Quarterly Review: Pelican, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Greenbeard, Mount Soma, Nibiru, Cable, Reino Ermitaño, Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

More computer bullshit this morning. I lost about 45 minutes because my graphics driver and Windows 10 apparently hate each other and before I could disable the former, the machine decided the best it could do for me was to load a blank screen. Hard to find the Pelican record on my desktop when I can’t see my desktop. The Patient Mrs. woke up while I was trying to fix it and suggested HDMIing it to the tv. When I did that, it didn’t project as was hoped, but the display came on — because go figure — and I was able to shut off the driver, the only real advantage of which is it lets me use the night light feature so it’s easier on my eyes. That’s nice, but I’d rather have the laptop function. Not really working on a level of “give me soft red light or give me death!” at this point. I may yet get there in my life.

Today’s the last day of this beast, wrapping up the last of the 60 reviews, and I’m already in the hole for the better part of an hour thanks to this technical issue, the second of the week. Been an adventure, this one. Let’s close it out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Nighttime Stories

pelican nighttime stories

Split into two LPs each with its own three-minute mood-setter — those being “WST” and “It Stared at Me,” respectively — Pelican‘s Nighttime Stories (on Southern Lord) carries the foreboding sensibility of its title into an aggressive push throughout the album, which deals from the outset with the pain of loss. The lead single “Midnight and Mescaline” represents this well in directly following “WST,” with shades of more extreme sounds in the sharp-turning guitar interplay and tense drums, but it carries through the blastbeats of “Abyssal Plain” and the bombastic crashes of presumed side B closer “Cold Hope” as well, which flow via a last tonal wash toward the melancholy “It Stared at Me” and the even-more-aggro title-track, the consuming “Arteries of Blacktop” and the eight-minute “Full Moon, Black Water,” which offers a build of maddening chug — a Pelican hallmark — before resolving in melodic serenity, moving, perhaps, forward with and through its grief. It’s been six years since Pelican‘s last LP, Forever Becoming (review here), and they’ve responded to that time differential with the hardest-hitting record they’ve ever done.

Pelican on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed

swan valley heights the heavy seed

Though the peaceful beginning of 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Heavy Seed,” for which the five-song album is named, reminds of Swan Valley Heights‘ Munich compatriots in Colour Haze, the ultimate impression the band make on their Fuzzorama Records debut and second album overall behind a 2016 self-titled (review here) is more varied in its execution, with cuts like “Vaporizer Woman” and the centerpiece “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine” manifesting ebbs and flows and rolling out a fuzzy largesse to lead into dream-toned ethereality and layered vocals that immediately call to mind Elephant Tree. There’s a propensity for jamming, but they’re not a jam band, and seem always to have a direction in mind. That’s true even on the three-minute instrumental “My First Knife Fight,” which unfurls around a nod riff and simple drum progression to bridge into closer “Teeth and Waves,” a bookend to The Heavy Seed‘s title-track that revives that initial grace and uses it as a stepping stone for the crunch to come. It’s a balance that works and should be well received.

Swan Valley Heights on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

 

Mark Deutrom, The Blue Bird

Mark Deutrom The Blue Bird

Released in the wee hours of 2019, Mark Deutrom‘s The Blue Bird marks the first new solo release from the prolific Austin-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist through Season of Mist, and it’s a 50-minute run of genre-spanning outsider art, bringing ’70s folk vibes to the weepy guitar echoes of “Radiant Gravity” right before “O Ye of Little Faith” dooms out for six of its seven minutes and “Our Revels Now Are Ended” basks in 77 seconds of experimentalist winding guitar. It goes like that. Vocals are intermittent enough to not necessarily be expected, but not entirely absent through the midsection of “Hell is a City,” “Somnambulist” and “Maximum Hemingway,” and if there’s traditionalism at play anywhere, it might be in “They Have Won” and “The Happiness Machine,” which, toward the back end of the album, bring a sax-laden melancholy vibe and a straightforward heavy rock feel, respectively, ahead of the closer “Nothing out There,” which ties them together, somehow accounting for the 1:34 “On Fathers Day” as well in its sweetness. Don’t go into The Blue Bird asking it to make sense on any level other than its own and you should be fine. It’s not a minor undertaking at 50 minutes, and not without its indulgences, but even the briefest of pieces helps develop the character of the whole, which of course is essential to any good story.

Mark Deutrom website

Season of Mist website

 

Greenbeard, Onward, Pillager

greenbeard onward pillager

Austin bringers of hard-boogie Greenbeard reportedly issued the three-song Onward, Pillager as a precursor to their next full-length — even the name hints toward it being something of a stopgap — but its tracks stand well on their own, whether it’s the keyboard-laced “Contact High II,” which is presumably a sequel to another track on the forthcoming record, or the chunkier roll of “WCCQ” and the catchy finisher “Kill to Love Yourself,” with its overlaid guitar solo adding to a dramatic ending. It hasn’t been that long since 2017’s Lödarödböl (review here), but clearly these guys are committed to moving forward in neo-stoner rock fashion, and their emergence as songwriters is highlighted particularly throughout “WCCQ” and “Kill to Love Yourself,” while “Contact High II” is more of an intro or a would-be interlude on the full-length. It may only be pieces of a larger, to-be-revealed picture, but Onward, Pillager shows three different sides of what Greenbeard have on offer, and the promise of more to come is one that will hopefully be kept sooner rather than later.

