The Atomic Bitchwax Post Scorpio Title-Track Video and Album Details

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

the atomic bitchwax

So I guess when Garden State speed rock treasures  essay writing on my class teacher Where To Buy follow url district court cover letter power point presentation of master thesis on e commerce The Atomic Bitchwax put out that  The 4th grade creative writing is a strategic and creative content house that creates innovative, online editorial for our clients, so they can achieve the best Bowie cover video and said their new album,  apa paper outline How To Write An Admission Essay 10 Steps Music religion homework help online best resume writing services in new york city undercover Scorpio, had had its release delayed owing to — DUH THE SAME SHIT THAT’S DELAYING EVERYTHING INCLUDING LIFE ITSELF — that was kind of a soft-announcement for the album itself. Fair enough. The record’s a scorcher and a groover through and through, so announce it then, announce it now, whatever. It’s gonna tear shit up just the same, whenever it gets released. It’s the  write a great essay http://www.docomomoiberico.com/?dissertation-proposal-brand-loyalty Help homework schools helpful best research proposal writing service Bitchwax‘s first record with  Can I help writing resume and cover letter please? You certainly can! Are you tensed about your assignments? Do you get stressed every time you think about your assignments? At AustralianEssay.com we have all one stop solutions to your queries. Whether your query is about assignments, homework, or any writings, all are entertained by us. Garrett Sweeny, so that’s a change, but a lot of the core mission of the band remains the same. I’d go on, but hell, I wrote the bio below, so in some ways I’ve said my piece already.

And yeah, I posted about the record before, but frankly, I like keeping these things for posterity, and it’s nice to have the official thing, plus the bio I wrote. I should probably start keeping track of when I do these things. Whatever.

Preorders are up and the video for the title-track is at the bottom of the post. Not at all shockingly, it rules:

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX Announce Studio New Album ‘Scorpio’ Out August 28th via Tee Pee Records

http://oranltd.com/writing-an-admission-essay-about-music/ - Cooperate with our writers to receive the excellent review meeting the requirements Start working on your essay now with WATCH: Music Video for New Single “Scorpio”

New Jersey-based rock n’ roll trio THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX have announced their new studio album, ‘Scorpio’, which will see an August 28th release via Tee Pee Records. The group, which originally formed in the mid-90s, consists of lead vocalist/bassist Chris Kosnik, drummer Bob Pantella, and guitarist Garrett Sweeny, all of whom are past or present members of the band Monster Magnet. Scorpio is the follow up to the group’s 2017 full-length ‘Force Field’, and their eighth studio LP overall spanning more than two decades.

Pre-order ‘Scorpio’ HERE: https://orcd.co/scorpio

‘Scorpio’ Tracklisting:
1. Hope You Die
2. Energy
3. Ninja
4. Scorpio
5. Easy Action
6. Crash
7. Super Sonic
8. You Got It
9. Betting Man
10. Instant Death

BIO:

The scourge and scorch of New Jersey returns, and their sting is deadly as ever. Garden State riff rock stalwarts The Atomic Bitchwax proudly present their eighth full-length, Scorpio.

In a busy three years since NJ’s most powerful power trio issued 2017’s Force Field, they’ve toured the US and Europe multiple times over, taken part in fests far and wide, and blown past the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut album.

Scorpio acknowledges the two-decades milestone in its opening revamp of the first song the band ever wrote with vocals, “Hope You Die,” the crash-in of which will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s seen them live. A generation later, it still gets the message across.

From then on, it’s all-go on nine fresh-made burners, founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik, guitarist Garrett Sweeny, and drummer Bob Pantella toying with tempo subtly to lace songs like “Betting Man” and “Easy Action” and “Energy” with signature-style memorable hooks amid instrumentals “Ninja,” “Crash” and “Instant Death,” the head-spinning turns of which push ahead in the aggressive stance The Bitchwax began to present in 2015’s Gravitron while still remaining imbued with new character and the loyalty to classic heavy rock that underlies all their work.

