Live Review: HØSTSABBAT 2019 Night Two in Oslo, Norway, 10.05.19

Posted in Reviews on October 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 poster square

Before the Show

Festival mode. One day bleeds into the next, sometimes into the one after. You lose time to the timetable. Basic needs become a big deal. Water. Coffee. Advil. Comfy socks. Earplugs in the top pocket of your jeans so you can be quick on the draw in a sudden burst of volume. All this shit really starts to matter.

Which I guess is my way of saying I’m tense about the day soon to unfold, as well as exhausted from last night. I expect these two energies to cancel each other out and leave a remainder of self-loathing-fueled social awkwardness, which is the standard I generally set for myself.

There was an art talk in the crypt a bit ago, followed upstairs by a live-painting session by Linda K. Røed and Trine Grimm, set to a drone session by Highrule. Not something you see every day, so I wanted to be sure to see it.

And they were painting, and droning, respectively, and I decided that while they were creating, I’d go up the balcony and do a bit of writing, so that’s where I am. Here’s the view:

Live painting at Høstsabbat

It is a significant view, but it’s worth reemphasizing that this fest is about more than just the place. Last year it found its home in the Kulturkirken Jakob, and with that task behind it, it’s begun to explore further its own personality and the varying shapes it can take. The lineup for today, already under way, sort of, speaks to that, as does the growing visual side. I’d only expect the progression to continue.

First band on in half an hour downstairs. Easily time for another coffee beforehand.

After the Show

Definitely not the same sort of brain-surge as was the ending of last night, with Ufomammut reconfirming their galaxial supremacy, but more like a spiritual cleansing, like if you could actually catch your breath in one breath. That would be Colour Haze closing out Kulturkirken Jakob for the second and final night of Høstsabbat 2019.

By then, I and everyone else in attendance had been through a ringer of ups, downs and side-to-sides of style, eight bands between the two Kulturkirken stages, five more across the street at Verkstedet, and I know I didn’t see two bands play the same kind of sound today. Even the sludge bands were different enough to be called different. It was a little staggering.

But, if there’s ever a time for a blowout, it’s the last day of the fest, and Høstsabbat made the most of the opportunity confronting it. I’m sad to say that as I’ll be traveling tomorrow morning, the inevitabilities of returning to real life — much as I have one — were burrowing into my head by about the time the third band went on, but I knuckled down and let myself enjoy being here while I’m here. Have I mentioned how lucky I am to be here?

Good. Because that’s really the lesson of the weekend. Stupid lucky.

I seem to recall the day going something like this:

Dunbarrow

Dunbarrow (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Rest assured, it was just last year that Norwegian classic doomers Dunbarrow released their second album, II (review here) on RidingEasy. It only sounds like it was 45 years ago. Opening up the crypt stage, Dunbarrow delivered their set with an energy that reminded me of catching Brutus headlining in the same space last year, Dunbarrow‘s style is even more heavy ’70s in its focus. They represented their recorded work well in that way — it wasn’t like they got on stage and came across completely different, like their vintage aesthetic is all studio tricks or something like that. There’s a lot of First Daze Here-era Pentagram at play, as there inevitably would be, and they take cues from the same cues Witchcraft took therefrom, but part of the charm of seeing them was watching them bring that spirit to life, and they absolutely did that. It’s a sound that’s not based on being the loudest or the heaviest all the time, and it can be tricky for bands to pull it off and still convey some sense of vitality. Wasn’t a problem for Dunbarrow.

Hexvessel

Hexvessel (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I know it’s trash-cliche, because experience is subjective and all that happy crap, but Hexvessel have the ability to move a room like few bands I’ve seen. As fate and silly-life would have it, this was my second time seeing them since the release of their back-to-ground forest folk fourth LP, All Tree (review here), behind a set this Spring at Roadburn (review here), and it’s proven true again that they’re absolutely transportive. The vocal harmonies, the rich arrangement elements, and now — thanks in no small part to the aesthetic sprawl of their third album, 2016’s When We are Death (review here) — the diversity of their atmospheres all come together to form a cohesive purpose. It’s a conversation and a going. Does it require some buy-in? For sure. What doesn’t? That’s where the sheer songwriting comes in, because no matter where Hexvessel might take you in a given track, record, set, etc., their method has an ultra-consistent level of craft behind it. Every melody is in its place, every swell and sway have their function toward the larger intent moving you. And so you end up in a different place than you were when they started. Every time.

