Video Interview: Amber Burns of Guhts & Witchkiss on Blood Feather and More

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on August 6th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

guhts

This Friday, Aug. 6, marks the release date of As we have mentioned above, the market for custom homework writing has indeed changed since we appeared in it. The level of quality, professionalism, and our attention to customers have turned us into a leading service in Assigned Contract. Thousands of people saved their grades and reputation with our papers. Be sure, that we can do your homework, no matter how hard it may seem. Even the most Blood Feather, the debut four-song/25-minute EP from New York atmospheric heavybringers Learn about our Educational Leadership Admissions Essay, and how our service can help improve your paper. Guhts. At the core of the band is the pairing of vocalist  http://www.flusslandschaft.eu/?marketing-writer @.99/Page from GoAssignmentHelp. 2000+ Native Pdh Experts available. 100% Money Back Guarantee. 20% OFF on all assignments. Amber Burns and guitarist/synthesist  http://www.noliac.com/?covering-letter-for-resumes 2014 (Volume 1) [Gabrielle Glancy] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. As the title implies, this book showcases the Scott Prater, both also of the atmospheric sludge/post-metal outfit  Custom Writing Company offers a great service to get Help Me Write My Paper of high quality at affordable prices. Place your order in a few clicks! Witchkiss. As  How To Write A Phd Thesis Uk service from Canada is the smartest solution for academic coursework writing issues! Choose Ca.EduBirdie.com for greater success! Burns explains it in the interview below,  Here, at this essay writing service, you can place your order for a custom research paper online. There is no shortage of reasons you might need to http://ammerlaender-wohnungsbau.de/?opinion-paper-writers as a college student. You will surely find lots of online agencies offering their services, but school is not something to be taken lightly. Entrust your assignment to writers Prater was writing music for  Buy custom thesis paper written from scratch by highly qualified thesis writers get ?24/7 Support, ?Full Confidentiality, 100% Plagiarism Free, 200+ Ph.D. writers for hire http://para-sun.com/good-resume-for-phd-application/ & Guaranteed Quality Witchkiss and began to embark on a separate project during pandemic lockdown last year. When she came aboard — at her insistence, again, to hear her tell the story — the roots of  Five-step strategy for adding a technical editor to your Ut Homework Quest team. Guhts were set, and though she also drums in their “main outfit,”  click to read more - All kinds of writing services & research papers. James Baldwin's work tends to focus on a specific set of themes. Nov 16, 2010. Blood Feather‘s programmed drumming allows for the exploration of new melodic ideas and textures without having to essentially be in two places at once in terms of headspace.

The four songs included on the EP — “Eyes Open,” “Handless Maiden,” “The Mirror” and 10-minute closer “The Forest” — are rounded out by the guitar/synth of  Dan Shaneyfelt and the bass GUHTS blood featherof  http://www.brunnwald.at/bachelor-thesis-service-marketing/.Buy local essay.Avoidance Of Plagiarism.Buy essay no plagiarism Jesse Van Note, both of Asheville, North Carolina’s  Holt Cells, Heredity and Classification. Sample Business Plan For Child Care Center How you will need to give your students the information about which essay you Black Mountain Hunger (the latter also plays in  Get the best http://www.almedio.fr/?essay-writing-on-discipline on CustomWritingCare.com. Grammatically and stylistically correct, informative, and well-formatted papers are guaranteed! Bask), and like many newcomer outfits in 2021,  Why http://www.zacapaonline.com/?what-is-critical-and-creative-thinking. and whom do you pay to write essay? Here the second risk of paying for essays comes: when you order an essay, Guhts seem to have emerged as a result of reaching out in new ways during a time when reaching out via live performance was an impossibility. Not gonna say I haven’t been there. Like many, Guhts, and  Burns as lyricist and vocalist — the one putting words and melodies to the instrumental processions — seems to have used the opportunity to exorcise ideas and perhaps some of the existentialist tension that living through the last year-plus has wrought. Who are we when we’re denied crucial parts of who we think we are? Where to go from there.

I’m not sure what genre you’d put Guhts in on Blood Feather aside from a catchall word like “heavy,” which the EP most certainly is. There are shades of ambient doom and post-heavy rock in the intertwining keys and guitars, and certainly plenty of heft bearing down in the material, but that’s paired with an ethereality of purpose as well that, should Guhts continue to develop alongside Witchkiss, already feels like a direction of its own worth a deeper dive. In the meantime, this is a debut EP that listens an awful lot like a debut album, and I was glad to have the chance to talk to Burns about it.