Tracked in Jan. 2020 at Sound Spa in Edison, NJ, with Stephen DeAcutis engineering, Scorpio is a righteous next stage of the momentum The Atomic Bitchwax have been building through hard touring and release after release of gauntlet-throwing-down rock and roll. This is a band that never stops moving, and only ever moves forward.

http://www.theatomicbitchwax.com/
https://www.facebook.com/The-Atomic-Bitchwax-86002001659/
http://teepeerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/

The Atomic Bitchwax, “Scorpio” official video

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The Atomic Bitchwax Post “I’m Afraid of Americans” Video from David Bowie Tribute

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the atomic bitchwax

Hey, if you’re not afraid of Americans at this point, you’re just not paying attention. And the saddest part about that? It applies to all sides of every argument and every issue.

So here we are. New Jersey-based heavy rock stalwarts  Home Forums General Basketball find more info writer websites for school This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by The Atomic Bitchwax might be aiming to make a political statement in taking on  best website to do homework - If you want to know how to write a top-notch essay, you are to look through this 100% non-plagiarism guarantee of exclusive essays & papers. David Bowie‘s “I’m Afraid of Americans” for a new tribute on  Master Thesis Objectives. College essay writing service picks up only qualified employees in order for you to have the best experience of dealing Main Main Records —  Professional custom writing service offers Topics For English Research Papers, midterm papers, research essays, thesis papers, reports, reviews, speeches and dissertations of Frankenstein 3000 and  Welcome to go here Bureau for custom academic writing services by an experienced and motivated team. We have experience of more than six years in The Ribeye Bros. also feature — but it’s inherently a political song. And despite the fact that it’s been nearly 25 years since the track first showed up — and oh, how edgy it was at the time; Sustainable Development Master Thesis by Doctor John Proofreading covering a wide range of subject areas. Help with referencing, grammar, spelling and formatting Bowie and peak-era  Hire someone to click here online cheap only at Essay Agents. We can do accounting homework for money faster than anyone else. Pay us for Trent Reznor daring to make a statement about… anything — one can hardly argue against its continued resonance in the age of climate disaster, mass shootings, civil unrest, global pandemic, economic devastation, descent into tribalist fascism, on and on and fucking on. I’m an Amerian and I’m afraid of Americans too. Some of those fuckers are out grocery shopping without a mask on.

One wouldn’t expect the  personal statement buy click to read more maynard 2006 disney literary analysis essay writing Bitchwax to make a sudden turn toward sociopolitical declaration — stranger things have happened, but it would be a shift for them — but what makes their “I’m Afraid of Americans” all the more interesting is how loyal it is to the  Title: Master Thesis Dedication Page Subject: free ebooks get paid to write essays and user guide get paid to write essays download as reference instruction get Bowie/ Reznor original. The Atomic Bitchwax are no more known for using synthesizers than they are for politics, and “I’m Afraid of Americans” sees drummer Bob Pantella taking on a multi-instrumentalists and programmer role while founding bassist Chris Kosnik handles vocals as usual. I’m not sure if from their description guitarist Garrett Sweeny is on this at all or if it was done before he was really integrated into the band last year, but either way, it’s a cool step outside the power-trio norm for The Atomic Bitchwax, and nice to know that more than 20 years on, they still have the ability to surprise.

However, don’t take this to mean they’re going industrial for their new album, Scorpio, when it arrives in August. Not saying I’ve heard it or anything, but it’s all the fuzzy speed rock scorch you know and love.

Enjoy the clip:

The Atomic Bitchwax, “I’m Afraid of Americans” official video

So we did a Bowie cover last year for a tribute record on Main Man Records, Bob did all the programming, played everything and transposed it a whole step down so I could sing it. It’s totally different than what you would expect from a Bitchwax song and just a lot of fun to do.

During the lock down we put together a video for it. This in no way is a political statement, in fact the clips in the vid used were only in Bowie’s lifetime. We are just Bowie fans covering a Bowie tune.

BTW, our new Bitchwax record “Scorpio” was postponed till Aug 30th because of the world falling apart ,so stay tuned for a couple singles over the summer!

