Friday Full-Length: The Devin Townsend Band, Synchestra

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

I won’t attempt to even feign impartiality here: I love this album. By now, the  Therefore, your this website request will be completed by a professional. 100% unique essays. We check all the essays two times to make sure the papers are unique. Therefore, there is no chance that the essay resembles any other paper. We carefully cite all the sources so that the essay has zero plagiarism. Data safety. The website is securely protected so that nobody can get access to your Devin Townsend discography is — for the uninitiated — an impenetrable hodgepodge of various releases from different incarnations of the man himself and bands built around him, from  Write My College Paper- Significance of While some students may still be contemplating on whether to this link Strapping Young Lad to  my blog. Only the best dissertations will let you get a higher grade and excellent marks enabling a successful future career in The Devin Townsend Band to  Ask for help with writing a dissertation 4 days help any time needed. Qualified writers, low prices, timely delivery and instant live chat communication. The Devin Townsend Project to… wait for it…  Hunting for online writing jobs? Join our team of professional Do A Homeworks and editors. Expert freelance writers wanted! Devin Townsend, and that’s before you get into whether  Essay About Martin Luther King essay about myself conclusion personal statement in phd 9 essay english ap essay about the bullying brave new world essays help to Ocean Machine: Biomech was supposed to be a record by a band called  Benefits of Using Our EduBirdie Dissertation Report On Training And Development . Whenever you order dissertation formatting service at EduBirdie, you get: High-quality papers. We have top notch Ph.D. writers, who have the best qualifications and experience with them. They are always ready to create an excellently formatted dissertation specifically for you in accordance with all your requirements. Ocean Machine, or an offshoot project like  Looking for best essay writers? Read the most trustful essay and get your discounts! Casualties of Cool or that thing he did with  Cv Writing Services Wellington Nzs on education - Proposals, essays & research papers of best quality. Get to know main recommendations as to how to receive the Jason Newsted that time, or that thing he did with  Feel free to contact us now and Happiness Essay Writing right now! 100% Plagiarism-Free Only Reliable Recent References Best Price Scott Reeder that time, or his book, or Now if you are wondering Online Writing Paper at MyAssignmenthelp, then we would like to mention that we have a team of reliable academic writers, comprising mostly of scholarly experts. They are absolutely student-dedicated and firmly focused when it comes to ensuring flawlessly prepared papers on time. Ziltoid the Omniscient, and so on and so forth.

Can You visit here,Thesis paper help - Best Essay Ever Synchestra was released in 2006 and is a crossroads album. It ties together with  Can I pay someone to Yes, hire us to earn the perfect grades for your homework assignments. Strapping Young Lad‘s penultimate, likewise brilliant 2005 LP, Get Essay Done offers affordable and top notch quality, just pay and ask us to or do my essay and get well written college paper. Alien, in theme and musical callbacks, a cut like “Babysong” coming in answer to “Love?” from the  PhD Academic Freelance Writers in UK. While many research students can draft their PhD theses pretty well, it still requires a review by a professional. Professional editing can bring a PhD thesis, dissertation, or research paper alive and make it presentable and appealing for target readers. Our team of subject matter experts and editors has worked with many PhD students across the globe, and SYL release, and pre-hidden-track Synchestra closer “Notes From Africa” actually reworking a part of that  song into its own multifaceted progression. This was Townsend, an artist of rare expressive and compositional capability whose career began at 19 with Steve Vai, working through the idea of procreation and coming up with a lush and genius prog metal modus in the process. “Triumph” talks about “Hooray for Dr. Young” and “Hooray the time has come to vanish once again,” and Synchestra was the final album from The Devin Townsend Band before Townsend went to ground and did the Hummer drone record and broke out the puppet for Ziltoid, then came back with The Devin Townsend Project for Ki and a succession of albums the last of which was 2016’s Transcendence — so you see where the idea of ‘crossroads’ comes from. It’s also fair to consider Synchestra a signal of intent in bringing Strapping Young Lad to a close, as that band’s last album, The New Black, was also released in 2006 but cobbled together from various odds and ends in, if I remember right, contractual obligation to produce one more record.

And if you’re still reading and your eyes haven’t glazed over, well, thanks. You also see where ‘impenetrable’ comes from. It’s a sometimes manic level of creativity.

Whatever came before or would follow after, Synchestra was a special moment put to tape. At 65 minutes, it was the realization of the vision of prog Townsend had been developing all along on records likethe devin townsend band synchestra Infinity (1998), Physicist (2000), the also-essential Terria (2001) and the first Devin Townsend Band LP, Accelerated Evolution, in 2003. Its songs run a gamut from the folkish and beautiful intro “Let it Roll” to the goofy metal parody “Vampira” — to say nothing of its lead-in “Vampolka” — kind of making fun of goth and Strapping Young Lad at the same time, while also being ridiculously catchy and over the top, to masterpieces like the building “Triumph” early on, and “Gaia,” the largely instrumental “A Simple Lullaby” and the uberwerk that is “Pixillate,” arriving as it does as part of a movement in the second half of the album that begins with the suitably bright ambient piece “Mental Tan” and unfolds across the remaining tracks plus the bonus let’s-just-have-a-good-time classic-style rocker “Sunshine and Happiness” with the real culmination in the prior “Notes From Africa.”

