Friday Full-Length: Solace, Further

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 17th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

The riff-mad scourge of the Jersey Shore, Solace made their full-length debut in 2000 through MeteorCity with the somewhat counterintuitively titled Further. What was then the four-piece of guitarist Tommy Southard, bassist Rob Hultz (now of Trouble), drummer Bill “Bixby” Belford and the vocalist I only ever knew by his first name, JasonSouthard and Hultz had been in punk bands together before their heavier post-grunge outfit Godspeed — whose lineup also featured Chris Kosnik pre-The Atomic Bitchwax and current Solace drummer Tim Schoenleber — were snagged in a major label cull by Atlantic Records (see also: Core) following the emergence of Monster Magnet. In 1994, they released their lone LP, Ride, toured with Black Sabbath and Cathedral, and collaborated with Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden on the Nativity in Black tribute album. It was quite a time.

Solace was a different animal. And very definitely an animal. Further was preceded by the Jersey Devils EP (discussed here), which came out in 1999 through MeteorCity and Freebird Records as a split with fellow Garden Staters Solarized, as well as a demo tape (yes, a tape) and a two-songer 7″, but obviously its 53-plus minutes were the first deeper look at what they were about. Mostly volatility.

Were they punk? Hardcore? Metal? They could be righteously aggressive and noisy, roll on a riff for however long, or twist their way through polar shifts within the span of a song like “Black Unholy Ground” or charge through the scorching “Whistle Pig” before turning to acoustic-led melancholia on “Hungry Mother.” Further was likewise chaotic and dynamic, but it all somehow held together. Southard would prove to be the madman behind the madcap, but taken as a whole, Further feels untamed and willful, and when they hit it, the force of their delivery remains unto itself. I’m not going to pretend to be impartial about the band or this record, but after I don’t even want to guess how many times I’ve heard it, I’m still blindsided almost every time.

The seven-minutes-each “Mandog” and “Black Holy Ground” open, and “Followed,” which follows (ha.), tops eight, so by the time you’re three songs into it, it’s been about 25 minutes. And from the first punch of solace furtherHultz‘s bass as “Mandog” kicks in to the manic careening circa five minutes in, the shred and the way they seem to throw the song down the stairs as they enter the fade, it remains a signature piece. “Black Holy Ground” is tense in the drums and finds Jason brooding in the first verse, but malleable enough as a singer to carry that melody and move to a shoutier approach as the proceedings grow more intense. It all ends in a wash of noise, but before that, there’s that-era-Clutch-worthy nod and hardcore-punk forward thrust, and 24 years later you’re still kind of left wondering how it all holds together.

Because with some bands, it’s the bass or the drums keeping a central rhythm while the guitar goes off and does it’s thing. You hear that a lot. It’s the classic power trio modus. With Further, it’s not that Solace aren’t tight — if they weren’t, the album probably wouldn’t exist — but that it’s all-in on all-out. Everybody’s in on it. Maybe that applies to the vocals to a lesser extent, but even over the course of “Followed,” Jason ends up in a much different place than he began in topping the build first with subdued, low-mouth singing and barking out later for “Some semblance of self/Some semblance of love” before the cymbal wash leads into the finish. “Whistle Pig” and the later “Suspicious Tower” are shorter and more direct, but still dare the listener to keep up if they can, and on the other side of “Hungry Mother” awaits the tense plod of “Angels Dreaming,” which spends its first four minutes holding itself back tempo-wise before finally breaking free with what in a lot of contexts would be boogie but in Solace‘s hands becomes a sledge. And of course the solo nudges in on psychedelic territory before the big slowdown, because how could it not?

It’s not that Solace, even at this point, were ever lazy in songwriting or haphazard stylistically. Rest assured, they’ve always known precisely what they’re about; it’s who they are. And Further was cohesive — it’s not that Solace got pissed off, hit record and that was it. The record makes its own kind of sense, and its refusal to do otherwise or to compromise in persona or spirit is palpable, whether it’s “Hungry Mother” or “Suspicious Tower,” which starts with a sample from the 1962 sci-fi flick The Creation of the Humanoids, or the 11-minute “Heavy Birth/2-Fisted,” for which my brain still does a “holy shit here we go” every time it comes on. Aggro groove, a trippy middle with toms thudding away behind paid off by shred and a cacophonous but controlled assault to end its extended, sweeping course. I’m not sure how many other bands could even turn that into a song, let alone that one.

