Return of the Riff UK Live Show Series Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

return-of-the-riff-banner

Hey kid, you like live shows? Think you can get behind a three-day/20-band extravanganza spread out over a couple weeks in Bristol? Fucking a right you can. Snuff Lane presents the aptly-named Return of the Riff show series, with three nights of killer UK-native acts doing what they do in celebration of reemerging from out of the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. My understanding is the UK is getting ready to completely open up, so hey, these shows might even happen. Pretty rad. And so are the lineups.

You can see below the headliners respectively are Desert Storm, Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs and Slabdragger — all worthy — but note too the inclusion of Desert Storm offshoot Wall, as well as Sigiriya and Ritual King, Cybernetic Witch Cult (who have a new lineup) and perennial favorites Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters. Wren and Trevor’s Head and Ten Foot Wizard and Old Man Lizard on back-to-back nights? I won’t get to see any of it, but hell’s bells I’m glad it exists.

Info follows here, courtesy of the PR wire. If you make it to Bristol, enjoy:

return of the riff Series Poster

Return of the Riff – Bristol, July-August ‘21

To celebrate the return of live music within England, we are uncontrollably excited to have teamed up with The Crofters Rights, Bristol to host ‘Return of the Riff’.

Three events with heavily stacked line-ups, offering rare performances with some of the UK’s finest Riffslingers within an intimate setting. We are excited to finally unveil the full line-up; now boasting 20 artists, across 3-days.

Sunday 25th July now hosts Brighton born post-hardcore, sludgy post-rockers Earth Moves, (formed of members from We Never Learned To Live, Grappler, and Cloud Boat).

Sadly, due to the drummer breaking his leg, 1968 have had to withdraw from Saturday 8th July’s RotR. They are now replaced by both Bristol-based three-piece psychedelic post-rockers Mammoth Toe, and stonerpunks from the sewers of Surrey, Trevor’s Head.

20-Bands / 3-Days / 1-Venue / Whole Lotta Riff
The Crofters Rights, Bristol

Sunday 25th July ’21 ~ 16:00 – 23:30
Desert Storm + Gurt + Monolithian + Cybernetic Witch Cult + Sail Band + Earth Moves + Wall

Saturday 7th August ’21 ~ 16:00 – 22:30
Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs + Sigiriya + Ritual King + Suns of Thunder + Trevor’s Head + Mammoth Toe

Sunday 8th August ’21 ~ 16:00 – 23:30
Slabdragger + Ten Foot Wizard + Wren + Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters + Old Man Lizard + Made of Teeth + The Malefic Grip

More Info/RSVP: https://bit.ly/3A3iOor
Tickets: http://hdfst.uk/return-of-the-riff

Bundle option is available when purchasing from any event. Limited bundle tickets remaining.

Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs, “Garden” Live in Norwich, UK, March 2020

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Sail Release New EP Live at TAD Studios

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

If you’re reading these words — and hey, if you are, thanks — then you probably don’t need me to tell you that today is Bandcamp Friday, the one day a month that the online portal has set aside to waive the fees it collects from artists. Good day to buy music, in other words, if you like directly supporting those who make said music. There are of course a ton of releases as a result, but while you’re spending the day, well, spending, I’d only encourage you to give a glance over at what UK heavy proggers Sail have on offer in the new EP, Live at TAD Studios, which, if you dug their 2020 studio album, Mannequin (review here), should make a welcome follow-up.

Four songs, two previously unreleased, and included is the Mannequin title-track, which you’ll also find the video below, put together as it was by fan-filmed footage, which is nice because, you know, virtual togetherness and all that. Also it’s catchy. That doesn’t hurt either, ever.

You should note that TAD Studios is not the same as Witch Ape Studio, which is run by Tad Doyle. Ain’t nobody traveling to record in the States right now. Bad enough living here.

