Friday Full-Length: Type O Negative, World Coming Down

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

It had been probably a decade since I put on Topic sentence, introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, conclusion. In 2018 the topic is stolen art. History of Smarty Assign Var September 2004 World Coming Down, the fifth album from Brooklyn, New York’s Articles Writing Service - Order a 100% authentic, non-plagiarized paper you could only dream about in our paper writing assistance Why be concerned about Type O Negative, but I still knew every word to every song. That’s a special record.

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Yeah, all well and good, but then you have to make another record, right? Throw that pressure,  go to link. Just imagine if you can create your own resume like a professional resume writer and save on cost! Now you can. Steele‘s well-under-way cocaine addiction, various personal losses and traumas, and the result is probably the darkest work Welcome to the best Need An Essay Written Somerset Ky website of Australia which offers cheap and reliable custom papers to the students. GUARANTEED! Type O Negative ever released. Sure, songs like “Who Will Save the Sane?” and “Creepy Green Light” and “All Hallows Eve” seemed to speak to some of the same post-goth elements as  October Rust, but when you put those alongside “Everyone I Love is Dead,” “Everything Dies” — who the hell let both of those on the same record? — and the slog of an opening that the album gets with “White Slavery,” and the affect is just miserable from the outset. Type O Negative had certainly trafficked in downerism to this point, but World Coming Down — even its 11-minute title-track, which is high among the best songs this band ever produced — felt more real, more personal, and at times the weight it seemed to put on the listener could be a lot to take.

A product of its era, it runs 13 songs and 74 minutes long with a Beatles medley at its conclusion after “All Hallows Eve” and “Pyretta Blaze” — which one might accuse of being a cynical redux/answer to the likes of “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” or even “Be My Druidess” from the prior album — and is peppered with death in the three interludes “Sinus,” “Liver” and “Lung,” which of course allude to cocaine, drinking and smoking. If this was the band’s excesses catching up with them, then fair enough, but the difference on World Coming Down is that what was gallows humor is instead just misery. If that seems like a fine line, Type O Negative demonstrate clearly by the end of “White Slavery” that it isn’t. Of course, Steele was still a songwriter at heart, so the clever chorus, “Let me say, Pepsi Generation/A few lines of misinformation/Watch your money flow away oh so quick/To kill yourself properly coke is it,” is just that — clever. And catchy. But the underlying message isn’t lost just for being couched in an accessible package, and, even the uptempo piano lines of “Everything Dies” can’t mask the plainness with which Steele delivers, “Now I hate myself, wish I’d die.” This, right before the flatlining of “Lung.” A radio hit about hair dye, it ain’t.

type o negative world coming down

There was no question that World Coming Down was informed by both the creative and the audience success of October Rust. From “Skip It” at the outset pulling a prank on the listeners to the lushness of melody in “Everything Dies” and “Pyretta Blaze.” The pre-medley closer “All Hallows Eve” seems to echo the sparseness (at least initially) of “Haunted” from the album before it as well. Each Type O Negative record was its own beast, from 1991’s Slow, Deep and Hard to 2007’s Dead Again, but neither were they ever shy about self-awareness, and that manifest throughout World Coming Down as much as anywhere. Even with the title-track as the centerpiece, it’s not a record I’d reach for before, say, 1993’s Bloody KissesOctober Rust, or maybe even Dead Again or 1992’s still-formative The Origin of the Feces, famous as much for its cover art as for any of the songs it actually contained. That’s not to say World Coming Down doesn’t have an appeal, just that, again, it can be a lot to take in. It is an album of meta-heaviness. They sound no less weighted down than the guitar or bass tones.

When Type O Negative were at their most ‘goth,’ on Bloody Kisses, they were tongue-in-cheek about it. There are some moves made to have the same perspective on World Coming Down, but somehow the humor is undone by the surrounding sincerity. As Steele intones during a break in the the title-track, “It’s better to burn quickly and bright/Then slowly and dull without a fight,” paraphrasing Neil Young in the process, it’s hard to know whether he’s working to convince himself or the listener of what he’s saying. World Coming Down is a gorgeous record, make no mistake, but its beauty has the arduous task of finding expression through a range of pains that comprise the recurring themes: death, addiction, inability to cope, etc.

The Beatles medley, with pieces of “Day Tripper,” “If I Needed Someone” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” is fair enough ground for Type O Negative to tread, having made no bones throughout their career of being influenced by — or as they might put it, “ripping off” — that group at various points. They also did a number of Beatles songs live, including “Back in the USSR.” And their penchant for matching parts of different songs together could easily be seen as an extension of the individualized takes they brought to “Hey Pete” or their version of “Paranoid” earlier in their career. It’s a little out of place on the album, tacked onto the end, but if I’m not mistaken, Roadrunner Records had a mandate at one point that everything they put out had to have a cover on it. Fear Factory did “Cars.” Type O Negative did “Day Tripper.” Fair enough.

Thinking about Nine Inch Nails‘ The Fragile (discussed here) last week — which came out the same day as World Coming Down; Sept. 21, 1999 — prompted a revisit here, and while the context of Steele‘s death in 2010 adds a spin of tragedy to everything Type O Negative did, as someone who was a fan of the band at the probably-too-tender age of 11, and who called Q104.3 so many times to request “Black No. 1” that they knew my name, I’m glad for any excuse to listen to them when an excuse to do so happens along.

We’re in Connecticut, came up yesterday. I’ve got to wrap this up in like 10 minutes so we can hit the road. Dropping off The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan at her mother’s, then driving north into Rhode Island about an hour and a half to buy chicken from a farm up there, then back down to grab them and back down again to NJ, hopefully all by naptime, but we’ll see. It’ll be a busy day.

Next week — Quarterly Review. I’m supposed to watch the Candlemass live stream this afternoon and review that too. It starts at 2PM. That should be up Monday, but other than that, it’s QR all the way. Not much news lately, so it’s a good time for it. Of course I say that and next week will probably be flooded. Whatever.

But since I haven’t even managed to brush my teeth yet — already changed a poopy diaper, made the kid breakfast (admittedly half-assed), and got two posts up! — and there’s still packing to do, I’m gonna call it. The Gimme show is a repeat this week, but if you feel like listening, it’s always appreciated.

It’s 4th of July weekend. I don’t have much to say about it, but if you’re proud to be an American in 2020, you’re either fooling yourself or an asshole. We should hang our heads and mourn the unnecessary dead this year. Have fun at the fireworks.

