Snuff’est 2016 Announces Final Lineup… Mostly

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Snuff’est 2016 is keeping secrets. As in, the Bristol-based all-dayer festival has finalized its lineup, adding Belzebong, Asteroid and Radar Men from the Moon alongside the formidable likes of Gnod, Hang the Bastard, Bong, Sigiriya, Beehoover and others. However, there’s one band who has yet to be announced and Snuff Lane, which is putting on the show Sept. 17 as well as the newly-announced pre-party the night before with Deville, Gurt, Trippy Wicked and Wiht, aren’t telling.

Sometimes in cases like that, it happens that the band is contractually obligated because of a show elsewhere not to announce other gigs, so if you happen to be familiar with who will be around Bristol or elsewhere in the UK on the nights before or after, you could maybe make a guess, but for me, I haven’t a damn clue. Will be fun to find out though.

Final posters and (announced) lineup came down the PR wire:

Snuff’est – Doom/Stoner/Psych

Snuff Lane loudly brings you Snuff’est; Bristol’s newest intimate Doom, Stoner, Psych sonic-sounding rifforgy, due next month.

All Tier-1 and Tier-2 tickets already Sold-Out and we still have another act to announce, alongside a surprise performance from some extraordinary Special Guests.

Boasting a beautiful blend of national and international artists, with some unmissable special performances; starting with stage headliners:
Belzebong – UK EXCLUSIVE
Asteroid – 1 0f 2 UK appearances for 2016
Radar Men From The Moon
Also confirmed are:
Hang The Bastard (last South-West show ever) / Gnod / Sigirya / Bong / Enos / Beehover / ANTA / Hogslayer / Oak / Sugar Horse, as well as hidden ‘Surprise Special Guests’.

Both Tier-1 and Tier-2 Early-Bird tickets have completely SOLD-OUT, with a limited number of remaining tickets on sale now.

Snuff’est All-Dayer
1 Day / 2 Venues / 3 Headliners
Saturday 17th September
Exchange and The Stag and Hounds, Bristol
RSVP/FB Event:
Ticket Link: Big Cartel / Bristol Ticket Shop

There is also a special Snuff’est Pre-Party taking place the day before, which also boasts a special UK Headline Debut performance from Deville, who have only ever grace the UK at Desertfest London 2014. They’ll be joined by Gurt, Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight and Wiht.

Snuff’est Pre-Party
Friday 16th September
The Stag & Hounds, Bristol
Deville (SWE) / Gurt / Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight / Wiht
RSVP/FB Event:
Ticket Link: Big Cartel

Belzebong, “Bong Thrower” live at Keep it Low 2015

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2012 Adventure, Pt. 8: Along the Coast of Eternity (Desertfest Day Three)

Posted in Features on April 8th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

04/08/12 — 22.31 GMT — Sunday — Hotel

I’m gonna be perfectly honest with you. I have no idea from what part of the chicken that doner kebab I just ate was made, nor what constituted the white sauce that topped it, but man, it was delicious. A greasy jolt being oddly enough just what I needed at this point. I picked up a plus-sized bottle of Zywiec (and toasted Elvis Deluxe when I opened it, as is my habit — sorry to not see those dudes in Berlin) and some cheddar cheese and crackers, and I could ask nothing more from the end to the first London Desertfest than what I’ve gotten.

Right now, Viking Skull should be on the stage at The Purple Turtle, and C.O.C. will be shortly wrapping their set at The Underworld, and then the streets of Camden Town will once more flood with weirdos and leather/denim heathens, doubtless to the horror of what seems otherwise like a pretty straightforward section of the city, full of painted ladies and bar-going dudes. I’m glad I got to see it during mating season, or maybe that’s later. Ecosystem studies I don’t do.

Balls-out heavy rock and roll, on the other  hand… Well, that has been done. It’s been an amazingly long weekend. I’ve met a lot of great people, seen a lot of awesome bands. I know it seems like every post is full of, “Wow, these dudes were excellent! Party time alright!” but no shit, that’s pretty much how it’s been — though I’ve limited my partying to be even on all four sides (read: “square”), and even the Zywiec I’m now enjoying was purchased as much because it’s something different than tap water than because I felt like having a beer. I used to drink all night. Now I do this.

