Windhand Announce March 2019 European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

windhand (Photo by Joey Wharton)

I usually try to keep myself distant from the din of new-album hype out there. The promo-speak and hyperbole is as endless as the string of new releases itself, and while I don’t always succeed — hey, we all get excited; that’s part of the fun — I do my best to keep my head on waiting for records to show up. I gotta say though, when it comes to the new Windhand, I’m feeling it. Sure, I’ve dug them all along and been continually intrigued as they’ve become one of the foremost acts in US doom, but with the sonic turn that seems to be heralded in their new one, Eternal Return — out Oct. 5 on Relapse as their second collaboration with producer Jack Endino — I’m really excited to hear where they take their sound.

The video that you can watch below for “Grey Garden” is a big part of the reason why. It’s the first real sampling they’ve given from Eternal Return and its ethereal doom grunge unfolds with a trippy spaciousness that adds even further depth and character to their by-now-trademark miasma. The Richmond outfit previously announced a US run for this Fall and they’ll be in Europe in March — interesting that they’d go before the Spring fest season begins; one wonders if they’ll be back that way in Autumn 2019 — touring with the gleefully filth-caked sludge extremists Grime.

Dates came down the PR wire like so:

windhand euro tour

WINDHAND: Announce 2019 European March Headlining Tour Dates

Eternal Return is due out October 5th on Relapse Records

Richmond, Virginia’s psychedelic heavyweights WINDHAND announce 2019 European headlining tour dates with Italy’s Grime. The tour begins March 7th in Austria and ends March 24th in Germany. All confirmed tour dates are available below.

WINDHAND’s 4th studio album Eternal Return is due out October 5th on CD/2xLP/CS/Digital on Relapse Records. Physical packages are available for pre-order HERE and Digital Downloads/Streaming AT THIS LOCATION.

Artwork By Arik Roper

WINDHAND LIVE DATES:
— All Dates March 07-24 w/ Grime —

Mar 07 Vienna, AT @ Arena
Mar 08 Munich, DE @ FeierwerkM
Mar 09 Lausanne, CH @ Le Romandie
Mar 10 Paris, FR @ Boule Noire
Mar 12 Bristol, UK @ Exchange
Mar 13 Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute
Mar 14 Glasgow, UK @ Audio
Mar 15 Nottingham, UK @ Bodega
Mar 16 London, UK @ Underworld
Mar 17 Brussels, BE @ AB
Mar 19 Haarlem, NL @ Patronaat
Mar 20 Eindhoven, NL @ Effenaar
Mar 21 Cologne, DE @ MTC
Mar 22 Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
Mar 23 Berlin, DE @ Musik & Frieden
Mar 24 Leipzig, DE @ Werk 2

— 2018 US Tour Dates w/ Satan’s Satyrs —

Oct 08 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Oct 09 New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
Oct 10 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
Oct 11 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
Oct 12 Austin, TX @ Barracuda
Oct 14 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister
Oct 15 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Oct 16 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
Oct 17 Oakland, CA @ Starline Social Club
Oct 19 Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theatre
Oct 20 Vancouver, BC @ Venue
Oct 21 Seattle, WA @ Neumos
Oct 23 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Oct 24 Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
Nov 01 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Nov 02 Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
Nov 03 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
Nov 04 Montreal, QC @ Le Belmont
Nov 05 Toronto, ON @ The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
Nov 07 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
Nov 08 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe
Nov 09 Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
Nov 10 Indianapolis, IN @ The Hi-Fi
Nov 11 Nashville, TN @ The Basement East
Nov 12 Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
Nov 13 Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
Nov 15 Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry

https://www.facebook.com/WindhandVA/
https://www.instagram.com/windhand/
http://windhandva.bandcamp.com/
http://store.relapse.com/

Windhand, “Grey Garden” official video

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Windhand Post “Grey Garden” Video; Eternal Return out Oct. 5

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Windhand_ photo by Sally Patti

It seemed doubtful that Virginia’s Windhand would’ve been lying when they said their upcoming album, Eternal Return, was taking them in a different direction, mostly because, why would they? Still, it’s awfully nice to have an example to go from as we head closer to the record’s Oct. 5 release through Relapse Records. And so, with the creepy-image-barrage of the “Grey Garden” video that some site way cooler than this one premiered last week, we get that example. Immediately, it’s the best vocal performance I’ve heard from Dorthia Cottrell. Hands down. She sounds amazing. And behind her, guitarist Garrett Morris, bassist Parker Chandler and drummer Ryan Wolfe unfurl a vision of psychedelic grunge-doom, putting new meaning to the words “produced by Jack Endino” even than those that applied to their last full-length, 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here), which the venerable producer also helmed.