Please enjoy:

Guhts Interview with Amber Burns, July 29, 2021

Guhts’ debut EP, Blood Feather, is out Aug. 6 and will be available direct from the band. More info at the links.

Guhts, Blood Feather (2021)

Guhts on Bandcamp

Guhts on Facebook

Guhts on Instagram

Guhts on Twitter

Guhts website

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Witchkiss to Release It’s Curtains for Us All! Remix LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 18th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

WITCHKISS

My first question here is who is Bleakest? The reportedly ‘anonymous’ producer with whom New York’s Witchkiss are collaborating on their upcoming release, It’s Curtains for Us All!, is indeed hard to find information about. So is Bleakest one of the members of Witchkiss in an alternate guise? Someone from the neighborhood? Someone from the other side of the planet? The mystery, for the time being at least, seems likely to remain.

The title It’s Curtains for Us All! derives both from the apocalypse we’ve all just lived and continue to live through as well as the title of Witchkiss‘ 2018 debut, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (review here), which was right on and certainly expansive enough that these remixes of its songs should sound cool. The video below for “Spirits of the Dirt (Bleakest Mix)” bears that out.

When I saw Witchkiss at Maryland Doom Fest (review here) in 2019, I recall saying that it wouldn’t be the last time I’d catch them live. Hopefully the opportunity presents itself to do precisely that sooner than later.

From the PR wire:

witchkiss and bleakest its curtains for us all

New York Doom Heavyweights WITCHKISS Announce Crushing Remix Album And Share Brand New Video Clip!

Even the darkest times of a world’s lockdown won’t stop bands and artists around the globe to stay restless, creative, and inventive. And so does Hudson Valley, NY trio WITCHKISS, who has just announced the release of a crushing, electronic version of their highly acclaimed, 2018- debut album!

With countless tours under their belts, including support shows for the UK’s mighty Conan and appearances at such festivals like Maryland Doom Fest, Indianapolis Doomed & Stoned, New England Stoner and Doom Fest or Descendants of Crom, WITCHKISS have quickly become an important part of a growing movement in the world of crushingly loud and punishing music. Building on the interplay between eerie female vocals and crushing growls, the groove driven WITCHKISS can’t help but to fascinate. Their articulate, elegant and ridiculously fucking heavy tunes are build around raw emotion, sonic poetry and a sense of longing for something greater, there is a haunting majesty to the band’s work. Fusing the sounds of bands like Subrosa, Yob and Neurosis create dark sounds of the soul, and soon WITCHKISS will unleash a fresh take on this melancholic music.

As they are gearing up to release six enthralling electronic versions of the songs on their debut album, The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes, retitled, It’s Curtains For Us All! The album will come out via Argonauta Records digitally on April 2nd, 2021. This re-imagining of their titanic debut comes in partnership with an anonymous producer known only as “Bleakest.” It’s a fresh look into the deep layers of the bands sound. But give ear, as WITCHKISS has just unleashed a music video for the song Spirits Of The Dirt (Bleakest Mix)! Join the band on this punishing aural assault, like you have never heard them before – and check out the clip right here:

“With a whole lot of time on your hands you might find yourself thinking about what an electronic reimagining of your first album would sound like…. ” WITCHKISS reveals. “And this past year we had a whole shitload of time on our hands, so we got together with an anonymous producer known only as “Bleakest” and we made it happen. For your listening pleasures we present you with six EDM (Electro Doom Music) inspired versions of the songs on “The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes” now aptly titled for these Bleakest of times “It’s Curtains For Us All” It will be available on our Bandcamp and through Argonauta Records digitally on all major platforms on April 2nd, 2021. We hope you enjoy the other side of our musical minds…. And don’t worry we will be back with some METAL soon enough. But for now, pump up the volume and dance around your living room in your socks and underwear to our new old shit. Hail Satan.”

Album Tracklist:
1. A Crippling Wind (Bleakest Mix)
2. Blind Faith (Bleakest Mix)
3. Death Knell (Bleakest Mix)
4. Spirits Of The Dirt (Bleakest Mix)
5. Seer (Bleakest Mix)
6. A Harrowing Solace (Bleakest Mix)

It’s Curtains For Us All will be out as digital formats on April 2nd through Argonauta Records, the pre-sale is now up at THIS LOCATION: https://ingroov.es/it-s-curtains-for-us

Witchkiss:
Amber Burns ~ Drums / Vocals
Scott Prater ~ Guitar / Vocals
Tyler Irish ~ Bass

http://facebook.com/witchkissband
https://www.instagram.com/witchkissband/
https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (2018)

Witchkiss, “Spirits of the Dirt (Bleakest Mix)” lyric video

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 32

Posted in Radio on April 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Last episode, I did comfort songs the whole way through, new stuff and old, and at the risk of saying something remotely nice about myself, I thought it was the best show I’ve ever done. This time, of course, something completely different.