Tumult be thy name. Different editions of Further have bonus covers of Iron Maiden‘s “Another Life” and Misfits‘ “We Bite,” the latter of which feels like a better fit but both of which are thoroughly brought into Solace‘s own sound. And maybe that’s not such a surprise now, nearly a quarter-century after the fact with however many microgenres branched off from the core of heavy rock and roll, but the punk-metal Solace wrought on Further would remain a definitive presence in their subsequent work, whether it was 2003’s 13 (discussed here), the 2004 split with Greatdayforup that introduced Justin Daniels on yes-we-need-more guitar, or the fraught-in-the-making 2010 third album, A.D. (review here), after which they actually disbanded until coming back with a new lineup for the 2017 EP, Bird of Ill Omen (review here) and ensuing fourth full-length, The Brink (review here), which in all honesty I’ll tell you was something I didn’t imagine would ever actually happen until late-2019 when it did.

And what could be more Solace than that? The very definition of ‘you never know.’ Now fronted by Justin “Has a Surname” Goins, with Southard and Daniels on guitar, the aforementioned Schoenleber on drums and bassist Mike SicaSolace are slated to play next year’s Planet Desert Rock Weekend in Las Vegas, and whether it’s there or some dive in Asbury — they were the kings of Long Branch’s The Brighton Bar, sadly closed — I would encourage you heartily to witness first-hand what they bring to the stage when the opportunity presents itself. Fury like no other.

As always, I hope you enjoy. The band have been putting songs up one at a time through their catalog on their YouTube, if you want to hit that up.

How ’bout that Quarterly Review, huh? It’s a doozy, and if you missed it the other however-many times I said so, it’s only halfway over. 50 more reviews will roll out next Monday to Friday, so sit tight. Plenty more to come.

Tonight is the variety show for The Pecan’s school. It’s at the high school auditorium, kind of a big deal to the kids, blah blah. She’s doing a stand-up routine of math jokes. Killed at dress rehearsal. Brave, all that. Fine. It’s at 6PM, which because I’m in my 40s feels like a decent time for a show to start.

The Zelda saga continues in our home. We borrowed my nephew’s old GameCube so we could play The Wind Walker this week. Between The Patient Mrs. and I, I’m pretty sure someone has gotten hit in Zelda-related incidents the last three days in a row, so you can see how that’s going. Last night I got hit — hard — for falling in lava in whatever early-game dungeon it was, and just kind of shut down for the night. The Patient Mrs., prone to taking it all on herself anyway, stepped in and got the grappling hook, but yeah. Broadly speaking, it sucked. We had a good first night with it on Sunday, but then, the new thing is always an easy day.


We’re also shit-broke, so that’s a fun additional layer of stress. Turns out the impending Budapest trip cost all the money forever. Yay.

Have a great and safe weekend. I’m gonna shower after dropoff, throw in a load of laundry and try to find some kind of breakfast that isn’t binge-eating cheese or almond/pecan butter. I’ll start setting up the next QR post for Monday and maybe do some listening, but the break is what I’m after, so the sooner I’m in it the better. Though the shower is imperative there as well.

Thanks for reading.

No merch up right now, but FRM anyway.

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Planet Desert Rock Weekend V: Solace and Godzillionaire Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

planet desert rock weekend v banner

Not that there was any reason to doubt the curated spirit of Las Vegas’ Planet Desert Rock Weekend V with thus-far announcements for the likes of JIRMMos GeneratorSergeant Thunderhoof, and so on, but bringing in New Jersey’s Solace and Kansas’ Godzillionaire — the latter of which boasts former Paw vocalist Mark Hennessy in its lineup — only offers reassurance in my mind. Three bands out from the lineup being complete, the possibilities feel all the more open amid intersecting geographies, generations, and styles.

Solace in 2025 will be a quarter-century out from their 2000 debut, Further, as well as six from their most recent LP, 2019’s The Brink (review here), but their volatility continues to precede them along with their penchant for leveling whatever stage they happen to be on. And as regards Godzillionaire, they’re new to me, but in addition to its striking title, the 2021 single “30 Days Same as Cash, Motherfucker” digs into punk-rooted heavy with a shuffling groove behind Hennessy‘s bluesy bellow, a ripper of a layered solo, thoughtful lyric and sharp finish. I went right from it to their preceding 2020 full-length, Negative Balance, which I always take as a good sign.

The full international assemblage can be seen on the poster below — righteous, yes — and fest producer John Gist sent the following down the PR wire:

planet desert rock weekend v solace godzillionaire

Planet Desert Rock Weekend V — Jan. 30 – Feb. 1


FB event:


Solace is a band I have admired for years and the chance to have them as part of Planet Desert Rock Weekend is super exciting! These guys have been killing it on stage since around 1996 and have produced a signature sound that is part metal and part heavy rock. Their two guitar attack and strong vocals drives their style. Solace has played all over Europe including the Roadburn Festival and toured with Orange Goblin but have never played shows out west. We are excited to have these New Jersey legends coming out to join the Planet Desert Rock Weekend V festivities!