And on that note, let’s get started. As you can see below, my intent of making today lower key than yesterday was at least partially successful, though still with a bit of back and forth near the end.

Once more into the fuzz:

Leeds instrumentalists Wiht looked like they hated each other. I don’t know if it was just a contemplative post-metal thing or if each member of the trio is convinced that the other two dudes are bastards, but they hardly looked at each other or at the crowd, and guitarist Chris Wayper made only a cursory mention of it being their last show. Musically, they were right on. They did “The Harrowing of the North” and nailed it part for part, and it was a lot of fun to follow along with that story in my mind as they went along (see the review for more info), but yeah, there wasn’t much question that when the set was over, they wouldn’t be a band anymore. Still, Wiht were a quality act and quality players, both in general and on stage opening up at The Underworld, and I hope they end up in other bands. Though if I could bring the kind of crowd they did being the first act on the bill at 14.00 after a raging Saturday night, I wouldn’t break up.

My plan was to stay put at The Underworld through Gentleman’s Pistols, and though I knew nothing of either Throne nor Crystal Head, who were the two acts between Wiht and Leaf Hound, I’d hit the point where I was willing to trust Desertfest enough to not throw in anything shitty. It had already been two days of nothing but solid heavy bands, I saw no reason to doubt the capacity of the DesertScene crew to come through in the end, and sure enough, they did precisely that. Throne reminded me a bit of a less psychedelic Naam. Their riffs were in several cases lifted directly from Sleep’s Holy Mountain, though reworked — not that I fucking care; play that Sleep riff note for note and I’ll groove out almost every time — and they had a laid back stonerly attitude that went well with the music. The London trio didn’t look like they gave a damn, but it worked for them.

Also native to the city that’s hosting the fest, Crystal Head apparently used to be known as Penny Black. The new name suits them better. Especially immediately following Throne, they had a professional edge to their presentation that only enhanced the music. Floor lights, fog machine, a Gretsch guitar thicker in body than the guy playing it — Crystal Head struck an immediate chord with me for what I perceived to be a Queens of the Stone Age influence coming out. There was some of that Josh Homme-style start-stop jerky riffing, and the vocals (which came from both the bassist and the guitarist) veered occasionally into some characteristic falsetto. Still, they were thicker tonally than QOTSA, and they took the elements from that band to someplace heavier musically. They were a pleasant surprise, though I’m sad to say I failed to buy a CD from them, even later on in the night asking some other dude with a shaved head who I thought was the bass player if he had any merch. Obviously, he did not.

Fucking Leaf Hound. I don’t know where they stood numerically on the list of bands I never thought I’d be able to catch live, but I’d probably give them an ‘X’ either way, just because the idea seemed so ridiculous I wouldn’t have even thought to include them on any such list (one does not exist, surprisingly). And yeah, I know it’s Peter French and a bunch of guys who weren’t in the band when they recorded their classic material — they even had a new bassist, whose name I sadly did not catch — but whatever. I got to see Peter French sing “Growers of Mushroom,” and the jam that the players behind him embarked on in the song’s middle gave me a whole new appreciation for the track. “Sad Road to the Sea” was one of the day’s best performances from any band, and though I  wasn’t on board all the way with guitarist Luke Rayner‘s guitar-face and “I’m gonna stare at the ceiling like I’m having an orgasm because this solo is so good” stage moves, I can’t take away from the fact that they were fucking great.

Shortly before they went on, a guy in the crowd Tony Reed introduced me to the other day told me that Gentlemans Pistols were the best band in Britain. Britain’s got some righteous rock and roll on its  curriculum vitae at this point — to wit, everything I’ve seen this weekend — so I was on my way to intrigued by the time the double-guitar foursome took the stage. That in itself was a cause for celebration, as the band includes axe-man Bill Steer of the always-be-boogieing Firebird, and indeed Gentlemans Pistols were even more upbeat than Firebird on stage, changing places and mics, hoisting guitars aloft for the crowd to see and, in the case of drummer Stuart Dobbins, playing in his skivvies which he made a point to show off before sitting behind his kit. I can understand the impulse, as it was pretty hot and only getting hotter in that room — 20 minutes before Gentlemans Pistols came on, The Underworld was packed out — and while I don’t know if I’d say they were the best band on these Isles, I understood the appeal enough to pick up their 2011 album, At Her Majesty’s Pleasure, and I look forward to getting to know it better. Maybe not “in its underwear” better, but better, anyway.