Papir

Papir (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It’s a pretty good sign your lineup is absolutely bonkers when you’ve got bands like Hexvessel and Papir playing on the relatively early end of the day. I was way stoked, in the parlance of our times, to catch Papir‘s ultra-fluid instrumental jamming. They were one of the band I was most excited to see this weekend, there was zero disappointment once they got going. I was a little surprised at how mellow they weren’t. All things are relative — especially when Belzebong are shortly to hit stage upstairs and Slabdragger are next in the basement — but still, while of course they had their calm moments and the overarching vibe was serene, the Copenhagen trio of guitarist Nicklas Sørensen bassist Christian Becher and drummer Christoffer Brøchmann showed even more character in their material than I had thought was coming. The crypt stage was packed out early for them — I got there 20 minutes before they went on and still had a dude trying to push out of the way for a spot — but frankly, I couldn’t even argue with the impulse. What Papir were doing, loud or quiet at any given moment but universally hypnotic, was nothing if not an invitation.

Belzebong

Belzebong (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Kind of on the other end of a similar instrumentalist heavy spectrum were Belzebong, whose crusty, ultra-gree-heen take on stoner metal and sludge was like taking the notion of “riff-based” to what most would no doubt consider an illogical extreme. Some bands are a lifestyle, and Belzebong were a reminder of that. I don’t know how they’re received in their native Poland, but Høstsabbat certainly bid them welcome to the altar stage, and was more than willing to follow the bouncing skulls as the band headbanged in unison to each successive, massive riff. As with their recorded output — their third full-length, Light the Dankness (review here), came out last year — their live show is bent decidedly in favor of the primitive. It is stoned, and fuck you. I’ll grant that that, in itself, is an atmosphere, and Belzebong were well comfortable within it, but the whole idea was driving riffs into the brains of the willing and the converted because everyone else is probably a cop anyway. They were loud, they were huge-sounding, and they were everything you could possibly ask Belzebong to be on a Saturday night in Oslo. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that also includes being high. If not, it’s doubly impressive.

Orsak:Oslo

Orsak Oslo (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I didn’t get to catch more than a few minutes of their set, because I was en route from one thing to the other, but I wanted to give quick mention to anyone paying attention to Orsak:Oslo, whose dreamy-space-vibe-rock I consider my “find” of the entire festival. Again, I didn’t see a lot of it, but what I saw was excellent and made me wish I could see more. They put out a record earlier this year on Germany’s Kapitaen Platte. If I could’ve figured out how to work VIPPS without a Norwegian ID number, I’d have bought the CD from the merch area. As it was, they were well worth the momentary detour across the street.

Slabdragger

Slabdragger (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Uh, progressive? But like the progressive that might kick you? I did have to look it up, but it’s been three years since London trio Slabdragger — which includes Old Man Lizard guitarist/vocalist Jack Newnham on drums — put out their second record, Rise of the Dawncrusher (review here), and one would think that might be long enough for them to get another release together, but seeing them in the crypt for Høstsabbat, I had no trouble believing it might be longer. They were half a decade between their first and second records, and with the complexity of what they were playing, it makes sense. Extended tracks, some parts rocking, other parts outright punishing, Slabdragger brought together a thoughtful mindset with tectonic intensity in a way that was undeniably their own. You might call them sludge on some level, if only because they’re so heavy — and they are, whatever else is going on at the time — but that barely scratches the surface. Bonus points to guitarist Sam Thredder, who asked to have the lights turned up after the first song so he could see what he was playing. “I swear that’s why that song only had one note,” he told the crowd as he prepared to share vocal duties again with bassist Yusuf Tary for another round of pummeling.

The Devil and the Almighty Blues

The Devil and the Almighty Blues (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Devil and the Almighty Blues, feeding off a hometown crowd’s energy, vocalist Arnt O. Andersen, guitarists Petter Svee and Torgeir Waldemar Engen, bassist Kim Skaug and drummer Kenneth Simonsen came out to the country-blues strains of “O Death” — as they’re wont to do — and proceeded to immediately earn the heroes’ welcome they were given by the crowd by building the ultra-catchy “Salt the Earth” from earlier-2019’s Tre (review here) from the ground up, Anderson, in robe, in utter command of the proceedings in true and classic frontman fashion, even when his arms were crossed and he stood at the back of the stage drinking a beer and nodding in approval. The band on either side of him — and behind, in the case of Simonsen — were both vibrant and tight, clearly playing up to the occasion at Kulturkirken Jakob in front of fans as well as what seemed to be friends and family. Their moody, possibly drunken sense of danger was readily on display, but they shone on a big stage in a way that underscored their touring and fest experience, and while I had to wonder what it would take to get them over to the US for a show, and if the American crowd would get it in the same way, I couldn’t help but think they’re a band my home country is missing out on by not having the chance to see live. They took what was obviously a special show for them and made it one for everyone else too.