That second movement, of course, follows on from the first, which ties together more as individual songs than one whole piece but flows nonetheless, with “Let it Roll” moving into the chaotic “Hypergeek” and “Triumph” and “Babysong” feeding into “Vampolka” and “Vampira,” making for an initial 22 minutes that might leave one spinning but ultimately proves just crazy enough to work, in no small part because of Townsend‘s mastery as a songwriter, performer and producer. He’s not alone here — Steve Vai guests on guitar in “Triumph,” Ryan Van Poederooyen plays drums, Mike Young adds bass and tuba, Dave Young plays keys of various sorts, and there are guest vocals throughout — but there is a personal feel nonetheless in part because of the conversational, fourth-wall-breaking framing of the lyrics, and in part because the style and substance, lush as they are and cleanly, clearly produced in a way that has become a Townsend hallmark, are so much his own. As the tracklisting shifts into “Mental Tan,” “Gaia,” “Pixillate” and its stomping, soulful follow-up “Judgement,” there’s a grandeur that justifies the orchestral reference in the record’s title, the crowd sounds of the mostly-instrumental “A Simply Lullaby” feeding into the denouement of “Sunset” and the sense of arrival in “Notes From Africa,” as structure becomes no less of a plaything than melody when it comes to the broader vision of Synchestra as a whole.

And I won’t take away from that, because the album is visionary. It’s of a scope that turns most metal into dust and shows progressive rock/metal for the posturing crank it is. But I need to talk about “Pixillate” for a second because it’s just too gorgeous to go unremarked. The way the first minute builds up with that chug and the far back vocals, the voice of Gaia up front with Townsend answering back, like dialogue, the verse and chorus together, all the while this underlying motion plays out carrying the listener across an eight-minute span that’s an album’s worth of journey — it’s just incredible. It deserves every bit of volume you can give it, and if you’re at all in a position to close your eyes, tilt your head back and let it wash over you, do. Your life will be richer for it. This record is 15 years old this year and “Pixillate” still raises the laughably tiny amount hair on my arms every time. Every time.

And 15 years later, I still find something new to hear on the record. That’s cliché as fuck, but it’s true too. Even if it wasn’t though, like I said at the outset, it comes down to the basic fact that I love this album. I have associations with it positive and negative, but that’s life isn’t it? And Synchestra is an album to live with. If anyone — one person — who reads this who hasn’t heard it hears it, it’s worth it. A word to the wise though, the YouTube playlist above has volume changes that are a pain in the ass. It was the best stream I could find, but you may want to search it out otherwise.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Maybe a little more than usual, I hope you enjoy this one. Thanks for reading.

So I guess the big news this week was Bongzilla signing to Heavy Psych Sounds. Oh, and America’s new president. There was that too. Whatever. Looking forward to that Bongzilla LP, curious if HPS will pick up Church of Misery as well after releasing Sonic Flower stuff. That’d be something.

The real news was The Pecan was back in school this week. In-person. Made a big quality-of-life difference around here, I think most of all for him. He needs that out-of-the-house experience that has been so lagging for last year. Hey, a year. It’s been a year. Covid-era, indeed.

But things are things. I’m glad politics are bland again. I hope they continue to be so and I hope Democrats realize unity is a joke, blow away the filibuster and actually do something in the next two years before they lose their majority in congress and the slide toward right wing fascism picks up where it left off. That’s my hot take. Feel the burn.

I need to have a tooth removed. Number 30, if you’re interested. Apparently I have a massive infection in my jawline. Oops. I consult with a surgeon on Monday. Stay tuned.

Speaking of tuned — masterful segue! — there’s a new The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal today at 5pm. I don’t talk, so there’s nothing to interrupt the flow except Gimme promos, which give it that real-radio feel. At least I don’t have to listen to myself speak.

You should really listen to the Devin Townsend record.

Great and safe weekend. Hydrate, mask up, thanks for reading.


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Pure Reason Revolution Reunite; New Album in the Works

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I don’t know how many of you reading this might know Pure Reason Revolution, but they were a cool band. They put out their first record in 2003 and I dug the crap out of it, particularly the ultra-lush melodic progressive heavy psych they displayed in the extended “The Bright Ambassadors of Morning,” the video for which you can see below. Put it this way, the first time I heard Church of the Cosmic Skull, this was the band they reminded me of. They’d ultimately put out three records and an EP before calling it a day in 2011, but they’re back with a new album in progress, and yeah, I’m curious to hear what they might come up with after all this time, particularly as they’ll be working with a company like InsideOut Music, where prog is what they do and they’re not about to, say, take a 12-minute song and try to make it a pop hit. I have no idea what’s in store for their fourth long-player, but I know I’m certainly willing to give it a shot when the time comes.

The PR wire brought word of the reunion:

pure reason revolution

Pure Reason Revolution reunite; sign to InsideOutMusic for release of first new studio album in nearly 10 years

Jon Courtney & Chloë Alper have reunited the much-loved Pure Reason Revolution, playing their first show in close to 8 years at the recent Midsummer Prog Festival in the Netherlands, and performing their debut album ‘The Dark Third’ in full. They comment: “The festival & crowd reaction was incredible. We were touched that people had travelled from Canada, Russia, Italy, Spain, UK & many more countries. The tracks are exciting as ever to play & it’s encouraging to see the material still has relevance & connects.”

