I guess Deathkings really missed us since the release of 2016’s All That is Beautiful and decided to do something really nice about it. Being the sweethearts that they are this Los Angeles collective have gifted us a little something in the form a new EP, Ex Nihilo (self-released). And while it’s only two tracks on the shorter end of the spectrum (compared to the usual Sludge/Doom fare) it’s a potent and deadly reminder of what Deathkings is capable of.Continue reading →
Boston’s sludge and doom metal merchants Rozamov are hitting the road next week with Moon Tooth on a tour that will take both bands through some new territories, surely making new fans. We caught up with the power trio recently to discuss the upcoming tour, the progress of their new album, their approach to songwriting, and that time when they saw Slayer warm up with a Journey cover:
Rozamov is hitting the road with Moon Tooth in June. What you most looking forward to for the tour?
Tom Corino: I’m most looking forward to getting to see a little bit of Canada and to play outside the country for the first time. I’ve wanted to get the band north of the border for a while, it feels great to be getting on the road again even for a short little run. It’s the first tour with Yianni so it’ll be a good way to see what it’s like to tour together with the new lineup too.
Matt Iacovelli Each tour has its own flavor and rhythm so it will be interesting to see how this group of people interact.
Yianni Tranxidis: For this short run, were most excited to visit Canada for the first time. This will be ours & Moon Tooth’s first Canada shows, so it’ll be an interesting experience to see how the shows will go.
Rozamov, by Matt Lambert
After the tour, are you guys hitting the studio straight away, or are their more songs to write still for the new album? Can we expect the album in 2016, or next year?
Tom: We hit the studio last year and have the finished product ready to go. We recorded with Jon Taft at New Alliance East, which was a great experience. That studio is a great little room and Jon was great to bounce ideas off of. We’re working with a couple labels on different formats for release and we’re getting artwork and such together. It’s looking like an early 2017 release right now, we were hoping to get the record out this year but we didn’t want to rush anything considering how long vinyl turnaround can take these days. This way, everything will be out at the same time and no one will be left waiting around for vinyl to show up.
Matt: We are in the process of getting the artwork together.
Yianni: After this tour, we’re going to be writing more material, as well as finishing up the details for our upcoming album with Rozamov’s former drummer.
Matt: Hopefully it will see release early next year. We have some interested parties involved so things are looking good in that dept. I can’t give you any super specific details just yet.
The ‘Ghost Divine’ track from the split 7-inch with Deathkings was great, and seemed to mark a new direction for the band. Will hear more of that style?
Tom: ‘Ghost Divine’ is a lot faster than the material on the new record but the vibe from that song will certainly be present on the record. The new album is by far the heaviest collection of songs we’ve done to date, reflecting the 2014-2015 winter when a good chunk of the record was written. I know I certainly was not in a good place at that time, being buried under 110 inches of snow will do that, so it’s a pretty dark record.
Matt: Not as far as speed or delivery but maybe in feel and over all tone..Ghost Divine was a step apart from really anything we’ve done. In truth we were building a record around that very song, it got picked up by Ryan from Midnite Collective and the rest is history..but the new material is slower and more deliberate its a little more bleak, a little more doom that before.
Yianni: “Ghost Divine” was definitely a huge shift in sound for the band, as it incorporates a mixture of heavy, complex, and driving riffs, while still keeping the core of our Doom sound. A lot of dynamics, and rhythmic changes, which definitely pushed us to write something we haven’t written before. I believe that we’re a band that will always have something different to offer, so I wouldn’t be surprised if our future material will sound a lot like this, and pushing the boundaries even more.
What is the writing process like for the band? Is it a constant group effort, or do the individual members bring in their own material?
Tom: We usually write together in the practice space, it’s just the way Matt and I do best. Matt comes up with a good chunk of the original ideas for a riff and we’ll hash it out together in the space. Sometimes we bring in ideas that we’ve written on our own but a lot of those ideas either don’t fly or get dramatically changed in the room. Matt and I push each other to write stuff that’s interesting to the both of us and we can get pretty brutal on each other’s ideas. I think we both work best when we have someone to bounce ideas off of and to push someone in the right direction when they are onto something and struggling.
Matt: I think we just went for it and wrote 3 songs, as yet to be played live, they won’t see Canada this time. Every person has a personality so it will always change the vibe.
Yianni: In terms of the writing process, we all collaborate together. We’ll usually have one or two riffs that one of us have had, and bring them into the practice space, however we do a really good job at making fresh new riffs when we’re together. After that, we work on each segment, and figure out how we want to piece it all together. Being a new member, it’s always going to be interesting seeing how that will influence a band’s writing process, however when we work on riffs, we all talk about it together, and welcome ideas from all sides, so I’ve felt very welcome to bring my ideas to the tables.