Greenbeard on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

 

Mount Soma, Nirodha

mount_soma_nirodha

Each of the three songs on Mount Soma‘s densely-weighted, live-recorded self-released Nirodha EP makes some mention of suffering in its lyrics, and indeed, that seems to be the theme drawing together “Dark Sun Destroyer” (7:40), “Emerge the Wolf” (5:50) and “Resurfacing” (9:14): a quest for transcendence perhaps in part due to the volume of the music and the act itself of creating it. Whatever gets them there, the trajectory of Nirodha is such that by the time they hit into the YOB-style galloping toward the end of “Resurfacing,” the gruff shouts of “rebirth!” feel more celebratory than ambitious. Based in Dublin, the four-piece bring a fair sense of space to their otherwise crush-minded approach, and though the EP is rough — it is their second short release following 2016’s Origins — they seem to have found a way to tie together outer and inner cosmos with an earthbound sense of gravity and heft, and with the more intense shove of “Emerge the Wolf” between the two longer tracks, they prove themselves capable of bringing a noisy charge amid all that roar and crash. They did the first EP live as well. I wonder if they’d do the same for a full-length.

Mount Soma on Thee Facebooks

Mount Soma on Bandcamp

 

Nibiru, Salbrox

nibiru salbrox

One might get lost in the unmanageable 64-minute wash of Nibiru‘s fifth full-length (first for Ritual Productions), Salbrox, but the opaque nature of the proceedings is part of the point. The Italian ritualists bring forth a chaotic depth of noise and harsh semi-spoken rasps of vocals reportedly in the Enochian language, and from 14-minute opener “EHNB” — also the longest track (immediate points) — through the morass that follows in “Exarp,” “Hcoma,” “Nanta” and so on, the album is a willful slog that challenges the listener on nearly every level. This is par for the course for Nibiru, whose last outing was 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here), and they seem to revel in the slow-churning gruel of their distortion, turning from it only to break to minimalism in the second half of the album with “Abalpt” and “Bitom” before 13-minute closer “Rziorn” storms in like a tsunami of spiritually desolate plunge. It is vicious and difficult to hear, and again, that is exactly what it’s intended to be.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

 

Cable, Take the Stairs to Hell

Cable Take the Stairs to Hell

The gift of Cable was to take typically raw Northeastern disaffection and channel it into a noise rock that wasn’t quite as post-this-or-that as Isis, but still had a cerebral edge that more primitive fare lacked. They were methodical, and 10 years after their last record, the Hartford, Connecticut, outfit return with the nine-song/30-minute Take the Stairs to Hell (on Translation Loss), which brings them back into the modern sphere with a sound that is no less relevant than it was bouncing between This Dark Reign, Hydra Head and Translation Loss between 2001 and 2004. They were underrated then and may continue to be now, but the combination of melody and bite in “Black Medicine” and the gutty crunch of “Eyes Rolled Back,” the post-Southern heavy of the title-track and the lumbering pummel of “Rivers of Old” before it remind of how much of a standout Cable was in the past, reinforcing that not only were they ahead of their time then, but that they still have plenty to offer going forward. They may continue to be underrated as they always were, but their return is significant and welcome.

Cable on Instagram

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

Reino Ermitaño, Reino Ermitaño

Reino Ermitano Reino Ermitano

Originally released in 2003, the self-titled debut from Lima, Peru’s Reino Ermitaño was a beacon and landmark in Latin American doom, with a sound derived from the genre’s traditions — Sabbath, Trouble, etc. — and melded with not only Spanish-language lyrics, but elements of South American folk and stylizations. Reissued on vinyl some 16 years later, it maintains its power through the outside-time level of its craft, sliding into that unplaceable realm of doom that could be from any point from about 1985 onward, while the melodies in the guitar of Henry Guevara and the vocals of Tania Duarte hold sway over the central groove of bassist Marcos Coifman and drummer Julio “Ñaka” Almeida. Those who were turned onto the band at the time will likely know they’ve released five LPs to-date, with the latest one from 2014, but the Necio Records version marks the first time the debut has been pressed to vinyl, and so is of extra interest apart from the standard putting-it-out-there-again reissue. Collectors and a new generation of doomers alike would be well advised on an educational level, and of course the appeal of the album itself far exceeds that.

Reino Ermitaño on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Split

cardinals folly lucifers fall split

Though one hails from Helsinki, Finland, and the other from Adelaide, Australia, Cardinals Folly and Lucifer’s Fall could hardly be better suited to share the six-song Cruz Del Sur split LP that they do, which checks in at 35 minutes of trad doom riffing and dirtier fare. The former is provided by Cardinals Folly, who bring a Reverend Bizarre-style stateliness to “Spiritual North” and “Walvater Proclaimed!” before betraying their extreme metal roots on “Sworn Through Odin’s and Satan’s Blood,” while the Oz contingent throw down Saint Vitus-esque punk-born fuckall through “Die Witch Die,” the crawling “Call of the Wild” and the particularly brash and speedier “The Gates of Hell.” The uniting thread of course is homage to doom itself, but each band brings enough of their own take to complement each other without either contradicting or making one or the other of them feel redundant, and rather, the split works out to be a rampaging, deeply-drunk, pagan-feeling celebration of what doom is and how it has been internalized by each of these groups. Doom over the world? Yeah, something like that.