The doom-via-grungegaze suits the Richmond four-piece. And “Grey Garden” seems to hold onto the thick low end tonality that’s been crucial to Windhand‘s approach since their first record. But this doesn’t sound like Electric Wizard. Really at all. And that’s a big difference, since even though Windhand had come into their own, they still had that nod at their foundation, and while I wouldn’t necessarily expect “Grey Garden” to represent the entirety of Eternal Return given past variety in their songwriting, it’s telling that it’s the first track they’re breaking out from the album and letting the public hear. They very obviously are trying something new here, and they very obviously want their audience to be prepared for it. Listening to the drift in the midsection and the reemergence of the more weighted tone that follows beneath the scorching, swirling lead, the potential seems to be there for the band to really make a stylistic mark on the greater sphere of doom itself.

I’d recommend you listen twice to really let the hook sink in, to hear the depth in Wolfe‘s snare, to get a handle on the arrival in murk, the departure from it, and the return. I was looking forward to Eternal Return already. My expectations are even higher now.

PR wire info and tour dates follow the video below.

Please enjoy:

Windhand, “Grey Garden” official video

Eternal Return is a complete life-to-death journey. As unplanned things go, it’s an observation of as well as a reflection on life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows, beginnings and ends. Between the band’s 2015, highly acclaimed Grief’s Infernal Flower, and 2018’s Eternal Return, WINDHAND welcomed new life, survived lineup changes, and mourned unexpected death. The songs and song ordering are the direct result of those experiences. Where “Halcyon” is assured in its opening, the closing track “Feather” is its funeral march.

WINDHAND wrote Eternal Return all throughout the winter. Out of the sessions, “Halcyon,” “Grey Garden,” “Red Cloud,” and the monstrous “Eyeshine” emerged as the heaviest tracks, while “Pilgrim’s Rest,” “Diablerie,” and “Feather” embodied the more reflective side of WINDHAND. The juxtaposition of heavy, psychedelic and pensive is less like Black Sabbath or Sleep and more like Soundgarden or Veruca Salt. But the name-drops aren’t absolute so much as signals of WINDHAND’s ability to stretch beyond genre confines.

Eternal Return represents a new era for the group, a chrysalis moment that takes them to new and unforeseen heights. Boosted by Garrett Morris’ consistently cool riffs-forged at the crossroads of Iommi’s otherworldly import and Kurt Cobain’s spontaneous precocity-powered by Ryan Wolfe and Parker Chandler’s groove-laden rhythms, and propelled by Dorthia Cottrell’s smoky yet wistful vocals, WINDHAND’s new album is a two-step jump for Richmond’s finest purveyors of the psycho-actively heavy. Adorned by Arik Roper’s (Sleep, High on Fire) impressive cover art, Eternal Return not only looks the part of WINDHAND’s artistic growth but sounds the part.

WINDHAND brought Jack Endino back into the fold. Together, they spent two weeks recording at Soundhouse Recording in Seattle. Described as “smooth” and “intense,” the sessions with the famed producer were just what WINDHAND wanted. Endino also understood the group’s artistic progression, chiefly the admiration of and blending in late ’80s/early ’90s grunge. Out of it all, WINDHAND continued to refactor and refine their vision of heavy. A new era of psychedelic heaviness is upon us with WINDHAND’s genre-blurring Eternal Return. Sweet, fuzzed-out oblivion has never been closer…

WINDHAND LIVE DATES:
10/08: Atlanta, GA – The Earl #
10/09: New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa #
10/10: Houston TX – White Oak Music Hall #
10/11: Dallas, TX – Club Dada #
10/12: Austin, TX – Barracuda #
10/14: Albuquerque, NM – Sister #
10/15: Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar #
10/16: Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre #
10/17: Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club #
10/19: Portland, OR – Aladdin Theatre #
10/20: Vancouver, BC – Venue #
10/21: Seattle, WA – Neumos #
10/23: Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge #
10/24: Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room #
11/01: Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts #
11/02: Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere #
11/03: Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall #
11/04: Montreal, QC – Le Belmont #
11/05: Toronto, ON – The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern #
11/07: Chicago, IL – Subterranean #
11/08: Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafe #
11/09: Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club #
11/10: Indianapolis, IN – The Hi-Fi #
11/11: Nashville, TN – The Basement East #
11/12: Louisville, KY – Zanzabar #
11/13: Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups #
11/15: Richmond, VA – The Broadberry #
# – w/ Satan’s Satyrs

Windhand on Thee Facebooks

Windhand on Instagram

Windhand on Bandcamp

Relapse Records website

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Windhand Post Eternal Return Teaser & Cover Art; Fall Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Windhand photo by Sally Patti

October 5 is the set release date for Windhand‘s new album, Eternal Return. Everyone got their calendars marked? Good. I mean, you probably won’t actually need to mark your calendar unless you’re old as dirt like me and haven’t come around to the notion of preordering things rather than simply being frustrated at yourself later for not having bought them yet — you know I just picked up the Sleep record like two days ago? ridiculous — but even figuratively speaking, it’s a date you’ll want to note. Three days later, the Richmond, Virginia, doom forerunners will hit the road for a month-plus of touring covering bigger markets on both coasts and between as well as a couple stops in Canada, playing alongside their splitmates/past-tourmates and apparent best buds Satan’s Satyrs all the while. That’s pretty much what you’d expect from Windhand around an album release, and it seems likely a European tour won’t be too far off either. Maybe during the Spring 2019 festival season? Or maybe they’ll go to Australia. Not like I know anything. Because I don’t. Actually. Nothing. Really about anything.

