Amenra Sign to Relapse Records; New Album out Next Year

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Curious how inevitable this feels. Belgian post-metal touchstones Guide to Hiring a Freelance Recommended Site By Nicole Bishop Why Hire a Freelance Business Writer? While running the writers' website, Writerfind.com, I am Amenra have set the genre standard by which Europe abides. Their pervasive aesthetic sensibility, balance of ambience and extreme sonic aggression and heft, can be heard across an entire swath of acts working largely in their strobe-pumping wake. I’ve never been the biggest Buy Research Paper On Aids from USA, UK service offers 100% non-plagiarized custom written best essay, thesis, research paper, term paper, research proposal Amenra fan in the world — something about their unwillingness to break their own rules continues to leave me cold — but one would have to be a fool not to acknowledge the impact they’ve had or to respect the force they represent when they take the stage.

Earlier this month, I assume for Bandcamp Friday, they released a collection of demo material for what became 2017’s . Do you need to produce an essay in a short time frame? Thanks to the. Buy essay org. Custom dissertation writing academic ghostwriter Mass VI, and you’ll find that streaming below. In addition to their signing to Brafton’s http://www.programmemed.eu/?sample-literature-review-paper remain its foundation, even as we’ve expanded into every aspect of content marketing strategy. Combining industry Relapse, where they join recent acquisitions How good is it for you to Homework Help Outline For An Essay Paper only after you are fully satisfied with it? Our professionals will in addition teach you how to write a Temple of Void and the likes of A check it out will provide these important steps Monolord, you’ll also find word below of a new album coming next year. One will expect that to arrive with no shortage of anticipation behind it.

From the PR wire:

amenra

AMENRA SIGN TO RELAPSE RECORDS; NEW FULL-LENGTH ALBUM COMING 2021

Relapse Records is proud to announce the signing of Belgium’s AMENRA! Formed in 1999, the critically acclaimed band have since captivated audiences through their raw, ethereal, sonic energy, both live and in the studio. AMENRA’s monstrous live performances and cinematic albums have earned them a cult following. Touring the world over, the band has played some of the most prestigious festivals in Europe and North America. AMENRA will release a highly anticipated new album in 2021. Stay tuned for more information in the near future.

Regarding the signing, AMENRA comments:

“We are thrilled to announce that from now on we will be signed to Relapse records. A haven to a lot of our friends, and now to us as well. We are looking forward to work with this more than capable team, and are eager to see where it will lead us. Our new record will see its first light mid 2021. Ever onwards.”

AMENRA Is:
Colin H. Van Eeckhout – Vocals
Mathieu Vandekerckhove – Guitars
Bjorn Lebon – Drums
Lennart Bossu – Guitars
Tim De Gieter – Bass

www.ritualofra.com
https://amenra.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/amenra_official/
www.facebook.com/churchofra
https://twitter.com/churchofra
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

Amenra, The Cradle: Demos (2020)

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Temple of Void Sign to Relapse for Fourth LP Next Year

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

Shit, that’s cool. Good for  custom author archive page thesis look at this sites custom college essay papers essay about high school life teachers Temple of Void. Hell, good for  Our http://www.islamportal.at/?master-thesis-taxation service really believes in successful meeting the most strict deadlines our clients have every student day! Rely upon our talented team! Relapse. Good match all around, really. And if tours can ever happen again, all the better. Previously hooked up with  You can buy an essay with plagiarism-free, on-time delivery and 100% satisfaction guarantee. So my link today for complete satisfactory work. Shadow Kingdom Records, Detroit deathbringers  Professional custom http://www.gartenhotel-crystal.at/?research-paper-admissions-college offers custom essays, term papers, research papers, thesis papers, reports, reviews, speeches and dissertations of Temple of Void released their prescient-in-title third album,  Buy http://www.finobrno.cz/?disney-oberservational-behavior-research-paper-help Onlinein UK, US, Australia.. Team of Dedicated Writers Can Assist you for Dissertation Proofreading Service The World That Was (review here), this past March. Their follow-up will be their  Ap College Application Essay Pay To Start descriptive essay of football business plan pro buy edit college essays online the kite runner love essay help my essay is too Relapse Records debut, which for a band like this is pretty much living the dream. Can’t say they haven’t earned it, either. Their take on death metal and doom fluidly tips the balance to one side or another to serve songs that are inventive even as they don genre tropes, and the band revel in past glories even as they make them their own. Congrats and kudos all around.

You like good news? I do. Here’s some from the PR wire:

temple of void (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

TEMPLE OF VOID Sign To Relapse Records; New Album Coming 2021

Relapse Records is proud to announce the signing of Detroit, MI based death/doom legion TEMPLE OF VOID. Temple of Void are currently writing their Relapse Records debut, their 4th full length, set to be released in 2021. Stay tuned for more information in the near future.