Yeah, the theme is still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic — how could it not be? — but it’s basically me reminding myself that when times are hard, harder, harder than that, still harder, okay-hardest-my-head’s-gonna-friggin’-explode-make-it-stop-make-it-stop, there’s still new music and new music is still awesome.

So here we are. Brand new tracks from Curse the Son, Vine Weevil, Ten Foot Wizard (who emailed me as I was putting the playlist together, as though to emphasize the point), Witchkiss, Dopelord, Nighthawk & Heavy Temple, The Mountain King, High Priestess, Wight, Marmalade Knives, Kanaan, Frozen Planet….1969 and The Swell Fellas. Some of this has been streamed here, some of it hasn’t, but it’s all new and it’s all excellent and I found that this week, at just this particular moment in time, that’s what I needed. It’s that simple, and I hope you can relate.

Thanks for listening if you do. I hope you enjoy. Or even if you just look at the list and find something new to dig on, I hope you enjoy that too. Thanks.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmeradio.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.17.20

Curse the Son Suicide by Drummer Excruciation*
Vine Weevil You are the Ocean Sun in Your Eyes*
Ten Foot Wizard Namaste Dickhead Get Out of Your Mind*
BREAK
Witchkiss Splitting Teeth Splitting Teeth*
Dopelord Doom Bastards Sign of the Devil*
Nighthawk & Heavy Temple Astral Hand VA – Women of Doom*
The Mountain King As Below, So Below Wicked Zen*
High Priestess Invocation Casting the Circle*
BREAK
Wight Motorgroove Spank the World*
Marmalade Knives Rivuleting Marmalade Knives*
Kanaan O?resund Double Sun*
Frozen Planet….1969 900 Mile Head Rush Cold Hand of a Gambling Man*
The Swell Fellas Scatterbrain The Great Play of Extension*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is May 1 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Witchkiss Premiere “Splitting Teeth”; Transformation EP out May 1

Posted in audiObelisk on April 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Witchkiss

The new Witchkiss EP, Transformation, is the follow-up from the Beacon, New York-based three-piece to their 2018 album, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (review here). That debut, which saw release through Argonauta Records, embodied atmospheric sludge in an echo-caked cavernousness that was subsequently filled with tonal heft and intensity. The two songs that comprise Transformation, on the most basic aesthetic level, follow suit, yet the 10-minute single “Splitting Teeth” (premiering below) and the accompanying eight-minute cut “Empty Hands” nonetheless demonstrate marked progression in terms of arrangements between the vocals of drummer Amber Burns and guitarist Scott Prater — bassist Tyler Irish, who joined last year, doesn’t sing but makes a welcome first appearance filling out the low end here — and in a time when the New York region is embroiled in plague and isolation and plague-in-isolation (the state surpassed Italy in cases of COVID-19, I read in the news yesterday), Witchkiss‘ blend of post-metallic claustrophobia and ambient expanse would seem to find particular resonance. They call it “a fitting soundtrack to these uncertain times,” and I’m not inclined to argue.

To wit, the anxious and thudding tension marked by screams in layers that commence at about eight minutes into “Splitting Teeth” and the infuriatingly methodical spread of the song’s subsequent apex. Witchkiss‘ first album mayWitchkiss Transformation have set the stage for this kind of immersive plunge, but there’s no question the couple of years since have found the band growing more adventurous in their craft, and that holds true on “Empty Hands” no less than its longer predecessor. The second track’s initial rollout recedes after about a minute and a half to a soundscape pushed forward subtly by Burns‘ drums, and with an almost playful melody, she reminds of the godlessness of the universe, ending the verse with the line, “There is only you,” before the tonal largesse resumes its slow-motion push. Layered vocals, clean and screaming, help to fill out the proceedings and are effective in conveying the post-metal spirit of Transformation, but Witchkiss aren’t so much playing to genre as they are adapting a stylistic tenet to suit the purpose of the atmospheres they want to create in their songs. Transformation thus becomes a place to inhabit, if briefly — the two songs run about 19 minutes, all told — and cap in appropriately massive fashion in “Empty Hands” before a persistent pulse of kick drum and feedback leads the way out.

