Spiral Grave Sign to Argonauta Records; Legacy of the Anointed Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

This one feels like it’s been a while in the making, and that’s very likely because it has. But the debut album from Spiral Grave, which features three of the four members of the final Iron Man lineup in vocalist Dee Calhoun, bassist “Iron” Louis Strachan and drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann as well as former Lord guitarist Willy Rivera, will nonetheless be welcome when it arrives on June 5. The record is called Legacy of the Anointed — fair enough — and it’ll be issued through Argonauta, which has also overseen all of Calhoun‘s solo work to-date and will issue the Iron Man live album, Hail to the Riff, on March 5.

You might recall Spiral Grave was announced as a project in Jan. 2019, and quickly embraced by their native Maryland doom community. Their first single, “Nothing” (video premiere here), and a performance at Maryland Doom Fest 2019 (review here) and of course other shows led to 2020 bookings at Shadow WoodsNew England Stoner and Doom, and so on, but why even bother listing them because we all know what happened to 2020.

But hey, the record’s done and coming out, so there’s something to look forward to.

No audio yet, but Spiral Grave trickled out two singles last year on their Bandcamp and you can hear both of them below. I have no idea if they’ll be on Legacy of the Anointed or not.

From the PR wire:

spiral grave

The Return Of SPIRAL GRAVE: Long-Awaited Debut Album Coming This Year On Argonauta Records!

It feels like a legacy, but most likely a news that will make every doom heart beat faster: Members of the final lineup of doom legends IRON MAN, have announced their return with SPIRAL GRAVE!

SPIRAL GRAVE, comprised of vocalist Screaming Mad Dee, Iron Louis Strachan (bass), Mot Waldmann on drums and former LORD guitarist Willy Rivera – whose aggressive riffing sets the mood for the band’s heavy as hell, in your face doom – was born after the tragic death of IRON MAN founding member Alfred Morris III.

They quickly carved a place for themselves in North America’s heavy music scene, playing well-received sets at New England Stoner Doom Fest or the Maryland Doomfest. Their first single, Nothing, was released by Salt of the Earth Records in mid-2019. But finally the wait is over, since SPIRAL GRAVE have just announced to release their long- awaited debut album, entitled Legacy of the Anointed, in 2021 through Argonauta Records; the Italian powerhouse label and home for all that is heavy, who not only released Dee Calhoun’s recent solo records but also IRON MAN’s Hail To The Riff, due out on March 5th!

Says guitarist Willy Rivera about SPIRAL GRAVE’s upcoming debut:

“Some of the musical ideas that ended up as songs on our debut were initially written while I was still with my previous band but with a rift growing between myself and the other members over personal and musical differences, I decided to hold onto them til I was able to find the right vehicle for them. I wanted to step away from the extremity of my former band and get back to writing songs that were heavy but had hooks and a strong vocal presence. For this band, I wanted to draw from bands such as Dio-era Sabbath, Candlemass, Metal Church, Armored Saint, Mountain, UFO and Judas Priest with enough experimentation that would allow us to branch out on future releases. I wanted that to be the template and I found like-minded friends in the surviving members of Iron Man. I’ve known Dee for over a decade and met Lou and Mot from the scene and affiliations and while I knew working with them would bring certain expectations due to the legendary status of Iron Man, I was hopeful in what we could create and had a gut feeling that it would be great. I was very aware of the fact that you only get one shot to make your 1st impression and being that I was writing a lot of the initial ideas, it meant that I had a lot to prove…not to mention, the scrutiny that I may encounter from people who perceived me as somehow trying to replace Al Morris but you can’t replace a legend so you just try to make your own mark. So Spiral Grave is a new band with a debut album that I think will do justice to not only the scene we come from but those who helped pave the way…“

More details about the upcoming SPIRAL GRAVE release of Legacy of the Anointed, as well as first album tunes will follow in the weeks ahead.

https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/
https://spiralgrave.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/argonautarecords

Spiral Grave, “Tanglefoot”

Spiral Grave, “Modern-Day Golden Calf”

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Quarterly Review: Across Tundras, Motorpsycho, Dark Buddha Rising, Vine Weevil, King Chiefs, Battle Hag, Hyde, Faith in Jane, American Dharma, Hypernaut

Posted in Reviews on December 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Just to reiterate, I decided to do this Quarterly Review before making my year-end list because I felt like there was stuff I needed to hear that I hadn’t dug into. Here we are, 70 records later, and that’s still the case. My desktop is somewhat less cluttered than it was when I started out, but there’s still plenty of other albums, EPs, and so on I could and probably should be covering. It’s frustrating and encouraging at the same time, I guess. Fruscouraging. Life’s too short for the international boom of underground creativity.