Stay safe!!!

From the Main Man Records release – “Hero – A Tribute To David Bowie”
https://www.mainmanrecords.com/products/hero-the-main-man-records-tribute-to-david-bowie-vinyl-black

The Atomic Bitchwax on Thee Facebooks

The Atomic Bitchwax website

Main Man Records website

Tee Pee Records on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

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Days of Rona: Dylan Gonzalez of Diary of Doom Podcast

Posted in Features on April 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

dylan gonzalez diary of doom

Days of Rona: Dylan Gonzalez of Diary of Doom Podcast (New Jersey)

How are you dealing with this crisis? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

I’ve been working from home since March 19th. It’s been a little weird to adjust, but happy that my company is still operating right now. Normally, I go to a lot of shows in New York City and everything through June seems to have been cancelled. I was planning to head out to Colorado in October, but as more and more shows and events further down the line got the can, I realized putting the kibosh on that was probably for the best.

So far, my health is good. It’s weird walking around with latex gloves on and a bandana covering my face. I don’t have access to a protective mask right now, but I would rather any medical supplies go to the staff who actually need them. What I am concerned with is a close friend in the ICU battling this out. It gets all too real when you know someone suffering from this and suddenly all the holes in how we could have prevented this are very apparent. I think about him everyday, hoping he can come out of this.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Where I live In NJ, school’s are closed and the restaurants are takeout and delivery only, if they have not just closed down already. None of the bars are open by me, but the local breweries have been offering curbside and delivery, so it’s nice that I can still support my friends in that business.

I generally don’t leave my apartment for anything except groceries and it’s still a bit odd to be in a grocery store. Not everyone seems to be taking it as seriously as others, which is both alarming and disappointing. Over the weekend, I went to pick up a few things and it was an absolute zoo. Literally no frozen food.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

One of my best friends lives a few blocks away from me and I can’t even go to his house to have a beer with him and his girlfriend. My girlfriend lives in Brooklyn and luckily has been fine, but it’s a challenge for us, given we are just a jump across the Hudson from each other.

And, of course, I have seen how much this has affected the music community, especially in doom. Doom and related bands make their buck on touring and it was crushing to see so many shows cancelled or postponed. We had some coming up that we were psyched for and obviously this is no fault of the bands. I have been supporting them by purchasing vinyl, merch, or sending money directly to them. It’s been really amazing to see what the doom and the NYC metal scenes are doing to help out the artists we care so much about.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

My situation is not as bad as others. I would like to let bands, artists, musicians, community members know that if they wanted to take this time to speak about what they are currently working on or their situation on another platform, I am happy to boost their voice with the podcast. There’s nothing better to do, I guess. We don’t even have to talk about doom metal, if you want to just jump on and talk to vent or ease your mind, that is fine too. I know there are some bands with records scheduled for later this year, so it would be a damn shame for them to lose momentum on that. This is a weird time we are living in and I want to be able to do whatever I can to help out the scene.

https://diaryofdoom.podbean.com/
https://www.diaryofdoom.com/
https://www.facebook.com/diaryofdoom/
https://www.instagram.com/diaryofdoom/
https://podtail.com/en/podcast/diary-of-doom/
https://podcasts.apple.com/ie/podcast/diary-of-doom/id1496078830

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Days of Rona: Zack Kurland of Green Dragon

Posted in Features on April 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

green dragon zack kurland

Days of Rona: Zack Kurland of Green Dragon (Maplewood, New Jersey)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band?

Well we text a lot and are pretty good with making each other laugh, or letting off some steam about how demented this all is. It’s tough because Jenn, Ryan, Herb and I all live close and we love getting together to play and hang out. But going inside the garage or to the studio right now together… gotta wait. Which sucks. Herb has been doing our numerology and feeding the cats outside our practice space. Ryan is figuring out how to grow his own food, we video chat sometimes. Seeing each other and feeling like the band is still active in some way helps. We’re going to start choosing the same record a day to listen to to stay connected musically. Jenn and I had a good front yard distance visit.