LLNN

LLNN (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how heavy heavy actually gets. Fortunately, for those momentary lapses, along comes a band like LLNN to absolutely slam your skull into a wall. I had only barely checked out the Copenhagen outfit’s 2018 full-length, Deads, for a few seconds before deciding they were the something I wanted to experience live, and for two days of heaviness in that basement, there might indeed have been nowhere to go after them. Superlatively heavy, extreme post-metal, with atmospherics to push the air out of your lungs and tone to make sure it stays gone. Brutal, chaotic, whatever else. It was all of that churn and physical force behind the music, as well as being less about a cathartic expression — as was, say, SUMA, who opened the crypt yesterday — than a reveling in disaffection and alienation. So much weight brought to bear, and not all of it coldly or unemotionally. Their performance was no less ferocious than their sound, with the lights low and the strobe going and everything set to convey a sense of being overwhelmed, which was a standard they met easily. Not the kind of thing you’d put on for a dinner party — unless your dinner parties are awesome — but probably the kind of thing that should be played in art galleries as well as church basements. Pelagic released that album, so clearly I have some digging back to do in further investigation. Maybe a bit of recovery first though.

Colour Haze

Colour Haze (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There was some technical difficulty at the outset — one of drummer Mandred Merwald‘s stage monitors didn’t seem to be putting out anything for a while there — but while that delayed their start a couple minutes, once Colour Haze got going for their headlining set at the second night of Høstsabbat, and whatever came before, the feeling of peace was palpable. It radiated from all corners of the stage, even from Merwald, who make no mistake is a madman behind the kit. That’s something that has become all the more visible since he’s turned the drums sideways to allow room for organist/synthesist Jan Faszbender on the stage; Faszbender being the fourth member who’s worked with the band for years on arrangements, recording, etc., but only really started to play shows with them for the last couple years, joining the trio of Merwald, bassist Philipp Rasthofer — he of the classiest bass tone I’ve ever heard — and guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, whose hippie spirit on stage does nothing to undercut the precision and concentration behind his playing. They’ve been celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band since the Spring, and have more tour dates lined up this year, but I was lucky enough to see them in this configuration in London in May 2018 (review here), and they’ve only gotten more fluid as a four-piece, adding nuance in between-song transitions and Faszbender‘s contributions to older material. They opened with “She Said” from the 2012 album of the same name (review here) and they jammed and jammed and jammed, with some new material thrown in for good measure. The record is called Life, and it’s slated for CD/DL release in November, so here’s hoping. In the meantime, “Aquamaria” and “Transformation” were glorious, and the warmth that Colour Haze exuded from the stage was such that not even the October night in Oslo could stand up to it. Seriously, I took off my hoodie. They’re not a band I’ll ever pretend to be remotely objective about, but what they do is singularly beautiful. Another 25 years would be just fine, thank you very much. And then some.

The Next Morning

Hi from Oslo International. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know what the hell value Høstsabbat sees in inviting me to this festival, but holy crap it’s appreciated. The hospitality I’ve been shown this year and last year (and two years before that, as well) is sincerely humbling, and while I’m happy to come here and write as long as they’ll have me, I can’t say it makes any sense why they’d want me here.

As such, I’m not going to say anything about “next year.” Because, you know what, maybe Høstsabbat will do what’s well within their rights and tell me to get lost (which I did walking from the train station to the hotel on Thursday, same as last year). I feel like it would be reasonable.

So instead of talking about Høstsabbat 2020, which I’m sure will be excellent whether or not I’m here to see it, I’m going to take 2019 and breathe it in for a minute and appreciate what I’ve just spent the last two days doing for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity it was. How many chances am I going to have to see a band like Orsak:Oslo play in a tiny bar? Or Ufomammut and Colour Haze in a cathedral setting? Whatever does or doesn’t happen in the future, I was lucky to be here.

Special thanks to Ole and Jens, as always, and thanks to Stefan Koglek, The Patient Mrs. and most of all to you for reading.

Now, if you need me, I gotta go get on a plane. More pics after the jump.

Read more »

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The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Tre: Salting the Earth

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the devil and the almighty blues tre

The Devil and the Almighty Blues‘ third album, titled simply Tre, arrives through Blues for the Red Sun Records almost exactly two years after its predecessor, II (review here). That in turn came out two years after their 2015  self-titled debut (review here). They are, it would seem, like clockwork. And just as II showed up and demonstrated a marked growth from the first record, so too does Tre push the Oslo, Norway, five-piece to a new echelon in their craft. It shares some methods with the preceding outing, including opening with its longest track (immediate points) in the 12-minute “Salt the Earth,” but finds the band — a returning lineup of vocalist Arnt O. Andersen, guitarists Petter Svee and Torgeir Waldemar Engen, bassist Kim Skaug and drummer Kenneth Simonsen — refining their style to a point of moving beyond their influences and truly stepping into their own style.