Okay, here you go:

sail live at tad studios

Sail – Live at TAD Stuios

The four tracks were recorded at TAD Studios as part of a live session, and feature our latest single Mannequin, two tracks from Slumbersong (Shimmer & Old Tom) and Bookends, which has never been released. We wanted to celebrate these tracks in a different environment and add a positive note to the end of a difficult year; our fans have stuck by us and we want to reward them for their loyalty.

Tracklist:
1) Mannequin (Live at TAD Studios)
2) Bookends (Live at TAD Studios)
3) Shimmer (Live at TAD Studios)
4) Old Tom (Live at TAD Studios)

Art credit: Tim Kazer
Mixing and mastering: Umair Chaudhry
Additional audio editing: Kynan Scott

Sail are a melodic sludge/ stoner metal band from Somerset, UK. Forming in 2016, they released their debut record Slumbersong on Hibernacula Records in 2017 and Starve in 2019. They have toured with Cybernetic Witch Cult, Morag Tong, Morass of Molasses, Kylver, and have toured Ireland with Everest Queen and Zhora.

Sail are:
Charlie Dowzell: guitars, vocals
Tim Kazer: guitars, vocals
Kynan Scott: bass, synths
Tom Coles: drums

https://www.facebook.com/thebandsail/
http://instagram.com/thebandsail
https://thebandsail.bandcamp.com/

Sail, Live at TAD Studios (2020)

Sail, “Mannequin” official video

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Quarterly Review: Witchcraft, The Wizar’d, Sail, Frank Sabbath, Scream of the Butterfly, Slow Draw, Baleful Creed, Surya Kris Peters, Slow Phase, Rocky Mtn Roller

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Day Three is always special when it comes to Quarterly Reviews because it’s where we hit and pass the halfway point on the way to covering 50 albums by Friday. This edition hasn’t been unpleasant at all — I’ve screened this stuff pretty hard, so I feel well prepared — but it still requires some doing to make it all come together. Basically a week’s worth. Ha.

If you haven’t found anything yet that speaks to you, I hope that changes either today, tomorrow or Friday.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Witchcraft, Black Metal

witchcraft black metal

Four years ago, Witchcraft frontman/founder Magnus Pelander released a solo album under his own name called Time (review here) as a quick complement to the band’s own 2016 offering, Nucleus (review here). Pelander‘s Time was his first solo outing since a 2010 four-song EP that, for a long time, seemed like a one-off. Now, with Black Metal, Witchcraft strips down to its barest essentials — Pelander‘s voice and guitar — and he is the only performer on the seven-track/33-minute LP. Style-wise, it’s mostly sad, intimate folk, as Pelander begins with “Elegantly Expressed Depression” and tells the stories of “A Boy and a Girl,” “Sad People,” and even the key-inclusive “Sad Dog” before “Take Him Away” closes out with a bluesy guitar figure that features twice but is surrounded by a space that seems to use silence as much as music as a tool of its downer presentation. The title, obviously tongue-in-cheek, is clearly nonetheless a reference to depression, and while Pelander‘s performance is gorgeous and honest, it’s also very clearly held down by a massive emotional weight. So too, then, is the album.

Witchcraft on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast webstore

 

The Wizar’d, Subterranean Exile

the wizar'd subterranean exile

Making their debut on Cruz Del Sur Music, Australia’s The Wizar’d return from the doomliest of gutters with Subterranean Exile, opening the album with the title-track’s take on capital-‘c’ Classic doom and the pre-NWOBHM-ism of Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General, and, duh, Black Sabbath. In just 35 minutes, the four-piece make the most of their raw but epic vibes, using the means of the masters to showcase their own songwriting. This is doom metal at its most traditional, with two guitars intertwining riffs and leads on “Master of the Night” and the catchy “Long Live the Dead,” but there’s a dungeon-style spirit to the solo in that track — or maybe that’s just build off of the prior interlude “Ecstatic Visions Held Within the Monastic Tower” — that sets up the speedier run of “Evil in My Heart” ahead of the seven-minute finale “Dark Fortress.” As one might hope, they cap with due lumber and ceremony befitting an LP so thoroughly, so entirely doomed, and while perhaps it will be seven years before they do another full-length, it doesn’t matter. The Wizar’d stopped time a long time ago.

