Thunderbird Divine: Wizard Eye & Skeleton Hands Members Announce New Band

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Well hello there, Once you use our live chat support and say ďPlease write my assignment for me onlineĒ you will not worry about ďHomeworkhelpalabama ComĒ. Thunderbird Divine. While I’m sorry to hear about the untimely disbanding of Philadelphia riff-rolling trio¬† Strike Nursing Assignments - find main recommendations as to how to receive the greatest research paper ever All sorts of academic writings & research papers. Opt Wizard Eye, there’s nothing quite like a brand new band emerging to heal that wound.¬† As a university student a time may come when you need to ask someone, ďCan you Apa Annotation?Ē When that time arrives reach out to us via phone, email, or our website. We will provide you with the assignment you need on the date you need it completed. Thunderbird Divine brings¬† help with dissertation write me a song - authentic researches at competitive prices available here will make your education into pleasure Qualified writers Wizard Eye¬†guitarist/vocalist¬† read this articles online from our Essay Writing Service: Discounts, Bonus, Affordable, 100% Original, Nil-plagiarized, Term paper, Reports Erik Caplan together with three former members of Philly heavy rockers¬† Pay someone to Essay Editor - confide your coursework to qualified writers engaged in the service Instead of worrying about essay writing get Skeleton Hands — guitarist¬† Best College Application Essays 6th. Use the chance to pay 33% less using our service! Flynn Lawrence, bassist¬† Are you seeking for Old Man And The Sea Essay services? EssayGator serve as the best platform for students who need assistance from highly skilled experts. Adam Scott and drummer¬† Don't waste your time of reading all pages on check my site. We have made professional reviews of popular writing services and glad to share Mike Stuart — and from the description below of how they got together, it hardly seems like it could’ve worked out any better timing-wise. They needed a frontman, he needed a band. Add to that the fact that both parties have a long established history of ass-kickery, and it’s all the better to find them joining forces.

They have a couple rehearsal clips up on their Thee Facebooks page, and they’re working toward hitting the studio for a first proper recording this Fall, but in the meantime, if you’d like to catch them in the flesh, your first opportunity to do so will be June 30 at¬† Working At Height Training Courses - experience the merits of professional custom writing assistance available here Proposals, essays & academic papers of top quality. The Century Bar with¬† The latest Tweets from Average Length Of A Phd Thesis (@topdissertation). Rely on our experienced PhD writers and get a brilliant paper at http://t.co/VsKHdI1RE5. @ Faith in Jane,¬† divorce mediation business plan bundle College Homework Help And Continuous Functions Video topic research paper purchasing authentic thesis Pale Divine and¬† Specialized project Business Coursework Help Gcse for any kind of drafts: capstone projects, academic projects, business projects, grants, books and many more! Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds. Good show. More info follows here:

thunderbird divine

Thunderbird Divine: Ex-Members of Wizard Eye and Skeleton Hands Join Forces in New Project

Erik Caplan, guitarist/vocalist/thereminist of Philadelphia’s now-defunct stoner-psych rockers Wizard Eye has teamed up with drummer Mike Stuart, bassist Adam Scott and guitarist Flynn Lawrence, all three of Skeleton Hands, to create Thunderbird Divine.

“Wizard Eye was very dear to me, and I am extremely proud of the work I did with those guys,” Caplan says. “Bands have a shelf life, unfortunately, and, as sad as it made me to see my involvement with Wizard Eye end, when it was over, I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I was playing music again. I took some time, met new people and did some jamming, but nothing gelled into a real band situation until I met up with these fellows.”

Literally one hallway away in the same rehearsal complex, the former members of Skeleton Hands (minus a vocalist) were working on material and auditioning potential new members. In a situation paralleling Caplan’s, none of their prospects fit the bill.

“We played with some good people, but there weren’t any solid fits for what we wanted to do,” says Stuart. “We were standing on the sidelines, just waiting to get back into the game.”

Eventually, Caplan fostered an uneasy pairing with a young bassist, created some material and was ready to engage the services of a drummer to build what he imagined might be a new trio. While cataloging area drummers, one of the first skinsmen he considered was Stuart.

“I remembered a Facebook post about Skeleton Hands breaking up, and I remembered Mike’s style from playing shows with them,” Caplan explains. “I recalled a pleasant guy who was also a fun, energetic player with chops and a bit of flash, so I was hoping I could lure him into my new project.”

He reached out to Stuart and found a receptive audience, and when his almost-bassist stepped out, he and the drummer decided that the idea of combining his mojo with the remaining members of Skeleton Hands had the potential to bear fruit. Luckily, Lawrence and Scott agreed,

“The three of us always liked Wizard Eye, and we were really searching for the right final element for our group, so this opportunity just seemed to drop into our laps at the right time,” Stuart says.

Caplan was also enthusiastic about the collaboration.

“It was pretty cool to walk into the room and have a ready-made, experienced group of guys waiting to get to work,” he says. “You couldn’t really ask for a better situation. I was able to find a niche in their groove almost instantly.”

The band settled on Thunderbird Divine for a name, using the title of a Wizard Eye song with lyrics written by Caplan as inspiration.

“Thunderbird Divine was the street name of a homeless Vietnam veteran from my childhood neighborhood,” Caplan explains. “He was a wild character, and that name always stuck with me. I didn’t want that name to disappear after Wizard Eye folded, and I was very happy that my new band mates thought it had a nice ring.”

The members of this newly formed group got to work immediately, writing new material at every rehearsal. The vibe of the band will probably sound and feel familiar to those who enjoyed this collaboration’s previous work.

“I didn’t want to retread earlier ground with these guys, and I don’t think the Thunderbird Divine stuff sounds too much like either Wizard Eye or Skeleton Hands, but a lot of elements are obviously the same,” Caplan says. “I mean, we still play a lot of riffs, and I’m still singing and playing both guitar and theremin, so some similarities are obviously going to be present, but I think we’ll carve out our own space and sound in time.”

Caplan’s divorce from Wizard Eye also didn’t leave him empty-handed in terms of industry resources. His relationship with Scott Harrington of 313 INC Artist Management has carried through to his involvement with Thunderbird Divine, an endeavor Harrington fully supports.

“I’ve been a fan of Erik’s style as a guitarist and vocalist from the first time I saw Wizard Eye live at the Stoner Hands of Doom Fest in 2012,” Harrington says. “The work he did with that group was phenomenal, and that is what initially attracted me to the band. I mean, seriously, here’s this guy so lost in his music, trading off from guitar to theremin–it was absolutely mesmerizing. And now that he’s moved on to a new project with Thunderbird Divine, I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.”

The band is in the process of writing material for its first recording sessions, which will occur in the fall, and Thunderbird Divine will see its inaugural live performance venue June 30 at The Century Bar in Philadelphia with doom greats Pale Divine and Faith in Jane and Philly’s own Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds.

https://www.facebook.com/thunderbirddivine
IG: @thunderbird_divine

Wizard Eye, “Thunderbird Divine”

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Live Review: Maryland Doom Fest 2016 Night Two

Posted in Reviews on June 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest poster

I don’t think it’s the record for how many bands I’ve seen in one day, but it has to be close. After a pummeling Day One at Just Documentz Terms & Conditions for our Business Document & Thesis / read this. Cafe 611 (review here), Day Two of Purchasing custom writing service online should not be overwhelming even though they are numerous custom writing services College Application Essay Help Online Margaret Metzger Maryland Doom Fest 2016 featured a whopping, nigh-on-overwhelming 12 acts, starting at 2:15PM and running until shortly before 2AM. Joy among joys, my camera continues to be non-functional, but I did the best I could with my phone and kept it at that. Not sure what I’m going to do about that one yet. Cry a little? Yeah, maybe. Maybe on the way home.

For now, as Jesse “The Body” Ventura once so eloquently put it, “I ain’t got time to bleed.” Day Three starts in a scant couple hours and after two days of marathon nonstop heavy, I’m ready to get back into the fray. Let’s do this thing.

