High on Fire, Electric Messiah: Sanctioned Annihilation

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high on fire electric messiah

Raging furies, unmistakable gallop, deceptively inventive rhythms and Matt Pike‘s gutturalist vocals from with in the tempest — Electric Messiah bears all the hallmarks of latter-day High on Fire and then some. It is the Oakland trio’s eighth full-length, their fourth with E1 Music and their third that finds Pike, bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensel working with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, etc.) following 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here). Obviously it’s hard to know at this point whether that relationship between band and producer will continue going forward — hard to think of a reason for it not to unless the three-piece just decided to try someone else at the helm next time — but if one thinks of Electric Messiah as the third installment in a to-date trilogy, then it at very least proves there continues to be life in the collaboration six years after it first got going.

Since High on Fire debuted on E1 in 2010 with Snakes for the Divine (review here) after leaving Relapse Records following 2007’s Jack Endino-produced Death is This Communion (discussed here), the arc of their progression has seen them become more and more of a metal band, trading thickness of tone for a sharper edge to the aggression in Pike‘s riffs and to the presentation of their production. Luminiferous was perhaps the most fervent example of this, though Snakes for the Divine is arguably the cleanest-sounding High on Fire release in terms of the actual recording. Electric Messiah, slightly longer than its two immediate predecessors at 56 minutes and nine tracks, beefs up the tones from Pike‘s guitar and Matz‘s bass and, in combination with the always-vicious impact of Kensel‘s drumming — somehow still an underrated factor in the band 18 years after their debut, The Art of Self-Defense, saw its first release — it makes for some of the chewiest output High on Fire have had in more than a decade going back to Death is This Communion if not 2005’s Blessed Black Wings (discussed here).

That doesn’t mean High on Fire are playing the stoner thrash of their earliest days, but it does mean that to go along with their ripping speed and tight performances, there’s an underlying bombast to songs like opener “Spewn from the Earth,” “The Pallid Mask” and closer “Drowning Dog,” the latter two of which touch on cleaner vocal styles from Pike — who’s long flirted with melody amid his harsher shouts — that adds further dimension to the sound of Electric Messiah on the whole. The well-publicized lead single/title-track, with lyrics written reportedly in homage to Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, to whom Pike has often been compared, is a full-on scorcher as it inevitably would be, and along with the later “Freebooter” and the aforementioned opener, is among the fastest cuts here, but even these songs showcase a heft of tone on the part of the guitar and bass — frankly, the drums don’t exactly lack weight either — that ties them to the march in longer pieces like nine-minute second track “Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Enlil” and “Sanctioned Annihilation.”

high on fire

Appearing at the end of side B on the first of the two LPs, “Sanctioned Annihilation” is notable on its face for, at 10:29, being the longest song High on Fire have ever written; they only other time they touched the 10-minute mark was “Master of Fists” from The Art of Self-Defense, which was 10:06. They don’t waste the time, and instead offer one of their most dynamic compositions, moving from a quiet but tense beginning into a raucous double-kick assault before shifting into a triplet-gallop that consumes the track’s middle third and perhaps sees Pike taking some influence from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt, who’s made the staccato chugs something of a trademark, though again, it’s an opportunity for Kensel to demonstrate just how special a player he is as he locks step with Matz and Pike on his bass drum and lends a severity that is as much militaristic as it is barbarians-coming-over-the-hill. “Sanctioned Annihilation” moves into further war-drum thud and one of Pike‘s many impressive carbon-burning solos, but remains informed by that rhythmic surge, and as the second LP moves into expanded sonic territory with “The Pallid Mask” and the righteously for-the-converted, HighonFire-being-HighonFire — the band acting as their own aesthetic — “God of the Godless,” the sprawl of “Sanctioned Annihilation” continues to have an effect on the listener.

It is not a minor undertaking at nearly an hour long, and it’s not a minor undertaking in terms of its sound — one could easily get out of breath just trying to keep up with the band even in their slower moments — but each piece on the second LP earns its place, whether its the familiar of “God of the Godless,” which is the kind of track that as one comes back for multiple listens only seems to land harder and harder, or the blistering “Freebooter,” which reinvents Slayer‘s moodier ping-ride-isms en route to an absolute massacre. With both over six minutes, the closing duo of “The Witch and the Christ” and “Drowning Dog” are something of a salvo unto themselves, but the former alternates between nods and headbangs, and the finale, again, “Drowning Dog” almost seems to sneak in its more rock-based approach while still remaining consistent in tone and its noisy affect. It’s not out of place by any means, but put next to a song like “Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Enlil,” which isn’t entirely void of melody either in its layers of guitar or later vocals, it’s moving toward a different end.

