Forming the Void Announce New Album Reverie out May 8; Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

forming the void

Louisiana-based heavy progressive rockers Forming the Void have announced the details of their forthcoming album on Ripple Music, titled Reverie. Metal Insider had the track premiere of the first single to the follow-up to 2018’s Rift (review here), and you can see the cover art — gorgeous — below, courtesy of the PR wire. The four-piece are currently wrapping up a tour with Church of Misery and they’ll head to Europe for the first time to hit the road with Spaceslug on a run that coincides with Reverie‘s release.

Easily one of the year’s most anticipated records. I have high expectations and no reason to think they won’t be met on every level. Certainly the new song streaming doesn’t hurt my argument.

From the PR wire:

forming the void reverie

Progressive doom voyagers FORMING THE VOID premiere new single; new album ‘Reverie’ due out May 8th on Ripple Music!

Louisiana-based astral doom purveyors FORMING THE VOID are ready to release their fourth album ‘Reverie’ this May 8th on Ripple Music! Enter another sonic dimension with first single “Trace The Omen.”

FORMING THE VOID’s new single “Trace The Omen” is a divine ode to modern psychedelia, weaving its way through your subconscious with its alluring and highly resonating Eastern-infused melodies, and a slow, fuzzed-out buildup. If you weren’t familiar with FTV’s progressive and above all expansive brand of heavy, then this is an official invitation.

“Trace the Omen was an esoteric one to write and record. With the atmospheric songs we go deep into exploring sounds, layers and dynamics to create a mystical vibe and cosmic energy flow. Hope everyone enjoys it!” the band comments. With fourth full-length ‘Reverie’, FORMING THE VOID seeks to further explore aspects of the sound they’ve shaped on their previous outings, guided by a desire to strike a balance between organic and intentional. The result is an album that reaches new levels of refined depth, mystical energy and cosmic transcendence.

‘Reverie’ is out on May 8th through Ripple Music on coloured and black vinyl, CD and digital. You can preorder it right now from North America and Europe/rest of the world.

FORMING THE VOID ‘Reverie’
Out May 8th on Ripple Music

TRACK LISTING:
1. Sage
2. Onward Through The Haze
3. Trace The Omen
4. Manifest
5. Electric Hive
6. Ancient Satellite
7. The Ending Cometh

Forming the Void w/ Spaceslug:
30.04 Wroclaw PL TBC
01.05 Dresden DE Groovestation
02.05 Nijmegen NL Sonic Whip Festival
03.05 Copenhagen NL Stengade
05.05 Berlin DE Toast Hawaii
06.05 Cologne DE MTC
08.05 Coventry UK Arches
09.05 Edinburgh UK Red Crust Fest
10.05 Edinburgh UK Red Crust Fest
11.05 London UK The Black Heart
12.05 Bristol UK The Lanes

Forming the Void w/ Church of Misery & Black Wizard:
2/18 Toronto ON @ Hard Luck
2/19 Chicago IL @ Reggie’s
2/20 Minneapolis MN @ Skyway Theatre
2/21 Milwaukee WI @ Cactus Club

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Thorn Letulle – Bass
Thomas Colley – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
https://www.instagram.com/forming_the_void/
https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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Forming the Void Announce European Tour Dates with Spaceslug

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

forming the void

There are more dates to be announced, but what a show this would be to catch. Louisiana’s Forming the Void and Poland’s Spaceslug are exceedingly well paired for what they bring in terms of blending melodic breadth and sheer tonal heft, and with some of Forming the Void‘s more progressive elements and Spaceslug‘s forays into more extreme styles of metal as heard on their recent offerings, there are still plenty of elements at play to distinguish each on their own while complementing the other. Kudos to whoever put that one together — the shows are presented by Blackskull Services, so they’d be a good bet — but yeah, that’s going to work really well on stage. I know Forming the Void have been working on a new record, and Spaceslug seem to be perpetually doing the same, but if they had some songs leftover for a split, that’d be a win.

Before Forming the Void hit Euro soil for the first time, they’ll be on tour starting this weekend in the US with Church of Misery and Black Wizard, meeting up with Truckfighters and Valley of the Sun and Wizard Rifle along the way, which is, in the parlance of probably five years ago, epic. Those dates are here as well as a refresher.

I do not think this will be the last time Forming the Void go to Europe, but it only happens first once.

