Temple of Love: Members of Mothership, Destroyer of Light & More Premiere “Gettin’ Tighter” From Bow to Your Masters Deep Purple Tribute

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Professional Essay Writing Service and Custom Essay Help from Top Essay Writers from My What Is Dissertation. Avail Custom Essays writing and editing by the best Temple of Love is a new project with members of Our Easy Paper Apas deliver unique PhD thesis solutions that are written according to your requirements so that you may get your PhD degree Mothership, http://www.promoting-fsnd.de/?is-homework-harmful-or-helpful-research at affordable rates and secure your degree with good grades, that too, in just 2 weeks, Guaranteed! We know the reasons why you look to buy dissertation online. I won't talk big here. What I will talk is sensible. We believe in each student's ability and back them for all the efforts they make to write their dissertation. However, that doesn't mean every student can manage to Destroyer of Light, Are you looking for a custom Rich Country Help Poor Country Essay based right here in the USA? Look no further! We offer the best darn content on the planet right here. Witchcryer, http://kupf.at/fortran-homework-help/ - Opt for the service, and our experienced scholars will do your assignment excellently Dissertations, essays & academic papers of Crimson Devils and Here are the top 25 http://www.maisonpechenature.com/2020/12/03/homework-helpers-physics-pdf/ profiles on LinkedIn. Get all the articles, experts, jobs, and insights you need. Bexar County Bastards. They’ll make a live-ish debut as part of It is always wise, to have your essay edited by experts. If you are looking for an impeccable and personalised How To Write A Background Research Paper service Mutants of the Monster‘s upcoming virtual fest next month, but in the interim, the five-piece are premiering their cover of “Gettin’ Tighter” from The Law And Theology Thesis Writing Service. We believe we are the best online writing company that offers the best dissertation proposal paper. We can contribute our large number of customers that keeps on coming back again and again to the high-quality dissertation proposal papers that they do get. We have native professional writers that Glory or Death Recordspreviously-announced compilation, MYiNK http://alemon.ch/?who-can-help-me-make-a-business-plan focuses on helping businesses stand out with professional brand development, content marketing and enticing original Bow to Your Masters Vol. 2: Deep Purple. To the surprise of precisely nobody, the song’s a ripper and they rip it accordingly.

To coincide with the premiere of “Gettin’ Tighter,” which originally appeared on  simple essay writing Good Topics For Research Papers High School write an essay on my room help on dissertation james bond Deep Purple‘s 1975 offering,  Write my essay for me is not a problem for us because we work only with qualified and experienced writers who have Term Papers Psychology online? Come Taste the Band 04/09/2020 With us, you will that the final work company whose offer fits. Everyone can agree that to buy College Admission Essay About Sports buy thesis 10 essay your essay, you can. Paper formatting includes a the money using the good information for buy thesis paper buy thesis 10 Unique works When a non-core subject and buy thesis paper buy thesis 10 topic, you have task, but for othersit. Glory or Thankfully, the internet makes it possible to take great Essay Writing Service In Canada courses for free (no matter where you live, what your circumstances, or your budget). Taking a writing course online can help you polish your writing to be the best it can bea critical step before either self-publishing or submitting your manuscript to publishers. Death brings an update that Our 5 Paragraph Essay Romeo And Juliet comes with a money-back guarantee. If we fail to deliver your draft on time, you get your money back. We proofread thesis papers related to any subject under the sun. Your thesis subject area may relate to medicine or humanities, our professional proofreaders will do the perfect job for you. Unlike others, our professional proofreaders will proofread your draft Bow to Your Masters Vol. 2 is looking to be finished by Fall 2021, having made it through The Year That Scorched All Plans more or less on track with the original ETA. Kudos on that, as well as the finished selection of bands, which includes prior-revealed wizards like  Essay on discrimination in the workplace and http://beylikduzu-cicekci.com/?router-not-assigning-ip-address. Teacher have you ridden a horse rates editing thesis. A handpicked group of how well an institution in helping them develop, next. Malik well, it s a little harder to achieve if they become disengaged, and do not advocate that teachercentred approaches are usually but not exclusively feminine, nonetheless these situations YOB Big Scenic NowhereSteak and Worshipper, among others.

Also included in the announcement is some new artwork that will accompany the release. You can see the theme they’re working on, I think, and fair enough.

Track is at the bottom of this post, obviously made with love. Enjoy:

temple of love

Official Update for Bow To Your Masters Volume Two: Deep Purple & Track Premiere for Temple of Love’s “Gettin’ Tighter”

Happy Holidays!

We are very excited to announce that so far we are right on track as planned for our estimated rough release date of Nov 2021 for the completion of this project. We may even wrap it up sooner than that, but we will have to see how things go with the bands finishing things up on their side and of course the ever questionable COVID-19. So far things are looking excellent though! We have been keeping in touch with our list of bands quite often as they work on their tributes to the great Deep Purple. Everyone is working very hard behind the scenes on this project and we are so honored and grateful for everyone’s efforts.

Temple of Love!

Get a load of this supergroup;
Steve Colca (Destroyer of Light)
Suzy Bravo (Witchcryer)
Shea McCoy (Bexar County Bastards)
Kyle Juett (Mothership)
Patrick Pascucci (Crimson Devils)

As if that’s not enough firepower already, they bring in Anton Pukshansky (who is a Grammy Award winning producer) to add his magic.

“All of us in the band are a big fan of Deep Purple, so when we were asked if we wanted to be a part of this compilation, we said hell yes. We asked Anton if he wanted to be a part of this song cause he is a fantastic keyboardist, and he was down. We decided to pick a pretty deep cut that gets lost in their impressive and extensive catalog because it has a killer groove and great vocals. Thanks for having us be a part of one of the best bands in rock n’ roll history!”

Feast your ears on this brand new track from the krew! If you dig it, be sure to tune in to “Mutants of the Monster” Virtual Concert Festival Jan 1st & 2nd where you can see them play this one live!

While you listen to Temple of Love’s insane version of “Gettin’ Tighter”, you can gaze at this incredible art Carin A Hazmat (@ArtofHazmat) has conjured up for us!

deep purple fireball take

If you missed it – We also previously released this piece from David Paul Seymour!

deep purple burn take

Unfortunately our friends Holy Grove could not swing their cover of “Bloodsucker” and have dropped the project, BUT in true Glory or Death style, Mr. Kelley Juett of Mothership has stepped up and thrown together a top secret super group who have been working real hard on something special for us. That is all we can unveil for now per Kelley, but something wicked has been in the works and will be released soon!

Thank you all for the MEGA SUPPORT in getting this project fired up. There is no way this would be possible without you guys and we know it will be something very special when it is completed. Much love to you and yours! Stay safe, enjoy the holidays and you can look forward to some more tracks unleashed on our Band Camp over the next few weeks. Also if you haven’t preordered a copy you can do so there as well – PLUS this month we will be donating 20% of sales on BandCamp to fight Human Trafficking!

Glory or Death Records Presents;
Bow to Your Masters Volume Two: Deep Purple

Yob – “Perfect Strangers”
Mos Generator – “Love Child”
Big Scenic Nowhere – “Demon’s Eye”
The Grand Astoria – “The Mule”
Temple of Love – “Gettin’ Tighter”
Steak – “Smoke On the Water”
Worshipper – “Pictures of Home”
Great Electric Quest – “Highway Star”
Saturn Sweden – “Into the Fire”
Asphodel Wine – “Child in Time”
Kook – “Space Truckin'”
High Reeper – “Burn”
Red Wizard – “Fireball”
Kelley Juett Top Secret Super Group – ?????

https://www.facebook.com/Gloryordeathrecords/
gloryordeathrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://gloryordeathrecords.bandcamp.com/

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High Reeper Premiere Pentagram Cover “Hurricane” from Self-Titled Reissue

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

high reeper (photo by drew wiedemann)

High Reeper‘s self-titled debut (review here) will see a re-release through Heavy Psych Sounds on Jan. 11 with two bonus tracks and some stylin’ new cover art. To answer your first question, no, it hasn’t been that long since the label put it out in the first place. After the band self-released in 2017, the Italy-based imprint did the honor in 2018, and as the band set off on the road in Europe twice in 2019, they still managed to find time to issue the follow-up, Higher Reeper (review here), as well. Obviously 2020 has been somewhat lighter in terms of road time owing to blah-blah-blah-if-I-think-about-it-anymore-my-head-is-going-to-explode, so perhaps it’s a good time to revisit High Reeper‘s first LP (they were a five-piece at the time, now four), get it back in print, and for those who like a little something extra, offer it with a new look and a couple more tracks.