Whatever you do with it, a day off is a day off. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Enjoy yourself from a safe distance.

FRM.

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Friday Full-Length: Type O Negative, October Rust

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Type O Negative, October Rust (1996)

I hereby claim this album in the name of doom. Do I have any right or authority to do that? Nope, but it’s out there now and there’s no going back.

It’s not such a stretch anyway. Type O Negative released October Rust on Roadrunner Records in 1996 as the follow-up to 1993’s Bloody Kisses, an album that at least in the New York market produced successful radio singles in songs like “Christian Woman” and “Black No. 1.” Seems unfathomable now, but a quarter-century ago, that kind of thing happened, and I remember it distinctly because I was a 12-year-old boy calling Q104.3 incessantly to request them. The station even let me on the air a couple times in recorded intros to the songs on their nightly top-five countdown or whatever it was. They said I sounded good. Pubescent-me was stoked in a way that still makes me smile.

I was in high school when October Rust came out and the album hit me as few have. It was a bridge between my Beatles fandom and the appreciation for heavy metal I couldn’t help but develop as the wake of grunge found my weirdo-dork-ass looking for something angrier to relate to. By the time October Rust was released as the Brooklyn band’s fourth overall full-length, they weren’t as aggro as they had been on, say, “Kill All the White People,” but songs like “Love You to Death,” the woefully catchy “Green Man” and “Red Water (Christmas Mourning)” were lush in a way that was enticing, their arrangements thoughtful, sweeping and commanding while still remaining heavy in tone and presence. The bass fuzz from Peter Steele at the start of “Be My Druidess” remains a swaggering showcase of unmatched tone: “Here it is, fools. Good luck trying to top it.” And if anyone has, I’m not sure who it would be. Where Bloody Kisses, 1992’s The Origin of the Feces and 1991’s Slow Deep and Hard were all pretty raw in their basic sound, October Rust didn’t shy away from being over-the-top in its production any more than it did in the sexual mischief of “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend,” “Be My Druidess” and “Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia),” etc. The album’s 15-track — three of which are gags; I always thought the phrasing in track two of “We’d like to thank you for picking up our latest recording of October Rust” was a little odd, as though there’d been some earlier recording of it — and 72-minute runtime is daunting but never monotonous, the songwriting of Steele and his ever-malleable low register vocals complemented by the guitar/voice work of Kenny Hickey, the drums of Johnny Kelly and the keyboard/backing vocals of Josh Silver, who remains the unsung hero of the band in songs like “Love You to Death,” “Red Water (Christmas Mourning),” “Die with Me,” on and on.

But as to what makes October Rust doom, the arguments are myriad and largely pointless. Yes, Type O Negative play slow. Yes, they tune low. Yes, they’re clearly influenced by Black Sabbath as well as the aforementioned Beatles — they covered “Paranoid” by the former and “Day Tripper” by the latter, daringly bringing their own take to both — and like a lot of releases that were outliers while still being considered under the general umbrella of “metal” at their time, October Rust is never overly aggressive. Closer “Haunted” stretches just past the 10-minute mark and is among the most atmospheric songs they ever composed, and though the earlier stretch in “Be My Druidess,” the dance-y single “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” and their cover of Neil Young‘s “Cinnamon Girl” are uptempo, the crux of the album, especially in the context of what was then happening in the band’s echelon of heavy music — certainly Kyuss were on a major label and Black Sabbath were about to reunite with Ozzy, but there was nobody really bringing goth theatricality and doom together in the way Type O did — remains more about composition than aggression. They were a standout. More than two decades on from this album’s release, they still are.

Does it matter? Not really. The language of subgenre didn’t really exist at the time in the way it does now — the internet, social media, blah blah — btype o negative october rustut the bottom line is any angle you take it from, October Rust plows through whatever critique you might want to apply.

Much of the focus on it remains on songs like “Love You to Death,” “Be My Druidess,” “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” and “Cinnamon Girl,” but for me, the greatest impact comes between the latter two in that list, with the three-song punch of “Die with Me,” “Burnt Flowers Fallen” and “In Praise of Bacchus,” each of which shows a character, emotionality and craft that’s simply in a league of its own. I still can’t enter a European airport without hearing Steele‘s verse, “Hey KLM, AT&T/The UK post-system/Do you still love me” play in the mental jukebox from “Die with Me,” and the hooks of “Burnt Flowers Fallen” were deceptively simple and surrounded by guitar and bass brimming with tonal vitality pushed forward by drums (or was it drum machine?) at a pace that filled the gap between the slower and faster material around it. And “In Praise of Bacchus?” It stands as one of the best songs Type O Negative ever wrote, and they wrote a few good ones along the way. That 21-minute stretch has come to define for me everything that works best about October Rust in melody and the poise of execution that makes the record so enduringly special. It was never just about the hits.

They come back on after “Haunted” to let Steele say with typical performed self-deprecation, “I hope it wasn’t too disappointing…” and while an afterthought, that little bookend with the untitled second track after the white noise goof of “Bad Ground” winds up tying October Rust together with a sense of completion that shows that as far into the wash as they go at the end of what’s essentially the album’s grand finale — if one suddenly cut off; cold endings abound — they never lose sight of their overall purpose. I don’t know if it would be right to call October Rust mature given the pervasive sense of multi-tiered chicanery at work, but it was a huge step forward in their approach and aesthetic even from where they’d been three years before and a rare instance in which a band took commercial viability not as a cue to water down their output to reach as many people as possible, but to expand their sonic palette and create something richer on the whole.

They would answer October Rust in 1998 with the After Dark video and 1999’s World Coming Down, which chronicled Steele‘s cocaine addiction in “White Slavery” at the outset and made a running theme of it from there on. 2003’s subsequent Life is Killing Me was a triumph, casting off the residuals of goth in favor of a well-claimed sound and songwriting process that was entirely their own, and 2007’s Dead Again offered an actually-mature Type O Negative in songs like “The Profit of Doom,” “September Sun” and “Tripping a Blind Man” while seeing Hickey come to the fore on vocals more often in complement to Steele with a riffier approach overall. Steele of course passed away April 14, 2010 — I was in a depot in the UK waiting to take a ferry to the Netherlands for my second Roadburn Festival when I heard; all flights were canceled owing to the volcano Eyjafjallajökull — and Hickey and Kelly (the latter of whom also joined Danzig) went on to form Seventh Void which eventually begat Silvertomb, who toured last month with fellow Brooklynite Roadrunner vets Life of Agony ahead of a presumed eventual album release.

