pronounced dune) released the critically-lauded debut full-length, Asheran, last year via Wasted State Records. A sixty-minute epic narrative following the tale of the rise and fall of civilizations, the return of an empire thought millennia lost, and the world-spanning events that consequently unfold, Asheran is steeped in themes of science fiction, environmental issues, and both dystopic and utopic visions for the future of mankind. Asheran was captured at Chambers Studio in Edinburgh, and mixed and mastered by Tom Dring of Vagrant Studios (Dragged Into Sunlight, Venom Prison).

A special orange clear 2xLP edition of Asheran is currently available at THIS LOCATION where the record can be streamed in its stunning entirety.

DVNE features Victor Vicart (guitar, vocals, keys), Daniel Barter (guitar, vocals), Dudley Tait (drums), and Allan Paterson (bass). Forged in 2013, DVNE’s Scottish roots lie with Tait and Paterson, with Vicart hailing from France and Barter from England. DVNE’s debut EP Progenitor was released in December 2013 and was followed the next year by a second EP entitled Aurora Majesty. Both offerings were released via Wasted State Records. Thanks to the excellent critical reception, DVNE quickly began to tour the UK and around Europe sharing stages with the likes of such scene household names as Crowbar, Eyehategod, Inter Arma, Dragged Into Sunlight, and Black Tusk. DVNE unleashed their most ambitious album to date in August 2017. Titled Asheran, the offering was released on 2xLP vinyl, CD, and digitally again via Wasted State Records. Since Asheran’s release, DVNE took on a month-long European headlining tour and recently partnered with Psycho Entertainment, curators of the esteemed Psycho Las Vegas festivals, for management. The union marks Psycho Entertainment’s first ever management venture. DVNE will release their follow-up to Asheran next year with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/album/asheran
http://www.wastedstate.com/

DVNE, Asheran (2017)

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