Godzillionaire is a heavy rock band out of Lawrence Kansas that features frontman Mark Hennessy formerly of the 90s band Paw! Paw rose to popularity with the album “Dragline” and their track “Jessie” has over 2,500,000 listens on Spotify! Their most recent album “Negative Balance” made a strong ripple in the scene with its creative textures and strong vocals by Mark. A new album is likely to be out by the time PDRW V happens. This will be a rare show for Godzillionaire outside of Kansas and their region. We will have this super cool group kick off one of the nights!

We have just 3 bands left to announce, and it may be a little while before these final groups are unveiled. We really appreciate all the amazing support from many of our former fest goers and we fully expect PDRW V to be the biggest yet! Thank you!

Solace, The Brink (2019)

Godzillionaire, “30 Days Same as Cash, Motherfucker” (2021)

Planet Desert Rock Weekend V preview playlist

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: REZN

Posted in Questionnaire on March 24th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Rezn band shot

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: REZN

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Whatever we’re doing is just a culmination of all of our musical tastes and creative energies. We love the atmosphere of cinematic and psychedelic music, but we wanted to add more of an edge to it. At the beginning, it was just Rob and Phil jamming together with the intention of making a blend of heavy and cosmic music. When Patrick and Spencer were brought into the mix, our combined writing styles and personal musical goals gave REZN a backbone that was stronger than all of us could’ve imagined. It’s very much based around an organic friendship that glues us all together.

Describe your first musical memory.

We all grew up digging through our parent’s record collection and their music taste, which was mainly just a mix of classic rock and country music. It seems like the one common thread we all shared was listening to Pink Floyd from a very early age. Who would’ve thought?

Describe your best musical memory to date.

This is impossible to answer, but playing our ‘Live at Ohmstead” collaboration record with Lume live on stage at The Empty Bottle was up there as our favorite. Simultaneously, there were two drummers, two guitar players, two bassists, two vocalists, and the sax and synth just swirling everything into a sonic milkshake. Transforming simple melodies into colossal walls of sound with the people that we love was unforgettable, not to mention the feeling of playing it live. The Bottle was the perfect finale to that tour we did with Lume, and the energy in the room that night was very, very good. Here’s a video taken by our good friend Austin that gives you a glimpse into that performance:

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

We come in conflict with our own independence quite a lot, mainly because we’re a small team and have very limited outside help as a band. Although that comes with its own set of challenges, it has allowed us to act and change whenever and however we want. As with other bands, our biggest challenge was getting through the pandemic with our sanity and ambition intact. We still managed to release a record during that time, and although we weren’t able to tour it like we would have wanted, we realized that our independence is what fulfills us as musicians. So even when the responsibilities and band tasks can become overwhelming between the four of us, we can appreciate those moments because they’re founded on an independence that has allowed us to grow in our own direction as a band and as people.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

We don’t necessarily think artistic progression is a linear process. We believe our music grows with our own life paths. That includes our influences and what we continue to learn in regard to writing, our style, and what is going on in our lives while we are creating new art. One major tenant of ours is to try to not make the same record twice, so we always focus our efforts to reshape and reinvent how we make music as REZN.

How do you define success?

In the context of our band, we would love to keep being able to write music we are proud of and perform it in front of the world. As long as we can continue to do that, we would consider ourselves successful.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

We wish we never saw the black mold on that guy’s carpet floor we slept on after a show one time. We also wish we never saw the uncensored cover of The Origin of the Feces… so we could see it for the first time all over again.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

We would love to make a dark ambient noise record. It’s something we are all interested in, and it would be fun to see where our vision for it leads us. We would also like to help create a space in the music scene where heavy music can continue to be fused and transformed by other genres and sounds. If someone can hear our hybrid blend of “psychedelic doom” and take it further, then we know we’ve done something meaningful.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

We believe it’s a connection between the creator and the observer. It’s a force that gathers, motivates, inspires, and provides pure enjoyment of life.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Disc golfing season. Everyone except Patrick loves it. Also excited to experience Chicago while Lori Lightfoot is no longer mayor. Lastly, we’re looking forward to camping and relaxing outdoors as much as possible once we’re done touring.

Rezn, Solace (2023)

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Full Album Premiere & Review: REZN, Solace

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 7th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Rezn solace

[Click play above to stream REZN’s Solace in its entirety. Album is tomorrow, March 8. US tour dates here.]

