Vancouver, British Columbia’s Modified Ghost Festival is the bastion of great underground music every year, with the greats from Doom, Thrash, Stoner, and other genres. This years’ lineup is a beast so far with High On Fire, Toxic Holocaust, Doomriders, Dopethrone, Black Wizard, Spirit Adrift, Hasherteroid and many more to be announced. Tickets on sale now at the links below. Continue reading
Slayer and Doomriders will be participating at the first annual Converse Rubber Tracks Live Boston on Wednesday, April 29th at the Sinclair in Boston, MA. This is part of a five day, multi genre Rubber Tracks Live Festival taking place. Sign up here to attend the event.
The schedule of events for each date includes:
Apr 27: The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr, The Young Leaves
Apr 28: Passion Pit, Baths, Radclyffe Hall
Apr 29: Slayer, Doomriders
Apr 30: Chance The Rapper, Action Bronson
May 01: The Descendents, King Tuff, Bent Shapes
The first annual Deathwish Fest was met with a ton of enthusiasm from hardcore and metal fans far and wide. Set in Cambridge MA, at the legendary Middle East Night Club over two days, near the home base of Deathwish Inc. (Records), it was a near immediate total sell out, before changing venues. Headlined both days by Converge and Trap Them, Day One also featured Cult Leader, Doomriders, Blacklisted, Modern Life is War, Self Defense Family, and Harm Wulf. Picking up on Day Two with the review is our own Sean Pierre-Antoine.
I was almost certain I wouldn’t make it to Deathwish Fest since tickets kept selling out mere minutes before I could get online to buy them when I had the money to. And by the time tickets had run dry, I was too financially disadvantaged to even fathom attending, and thus I thought my life was spared from the madness sure to unfold during this showcase of the best that Deathwish Inc. -run by Jacob Bannon of Converge- has to offer to our perpetually rotting world of pain. Luckily, a friend/musical collaborator scored a couple of extra tickets from someone at non-extortion prices, and long story short, I didn’t have to see Devourment instead that night. I hear they were kind of disappointing anyway, but we’re not here to discuss the merits of something I didn’t attend. These are the facts.
Unfortunately I ended up missing the first handful of bands because I was not in possession of my own ticket. Poor planning on my part, and my benefactor being a little later than planned factored into my not catching Boston’s most negative wrecking crew in New Lows, Harm Wulf, a project run by George Hirsch of Blacklisted (celebrating the birthday of Robby Redcheeks), and what I have heard described as “Deafheaven if they were hardcore”, the angular Oathbreaker. No matter, as I have seen and caused my share of mayhem during NL, am unfamiliar with Harm Wulf and Blacklisted, and I’m sad to admit, but Oathbreaker just doesn’t pique my interest.
I was, however, quite interested in catching North Carolina’s YAITW (mercifully short for Young And In The Way), a mixture of Cursed style hardcore/crust/sludge and the most cruel black metal their side of the Mason-Dixon Line, drawing from the legendary Mayhem, among others. For three years they have done this, and for three years it has been good, for there was equal amounts headbanging to the sections that were reminiscent of Norwegian masters, and hardcore pit thuggery that reminded you of their Deathwish heritage. With Black Metal and Hardcore imagery becoming ever more intertwined in a morass of inverted crosses, endless images of our beloved moon in varying states of decay and occult significance, and desolate wastescapes dispensing of all colour schemes in favour of nihilistic monochrome, is it any small wonder that a band like YAITW is here to fill the void our souls once inhabited before we picked up out first Misfits record?
Next up were the Louisville delegation, Coliseum, fronted by artist extraordinaire Ryan Patterson, who has penned album and merchandise designs familiar to anyone into hardcore with a sludgy bent, which is, coincidentally, the kind his crew plays. I really do want to like this band more; they simply fall into the same camp as their peers in Doomriders, who have killer imagery and a respectable mix of sludge, hardcore, and good old fashioned home-cooked rock’n’roll -I call it ‘rock’n’core’, spread that term if you want-, but unfortunately the music just doesn’t get me excited in that visceral way, and I see that as a huge impediment to their appeal. It’s no fault of theirs, as they do wield riffs massive as the hands of a bearded giant, and their tempos are certainly foot-tapping enough to keep them out of the ‘smoke break band’ category for me, but even during their most rousing songs, the crowd moved nary an inch except to either nurse their drinks or socialise while the band dutifully chugged away on stage for the whole of their set.
Blood stayed at a low boil until hometown heroes of Boston Hahdcoah, Shipwreck Ad took the stage for what was one of the shortest but also more fulfilling opener sets of my show-going career. Packing in only three or four songs of intense East Coast hardcore the way only witnessing Lansdowne Street on Game Day can provoke, this rare but special appearance was quite a treat for those both familiar and not. Being gentlemen and not overstaying their welcome, they allowed Salem, NH/Seattle, WA hardcore polymaths in Trap Them to perform their evil works unimpeded. For an unlucky 13 years, Trap Them has been a caustic fusion of face-fucking grind, low-fi crust, and dizzying metalcore, topped off with that infamous murky Swedish deathsludge guitar tone. Consistently potent and amusical in its hateful delivery. Opening with a new track entitled ‘Salted Crypts’, which is just as negative as the material before, this band shows no signs of ever brightening their musical worldview, and perhaps it’s best/worst if they keep it that way. Whether their assault is a dirgey 3-4 minute long breakdown interspersed with ear-piercing feedback, or tumbling down a mountain of human skulls at breakneck gallop speed, I felt my lips peeled back in a perpetual, hateful snarl that just wouldn’t disappear until each song, or rather, nihilistic sermon, was over. Is it really true what your parents say about rock’n’roll making you evil?