Oh, there’s the devil, and there’s the blues, and if you hold your breath long enough, you might even get a glimpse of the almighty, but much of what the band does so well throughout Tre can be heard in the eight-minute side B opener “Heart of the Mountain,” which finds the perfect tempo so that the measures of its verses don’t even seem cyclical so much as an unfolding line, and which bleeds soul from Andersen‘s vocals as well as the lead guitar and metered groove. The Devil and the Almighty Blues aren’t in a rush, and even when they offer up a bit of boogie, as on the hook-laden “Lay Down” or the penultimate “No Man’s Land,” they do so with a sense of poise that speaks not only to the confidence of their delivery, but how well they know what they want out of their songwriting. To listen to the background gospel vocals in second track “One for Sorrow” or even the quiet break in “Salt the Earth” that follows the chorus at about the 6:40 mark, one of The Devil and the Almighty Blues‘ greatest assets on Tre is the sense of space in the recording, and almost as important as how they fill it is how and when they choose to not fill it.

The verse of “One for Sorrow” wants nothing for sounding full. Its lead and rhythm guitar and bass tones are rich, its drums are understated but not absent, and its vocals are forward in classic fashion, yet even when the song — which is the shortest on Tre at 5:13, so well paired with the opener before it — sweeps into its more raucous solo section in the second half, there is still a bit of what seems to be space in the mix. Mastered at lower overall volume for vinyl, maybe? If that’s the case, then the adage about doing so letting a more natural and classic-style dynamic shine through certainly holds, as The Devil and the Almighty Blues have never sound so in charge of their direction as they do on this 48-minute six-tracker, but either way, the impression isn’t that the band are somehow holding back, but almost like they’re struggling against something bigger than themselves.

the-devil-and-the-almighty-blues

“Salt the Earth” very much sets the tone for this, from its soft opening to how its memorable chorus playing out in an echo cutting through held-out lumbering progression with a layer of backing vocals behind, a depth that seems only to go deeper in the aforementioned break, which they build up to a consuming place and still remain well in control, as shown in the melancholy guitar harmonies that take the place where a grandiose apex solo might otherwise show up. This is the band serving the song, the song serving the album and the album serving the expression. Tre casts the most resonant vibe The Devil and the Almighty Blues have yet conjured, and whether it’s the particularly Scandinavian-sounding classicism of “No Man’s Land” or closer “Time Ruins Everything” seeming to lose itself — but not actually getting lost — in the downtrodden soul of its chorus before it breaks à la “Salt the Earth” in order to set up the last push, which does feature the solo that might otherwise have come too soon in the opener.

Everything has its place, the band have a place in the moody aspect they create throughout Tre. The performance they give throughout “Lay Down” and “Heart of the Mountain” as side A gives way to side B isn’t to be missed, for its naturalism as well as the fluidity of the band’s conversing with aesthetic, and the atmosphere that results isn’t ever forced or overly dramatic; it just is. With subtlety and care, The Devil and the Almighty Blues build the world in which their tracks inhabit — and, I’d argue, thrive — and even more than two years ago, those tracks are able to affect the listener in multiple ways, whether its the well-placed upticks in motion with “Lay Down” and “No Man’s Land,” the crescendos in “Heart of the Mountain” and “Time Ruins Everything” or the organic feel that serves to tie it all together as a single work.

One thing to note. I went back and looked at the review for II, and it was laced with comparisons to other bands. I have none to make for Tre. One can hear shades of this and that, but nothing stands out so much as the level to which The Devil and the Almighty Blues have left their own mark on this material. Listening to the album, it is easy to believe this is to what their work up till now has been leading, and that may be the case, or Tre might just be another step forward on their path, but the sense of arrival here is palpable, and in kind with the quality of the songs, it makes The Devil and the Almighty Blues come across as all the more powerful in their approach. Not because they’re the loudest, or because they’re the most aggressive, or they have the nastiest tones, but because they give life to something that is theirs entirely, and because you can’t hear it and imagine you’re listening to someone else.

The Devil and the Almighty Blues on Thee Facebooks

The Devil and the Almighty Blues on Bandcamp

Blues for the Red Sun Records on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

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SonicBlast Moledo 2019: Earthless, Graveyard, Eyehategod, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, High Fighter, Cardiel and Jesus the Snake Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Oh, you know me. Just sitting on ass on a chilly proto-Spring morning, daydreaming of shuffling over to Portugal for a weekend this August, flying into the Azores and then over to Porto, taking a car, train, or maybe just some other magical means of conveyance out to Moledo on the coast and then pretending to be a human among all the skinny Europeans at SonicBlast Moledo 2019, which has just added the likes of Earthless, Graveyard, Eyehategod, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, High Fighter, Cardiel and Jesus the Snake to a lineup that was already (un)fairly packed before them, with Om and Orange Goblin and Windhand and so on.

Maybe I’m sipping my 45th cup of coffee on the second or third day of the fest and watching Minami Deutsch expand minds via psychedelic jams, or maybe Dopethrone have made even that most pristine of locales (in my mind, anyway) seem utterly filthy with their crusty sludge. Either way, the point is I’m there to see it. In my daydreams.

