Friday Full-Length: 16 Horsepower, Folklore

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

16 Horsepower, Folklore (2002)

I suppose the first question when it comes to 16 Horsepower‘s fourth and final long-player, Folklore, is whether it’s an album, since less than half of it is original material from the band. Based in Denver, Colorado, the band got their start in 1992 and would release Folklore a decade later through Glitterhouse and Jetset Records, even as frontman/principal songwriter David Eugene Edwards had already begun his next project, Wovenhand. With Folklore, Edwards and the original trio lineup of the band — drummer Jean-Yves Tola and bassist Pascal Humbert — came together to work seemingly in direct defiance to their preceding full-length, 2000’s Secret South, which had adopted a more modern style to what’s been lazily dubbed “alt country” but is really a much richer sonic pastiche, drawing from Americana, goth, folk, indeed country, rock and gospel. One might see Folklore as 16 Horsepower reclaiming their central influences in taking on traditional songs as well as Hank Williams‘ “Alone and Forsaken” and The Carter Family‘s rousing “Single Girl,” but they never fail to make any of this starting material their own, and their sound is one of such character and depth of arrangement that their take still remains original, whether it’s the accusatory “Sinnerman” late in the record or the stirring narrative of “Outlaw Song” earlier.

Of the 10 tracks, opener “Hutterite Mile,” “Blessed Persistence,” “Beyond the Pale” and the penultimate “Flutter” are 16 Horsepower compositions, credited to the band and Edwards specifically. “Outlaw Song,” “Sinnerman” and the French-language closer “La Robe a Parasol” are folk songs, and the other two inclusions are as noted above. What keeps Folklore from being an EP packed with covers, basically, is that the originals are spread across the two sides, with “Hutterite Mile” beginning the album with a deep sense of foreboding and downtrodden heart, while “Blessed Persistence” uses snare drum for tension amid strings later while its early moment jabs in jazzy fashion behind Edwards‘ vocals, keys, harmonies and so on fleshing out an arrangement that sounds minimal and isn’t at all. Elements come and go throughout — the organ on “Hutterite Mile,” the telltale banjo of “Outlaw Song,” the consuming cello in the chorus of “Alone and Forsaken,” and the chorus of voices on “Single Girl” on side A, piano and backward cymbals on “Beyond the Pale,” string drones on “Horse Head Fiddle,” acoustic guitar in “Sinnerman,” piano and strings on “Flutter” and accordion on “La Robe a Parasol” on side B — but the entire spirit of Folklore is about nothing so much as the songs themselves. That is, though Edwards is a significant presence on guitar, banjo, vocals, and so on, even he seems to approach this material with a sense of reverence. And fair 16 horsepower folkloreenough, since that goes back to 16 Horsepower returning to their roots, but the care and craft put into making these tracks still can’t be called anything other than progressive in the final result, whatever other genre tags with which one might want to saddle them. There are many that would apply, if incompletely.

Each half of Folklore ends in joy. “Single Girl” arrives after the gorgeous and sad “Alone and Forsaken” and takes the country strum of the Carter Family original and layers Edwards‘ vocals on top for a loyalist chorus effect that begs singing along. Likewise, “La Robe a Parasol” appears after arguably the darkest stretch of material 16 Horsepower ever produced in “Beyond the Pale,” “Horse Head Fiddle,” “Sinnerman” and “Flutter.” Certainly there’s a groove underlying “Horse Head Fiddle” and “Flutter,” but the emotional and atmospheric weight with which they’re executed is crushing, and “La Robe a Parasol” offers 2:15 of escapist snare-brush shuffle and accordion, drunkard’s French and backing woops and hollers to underscore the at-the-fair feel. Side A undergoes a similar shift, to be sure, as it heads toward “Single Girl,” but “Hutterite Mile” — the lines, “It’s only misery/It’s only ankle-deep,” some of the most efficient lyric-writing I’ve ever heard — and “Outlaw Song” and “Blessed Persistence” and even “Alone and Forsaken” aren’t as dark as what the second half of Folklore has on offer. It’s a question of ambience in some respect, but side B simply pushes further into whatever unseen reaches of the American plains the band are traveling. “Horse Head Fiddle” is perhaps the most experimentalist moment on Folklore, with flute, string drones, layers of noise and vocals all too obscure to be readily discernible, and by comparison, “Sinnerman”‘s interwoven dual-track verses are resoundingly straightforward. The underlying structure of Folklore, though, is a tapestry. Of originals and choice covers and folk songs all brought into a singular context the likes of which 16 Horsepower had never built before and never would again. My understanding is that when it came out, response was mixed, but of all the work 16 Horsepower did during their time together, Folklore has arguably held up best — though I won’t take away from Secret South or 1997’s Low Estate or ’95’s Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes either, frankly — perhaps as a result of seeming so out of its own time in the first place.