Cardinals Folly on Thee Facebooks

Lucifer’s Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Temple of the Fuzz Witch Temple of the Fuzz Witch

A strong current of Electric Wizard runs through the self-titled debut full-length from Detroit’s Temple of the Fuzz Witch (on Seeing Red Records), but even to that, the outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Noah Bruner bring a nascent measure of individuality, droning into and through “Death Hails” after opening with “Bathsheba” and ahead of unveiling a harmonized vocal on “The Glowing of Satan” that suits the low end distortion surprisingly well. They continue to offer surprises throughout, whether it’s the spaciousness of centerpiece “329” and “Infidel,” which follows, or the offsetting of minimalism and crush on “The Fuzz Witch” and the creeper noise in the ending of “Servants of the Sun,” and though there are certainly familiar elements at play, Temple of the Fuzz Witch come across with an intent to take what’s been done before and make it theirs. In that regard, they would seem to be on the right track, and in their 41 minutes, they find footing in a murky aesthetic and are able to convey a sense of songwriting without sounding heavy-handed. There’s nothing else I’d ask of their first album.

Temple of the Fuzz Witch on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Earth, Heilung, Thronehammer, Smear, Deadbird, Grass, Prana Crafter, Vago Sagrado, Gin Lady, Oven

Posted in Reviews on July 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Deep breath. And… here we go.

Welcome to The Obelisk’s Summer 2019 Quarterly Review. You probably know the drill by now, but just in case, here’s what’s up: starting today and through next Monday, I’ll be reviewing 10 records per day for a total of 60. I’ve done this every three months (or so) for the better part of the last five years, each one with at least 50 releases included. Some are big bands, some are new bands, some are releases are new, some older. It’s a mix of styles and notoriety, and that’s exactly the intent. It’s a ton of stuff, but that’s also the intent, and the corresponding hope is that somewhere in all of it there’s something for everyone.

I’ll check in each day at the top with what usually turns out to be a “hot damn I’m exhausted, but this is worth it”-kind of update, but otherwise, if we’re all on board, let’s just get to it. First batch below, more to come.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Earth, Full Upon Her Burning Lips

earth

Finding post-Southern Lord refuge with Sargent House in similar fashion to Boris, Earth seem to act in direct response to 2014’s Primitive and Deadly (review here) with the 10-track/62-minute Full Upon Her Burning Lips, stripping their approach down to its two essential components: Dylan Carlson‘s guitar and Adrienne Davies‘ drums. The former adds bass as well, and the latter some off-kit percussion, but that’s about as far as they go in the extended meditation on their core modus — even the straightforward photo on the cover tells the story — psychedelic and brooding and still-spacious as the music is. Gone are folk strings or vocals, and so on, and instead, they foster immersion through not-quite minimalist nod and roll, Carlson‘s guitar soundscaping atop Davies‘ slow, steady pulse. It’s not nearly so novel as the last time out, but timed to the 30th anniversary of the band, it’s a reminder that if you like Earth, this dynamic is ultimately why.

Earth on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

Heilung, Futha

heilung futha

It might seem like an incongruity that something so based in traditionalism conceptually would also turn into experimentalist Viking jazz, but I defy you to hear “Galgadr,” the 10-minute opener of Heilung‘s third full-length, Futha (on Season of Mist), and call it something else. Cuts like the memorable and melodic “Norupo” and the would-be-techno-but-I-think-they’re-actually-just-beating-on-wood “Svanrand,” which, like “Vapnatak” before it, is rife with the sounds of battle, but it’s in the longer pieces, “Othan,” 14-minute closer “Hamrer Hippyer,” and even the eight-plus-minute “Elivgar” and “Elddansurin” that precede it, that Heilung‘s dramas really unfold. Led by the essential presence of vocalist Maria Franz — who could hardly be more suited to the stated theme of calling to feminine power — Heilung careen through folk and narrative and full cultural immersion across 73 minutes, and craft something willfully forward thinking from the history it embellishes.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Thronehammer, Usurper of the Oaken Throne

thronehammer usurper of the oaken throne

The reliable taste of Church Within Records strikes again in picking up Thronehammer‘s first full-length, Usurper of the Oaken Throne. The project is a dark and warmaking epic mega-doom working mostly in longform material — it’s six tracks/78 minutes, so yeah — conjured in collaboration by the trio of vocalist Kat Shevil Gillham (Lucifer’s Chalice, etc.), guitarist/keyboardist Stuart Bootsy West (ex-Obelyskkh, ex-The Walruz) and drummer/bassist Tim Schmidt (Seamount), that hits with a massive impact from 17-minute opener “Behind the Wall of Frost” into “Conquered and Erased” (11:24) and “Warhorn” (19:12), making for an opening salvo that’s a full-length unto itself and a beast of doomed grandeur that balances extremity with clearheaded presentation. They simplify the proceedings a bit for “Svarte Skyer” and the eponymous “Thronehammmer,” but are clearly in their element for the 15-minute closing title-track, which rounds out one of the best doom debuts I’ve heard so far this year with due heft and ceremony.

Thronehammer on Thee Facebooks

Church Within Records on Bandcamp

 

Smear, A Band Called Shmear

Smear A Band Called Shmear

Smear‘s live-recorded A Band Called Shmear EP is basically the equivalent of that dude getting dragged out of the outdoor concert for being at the bottom of the puffing clouds of smoke going, “Come on man, I’m not hurting anybody!” And by that I mean it’s awesome. The Eugene, Oregon, four-piece get down on some psychedelic reefer madness tapped into weirdo anti-genre tendencies that come to fruition in the verses of “Guns of Brixton” after the drifting freaker “Old Town.” The whole thing runs an extra-manageable 21 minutes, and six of that are dedicated to the fuzzed jam “Zombie” — tinged in its early going with a reggae groove — so Smear make it easy to follow their outward path, whether it’s the surf-with-no-water “Weigh” at the outset or “Quicksand,” which hints at more complex melodic tendencies almost in spite of itself. You like vibe, right? These cats have plenty to go around, and they deliver it with an absolute lack of pretense. Whatever they do next, I hope they also record it live, because it clearly works.