Regarding the signing, TEMPLE OF VOID Comments:

“The pandemic may have stopped us playing shows, but it can’t stop us writing a new record. We’ve been hard at work ever since lockdown started, crafting new songs and exploring new ways to expand and hone our signature sound. Never a band to write the same album twice, our debut for Relapse will both be familiar and new all at the same time. Echoes of the past will meet with glimpses into the future. Each record we write stands on the shoulders of the prior albums, and this is no different. We’re beyond fucking excited to get into the studio next year and track this beast.”

TEMPLE OF VOID have reverberated across the underground upon the releases of their 2014 full length “Of Terror and the Supernatural”, 2017’s critically acclaimed “Lords of Death”, and their most recent album, “The World that Was”.

“The World that Was” sold out of its first pressing before it was released, speaking to the support from death metal maniacs worldwide. Featuring incredible musical collaborations and artwork that pushed their cosmic atmosphere into new dimensions, “The World That Was” marked a new step in the band’s forward-thinking path, highlighting them as a contender for the year’s best in extreme music.

Now, with their signing to Relapse Records, TEMPLE OF VOID embark once again upon a voyage beyond death, beyond doom, and beyond the ultimate!

TEMPLE OF VOID Is:
Michael Erdody – Vocals
Don Durr – Guitar
Jason Pearce – Drums
Alex Awn – Guitar
Brent Satterly –Bass

https://templeofvoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TempleOfVoid
https://www.instagram.com/templeofvoid/
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

Temple of Void, The World That Was (2020)

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Album Review: Valkyrie, Fear

Posted in Reviews on August 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Valkyrie Fear

world war 2 facts homework help Write Essay My Son Papers doctoral dissertation help hays what should i write my descriptive essay on Valkyrie have been a band in waiting for a long time. Founded circa 2002 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, by brothers  Music To Help You Do Your Homework at Masters and Ph.D. levels. Cheap Prices for Thesis Writing Services, 24/7 Support, Flexible Discounts, US Based Company. Jake and  Pay For Essay Customer Review - Instead of having trouble about research paper writing find the needed assistance here Leave your papers to the most talented Pete  Adams — both on guitar/vocals — the band made their self-titled debut (discussed here) in 2006 and followed it with Man of Two Visions (discussed here) in 2008. Both records readily ingratiated them to the Chesapeake heavy underground, and as Harrisonburg is located farther west, out in the Shenandoah Valley just east of the Monongahela National Forest, the organic feel of their sound in those early days seemed especially well earned and was a distinguishing factor from the harder disillusioned edge of working class D.C. doom. Valkyrie took a back seat as Pete Adams joined Baroness in 2008 and set about full-time touring/recording, etc., but they signed to Relapse Records ahead of 2015’s Shadows (review here) and with that awaited third outing gave listeners a reminder of the dynamic between the two brothers that helped make them such a distinct outfit in the first place.

With Alan Fary (Earthling) on bass and Warren Hawkins drumming as a returning rhythm section, the four-piece set about Fear as the first Valkyrie long-player to arrive following the end of Pete‘s tenure in the aforementioned Baroness — he still plays in Samhain and Razors in the Night, so far as I know — and a decidedly mature dual-guitar take on heavy rock worthy of Valkyrie‘s near 20 years as a group. The album runs a manageable eight tracks/43 minutes and represents its questioning/exploring mortality well visually with its cover, songs like the opener “Feeling So Low,” “Afraid to Live,” “Fear and Sacrifice” and “The Choice” taking a contemplative and somewhat wistful position that suits the natural sound of Valkyrie‘s particular take on doom rock and brings out a new kind of resonance within their work as well as highlights the human spirit that’s made them so resonant over the longer term — because while they’ve never hit the road for two months at a time or put out records on a regular 18-month cycle, each Valkyrie LP brims with a sincerity and heart all its own, Fear included.

On first hearing, a given listener might be struck by the roll of “Feeling So Low” at the outset, and how, with Jake Adams‘ vocals patterned over the kind of bounding riff as they are, Valkyrie reminds of earlier Kadavar, but actually what’s coming through are the roots in classic heavy rock that have always been central to their efforts. If Fear is Valkyrie laying claim to that aspect of their sound, one would be hard-pressed to think of a better unit to stand as inheritor of the foundation set by the likes of Pentagram in the mid-Atlantic region of the US. That’s not the kind of thing a band is likely to purposefully decide as they’re writing a song, but putting “Feeling So Low” at the beginning of Fear does more than just start the record with a quality hook and the first of many, many, many guitar solos — it establishes the atmosphere and context from which the rest of the songs will branch out.