As mentioned, it’s the band’s final studio outing. They would follow it with a compilation titled Olden the next year, but by then, Edwards already had two Wovenhand releases out in the 2002 self-titled debut (discussed here) and 2003’s Blush Music, and that band would ultimately take priority, going on to issue 10 albums moving in an increasingly heavy direction from their neo-folk beginnings. The latest of those albums, 2016’s Star Treatment (review here), is the most outwardly heavy work they’ve done, but it still retains a tie both to their earlier material and to 16 Horsepower‘s roots as shown on Folklore, with Edwards‘ inimitable style as a driving force. 16 Horsepower have had periodic releases out post-breakup, with two DVDs in the mid-aughts, as well as the excellent Live March 2001 collection in 2008 and a 2CD comp of greatest hits and rare tracks, respectively, titled Yours Truly in 2011. That latter would seem to be a true signoff on the part of the band, which is fair enough, but especially listening to Folklore, it’s clear that there was still so much exploring of these ideas to do when they called it quits, even if that creative growth was taken in different directions in the years since.

I love this record.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

It’s about five-thirty in the morning. I’ve already put up two posts of the six slated for today — yesterday wound up being seven, which is a lot — and I’m still getting caught up on stuff post-Roadburn. Man, what a trip that was. So good. Every year. So good.

It happens once or twice a year that in the span of a day or two you wind up getting what you immediately know will be some of the year’s best records. For my own future reference, I’d like to note that this week albums from Slough Feg, Sun Blood Stories, Kandodo3, Slomatics, Beastwars, Zaum and Yawning Man came in for future coverage. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a week where I’ve ended up so happy to check my email.

Ah, the baby’s getting up.

Okay, I’ll keep it short then. Notes for next week, cut and paste right from the document. Next week rules:

MON 04/22 LOS MUNDOS ALBUM STREAM/GETAWAY VAN VIDEO PREMIERE

TUE 04/23 ALTAR OF OBLIVION ALBUM STREAM

WED 04/24 WORSHIPPER TRACK PREMIERE

THU 04/25 STONE MACHINE ELECTRIC REVIEW/FULL STREAM

FRI 04/26 THE WELL VIDEO PREMIERE/REVIEW

As you can see, I have no set format for these things. I just put them in all caps and hope to remember them when the time comes. Being a one-man operation has its ups and downs. Doing the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch daily fanzine at Roadburn always brings those into relief, though I will note that this year particularly made me miss having a writing staff. I don’t think I could take one on here, but yeah. That’s a good bunch of people over there and I’m fortunate to work with them.

Looks like a permanent move back to New Jersey may be in the cards for this summer. I’ll keep you posted.

More on that later, I’m sure, but for now let me go grab this poor kid and start the day. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please don’t forget there’s merch at Dropout, and please don’t forget the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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The Lord Weird Slough Feg to Release New Organon in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

American traditional metal/heavy rock treasures The Lord Weird Slough Feg will issue their first LP in five years, New Organon, in June through Cruz Del Sur Music. As regards metallic righteousness, there are few of their caliber, and as they re-don their full moniker, having issued 2014’s Digital Resistance (review here) and several other outings before it as the truncated Slough Feb, one can’t help but wonder what that might mean in terms of the sound of the album itself. Certainly the fact that founding guitarist/vocalist Mike Scalzi is embracing his background in philosophy to greater degree than he has before is an interesting turn, though they’ve never exactly wanted for intellectual appeal. The life of the mind, plus riffs.

I’ll always remember what Bible of the Devil told me about Scalzi when I interviewed them in 2012. They had done some touring together, and because Slough Feg is a band with such character and because I’d never spoken to Scalzi, I asked what he was like. The answer I got was, “he suffers no fools gladly.” To sure, I’ve never had it in me to interview Scalzi since, because if I’ve ever been anything, it’s a fool. Especially on the phone.

Here’s PR wire info for the album. I already put in a request to host a track premiere, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that comes together:

the lord weird slough feg new organon

THE LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG Returns With First Album In Five Years, ‘New Organon’

“I didn’t want to just ‘put out another album,’” begins SLOUGH FEG vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi. “I remember telling people that I didn’t want to do another album just to do another album, like so often happens. So, we wrote a lot of songs and only picked the best ones.”

Such was the approach for SLOUGH FEG’s long-awaited tenth studio album, New Organon, which will see the light of day via Cruz Del Sur Music on June 14 in European territories and June 21 in North America. New Organon also marks the recording debut of drummer Jeff Griffin (who split studio duties with John Dust) and joins Scalzi and longtime members Angelo Tringali (guitar) and Adrian Maestas (bass).