Have you had to rework plans at all?

We were supposed to be recording our second full-length album this weekend. And the batch of songs are ready to go, and we were really excited about it. And of course that’s on hold for a minute. Which just makes me want to break a window and scream in rage. BUT Green Dragon has always been a slow burn, so gotta be patient and let it come in its time. Shows will have to wait indefinitely; Jersey and NYC spaces are shut down.

We’ve been trying to figure out how to play together remotely so we can keep some sense of routine. Zoom was too laggy and sounded crazy. We are going to use Garageband to pass around new vocal melodies, riffs, bass lines and beats. Try to approach this musically in a different way. Make something… capture the sound of this time and isolation tracking in layers. We’re still trying to find a way to jam live virtually.

How is everyone’s health so far?

Physically so far, so good… everyone holding strong. Occasional bout of mania and rage. Sense of time is slipping.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Maplewood is right outside NYC, so it’s heavy right now. No going to work, going out only if it’s essential like to get food. I mean I hate going out. Apocalypse shopping is the worst. HATE IT. Gotta dodge the momos who didn’t get the memo about social distancing. Then you gotta wipe everything down before it comes in the house; and then strip and take a Silkwood shower as soon as you walk in the door. Jenn came up with Silkwood Shower, you know that movie with Meryl Streep and Cher about the nuclear facility? Crazy times but you have to do it.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Definitely. First just taking it all in as it was just happening. Leaving work, getting the family home, and then never leaving again for weeks to come. And at first really resistant to letting go of band practice and recording the next record together. Then realizing how real and dangerous and long term this is. A ton of our friends who make their living in music are losing their jobs and livelihoods. All our friends who are bartenders, sound people, publicity, the people who made playing live and being a band possible are suffering right now.

Yesterday I went to this place Dave’s Sound Repair in Whippany, NJ to pick up a Marshall amp that I had dropped off right before this COVID all went down. Going to pick it up seemed epic. And Dave and I both had gloves and masks did our pick up thing from 10 feet away. Felt good to support Dave right now, supporting each other with some business when we can is important. And the amp sounds amazing in my basement. Trying to think on how we can do more of this small business and music community support.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

The virus has highlighted what’s important to us as a group. Seeing each other in person matters. Staying a band matters and the music still matters to us even during the apocalypse, sometimes as much as figuring out how to get food. We’re a group of people where music is as important as other essentials. Some old friends from NYC are fighting the virus; one passed away. Another is a paramedic and he’s a super hero to me. I’m lucky I get to mostly dotter around the house like a negative creep, drink coffee, play records and keep my family close. We hope that even when we can’t see each other we can keep this piece of our lives going. Been thinking about everyone and grateful for people like you who are keeping everyone connected.

https://www.facebook.com/greendragonrock/
https://www.instagram.com/greendragonrock/
https://wearegreendragon.bandcamp.com/

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Monster Magnet Reschedule ‘Celebration of Powertrip‘ Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

New Jersey heavy psych/rockers Monster Magnet were due to start their ‘Celebration of Powertrip‘ US tour this coming Friday in Brooklyn. I’d been looking forward to it as I’m sure many others had. More than 10, and probably more than 50, which is why the show has been rescheduled for early 2021. A lot of this is happening. Fall tours will be insane, which of course is assuming the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is solved by then — and by “solved” I mean everyone stops caring and/or someone in the pharmaceutical industry figures out how to make money off it and gives a cure/treatment to enough rich people — and Monster Magnet are probably smarter to push off a little further to January.

They’ll begin in my beloved Garden State, at Starland Ballroom, and then hit Brooklyn, Boston, Philly and so on through the countryside on the rescheduled jaunt, the dates for which are freshly arrived from the PR wire and coated in disinfectant:

monster magnet (photo jeremy saffer)

MONSTER MAGNET Announces Rescheduled 2021 “Celebration of Powertrip” US Tour Dates

Due to the due to the current outbreak and ban on public gatherings, Monster Magnet have postponed their “Celebration of Powertrip” tour to 2021. Tickets for all postponed dates will be honored for the newly scheduled shows. Find a complete list of dates below.