Anyway, thanks for taking this ride if you did. It is always appreciated.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush

Across Tundras The Last Days of a Silver Rush

Issued as part of a late-2020 splurge by Tanner Olson and Across Tundras that has also resulted in the full-length LOESS – LÖSS (review here), as well as three lost-tracks compilations called Selected Sonic Rituals, an experimental Western drone record issued under the banner of Edward Outlander, and an EP and three singles (two collaborative) from Olson solo, The Last Days of a Silver Rush offers subdued complement to the more band-oriented LOESS – LÖSS, with an acoustic-folk foundation much more reminiscent of Olson‘s solo outings than the twang-infused progressive heavy rock for which Across Tundras are known. Indeed, though arrangements are fleshed out with samples and the electrified spaciousness of “The Prodigal Children of the God of War,” the only other contributor here is Ben Schriever on vocals and there are no drums to be found tying down the sweet strums and far-off melodies present. Could well be Olson bridging the gap between one modus (the band) and another (solo), and if so, fine. One way or the other it’s a strong batch of songs in the drifting western aesthetic he’s established. There’s nothing to say the next record will be the same or will be different. That’s why it’s fun.

Across Tundras on Bandcamp

Eagle Stone Collective on Bandcamp

 

Motorpsycho, The All is One

motorpsycho the all is one

What could possibly be left to say about the brilliance of Trondheim, Norway’s Motorpsycho? One only wishes that The All is One could be blasted into place on a pressed gold vinyl so that any aliens who might encounter it could know that humanity isn’t just all cruelty, plagues and indifference. The prolific heavy prog kingpins’ latest is 84 willfully-unmanageable minutes of graceful and gracious, hyperbole-ready sprawl, tapping into dynamic changes and arrangement depth that is both classic in character and still decidedly forward-thinking. An early rocker “The Same Old Rock (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)” and the shuffling “The Magpie” give way after the opener to the quiet “Delusion (The Reign of Humbug)” and the multi-stage “N.O.X.,” which unfolds in five parts, could easily have been an album on its own, and caps with a frenetic mania that is only off-putting because of how controlled it ultimately is. Then they throw in a couple experimental pieces after that between the nine-minute “Dreams of Fancy” and the mellow-vibing “Like Chrome.” Someday archaeologists will dig up the fossils of this civilization and wonder what gods this sect worshipped. Do they have three more records out yet? Probably.

Motorpsycho website

Stickman Records website

 

Dark Buddha Rising, Mathreyata

Dark Buddha Rising Mathreyata

From out of the weirdo hotbed that is Tampere, Finland, Dark Buddha Rising reemerge from the swirling ether with new lessons in black magique for anyone brave enough to be schooled. Mathreyata follows 2018’s II EP but is the band’s first full-length since 2015’s Inversum (review here), and from the initial cosmically expansive lurch of “Sunyaga” through the synth-laced atmosludge roll of “Nagathma” and the seven-minute build-to-abrasion that is “Uni” and the guess-what-now-that-abrasion-pays-off beginning of 15-minute closer “Mahatgata III,” which, yes, hits into some New Wavy guitar just before exploding just after nine minutes in, the band make a ritual pyre of expectation, genre and what one would commonly think of as psychedelia. Some acts are just on their own level, and while Dark Buddha Rising will always be too extreme for some and not everyone’s going to get it, their growing cult can only continue to be enthralled by what they accomplish here.

Dark Buddha Rising on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Vine Weevil, Sun in Your Eyes

vine weevil sun in your eyes

Together, brothers Yotam and Itamar Rubinger — guitar/vocals and drums, respectively — comprise London’s Vine Weevil. Issued early in 2020 preceded by a video for “You are the Ocean” (posted here), Sun in Your Eyes is the second album from the brothers, who are also both former members of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and in the watery title-track and the Beatles-circa-Revolver bounce of “Loose Canon” they bask in a folkish ’60s-style psychedelia, mellotron melodies adding to the classic atmosphere tipped with just an edge of Ween-style weirdness — it’s never so druggy, but that undercurrent is there. “You are the Ocean” hints toward heavy garage, but the acoustic/electric sentimentality of “My Friend” and the patient piano unfurling of “Lord of Flies” ahead of organ-led closer “The Shadow” are more indicative overall of the scope of this engaging, heartfelt and wistful 31-minute offering.