New Organon is another definitive statement from one of America’s most enduring and unique true metal bands, whose penchant for THIN LIZZY-inspired guitar harmonies and Scalzi’s timeless storytelling has turned albums such as 2005’s Atavism, 2007’s Hardworlder and 2010’s The Animal Spirits into proto-metal bedrocks.

Since the release of 2014’s Digital Resistance, SLOUGH FEG did three touring jaunts through Europe in addition to some shorter American runs, not to mention the release of the New Organon seven-inch, which was issued last year. Scalzi freely admits that real life has gotten in the way of SLOUGH FEG making a new LP. That, and his desire to make sure the band still sounds fresh after nine studio albums. “A lot of stuff ended up on the cutting room floor,” he says. “There were some songs we tried to work out for months but ended up dropping because they bored us. We have to be excited about new songs or there’s no point in recording them. We dropped several songs I came up with and some that the other guys came up with, too. It’s tough, but sometimes you have to be honest with yourself and the people in your band and move on when an idea is not working. So, we came up with a lot of song ideas and only kept the ones that sounded exciting for months.”

In true SLOUGH FEG tradition, there is a strong theme running throughout New Organon, which was inspired by the 1620 book published by Francis Bacon of the same name. “It presents a new version of the scientific method, as originally presented by Aristotle 2,000 years earlier,” notes Scalzi, who is also a philosophy professor at a college in California. “According to Bacon and others, the science method had remained stagnant for this long period, through the middle ages and renaissance, and needed a refresher. ‘Organon’ refers to a scientific ‘instrument’ or more literally, ‘organ.’ So, it represents a new method for scientific revolution. The songs are all basically about philosophy—from my lecture notes! It starts out talking about primitive tribal society like shamanism as the first philosophers and then proceeds though the pre-Socratics era and then Plato, Aristotle, medieval catholic theology, enlightenment and then existentialist philosophy — mostly in chronological order.”

Fans of the band’s early output when they went under the extended name of THE LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG will no doubt be enthused for what’s in store on New Organon. The album has a more natural, if not “rustic” feel to it, recalling the band’s halcyon Twilight Of The Idols and Down Among The Deadmen era. “Very simply, the songs are more heavy, rough and produced rawer than the last album or two,” says Scalzi. “The themes are not about technology, but about ancient philosophy and science. It’s just more metal, but in a very primitive way — but that’s sort of our specialty anyway.”

Around the release date of New Organon, SLOUGH FEG will be trekking across the United States with labelmates SANHEDRIN. “We’ll be doing ten shows on the east coast in late May/early June, right about the time when the album comes out, including New York, Boston, Baltimore and Pittsburgh,” says Scalzi. “In early August, SANHEDRIN is going to come out we’ll do another run with them up and down the west coast.”

Track Listing:
1 Headhunter
2 Discourse on Equality
3 The Apology
4 Being and Nothingness
5 New Organon
6 Sword of Machiavelli
7 Uncanny
8 Coming of Age in the Milky Way
9 Exegesis/Tragic Hooligan
10 The Cynic

SLOUGH FEG/SANHEDRIN Tour Dates:
May 30 – Baltimore, MD, Metro Gallery
May 31- Brooklyn, NY, Saint Vitus
June 1- Montreal, QC, Bar LeRitz
June 2 – Ottawa, ON, Mavericks
June 3 – Toronto, ON, Velvet Underground
June 4 – Pittsburgh, PA, Spirit
June 5 – Detroit, MI, Sanctuary
June 6 – Cleveland, OH, Now That’s Class
June 7 – Philadelphia, PA, Kung Fu Necktie
June 8 – Boston, MA, Middle East

http://www.sloughfeg.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sloughfegofficial/
https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/blog/
https://www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic/
https://twitter.com/cruzdelsurmusic
https://cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/

Slough Feg, Digital Resistance (2014)

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Desertfest Belgium 2019: Sleep, Truckfighters, Temple Fang, Monomyth and 30,000 Monkies to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2019 banner

Even as the first-ever Desertfest New York gets ready to roll out next week and Desertfest London and Berlin prepare to follow soon thereafter, the autumnal incarnation, Desertfest Belgium 2019, has begun to unveil its lineup for this October. They had their work cut out for them in topping the 2018 lineup, but let’s face it, if you’re going to do that, announcing Sleep as a headliner right out of the gate is probably the way to go. It’s like, “Oh, well, that settles that, then. This’ll rule.” Not that the reunited Truckfighters, Monomyth, Temple Fang or even 30,000 Monkies are anything to sneeze at, but let’s face it, you don’t announce Sleep first unless you’re trying to make an impression. Mission accomplished. Impression made.