By the time Gentlemans Pistols were halfway through their set, I was ready for the day’s first bit of traveling and made my way down the block with a mind toward seeing Cultura Tres, winding up at The Purple Turtle in time to catch Widows beforehand. UK natives as well, they thanked the crowd present for not going to see Gentlemans Pistols and delivered a set of that peculiar brand of stoner-type rock that’s not actually so different from post-hardcore in that everyone who plays it looks like they were in a hardcore band seven years ago. Not really my thing sonically, but fun to watch and they clearly had the style down. I bought their albums — they were selling handmade copies of their apparently-soon-to-be-pressed new one, and I got one of those — and enjoyed them for what they were. The Purple Turtle being the “heaviest” of the three Desertfest stages throughout the weekend, Widows were a decent balance between the some of the more aggressive sounds and the more laid back approach that was still to come from Samsara Blues Experiment later.

Cultura Tres are, among other things, well managed. They came all the way from Venezuela to tour Europe and the UK and their promotional team (there were several guys the band brought with them, to roadie, sell merch, street-team, film their set, etc.) has been handing out free DVDs the entire weekend. I have at least three at this point. Clearly a case of a band making the proverbial effort to be noticed, and I can’t hold it against them. They have a viable product. Their style is not quite sludge in the American or even the British sense — thinking Eyehategod and Iron Monkey as respective examples — but more of a slowed-down, malevolent metal. Tonally, it’s pretty clean, and there’s an edge of drama to their presentation on stage that adds to whatever the vague threat their material is making might be. I didn’t know them too well, though I’d checked out the video that I think was also contained on those DVDs (I’ll have to look to confirm that) and thought it was cool enough to post. If nothing else, it was encouraging to see that Cultura Tres were able to stand themselves out atmospherically from the rest of the Desertscene fare. I didn’t see anyone else this weekend who sounded quite like they did.

Back at The Underworld, Zoroaster were just finishing up their signature noisy wash as I walked in and made my way up front for Black Cobra, who, at this point, are a sentimental favorite. Aside from the fact that they kick unholy ass and just released the album of their career so far in Invernal (review here), I remember them from their days around New York, and they were killer even then. This morning as I sat outside whichever cafe it was down the block from the venue, I saw guitarist/vocalist Jason Landrian and got to say hey and see how the tour with C.O.C. and Zoroaster was going, and as unassuming as he always is to talk to — real quiet, down to earth guy — is as monstrous has he’s become on stage. He and drummer Rafa Martinez make for one of the tightest live heavy bands on the planet. Reportedly, before they loaded in, the duo also went and had their picture taken in front of a statue of British explorer Ernest Shackleton, on whose writings Invernal is partially based. Perhaps some of Sir Ernest‘s brashness was absorbed into the band, although to say that might give the impression that Black Cobra aren’t always as devastating as they were tonight, so stow that. These dudes just rip. If thrash had become Black Cobra, I’d listen to thrash, and whether it was seeing them destroy this crowd or seeing them with Kyuss Lives! back in December in Jersey (review here), they deserve and they earn every single success they have.

I was worn out. I was down. I didn’t know if I had the hike back to The Purple Turtle in me. Certainly C.O.C. headlining at The Underworld was an enticing offer. But man, there was Samsara Blues Experiment, just waiting with their heavy psych grooves and jams that were just too perfect a close-out to this Desertfest experience. What was I supposed to do? True, Corrosion of Conformity were probably the first heavy band I listened to and one to which I’ve never really lost attachment (we’re talking since I was 10), but I saw them on New Year’s with Clutch, and they’re almost certain to come through NYC again before the Berlin-based Samsara Blues Experiment make it over. So it was back to The Purple Turtle I went. I’d watch Samsara Blues Experiment — who, much to my delight, were selling copies of their original demo — for as long as I could stand up without feeling like my legs were going to give out, and then I’d split. It wasn’t long. I stood right in front of guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters as he had some technical problem with his stage monitor that sent out a rather unpleasant crackle through the P.A. He seemed bummed about it, but once they got going, the band played really well. They are a strong voice in the post-Colour Haze wave of European heavy psych, but like with Sungrazer yesterday, one of the best parts of watching Samsara Blues Experiment was seeing how they’ve come more into their own even in the year’s time since I caught them at Roadburn. I felt like I made the right choice to be where I was, and I can’t think of a better way to cap Desertfest than that, since it’s how I’ve felt this whole time. Coming here was the right choice.