The Wizar’d on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Sail, Mannequin

Sail Mannequin

A follow-up to their later-2019 single “Starve,” the three-song Mannequin release from UK progressive metallers Sail is essentially a single as well. It begins with the ‘regular’ version of the track, which careens through its sub-five minutes with a standout hook and the dual melodic vocals of guitarists Tim Kazer and Charlie Dowzell. This is followed by “Mannequin [Synthwave Remix],” which lives up to its name, and brings bassist Kynan Scott to the fore on synth, replacing the drums of Tom Coles with electronic beats and the guitars with keyboards. The chorus works remarkably well. As fluidly as “Mannequin” fed into the subsequent remix, so too does “Mannequin [Synthwave Remix]” move directly into “Mannequin [Director’s Cut],” which ranges past the seven-minute mark and comes across rawer than the opening version. Clearly Sail knew they could get some mileage out of “Mannequin,” and they weren’t wrong. They make the most of the 16-minute occasion and keep listeners guessing where they might be headed coming off of 2017’s Slumbersong LP. Easy win.

Sail on Thee Facebooks

Sail on Bandcamp

 

Frank Sabbath, Compendium

Frank Sabbath Compendium

They’re not kidding with that title. Frank Sabbath‘s Compendium covers four years of studio work — basic improvisations done in 2016 plus overdubs over time — and the resulting freakout is over an hour and a half long. Its 14 component pieces run a gamut of psychedelic meandering, loud, quiet, fast, slow, spacey, earthy, whatever you’re looking for, there’s time for it all. The French trio were plenty weird already on 2017’s Are You Waiting? (review here), but the scales are tipped here in the extended “La Petite Course à Vélo” (11:16) and “Bermuda Cruise” (17:21) alone, never mind on the Middle Eastern surf of “Le Coucous” or the hopping bass and wah of “Gallus Crackus” and “L’Oeufou.” The band has issued live material in the past, and whatever they do, it’s pretty jammy, but Compendium specifically highlights this aspect of their sound, shoving it in front of the listener and daring them to take it on. If you’re mind’s not open, it might be by the time you’re done.

Frank Sabbath on Thee Facebooks

Frank Sabbath on Bandcamp

 

Scream of the Butterfly, Birth Death Repeat

scream of the butterfly birth death repeat

Scream of the Butterfly made a raucous debut in with 2017’s Ignition (review here), and Birth Death Repeat stays the course of bringing Hammond organ to the proceedings of melodically arranged ’90s-style heavy rock, resulting in a cross-decade feel marked by sharp tones and consistency of craft that’s evident in the taut executions of “The Devil is by My Side” and “Higher Place” before the more moderately-paced “Desert Song” takes hold and thickens out the tones accordingly. ‘Desert,’ as it were, is certainly an influence throughout, as the opener’s main riff feels Kyuss-derived and the later “Driven” has a fervent energy behind it as well. The latter is well-placed following the ballad “Soul Giver,” the mellower title-track interlude, and the funky but not nearly as propulsive “Turned to Stone.” They’ll soon close out with the bluesy “I’ve Seen it Coming,” but before they do, “Room Without Walls” brings some marked solo shred and a grungier riff that scuffs up the band’s collective boot nicely, emphasizing that the record itself is less mundane than it might at first appear or the title might lead one to believe.