Okay. Kind self-talk.

Given the return to Jack Endino for recording, the title, and the on-stylistic-theme art from Arik Roper, I can’t help but wonder how much Eternal Return is intended as a sequel or at least direct follow-up to 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here), but even if it is, that would hardly be a strike against it, particularly with a band whose track record for sonic progression is as well established as Windhand‘s. That is, even if they’re responding to the 2015 record, it seems likely they’ll bring something new to the proceedings anyhow.

I look forward to finding out. Calendar is marked.

Note how quick the PR wire is below to designate them a “heavy psychedelic” band. Fascinating. There’s a reason I include these things word-for-word. Check it out. Teaser clip is at the bottom:

windhand eternal return

WINDHAND: Announce North American Fall Tour; Unveil Artwork & Teaser For New Album Eternal Return

Eternal Return is due out October 5th on Relapse Records

Virginia’s heavy psychedelic quartet WINDHAND have announced a full fall North American tour with Satan’s Satyrs and give us a glimpse of what’s to come on their forthcoming album, Eternal Return, coming October 5th on Relapse.

Eternal Return represents a new era for the group, a chrysalis moment that takes them to new and unforeseen heights. Once again the band have joined forces with producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden) with vivid artwork by Arik Roper (Sleep, High on Fire). Equally informed by heavy, fuzzed-out psych along with the iconic grunge / alternative groups of the 90s, WINDHAND have crafted a record brilliant in scope, powerful in execution, and perfect for an era of increasingly blurry yet still heavy borders.

Check below for a full list of dates, tour poster and stay tuned for more. Listen to WINDHAND’s full discography via Bandcamp.

WINDHAND LIVE DATES:
07/29: Chicago, IL – Wicker Park Fest
10/08: Atlanta, GA – The Earl #
10/09: New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa #
10/10: Houston TX – White Oak Music Hall #
10/11: Dallas, TX – Club Dada #
10/12: Austin, TX – Barracuda #
10/14: Albuquerque, NM – Sister #
10/15: Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar #
10/16: Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre #
10/17: Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club #
10/19: Portland, OR – Aladdin Theatre #
10/20: Vancouver, BC – Venue #
10/21: Seattle, WA – Neumos #
10/23: Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge #
10/24: Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room #
11/01: Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts #
11/02: Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere #
11/03: Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall #
11/04: Montreal, QC – Le Belmont #
11/05: Toronto, ON – The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern #
11/07: Chicago, IL – Subterranean #
11/08: Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafe #
11/09: Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club #
11/10: Indianapolis, IN – The Hi-Fi #
11/11: Nashville, TN – The Basement East #
11/12: Louisville, KY – Zanzabar #
11/13: Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups #
# – w/ Satan’s Satyrs

https://www.facebook.com/WindhandVA/
https://www.instagram.com/windhand/
http://windhandva.bandcamp.com/
http://store.relapse.com/

Windhand, Eternal Return album teaser

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Live Review: Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Night Two, 06.23.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on June 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2018 night two poster

This scene is staggering. In terms of enclaves of hard and heavy, Maryland doom might be rivaled only by Floridian death metal and New York hardcore for longevity, and I’m pretty sure neither of those dates back to the early ’70s. Think about that. For almost as long as there’s been an idea of “heavy,” there’s been Maryland doom. And the number of lifers in bands and out boggles the mind. At best, I’m an interloper here, and I’d never claim otherwise. Every year or two or three, I’m lucky enough to come down for a fest or something like that, poke my head around and be humbled by the spirit that lives in this place. To actually be a part of it? I can’t imagine.

Maryland Doom Fest has taken on the responsibility not only of representing its native creatives, but in providing the scene a bridge to the outside world as well. The second day of Maryland Doom Fest 2018 did like day one and branched out in geography and sound, the scope of the festival increasing each year even as it maintains its ties to the place whose banner it flies. There’d be plenty of doom, but noise and heavy rock as well, metal both tangible and intangible, and more besides. You bet your ass it’s overwhelming. Maryland Doom Fest comes but once a year. Gotta make it count.

Another rainy day in Frederick set the gray-sky tone for a bill that would start out dark and work its way to the murkiest finish of all with Windhand headlining. Here’s how it happened:

Electropathic

Electropathic (Photo JJ Koczan)

As with Unorthodox last night, the new band fronted by Gary Isom, guitarist in Weed is Weed and former drummer in Spirit Caravan, Pentagram, Valkyrie and others, is a cross-generational affair. Along with drummer Ronnie Kalimon (formerly of Asylum, Unorthodox, etc.), Electropathic features young bassist/backing vocalist Zak Suleri and lead guitarist Eli Watson, both of Et Mors, and with Isom in the frontman role, they ran through a set of classic Maryland doom. Defined in no small part by their lack of pretense, they seemed to still be feeling out where they were ultimately headed as a band. They formed in the back half of last year by all appearances, so while none of them is a stranger to the stage, they’re in the process of developing their chemistry and sound. Likewise, Isom was still internalizing his position at the fore — even in Weed is Weed, he’s off to the side of the stage. He held it down though and their riffs resounded like a clarion to the converted still making their way in — time to go to church, school, whatever. Just time to go.