By the time the night’s honorees in Converge made it onstage, you can guess I was already a little tired from the earlier acts, because one has to get their money’s worth. It is with great pleasure that I may now announce that I survived Deathwish Fest without injury. The boys opened up with ‘Dark Horse’, and comboed immediately with ‘The Broken Vow’ and ‘Aimless Arrow’, which ensured that few lungs were left unshredded even in their first few minutes. The nightmare in summary; ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ roared past in what seemed like merely a minute when in reality it is four; ‘Axe To Fall’ crushed like a fallen monument upon the helm of a once grand civilisation; ‘Drop Out’ crept in and out of the shadows before disappearing in a flurry of semi-melody; ‘Trespasses’ and ‘Last Light’ reached out to crush the exposed and wounded hearts of all who can identify with the countless disappointments that Converge’s lyrics detail in resplendent tortured aesthetics. Joined onstage by Stephen Brodsky of like-minded metalcore pioneers Cave In, the band ended their set with a special encore of ‘Plagues’ leading into their celebrated 9-minute epic from No Heroes, the coveted ‘Grim Heart/Black Rose’, for a rare performance. God, if you exist, cross out my curséd soul; it would bring me to tears were I hydrated enough.
WORDS: SEAN PIERRE-ANTOINE
The first time I saw High on Fire was the night after my 21st birthday. I had no idea who they were but I quickly learned that I desperately needed more of them in my life. Four years later, I finally had the opportunity to satisfy that desire during what would become one of the best nights of my life.
First up were Boston, MA natives, Doomriders, featuring Nate Newton (Converge, Old Man Gloom) on guitar and vocals. I didn’t really know what to expect as I’m not a Converge fan, but I was pleasantly surprised by their performance. They had a lot of energy and easily engaged the crowd. At the very least, Doomriders made for an entertaining opening act and I look forward to seeing them again in the future.
The Norwegian wonders that make up Kvelertak were scheduled to play next, but not before guitarist Bjarte Lund Rolland and I gushed over a mutual love of each other’s shirts (Mine: Kylesa, His: Kadavar). Have you ever had your head inside of a dead owl? If it’s as fun as vocalist Erlend Hjelvik makes it look, then it may be worth looking into. Kvelertak are quickly becoming one of my favorite bands to see live. They’re talented gentlemen and they know how to connect with the audience. Said connection occasionally takes the form of crowd surfing while continuing to sing or play their instruments. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t drag people up on stage to play with them like they did the last time they were in town but it was a great performance nonetheless.
Headliners High on Fire finally took the stage around ten o’clock followed by a roar of applause from an eager audience. As a woman who loves her bass players, it can be difficult to be impressed by a guitarist, but Matt Pike, of Sleep fame, is one of my favorites for a reason and he made it abundantly clear that night. There was no witty banter, no trying to engage the crowd with small talk, just the occasional song title and an all-out assault on your ears and mind. Despite saying that he was getting sick, Pike’s performance never let on that he was feeling under the weather and a room full of fans was treated to a twelve track set featuring songs off of every major studio release in their catalog. I was personally pleased to hear ‘Fury Whip’ and ‘Rumors of War’ off of my favorite album, Death is this Communion (Relapse).
Overall, I was really pleased with this line up. There was never a dull moment as even setting up between bands didn’t take very long. It was a wonderful night, Pike was an absolute pleasure to meet, and I commend the mastermind(s) behind this tour. My ears finally stopped ringing this morning.
Words: Aleida La Llave
Best known for his work rumbling the 4-string for hardcore heroes Converge, Nate Newton is also the mastermind of Doomriders. Here, Newton swaps the bass for a guitar and his voice. Joining him on this adventure of sonic belligerence is guitarist Chris Pupecki and bassist Jebb Riley. For new album Grand Blood (Deathwish), drummer Q joins the fray.
As I recall, it took me some time to really get into their last album and truth be told, it did here too. Track three to be exact. ‘Mankind’ is actually the the shortest track on the album (save the intro) but it packs a wallop. A techy riff opens things before introducing a powerful sludgy riff and ample swing. Riley’s bass forces its way through the mix to growl and snarl away beneath a soaring solo. Following a couple tracks later, that energy is picked up again on ‘Bad Vibes’. The relentless rhythm bounces and rolls through your brain. Newton’s screams here get full on, matching the solo that caps off this punk and roll juggernaut of a track.
Doomriders can bring the doom as well. ‘Father Midnight’, periods during ‘Dead Friends’, and ‘Death in Heat’ exhibit this tendency. The former rolls over the listener like a vindictive steamroller while still holding onto some groove and moodiness. The latter carries a heavy stoner vibe, weighed down by a sort of humidity and dirty, dirty tone. And ‘Dead Friends’ balances sludge with a Cancer Bats-like energy. Given the title you can guess how heavy the subject matter is.
From the elastic title track to the smoky ‘Gone to Hell’ and the gruff ‘New Pyramids’ to the Danko Jones-in fun of ‘Back Taxes’, Doomriders have compiled a series of tracks with enough stylistic variation to keep things interesting. Whether dragging through the mud or hot-roddin’ with style, Grand Blood nails whatever vibe they’re looking for.
Bottom line here is a fun album. It sounds incredible and would make for a great live spectacle. It’s great to see artists branch out from the projects they’re best known for and still produce something fans of those bands will enjoy.
by Matt Hinch
Nate Newton is a busy man. Besides playing bass in Converge and being a guitarist in Old Man Gloom he also fronts his own band, called Doomriders. Ghost Cult caught up with him to discuss Grand Blood (Deathwish), the new Doomriders album. He was also keen to tell more about the personal nature of some of the songs, working with producer Kurt Ballou and the upcoming tour schedule. Continue reading