Scream of the Butterfly on Thee Facebooks

Scream of the Butterfly on Bandcamp

 

Slow Draw, Gallo

Slow Draw Gallo

From minimalist drone to experimental folk, Slow Draw‘s Gallo sets a wide-open context for itself from the outset, a quick voice clip and the churning drone of “Phase 2” leading into the relatively straightforward “No Words” — to which there are, naturally, lyrics. Comprised solely of Mark Kitchens, also known for drumming in the duo Stone Machine Electric, Slow Draw might be called an experimentalist vehicle, but that doesn’t make Gallo any less satisfying. “No Words” and “Falling Far” and the just-acoustic-and-voice closer “End to That” serve as landmarks along the way, touching ground periodically as pieces like the strumming “Harvey’s Chair” and the droned-out “Industrial Aged” play off each other and “Angelo” — homage to Badalamenti, perhaps — the minimal “A Conflict” and “Tumoil” [sic] and “Playground” tip the balance to one side or another, the penultimate krautdrone of “Phase 1” unveiling perhaps what further manipulation turned into “Phase 2” earlier in the proceedings. At 33 minutes, Gallo feels careful not to overstay its welcome, and it doesn’t.

Slow Draw on Thee Facebooks

Slow Draw on Bandcamp

 

Baleful Creed, The Lowdown

baleful creed the lowdown

Belfast’s Baleful Creed present a crisp 10 tracks of well-composed, straightforward, doom-tinged heavy rock and roll — they call it ‘doom blues boogie,’ and fair enough — with their third long-player, The Lowdown. They’re not pretending to be anything they’re not and offering their sounds to the listener not in some grand statement of aesthetic accomplishment, and not as a showcase of whatever amps they purchased to make their sound, but instead simply for what they are: songs. Crafted, honed, thought-out and brought to bear with vitality and purpose to give the band the best representation possible. Front-to-back, The Lowdown sounds not necessarily overthought, but professional enough to be called “cared about,” and whether it’s the memorable opening with “Mr. Grim” or the ’90s C.O.C. idolatry of “Tramalamapam” or the strong ending salvo of “End Game,” with its inclusion of piano, the mostly-subdued but swaggering “Line of Trouble” and the organ-topped closer “Southgate of Heaven,” Baleful Creed never veer too far from the central purpose of their priority on songwriting, and neither do they need to.

Baleful Creed on Thee Facebooks

Baleful Creed on Bandcamp

 

Surya Kris Peters, O Jardim Sagrado

Surya Kris Peters O Jardim Sagrado

Though he’s still best known as the frontman of Samsara Blues Experiment, Christian Peters — aka Surya Kris Peters — has become a prolific solo artist as well. The vinyl-ready eight songs/37 minutes of O Jardim Sagrado meet him in his element, bringing together psychedelia, drone and synthesizer/keyboard effects to convey various moods and ideas. As with most of the work done under the Surya Kris moniker, he doesn’t add vocals, but the album wants nothing for expression just the same, whether it’s the Bouzouki on “Endless Green” or the guest contribution of voice from Monika Saint-Oktobre on the encompassing 11-minute title-track, which would be perfect for a dance hall if dance halls were also religious ceremonies. Experiments and explorations like “Celestial Bolero” and “Saudade” bring electric guitar leads and Mellotron-laced wistfulness, respectively, while after the title-cut, the proggy techno of “Blue Nebula” gives way to what might otherwise be a boogie riff on closer “Southern Sunrise.” Peters always seems to find a way to catch the listener off guard. Maybe himself too.

Surya Kris Peters on Thee Facebooks

Surya Kris Peters on Bandcamp

 

Slow Phase, Slow Phase

slow phase slow phase

A strong if raw debut from Oakland three-piece Slow Phase, this 39-minute eight-tracker presents straight-ahead classic American heavy rock and roll in the style of acts like a less garage The Brought Low, a looser-knit Sasquatch or any number of bands operating under the Ripple Music banner. Less burly than some, more punk than others, the power trio includes guitarist Dmitri Mavra of Skunk, as well as vocalist/bassist Anthony Pulsipher of Spidermeow and vocalist/drummer Richard Stuverud, the rhythm section adding to the blues spirit and spiraling manic jangle of “Blood Circle.” Opener “Starlight” was previously issued as a teaser single for the album, and stands up to its position here, with the eponymous “Slow Phase” backing its strength of hook. “Psychedelic Man” meanders in its lead section, as it should, and the catchy “Silver Fuzz” sets up the riotous “Midnight Sun” and “No Time” to lead into the electric piano of “Let’s Do it Again (For the First Time),” which I’d kind of take as a goof were it not for the righteous jam that finishes it, referencing “Highway Star” during its fadeout. Some organizing to do, but they obviously know what they’re shooting for.