The band have also revealed they are working on a brand new studio album, and have signed to InsideOutMusic for its release in 2020. Jon Courtney comments: “We’re currently working on material for the new album which returns to a more progressive sound & it’s nice to remind ourselves of the genesis of PRR” while Chloë adds: “it’s sounding spectacular.”

Pure Reason Revolution originally parted ways in November 2011, following touring in support of their 2010 album Hammer & Anvil. Since then, Jon Courtney started Bullet Height and released their debut album ‘No Atonement’ in 2017, while Chloë Alper began a new band called Tiny Giant as well as playing live with the likes of Charli XCX & James.

The band originally formed back in 2003, releasing their much-loved debut album ‘The Dark Third’ in 2006 via Sony BMG. They went on to release the albums ‘Amor Vincit Omnia’ in 2009 & ‘Hammer & Anvil’ in 2010.

Look out for more information on the bands forthcoming new album.

Pure Reason Revolution, “The Bright Ambassadors of Morning” official video

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Quarterly Review: Spiritual Beggars, Øresund Space Collective, Goya, Black Shape of Nexus, Cough, Oranssi Pazuzu, Karma to Burn, Black Mood, Nebula Drag, Ommadon

Posted in Reviews on June 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan


Day Two of The Obelisk’s Summer 2016 Quarterly Review — that’s an awful lot of capital letters. I’m not sure if it’s quite such a formal occasion, but perhaps that’s just an effect of staring at some of the names in this particular batch, who from classic heavy rock to post-black metal to stoner riffs, drone, doom and beyond offer a pretty vast range and more than a small measure of profile throughout. It’s a substantial swath, is what I’m saying. If you can’t find something here to dig on, well, I’d say look again, but of course there’ll also be another 10 reviews tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, and there were 10 yesterday as well, so I’m sure something will turn up if it hasn’t yet. Here we go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Spiritual Beggars, Sunrise to Sundown

spiritual beggars sunrise to sundown

More than 20 years on from their self-titled debut, Sweden’s Spiritual Beggars release their ninth LP, Sunrise to Sundown (on Inside Out Music). They seem to have set themselves to the sole task of making the records that one wishes Deep Purple were making, full of righteous organ-laced classic heavy thrust, driven by top tier songwriting and performance on every level. Founding guitarist Michael Amott (also Carcass) has assembled a lineup of masters, and since 2010’s Return to Zero (review here), frontman Apollo Papathanasio (also Firewind) has provided the soaring voice to add to the keyboard majesty of Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth, Candlemass) on songs like “I Turn to Stone.” The album’s 11 cuts are catchy, universally structured, and varied in their feel enough to carry the listener through fluidly, bassist Sharlee D’Angelo (Mercyful Fate) and drummer Ludwig Witt (ex-Firebird) locking in weighted grooves and underscoring the flow of what comes across like an increasingly collaborative songwriting process. Sunrise to Sundown is the sound of a band knowing what they want to do and how they want to do it and then doing precisely that.

Spiritual Beggars on Thee Facebooks

Inside Out Music website


Øresund Space Collective, Ode to a Black Hole

oresund space collective ode to a black hole

How many records does Ode to a Black Hole make it for Danish improve spacelords Øresund Space Collective? I honestly don’t know. Their Bandcamp lists 52 releases. Granted, not all of them are full-length studio LPs, but they jam whether they’re live or in the studio, so after a point it’s kind of moot. However many in the ultimate tally, Ode to a Black Hole is somewhat unique among them, exploring the darker side of the cosmic reaches in a bleaker, droning psychedelia spread across two instrumental tracks put to tape at the same time as 2015’s triple-LP Different Creatures (review here). Of course, it’s Øresund Space Collective, so there is still plenty of synth and effects swirl to be had, but it’s a slower galaxial movement as “Ode to a Black Hole Part 1” feeds directly into “Ode to a Black Hole Part 2.” Whatever their method of getting there, Øresund Space Collective prove once again how apparently boundless their scope has become with nuance of guitar and key flourish beneath the surface of the mix to let the listener know there’s life out in the expanse.

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp


Goya, The Enemy

goya the enemy

Phoenix, Arizona’s Goya continue their forward march with The Enemy EP (on STB Records). Still fair to say Electric Wizard are a primary influence, but as shown on their last full-length, 2015’s charmingly-titled Obelisk (review here), the trio are increasingly able to put more of themselves into their sound. In “The Enemy,” “Last” and “Light Years,” that shows in tighter songwriting, some vocal harmonies on “Light Years,” and a harder overall tonal impact than the tenets of post-Witchcult Today doomery might lead one to expect, reminding in parts of the raw in-room feel that Egypt have come to proffer, burly but more about groove than attitude. The EP closes with a nine-minute take on “The Enemy” itself, adding more harmonies, some screams at the end, and a lengthy midsection jam to flesh out its extra four minutes. Goya have been and still are a bright spot (existentially, if not in mood) in up-and-coming US doom, and The Enemy might be a stopgap coming off of Obelisk, but it reminds listeners of their growth very much still in progress.