At some point tomorrow, though I don’t know when, really, I will have some concluding-type thoughts on the weekend, so I’ll save the thanks and all that stuff for then, but yeah, that’s definitely on the way. For now, I’ll just say I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts, if not as much as I’ve enjoyed seeing these bands (did I mention fucking Leaf Hound played today?), then enough to make it this far.

Checkout’s at 11.00 and I’ve got pics to sort, more of which you’ll find after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Wiht Call it Quits; Final Shows Scheduled

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Always sucks to see a good band go. British post-metallurgists Wiht released their impressive debut, The Harrowing of the North (review here), last year, and here we are just months later and they’ve announced their final show for March. If you missed it, guitarist Chris Wayper and bassist Joe Hall were kind enough to answer Six Dumb Questions back in November, and I was looking forward to hearing what they did next. So it goes.

All the best to Wayper, Hall and drummer Rick Contini in their future endeavors, musical and otherwise. Here’s the post from the band’s Thee Facebooks page:

WIHT – March ’09 – March ’12

It is with sadness and a great sense of pride, that we have decided to call it a day. This is a completely amicable decision and has been made in the best interests of the band. It has come to a point where we are no longer able to progress and take the band further, we feel this band deserves more respect than just to fade away. This simply is an issue of lack of time and funds; two of the three of us now have families and time has become a lot more precious. To progress as a band we need to dedicate a certain amount of time to write and record, let alone gigging and touring. This is why we have decided to call it a day at a point where we feel this is something to be proud of.

To have played and made music in a band comprised of three oldest and best mates for three years has been an absolute pleasure. We feel incredibly proud of what we have achieved with the limited time and resources that we have had. We are not for one moment suggesting this is something exclusive to our band, many bands manage to write, record and tour with limited funds and with children, unfortunately it hasn’t worked for us. 

We would like to thank the following bands and people for your huge support and influence over the years, it wouldn’t have been possible without you. Ross at Ghosttown Studios, Neil Best Edward, Dan at Desertscene Rock, Dave at Future Noise, Chris at Witch Hunter Records, Matthew Lee, Charlie Barnes, Elles, all our friends and family Ceara, Lorna, Bekki, Sydney, Vincent & Oscar

Huge shout to the bands we have played with and that have helped us out, Khuda; Wizards Beard, Tree of Sores, A Forest of Stars, Haar, Undersmile, Desert Storm, Conan, Slabdragger, Dead Existence, Lords of Bastard & everyone else that we have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with. 

But don’t fret, we have a killer finale for you. Lineup including Khuda, band Tree of Sores on 30th March at Royal Park Cellars, it would be amazing if you could come and send us off Leeds style! 

But before that we will be helping Wizards Beard celebrate their album launch at the same venue on 18th February with some killer bands from around the UK. 

Hails and Ales.


UPDATE: The band has confirmed that their last show will take place as part of the Desertfest in London. The festival’s website had this:

It’s with a mixture of happiness and sadness confirming the mighty Wiht. Clearly we are very happy to have the instrumental three-piece playing at Desertfest, but sadness that this will be their last ever gig. The three-piece grew up together in Kirkstall, Leeds (UK), and out of many a jamming session Wiht was born. If you haven’t listened to these guys before, your in for a treat never sticking to one genre moving around from stoner to psych and even some gloomy doom. They have released a self-titled EP and more recently their debut album, The Harrowing of The North. So DO NOT MISS OUT! on what will be the last time to hear the riffing instrumental wonderment that is Wiht.

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Six Dumb Questions with Wiht

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on November 26th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

The man who would later become known as William the Conqueror set about earning his name in 1066, leading the Norman Conquest of England. Until his new moniker took its place, he was William the Bastard, and as England‘s first Norman king, he would struggle to keep his hold of power till the time of his death in 1088, quelling rebellions and continuously working to secure his position.