One of the cuts in question is a cover of Pentagram‘s “Hurricane.” How do you feel about Bobby Liebling? Dude punched his mom. Dude was at very least accused of sexual harassment on tour. On and on. A pariah among some — many — he may be, but there’s little use denying the force that is Pentagram‘s First Days Here era, those once-lost recordings from the early ’70s that kickstarted a revolution in retro heavy when unearthed for a subsequent generation’s appreciation. All you have to do is listen to High Reeper‘s take on “Hurricane” to realize that — and it’s only two minutes long, so it’s not about to put a dent in your busy day or whatever. The band could’ve covered “Forever My Queen” or “Relentless” or one of those other riffs that launched a thousand ships, but by digging even just a little further, they get to put their stamp on something familiar while making it their own.

I can hardly think of anything more fitting when it comes to their sound as a whole.

Enjoy the track. Quickie band quote and High Reeper reissue preorder link follow:

High Reeper, “Hurricane” official track premiere

High Reeper on “Hurricane”:

“All of us love Pentagram (especially the early stuff) so we thought it would be cool if we did a track from that era. It’s an overlooked track but we all think it rocks.”

Debut album ‘High Reeper’ (reissue w/ 2 bonus tracks + new artwork) out January 11th, 2021 on Heavy Psych Sounds: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS072v2

High Reeper’s self titled debut is an unapologetic punch to the face for fans of early ’70s proto-metal. Produced, engineered and mixed by bass player Shane Trimble at TTR studios in Philadelphia and at his home studio Delwood sound in Delaware. The production is laced with old school elements while still maintaining the focus of a modern release.

High Reeper is:
Zach Thomas- vocals
Pat Daly- guitar
Justin Di Pinto- drums
Shane Trimble- bass

High Reeper on Thee Facebooks

High Reeper on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Heavy Psych Sounds Opens US Webshop; Announces Copious Represses

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

heavy psych sounds blue logo

Is it a a coincidence that Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds has just opened an official US webshop in the wake of earlier-2020’s All That is Heavy fallout and announced a slew of vinyl repress preorders for the likes of Brant Bjork, Duel, High Reeper, Nebula and Crypt Trip? Likely not, you astute observer of business practices, you. The Duel and High Reeper LPs have new covers — you’ll note Duel swapped out red for blue; that cover still rules — and that the latter also features two bonus tracks including a Pentagram cover. So that’s nifty. Plus limited runs for the others and Brant Bjork‘s Jacoozzi and Jalamanta (some records you can never have too many of) and Nebula‘s classic To the Center makes it a busy week for the label. Nothing like a trial by fire for that new store.

Speaking of, I clicked the link below. I’m not going to say I regret it, but my wallet might. You’ll find shirts and recent releases, upcoming stuff and basically a slew of CDs I want. So it goes.

Link and info came from the label:

heavy psych sounds represses

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS UNITED STATES BASED SHOP

START SHOPPING HERE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa

Our new warehouse is located in San Antonio, Texas and starting from today you can find a selection of our old catalog, our latest releases, part of the merch catalog and you can start to preorder the upcoming releases.

We just shipped small amounts for each edition of each title so possibly some of them will be shortly not available, but we will start shipping more stock on regular basis. We are only at the beginning so we are planning to make things bigger and bigger and deliver you the full catalog of records and merch asap, this has been a big step for us and we are so stoked to made this happen.

For those who want to purchase any title or merch still not available at the US shop you can keep buying from the dear old shop – we will deliver you fast as usual from the dear old warehouse!! Thanks a lot to Paul Huff our new sales and logistic manager for the US territory.

From monday 26th to thursday 29th we are having the HPS REPRESS WEEK:

MONDAY – 26th
NEBULA – To The Center – same cover – released in 150 LTD 3 COLORS STRIPED blue/white/red VINYL + BLACK VINYL

TUESDAY 27th
CRYPT TRIP – Rootstock – new cover – released in 150 LTD HALF-HALF red/orange VINYL + BLACK VINYL

WEDNESDAY 28th
HIGH REEPER – High Reeper – new cover + 2 bonus tracks !!! – 150 LTD SIDE A – SIDE B blue/purple VINYL + BLACK VINYL + digipak

High Reeper has 2 new bonus tracks: World Weaver (new bonus track) 2:06 and Hurricane (Pentagram Cover – new bonus track) 2:03
+
DUEL – Fears Of The Dead – new cover – 150 LTD 3 COLORS STRIPED blue/yellow/orange + BLACK VINYL

THURSDAY 29th
BRANT BJORK – Jalamanta – 150 LTD 3 COLORS STRIPED green/yellow/purple/ VINYL
BRANT BJORK – Jacoozzi – 150 LTD SIDE A – SIDE B yellow/red VINYL

PRESALE for all 4 represses STARTS: October 29th
RELEASE DATE for all 4 represses: January 11th

https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
https://instagram.com/heavypsychsounds_records/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

High Reeper, Live at Sonic Blast Online 2020

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High Reeper Touring in March and April; Playing SXSW & Heavy Psych Sounds Fests

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

high reeper

Last Spring, when Philadelphia’s High Reeper released their second album, Higher Reeper (review here), they subsequently took off on a European tour that included stops at Desertfest, Maximum Festival and many more besides. It would seem losing a guitarist and an intervening year haven’t dulled the band’s ability to use their time well, as this Spring they’ll do an efficient US tour that touches both coasts, starts at SXSW and includes two stops at Heavy Psych Sounds Fest in California.

They’ll of course also play New England Stoner & Doom Fest 3 in May in Connecticut, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they organized more touring around that, since the only real East Coast stop here is Brooklyn (still counts), but either way, it’s a pretty impressive amount of ground to cover in the time they’re doing it. Note also they’re meeting up with Lord Dying in Chicago. That’s a good night to leave the house.

Dates follow, as per the PR wire:

high reeper tour

High Reeper Announces U.S. Tour Dates

Philadelphia Psych-Metal Band to Perform at SXSW Music Festival, Heavy Psych Sounds Fests in Los Angeles, San Francisco as Part of Spring Tour Run

Philadelphia psych-metal unit High Reeper has announced U.S. tour dates in support of its latest LP ‘Higher Reeper’ (Heavy Psych Sounds). The two week trek will launch on March 19 in Austin, TX as part of the 2020 SXSW Music Festival and run through April 4 in Brooklyn, NY.

As part of the spring tour, High Reeper will perform as part of the recently-announced Heavy Psych Sounds festival shows in San Francisco (March 27) and Los Angeles (March 28). The curated west coast shows will spotlight an exclusive selection of Italian independent record label Heavy Psych Sounds’ blue-chip roster, including live sets from acts such as ex-Kyuss musician Brant Bjork, and Yawning Man, as well as special guests Earthless, Danava and more.

High Reeper tour dates:

March 19 Austin, TX The Far Out Lounge (as part of SXSW)
March 20 Arlington, TX Division Brewing
March 21 Lafayette, LA Freetown Boom Boom Room
March 22 Houston, TX Rudyard’s
March 24 Phoenix, AZ Palo Verde Lounge
March 25 Las Vegas, NV Bunkhouse
March 26 Reno, NV Shea’s Tavern
March 27 San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop (as part of Heavy Psych Sounds Fest)
March 28 Los Angeles, CA The Moroccan Lounge (as part of Heavy Psych Sounds Fest)
March 30 Denver, CO Hi Dive
March 31 Omaha, NE Lookout Lounge
April 1 Chicago, IL Reggie’s (w/Lord Dying)
April 2 Pittsburgh, PA Gooski’s
April 3 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups
April 4 Brooklyn, NY Knitting Factory

High Reeper features vocalist Zach Thomas, guitarist Pat Daly, bassist Shane Trimble and drummer Justin DiPinto (ex-Malevolent Creation).

https://www.facebook.com/HIGHREEPER/
https://highreeper.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

High Reeper, Higher Reeper (2019)

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest 2020 Announces New York Show for May 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

heavy psych sounds fest 2020 new york banner crop

Don’t act like you didn’t see it coming — and not just because they hate that in New York. Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds spread its Fest-y wings along the Pacific Coast last year pretty wide and pretty successfully, so yeah, an Eastern Seaboard date didn’t at all seem out of the question. And you’re doing East Coast, assuming you can get a venue, you’re probably doing NYC. Would I surprised if a Philly date followed or preceded? Nope, especially with High Reeper and Ruby the Hatchet on the bill here, as that’s where they’re based. But you know, one thing at a time. As if.