Smear on Thee Facebooks

Smear on Bandcamp

 

Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree

deadbird iii the forest within the tree

One hesitates to speculate on the future of a band who’ve just taken 10 years to put out an album, but Deadbird sound vital on their awaited third full-length: III: The Forest Within the Tree (arrived late 2018 through 20 Buck Spin), and with a revamped lineup that includes Rwake vocalist Chris Terry and Rwake/The Obsessed bassist Reid Raley as well as bassist Jeff Morgan, guitarist Jay Minish and founders Phillip (drums) and Chuck (guitar) Schaaf and Alan Short — all of whom contribute vocals — Deadbird emerge from the ether with a stunningly cohesive and varied outing of post-sludge, tinged Southern in its humid tonality but still very much geared toward heft and, certainly more than I recall of their past work, melody. In just 38 minutes they push the listener into this dank world of their creation, and seem to find just as much release in experiments “11:34” and “Ending” as in the crashes of “Brought Low” or “Heyday.” Are they really back? Hell if I know, but these songs are enough to make me hope so.

Deadbird on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin on Bandcamp

 

Grass, Fresh Grass

grass fresh grass

Brooklyn four-piece Grass released a live recording in 2017, but the late-2018 EP Fresh Grass marks their studio debut, and it comprises five tracks digging into the traditions of heavy rock with edges derived from the likes of Clutch, Orange Goblin, maybe a bit of Kyuss and modern bluesier practitioners as well in cuts like “Black Clouds” — the lone holdover from one release to the next — and the swaggering “Runaway,” which veers into vocal layering in its second half in a way that seems to portend things to come, while the centerpiece “Fire” and closer “Easy Rider” roll out in post=’70s fashion a kind of rawer modern take. Their sound is nascent, but there’s potential in their swing and the hook of opener “My Wall.” Fresh Grass is the band searching for their place within a heavy rock style. I hear nothing on it to make me think they won’t find it, and if they were opening the show, you’d probably want to show up early.

Grass on Thee Facebooks

Grass on Bandcamp

 

Prana Crafter, MindStreamBlessing

Prana Crafter MindStreamBlessing

Reissued on vinyl through Cardinal Fuzz with two bonus tracks, Prana Crafter‘s 2017 offering, MindStreamBlessing, originally saw release through Eidolon Records and finds the Washington-based solo artist Will Sol oozing through acid folk and psychedelic traditions, instrumentally constructing a shimmer that seems ready for the platter edition it’s been granted. Songs like “As the Weather Commands” and “Bardo Nectar” are experiments in their waves of meandering guitar, effects and keys, while “Mycellial Morphohum” adapts cosmic ecology to minimal spaciousness and vague spoken word. Some part of me misses vocals in the earthy “FingersFlowThroughOldSkolRiver,” but that might just also be the part of me that’s hearing Lamp of the Universe or Six Organs of Admittance influences. The interwoven layers of “Prajna Pines,” on the other hand, seem fine without; bluesy as the lead guitar line is, there’s no doubting the song’s expressive delivery, though one could easily say the same of the krautrock loops and keys and reverb-drenched solo of “Luminous Clouds.”

Prana Crafter on Thee Facebooks

Cardinal Fuzz webstore

 

Vago Sagrado, Vol. III

vago sagrado vol iii

Heavy post-rockers Vago Sagrado set a peaceful atmosphere with “K is Kool,” the opening track of their third album, Vol. III, that is hard to resist. They’ll soon enough pump in contrast via the foreboding low end of “La Pieza Oscura,” but the feeling of purposeful drift in the guitar remains resonant, even as the drums and vocals take on a kind of punkish feel. The mix is one that the Chilean three-piece seem to delight in, reveling in tonal adventurousness in the quiet/loud tradeoff of “Fire (In Your Head)” and the New Wave shuffle of “Sundown” before “Centinela” kicks off side B with the kind of groove that Queens of the Stone Age fans have been missing for the last 15 years. Things get far out in “Listen & Obey,” but Vago Sagrado never completely lose their sense of direction, and that only makes the proceedings more engaging as the hypnotic “One More Time with Feeling” leads into the nine-minute closer “Mekong,” wherein the wash teased all along comes to fruition.

Vago Sagrado on Thee Facebooks

Vago Sagrado on Bandcamp

 

Gin Lady, Tall Sun Crooked Moon

gin lady tall sun crooked moon

I’m more than happy to credit Sweden’s Gin Lady for the gorgeous ’70s country rock harmonies that emanate from their fourth album, Tall Sun Crooked Moon (on Kozmik Artifactz), from the mission-statement opener “Everyone is Love” onward, but I think it’s also worth highlighting that the 10-track outing also features the warmest snare drum sound I’ve heard maybe since the self-titled Kadavar LP. The Swedish four-piece have nailed their sound down to that level of detail, and as they touch on twang boogie in “Always Gold” or find bluesy Abbey Roadian deliverance in the more riff-led chorus of “Gentle Bird,” their aesthetic is palpable but does not trump the straight-ahead appeal of their songwriting. The closing duo of “The Rock We All Push” and the piano-soother “Tell it Like it Is” are the only two tracks to push past five minutes long, but by then the mood is well set and if they wanted to keep going, I have a hard time imagining they’d meet with complaints. Serenity abounds.