Frontman, Dave Wyndorf on the unfortunate situation, “So sorry to postpone the tour but under the circumstances I’m sure everybody can relate. Sweaty, live rock music and pandemics aren’t a good mix. So, we’re gonna reschedule this thing and do it at a time when everyone can rub shoulders without freaking out! Thanks to everyone who bought tickets. Stay well and we’ll see you on the other side!”

Rescheduled Dates For 2021:
1/21: Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
1/22: Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
1/23: Boston, MA @ Sinclair
1/24: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
1/26: Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
1/27: Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
1/29: Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
1/30: Chicago, IL @ The Metro
1/31: Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
2/2: Denver, CO @ The Oriental Theater
2/3: Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Bar
2/5: Vancouver, BC @ The Rickshaw
2/6: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
2/7: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
2/9: San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
2/10: Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda
2/11: Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
2/12: San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
2/15: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar & Grill
2/17: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
2/18: Charleston, SC @ The Music Farm
2/19: Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage

Powertrip was the band’s commercial breakthrough, achieving mainstream success due largely to the hit single, “Space Lord”. Other hit songs on the album include “Powertrip”, “Temple of Your Dreams”, and “See You in Hell”. The album itself, reached #1 on the Heatseekers Charts, #21 in the German Charts, #65 in the UK Charts, and #97 on the Billboard 200. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on January 25, 1999.

MONSTER MAGNET line up:
Dave Wyndorf (vocals, guitar)
Garrett Sweeny (guitar)
Phil Caivano (guitar)
Chris Kosnik (bass)
Bob Pantella (drums)

http://zodiaclung.com
https://www.facebook.com/monstermagnet/
https://www.instagram.com/monstermagnetofficial/

Monster Magnet, “Powertrip” live at Bizarre Fest 1998

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The Atomic Bitchwax: Self-Titled 20th Anniversary Reissue Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the atomic bitchwax with ed

Once upon a 20 years ago, a tiny baby power trio out of a well-populated New Jersey heavy rock scene came together and blew the doors off most of not all of their peers. It was The Atomic Bitchwax, who with the original lineup of bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik, guitarist Ed Mundell and drummer Keith Ackerman, set in motion on their 1999 self-titled debut (discussed here) a whirlwind that continues unabated to this day. The faces have changed, but the mission remains largely true now to what it was then in terms of making heads spin with riffy acumen while forging an underlying groove that’s as much punk as classic rock, able to careen between pop and all-out thrust or even prog without a measure’s notice. They’ve got a new record in the can, by the way. Their first with Garrett Sweeny on guitar. It rules. It’ll be out this Spring.

Before then, you can grab the self-titled as a 20th anniversary LP reissue, and obviously you should. You already own the album? So what? You can’t possibly tell me you’re doing something better with that $18 than spending it to get The Bitchwax‘s The Bitchwax on clear purple vinyl.

They’re out with Weedeater soon ahead of the new release, so check those dates and more info below:

Tee Pee Records Announces 20th Anniversary Reissue of The Atomic Bitchwax Self-Titled Debut

On Tour in March

New Studio Album Coming in May

New Jersey’s The Atomic Bitchwax are celebrating their 20th anniversary with the re-release of 1999’s self-titled classic. Newly remastered, these CDs and LPs (pressed on clear purple vinyl) are available through the Tee Pee webstore and at TAB shows throughout this year. Order it HERE.

The Atomic Bitchwax will hit the road this March on tour with Weedeater and The Goddamn Gallows. Find a complete last of dates below.

The band has recently wrapped up recording their new album, which is set for release at the end of May. Stay tuned more details.

THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX W/ Weedeater and The Goddamn Gallows
3/3: Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
3/4: Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
3/6: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
3/7: Boston, MA @ Sonia
3/9: Youngstown, OH @ Westside Bowl
3/10: Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
3/11: Detroit, MI @ The Sanctuary
3/12: Iowa City, IA @ Wildwood
3/13: Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s

http://www.theatomicbitchwax.com/
https://www.facebook.com/The-Atomic-Bitchwax-86002001659/
http://teepeerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/

The Atomic Bitchwax, The Atomic Bitchwax (1999)

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Monster Magnet to Tour US Celebrating Powertrip Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

monster magnet

As they head abroad this week to begin a European tour centered around their Powertrip album that was announced last Fall, it seems only fair that Monster Magnet should announce their next run doing much the same in the US. Being someone who also hopes never to work another day in his life, that album’s central message rings pretty damn true to my ears and it kind of always has, but how could such dropping-out-of-life be anything less than relevant to the times in which we live? Of all Dave Wyndorf‘s many aggrandizing lyrical proclamations, Powertrip — the record that brought forth the mega-single “Space Lord” in addition to its title-track, “See You in Hell,” and so on — was the album that set the pattern for what the band would do over their next four, arguably five, albums, and it cast their influence wide in a way that has endured the 22 years since its release.

Why now to bring it into this kind of focus? Who cares? Because it’s a party? Because it’ll bring people out? Maybe if we’re lucky they’ll make a live album.

Here are all the dates:

MONSTER MAGNET Announces “A Celebration of Powertrip” North American Tour

Nebula and Silvertomb to Support

Kicks off March 20th in Brooklyn, NY

Psych Rock Legends Monster Magnet will return to the road in North America this Spring to celebrate their historic release Powertrip. Their live set will feature select cuts from this seminal album as well as your Monster Magnet favorites. Support on the tour will come from Nebula and Silvertomb. The tour begins March 20th in Brooklyn, NY and runs through April 18th in Sayreville, NJ. A complete list of dates can be found below.

MONSTER MAGNET W/ Nebula and Silvertomb:
3/20: Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
3/21: Boston, MA @ Sinclair
3/22: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
3/24: Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
3/25: Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
3/27: Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
3/28: Chicago, IL @ The Metro
3/29: Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
3/31: Denver, CO @ The Oriental Theater
4/1: Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Bar
4/3: Vancouver, BC @ The Rickshaw
4/4: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
4/5: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
4/7: San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
4/8: Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda
4/9: Las Vegas, NV @ The House of Blues
4/10: San Diego, CA @ Observatory North Park
4/13: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
4/15: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
4/16: Charleston, SC @ The Music Farm
4/17: Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage
4/18: Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom

Monster Magnet European Tour:
Jan 22 Glasgow UK The Garage
Jan 23 Leeds UK O2 Academy Leeds
Jan 24 London UK The Forum
Jan 25 Utrecht NL Tivoliredenburg
Jan 27 Oslo NO John Dee
Jan 28 Gothenburg SWE Pustervikbaren
Jan 29 Malmo SWE Kulturbolaget (KB)
Jan 31 Leuven BE Het Depot V2W
Feb 01 Berlin DE Metropol
Feb 03 Cologne DE Essigfabrik & Sensor Club
Feb 04 Munich DE Muffathalle
Feb 05 Hamburg DE Markthalle
Feb 07 Bremen DE Schlachthof
Feb 08 Dresden DE Reithalle
Feb 09 Stuttgart DE LKA Longhorn
Feb 10 Dortmund DE FZW
Feb 12 Antwerp BE Trix
Feb 13 Wiesbaden DE Schlacthof
Feb 15 Zagreb CR Mochvara
Feb 16 Vienna AT Simm City
Feb 17 Zurich CH Dynamo
Feb 18 Trezzo Sull’Adda IT Live Club
Feb 20 Pamplona Navarra ES Sala Zentral
Feb 21 Santiago de Compostela ES Sala Capitol
Feb 22 Madrid ES Sala Mon
Feb 23 Barcelona ES Razzmatazz

Powertrip was the band’s commercial breakthrough, achieving mainstream success due largely to the hit single, “Space Lord”. Other hit songs on the album include “Powertrip”, “Temple of Your Dreams”, and “See You in Hell”. The album itself, reached #1 on the Heatseekers Charts, #21 in the German Charts, #65 in the UK Charts, and #97 on the Billboard 200. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on January 25, 1999.