Valkyrie

It shouldn’t be a surprise at this point that Valkyrie can structure a fluid LP, as they’ve certainly done it before, but in pairing “Feeling So Low” and “Afraid to Live” — the longest inclusion at 6:45 — right next to each other, the band bring their audience with them readily and present a deceptive immersion in side A of the release while remaining largely grounded in terms of structure and songwriting. Likewise, it should shock nobody who’s heard them before that the guitar work is stellar, but as ever, credit has to go to Hawkins and Fary in the rhythm section has holding down the sleek groove of “Feeling So Low” or third track “Loveblind” and keeping the Adams brothers in check when it comes time to launch into the next lead. Fary, who delves into more extreme territory with Earthling, plays with well enough class to hold his own against the higher-end strings, and Hawkins — who’s been with the band since at least 2008 — skillfully changes drum patterns to feed the energy behind solos, not only in “Loveblind” but all across Fear, his chemistry with the two guitarists well evident in the fluidity and swing of his technique. Valkyrie are, to put it another way, more than just a guitar band.

Side A rolls to its finish with “The Choice,” a nodding groove taking hold with the arrival of the verse peppered with leads that emerge as the foundation for a rousing final charge, and the semi-title-track “Fear and Sacrifice” begins side B with a more progressive turn that hints at some of the departures to come. Again, classic form, but it’s still well in line with where Valkyrie have been up to that point, and even as the guitars intertwine with an added touch of intricacy to the between-verses noodling, there’s the solid rock foundation beneath. A quick moment of quiet precedes the launch of a second solo section building on the first, and that carries “Fear and Sacrifice” to its finish ahead of the closing salvo in “Brings You Down,” “Evil Eye” and “Exasperator,” each of which gets successively shorter as they move to round out the album.

That’s an interesting, almost humble, choice on the part of the band, but it coincides as well with an uptick in sonic breadth, as “Brings You Down” taps more mellow blues vibes before taking off as it does, while “Evil Eye” might be the best hook Valkyrie has ever written — a shimmering proto-metal highlight somewhat buried on the album but that serves well in its position as a last energy charge before the instrumental “Exasperator” closes. The guitars again weave themselves together in a way that echoes “Fear and Sacrifice” and some of Fear‘s other classic-heavy-prog flourishes, but the pastoralism in their work remains firm and, as it has only ever done, makes Valkyrie an all the more distinguished and engaging band. They’ve been underrated for over 15 years, and, well, they’ll probably continue to be underrated for as long as they go — such is in the finest tradition of mid-Atlantic heavy — but for those who give Fear a chance to sink in, the rewards are three-dimensional, and in performance and craft, Valkyrie offer their most complete work to-date.

Valkyrie, Fear (2020)

Valkyrie on Thee Facebooks

Valkyrie on Bandcamp

Relapse Records website

Relapse Records on Thee Facebooks

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Finding Comfort in Live Music When There Isn’t Any

Posted in Features on August 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Bands and festivals have begun to announce 2021 dates and all that, but let’s be realistic: it’s going to be years before live music is what it once was. Especially in the United States, which is the country in the world hardest hit by the ol’ firelung in no small part because of the ineptitude of its federal leadership, an entire economic system of live music — not to mention the venues, promotions and other cultural institutions that support it on all levels — needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. It isn’t going to be just as simple as “social distancing is over and we can all crowd into the bar again.” Maybe not ever.

You’ve likely seen a band do a live stream at this point, even if after the fact, and I have too. Not the same as a real-life gig, duh, but if it helps raise some funds and keeps creative people working on something and gives an act a way to connect with its audience, you can’t call it bad. I’ve found, though, that with the dearth of live music happening and the nil potential that “going to a show” will happen anytime soon, I’ve been listening to more and more live albums.

This, in no small part, is because there are plenty to listen to. Some groups attempting to bring in cash either for themselves or relevant causes have put out live records in the last few months and made use of the downtime that would’ve otherwise been given to actually being on a stage or writing together in a room or whatever it might be. It’s been a way for a band to not just sit on its collective hands and wonder what the future will bring. When so much is out of your own control, you make the most of what you’ve got.

In that spirit, here’s a quick rundown of 10 recent live outings that I’ve been digging. If you’ve found you’re in the need of finding comfort in live music and whatever act you want to see isn’t doing a stream just this second, maybe you can put one of these on, close your eyes, and be affected a bit by the on-stage energy that comes through.

Thanks as always for reading, and thanks to Tim Burke, Vania Yosifova, and Chris Pojama Pearson for adding their suggestions when I asked on social media. Here we go, ordered by date of release:

Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)

arcadian child from far for the wild

Released Jan. 24.

Granted, this one came out before the real impact of COVID-19 was being felt worldwide, but with the recent announcement of Arcadian Child‘s next studio album coming out this Fall, including From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz) (discussed here) on this list seems only fair. The Cyprus-based four-piece even went so far as to include a couple new songs in the set that’ll show up on Protopsycho as well this October, so it’s a chance to get a preview of that material as well. Bonus for a bonus. Take the win.

Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1

kadavar studio live session

Released March 25.