Vine Weevil on Thee Facebooks

Vine Weevil on Bandcamp

 

King Chiefs, Flying into Void

king chiefs flying into void

Since before their coronation — when they were just Chiefs — the greatest strength of San Diego heavy rockers King Chiefs has been their songwriting. They’ve never been an especially flashy band on a technical level, never over the top either direction tempo-wise, but they can write a melody, craft a feel in a three-or-four-minute track and tell any story they want to tell in that time in a way that leaves the listener satisfied. This is not a skill to be overlooked, and though on Flying into Void, the follow-up to 2018’s Blue Sonnet (review here), the album is almost entirely done by guitarist/vocalist Paul ValleJeff Podeszwik adds guitar as well — the energy, spirit and craft that typify King Chiefs‘ work is maintained. Quality heavy built on a foundation of grunge — a ’90s influence acknowledged in the cover art; dig that Super Nintendo — it comes with a full-band feel despite its mostly-solo nature and delivers 37 minutes of absolutely-pretense-free, clearheaded rock and roll. If you can’t get down with that, one seriously doubts that’ll stop King Chiefs anyhow.

King Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

King Chiefs webstore

 

Battle Hag, Celestial Tyrant

battle hag celestial tyrant

How doomed is Battle Hag‘s doom? Well, on Celestial Tyrant, it’s pretty damn doomed. The second long-player from the Sacramento, California-based outfit is comprised of three worth-calling-slabs slabs that run in succession from shortest to longest: “Eleusinian Sacrament” (12:47), “Talus” (13:12) and “Red Giant” (19:15), running a total of 45 minutes. Why yes, it is massive as fuck. The opener brings the first round of lurch and is just a little too filthy to be pure death-doom, despite the rainstorm cued in at its last minute, but “Talus” picks up gradually, hard-hit toms signaling the plod to come with the arrival of the central riff, which shows up sooner or later. Does the timestamp matter as much as the feeling of having your chest caved in? “Talus” hits into a speedier progression as it crosses over its second half, but it’s still raw vocally, and the plod returns at the end — gloriously. At 19 minutes “Red Giant” is also the most dynamic of the three cuts, dropping after its up-front lumber and faster solo section into a quiet stretch before spending the remaining eight minutes devoted to grueling extremity and devolution to low static noise. There’s just enough sludge here to position Battle Hag in a niche between microgenres, and the individuality that results is as weighted as their tones.

Battle Hag on Thee Facebooks

Transylvanian Tapes on Bandcamp

 

Hyde, Hyde

hyde hyde

It might take a few listens to sink in — and hey, it might not — but Parisian trio Hyde are up to some deceptively intricate shenanigans on their self-titled debut LP. On their face, a riff like that of second cut “Black Phillip” or “DWAGB” — on which The Big Lebowski is sampled — aren’t revolutionary, but the atmospheric purpose to which they’re being put is more brooding than the band give themselves credit for. They call it desert-influenced, but languid tempos, gruff vocals coated in echo, spacious guitar and rhythmic largesse all come together to give Hyde‘s Hyde a darker, brooding atmosphere than it might at first seem, and even opener “The Victim” and the penultimate “The Barber of Pitlochry” — the only two songs under five minutes long — manage to dig into this vibe. Of course, the 11-minute closing eponymous track — that is, “Hyde,” by Hyde, on Hyde — goes even further, finding its way into psychedelic meandering after its chugging launch rings out, only to roll heavy in its last push, ending with start-stop thud and a long fade. Worth the effort of engaging on its own level, Hyde‘s first full-length heralds even further growth going forward.

Hyde on Thee Facebooks

Hyde on Bandcamp

 

Faith in Jane, Mother to Earth

Faith in Jane Mother to Earth

Maryland’s best kept secret in heavy rock remain wildly undervalued, but that doesn’t stop power trio Faith in Jane from exploring cosmic existentialism on Mother to Earth even as they likewise broaden the expanse of their grooving, bluesy dynamic. “The Circle” opens in passionate form followed by the crawling launch of “Gone are the Days,” and whether it’s the tempest brought to bear in the instrumental “Weight of a Dream” or the light-stepping jam in the middle of the title-track, the soaring solo from guitarist/vocalist Dan Mize on the subsequent “Nature’s Daughter” or the creeper-chug on “Universal Mind,” the cello guest spot on “Lonesome” and the homage to a party unknown (Chesapeake heavy has had its losses these last few years, to say nothing of anyone’s personal experience) in closer “We’ll Be Missing You,” Mize, bassist Brendan Winston and drummer Alex Llewellyn put on a clinic in vibrancy and showcase the classic-style chemistry that’s made them a treasure of their scene. I still say they need to tour for three years and not look back, but if it’s 56 minutes of new material instead, things could be far worse.