Molasses Barge

Molasses Barge (Photo JJ Koczan)

Hailing and hauling from Pittsburgh, Molasses Barge reaffirmed the connection between Steel City and Maryland doom that’s been there since the days of Dream Death‘s original run and probably even before that. The five-piece released their self-titled album in 2017 on Blackseed Records and had songs from that and new material in tow, which frontman Brian “Butch” Balich announced from the stage saying drummer Wayne Massey “calls this one ‘Tin Snake,'” or something thereabouts (hard to read the notes, sorry if I’ve got the title wrong). Balich is a formidable presence on his own, as he’s proven over the years in Penance, Argus and most recently Arduini/Balich, and in Molasses Barge he sets his powerful voice the task of cutting through the low end tone rollout from guitarists Justin Gizzi and Chuck Forsythe and bassist Amy Bianco that, presumably is what gives the band its name. Classic heavy riffs and a touch of metal underpinning, they were unsurprisingly met with welcome by the early crowd, and brought out Iron Man frontman Dee Calhoun to co-front a cover of that band’s “On the Mountain” to pay righteous homage to founding guitarist “Iron” Alfred Morris III, who passed away earlier this year.

Shadow Witch

Shadow Witch (Photo JJ Koczan)

I said as much to vocalist Earl Walker Lundy after their set, but I’ve always sensed something a little weird in Shadow Witch. Across the Kingston, New York, four-piece’s two albums to-date, last year’s Disciples of the Crow (review here) and 2016’s Sun Killer (discussed here), there’s been an edge of something standing them out from the pack. Having now seen them live, I feel like I have a better sense of what it is. In no small part, it’s Lundy himself. He carries across his vocals with utmost conviction and purpose, and backed by bassist David Pannullo, guitarist Jeremy Hall and drummer Doug Thompson, he ran his voice through a range of effects and performed barefoot — a bravery in itself considering the amount of spillage I’ve seen on that stage over the last two days — as free in is movement physically as his voice was to carry across the songs. They dwell in a between-genre space and remaining excitingly difficult to classify, but what matters is they carried their passion over to the audience, who met it with welcome. Good band. Better band than people know. Better band than I knew.

Doomstress

Doomstress (Photo JJ Koczan)

Speaking of bands I should’ve seen already, I went into Doomstress‘ set with the distinct impression that their recorded material to-date has yet to do them proper justice. They tour regularly on week and week-plus runs and had been on the road for four nights already en route to Cafe 611, so it seemed likely the Houston four-piece would be on top of their game. Not to toot my own horn, but I was right. They’re a better band than they’ve shown on either of their short releases. It’s a question of balance in their sound. Not just between tonal heft and aggression/attitude or the commanding stage presence of Doomstress Alexis on bass and vocals with guitarists Brandon Johnson and Matt Taylor and drummer Buddy Hachar (also of Greenbeard), or of between the classic and the modern, but between the actual instruments themselves. The live wash of tone suits them, with Alexis‘ vocals cutting through, where on their recordings thus far there’s more separation of instruments. It’s dirtier live, and for the high quality riffs they play, that dirt fits really well. Especially coupled with the fact that their performance was so tight, it was like they were daring the crowd to match their energy level.

The Age of Truth

The Age of Truth (Photo JJ Koczan)

Another band it was my first time seeing (that’s five in a row!), Philly four-piece The Age of Truth had been hanging out all weekend and getting down with some shenanigans the first night of Maryland Doom Fest, but when they got on stage, it was all business. Well, mostly business. One seems to recall vocalist Kevin McNamara saying something before they went on about taking his shirt off and rubbing his nipples on the microphone — it didn’t happen, though it might’ve been an interesting bit of performance art; “what do those nipples signify?” and so on — but with the start of the set, he, guitarist Mike DiDonato, bassist Bill Miller and drummer Scott Fressetto launched into the most noise-rocking set the festival has thus far featured. Their blend of heavy rock groove and crunching tones and riffs made their Kozmik Artifactz-delivered debut, Threshold (review here), an aggro joy, and their live interpretation of those songs as well as the new cut “Palace of Rain” was all the more engaging for the ferocity of its realization. The slow-rolling-int0-quicker-shuffle of “Caroline” was a highlight, but I won’t take anything away from the impact of “Honey Pot” or anything else either. With an injection of melody into the newer stuff, they left some intrigue as to where they might be headed — a proper tease of something to watch for. It’ll be worth keeping an eye out.