Dee Calhoun

Dee Calhoun (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Iron Man frontman Dee Calhoun recently released his debut solo record, Rotgut (review here), and provided a direct contrast in how the second day started at Maryland Doom Fest 2016 as compared to the first, which opened with Black Urn, who I think remain the most extreme sludge act of the weekend so far. “Screaming Mad Dee” played acoustic heavy metal blues, joined on semi-unplugged bass by Iron Man bandmate and all-around master of things low-end Louis Strachan, and started his set with the album-opener “Unapologetic,” which I suspect is something of a creedo for the singer. Maybe I should say singer/guitarist, since Calhoun proved his mettle on the latter throughout the set, bringing out his son, Rob Calhoun, for a particularly touching rendition of “Little Houn Daddy Houn” that was as genuinely heartwarming as anything I’ve ever seen at a heavy show, and closing out with a cover of¬†Black Sabbath‘s “Snowblind,” the solo for which is a test for any guitar player. Bolstered by¬†Strachan taking on¬†Geezer Butler basslines — talk about “in your element” —¬†Dee nailed it, and the filing-in early crowd, who caught on to shout “cocaine!” for the second verse, was glad to be along for the ride.

Thousand Vision Mist

Thousand Vision Mist (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Fronted by guitarist/vocalist Danny Kenyon and taking their name from the debut of his former band, Life Beyond, the three-piece Thousand Vision Mist offered one of the day’s most individualized takes on a doomed approach, their progressive turns enacted fluidly by the rhythm section of Tony Comulada (who’d also play later with War Injun) and drummer Chris Sebastian. It hasn’t been that long since I saw them for the first time last fall at Vultures of Volume II (review here), and the impression at MDDF wasn’t much different. People were still filing in as Kenyon and company made their way through the memorable “Darklight” and “Tears of the Moon,” the second of which also served as the centerpiece of their 2015 demo, which was available at the merch table and is their only release to-date so far as I know. They closed with another cut from that initial offering, “Heart String Wild Fire Blues,” finding a place for themselves between¬†Rush and¬†The Obsessed. Not at all bad territory to stake out.

Wicked Inquisition

Wicked Inquisition (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Minnesota’s Wicked Inquisition said early into their set that this was “in all likelihood” their last show ever. The band formed in 2008 and released their self-titled debut (review here) last year after a demo and a couple EPs, blending oldschool thrash, classic metal and doom fluidly on cuts like “M.A.D.” and “Death of Man.” I don’t know for sure, but I’d assume part of the reason they’re calling it quits is that guitarist/vocalist Nate Towle has joined Virginia-based Satan’s Satyrs, and that’s a hell of a back and forth from MN to VA. Whether or not the breakup is permanent is of course up to the future, but Towle, guitarist Ben Stevens, bassist Jordan Anderson and drummer Jack McKoskey leaned toward doom as one of the weapons in their arsenal to be broken out when called for and otherwise kept their metallic tinge shining via some slow-Slayer dual-guitar to keep the crowd hooked. It worked. Cheers to¬†Towle on getting the¬†Satan’s Satyrs gig, which seems like a good one if you want to tour, and best of luck to everyone in¬†Wicked Inquisition going forward. I’m glad I got to see them while I could.

Ironboss

Ironboss (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Long-running Baltimorean outfit Ironboss are about to issue what may or may not be their first album in more than a decade in the form of Rock Fuck Fight, and their set brought the further intrigue of featuring Bruce Falkinburg — hardly recognizable with short-cropped hair from the last time I saw him, which admittedly was years ago when he was playing with The Hidden Hand — on guitar. The burly brand of heavy the five-piece elicited was much less sludge than I thought it would be, I couldn’t help but have a harsher impression thinking back to 2001’s Guns Don’t Kill People… Ironboss Does!!, but I guess that was 15 years ago and a different lineup. Granted, there was a touch of chaos in the atmosphere, almost punkish, but the songs resided in a mid-paced push, comfortable but still aggressive. They apparently just tracked six songs live with J. Robbins, so it would seem that¬†Ironboss have returned to kill again.

Spillage

Spillage (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Been a couple years and a 2015 self-titled debut since I saw Chicago’s¬†Spillage make their stage debut at¬†Days of the Doomed II in Wisconsin (review here), but my prevailing memories of the the band were still positive. Members of the¬†Trouble family tree via founding guitarist¬†Tony Spillman, who’s worked with that legendary Midwestern outfit for some untold number of years, and through¬†Spillman‘s tenure in¬†Earthen Grave, they for sure had that aspect to their sound, but the energy of their delivery and the classic metal vibe that guest-frontman¬†Elvin Rodriguez brought with him in his¬†Dio-style presentation was well suited to making an impression of their own. Along with album tracks like “In Hell,” opener “The Darkness” and “Land of Opportunity,”¬†Spillage closed out with the¬†Cliff Richard cover “Devil Woman,” which also appeared on the record and which they played when last I saw them as well. A staple, then. Hard to argue. After 12 bands, that swinging hook remained among the most prevalent on my mental jukebox.

Wizard Eye

Wizard Eye (Photo by JJ Koczan)

What a joy it is to watch¬†Wizard Eye play. The Philly trio roll heavy grooves beamed in from sonicstonersubspace and the obvious pleasure they take in doing so is infectious. Another act who played¬†Vultures of Volume II last fall (review here), they’ve since released their self-titled 2015 sophomore album (review here), with its excellently crusted take on heavy vibes. Guitarist¬†Erik Caplan had his theremin handy, as always, but along with the caveman shouts from bassist¬†Dave Shahriari and the steady swing from drummer¬†Mike Scarpone, what came through most to me this time around was how killer a guitar player¬†Caplan is. With that theremin, he could easily drop out during solo sections and wail on the theremin, its squealing awesomeness taking the place of any guitar work. Instead, he absolutely shreds out leads and¬†then lights up the theremin on a cut like “C.O.C.” from 2010’s¬†Orbital Rites debut. So it’s adding to the sound, rather than compensating for something not there. It makes all the difference seeing them do a set, which I’m glad to do every single time I’m able.

Hollow Leg

Hollow Leg (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Along with Holly Hunt, Shroud Eater and a couple others, Jacksonville’s Hollow Leg are among the principal reasons to be sad when the polar ice caps melt and Florida sinks under rising sea levels. The four-piece of¬†vocalist Scott Angelacos, guitarist/vocalist Brent Lynch, bassist Tom Crowther and drummer Tim Creter¬†have never failed in my experience to deliver lethal sludge like some fucked-up cousin of¬†Sourvein, but as 2016’s¬†Crown (review here) showcased, their sound has only grown richer over the years and they brought that feel to¬†Maryland Doom Fest 2016 in “Seaquake,” “Electric Veil” and “Coils” along with the earlier digital single “God Eater” (posted here). With¬†Lynch adding to¬†Angelacos‘ dudely rasp, the vibe was even more unhinged as they played, and next to¬†Wizard Eye they seemed only to build on the intensity of volume and heft while keeping the vicious push moving forward. Labelmates with¬†Dee Calhoun on¬†Argonauta Records, they’ve been on the road with¬†Irata for the better part of a week and sounded tight enough to make one believe they were a few shows deep. Clearly too abrasive for some, but I thought they were right on.

War Injun

War Injun (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I guess they went with the name¬†War Injun because calling themselves¬†Maryland Doom Allstars” would sound too much like a softball team. Fronted by¬†Internal Void‘s¬†J.D. Williams, featuring, as noted, bassist¬†Tony Comulada, along with guitarists¬†Russ Strahan (ex-Pentagram, as well as¬†Weed is Weed and many others) and¬†Kenny Staubs (Outside Truth), and drummer¬†JB Matson — one of the organizers of¬†Maryland Doom Fest 2016 — it’s a formidable grouping nonetheless. Their groove was likewise formidable.¬†Matson didn’t make it easy for his own outfit, putting them after¬†Wizard Eye and¬†Hollow Leg as a lead-in for¬†Brimstone Coven, but¬†War Injun not only pulled one of the night’s best crowds, they absolutely leveled the place.¬†Williams, who’d performed the night before with¬†Internal Void, remained a complete madman on stage, and the riffs from¬†Staubs and¬†Strahan were classic Maryland doom through and through, peppered with more aggressive push. Last time I saw them was¬†Stoner Hands of Doom XI in 2011 (review here), and they hit even harder than I remembered.