Gin Lady on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Oven, Couch Lock

oven couch lock

For an EP called Couch Lock — i.e., when you’re too stoned to even stand up — there’s an awful lot of movement on Oven‘s debut release, from the punk thrust of “Get It” to the arrogant sleaze of “Go James” and even the drums in “This Time.” And the nine-minute “Dark Matter” is basically space rock, so yeah, hardly locked to the couch there, but okay. The five-tracker is raw in its production as would seem to suit the Pennsylvania trio, but they still get their point across in terms of attitude, and a closing cover of Nebula‘s “To the Center” seems only to reinforce the notion. One imagines that any basement where they unleash that and the nod that culminates “Dark Matter” just before it would have to be professionally dehumidified afterward to get the dankness out, and an overarching sense of stoner shenanigans only adds to the good times that so much of East Coast-ish psych misses the point on. They’re having fun. You should too.

Oven on Bandcamp

Oven on Thee Facebooks

 

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Weedeater Announce Tour Dates with Irata

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Weedeater (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Am I going to begrudge Weedeater doing more touring? No. No, I’m not. Is it time for the Cape Fear, North Carolina, sludge stalwarts to knuckle down and get to work on a new album? Yeah, it probably is. Four years removed from Goliathan (review here) and they’ve hardly gotten off the road at all. I don’t know if they have any new material sitting around or what, but even if they started writing now and took the next year to put it out, you’d have to say they were due. If nothing else, it would give them something else to sell at the merch stand, which I feel like as they come back around to cities time and again, has probably been visited by fans on more than one occasion. The thing though about Weedeater live? They’re pretty incredible. I mean it. Having just seen them a few weeks ago at Desertfest NYC (review here), I was reminded of their overall badassery and enduring wreck-all. They are one of a kind.

They’ll be out with Irata and they have a date with Pallbearer in Philly as well. So sayeth the PR wire:

weedeater irata dates

WEEDEATER Announce New U.S. Tour Dates

Cape Fear metal legends WEEDEATER have announced a new run of U.S. headliner tour dates in which they will be supported by IRATA. The trek will kick off on May 29 in Johnson City, TN and will conclude on June 3 in Charlottesville, VA. The run will also include a co-headliner with PALLBEARER on 5/31 in Philadelphia, PA. The full itinerary is as follows:

WEEDEATER U.S. TOUR DATES:
05/29: Johnson City TN @ The Hideaway
05/31: Philadelphia PA @ Union Transfer*
06/01: Dayton OH @ Turnbuckles and Brews
06/02: Washington DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
06/03: Charlottesville VA @ The Southern
*With PALLBEARER, No IRATA

All of WEEDEATER’s albums are now available at fine stores nationwide and online at the WEEDEATER Bandcamp page.

WEEDEATER was formed by front-man/bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins. Following the release of their 2001 debut ‘…And Justice For Y’All’, WEEDEATER immediately established themselves as a force in the U.S. tour circuit and quickly gained notoriety in the American metal scene. In the time since, the band have released three critically-acclaimed albums: ‘Sixteen Tons’ (2002), ‘God Luck And Good Speed’ (2007), and ‘Jason… The Dragon’ (2011), and toured around the world with the likes of DOWN, SAINT VITUS, HIGH ON FIRE, and THE MELVINS, HANK III, EARTH, SUNN O))) and more. The band has played prestigious festivals such as Maryland Deathfest, Hopscotch Festival, Stoned From The Underground, Asymmetry Festival, Roadburn Festival, Hellfest, and many more.

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Deathwhite Begin Recording New Album Grave Image

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

deathwhite

Now a four-piece, Pittsburgh melodic doom metallers Deathwhite have announced they’ve begun recording their second album, to be titled Grave Image and released through Season of Mist. The same imprint stood behind their early-2018 debut, For a Black Tomorrow (review here), which offered an American interpretation of the kind of emotive doom proffered by the likes of Katatonia or Alternative 4-era Anathema. It was a full-length that I think flew under a lot of people’s radar, but as a fan of the style was something that hit a chord with me, and I’ll look forward to hearing what they come out with having returned to Cerebral Audio Productions to lay down the instrumental tracks while vocals will be done at Mana Recording in Tampa, Florida. Nice vacation, and I wonder if that means Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) will be at the helm. Could be interesting.

The band made the announcement of work being done in short and sweet fashion via a social media post. I’ve also included the stream of the first LP below in case you’d like a refresher.

Have at it:

deathwhite cheat sheet

DEATHWHITE Enters Studio To Record New Album, ‘Grave Image’

It is with great pleasure to share we are currently in the throes of recording our second full-length album, “Grave Image.” The album will be released in the not-terribly-distant future via Season of Mist.

Cerebral Audio Productions’ Shane Mayer is once again overseeing the sessions; vocals will be tracked at Mana Recording in Tampa, Florida. And, much to our delight, the esteemed Dan Swano will handle mastering.

We are now a quartet, having added a second guitar player. Such an addition, along with new twists and turns in the songwriting process, make “Grave Image” an effort we are imminently proud of. We look forward to sharing more details as matters unfold. Until then…

http://www.facebook.com/deathwhiteofficial
https://deathwhite.bandcamp.com/
http://deathwhite.com/
http://www.season-of-mist.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial/

Deathwhite, For a Black Tomorrow (2018)

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Bask Recording New Album with Matt Bayles; Announce June Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

bask

It was just the other day I was talking about an absolute generational landmark album Matt Bayles happened to produce — that being Leviathan, by Mastodon — and here comes word that he’s been brought aboard by North Carolinian four-piece Bask in order to helm the follow-up to 2017’s Ramble Beyond, which will also serve as the band’s debut on Season of Mist. Not saying Bask‘s next record needs to be a generational landmark or anything — no pressure, dudes — but it’s funny sometimes how these things tie together.