Being as seasonal as it is, I felt the need to get this one in before October ends. Doom or not, it’s a record that feels like home to me. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Yesterday was The Pecan’s first birthday. One year. He spent most of the day refusing to nap, but had a little bit of brownie before the bedtime ritual — we put toys/books away, change diaper, brush teeth, sing “C is for Cookie” and then say goodnight — and we sang to him like you do. The real parties were last weekend in New Jersey and this weekend in Connecticut, so it was kind of just a little thing on this end. We gave him a pillow shaped like a grilled cheese sandwich and a clacker out of a toy instrument pack we bought last weekend. He seemed to dig both and demolished the brownie, so there you go.

Thanks to any and everyone who has yet checked out The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. That’s been a lot of fun to put together thus far and I’m going to keep it going for as long as they let me.

And thanks to any and everyone who’s bought a shirt from Dropout Merch so far. I’ve been talking about getting another design or two together, so I’ll hope to have more news on that front soon.

Next week, there are premieres coming from Frozen Planet….1969CraneiumHoly Grove and Empress as well as a review of the new album from Castle, but I might go hit a show this weekend, so that would bump the schedule of other stuff and you’ll pardon me if I don’t do full notes as a result of that. I got invited and sometimes it’s nice to go someplace when you’re invited.

I’ll leave it there since this post is already longer than I intended and it’s past 5AM. I pushed my alarm from 2:30 to 3AM all week and it did me much good. Going to keep that up for a while and see if I can get away with it and still make it through the day.

Okay. Thanks for reading and please have a great and safe weekend. Don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

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Friday Full-Length: Various Artists, Burn One Up: Music for Stoners

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Various Artists, Burn One Up: Music for Stoners (1997)

21 years ago, Roadrunner Records gathered together 15 bands on one compact disc, slapped a picture of an 18-wheeler truck in the desert on the front of it, and called it Burn One Up: Music for Stoners. It’s not easy to find a copy of it these days — I looked for a while before finally getting it in London in 2010 — but with bands like Queen of the Stone Age, Karma to Burn, Sleep, The Heads, Cathedral and Fu Manchu on board, it’s worth the search. Dig the full tracklisting:

1. Queens of the Stone Age, 18 A.D.
2. Karma to Burn, Ma Petit Mort
3. Fu Manchu, Asphalt Risin’
4. The Heads, GNU
5. Spiritual Beggars, Monster Astronauts
6. Floodgate, Feel You Burn
7. Slaprocket, Holy Mother Sunshine
8. Leadfoot, Soul Full of Lies
9. Celestial Season, Wallaroo
10. Cathedral, You Know
11. Acrimony, Bud Song
12. Blind Dog, Lose
13. Sleep, Aquarian
14. Hideous Sun Demons, Icarus Dream
15. Beaver, Green

It’s easy to argue that, as far as “stoner rock” goes, these are some of the bands who would most shape it. Yeah, Slaprocket never got an album out, but the New Jersey-based outfit divided into Solace and The Atomic Bitchwax, and both of them continue to make their mark to this day. Europe is represented through Dutch outfits Celestial Season, Hideous Sun Demons and Beaver, Sweden’s Spiritual Beggars and Blind Dog, and the UK shows off some of its best in The Heads, Cathedral and Acrimony. The aforementioned Slaprocket speak for the Northeast, while Floodgate hail from Louisiana, Karma to Burn from West Virginia and Leadfoot from North Carolina, so the Southeast is accounted for as well.

And of course we wouldn’t even be talking about the genre if it weren’t for California, which brings Fu Manchu, Sleep and an early incarnation of Josh Homme‘s then-new, on-the-rebound-from-Kyuss outfit, Queens of the Stone Age, which featured a frontman known only as “The Kid”. That’s a particular point of fascination unto itself, but with a first-album-era vocalized Karma to Burn as well and an off-album track from Cathedral, there’s plenty of fodder to make Burn One Up worth seeking for anyone who’d do so, but while the comp wouldn’t serve as a debut for Cathedral, or Celestial Season — who followed a similar path from doom to stoner rock and didn’t stick around long enough to make the turn back before reuniting in 2011 — or Acrimony or Sleep, etc., it’s still amazing to look at it and think of the legacy many of these bands cast. Shit, Sleep just put out their first record in 15 years and took over the world. Would instrumental heavy rock be where it is today without Karma to Burn? And Slaprocket through their already noted ties and Floodgate‘s vocalist, Kyle Thomas (also Exhorder) is currently fronting a little band called Troublem so you know, not exactly minor shakes there.

Blind Dog put out two records through MeteorCity before splitting up, closers Beaver would soon have a split out with openers Queens of the Stone Age via Man’s Ruin Records, and this would be the final appearance for Hideous Sun Demons, who released their only album, Twisted, in 1995. Spiritual Beggars gave an early look at their third album 1998’s Mantra III, with “Monster Astronauts,” while The Heads showcased how far out aural weedism could go with “GNU,” inarguably the trippiest cut on the release.

And The Heads are just one of the several bands who continue to make an impact. Fu Manchu. QOTSA. Karma to Burn. Sleep. Spiritual Beggars. One could argue the only dude missing here is Wino, and he would’ve been coming off The Obsessed and just getting going with Shine — later Spirit Caravan — so that could just as easily be a question of timing as anything else. Okay, maybe a bit of Orange Goblin and Electric Wizard would’ve been cool. You can’t have everything.

As with most compilations, the sound is somewhat disjointed, as the material was recorded by different players in different studios often enough in different countries, but Burn One Up gives an amazing summary of where the genre was in the wake of Kyuss‘ breakup and as it looked forward to developing in the 21st century into the multi-headed beast it is now. You can hear the crunching influence of grunge in Beaver, Floodgate and Slaprocket, but clearly these bands and the rest were on their own wavelength already, and whether new or old, whether they went on to lead the aesthetic or folded soon after — that reminds me, I need to break out those old Leadfoot discs — Burn One Up: Music for Stoners shows an admirable prescience in its picks and is a true piece of treasure for anyone who’d seek it out in its summary of what heavy rock and roll was at the time and what it would go on to be.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Went to bed last night around 8PM. I’d been up since one in the morning, so somehow it made sense, plus The Patient Mrs. was having trouble getting The Pecan to go to sleep and she had half a cocktail to finish, so it seemed only fair to tag in. I’d woken up early on account of said Pecan as well, his sort of nighttime mumblings varying between actual fuss, crying and a kind of sleepy coo, and decided to spend the extra hours organizing stuff on my new laptop, which I’ve dubbed The Silver Fox. Because it’s silver, you see. Yes, we’re all very clever over here.