Brimstone Coven

Brimstone Coven (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Like Castle yesterday, I feel like I came out of¬†Brimstone Coven‘s set with an entirely deeper appreciation for what the West Virginian outfit does. Next month, they hit the road for a handful of Midwestern dates with¬†Castle, as it happens, and both bands are ones that you just have to see live to really understand. That’s not to take away from what¬†Brimstone Coven —¬†‚ÄúBig John‚ÄĚ Williams on vocals, Corey Roth¬†on guitar/vocals, Andrew D‚ÄôCagna bass/vocals and Justin Wood¬†on drums — were able to do on their 2016 debut LP,¬†Black Magic (review here), but the impression they made on stage was on a different level,¬†Williams,¬†Roth and¬†D’Cagna¬†coming together to completely nail down vocal harmonies over weighted doom riffing, shedding some of the cult rock vibe of the record in favor of an almost progressive feel with moments of brash heavy rock for counterweight. It was the kind of set that made me want to go back and take another look at the album, the highlight being “Slow Death,” which¬†seemed at first like a strange one for¬†Williams to shout out “to the ladies,” but ultimately made sense in light of the lyrics. They were the day’s most pleasant surprise, though I probably shouldn’t have been surprised.

Blackfinger

Blackfinger (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Of all the sets I’ve seen vocalist¬†Eric Wagner perform — and at this point I’ve seen him perform a few — he always looks like he’s having the best time with¬†Blackfinger. Granted, he was all smiles at¬†Roadburn this year with¬†The Skull as well, but there’s a level of appreciation for some of¬†Blackfinger‘s more¬†Beatlesian melancholy in tracks like “I am Jon” and “On Tuesday Morning,” both from their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), that comes through visually on stage and in the vibrant presentation of the material. Having Terry Weston of Penance/Dream Death on guitar doesn’t hurt either, but with guitarist Matthew Tuite, bassist Matthew Cross and drummer David Snyder, the lineup did justice to Wagner‘s legacy in Trouble as well as their own sonic persona. As always,¬†Wagner‘s charisma as a frontman made him a focal point, but that’s nothing new for him, and he handled the room with his usual laid back flair. Somehow it wouldn’t seem like a doom fest if he didn’t show up in one outfit or another. He carries so much of the essence of the sound with him wherever he goes.

Place of Skulls

Place of Skulls (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Once again, in the tonal battle of¬†Victor Griffin vs. the universe,¬†Victor Griffin wins by a landslide. It took¬†Place of Skulls a while to get going — something with the guitar¬†stack, I don’t know — but once the set started,¬†the trio were among the highlights of the weekend so far. With the night’s biggest crowd at attention,¬†Griffin held court alongside his¬†Death Row¬†bandmate¬†Lee Abney on bass/backing vocals and drummer Russell Lee Padgett, but I could be wrong. It’s been six years since they released¬†As A Dog Returns (review here) — though the 2013 self-titled debut from the short-lived¬†In~Graved project (review here) seems to have been rebranded as a Place of Skulls release this year — and five years since last I saw them play, but for it being the first time in a while,¬†Place of Skulls were very much still¬†Place of Skulls, the band who released one of the best American doom records of all time in 2003’s¬†With Vision, from which they aired the title-track, “The Monster,” “Long Lost Grave” and “Last Hit” along with a cover of The Animals‘ “Misunderstood” that has become a regular feature in¬†Griffin-related sets, be it with¬†In~Graved or¬†Pentagram. Like¬†Eric Wagner,¬†Griffin takes a lot of who he is from band to band, and his mark on doom is unmistakable.

Bang

Bang (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I’ve seen Bang play upwards of 15 times on two different continents in the last two or three years, and they’ve never been a letdown. Like the day started easing into the heavy with Dee Calhoun‘s acoustic set, Bang — who also had a new drummer — provided the sweet swing that would smooth the way out. The classic heavy rockers, playing to support reissues of their catalog on Svart Records, were given a rousing introduction by Dave Sherman of The Obsessed, who cited them as a major influence for Maryland doom as a whole and his career specifically. From there, Frankie Gilcken launched the opening riff of “Keep On,” and Bang were underway. Bassist/vocalist Frank Ferrara was in top form through “Lions… Christians,” “The Maze” and the ballad “Last Will and Testament,” which was given its usual intro. It was late and the room had dissipated somewhat, but¬†Bang‘s tones were as warm and inviting as ever, and plenty of people held on until the finish, savoring every moment they could get. Again, not by any means my first time at the dance with these cats (except the drummer), but they remain something truly special to watch and are a testament to the enduring appeal¬†of heavy’s essential formative years.

Within minutes of getting back to the Super 8 after the show, I was falling asleep. Still, I felt better after last night than Friday, and with 11 more bands playing tonight, that’s probably a good thing. First band starts in about two hours, and I need coffee, so I’m gonna take care of that as priority one and then go from there.

More to come from Maryland Doom Fest 2016.

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Shadow Woods Metal Fest 2016: Initial Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

After a successful first installment last year,¬†Shadow Woods Metal Fest 2016 bursts out of the gate with 20-plus bands for what’s still being touted as its initial lineup — i.e., there’s more to come. Seems reasonable. Now that they’ve shown it can happen without the universe collapsing or the ultra-oppressive Federal Forestry Service (note: I have no idea if that’s a real thing) clamping down hard on longhair campers, it seems only fair to expect the event to grow both in actual scope and reputation.

The first group of acts spans a range from extreme metal to psychedelic heavy rock, but a few highlights thus far include Maryland dronecasters¬†Darsombra, Philly riff-rollers¬†Wizard Eye, and MD¬†heavy rockers¬†Faith in Jane, who’ll team up with¬†Scott “Wino” Weinrich himself for a special set. There have been murmurings of those two parties jamming for a little bit now, and you can see video of them doing just that from this past weekend below. It ain’t Wino Wednesday, exactly, but it’s cool to watch anyway.

Also included are¬†Destroyer of Light from¬†Austin,¬†Temple of Void from Michigan and a whole bunch of others put together by fest-organizer¬†Mary Spiro, who very clearly knows what she’s doing:

shadow woods metal fest 2016

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST, the Mid-Atlantic’s open-air camping metal party, will once again terrorize the woodlands of central Maryland this fall with three days of more than thirty bands from diverse metal genres and regions. The 2016 festival runs from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland, the same location where the maiden edition of the fest was held last year.

Organizers of SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST began announcing performers in mid-January and have been carefully curating this year’s lineup. “The response from performers and attendees to the 2015 event was overwhelmingly positive with many people telling me it was the best weekend of their lives!” says festival founder Mary Spiro of Metallomusikum.com/Shadow Woods Productions LLC. “We are humbled and frankly completely surprised by the outpouring of praise for the fest. There has been enormous interest from the metal community for certain bands to perform. Our team is taking its time to make sure the lineup matches our attendee’s expectations and sets us apart from other fests. We also want each day to have flow. It’s a balancing act.”

Spiro says that when all is said and done, the final lineup will surpass the ferocity of the inaugural installment. As of February 9th, twenty-one bands have been announced, including horror death mongers Acid Witch, death thrashers Coffin Dust, underground black metal kings Blood Storm, doom merchants Wizard Eye, psychedelic black metal gurus Helleborus, and Maryland doom trio Faith In Jane joins forces with the genre’s godfather Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, Saint Vitus) for an exclusive SWMF performance, with much more to be announced.

Early Bird Weekend Passes for SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST go on sale at noon EST, February 12th for $115 on BrownPaperTickets.com.

Tent camping is included with the weekend pass. People who want to reserve cabin beds can do so for an additional $20 for the duration of the fest.

“It could be late Spring before we have the whole lineup in hand,” Spiro said. “It’s taking longer than we anticipated, but we think our patience will be rewarded, and festival goers will be really pleased with the bands yet to be announced.”