Announcement from the fest:

sonicblast moledo 2019 square poster

We’re very proud to share with you the latest additions to SonicBlast Moledo 2019 line up:

Revered swedish heavy rock band Graveyard, NOLA kings EYEHATEGOD, San Diego cosmic warriors Earthless, The Devil And The Almighty Blues and their slow, dirty, heavy blues (which today are releasing their new album “Tre”), the intense and powerfull High Fighter, mexican power duo Cardiel and one of the freshest talents emerging from the portuguese underground, JESUS THE SNAKE!

3 days that you’re never ever forget!

Om (usa) + Graveyard (sw) + Eyehategod (usa) + Orange Goblin (uk) + Earthless (usa) + My Sleeping Karma (ger) + Windhand (usa) + Monolord (se) + Lucifer (se) + The Obsessed (usa) + The Devil and The Almighty Blues (nor) + Dopethrone (can) + Toundra (es) + Satan’s Satyrs (usa) + Sacri Monti (usa) + Harsh Toke (usa) + Petyr (usa) + High Fighter (ger) + Zig Zags (usa) + Kaleidobolt (fi) + Cardiel (mex) + Maidavale (se) + Minami Deutsch (jp) + Maggot Heart (se) + Jesus The Snake (pt) ++ some more tba ++

Artwork by Branca Studio

SonicBlast Moledo 2019
8, 9 and 10 of August
Moledo
Portugal

https://www.facebook.com/events/183265999284942/
https://www.facebook.com/sonicblastmoledo/
https://sonicblastmoledo.com/

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 13

Posted in Radio on April 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

This was a good one. After last episode, which was kind of working on a theme of balancing different kinds of heavy against each other, it felt rewarding to just get down to business and play some tunes without worrying really about some grander statement. Plus, during the voice breaks I got to bitch about having a cold, and you know I loves me some complaining. What other recourse is there for such a condition? DayQuil? Well, okay, yes, but also complaining.

Anyway, it starts with new Valley of the Sun because golly goodness golly golly is that record good, and then there’s some High Reeper, and then Saint Vitus because I’m still so gosh darn proud of having premiered that track that I included it basically as a gloat to myself. It’s mostly new music this time, which is how I like it, but I’ll say that in doing my typical classic-track thing, the intro to Electric Wizard‘s “Funeralopolis” is the best one I’ve ever done. Look out for the Centrum and Sigils tracks — both are marvelous — and though I was basically late to the party on Mammoth Grove‘s Slow Burn, which came out last year, “Gloria” makes an excellent closer to the set, which doesn’t really have a miss in the bunch. Again, it was a good one.

Note the second airing has moved from Tuesday morning to Thursday morning. It’ll be this Thursday at 6AM Eastern, which I’m calling the “Euro airing,” which means it comes with universal healthcare and old buildings, I guess. That’ll be fun, and hopefully the cold will be gone by then, because it certainly isn’t yet.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 03.31.19

Valley of the Sun Means the Same Old Gods*
High Reeper Eternal Leviathan Higher Reeper*
Saint Vitus Bloodshed Saint Vitus*
BREAK
La Grande Armée Normandía La Grande Armée*
Sigils Faceless You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves*
Pyramidal Digital Madness Pyramidal*
Spaceslug Ahtmosphere Split with Major Kong, Dopelord & Weedpecker*
BREAK
Electric Wizard Funeralopolis Dopethrone
Abrahma Lost Forever In Time for the Last Rays of Light*
Centrum Stjärnor För Meditation*
The Devil and the Almighty Blues Salt the Earth Tre*
BREAK
Monocluster Leviathan Ocean*
Mammoth Grove Gloria Slow Burn

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Thursday at 6AM. Next show is April 14. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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The Devil and the Almighty Blues to Release Tre March 29; Touring Europe in April & May

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the-devil-and-the-almighty-blues

Maybe you know this and maybe you don’t, and maybe I’ve said it before and maybe I haven’t, but it bears repeating: The Devil and the Almighty Blues are hot shit. I was fortunate enough to see them live when they played Roadburn supporting their second album, II (review here), and if the gods are generous, I’ll be able to see them again in their native Norway this Fall at Høstsabbat 2019 supporting their third, Tre, which is due out late next month on Blues for the Red Sun Records. Cue me sending an email to try and chase down a track premiere without even having heard the record yet in three, two, one…

And why, you ask? Because The Devil and the Almighty Blues are, as noted, hot shit. They own the stage and their records bring together classic songcraft with a heavy blues rock mentality and a willingness to stretch out of the confines of genre that only makes their work less predictable on the whole. Sign me up. Seriously. I’m in. New record. Let’s do this.

Before I forget, here’s album info from the PR wire:

the devil and the almighty blues tre

Heavy blues conjurers THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES return with new album ‘TRE’ this spring ; European tour announced!