Germany began imposing curfews in six of its states on March 22. At that point, tours were already being canceled, including Kadavar‘s European run after two shows, and the band hit Blue Wall Studio in Berlin for a set that was streamed through Facebook and in no small part helped set the pattern of streams in motion. With shows canceled in Australia/New Zealand and North America as well, Kadavar were hoping to recover some of the momentum they’d lost, and their turning it into a live record is also a part of that, as is their upcoming studio release, The Isolation Tapes.

Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Øresund Space Collective Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Released April 3.

Of course, I’m perfectly willing to grant that Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 (review here) wasn’t something Øresund Space Collective specifically put out because of the pandemic, but hell, it still exists and that enough, as far as I’m concerned. As ever, they proliferate top notch psychedelic improv, and though I’ve never seen them and it seems increasingly likely I won’t at the fest I was supposed to this year, their vitality is always infectious.

Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop

pelican Live at The Grog Shop

Released April 15.

Let’s be frank — if you don’t love Pelican‘s music to a familial degree, it’s not that I think less of you as a person, but I definitely feel bad for you in a way that, if I told you face-to-face, you won’t find almost entirely condescending. The Chicago instrumentalists are high on my list of golly-I-wish-they’d-do-a-livestream, and if you need an argument to support that, this set from Ohio should do the trick nicely. It’s from September 2019, which was just nearly a year ago. If your mind isn’t blown by their chugging progressive riffs, certainly that thought should do the trick.

SEA, Live at ONCE

sea live at once

Released June 19.

Also captured on video, this set from Boston’s SEA finds them supporting 2020’s debut album, Impermanence (review here) and pushing beyond at ONCE Ballroom in their hometown. The band’s blend of post-metallic atmosphere and spacious melody-making comes through as they alternate between lumbering riffs and more subdued ambience, and it makes a fitting complement to the record in underscoring their progressive potential. The sound is raw but I’d want nothing less.

Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018

sumac st vitus

Released July 3.

Issued as a benefit to Black Lives Matter Seattle and a host of other causes, among them the Philadelphia Womanist Working Collective, this Sumac set is precisely what it promises in the title — a live show from 2018 at Brooklyn’s famed Saint Vitus Bar. I wasn’t at this show, but it does make me a little wistful to think of that particular venue in the current concert-less climate. Sumac aren’t big on healing when it comes to the raw sonics, but there’s certainly enough spaciousness here to get lost in should you wish to do so.

YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

YOB Pickathon 2019 Live from the Galaxy Barn

Released July 3.

They’ve since taken down the Bandcamp stream, but YOB’s Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn (review here) was released as a benefit for Navajo Nation COVID-19 relief, and is an hour-long set that paired the restlessness of “The Lie that is Sin” next to the ever-resonant “Marrow.” Of all the live records on this list, this is probably the one that’s brought me the most joy, and it also inspired the most recent episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal, which jumped headfirst into YOB‘s catalog. More YOB please. Also, if you haven’t seen the videos of Mike Scheidt playing his guitar around the house, you should probably hook into that too.

Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble

dirty streets rough and tumble

Released July 31.

If you’re not all the way down with the realization that Justin Toland is the man when it comes to heavy soul and blues guitar, Dirty Streets‘ new live record, Rough and Tumble, will set you straight, and it won’t even take that long. With the all-killer bass and drums of Thomas Storz and Andrew Denham behind, Toland reminds of what a true virtuoso player can accomplish when put in a room with a crowd to watch. That’s an important message for any time, let alone right now. These cats always deliver.

Amenra, Mass VI Live

amenra mass vi live

Released Aug. 7

Look, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I’m the biggest Amenra fan in the world. I’m not. Sometimes I feel like they follow too many of their own rules for their own good, but there’s no question that live they’re well served by the spectacle they create, and their atmospherics are genuinely affecting. And I know that I’m in the minority in my position, so for anyone who digs them hard, they put up this stream-turned-record wherein they play a goodly portion of 2017’s Mass VI, and even as the self-professed not-biggest-fan-in-the-world, I can appreciate their effort and the screamy-scream-crushy-crush/open-spaced ambience that ensues.

Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Electric Moon Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Releasing Sept. 4.

Yeah, okay, this one’s not out yet, but sometimes I’m lucky enough to get things early for review and sometimes (on good days) those things happen to be new live records from Germany psychonauts Electric Moon. The Always-Out-There-Sula-Komets are in top form on Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019 as one would have to expect, and they’re streaming a 22-minute version of “777” now that rips so hard it sounds like it’s about to tear a hole into an alternate dimension where shows are still going on so yes please everyone go and listen to it and maybe we’ll get lucky and it’ll really happen. The magic was in you all along.

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Red Fang Stream New Single “Stereo Nucleosis”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

You think Red Fang will put out another album? I mean, maybe, right? Nothing to say they couldn’t, and as strong as they are in songwriting and performance, it’s not like I’d count them out or anything, but the vibe I got with 2016’s Only Ghosts (review here) was that they’d pushed their sound as far as they thought they could, and that they were perhaps starting to feel the residual burn from so many years of hard touring. I saw them in 2018 in Massachusetts (review here), and they certainly put on a Red Fang show, which is saying something, but they seem to have been waiting for the time to take that next step to headlining on the scale of bands former labelmates like High on Fire or even Mastodon, and it just hasn’t come together.