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST 2016 Confirmed Lineup:
A SOUND OF THUNDER (DC) **traditional old-school heavy metal
ACID WITCH (Detroit) **horror death
BLOOD STORM (PA/TX) **black thrash
BOUND BY THE GRAVE (Baltimore) *death
CEMETERY PISS (Baltimore) **black
COFFIN DUST (Philadelphia) **death
CORPSE LIGHT (Baltimore) *doom
DARSOMBRA (MD) **metal drone
DESTROYER OF LIGHT (Austin, TX) **sludge
EMPYREUS(Chicago) **black
FAITH IN JANE FEATURING WINO (MD) ** doom trio joined by the godfather of the sound
GENEVIEVE (MD) **experimental black
GRAVE GNOSIS (St. Petersburg, FL) **black
HAXEN (Rhode Island) **black
HELLEBORUS (Manitou Springs, CO) **black
MYOPIC (DC) **death/doom
SAPREMIA (New Jersey) **death
TELOCH VOVIN (NY) **black
TEMPLE OF VOID (Detroit) **doom
WIZARD EYE (PA) **doom
XEUKATRE (Baltimore) **black
MANY MORE BANDS YET TO BE ANNOUNCED

http://www.shadowwoodsmetalfest.com
http://www.facebook.com/shadowwoodsmetalfest

Faith in Jane & Wino, Live at Cafe Nola, Frederick, Maryland, Feb. 7, 2016

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audiObelisk Transmission 055

Posted in Podcasts on December 14th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Before we get to all the tracks and this and that, I have to say, this double-size year-end podcast was an absolute pleasure to put together. Fun. Actual fun. I don’t know if it was the preponderance of excellent songs to work from that came out in 2015 or what, but I had a really good time making my way through the near-four-hour run, and I hope you feel that way too as you listen.

It should go without mentioning, but I’ll give the disclaimer anyway that this is in no way, shape or form a complete rundown of everything awesome produced this year. My own Top 10 has bands on it who aren’t represented here, so if you don’t see something you think belongs in the mix below — looking at you, Baroness fans — please keep in mind that it’s not my intent to offer anything more than a partial summary. Otherwise, I’d have to make it a year long.

Thanks for listening if you get the chance to do so, and if there’s something here you haven’t yet checked out, I hope you dig it. The flow is pretty easy front to back, but we get into some more extreme stuff in the third hour for a bit before going grand with Elder and the “Digestive Raga” from √ėresund Space Collective, which seemed an appropriate way to end off giving everyone a chance to process what’s just been heard. Please enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:
0:00:00 Acid King, ‚ÄúRed River‚ÄĚ from Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
0:08:24 Clutch, ‚ÄúFirebirds‚ÄĚ from Psychic Warfare
0:11:23 Bloodcow, ‚ÄúCrystals and Lasers‚ÄĚ from Crystals and Lasers
0:14:28 Stoned Jesus, ‚ÄúRituals of the Sun‚ÄĚ from The Harvest
0:21:25 Ufomammut, ‚ÄúPlouton‚ÄĚ from Ecate
0:24:33 Geezer, ‚ÄúSo Tired‚ÄĚ from The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter One Split w/ Borracho
0:32:36 Wizard Eye, ‚ÄúThunderbird Divine‚ÄĚ from Wizard Eye
0:37:40 Mondo Drag, ‚ÄúCrystal Visions Open Eye‚ÄĚ from Mondo Drag
0:42:08 Fogg, ‚ÄúSeasons‚ÄĚ from High Testament
0:48:26 Goatsnake, ‚ÄúGrandpa Jones‚ÄĚ from Black Age Blues
0:53:02 Snail, ‚ÄúThou Art That‚ÄĚ from Feral

Second Hour:
1:03:17 Sergio Ch., ‚ÄúLas Piedras‚ÄĚ from 1974
1:06:40 All Them Witches, ‚ÄúBlood and Sand ‚Äď Milk and Endless Waters‚ÄĚ from Dying Surfer Meets His Maker
1:13:54 Death Hawks, ‚ÄúRipe Fruits‚ÄĚ from Sun Future Moon
1:18:45 Colour Haze, ‚ÄúCall‚ÄĚ from To the Highest Gods We Know
1:26:46 Kadavar, ‚ÄúLast Living Dinosaur‚ÄĚ from Berlin
1:30:50 Spidergawd, ‚ÄúFixing to Die Blues‚ÄĚ from Spidergawd II
1:35:02 The Machine, ‚ÄúDry End‚ÄĚ from Offblast!
1:38:01 The Midnight Ghost Train, ‚ÄúStraight to the North‚ÄĚ from Cold was the Ground
1:42:00 Kind, ‚ÄúPastrami Blaster‚ÄĚ from Rocket Science
1:48:29 Valley, ‚ÄúDream Shooter, Golden!‚ÄĚ from Sunburst
1:54:22 Graveyard, ‚ÄúFrom a Hole in the Wall‚ÄĚ from Innocence and Decadence
1:58:09 Demon Head, ‚ÄúBook of Changes‚ÄĚ from Ride the Wilderness

Third Hour:
2:02:50 Egypt, ‚ÄúEndless Flight‚ÄĚ from Endless Flight
2:12:29 Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, ‚ÄúEmpires of Dust‚ÄĚ from Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
2:20:09 With the Dead, ‚ÄúI am Your Virus‚ÄĚ from With the Dead
2:25:45 Ahab, ‚ÄúRed Foam (The Great Storm)‚ÄĚ from The Boats of the Glen Carrig
2:32:08 Kings Destroy, ‚ÄúMr. O‚ÄĚ from Kings Destroy
2:36:37 Sun and Sail Club, ‚ÄúDresden Firebird Freakout‚ÄĚ from The Great White Dope
2:38:33 Sunder, ‚ÄúWings of the Sun‚ÄĚ from Sunder
2:42:41 Weedpecker, ‚ÄúInto the Woods‚ÄĚ from Weedpecker II
2:50:50 Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, ‚ÄúPusher Man‚ÄĚ from The Night Creeper
2:56:26 Eggnogg, ‚ÄúSlugworth‚ÄĚ from Sludgy Erna Bastard split w/ Borracho

Fourth Hour:
3:02:48 Golden Void, ‚ÄúAstral Plane‚ÄĚ from Berkana
3:09:34 Elder, ‚ÄúLore‚ÄĚ from Lore
3:25:24 √ėresund Space Collective, ‚ÄúDigestive Raga‚ÄĚ from Different Creatures

Total running time: 3:55:26

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 055

 

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Wizard Eye Premiere “Stoneburner” from Self-Titled Album

Posted in audiObelisk on October 1st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

wizard eye

Philly trio Wizard Eye issue their self-titled sophomore outing via Black Monk Records on Oct. 10. And yeah, it’s about riffs. And yeah, it’s about being heavy. And yeah, it’s about that crusty kind of vibe in the vocals of guitarist/thereminist Erik Caplan and bassist Dave Shahriari. It’s definitely about those things. But for me, listening to the album’s nine-track/53-minute unfurling, it’s even more about the roll. Not to say Caplan, Shahriari and drummer Mike Scarpone are entirely singular in their focus the whole time — it’s not like they’re doing the same thing over and over, in other words — but the overarching nod of¬†Wizard Eye‘s¬†Wizard Eye is so prevalent that no matter where they might go musically, it seems to unite the songs in a singular purpose. It turns tonal thickness into a roiling sludge goo and then serves that up chunky-style on a two-sided platter that, for those who’ve ever worshiped a riff, should be an essential pilgrimage.

Beginning with the thud-led noise of the instrumental “Eye of the Deep,”¬†Wizard Eye¬†work quickly to justify the anticipation for a follow-up to their 2010 debut,¬†Orbital Rites. “Eye of the Deep” establishes the first of the record’s irresistible grooves and feeds directly into “Flying Falling,” which puts the bass tone front and center before slicking-out perfectly-paced nod-fodder,¬†Caplan¬†and¬†Shahriari¬†combining forces vocally as they do at several points in higher and lower-register gruffness. In addition to the low-end wah that emerges later, “Flying Falling” introduces another key element in the band’s arsenal —¬†Caplan‘s theremin, which adds weirdo flavor to the late solo section and adds a spacey vibe to the album overall without actually pushing the band into space rock indulgence.¬†Scarpone again drives the groove ahead on “Phase Return,” and¬†Caplan and¬†Shahriari alternate vocals between that song and the subsequent “Graybeard,” both cuts brought together by a foundation of swing that’s refreshing
for being so un-subgenred in its complete lack of pretense.