This of course will be the first of many Desertfest Belgium 2019 announcements, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if by the time October gets here, Desertfest London and Berlin are back revealing their respective lineups for 2020. The cycle is ongoing. Cyclical, you might say.

Here’s word from Antwerp:

desertfest belgium 2019 first poster

The moment you have all been waiting for! The first thing we can tell you about DFBE ’19 is that YES, your prayers have been answered. The Mighty Sleep will be headlining our Fest this year!

Of course, that’s just the first of many names. We are equally delighted to welcome back Truckfighters and the cosmic Monomyth to our stage. For more Northern heavy pysch grooves, look no further than Temple Fang. And finally, we want to introduce you to the first Belgian homebrew act for this year’s Fest: 30,000 Monkies.

And with that, the ticket sale is ON! Reduced Combi Tickets are available for a limited time only for €100, all costs included. We have also brought back the Hotel Accommodation deal, find the details on our website. Be swift to avoid disappointment, go get them tickets!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/2260579413999993/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Sleep, “Sonic Titan” live at Roadburn 2019

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Review & Track Premiere: Papir, VI

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

papir vi

[Click play above to stream “VI.I” from Papir’s new album, VI. It’s out May 10 on Stickman Records.]

The trio of trio of guitarist Nicklas Sørensen, drummer Christoffer Brøchmann Christensen and bassist Christian Becher Clausen would seem to reach a new level of maturity in their presentation on their sixth album, suitably titled VI. Issued through Stickman Records as the follow-up to their debut on the label, 2017’s V (review here), it continues the Danish instrumentalists’ progressive streak that began with their 2010 self-titled and saw them align to El Paraiso for the subsequent three studio offerings, the last of which was 2014’s IIII (review here), as well as a live album. However, it’s also a marked departure from its predecessor in terms of basic intent, and where V was a 2LP with a staggering 94-minute runtime, VI pulls back on that impulse and instead offers four tracks in an entirely more manageable 39 minutes, feeling less like a splurge and more like a quick excursion to someplace peaceful and other.

Its songs are extended enough and lush with warm crash and mellotron filling out the mix, never mind the dream-toned guitar and effects, to be genuinely immersive, but the mood for the bulk of VI is bright and creative, as though the band were looking to open a conversation or at very least elicit one among those who’d engage with their work. To call it a headphone album is basically to ask someone if they like peaceful summer afternoons, and as the band evoke Yawning Man with some slide guitar and Colour Haze in the apex of “VI.III,” even this is brought into the broader context of their own characterization. That is, Papir have their influences, but rather than work toward them, they’re using them to the band’s own ends. They’re not trying to sound like anything other than themselves, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it suits them.

That shortened runtime is crucial to the experience of the album. It was no hardship to put V on and bliss out for the duration, but part of that experience was getting lost in the flow of Papir‘s material. VI is best given a more conscious approach to shifts like the percussiveness of “VI.IV” or the linear build in “VI.II” or the interplay of drift and wash that opens with “VI.I.” And they make that easy. There is some sense of structure as “VI.I” and “VI.IV” bookend the record at 10:07 and 11:04, respectively, while both “VI.II” and “VI.III” hover on either end of the nine-minute mark, ending side A and beginning side B with a fluidity that seems to extend to the conceptual. Yes, it’s still easy to get lost in what they’re doing if that’s the way you want to go, but doing so misses out on moments like the cascading river of tone in “VI.I” as it moves toward its conclusion, or the gradual opening of “VI.II,” with a bouncing, almost playful guitar leading the way accompanied by quiet but nuanced drums.

papir

I’m not going to try to dissuade anyone from listening to VI however they want, but to just float off on Clausen‘s “VI.III” bassline misses some of the exceptional details surrounding and obvious care the band have put into crafting their work. I guess what’s most called for, then, are multiple listens. So be it. The chemistry between Sørensen, Clausen and Christensen makes that a pleasurable undertaking, to be sure, and hey, if every now and again one might return to VI for a bit of escapism, I’m nobody to call it wrong. The point is that what Papir have created something that’s worth conscious interaction. Once you’ve done that, however you want to spend your time is up to you. Perhaps most crucial, they invite multiple listens in no small part through the accessibility of these tracks and the quicker runtime of the entire affair. You could put it on twice in less than the time it would take to listen to V once. That’s a considerable change, but it shows that growth doesn’t always have to mean just doing things bigger.