Both of those bands are, admittedly, more metal in their presentation, so maybe that’s it. Maybe Red Fang, despite the outward accessibility of what they do — their hooks, their funny videos, etc. — are too in-between to catch on at that level. I wonder what would happen if they put out a hyper-aggro album? Or a hyper-melodic one? Or one at all, as it’s now been four years.

Relapse, which sent the press release below, hints at new music to come in 2021. Worth keeping an eye on, as always. “Stereo Nucleosis,” the new single, is out through Adult Swim. “Betty Betty hook up” and all that:

red fang stereo nucleosis

RED FANG: Share Adult Swim Single “Stereo Nucleosis”

Adult Swim Singles have shared a new song by Portland’s RED FANG as the forty-third entry in the 2019-2020 program. “Stereo Nucleosis” is the quartet’s first release since last year’s standalone single/ video “Antidote” (which came paired with a headbang-powered app/game by Weiden Kennedy), and stands as a sterling exemplar of their trademark mix of compelling songwriting and heavy anthemic euphoria that speaks to the headbanger, the hesher, and the music student alike. The band, whose last full length was 2016’s Only Ghosts, have an eye towards the future with exciting news about more new music forthcoming as 2021 inches closer.

LISTEN TO “STEREO NUCLEOSIS”
https://www.adultswim.com/music/singles

RED FANG’s latest album Only Ghosts is out now on CD/LP/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical packages and digital orders are available via Relapse.com HERE and Bandcamp HERE.

RED FANG is:
John Sherman – Drums
Aaron Beam – Bass, Vocals
David Sullivan – Guitar
Maurice Bryan Giles – Guitar, Vocals

www.redfang.net
www.facebook.com/redfangband
www.instagram.com/redfangband
http://redfang.bandcamp.com
http://relapse.com/

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Wolves in the Throne Room Sign to Relapse Records; New Album Next Year

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

Relapse Records for North America, Century Media for Europe — you might say that, yes, indeed, Wolves in the Throne Room are well endorsed these days, particularly for a band whose reputation is built on continual stylistic expansion in extreme and black metal. It was about a year ago that the Olympia, Washington, three-piece announced they would follow-up 2017’s Thrice Woven (review here), saying at that point that the record would be out in Feb. 2020 to coincide with a European tour alongside Amorphis and Dimmu Borgir. Well, you know how that goes.

But the shift from releasing on their own Artemisia Records imprint to releasing through Relapse in North America is significant. They seemed pretty locked in when it came to doing things in-house, and I thought that suited them. Things — as you might’ve heard — change. Maybe they didn’t dig self-releasing as much as they thought they would. Either way. Safe bet that whenever the new album — their seventh! — lands, you’ll hear about it.

For now, this update:

wolves in the throne room (Photo by Peter Beste)

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Sign To Relapse Records For North America; New Album Coming 2021

Relapse Records is proud to announce the signing of WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM. The Olympia, Washington based band is currently working on a new album to be released in 2021. More news about the album will be made available over the months to come.

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM comment on the signing:

“We are proud to announce our collaboration with Relapse records. As fans of the label since the early days, we are excited to be working with such capable folks. We are currently crafting our forthcoming record which will be released in North America by Relapse in alliance with Century Media who will be handling the rest of the world. More news to be announced very soon.”

Since the release of Thrice Woven, the band has toured relentlessly across the globe with titans of metal such as Behemoth, At the Gates, Dimmu Borgir, and Amorphis.

In early 2021 the band will be releasing their 7th full-length album in collaboration with Relapse Records (North America) and Century Media (All other Territories.)

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM is:

Aaron Weaver – Drums/Vocals
Nathan Weaver – Vocals/Guitars/Keyboards
Kody Keyworth – Guitars

http://wittr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/wolvesinthethroneroom/
https://www.instagram.com/wittrofficial/
https://wolvesinthethroneroom.bandcamp.com/
https://artemisiarecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven (2017)

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Friday Full-Length: Author & Punisher, Beastland

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

The apocalyptic intensity conjured by San Diego one-man machine-doom/industrial outfit Author & Punisher has garnered praise far and wide over the better part of the last decade, and certainly the fact that Tristan Shone started the project over 15 years ago and has had a broad influence on the current heavy underground fascination with industrial sounds is a part of why. When it comes to artists and bands so hyped, as Author & Punisher has been at least since Ursus Americanus and Women & Children came out on Seventh Rule and more people began to experience it live, with Shone‘s homemade-or-at-least-workshop-made “drone machines” taking the place of instruments and serving rhythmic and melodic functions while he shouts into a custom vocal processor — quite a sight — my immediate response is to shut it out. The thing about most hyperbole? It’s bullshit. And very often it’s not so much about the artist involved as the person writing wanting to be ‘the one who said so.’ It is as much ego on the part of writer as it is plaudit of the work, and I think it’s gross. Total turnoff, and as a result, I’m less inclined to really dig into an album or whatever it is because, well, ugh, so chic.

