Stone Nomads to Release Beyond the Gates EP June 10; Announce Summer Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

A couple noteworthy collaborations here, with Kyle Thomas (Trouble, Exhorder, Alabama Thunderpussy) sitting in on vocals with Houston’s Stone Nomads for their cover of Trouble‘s foundational doom metal classic “The Tempter” and Esben Willems taking on drumming duties either on that song or the whole release, I’m not really sure, and I’d be remiss not to point out that the tour the trio will undertake in June alongside Red Beard Wall will be stopping through Maryland Doom Fest 2024 in Frederick, MD. Lots going on as the band make ready to release their Beyond the Gates four-songer through Gravitoyd Heavy Music — whose fest in Houston they’ll also play May 4 — but it was the stream of “The Tempter” and the darker, rougher edge they brought to the original that ultimately got me on board here, and you may find the same to be true, whatever other thrills are abounding as you listen.

The impending short release is a complement to 2023’s second full-length, …At the Gates of Solitude, which I flat out whiffed on after digging 2022’s debut, Fields of Doom (review here), but whether you heard that album or not, the charge they bring to “The Tempter” stands well on its own, and if you end up feeling like maybe you’ve got some homework to do in catching up with their doings, I promise you you’re not alone.

Time marches to the beat of the PR wire:

Stone Nomads Beyond the Gates

STONE NOMADS: New EP, Kyle Thomas Collab, Tour Announcement

Sludge-Doom power trio STONE NOMADS. The Texas outfit will release the EP “Beyond the Gates”, a follow-up and exclamation point to book-end last year’s full-length LP “…At the Gates of Solitude”. The release features 2 new songs, a remixed bonus track from the LP, and a new version of the classic “Trouble” doom track “The Tempter” featuring collaboration with metal vocalist extraordinaire Kyle Thomas (Exhorder, Trouble) along with the return lineup of guitarist/vocalist Jon Cosky, drummer Esben Willems (Monolord, Slower), and bassist/vocalist Jude Sisk. The EP was mastered by grammy award winning engineer Alan Douches (High On Fire, Cannibal Corpse) at the famed West West side in upstate NY.

“Beyond the Gates” will be released on Vinyl and digital on June 10th through Gravitoyd Heavy Music.

1. Witch
2. The Tempter (featuring Kyle Thomas)
3. Sorrow
4. Overlords (2024 re-mixed version – digital only)

STONE NOMADS is an American doom-sludge metal power trio based in Houston TX. The band, formed by Jon Cosky (Guitar/Vocals) and Jude Sisk (Bass/Vocals) in 2021, incorporates the sounds of early Doom Metal, modern Sludge Metal and all things heavy. Conceptually, the band explores the journey of life and death through the heavier and darker side of things, delivered via sludged-out, powerful riff-based sonics.

The band has released 2 full length LP’s (2022’s”Fields of Doom” and 2023’s “…At the Gates of Solitude”) and 1 EP (“Fiery Sabbath”) via Texas based label Gravitoyd Heavy Music. The band has enlisted drummer Ben Wozniak to take over percussion duties and is embarking on a US Tour to support the release of “Beyond the Gates” with festival appearances at both MARYLAND DOOM FEST and GRAVITOYD DOOM FEST.

stone nomads tourSTONE NOMADS 2024 US TOUR
5/4 – GRAVITOYD DOOM FEST (HOUSTON) @ Black Magic Social Club
5/24 – SAN ANTONIO, TX @ Venue tbd
5/25 – HOUSTON, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
6/18 – ASHEVILLE, NC @ Fleetwoods *
6/21 – WINSTON SALEM, NC @ Reboot Arcade (Fri)
6/22 – KNOXVILLE, TN @ Brickyard Bar * (Sat)
6/23 – CHATTANOOGA, TN @ The Dark Roast * (Sun)
6/24 – MEMPHIS, TN @ Venue tbd * (Mon)
6/25 – LITTLE ROCK, AR @ Venue tbd * (Tues)
6/29 – HOUSTON, TX @ The End (Sat)

Jon Cosky – Guitar/Vocals
Jude Sisk – Bass/Vocals
Ben Wozniak – Drums

Stone Nomads, “The Tempter” (feat. Kyle Thomas)

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Maryland Doom Fest 2024 Announced Full Schedule and Timetable

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Look at the blue text below and you know what you’re gonna see? Yes, a whole lot of skull emojis. Like a lot. But it happens that each individual one corresponds to a demonstration of the labor of love and community that is the Maryland Doom Festival. From Abel Blood through Zekiah, Maryland Doom Fest 2024 celebrates its 10th anniversary edition with its standard sans-bullshit glut of heavy. Once more the Frederick-based event looks your square in the eye, drops for absolutely immersive days on you and asks if you’re up for it. Well, are ya?