MONSTER MAGNET line up:
Dave Wyndorf (vocals, guitar)
Garrett Sweeny (guitar)
Phil Caivano (guitar)
Chris Kosnik (bass)
Bob Pantella (drums)

http://zodiaclung.com
https://www.facebook.com/monstermagnet/
https://www.instagram.com/monstermagnetofficial/

Monster Magnet, “Powertrip” live at Bizarre Fest 1998

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2019

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

the obelisk best of 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here we go:

The Top 50 Albums of 2019

#50-31

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

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

30. Sun Blood Stories, Haunt Yourself

sun blood stories haunt yourself

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 6.

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

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

Church of the Cosmic Skull Everybodys Going to Die

Released by Septaphonic Records. Reviewed Dec. 10.

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

28. Devil to Pay, Forever, Never or Whenever

devil to pay forever never or whenever

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 4.

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

27. Howling Giant, The Space Between Worlds

howling giant the space between worlds

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Oct. 11.

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

26. Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus

saint vitus saint vitus

Released by Season of Mist. Reviewed March 19.

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

25. Ealdor Bealu, Spirit of the Lonely Places

ealdor bealu spirit of the lonely places

Self-released. Reviewed July 10.

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

24. Yatra, Death Ritual

yatra death ritual

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

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

23. Ecstatic Vision, For the Masses

ecstatic vision for the masses

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 17.

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

22. Beastwars, IV

beastwars iv

Released by Destroy Records. Reviewed June 27.

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

21. Eternal Black, Slow Burn Suicide

eternal black slow burn suicide

Self-released. Reviewed June 7.

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

20. Candlemass, The Door to Doom

candlemass the door to doom

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 22.

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

19. Nebula, Holy Shit

nebula holy shit

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed June 13.

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

18. Valley of the Sun, Old Gods

valley of the sun old gods

Released by Fuzzorama Records. Reviewed May 21.

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

17. Kadavar, For the Dead Travel Fast

Kadavar For the Dead Travel Fast

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Oct. 28.

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

16. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Yn Ol I Annwn

mammoth weed wizard bastard yn ol i annwn

Released by New Heavy Sounds. Reviewed Feb. 7.

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

15. Magic Circle, Departed Souls

magic circle departed souls

Released by 20 Buck Spin. Reviewed April 3.

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

14. Spaceslug, Reign of the Orion

Spaceslug Reign of the Orion cover

Released by BSFD Records. Reviewed Nov. 22.

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

13. Green Lung, Woodland Rites

green lung woodland rites

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed Jan. 28.

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

12. Lo-Pan, Subtle

lo-pan subtle

Released by Aqualamb Records. Reviewed May 9.

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

11. Roadsaw, Tinnitus the Night

roadsaw tinnitus the night

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 12.

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

10. Worshipper, Light in the Wire

worshipper light in the wire

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed April 24.

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

9. Solace, The Brink

solace the brink

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Nov. 21.

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

8. Brume, Rabbits

brume rabbits

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

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

7. Mars Red Sky, The Task Eternal

mars red sky the task eternal

Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed Sept. 20.

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

6. Kings Destroy, Fantasma Nera

Kings Destroy Fantasma Nera

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed March 15.

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

5. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed Dec. 3.

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

4. Blackwater Holylight, Veils of Winter

blackwater holylight veils of winter

Released by RidingEasy Records. Reviewed Sept. 26.

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

3. Slomatics, Canyons

Slomatics Canyons

Released by Black Bow Records. Reviewed May 15.

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

2. Year of the Cobra, Ash and Dust

year of the cobra ash and dust

Released by Prophecy Productions. Reviewed Oct. 24.

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

2019 Album of the Year

1. Monolord, No Comfort

monolord no comfort

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

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

The Top 50 Albums of 2019: Honorable Mention

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

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

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

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

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

The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2019

green lung woodland rites

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

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

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

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2019

geezer spiral fires

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

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

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

Postwax

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

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

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

Looking Ahead to 2020

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

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

Thank You

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

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

More to come.

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