Slow Phase on Thee Facebooks

Slow Phase on Bandcamp

 

Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller

rocky mtn roller rocky mtn roller

This band might actually be more cohesive than they want to be. A double-guitar four-piece from Asheville, North Carolina, with a connection to cult heroes Lecherous Gaze via six-stringer Zach Blackwell — joined in the band by guitarist Ruby Roberts, bassist Luke Whitlatch and drummer Alex Cabrera — they’re playing to a certain notion of brashness as an ideal, but while the vocals have a drunk-fuckall stoner edge, the construction of the songs underlying is unremittingly sound on this initial EP. “Monster” opens with a welcome hook and “When I’m a Pile” sounds classic-tinged enough to be a heavy ’70s nod, but isn’t so easily placed to a specific band as to be called derivative. The longest of the four cuts at 5:30, “Bald Faced Hornet” boasts some sting in its snare sound, but the Southern heavy push at its core makes those dueling solos in the second half all the more appropriate, and closing out, “She Ran Off with the Dealer” has both charm and Thin Lizzy groove, which would basically be enough on their own to get me on board. A brazen and blazing candidate for Tee Pee Records‘ digital annex, if someone else doesn’t snag them first.

Rocky Mtn Roller on Thee Facebooks

Rocky Mtn Roller on Bandcamp

 

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End of the World Festival 2018 Set for July 7 with Gurt, Chubby Thunderous, Trevor’s Head & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The ultra-populated UK heavy underground celebrates its own next month with the second installment of the End of the World Festival. An all-dayer-type event set for July 7, it boasts a lineup featuring the likes of Gurt, Monolithian and Sergeant Thunderhoof, as well as Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, whose debut album should be along any minute now and thereby not nearly soon enough. Even apart from its most noteworthy names, the bill is pretty massive, so if you happen to be sailing into Plymouth early next month, maybe you drop anchor for a bit and spend an afternoon and an evening getting tore up listening to riffl

You could do much, much worse. Dig what the PR wire:

end of the world festival 2018

End of the World 2018

15 BANDS, TWO VENUES, ONE DAY, 10 HOURS OF BACK TO BACK RIFF

End of the World festival is back in 2018; a small stoner/doom/psych/metal festival in the South West of the UK. Run by bands for a passion and love of Doom. Two venues, and some of the best underground doom (and subgenres) that the UK has to offer!!! This is as grassroots as possible, being our second event and building on the success of 2017!

End Of The World is a celebration of the best of the UK’s stoner and doom underground, focussing especially on the South-West but showcasing talent from all over the country. The first installment in 2017 saw big players like Elephant Tree, Morass of Molasses and Grifter take the stage, and this year the lineup is completed by heavyweights such as Gurt, Monolithian and Sergeant Thunderhoof.

First Band at 2pm
Music until Midnight
Two venues on Mutley Plain, Plymouth, numerous food shops on the street, carparking nearby.

The event takes place between The Underground and The Junction in Plymouth on 07.07.18.

The bands playing are:

Gurt
Monolithian
Sergeant Thunderhoof
Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
Cybernetic Witch Cult
Morass Of Molasses
Voodoo blood
Thuum
Gévaudan
Trevor’s Head
Silverchild
Witch Tripper
Sail
Six Sins till Sunday
Battle Ready Bear

Tickets can be found on the site here: www.endoftheworldfestival.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/1973611246245218/
https://www.facebook.com/endoftheworldfestivalUK/

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, “Mother Chub” official video

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