Such grit isn’t new for High on Fire, but what makes Electric Messiah stand out as it does is how it blends new and old within the band’s particular sound. High on Fire remain one of the most recognizable acts in metal regardless of subgenre, and Electric Messiah reshapes that sphere as it sees fit to best serve the songs. For all its brashness and axe-swinging triumphs, it’s unquestionably the work of professionals on all fronts — that includes Ballou certainly, and Skinner, who did the cover art — and it finds High on Fire marking their 20th year with a reaffirmation of who they are, were and will be not just by trodding out expected elements, but by using them in fresh-sounding and exciting ways. They’re big enough that there will be opinions on all sides, but established fans will have no trouble getting on board with Electric Messiah‘s bludgeoning revelry.

High on Fire, “Electric Messiah” lyric video

High on Fire on Thee Facebooks

High on Fire on Instagram

High on Fire website

eOne Heavy on Twitter

eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Lord Dying Sign to eOne; New Album Due in 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Please don’t get me wrong, Lord Dying are a cool-ass band, and their last album, 2015’s Poisoned Altars (review here), was pretty much brilliant in its oppressive and doomed extremity, but isn’t that precisely why this is kind of a surprise? I mean, sure, Crowbar and High on Fire and others on the eOne roster are heavy, but aren’t Lord Dying just that extra touch more brutal? They seemed right at home on Relapse, touring their asses off as always, and reaching more people than ever. I don’t know the dudes at all, so maybe the change isn’t as sudden as it seems at all, but I was kind of taken aback to see the announcement come through the PR wire. I guess I just thought Lord Dying were a more vicious-sounding band than a label like eOne would seek out. Credit to both label and band that I was mistaken in that supposition, I guess.

Bottom line: right on. No one can say Lord Dying didn’t earn what they’ve got.

Here’s what the label had to say about it:

lord dying

ENTERTAINMENT ONE SIGNS LORD DYING

BAND TO BEGIN RECORDING NEW LP DUE OUT NEXT YEAR

Entertainment One (eOne) has signed Portland, Oregon’s LORD DYING to a worldwide deal with plans to release an all-new LP next year. Hailing from a region of the country that’s abundant with purveyors of the heavy riff, both parties are eager to get started.

“We are very excited to announce our signing with eOne,” says guitarist and vocalist Erik Olson. “We’re in good company here with the likes of Crowbar, High on Fire and Black Fast.”

LORD DYING will head into the studio next week with producer/engineer Mike Plotnikoff (Fear Factory/In Flames) at West Valley Recording Studios.

“We’re excited to start working on our third album with Mike. We’ve been working tirelessly the last couple years on this album and in some ways, it’s one Chris and I have wanted to make for the last 15+ years.”

The new, yet to be titled LP will serve as the follow up to Poisoned Altars released in 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/LordDying/
http://lorddying.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/eoneheavy
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

Lord Dying, “A Wound Outside of Time” official video

Tags: , , ,

High on Fire Announce US Tour; “Electric Messiah” Lyric Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high on fire

Science tells us that if you want to live right, you need to see High on Fire at least once per album cycle, preferably more. Only days removed from the announcement of their new album, Electric Messiah, being released Oct. 5 and posting the first single in the form of the title-track, the trio have returned with a vast swath of tour dates and a lyric video highlighting the Lemmy homage of that same song. This won’t be the last tour High on Fire announce, but it will be the first round of US dates they’ll do following Electric Messiah‘s release, and even apart from the thrashy company they’re keeping, that’s reason enough to show up. As if you needed it.

From the PR wire:

high on fire tour

HIGH ON FIRE ANNOUNCE NEW U.S. TOUR DATES WITH MUNICIPAL WASTE

“ELECTRIC MESSIAH” LYRIC VIDEO RELEASED

ALL NEW LP, ELECTRIC MESSIAH, DUE OCTOBER 5, 2018
PRE ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW

On the heels of announcing their first new LP in three years, Electric Messiah, HIGH ON FIRE has posted new headlining dates throughout the U.S. and Europe this fall.

The new tour dates will be co-headlined by MUNICIPAL WASTE with Toxic Holocaust and Haunt in support. The three-week trek will kick off in Dallas, TX at Canton Hill on 11/2/18, hitting both coasts before wrapping up in San Diego, CA on 11/25/18. Tickets are now on sale.

“Man it’s gonna get crazy every night!,” says drummer Des Kensel. “Legends will be made on this tour! For after party info contact Dave Witte @ (804) 555-1212.”

High On Fire has announced extensive touring to support the recently announced all-new LP. After a batch of European festival dates, the band will head back to the U.S. to perform at Psycho Las Vegas, The Muddy Roots Music Festival, and the highly anticipated Adult Swim Festival. The band will then head back to Europe for a co-headline run with Enslaved before kicking off the Municipal Waste dates mentioned above.