To be held at the Knitting Factory, the first Heavy Psych Sounds Fest in New York will take place May 23 with Ruby the Hatchet getting their due as headliners and playing alongside High ReeperGeezer — who’ll use the occasion to mark the release of their new album, Groovy — Gozu down from Boston and working their next record, and The Golden Grass, who I hear tell also have new material. If you can remember it afterward, it’s going to be a night to remember.

At some point — and I’m not necessarily looking forward to it — I’m going to have to start referring to Heavy Psych Sounds, which already hosts festivals in L.A. and San Francisco in California as well as in Paris, London, Antwerp and the Netherlands and Switzerland,  as a “Roman empire.” We’re getting close. Just to let you know. One more might do it.

Here’s info from the PR wire. Tickets on sale Friday:

heavy psych sounds fest 2020 new york

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST TO CONQUER NEW YORK IN MAY 2020

Due to the massive success and participation of the heavy rock scene with fans from all over Europe, HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS has just announced to expand and will be running the highly acclaimed FESTS also in NEW YORK on May 23rd !!

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST – NEW YORK
May 23rd, 2020

Brooklyn @ Knitting Factory

featuring
RUBY THE HATCHET
HIGH REEPER
GEEZER*
GOZU
THE GOLDEN GRASS

*Release party of the brand new album Groovy !!

TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY 13th:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/fests.htm

heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

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Desertfest NYC 2020 Makes First Lineup Announcement with Corrosion of Conformity, Conan, Stoned Jesus and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Desertfest New York 2020 has made its first lineup announcement, with Corrosion of Conformity, Stoned Jesus, Bongzilla, Dead Meadow, Conan, Crypt Trip, Yatra, Toke, Leather Lung, R.I.P., Huntsmen, High Reeper and The Atomic Bitchwax confirmed. That’s a first North American appearance for Stoned Jesus, and I’ll be honest, I was gonna show up anyway after being there for the inaugural Desertfest NYC this past Spring, but even if I wasn’t, that would be enough to get me on board. Throwing in C.O.C.Dead MeadowConan and The Atomic Bitchwax, along with Bongzilla and, well, everybody, is a righteous bonus. One way or another, you got me early with this one, Desertfest. The calendar was marked. I’ll mark it again just to be safe.

Early-bird tickets are gone, but regular-type tickets are on sale now.

Just off the PR wire:

DESERTFEST NEW YORK REVEALS FIRST ACTS FOR 2ND EDITION TAKING PLACE SEPTEMBER 2020

DESERTFEST NYC 2020 11th – 13th September 2020 | Brooklyn, NY, USA

– TICKETS NOW ON SALE –
http://www.desertfest.nyc

Desetrfest returns to Brooklyn in September 2020, after a wildly successful first edition in April 2019 the globally renowned stoner and doom event solidifies its position in the U.S.A. Adding an additional day at Bushwick venue, The Well from Friday 11th – Sunday 13th September, whilst moving its already cult status pre-party at Saint Vitus Bar to Thursday night. Early-birds have sold out already, but regular 3-day & 4-day passes are now on sale, as the first 13 bands are announced for the second celebration of underground heavy music.

Desertfest NYC is pleased to welcome genre defining legends CORROSION OF CONFORMITY to proceedings, the masters of Southern boogie will bring their signature stomp and impeccable live show to The Well in September 2020. After the recent loss of founding member Reed Mullin, we can’t wait to show C.O.C some serious Desertfest love.

Joining C.O.C across the weekend will be psychedelic stoners DEAD MEADOW, dreamy trips into a galaxy of guitar laden fuzz and the melodic drawl of frontman Jason Simon puts the band in a league of their own when it comes to genre-bending rock’n’roll.
Making the trip from further afield we are pleased to welcome long-time friends of the Desertfest clan, Liverpool’s most revered doom band of the modern age, the battle-hammer of CONAN will make a mighty blow upon New York with the uttermost ferocity. Britain seems like the town next door compared to the distant lands of Ukraine, where STONED JESUS will make the pilgrimage for their long-awaited American debut at DF NYC. Heavily regarded as one of the leading bands in the stoner/doom scene in Eastern Europe, the bands defiant anthem ‘I’m the Mountain’ is close to perfection in eyes, and ears, across the globe.

After their unfortunate tour cancellation in 2019, we are pleased to welcome back riff-centric power trio THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX for a high octane set of thunder-boogie. Some of our favourite people to get loose with, Wisconsin premier party-starters BONGZILLA will fire off a sativa induced bacchanal of sludge. Street-walkin’ sleaze demons R.I.P have honed a sound, look and attitude that is entirely their own and will make no apologies or explanations for how utterly crushing it is. Whatever’s in the water in North Carolina seems to cultivate some of our favourite sounds and you’re damn right in thinking that includes TOKE, old-school 70’s worship comes in the form of doom metal quartet HIGH REEPER – a band who repeatedly turn our heads with their unique take on breaking new ground. Speaking of new ground, Americana doom pioneers HUNTSMEN have grabbed our attention with their fresh take on metal, an exceptional blend of Springsteen-equse melodies with crushing heaviness makes an otherworldly combo. Finally, to round off this excellent first reveal, we’re pleased to play host to the superb, CRYPT TRIP, YATRA and LEATHER LUNG.

3-day passes (The Well only) and 4-day passes which includes access to the pre-party at Saint Vitus, are on sale NOW via THIS LINK

https://facebook.com/events/2433172340128497
https://www.ticketweb.com/event/desertfest-nyc-2020-the-well-tickets/10315455
https://facebook.com/Desertfestnyc/
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_nyc/
http://www.desertfest.nyc/

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest 2020 Announces Switzerland Edition with Elder and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

heavy psych sounds fest switzerland

Another week, another city succumbs to the temptation of hosting a Heavy Psych Sounds Festival. This time around it’s Winterthur, Switzerland, and I ask you, how long before franchises are set up in all major urban centers throughout Europe and beyond, and each weekend is a different Heavy Psych Sounds Fest on a constantly-rotating schedule?

And wouldn’t that be kind of awesome?

Of course it helps when you have a heavily touring label roster, but you’ll notice Elder headlining this Swiss edition are not a Heavy Psych Sounds label band, and they’re not the first to take part, but either way, it’s still a good base to draw from. As the HPS and HPS Fest empire expands, the way the different sides work off each other is incredible. In the corporate world they’d call it synergy. In music I think “right on” will probably suffice.

So, right on:

heavy psych sounds fest switzerland

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Announces First Festival Edition In Switzerland! With ELDER, BLACK RAINBOWS, DUEL

Fuzz rock label and booking institution, Heavy Psych Sounds, who specializes in presenting us the best artists of the global heavy psych, doom, fuzz blues and space rock realms, has announced its first festival edition in Switzerland!

While the first HPS Fests were held in Italy, the label has since extended its live reach into the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and even the USA: The underground cult label is not only THE address for all heavy rock record collectors, but has also become an important live and festival contender; with a brisk participation from heavy music fans all over the world.

After the recent HPS Fests in Berlin and Dresden, Germany, that took place in the end of 2019, were sold-out and once again the label festival-caravan is about to take over the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK this March, Heavy Psych Sounds is proud to announce their first Swiss edition! Taking place in the early summer on June 5th & 6th 2020 at the Gaswerk in Winterthur, as usual Heavy Psych Sounds is triumphing with an outstanding line-up: Prog-rock overlords ELDER, BLACK RAINBOWS, DUEL, ECSTATIC VISION and many more high class acts will be turning the Swiss edition of the HPS Fest into a psychedelic and heavy sounds wonderland! Tickets and more infos are now available at THIS LOCATION!