Serenity in and through heft, exploration of space and a space, creation of a parabolic world movement, and a bit of The Tempest to keep things classy; the fourth album from Chicago’s REZN, not coincidentally titled Solace, is revelatory as regards the band’s blend of cosmic doom, experimentalist ambience, drone and that-which-is-riffed-big. It is their most accomplished offering to-date. Though they’ve done between-LP releases before, collaborations, live records, etc. — and they’ll have more to come in a full-length PostWax collab with Mexico City instrumentalists Vinnum Sabbathi sometime later this year — it’s been three years since the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Rob McWilliams, bassist Phil Cangelosi (also rainstick), drummer Patrick Dunn and synthesist, flutist, pianist and saxophonist Spencer Ouellette (aka Catechism) — who shines throughout Solace in ‘secret weapon’ style whether it’s the flourish of synth after a minute into “Possession” or the sax in the penultimate “Faded and Fleeting” — offered their sprawling, hour-plus-long third full-length, Chaotic Divine (review here), and while the comparatively tidy six-track/40-minute Solace doesn’t spread itself across two 12″ platters the same way, its consuming tonality, patient but methodical execution and overarching music-as-narrative procession are both more pointed and more engrossing.

Recorded and mixed in 2021 by Matt Russell, who mixed Chaotic Divine, with an abiding lushness of tone and psychedelic, headphone-filling fullness, mastered by Zach Weeks and topped off with cover art by rightly-revered Oregonian painter Adam Burke, the album plays out across three discernible stages that run through and between the songs themselves, and quickly benefits from perhaps the most crucial decision REZN made in its construction, which is to open instrumental. “Allured by Feverish Visions” is by no means the longest cut on the album — four of the six tracks are between seven-and-a-half and eight minutes long, including the leadoff — but its transcendental sensibility is pivotal to setting the mood and atmosphere for everything that follows.

It is the point from which the band branch out, unfolding gradually with gentle ride cymbal taps, ethereal wisps of flute, solidified bass underneath prefacing the roll to come, and standout shimmers of guitar, likewise soothing and hypnotic. In addition to beginning Solace as a whole, it marks the start of the first of the three stages, chapters, parts, movements, etc., of the record as a whole, growing heavier as it nears five minutes with deeper distortion and feedback, calling to mind the drone-heavy triumph of Mühr (who roundabout begat Temple Fang and is not a comparison I make lightly) a decade ago.

This relatively peaceful, gorgeous, molten and meditative beginning continues as the guitar and synth ring out on a fade into silence ahead of the more active beginning of “Possession,” more immediate in the kick drum and bassline, guitar soon joining. McWilliams‘ first vocals arrive shortly after, echoing, gently melodic, unforced and soulful as they shift from channel to channel with each line, and the temperament of “Allured by Feverish Visions” is maintained, and that’s the key.

In some ways, Solace feels less about the individual splits between songs — though pieces like “Stasis,” “Possession” “Reversal,” and even the spoken word-inclusive closer “Webbed Roots” have their standalone impressions as well — than the whole-album spirit that seems to have been so purposefully harnessed and toward the emphasis of which those individual songs seem placed. As “Possession” unfolds and builds, the second verse becomes more of a call and response and they sound like they’re still moving slow but they’re not, and when they let go, that’s the beginning of the next stage. There’s a break four minutes into “Possession.” The drums cut short, Dunn‘s hand muting the cymbal, some residual guitar is maintained for ambience, and when they sweep in at 4:16 with the heaviest riff they’ve yet brought, that’s the start of Solace‘s second phase.

Had REZN been writing strictly for bombast, chances are they would’ve called the record something else, but Solace at its heaviest — which is in this second movement across the middle of the record starting in the latter part of “Possession” and moving through “Reversal” and until about 5:30 into “Stasis” — wants neither for crunch, as the bass chugging in the march of “Possession” demonstrates before crashing into the amp hum and feedback from whence the ready-to-go lurch of “Reversal” picks up, nor mass, as said lurch offers in plenty. With synth again peppering and enriching the totality, the initial roll breaks to make way for the first verse, McWilliams again turning an otherwise inconspicuous moment into a soft-touch highlight à la Sean Lennon, but will return as the low-end volume surge after three minutes takes hold, this time met by the vocals (in at least two layers) in a kind of chorus preceding a spread-out guitar solo and whale-song synth/effects that leads the way back to the quieter verse.

But the tension is there where it hadn’t been until “Possession” established it, and through a willfully meandering stretch of echoing almost Morricone-style guitar, through the subsequent verse, stop and final plucks, it’s still there in the drums, waiting for payoff not in itself but to come with the rolling “Stasis,” which follows. I’ll put this in bold because it’s important: This interaction is what it’s all about. It’s not just the songs; it’s the way the material converses with itself, the way the songs interact and complement each other. On the vinyl, “Stasis” is the start of side B, but even as they capitulate to the needs of format, REZN maintain the linear trajectory begun with “Allured by Feverish Visions,” which “Stasis” brings to its most outwardly intense point.