Behold:

forming the void spaceslug tour poster

Forming the Void- – European Tour with Spaceslug

This May universes collide. Forming The Void and Spaceslug will travel Europe spreading sounds of cosmic void. Prepare to be taken on a journey beyond the sky, driven by wall of noise and dreamy soundscapes. Join this ship across the galaxies.

Forming the Void w/ Spaceslug:
30.04 Wroclaw PL TBC
01.05 Dresden DE Groovestation
02.05 Nijmegen NL Sonic Whip Festival
03.05 Copenhagen NL Stengade
05.05 Berlin DE Toast Hawaii
06.05 Cologne DE MTC
08.05 Coventry UK Arches
09.05 Edinburgh UK Red Crust Fest
10.05 Edinburgh UK Red Crust Fest
11.05 London UK The Black Heart

Forming the Void w/ Church of Misery & Black Wizard:
2/9 Austin TX @ Barracuda
2/11 Wilmington NC @ Reggie’s
2/12 Washington DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
2/13 Philadelphia PA @ Underground Arts
2/14 Brooklyn NY @ Gold Sounds
2/15 Brooklyn NY @ Kingsland
2/16 Boston MA @ Middle East
2/17 Montreal QC @ Bar LeRitz
2/18 Toronto ON @ Hard Luck
2/19 Chicago IL @ Reggie’s
2/20 Minneapolis MN @ Skyway Theatre
2/21 Milwaukee WI @ Cactus Club

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Thorn Letulle – Bass
Thomas Colley – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
https://www.instagram.com/forming_the_void/
https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Forming the Void, Rift (2018)

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Forming the Void Tour with Witch Ripper Starts Tonight; Playing Heavy Mash Tomorrow

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

forming the void

This very evening marks the beginning of Forming the Void‘s West Coast-bound latest round of tour dates. Joining them in the endeavor are Witch Ripper, from Seattle, and of particular note is the appearance this weekend at Heavy Mash in Arlington, which is co-presented by this site and for which I can only recommend attendance. Make a day of it. Make two days of it. Do whatever you want. Follow the bands on tour. But you know, tell them you’re doing that. Don’t just randomly show up and lurk at each gig. I think at that point you could probably say hi and it’d be cool.

Forming the Void were originally slated and I think I mentioned around here at some point — yup, sure did — that they had studio time booked to record their next album. Well, plans change. They’ll reportedly knuckle down after this run and get to work on the thing, but in the meantime will take part in Magnetic Eye Records‘ tribute to Alice in Chains, the Dirt [Redux], as part of a busy slate next year that will also see them play their first show on the other side of the Atlantic, appearing at Edinburgh’s Red Crust Festival in May (info here). Should make a day of that too, maybe. Or three.

Current tour dates follow. Go see this band:

forming the void tour

Forming the Void & Witch Ripper – Void Ripper Tour Dates

We’re heading out west with Witch Ripper! Let’s hang!

10/18 Baton Rouge, LA – Phil Brady’s
10/19 Arlington, TX – Heavy Mash at Division Brewing
10/20 Wichita, KS – Elbow Room
10/21 Denver, CO – Tooey’s
10/22 Salt Lake City, UT – Greek Station
10/23 Boise, ID – The Olympic Venue
10/24 Spokane, WA – Red Room *
10/25 Seattle, WA – Funhouse *
10/26 Olympia, WA – Le Voyeur *
10/27 San Francisco, CA – DNA Lounge *
10/29 Santa Cruz, CA – Blue Lagoon *
10/30 Los Angeles, CA – Redwood *
10/31 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar*
11/1 El Paso, TX – RCBG @ Thunderbird
11/1 Berkeley, CA – The Five and Dime +
11/2 San Antonio, TX – Faust
11/2 Eureka, CA – Sirens’s Song Tavern +
11/3 Portland, OR Twilight +

*w/ Witch Ripper
+ No Forming the Void

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Luke Baker – Bass
Thomas Colley – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
https://www.instagram.com/forming_the_void/
https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Forming the Void, Rift (2018)

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Quarterly Review: Electric Octopus, Crypt Trip, Love Gang & Smokey Mirror, Heavy Feather, Faith in Jane, The Mound Builders, Terras Paralelas, The Black Heart Death Cult, Roadog & Orbiter, Hhoogg

Posted in Reviews on March 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Day four of the six-dayer. Head’s a little reeling, but I’m not sure any more so than, say, last week at this time. I’d be more specific about that, but oddly enough, I don’t hook my brain up to medical scanners while doing reviews. Seems like an oversight on my part, now that I think about it. Ten years later and still learning something new! How about that internet, huh?

