Days of Rona: John Brookhouse of Worshipper

Posted in Features on April 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

worshipper john brookhouse

Days of Rona: John Brookhouse of Worshipper (Salem, Massachusetts)

http://sprintingharejdm.co.uk/?master-science-telecommunication-system-thesis-in - 100% non-plagiarism guarantee of custom essays & papers. Entrust your essays to the most talented writers. Find out all you have How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

We’re somewhat lucky in that we just did a tour with Weedeater that ended right about when everything got shut down, but NONE of the dates we did were cancelled (they were for Weedeater the day after we left). Toward the end there, it was a little stressful wondering if we should even be out there, seeing shows get cancelled left and right back home, but somehow our train kept a’rollin. So, we were able to do our shows and go home, unlike a lot of bands who just had to pack it up and go home.

Now that we’re back, I think we are all just trying to figure out what the hell is happening and how to adapt to this new reality. We really need to write a new record, and with all of this time on our hands, it seems like a great time to be creative… but, you know, it’s not just “free time.” I’m working from home (I design billboards, which, are more effective if people can leave their house) and am dealing with that adjustment. We’re dealing with something we’ve never dealt with before. Everyone is trying to figure out how to get by right now. It’s pretty stressful and not totally conducive to being creative, but, I did write one new tune so far, and I’ve played tons of guitar. We’re tossing some ideas around online. I pulled out my old lap steel and have been trying to actually learn some proper techniques and tunings with it. (I put up a couple one-minute Instagram vids of it.) It’s a diversion, mostly, but I’m hoping it will end up inspiring something for the next batch of tunes we do.

So far, we’ve only had one show on the horizon postponed (New England Stoner & Doom Fest 3). Beyond that, we have some stuff lined up in June that we are kind of waiting to see how things pan out for…

Health-wise, we’re all doing okay. When we left for the tour, I felt like I was fighting a cold, but managed to kick it by the second date. Bob and Jarvis had or contracted colds during the run. I can’t speak for them, but coming down with an illness on tour is bad enough, but getting sick during the early days of the shit hitting the fan with COVID had to be stressful. It was the kind of thing where you’d hear people cough or sniffle at clubs and you’d be on edge.

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In Boston, pretty much everything is shut down and people are being told to stay home until April 7, but as we all know, it changes every day. I feel like it will end up being longer. I’m in Salem, and it’s weird how it seems like there are more people out walking than usual. Not necessarily being irresponsible with social distancing, but I definitely encounter more people walking around town now than I usually do, which is starting to stress me out a little, to be honest. We all need to get a little exercise and air right now, but, seriously, stay away from me.

Hire the best dissertation report on buying behavior of fmcg productss Work with the worlds best talent on Upwork the top freelancing website trusted by over 5 million How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

It’s pretty heartbreaking to see the people and businesses immediately financially impacted by this. Especially music venues and my friends in the retail and service industries. I have seen a bunch of people rally and do online shows trying to raise money for the venues and places that have supported them, so in some ways, there are some great things happening now. Selfishly, I really miss just going record shopping and hitting Notch Brewing (my favorite local brewery) and not being afraid of getting within six feet of someone I see on the sidewalk. I think we all feel like there is just a giant gaping hole in our lives without being able to play shows or even just get together. BUT, we all need to do our part to slow the spread of this. Hopefully, we can all help get the scene back on its feet when we can get back to normal life, or whatever the new normal ends up being.

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I don’t really think my situation, personally, is more unique than anyone else’s at the moment. I am doing okay, considering, and I really just want to try and help others or help shine a light on others who may need help right now. Worshipper just got to actually FINISH our tour, and we played to more people than any of our other tours, so we are thankful and lucky for that. So, we’re just going to regroup, write some songs, and try to help out our friends right now.

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 26

Posted in Radio on January 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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Nothing says ‘welcome to a new year and new decade’ like playing a bunch of songs from the one that just ended, right? Right? I knew I should’ve gone into marketing.

Still, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the lack of how much ground was left uncovered by last month’s edition of The Obelisk Show on http://sumberfood1.com/?help-me-for-money - Start working on your assignment right away with qualified help presented by the service Find out all you need to know about Gimme Radio. It was an awesome playlist, which I’ll gladly say as the guy who made it, but two hours is just two hours. I could’ve easily gone 10. Dedicating another show to the cause, even just with one a month, seemed like a worthy endeavor. And so it was.