Just yesterday HIGH ON FIRE released a new single titled “Electric Messiah.” The new song serves as the title track off the band’s all-new LP, which will be released on October 5, 2018, via Entertainment One (eOne). A lyric video for the track is available today.

High on Fire live:
10/08 – BE Belgium, Ieperfest
11/08 – DE Sinzendorf, Void Fest
12/08 – HU Budapest, Durer Kert

8/17/2018 – Las Vegas, NV – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Psycho Fest)
9/1/2018 – Cookeville, TN – Muddy Roots Music Festival
9/2/2018 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel

w/ Enslaved
30/09 – U Bazyla Poznan PL
01/10 – Proxima Warsaw PL
02/10 – UT Connewitz Leipzig DE
03/10 – Kulturfabrik Esch LU
04/10 – Mezz Jupiler Zaal Breda NL

10/5/18 – Los Angeles, CA – Adult Swim Festival

08/10 – Academy 2 Manchester UK
09/10 – Tivoli Dublin EIRE
10/10 – Limelight 2 Belfast UK
12/10 – The Mill Birmingham UK
14/10 – SWX Bristol UK
15/10 – The Dome London UK
16/10 – La Machine Du Moulin Rouge Paris FR

w/ Municipal Waste
2-Nov-18 – Dallas @ Canton Hall
3-Nov-18 – Austin @ Mohawk
4-Nov-18 – New Orleans @ Southport Hall
6-Nov-18 – Tampa @ Orpheum Theatre
7-Nov-18 – Atlanta @ The Masquerade
9-Nov-18 – Washington @ Black Cat
11-Nov-18 – Brooklyn @ Warsaw
12-Nov-18 – Philadelphia @ Union Transfer
13-Nov-18 – Boston @ Paradise Rock Club
15-Nov-18 – Chicago @ Metro
17-Nov-18 – Denver @ The Oriental Theater
18-Nov-18 – Salt Lake City @ Metro Music Hall
20-Nov-18 – Portland @ Bossanova Ballroom
21-Nov-18 – Seattle @ Showbox at the Market
23-Nov-18 – Sacramento @ Ace Of Spades
24-Nov-18 – Berkeley @ The UC Theatre

HIGH ON FIRE features Matt Pike (guitar, vocals), Des Kensel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass).

https://www.facebook.com/highonfire
https://www.instagram.com/highonfireband/
www.highonfire.net
https://twitter.com/eoneheavy
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

High on Fire, “Electric Messiah” lyric video

Tags: , , , , ,

High on Fire to Release New Album Electric Messiah on Oct. 5; New Song Streaming

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

high on fire

October just got ridiculous with the word that heavy thrash titans High on Fire will release their awaited new album, Electric Messiah, on Oct. 5 through Entertainment One. They’re streaming the title-track now and you can hear it at the bottom of this post. The trio’s latest outing will be their third in a row tracked by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, and it follows behind the raging 2015 LP Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here), which I think it’s fair enough to argue are the hardest-hitting records of the band’s career thus far. Luminiferous showed a little more dynamic in letting up from the gas a bit as it played through, so I’m interested to hear how guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike, bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensel proceed along the line of melodic flourish they brought to bear last time out, let alone the punishment that surrounded.

Art and title-track audio follow here, as sent freshly along the PR wire:

high on fire electric messiah

HIGH ON FIRE ANNOUNCE NEW LP, ELECTRIC MESSIAH, DUE OCTOBER 5, 2018

PRE ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW

HIGH ON FIRE releases a new single today titled “Electric Messiah.” The new song serves as the title track off the band’s all-new LP, which will be released on October 5, 2018 via Entertainment One (eOne).

“I had a dream about Lemmy,” says Matt Pike, explaining the inspiration behind the title of High on Fire’s triumphant new “Electric Messiah.” “When Lemmy was still alive I always got compared to Lemmy,” the gravelly-voiced guitarist elaborates, “so I had this dream where he got pissed at me.”

“He gave me a bunch of shit, basically, and was hazing me. Not that he didn’t approve of me, but like I was being hazed. The song is me telling the world that I could never fill Lemmy’s shoes because Lemmy’s Lemmy. I wanted to pay homage to him in a great way. And it turned out to be such a good title that the guys said we should call the album ‘Electric Messiah.'”

Electric Messiah will serve as the follow-up to Luminiferous released in 2015, which went on to be one of the band’s most critically acclaimed albums.

Electric Messiah reunites the band once again with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, Torche, Kvelertak) for the third time. “Kurt just has a knack for us, man,” Matt Pike says. “We all work really well with him. Even if we have differences about how we want to record something, he works with us and understands what we do. We’ve been sticking with him because we haven’t made a bad record with him yet.”