Since I don’t think I’ve said it in a couple days, I’ll remind you that the hope here is you find something you dig. There’s a lot of cool stuff in this batch, so that should at least make skimming through it fun if you go that route. Either way, thanks for reading if you do.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Electric Octopus, Smile

Electric Octopus Smile

It’s been about two months since Electric Octopus posted Smile, so they’re about due for their next release. So, quick! Before this 82-minute collection of insta-chill jams is out of date, there’s still time to consider it their latest offering. Working as the four-piece of Tyrell Black and Dale Hughes — both of whom share bass and guitar duties — drummer Guy Hetherington and synthesist Stevie Lennox, the Belfast improv jammers rightfully commence with the 25-minute longest track (immediate points) “Abberation” (sic), which evolves and devolves along its course and winds up turning from a percussive jam to a guitar-led build up that still stays gloriously mellow even as it works its way out. You can almost hear the band moving from instrument to instrument, and that’s the point. The much shorter “Spiral,” “Dinner at Sea, for One” and closer “Mouseangelo” bring in a welcome bit of funk, “Moth Dust” explores minimalist reaches of guitar and ambient drumming, and “Hyperloop” digs into fuzz-soaked swirl before cleaning up its act in the last couple minutes. These cats j-a-m. May they do so into perpetuity.

Electric Octopus on Thee Facebooks

Electric Octopus on Bandcamp

 

Crypt Trip, Haze County

crypt trip haze county

Onto the best-albums-of-2019 list go San Marcos, Texas, trio Crypt Trip, who, sonically speaking, are way more Beto O’Rourke than Ted Cruz. The three-piece have way-way-upped the production value and general breadth from their 2018 Heavy Psych Sounds debut, Rootstock, and the clarity of purpose more than suits them as they touch on ’70s country jams and hard boogie and find a new melodic vocal confidence that speaks to guitarist Ryan Lee as a burgeoning frontman as well as the shredder panning channels in “To Be Whole.” Fortunately, he’s backed by bassist Sam Bryant and drummer Cameron Martin in the endeavor, and as ever, it’s the rhythm section that gives the “power trio” its power. Centerpiece “Free Rain” is a highlight, but so is the pedal steel of intro “Forward” and the later “Pastures” that precedes six-minute closer “Gotta Get Away,” which makes its transport by means of a hypnotic drum solo from Martin. Mark it a win and go to the show. That’s all you can do. Haze County is a blueprint for America’s answer to Europe’s classic heavy rock movement.

Crypt Trip on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Love Gang & Smokey Mirror, Split Double EP

smokey mirror love gang split double ep

A bit of Tull as Love Gang‘s flute-inclusive opener “Can’t Seem to Win” skirts the line of the proggier end of ’70s worship. The Denver outfit and Dallas’ Smokey Mirror both present three tracks on Glory or Death RecordsSplit Double EP, and Love Gang back the leadoff with “Break Free” and “Lonely Man,” reveling in wall-o’-fuzz chicanery and organ-laced push between them, making their already unpredictable style less predictable, while Smokey Mirror kick off side B in particularly righteous fashion via the nine-minute “Sword and Scepter,” which steps forth to take ultra-Sabbathian ownership of the release even as the filthy tone of “Sucio y Desprolijo” and the loose-swinging Amplified Heat-style megashuffle of “A Thousand Days in the Desert” follow. Two bands in the process of finding their sound coming together to serve notice of ass-kickery present and future. If you can complain about that, you’re wrong.