As I write this I’m still waiting to cut voice tracks, but you’ll notice there are only two breaks. I didn’t want to take the extra couple minutes away from music, so I thought one for each hour of the show was fair. Ain’t nobody listening for my “duh, this record’s good” level of insight, and I refuse to fool myself into thinking otherwise. But some of this stuff — Circuit Pays Dessay on our Writing Service MyEssay, that youll be proud to submit at really astounding prices in 2017 years. Become our regular customer Uncle Woe, Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, for our client we need a professional follow link. Description Provide technical writing and editing support. Stones of Babylon — is new to me. Those two were just sent my way in the last week or so, and they’ll both be covered in the Quarterly Review next week — at least I think they will; should check that list — so I thought to get them a look here as well would be cool. You’ll also notice Research Paper Citation Format - Get started with essay writing and compose greatest dissertation ever get a 100% original, plagiarism-free essay you Zone Six was reviewed this morning. Trying to keep current, at least with myself.

But in with those of course are more 2019 essentials, and I won’t list them twice when you can just read the below. All of these (the newer-to-me stuff notwithstanding) were included in the Best of 2019 feature, so I was thinking of this a little bit as a complement to that. Either way, I hope you dig it.

The Obelisk Show airs 1PM today at http://gimmeradio.com

Thanks if you get to listen.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 01.03.20

Stones of Babylon Hanging Gardens Hanging Gardens*
Church of the Cosmic Skull Everybody’s Going to Die Everybody’s Going to Die*
Year of the Cobra Into the Fray Ash & Dust
Beastwars Raise the Sword IV
Solace The Light is a Lie The Brink*
Kings Destroy Dead Before Fantasma Nera
SÂVER How They Envisioned Life They Came with Sunlight
BREAK
Green Lung Let the Devil In Woodland Rites
Magic Circle I’ve Found My Way to Die Departed Souls
Spaceslug Half-Moon Burns Reign of the Orion*
Valley of the Sun All We Are Old Gods
Worshipper Coming Through Light in the Wire
Hazemaze Lobotomy Hymns of the Damned*
Uffe Lorenzen If You Have Ghosts If You Have Ghosts
BREAK
Uncle Woe Push the Blood Back In Our Unworn Limbs
Zone Six Song for Richie Kozmik Koon

The Obelisk Show on Hello again! I Diverse Community Essay for ten pages this time. Jim. Urgent essay writing for college, outlines are available in attached pdf. I would like to use your editing service for my research paper in University, I already filled the order form so you can see my request in inbox. Assistance required to write papers as quick as two weeks. Gimme Radio airs every first Friday of the month at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is Feb. 7. Thanks for checking it out if you do.

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Worshipper Announce West Coast Touring with Horseburner & Zed

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

worshipper (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

Boston heavy rockers Assignment Ada Krauser Help - Order a 100% original, non-plagiarized paper you could only think about in our paper writing assistance All kinds of Worshipper will head out in November to the West Coast for a tour alongside West Virginia’s buy non tracable research papers Dhcp Not Assigning Ip Address star wars research paper buy college application essay john hopkins Horseburner. The bands go as ambassadors for some of the more progressive lineage of East Coast heavy, and they’ll meet up with the formidable likes of I Love To Do My Homework & Custom Term Paper Writing Service. Get term paper, essay writing help, dissertation writing and all kind of academic writing Zed and Buy Term Papers Avoid Low Grades (and Be Happy) Youre smart. You know that when you need to write phd research proposal for phd admission, you should pay attention to a variety Holy Grove while making their way south more or less along the Pacific Coast, so all the better. essay writing service uk law Singapore from the proficient writers of Singapore Assignment Help. We have a team of excellent and knowledgeable writers who know how to Worshipper issued their second album, write my law school paper Are At Your Service. Get the best academic writers currently in the business to work on your paper. Pass any plagiarism check, surprise Light in the Wire (review here), this Spring via Tee Pee Records and toured in Europe already to herald its arrival, going over with Tee Pee Records labelmates The Skull and making a stop at Desertfest Berlin. They also played the inaugural Desertfest New York at the end of April, so yeah, pretty big year for these cats, who earn every bit of acclaim they get, even when it’s my own hyperbole-laden praise.

They’re sneaking in two East Coast dates with Horseburner as well before the two groups point their wagons west, and one’s at Ralph’s in Worcester, MA, and one’s at The Well in Brooklyn, where they played for Desertfest. See them wherever and whenever you can.