There’s a secret track, a Nirvana cover, that I won’t spoil — mostly because I’m not sure it’s actually included in the digital release or what — but with or without it, Transformation speaks exactly to the process in its title, by which Witchkiss are continuing to grow into their sound and become a fuller, richer stylistic offering. There is nothing in the way, plagues aside, of their continuing this process, and whatever they do next, I would only look for it to continue to move forward. A band whose commitment comes through so clearly in their material rarely lets themselves rest on laurels, however earned those laurels might be.

Enjoy “Splitting Teeth,” followed by the release info from the PR wire:

Witchkiss on Transformation EP:

Greetings everyone. With the current state of our world and everyone’s lives on hold, we decided to release this EP because we feel it’s a fitting soundtrack to these uncertain times. Our hope is that these songs can give our listeners some kind of escape from the overwhelming madness.

Great things can come out of trying times, and Doom distributors Witchkiss are proving just that! Saying goes, idle hands are the devils workshop. More like a creative persons playground!

With time on their hands like so many others, Witchkiss has made good use of this to bring their self-isolated fans something significant to help them through the darkness.

The EP is called “Transformation” it is 2 songs, 18 mins long and will include the Single “Splitting Teeth” and and will be released 5/1/20 through our Bandcamp and all other major digital music outlets, including Apple Music and iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Etc.

The Single – “Splitting Teeth” will be released via Bandcamp on 4/10/20 at https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/track/splitting-teeth

Witchkiss are:
Amber Burns – Drums/Vocals
Scott Prater – Guitar/Vocals
Tyler Irish – Bass

Witchkiss on Thee Facebooks

Witchkiss on Instagram

Witchkiss on Bandcamp

Witchkiss at Blackskull Services

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Witchkiss Touring to Descendants of Crom with Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

witchkiss

I was at the big Neurosis show the other night, and on my way out the door afterward, I happened to see Witchkiss guitarist/vocalist Scott Prater and drummer/vocalist Amber Burns hanging out. I don’t really know them, but I did go up and say that I had enjoyed their set at Maryland Doom Fest (review here), and that I hoped to see them again. Lo and behold, here’s a tour announcement providing opportunity to do precisely that. I won’t be able to make the trip into Brooklyn for this gig, as I’ll be out of town, but that’s hardly their fault or the fault of Temple of the Fuzz Witch, with whom they’re touring. I guess it’s my fault. Ah, to be raised Catholic. So much guilt.

Anyhoozle, after playing both Maryland Doom Fest and New England Stoner & Doom Fest earlier this year, Witchkiss will be making their way to Descendants of Crom in Pittsburgh as a part of this run, makes the last in a pretty impressive trifecta of Eastern Seaboard-ish festivity. They’ve got dates to add to this tour and I would expect their momentum to continue carrying forward into 2020, so will do as they advise and keep an eye out.

Behold:

witchkiss temple of the fuzz witch

WITCHKISS ANNOUNCE SEPTEMBER TOUR

New York doom band WITCHKISS are pleased to announce that they will be doing a short US tour in September.

The band commented ” We are super excited to be playing some new material! We will be joined by “Temple of the Fuzz Witch” on all of the shows except for our stop at the “Descendants of Crom Fest” in Pittsburgh on September 21st. Keep an eye out because it’s likely we will be adding a couple more dates in this run”

TOUR DATES:
9/19/19 ~ Mohawk Place ~ Buffalo, NY
9/20/19 ~ Buzz Bin ~ Canton, OH
9/21/19 ~ Descendants of Crom Fest @ Cattivo ~ Pittsburgh, PA *No TOTFW*
9/22/19 ~ Frankies ~ Toledo, OH
9/23/19 ~ Reggies ~ Chicago, IL
9/24/19 ~ Highlands ~ Louisville, KY
9/25/19 ~ Odditorium ~ Asheville, NC
9/26/19 ~ Tapp Room ~ Boone, NC
9/28/19 ~ Wonderland ~ Richmond, VA
9/30/19 ~ Ottobar ~ Baltimore, MD
10/4/19 ~ 13th Floor ~ Florence, MA
10/5/19 ~ Knitting Factory ~ Brooklyn, NY

Witchkiss:
Amber Burns ~ Drums / Vocals
Scott Prater ~ Guitar / Vocals
Tyler Irish ~ Bass

http://facebook.com/witchkissband
https://www.instagram.com/witchkissband/
https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (2018)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 19 (Maryland Doom Fest Special)

Posted in Radio on July 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Yeah, I know, Maryland Doom Fest 2019 was like a month ago. Quit livin’ in the past and all that. Well, this show was supposed to air July 5, so whatever. It got pushed back because apparently July 4 is some kind of holiday now — what.ever. — and it was kicked down the line to two weeks later with re-runs on in the interim. Did anyone notice? Did anyone care? I did. But I’m glad to have had the chance to pay homage to MDDF one way or the other, since it was such a killer time and boasted a lineup of so many good bands.