Faith in Jane on Thee Facebooks

Faith in Jane on Bandcamp

 

American Dharma, Cosmosis

American Dharma COSMOSIS

Newcomer four-piece American Dharma want nothing for ambition on their 70-minute debut, Cosmosis, bringing together progressive heavy rock, punk and doom, grunge and hardcore punk, but the Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, outfit are somewhat held back by a rawness of production pulling back from the spaces the songs might otherwise create. A bona fide preach at the outset of “Damaged Coda” is a break early on, but the guitars and bass want low end throughout much of the 14-song proceedings, and the vocals cut through with no problem but are mostly dry even when layered or show the presence of a guest, as on closer “You.” Actually, if you told me the whole thing was recorded live and intended as a live album, I’d believe it, but for a unit who do so well in pulling together elements of different styles in their songwriting and appear to have so much to say, their proggier leanings get lost when they might otherwise be highlighted. Now, it’s a self-released debut coming out during a global pandemic, so there’s context worth remembering, but for as much reach as American Dharma show in their songs, their presentation needs to move into alignment with that.

American Dharma on Thee Facebooks

American Dharma on Bandcamp

 

Hypernaut, Ozymandias

hypernaut ozymandias

Call it a burner, call it a corker, call it whatever you want, I seriously doubt Lima, Peru’s Hypernaut are sticking around to find out how you tag their debut album, Ozymandias. The nine-song/38-minute release pulls from punk with some of its forward-thrusting verses like “(This Is Where I) Draw the Line” or “Cynicism is Self-Harm,” but there’s metal there and in the closing title-cut as well that remains part of the atmosphere no matter how brash it might otherwise get. Spacey melodies, Sabbathian roll on “Multiverse… Battleworld” (“Hole in the Sky” walks by and waves), and a nigh-on-Devo quirk in the rhythm of “Atomic Breath” all bring to mind Iowan outliers Bloodcow, but that’s more likely sonic coincidence than direct influence, and one way or the other, Hypernaut‘s “Ozymandias” sets up a multifaceted push all through its span to its maddening, hypnotic finish, but the real danger of the thing is what this band might do if they continue on this trajectory for a few more records.

Hypernaut on Thee Facebooks

Hypernaut on Bandcamp

 

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Clutch Post ‘Live From the Doom Saloon 2.5’; Third Livestream Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

clutch doom saloon 1

Clutch have had an awful lot going on lately for a band who can’t tour. They just the compilation of singles Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1 (review here), they just put out a box set of upwards of 18LPs, and amid all the videos for the ‘Weathermaker Vault’ singles, they just today tossed out 18 minutes of live recorded tracks that serve as a teaser for the just-announced third ‘Live From the Doom Saloon’ livestream they’ll do Dec. 18. With an acoustic version of “Motherless Child,” “Run, John Barleycorn, Run” and “Wishbone” and a surprise Black Sabbath cover of “Lord of this World,” they give a welcome showing for anyone who has yet to shell out for the live sets. Sound and video are right fucking on, as one would expect. Pro-rock and all that.

The PR wire has details for the next stream:

clutch live from the doom saloon iii

CLUTCH LIVE FROM THE DOOM SALOON – VOLUME III STREAMING DECEMBER 18th, 2020

TICKETS ON SALE NOW AT www.ClutchMerch.com

CLUTCH is once again gearing up for another edition of their Live From The Doom Saloon streaming concert series. The band will be playing a 15 song set of their classics as voted by the fans.

Tickets are on sale now at ClutchMerch.com for Live from the Doom Saloon – Volume III.

“The Doom Saloon Volume 2 set was written by a fan” states frontman Neil Fallon. “We had over 4000 set list submissions. We were able to see what songs were the most requested and for Doom Saloon Volume 3 we will play the fifteen most requested songs from Doom Saloon Volume 2’s set list requests. It could be thought of as a greatest hits set as per the fans.”

Anyone who misses Live from the Doom Saloon – Volume III concert will be able to stream it on-demand through the weekend, right up till midnight EST on 12/20. Show donations will benefit Save Our Stages: https://www.saveourstages.com, a charitable organization that raises money for over 3,000 independent venues in 50 states and Washington D.C. that are banding together to ask Washington for targeted legislation to help live music survive. Music venues were the first to close and will be the last to open due to COVID 19.