It feels absurd to think that this late into their career High on Fire has hit a new career peak, but that’s what happens when you have a trio that works this well together. For all of Ballou’s sonic wizardry, Electric Messiah is all about the evolution of Pike, Matz, and Kensel. They simply cannot be denied a permanent spot among American royalty.

“This band keeps evolving,” Pike enthuses. “This is by far the best record I’ve ever made with the High on Fire stamp. It just keeps getting better and better. We just try to outdo ourselves. I’m not saying the old work is progressively worse, it’s just that we get better every time instead of burning out, which is a common finality for a lot of bands. This album is fucking excellent, I just love everything on it, I’m not bummed about anything. It’s great when you think that about your record.”

Tracklisting:

1. Spewn from the Earth
2. Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Enlil
3. Electric Messiah
4. Sanctioned Annihilation
5. The Pallid Mask
6. God of the Godless
7. Freebooter
8. The Witch and the Christ
9. Drowning Dog

HIGH ON FIRE features Matt Pike (guitar, vocals), Des Kensel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass).

https://www.facebook.com/highonfire
https://www.instagram.com/highonfireband/
www.highonfire.net
https://twitter.com/eoneheavy
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

High on Fire, “Electric Messiah”

Tags: , , , , ,

Matt Pike Selling Signed Limited Edition ‘Rabid Mammal’ Guitar Pedals

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I’m just going to assume that if you’ve ever seen Matt Pike tear into a shred-your-skin-from-your-bones solo either on stage with High on Fire or in any of the infinite number of live clips of him with that band or with Sleep on YouTube, you probably don’t need to be told why his signature guitar pedal from Black Arts Toneworks is called the ‘Rabid Mammal.’ As a player, he’s rightly earned a reputation for the kind of I-just-make-this-happen abandon that has typified guitar greats for generations, and the unhinged sensibility of his style is just one aspect of his accomplishments with his weapon of choice.

Pike and the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based pedal maker first released the ‘Rabid Mammal’ late last year. It’s a limited edition creation, featuring art by Alyssa Maucere and the guitarist himself — begging the question why he’s never done a cover for High on Fire, though that’s not to take anything away from the gorgeousness that adorned the front of 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) — and though it’s been out for a while, Pike has put a batch of 18 up for sale at the link below, signed and everything. If you ever wanted to directly support the guy, this would seem to be the opportunity to do exactly that.

Next month, Sleep have a couple US shows ahead of heading abroad for a headlining spot at Desertfest London 2017. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for a new recording of some sort this year, but I’ve yet to hear solid word of such a thing materializing. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen though. They’ll of course be at Psycho Las Vegas in August as well.

Pedal info and live dates follow:

matt pike black arts toneworks rabid mammal

Introducing the Rabid Mammal

Working in tandem with Matt Pike ( Sleep/High on Fire) Black Arts Toneworks are excited to announce this new Boost/Fuzz.

The Rabid Mammal consists of two separate circuits which compliment and push your tone in two different directions.

The Boost function will add a searing amount of treble and upper mids. Controls are: Treble and Volume

The Fuzz function will add a thunderous amount of low mids and and a foggy lowend with a somewhat loose sludgy feel. Controls are : Volume, Fuzz, Tone, High, Pre, and a toggle for Led or Mosfet clipping.

Switching is independent and true bypass.

Artwork by Matt Pike and Alyssa Maucere. Graphic layout by Jason @ Gr8Scott Graphics.

Sleep live:
APR 19 First Avenue Minneapolis MN
APR 20 Majestic Theater Madison, WI
APR 22 White Oak Music Hall Houston, TX
APR 23 Decibel Metal and Beer Festival The Fillmore Philadelphia, PA
APR 30 Desertfest London 2017 Camden Roundhouse London
JUN 3 Primavera Sound 2017 Barcelona, Spain
AUG 12 Alcatraz Festival Kortrijk, Belgium
AUG 18-20 Psycho Las Vegas Hard Rock Las Vegas, NV

https://www.blackartstoneworks.com/rabid-mammal/
https://reverb.com/item/4562941-matt-pike-rabid-mammal-signed-bundle-black-arts-toneworks
https://www.facebook.com/officialsleep/
http://www.facebook.com/highonfire

Matt Pike Rabid Mammal pedal demo

Tags: , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Crowbar, Katatonia, Ethereal Riffian, Dot Legacy, Salem’s Bend, Thonian Horde, Second Sun, Ten Ton Slug, Komatsu, The Blue Sunshine Family Band

Posted in Reviews on December 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