Switchblade Jesus

Switchblade Jesus (Photo JJ Koczan)

Before Switchblade Jesus took the Cafe 611 stage, I was asked by Borgo Pass drummer and all-around-excellent-human-being Joe Wood what they sounded like. The first two words that came out of my mouth were “Texas” and “riffs.” To be fair, that’s not by any means all the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Eric Calvert, bassist/vocalist Chris Black and drummer Jon Elizondo have to offer, but if you’ve never heard them before, it’s a start. They made an encouraging self-titled debut (review here) in 2013 and followed up last year with a contribution to Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy split series (review here), which took the foundation of that initial offering and expanded it significantly, pulling back on some of the burl in favor of a more nuanced approach. Their set in Maryland? With Calvert and Black sharing vocal duties and Elizondo pounding away behind, they rose to the occasion. In front of the stage, the crowd headbanged and raised fists and dug in nearly as much as the band itself, whose set was flawless near as I could tell. I’ve seen them twice now, been impressed both times, and could only expect that trend to continue for the next round, whenever that might be.

Foghound

Foghound (Photo JJ Koczan)

The weekend’s emcee, Dave Benzotti, choked up in reading his intro to Foghound, which also served as a remembrance of those the Maryland doom scene has lost over the last year, including bassist Rev. Jim Forrester of Foghound (also Serpents of Secrecy, ex-Sixty Watt Shaman, etc.), and reasonably so given the tragedy of the circumstances of his passing. The inevitability of that loss working its way into the current chapter of Foghound‘s life as a band was thick as the Baltimore four-piece got going, but if they were working toward catharsis, they were doing so with volume and intensity as their means. Their third album, Awaken to Destroy,on which Forrester performs bass and new bassist Adam Heinzmann contributes vocals alongside those of drummer Chuck Dukeheart III and guitarists Dee Settar and Bob Sipes, is done and in the can, and they played material from it both during their own set — the title-track — and afterwards through the P.A., which went unnoticed by many by Dukeheart later explained was a way to get Forrester‘s playing heard even if people didn’t realize they were hearing it at the time. As they also played with a portrait of Forrester signed by many with messages of love (I didn’t have the courage), his presence and absence were both deeply felt by the room, but the music was a fitting tribute and a comfort alike.

Cavern

Cavern (Photo JJ Koczan)

Prog prog prog. Also, prog. It’s fun to watch a band who so delight in being bizarre or outside the norm, and while local instrumentalists Cavern were for sure the odd men out on the bill, that suited them remarkably well and I can only imagine it wasn’t the first time they’ve found themselves in that position. Drummer Stephen Schrock played a kit with his toms out flat before him while Zach Harkins ran his guitar through one of the most elaborate pedal boards I’ve seen this weekend and still had room on stage for a Moog to add atmosphere to the intricate and complex songs they played. Denizens of Grimoire Records, they were a perfectly timed departure. Following Foghound with another straight-up rock band would only be doing said band a disservice, but Cavern were coming from somewhere else completely, so there was no real comparing the two outfits. A jolt to the flow of the night that only served Cavern well, since with all their looped parts, woven-through noise and underlying groove, “jolt” seemed to be the whole idea. It would be all-go riffing from here on out, but whether one considers them on their own merits or in the context of the Maryland Doom Fest 2018 lineup, their efforts toward the bizarre were duly appreciated.

The Watchers

The Watchers (Photo JJ Koczan)

The second Ripple Music act on the bill to have made the trip from the Bay Area behind ZED, four-piece The Watchers delivered one of the most professional sets I’ve seen so far this weekend. I mean, The Obsessed were pro-shop, right? And so were ZED, since they’ve been mentioned, but The Watchers had it all down — from riffs to looks to delivery to vocalist Tim Narducci and guitarist Jeremy Epp working the crowd with natural showmanship while bassist Cornbread and drummer Carter Kennedy locked in groove after groove of rock-solid heavy rock, playing selections from this year’s Black Abyss (review here) as well as the preceding EP, Sabbath Highway (review here). They had a near-commercial level of catchiness, but since that’s not a thing that exists anymore, I’ll just note that as much clear effort as they put into their presentation, the accessibility of the songs came from the songs themselves and the quality of their construction. Were they up there selling it? Absolutely. And kicking ass while doing so, but if the material itself wasn’t so strong the whole thing would’ve fallen flat. The foundation of the entire show was the material itself, and accordingly that show was an utter joy to watch.

Earthride

Earthride (Photo JJ Koczan)

I actually went back and looked up the last time I saw Earthride. It was at Days of the Doomed in 2012 (review here). I also recalled seeing them in Brooklyn in 2011 sharing the stage with When the Deadbolt Breaks, which was a noteworthy coincidence since that band’s guitarist/vocalist, Aaron Lewis, happened to be playing bass in Earthride, having joined just prior to the Maryland band’s just-ended tour with The Skull. Still, six years (and eight days) of not seeing Earthride? Far too fucking long. Dave Sherman, who’d been hanging out all weekend, took the stage in celebration of the welcome-home party that their set was, and with Lewis, guitarist Greg Ball and drummer Eric Little behind him, he held court for what was an absolute highlight of the fest as a whole. I’d been thinking of them as headliners the whole day, and while they didn’t play last, there was definitely a main-event feel going into their set, which started out with “Earthride,” boasted the new single “Witch Gun” (discussed here), the title-track to 2010’s Something Wicked (review here) and capped with “Fighting the Devils Inside You” from 2005’s sophomore LP, Vampire Circus (discussed here). Sherman held the audience and never relinquished his grasp on their attention, and the crowd was as switched on as I’d seen the whole fest. Like I said, they weren’t the headliners in name, but really, they kind of were. And rightly so.