Love Gang on Thee Facebooks

Smokey Mirror on Thee Facebooks

Glory or Death Records BigCartel store

 

Heavy Feather, Débris & Rubble

Heavy Feather Debris & Rubble

Very much a solid first album, Heavy Feather‘s 11-song Débris & Rubble lands at a run via The Sign Records and finds the Stockholm-based classic heavy blues rockers comporting with modern Euro retroism in grand fashion. At 41 minutes, it’s a little long for a classic-style LP if one measures by the eight-track/38-minute standard, but the four-piece fill that time with a varied take that basks in sing-along-ready hooks like those of post-intro opener “Where Did We Go,” the Rolling Stones-style strutter “Waited All My Life,” and the later “I Spend My Money Wrong,” which features not the first interplay of harmonica and lead guitar amid its insistent groove. Elsewhere, more mellow cuts like “Dreams,” or the slide-infused “Tell Me Your Tale” and the closing duo of the Zeppelinian “Please Don’t Leave” and the melancholy finisher “Whispering Things” assure Débris & Rubble never stays in one place too long, though one could say the same of the softshoe-ready boogie in “Hey There Mama” as well. On the one hand, they’re figuring it out. On the other, they’re figuring it out.

Heavy Feather on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Bandcamp

 

Faith in Jane, Countryside

Faith in Jane Countryside

Five full-lengths deep into a tenure spanning a decade thus far, Faith in Jane have officially entered the running to be one of the best kept secrets of Maryland heavy. Their late-2018 live-recorded studio offering, Countryside, clocks in at just under an hour of organic tonality and performance, bringing a sharp presentation to the chemistry that’s taken hold among the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Dan Mize, bassist Brendan Winston and drummer Alex Llewellyn, with Mize taking extended solos on the Wino model throughout early cuts “All is All” and “Mountain Lore” while the trio adds Appalachian grunge push to the Chesapeake’s flowing groove while building “Blues for Owsley” from acoustic strum to scorching cacophonous wash and rolling out the 9:48 “Hippy Nihilism” like the masters of the form they’re becoming. It’s not a minor undertaking in terms of runtime, but for those in on what these cats have been up to all the while, hard to imagine Countryside is seen as anything other than hospitable.

Faith in Jane on Thee Facebooks

Faith in Jane on Bandcamp

 

The Mound Builders, The Mound Builders

The Mound Builders The Mound Builders

Lafayette, Indiana’s The Mound Builders last year offered a redux of their 2014 album, Wabash War Machine (review here), but that was their last proper full-length. Their self-titled arrives as eight bruiser slabs of weighted sludge/groove metal, launching with its longest track (immediate points) in the 7:30 “Torchbearer,” before shifting into the outright screams-forward pummel of “Hair of the Dogma” and the likewise dry-throated “Separated from Youth.” By the time they get to the hardcore-punk-via-sludge of “Acid Slugs,” it’s not a little heavy. It’s a lot heavy. And it stays that way through the thrashing “Star City Massacre” and “Regolith,” hitting the brakes on “Broken Pillars” only to slam headfirst into closer “Vanished Frontier.” Five years later and they’re still way pissed off. So be it. The four-formerly-five-piece were never really all that gone, but they still seem to have packed an extended absence’s worth of aggro into their self-titled LP.

The Mound Builders on Thee Facebooks

Failure Records and Tapes

 

Terras Paralelas, Entre Dois Mundos

TERRAS PARALELAS ENTRE DOIS MUNDOS

It’s a fluid balance between heavy rock and progressive metal Terras Paralelas make in the six inclusions on their debut full-length, Entre Dois Mundos. The Brazilian instrumentalist trio keep a foundation of metallic kickdrumming beneath “Do Abismo ao Triunfo,” and even the chugging in “Espirais e Labirintos” calls to mind some background in harder-hitting fare, but it’s set against a will toward semi-psychedelic exploration, making the giving the album a sense of refusing to play exclusively to one impulse. This proves a strength in the lengthier pieces that follow “Infinito Cósmico” and “Do Abismo ao Triunfo” at the outset, and as Terras Paralelas move from the mellower “Bom Presságio” and “Espirais e Labirintos” into the more spaciously post-rocking “Nossa Jornada Interior” and the nine-minute-plus prog-out title-track that closes by summarizing as much as pushing further outward, one is left wondering why such distinctions might matter in the first place. Kudos to the band for making them not.