We continue with day four of the Quarterly Review. This batch is numbers 31-40 of the total 60, not that the numbers really mean anything. I know it’s list season — believe me, I know — but there’s no actual ranking going on. It’s just basically so I can keep track and remember what day it is. That’s not to say this is done off the cuff. Actually, there’s an embarrassing amount of planning behind these things. Months. And when I start actually getting the posts ready and realize I’ve slated the same record on two different days — something that’s happened no fewer than three times so far, needing each time to be corrected — it’s a clear demonstration of the value of my planning. Ha. Anyway, we press on. Together. Into the thick of it. Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies

crowbar the serpent only lies

More than 25 years and 11 albums into a landmark career that helped prove the existence of the hairy beast known as “sludge metal,” Crowbar don’t owe anyone anything, and since returning to activity with 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand (review here) and 2014’s Symmetry in Black, they’ve played like it. Their third post-resurgence outing is The Serpent Only Lies (on eOne Heavy), and though it works largely to form – that is, Crowbar are going to sound like Crowbar: low, slow, seeming to lurch even when dug into fits of gallop on “I am the Storm” or the early going of “The Enemy Beside You” – one still finds progression especially in the vocal approach of frontman and founder Kirk Windstein, who self-harmonizes effectively on the title-track’s standout hook as well as the later pair “On Holy Ground” and “Song of the Dunes,” the latter also resoundingly spacious in a way that offsets much of The Serpent Only Lies’ head-down intensity. This might be flourish or a companion to the core Crowbar sound that remains intact throughout, but the truth is it’s not like it needs to be there – Crowbar’s audience would still go to the shows even if the band stopped growing – but it’s entirely to the credit of the New Orleans legends that more than a quarter-century later they continue to progress. I guess that’s how Crowbar gets to be Crowbar.

Crowbar on Thee Facebooks

eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Katatonia, The Fall of Hearts

katatonia the fall of hearts

Depending on what you count as a full-length, The Fall of Hearts (on Peaceville) is either the 10th or 11th studio record from Sweden’s Katatonia. It follows 2013’s acoustic Dethroned and Uncrowned, which reenvisioned 2012’s Dead End Kings and brings forth over an hour of new material from founding duo Jonas Renkse (vocals/guitar/etc.) and Anders “Blakkheim” Nyström (guitar/backing vocals), as well as Niklas Sandin (bass) and Daniel Moilanen (drums), who, working with engineer Karl Daniel Lidén (ex-Greenleaf, Demon Cleaner), continue to proffer resonant melancholy in abundance. As a band, Katatonia have had a number of different phases over the years, from their deathly beginnings through the later moves into melody, but as it stands on songs like “Decima,” with its acoustic and mellotron arrangement, and the seven-minute “Serac,” which plays back and forth between serene and some of The Fall of Hearts’ most intense thrust, they remain among heavy metal’s most recognizable acts. There is no one else who sounds like them, and they sound not quite like anyone else. This collection might be more about gradual steps forward than radical shifts in approach, but Katatonia have found a way to preach to their converted and keep growing at the same time, and that’s to be commended.

Katatonia on Thee Facebooks

Peaceville Records website

 

Ethereal Riffian, I am Deathless

ethereal riffian i am deathless

Issued via Robustfellow in a range of physical editions from an oversized CD digipak to cassette bundles, the two-song I. AM. Deathless EP from yet-underrated Ukrainian progressive ritualists Ethereal Riffian warrants the ceremony with which it arrives. Its two tracks, “Drum of the Deathless” (6:19) and “Sword of the Deathless” (9:57) closed and opened, respectively, the prior 2016 live outing, Youniversal Voice (review here), and in their studio form they bring to bear a vision of psychedelic metal given to atmospheric breadth that comes at the expense neither of purpose nor impact. The opener proves the more immediate of the pair, but as “Sword of the Deathless” plays out, it finds prog-metal swirl amid low-end starts and stops intertwined layers of multi-channel spoken word, acoustic and electric guitar and percussive tension, so that as it heads into its payoff and melodic finish, the resolution is both satisfying and something of a relief from the cacophony preceding. Forward-thinking and of marked substance, I. AM. Deathless offers a quick glimpse at the band’s scope and invites listeners to dive deep therein.

Ethereal Riffian on Thee Facebooks

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

 

Dot Legacy, To the Others

dot legacy to the others

There isn’t much that’s off-limits to Parisian heavy rockers Dot Legacy. To wit, the near-rap-rock mania of opener “Horizon” from their second LP, To the Others (on Setalight Records), and the laid-back psych-lounge vibes that follow on “Grey Cardinal,” only to be swept away in crashes and chants later, leading to the driving desert punkery of “211.” Three songs, three distinct feels, and Dot Legacy only get weirder from there as they toy with fuzzed momentum on “5314” and “Dakota” before the dreamy post-rock meandering of “The Twelve,” the prog-pop of “Story of Fame” and piano-laden psych-drama of closer “Pioneer.” In 35 minutes, the four-piece cover more ground than most bands do in their whole careers, but that becomes even more admirable in that they manage not to just be all over the place, but to provide a consistent quality of songwriting to complement all that quirk. Add to that the attention to detail in vocal harmonies and arrangements, and as they follow-up their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), they reveal a clear sense of a master plan at work under all the brashness and genre-hopping.