Presumably, and hopefully in terms of costs, by the time Bask start their touring in June at the Doomed and Stoned fest in Chicago, they’ll have the album in the can. As such, they should be itching to get back on stage, which of course only bodes well for those in their path. Barring any serious delay, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect the album before the end of the year, but of course one never knows when it comes to schedules and pressing and this and that. Worth keeping an eye out, in any case.

Word from the PR wire:

BASK Enter Studio with Legendary Producer Matt Bayles, Announce U.S. Tour Dates

Southern rock outfit BASK have entered the studio today to record their third studio album with legendary producer Matt Bayles (PEARL JAM, MASTODON, MINUS THE BEAR, etc.) The record will be released by Season of Mist, making it the band’s debut to the label.

Speaking about the upcoming effort and working with Bayles, the band comments: “We are beyond excited to announce that we’ve begun work on our third record, and label debut, for Season of Mist Records at Echo Mountain Studios. We hope working in a studio that’s played host to an amazing eclectic roster, such as Band of Horses, Widespread Panic and War on Drugs, and the skill of veteran producer/engineer Matt Bayles, who’s credits include seminal works from Mastodon, Isis and Russian Circles, will capture the spirit and shape of our latest batch of songs. We can’t wait to share them with you.”

Additionally, the band will be embarking on a headlining Southern U.S. tour this summer. BASK will first appear at Doomed and Stoned fest in Chicago on June 1 and then will kick off their official tour on June 9 in Atlanta, GA and will wrap up on June 15 in Greenville, SC. The full itinerary is as follows:

BASK Tour Dates:
06/01: Chicago, IL @ Doom & Stoned Festival
06/09: Atlanta, GA @ 529
06/10: Orlando, FL @ Standard Motorcycle
06/11: Jacksonville, FL @ Nighthawks
06/12: Savannah, GA @ The Jinx
06/13: Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone
06/14: Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
06/15: Greenville, SC @ The Radio Room

Hailing from the Asheville, NC, BASK was fully conceived in the fall of 2013 when guitarist Ray Worth, drummer Scott Middleton, bassist Jesse Van Note, and guitarist/vocalist Zeb Camp joined forces.

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Bask, Ramble Beyond (2017)

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Heilung to Release Futha June 28; Teaser Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

So, I know it’s not exactly fitting with the atmosphere of the release or anything, but yesterday when the email came in with the teaser clip for Heilung‘s forthcoming second album, Futha, I was sitting at the kitchen table — as I will with the laptop — post-lunch with The Pecan and The Patient Mrs., and I put the teaser on, and the demon-voice came on, and the baby started impersonating it. I almost died. We’ve done “death metal growls” and stuff before, but he just picked up on what Heilung were doing in the minute-long clip and kind of ran with it. Needless to say, I worry about how he’ll do at pre-school.

But at least he’ll have good taste.

Heilung are way up high on my gotta-see-at-Roadburn list, and they’ve got a bunch of other dates booked as well. All info follows, courtesy of the PR wire. Teaser is at the bottom:

heilung

HEILUNG Tease Forthcoming Album, ‘Futha’

HEILUNG will be releasing their next studio album, ‘Futha,’ on June 28 via Season of Mist. The band have released a poetic album teaser in advance of the release.

The band comments, “‘Futha’ was three years in the making and was finished in the dark, Danish midwinter. But after darkness comes light, after winter comes spring, after suffering comes relief, after ‘Ofnir’ comes ‘Futha.’ Here’s what the spirits has to say about it!”

On the meaning of the album title, HEILUNG explains: “The majority of full rune set inscriptions start with ‘Futha,’ and is known to us as the first four letters in all runic alphabets. It is considered that our forefathers saw magic potential in engraving the full rune line, but there is also great significance in the beginnings. Science has no key for the meaning of only engraving the first couple of letters yet, but there is, of course, a surplus of theories. One of the theories we found inspiration in, is that ‘Futha’ holds the meaning of fertility and female gender. As ‘Ofnir’ focused on war and masculine notions, the great healing power of female wild strength is evoked in Futha. Those who have been present at a birth or have seen lionesses hunting know the spirit, and we welcome and embrace it in the sounds that were born during the creation of ‘Futha.'”

More album details will be revealed soon. In the meantime, you can purchase merch and their last album, ‘Ofnir,’ HERE.

HEILUNG have previously announced a European tour in October and November this year. The tour will kick off on October 22nd in Warsaw (PL) and will end about a month later in Paris (FR). Find the full list of tour dates below.

HEILUNG Festival Performances 2019:
04/11: Tilburg (NL) @ Roadburn Festival
04/17: St. Petersburg (RU) @ Aurora
04/19: Moscow (RU) @ Arbat Hall
06/20: Copenhagen (DK) @ Copenhell Festival 2019 (Exact date TBA)
06/29: Helsinki (FI) @ Tuska 2019 (Exact date TBA)
08/18: Borre (NO) @ Midgardsblot 2019 (Exact date TBA)
09/07: Selb (DE) @ Mediaval Festival 2019 (Exact date TBA)
10/19: Hameln (DE) @ Autumn Moon Festival 2019 (Exact date TBA)

HEILUNG European tour:
10/22: Palladium (PL) @ Warschau
10/24: Berlin (DE) @ Admiralspalast
10/26: Essen (DE) @ Colosseum Theater
10/28: Munich (DE) @ Circus Krone
10/30: Prague (CZ) @ Hybernia
11/01: Halle (DE) @ Händelhalle
11/03: Vienna (AT) @ Der Globe
11/05: Zurich (CH) @ Volkshaus
11/07: Kiel (DE) @ Kieler Schloss
11/10: London (UK) @ Roundhouse
11/17: Brussels (BE) @ AB
11/20: Paris (FR) @ Elysée Montmartre

Line-up
Kai Uwe Faust
Christopher Juul
Maria Franz

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Heilung, Futha album teaser

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Review & Track Premiere: Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus saint vitus

[Click play above to stream ‘Bloodshed’ from Saint Vitus’ upcoming self-titled album, out May 17 on Season of Mist. They’re on tour in Europe starting next month (dates here).]