Terras Paralelas on Thee Facebooks

Terras Paralelas on Bandcamp

 

The Black Heart Death Cult, The Black Heart Death Cult

the black heart death cult the black heart death cult

Though one wouldn’t accuse The Black Heart Death Cult of being the first cumbersomely-named psych-rocking band in the current wave originating in Melbourne, Australia, their self-titled debut is nonetheless a gorgeous shimmer of classic psychedelia, given tonal presence through guitar and bass, but conjuring an ethereal sensibility through the keys and far-back vocals like “She’s a Believer,” tapping alt-reality 1967 vibes there while fostering what I hear is called neo-psych but is really just kinda psych throughout the nodding meander of “Black Rainbow,” giving even the more weighted fuzz of “Aloha From Hell” and the distortion flood of “Davidian Dream Beam” a happier context. They cap with the marshmallowtron hallucinations of “We Love You” and thereby depart even the ground stepped on earlier in the sitar-laced “The Magic Lamp,” finding and losing and losing themselves in the drifting ether probably not to return until, you know, the next record. When it shows up, it will be greeted as a liberator.

The Black Heart Death Cult on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records webstore

 

Orbiter & Roadog, Split

orbiter roadog split

I’m pretty sure the Sami who plays drums in Orbiter is the same dude playing bass in Roadog, but I could easily be wrong about that. Either way, the two Finnish cohort units make a fitting complement to each other on their two-songer 7″ single, which presents Orbiter‘s six-minute “Anthropocene” with the hard-driving title-track of Roadog‘s 2018 full-length, Reinventing the Wheels. The two tracks have a certain amount in common, mostly in the use of fuzz and some underlying desert influence, but it’s what they do with that that makes all the difference between them. Orbiter‘s track is spacier and echoing, where “Reinventing the Wheels” lands more straightforward in its three minutes, its motoring riff filled out by some effects but essentially manifest in dead-ahead push and lyrics about a motorcycle. They don’t reinvent the wheel, as it happens, and neither do Orbiter, but neither seems to want to do so either, and both bands are very clearly having a blast, so I’m not inclined to argue. Good fun and not a second of pretense on either side.


Orbiter on Thee Facebooks

Roadog on Thee Facebooks

 

Hhoogg, Earthling, Go Home!

hhoogg Earthling Go Home

Space is the place where you’ll find Boston improvisationalists Hhoogg, who extend their fun penchant for adding double letters to the leadoff “Ccoossmmooss” of their exclamatory second self-released full-length, Earthling, Go Home!, which brings forth seven tracks in a vinyl-ready 37 minutes and uses that opener also as its longest track (immediate points) to set a molten tone to the proceedings while subsequent vibes in “Rustic Alien Living” and the later, bass-heavy “Recalled to the Pyramids” range from the Hendrixian to the funkadelicness he helped inspire. With a centerpiece in “Star Wizard, Headless and Awake,” a relatively straightforward three-minute noodler, the four-piece choose to cap with “Infinitely Gone,” which feels as much like a statement of purpose and an aesthetic designation as a descriptor for what’s contained within. In truth, it’s a little under six minutes gone, but jams like these tend to beg for repeat listens anyway. There’s some growing to do, but the melding of their essential chemistry is in progress, and that’s what matters most. The rest is exploration, and they sound well up for it.

Hhoogg on Thee Facebooks

Hhoogg on Bandcamp

 

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The Heavy Co. Release Psychedelamigo Sessions Demo Collection

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the heavy co

As will happen from time to time, every now and again a band kind of fizzles out with material that’s still in progress left unfinished. Indiana’s The Heavy Co. released their Uno Dose EP (review here) as their final offering in 2014 and had another demo session in the can, including a jam given the rather grim title of “Fuck Earth” which guitarist Ian Gerber highlights as a signal of where the band were headed. And fair enough. They were accomplished jammers during their time and well suited to that as a foundation of their material, but you know how these things go. As in, sometimes they don’t.

Thus Psychedelamigo Sessions arrives as a posthumous release, a kind of these-songs-are-here-might-as-well-do-something-with-them outing that, indeed, is better out there than not. Gerber, who offered the info below, doesn’t write off completely the notion of going back into the studio to finalize the material, but if he does or doesn’t, at least it’s documented as is.

They also still have a couple — four as of this post — tapes left of Uno Dose, which ruled, on their Bandcamp. If you’ve got eight bucks and room for a bit of groove in your life, you might consider it an investment.

Here’s the Psychedelamigo Sessions info, followed of course by the stream:

the heavy co psychedelamigo sessions

These recordings weren’t finished. I think they were done 2014. I was cleaning out my soundcloud and figured that at this point that it was fine to release these tracks as is. More of a relic showing how the band had progressed. I really liked Harry Lee and Smokey Little Number as songs. The fuck earth jam was definitely where the band was heading.