Here you go:

WORSHIPPER POSTER title=

WORSHIPPER – TOUR ALERT

We will be hitting the West coast again soon with our good buddies Horseburner and (sometimes) ZED. (Plus a couple bonus East coast dates!) STOKED.
————-
WORSHIPPER / HORSEBURNER
DESCEND ON THE WEST 2019

Sat, Nov 9 – Substation, Seattle, WA
Sun, Nov 10 – High Water Mark, Portland, OR (w/ Holy Grove)
Mon, Nov 11 – Luckey’s Club, Eugene, OR
Wed, Nov 13 – Elbo Room Jack London, Oakland, CA (w/ ZED)
Thurs, Nov 14 – Count’s Vamp’d, Las Vegas, NV (w/ Zed)
Fri, Nov 15 – The Lexington, Los Angeles, CA (w/ Zed & Goliathan)
Sat, November 16 – Pour House, Oceanside, CA (w/ Zed)

ADDITIONAL EAST COAST SHOWS w/ HORSEBURNER & Godmaker:
Thu, Oct 10 – Ralph’s Diner, Worcester, MA (w/ the Turbos)
Fri, Oct 11 – The Well, Brooklyn, NY

Worshipper features Alejandro Necochea (lead guitar / synth), John Brookhouse (vocals / guitar), Dave Jarvis (drums) and Bob Maloney (vocals, bass).

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Worshipper, Light in the Wire (2019)

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Here’s the Bio I Wrote for Worshipper’s Light in the Wire

Posted in Features on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Today marks the release date of Worshipper‘s second album, Light in the Wire (review here). Out on Tee Pee Records, it lands immediately following the return of the Boston four-piece from a European tour alongside labelmates The Skull that included stops at Desertfest in London and Berlin to follow-up on both bands’ appearance at the inaugural Desertfest NYC a few weeks back (review here).

The release will be celebrated tonight in Cambridge, MA, with a live in-store performance at Newbury Comics in Harvard Square. The retail outlet also has an exclusive color vinyl edition available that looks just lovely in the pictures that I’ve seen. I was fortunate enough to be asked when they were putting the promo package together to write the bio for the album, and I did so happily.

For the occasion of the release, here’s that bio I wrote, as it appears currently on their Bandcamp page:

worshipper light in the wire

Worshipper – Light in the Wire bio

Whatever frame you want to give it, Worshipper’s story is one of growth. What started four years ago with a couple digital singles has blossomed — yes, blossomed — into an expansive and individualized sound that’s like nothing else in heavy rock and roll. With patient and graceful songwriting, and thoughtful, detailed arrangements, the Boston-based four-piece bring something new to the hordes of those building altars to the capital ‘r’ Riff. Their second album, Light in the Wire, presents a progressive vision that’s not just about “oh hey we threw a keyboard on some guitar,” but instead bleeds into every melody, every smoothly-delivered rhythmic change, and every performance captured on the recording.

Worshipper’s first album, Shadow Hymns, came out in 2016 on Tee Pee, and they followed it with the 2017 covers EP Mirage Daze, a four-song jaunt exploring influences like Pink Floyd, The Who, Uriah Heep and doom rockers The Oath. That release gave new context to Shadow Hymns, and it informs Light in the Wire as well, though with the new LP, Worshipper are most recognizable as themselves.

Led by would-be-reluctant-were-it-not-for-all-that-pesky-stage-presence frontman John Brookhouse (guitar/vocals/synth), with Alejandro Necochea on lead guitar/synth, Bob Maloney on bass and backing vocals and Dave Jarvis on drums, Worshipper recorded Light in the Wire with Chris Johnson (also of Deafheaven, Summoner, etc.) at GodCity Studios and The Electric Bunker. Their intention to capture a sonic narrative has resulted in a fluidity tying the two sides of the album together even as individual pieces stand out with a sheen of classic heavy metal, rock, psychedelia and prog. At the center, always, is the crafting of the songs themselves, so that each verse isn’t simply a placeholder for the next hook, but a statement unto itself, and each solo drips soul rather than devolving into a needless showcase of wankery.

Light in the Wire not only sees Worshipper grow as songwriters and performers, but it expands the palette they’re working with to do that. A stage-born chemistry pervades their musical conversation, but even more, the confidence with which they take on darkness and light, weight and drift, brings into focus how faithworthy their sound has become. They may push farther still, but hearing Light in the Wire leaves no question of their realization.