WIZARD-EYE-WIZARD-EYEFront to back,¬†Wizard Eye gets down to business. The maybe¬†Corrosion of Conformity-referencing “Drowning Daydream” (they did have a song called “C.O.C.” on Orbital Rites) follows, drawing the listener deeper into an instrumental languidity that winds up with a touch more swirl than they’ve yet shown, but the oddball “My Riposte is Like Lightning” — the shortest track at 3:42 and even odder for how straightforward it is — snaps back to attention ahead of the semi-plugged nine-minute “Nullarbor,” which moves from early ritualism as it nears its midpoint into the record’s most satisfying march, announced first by the bass and soon taken on by drums and guitar as well.¬†Caplan seems in conversation with the self-titled¬†Clutch record in his shouts on “Thunderbird Divine,” but by then the context is such that the song is entirely¬†Wizard Eye‘s — they’ve taken stoner nod and shaped it to their will, sounding jammy without actually doing much jamming, just chill, chill, chill in its beefy swagger and readiness to vibe out into a perpetuity undercut by the harsh reality of a five-minute runtime.

What’s left to do but close out with an eight-minute affirmation of method? Ain’t exactly like they’ve been screwing around the whole time, but “Stoneburner,” which caps, feels especially well suited to its position. It doesn’t quite speak for the totality of the record —¬†Wizard Eye don’t really give it all away in any single song; it’s an album’s album to be sure — but in its blend of a virulent hook cast into some deep region of subspace on an internal wide-band frequency and how-do-they-get-it-to-move-like-that riffing, “Stoneburner” is a more than worthy freak flag for Wizard Eye¬†to fly on their way out,¬†Caplan¬†returning to the theremin one last time in the final jam to give further depth to what’s already dug in far enough to come out on the other side. And in case I haven’t yet¬†mixed metaphors enough to give an impression¬†of just how trippy this shit is: rutabaga.

It’s felt like a long wait for¬†Wizard Eye‘s second to arrive. Somehow, when I put the record on for another go, time doesn’t seem to matter at all.

Get yourself a piece with the track premiere for “Stoneburner” below. PR wire info follows. Enjoy:

Philadelphia psychedelic rock trio, WIZARD EYE, will release its self-titled new full-length this Fall via Black Monk Records. Recorded in three days at Haddon Heights, New Jersey‚Äôs Gradwell House Studios with the imminently irascible and talented Steve Poponi behind the board and mastered by Dave Downham, the long-awaited follow-up to the band‚Äôs 2010 Orbital Rites debut takes WIZARD EYE‚Äôs signature brand of mind-bending riffs and kaleidoscopic soundscapes to a new level of titanic glory. A fusion of bottom-heavy grooves, fiery fuzz, churning bass, otherworldly effects and raw vocals with roots still planted firmly into the lysergic soil of ‚Äė70s acts like Hawkwind, Budgie, Blue Cheer, Captain Beyond, Mot√∂rhead and Black Sabbath, Wizard Eye shows the band operating at the pinnacle of its creative and musical abilities.

Wizard Eye will be released via Black Monk Records on October 10th, 2015 digitally and on limited-edition swirled vinyl.

WIZARD EYE:
Erik Caplan ‚Äď guitar, theremin, vocals
Dave Shahriari ‚Äď bass, vocals
Mike Scarpone ‚Äď drums, percussion

Wizard Eye on Thee Facebooks

Wizard Eye on Bandcamp

US preorder

International preorder

Black Monk Records

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Front to Back: Vultures of Volume II Day Two in Hagerstown, MD, 09.05.15

Posted in Reviews on September 9th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

vultures of volume ii poster

The hotel breakfast — not so much. I woke up pretty early after Day One of Vultures of Volume II, drawn by the allure of free scrambled eggs or at very least some carbs to start the day, but some lumpy-looking sausage and a weird egg/potato/cheese combo deal scared me off. A cup of coffee and a rigid search of the interwebs later, I found a cafe up the road a little ways.

A quick lunch would turn out to be my only meal of the day, because once it got going, Vultures of Volume II Day Two simply did not stop. First band, on at 1PM. Last band, off a little before 2AM. It was 13 acts and very nearly 13 hours of front-to-back performances, and by the time the day was a quarter over, the Delmar Inn in Hagerstown had developed full-on as a festival ecosystem. Just about everyone knew everyone else, and the vibe was thick throughout. Some were dragging after getting down a little too hard the night before, or at least hard enough, but the only thing to do was keep going. This festival, in the fine tradition of gatherings like Emissions from the Monolith, Stoner Hands of Doom, Days of the Doomed and the Eye of the Stoned Goat, would brook no absence.

Yeah, I was beat, but fuck it. It was rock and roll and I drove a long way to be there. The lineup for Day Two was Elder, Dorthia Cottrell of Windhand playing a solo set, Wretch, Weed is Weed, Carousel, Righteous Bloom, Foghound, Witch Hazel, Thousand Vision Mist, Wizard Eye, Wasted Theory, Buzzard Canyon and Heavy Temple, and the latter had the illustrious task of getting things rolling:

Heavy Temple

Heavy Temple (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It had been more than two years since the last time I saw Philadelphia’s Heavy Temple, which was also the first time, and in between, bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk has completely revamped the trio’s lineup — she’s now joined by drummer Siren Tempestas and guitarist Archbishop Barghest — and has moved forward following¬†the release through V√°n Records of the band’s self-titled debut EP (review here), which by my estimation was one of last year’s finest short releases. They played four songs, all of them new, and I was glad for the glimpse at what’s to come, finding creative progression evident in how smoothly¬†Heavy Temple¬†seemed to weave in and out of parts, the fluidness with which they utilized classic stoner riffing without necessarily being beholden to it, and the dynamic between¬†Nighthawk and her newcomer cohorts,¬†Barghest an almost shoegazing presence on stage while¬†Tempestas¬†seemed to throw her whole body at the kit while she played. Some presentation nuances to be ironed out between the three of them — that is, I think at this point the band could do away with the stage names, and Nighthawk¬†is the only one in a ritual robe, though that was the case last time as well — but past those crucial decisions to be made between robes and denim shorts,¬†they were sonically more than dead on, rounding out their set with well-timed starts and stops and off-mic screams that were effective in adding drama to a set that showed¬†Heavy Temple¬†as a band well on their way. Looking forward to their next EP, which is reportedly already recorded.

Buzzard Canyon

Buzzard Canyon (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There was little one might reasonably ask of a hard rock act that Buzzard Canyon didn’t offer, whether it was the soul behind the dual vocals of Amber Leigh and guitarist Aaron Lewis, or the straight-ahead but still weighted grooves of bassist Randall Dumas and drummer Matt Raftery. Actually, there was one thing one probably could’ve asked of them: the second guitar they left behind in Connecticut when they departed for Maryland early in the morning on Saturday in time to make their slot at Vultures of Volume II. Pretty much everything else they had covered. There was just about no way I was going to go into their set thinking of them as something other than Lewis‘ band — I’ve just known that dude for simply too long, been a part of projects with him, done shows with his other band, When the Deadbolt Breaks, etc. — but it was not only great to see him play after what’s been too long, but likewise great to see him explore the more upbeat, rocking side. Buzzard Canyon‘s debut, which they decided on stage was eight tracks, maybe nine, probably 11 by the time it’s done, is apparently in the works, and though they were down a guitar, they did well as a four-piece, playing both songs from the two-songer CDR they brought with them to give away, “Wyoming” and “Not My Cross,” the former of which seemed a long-enough time to wait to break out the cowbell and the latter of which closed their set in reinforcement of the active feel of the material, not at all afraid to have a good time or encourage the crowd to do the same.