Some 35 years ago, Saint Vitus defied the punk scene to which they mostly played at the time and issued their self-titled debut, an all-black cover with the band’s logo emblazoned on top, as though there was nothing else to say. And the raw doom that pervaded that 1984 release met that same barebones standard — as purely derived Sabbathian heavy as has ever existed outside the forebears themselves. With an undercurrent of hardcore punk’s upfront middle-finger-raised confrontation-prone attitude, Saint Vitus became one of modern doom’s formative and essential acts. They’ve come and gone over the years since and changed members and shape, but Saint Vitus are still Saint Vitus, and that would seem to be the message of their second self-titled release.

Also their third outing for Season of Mist behind 2012’s comeback studio offering Lillie: F-65 (review here) and 2016’s Live Vol. 2 (review here), it immediately enters conversation with the band’s earliest days thanks as well to the return of vocalist Scott Reagers, who rejoined the band in 2015 after a split with Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed, etc.) — who had fronted the band since their reunion began at Roadburn Festival in 2009 — thereby keeping the proportion of original members in the band to two, as guitarist Dave Chandler remains the core of the group, while drummer Henry Vasquez (also Blood of the Sun) marks a decade with the group and bassist Pat Bruders (also Down, ex-Crowbar) makes his first appearance. For Reagers, it’s his first time fronting Vitus for a studio record since 1995’s Die Healing (discussed here), which was the band’s final LP until the 2012 reunion release. That makes the new Saint Vitus — a candidate for all manner of nicknames taken from its cover art, whether it’s ‘The Fog Album,’ ‘The Murk Album’ (I like that one), ‘Grey Vitus’ or any number of others — all the more an event than it even would be arriving seven years after Lillie: F-65, and as it brings the band back together with producer Tony Reed (also of Mos Generator), its nine-track/41-minute run succeeds both in capturing the feel of classic Vitus and pushing their sound to places it hasn’t yet gone in the 40 years they’ve been a band.

Two examples to that point, both late in the album: “City Park” and “Useless.” Following the swaying noise/crashfest of “Hour Glass,” “City Park” is not at all the first time Chandler has taken on the vocalist position in the band — one recalls “Just Another Notch” from Die Healing and “A Timeless Tale” from 1992’s C.O.D. (discussed here), as well as “When Emotion Dies” from 1990’s landmark V, and so on — and of those, it’s probably most akin to “When Emotion Dies,” but “City Park” is on a different mission. Its noise is set to the purpose of atmospherics and drama in a way that Saint Vitus have never done before, and Chandler‘s spoken word, almost a whisper, is dark and narrative and backed by guitar noise in an experimentalist way that makes the four-minute piece much more than just an introduction to the subsequent “Last Breath,” which serves as a six-and-a-half-minute culmination of Saint Vitus‘ doomed persona, with a signature riff and lumbering groove and Reagers telltale vibrato over top.

“City Park” sets out to embody that murk on the cover, that feeling of unease of being alone someplace in the darkness with a shapeless and probably imaginary malevolence. “It might be illusion,” Chandler speculates. Indeed it might, but “City Park” is one example of Saint Vitus trying something new for them. At the same time, after “Last Breath” has answered back to the filthy churn and tension of album-opener “Remains” — sure to be a crowd-pleaser — a feedback introduction to album finale “Useless” takes up 13 of a total 91 seconds of what’s both the fastest and most outwardly punk rock song Saint Vitus have ever written. Gang shouts, blazing speed, and a social comment lyric that reminds of early C.O.C., it’s a stripped-raw moment of thrust that, especially in the context of the band’s four decades, seems to be done in good humor. One can almost imagine Chandler introducing it from the stage: “Well it took us 40 years, but we finally wrote a punk song.”

saint vitus

Saint Vitus are no strangers to playing fast. The eponymous track that opened the self-titled is a prime example, or even “Blessed Night” from the last record, but “Useless” goes a step further in a very similar way that “City Park” takes what they’ve done before and brings it to a new level. Even the earlier “A Prelude To…” — which is actually longer than “Bloodshed,” which it would seem to have been composed to introduce — steps beyond the limits of what one might expect from them, with a minimalist creeper of a guitar line and a vocal showcase from Reagers that drifts to about the 2:20 mark before Bruders‘ bassline enters to begin the introduction to “Bloodshed” in earnest. And while “Bloodshed” — arguably the most outwardly catchy inclusion here — and the subsequent “12 Years in the Tomb” both have good speed to their push, the latter finding Chandler taking a particularly noisy solo as Vasquez dutifully holds the track together, they’re still well within Saint Vitus‘ wheelhouse.