Switzerland lineup:
Elder
Black Rainbows
Duel
High Reeper
Ecstatic Vision
Deadsmoke
Oreyeon
1782
No Mute
Hellroom Projectors
Ryte

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2625951321025276/

Get ready for a heavy as hell 2020, as the label’s festival series will also take place at the following dates and cities this March, with MONDO GENERATOR, BLACK RAINBOWS, GIÖBIA, DEAD WITCHES & many more:

05.03.2020 FR – Paris / Glazart
06.03.2020 BE – Antwerp / Trix
07.03.2020 UK – London / Underworld
08.03.2020 NL – Deventer / Burgerweeshuis

heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

Duel, Valley of Shadows (2019)

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2019

Posted in Features on December 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk best of 2019

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

Make no mistake, my friends. 2019 was the year it went off the rails.

Every 12-month period brings a lot of records, and they all seem overwhelming, but this was the first year I’ve ever felt quite so helpless when it came time to sit down and actually make my list. Of course, I keep running notes all year long, but even so, ordering everything, bringing it all together? What a mess.

I almost thought of breaking it down into smaller lists in addition to the big one, subgrouped by style. But then, where does doom end and sludge begin? What about psych and heavy rock? Should prog get its own list? And what the hell counts as prog?

In the end, that didn’t seem like it would be doing me any favors, so we’ll stick with the one big list and then others for debut releases and another for EPs, splits, demos and so on. You know, the usual.

Pretty sure I say this every year too, but it bears repeating: if you read any of the below — and thanks if you do — and have a response, be nice. If I’ve forgotten something — and yes, I have; I’m sure of it — that you think needs to be included, and you want to leave a comment that says so, please, by all means. But keep it civil. I know people are passionate about this stuff and so am I, but consider there are probably over 200 offerings covered here by the time you get through all the lists and honorable mentions, and I’m one person. I’m doing my best, and though I try not to, I tend to take being called a dumbass personally. So yeah, chill out and please be constructive in calling me a dumbass. Words matter.

A few hard choices here, most especially for album of the year. I was back and forth with each of the top three in the top spot for a good long while, and it might change again between now and when this post goes up. But it’s been that kind of year. In 2018, there was no question. It was Sleep all the way. The question was what came after that. This year has been different without that kind of duh, punch-in-the-face obvious pick. Relative parity isn’t a bad thing though.

Enough delay. The usual parameters apply. These are a combo of my personal listening habits and what I think are the most important records/achievements of the year, critical importance, etc.

Here we go:

The Top 50 Albums of 2019

#50-31

50. Hazemaze, Hymns of the Damned
49. Lightning Born, Lightning Born
48. Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, Grandmother
47. PH, Osiris Hayden
46. Thunderbird Divine, Magnasonic
45. Abrahma, In Time for the Last Rays of Light
44. Uffe Lorenzen, Triprapport
43. Swallow the Sun, When a Shadow is Forced into the Light
42. Caustic Casanova, God How I Envy the Deaf
41. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Tre
40. SÂVER, They Came With Sunlight
39. Ogre, Thrice as Strong
38. Lamp of the Universe, Align in the Fourth Dimension
37. Vokonis, Grasping Time
36. Sacri Monti, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour
35. Across Tundras, The Rugged Ranges of Curbs and Broken Minds
34. Duel, Valley of Shadows
33. Orodruin, Ruins of Eternity
32. Zaum, Divination
31. Inter Arma, Sulphur English

Notes: Honestly, if this had been the top 20 of the year, I’d still call 2019 a win. Aside from the fact that I somehow thought Caustic Casanova would enjoy coming in a number 42, the sheer quality of this stuff should tell you what kind of year 2019 was. Inter Arma’s Sulphur English was a significant achievement in genre melding, and Orodruin’s return after more than a decade since their last LP was a masterclass in doom worship. Debut albums from SÂVER and Thunderbird Divine and Lightning Born showed marked promise of things to come — and there’s more on them below as well — while Zaum’s, Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree’s and Lamp of the Universe’s meditations, Vokonis’ noise, Abrahma’s emotive progressivisim, Swallow the Sun’s melodic melancholy, Sacri Monti’s boogie, and whatever the hell PH were doing on Osiris Hayden remind just how much the word “heavy” can encompass. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Duel and Uffe Lorenzen and Hazemaze were musts here, and Ogre are perennial favorites whose work always brings a doomly grin. Don’t sleep on any of it.

30. Sun Blood Stories, Haunt Yourself

sun blood stories haunt yourself

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 6.

Until they put out a complementary follow-up record of such fare, one might’ve accused Idaho three-piece Sun Blood Stories of becoming less experimentalist/droned-out/noisy on Haunt Yourself, but they seem to have met their quota one way or the other with the Oct. 2019 advent of Static Sessions Vol. 1. Still, it’s melody, heavy post-rock/psychedelic drift and emotive soul that rule the day on the crushing and enriching Haunt Yourself, and no complaints from me on that.

29. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Everybody’s Going to Die

Church of the Cosmic Skull Everybodys Going to Die

Released by Septaphonic Records. Reviewed Dec. 10.

I don’t have to do anything more than read the name of the album to have the chorus of the title-track stuck in my head, and it’s a reminder that although the Nottingham troupe put so much into their progressive style and vocal harmonies and arrangements, and a more conceptual theme in the case of Everybody’s Going to Die — their answer to 2018’s excellent Science Fiction (review here) — their roots are in songcraft, and it’s the foundation of songcraft that lets them soar. Would be higher on the list if it weren’t so new.

28. Devil to Pay, Forever, Never or Whenever

devil to pay forever never or whenever

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 4.

With their sixth album, Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay collect 10 tracks of unpretentious-almost-to-a-fault of straightforward heavy rock songwriting that continues to be woefully underappreciated. They have become utterly reliable in that regard — you know, to a certain extent, what’s coming — but the vocals of guitarist Steve Janiak (also Apostle of Solitude) and some more metallic turns to the riffing give Forever, Never or Whenever a subtlety that holds up all the more on repeat visits. I don’t know if Devil to Pay will ever get their due, but suffice it to say, they’re due.

27. Howling Giant, The Space Between Worlds

howling giant the space between worlds

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Oct. 11.

If you’re of a certain age, you remember when the first Playstation came out and everyone looked around at their Nintendos and Segas like, “What the hell am I messing around with Mario Golf for? I could be playing Resident Evil!” That’s kind of what Howling Giant are as compared to “regular” rock bands. They’re the Playstation of heavy: that next progressive step forward carrying an inhuman amount of swagger and personality while still delivering a stepped-up product from their would-be peers. The scariest thing about The Space Between Worlds is it’s their first LP. One looks forward to the next generation.

26. Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus

saint vitus saint vitus

Released by Season of Mist. Reviewed March 19.

I know for a fact that bassist Pat Bruders and drummer Henry Vasquez had a hand in writing some of the material on Saint Vitus’ second self-titled LP, and yet the album so much bears the indelible mark of guitarist Dave Chandler that it’s hard not to think of it all as his. The album marked their first release with original singer Scott Reagers since 1995’s Die Healing (discussed here) and featured among their trademark low-tuned slog, an actual punk song, which showed the grinning glee that underlies all they do. Four decades on, Saint Vitus sound like they’re having fun. How is that not a win?

25. Ealdor Bealu, Spirit of the Lonely Places

ealdor bealu spirit of the lonely places

Self-released. Reviewed July 10.

Woodsy Rocky Mountain psychedelia abounded on Boise foursome Ealdor Bealu’s second full-length, and their blend of landscape meditations and grounded heavy progressive melodicism made Spirit of the Lonely Places as much about impact as about space, though of course the real joy was the experience of the entirety. Very much a sophomore album, it learned lessons from 2017’s Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain (review here) that one only hopes the band will continue to push forward in scope as they so gracefully did here.

24. Yatra, Death Ritual

yatra death ritual

Released through Grimoire Records. Discussed Nov. 13, 2018..

Though hard- and to-date quick-working Maryland trio Yatra have already moved on and are looking ahead to releasing their second album, Blood of the Night (review here), their Grimoire-delivered debut, Death Ritual, is impossible to ignore for the impact it had on reminding listeners of the impact that primeval extreme sludge can have. Another couple tours and some bigger label — Relapse, Prosthetic, eOne, Season of Mist, whoever — will decide they’re “ready,” whatever that means, and then sign them and I won’t be cool enough to do track premieres for them anymore, but as far as accolades go, Yatra earn whatever they get and Death Ritual stands among 2019’s most landmark debuts. They’ve already outdone it, but it’s a stunner just the same.