There is a very, very, very small chance that we will crack open the vaults to fix the mistakes. Therefore…here you go. This is the last material we worked on as The Heavy Co. Thanks for tuning in…

THC is:
Ian Gerber – Guitars/Vocals
Jeff Kaleth – Drums

Fuck Earth w/
Nicolae Ciobotaru – Drums
Michael Naish – Bass
Jeff Kaleth – Guitar
Ian Gerber – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/theheavyco/
http://theheavycompany.bandcamp.com/

The Heavy Co., Psychedelamigo Sessions

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The Mound Builders Announce Jan. 18 Release for Self-Titled Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The Mound Builders

It’s been a while since The Mound Builders made their debut with Strangers in a Strange Land (review here). Like, that was apparently 2011. Of course, they’ve hardly been idle since then, playing shows and releasing splits and EPs like Wabash War Machine (review here) in 2014. Still, if they were going to release a second album — hey, some bands don’t — it was probably time to do that. Thus arrives the bombast of The Mound Builders by The Mound Builders, set for release in the New Year via Failure Records and Tapes. What hath time wrought upon the Lafeyette, Indiana, sludgesters? I won’t pretend to know, but I’ve got a zip file on my desktop that’s going to let me find out, and needless to say, I’ll keep you posted.

No public audio yet, but the trusty PR wire brings album art and info, so have at it:

The Mound Builders The Mound Builders

The Mound Builders – The Mound Builders

Broadly speaking, bands that fall under the umbrella term of riff-worshippers – encompassing stoner, doom, and sludge metal – can fall under one of two categories. The majority of bands are content to walk (high as a kite) through the hills and valleys of their forefathers. A few, however, endeavor to take the tools that these legendary acts left and create new landscapes. Thus, we discover The Mound Builders from Indiana. While the blood of High on Fire, Buzzov*en and Crowbar among others flows through their veins, the resultant mix on their sophomore self-titled resembles the freshest dirt dug up for construction.

The most striking initial fact that jumps out on The Mound Builders is the fearless shift between tempos – instead of maintaining a reassuring tempo as many of their peers, they go from punk-inflected raging “Hair of the Dogma” to sludge metal swagger on “Separated From Youth”, stoner-thrash on “Star City Massacre” to vitriolic rough-and-tumble on closer “Vanished Frontier” – the latter of which has a stand-out vocal performance. The occasional pedal-manipulated solo wails out of nowhere – expertly handled by Brian Boszor, while the low end sounds both crisp and punishing as Robert Strawsma and Jason “Dinger” Brookhart hammer out relentless rhythms. You can spend any number of spins only hazarding a guess at influences, but the final result is a band who have their sound dialed in and know exactly how to wield it for maximum effect.

Narrating over the trio is the maniacal Jim Voelz, whose shrieks recall the great Johnny Morrow, and his growls echo the pains of the various strands of history from which the band draw lyrical inspiration, whether ancient tales or more recent life in their native Midwest, the grand cosmos or down here on Planet Earth. “It’s gonna be a massacre”, Jim warns, before another solo power-slides into existence, and it’s not long before the song in question comes to a crashing close.

It’s been seven long years since their début full-length Strangers in a Strange Land, and The Mound Builders have made good use of that time in their craft. Their self-titled is a step up and a step closer to honing that perfect mixture between so many styles. For now, they’ll just keep building and playing.

The Mound Builders will be released on Jan 18 2019.

Tracklisting:
1. Torchbearer
2. Hair of the Dogma
3. Separated From Youth
4. Acid Slugs
5. Star City Massacre
6. Regolith
7. Broken Pillars
8. Vanished Frontier

The Mound Builders live:
11.3.18 – Melody Inn – Indianapolis, IN
11.9.18 – Hobart Art Theatre -Hobart, IN
11.10.18 – Fireside Inn- Detroit, MI
12.8.18 – North End Pub – Lafayette, IN

The Mound Builders are:
Brian Boszor – Guitar
Jason “Dinger” Brookhart – Drums
Ryan Strawsma – Bass
Jim Voelz – Vocals

http://www.facebook.com/themoundbuilders
https://twitter.com/themoundbuilder
https://www.instagram.com/themoundbuilders/
https://themoundbuilders.bandcamp.com/