Indeed, I’ll gladly argue that VI is Papir‘s most progressive work to-date in no small part because they’ve taken such a conscious step to allow for easier audience engagement. Their material is still plenty far out, of course. The jazz drumming in “VI.IV” and the consuming effects that surround it demonstrate that plainly enough. But they make it so easy to listen. And to listen again, and to listen again. It’s not just about being shorter. That’s a piece of it, but even the songs themselves seem to flesh out in a way that signals Papir reaching a new sphere of expression. They are memorable even without verse or chorus hooks, and the atmosphere they set rests easily atop the entire LP as a welcome presence. Their style has always been exploratory, and that holds true here as well, but VI is as much about being in a place as it is about finding somewhere new to go. One can hear a certain restlessness in “VI.IV” as it rounds out the album with a last, well-earned payoff and crashes out quickly to end, and that’s consistent with what Papir have done in the past, but the difference is in the context through which that moment arises.

If by the end of VI the band are ready to head elsewhere, well, they should be, but that doesn’t diminish the ground they’ve covered in the songs preceding. Rather, across “VI.I,” “VI.II,” “VI.III” and “VI.IV,” they poetically ask their listeners to join them in this space they’ve created. That they don’t ultimately stay there shouldn’t be a surprise — they’ve done nothing to this point in their career that one would call static — but there is a sense throughout of having arrived on the part of the band, and if that’s part of how their maturity comes through in the material, then it finds Papir with an individualized take born of an organic development in their sound that’s played out over their records to this point, getting them to where they are. As to where they might go, the only guess I’d hazard is “forward,” since that’s where they’ve always gone. More important for the moment is what they’ve accomplished here in terms of positioning themselves among upper echelon of European heavy psychedelia.

Papir on Thee Facebooks

Papir on Bandcamp

Papir Blogspot

Stickman Records website

Stickman Records on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records on Twitter

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Lord Vicar Premiere “Impact” Video from The Black Powder

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lord vicar

As Lord Vicar prepare the ground for the release of their fourth full-length, The Black Powder, through The Church Within Records on May 3, the Scandinavian doomers unveil their first-ever official video. “Impact” is the shortest track on The Black Powder at a tidy 2:59 — by contrast, the album opens with “Sulfur, Charcoal and Saltpeter,” which runs 17:16 — and the clip accompanying compiles footage from the studio as the band were making the record. You can see guitarist Kimi Kärki, bassist Rich Jones and drummer Gareth Millsted playing through the instrumental tracks together and vocalist Christian “Lord Chritus” Linderson adding his voice afterward, but of course it’s all edited together to give a flow, which is fair enough since flow is a major factor throughout The Black Powder as a whole.

Its nine songs run a willfully consuming 69 minutes, and if that sounds like a slog, welcome to doom. Now more than a decade removed from their debutLord Vicar The Black Powder album, Fear No PainLord Vicar have long since mastered their approach — a pedigree that includes Reverend BizarreCount Raven and Saint Vitus doesn’t hurt either — and they fill their time not with simple riff-and-nod drudgery, but with material that can’t help but be vibrant despite its so, so thoroughly doomed vibe. In that regard, as well as its lyrics, “Impact” is aptly named. It’s probably the speediest whole track on the offering, though you could get a yardstick out to measure it against “Levitation” or parts of “The Temple in the Bedrock” if you really wanted to, but more than that, it puts the emphasis on exactly what video depicts: the band, in the room, hitting it. Lord Vicar are obviously schooled in classic doom — Kärki and Chritus kind of helped shape it, especially in Europe — but don’t at all take that to mean they’re not also building something new from out of the past. In following up 2016’s Gates of Flesh (review here), the four-piece showcase a vitality that thrives in darkness and an organic doom that needs no posturing to make its aesthetic statement.

I’ll have a full review of The Black Powder on May 2 (if the current calendar holds), but in addition to the video premiere for “Impact,” Kärki was kind enough to send some comment on making the album along with the lyrics to the track. Again, there some stuff on the record that is much, much slower, so “Impact” doesn’t necessarily represent everything Lord Vicar do across that almost-70-minute stretch, but it sure is fucking righteous.

Please enjoy:

Lord Vicar, “Impact” official video premiere

Kimi Kärki on “Impact”:

I was born in Good Friday back in 1976, and have always appreciated the fact, so it’s a nice date for the video premiere.

It was a wonderful Finnish winter adventure to record our fourth album The Black Powder. Pretty much everything was done in February and March 2019, including mixing and mastering, again with Joona Lukala at Noise for Fiction. Everything is still fresh for us as well, and we can’t wait to get to play these monsters live in May! We have had a new bass player, Rich Jones, aboard for quite long now, but this is the first time he was in studio with us. We were able to hammer drums, bass and the first rhythm guitar live, and that adds a nice organic feel for the album. Gareth (Millsted, drums) was more involved in songwriting, and this time we arranged the songs quite carefully in Switzerland before hitting the studio. Chritus (vocals) lost his voice before his second studio day, but this medicine that is meant for snake bites healed him nicely!