Rezn band shot

One might liken its celebration of nod to Monolord, but “Stasis” is consistent atmospherically and speaks to Ufomammut‘s Eve in its larger-than-some-of-parts aspect. More forward vocally and swirling its heaviness as it goes, “Stasis” is a slow careen until nearly four minutes into its total 7:40, when it moves to a stretch of calmer guitar and verse that begins “Feels like I’ve been here before…,” and fairly enough so, but it’s something of a misdirect since at 4:54 the full brunt of the distortion lands punctuated by the thud of the drums, and all else seems to stop. It is the darkest moment of Solace and the topmost point of its whole-album parabolic sequence, with a light guitar strum and bright-shine of keyboard announcing the arrival at the third stage, which begins with the comparatively minimalist ambient guitar-and-keys-together-into-drone-oblivion end of “Stasis” and into and through the penultimate “Faded and Fleeting,” also the shortest single piece here at 3:32, and beyond, to “Webbed Roots” at the finish.

But just as “Allured by Feverish Visions” was more substantial than an intro, so too is “Faded and Fleeting” more than an interlude. For the moment at about 1:40 alone with McWilliams‘ voice and Ouellette‘s sax transition from one to the other on the same note alone, it is a high point of REZN‘s career to-date, and its mellow-heavy acid flow, feeling all the more there and gone for its relatively brief runtime, encapsulates the fluidity of Solace‘s entire articulation.

This third and final-with-an-asterisk movement of Solace concludes as “Webbed Roots” begins with a foreboding current of distorted drone beneath the floating figure of guitar, the drums pushing along and the bass tense. Over the first three-plus minutes, “Webbed Roots” follows a linear build, and gives it due crescendo with the synth-topped heft of the riff that emerges, but the feedback gives way to otherworldly drone and the drums announce the redirect about to take place with a quick fill, so that when Marie Davidson begins the recitation of Prospero’s monologue/soliloquy from Act V of The Tempest — “we are such stuff as dreams are made on,” etc. — and McWilliams returns for a last verse leading to a final heavy surge, the sense of arrival is palpable.

They’re at the end and REZN unrepentantly give the occasion its due, following an ascending heavy nodder progression to a logical peak and then stopping, leaving just an epilogue of standalone guitar to mirror “Allured by Feverish Visions” as the final element to depart.

In part because of that last stretch of guitar, “Webbed Roots” most makes sense in thee context of Solace as a whole, but that’s precisely the point. I don’t know when it was composed in relation to the rest of the album — the band has said that “Reversal” was one of the earliest written, so perhaps they worked from the middle out in terms of the movements across the span — but its intent as closer is as much to cap as to summarize the depth of what’s come before, and the incorporation or Shakespeare near the end feels as much like an underscoring of the record’s play-in-three-acts structure (despite the fact that The Tempest had five; similar shape, different application) as a suitable conclusion for this particular midwinter night’s dream.

It is further evidence to support Solace as intended to be taken in full, and invariably positions REZN among the US’ most resonant purveyors heavy psychedelia. In every turn and contemplation, it is ‘next level’ craft, concept and performance — no minor achievement, considering their first three long-players — and offers a progressive stylistic path forward that others hopefully will follow, using heft and repetition and scope and melody as tools toward the greater purpose of its expression, rewarding those who take it on through the internalization of its magnitude and the comfort complete panorama.

Solace wants to become a part of you. Let it.

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REZN Announce East and West Coast Tours

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Split up into two runs, REZN’s newly announced US tour is still pretty extensive. On March 8, they release their new album, Solace, which, if you’re not hyped for it, I’ll tell you flat out you should be. It’s not the kind of record every band gets to make.

The Chicagoan troupe start in May, break in June, pick up in July. I wonder if they’ll go back to Europe for the Fall — I was lucky enough to be at last year’s Høstsabbat (review here) when they played, but I’m pretty sure that was the only stop of their trip — as that would certainly be a next logical step, considering this is their second US stint of the last year.

I’m considering REZN in a different league of bands, I guess is what I’m saying. So there’s that. I can’t wait to dive into this one for a review.

From the PR wire:

Rezn solace tour

REZN: Chicago Heavy Psych Outfit Announces Solace North American Tour; New LP To See Release Next Month

Chicago-based ethereal heavy psych outfit REZN today announces their Solace North American Tour. Set to commence on May 20th and run through July 22nd, the tour will feature special guests Oryx and Grivo on select dates throughout the full US and Canada journey.