Castle

Castle (Photo JJ Koczan)

Man, I want to hear Castle‘s new album. So bad. The core duo of bassist/vocalist Elizabeth Blackwell and guitarist/vocalist Mat Davis will issue that long-player through a yet-to-be-announced label, but they’re a touring band at their core. They get out. In talking to Davis after their set, he called their current stint a “quick one.” To put that in perspective, it’s a cross-country tour with 12 dates. I’m assuming what he meant was that it was nothing like the weeks-long voyages that will invariably follow the new full-length’s release, and I guess that’s fair, but 12 dates isn’t nothing either. Last time I saw Castle was Maryland Doom Fest 2016 (review here) as they were marking the release of that year’s Welcome to the Graveyard (review here), and though I knew it was coming, I was still blindsided by their intensity. Thrash, doom, classic metal, heavy groove and delighted pummel. Think of them as extreme traditional metal. They bring a classic sound to bear in their material — a number of classic sounds, actually — but have a ferocity to their execution of that which sets them apart from anything that might be considered “retro.” Coupled with the willful eeriness of their atmospheres and cultish themes, they can be all over the place, but that only makes them harder to pin down, and thus, all the more a thrill to watch. As the penultimate act of the evening, they were a last-minute kick in the ass before things got as far out as they would go, and though it had been a long day by then, Castle revived the spirit even as they seemed to herald its demise.

Windhand

Windhand (Photo JJ Koczan)
Windhand were the night’s headliner. They could’ve slinked in late, hid themselves backstage, got on, done their set, collected whatever there was to collect afterward and been on their way. Instead, the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece, who are arguably the most successful East Coast doom band of their generation and whose influence only continues to spread — trying to come up with another name and can’t; if you have one, I’d love to talk it out — hung around all day. They were back and forth through the venue, watching bands, meeting people, this and that. They had the option to take part or not to take part and they took part. And for a group at their level, on Relapse, having toured the world, etc., that’s not nothing. When they finally got on stage and got going, their fog-drenched riffs were as overwhelming as I remembered, and even though they’ve pared down from a five-piece, there was no discernible gap in volume from vocalist Dorthia Cottrell, guitarist Garrett Morris, bassist Parker Chandler and drummer Ryan Wolfe, who produced a soulful, lurching onslaught the likes of which Maryland Doom Fest had not yet known. Their new album, Eternal Return, was announced in April and will be released by Relapse as the follow-up to 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here). No doubt it’s one of the most anticipated doom records for the rest of 2018 and whenever it rears its head will be yet another grueling landmark in a catalog that, at this point, teems with them while also constantly showcasing Windhand‘s progression. It was late, but in front of the stage was a press of humanity, and Windhand justified the urgency with a wash of volume and low end that was on a level all its own. A headlining slot well earned.

It’s almost 1PM on Sunday as I wrap this up and I still need to sort photos, shower and change clothes before I head out from Sparks to Frederick, so I’ll turn you over quickly to the pics after the jump and just say thanks for reading.

Because really, thanks for reading. More tomorrow, if you can believe it.

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Windhand Begin Recording New Album Eternal Return for Fall Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Richmond, Virginia, doomers Windhand have announced they’ve begun work on their next full-length, Eternal Return, returning to the studio with producer Jack Endino, who helmed their 2015 album, Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here). The band also released a split with steady tourmates Satan’s Satyrs this past Spring and have spent the last couple years going around the world in support of the last record. Between recording again with Endino and getting Arik Roper, it seems like the five-piece-turned-four-piece aren’t trying to fix what wasn’t broken from Grief’s Infernal Flower, which is fair since, you know, that shit was way not broken.

One expects they’ll start announcing a massive round of tour dates for Eternal Return before the record even comes out, so I’ll go ahead and keep an eye open for that. In the meantime, here’s the latest fresh from the PR wire:

Windhand_ photo by Sally Patti

Windhand Enter Studio To Record New Full-Length Album, ‘Eternal Return’ Coming Fall 2018 on Relapse Records

Spring West Coast Tour Approaches

Virginia’s WINDHAND have entered the studio to record their 4th studio album. The album, entitled Eternal Return, is being recorded and engineered at Soundhouse Studios in Seattle, WA with legendary producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, High on Fire). Album artwork will once again be handled by Arik Roper (Sleep, High on Fire). The album is expected to be released Fall 2018 via Relapse Records. Stay tuned for more information in the near future.