We never did a proper video for Lord Vicar before, and decided to do it totally DIY for ’Impact’, the seventh track of the album. Studio live footage was an obvious choice for this kind of a hard rocking tune, but I also wanted to give a visual nod for the theme of mortality and how sometimes authors are forgotten and only receive proper fame post mortem. Nightmares feature heavily on this album, so this is a tribute to some artists who captured the darkness, shadows, and sheer horror in writing.

Have a Good Friday, up the hammers, down the nails!

Lyrics:
Can you feel the Earth approaching,
Red horizon turn?
Time has frozen between two worlds,
Frozen, empty mind

One thing you have surely lost,
The one thing you still yearn
Frozen people always want to
Leave this world behind

See the roof come falling down
Red horizon turning round
Broken people are earthbound
All of them will hit the ground

You were always first to go,
First to test your mind
People thought that you’d be strong
But you were first to burn

See the roof come falling down
Red horizon turning round
Broken people are earthbound
All of them will hit the ground

All of them will hit the ground
All of them supposed to heal
All of them without a sound
All of them are true and real

All of them, they will be found
All of them, they will be read
All of them below the ground
All of them will conquer death

Lord Vicar and Thronehammer live in May!
03.Mai Würzburg (D) @Immerhin
04 Mai Weikersheim (D) @Club W71
05 Mai Karlsruhe (D) @P8
06 Mai Hamburg (D) @Marx
07 Mai Szczecin (PL) @Jambar
08 Mai Berlin (D) @Slaughterhouse Moabit
09 Mai Halle (D) @Hühnermanhattan
10 Mai Oberhausen (D) @Helvete
11 Mai Tilburg (NL) @Little Devil Doom Days Festival

Lord Vicar is:
Chritus on vocals
Kimi on guitars
Milly on drums
Rich on bass

Lord Vicar on Thee Facebooks

The Church Within Records on Thee Facebooks

The Church Within Records website

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Ruff Majik Post “Gloom & Tomb” Video & Announce Tårn Album Details

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ruff majik (Photo by Christelle Duvenage)

Not really sure where to place the riffage hurling forth from Ruff Majik‘s new album, Tårn. Set for release as their first offering through Lay Bare Recordings and with a European tour presumably to be announced for the Fall given their recent Keep it Low confirmation, the album is somewhere between grit metal and doomly fuzz. Dirt doom, maybe? The groove has nasty edge, but they’re not really sludge, and the guitar cuts through raw like the best of garage heavy. I’m going to take some more time and really dig in, let it get under my fingernails, and see where we’re at, but in the meantime, Ruff Majik have a new video for “Gloom & Tomb,” which is the second song on the record after the opener, “Schizophrenic.” You’re also going to want to watch out for “Heretically Happy.” There’s some cool shit happening here.

Alright, I’ve said too much. Though before I punch out, I’m glad to see in the PR wire info below that I’m not the only one who saw the Tårn cover and thought of He-Man.

Here’s the art, album details and preorder links. Video is at the bottom of the post, as usual:

ruff majik tarn

Ruff Majik reveal artwork for Tårn and video for new single Gloom & Tomb

South African riff-mongers Ruff Majik have revealed the artwork for new album Tårn along with a video new single Gloom & Tomb. Having recently announced their signing to Dutch label Lay Bare Recordings for the vinyl release of the album and with a couple European tours already lined up, 2019 is going to be a busy year for the band.

Working closely with long-time collaborator Anni Buchner on the artwork for Tårn (Norwegian for tower), guitarist/vocalist Johni Holiday explains more about the inspiration behind it all, “We chose the image of the tarot tower for this album cover because it symbolizes crisis, liberation and sudden unforeseen change. The band has been going through these motions for a few months now, and we felt it would only be fitting. We handed that over to Anni, and she turned it into magic as usual.”

“I’ve been working with the band since their first release back in 2015, and as the music has grown and developed over time, so has the art along with it in my opinion. The artwork is a new and more colourful take on the look of the classic Tower tarot card that holds a lot of significance for the band, as well as a bit of a reference to the iconic ‘Castle Grayskull’ from He-Man. Stylistically it’s also me trying out new things with gradients and textures.” adds Anni Buchner.