Tickets: ClutchMerch.com
Contest: ClutchSetList.com
Charity info: saveourstages.com

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, Live From the Doom Saloon 2.5

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Album Review: Clutch, Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1

Posted in Reviews on November 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Clutch Weathermaker Vault Series Vol 1

For those Clutch fans who’ve followed along over the last year-plus as the band has made their way toward building up their ‘Weathermaker Vault Series’ — the first one to be unveiled was Cactus-via-WillieDixon‘s “Evil” in June 2019 — through their own Weathermaker Music label, the collection Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1, should be a welcome advent. At very least convenient. In addition to the singles themselves, it includes odds and ends like “Run, John Barleycorn, Run” from the Maryland lifer-rockers’ 2014 split with reggae-informed buddies Lionize, and “Algo Ha Cambiado,” a cover of influential ’70s-era Argentinian outfit Pappo’s Blues that appeared in a jammier take as part of 2009’s Strange Cousins From the West (discussed here and here), as well as sundry other reduxes and covers.

It is, accordingly, a fan-piece. Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1 should probably not be anyone’s starting point with Clutch. The band have a wide catalog of full-lengths to choose from, and which one makes the best entry to their work is an argument — a fun argument! — for another time. These 10 songs put together as a respectable 38-minute LP are best approached for what they are, and that’s a niche offering for the previously-indoctrinated.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. As they approach 30 years since first getting together, the four-piece of vocalist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster are no strangers when it comes to this kind of thing. Various limited live offerings through the years have surfaced, as well as countless promo discs and collections like 2003’s Slow Hole to China: Rare and Unreleased, 2005’s Pitchfork & Lost Needles, 2015’s La Curandera and of course the massive 2020 limited box set, The Obelisk, that brought together all their Weathermaker material — this compilation aside — under one banner. It may be the first of its kind — and it may not be the last; hence ‘vol. 1’ — but even though the method of releasing singles and David Brodsky-directed videos over the course of a year and a half is new to the band, it’s an engagement with multimedia-focused attention spans in a way that fits with what they’ve done before.

Beginning with the recently-unveiled revisit to “Passive Restraints” from the 1992 Earache Records EP of the same name that features a guest appearance from vocalist Randy Blythe of Lamb of GodWeathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1 wants nothing for an initial kick of energy. The nature of an outing like this is to be somewhat disjointed as tracks from various sessions are cobbled together, and Clutch have always been a band who bring out different sounds and vibes working with different producers, and while J. Robbins might be the unifying factor here in having helmed several of the songs, there are still shifts both in sound and style as the band spans their long career arc. Clutch don’t hide from them.

Clutch (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Instead, they back “Passive Restraints” with a newer take on one of their most successful singles, “Electric Worry.” The song that originally appeared on 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion (reissue reviewed here) is among Clutch‘s most landmark hooks, and while the single version had the unfortunate timing of being roughly concurrent with the death of former organist Mick Schauer, who played on that album and that track, the Weathermaker Vault “Electric Worry” does well in capturing a sense of the band’s live performance of it. Likewise that the later, speeded up redo for “Spacegrass.” It’s almost painful to hear Maines‘ holy-of-holies bassline played at anything other than a glacial pace, and the total presentation throughout is almost too clean for its own good in comparison to the danker edge with which that “Whenever it feels right” hook was delivered some 25 years ago, but again, that was 25 years ago, and Clutch take nothing away from what was by giving a reinterpretation to their own material.

The only other album track on Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1 is “Smoke Banshee,” originally on 2001’s Pure Rock Fury and it’s the best of the three. That LP has been maligned by some for its rougher-edged production — I’ll argue the “noise factor” is part of its appeal — but there’s no debating the success they bring in terms of fullness of sound in this version of “Smoke Banshee.” If they’re testing the waters for a full-re-recording or full-album live runthrough to mark the record’s 20th anniversary next year, “Smoke Banshee” shows that material might indeed be ripe for a revamp. And I like Pure Rock Fury. A lot.

ZZ Top‘s “Precious and Grace” feels like it might be included to let anyone who didn’t know know that Fallon cribbed the “Good god almighty…” lyric on Elephant Riders‘ “Eight Times Over Miss October” from the Texan outfit, and fair enough, and the Creedence Clearwater Revival cut “Fortunate Son” that presumably closes side A could hardly be a more fitting Clutch song if they wrote it. “Run, John Barleycorn, Run” is another among the slew of quality hooks early on, sat comfortably between “Electric Worry” and “Evil,” and quite possibly the best choice Clutch made as regards Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1 was to put “Willie Nelson” last, since invariably that’s the song that would be stuck in the listener’s head when the LP is over anyway. There’s just no escape from that chorus, and the re-recording — it originally appeared on Slow Hole to China and in a different version on the 2004 High Times compilation, High Volume — absolutely nails it.