-JJ Koczan

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Worshipper, Light in the Wire (2019)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 15

Posted in Radio on April 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

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It was last Friday about an hour before I had to head out for the start of Desertfest NYC that I cut the voice breaks for this episode, once again on my phone, while in transit. I did the same thing last time and it sounded like crap. I know the stakes are pretty low — that is, nobody really cares — but if you’re going to do a thing, at least try to do it well. I backed off the phone this time and hopefully that cut some of the overmodulation in my voice.

I say “hopefully” because I actually haven’t heard the show yet. I was at the fest on Sunday while it aired, so I’ll be catching the rerun at 9AM this Thursday when that’s on. This is the 15th episode of The Obelisk Show and it’s been an exceptionally busy few weeks, but it’s still fun to put together, and there were some killer tracks included this time from Worshipper, Abrahma, Molasses, Stone Machine Electric, The Well, Kandodo, Methadone Skies, and so on. Any opportunity to throw in some Øresund Space Collective makes me happy, so that was a must, and I was kind of also doing myself a favor in including Natas as the “classic track” (yay! classic track!) for the episode.

So basically, unless I crapped it up, at least the music is good. That’s what matters anyhow, or so I’m told.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.28.19

Pelican Midnight and Mescaline Nighttime Stories*
Abrahma Lost Forever In Time for the Last Rays of Light*
Worshipper Coming Through Light in the Wire*
BREAK
Molasses Drops of Sunlight Mourning Haze*
Los Mundos Subterráneo Mar Jurásico Calor Central*
Kandodo King Vulture K3*
Omen Stones Fresh Hell Omen Stones*
The Well This is How the World Ends Death and Consolation*
BREAK
Natas Samurai Delmar
Smear Old Town A Band Called Shmear*
Methadone Skies Where Were You When We Were into the Void? Different Layers of Fear*
Stone Machine Electric Purgatory Darkness, Dimensions, Disillusion*
BREAK
Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens Freak Out in the Fjord*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Thursday at 9AM. Next show is April 28. Thanks for listening if you do.

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Live Review: Desertfest NYC Night Two, 04.27.19

Posted in Reviews on April 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Windhand (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Well — not to be confused with the Austin, Texas, band of the same name — is around the corner from where The Acheron used to be in Brooklyn and there still stands The Anchored Inn as a congregation point. I was there for not the day’s first cup of coffee before day two of the inaugural Desertfest NYC kicked off back at the venue. It was cloudy and the air was chilled — April in New York — but by the time Electric Citizen were done, the sun was out and would remain so for the bulk of the day. That helped all the more since the main stage was outside.

A large tent was erected on an expansive enclave of a patio space. In back was the merch area, seating at picnic tables and along the other side there was a bar, taco stand, and the raised shipping container up some stairs that had been converted to a backstage lounge, complete with deck. The vibe was immediately relaxed and cool, with another bar inside and the second stage, in a smaller room off to the side of The Well‘s main corridor. My first time in the space, and it seemed ready for the event from its basic structure to the tent outside, though if Desertfest NYC is going to be an annual event, they’ll need a bigger one.

The afternoon kicked off soon enough, but though the venue switched from the Saint Vitus Bar the evening prior, the mood around was much the same. It was something Ron Holzner of The Skull would effectively summarize in saying, “About damn time we had a European festival come to the States. A sign of good things to come.” One hopes he’s correct in the foresight.

It was a packed nine-band day, mostly alternating back and forth between the stages, and it went vaguely like this:

Electric Citizen

Electric Citizen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It had been a few years since I last caught Ohio heavy rockers Electric Citizen, but their 2018 album, Helltown (review here), was a stripped down and switched on groover that at the same time offered the band’s most developed sense of melody yet, so yes, it was something to look forward to. I don’t think they were helped by the early slot, but with the bill as stacked as it was, there wasn’t really anywhere else to put them. There was, fortunately, a good crowd to start the day off, and that only grew in number as the RidingEasy Records five-piece went on, their sound pulling elements from cult rock, glam, doom and proto-metal in order to create a brew that’s readily familiar and nuanced at the same time. They played as a five-piece, with keys alongside the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and frontwoman Laura Dolan noted from the stage that this was their sendoff for a European tour. They’ll spend the month of May in the UK and EU, playing Desertfest in London and Berlin as well as other dates before and after. They sounded ready to go, to say the least.