Johni goes on to comment on the video,” For this video, the band decided to go for a classic karaoke style sing along look, with some intense imagery in the background. Never straying too far from the psychedelic look, the video is full of eye-catching colours and dizzying sequences”

Pre-order on vinyl Here
Pre-order digital Here

Track Listing
1. Schizophrenic
2. Gloom & Tomb
3. I’ll Dig the Grave
4. Dread Breath
5. Heretically Happy
6. Speed Hippie
7. Seasoning the Witch

Ruff Majik is:
Johni Holiday (guitar/vocals)
Jimmy Glass (bass guitar)
Ben Manchino (drums)

https://www.ruffmajik.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ruffmajik
https://twitter.com/ruff_majik
https://www.instagram.com/ruffmajik/
https://laybarerecordings.com/
https://www.facebook.com/laybarerecordings/
https://twitter.com/laybarerecs

Ruff Majik, “Gloom & Tomb” official video

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High Priest Stream Sanctum EP in Full; Out Tomorrow on Magnetic Eye

Posted in audiObelisk on April 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high priest

Rife with melody and a brooding post-grunge atmosphere, High Priest‘s new EP, Sanctum, sees release mere hours from now through Magnetic Eye Records. The April 19 offering is the band’s first for the label and follows a limited 2016 7″ — they added a few more tracks to the download — and is what might be legitimately called their debut EP. If one considers that, the grip the band has on their aesthetic is downright terrifying, balancing as it does classic doom riffing with a harder rock edge in the melodies, all the while without flogging itself into hyper-emotionalism as so many do in these after-Pallbearer times. The band’s pedigree in deathcore mongerers Like Rats isn’t really relevant sonically to what High Priest do throughout the four-track/20-minute Sanctum, but no question there’s a definite comfort level at play. That some of these guys have known each other since they were kids, as the PR wire explains below, isn’t really much of a surprise when one listens to Sanctum. They don’t at all sound like strangers who just wound up in the same band.

All the better then that bassist Justin Pence would so righteously high priest sanctumtap into his inner Cornell on opener “Descent” — and, more impressively, pull it off — or that guitarists Pete Grossmann and John Regan would so fluidly wrap their tone around the subsequent “Creature” while drummer Dan Polak thuds away behind as though his toms spent a week telling yo-mamma jokes and he’s finally getting payback. The final track of the four, “Offering,” is longer at seven minutes flat, and ties together a lot of what High Priest — who of course are not to be confused with L.A.-based High Priestess, on Ripple; though they should tour together — are doing throughout the EP, but even the NWOBHM twist in the guitars of “Paradigm” just before seem to add something new to the proceedings when the four-piece have otherwise established their modus. “Paradigm” also boasts a significant hook, but is ultimately less of an outlier for that among “Descent” and “Creature,” both of which evoke burl without getting lost in chestbeating cliche and seem to reside easily in a place where metal meets rock, rock meets doom and kick meets ass.

But not to harp on it, but the really striking factor here is the newness. Sure, that prior single came out three years ago, so High Priest have been at it for a bit, but Sanctum is still ostensibly their first EP, and while I might want to hear them get a little weirder with melody across a full-length release and change up arrangements as they hint toward between “Descent” and “Creature” here — with the guitars giving up lead position instrumentally to the bass and drums going from one song to the next — there’s no question in listening through that High Priest sound ready to give it a shot. If taking their time was what let them come up with these songs, then keep doing that, but otherwise, the sooner the better works fine for me, thanks. Oh, and make that High Priest/High Priestess tour happen too. How could you not?

Stream Sanctum in its entirety on the player below. Beneath that, you’ll find some quick comment from the band and more background off the PR wire. You know how we do.

Enjoy:

High Priest on Sanctum EP:

“This band started as an excuse to do something fun. What would all our weird influences sound like if we mashed them together? I think this record is a perfect amalgamation of that. Our only goal is for people to hear it and hopefully have as much fun listening as we have playing it. We also hope people are moved to go out and buy deep cut Thin Lizzy records and headbang to Mercyful Fate. If this record inspires one person to make something, or gets someone excited the way those records make me feel, that’s the biggest compliment we could ever get. We’re so excited for ‘Sanctum’ to see the world!”

Order Link: https://highpriestchicago.bandcamp.com/album/sanctum-ep

Although they formed in 2016, the members of Chicago’s HIGH PRIEST have known each other for a good portion of their lives. Guitarists Pete Grossmann and John Regan, singer/bassist Justin Pence and drummer Dan Polak have been playing together in various bands for over 15 years, with Grossman and Polak’s friendship going back to actual childhood (Pete remembers Dan getting the training wheels off his first bike).

Dan and John were already playing together in Southern Lord death/hardcore fusion outfit Like Rats when, during a night out seeing Electric Wizard, John yelled to Dan, “we should do a band like this!”

