En Minor is a project that had been rattling around in Philip H. Anselmo“s head since he was a child; they are an unexpectedly emotional and deeply serious sound that freefalls out of the genres most of the band members are associated with, including Anselmo himself, and into uncharted territory. Unconventional and, in many ways, experimental, their 2020 release, When the Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out (Housecore Records) is steeped in reverence to the Jazz tradition in New Orleans, and maybe more markedly serves as a morose interpretation of a Jazz Funeral March with hints of Vaudeville; an unironic gothic twist on Tom Waits that Anselmo has since self-described as Depression Core.
To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of their now-iconic debut album NOLA (Elektra Records), the band Down originally planned a tour at select venues worldwide before a global pandemic shut down the normal cadence of life as any of us ever knew it for the foreseeable future. Not to be silenced on such a momentous occasion, the guys took to the stage at a private location instead to stream The Quarter Century Throwdown as a global virtual concert. Featuring vocalist Phil Anselmo, guitarists Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein, drummer Jimmy Bower and Pat Bruders on bass, the event aired live with two encore performances in the days following the livestream for ticket holders.
On a relatively chilly Friday night at the Viper Room, one of the most iconic hole-in-the-wall night clubs on the Sunset strip, Los Angeles hosted a stop on Crobot’s US tour, featuring ÆGES and Like Machines, along with local openers The Jab and Tijuana Bullfight.Continue reading
The Sanctuary is a true Heavy Metal haven. Huddled next to the city of Detroit, the scaled-down town of Hamtramck accommodates this music club that caters so well to loud music. It was a freezing Wednesday night when the Moody Metal monsters, Ether Coven came to the Ham town. Along with extreme acts, Barishi, and WVRM on the touring bill, that bitterly cold night was about to sizzle with savagery.Continue reading
If you have read these web pages of Ghost Cult, you know one of our favorite albums of 2019 is the solo début album from William DuVall of Alice In Chains. While many know him for fronting that legendary band since their comeback in 2006. However, as discussed in our review of One Alone, Duvall’s lengthy career has traversed genres and time-space in a way that all great singer/songwriters can. The album is introspective, yet fiery and lends itself to this solo setting. With the artist doing a brief tour to promote the release, we were excited to see a new side of the man in person at Cutting Room in midtown east neighborhood of Manhattan. Continue reading
There is a reason why Anthrax has stayed around as long as they have and are considered one of the big four bands of thrash metal despite all their lineup changes. For those who have never seen the group live, their latest concert DVD, Chile on Hell (Megaforce), shows why.
Nothing seems to be glitzy in honor of it being a filmed performance and is therefore an accurate portrayal of an Anthrax concert. As soon as the band comes out to ‘Among the Living’ the audience starts moving. The next song, ‘Caught in a Mosh’ is appropriate and proves that Anthrax knows their fans well. As always, Joey Belladonna runs around the stage and interacts with the audience as though he is still in his twenties. Lead guitarist and newest member Jonathan Donais is a bit more stationary than the other band members although this changes as the show progresses. Thankfully the set is a good mix of old classics and newer standout songs.
After a short clip of the band arriving at the show beforehand, the filming gets a little more creative with the use of split screen and more movement with the camera. There is a more interesting clip after ‘A Skeleton in the Closet’ is played where members can be heard and seen talking about how the band has been around for thirty years. Judging from all the shots with fans, the band realizes just how much they owe to the metal community for their continued success.
Around the halfway point of the film, there is footage from the celebrations of the band in New York including interviews with David Ellefson of Megadeth and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. Although the interviews are not very long, they are sincere. Ellefson shows much respect for the band and Benante expresses his gratitude when talking about achieving his dream of playing the Garden in 1991.
Closer to the end of the concert is where the band seems to have the most fun by playing ‘I’m the Man,’ the opening from Slayer’s ‘Rain in Blood,’ ‘Madhouse,’ and ‘Antisocial.’ The group has kept up with the energy throughout the entire show and so have the fans.
The documentary aspect was interesting and made it more than just a performance based DVD but there was not enough of it to make sense. The best guess is that the DVD is supposed to be a celebration of their thirty years as a band. A better choice would have been to establish a more concrete concept around the concert parts. Because of this, the DVD would be most worth a purchase for those who are specifically fans of the band. Not a whole lot is revealed about the band, but it is a nice way to celebrate their longevity.
Wolves in the Throne Room—a band that never cared much for black metal orthodoxy to begin with—recently took a sharp left turn off the dark path with Celestite (Artemisia), an LP of ambient synth exploration with nary a blast beat in sight. This added an extra layer of intrigue to their already storied live presence: Would they be pausing in the middle of a set for ten minutes of synth noodling, or would they leave their new-age material to the album?
Plenty of people were willing to buy a ticket to find out. The Star Theater was already 2/3 full by 8 pm for the opener, Portland’s own Druden. Wolves’ blend of Cascadian darkness and agrarian ethos brings a large and varied crowd in the Pacific Northwest: There were dudes in kilts and Paganfest tees, there were Burzum shirts, there were teen girls in battle jackets and crusty dread-headed eco-warriors. Druden held the room’s attention with straight-ahead shrieking black metal that alternated between one of the guitarist’s excellent dying-witch scream and the drummer’s deeper battle howl. With varied song structure and an ability to build some epic tension this four piece is formidable and warrant showing up early when they’re on the bill.
Nommo Ogo is an electronic collective of sorts that began in the Alaskan noise scene and has since migrated to Oakland. Wolves is bringing them along for the entire tour, perhaps as an ode to the ambient sounds of Celestite. This night Nommo Ogo was a three person unit surrounded by an assortment of synths, from which they summoned a host of teutonic burbles and industrial beats. Their compositions were somewhat meandering and suffered from the problem of many electronic sets, which is that there just isn’t much to engage with, particularly in comparison to the maelstrom of a blast-beat propelled live band. But there was a bracing moment when, without warning, the frontman broke a long instrumental trance by barking “onward!” and then repeating the phrase forcefully and violently for several minutes, giving the rest of their set a sense of urgency and unpredictability that it had previously lacked.
By the time Wolves’ five sylvan banners were unfurled, people were lined up three deep on the balcony and the floor of the Star Theater was full. The band has a reputation for playing shows in the dark, and while it wasn’t pitch black it was dim up there. Roadies with headlamps on spelunked around stage, lighting four oil lamps and prepping Nathan Weaver’s and another unnamed guitarist’s rigs and Aaron Weaver’s kit. Additional atmosphere was added by single blue lights shining up the fretboard of each guitar and a smoke machine.
After a false start caused by some technical difficulties with the second guitar, they played ‘Thuja Magus Imperium’, the opening track from Celestial Lineage (Southern Lord), to start the set. Any lingering questions about whether Wolves will still perform heavy music were answered upfront; they are playing exclusively older material and they are playing it damn well. The only trace of Celestite in the set was an ominous, erratically thudding soundscape they had cued to play over the PA in between songs. Otherwise it was a mix of songs from earlier albums including the gargantuan ‘(A Shimmering Radiance)Diadem of 12 Stars’ which they played second.
Inevitably, Wolves’ music loses some of the mist-covered atmosphere it has in album form when it is played live as a three piece. But, in its place, there is an intense ritualistic physicality. Nathan Weaver’s scream seems both richer and sharper in person, and has an almost tangible quality to it. Aaron Weaver’s drumming becomes a sort of primal force as he locks into ridiculous tom-heavy patterns. Together they created a trance-like state that wasn’t broken until the end of closer, ‘Prayer of Transformation’ and is more than worth witnessing if you get the chance.
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