Tower

Tower (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Immediately after Electric Citizen wrapped on the main stage, the second stage launched with the classic metal stylings of Tower, who continue a tradition of gritty NY homage to the NWOBHM and early thrash that goes back pretty much to when that sound was current. There’s always been a place for that stuff in New York, and Tower represented well what Brooklyn has done in the wake of bands like Early Man in the last decade and Natur and others in this one, two guitars blazing to coincide with the first off-stage frontperson of the weekend — presumably not the last, though one never knows — and a riotous stage presence that all the more justified that spillover onto the floor. They were probably the most metal act of the day, but still well accessible to the Desertfest NYC crowd. I’ve made the argument a thousand times at this point that classic metal is the domain of the heavy underground. Tower were another notch in favor of that position, and they effectively captured the spirit of the metal to which they were paying homage via their material. Not unfamiliar, but that’s the point.

Danava

Danava (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Back on the main stage, Portland, Oregon, stalwarts Danava answered such metallurgy with a bit of boogie, a bit of NWOBHM dual-guitar action, and a lot of soul. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Danava a couple times over the years, and though my initial impression of them wasn’t positive, they’ve proven consistent in terms of the high-quality of their work on stage and off — my initial impression, in other words, was wrong. The simple fact that they haven’t put a record out in eight years and continue to get booked on shows like Desertfest NYC and Psycho Las Vegas, where they’ll play the pool party in August, should speak volumes to their continued relevance, and though they had the At Midnight You Die single (review here) out through Tee Pee in 2016, you would have to say they’re due for a record. Overdue. But they killed. Founding guitarist/vocalist Gregory Meleney warned the crowd before they played what was presumably a new song, “Nothing but Nothing,” that they might screw it up, but by all appearances they nailed it, which was basically the case for their entire set.

The Skull

The Skull (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Yeah, I know The Skull is Ron Holzner and Eric Wagner from Trouble, and I know they’ve got Rob Wrong from Witch Mountain on guitar alongside Lothar Keller and they’ve got Brian Dixon from Cathedral on drums (though it was Chad Walls for this show). They’ve got all that, and I won’t take away from anyone’s pedigree whatsoever. But you know what else The Skull have? Songs. Songs. Songs. They’ve got songs that are memorable. Songs that stay with you after you put the album down and move onto the next thing. Songs that, when they play them on stage, you go, “Oh shit yeah, this song!” as I did when they launched into “When the Sun Turns Black” from their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) and the title-track of last year’s follow-up, The Endless Road Tuns Dark (review here). Stage presence is a factor, of course, and if you’re going to call anyone in American doom a supergroup, it’s probably fair to do so for The Skull, but whatever they do, their foundation is there in the songs, and it’s the songs that carry them most of all. They were and are the best example I can think of for a band building something new out of a storied legacy.

Worshipper

Worshipper (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Boston’s Worshipper packed the second stage room beyond capacity — there was a line out the door to get in — and played like a band who are about to release one of the best records of the year, which they are in the form of their second album, Light in the Wire (review here). They opened with “Visions from Beyond” and “Coming Through” from that offering and gave a preview of what they’re soon to take on the road in Europe with their Tee Pee labelmates in The Skull — they too will be at Desertfest‘s London and Berlin editions — as guitarist John Brookhouse and bassist Bob Maloney proffered dead-on vocal harmonies on material new and old, guitarist Alejandro Necochea tore into leads and offered more harmony alongside Brookhouse‘s guitar, and drummer Dave Jarvis pushed the entire thing forward, grounding the psychedelic stretches and keeping momentum on their side, which it was for the duration. They were the band I was most looking forward to in the lineup for the day, particularly in light of their new album, and they very clearly played to the momentousness of the occasion at the first American Desertfest. It was the kind of thing I’ll be glad to have seen.

Weedeater

Weedeater (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Some technical trouble with the bass amp before Weedeater went on, but plenty of shenanigans to fill the time and bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Colins spat out auctioneer’s chatter and lines like “crack rocks” and “wow, wow, mom” in checking the mic. The North Carolinian trio — Collins, guitarist Dave “Shep” Shepherd, drummer Ramsey Ateyeh (I think; someone please correct me if I’m wrong) — are on a forever-tour, their last record, Goliathan (review here), having come out in 2015, but they absolutely packed that tent and people went apeshit for them to the point that, when I went into the photo pit later for Windhand, the barricade had moved up in front of the stage to the point that there was no more access to the other side. Weedeater do nothing but deliver, and I know Dixie is kind of playing to character, but dude is working from the moment he hits stage to the moment he leaves. He’s the James Brown of sludge, and Weedeater‘s legend has grown all the more over their nearly-25-years because of that. They played the songs they always play, they kicked ass like they always do, and they proved once more that there’s only ever been and there only ever will be one Weedeater. Accept no substitutes.