Am I always right? Nope. But the thing about music is it’s not a race to be first to find a thing, and once a record’s out, it’ll still be there after the fever-pitch has come down a bit. There’s a certain freedom in being late to the party. Thus it is that I’ve recently taken on Author & Punisher‘s Beastland, which is positioned as Shone‘s sixth long-player (though I’m not sure how that count actually works). Issued in 2018 as a first offering through Relapse Records, it is a smartly-executed eight-track/36-minute collection that wastes neither its own nor your time, and Shone‘s connection to doom can be felt not so much in the audio itself — though certainly the sounds he makes are weighted, sometimes cruelly so — but author and punisher beastlandin the structures and traditions he’s following. As one might expect, there’s a good deal of influence from Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails to be felt throughout — and how Reznor isn’t beating down Shone‘s door to collaborate, I don’t know — but the lumbering tempos that punctuate most of Beastland, from “Pharmacide” and the shouty single “Nihil Strength” into the noise-soaked “Ode to Bedlam” onward, certainly offer a thread. Also a threat. Further, the fullness of sound and depth of the mix, Shone‘s vocals being alternately buried and at the fore, sometimes switching in the span of a lyric, as on “Ode to Bedlam,” which is the shortest inclusion at 3:29 and soon devolves into noise and drone before building back as a transition to the more melodic centerpiece duo “The Speaker is Systematically Blown” and “Nazarene,” both of which dare to be catchy and soaring in their duly-blown-out melody, more brazenly so even than “Nihil Strength,” the very beat of which is a hook unto itself.

And like a more traditional doom record, as Beastland moves into side B, the palette expands, from the angularity and atmosphere of “Apparition” into the closing pair “Night Terror” and “Beastland” itself, the former which dons a techno siren at the outset and moves into a steady hum and roll that cycle through and pull apart in a way that feels built outward from the false restart at the end of “Nazarene,” and the latter title-track which is more purely a work of ambient noisy chaos, still set to a beat as much of it is. “Night Terror” and “Beastland” both top six minutes, with the finale echoing Blade Runner in its echoing keyboard melodies like ethereal horns sounding, even as static grit underlies and Shone‘s voice follows the notes. Beastland ends with a churn and a plod that fades into what seems to be a last grunted exhale, which runs counter to the kind of inhuman(e) aural assault that much of the record has provided but is a reminder nonetheless that there’s a person behind the operation of all these robotics and all these willfully horrifying sounds.

If you’ve ever seen Author & Punisher, you probably don’t need me to describe what it’s like, with Shone surrounded by these machines of his own making, becoming the machine himself, etc., layers on layers of multimedia metaphor. I’m not inclined to add to the din of praise that’s been heaped on dude for the last however long — though by all accounts I’ve heard, he’s a nice guy, and the very, very least one can say of his work is that it’s innovative, and that’s before you get to the quality of the songcraft, which is palpable in a manner beyond whatever novelty of the individualized aesthetic — but the influence he’s had on others is plain to hear in these songs, and as bands and groups pick up on Shone‘s ends, if not the means, and hopefully adapt that to their own styles, that only stands Author & Punisher out as all the more singular. What strikes me about listening to it rather than watching it, though, isn’t the forward nature of the aggression. That’s there, sure enough, but it’s the methodical feel of so much of what Shone brings to bear. By its nature, you can’t really call Author & Punisher raw in how it’s made — it would seem just to require too much effort, as opposed to plugging in a guitar and letting rip — but there is a drive toward the primal in some of the underlying simplicity of the beats, that when you strip away all the surrounding and sometimes overwhelming cacophony, feels markedly and purposefully primitive. Organic? Maybe.

Maybe that’s Shone himself serving as the unifying presence in what he calls his ‘control room.’ Fair enough. Shone is set to tour Europe in January with Igorrr, though of course life itself remains a shrug-and-wait-and-see kind of deal for the time being, so Author & Punisher has opted to share videos from a recent tour opening for Tool instead. As to what comes next, if it’s more dystopia, at least I know whose records to put on.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

The mornings have become a challenge, though perhaps not as much of one as they could be. The Pecan has been waking up around 6:30, which feels like a gift. General process is The Patient Mrs. gets the puppy — Omi; now permanent title, short for Iommi — and I get him. She takes dog out, I change a usually-poop-filled diaper. Potty training is a process. Anyway, it’s when she comes back in with the dog that he gets super-excited, then the dog gets excited, and the energy feedback loop ignites. Once he’s cleaned up, he goes where he goes, and inevitably, he’s going for the dog. But he’s still two — that’s exactly how my wife and I say it: still two; it has been a very long year — and so can’t really handle it. He gets worked up, gets worried, then inevitably swats at or kicks at Omi and, yeah, that shit just doesn’t work for me.