Goya on Thee Facebooks

STB Records


Black Shape of Nexus, Carrier

black shape of nexus carrier

In a universe full of pretenders to the throne of Eyehategod, German six-piece Black Shape of Nexus prove there’s room for genuine creativity in sludge. Their fourth offering, Carrier (on Exile on Mainstream), finds them past the 10-year mark and lumbering their way through five varied originals, from the cavernous opener “I Can’t Play It” through the droning “Lift Yourself” and the utter spacecrush that ensues in “Facepunch Transport Layer” before the villainous laughter at the end of “Sachsenheim” leads to a 12-minute take on Hellhammer’s “Triumph of Death,” which closes. It feels like no coincidence that of the Black Shape of Nexus-penned inclusions “Sand Mountain” is the centerpiece; the tortured screaming, claustrophobic riff and blend of rawness and lush depth speak to the originality at the core of their approach. There’s a firm sense of fuckall here, and my understanding is making Carrier was something of a trial, but the results are perhaps only more vicious for that, and thus stronger.

Black Shape of Nexus on Thee Facebooks

Exile on Mainstream Records website


Cough, Still They Pray

cough still they pray

Six years and the ascent of an entire movement of similarly-minded acts later, Cough ooze back to activity with Still They Pray (on Relapse), their dirt-caked third full-length. That movement, by the way, includes fellow Richmonders Windhand, with whom Cough now share bassist Parker Chandler and whose Garrett Morris recorded here along with Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard, who remain a major influence in Cough’s grueling, nodding filth, brought to bear over eight tracks and a purposefully unmanageable 67-minute runtime. Stylistically it’s not so far from where Cough were on 2010’s Ritual Abuse (review here), the bleak anarchistic lurch and tonal immersion still very much at the fore of “Possession,” “Dead Among the Roses” and the organ-inclusive “The Wounding Hours,” but though they can play slow enough to make “Masters of Torture” seem positively thrashy by comparison, they never lose their sense of atmosphere, as the acoustic-led closing title-track makes plain in fashion no less heavy than the punishment meted out before it.

Cough on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website


Oranssi Pazuzu, Värähtelijä

oranssi pazuzu varahtelija

It feels factually inaccurate to call something so wilfully charred “vibrant,” but Oranssi Pazuzu’s fourth long-player, Värähtelijä (on Svart and 20 Buck Spin), not only finds light in its overarching darkness, but makes it a pivotal aspect of the album’s 69-minute course. Open structures, an enviable depth of mix between far-off guitar, keys, organ, various layers of screams, etc., songs like 12-minute opener “Saturaatio” and the later 17-minute chaoswirl of “Vasemann Käden Hierarkia” offer stylistic breadth as much prog as they are psychedelia or black metal, perhaps the next phase of the latter’s cosmic wing come to fruition. Relatively speaking, the more straightforward “Havuluu” offers listeners a moment to catch their breadth, but the organ-led experimentalism of 10-minute closer “Valveavaruus” gurgles in an exploration of ambient downward plunge. One of the most adventurous black metal releases of 2016, if you can still even tag a genre to it, which I’m not sure you can. A band doing pivotal and forward-thinking work.

Oranssi Pazuzu on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin webshop

Svart Records webshop


Karma to Burn, Mountain Czar

karma to burn mountain czar

Though they just got off a lengthy US run, the fact that Karma to Burn’s webstore offers their new Mountain Czar EP in euro instead of dollars could easily be taken as a sign of where the band’s general priorities lie. I don’t know if founding guitarist Will Mecum is actually living abroad or remains in West Virginia, but their label, Rodeostar Records, is European, they maintain a close relationship with German artist Alexander Von Wieding, and their tour schedule keeps a definite continental focus. So be it. Mountain Czar brings five new cuts, three by-the-numbers Karma to Burn instrumentals, the highlight of which is patient, jangly-guitar closer “63,” and “Uccidendo un Sogno,” an Italian-language cover of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ down a Dream” sung by guest vocalist Stefanie Savy and featuring Manuel Bissig of Switzerland’s Sons of Morpheus on guitar. Karma to Burn very much remain Karma to Burn throughout, Mecum joined by drummer Evan Devine and bassist Eric Clutter, but they’re changing what that means in interesting ways.

Karma to Burn website

Rodeostar Records


Black Mood, Squalid Garden

black mood squalid garden

Comprised solely of guitarist/vocalist Sleaze and drummer Izz, German Southern metallers Black Mood begin their seven-song sophomore outing, Squalid Garden (on Daredevil Records) with a sample of Cornelius from Planet of the Apes quoting the Lawgiver to “shun the beast man,” and so on. By the time they get around to the chugging and warbling “Ohh, save my soul” in second cut “IWNAR,” the Down/Crowbar vibe has been laid on so thick that it’s unmistakable. It’s been seven years since Black Mood made their self-titled debut in 2009 – they had an EP, Toxic Hippies, out in 2012 – but their chestbeating, dudely vibes are easily sourced, even in faster, more Pantera-style moments in “Reflected,” “100 Squalid Garden” or closer “Side,” making the album ultimately a matter of taste for anyone who’d take it on. For me, some aspects ring derivative, others show flashes of individualism, but it’s a very specific vision of Southern metal at work here, and it’s not going to be for everyone.