Mirror Queen

Mirror Queen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Let’s face it: you’re never going to beat Weedeater at their own game. Luckily for all involved, Mirror Queen were on a different wavelength entirely. Their progressive-tinged classic heavy rock is a staple of New York’s underground, and with guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal‘s dual-role as the head of Tee Pee Records, their inclusion was all the more fitting. The four-piece, with Morgan McDaniel on guitar, James Corallo on bass and Jeremy O’Brien on drums, bounced and careened through a set that acquitted them well with the Desertfest crowd — doubly fortunate since they’ll be in Berlin soon enough — and asked nothing by way of indulgence while bringing to bear material of melody and weight that wanted neither in perspective or delivery. Mirror Queen have been around, and have had their share of lineup turnover, but the band as they are now was only engaging, and to those familiar with them and not in the crowd, they were a return to consciousness after the bash over the head that the main stage had just delivered. Heavy rock and roll is always welcome, and Mirror Queen were a fitting reminder why.

Windhand

Windhand (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Like Weedeater before them, like Black Cobra the night prior and like Monolord and Elder to follow the next day, Windhand were not an unknown quantity, but for a festival brand feeling its way out in a hard city, they made perfect sense for the bill, and their doom was absolutely massive in the tent that held the main stage. I had been thinking after The Skull played that there was no doom left for anyone else — and certainly Windhand‘s 2018 album, Eternal Return (review here), had more going on than just that — but the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece managed to scrape enough together in order to feel like they were burying the crowd alive in low end. I will gladly argue for Windhand as being among the most important bands of their generation, particularly for those who’ve come up since and have taken influence from the sense of atmosphere they bring to their material in the studio and on stage, and though they had a hard act to follow on the main stage, they lived up to even the mighty expectations that are placed on them at this point wherever they go. They are a headlining band, full stop. They’ve worked hard to become one, and they deserve every bit of significant acclaim they’ve garnered over the years, while still sounding like they want nothing more than to move forward.

Steak

Steak (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Ambassadors from London’s populous heavy underground, Steak were nothing short of a refreshing way to close out the night. They’ve been a staple act of Desertfest London, which guitarist Reece Tee is also involved in organizing via Desertscene, as he was with Desertfest New York, so like Mirror Queen, they also had a family connection to the proceedings, but even their soundcheck drew a crowd keyed in to the fuzz tone and heavy roll they let loose. They were not halfway through the first song before frontman Chris “Kippa” Haley was standing on the front-of-stage riser, and he’d spend a goodly portion of the set up there, toasting the crowd and personifying the entire band’s really-glad-to-be-here mood, which was infectious. They too packed out the second stage room and held the crowd for the duration, begging a revisit for 2017’s No God to Save (review here) and showing off the development in their dynamic since which is set to manifest on their next record, due out before they play Keep it Low in Munich this October. Seeing them live for the first time in I don’t even want to count how many years only made me look forward to that more, whenever and however it might actually show up, and for the first Desertfest New York, they hit stage like a mission statement of what the festival brand is all about, from top to bottom. It was right on and then some.

It was not a small amount of day. As of now, it’s about two hours until it’s time to get back on the road from New Jersey to Brooklyn for the third and final round with Desertfest New York. The weather thus far seems to be uncooperative, but we’ll see how it all pans out this afternoon. Shower first. Shower first.

That’ll be good.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Review & Track Premiere: Worshipper, Light in the Wire

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

worshipper light in the wire

[Click play above to stream ‘Visions from Beyond’ from Worshipper’s new album, Light in the Wire, out May 17 on Tee Pee Records. European tour dates here.]