Wasted Theory

Wasted Theory (Photo by JJ Koczan)

You know, I do dig Wasted Theory. The Delaware four-piece have come a long, long way since the first time I saw them, and they’ve done a couple tours and weekenders since they put out their 2014 full-length, Death and Taxes (review here), and that has only furthered their cause in both the tightness of their execution and their confidence on stage. Sometimes though, I feel like I’m just not quite dudely enough for it. Here’s these guys, and they’re killing it, singing songs about running ‘shine through the southland and this and that, and I’m standing there watching them feeling like I should probably call up my primary care physician and see if I can get some testosterone supplements or something so as to properly appreciate what’s going down on stage. As has been the case the last couple times I’ve seen them — and I’ll see them again before the month is out, if all goes according to plan — “Hellfire Ritual” and “Black Widow Liquor Run” were highlights, guitarist¬†Larry Jackson, Jr. having his “whiskey-soaked” in full effect while on either side, bassist¬†Jonathan Charles and guitarist¬†Dave McMahon followed a hairpin course of riffs propelled by¬†Brendan Burns‘ drums. They would not be the day’s last kick in the ass, but they were a vehement one all the same, even for one so apparently hormonally imbalanced as I. In all seriousness, Wasted Theory¬†are scary tight for being still-recently off their first record, and by all appearances they’re only continuing to nail down what they do. Not trying to tell anyone their business, but¬†Ripple Music, keep an eye out.

Wizard Eye

Wizard Eye (Photo by JJ Koczan)

We’re just about a month out from the release date of Wizard Eye‘s much-awaited self-titled second album on Black Monk Records, and the Philadelphia three-piece — Erik on guitar/vocals/theremin, Dave on bass/vocals, Mike on drums — seemed very much to be in good spirits ahead of the release. It was, as it was the last time I saw them, an absolute pleasure to watch them play. What they do isn’t overly complex or painstakingly crafted for nuance, but it’s impeccably well done and deceptively individualized. Most of what they played was culled from the impending¬†Wizard Eye, which finds their semi-crusted rolling grooves firmly intact on songs like “Flying/Falling,” “Thunderbird” and “Eye of the Deep,” but there was one inclusion¬†on the setlist I didn’t recognize — “Revenant” — which isn’t¬†from the tracklisting I’ve seen for the new record, or from their 2010 debut,¬†Orbital Rites, so I’m not sure if maybe it’s new or was left off the new album or what. Doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that after five years between outings they might have more material than just what’s showing up on the new LP. Either way, I’ll take their fuzz-overdosed nod any time I can. They were locked in tight at¬†Vultures of Volume II, and remain a much better band than people seem to know, which is something that the new album will hopefully work to correct.¬†Erik went to the theremin just once, earlier in the set — was it “Gravebreath” or “Flying/Falling?” — but even so, they were a blast to see again and offered stone-baked groove in plenty for their afternoon set.

Thousand Vision Mist

Thousand Vision Mist (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Given that they take their moniker from the name of¬†Life Beyond‘s 2002 debut/swansong full-length, and given that they share guitarist/vocalist¬†Danny Kenyon with that defunct MD trio, I guess I just assumed that when they got started,¬†Thousand Vision Mist¬†would essentially be an incarnation of the same kind of straight-ahead, post-The Obsessed/Revelation¬†Maryland-style doom. That was not the case. Together with be-chapeaued bassist/vocalist¬†Tony Comulada and drummer¬†Chris Sebastian,¬†Kenyon led the charge through a set of fiery but progressive metal. Doom was definitely a part of it, and listening to the studio versions on their 2015 debut demo of cuts like “Garden of Ghosts,” “Drifter” and “Tears of the Moon” — which was particularly proggy coming from the¬†Delmar¬†stage — that holds up, but by no means was it the sum-total of what they had to offer. Instead, they pulled off quick turns and shifts while also having a heavy sensibility, and the technical intricacies came across fluidly as the crowd clearly loved on a hometown act. As a power trio, the dynamic looked¬†to be more the guitar and bass, then the drums, rather than the standard guitar/rhythm section divide, but I’d by no means consider the matter settled considering they just have the five-song demo out, and for what it’s worth, they played a new song “Skybound and Beyond,” which they said had been written on Thursday, just two days prior, and though it seemed like it was about to come flying apart at any moment, it never actually did, and¬†Thousand Vision Mist‘s impressive control over their sound can only continue to suit them as they move forward.

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It might have been enough for York, Pennsylvania, four-piece¬†Witch Hazel¬†to earn sympathy points for the recent loss of their hometown venue,¬†The Depot, and it might have been enough that they broke out the weekend’s first tambourine to go along with their post-Pentagram ’70s-ish shuffle, but they also¬†featured some especially passionate cowbell/headbang action in the last song (when else?) from frontman¬†Nate Tyson, and dedicated a song to Iron Man, so if there were bases to cover, they were duly covered. Some of it was a little over-the-top — as intended — with the eyeliner, elaborate pants, and so on, but hard to fault Witch Hazel¬†for keeping an eye toward presentation. Their new album,¬†Nocturnity, is available now, and¬†is a 28-minute concept piece that seems to be about a family with a bloodline that cures vampires, but though I don’t think “Moon People Unite” comes from that record, the crowd started to make its way back in to get a glimpse at what¬†Witch Hazel —¬†Tyson, guitarist¬†Andy Craven, high-cymbal drummer¬†Nick Zinn and bassist¬†Seibert Lowe, who was playing his first show with the band — had to offer with their shuffling style and weirdo neo-classic edge. They closed with “Secret Door” from their 2013 debut,¬†Forsaken Remedies, which only furthered their boogie cred.

Foghound

Foghound (Photo by JJ Koczan)

No sooner did Baltimore’s¬†Foghound¬†walk on the stage than they owned it. Seriously. Before they even started playing, the entire room was theirs. Last time I saw the band was¬†Eye of the Stoned Goat IV¬†in Worcester, MA (review here), and they killed then, but this was a different league entirely. No doubt part of that stems from relatively-new bassist¬†Rev. Jim Forrester, who, like¬†Foghound¬†drummer¬†Chuck Dukehart III,¬†is a¬†Sixty Watt Shaman¬†expat.¬†Forrester¬†was kinetic on stage — and off it, as he hopped down on the regular throughout — and seemed to pull the rest of the band along with him,¬†Dukehart¬†sharing vocal duties with guitarists¬†Bob Sipes and¬†Dee Settar all the while, the three of them switching back and forth here, coming together there, racing through material from their upcoming second album. They were a shot of life just when I was feeling like I needed it most, and while the locals, who obviously have more occasion to see them than I do, weren’t necessarily surprised by what they delivered, I was utterly blown away. Their new stuff was faster, meaner and tighter than 2013’s¬†Quick, Dirty and High (review here), and I liked that CD plenty. The tempo of the songs, the stomp and the energy they brought made them the band of the day up to that point, and cuts like “Serpentine” and “Rockin’ and Rollin'” were absolutely propulsive alongside the other “Dragon’s Tooth” and “Resurrect the Throwaways,” which remains almost insidiously catchy. That song was a bit of a slowdown comparatively, but the momentum held up anyway to the end of the set, and if¬†Foghound brought even half of that level of vitality to the studio, their second record’s going to be a stunner.

Righteous Bloom

Righteous Bloom (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Whatever unfortunate drama brought about the change in the first place, I have to think particularly after seeing them play at¬†Vultures of Volume II¬†that the changeover from¬†Beelzefuzz to¬†Righteous Bloom will be a positive in the longterm for the band. Not even because¬†Bert Hall — speaking of chapeaus; his deserves its own Facebook page just so I can like it, unlike it, then like it again¬†— is such a monster player, though rest assured he is, as he’s proved over the years in¬†Revelation¬†and¬†Against Nature, but just for how much easier it is to take them seriously with the new name. I never saw¬†Beelzefuzz as a four-piece after they added¬†Pale Divine¬†frontman¬†Greg Diener as a lead guitarist, but he serves in that capacity well in¬†Righteous Bloom,¬†Hall is indeed a master of groove, and¬†Darin McCloskey‘s fluid drumming is every bit as effective in the new band as it was in the old, adding classic style to underscore the eerie progressivism in frontman¬†Dana Ortt‘s effects-heavy guitar work and live-multitracked vocals. Some of what they played came from¬†Beelzefuzz‘s 2013 self-titled debut (review here) — “All the Feeling Returns,” “Lotus,” “Hypnotize” and “Reborn” garnering knowing appreciation from the crowd, myself included — but newer songs like “Within Trance” (posted here) and¬†“Nazz Riff”¬†went over¬†with no trouble, as well as older demo cuts “Peace Mind,” which opened, “The Soulless” and “Hard Luck Melody,” Ortt‘s wide-eyed delivery throughout playing off a quiet “hey man” hippie routine between the songs that was¬†Akerfeldtine in its entertainment value. Fact of the matter is that he could easily become the kind of dude who, years from now, people will talk about the first time they saw him play and try to compare notes for who got in lowest on the ground floor. I can’t make any such claim, but watching¬†Righteous Bloom for the first time post-Beelzefuzz sure felt like a landmark anyway.¬†Hall fit in perfectly,¬†Diener‘s soloing was¬†tasteful,¬†McCloskey‘s timing and swing are as close to a sure thing as life has to offer and¬†Ortt¬†was the madman front and center. There was nothing — and I mean nothing — not to dig. Their album can’t get here fast enough.