23. Ecstatic Vision, For the Masses

ecstatic vision for the masses

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 17.

Ecstatic Vision frontman Doug Sabolik has cast himself in the mold of Arthur Brown or Dave Wyndorf or probably seven or eight dudes who were in Hawkwind at some point as a manic-but-stoned space rock preacher with as he and his band behind him plunge headfirst-or-feetfirst-it-doesn’t-matter-because-your-body-is-an-illusion-man into the molten multicolor void. For the Masses. The ‘masses,’ such as they are, should be so lucky, but the double-meaning is the real tell for where the Philly unit are coming from. Their shows are the masses — gatherings of spirit and song to give praise to the willful expansion of mind. If you can’t get behind that, you might as well go get a job or something. This ain’t no lightweight party for squares and dabblers. This is a high-potency happening for werewolves on motorcycles and freaks of all stripes. Get weird stay weird. Ecstatic Vision are one mostly-mellow 15-minute “Spine of God”-style psych-epic away from perfection.

22. Beastwars, IV

beastwars iv

Released by Destroy Records. Reviewed June 27.

But for the circumstances that brought it about — i.e. Beastwars vocalist Matt Hyde’s cancer — the unexpected fourth installment in the Beastwars trilogy was nothing if not welcome. An grand-feeling sense of largesse was nothing new to the New Zealand four-piece, but after breaking up and getting back together to make the album, the grim sincerity with which they presented this exploration of mortality and betrayal by one’s own body was no less palpable than the undulating riffs that threatened, as ever, to consume all in their path. I don’t know their future plans in terms of continuing to write and/or record, but there are reports of touring beyond Aus/NZ for 2020, so one way or another, stay tuned for more from them. Whether or not they do anything else, IV was a triumph in spirit and execution.

21. Eternal Black, Slow Burn Suicide

eternal black slow burn suicide

Self-released. Reviewed June 7.

With the nine songs of Slow Burn Suicide, Brooklyn’s Eternal Black began to unveil the true depth of their project. Their 2017 debut, Bleed the Days (review here), was well received, and rightly so, but operated more in a straight-ahead doom sphere. The second outing, by contrast, delved into a particular vision of the style informed by the crunch of peak-era New York noise and crossover hardcore, and it succeeded not just because it did this, but because it did so around a conjuration of memorable riffs and tracks building on accomplishments carried over from its predecessor. Is this an awaited arrival of next-generation ‘New York doom’? Will theirs be a blueprint others will follow? It’s impossible to know now, and their next album will be telling either way, but the course they’ve set is significant.

20. Candlemass, The Door to Doom

candlemass the door to doom

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 22.

It may have been the Tony Iommi guest appearance that got Swedish doom legends Candlemass — the world’s earliest and foremost purveyors of doom both classic and epic — their recent Grammy nomination, but it was the long-overdue reunion with original vocalist Johan Längquist that made the album as a whole as powerful as it was. Pairing Längquist’s theatrical and vital approach with founding bassist Leif Edling’s second-to-none doomcraft, The Door to Doom was a catapult not to the bygone days of the band’s landmark debut, 1986’s Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, but an inspired look at not just what might’ve been had Längquist remained with the band longer, but what might still be if he does this time around. Candlemass have been through their share of singers, but as fresh as The Door to Doom sounded, it’s hard not to hope for something more than a one-off with he who got there first. The songs, the spirit, the sheer heart poured into Candlemass’ doom some 35 years past the band’s start only emphasizes how special they have always been.

19. Nebula, Holy Shit

nebula holy shit

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed June 13.

Anyone who might’ve predicted Nebula getting into the studio and making a new album was either in the room when it happened or talking out their ass. And speaking of, was Nebula’s Holy Shit named for the shock one might’ve felt at its existence, or the surprise at how good it actually sounded when you put it on? I don’t know. I probably won’t ever know. It was the best title I saw all year, but more than that, it was a Nebula record, fueled by the classic riffing and unmitigated desert punk soul of founding/guitarist Eddie Glass, whose absence from the heavy underground for the last decade left a void only too many others whiffed on filling. Holy Shit showed just how singular a player Glass was and is, and how much character there is in his style, particularly in solos, but also in rhythmic changes, and so on. I won’t discount the work of bassist Tom Davies and drummer Mike Amster in making Nebula what they are in this incarnation — they’re essential, obviously — but there’s simply no denying that presence at the band’s core.

18. Valley of the Sun, Old Gods

valley of the sun old gods

Released by Fuzzorama Records. Reviewed May 21.

This was a heavy rock record that had everything. Everything. It had songs, style, ups, down, purples, greens, ins, outs, all kinds of whathaveyou. Riffs forever. Valley of the Sun should keep their eyes on Sasquatch, because if they want it, that path is theirs. I know the Cincinnati outfit have had trouble keeping lineups together, but if they can hold onto one, and maybe after their next record start touring more, domestically and abroad — not at all a minor ask, I know — then people will catch on. Old Gods is evidence of the fact that they genuinely have something to offer, and frankly, it’s not at all the first such effective case they’ve made in their career. But they’ve never put anything out that wasn’t a step forward, and yet they’ve never lost sight of the roots of their initial inspiration. And they’ve never sacrificed the song for the riff, which so many do. They’ve only ever gotten better. Let Old Gods be a step toward them getting attention they’ve long since deserved.

17. Kadavar, For the Dead Travel Fast

Kadavar For the Dead Travel Fast

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Oct. 28.

In style and production, For the Dead Travel Fast is the most vintage-sounding offering Berlin trio Kadavar have made in over a half decade, yet neither is it looking backward wistfully toward 2013’s Abra Kadavar (review here) or giving up the modern clarity of 2017’s Rough Times (review here) or 2015’s Berlin (review here). Instead, it strikes a balance with a more sinister edge à la Uncle Acid in songs like “Children of the Night” and “Demons in My Mind” — both singles — and makes a home for itself between proto-metal and garage doom. Whatever genre tag you want to give it — and that might vary from track to track, mind you — it’s unmistakably Kadavar, with the signature hooks and memorable craftsmanship that have made them one of the decade’s most pivotal heavy bands. The real challenge at this point in their career is not to take for granted that Kadavar will produce material of such quality, because, frankly, that’s all they’ve ever done.

16. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Yn Ol I Annwn

mammoth weed wizard bastard yn ol i annwn

Released by New Heavy Sounds. Reviewed Feb. 7.

Welsh sci-fi cosmic doomers Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard billed Yn Ol I Annwn as the final installment of a trilogy that includes their two prior LPs, 2015’s Noeth Ac Anoeth (review here) and 2016’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll (review here), and while that may be true thematically, there’s also no question the third is a marked step forward from anything they’ve done before. They’re one foot out of the airlock and into space as their synth-laden longform riffing and melodies take them to places they’ve not yet gone, explorations of sight as much as sound, aural translation of colors humans aren’t gifted to see. Their songs across the 65-minute span unfold with the grace of a gravity spiral, pulling the listener deeper into the proceedings with each new phase that emerges until, what, obliteration? Stellar genesis? I’m not sure. They’ve reportedly got one more record to make and then they’re done. If that’s true, they’ll be missed then they’re gone.

15. Magic Circle, Departed Souls

magic circle departed souls

Released by 20 Buck Spin. Reviewed April 3.

They’ve found their way to die, and it’s upon an altar of classic metal and doom. And honestly, they make a pretty good case for it. Departed Souls is the third full-length from the Boston unit and their most stylistically realized work yet, with vocalist Brendan Radigan giving a standout performance alongside the guitars of Chris Corry and Renato Montenegro, the bass of Justin DeTore and Michael “Q” Quartulli’s drums, as the entire band taps into vibes from mid-’70s Black Sabbath and brings them to bear with an energy that is unlike anything in Magic Circle’s history. 2015’s Journey Blind (review here) brought in NWOBHM flash in the guitar work, sure enough, but Departed Souls doesn’t so much carry the torch of classic metal as it does use it to burn down the whole village and rebuild it in the five-piece’s image. From their doomed beginnings on their 2013 self-titled debut (review here) to now, they’re an act who’ve genuinely earned cult status. If you can find a backpatch, buy it.