Oslo bluesy quintet THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES unveil details for their third album ‘TRE’, coming March 29th on Blues For The Red Sun. The band also announced a European tour, including Desertfest appearances and dates with Stoned Jesus and Earthless.

Heavily inspired by Delta blues, and standing at the crossroads of both American and British blues-based rock, The Devil and the Almighty Blues hail about as far from that unmarked place where Robert Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil as one can be: Oslo, Norway. By infusing all the world’s other sub-genres of rock, from punk to garage rock, and from heavy psych to southern sludge, The Devil and the Almighty Blues sounds heavy without becoming too metal, slow without being doom, slow and raw, fucked up and bluesy without being predictable, or losing the blues’ muddy origins. – Walter Hoeijmakers, Roadburn.

With their third full-length ‘TRE’, the Norwegian five-piece conjure up some of their finest bluesy licks and heavy grooves while keeping their trademark mid-tempo songcraft — the very one sound that has held all crowds spellbound and made the band stand out from the underground heavy rock scene. Each one of the songs on ‘TRE’ is as soulful as it is filled with electricity: from stomp-inducing anthems (‘No Man’s Land’), bewitching female vocals (‘One For Sorrow’) to tenebrous and emotional ballads (‘Heart Of The Mountain’), it arouses such a wide range of emotions that it instantly gets the listener all speechless and fulfilled at once.

THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES – ‘TRE’
New album out March 29th on Blues For The Red Sun

TRACK LISTING:
1. Salt The Earth
2. One For Sorrow
3. Lay Down
4. Heart Of The Mountain
5. No Man’s Land
6. Time Ruins Everything

The Devil and the Almighty Blues European tour:
28.04.19 – Hamburg (DE) w/ Stoned Jesus
29.04.19 – Groningen (NL) w/ Stoned Jesus
30.04.19 – Dresden (DE) w/ Stoned Jesus
01.05.19 – München (DE) w/ Earthless
02.05.19 – Wiesbaden (DE) w/ Earthless
03.05.19 – Berlin (DE) Desertfest
04.05.19 – Nijmegen (NL) Sonic Whip
05.05.19 – London (UK) Desertfest
08.05.19 – Wien (AU) Arena
09.05.19 – Salzburg (AU) Rockhouse
10.05.19 – Stuttgart (DE) Universum
11.05.19 – Cologne (DE) Helios

TDATAB IS
Arnt O. Andersen – Vocals
Kim Skaug – Bass
Petter Svee – Guitar
Torgeir Waldemar Engen – Guitar
Kenneth Simonsen – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/thedevilandthealmightyblues/
https://thedevilandthealmightyblues.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BLUES-FOR-THE-RED-SUN-645295312258485/
https://www.stickman-records.com/

The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II (2018)

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Høstsabbat 2019 Adds The Devil and the Almighty Blues to Lineup

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

hostsabbat 2019 banner

It’ll be the devil’s church for sure when Oslo’s own The Devil and the Almighty Blues take the stage at Kulturkirken Jakob for Høstsabbat 2019. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the Norwegian heavy blues rockers live before, and Høstsabbat isn’t kidding when they talk about their stage presence. The five-piece have a tendency to own the room when they play, and while it’s easy to imagine them bringing that to the Chapel stage and play on the altar for the fest, though I could also picture them crowded into the basement to headline one of the nights down there in the spirit of Brutus this past year. Either way, having them aboard only makes the Høstsabbat lineup — which also features the likes of Ufomammut, LLNN, Slabdragger, Stuck in Motion and Belzebong — that much stronger.

Word from the fest came out through the social medias thusly:

hostsabbat 2019 the devil and the almighty blues

HØSTSABBAT 2019 – THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES

Finally, it’s time for another Høstsabbat announcement.

We can assure you it’s been worth the wait. It’s with tangling excitement we can announce Oslo and Norway’s finest. The bearded 5-piece that is The Devil And The Almighty Blues, will do ONE SHOW ONLY on Norwegian soil this year, and luckily for all of us, it goes down at The Chapel stage at Høstsabbat. We couldn’t be more stoked.

The delta-infused, greasy AF sound of these guys have proven to be something sorely missed in the heavy underground. It’s vintage in a way that is not vintage, and most importantly, it feels heartfelt, not like something created to go by certain trends. The Devil and The Almighty Blues is the real deal. No kidding around.

With their new album out this Spring, we are eagerly awaiting their unfuckwittable stage presence, giving us tunes from their already almost ten year long career.

Please welcome THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES.