Of course I had to lead off with Beelzefuzz and Foghound, two staples of the Frederick diet, and the show unfolds from there with new stuff from Zed and Lo-Pan and Kings Destroy amid the likes of Devil to Pay and Earthride and Backwoods Payback and Greenbeard. I made sure to put Solace and Freedom Hawk and Horehound and Toke and Witchkiss in here because their sets were particularly righteous — not to mention Year of the Cobra! — and in addition to representing the headliners in Conan, Mothership and Earthride, I had to include WarHorse since their reunion set was something so particularly special and such a huge part of the festival.

For those who didn’t hear the show, Gimme Radio runs the ‘Gimme Brigade’ which you can sign up for. I think it’s $5 a month or something like that, but you get access to their full archive and help them with hosting costs, etc., so fair enough. If you got to hear this one, thanks. If not, the basic point of the thing was that Maryland Doom Fest 2019 kicked ass, which I sincerely hope also came across in the reviews.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 07.19.19

Beelzefuzz All the Feeling Returns Beelzefuzz (2013)
Foghound Known Wolves Awaken to Destroy (2018)
Zed Chingus Volume*
Lo-Pan Savage Heart Subtle*
BREAK
Devil to Pay Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife Fate is Your Muse (2013)
Kings Destroy Yonkers Ceiling Collapse Fantasma Nera*
Earthride Vampire Circus Vampire Circus (2005)
Witchkiss Seer The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (2018)
Year of the Cobra Cold Burn Your Dead (2017)
BREAK
Solace Khan (World of Fire) The Black Black (2007)
Backwoods Payback Whatever Future Slum (2018)
Toke Blackened Orange (2017)
Greenbeard WCCQ Onward, Pillager (2018)
Conan Battle in the Swamp Monnos (2012)
Apostle of Solitude Ruination Be Thy Name From Gold to Ash (2018)
The Age of Truth Come Back a God Threshold (2017)
BREAK
Horehound Dier’s Dirge Holocene (2018)
Freedom Hawk Danger Beast Remains (2018)
Mothership Midnight Express High Strangeness (2017)
Warhorse Lysergic Communion As Heaven Turns to Ash (2001)

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is Aug. 2. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Live Review: Maryland Doom Fest 2019 Night Three, 06.23.19

Posted in Reviews on June 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2019 night three poster

It’s about quarter to two in the morning, and I walked into the AirBNB where I’m staying a little bit ago, and have been doing that thing where you dick around on social media because you feel like you want to be doing something else but you’re not so you just lose yourself in the scrolling. Waste of time. I’d rather do this.

The end of Maryland Doom Fest 2019 is bittersweet. This one felt good, and I’m tired, but I’m sorry to see it done. The bands were great, of course — always — but more than that, it’s the people. People so generous with their time, open, kind. Incredible people. Hew-mons.

I was walking out of the venue after Conan and got down the road and I just sat on a step in front of some shop for a couple minutes and put my head between my knees — crash position — to try and process it. I didn’t succeed. I only got up when a roach walked past, otherwise I’d probably still be there, trying to hold on a little bit to tonight, to not resign it to the vapor of my memory. Sets were good, but it was the experience of being here, feeling for a few minutes as much as I’ve ever felt like a part of a thing. It’s beautiful, and raw, and it doesn’t come easily to me. Thank you. In the past, I’ve felt like an interloper in this scene. A tourist. Sitting in this room by myself now, I feel stunned. I feel like I got hit by the best train ever.

In the literal sense of amazement, amazed.

My plan is to get up tomorrow (later today) and get out of here and at some point write about the last day of the fest, which was today — have fun with that math — but I don’t know when or how or where that’s happening. And I reserve the right to delete this entire thing and replace it with some staid bullshit if I so choose, but as slapdash as my consciousness is right now, I wouldn’t trust my judgment on the matter enough to decide.

Thanks for everything. It was so real.