Anyhoozle, kind of another rough night with the baby last night had me up at three. He was in the bed — something I swore up and down I wouldn’t let happen and then of course did — and had rolled toward me in such a way that I was against the wall pretty much pinned. By a kid who, at seven months, weighs about 18.5 pounds. Life does funny things to you. I woke up, enjoyed the snuggle-time for a bit, and then got up to work on the above post. Circa 5:30, The Patient Mrs. came out of the bedroom carrying the again-complaining baby — whose diaper I’d already changed at some point — and kind of at a loss for what to do. I went back to bed with both of them and sort of rocked him while standing up, a gentle bounce with his head on my shoulder and swayed back and forth until he was falling asleep, then got into bed while holding him basically the same way and he went out. We all caught a solid two hours of rest in that position and it’s early yet to call it (a little after 8 as I type this), but I think that might be the difference-maker on the day.

We’ll get in the car soon enough and head south from Connecticut, where we drove to yesterday for two magical hours of screaming-baby-in-the-car fun, to New Jersey, where once again we’re basically setting up shop for the summer. We’ll be back and forth between there and CT to hit the beach probably on weekends and/or various other times, and there’s still stuff that will need tending to in Massachusetts — The Patient Mrs.’ work commitments and the like — but it’ll be a lot of good family time over the summer with my people and her people and I’m looking forward to being in the New York area for probably the greatest amount of time in the half-decade since we moved away.

Around here, things will likely proceed as normal, if there is such a thing. Notes for next week look like this currently, but these things can and do change as you well know by now:

Mon: Demande a la Poussiere review/track premiere; Dust Lovers video premiere maybe.
Tue. Oresund Space collective review; Kal-El live video.
Wed. Orange Goblin review.
Thu.: Currently open. Maybe Astrosoniq review.
Fri.: King Heavy review/album stream.

Plus plenty of news and whatever else happens my way.

Ups and downs this week as ever, but I’m getting through. That’s the story from here.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading and stick around as there’s more good stuff to come. All the best. Forum and Radio.

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Friday Full-Length: Solitude Aeturnus, Beyond the Crimson Horizon

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Solitude Aeturnus, Beyond the Crimson Horizon (1992)

It’s like staring into the very gates of doom itself. Solitude Aeturnus weren’t the first American doom band, but they were definitely among the earlier pioneers Stateside playing doom metal, and when it came to the second part of that equation, they offered it in abundance. With heavy influences from Candlemass, Trouble and of course Black Sabbath, the Arlington, Texas, five-piece got their start with a well-received demo in 1989 before signing to what was then Roadracer Records — soon to be Roadrunner Records — for the subsequent 1991 full-length, Into the Depths of Sorrow. From where I sit, that record is also a classic, but the 1992 follow-up, Beyond the Crimson Horizon, is widely hailed as both their pinnacle work and as a standard-bearer in US doom. Aside from the massive influence it would have on the development of metal, doom and heavy rock in Texas’ own fertile underground, it’s a record that helped clearly demonstrate that American outfits could capture the same kind of majesty their European counterparts had been bringing to the style for years in the wake of CandlemassMessiah Marcolin era, which by then had hit its peak several years before. I’ll gladly argue that not only did Beneath the Crimson Horizon prove this thesis, but it showed a path by which that influence could lead to individualized growth and progression, that doom — that slowest and most morose of metals — need not stagnate or lack energy to be effective in its atmosphere.

Not only that, but Beyond the Crimson Horizon gave outlet to influences from the NWOBHM in cuts like opener “Seeds of the Desolate” and immediately met them head on with grittier chugging in “Black Castle,” setting up a dynamic that would continue to play out across its span. It wasn’t any more afraid to thrash out in the second half of “The Hourglass” than it was to directly confront the march of Candlemass‘ “Mirror Mirror” in the preceding “It Came upon One Night,” a seven-minute highlight of the record distinguished by its epic flourish of gong and spoken vocals from otherwise soar-prone frontman Robert Lowe, who would remain a defining presence in Solitude Aeturnus for their duration along with guitarist John Perez. Both shine in these tracks, it should go without saying, but the drumming of John Covington, the guitar of Edgar Rivera and Lyle Steadham‘s bass aren’t to be discounted either, as much as the latter might be mixed down as was the wont of the era. For what was still just their second album since forming in 1987, Solitude Aeturnus presented themselves as a complete, cohesive unit with the poise and confidence to execute their material in the face of otherwise-leaning trends both in and out of the underground and metal as a whole. To listen to a song like the Trouble-style “The Final Sin” or the penultimate chugger “Plague of Procreation,” one can hear the band’s reach expanding even as the tracklist makes its way from front to back, but at no point do Solitude Aeturnus relinquish their hold on a melodic sensibility or crushing atmosphere, the latter shown by the Metallica-esque stomp in the midsection of “Plague of Perception.” They would save the slowest and most grueling nod for last in the closing semi-title-track “Beyond…” and add suitable funeral bells over a long fade that dirge-plodded the record to its finish.

Dramatic? Oh yeah. Of its era? Most definitely — but also a blueprint from which future US doom metal would be and still is derived, either directly or indirectly. With Perez and Lowe as its founding anchors, Solitude Aeturnus would go on to issue Through the Darkest Hour in 1994 before embracing more of a groove metal feel on 1996’s Downfall and 1998’s Adagio, and a 2000 EP titled Justice for All would be their final release until 2006 brought a return both of the band generally and of their classically doomed form on the righteous Alone, which was offered through Massacre Records and topped an hour of prime darkened reveries that showed Solitude Aeturnus‘ core approach was not just still relevant, but vital in Texas metal and the wider sphere of what doom had become and was about to become in the social media age. Alone was followed by a 2009 live record titled Hour of Despair and the 2011 In Times of Solitude compilation, and Poland’s Metal Mind Productions had done a series of maybe-licensed reissues of Solitude Aeturnus‘ material, including Beyond the Crimson Horizon, in 2006, but as essential as Alone found Solitude Aeturnus to be, it hasn’t received a proper follow-up in the 11 years since. Perez works as a tour manager — he’s been out with Saint Vitus and Venom Inc. and recently accompanied Candlemass on the road — and Lowe did a stint in Candlemass from 2006 through 2012 after their fallout with Messiah Marcolin, but Solitude Aeturnus has languished, their final album (to-date) a testament to what Perez and Lowe could still accomplish if they decided to move forward with a new batch of material. One continues to hope that at some point they do.