It’s the story of that struggle that seems to have interested Leeds instrumental post-doom trio Wiht (not to be confused with German stonerly heavyweights Wight) , who’ve given the title The Harrowing of the North to their self-released debut full-length in reference to William‘s quashing an uprising in Scotland shortly after assuming the throne in the late 1060s. Using historical documentation, Wiht craft a narrative through the album’s 20-minute titular cut entirely without the use of vocals, relying solely on the shifting mood of the song to act as emotional and functional descriptor.

That alone would be fascinating enough for me to want to hit the band up with Six Dumb Questions, but I was also eager to find out how “Orderic Vitalis,” the second and only other track on The Harrowing of the North, fit into the story, and how the idea came about to delve into England‘s rich imperial history of wars and kings. The band, who recorded The Harrowing of the North at Ghosttown Recording Studio, were happy to comply, with both guitarist Chris Wayper and bassist Joe Hall — the lineup is rounded out by drummer Rick Contini — offering explanation of the motives and circumstances behind the creation.

The Harrowing of the North was previously reviewed here, if you’d like to check it out, and please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

1. Tell me how the band got together. Things seem to have worked out pretty quickly between when you started playing and when you did your first show between April-August, 2009. Did you know specifically the sound you guys wanted when you started playing?

Chris: All three of us have been good friends for as long as we can remember, we played in bands together when we were younger but then all went our separate ways musically. Myself and Joe spoke for a while about getting something together, something heavy and fuzzed out. We then contacted Rick (drummer) and it all got together pretty sharpish!! Our first rehearsal revolved around several riffs and a bottle of good dark rum!! We felt the best way to get our shit together would be to book some gigs and have something to aim towards, it worked and the gigs went down a treat! The first EP we kind of knew what we wanted to do, and we were all really happy with the way it came out.

Joe: THotN was nothing like what we expected, due to adding/changing/breaking down and swapping parts around, it turned into something completely different… So I guess we have changed drastically from the way we initially wanted Wiht to sound, but still keeping the slow and heavy side to it alive and healthy.

2. What was it about the story of William the Conqueror that inspired you to take it on for The Harrowing of the North? Many bands write about the histories of their homelands, but with such a rich well to draw from, were there other stories that competed with this one?

Joe: I guess due to the fact that we were all brought up in Yorkshire, this is the tale that had the most relevance to us, and with it being a morbid and cruel subject it fits the overall feel of the band quite well. The first EP was loosely based around this concept also, just not to the degree THotN is.

I think Neil Edward, the artist who did the cover, did an absolute sterling job at replicating this into drawing for us as well.

There are tones of other tales and stories we would love to write about, maybe in the future we will explore further subjects such as British/Northern myths and tales, tales concerning Christianity, Scandinavian myths/Sagas, folklore etc. The possibilities here are endless….

3. How did the process of writing the album work? Were the movements of the song “William the Conqueror” written separately, or did you know ahead of time how you wanted them all to work together?

Chris: We had written “Orderic Vitalis” long before we started writing “The Harrowing of the North.” “Orderic” was written just after we released the s/t EP and represented a change in direction. We then began to think about recording the next record and set about writing the next song “The Harrowing of the North.” This took about a year!! The song initially was written in sections then was drawn together before entering the studio. With the help of Ross [Halden] from Ghost Town Studios in Leeds, the song manifested itself into something we never could have imagined!! Ross is a genius, he’d probably hate being called that but it’s true!! He really helped us see our ambition of developing and creating this “concept” piece. So, I guess the writing process was done in the studio and practice room. As we were writing the parts to “The Harrowing of the North” I think we began to develop a sense of what this could turn into but the theme and concept for the record developed with the songwriting process

4. At what point did you realize you wanted Wiht to be completely instrumental? Working with such a specific theme and narrative, was there ever any temptation to take on a singer or have one of the three of you take on the role yourselves?

Chris: Singers are a pain in the arse!!! Nah… I guess as the band developed the need for a singer declined. We thought of the idea at the start and it’s probably fair to say some of the earlier tracks may have benefited in some cases from a singer. Personally, the greatest compliments from the reviews so far of The Harrowing of the North is the universal acceptance we don’t need or lose out from not having a singer on this record. Now, I think, we have developed a dynamic that means we write songs with no singing in mind, the need for vocals is replaced by a need for more riffs! The concept of The Harrowing of the North also lends itself well to our instrumental style. Having a concept and no vocals can allow the listener to imagine their own narrative without someone wailing over the top!