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Setalight Records website

 

Salem’s Bend, Salem’s Bend

salem's bend self-titled

Self-released by the Los Angeles trio in late-2015 and picked up for a vinyl issue through Ripple Music, the self-titled debut from Salem’s Bend leaves little wonder as to why with its classic sensibility and the vibe proliferated by the natural-toned nod of a song like “Silverstruck.” Though still prone to a bit of Hendrix-style shred when it comes to lead guitar, the three-piece of Bobby (guitar/vocals), Kevin (bass) and Zach (drums) depart from some of the post-Radio Moscow all-thrust boogie in favor of more laid back fair and on that cut and the later “Sun and Mist,” which hits into a satisfying apex in its second half without feeling overcooked, as well as the six-minute finale “A Tip of Salem,” which nods through its initial movement before bursting out toward the end. In a crowded SoCal scene, just about anything Salem’s Bend can do to stand apart will serve them, and the fluidity they hone across these seven tracks sets them up to do just that.

Salem’s Bend on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Thonian Horde, Thonian Horde

thonian horde self-titled

Given the personnel involved, the black ‘n’ roll extremity of Thonian Horde’s self-titled debut full-length will no doubt come as a surprise to listeners. Formed in Boonsboro, Maryland, by bassist/vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis (Pale Divine, Admiral Browning, etc.), guitarists Darren “Dirty” Waters (Weed is Weed) and Dan “D-Mize” Mize (Faith in Jane), and drummer Tyler “The Beast” Lee (Weed is Weed), one might expect high-order Frederick-style post-The Obsessed doom. Thonian Horde have more in common with Immortal on their centerpiece track “Darkest Nights Shadow,” and even as the closing “Psychonaut” finds a rock groove in its chorus, it does so with the hooky edge of Satyricon more than any of the members’ other outfits. No doubt that’s the point: doing something different. Indeed, the nine-tracker is a refreshing aesthetic reboot for the scene from whence it comes, holding fast to their region’s crucial lack of pretense even as they brazenly walk their own path – left-hand, of course.

Thonian Horde on Thee Facebooks

Thonian Horde on Bandcamp

 

Second Sun, Tachyonregenerator

second sun tachyonregenerator

I don’t know about you, but I missed out on Hopp/Förtvivlan, which was the 2015 debut full-length from Swedish rockers Second Sun, so to have Gaphals provide gentle encouragement to check it out by getting behind the two-songer single Tachyonregenerator is most welcome. Both cuts included – “Tachyonregenerator” and “Tror Faktiskt På Dig” – bask in classic vibe without being overly showy when it comes to retroism, and are marked out by the inclusion of organ amid the natural-sounding guitar, drums and bass, the vocals presented in Swedish across both pieces. It’s a quick eight-minutes perfect for the 7” pressing it’s been given, but again, makes enough of an impression that one is inclined toward further investigation, and given that, I can’t call it anything other than a success. I’ll go ahead and chalk up one more quality Swedish act to keep track of, because Second Sun offer tight-knit progressive leanings in a crisp package on Tachyonregenerator, and even if I’m late to the party, I’m glad I got to hear it.

Second Sun on Thee Facebooks

Gaphals Records website

 

Ten Ton Slug, Brutal Gluttonous Beast

ten ton slug brutal gluttonous beast

Some pretty clear self-awareness demonstrated in Ten Ton Slug’s self-released debut EP, Brutal Gluttonous Beast. The Galway, Ireland, five-piece had a prior live-recorded two-tracker, but these four songs mark their first studio outing, and as they draw together massive sludge riffing and more extreme, death metal-style growls, there’s precious little one might say to more accurately describe a track like “Trollhunter” – the opener and longest on the release (immediate points) – than that it lives up to the title, its second-half slowdown lurch prefacing a similar move in “Bloodburns” before the more rampaging “Subterranean” and noise-soaked burl of “Unit” take hold. Intense and vicious, but not necessarily unhinged, Brutal Gluttonous Beast finds Ten Ton Slug sounding remarkably sure in their approach, and one will await the news of their traveling to England to record with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer, since that seems to be the kind of presentation for which the tonal onslaught here is begging.