You’ve had some turnover in the band the last few years, and now have a new drummer. With two longtime writing partners, how hard is it to incorporate a new person into the mix?
Tom: We try to always be writing. We were writing new material almost immediately after the recording sessions for the new record were over, before we had made the change behind the kit. Each change in the lineup has molded us and changed us as a band, and hopefully the same goes for those band mates. Yianni brings his own flavor to the band and allows us to try out ideas we’ve wanted to attempt but couldn’t before. We’re still getting used to him in a writing capacity so we’ll see where it ends up in the long run, but we’re just excited to bring a new outlook to the band.
Matt: It’s a constant group effort. I write a lot of the riffs but its a definite group deal. We are very serious about the sound and so we are brutal as fuck and… not every riff i write is good, honestly we kill more riffs than we keep.
The band has already shared the stage with some major acts and played a few large festivals. What is your favorite gig so far and the one gig to play or band in the world that is your dream to play with someday?
Tom: I’d say that my favorite show we’ve played so far was the Rubber Tracks gig with Slayer and Doomriders. I’ve been a fan of Slayer since I was in high school so to see those guys for the first time in a 500 cap room as the opening act was a dream come true. Playing with Doomriders was also absolutely great. Any day Nate Newton says your band was rad after your set is a good day in my book, and we’ve become friendly with those guys since.
Matt: Well Slayer and Pyscho (California) Fest were highlights for sure. Slayer had its own thing going, its own style and vibe. It was cool to see them sound check with some Journey….What?!
Yianni: Ever since I joined the band, we only played a couple of shows, however my favorite one was our show with Intronaut, Scale the Summit, and North, which was on March 30th at the Downstairs Middle East. That was a really fun time. I think the whole band would agree that sharing the stage with Mastodon would be a dream come true. We’re all very big fans of them, and highly influenced by their groundbreaking sound.
Psycho California is now set for May 15, 16 and 17, 2015 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA with Sleep, Pentagram and Cult Of Luna as headliners.
The rest of the previously announced acts include:
Kylesa Earth OM Russian Circles Orange Goblin Bedemon Conan Eyehategod Indian Earthless Pallbearer Crowbar Stoned Jesus Old Man Gloom Cave In Acid Witch Truckfighters Tombs Bang Electric Citizen Coffinworm SubRosa Eagle Twin Mammatus True Widow Anciients Bellwitch Lord Dying Death By Stereo Radio Moscow Ancient Altar Samsara Blues Experiment Elder Mothership The Well Deathkings Wo Fat Rozamov Destroyer of Light Highlands Bloodmoon Slow Season Crypt Trip Lords of Beacon House Tumbleweed Dealer Sinister Haze Blackout Red Wizard Banquet Loom
This vinyl reissue of the debut album from LA quartet Deathkings, originally released in 2011 and now remastered to split the original three tracks into four, wraps a doom / sludge centre inside a lazy stoner vibe, for the most part decorated in a bellowing roar reminiscent of Kurt Windstein or Matt Pike. The slow, pulsating start to Destroyer(Midnite Collective) verges on melancholic until a deep, buzzing riff meets drums burying themselves into the mind, with the accompanying lead possessing a mournful feel. The quieter bridges of opener ‘Halo of the Sun’ have an introspective air occasionally touching on drone, with clean vocals evoking Eddie Vedder’s more subtle moments. These mantras give added depth and meaning to a brutally heavy yet hypnotic track, an aching sadness blending with resigned pleas for sense and sanity.
There are no prolonged repetitive passages here, but that gives the album magnetism. A metronomic pulse opens ‘Martyrs Vol. I’ leads to a slowly pounding, grinding anger; a passionate vocal performance dragging along a protesting rhythm section which, despite being dynamic, is delightfully laconic on occasion. The rumbling bass of ‘Martyrs Vol. II’ gives a sedentary yet constant movement to a tragic tale, told with such feeling that it’s impossible not to empathise with the victims. The strange organic structure shows adventure and points to a progressive sensibility, but there are no ineffective noodlings or indulgent drifting, every ingredient is crucial to the story.
The tortured roars and chants of the closing title track are carried by a latent beat and gently throbbing riff which, during moments of swelling crescendo, burst with a paradoxical euphoria whilst being accompanied by brief spiralling leads. A chant of the Bhagavad Gita quote made infamous by Oppenheimer ushers in a delicate, mournful passage where the band’s purpose – despair of destruction – becomes clear, it’s a message constantly emphasised through fluctuating elements of power and lamentation to the close.
Despite appearing a little aimless and dull on first listen, repeated plays open up the emotion, intricacy and creative glory of a quite spellbinding set.