MUSIC
Spotify: http://bit.ly/databSF
Youtube: http://bit.ly/databYT

FESTIVAL TICKETS
http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

NEWSLETTER
http://bit.ly/NLhostsabbat

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II (2017)

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Desertfest Berlin 2019 Adds Fu Manchu, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Zig Zags and Swedish Death Candy to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2019 banner

So, uh, in addition to the kickass poster art — which so good that I’m happy to look at it twice with the banner above and the vertical poster below, Desertfest Berlin 2019 pretty much rules as regards lineup as well. Granted, you could put “ham sandwich” on a card under Fu Manchu and Om, and I’d pass on the sandwich but still call that a really good show, but WovenhandAll Them WitchesWitchColour HazeKikagaku MoyoNaxatrasEarthless, on and on. I mean, come on. This is serious business. I know it’s the holidays and people are kind of checked out, but just look at this fucking thing. Plus, you know, the art.

Their latest announcement is duly celebratory:

desertfest berlin 2019 poster

FU MANCHU ++ THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES ++ ZIG ZAGS ++ SWEDISH DEATH CANDY confirmed for DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019!!!

HoHoHo dear desert festers! Perfect in time for Xmas, we would like to make a very special gift, and are more than proud to reveal 4 more bands for Desertfest Berlin 2019. And holy moly, it still feels like a dream but it’s getting real! Since our very first edition, we wanted them to play our stage, 8 years later it finally happens: Fu Manchu are going to play live at our beloved DESERTFEST BERLIN!!!

Since their inception, FU MANCHU has built itself a fanatical army of loyal enthusiasts all drawn to the group’s guitar-driven sound and carefree lyrics centered on old muscle cars, choppers, vans, skateboarding and science fiction. Over their impressing career, FU MANCHU has released 12 albums and has performed to sold out audiences all over the world. 2019 sees desert rock legends Scott Hill, Brad Davis, Bob Balch and Scott Reeder embarking on new adventures, with EXCLUSIVE SHOWS ONLY at DESERTFEST BERLIN + LONDON! “Germany is one of our favorite places to play and the crowds are always amazing. We’re stoked to be coming back to Berlin as part of Desertfest!” the band comments. And so are we to welcome FU MANCHU in 2019!!!

The Devil And The Almighty Blues will be armed with vintage Gibson guitars and tube amplifiers to take over DESERTFEST BERLIN! The Norwegian quintet’s blues- based rock is so heavy without becoming metal, slow without being doom, bluesy without being straight up and boring. Please welcome THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY live at the ARENA BERLIN, when they will also unleash upon us a brand new album in the Spring of 2019!

Grab your pack of Zig Zags desert rockers, as we will bring you the Los Angeles- based sci-fi power trio live on stage! With their scuzzy fusion of punk, metal and stoner sounds, these guys will deliver the ultimate soundtrack to get high on their sounds. Be prepared for a rad and insane live set!

Tunes as thick and heavily layered, powerful and melodic at the same time, Swedish Death Candy are rounding up today’s special Christmas announcement! Following their formation in 2014 and thundering live shows later, the four-piece psych band quickly began to grab attention from rock fans all over the globe. For a good reason: The variety within the band’s individual backgrounds, skill sets and influences has led the band to be truly unique – and one that is vital for today’s current scene.

Friends, we hope you are as much excited about this very special Christmas present as we are. But that’s not all, DAY TICKETS + FIRST SPLIT OF LINE-UP for each day are also now available and to plan your trip to Desertfest Berlin 2019: www.desertfest-tickets.de

The DESERTFEST-crew would like to wish all desert rockers, friends & families a peaceful Christmas and a heavy happy New Year. Stay safe, enjoy the festive season and we will see us all again soon at the capitol of the almighty riffs: DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019!

www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
www.instagram.com/desertfest_berlin

Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe (2018)

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Desertfest London 2019 Confirms Om, Wovenhand, Stoned Jesus, Great Electric Quest, Elephant Tree, Messa, High Fighter and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2019 square poster

A monstrous announcement from Desertfest London 2019 finds the festival, as it has over the last several years, with a far reach in geography and style alike. Acts like Great Electric Quest, High Reeper, Salem’s Bend, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, High Fighter, and Messa represent a flood of up and coming underground heavy from the US and Europe — I’d count hometown heroes Elephant Tree and Greece’s Naxatras at the forefront of that surge — while Om, Wovenhand, Mondo Generator, Stoned Jesus, Sabbath AssemblyJaye JayleHHY and the Macumbas and Wiegedood are of course no minor shakes in terms of draw or aesthetic swath.

Desertfest‘s first announcement, which came through in September with Earthless, All Them Witches, Kadavar and Colour Haze, among others, was enticing enough. This one does nothing but make one want to book travel and lodging.

The PR wire has the details:

desertfest london 2019 old empire stage

Drone doom pioneers OM confirmed as first headliner + 15 more acts added to the DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 lineup!

After warming you up with our first announcement in September, it’s time to break out the big guns. Today we’re adding 16 killer bands to Desertfest, including the lineup for 2019’s Old Empire stage, which, after years of bringing some of the heaviest sounds all weekend, will this year takeover as our Friday main stage. We couldn’t be happier with their first pick, Desertfest 2019’s opening headliners, the incomparable, spiritual force of stoner drone that is Om.