Ten Ton Slug on Thee Facebooks

Ten Ton Slug on Bandcamp

 

Komatsu, Recipe for Murder One

komatsu recipe for murder one

A half-decade after releasing their self-titled EP (review here), Eindhoven heavy/noise rockers Komatsu reemerge on Argonauta Records with the follow-up full-length, Recipe for Murder One. Boasting a guest appearance from Nick Oliveri on the suitably tumultuous “Lockdown,” the album leaves little to wonder what’s in that recipe in the darker-desert vibe of “So How’s About Billy” and “There Must be Something in Your Water,” which teases airy serenity in its first half only to go full-throttle for the second, but as the bass-driven lumber of the title-track and subtle melodic expansion of “The Sea is Calm Today” show, Komatsu haven’t wasted the last five years, instead constructing their own take on sonic density and sludge impulses that seems to hit with formidable impact regardless of tempo or tension level, both of which prove to be fluid elements at the four-piece’s disposal. They get the point across quickly in the stomp of “The Long Way Home,” but find suitable resolution in the nod of closer “Breathe,” rounding out a debut of significant character and depth with one last surprise in ambience it’s only fair to call progressive.

Komatsu on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

The Blue Sunshine Family Band, The Blue Sunshine Family Band

the blue sunshine family band self-titled

A double-guitar instrumental four-piece from Santa Rosa, California, The Blue Sunshine Family Band make their debut with a six-song/51-minute self-titled. Tracks presented as Roman numerals “I” through “VI,” though whether or not they’re actually the first six pieces the band has written, I couldn’t say. Either way, the impression immediately draws from “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” – that great king of nod riffs – and first-name-only guitarists Billy and Kevin, bassist Matt and drummer Quinten build outward from there, dipping below the eight-minute mark only on “V” (7:14) as they unfurl solid grooves and tonal heft, seeming to leave room for vocals either consciously or not. The converted will find engagement and immersion in the crash and swinging turn of “IV,” as well as the David Paul Seymour cover art, and if The Blue Sunshine Family Band is the sound of this foursome getting their feet under them, they manage to accomplish that preliminary feat and then some in these tracks.

The Blue Sunshine Family Band on Thee Facebooks

The Blue Sunshine Family Band on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Crowbar Announce New LP The Serpent Only Lies Due Oct. 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

crowbar

Nola sludge progenitors Crowbar will release their 11th studio album, The Serpent Only Lies, via eOne Heavy on Oct. 28. The band’s last outing was 2014’s Symmetry in Black, which was preceded in 2011 by Sever the Wicked Hand (review here) — their first for eOne — which marked a resurgence that’s now five years running and finds Crowbar among underground metal’s most respected mainstays. They’ve been everywhere, they’ve seen everything, and rather than give into any of what is no doubt a copious amount of bullshit they’ve been through in their years together, they continue to push forward.

Particularly interested in guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein saying he went back to old Crowbar and old Crowbar influences this time out, as some of the more modern metallurgy of their recent output had marked a big sonic turn for the band.

Many tour dates, much info, and a teaser, from the PR wire:

crowbar the serpent only lies

CROWBAR ANNOUNCE THE SERPENT ONLY LIES, DUE OUT 10/28

TEASER AVAILABLE NOW!

New Orleans sludge masters Crowbar have announced their eleventh new LP titled The Serpent Only Lies, due out October 28, 2016. “We are so excited about our 11th studio record! The Serpent Only Lies is a powerful follow up.” says frontman and riff lord Kirk Windstein. “Eliran Kantor did a brilliant job with the artwork! Our first release, “Falling While Rising”, is Crowbar at its finest… HEAVIER THAN EVER!!!”

The Serpent Only Lies will be the follow up to the highly buzzed about Symmetry in Black that sold over 4,000 copies in its first week of release in 2014, the highest of any LPs in the band’s 27 year career, beating out its predecessor, 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand.

For nearly three decades, the name Crowbar has been synonymous with HEAVY. Since rising ominously from the swamplands of New Orleans in 1990, they’ve been hailed internationally as one of the world’s foremost purveyors of crushing, melodic sludge. The Serpent Only Lies, is both an affirmation of the band’s staying power and a nod to their legacy. “To me, it’s a fresh-sounding version of old-school Crowbar,” says Windstein.

“I intentionally went back and listened to a lot of old Crowbar stuff, like the self-titled and Broken Glass albums, to get a feel for what my mindset was 20-plus years ago. I also went back and listened to the bands that influenced Crowbar in the beginning, like Trouble, Saint Vitus, Melvins, and the first Type O Negative record. So it was kinda me doing my homework.”

The result is an album that stands toe-to-toe with those early Crowbar classics while maintaining the lumbering hooks of mid-period standouts like 1998’s Odd Fellows Rest and 2000’s Equilibrium. “Even lyrically, the approach was a little more old-school,” Windstein offers. “Some of the songs have less lyrics to let the riffs breathe a little more, which I had kind of gotten away from over the years. It was a conscious thing to go back to that.”