That, obviously, is spoken as a fan of the band, but if the point hasn’t yet be made, that’s who inevitably will be most concerned with Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1 anyhow. It’s for the kind of Clutch listener who’s hoping they announce a holiday-timed ‘Doom Saloon’ live stream to take the place of the usual tour. Clutch have discussed the possibility of recording a new album this winter, but since they they can’t play live as they otherwise invariably would, Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1 is an opportunity in the meantime for followers to step forward and show support to the band and the work they’ve put in not only across this year, but for nearly three decades. If you made it this far reading, you probably know that already.

Clutch, “Willie Nelson” official video

Clutch on Thee Facebooks

Clutch on Instagram

Clutch on Twitter

Clutch Website

Clutch on YouTube

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Clutch Releasing Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1 Nov. 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Clutch fans, you know what this is. Slow Hole to China. Lost Needles. That La Curandera vinyl. The sundry live records from the earlier ’10s. This is the kind of Clutch offering that comes out as a fan-piece, and if you don’t pick it up, you only get pissed off later at not having done so. You know exactly how it is. You see it at the merch table and you’re like, “Eh, I already bought five shirts, I’ll get it next time,” and then it’s gone and out of print and you feel like a sap. It’s why you bought that deluxe Earth Rocker even though you had the regular one. And you were right to do that.

So, after watching Clutch produce kickass videos for the ‘Weathermaker Vault Series’ over the last year-plus, you know what to do with Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. 1. They’ve even put that Pappo’s Blues cover on there.

You can’t lose:

clutch weathermaker vault series vol 1

CLUTCH SET TO RELEASE “THE WEATHERMAKER VAULT SERIES VOL. I” NOVEMBER 27TH

Clutch will be releasing The Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. I November 27th.

In the summer of 2019, Weathermaker Music began to release digital-only Clutch covers and re-recorded songs from their vast catalog as a way to stay active and give fans a regular dose of Clutch every six or so weeks. The campaign is called The Weathermaker Vault Series, and it has been successful so far with the digital release of 9 singles. Weathermaker Music is now releasing a ten-track physical album on CD and 12″ vinyl as The Weathermaker Vault Series Vol. I. The album will contain one unreleased track, a Spanish language cover version of “Algo Ha Cambiado,” a hard-rocking shuffle written by the legendary blues-rock guitarist Norberto Napolitano affectionately known as Pappo of the pioneering Argentinean blues metal band Pappos Blues. The CD and the digital album version will be released on November 27th. A 12″ colored vinyl (Opaque White) LP version will be available in the new year.

“This Clutch release is unique in that we chose to record some of our favorite songs by artists that have provided us with inspiration over the years as well as re-record some Clutch Classics,” states drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. “Hitting the studio this way was great to keep our recording chops up as well as celebrate some music that has meant so much to us as fans and musicians.”

The Weathermaker Vault Series Vol.I Track Listing:

01. Passive Restraints
02. Electric Worry
03. Run, John Barleycorn, Run
04. Evil
05. Fortunate Son
06. Algo Ha Cambiado
07. Spacegrass
08. Precious And Grace
09. Smoke Banshee
10. Willie Nelson

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “Willie Nelson” official video

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Clutch Revisit “Passive Restraints” for Weathermaker Vault Series

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

clutch passive restraints

Look, I’m perfectly willing to go on record and say I’ve never been a Lamb of God fan. My first real exposure to the band was seeing them live in 2000 at an event hosted by my college radio station, selling their merch and when Randy Blythe came up and couldn’t find a box of CDs, accusing me of stealing it — I told him, “dude I haven’t sold one of your records, I don’t know what you think I’d do with a whole box of them,” which is not a line I regret — and trying to get me fired.

Well, I’d get myself fired without his help eventually and for something entirely unrelated, but the sour taste left in my mouth from that incident hardly dissipated as the band went on to inherit Pantera‘s fanbase and emerge as one of their generation’s leading metal bands. Was it the worst thing Blythe ever did? Well, there was that time a guy died. Did my lack of on-boardness hold Lamb of God back or cause them to lose sleep? Likely not.

So here come Clutch with a redux of “Passive Restraints,” taken from the 1992 EP of the same name, and they brought Blythe into the studio to guest on vocals as he’s apparently done a couple times on stage. Fine.

I’ll look forward to when the entire Weathermaker Vault Series comes out later this month and furrowing my brow when this song comes on. You care? Nah.