14. Spaceslug, Reign of the Orion

Spaceslug Reign of the Orion cover

Released by BSFD Records. Reviewed Nov. 22.

Controversy! Drama! Well, probably not, but at very least some respectful disagreement on my part. You see, Poland’s Spaceslug have stated publicly that their latest release, the late-2019 surprise Reign of the Orion is an EP. Their albums regularly top 50 minutes, and at 36 minutes, I guess relative to that, you can see where they’re coming from. However, with the flow of these five songs and the ease with which they carry the listener from front-to-back through the listening experience, I’m sticking to my guns and calling Reign of the Orion an album. Sorry guys. True, it’s shorter than the other full-lengths, but it’s got everything you could ask an album to have in terms of how tracks like “Spacerunner” and the shouty “Half-Moon Burns” play into each other, and the fluidity of the outing on the whole is inarguable. An LP by any other name? Whatever you or they want to call it, there’s no question in my mind Reign of the Orion is one of 2019’s best records. If they insist on it being an EP, then it’s the best one of the year, but I still say it belongs in another category altogether, so here it is.

13. Green Lung, Woodland Rites

green lung woodland rites

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed Jan. 28.

As hyper-crowded as London is with bands at this moment in history, there continue to be acts who sneak through with an individualized and intriguing perspective on doom and heavy rock, and Green Lung are a perfect example, learning from fellow Brits like Alunah and Elephant Tree and incorporating folk and forest goth vibes to their debut album, Woodland Rites. Laced with organ and stuck-in-the-head choruses like “Let the Devil In” and the creeper “Templar Dawn,” the record also pushed into drifting verses on “Into the Wild,” setting up future experimentation with atmospheric variety and genre manipulation. If part of any first album’s appeal is the potential it represents, Green Lung’s offers plenty, but wherever their subsequent course may or may not take them, their accomplishments here shouldn’t be overlooked. Woodland Rites is nothing less than the heavy rock debut album of the year, and though they emerge from a packed field, the work they do to stand themselves out already carries their mark and an apparent will toward progression. They’re on their way.

12. Lo-Pan, Subtle

lo-pan subtle

Released by Aqualamb Records. Reviewed May 9.

My head immediately goes to the hooks of “Ten Days” and “Ascension Day” and “Savage Heart,” but the up-down surges of guitar in “Old News/New Fire” and the midtempo soulfulness in “A Thousand Miles” are no less resonant when it comes to the actual listening experience of the fifth Lo-Pan LP. Subtle, when it came to living up to its name, as much wasn’t as it was. Flourishes of harmony in the vocals of Jeff Martin, the pops in Jesse Bartz’s snare punctuating and propelling in kind, turns in Scott Thompson’s bass work twisting around the guitar of Chris Thompson, a relative newcomer to the fold making his debut with the band and showing no apparent trouble fitting in. I don’t imagine Lo-Pan is an easy band to join, especially at this point. They thrive on personality clash and, through years of touring, have a chemistry they’ve built between them that comes through even on their recordings. Nonetheless, Subtle is their clearest, sharpest-edged work yet, and as tight as their songwriting has become, they still groove and groove mightily. They are a treasure of American heavy rock and roll. Believe it.

11. Roadsaw, Tinnitus the Night

roadsaw tinnitus the night

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 12.

While members of Roadsaw have spent the intervening years in projects like Kind, White Dynomite, Sasquatch and Murcielago, the Boston heavy rock kingpins have indeed been missed, and Tinnitus the Night works quickly to show why. It’s been well over 20 years since their first LP — hell, it’s been eight since they put out their 2011 self-titled (review here) — but their craft is at its own level, and Tinnitus the Night comes barreling through with “Shake” and “Along for the Ride” and “Final Phase” before opening up to broader fare on side B with “Find What You Need,” “Under the Devil’s Thumb” and “Midazolam” ahead of the subdued finale “Silence,” and the result is nothing less than a classic heavy rock LP structure as befitting what is itself a classic heavy rock LP. What’s Roadsaw’s future? I don’t know. It took them the better part of a decade to make this one happen, so take from that what you will, but to me, all it says is there’s even more reason to be grateful they got it done and out. To say the songs deserve that is putting it mildly.

10. Worshipper, Light in the Wire

worshipper light in the wire

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed April 24.

I’m not doing a ‘song of the year’ post, but if I was, Worshipper’s “Coming Through” might be it. The opening track from the Boston four-piece’s second album, Light in the Wire, marries classic pop drama in its melody with careening progressive riffing, and sets the tone for a record that is of both future and past, twistingly complex and yet immediately accessible, immersive as an entirety and still comprised of standout moments. These aren’t contradictions in Worshipper’s skillful hands, but the stuff of what’s already becoming their own take on rock. Tied together through melody, skillful rhythmic intricacy and solid structural foundations, “Light in the Wires,” “Visions from Beyond,” “Wither on the Vine” and others throughout post their own triumphs en route to enhancing the album as a whole, while “Nobody Else” and closer “Arise” underscore the emotive basis from which the perspective of the whole LP emanates. There are a lot of “next-gen” heavy rock bands out there weaving prog elements and traditional riffing together to some degree or other. Few, if any, can write a song like Worshipper can. I mean it. This band is something special.

9. Solace, The Brink

solace the brink

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Nov. 21.

What is there to say about Solace? A band who, nine years after revealing the expectation-slaughtering masterpiece A.D. (review here), return with three-fifths of a swapped-out lineup and simply do it again? This band is explosive. Really. Like, they might explode at any minute. It’s a miracle The Brink ever happened. I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. But Solace are a force like nothing else I’ve ever encountered in music. They take metallic aggression, hardcore’s sense of self-righteousness and heavy rock’s groove, set it all to a doomly swing and they play it in such a way as to leave you utterly dumbfounded by what you just experienced. Here’s a challenge though, for the band personally. From me to them. Do another one. Go ahead. Put out another album. You don’t even have to do it in 2020. Do it 2021. Write the songs and give me a no-holds-barred 45-minute LP of the tightest, meanest shit you’ve ever written. Because massive as the accomplishments are on The Brink, it’s the potential to build from them that resonates most here. So do it, guys. Step up and take advantage of the moment. Call me greedy if you want, I don’t care. Give me another Solace record. I dare you.

8. Brume, Rabbits

brume rabbits

Released by Doom Stew Records & DHU Records. Reviewed Nov. 6.

Simply a case of a band wildly outdoing themselves. Easy story, yeah? In some ways, maybe, but the truth of what Brume achieve on Rabbits. Their second long-player behind 2017’s Rooster (review here), the five-track offering sees the San Francisco three-piece of vocalist/bassist Susie McMullan, guitarist/vocalist Jamie McCathie and drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis working with producer Billy Anderson to bring theatricality and emotionalism together in a flowing post-heavy context that’s neither derivative nor working at cross purposes. Instead, it is a gorgeous and blooming undertaking across its 43-minute span, working in its own light/dark spectrum and bringing not just the sense of trapped fragility evoked by the cover art, but a corresponding sureness of intent to its ascendant heavy surges. Like Rooster before it, it is loaded with potential, but in “Scurry” and “Lament” and “Despondence” and “Blue Jay and “Autocrat’s Fool,” there’s a patience and command that absolutely does not waver. So yes, a band outdoing themselves. But so much more too.

7. Mars Red Sky, The Task Eternal

mars red sky the task eternal

Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed Sept. 20.

This may forever be known as the Mars Red Sky album they wrote in a cave, but the Bordeaux three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras and bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matieu “Matgaz” Gazeau nonetheless plunged forward along the progressive course they charted back on 2014’s sophomore outing, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), and continued to manifest in 2016’s Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here). Their blend of melody and tonal heft has become a hallmark of their work to this stage in their career, but The Task Eternal continues to add a sense of breadth to the proceedings, giving their sound a full three-dimensional pull that feels tailor-made for headphones and is consuming in its entirety. With experiments in structure like the pairing of “Recast” and “Reacts,” and the rushing sweep of melody in “Hollow King,” Mars Red Sky’s latest is, as ever, their finest. Outdoing themselves would seem to be the task from which the record derives its title. Fine. Just keep going. Please.