Black Mood on Bandcamp

Daredevil Records webshop


Nebula Drag, Nebula Drag


Newcomers Nebula Drag join the ranks of a crowded heavy psych scene in their native San Diego via their self-titled, self-released debut, but the trio distinguish themselves immediately with a solidified underpinning of punkish intent, so that the airy vocals of “Sano” float over an insistent, noisy crunch. That blend is toyed with in one direction or another throughout the release, the five-minute “So Low” finding some middle-ground in grunge push, but as the subsequent “Up and Down”’s Melvins-style roll and the hardcore-style drive of “Lost Time” play out, Nebula Drag seem far less tied to any single approach. It’s a dynamic that serves them well throughout the album’s 10-track/37-minute run, and they maintain a sense of rawness in the almost thrashy breakdown of “I Can Not Explain” that speaks to a lack of pretense to go along with their potential for development. Will be curious to hear if one side or the other wins out in their sound over the long-term, but in a town where so many bands are geared on being the most laid back, it’s refreshing to hear a group with a more forceful tack.

Nebula Drag on Thee Facebooks

Nebula Drag on Bandcamp


Ommadon, Ommadon

ommadon ommadon

After a series of numbered full-lengths, Glasgow consciousness-stompers Ommadon offer their self-titled sixth album through Dry Cough Records, Burning World Records and Medusa Crush Recordings. Doubtless the three labels were needed in order simply lift the 41-minute, single-song release, which is so unspeakably and ridiculously heavy as to warrant comparison to Buried at Sea’s Migration. Its retching lumber is superlative, and in giving it their name, Ommadon signal (and say outright) that it’s the work they’ve been driving toward all along. Fair enough. There is no moment of relenting from the abysmal intentions of “Ommadon” itself, and if this is to be the piece that ultimately defines the band, it’s one worthy of consideration for the outright extremity it brings to doom, sludge and drone, as well as the methodical nature in which it unfolds. Whatever its ultimate impact, Ommadon have pushed themselves forward and crafted an excruciating contribution that feels like a monolith bent to their will.

Ommadon on Thee Facebooks

Dry Cough Records webshop

Burning World Records

Medusa Crush Recordings on Bandcamp


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Spiritual Beggars Post “Hard Road” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

spiritual beggars

Not for nothing, but if Spiritual Beggars are looking to convey a sense of struggle, they probably shouldn’t look like they’re having such a good time doing it. The Swedish heavy rock mainstays have a newly-unveiled clip for “Hard Road” from their new album, Sunrise to Sundown, which is out now on InsideOut Music, and it features culled footage from live shows at what seems to be a variety of different venues around Europe. And — as one would expect — they’re kicking ass. And people are very into it. And more over, people are there! You want to show a hard road? Show Spiritual Beggars loading in their gear, sleeping on floors, driving or waiting around the other 23 hours a day to actually get on stage and kick that ass. “Hard Road” gives you the good part, not the slog.

Of course, the good part makes for a much better video, and if it’s one or the other, I’ll take it as is. As for the track itself, it’s every bit as catchy and full of organ-driven classic vibes as one would expect, and if there’s a bonus to all that stage footage, it’s the chance to watch Ludwig Witt (ex-Firebird) play on a drum cam as he swings through the track, propulsive and vital. He and the rest of Spiritual Beggars — guitarists Michael Amott (Carcass), keyboardist Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth), bassist Sharlee D’Angelo (ex-Mercyful Fate) and vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Firewind) — are of course on point throughout, and in that, “Hard Road” represents Sunrise to Sundown well, since that’s pretty much the case throughout. Not much of a surprise, maybe, but no less satisfying for how much this band manages to deliver in songwriting and performance.

The people in the video for “Hard Road” sure seem to be enjoying it.

Find the clip below, followed by the latest from the PR wire, and enjoy:

Spiritual Beggars, “Hard Road” official video

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS – Launch video clip for “Hard Road”; 7″ and more shows announced!

Swedish vintage style hard rock pioneers SPIRITUAL BEGGARS have just wrapped up a European tour in support of their recently released 9th studio album “Sunrise To Sundown” and are now debuting a video clip for the song “Hard Road”.

Filmed & edited by Dirk Behlau / and produced by Beastwood Films /, the clip consists of footage gathered on the band’s latest European tour and highlights the band’s vivid on stage character.

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS guitarist and main songwriter Michael Amott comments:
“We just completed a three week tour through Europe and it was a very cool experience. Lots of love from our supporters out there and so awesome to see the new songs off our “Sunrise To Sundown” album go down so well! We had videographer Dirk Behlau come out to a couple shows in Germany to hang out, drink beer with us and capture some of the on and off stage action on camera – the result is a new clip for the song “Hard Road”…Enjoy!”

Next up, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS have announced a rare hometown show in Halmstad, Sweden. They will also play this year’s Stoned From The Underground festival.