Doom on and enjoy Beyond the Crimson Horizon. Thanks for reading, as always.

This was a four-day week for me and it was still too long by at least a day. Possibly two days. My work situation has devolved to the point where in about an hour when I go to the office I’ll be bringing my cheapie tablet with me in order to spend the bulk of the day playing and maybe even finishing Final Fantasy V. I took Monday off for a doctor’s appointment and since Tuesday have basically spent the days reading downloaded Shatnerverse ebooks and listening to baseball games (Tigers vs. Angels yesterday was a good time unless you’re a Tigers fan). Sounds like paradise except for existing in a cubicle. They’re still paying me until next Friday though, so I’ll be there.

Whatever. It’s almost over.

Then it’s back to being broke. How’re we gonna pay the mortgage? How’re we gonna pay the oil? How’re we gonna feed this baby? And so on. All completely valid questions, by the way, and the only reason I didn’t include the tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of student loan debt The Patient Mrs. and I share between us is because it makes me too sad and/or panicky to think about it. So yeah. Back to that.

But at least I won’t be going to an office anymore. Losing two hours every day to a commute. Missing out on life in the meantime. More time to write. More time with the Little Dog Dio. Time with The Pecan when he arrives in October. All of that is good. Will be good.

Five workdays left.

Plenty of Obelisk stuff to keep me busy in the meantime. Here’s what’s in the notes for next week, subject to change of course:

Mon.: Top 20 of 2017 So Far; BardSpec video.
Tue.: Radio Adds; The Necromancers video premiere.
Wed.: Lee Van Cleef Six Dumb Questions; Witch Charmer video.
Thu.: Destroyer of Light track premiere; Wren video.
Fri.: Abrams Six Dumb Questions; hopefully some other audio premiere or review.

That’s about where we’re at. Put my head down, keep writing. Everything else is distraction.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend, whatever you might be up to. I’ll be in Connecticut tonight and tomorrow and then back to Massachusetts on Sunday. I have some travel coming up in the next few weeks — Maryland for a wedding next weekend, then down to North Carolina, then back up to New Jersey before finally heading back home; family stuff all — so it will be a bit of an adventure coming up, but I’m looking forward to getting through next week and getting to it. I’m sure we’ll have some fun in the meantime.

Thanks again for reading, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Friday Full-Length: Karma to Burn, Karma to Burn

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Karma to Burn, Karma to Burn (1997)

They weren’t yet the band they wanted to be, and it’s important to acknowledge that at the outset. Seven years ago, when I spoke to now-former Roadrunner Records A&R head honcho Monte Conner about his label’s involvement with the makings of stoner rock in the late ’90s, Karma to Burn were bound to come up. In addition to having issued the Burn One Up: Music for Stoners compilation in 1997 (which featured the West Virginian outfit alongside a very early appearance from Queens of the Stone Age with a different singer, as well as The Heads, Gnu, Sleep, Blind Dog, Fu Manchu, Spiritual Beggars, Slaprocket and others), and though they were of course known more as a metal label and were releasing the likes of Type O Negative, Life of Agony, Fear Factory and Sepultura at the time, Roadrunner was the party responsible for bringing Karma to Burn‘s self-titled debut to public attention — part of a kind of under-the-underground involvement in what was then a burgeoning post-Kyuss movement of heavy rock. In the almost two decades since its release, and of course in light of all the instrumental work the band has done since, the narrative about the label forcing them to get a singer has become an essential piece of context. Here’s what Conner had to say in 2009:

“Basically, we saw Karma to Burn for the first time here in New York at a club called Brownies, myself and Howie Abrams, the guy who led the charge in signing the band. We saw them as an instrumental trio and were just absolutely floored at the power. You could listen to Karma to Burn even without vocals and it was still captivating, at least for one record. It might wear thin after a while, especially with songs called ‘Thirty-Nine,’ ‘Forty,’ ‘Forty-Two,’ it’s a little hard to keep track at that point.

But we did see Karma and we were absolutely floored and we thought, ‘God, if these guys get a singer there’s gonna be no stopping them!’ At the time we signed the band, the whole courtship process and signing the band, the band at that point did want to get a singer and agreed to get a singer, and it was only after frustration of not finding someone that I think the band realized, ‘Hey, maybe we’re better without a singer, we’re more unique this way, we don’t need a singer.’

At that point, they told us ‘No singer,’ and we were objecting because we signed them with the intention of getting a singer, and as I said, that was laid out from the beginning and when we signed them, they said, ‘Yes, we are going to get a singer.’ So they kind of changed the game on us, and they had already recorded the entire record prior to having a singer, figuring, ‘We’ll get the singer and he’ll just go in and lay down the tracks.’ Eventually, due to pressure from us, the band still couldn’t find a singer and had a local friend of theirs, Jason Jarosz, come in and put down vocals.

Not traditional vocals at all, but these really sinister, kind of strange — as you can hear on the record — kind of weird vocals, that we thought were cool, even though they were not typical vocals at all. It kind of gave the whole thing an eerie, avant garde feeling. So we accepted it, we were okay with it, but I think in the end, it really wasn’t the type of vocals we imagined. I think we were settling at that point, just because we wanted to get the record out.

The band went along with it to appease us, but in the end I don’t think they liked this guy’s vocals. They were very rebellious and were like, ‘Fuck this, we don’t want a singer,’ so they basically parted ways with this guy and decided to continue on as an instrumental band and at that point we weren’t interested in continuing, so we dropped them…” — Monte Conner (more here)

I think my favorite part about that entire quote is “They were very rebellious,” since it basically encapsulates the entire career of Karma to Burn and particularly their sole remaining founder, guitarist Will Mecum, whose perspective seems to have always been a middle finger in the face of anyone who’s going to say otherwise on just about any issue. I don’t know if I’ve ever spoken about the band, who released the Mountain Czar EP (review here) and toured with The Obsessed this year, without calling their sound “bullshit-free,” and indeed, I consider that to be their defining sonic feature. Right up there with “riffs.”