6. Kings Destroy, Fantasma Nera

Kings Destroy Fantasma Nera

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed March 15.

Every time I think I understand where Kings Destroy want to go as a band, they pull the rug out. That’s what Fantasma Nera is. After their 2015 self-titled (review here) third LP seemed to declare them once and for all in a space between doom and noise rooted in their respective hardcore pasts, the Brooklynite five-piece hooked up with producer David Bottrill (Tool, etc.) and composed a rock album. A real live rock album! With progressive undertones in the guitar work and the most accomplished melodicism of their career, Kings Destroy put everything they had into making Fantasma Nera and one need look no further than the title-track to hear the result of that monumental effort. It is the realization of a band challenging themselves to go so far out of their comfort zone as to be only recognizable in the most rudimentary of ways, and to say it as plainly as I can, “Dead Before” on its own is enough of an accomplishment — and enough of a full-length, at all of 4:25 — to make this list on its own, whatever surrounds it. Song of the year. I’ll say every time I’m a Kings Destroy fan, but I’ve never been gladder to say it than I am in talking about Fantasma Nera.

5. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed Dec. 3.

If you’re saying to yourself, “Ah come on, Colour Haze are always on the list when they put out records,” I have two answers. One, you’re right, and two, if you have a problem with that, blow it out your ass. The Munich forefathers of the European heavy psychedelic underground — yup — marked their 25th anniversary this year, and did so not just by putting out an album, but by putting out We Are, which introduces a full-fledged fourth member to what’s been a three-piece since 1998. Granted, it’s not the first time guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald have worked with organist/keyboardist/synthesist Jan Faszbender, but never has the presence of keys been so integral to their work, and never has the dynamic between players shifted in the way it does on tracks like “The Real” and “Life” and “I’m With You,” with keys fleshing out melodies and enriching the bass and guitar. Add to that the Spanish-style guitar on centerpiece “Material Drive” or the operatic flash in the penultimate “Be With Me,” and it’s one more example of one of the best bands on earth refusing to rest on their laurels. Which, as it happens, is why they’re one of the best bands on earth. So hell yes, they’re on all my lists. Fact is my lists are lucky to have them.

4. Blackwater Holylight, Veils of Winter

blackwater holylight veils of winter

Released by RidingEasy Records. Reviewed Sept. 26.

Like nothing else I heard in 2019, Veils of Winter had repeat listenability. It was the album that, most often, when I was choosing something I actually wanted to hear, I went back to time and again. Its dark, moody psychedelic and heavy vibe stands alone among the year’s releases, and is a stylistic milestone that one only hopes other artists will pick up on. Toying with pop melodies on tracks like “Death Realms” and bringing hypnosis and clarity in kind to the subtly traditionalist winding riff of “Moonlit” — would it have been out of place on the first Witchcraft LP? — the Portland, Oregon, five-piece worked on a speedy turnaround and squashed even the significant expectations I had after their self-titled debut (review here) last year. They’ve begun to tour, so I don’t know if another full-length is in the works for 2020, but their craft is enviable in its flow and their songs are shimmering in tone and cohesion alike. Given how bold a step forward Veils of Winter is, I hear nothing in their material to this point to make me think their momentum won’t continue to carry them forward. But, you know, if not, I’d also take about six or seven records just like this one. That’d be fine too. Whatever they want, really.

3. Slomatics, Canyons

Slomatics Canyons

Released by Black Bow Records. Reviewed May 15.

Belfast, Northern Ireland, three-piece Slomatics — guitarists David Marjury and Chris Couzens and drummer/vocalist/synthesist Marty Harvey — finished a narrative trilogy with 2016’s Future Echo Returns (review here), and though the storyline was always vague throughout that and the preceding two offerings, the question of how they would proceed nonetheless hung over Canyons prior to its release. The answer is in the songs themselves. From the sci-fi majesty of lumbering, rolling groove in opener and longest track “Gears of Despair” — oh, they grind — through the mega-stomp of “Telemachus, My Son” and the righteously synth-laden wash that consumes “Mind Fortresses on Theia,” Slomatics bring together concept and execution with a readiness that highlights the fact of their 15th anniversary. They are mature in their approach, yes, but the fact is their approach is so much their own and so given to their particular mode of progression that it almost can’t help but feel fresh. How could something so utterly crushing also feel rejuvenating? As they plod through finale “Organic Caverns II” ending with more waves of synth and tectonic guitar — no bass, remember — they are as restorative as they are punishing, and they stand astride that duality with neither mercy nor pretense. Canyons, whether it’s setting up a new story, building from the old, or doing something completely different, stands on its own.

2. Year of the Cobra, Ash and Dust

year of the cobra ash and dust

Released by Prophecy Productions. Reviewed Oct. 24.

My anticipation for and expectations of Year of the Cobra’s second long-player were high most especially after 2017’s Burn Your Dead EP (review here), which along with the dead, set alight the notion that the Seattle duo of bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith and drummer Jon Barrysmith were simply a heavy/doom band. With elements of post-punk, psych wash, minimalist stretches and propulsive gallop, Ash and Dust cast itself out over an aesthetic range that set a new standard not just for Year of the Cobra, but for anyone who’d dare match them at their own game — and that list will grow with time, absolutely. As their first outing through Prophecy Productions, Ash and Dust threw itself into the very melting pot of its own ambition and emerged with songs that didn’t just bring together disparate ideas, but made them flourish and engage and challenge the listener while still proving consistent in tone and underlying groove. For a two-person, two-instrument outfit (not counting voice, though I should), they proved more malleable than many with more than twice the number of hands on deck, and pushed the notion of what heavy rock is and does forward without stopping to look back or ask for permission. They just did it, and maybe Ash and Dust is the aftermath of all that burning.

2019 Album of the Year

1. Monolord, No Comfort

monolord no comfort

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Look back over the course of this list, and you will find no shortage of bands and releases that surpassed the group in question’s past work. With Gothenburg, Sweden’s Monolord, it wasn’t just about No Comfort — their debut on Relapse, fourth full-length overall — being better than 2017’s Rust (review here), because that was pretty jolly gosh darn enjoyable, but about the band reaching a moment of transcendence to which Rust and all their prior work across 2015’s Vænir (review here) and 2014’s Empress Rising has been leading. With the six tracks of No Comfort, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, bassist Mika Häkki and drummer Esben Willems not only overcome the influences that launched them — taking full ownership of their sound and defending that claim with the sheer quality of their songwriting — and they not only become as identifiable as those influences themselves, but they overcome themselves. No Comfort means no comfort. Monolord take the simplicity that once fueled their riffing, the willful primitivism of their earliest work, and with songs like “Larvae” and “The Bastard Son” and the closing title-track use it as the foundation it was apparently always intended to be. Monolord have toured plenty and certainly their studio output has shown an increasing complexity from one LP to the next, so progression isn’t unexpected, but the manner in which Monolord have executed that progression has been. Even on “The Last Leaf,” which is arguably the most straightforward fare on the album, one hears it as them rather than the manifestation of the acts that inspired them. The same holds for “Skywards” later on, and for the immersion that takes hold as the mournful “Alone Together” plays into “No Comfort” itself. Monolord take their place among the best bands on the planet, and deliver an Album of the Year for 2019 that, like the absolute best, will have an impact lasting much longer than any period of 12 months might convey.

The Top 50 Albums of 2019: Honorable Mention

You didn’t think we’d stop at 50, did you? Come on. You know me better than that. The fact is that the list itself, humongous as it is, is just the start of the tip of an iceberg attached to a glacier that’s somewhere on an entire planet constructed of ice.