“Become one with the circuit/Come alive with a purpose/You are light in the wires/Transcend, higher and higher,” croons Worshipper frontman John Brookhouse on the mid-paced pluralized-title-track “Light in the Wires” from his band’s second album, Light in the Wire. Brookhouse, guitarist Alejandro Necochea, bassist Bob Maloney and drummer Dave Jarvis make their return through Tee Pee Records and find a suitable home for their richly melodic, guitar-based proggy heavy rock, seeming to draw influences from across decades — and no, that’s not limited to the ’70s and ’90s, as one might usually expect; there’s an unmistakable ’80s sheen to the sound, and the interplay of humans and technology is as much of a theme as I could possibly think of for the aughts, unless they wanted to write about needless war — to create a sound that’s forward thinking, impeccably modern, righteously arranged, sharply executed, and engaging in its craft and structure, with verses, choruses, solos aplenty and an overarching atmosphere that all work to pull the listener in further as the band progresses.

It feels like a relatively quick turnaround but isn’t for Worshipper, whose debut, Shadow Hymns (review here), was released through Tee Pee in 2016 and who also had the Mirage Daze EP (review here) out last year as a stopgap with covers of Uriah Heep, The Oath, Pink Floyd and The Who, but more important than the span of time between records is the clear growth the Boston-based outfit have undertaken since their first record. They’ve had songwriting on their side since their 2015 singles, Black Corridor b/w High Above the Clouds (review here) and Place Beyond the Light b/w Step Behind (discussed here), but as dynamic tracks like “Wither on the Vine” and the second cut “Who Holds the Light” demonstrate, the level at which they’re working has simply become more complex and more cohesive at the same time. Worshipper‘s identity as a band, and more, their identifiability — that is, the “hear a song and know it’s them” factor — is more prevalent and offers more depth throughout Light in the Wire, and with that same foundation in craft and performance supporting that the first album made so plain, it is the work of a band beginning to realize their potential and one of the best albums of 2019. “Come alive with a purpose.” And so they have.

They make that clear early on in opening with “Coming Through.” Also the longest track on Light in the Wire (immediate points), it is the proverbial closer-as-opener, with a stirring build to its crescendo beginning at about the halfway point that consumes much of the rest of what follows, a resonant sense of melody throughout and a style that blends psychedelia, heavy rock, cult riffing, classic metal and probably six or seven other factors that blend together naturally to give Worshipper their own style. Whatever else it might be, it is guitar rock, most certainly. Necochea is a six-stringer’s six-stringer, and his interaction with Brookhouse‘s melodies is a big part of what makes Light in the Wire — and “Coming Through” at the outset — so fluid. That’s not to minimize the work of Maloney on bass or backing vocals or Jarvis on drums, just to note that it’s called “lead guitar” for a reason, and “Coming Through” very much sets that tone for the rest of the record to follow, as well as establishing the science-fiction thematic that continues to play out loosely to some degree or other in tracks “Lights in the Wire,” “Visions from Beyond” and closer “Arise.”

worshipper (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

In terms of lyrics, these ideas are brought into an interpersonal context, so Worshipper aren’t just talking about uploading your consciousness into the cloud and attaining digital immortality, but approaching these concepts from a perspective based around the human heart. That suits the emotionality of Brookhouse‘s vocals well, and in songs like “Nobody Else,” which follows “Who Holds the Light” as side A plays out, that plays a forward role in the delivery of the songs while also setting up the easy flow into the subdued beginning of “Light in the Wires,” which slows down the forward push but still moves readily and gives way to “Visions from Beyond” with the kind of smooth transition that argues for linear formats. Otherwise, “Visions from Beyond” starts side B with a subtle urgency to its central riff and rhythm and one of Light in the Wire‘s strongest hooks.

Plenty of competition in that regard, but the turns from “Nobody Else” to “Light in the Wires” and “Visions from Beyond” should serve to emphasize the reach that Worshipper have made their own here. While remaining consistent in tone, they’ve massively expanded their sound, and done so with confidence and poise enough to actually pull it off. “It all Comes Back” ups the tempo in its central progression and features some highlight bass from Maloney in its second half before turning back to the guitar to show the way out, and the arrival of “Wither on the Vine” with a stomping riff that immediately conjures images of early-’80s Iommi feels like a landmark indeed for the entire album. Momentum is long since on Worshipper‘s side, and they make the most of it in the 6:37 cut, playing with pace and melody while holding to that central figure on a long fade that mirrors what “Coming Through” did at the beginning of the record as it provides a seeming apex for the end of it. That would seem to make “Arise” something of an afterthought, which it isn’t really, despite a more straightforward progression and a right-on wash of crash from Jarvis behind the lumbering guitars.