— Morning now. Let’s hit it:

Witchkiss

Witchkiss (Photo by JJ Koczan)

My first time seeing Witchkiss, and I hope not my last. The NY-based founding duo of drummer/vocalist Amber Burns and guitarist/vocalist Scott Prater were operating as a two-piece for a minute there, but they’ve brought in bassist Tyler Irish, and though I hadn’t seen them before, it was hard to argue with the result of their doing so. They were less an assault with volume than a gradual unfolding, and presumably because it was early it took a song or so for them to really dig into what they were doing, but they got there, and the atmosphere wasn’t lost for the weight of tone, with Burns‘ headset mic cutting through that morass and Prater‘s growls adding to the post-sludge feel as they progressed. Their 2018 debut, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (review here), made a splash, and rightly so, but they’ve announced intentions toward a follow-up for next year, and they seem to be ready to move forward, both in terms of sound and in the fact that they’re touring with Conan and very obviously putting work in to get their name out. I expect if they come back Maryland Doom Fest at some point, they’ll be playing in a well-earned later slot.

Shadow Witch

Shadow Witch (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Barefoot showman/shaman/frontman Earl Walker Lundy said from the stage that Shadow Witch‘s next long-player won’t arrive until 2020, which is fair when one takes into account the busy schedule of their label, Italy’s Argonauta Records, but they played two new songs in “Witches of Aendor” — which is neither to be confused with Endor, from Star Wars, or Andor, from Star Trek — and “Shifter,” and both sounded right on coming out of the recognizable strains of “Beneath the Veil” from late-2017’s Disciples of the Crow (review here). Lundy, dancing, kinetic, probably in need of a good foot-wash, is very much a focal point for Shadow Witch‘s live presentation — and yeah, he’s the singer, so that happens — but guitarist Jeremy Hall, bassist David Pannullo and drummer Justin Zipperle are ultimately responsible for the niche Shadow Witch have carved for themselves in a kind of dark heavy rock vein, sometimes aggressive, but not metal, sometimes doomed, but not doom. It would suit a narrative to say it was true of the new songs, but it was true of the old as well that Shadow Witch revel in that individuality of purpose, and as much Lundy becomes the personification of it, it’s the whole band making it work.

Faith in Jane

Faith in Jane (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Thurmont, Maryland, power trio have been this scene’s best kept secret for the last few years at least. They’ve put out records at a good clip since 2012 — last year’s Countryside (review here) is their fifth; recording live helps — and legitimately at this point are a band who should be bigger than they are, stretching their legs on tour, opening for national acts coming through, and so on. Watching them on stage at Cafe 611, my impression wasn’t all that different than when I saw them here in MD four years ago: they have a shit-ton of potential. The difference is now they kind of need to decide what to do with it, how they’re going to dig into the heavy grunge vibes and push forward with maybe more straightforward songwriting of songs like “Mountain Lore,” which closed the set, meandering into and out of jams along the way. Figuring out where they want to be. As it was, when they were done, I went to their merch table and bought a copy of every CD they had for sale. I’m pretty sure I already own Countryside and 2016’s Rhythm of Elevation, but screw it, I wasn’t taking the chance. Next time Earthless rolls through Baltimore, Faith in Jane should be opening. Then they should spend the next three years solid on the road and become the best heavy band that Maryland ever produced.

Horehound

Horehound (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Faith in Jane were on a different trip, but neither Shadow Witch nor Witchkiss were wanting for atmosphere. Pittsburgh’s Horehound took that to a different level. I’ve lost track at this point how many labels the four-piece have worked with between 2018’s Holocene (review here) and their 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but it’s definitely enough to be called “several,” including frontwoman Shy Kennedy‘s own Blackseed Records. The band are all the more ambassadors for the Steel City underground for the fact that Kennedy runs the Descendants of Crom fest there — while we’re giving a CV, she also did a t-shirt design for this site — and they excelled in that role, honing the most immersive sound I would hear all weekend. It’s not just that it was a wash, but their balance of hypnosis and bash was something I felt fortunate to behold in person and gave new character to the growl-laced “L’Appel du Vide” from Holocene, as guitarist Brendan Parrish, bassist Nick Kopco and drummer JD Dauer dug into a combination of lurch and semi-angular progressions, always seeming to wind their way back to the right spot to start again. They were striking in their patience as well, unwilling to let go of the mood they worked so hard to craft, even when at their most pummeling.

Thousand Vision Mist

Thousand Vision Mist (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Guitarist/vocalist Danny Kenyon (ex-Life Beyond), bassist/vocalist Tony Cormulada and drummer Chris Sebastian also played Maryland Doom Fest in 2018 (review here) and 2016 (review here), so it’s more than fair to call them veterans at this point. Their sound is a dug-in form of heavy progressive rock, managing to hold to a lack of pretense even as Kenyon‘s guitar wanders off to parts unknown only to snap the crowd back into consciousness as he rejoins Cormulada and Sebastian in the underlying groove. They’re not a band trying to take over the world, which kind of put them in direct contrast with Toke, who followed, but they pulled a good amount of the local faithful and had three new songs on offer alongside “Prince of Grace” from their debut album, 2017’s Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow (review here), and “Tears of the Moon” from their prior 2015 demo. In my experience, they’ve never been anything but solid live, and a check-in annually works just fine by me. I have to wonder though at some of their themes, if somebody in the band is a pilot. “We Flew too High,” “Tears of the Moon” or “Final Flight of Fall” and “Skybound and Beyond” from the album. Someone writing this stuff would seem to spend an awful lot of time in the sky.