Yesterday and today, she stayed in the kitchen while I made him breakfast before coming to work on this post, and The Patient Mrs. and I have been switching off one and the other. It’s easier to get work done with the dog than the kid, so whoever’s working has Omi and whoever’s got The Pecan has The Pecan. That’s her right now. I’ll go in the other room in a little bit and trade off so she can work, and she’ll take the dog. It’s not so cut and dry as all that — most of the time I give him breakfast since he eats better for me; I’m not shy about shoving food in his mouth — but it’s Friday and she knows I like to end the week early, so I am grateful for the chance to bang this out.

Dog’s asleep somewhere in this room. Kid’ll get a bath in a bit — I took a break from writing during the second-to-last paragraph of the Author & Punisher writeup above (could you tell?) and we went for a run, which now that it’s pouring rain, I’m glad we did — so I’ll handle that and hopefully The Patient Mrs. doesn’t get saddled with too much what we call “puppy time” and usually seems to involve chewed shoes, feet, or furniture, or peeing on the floor.

The key to little things — dogs or people — is wearing them out. Walks for the dog, runs for the kid. Fine in the summer, though I guess we made it through this winter, and plague-permitting we’ll make it through the next. I have a bit before I need to worry about it, anyhow.

I hope you and yours are well. I’ve been struggling with having put on a bit of weight, and trying to manage that while at the same time dealing with other stresses. All anxiousness immediately goes to food/body image for me, which, if I needed further proof of disordered eating, there it is. Didn’t need that proof.

So.

My father fell on July 3 and has been in the hospital since then, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He’s 77, I think. He was planning to move from nearby his sister in North Carolina to Allentown to be close to other friends and live in a retirement community. This was a move I advised against voraciously and was ignored. My mother, same on one of the rare occasions they spoke. Ahead of his move, he was staying with a friend and fell backwards down a flight of stairs. Portrait of an old man, falling.

Okay.

Among my family — and given the further-than-arm’s-length nature of our relationship, this feels surreal to say — I am probably the one in recent years who has been most in touch with him. We communicate semi-regularly. We have nothing much in common beyond blood and name — though the older I get… — but we keep it light, avoid politics or discussion of my mother or sister when possible, and there you go. He’s shown increasing signs of dementia over the last few years — he forgot he met my son, for example — and since his fall has been what the hospital case worker described to me as “confused.” He doesn’t know where he is, doesn’t always know what year it is or who he is.

Okay.

Though he and my mother have been separated for the last 25 years, they’ve never officially divorced. Why? I don’t know. Holdover stigma? My mother, a teacher 11 years retired, has decent state insurance and has kept him on it all this time, but because the American healthcare system is fucked — something COVID has only aggravated — Medicaid can maybe go after her assets to cover the cost of longterm care, which he’ll need since he has to relearn how to walk, and this lengthy hospital stay. This week, we all got on Zoom with a divorce attorney. I was writing the Turtle Skull news post on Wednesday when that happened; it just finally went up today. It’s been a lot.

But okay.

Court appoints a custodian once it’s proved my father is non compos mentis, which should not be a challenge, and I guess everything moves forward at a snail’s pace there. In the meantime, The Patient Mrs. and I have started mortgage proceedings to buy the house we live in from my mother, who inherited it from my grandmother, so there’s that additional layer of something-happening over the last couple weeks, which along with puppy, kid, pandemic, fascism, on and on and on and on, has meant that, among other things, I was feeling too overwhelmed to put together a Gimme Radio show this week.

It’ll be back on in two weeks.

Okay.

I’m exhausted now, so I must be finished, and in any case, it’s time for me to trade off dog for kid with The Patient Mrs., who has more than earned that title during this period. My only regret is not calling her The Brilliant Mrs., because even more than her patience with me — which is ample — it is the continued light she shines that makes my life possible. I have said this before and will continue to say it until I die: she is the center around which my universe spins.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please be well most of all, and thank you for reading, whether or not you still are.

FRM.

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Album Review: YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Posted in Reviews on July 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

YOB Pickathon 2019 Live from the Galaxy Barn

One suspects a certain amount of restlessness is in part behind YOB‘s issuing Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn. The four-song set, which arrives as a benefit sending all proceeds to the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Relief Fund, is a digital-only offering at least for now, and perhaps stems from a drive to do something, anything, to help both those who need cash, and those who might find solace within YOB‘s music. The recording took place, as the title hints, at the Pickathon festival last year, held at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon, which they played twice, including this set on Aug. 2. That’s about an hour and 45 minutes north of the band’s native Eugene, so close enough to be familiar without being hometown exactly. For what it’s worth, the three-piece sound entirely comfortable in their surroundings, and the final mix, which was handled by drummer Travis Foster working from Ben Stoller and Josh Powell‘s audio, is full and vibrant especially when treated with the volume that — speaking as a fan of the band — it deserves.