Here is an overview of the band’s upcoming shows:
07.07.2016 – Ballenstedt, Germany- Rock Harz Open Air
08.07.2016 – Oulu, Finland – Jalometalli Metal Music Festival
15.07.2016 – Erfurt, Germany – Stoned From The Underground Festival
22.07.2016 – Halmstad, Sweden – Kajskjulet

In other news, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS will release a strictly limited 7″ EP including the album’s bonus cover versions of Mountain and Ten Years After via Germany’s H42 Records on May 30th.

Check out Mountain’s “Thumbsucker” streaming here:

And pre-order the 7″ EP as of May 9th here:

Spiritual Beggars website

Spiritual Beggars on Thee Facebooks

Spiritual Beggars on Twitter

Spiritual Beggars on Instagram

Spiritual Beggars at InsideOut Music

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Spiritual Beggars Post “Diamond Under Pressure” Lyric Video; Sunrise to Sundown Preorder Available

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

spiritual beggars

There is at least one, possibly two boatloads — depending, obviously, on the size of the boat in question — of information included with the new Spiritual Beggars lyric video for their new single with animation by Costin Chioreanu. Album preorders, for example. And the tracklisting for the special edition version of the record, which just happens to include two studio cover versions that may or many not be the ones that will also show up highlighted as the timely H42 Records single (info here) due out around the same time as the full-length Sunrise to Sundown, which is the Mike Amott-led Swedish outfit’s ninth. And tour dates! And some comment from Amott himself about how the track came together.

So yeah, plenty to dig into. As such, I don’t really feel the need to ramble about it, except maybe to note how righteously Deep Purple-fied “Diamond Under Pressure” is as presented here. Interesting to find Amott crediting Per Wiberg with the writing, because the organ definitely seems to be leading the charge throughout, and the push in the chorus is as much Spiritual Beggars as it is Machine Head, so all the better. If this is the first audio you’re hearing from Sunrise to Sundown, you might notice some more classic vibe in the recording than on the last couple Spiritual Beggars outings. I’m not sure how that will play out on the rest of the record — which is out March 18 on InsideOut Music — but I’m keen to find out.

But like I was saying, don’t want to ramble. Have at it:

Spiritual Beggars, “Diamond Under Pressure” lyric video

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS – Launch new single “Diamond Under Pressure”; Album pre-order!

It’s drawing closer…Swedish vintage style hard rock pioneers SPIRITUAL BEGGARS will release their 9th studio album entitled “Sunrise To Sundown” on March 18th, 2016 in Europe as well as March 25th, 2016 in North America via Inside Out Music.

Therefore, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS are now launching the album’s second single, “Diamond Under Pressure”, via a lyric-video created by Costin Chioreanu / Twilight13Media (At The Gates, Grave, Arcturus, etc.), who also did the artwork for “Sunrise To Sundown”.

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS guitarist and main composer Michael Amott checked in to comment about ”Diamond Under Pressure“ as follows:

“Diamond Under Pressure” is a song that our keyboard player Per Wiberg brought in as an awesome instrumental and I proceeded to write a lyric and vocal arrangement for it, I was inspired by a late night, alcohol fuelled conversation I’d had with our producer Staffan Karlsson for this one. Always a great time to be collaborate on music with Per and I think this is one of my favourites off the new album, despite all its obvious “Purple-esque” overtones it’s still retains a very typical Spiritual Beggars feel. Looking forward to playing this one live on tour this spring!”

The complete tracklisting for the new SPIRITUAL BEGGARS album is as follows:

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS – “Sunrise To Sundown”
1. Sunrise To Sundown
2. Diamond Under Pressure
3. What Doesn’t Kill You
4. Hard Road
5. Still Hunter
6. No Man’s Land
7. I Turn To Stone
8. Dark Light Child
9. Lonely Freedom
10. You’ve Been Fooled
11. Southern Star

Limited edition 2CD Mediabook bonus disc:
1. Thumbsucker (Mountain cover)
2. Stoned Woman (Ten Years After cover)
3. Wise As A Serpent (Live At Roadburn Festival 2013)
4. Turn The Tide (Live At Roadburn Festival 2013)
5. Drum Intro / Dreamer (Live At Roadburn Festival 2013)
6. One Man’s Curse (Live At Roadburn Festival 2013)
7. Kingmaker (Live At Roadburn Festival 2013)

Next to the CD formats, “Sunrise To Sundown” will of course also be available on vinyl. The LP format comes on 180gr. vinyl (Standard black, but also on limited coloured runs of 500x copies on dark green vinyl and 200x copies on yellow vinyl!) and in gatefold packaging with a double-sided poster as well as the full standard album on CD as bonus.
The album’s pre-sale in its various physical formats is starting TODAY via the IOM webshop here:

Just like on their previous two album releases, “Return To Zero” (2010) and “Earth Blues” (2013), SPIRITUAL BEGGARS stellar line-up is consists of bandleader Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, ex Carcass) on guitars, teaming up with Apollo Papathanasio (ex Firewind) on vocals, Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy, Witchery) on bass, Per Wiberg (Candlemass, ex Opeth) on keyboards as well as Ludwig Witt (Grand Magus, Firebird) on drums. And “Sunrise To Sundown” not only easily demonstrates how much on top of their game SPIRITUAL BEGGARS still are after over 20 years of activities, but also adds a fresh and spontaneous vibe to their impressive catalogue.