I’m not sure what my summer travel plans are yet — this and Freak Valley have overlapped the last couple years for me — but it’s been since 2019 that I was last down there and oh I’d be so eager to show up and have the three or four people who recognize me (and thus make it feel like an absolute family experience; love love love everywhere you go down there) quietly think to themselves I’ve gotten older and fatter en route to obliterating myself with volume for about 96 hours straight. Fuck. King. A.

Oh, and I hear Thunderbird Divine have new stuff in the works and it’s amazing. So that’s a thing too.

Social media had it like this:

Maryland Doom Fest 2024 poster

We are super stoked to share with you the Maryland Doom Fest 2024 rosters, schedules, and lineups!!!



✝️Thursday June 20

Cafe 611-

💀 Thunderhorse
💀 The Magpie
💀 Born of Plagues
💀 Stone Nomads
💀 Pyre Fyre
💀 Dirt Eater

Olde Mother Brewery-

💀 Spellbook
💀 Strange Highways
💀 Bailjack
💀 Stone Brew
💀 Abel Blood

✝️Friday June 21

Cafe 611-

💀 Diggeth
💀 Shadow Witch
💀 Red Beard Wall
💀 Almost Honest
💀 Cobra Whip
💀 The Crows Eye
💀 Stereo Christ

Olde Mother Brewery-

💀 Ten Ton Slug
💀 Thousand Vision Mist
💀 Crowhunter
💀 Asthma Castle
💀 Bonded by Darkness

✝️Saturday June 22

Cafe 611-

💀 Bloodshot
💀 Double Planet
💀 Sun Years
💀 When the Deadbolt Breaks

Olde Mother Brewery-

💀 Black Water Rising
💀 Switchblade Jesus
💀 Wyndrider
💀 Indus Valley Kings
💀 Vermillion Whiskey
💀 Doctor Smoke

✝️Sunday June 23

Cafe 611-

💀 Cirith Ungol
💀 Mythosphere
💀 Conclave
💀 Compression
💀 Sons of Arrakis
💀 Curse the Son
💀 Kulvera
💀 Old Blood
💀 Cloud Machine

Olde Mother Brewery-

💀 Thunderbird Divine
💀 Black Manta
💀 High Noon Kahuna
💀 Unity Reggae
💀 King Bastard
💀 Zekiah

52 bands over a 4 day weekend at 2 venues across the street from one another!!


Thunderbird Divine, “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Babe” (Barry White cover)

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Maryland Doom Fest 2024 Announces Full Lineup for 10th Anniversary Edition

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 1st, 2023 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2024

With headlining performances slated from a soon-to-retire Cirith Ungol, noise crushers Whores., mostly-local melodic heavy proggers MythosphereSwitchblade JesusConclaveTen Ton Slug (from Ireland; I got to see them one time; way burly; they’ll do well in Frederick), and plenty of other returning acts and newcomers alike, the lineup for Maryland Doom Fest 2024 could hardly be more appropriate a celebration of the annual Chesapeake gathering’s 10th anniversary. Based in Frederick, the four-day ultra-consuming sensory assault of volume will once again take place at Cafe 611 and Olde Mother Brewing, and if you’ve never been, I’ll tell you outright there’s nothing quite like it.

I mean that. Maryland Doom Fest goes harder than the average festival. A day might start at 1PM and not end until 2AM. And now more than ever, as the fest has grown with the two venues running alongside each other, the bill is packed. I think this year was 50 bands? Well, they’ve got 52 for 2024, and while next June is a while out, there’s a tradition to uphold of Halloween announcements, and festival honcho JB Matson (Bloodshot, War InjunOutside Truth, etc.) pays tribute to his regulars — Shadow WitchBailjackThunderbird Divine, Thousand Vision Mist (congratulations to Danny Kenyon of Thousand Vision Mist on recently kicking cancer’s ass), among others here — while also giving showcase to outfits like Pyre FyreO Zorn! (whose very moniker heralds weirdness), WyndRider and more.

Congrats to Matson and all at Maryland Doom Fest on their 10th anniversary. To do something of this scope once is a lot. To do it across 10 years, well, aside from being fucking crazy, it’s also deeply admirable.

The aforementioned announcement — brief as ever; the poster lands heavy enough to cover any lack of verbiage — follows, courtesy of socials. Ticket link is there too:

maryland doom fest 2024 poster


52 bands over a 4 day weekend at 2 venues across the street from one another!!