The tour comes in support of REZN’s upcoming new full-length, Solace, set for release March 8th. Their fourth studio offering and follow-up to the critically lauded Chaotic Divine finds REZN once again blurring the boundaries of their psych and doom labels. Solace was recorded in July of 2021 at Earth Analog in Tolono, Illinois, engineered, mixed, produced, and reduced by Matt Russell, and mastered by Zach Weeks at God City Studio in Salem, Massachusetts. The album art and tour poster features work by the prolific painter Adam Burke/Nightjar Illustration.

Tickets for all shows can be found at REZN’s website HERE or the REZN Bandcamp page HERE where first Solace single, “Possession,” can be streamed.

REZN – Solace North American Tour 2023:
5/20/2023 Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
5/25/2023 Black Circle – Indianapolis, IN **
5/26/2023 Portal – Louisville, KY **
5/27/2023 Sabbath Brewing – Atlanta, GA **
5/28/2023 The Pour House – Raleigh, NC **
5/29/2023 The Camel – Richmond, VA **
5/30/2023 Pie Shop – Washington, DC **
5/31/2023 Silk City – Philadelphia, PA **
6/01/2023 The Broadway – Brooklyn, NY **
6/02/2023 O’Brien’s – Boston, MA **
6/03/2023 Turbo Haus – Montreal, QC **
6/04/2023 The Garrison – Toronto, ON **
6/05/2023 Bug Jar – Rochester, NY **
6/07/2023 Spacebar – Columbus, OH **
6/08/2023 Sanctuary – Detroit, MI **
6/09/2023 Pyramid Scheme – Grand Rapids, MI **
6/10/2023 Cactus Club – Milwaukee, WI **
7/05/2023 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN ^
7/07/2023 Hi-Dive – Denver, CO ** ^
7/08/2023 Aces High Saloon – Salt Lake City, UT ^
7/09/2023 The Shredder – Boise, ID ^
7/11/2023 Substation – Seattle, WA ^
7/12/2023 High Water Mark – Portland, OR ^
7/13/2023 John Henry’s – Eugene, OR ^
7/14/2023 Eli’s Mile High Club – Oakland, CA ^
7/15/2023 Permanent Records Roadhouse – Los Angeles, CA ^
7/16/2023 Yucca Tap Room – Tempe, AZ ^
7/17/2023 Sister Bar – Albuquerque, NM ^
7/19/2023 Mohawk – Austin, TX ^
7/20/2023 Club Dada – Dallas, TX ^
7/21/2023 Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA ^
7/22/2023 Drkmttr – Nashville, TN ^
** w/ Oryx
^ Grivo

REZN are:
Rob McWilliams: Guitar + Vocals
Phil Cangelosi: Bass + Rainstick
Patrick Dunn: Drums + Percussion
Spencer Ouellette: Sax + Synth + Piano + Flute

Rezn, Solace (2023)

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REZN Announce New Album Solace Out March 8, 2023

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

In my head it’s still August, if not June, so seeing an album announcement for March 2023 is a little jarring, but in light of the traditional music-industry slowdown over the winter, it makes sense, and certainly a new REZN album is going to be anticipated. The band, who are also taking part in PostWax in collaboration with Vinnum Sabbathi — gotta get those liner notes done — have toured West and East Coasts since things opened back up, supporting 2020’s Chaotic Divine (review here), are due for a trip to Europe, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to find them headed over for next Spring’s festival season, though that’s pure conjecture on my part. The usual disclaimer: I know nothing.

Except that the new song rocks. You can stream “Possession” now as a well-in-advance preview of Solace to come. Obviously March 8 is a ways off, but I’d be very surprised if this is the last glimpse they give of where they’re at before the release. Though, to that end, it’s worth noting that these recordings will be well over a year and a half old by the time the vinyl arrives. I’d be itching to get a single out too. That’s a long-ass time to sit on a release, though somewhat par for the course of the age we’re living through.

The following comes from Bandcamp, where LP preorders are already up:

Rezn solace

REZN – Solace

“Our new album ‘Solace’ will be release March 8, 2023. Until then, stream the single and check out the pre-order edition vinyl. See you on the road ✌️ ~REZN”

Pre-order, streaming links, and tour dates can be found here:

1. Allured by Feverish Visions
2. Possession
3. Reversal
4. Stasis
5. Faded and Fleeting
6. Webbed Roots

Releases March 8, 2023.