They are and have for a long time been the straightest line to heavy rock and roll, and while records like 1999’s Wild Wonderful Purgatory and 2001’s Almost Heathen provided the defining hours for their approach — Mecum along with bassist Rich Mullins and drummer Rob Oswald — the self-titled has always been by its very nature a standout from everything that followed it. Jarosz‘s vocals, quieter and less burly than what, say, Sixty Watt Shaman were doing at the time, had an attitude all their own, and while one might find some politically suspect lyrics in “Mt. Penetrator,” there’s an underlying sad blue-collar poetry to the words that gets lost in a lot of modern Southern rock, which is more about the boozing, the womanizing, the party-as-escape. Karma to Burn‘s self-titled, which also introduced the band’s signature numbered instrumentals with “Eight,” “Thirteen” and “Six” after the landmark hook of opener “Ma Petite Mort,” undercut that impulse to a degree and came across as an emotionally richer and somewhat more honest offering because of it.

Maybe don’t tell that to the band. In 2012, they’d revisit this material and release it completely instrumental as Slight Reprise, a fitting swansong for the then-reformed Mecum/Mullins/Oswald lineup. Mecum has of course carried the band forward, working now with a strong European focus and the rhythm section of bassist Eric Clutter and drummer Evan Devine. Their last full-length was 2014’s Arch Stanton (review here) — Clutter was not yet in the lineup — but they’ve been reborn as a touring act. This fall, they made the rounds in Europe and played Desertfest in Athens as well as Keep it Low, and having been fortunate enough to see them this summer at Maryland Doom Fest (review here), I can attest to the drive and push they emit from a stage being as middle-finger as ever, and so, true to the foundation they laid with this self-titled debut.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

How was your week? Mine went by in a blur of corporately-tinged workflow process acronyms — letters that meant nothing to me until a few months ago (and some that still don’t). Made me think maybe I should come up with important-sounding abbreviations for what I do here. “Why did you get up at 5AM?” “I had a big RWM to get through,” where all RWM means is “review-writing in the morning.” Or, more appropriately, “I had to finish the FFL.” Friday Full-Length.

You get the idea.

However, since I don’t really talk about the site with anyone, it would pretty much be an inside joke with myself, and that seems kind of sad in this context.

Before I forget — THANK YOU to everyone who has submitted their best-of 2016 list so far to the YEP (Year-End Poll). If you haven’t yet, please do. As of right now, the tally stands at 370 submissions. I hope by the end of the weekend to pass 388, which was last year’s total for the entire month of December. Not bad for being less than half the time. I am humbled and deeply grateful.

You might’ve noticed the Album Covers that Kicked Ass in 2016 list didn’t go up this week. I had crazytimes at the office and though the piece about that Comet Control track being my favorite song of the year turned out to be a doozy in its own right, it required much less time on the back end than tracking down and laying out different art jpegs would. I’ll get to work on it this weekend — I also have some fest writeups to do — and have it up on Monday, disaster pending.

Speaking of “subject to change,” here’s the rest of what’s in the ol’ notes for next week:

Mon.: Art list (who knew?) and new video from Sun Blood Stories. Don’t miss either of them.
Tue.: News on the SonicBlast Moledo fest and new recordings from Australia’s Merchant, an album stream from Elbrus and video from Crippled Black Phoenix. Don’t miss any of that either.
Wed.: Track premiere from Indian metallers Rudra.
Thu.: Review of the new Sgt. Sunshine.
Fri.: Review of the new T.G. Olson.

We get kind of tentative there toward the end of the week, and I’m basically doing myself favors at this point in terms of picking what I want to write about. Anytime you see me covering something from T.G. Olson or his main outfit, Across Tundras, you can pretty much guess that I’m doing so in order to maximize enjoyment of the day. Not that I don’t dig writing about most of what I write about — no point to the site otherwise — but as you know if you’ve already made out your top 20 and turned it in for the Year-End Poll, these things are relative.

Hey, have a great weekend, alright? Please do that.

Largely at the insistence of The Patient Mrs., I went ahead and took Monday off from work (will make sure to put up my “OOO”). She rather correctly asserted that I needed a three-day weekend. No argument, I just don’t get paid for the time I don’t work, so it’s money out of my pocket to stay home. Still, money ain’t everything and sometimes those hours are worth their weight in gold. So I’ll be around. In my pajamas. Sitting on ass. Hopefully playing Final Fantasy. And writing. And that’s my plan.

Whatever you’re up to, please be safe and have a great time. Thanks for reading this long-ass post if you have, and we’ll see you back here Monday. In the meantime, please check out the forum and radio stream.

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If You Only Buy 24 Records Between Now and May 1…

Posted in Features on March 12th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

…Yeah, I know, 24 is a buttload of records to buy in the span of about a month and a half. To do the division, it would mean buying a new album every 2.04 days. Probably not feasible in terms of time, let alone budget, but hell, it’s a nice thought and seeing the onslaught of new stuff coming between now and the end of April, I thought maybe a list would help keep it all straight. Even if I’m only helping myself, I could probably spend my time in worse ways.

Worth noting that even with 24 albums, presented below in order of release, I feel like there’s stuff I’m forgetting. Frankly, it’s an overwhelming amount of material, so if I’ve missed something or there’s something you’d like to see added to the list, as always, that’s why there’s a comments feature.

Okay. These are numbered just for fun, but listed by date:

1. Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Fans (March 12)

My understanding is that London’s foremost doom scoundrels, none other than Orange Goblin, have been selling copies of A Eulogy for the Fans since starting their US tour with Clutch on March 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio, but today is the official release date, and I can think of no better place to start than with the four-piece’s ferocious performance at the 2012 Bloodstock festival, captured audio and video in all its bloodsoaked glory. Not to be missed or taken lightly because it’s a live record. Album review here.

2. Borracho, Mob Gathering 7″ (March 13)


Even though it’s comprised of older tracks, the new Mob Gathering 7″ from Borracho is welcome by me for two reasons: I’ve never heard the songs before and Borracho rocks. The Washington D.C.-based riffers recorded “Mob Gathering” and “Short Ride (When it’s Over)” in 2009 and are set to release the cuts on a limited platter in black and orange swirl through Spain’s Ghost Highway Recordings and Germany’s No Balls Records. They’ve been playing live as a mostly-instrumental outfit while guitarist/vocalist Noah is out of the country on what I can only assume is an awesome spy mission, so if you need a Borracho fix — and it’s obvious from the way your hands are shaking that you do — this might be the way to go. More info here.