Additionally, WINDHAND kick off a short West Coast tour with Ruby The Hatchet on April 19th which includes appearances at Stumpfest and Levitation Fest. WINDHAND is also confirmed for Maryland Doom Fest on June 23 in Frederick, MD. A complete list of dates is available below.

WINDHAND LIVE DATES:
Apr 19: Neumos – Seattle, WA #
Apr 20: Stumpfest – Portland, OR
Apr 22: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA #
Apr 23: Roxy Theatre – Los Angeles, CA #
Apr 26: Levitation at Barracuda – Austin, TX
Jun 23: Maryland Doom Fest 2018 – Frederick, MD
# w/ Ruby The Hatchet

https://www.facebook.com/WindhandVA/
https://www.instagram.com/windhand/
http://windhandva.bandcamp.com/
http://store.relapse.com/

Windhand, “Old Evil” official video

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Windhand Post “Old Evil” Video; Split LP with Satan’s Satyrs Due in Feb.

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

windhand sally patti

Established: Windhand‘s 2015 long-player, Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here), was pretty rad. Produced by Jack Endino, it featured the band’s most progressive and aesthetically resounding work to-date, building on the established personality of 2013’s Soma (review here) without giving up the dirge-laden weight or overarching sense of murk that defined that record or their 2012 self-titled debut (discussed here) before it. From where I sit, it was also a watershed moment for the Richmond, Virginia, outfit. Not just for working with Endino, but for being their third full-length in general, for following up on years of hard touring, and for arriving at a moment when clearly they were ready to take their approach to another level, primed for wider exposure and being a “bigger” band generally than they were going into it.

Barring some kind of Nirvana-style commercial breakthrough — which the current structure of the music industry almost entirely prohibits at this point — most of the time an album’s success isn’t ultimately judged until the next one arrives. That’s why first-week sales are still relevant; they serve to demonstrate and summarize the reaction to the preceding record. Did Grief’s Infernal Flower push Windhand into true headliner status? I don’t know. They certainly seem to have made arguments for it and for themselves in that regard, but it’s not just a question all the time of where a band is on a given tour or festival bill either. Sometimes it can just be down to the songs. Are they memorable? Did they make an impression? Did they connect?

Grief’s Infernal Flower was awesome. It worked with an inspired sense of atmospherics and was consuming in its tonality. It’ll be a while still I think before we know what impact it ultimately had — my touchstone comparison point for it all along has been High on Fire‘s 2007 Endino-helmed offering, Death is this Communion, which led to their signing to eOne from Relapse — but in the meantime, Windhand continue to put in admirable work on the road and in the studio. They toured Europe this Fall and hit fests there, they’ve already been confirmed for Maryland Doom Fest 2018, and they have a new split due in February with fellow Virginian tour-buddies Satan’s Satyrs from whence their new video for the track “Old Evil” comes.

Checking in at a relatively brief six minutes, it may or may not be a preview of where Windhand‘s next album might go coming off of Grief’s Infernal Flower, but either way, you’re not going to hear me complain about new Windhand coming down the line in whatever form it might take.

PR wire info follows the clip below. Please enjoy:

Windhand, “Old Evil” official video

WINDHAND: Announce New Split LP With Satan’s Satyrs; Share “Old Evil” Music Video

Announce 2018 US West Coast Tour Dates

Two of Virginia’s finest heavy bands team up for an amp-worshipping, acid trip from hell! The split includes two brand new songs of smoldering gloom and grief from WINDHAND paired with three tracks of devilish, fuzz-drenched metal/punk from SATAN’S SATYRS.

The band has also announced a quick run down the West Coast next spring; check below for a full list of dates.

WINDHAND and SATAN’S SATYRS Split LP is due out February 16th on CD/LP/Digital. Physical pre-orders are available via Relapse.com HERE and digital downloads HERE

windhand satans satyrs splitSPLIT TRACKLIST:
Side A – Windhand
1 – Old Evil
2 – Three Sisters
Side B – Satan’s Satyrs
3 – Alucard AD 2018
4 – Succubus
5 – Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby

WINDHAND Tour Dates:
Mar 23 Richmond, VA The Broadberry (Record Release Show) *
Apr 19 Seattle, WA Nuemos #
Apr 22 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall #
Apr 23 Los Angeles, CA Roxy Theatre #
Jun 23 Frederick, MD Maryland Doom Fest 2018
* w/ Satan’s Satyrs
# w/ Ruby The Hatchet.

Windhand on Thee Facebooks

Windhand on Bandcamp

Windhand at Relapse Records

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Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Announces Full Lineup with The Obsessed, Windhand, Weedeater, Earthride and Many More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Invariably there will be some change between now and next June, and there’s the tradition of the pre-show to consider the night before, but right out of the gate, Maryland Doom Fest 2018 impresses with its scope of heavy rock and doom, cross-country reach and loyalty to its core mission. With The Obsessed, Windhand and Weedeater set to headline, the fourth edition of the fest curated by JB Matson and Mark Cruikshank will welcome return appearances from the likes of Castle, Earthride, Thousand Vision Mist and Foghound, while reaching out to bring first-timers from afar like Texas’ Doomstress and Duel and Switchblade Jesus, Kansas rockers The Midnight Ghost Train, Connecticut’s Curse the Son, New York’s Geezer, and — I believe traveling the farthest — Disenchanter, from Portland, Oregon.