Likewise, the mid-tempo centerpiece “Wormhole” — which would seem to be a complement/update in lyrical theme to the opiate-minded “White Stallions” from 1985’s Hallow’s Victim, the band’s second record and the last of Reagers‘ original run with them — does well in fusing faster and slower methods and brings nuance of layered vocals in the verses to standout lines like, “I always feel safe in a sacred place/Far away from the human race,” emphasizing a perspective that is no less quintessentially Vitus than Chandler‘s ultra-low guitar tone, which is not only intact throughout these songs, but reestablished as the foundational component that it is of everything they’ve ever done. Especially as this is the first Saint Vitus full-length not to feature original bassist Mark Adams — whose Parkinson’s diagnosis was revealed last year — Chandler seems all the more the center of what makes the band who they are. That doesn’t, however detract from Reagers‘ performance across this material, as from “Remains” to “Useless” (notwithstanding “City Park”), he brings the most classic feel to the material that ties together the album’s diverse presentation. He surfs the groove of “Bloodshed” like a master and is no less at home among the filth and sleaze of “Hour Glass” than in the lurching final verse of “Last Breath.”

Thus it is a two-pronged righteousness to be found on Saint Vitus‘ Saint Vitus. They bring to bear the sound that’s made their legacy span generations as it has while also pushing themselves to try ways of working they’ve never done before. It’s difficult to look at this album out of the context of Saint Vitus‘ past output, but I’m not entirely sure we’re supposed to. Rather, even the title — or lack thereof — seems to hint at the band coming full circle, both in terms of Chandler and Reagers re-teaming for a studio album, for their ongoing flirtations with punk, and for their reclamation of the style and tone that was so much their own from the very start. Saint Vitus‘ Saint Vitus could stand alone, but it doesn’t have to, and especially considering how much the band has done to shape modern doom, it is all the more admirable that the creative restlessness that drove their earliest days would still be so vibrant these many years later. Why rest on your laurels when you can fully embody the miseries and disaffection of our age?

Saint Vitus, “12 Years in the Tomb”

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Saint Vitus Announce Self-Titled LP out May 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus

Saint Vitus have never been much for following the rules, so hey, 35 years after making an absolute doom metal landmark in their 1984 self-titled debut, why not put out a new, also-self-titled album with original vocalist Scott Reagers back in the band? Season of Mist, which has been the band’s label home since their 2012 comebacker, Lillie: F-65 (review here), will stand behind the new offering — recorded, like its predecessor, by Tony Reed — and the band will support it on a month-long European tour beginning in April, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band.

They’re streaming the track “12 Years in the Tomb” right now and as you can hear at the bottom of this post, the deranged style of founding guitarist Dave Chandler and Reagers‘ vocals sound like long lost friends finding each other after years apart. And so they are.

Album’s out May 17. Preorders are up now from the label, which posted the following:

saint vitus saint vitus

Saint Vitus – Saint Vitus

Taken from the album “Saint Vitus”. Release date: May 17, 2019. Order here: http://smarturl.it/SaintVitusShop

Seven years after their epic comeback album, ‘Lillie: F-65’ (2012), legendary doom metal trailblazers SAINT VITUS return with their eponymous new album. The band sees the return of their original vocalist, Scott Reagers, as well as the addition of new bassist Pat Bruders (DOWN, ex-CROWBAR), who join long-time drummer Henry Vasquez and founder/guitarist Dave Chandler. As if in a time machine, the seasoned quartet pick up where their 1985 classic ‘Hallows Victim’ left off. Saint Vitus delivers nothing less than the truest and most enduring representation of original and fundamental doom metal.

Tracklisting:
1. Remains
2. A Prelude to…
3. Bloodshed
4. 12 Years In The Tomb
5. Wormhole
6. Hour Glass
7. City Park
8. Last Breath
9. Useless

Recording: Heavyhead Recording co. Port Orchard, WA (US)
Producer/sound engineer: Tony Reed

SAINT VITUS ’40 F’N Years’ European Tour 2019:
w/ special guest Dopelord unless noted
Apr 3 Gothenburg (SE) @ Sticky Fingers
Apr 4 Stockholm (SE) @ Debaser Strand
Apr 6 Jyväskylä (FI) @ Lutakko
Apr 7 Helsinki (FI) @ On The Rocks
Apr 9 Oslo (NO) @ Blaa
Apr 10 Copenhagen (DK) @ Pumpehuset
Apr 11 Berlin (DE) @ So36
Apr 12 Hamburg (DE) @ Headcrash
Apr 13 Bomal-Sur-Ourthe (BE) @ Durbuy Rock Festival
Apr 14 Dortmund (DE) @ Junkyard
Apr 15 Cologne (DE) @ Luxor
Apr 17 Birmingham (UK) @ Mama Roux
Apr 18 Leeds (UK) @ Brudenell
Apr 19 Glasgow (UK) @ Audio
Apr 20 London (UK) @ The Underworld Camden
Apr 21 Paris (FR) @ Petit Bain
Apr 23 Nantes (FR) @ Le Ferrailleur
Apr 24 Toulouse (FR) @ Le Rex
Apr 25 Barcelona (ES) @ Boveda
Apr 26 Madrid (ES) @ Copernico
Apr 27 Barroselas (PT) @ Swr Metalfest
Apr 28 Bilbao (ES) Kafé @ Antzokia
Apr 20 Fribourg (CH) @ Fri-Son*
May 1 Milan (IT) Circolo @ Circolo Magnolia
May 2 Zurich (CH) @ Dynamo*
May 3 Karlsruhe (DE) @ Dudefest
May 4 Leipzig (DE) @ Ut Connewitz
*No Dopelord

BAND LINE-UP:
David Chandler (guitar)
Scott Reagers (vocals)
Henry Vasquez (drums)
Pat Bruders (bass)

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Saint Vitus, “12 Years in the Tomb”

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