Carousel

Carousel (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If you’re having a good time,¬†Carousel want to be the reason why. The Pittsburgh natives’ sophomore LP,¬†2113, was still pretty fresh in my head after its recent stream and review, so I was glad to have the chance to catch the four-piece live and experience the songs first-hand. They played the first three of them in a row — “Trouble,” “Photograph” and the unrepentantly hooky “Buried Alive in Your Arms” — and guitarist/vocalist¬†Dave Wheeler took the time to note between the second and third that the band is very well known for their expert sequencing. That was something I mentioned in my review, but I wouldn’t flatter myself to think they had any idea who I was other than drummer¬†Jake Leger, who also plays in reactivated ’70s rockers¬†Bang, who toured with¬†Kings Destroy last year for a run on which I tagged along. I’m sure it was a happy coincidence. Still,¬†Wheeler¬†was right,¬†2113¬†was a well put together album, and I’m not really sure what might be wrong with that. Either way, their boozy classic-heavy good times carried over remarkably well live — turns out they know how to structure a set as well, dipping back to the title-track from their 2013 debut,¬†Jeweler’s Daughter (review here), after “Buried Alive in Your Arms” — and their cardiovascular-style delivery felt like an all-around win.¬†Wheeler took the time to introduce the band, starting with bassist¬†Jim Wheeler before getting to¬†Leger and guitarist/backing vocalist¬†Matt Goldsborough, who he noted handles guitar as well in¬†Pentagram¬†from time to time and in¬†Trouble offshoot¬†The Skull, and ending with himself: “And I’m¬†Dave,” the band playing behind him all the while in classic showman fashion. They slowed down the set and brought the energy level back up effectively with the¬†2113¬†title-track, and their catchy songcraft, ’70s vibes and, yes, sequencing, found much welcome.

Weed is Weed

Weed is Weed (Photo by JJ Koczan)

You could give me a pad and paper and two full weeks to brainstorm ideas, but I’m not sure I could come up with anything more stoner rock than¬†Dave Sherman fronting¬†Weed is Weed while singing through a mic on a custom stand made to look like a bong. It even had incense burning near the bottom so there was smoke coming out. That, my friends, is charm, and¬†Weed is Weed have plenty of it to go around between¬†Sherm clearly having a blast with the entire thing and the riffery provided by three — three! — guitarists:¬†Gary Isom (ex-Spirit Caravan),¬†Russ Strahan (ex-Pentagram) and¬†Rob Portillo. With¬†Darren Waters¬†holding down yet more low end on bass throughout such family-friendly hits as “Cleptus Butanus” — a song about stealing lighters that featured a line about having enough in your pocket to build a butane rocket — and “The Bong Remains the Same,” Weed is Weed also introduced their new drummer,¬†Tyler Lee, age 18.¬†Gotta start ’em young. Worth noting that “The Bong Remains the Same” will also be the title of the six-piece’s next EP, and it must have been a hard call between that and “Reign in Bud,” which closed out,¬†Lee teasing a Slayer¬†drum thud reference at the beginning before they took off on another stoner-for-stoner onslaught, their groove as undeniable as their central theme was dank. Does anyone say dank anymore? I don’t even know. In any case,¬†Weed is Weed‘s particular brand of fun was infectious, and even as a non-smoker, their puns were second to none. Not a stem in the nugget.

Wretch

Wretch (Photo by JJ Koczan)

In much the same way that¬†Righteous Bloom¬†is a continuation of¬†Beelzefuzz, so too does¬†Wretch feel born directly from the demise of¬†The Gates of Slumber. The Indianapolis three-piece had¬†traveled the farthest to get to Hagerstown — headliners Elder would be no slouch in that department either — and they were heavy enough that the head sitting on top of guitarist/vocalist¬†Karl Simon‘s full-stack of cabinets was at several points very close to vibrating off and falling to the floor. It didn’t, thankfully, and¬†Simon, drummer¬†J. Clyde Paradis — who, like¬†Simon, is a The Gates of Slumber¬†alum — and bassist Bryce Clark held down some of the weekend’s most thoroughly doomed vibes, morose plod and downer tones emanating at max volume. “R.I.P.” was a highlight, which feels strange to even say, and a couple of songs from the final¬†The Gates of Slumber album, 2011’s¬†The Wretch¬†(review here), were aired, among them “Bastards Born” and “The Wretch” itself. They finished out with “The Jury,” which originally appeared on 2004’s¬†…The Awakening debut from the defunct outfit, their set having been cut short on account of the usual running late, but ending on a faster note somehow suited them. From what I’ve seen, Wretch¬†have a few studio tracks floating around, but I’ve yet to hear of anything recorded being due for public consumption. Seems like a no brainer that they’re one to watch given their pedigree and¬†Simon‘s established post-Vitus doom supremacy, but it’ll be even more interesting to see how they manage to stand themselves out from¬†The Gates of Slumber and how much of what that band was will ultimately carry forward into the new one.

Dorthia Cottrell

Dorthia Cottrell (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Only one problem with putting¬†Windhand¬†vocalist¬†Dorthia Cottrell on so late in the day for a solo acoustic set — everyone’s sloshed. Much to the room’s credit, people actually did really well policing themselves to keep conversation to a minimum as¬†Cottrell ran through a set of dark neofolk accompanied only by the¬†Delmar‘s fog machine and laser lights, the response to which was mixed but which I thought worked well. Anyone can play a sad twanger like “Maybe it’s True” from¬†Cottrell‘s 2015 self-titled solo debut in the dark, but to do it with a lightshow going? That’s impressive. Those committed to being loud either moved to the back bar or went outside, but everyone who stayed was treated to¬†Cottrell‘s quiet, alternately traditional and minimalist atmospherics, her breathy delivery calling to mind any number of blues singers who earned the first name¬†Mama”¬†while keeping consistent in its downtrodden feel to work with her main outfit. Influences were worn on her sleeve in covering¬†Townes Van Zandt‘s “Rake,” a song both¬†Wino and¬†Scott Kelly have taken on previously, and the traditional “Wayfaring Stranger” — the mere mention of which immediately sends my mind reeling back to¬†David Eugene Edwards¬†and¬†16 Horsepower‘s version on 2000’s¬†Secret South full-length, though everyone from Burl Ives¬†to¬†Neil Young has given it a shot¬†— was slowed-down and given due melancholy to comport with the rest of the set. A marked change in sound from the rest of the day, but more consistent in overall mood with¬†Wretch¬†than one might initially think,¬†Cottrell¬†offered a moment of clarity as¬†Vultures of Volume II¬†made ready to round out its journey on a sea of riffs.