High Priest Sanctum was produced, engineered and mixed by guitarist Pete Grossmann at his Bricktop Recording studio in Chicago. The 4-song EP contrasts dark, soulful doom with massive riffs and delicate undertones, bringing to mind the juxtaposition of despair, hope and resignation across a foundation of churning heaviness that bands like Alice in Chains and Trouble make so appealing.

High Priest on Thee Facebooks

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High Priest on Instagram

High Priest on Bandcamp

Magnetic Eye Records website

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Atala to Release The Bearer of Light May 21; “Desolate Lands” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

atala

I haven’t even had a second to check out the video below for “Desolate Lands” yet, but trust me, I’ll get there shortly. New Atala, and new Atala on relatively short notice, is only good news. The desert-dwelling atmosphericists remain aligned to Salt of the Earth Records for The Bearer of Light, which is out May 21, and preorders for the record open this very weekend. If you didn’t hear last year’s Labyrinth of Ashmedai (review here) — also on Salt of the Earth — well, it’s not too late to get into that, but these guys never fail to move forward as a matter of course, so The Bearer of Light is one to anticipate for sure. I’ll hope to have more to come as we get closer to the release.

Guitarist Kyle Stratton had a few choice things to say about it, as per the PR wire:

atala the bearer of light

ATALA: West Coast Desert Doom Trio To Release The Bearer Of Light Full-Length Via Salt Of The Earth Records; “Desolate Lands” Video Now Playing, Tour Dates Announced + Preorders Available 4/20

West Coast desert doom trio ATALA will release their The Bearer Of Light full-length via Salt Of The Earth Records on May 21st.

Returning to their DIY ethos, the seven-track desert voyage was captured and self-produced in just five days at Gatos Trail in Joshua Tree with engineer Jeff Thomas. “It’s a true roller coaster of emotions: sad, angry, confused, lost… but, you can’t help but feel hope as you follow the journey,” notes founding guitarist Kyle Stratton.

“After working with producers who I admired,” Stratton continues of the decision to record The Bearer Of Light on his own, “I felt it was my time to do it my way while implementing some of the tricks they used. I wanted to record live and not overthink the process. I just wanted to capture the moment take by take. It was a learning process for both the band and myself as a producer. I literally had no idea what I was doing but I wanted the record to have a ’90s DIY feel like the stuff I grew up listening to and I think we achieved that.”

In advance of the release of The Bearer Of Light, ATALA is pleased to unveil their video for first single “Desolate Lands.” Issues Stratton of the clip, “‘Desolate Lands’ was written spontaneously in a jam and it was devastatingly heavy. Lyrically, it’s about the desert and our connection to the surrounding landscape and creatures. It’s about understanding that nature is the only true connection we have to any kind of a god or higher power. The video was created by our friend Zak Kupcha at Circulation Media. He did a great job.”

The Bearer Of Light comes swathed in Stratton’s striking cover art and will be available on, CD, LP, and digitally. Preorders begin this Saturday, 4/20 via Salt Of The Earth Records at THIS LOCATION or the ATALA website HERE.

The Bearer Of Light Track Listing:
1. Desolate Lands
2. Upon The Altar
3. Naïve Demure
4. Sun Worship
5. Venomous Lure
6. Won’t Subside
7. Dark Skies

Catch ATALA live in support of The Bearer Of Light on a near-three-week US tour this June alongside Sixes. See all confirmed dates below.

ATALA w/ Sixes:
6/14/2019 O’Malley’s – Mountain View, CA
6/15/2019 Mummer’s – Sparks, NV
6/16/2019 Beehive – Salt Lake City, UT
6/17/2019 Streets Of London – Denver, CO
6/18/2019 The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
6/19/2019 The Lift – Dubuque, IA
6/20/2019 Reggie’s Music Hall – Chicago, IL
6/21/2019 Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
6/22/2019 Café 611 – Frederick, MD
6/23/2019 The Drunk Horse – Fayetteville, NC
6/24/2019 Alabama Music Box – Mobile, AL
6/25/2019 Come And Take It Live – Austin, TX
6/26/2019 Bond’s 007 Rock Bar – San Antonio, TX
6/27/2019 Rockhouse Bar & Grill – El Paso, TX
6/28/2019 House of Bards – Tucson, AZ
6/29/2019 Yucca Tap Room – Phoenix, AZ
6/30/2019 Slidebar – Fullerton, CA

ATALA:
Kyle Stratton – guitar, vocals
Jeff Tedtaotao – drums
Dave Horn – bass

https://www.facebook.com/ataladesertrock/
http://twitter.com/ataladesertrock
http://www.instagram.com/ataladoom/
https://atalarock.bandcamp.com/
https://www.atalarock.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/

Atala, “Desolate Lands” official video

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