Ten Ton Slug, Live at Red Crust Festival 2022

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Quarterly Review: Spirit Adrift, Northless, Lightrain, 1965, Blacklab, Sun King Ba, Kenodromia, Mezzoa, Stone Nomads, Blind Mess

Posted in Reviews on September 27th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


Here we go again as we get closer to 100 records covered in this expanded Fall 2022 Quarterly Review. It’s been a pretty interesting ride so far, and as I’ve dug in I know for sure I’ve added a few names (and titles) to my year-end lists for albums, debuts, and so on. Today keeps the thread going with a good spread of styles and some very, very heavy stuff. If you haven’t found anything in the bunch yet — first I’d tell you to go back and check again, because, really? nothing in 60 records? — but after that, hey, maybe today’s your day.

Here’s hoping.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Spirit Adrift, 20 Centuries Gone

Spirit Adrift 20 Centuries Gone

The second short release in two years from trad metal forerunners Spirit Adrift, 20 Centuries Gone pairs two new originals in “Sorcerer’s Fate” and “Mass Formation Psychosis” — songs for our times written as fantasy narrative — with six covers, of Type O Negative‘s “Everything Dies,” Pantera‘s “Hollow,” Metallica‘s “Escape,” Thin Lizzy‘s “Waiting for an Alibi,” ZZ Top‘s “Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings” and Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Poison Whiskey.” The covers find them demonstrating a bit of malleability — founding guitarist/vocalist does well with Phil Lynott‘s and Peter Steele‘s inflections while still sounding like himself — and it’s always a novelty to hear a band purposefully showcase their influences like this, but “Sorcerer’s Fate” and “Mass Formation Psychosis” are the real draw. The former nods atop a Candlemassian chug and sweeping chorus before spending much of its second half instrumental, and “Mass Formation Psychosis” resolves in burly riffing, but only after a poised rollout of classic doom, slower, sleeker in its groove, with acoustic strum layered in amid the distortion and keyboard. Two quick reaffirmations of the band’s metallic flourishing and, indeed, a greater movement happening partially in their wake. And then the covers, which are admirably more than filler in terms of arrangement. Something of a holdover, maybe, but by no means lacking substance.

Spirit Adrift on Facebook

Century Media store


Northless, A Path Beyond Grief

northless a path beyond grief

Just because it’s so bludgeoning doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all it is. The melodic stretch of “Forbidden World of Light” and delve into progressive black metal after the nakedly Crowbarian sludge of “A Path Beyond Grief,” the clean vocal-topped atmospheric heft of “What Must Be Done” and the choral feel of centerpiece “Carried,” even the way “Of Shadow and Sanguine” seems to purposefully thrash (also some more black metal there) amid its bouts of deathcore and sludge lumbering — all of these come together to make Northless‘ fourth long-player, A Path Beyond Grief, an experience that’s still perhaps defined by its intensity and concrete tonality, its aggression, but that is not necessarily beholden to those. Even the quiet intro “Nihil Sanctum Vitae” — a seeming complement to the nine-minute bring-it-all-together closer “Nothing That Lives Will Last” — seems intended to tell the listener there’s more happening here than it might at first seem. As someone who still misses Swarm of the Lotus, some of the culmination in that finale is enough to move the blood in my wretched body, but while born in part of hardcore, Northless are deep into their own style throughout these seven songs, and the resultant smashy smashy is able to adjust its own elemental balance while remaining ferociously executed. Except, you know, when it’s not. Because it’s not just one thing.

Northless on Facebook

Translation Loss Records store


Lightrain, AER

lightrain aer

Comprised of five songs running a tidy 20 minutes, each brought together through ambience as well as the fact that their titles are all three letters long — “Aer,” “Hyd,” “Orb,” “Wiz,” “Rue” — AER is the debut EP from German instrumentalists Lightrain, who would seek entry into the contemplative and evocative sphere of acts like Toundra or We Lost the Sea as they offer headed-out post-rock float and heavy psychedelic vibe. “Hyd” is a focal point, both for its eight-minute runtime (nothing else is half that long) and the general spaciousness, plus a bit of riffy shove in the middle, with which it fills that, but the ultra-mellow “Aer” and drumless wash of “Wiz” feed into an overarching flow that speaks to greater intentions on the part of the band vis a vis a first album. “Rue” is progressive without being overthought, and “Orb” feels born of a jam without necessarily being that jam, finding sure footing on ground that for many would be uncertain. If this is the beginning point of a longer-term evolution on the part of the band, so much the better, but even taken as a standalone, without consideration for the potential of what it might lead to, the LP-style fluidity that takes hold across AER puts the lie to its 20 minutes being somehow minor.