Recorded in July of 2021 at Earth Analog in Tolono, IL

Engineered, Mixed, Produced, & Reduced by Matt Russell

Mastered by Zach Weeks at God City Studio in Salem, MA

Album art by Adam Burke/Nightjar Illustration

Written and Performed by REZN


Sep 16: Taos, NM @ Monolith on the Mesa

West Coast w/ Russian Circles
Sep 17: Englewood, CO @ The Gothic Theatre
Sep 18: Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
Sep 20: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile Showroom
Sep 21: Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall
Sep 23: San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
Sep 24: Felton, CA @ Felton Music Hall
Sep 25: Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent
Sep 26: Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
Sep 29: Austin, TX @ Empire Garage
Sep 30: Dallas, TX @ Amplified LIve
Oct 1: Memphis, TN @ Growlers

Exclusive European appearance
Oct 7: Oslo, Norway @ Høstsabbat

East Coast & Canada w/ Russian Circles
Oct 27: St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall
Oct 28: Louisville, KY @ Headliner’s
Oct 29: Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
Oct 30: Orlando, FL @ The Social
Nov 1: Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle
Nov 2: Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Nov 4: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Nov 5: Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
Nov 6: Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
Nov 8: Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
Nov 9: Montreal, QC @ Théâtre Fairmount
Nov 10: Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
Nov 11: Detroit, MI @ El Club
Nov 12: Chicago, IL @ The Metro

Rob McWilliams: Guitar + Vocals
Phil Cangelosi: Bass + Rainstick
Patrick Dunn: Drums + Percussion
Spencer Ouellette: Sax + Synth + Piano + Flute

Marie Davidson: Spoken Word on Webbed Roots

Rezn, Solace (2023)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Justin Daniels of Solace

Posted in Questionnaire on December 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Justin Daniels of Solace

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Justin Daniels of Solace

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Speaking on behalf of what Solace does, probably just like every other band we try to avoid being defined by a specific genre. As a band we pull from so many influences. It’s hard to describe something you’re so close to and intimate with. It means so much more than “If you like Sabbath and heavy music you’ll probably dig us”. But that’s always the simplest go-to for me.

Describe your first musical memory.

Motown, George Benson & Stevie Wonder were the constant soundtrack of my early childhood. But the earliest memory of me actually paying attention to music is probably the Genesis ST (shapes) album. My best friend’s mom had the LP and we would spin it over and over. Pretending to get shot every time Phil Collins belted “BANG BANG BANG” in “Just a Job to Do.”

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Crying to Pink Floyd in a tour van in the Highlands of Scotland. My father had passed away earlier that year after a long, hard fight with cancer. He’d been really into the fact that I was in a band and as we drove through that beautiful, overcast landscape of lonely meadows and mountains, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” setting the mood, I wished he could see me.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Justice. Everyday I see how unfair and hypocritical the world can be. I believe in justice but I see how unequal it truly is.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

You have to continue to be inspired. If the spark dies and need to create doesn’t touch you anymore why continue? Money? Expectation? There’s no artistry in that. Progressing as an artist, to me, means searching out new experiences and learning new things. That’s what keeps the fire alight.

How do you define success?

In music specifically I think success is getting the opportunity to share your creation with people who feel something from it. People connecting with your music, whether it be live or a recording. I feel successful because I’ve gotten to go places and meet people and experience parts of the world that if I’d lived an “ordinary” life I probably wouldn’t have.

Playing guitar has always been my solace. As a confused and angry young man I’d gotten myself into trouble and ended up doing prison time. Fortunately for me I was able to play guitar over those years of incarceration. Success to me is having been able to go from that low point to joining a band and getting to make records and tour. I never thought I’d have that opportunity after such a rocky start to adulthood. I feel blessed and am thankful.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Death. Abuse. My little brother in a casket.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing an autobiography but just typing those words just made me cringe. Who am I really? Why would anyone care? The idea makes me feel narcissistic and self absorbed.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

To inspire. To evoke a feeling or thought.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Solace, The Brink (2019)

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Magnetic Eye Records Announces Back in Black Redux and The Best of AC/DC Tribute Lineups

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

I’ll readily admit I’m not the biggest AC/DC fan in the world, but with an initial Kickstarter goal of four thousand dollars that, as of this post, is currently at well over four times that amount, why would Magnetic Eye Records ever stop putting out ‘Redux’ records? Clearly they’ve found a thing that works, lets them pull in an array of killer artists from around the world, and is only well supported by the fanbase. Shit, they got Udo Dirkschneider to be on a track with Howling Giant. That’s awesome. You just have to throw up your hands at the inevitable, I guess. ‘Redux’ forever.

Note Heavy Temple here, as well as Kryptograf, Solace and Earthride — any new recording from either of them is welcome — and Besvärjelsen too. Some from the Magnetic Eye roster, some Blues Funeral, some beyond. And Red Fang leading off with “Hells Bells.” Can you already hear that in your head? Of course you can.