Joe: It’s all about the riff!

5. How does “Orderic Vitalis” relate to the concept of the album, or does it? Will subsequent releases also keep to historical themes, or do you see a change in the songwriting process in the future of the band?

Chris:  “Orderic Vitalis” pays homage to the outspoken chronicler of William the Conqueror.  A loyal subject, he was outraged and sickened with the unrelenting fury and cruelty William showed during the raids. He basically deserved his own song, not many people would of spoken so ill of the king! Orderic was also there at the time of William’s death, he claims William’s remorse of the raids and regret of the massacres he inflicted. The quote on the inside of The Harrowing of the North and on the back of our s/t EP are quotes from Orderic Vitalis in his epic writings Historia Ecclesiastica. It felt right to make this a separate track, an opus to Orderic and a vindication of William the Bastard!

The songwriting process is a pretty natural occurrence, I can’t see that changing. In regards to whether we continue with a theme or concept, I don’t know. They are pretty tough to write and to also make relevant to the listener, especially without vocals and I guess we hit something special with The Harrowing of the North, it may be foolish to try and repeat it!

6. Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Chris & Joe: Yeah… we’ve started writing for the next record, sounding different from the last but that’s not to say it will change too much! We’re aiming for a vinyl release of The Harrowing of the North… you heard it here first!! Hopefully February/March 2012. Got some great shows lined up too, London, Edinburgh, Leeds, Oxford; check our Facebook page for them. Big shout out to the Leeds scene too, there are some truly great bands kicking around, most notably Wizard’s Beard, Tree of Sores, Khuda and A Forest of Stars. Also some mates from around the UK you MUST check out, (if you haven’t already): Undersmile, Conan, Slabdragger and Haar.

See you around!!

Wiht on Thee Facebooks

Wiht’s BigCartel store

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Wiht, The Harrowing of the North: Walking a Scorched Earth

Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Centered mostly around its heavy-hitting title cut, the debut self-released full-length from British doomers Wiht culls together heavy sludge tonality and foreboding atmospherics to tell the story of William the Conqueror’s quelling of a Scottish rebellion in the late 1060s. With no vocals. Okay, maybe relying on instruments only to tell a highly-specific, historically-based narrative is a bold move, but sure, one could read the eight component movements that are combined into the 20:47 “Harrowing of the North” as having a narrative flow. In any case, the song is certainly grand enough to stand in line with its purported themes, and the trio Wiht do well in evoking an array of moods all within a singular direction. The Harrowing of the North has several familiar elements, but guitarist Chris Wayper, bassist Joe Hall and drummer Rick Contini carve a personality out of them nonetheless, and the Ross Halden production job at LeedsGhosttown Recording Studio does well to bring that out. Halden also adds synth to “The Harrowing of the North” (Charlie Barnes of prog rockers Amplifier donates piano), and though the effect is one that rounds out to Wiht having some measure of a post-metal influence, they’re working with a more complex palette than just the basic and well-worn tactics of the subgenre.

That said, like most releases with even the most vague post-metal leanings, Wiht have their “Stones From the Sky” moment, and by that I mean they too fall prey to the inclusion of post-metal’s most copped riff from the end of the closer of Neurosis’ seminal 2001 album, A Sun That Never Sets. “The Harrowing of the North” has about 10 full minutes before it gets there, though, opening quietly with a movement dubbed “1069” (again, these are all presented as one track, so if I get the timing wrong, I apologize; I’m basically guessing based on the changes in the song) for the first several minutes that leads to the heavier riffing of “From the Humber to the Tees” at around four minutes in. Contini proves an immediate asset to The Harrowing of the North, with steady tom hits and effective crashes punctuating Wayper’s spacebound guitar layers. A stretch of genuine stoner rock riffage commences with “Scortched Earth” that’s probably Wiht’s most straightforward move within “The Harrowing of the North,” setting up the softer but still active “Famine,” which in turn gives way to the half-time drummed “Wasta Est,” and finally, the aforementioned “Remorse,” which becomes the crux of the song for its second half almost immediately upon its arrival at 12:37. They could, and others have, but Wayper, Hall and Contini don’t just ride that riff out for the last 10 minutes of “The Harrowing of the North,” instead transitioning smoothly into the quieter “William the Bastard,” only to be revived as closing segment “1087” – the year of William’s death – rounds out the track. That riff is really the only repeated element of “The Harrowing of the North,” and though it’s been done many times over at this point, Wiht put it to good use, finishing the journey of the song with some string sounds buried under the distorted portions of the mix — likely that would be Halden’s synth – and coming out sounding more influenced than derived.