The Mound Builders Split w/ Pale Horseman (2016)

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Forming the Void Sign to Ripple Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I agree with Ripple Music‘s Todd Severin when he says that the best is yet to come for Louisiana’s Forming the Void. That was the impression I got watching them at Psycho Las Vegas, and their 2018 album, Rift (review here), likewise showed off the progressive potential still inherent in their sound. What Severin leaves out of that statement is the role his label will help play in getting Forming the Void to that next level in their approach, as the band will start work on their next album and Ripple Music debut early next year after rounding out 2018 with a few select live dates in Texas and Louisiana. Whenever the record shows up, it’ll be welcome around these parts.

All the best to the band as they embark on their next offering and kudos to band and label alike on the union. Seemed somewhat inevitable, maybe, given Forming the Void‘s multi-layered approach and the considerable response it’s gleaned for them, but a killer fit just the same. One looks forward to what’s coming.

Ripple announced it like this:

forming the void

Prog-Metallers FORMING THE VOID sign with Ripple Music | Work on their follow up to this year’s RIFT to begin in early 2019

Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the signing of one of 2018’s biggest and best breakout acts, Forming the Void. Following the release of last year’s critically acclaimed album, Relic, Louisiana’s preeminent prog warlocks caused a storm across the planet earlier this year with their much-lauded follow-up, Rift.

“We’re stoked to be working with Ripple Music!” explains guitarist James Marshall. “We got to hang out with Todd Severin Psycho Las Vegas. It gave us the opportunity to spend a lot of time chatting about everything from medical problems to our guilty pleasure songs. It’s an honour to be a part of the Ripple Family and we’re looking forward to making music with them.”

Originally formed in 2013 in Lafayette – a place with an impressive reputation for raising underground rock into realms of the unknown – Forming The Void became one of the city’s most talked about bands of 2017. With the release of their third album Relic, their colossal and atmospheric sound summoned the towering hard rock riffs and progressive influence of bands like Mastodon, Baroness and Torche. A distinctive sound that not only marked them out as ones to watch, but a sound that promptly earned them recognition as ambitious and gifted players.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Forming the Void to the Ripple Family,” explains Severin. “Obviously, they released one of the best albums of the year this year, but it really was seeing them lay waste to the stunned audience at Psycho Las Vegas that blew me away. Amazing musicians and amazing people. The best still lies ahead with this band!”

LIVE DATES:
11/7 – New Orleans, LA – Santos Bar
11/9 – Lafayette, LA – The Boom Boom Room
11/16 – Houston TX – Satellite Bar
11/17 – San Antonio, TX – Faust
11/30 – Lake Charles, LA – Center Stage
12/10 – Lafayette, LA – The Boom Boom Room

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Luke Baker – Bass
Thomas Colley – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
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https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Forming the Void, “Arrival” official video

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Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Forming the Void, Rift

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

forming the void rift

[Click play above to stream the premiere of a lyric video for Forming the Void’s ‘Ark Debris.’ Their new album, Rift, is out Aug. 17 on Kozmik Artifactz.]

I’m sorry, but any record that starts with a song called “Extinction Event” is telegraphing its heaviness. And sure enough, Rift is the most weighted offering yet in the relatively brief but prolific tenure of Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void. In terms of tone, atmosphere and rhythm, it brings to bear a heft that feels like an arrival point — the title of the side B opener, sure enough: “Arrival” — following last year’s Relic (review here) and 2016’s Skyward (review here) with an uptick in scope, apparent lyrical narrative and sense of largesse that nothing they’ve yet done has touched. Comprised of seven tracks running a total of a still-LP-friendly 45 minutes delivered via Kozmik Artifactz, Rift is, simply, a new level for the band. Operating as the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Thomas Colley (the latter making his first appearance), they offer their most cohesive and purposeful collection to-date, with landmark hooks in “On We Sail” and the subsequent “Arcane Mystic” and themes that have been present at least since Relic — the cover art of which depicted a hooded mystic traveling through space on an asteroid — the album ultimately takes a linear path.