It’s a killer assemblage, and I think the three headliners do a lot in summarizing the whole idea behind the fest in the first place: The Obsessed are among the founders of what we think of as “Maryland doom.” Windhand are the forerunners of the modern scene. And Weedeater bring a riotous sludge party like no one else on the planet. What more could you possibly ask of three bands in terms of expressing what Maryland Doom Fest 2018 is all about?

I’ll have updates as I see them, but in the meantime, mark your calendars for June 22, 23, and 24 at Cafe 611 in Frederick, MD, and I’ll do the same, because this looks absolutely awesome.

Dig it:

maryland doom fest 2018 poster

Maryand Doom Fest 2018

A 3 day weekend of Doom in its purest form.

June 22, 23, and 24

Cafe 611 Restaurant
611 North Market Street
Frederick, MD 21701

Full lineup:
The Obsessed, Windhand, Weedeater, Castle, Unorthodox, Duel, The Watchers, Zed, Switchblade Jesus, The Midnight Ghost Train, Lightning Born, Earthride, Geezer, Disenchanter, Bedowyn, Cavern, Doomstress, Caustic Casanova, Hawkeyes, Curse the Son, Las Cruces, Horseburner, Shadow Witch, Foghound, Witchhelm, Book of Wyrms, Thousand Vision Mist, Molasses Barge, Backwoods Payback, Bailjack, Electropathic, Gateway to Hell

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-maryland-doom-fest-2018-tickets-39468562533
https://www.facebook.com/MdDoomFest/
https://www.themarylanddoomfest.com/

The Obsessed, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2016

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Windhand Post “Forest Clouds” Video; European Tour with Satan’s Satyrs on Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

windhand

If you needed a nine-minute refresher as to the badassery of Windhand‘s latest album, Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here), the Richmond, Virginia, outfit hereby offer up a new video from the Jack Endino-produced outing for the track ‘Forest Clouds’ for you to check out. Directed by Jordan Vance, it has all the purple-tinted murk one could ask for and comes along as Windhand return to Europe for their Fall 2017 tour alongside fellow Virginians Satan’s Satyrs, with whom they also hit the road earlier this year in the States.

As it happens, Windhand also tracked material for an upcoming 2018 split with the same outfit, so it seems pretty safe to say they’ve probably grown close over their time together and they may indeed plan to spend a little more of it. Fair enough for the complementary nature of the two bands, with Windhand‘s permanent tone-rolling mire hitting its stride sound-wise on Grief’s Infernal Flower and Satan’s Satyrs only growing more brash as time goes on in their doomly motor-ready boogie style. I wouldn’t tell you how to live your life or anything, but if the tour came or is coming through someplace you might happen to be, no question it’s worth showing up for.

You’ll note as well on the list of gigs below sent down the PR wire that it includes slots for both acts at Up in Smoke 2017 and Desertfest Belgium 2017. The latter is sure to be particularly riotous, as it’s the final date of what by then will have been a significant run. It’s already underway, in fact — the tour, not Deserfest — and hits Cologne, Germany, this very evening en route to continuing through a slew of dates in Germany, France, Austria, Italy and so on.

Clip and info follow here. Please enjoy:

Windhand, “Forest Clouds” official video

Richmond, VA’s WINDHAND have shared the official video for “Forest Clouds” off their latest full-length album Grief’s Infernal Flower. Watch the Jordan Vance directed video via YouTube HERE.

Additionally, WINDHAND kick off their headlining European tour with Satan’s Satyrs tomorrow night in Copenhagen, DK. A full list of confirmed tour dates is available below.

The band recently recorded songs for an upcoming split with Satan’s Satyrs that will be released by Relapse in early 2018. Details will be revealed shortly.

WINDHAND Tour Dates:
— All dates with Satan’s Satyrs —
Sep 29 Cologne, DE MTC
Sep 30 Wiesbaden, DE Kesselhaus
Oct 01 Leipzig, DE UT Connewitz
Oct 02 Berlin, DE Cassiopeia
Oct 03 Vienna, AT Arena
Oct 04 Munich, DE Feierwerk
Oct 05 Bologna, IT Freak-Out Club
Oct 06 Mezzago, IT Bloom Club
Oct 07 Pratteln, CH Up In Smoke Festival
Oct 08 Paris, FR Stoned Gathering
Oct 09 London, UK The Borderline
Oct 10 Leeds, UK Brudenell
Oct 11 Glasgow, UK Audio
Oct 12 Manchester, UK Rebellion
Oct 13 Bristol, UK Exchange
Oct 14 Antwerp, BE Desertfest BE

Windhand on Thee Facebooks

Windhand on Bandcamp

Windhand at Relapse Records

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