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS will be hitting the road soon to promote “Sunrise To Sundown”:

27.03.2016 – Schijndel, The Netherlands – Paaspop
28.03.2016 – Cologne, Germany – Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld
29.03.2016 – Aschaffenburg, Germany – Colos-Saal
31.03.2016 – Leipzig, Germany – Hellraiser
01.04.2016 – Hamburg, Germany – Logo
02.04.2016 – Essen, Germany – Turock
04.04.2016 – Pratteln, Switzerland – Z7
06.04.2016 – Kortrijk, Belgium – De Kreun
07.04.2016 – Rouen, France – Le 106
08.04.2016 – Brest, France – Plougarock Festival Warm Up
09.04.2016 – Nantes, France – Le Ferrailleur
10.04.2016 – Paris, France – Backstage By The Mill
12.04.2016 – Munich, Germany – Strom
14.04.2016 – Karlsruhe, Germany – Substage
15.04.2016 – Malmö, Sweden – KB
16.04.2016 – Stockholm, Sweden – Göta Källare
17.04.2016 – Göteborg, Sweden – Sticky Fingers
28.04.2016 – Berlin, Germany – Desertfest
07.07.2016 – Ballenstedt, Germany – Rock Harz Open Air
08.07.2016 – Oulu, Finland – Jalometalli Metal Music Festival

Spiritual Beggars website

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Spiritual Beggars Post Sunrise to Sundown Art; Add Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The cover art for Spiritual Beggars‘ upcoming ninth album is by Costin Chioreanu, a Romanian artist of increasing repute who in addition to having done art for Roadburn fests and various others — including his own band — in the black metal realm has put a good deal of effort into raising funds and awareness in the wake of the nightclub fire in his home country last year. Chioreanu‘s piece for Sunrise to Sundown is among the more colorful of his works, at least that I’ve seen, but still demonstrates his penchant for muted tones rather than the brightness one might associate with a theme so classic as that he employs here, even if that lizard in profile in the foreground also recalls Spiritual Beggars‘ 1998 third album, Mantra III.

Makes me wonder if the audio too of Sunrise to Sundown won’t employ a more classic sound than we’ve heard from Spiritual Beggars on their last few records, which while clearly taking ’70s cues in structure, have been thoroughly modernized affairs. Guess we’ll find out in March when it comes out on InsideOut Music.

If you want a closer look at that cover, click the image below. More info and some new tour dates follow from the PR wire:

spiritual beggars sunrise to sundown

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS – Unveil “Sunrise To Sundown” Artwork, Tracklist and more Tour Dates!

Swedish vintage style hard rock pioneers SPIRITUAL BEGGARS return with their 9th studio album entitled ‘Sunrise To Sundown’, which will be released on March 18th, 2016 in Europe as well as March 25th, 2016 in North America via InsideOutMusic.

The album’s fantastic cover artwork (which can be now seen above!) has been created by Costin Chioreanu / Twilight13Media (At The Gates, Grave, Arcturus, etc.) and here is the album’s tracklisting:

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS – “Sunrise To Sundown”
1. Sunrise To Sundown
2. Diamond Under Pressure
3. What Doesn’t Kill You
4. Hard Road
5. Still Hunter
6. No Man’s Land
7. I Turn To Stone
8. Dark Light Child
9. Lonely Freedom
10. You’ve Been Fooled
11. Southern Star

The album’s limited edition version will be released as 2CD Mediabook with a bonus disc including 7 tracks (2 covers versions and 5 live songs) and an expanded booklet. The LP format will be on 180gr. vinyl and come in gatefold packaging with a double-sided poster as well as the full standard album on CD as bonus. More details about the album formats and pre-order links will be announced soon…

Supporting the release of ‘Sunrise To Sundown’, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS will also be hitting the road on the following club-dates as well as festivals (* New shows since last update!):

27.03.2016 Schijndel (The Netherlands) – Paaspop *
28.03.2016 Köln (Germany) – Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld
29.03.2016 Aschaffenburg (Germany) – Colos-Saal
31.03.2016 Leipzig (Germany) – Hellraiser
01.04.2016 Hamburg (Germany) – Logo
02.04.2016 Essen (Germany) – Turock
04.04.2016 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z7
06.04.2016 Kortrijk (Belgium) – De Kreun
07.04.2016 Rouen (France) – Le 106
08.04.2016 Brest (France) – Sale Odissey / Plougarock Festival Warm Up *
09.04.2016 Nantes (France) Le Ferrailleur *
10.04.2016 Paris (France) – Backstage By The Mill
12.04.2016 Munich (Germany) – Strom
14.04.2016 Karlsruhe (Germany) – Substage
28.04.2016 Berlin (Germany) – Desert Fest
08.07.2016 Oulu (Finland) – Jalometalli Festival
09.07.2016 Ballenstedt (Germany) – Rock Harz Festival
More dates to be announced soon…

Spiritual Beggars, “Wise as a Serpent” official video

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Bigelf to Release Into the Maelstrom on March 4

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 20th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

While I’m not sure I’d position Los Angeles-based rockers Bigelf as progressive — at least in the modern rock sense — I’m not sure I can come up with anywhere they’d fit better, and certainly having former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy in the lineup isn’t about to hurt their cred in that regard. Founded by oft-chapeaued frontman Damon Fox a long, long time ago, Bigelf‘s last album was 2008’s Cheat the Gallows, and to herald the March 4 arrival of Into the Maelstrom as their first LP in half a decade, they’ll be taking part in the Progressive Nation at Sea cruise/fest in February, which will see them perform alongside the likes of Devin Townsend and Adrian Belew. So, you know, very proggy there as well.