Formed in 2003 as one great band drifted off for a decade, Om – then consisting of the two-part assault of Sleep’s Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius – brought with them an extension of the hypnotic heavy first hinted at on Sleep’s Jerusalem/Dopesmoker. Achieving more with just vocals, bass and drums than most can dream of with a packed out stage, the opening one-two punch of Variations on a Theme and Conference of the Birds serves as a revelation to many; stripped-back power that cleans the cobwebs from your brain with reverberating blasts of droned-down stoner-doom.

By 2007’s Pilgrimage – the last full-length to feature Hakius on drums – Om had begun to lean more and more heavily into spiritual themes and Eastern tones, bringing about a new definition of what exactly heavy is; because let’s be clear, Om are heaviness incarnate, just not in the traditional sense. Through God is Good and their latest LP, Advaitic Songs – their first as a trio and surely one of the finest put to record this decade – Om continued down a path of hazed out perfection. It’s a testament to the importance of the band that, even as Sleep woke up, Om persist, ready to send you into a trance at the pluck of a bass. Be sure to catch Om when they headline the Old Empire stage – and Desertfest at large – on Friday 3rd May.

Joining them on the Old Empire stage, and continuing Old Empire’s tradition of showcasing heaviness from unexpected places, are Wovenhand. Labelled many things over the near two decades they’ve been kicking around, from alternative country, to neofolk, to Southern-gothic, Wovenhand are simply low and slow, oozing with an atmosphere of gloom. Music torn from the heart and soul of David Eugene Edwards (ex-16 Horsepower), Wovenhand are a deeply personal experience that you won’t want to miss.

But that’s not all for the Old Empire stage, who offer up three more treats for Desertfest 2019; firstly, a slice of black metal in the shape of Wiegedood, whose Die doden hebben het goed trilogy serves as a granite slab of brutality. Featuring members of post-black metal heroes Oathbreaker, as well as being part of the illustrious Church of Ra collective – a handful of acts tethered by a DIY ethic – Wiegedood will bring heaviness as we traditionally know it to the stage.

The jazz-inspired, ominous soundscapes of HHY & the Macumbas bring an exploration of the apocalypse to proceedings. Showcasing why they’re one of the most inimitable acts in the Portuguese, or perhaps even European underground scene, HHY are ordered chaos, wielding a twin attack of percussion and horns, tied together with a thin spine of drone.

Rounding off this year’s Old Empire stage come the desolate, minimalist sonic mantras of Louisville’s Jaye Jayle. Revelling in the simplicity of a “Less is more” philosophy, Jaye Jayle build tension with their barely crawling musical progressions and stitch it all together with the gruff, semi-spoken vocals of Evan Patterson.

Yet again, the Old Empire stage looks set to be one of the most exciting places to be over the whole of the Desertfest weekend, bringing both the darkness and the light; but that’s not all to expect over the May Bank Holiday weekend in Camden.

Elsewhere over the weekend, we’re excited to be welcoming Ukraine’s Stoned Jesus to Desertfest London. The stoner blues trio, who released their 4th full-length Pilgrims in September, possess a tone all of their own. Offering up one of the scene’s most beloved albums in 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar, Stoned Jesus remain a treat to catch live; as do punk infused stoner rockers Mondo Generator. Headed up by legend of the underground, Nick Oliveri, Mondo Generator are, like any of Oliveri’s myriad projects, an undeniably raucous experience live.

Next up, a double bill of some of Europe’s finest heavy psych; Part of the modern Greek wave of stoner and psych, without ever disappearing into the crowd, Naxatras are unashamed worshippers of the 70s riff. That said, they bring plenty of their own flavour to the mix. Whilst Oslo’s The Devil and the Almighty Blues live up to their name, bringing a devilishly groovy stomp and infusing it with their almost nonchalant, relaxed tones, fast becoming one of the most exciting bands in all of heavy psych.

There’s doom aplenty as ever at Desertfest, with all angles covered; the occult is worshipped with Sabbath Assembly and Messa’s take on the science of slow, whilst Elephant Tree will continue to show why they’re one of the UK’s finest acts with their uncompromising push outwards to the outer limits of doom.

A double dose of 70’s worship comes in the form of the strutting duo of Great Electric Quest and Salem’s Bend, with today’s announcement rounded off by two chances to get high; High Fighter are set to surround us with a densely packed smog of doom and High Reeper filtering the riffs of classic heavy metal through the So-Cal skater scene.

With dozens more bands still to be announced, including our Saturday and Sunday headliners, Desertfest 2019 is shaping up to be another hit of the best stoner, doom, sludge and psych on the planet. Don’t miss the annual celebration of the underground in Camden next May Bank Holiday weekend. Book your tickets today.

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

Wovenhand, Live at Fire in the Mountains, Jackson, WY, June 30, 2018

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