Elder

Elder (Photo by JJ Koczan)

“Dead Roots Stirring” made for an especially righteous opener. I hadn’t seen Massachusetts trio¬†Elder since the release show for their 2015 third album,¬†Lore (review here), which continues to rightly garner praise from all corners of the globe and has positioned the three-piece as headliners for the first time both on tour and at fests like this one. They are quite possibly the East Coast’s most pivotal up and coming act at this point — the great heavy hope of an entire seaboard’s next-gen scene — and with¬†Lore, they’ve moved into a progressive style that’s entirely their own without giving up the sonic impact of their earlier work. And where the turns of “Compendium” were somewhat choppy back in March, two full tours (US and EU) later, they’re no less fluid than was “Dead Roots Stirring” at the start or “Release” from their 2012¬†Spires Burn/Release EP (streamed here), guitarist/vocalist¬†Nick DiSalvo having apparently long since mastered the complex notations of his own design while bassist¬†Jack Donovan and drummer¬†Matt Couto held together the tight turns of that song and “Spirit at Aphelion,” also from the new album. Between songs,¬†DiSalvo apologized to anyone who might’ve run into the band the night before, and that got a laugh from the crowd who had very clearly stuck around to see them specifically. They’ve grown not just tighter on the more recent songs, but in terms of their stage presence as well, and particularly with¬†Donovan¬†and¬†Couto, they were so locked in that they didn’t even really have to look at each other to know where they were and where they were going. That kind of chemistry only really develops with touring acts, which of course¬†Elder have become, and and they continue to move forward with¬†Lore¬†and beyond, it will continue to serve them well. They are distinct sonic personalities, between¬†Couto‘s swing,¬†Donovan‘s smooth, warm-toned basslines and¬†DiSalvo‘s penchant for exploring progressive psychedelic passages, but the way they’ve come to work together is truly something special, and they showed that¬†in top form at¬†Vultures of Volume II, building and releasing tension throughout “Spirit at Aphelion” and closing out their set and the fest as a whole with “Gemini” from¬†Dead Roots Stirring¬†(review here), which seemed tailor made to be suited to the task. They’re still growing. They’re not done. But still, don’t be surprised a couple years from now when new bands are coming out and noodling like you hear on¬†Lore, because people have picked up in a serious way to what¬†Elder are doing. They’ll get no argument from me.

In the back of my mind I’d had the thought of starting to drive home directly after the fest ended, getting in my car and pushing through all night on the highways of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, maybe beyond. Didn’t happen. Instead, I not only went back to the hotel to crash out, but overslept and wound up making my return home even later than I’d intended. After 13 bands, the extra two hours of sleep might well have enabled my survival.

Before I wrap this up, I have to note the hard work of Kathy Reeves in putting Vultures of Volume together. No way a two-dayer like this is easy to make happen, but she pulled it off and made it look that way anyhow. Job well done, and thanks for having me down for the reminder of just how unique and welcoming the Maryland heavy scene is.

Thanks also to Darin McCloskey, Matt Dayton, Mike Smith, Fanny Shamer, Ron McGinnis, Jaki Cunha, Dustin Davis, Chris Wolfe, Don Welch, Lisa Hass, Melanie Streko, Jon Pacella, Jim Forrester, H√•kan Nyman, Kesha Atwood Nyman, Elyse Mitchell, Ron, Andrew Thornhill, Nick DiSalvo, Jack Donovan, Matt Couto (though, man, those are some fierce looks in those shots), and everyone else whose names I’ll hope to add over the next however long.

Most of all, thanks again to you for reading. More pics after the jump.

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Wizard Eye Self-Titled Due Oct. 10

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Philly psych-sludge rollers Wizard Eye first announced their alliance with Black Monk Records this past Spring, and¬†the vinyl of their self-titled sophomore full-length has just been given a solid Oct. 10 release date through the label. It’s been five years since the three-piece (who then had a different lineup) issued their¬†Orbital Rites¬†debut, and I’m not saying I’ve heard the new record or anything, but it smokes the first one.

Seriously. Rolls it up and smokes it. Puff puff.

More to come, but for now here’s cover art and album info — including the rather impressive CV of festivals the band has played — as seen on the PR wire:

WIZARD EYE WIZARD EYE

WIZARD EYE: Philadelphia Psychedelic Rock Trio To Unleash New Full-Length This Fall Via Black Monk Records

Philadelphia psychedelic rock trio, WIZARD EYE, will release its self-titled new full-length this Fall via Black Monk Records. Recorded in three days at Haddon Heights, New Jersey’s Gradwell House Studios with the imminently irascible and talented Steve Poponi behind the board and mastered by Dave Downham, the long-awaited follow-up to the band’s 2010 Orbital Rites debut takes WIZARD EYE’s signature brand of mind-bending riffs and kaleidoscopic soundscapes to a new level of titanic glory. A fusion of bottom-heavy grooves, fiery fuzz, churning bass, otherworldly effects and raw vocals with roots still planted firmly into the lysergic soil of ’70s acts like Hawkwind, Budgie, Blue Cheer, Captain Beyond, Mot√∂rhead and Black Sabbath, Wizard Eye shows the band operating at the pinnacle of its creative and musical abilities.

Wizard Eye Track Listing:
1. Eye Of The Deep
2. Flying Falling
3. Phase Return
4. Graybeard
5. Drowning Daydream
6. My Riposte Is Like Lightning
7. Nullarbor
8. Thunderbird Divine
9. Stoneburner

Since forming in 2008, the members of WIZARD EYE have put in countless hours honing their musical craft performing venues throughout the mid-Atlantic region sharing stages with the likes of Wino, Church Of Misery, Gates Of Slumber, Black Tusk, Sourvein, Sixty Watt Shaman, Karma To Burn, Pale Divine, Unorthodox, Lo Pan and countless others. The band has become a staple of the festival circuit, projecting its strength across stages for events like The Stoner Hands Of Doom, Eye Of The Stoned Goat, Autumn Screams Doom, Moving The Earth, Feast Of Krampus, Sludgement Day and Vultures Of Volume. Wizard Eye is the long-awaited release from a band whose time has come.

Wizard Eye will be released via Black Monk Records on October 10th, 2015 digitally and on limited-edition swirled vinyl with preorders and teaser tracks to be unveiled shortly.

WIZARD EYE:
Erik – guitar, theremin, vocals
Dave – bass, vocals
Mike – drums, percussion

https://www.facebook.com/wizardeye
https://wizardeye.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BlackMonkRecords
https://www.facebook.com/vinylaltar
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Gradwell-House/195259500617649

Wizard Eye, Riff Occult Live (2014)

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Moving the Earth Fest III Set for June 6 with Borracho, Mos Generator and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 6th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

The same tour that’s bringing¬†Mos Generator¬†and¬†Wounded Giant¬†east for the¬†Eye of the Stoned Goat¬†out on Long Island will also make a stop at¬†Moving the Earth III¬†in Baltimore. The West Coast acts will top the bill, which is rounded out by a who’s-who of Baltimore and nearby bringers of heavy, including Philly’s¬†Wizard Eye¬†and Delaware’s¬†Wasted Theory. I’m expecting news any minute now about the new Foghound¬†record, and they just played¬†Sludgement Day¬†in MD as well and will also be at the¬†Maryland Doom Fest. I’d paint it as different festivals vying for supremacy — I haven’t mentioned Autumn Screams Doom¬†or¬†Vultures of Volume¬†yet —¬†but I think it’s more just that there’s a ton of killer heavy shit from Baltimore and the surrounding area, so getting together a bill of seven or 15 or 30 righteous acts makes more sense than not. Hell, if I lived there, I’d probably do it too. Plus, the door’s dirt cheap, so what the hell?

Lineup for¬†Moving the Earth III¬†and poster by Bill Kole¬†of¬†Ol’ Time Moonshine¬†follows, yanked from the Thee Facebooks event page:

moving the earth iii

Moving The Earth Fest 3!!!

Saturday, June 6
The Sidebar
218 E Lexington St, Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Moving The Earth Fest’s 3rd edition features 2 kickass bands on tour from the great northwest in MOS GENERATOR and WOUNDED GIANT!!!

Moving The Earth Fest 3 headliners MOS GENERATOR ( Ripple Music/ Small Stone Records) are coming all the way from the Great Northwest to rock your face off!

Joining them on this edition are…
DC sonic bulldozers, *BORRACHO*
Delaware’s riff slinging sons-a-bitches *WASTED THEORY*
Bmores own heavy/fuzz/riff-rock destruction machine, *FOGHOUND*
Philly heavy/stoner rock spellcasters, *WIZARD EYE*
Annapolis heavy/psych mountain movers *MOUTAINWOLF*
And last but not least… Charm City’s *PEARLY GOATS* kick things off in smokin’ style!

DJ EL SUPRIMO
will also be spinning killer vinyl all night long between sets!

Kickass event poster by Bill Kole!

Come early, stay late! All killer, no filler!

Doors at 6pm + $13 ( cheap!)

https://www.facebook.com/events/100217793646871/
https://www.facebook.com/MovingTheEarthFestival

Borracho, “I’ve Come for it All”

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