Lightrain on Facebook

Lightrain on Bandcamp


1965, Panther

1965 Panther

Cleanly produced and leaning toward sleaze at times in a way that feels purposefully drawn from ’80s glam metal, the second offering from Poland’s 1965 — they might as well have called themselves 1542 for as much as they have to do sound-wise with what was going on that year — is the 12-song/52-minute Panther, which wants your nuclear love on “Nuclear Love,” wants to rock on “Let’s Rock,” and would be more than happy to do whatever it wants on “Anything We Want.” Okay, so maybe guitarist, vocalist and principal songwriter Michał Rogalski isn’t going to take home gold at the Subtlety Olympics, but the Warsaw-based outfit — him plus Marco Caponi on bass/backing vocals and Tomasz Rudnicki on drums/backing vocals, as well as an array of lead guitarists guesting — know the rock they want to make, and they make it. Songs are tight and well performed, heavy enough in tone to have a presence but fleet-footed in their turns from verse to chorus and the many trad-metal-derived leads. Given the lyrics of the title-track, I’m not sure positioning oneself as an actual predatory creature as a metaphor for seduction has been fully thought through, but you don’t see me out here writing lyrics in Polish either, so take it with that grain of salt if you feel the need or it helps. For my money I’ll take the still-over-the-top “So Many Times” and the sharp start-stops of “All My Heroes Are Dead,” but there’s certainly no lack of others to choose from.

1965 on Facebook

1965 on Bandcamp


Blacklab, In a Bizarre Dream

Blacklab In a Bizarre Dream

Blacklab — also stylized BlackLab — are the Osaka, Japan-based duo of guitarist/vocalist Yuko Morino and drummer Chia Shiraishi, but if you’d enter into their second full-length, In a Bizarre Dream, expecting some rawness or lacking heft on account of their sans-bass configuration, you’re more likely to be bowled over by the sludgy tonality on display. “Cold Rain” — opener and longest track (immediate points) at 6:13 — and “Abyss Woods” are largely screamers, righteously harsh with riffs no less biting, and “Dark Clouds” does the job in half the time with a punkier onslaught leading to “Evil 1,” but “Evil 2” mellows out a bit, adjusts the balance toward clean singing and brooding in a way that the oh-hi-there guest vocal contribution from Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab (after whom Blacklab are partially named) on “Crows, Sparrows and Cats” shifts into a grungier modus. “Lost” and “In a Bizarre Dream,” the latter more of an interlude, keep the momentum going on the rock side, but somehow you just know they’re going to turn it around again, and they absolutely do, easing their way in with the largesse of “Monochrome Rainbow” before “Collapse” caps with a full-on onslaught that brings into full emphasis how much reach they have as a two-piece and just how successfully they make it all heavy.

Blacklab on Facebook

New Heavy Sounds at Cargo Records store


Sun King Ba, Writhing Mass

Sun King Ba Writhing Mass

I guess the only problem that might arise from recording your first two-songer with Steve Albini is that you’ve set an awfully high standard for, well, every subsequent offering your band ever makes in terms of production. There are traces of Karma to Burn-style chug on “Ectotherm,” the A-side accompanied by “Writhing Mass” on the two-songer that shares the same name, but Chicago imstrumental trio Sun King Ba are digging into more progressively-minded, less-stripped-down fare on both of these initial tracks. Still, impact and the vitality of the end result are loosely reminiscent, but the life on that guitar, bass and drums speaks volumes, and not just in favor of the recording itself. “Writhing Mass” crashes into tempo changes and resolves itself in being both big and loud, and the space in the cymbals alone as it comes to its noisy finish hints at future incursions to be made. Lest we forget that Chicago birthed Pelican and Bongripper, among others, for the benefit of instrumental heavy worldwide. Sun King Ba have a ways to go before they’re added to that list, but there is intention being signaled here for those with ears to hear it.

Sun King Ba on Instagram

Sun King Ba on Bandcamp


Kenodromia, Kenodromia

Kenodromia Kenodromia EP

Despite the somewhat grim imagery on the cover art for Kenodromia‘s self-titled debut EP — a three-cut outing that marks a return to the band of vocalist Hilde Chruicshank after some stretch of absence during which they were known as Hideout — the Oslo, Norway, four-piece play heavy rock through and through on “Slandered,” “Corrupted” and “Bound,” with the bluesy fuzzer riffs and subtle psych flourishes of Eigil Nicolaisen‘s guitar backing Chruicshank‘s lyrics as bassist Michael Sindhu and drummer Trond Buvik underscore the “break free” moment in “Corrupted,” which feels well within its rights in terms of sociopolitical commentary ahead of the airier start of “Bound” after the relatively straightforward beginning that was “Slandered.” With the songs arranged shortest to longest, “Bound” is also the darkest in terms of atmosphere and features a more open verse, but the nod that defines the second half is huge, welcome and consuming even as it veers into a swaggering kind of guitar solo before coming back to finish. These players have been together one way or another for over 10 years, and knowing that, Kenodromia‘s overarching cohesion makes sense. Hopefully it’s not long before they turn attentions toward a first LP. They’re clearly ready.