Toke

Toke (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The reigning princes of North Carolinian sludge took the stage at Cafe 611 like they owned the place and then went on to prove that, indeed, they did. Their second album, 2017’s Orange (discussed here), continues to shit hot fire on the weed-worshiping social-media-word-of-mouth contingent, which is nifty, and the band — in addition to providing a recent lesson on PR crisis management by getting out in front of a sexual harassment claim against their now-former drummer — with guitarist Tim Bryan and bassist/vocalist Jason “Bronco” Pierce as the remaining founders will do shows later this year with Black Label Society, have already been out with Church of Misery this year and continue to build a reputation based on ultra-stoned, crusty-jeans riffs. They had plenty on offer for the willing nodders at Maryland Doom Fest — which was basically everybody in the place — and they tapped their inner Sourvein in order to coat the assembled in moss-coated weedian groove. I think of them at this point kind of where Monolord were a few years back. They’re a band tapping into something primal, breaking their ass in every way possible to reach as many people as possible with it, and there’s no real perceptible limit to how far they can go with it. I don’t know if anyone has signed them for their next record yet or what, but they probably should.

Kings Destroy

Kings Destroy (Photo by JJ Koczan)

This marked the third time I’ve seen Kings Destroy in the last couple months playing material from this year’s excellent Fantasma Nera (review here), and while they didn’t have their we’re-on-tour-thousand-yard-staredown — because yes, in that scenario, they’re staring down everything within that thousand-yard omnidirectional radius — they still did thorough justice to their most rock-based collection of songs to-date. Citing “Unmake It” as their “doom song” — compared to “Barbarossa” or “Bleed Down the Sun,” maybe — they followed with “Seven Billion Drones” and a near-constant sense of melody between the guitars of Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski and the vocals of Steve Murphy, a duty he shared more with bassist Aaron Bumpus than even this Spring. As I recall it, the only song Bumpus didn’t step up to the mic for was the speedy “Mr. O” from their 2015 self-titled (review here), and it was easy to hear where the harmony might’ve fit if he had. I won’t take away from their delivery of that cut or any other, the propulsion in Rob Sefcik‘s drums able to slash pace in half at a measure’s notice and still not lose the thread, and the finale of “Yonkers Ceiling Collapse” once again provided the riff-based hook that tied the entire set together and gave it a sense of movement that has been the band’s own all along, whatever styles they’ve been fitting into and not fitting into — mostly the latter — over the last decade.

Zed

Zed (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Before San Francisco’s Zed went on, webernets metal radio guru and regular Doom Fest master of ceremonies Dave Benzotti led the band, the crowd, and pretty much everyone in the place in a sing-along of Journey‘s “Lights.” And I mean, the place kind of went off. Belting it out. They play that at sports events and such in San Francisco — I guess it would be like playing anything by Springsteen, or, you know, Journey, in New Jersey — so alright, but more importantly, when Zed took the stage, they did so at an immediate sprint that swept the Cafe 611 along with it, and once they started moving, they did not stop, save for a quick tune-up before the next max-intensity forward thrust. I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing their new album, Volume, yet — it’s out next month on Ripple — but I feel like I got to know it a bit anyhow as they played songs like “The Other Kind,” “The End,” “Wings of the Angel,” “Poison Tree” and “Chingus,” so that was welcome. They were clearly known to the bulk of people in front of the stage but even for those who wouldn’t have seen them last year, Zed made a readily convincing argument in their own favor, the energy of their performance serving as an infectious final shot of adrenaline to hold a long-weekend crowd over until the bludgeoning soon enough to come. All this and Journey too. Sometimes life is genuinely weird, but it works.