3. Inter Arma, Sky Burial (March 15)


Like Windhand below, Inter Arma are recent Relapse Records signees from Richmond, Virginia, and Sky Burial will serve as their first release for the label. Literally and figuratively, the album is expansive, topping 69 minutes and pummeling the whole way through with a genre-transcending concoction of bleakness that’s not so much aligned to any particular heavy aesthetic so much as it is set to its own atmospheric purposes. Through this, Inter Arma emerge terrifyingly cohesive where many others would falter, and their second LP behind 2010’s Sundown (review here) leaves a progressive impression despite an almost complete lack of sonic pretense. Mostly, it’s fucking heavy. Track stream and info here.

4. Clutch, Earth Rocker (March 19)


If 2013 ended tomorrow, Clutch‘s Earth Rocker would be my album of the year. That’s not saying the situation will be the same nine months from now when I actually start putting that list together (already dreading it), but as of March 12, it’s the cat’s pajamas and no foolin’. The long-running Marylanders outdid themselves and put together a surprisingly fast, energetic collection of songs that don’t forsake the bluesy tendencies of their last album, 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West, so much as they put some of the jamming on lockdown in favor of all-out pro-grade heavy rock and roll. The velocity is crucial and the wolfman is out, but it feels like the party’s just starting. Look for them on tour sometime between now and forever. Album review here.

5. Black Mare, Field of the Host (March 20)


Black Math Horseman and Ides of Gemini frontwoman Sera Timms (who’s also recently collaborated with Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce in the new outfit Zun) steps further out on her own with the solo-project Black Mare, from whom Field of the Host is the first album. Due March 20 on LP through The Crossing and on cassette through Breathe Plastic, limited in both cases and sure to be gone shortly after release if they’re not already taken through pre-orders. Fans of Timms‘ past works will be glad to hear the misty wash of melody and dreamy, somehow sad, languid roll of “Blind One,” for starters. Audio and info on the forum.

6. Kvelertak, Meir (March 26)


Short of setting themselves on fire, Norwegian triple-guitar six-piece Kvelertak did just about everything they could to get noticed in support of their 2010 self-titled debut LP (review here), and sure enough, their work paid off in getting signed to Roadrunner Records for all territories outside their native Scandinavia (where Indie Recordings holds sway) and trumpeting up a wave of anticipation for their second full-length, Meir. Their energetic, genre-crossing approach might not be for everybody, but the band have turned a lot of heads and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find them on bigger tours this year with Roadrunner behind them. More info on the forum.

7. Black Pyramid, Adversarial (April 2)


This is actually the first time the Eli Wood cover art for Black Pyramid‘s Adversarial has been seen in full, so you know. The Hydro-Phonic Records release of the third Black Pyramid album and first to be fronted by guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard along with bassist David Gein and drummer Clay Neely punctuates the beginning of a new era for the Massachusetts trio. If the advance listen to closing track “Onyx and Obsidian” is anything to go by, they could very well be at their most potent yet, and though I’d hardly consider myself an impartial observer, as a fan of the band, this is one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. More to come. Track stream here.

8. Moss, Horrible Night (April 2)


I’ve yet to hear the complete album, but UK trio Moss seem poised to surprise with a cleaner vocal approach on Horrible Night, their first offering since 2008’s impressive Sub Templum LP and two EPs in 2009, so in addition to wondering how they’ll pull it off, the level of the shift remains to be seen. That is, how big a deal is it? Should I call my mom? Is this something grandma needs to know about? Time will tell, but for it having been five years since the last time a Moss record reared its doomly head, it seems only fair to give the band a little breathing room on their evolution. More info and video here.

9. Mars Red Sky, Be My Guide EP (April 8)


How glad am I that French fuzz rockers Mars Red Sky have a new EP coming? Well, I’m not as happy that it’s coming as I am that it’s frickin’ awesome. The trio keep the weighted bass tones that gave so much depth to their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), but they’ve also clearly set to work expanding the formula as well, adding stomp to second track “Seen a Ghost” and an eerie repetitive sense to side B closer “Stranger,” while also broadening their melodic reach and taking claim of whichever side of the line they want between fuzz rock and heavy psychedelia while remaining so much more to the ears than either genre descriptor can offer to the eyes. At half an hour, my only complaint with it is it’s not a full-length album. Video trailer and info here.

10. Blaak Heat Shujaa, The Edge of an Era (April 9)


A sample of the poet Ron Whitehead — who also featured on Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s late-2012 debut EP for Tee Pee Records, The Storm Generation (review here) — comes to clarity just in time for the gonzo Boomer poet to let us all know that, “America is an illusion” (that may be, but it’s an illusion with an army of flying killer robots), and from there, the youngin’ desert transplants embark on a low-end-heavy freakout topped with sweet surf rock guitars and set to use in intricate, sometimes surprisingly jagged, rhythmic dances. Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson guests, Scott Reeder produced. Review is forthcoming, but till then, there’s more info here.

11. Devil to Pay, Fate is Your Muse (April 9)


Fate is Your Muse serves not only as Indianapolis rockers Devil to Pay‘s Ripple Music debut, but also as the double-guitar foursome’s first outing since 2009’s Heavily Ever After. With tales of lizardmen attacks and the alleged end of the world, it’s got its fair share of personality, and set to the chugging riffs, melodic vocals and straightforward heavy grooves, that personality still goes a long way. I’ll have a review up before this week is out (I hope), but still, I wanted to make sure to include Devil to Pay here too, since their songs command both attention and respect. To wit, I just can’t seem to get “This Train Won’t Stop” out of my head. Video and info here.

12. Cough & Windhand, Reflection of the Negative Split (April 15)


Virginian doomers Cough and Windhand share a hometown in Richmond, a love of volume, a bassist in Parker Chandler and now a label in Relapse Records, so yeah, a split makes sense. Reflection of the Negative will be Windhand‘s first release through Relapse ahead of their sophomore full-length, scheduled for later this year (info here). For Cough, this split marks their first outing since 2010’s An Introduction to the Black Arts split with UK masters The Wounded Kings (review here), and they’ll present the 18-minute “Athame,” while Windhand bring forth “Amaranth” and “Shepherd’s Crook.” More info here.

13. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Mind Control (April 15)


What the last Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats album, 2011’s Blood Lust (semi-review here), did so well was capture the atmosphere and the grainy imagery of late ’60s/early ’70s psychedelic horror and put it into audio form. For that, Blood Lust earned massive praise, but I still think that without the central core of songwriting underneath the genre trappings, it would’ve fallen flat. When it comes to Mind Control, the question waiting to be answered is if the band wants to stick to the blueprint they’ve established or go brazenly into uncharted weirdness. I’m not really sure they can lose, either way. Info and music here.