Interested to hear how all this proggy-prog-prog manifests on Into the Maelstrom and if Bigelf keep some of the classic psychedelia of their past efforts intact, but I guess we’ll have to wait until the New Year.

Till then, the PR wire has this:

Bigelf announce release of new studio album ‘Into The Maelstrom’ for March 2014

It’s been a long time coming, but Bigelf are at long last pleased to announce that they will release their brand new fourth studio album entitled ‘Into The Maelstrom’ on the 4th of March 2014 throughout North America. Frontman and mastermind Damon Fox had this to say:
“I think ITM is the best Bigelf record yet and I believe it is a real game changer for the band. It’s gonna put us over the top! Psychedelic cinematic landscapes and melodic prog-doom set the stage for the new album, I cannot wait for fans (old and new) to experience all of its apocalyptic color.”

‘Into The Maelstrom’ marks the recording debut of Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, The Winery Dogs) with Bigelf, whose Progressive Nation At Sea Cruise the band will perform on from the 18th – 22nd February 2014, playing alongside bands such as Transatlantic, Devin Townsend Project, Riverside & Adrian Belew Power Trio. Tickets are available now from

Look out for more information in the coming weeks!

BIGELF online:

Bigelf, “Superstar” official video

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Bigelf Resurface with Mike Portnoy on Drums; Sign to InsideOut Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 3rd, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Not heard from since the 2009 re-release of 2008’s Cheat the Gallows, L.A.-based heavy prog weirdos Bigelf have come back to earth. Bechapeaued frontman Damon Fox has announced that he has joined forces with none other than former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy in a new lineup of the band and that they’ve signed to Century Media‘s prog-minded subsidiary, InsideOut Music.

If that seems like pretty wild news, kind of an unexpected pairing and it leaves you not quite knowing what to think about it, that’s precisely the arena in which Bigelf have always preferred to operate. Look for more on the album to come, but meanwhile, here are the details of the signing and a bit of a catch-’em-up from Damon Fox about this new era of the band:

BIGELF returns and signs new deal with InsideOut Music; Mike Portnoy to play drums on forthcoming new album

InsideOut Music is immensely pleased to announce the signing of progressive-rock powerhouse BIGELF for the release of their forthcoming new album later this year. Label-head Thomas Waber says about the signing: “We have been talking to BIGELF for quite some time now and I am really pleased that we finally managed to make this happen! BIGELF are an excellent addition to the InsideOut Music roster!”

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard any activity from the BIGELF camp, so who better to explain to us what’s been going on than the band’s mastermind Damon Fox himself:

“Finally! BIGELF lands on a planet whose atmosphere is synonymous with progressive rock and heavy metal. One of my all-time favourite quotes is, ‘Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid…’

I’m ecstatic that InsideOut/Century Media and Mike Portnoy have joined ‘forces’ with BIGELF.

First, I want to elaborate on what has been happening ‘inside’ the band since 2010, there have been numerous rumours on the internet that I fired everyone in BIGELF, this is completely untrue.

After the juggernaut of ‘Cheat The Gallows’ came to a halt, the business and personal infrastructure of BIGELF imploded and an unexpected hiatus occurred leaving the band in complete disarray. A myriad of personal, financial and domestic matters had enveloped myself as well as certain members of the group. There also comes a time when deep down inside it just doesn’t feel right anymore, and one has to face the music that the end is near. Transparency no longer exists and with that, clarity and perspective are lost. I’m speaking for myself now but clearly this was a mutual feeling and I believe it was obvious amongst the band. Subsequently, Ace Mark decided to move on and left BIGELF in the summer of 2011, and a request by the remaining members for a dissolution of business followed. To put it simply, we went our separate ways without malice.

I had been keeping in close touch with Mike Portnoy after his very public and difficult departure from DREAM THEATER. At this time, my musical future seemed quite bleak and I was very vocal to Mike about not being able to sustain the band any longer on my own. He implored me to carry on and to not let BIGELF slip away, his encouragement and enthusiasm meant the world to me. Recognizing that I needed some new allies, I asked him if he would help fight the good fight and lend his extraordinary drum majesty to the new BIGELF record and he readily agreed. Also…sharing a passion for all things rock & roll, my good friend Duffy Snowhill climbed aboard the Viking ship for another round of thundering bass guitar and for that too I am grateful.

I also want to acknowledge our amazing and dedicated fans that send emails all the time saying how they feel about BIGELF. These emails inspire me greatly and they’re the reason that I continue to play this kind of music, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can’t wait for everyone to hear the new wondrous landscapes we’ve been sculpting, there are lots of surprises around the corner, stay tuned.”

–Damon Fox

Bigelf, “The Evils of Rock and Roll”

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