Kenodromia on Facebook

Kenodromia on Bandcamp


Mezzoa, Dunes of Mars

Mezzoa Dunes of Mars

Mezzoa are the San Diego three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Ignacio “El Falcone” Maldonado, bassist Q “Dust Devil” Pena (who according to their bio was created in the ‘Cholo Goth Universe,’ so yes, charm is a factor), and drummer Roy “Bam Bam” Belarmino, and the 13-track/45-minute Dunes of Mars is their second album behind 2017’s Astral Travel. They sound like a band who’ve been around for a bit, and indeed they have, playing in other bands and so on, but they’ve got their approach on lockdown and I don’t mean for the plague. The material here, whether it’s the Helmet-plus-melody riffing of “Tattoos and Halos” or the more languid roll of the seven-minute “Dunes of Mars” earlier on, is crisp and mature without sounding flat or staid creatively, and though they’re likened most to desert rock and one can hear that in the penultimate “Seized Up” a bit, there’s more density in the guitar and bass, and the immediacy of “Hyde” speaks of more urgent influences at work. That said, the nodding chill-and-chug of “Moya” is heavy whatever landscape you want to say birthed it, and with the movement into and out of psychedelic vibes, the land is something you’re just as likely to leave behind anyway. Hit me as a surprise. Don’t be shocked if you end up going back to check out the first record after.

Mezzoa on Facebook

Iron Head Records website


Stone Nomads, Fields of Doom

stone nomads fields of doom

Released through emergent Texas-based imprint Gravitoyd Heavy Music, Stone NomadsFields of Doom comprises six songs, five originals, and is accordingly somewhere between a debut full-length and an EP at half an hour long. The cover is a take on Saint Vitus‘ “Dragon Time,” and it rests well here as the closer behind the prior-released single “Soul Stealer,” as bassist Jude Sisk and guitarist Jon Cosky trade lead vocal duties while Dwayne Crosby furthers the underlying metallic impression on drums, pushing some double-kick gallop under the solo of “Fiery Sabbath” early on after the leadoff title-track lumbers and chugs and bell-tolls to its ending, heavy enough for heavy heads, aggro enough to suit your sneer, with maybe a bit of Type O Negative influence in the vocal. Huffing oldschool gasoline, Fields of Doom might prove too burled-out for some listeners, but the interlude “Winds of Barren Lands” and the vocal swaps mean that you’re never quite sure where they’re going to hit you next, even if you know the hit is coming, and even as “Soul Stealer” goes grandiose before giving way to the already-noted Vitus cover. And if you’re wondering, they nail the noise of the solo in that song, leaving no doubt that they know what they’re doing, with their own material or otherwise.

Stone Nomads on Facebook

Gravitoyd Heavy Music on Bandcamp


Blind Mess, After the Storm

Blind Mess After the Storm

Drawing from various corners of punk, noise rock and heavy rock’s accessibility, Munich trio Blind Mess offer their third full-length in After the Storm, which is aptly-enough titled, considering. “Fight Fire with Fire” isn’t a cover, but the closing “What’s the Matter Man?” is, of Rollins Band, no less, and they arrive there after careening though a swath of tunes like “Twilight Zone,” “At the Gates” and “Save a Bullet,” which are as likely to be hardcore-born shove or desert-riffed melody, and in the last of those listed there, a little bit of both. To make matters more complicated, “Killing My Idols” leans into classic metal in its underlying riff as the vocals bark and its swing is heavy ’70s through and through. This aesthetic amalgam holds together in the toughguy march of “Sirens” as much as the garage-QOTSA rush of “Left to Do” and the dares-to-thrash finish of “Fight Fire with Fire” since the songs themselves are well composed and at 38 minutes they’re in no danger of overstaying their welcome. And when they get there, “What’s the Matter Man?” makes a friendly-ish-but-still-confrontational complemement to “Left to Do” back at the outset, as though to remind us that wherever they’ve gone over the course of the album between, it’s all been about rock and roll the whole time. So be it.

Blind Mess on Facebook

Deadclockwork Records website


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