14. Kadavar, Abra Kadavar (April 16)


Their debut on new label Nuclear Blast and the quick-arriving answer to my pick for 2012 debut of the year, Abra Kadavar arrives with plenty of anticipation leading the way. The retro-rocking German trio have their work cut out for them in following that self-titled, but however it turns out in the comparison, it will be fascinating to learn how Kadavar develops the band’s sound and whether or not they prove able to push the boundaries of their aesthetic while simultaneously setting a new standard for promo photos. New video here.

15. Spiritual Beggars, Earth Blues (April 16)


I guess when it comes to these long-running Swedes, everybody’s got their favorite lineup, their favorite tunes, etc., but for me, I’m just impressed that Michael Amott — now more than 20 years on from starting Spiritual Beggars as a side-project while still in grindcore pioneers Carcass — still has any interest in keeping the classic rock Hammond-loving outfit grooving. Their last outing, 2010’s Return to Zero (review here), was the first to feature vocalist Apollo Papathanasio, formerly of Firewind, and though those songs were solid, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re more settled in on Earth Blues when it drops via InsideOut Music on April 16. More info on the forum.

16. Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire (April 19)


Alternating between periods of brooding intensity and all-out crushing heaviness, the second full-length from New Zealand’s Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire, is nasty, nasty, nasty. It’s nasty when it’s quiet and it’s nasty when it’s loud. It’s the kind of record you put on and you’re like, “Damn that’s nasty.” And you’re not wrong. The four-piece — touring shortly with Unida — upped their game even from 2011’s self-titled debut (review here), and for anyone who heard that record, you know that’s saying something. I’m still in the “getting to know it” phase, but so far all that nasty feels pretty right on. More info here.

17. Ghost, Infestissumam (April 19)


Man, this one just kind of happened, huh? I suck — and I mean S-U-C-K suck — at keeping up with band hype. I’m the dude who hears the record three months later and goes, “Yeah, I guess that’s cool,” as countless reviews here can attest, including the one for Ghost‘s 2010 debut, Opus Eponymous, but with the Swedish cult heavyweights, all of a sudden I turned around and blamo, major label deal, semi-name change to Ghost B.C., and enough slathering over the impending Infestissumam to make the first album seem like less than the hyperbole it was treated to initially. Funny how that happens. Out in April? I’m sure I’ll review in June and go, “Yeah, I guess that’s cool.” More info on the forum.

18. One Inch Giant, The Great White Beyond (April 19)


Now signed to Soulseller Records, Swedish heavy rockers One Inch Giant will unveil their debut full-length on April 19 and as three of my favorite words in the English language are “Swedish heavy rockers,” I’m excited to find out how this Gothenburg four-piece follow-up their Malva EP, and if they can capture some of the extreme dynamic they brought to their live show when they toured the US last summer — a run of shows that included a stop at SHoD. Hard not to pull for a band after they come over to play club dates. More info and music here.

19. The Heavy Co., Midwest Electric (April 20)


It was actually the other day writing about The Heavy Co.‘s Midwest Electric that I had the idea for this feature, so however high the profile might be for some of these albums — Ghost walks by on their way to cash a check — it was these unpretentious Hoosier rockers and their new outing, Midwest Electric, that started me off. From what I’ve heard so far, the new collection sounds a little more confident in exploring psychedelia than did the trio’s 2011 debut EP, The Heavy (Please Tune In…) (review here), so I’m looking forward to hearing if and how that plays out over the course of the whole thing. Video trailer here.

20. Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man (April 23)


I have an interview slated for later this week with Gozu guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, and I’m even more excited for this time than I was when we last spoke, around their 2009 Small Stone debut, Locust Season (review here), since in everything but its goofball song titles, the sophomore outing marks a huge developmental step in the band’s melodic reach and songwriting chemistry. Stay tuned for that interview and check out the Bandcamp stream included with the album review here.

21. Yawning Man & Fatso Jetson, European Tour Split 7″ (April 26)


Note: I don’t actually know that April 26 is the day that what’s sure to be 2013’s most desert-rocking split is due to arrive, I just know that it’s Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man‘s European tour split, and that’s the day the Euro dates start — with performances at Desertfests London and Berlin, to be more specific. Given both the greatness of Fatso Jetson‘s last record, 2010’s Archaic Volumes (review here), and of Yawning Man‘s own 2010 outing, Nomadic Pursuits (review here), the bands’ shared lineage and the relative infrequency of their touring, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to hope that, even for a single, they pull out all the stops. And starts. And riffs. More info on the forum.

22. Serpent Throne, Brother Lucifer (April 29)


Philly-based instrumental heavy rockers Serpent Throne will follow-up 2010’s White Summer/Black Winter (review here) with Brother Lucifer, and while no one can ever really know what to expect, it’s a safe bet that the dual-guitar outfit will have the solos front and center once again. Having seen them do a couple new songs back in December, I can’t blame them in the slightest. Looking forward to letting these songs sink in for a while and having those solos stuck in my head. Track stream here.

23. Melvins, Everybody Loves Sausages (April 30)


Hey wow, a Melvins covers album. Finally, an opportunity for the band to let their hair down and go wild a bit, right? I mean, at long last, they can really feel free to indulge a little and explore their musical roots in a free and creative way. Okay, you get the point. In all seriousness, it’s a pretty cool idea and anything that teams the Melvins with Scott Kelly to do a Venom song is probably going to be a worthy cause. The most amazing part of it is they haven’t already done a version of “Black Betty.” More info on the forum.

24. Revelation, Inner Harbor (April 30)


Their most progressive outing yet and their first album since 2009, Revelation‘s Inner Harbor (review here) is bound to surprise some who thought they knew what to expect from the Maryland doom stalwarts who double as the classically rocking Against Nature. Good thing Inner Harbor had a digital release last year through the band’s Bland Hand Records to act as a precursor to this Shadow Kingdom CD issue. Rumor has it vinyl’s on the way as well, so keep an eye out, since John Brenner‘s guitar tone should be heard on as natural-sounding an apparatus as possible. More info here.

Okay, so you’re saying to yourself, “Golly, that’s a lot of stuff.” You’re absolutely right. But even as I was typing up this feature, I got word of a new Queen Elephantine full-length coming in April, so even as much as this is, it’s not everything. And that’s not even to mention May, which will bring a new Shroud Eater EP, a new Kylesa record and a new Mark Lanegan collaboration, among however much else. Tons of stuff to keep your ears out for, and like I said way back at the top of this thing, if you have something to add, a comment’s always appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

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