The tour cycle for The Serpent Only Lies marks the return of original Crowbar bassist Todd “Sexy T” Strange, who left the band back in 1999 but now joins Windstein, drummer Tommy Buckley and guitarist Matt Brunson in forging Crowbar’s future. “Todd helped start the band, so having him back is important to me and, I think, the fans,” Windstein offers. “It’s a great feeling to be standing onstage next to him. It’s a breath of fresh air for the band and makes us stronger.”

“Having this be our eleventh record, we’re very fortunate because so many bands don’t last this long,” Windstein adds. “My whole outlook on music as a career is the Motörhead outlook, which is that slow and steady wins the race. If you continue to put out killer records, continue to kick ass onstage every night and continue to treat your fans with respect, that’s the stuff people will remember.”

Sep 13 JJ’s Bohemia Chattanooga, TN
Sep 15 The Agora Theatre and Ballroom Cleveland, OH
Sep 16 Reggies Music Joint Chicago, IL
Sep 17 Harpos Detroit, MI
Sep 18 Town Ballroom Buffalo, NY
Sep 20 The Westcott Theater Syracuse, NY
Sep 21 The Ballroom at The Outer Space Hamden, CT
Sep 23 Amityville Music Hall Amityville, NY
Sep 24 THE COLOSSEUM/ THE RUINS @ THE COLOSSEUM Providence, RI
Sep 26 Saint Vitus Brooklyn, NY
Sep 27 Dingbatz Clifton, NJ
Sep 28 Shakas Live Virginia Beach, VA
Sep 29 The Throne Theater Wilmington, NC
Sep 30 The Sparrow North Charleston, SC
Oct 01 New Brookland Tavern Columbia, SC
Oct 02 The Warehouse Clarksville, TN
Oct 03 Manchester Music Hall Lexington, KY
Oct 06 Nighthawks Jacksonville, FL
Oct 07 The Orpheum Ybor City, FL
Oct 09 Churchills Pub Miami, FL
Oct 10 House of Blues Orlando Orlando, FL
Oct 22 Empire Control Room & Garage Austin, TX

https://www.facebook.com/crowbarmusic
https://twitter.com/crowbarrules
http://www.facebook.com/eoneheavy
http://www.twitter.com/eoneheavy

Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies teaser

Tags: , , , , ,

High on Fire Announce Fall Tour with Meshuggah

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

In addition to joining the fray at Psycho Las Vegas — and no doubt causing a large portion of it — High on Fire will tour this fall alongside metal innovators Meshuggah. The heavy thrash kingpins continue to support 2015’s Luminiferous (review here), released on eOne Heavy, and have already done US and Aus/NZ tours this year. You know, in addition to the many, many times they’ve been back and forth the country prior to 2016. I might’ve expected them to hit Europe this autumn, but it’s hard to argue with the company they’re keeping of late, and as we’ve seen develop, Europe’s becoming an increasingly crowded market.

From the PR wire:

high on fire

HIGH ON FIRE Joins Forces with Meshuggah for Fall North American Tour

World-renowned heavy metal power trio HIGH ON FIRE has announced a fall North American tour as direct support to Sweden’s Meshuggah. The titanic team-up will kick off on October 11 in Atlanta, GA, running through November 6 in Silver Spring, MD. Tickets will go on sale Friday, July 22.

Featuring vocalist and guitar hero Matt Pike, drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz, HIGH ON FIRE continues to tour in support of its most recent album, Luminiferous.

HIGH ON FIRE tour dates:

August 27 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues (as part of Psycho Las Vegas w/ Blue Oyster Cult, Alice Cooper, etc.)
September 25 San Francisco, CA Stinky’s al Fresco

(w / Meshuggah)
October 11 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
October 12 St. Louis, MO The Pageant
October 13 Nashville, TN Marathon Music Works
October 16 Houston, TX House of Blues
October 17 Dallas, TX House of Blues
October 19 Los Angeles, CA The Novo
October 24 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
October 25 Lawrence, KS Liberty Hall
October 26 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
October 28 Chicago, IL House of Blues
October 29 Detroit, MI The Majestic
October 30 Toronto, ON Phoenix Concert Theatre
October 31 Montreal, QC Metropolis
November 2 Boston, MA House of Blues
November 3 New York, NY PlayStation Theatre
November 4 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero Theatre
November 5 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
November 6 Silver Spring, MD The Fillmore

https://www.facebook.com/highonfire/
https://twitter.com/HighonFireBand

High on Fire, “Slave the Hive” official video

Tags: , , , ,