Conan

Conan (Photo by JJ Koczan)

You know, Conan headlining Maryland Doom Fest is a big fucking deal, and it’s worth recognizing that. They’re a UK band. They played Sunday night, having just on Friday took stage before 8,000 people at Hellfest in Clisson, France — and much to their credit, come to the venue on Saturday night just to hang out and get the lay of the land — and not only are they among the planet’s most crushing live acts, but they’re a legitimate international enterprise. They might be the biggest band who’ve ever played the festival, and their involvement is emblematic of the growth of Maryland Doom Fest as a whole over the last five years and most especially in 2019. Also helping Conan‘s case? They. Fucking. Killed. I’ll be honest, once the moshing started behind me while I was taking pictures up front, I was gonna check out before the set was done, try and sneak in some work before crashing, but I stayed through the entire set (not up front), and they were nothing less than spellbinding. Cafe 611 was probably the smallest room I’ve seen Conan play since the first time I saw them in 2012, and it was like their tonal onslaught had nowhere to go, so the vibrations from Jon Davis‘ guitar and Chris Fielding‘s bass and the thud of Johnny King‘s drums just kept bouncing off the walls and looping back on themselves. Earplugs? Useless. Why bother. There was no getting away. I stood to the side and watched the pit go and go, a couple dedicated crowdsurfers carried here and there and back again, but Conan were unbelievable. Davis‘ guitar cut out early in the first song, but they got it worked out and there was no letup from there. “Foehammer” into “Battle in the Swamp” into “Paincantation” into “Satsumo.” It was that kind of evening. The perfect blowout sendoff for Maryland Doom Fest 2019 and a reinforcement of Conan‘s long-established dominance over damn near everything.

That’s it, it’s done. You already know what I did after the show last night — I went and held my head and then wrote the intro above, if you missed it — and that was that. I was up at six this morning to start writing and sorting pictures having finally keyed down enough to sleep a little before three. Take that, brain. Ya jerk.

Before I do the “more pics after the jump” thing and sign off, I want to thank JB Matson for the incredible work he does in putting this festival together. What’s he’s built has become something truly special, and the future only seems to get brighter as he goes. All the best for 2020 and I hope to be able to be back in town for it. Lineup announcement on Halloween, maybe? I’ll keep an eye out.

And I want to thank The Patient Mrs. for taking over full-on childcare duties to allow me to go and blow off some steam in Frederick and get my head right and hear all the nice things people said about the site and see killer bands and not eat, and not sleep, and wear silly-ass pants and have a good time. Thank you.

And thank you for reading. You guessed it: more pics after the jump.

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Witchkiss Welcome New Bassist Tyler Irish; Live Shows Confirmed Including New England Stoner & Doom Fest

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Okay, so Witchkiss were a trio when they put together their Argonauta-released 2018 debut album, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (review here). Then they were a duo. Now they’re a trio again. Guitarist/vocalist Scott Prater and drummer/vocalist Amber Burns welcome new bassist Tyler Irish to the band’s latest three-piece incarnation, and they do so just in time to begin a round of live dates this Spring that will see them take to the streets of the greater Northeast from their homebase in Beacon, New York, going as far north as Maine and as far south as Washington D.C. in support of the record.

Not to knock any of the other shows, but no doubt a highlight will be their slated appearance at the New England Stoner & Doom Fest in Connecticut. If you have not checked out the lineup for that, it’s staggering. Witchkiss have also already been confirmed for Descendants of Crom III in Pittsburgh this September, so perhaps they’ll work in more touring around that.

Info from the PR wire:

witchkiss

Witchkiss announce new bassist/spring tour

Hudson Valley, NY doom duo Witchkiss is happy to announce that they are now a trio, with the recent addition of bassist Tyler Irish to the fold.

Says the band, “We are very excited to welcome Tyler Irish to the WITCHKISS family as our new bassist. We’ve known Tyler for a number of years in admired his work with rock band Take One Car and ambient drone project Bonne Nuit Petit Lion. So when he reached out to us and expressed interest in filling our low end void, it was a no brainer. Things just got a whole lot LOWder! Come and hear it for yourself, our spring tour starts on April 24th.”

Listen to the album here: https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/

Tour dates:
April 24 – The Anchor – Kingston, NY
April 30 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
May 1 – Atlas Brew Works – Washington, DC
May 2 – The Kingsland – Brooklyn, NY
May 3 – New England Stoner & Doom Fest – Jewett City, CT
May 4 – News Cafe – Pawtucket, RI
May 5 – The Bungalow Bar – Manchester, NH
June 6 – Ralphs Rock Diner – Worcester, MA
June 7 – Geno’s Rock Club – Portland, ME
June 8 – Dusk – Providence, RI

Witchkiss:
Amber Burns ~ Drums / Vocals
Scott Prater ~ Guitar / Vocals
Tyler Irish ~ Bass

http://facebook.com/witchkissband
https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (2018)

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