Here’s the video:

Clutch, “Passive Restraints” official video

Clutch has released its new single “Passive Restraints” today. “Passive Restraints” originally appeared as the title track to the bands 2nd EP released in 1992. This newly recorded version is part of the Weathermaker Vault Series and features guest vocals by Randy Blythe from Lamb of God. Clutch and Blythe have collaborated on this track live for several years now, the last time at European festival appearances in the summer of 2019. The song can be streamed on Spotify at this location: https://orcd.co/passiverestraints and on the band’s official YouTube Channel: https://tinyurl.com/yy2575t7

The upcoming official video for the song was directed by David Brodsky (The Black Dahlia Murder, Papa Roach).

“Passive Restraints’ was one of the first Clutch songs I wrote lyrics to,” states frontman Neil Fallon. “It was a staple of Clutch sets for years but fell by the wayside as we wrote more and more songs over the years. When we toured with Lamb of God a few years back, Randy would often ask us to bring it back into rotation. We dragged our feet, and finally, we caved. And we were glad we did. The last time Clutch played Copenhell, Randy joined us on stage to perform the song. We decided to re-record it for the WM Vault Series and thought it was only fitting to have Randy join us.”

The single “Passive Restraints” comes from the upcoming album “WeatherMaker Vault Series Vol. I” out on Friday November 27th.

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

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Review & Full Album Stream: Serpents of Secrecy, Ave Vindicta

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

SERPENTS OF SECRECY ave vindicta

[Click play above to stream Serpents of Secrecy’s Ave Vindicta in full. Album is out on Halloween through Moving the Earth Records.]

Releasing an album can be an emotionally loaded experience in the best of contexts, so one struggles to approach Serpents of Secrecy‘s Ave Vindicta imagining how it might feel for the members of the band. The roots of the project go back to 2012/2013, with earlier lineups featuring members of Alabama Thunderpussy, Gypsy Chief Goliath, and When the Deadbolt Breaks, but at the core of the group was the rhythm section of drummer Chuck Dukehart III (Foghound, ex-Sixty Watt Shaman) and bassist Rev. Jim Forrester (also later Foghound, ex-Sixty Watt Shaman), and expectations for Serpents of Secrecy were essentially shunted when Forrester was murdered in late 2017. That horrific context in no small part defined Foghound‘s most recent LP, 2018’s Awaken to Destroy (review here), and as the Baltimore/greater-Maryland underground heavy community continues to grieve, it defines Ave Vindicta as well — perhaps all the more so because of the potential shown in the record’s 11-track/52-minute run.

Serpents of Secrecy‘s debut LP and possible swansong — one never knows — arrives with the lineup of DukehartForrester, vocalist Mark Lorenzo (Zekiah, Crawler), and guitarists Steve Fisher (Borracho) and Todd Ingram (Pimmit Hills, who were formerly King Giant), the latter of whom is a founding member as well. Their collective pedigree makes them something of a Chesapeake Watershed supergroup, and with the production of J. Robbins at the Magpie Cage (also guest keys on “Bleeding Still”) as a sixth member in terms of bringing the album to light, the sense throughout Ave Vindicta is all the more complete, dynamic, and purposeful. As a straight-up, sans-nonsense heavy rock and roll band, they hit all their marks, rolling out at a nod with the six-minute title-track before the bass opens “Heel Turn” with a post-Clutch groove that Lorenzo meets with due burl en route to the semi-Southern “The Cheat” — a sound still more Maryland than Carolina; if you know what I mean — and “Time Crushes All,” which is the longest inclusion on the outing at 7:36 and veers between calm and volatility all the while giving the melody space to flourish before the wash of crash turns raw at the last apex, giving a beastly finish to the opening salvo. Ass meet boot.

And that was always going to be the story of this band. For what they’re delivering — and let’s be frank and say it’s not a stylistic reinvention of form as much as an offering made for the joy of these players combining their influences and writing the best songs they can because that’s what they’re driven to do; they’re not concerned with shifting genre paradigms here and they don’t — Serpents of Secrecy were going to be a no-doubter from the outset, and even through the various lineup changes that brought them to the five-piece of DukehartForresterIngramFisher and Lorenzo, that remained the case. As Ave Vindicta give its first breather in the instrumental “Lament” ahead of barreling through “Warbird’s Song” and the moody-but-also-huge “Orphan’s Dream,” finally breaking out the cowbell on “Dealer’s Choice” — and leading with it, no less — it is a promise being fulfilled. In the sureness of their hooks and the impact with which their material lands, Serpents of Secrecy not only fill out what they teased on 2017’s Uncoiled – The Singles two-tracker (which featured what seem to have been the same recordings of “Warbird’s Song” and “The Cheat,” with guest organ from Mark Calcott on the latter), but pay off the years of expectation preceding them.