YOB had numerous shows canceled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, including three this week as they continue to support 2018’s Our Raw Heart (review here) on Relapse Records, though Pickathon 2019 doesn’t actually feature any material from that record (they’d play “Our Raw Heart” in their other set), and as such, smacks less of a band trying to keep momentum going and more of a band looking to donate to charity. Fair enough. YOB have also donated select merch sales to the NAACP Legal Fund and Black Lives Matter, so Pickathon 2019 working toward Navajo Nation COVID-19 relief is likewise speaking to the central issues of inequality that have emerged in 2020, as the Native American community has grappled especially hard with the coronavirus. The set is comprised of “Ball of Molten Lead” (12:28), “The Lie that is Sin” (13:09), “Marrow” (19:22) and “Burning the Altar” (14:56), and runs just under an hour long total. While it’s YOB‘s third official live record behind Live at Roadburn 2010 and the full-album performance The Unreal Never Lived: Live at Roadburn 2012 — they also had a live EP out in 2012 through Scion A/V — Pickathon 2019 is every bit a performance worth capturing for the vibe that comes through the four tracks and the sense of comfort the band have with their surroundings.

Strictly speaking, YOB have little to prove at this point, except perhaps to themselves. Two decades on from their first demo, their reputation precedes them as forebears of cosmic doom and one of the most important American heavy bands of their generation. They have toured across continents since their 2009 return from a 2006 disbanding and have had an influence on artists across styles operating in their wake, all the while maintaining a persona of sincerity that has extended to frontman Mike Scheidt spending time during the COVID-19 lockdown performing acoustically in his kitchen. As somebody who’s been fortunate enough to see YOB on multiple occasions, the simple opportunity to dig into a new live recording is appreciated — I felt like they were doing me a favor as I paid my $7.00 for the download on Bandcamp — and from the electricity of their playing, which one can hear not only in the swells of volume and tone and crash, but also in the crowd’s hooting during quiet parts, desperate to express some of the tension surrounding them in the room. The lyrics of “Marrow” that speak of restless souls needing to feel one true moment would seem to be manifest here.

yob (Photo by Bobby Cochran)

Having a live version of that song, which is shorter in its 19 minutes than it was on  2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), is a boon. It is the most emotionally resonant piece YOB — Scheidt, Foster and bassist Aaron Rieseberg (also of Norska) — have ever written, and I wouldn’t think it anything but welcome in any setlist. The chance, however, to hear “Ball of Molten Lead” from 2004’s The Illusion of Motion by 2019’s YOB is evidence of the continually progressive path they’ve taken as a group. Scheidt‘s vocals are stronger and more confident, and his lead guitar takes swirling flight when it goes. Rieseberg and Foster add strength to the final charge late in the track, and the crowd immediately erupts when it’s done, following soon enough with the aforementioned hooting during the sparse stretch early in “The Lie that is Sin,” which originally appeared on 2009’s The Great Cessation (review here). It’s a credit to Foster‘s mix and the recording itself that the midsection of that track doesn’t sound like an absolute mess, as the full-volume push is huge but still discernible, and feels true to the original that came out 10 years before while again benefiting from the band YOB have become since, Scheidt‘s growls echoing out over broad expanse as the song moves into its 11th minute, the spine-twisting riff cutting itself short with precision heavy enough to crush a roach.

Twice in between songs Scheidt asks for changes to the mix in the stage monitors, but if there was an issue, it doesn’t seem to have had an impact on the recording or the show itself. “Marrow” is, as one would expect, gorgeous. I don’t imagine Pickathon 2019 will be many listeners’ first experience with YOB — it’s basically a fan-piece, and there’s nothing wrong with that — and as “Marrow” builds to its multi-tiered apex with a distinctively lush melody and still-patient roll, the band’s strengths are laid bare for the listener to consume, right unto the quiet stretch of guitar that finishes the track, in conversation with a host of prior YOB epics, none of them quite so inward-looking. “Burning the Altar” would feel like an epilogue in following to close out were it not so pummeling and consuming. In thanking the crowd before the song starts, Scheidt says something about “traversing highs and lows,” and “Burning the Altar” is one final brutal immersion. For all that, it’s also fun, with an immediate hook of a headbang-ready riff, its triplet-gallop and its final unfurling. A fitting closer, in other words, and one last opportunity for YOB to level the assembled before they’re done, which I’ll just assume is exactly how it played out.

I’ll be honest with you. I consider reviewing Pickathon 2019 an act of self-care. A favor I’m doing myself just by making the excuse to listen, let alone make the donation to Navajo COVID relief. Established fans of YOB won’t need prodding; the email notification of the release from Bandcamp came through like a call to prayer. YOB are a one-of-a-kind band, and if Pickathon 2019 is another chance to hear them in the absence of actual live shows, I’ll take it.

YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn (2020)

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