Following its beginning in “Extinction Event,” that time-to-go narrative launch point leads to a lyrical journey through “On We Sail,” an “Arcane Mystic” met along the way, “Transient” leading to “Arrival,” “Ark Debris” when the vessel in question presumably is broken down and turned into a “Shrine” at the end. The sense of culmination is underscored by the fact that the finale tops 10 minutes long while everything else apart from the 6:53 “Ark Debris” is under six minutes, but by then the point is made in roiling, rolling progressive riffing and Marshall‘s echoing vocals; a spaciousness clearly meant to be taken literally. As in, “it’s about space.” Perhaps most pivotal of all the story being told doesn’t detract from the songwriting in general, and though I’d bet by the time they got around to writing the words to “Transient,” the concept was locked in place, neither that centerpiece nor anything around it pulls away from the well-struck balance between craft and storytelling.

On a sheer execution level, Rift is loaded with intent and poise. At their fastest, Forming the Void are not rushed, and at their slowest, in the back half of “Transient,” say, they remain comfortable in their forward motion. “Extinction Event” introduces a variety of elements in terms of the ultra-dense tones, spacious clean vocals and brash rhythmic swing, and in so doing summarizes a fair bit of what’s to come throughout the album, but as “On We Sail” and “Arcane Mystic” lead into “Transient,” the side A finale marks a significant shift in approach. Or at very least it foreshadows one ahead. With impressive lead work from Al-Khansa, thick low end from Baker and an impressive debut from Colley in shoving them along their path, the early cuts of Rift are more straightforward in structure. The hooks have already been noted, and it’s not as though ambience isn’t a factor, as the intro to “Arcane Mystic” immediately hypnotizes and bolsters the feeling of openness, but that will become much more of a focal point on side B, and true to its name, “Transient” marks that transition. Like “Arcane Mystic” just before, it has a subdued introduction, but it goes further in making loud/quiet tradeoffs between utterly massive plodding and more serene melodic fare.

forming the void

The shifts can be sudden but don’t feel that way because the pace is gradual, and like everything that surrounds, they’re brought to bear with a grace that underscores the progressive mindset of the band as a whole. “Transient” has something of a hook, so ties well to the cuts before, but also tells of the expanses yet to be traversed on “Arrival” and beyond into side B. Sure enough, what would seem to be a conclusion is only the beginning point of something new for Forming the Void as arrival rolls out a memorable riff, echoing vocals and a steady nod of a groove en route to a slow-marching midsection and a pickup in the second half to psychedelic lead work laced over a still-tectonic groove. Shifts in tempo only continue as “Ark Debris” takes hold with a decided Middle Eastern inflection in the introduction. Patient in its unfolding, the intro becomes the bed for the verses over the first several minutes, and it’s not until about 3:10 that heavier guitars kick in over the steady drumbeat. A solo over distortion keeps the vibe of the early going alive as the halfway mark is crossed, and a subtle build happens where fuller tones are first teased and then arrive with a marked fluidity over a consistent drone that’s been there all the while.

They end with feedback there and let “Shrine” — an arrival unto itself — close out, beginning with a stretch of quiet but tense guitar and cymbal washes before the whole lumber takes hold. “Shrine” is resounding in its heavy, soaring in its melody and firm in its purpose, and lands as a significant achievement for Forming the Void on their path of sonic discovery. After thudding out the initial verses, they stop around four minutes into the total 10 and drop to quiet to let keys or effects-laden guitar answer the Mideastern vibe of “Ark Debris” for a moment before resuming the stomp. A bridge of some earlier Elder-style riffing leads to “Shrine”‘s melodic payoff and then a final solo over double-time drums pushes toward the final slowdown, huge in its sound and headphone-worthy in its engrossing rumble.

The end comes when “Shrine” cuts short at 10:13 and fades back in on a cymbal wash for more feedback before they make their way out again, ending the album with a reminder that while this story has finished, there’s much more to say. At least, that’s the hope, considering how much Forming the Void have been able to turn their first two full-lengths into lessons and learned from them in the making of this third one. They’re a band who should be touring, especially now, since it would seem they’ve found and been able to harness the sound and style they were looking for these last several years and the task before them would be to refine it. As to how that will happen or the direction they’ll work in from this point on, I’ve no idea, but everything they’ve done to get to this stage has been willful in its creative growth, and one doesn’t expect that to stop just because they’ve so thoroughly nailed it this time around. But make no mistake, they have nailed it.

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