serpents of secrecy (Photo by Shane Gardner)

What do you do with that at this point? I won’t feign impartiality here — I was always going to like this record and I do — but it’s hard to listen to it too. I knew Forrester in kind of a secondary way, through his music and being in touch over his years in his various bands. We spoke a few weeks before he was killed. He was a complex person. He had a dark side and a light side completely separate from his on-stage persona of the tongue-wagging, up-front bass player engaging the crowd, calling you “brother,” and so on. He was sweet, and someone worthy of missing as he is missed. If you didn’t know him, or you don’t know that Ave Vindicta arrives as a posthumous release for the bassist, it’s entirely possible listen blind to that mournful aspect of it. I suspect that most people who hear it won’t be so fortunate, but having known Forrester even to the extent that I did, there’s no way he would have ever wanted this material to languish, unheard, unreleased, in the event of his death or anything else. It is right and proper that Ave Vindicta sees release in homage to him.

The album’s final movement begins with “Dealer’s Choice,” which brings back guest organ alongside the noted “cowbell,” and moves into the more spacious “Bleeding Still” before the final pair “Broke the Key” and “In the Lock” round out, the penultimate track finding Lorenzo doing his best oldschool Life of Agony while the sees him taking on the role of a dollar-hungry preacher — “the salvation van is rolling, but a lack of gas money can stop it” — as the band jams out behind. It’s good fun, and indicative of the cathartic reasoning behind putting out Ave Vindicta in the first place. It’s a look at what was and what might’ve been from Serpents of Secrecy. It’s entirely possible that the band may decide to continue in some form, and certainly they have that right, but Ave Vindicta is as much a final word on the years it took to bring it about as it is a demonstration of the group’s potential. One suspects that if the album had come out in 2018, the five-piece would already be at work on a follow-up, if not already doing shows to support that next release, but then, what might’ve been is nothing if not an underlying theme to what actually is in this case. Whatever happens or doesn’t from this point on, this is a record that summarizes, earns, owns and deserves its moment.

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Clutch’s The Obelisk Box Set Out This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Yeah, I know. Snicker snicker. If I believed in fun, the title of this box set would tickle me pink. In any case, Clutch originally announced their humongous 18LP The Obelisk box set would be out for Record Store Day in April. They had a bunch of tour dates to coincide. Well, neither the tour dates nor the box set nor anyone’s anything happened as scheduled. The box set is happening this weekend. The tour? Well, we’ll just see about that. Don’t forget to wear your mask to your favorite participating record store.

Speaking of. I made the trek to one of New Jersey’s premier indie spots the other day. It was early in the day and I took The Pecan since he says the words “record store” I think because he knows he’ll get a positive response for doing so. Whatever. I looked around at CDs I don’t have room for and LPs that were cool looking but that I also don’t have room for and are more expensive and it was just kind of a bummer. I didn’t end up getting anything. It was cool to go with the kid and all, but I felt like I was kind of missing out. Time was I’d go drop $150 easy at this place without looking back. Now I just suck I guess.

But this’d be a reason to go back:

clutch the obelisk

CLUTCH’S LP BOX SET “THE OBELISK” IS FINALLY HERE

After many delays due to the ongoing pandemic The Obelisk is finally scheduled to hit stores on Saturday, Oct. 24th for the third drop of Record Store Day. The box set is comprised of all of Clutch’s Weathermaker Music vinyl releases. There are six double LP’s, three 12″ LPs, and three 12″ picture discs all together in a beautifully designed box set. In addition, the box contains a turntable mat and a square, artist signed lithograph. The rigid box has a magnetic closure and the silver foil is stamped on black Sierra cloth. This is a unique collector’s item and only 2,000 boxes were made for worldwide sales.

Says Neil Fallon: “In 2008 Clutch launched Weathermaker Music. Starting our own record label has proven to be one of the better decisions we made and The Obelisk box set is evidence. The Obelisk is comprised of all the Clutch vinyl LPs released on Weathermaker Music. It has been a long time coming, but we think it has been worth the wait.”

You can finally find this LP box set at participating Record Store Day retailers everywhere around the country on Saturday, October 24th.”

The individual 12” vinyl releases are Full Fathom Five (2xLP), Live at The Googolplex (Picture Disc), Jam Room (Picture Disc). Pitchfork & Lost Needles (Picture Disc), La Curandera, Strange Cousins From The West (2xLP),Blast Tyrant (2xLP), Robot Hive/Exodus (2xLP), From Beale Street To Oblivion (2xLP) Earth Rocker, Psychic Warfare, and Book Of bad Decisions (2xLP).

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

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