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Wiht Make a Name with Long Playing Debut EP

Posted in Reviews on June 14th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

If you listen closely, you can hear the head on Rick Contini’s bass drum shiver during the hits that kick off UK rockers Wiht’s self-titled, self-released debut EP, as if to signify the natural feel that will permeate the three tracks to come. The Leeds trio have only been around for about a year, starting in April 2009, but their first output – which they call an EP, but actually stretches over 40 minutes – already shows them with a considerable grasp on their sound, an organic vibe, and the patience to let parts breathe as much as necessary to lock into a hazy, near-psychedelic hypnosis.

Production wise, Wiht sounds like it was recorded onto a computer in a room with a low ceiling. Whether or not that’s the case, I don’t know, but the stone-happy grooves are carried across smoothly either way, so though that might come off as a dig on the recording job, it’s really not. It’s a wonder of the modern age that a band like Wiht can go into a studio on the cheap and come out with a clear, crisp recording. 15 years ago, they’d be doing this in the garage on a four-track, and probably poorly. Their EP might not have the professional sheen it would from a major studio, but I think it works for their sound and where their songs go, drifting into and out of long psych/drone passages only to envelop the listener in heaviness again as does the raucous 16-minute opener “Into Ruin.”

Some stoner rockers come to it from punk, but there’s a heavier, more metallic edge to Wiht’s output that you can hear in the guitar work of Chris Wayper. With the entirety of Wiht instrumental, it’s the guitars that usually take the lead, and as “Into Ruin” passes its halfway point and comes to an angular, crushing movement, it’s metal, not punk, that seems the dominant influence. Almost the last five minutes of the song are just Wayper’s guitar with well-placed accents from bassist Joe Hall, but the atmosphere is darker than it was at the beginning of the track, which serves as a suitable lead-in for “And the Thunder Rolls.” The second song, it’s shorter by seven minutes, and starts faster, with Contini’s crash cymbal deep back in the mix and compressed, and Hall’s bass a fuzzy undertone for Wayper’s riffing. Wiht are quick to show of their dynamics, and though I think that given a more professional production setting it could be brought out even more, the character of this material is plain to hear and makes for an enjoyable listen nonetheless. It’s not that something is missing, understand, but as Wayper takes an airy solo midway through “And the Thunder Rolls,” I can’t help but feel there could be less separation among the instruments, and the bass could be higher, and so forth.

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On the Radar: Wiht

Posted in On the Radar on November 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

One has to assume that newborn UK stoner jammers Wiht pronounce their name “white,” like the color, though to my eyes the way they spell it looks more like it should be “wit.” Throw a ‘g’ in there and you might get Wight, which works, but To be fair, it is a nice logo.looks kind of silly. Come to think of it, so does Wiht.

But whatever. They’ve got a logo, a guitarist, drummer, bass player and a few rough sample recordings on their MySpace page, ergo they are a band. And a riffy instrumental one, too. Chris Wayper, Rick Contini and Joe Hall (guitar, drums and bass, respectively) don’t screw around with adding flash to their songs and they don’t bother with vocals. Wayper‘s guitar leads the charge, and Contini and Hall keep up ably across the MySpace tracks, dooming out on “Into Ruin,” stoning it up on “…And the Thunder Rolls” (let’s assume that’s not a Garth Brooks reference) and adding some appropriate largess to “Vasta.”

Things are almost a little too by the book in listening to these samples, but I don’t doubt Wiht are doing it with conviction. They don’t have CDs available yet, but they’re working on it. In the meantime, judging by what they’ve got on offer so far, they’re probably worth keeping on the radar.

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