Another particularly Sabbathian riff — I’m thinking Vol. 4, but could be the mid-’70s era — serves as the foundation for the finale, and Worshipper seem happy to ride that groove all the way through, leaving the listener off with some residual amp noise feeling refreshed and, as perhaps was the intent, not overwhelmed by the twists and turns preceding. It’s almost as though in putting the closer first with “Coming Through,” they also decided to put what would otherwise be the rocking opener “Arise” as the closer. Tricky, tricky. Bottom line, it works, and it’s another example of Worshipper knowing just what the album needs not only to stand out from its predecessor or the heavy rock underground at large, but to create a more memorable impression generally as an entire piece. Light in the Wire very much functions in that way, and while that leads one to wonder if a concept record might be in their future, what matters now is the sheer accomplishment Worshipper have made with these songs and how they’re put together. That is not a minor consideration, and if Light in the Wire has any core statement to make, it’s that Worshipper are onto something that could be really special. I don’t know about becoming one with the circuit, but there would seem to be plenty of transcendence to go around.

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Worshipper Stream “Coming Through” from Light in the Wire out May 17; UK & Europe Touring with The Skull

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

worshipper (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

I keep a running list of what I think are the best songs of the year. The standouts of the standouts. The first entry I put on that list this year was the track you can hear at the bottom of this post. Titled “Coming Through” — Sligo all day — the song begins Worshipper‘s upcoming second album, Light in the Wire, and is both forward-thinking in its progressivism and growth from their first record and still rooted in a memorable structure such that as the band’s craft expands, it doesn’t lost its heart. Couple that with the performance the four-piece bring to it, and yeah, I’ll put it down as one of the best songs I’m gonna hear this year, absolutely. Only one way to find out if you agree.

Light in the Wire is out May 17 through Tee Pee Records, and in addition to playing Desertfest New York in April, Worshipper will hit the road for 10 days in Europe with labelmates The Skull and make stops at Desertfest in London and Berlin as well.

The PR wire has all the info:

worshipper light in the wire

Worshipper to Release New LP, ‘Light in the Wire’, May 17

Through its unique mix of contemporary and classic influences, Boston’s Worshipper proves that the fiery soul of melodic heavy music still burns brightly. The award-winning band takes all the fragments we love about legendary metal groups and molds them into shining shards of standout R’N’R. Worshipper will release its new LP, ‘Light in the Wire’, on May 17 via Tee Pee Records. The record is the full-length follow up to Worshipper’s 2016 debut, ‘Shadow Hymns.’

A sneak-peek as to what ‘Light in the Wire’ holds in store can be heard now, as Worshipper has made the album’s lead track, “Coming Through” available for streaming.

On its glowing new LP, ‘Light in the Wire’, Worshipper rocks like a hurricane as its high energy songs surge behind standout songwriting, shredding solos and memorable melodies. Classic rock-inspired arrangements meet modern rock creativity when Worshipper cranks it to 11. Worshipper recorded ‘Light in the Wire’ with Chris Johnson (also of Deafheaven, Summoner, etc.) at GodCity Studios and The Electric Bunker with the intention to capture a sonic narrative resulting in a fluidity tying the two sides of the album together even as individual pieces stand out with a sheen of classic heavy metal, rock, psychedelia and prog.

Worshipper will kick off live dates in support of ‘Light in the Wire’ with a performance at the inaugural Desertfest New York, set to take place April 26-28 in Brooklyn. For more details, visit this location.

Track listing:
1.) Coming Through
2.) Who Holds the Light
3.) Nobody Else
4.) Light in the Wires
5.) Visions From Beyond
6.) It All Comes Back
7.) Wither on the Vine
8.) Arise

Pre-order ‘Light in the Wire’ at this location.

Worshipper w/ The Skull:
05.01 – TBA
05.02 – Brussels, Belgium @ Magasin 4
05.04 – London, Desertfest @ The Underworld Camden
05.05 – Berlin, Desertfest @ The Arena
05.07 – TBA
05.08 – Goteborg, Sweden @ Truckstop Alaska
05.09 – TBA
05.10 – Helsinki, Finland
05.11 – Sala, Sweden @ Rockland

Worshipper features Alejandro Necochea (lead guitar / synth), John Brookhouse (vocals / guitar), Dave Jarvis (drums) and Bob Maloney (vocals, bass).

Worshipper, “Coming Through”

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