The PR wire has the full lineup and more:

va acdc back in black redux

va the best of acdc redux

Magnetic Eye Records announce the complete track list of latest Redux Series installments “Back in Black [Redux]” and companion volume “Best of AC/DC”

Magnetic Eye Records have shattered their Kickstarter goal on their latest [Redux] series project dedicated to the AC/DC mega-classic “Back in Black” and its companion volume under the title “Best of AC/DC”. The target of 4,000 USD has been pledged more than four times over, and the campaign continues until July 25 at the following link:

The complete track listingss for both releases paying impassioned homage to AC/DC have also been revealed and feature exciting contributions from, among many others, RED FANG, SUPERSUCKERS, WHORES featuring MASTODON’s BILL KELLIHER, BOB BALCH (FU MANCHU) & TONY REED (MOS GENERATOR), and HOWLING GIANT collaborating with legendary former ACCEPT shouter UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER. Please see below for full details.

Jadd Shickler comments: “Our Redux releases have always been and will always be works of pure love and respect for truly amazing bands and albums, our way of celebrating classics and paying proper homage to the artists who’ve made some of the most meaningful music of our lives”, states the Magnetic Eye Records label director. “We take the overwhelming response as a sign of trust and support for the dedication that goes into the Redux series, and we’re thankful for the amazing response! Even with the industry-wide delays on vinyl production, we’ll be making our strongest efforts to deliver these albums into everyone’s hands before the end of 2021.”

Tracklist “Back in Black [Redux]
1. Hells Bells- Red Fang
2. Shoot to Thrill – Howling Giant feat. Udo Dirkschneider
3. What Do You Do for Money Honey – Supersuckers
4. Givin the Dog a Bone – Smoking Lightning
5. Let Me Put My Love into You – Heavy Temple feat. Valient Himself
6. Back in Black – Besvärjelsen
7. You Shook Me All Night Long – Jakethehawk feat. Patrick Waters
8. Have a Drink on Me – Whores feat. Bill Kelliher
9. Shake a Leg – Early Man
10. Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution – Earthride

Tracklist “Best of AC/DC”
1. Sin City – Witchskull
2. It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N Roll) – Kal-El
3. What’s Next to the Moon – Bob Balch & Tony Reed
4. Bad Boy Boogie – Kryptograf
5. Walk All Over You – Blue Heron
6. Overdose – Supersuckers
7. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) – Riff Lord
8. Whole Lotta Rosie – Solace
9. If You Want Blood – Red Mesa
10. The Razors Edge – Ghost Ship Ritual
11. Dog Eat Dog – Caustic Casanova
12. High Voltage – Electric Frankenstein
13. Night Prowler – Domkraft

“Back in Black [Redux]” presents new takes on all ten cuts from AC/DC’s seminal seventh album. This was the first record to feature “new” singer Brian Johnson following the death of original larger-than-life frontman Bon Scott, and music historians agree that there was massive pressure on both the new singer and the band to deliver. Even so, nobody could have anticipated that they’d create one of the most important rock albums ever, and Magnetic Eye cannot wait for you to hear what many of your favorite bands from the stoner, doom, and riff-rock scene have done with some of the most iconic rock songs of all time.

Along with “Back in Black [Redux]”, we also present our “Best of AC/DC” companion album, a 2-LP extravaganza featuring 13 bands offering their renditions of all-time classics and deep cuts from across the AC/DC catalog. Featuring an array of absolute heavyweights and hungry up-and-comers from the heavy rock underground, we’ve got no doubt that fans of the riff-heavy will be stoked to experience these massive AC/DC interpretations unlike any they’ve heard before.

The Magnetic Eye [Redux] Series features hand-picked classic albums from across the history of rock and metal, re-imagined in their entirety from start to finish by bands we love. Hand-picked artists from throughout the rock and metal world each pick a track to make their own, bringing these milestone records into the new millennium with crushing heaviness and searing energy. To date, we’ve produced [Redux] versions of PINK FLYOD’s “The Wall”, HELMET’s “Meantime”, BLACK SABBATH’s “Vol. 4”, HENDRIX’s “Electric Ladyland”, and ALICE IN CHAINS’ “Dirt”, which have included artists like MATT PIKE, PALLBEARER, THE MELVINS, ALL THEM WITCHES, KHEMMIS, ASG, ZAKK WYLDE, MARK LANEGAN, SCOTT REEDER, and many more amazing artists.

Join us for our sixth foray into Redux territory as we pay proper respect to the Australian legends!

Solace, “Whole Lotta Rosie”

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