Honorable mentions, you say? Yeah, a few. Here they are in no order whatsoever:

Lord Vicar, Goatess, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Zone Six, Lykantropi, Earth, White Manna, Atala, Tia Carrera, Merlin, WEEED, Híbrido, Cities of Mars, Stone Machine Electric, Bretus, Blackwolfgoat, The Black Wizards, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Alunah, V, Pale Grey Lore, Leeds Point, Sons of Alpha Centauri, Spidergawd, Bus, Death Hawks, BBF, Vessel of Light, Crypt Trip, The Pilgrim, Uffe Lorenzen, Brant Bjork, Doomstress, Black Lung, Kandodo3, Monkey3, Bask, Horseburner, Zed, Bright Curse, Spillage, Sigils, Papir, Dune Sea, Destroyer of Light, Mastiff, Warp, Centrum, Varego, Lord Dying, Volcano, Saint Karloff, Firebreather, High Reeper, Bible of the Devil, Obsidian Sea, Torche, Motorpsycho, Sunn O))), Deadbird, Russian Circles, El Supremo, Pyramidal, Holy Serpent, Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Demon Head, Red Beard Wall, Onhou, Kamchatka, Iguana, Arrowhead, The Whims of the Great Magnet, Serial Hawk, Scissorfight, Monte Luna, Lingua Ignota, Valborg, Sageness, Ruff Majik, The Giraffes, High Fighter, Comacozer, Burning Gloom, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Cable, AVER, Superlynx, The Munsens, No Man’s Valley, Old Mexico, Skraeckoedlan, Godsleep, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle.

Seems cruel to leave it to you to sort through those, but I’m tempted to do just that. You might notice some bigger names there in bands like Earth, Russian Circles, Torche and Sunn O))). Nothing against those bands, but I think we’re seeing a moment where a different group of artists are taking point in terms of innovating heavy styles across an entire swath of microgenres. Either way it’s not a slight that something is here instead of above. And of course, there are plenty of up and coming groups here as well, with Ruff Majik, Elizabeth Colour Wheel — who I’m sure would be a top 30 if I knew the record better than I do — Pale Grey Lore, Monte Luna, Papir, Destroyer of Light, The Munsens, No Man’s Valley, Skraeckoedlan, and so on, but hell’s bells, there’s already a list of 50 and I’m only one man. How high is the list supposed to go and still be a list?

Bottom line: Music is as endless as space and has as much beauty in it for those willing to hear. Do more digging.

The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2019

green lung woodland rites

1. Green Lung, Woodland Rites
2. Yatra, Death Ritual
3. Howling Giant, The Space Between Worlds
4. Thunderbird Divine, Magnasonic
5. SÂVER, They Came with Sunlight
6. Lightning Born, Lightning Born
7. Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Nocebo
8. The Pilgrim, Walking into the Forest
9. Sigils, You Build the Altar You Lit the Leaves
10. E-L-R, Maenad
11. Hey Zeus, X
12. Bellrope, You Must Relax
13. Asthma Castle, Mount Crushmore
14. Thronehammer, Usurper of Oaken Throne
15. Inner Altar, Vol. III
16. Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember, Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember
17. Hippie Death Cult, 111
18. Faerie Ring, The Clearing
19. Gone Cosmic, Sideways in Time
20. Haze Mage, Chronicles

Honorable Mention: Warp, Pelegrin, Lucy in Blue, Volcano, The Sabbathian, Red Eye Tales, Dune Sea, Dury Dava, Pharlee, Giant Dwarf, Ghost:Hello, Surya, Workshed, Children of the Sün, Burning Gloom, Temple of the Fuzz Witch.

Notes: As ever, I consider a band’s debut album something unique and separate from everything else they’ll ever do, and so worthy of highlighting in its own category. It’s a different standard in my mind, one that takes into account what a group might accomplish going forward as well as what they do on the record itself. Plus, putting out an album is hard. Getting two, three, four, five or more people to agree on anything is an accomplishment. Making a cohesive album? Come on. So yes. We see some crossover from the main list above, but I want to draw attention to Howling Giant, Thunderbird Divine and SÂVER particularly here. There’s a swath of genres represented and I feel like a couple of these releases — Sigils, Bellrope, Thronehammer, Inner Altar, Faerie Ring, Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember — didn’t get their due attention. It’s a busy year, I get it. But if you’re skimming through looking for stuff to check out, DON’T IGNORE THIS LIST. Aside from whatever line about the best of tomorrow you want to trot out, there’s important work being done by these acts today. As somebody who’s constantly behind the times, I urge you not to

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2019

geezer spiral fires

1. Geezer, Spiral Fires
2. Ufomammut, XX
3. All Them Witches, 1×1
4. Mount Saturn, Mount Saturn
5. Dopelord, Weedpecker, Major Kong & Spaceslug, 4-Way Split
6. Horehound, Weight
7. Molasses, Mourning Haze
8. Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Split
9. Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon
10. The Golden Grass, 100 Arrows
11. Mount Atlas, Mistress
12. Midas, Solid Gold Heavy Metal
13. Glory in the Shadows, Glory in the Shadows
14. Hot Breath, Hot Breath
15. Crystal Spiders, Demo
16. Red Wizard, Ogami
17. Thermic Boogie, Fracture
18. Pinto Graham, Dos
19. High Priest, Sanctum
20. Set Fire, Traya
21. Seedium, Awake

Honorable Mention: Love Gang & Smokey Mirror Split, Forebode, Land Mammal, Very Paranoia, Plague of Carcosa, Daal Dazed, Komodor, Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge Split, High on Fire, Mount Soma.

Notes: This is probably the least complete of the lists, because it’s the hardest category for me to keep up with. EPs, singles, demos, splits and basically anything else that isn’t an album, all lumped together. Still, I stand by the picks here, and I don’t think anyone who takes on any of them will regret doing so, whether it’s All Them Witches’ surprisingly weighted first single as a trio, Mount Saturn’s debut release, or Geezer’s cosmic jams. Felt a little like cheating putting Ufomammut on there, since technically XX wasn’t new material so much as reworked stuff captured live, but if you want to call me out on it, my own listening habits also factor in, and I’ve spent plenty of time with those reimagined tracks. But anyway, I’m sure there’s a ton of stuff that hasn’t been included here, so please feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll work accordingly.

Postwax

I haven’t felt comfortable with the idea of writing about it editorially, since I’ve been involved in discussions about it since before it came together and since I did the liner notes for each of the six releases (plus one to come), but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible work done on the Postwax vinyl subscription series by Blues Funeral Recordings. Label head Jadd Shickler and design specialist Peder Bergstrand (also of Lowrider) put together six offerings that came out in the span of this year and when you hold the LPs in your hand, you can feel the passion that went into making them, from the artists in question to those curating the series in the first place. I hear tell there’s going to be a Postwax Year Two, and I don’t know if I’ll be involved or not, but I’m proud of my miniscule part in the work that went into making these and wanted to bring them to your particular attention. They are something special for those who got to partake:

  • Elder, The Gold and Silver Sessions
  • Daxma, Ruins Upon Ruins
  • Besvärjelsen, Frost
  • Big Scenic Nowhere, Dying on the Mountain
  • Domkraft, Slow Fidelity
  • Lowrider, Refractions

And while we’re talking about projects I was proud to be involved with, I also did liner notes for Acrimony’s The Chronicles of Wode box set from Burning World Records and was honored to do so. Thanks to any and everyone in question for having me involved and dealing with me blowing past deadlines one after the next. It is humbling.

Looking Ahead to 2020

A few names and nothing more about what definitely is and/or might be in the works for next year. Woefully incomplete, so feel free to add to it:

1000mods, Wolves in the Throne Room, Deathwhite, Mondo Drag, Drug Cult, Ocean Chief, Soldati, Sergio Ch., Mitochondrial Sun, Geezer, Mirror Queen, Mondo Generator, The Otolith, Asteroid, Yatra, Vestal Claret, Farer, Ryte, Shadow Witch, Six Organs of Admittance, Naxatras, Wolftooth, Snail, Elder, Pale Divine, Grey Skies Fallen, Ruby the Hatchet, Yuri Gagarin, Sasquatch, Godthrymm, Wo Fat, Red Mesa, CB3, Onsegen Ensemble, Insect Ark, Acid Mammoth, Ritual King, Ulls, Om.

Thank You

Thank you for reading, and please, if you have a thought or something you want to share in the comments, please remember to be kind to each other. We are all human beings behind our phones and keyboards, and while we’ll disagree, often in some ways and some cases, a basic level of respect is always appreciated. At least by me.

I am not so deluded as to think anyone might still be reading, but I want it on record how much I appreciate you being a part of this site and a part of my experience in making it. I’ve been ruminating all year since marking the 10th anniversary back in January about how much The Obelisk has become a part of who I am, and it’s utterly essential to my every day. The way I continue to think about it — and myself, as it happens — is a work in progress, and that would not be possible without you. One more time. Thank you. Always. Always thank you. Thank you.

More to come.

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