Despite an apparent reluctance to classify herself as a white witch Gwyn Strang, vocalist for Cleveland Doom / Post quintet Frayle, identifies as a spiritual being in touch with strong forces, and debut album 1692 (Aqualamb Records/Lay Bare Recordings) comes with a rather plush book explaining ancient magick among other things. It’s a daring opening gambit, complete with album title surely referring to the Salem witch trials, but does the accompanying music live up to this?
Austin Terror Fest has announced their full lineup for 2019! Lighting Bolt, Pig Destroyer, Goatwhore, TR/ST (Canada), Alcest (France), Panopticon, Bongzilla, Bongripper, Church of Misery (Japan), Full of Hell, Dalek, Black Cobra, Street Sects, Unearthly Trance, Dorthia Cottrell, Machine Girl, Pyrrhon, Genocide Pact, Dreadnought, Crowhurst, Echo Beds, Temple Of Angels, Mountain Of Smoke, Terminator 2, Deep Cross, and Taverner. Austin Terror Fest (ATF) takes place Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9 in Austin, Texas, Three-day GA badges are on sale now for $150 through ATF’s Official Facebook Event page, below.
Anyone who has been following the doom scene for the past decade is familiar with Windhand. The staple doom band hailing from Richmond, Virginia has dropped banger after banger and released powerful record after powerful record. Vocalist Dorthia Cottrell has been busy this whole time, as she not only heads up the band but also plays as a solo artist. I caught up with my old friend about all things Windhand and how she’s been doing. Continue reading
Much of personal significance has happened to the members of Virginia Doom troupe Windhand since third album Grief’s Infernal Flower (Relapse) dropped in 2015: the resignation of co-founder and guitarist Asechiah Bogdan, after which the band has remained a quartet; the death of a friend close to the band; and the birth of guitarist Garrett Morris’ child. Given the joy and despair surrounding such events, it’s understandable the new full-length Eternal Return (Relapse) is a different beast from the droning sound usually expected. Continue reading
“Go on and do something good for me now…”
Merely to read the above line evokes Film Noir or a seedy novel. Yet, from the mouth of Dorthia Cottrell, it is a resigned, dreamy incantation to the skies. The hookline to ‘Two Urns’, the opening track from Richmond Doom quintet Windhand’s third album Grief’s Infernal Flower (Relapse), drifts across the band’s trademark fuzzing, mind-crushing furrow like a mellow breeze.
This new venture possesses even more of the languid infectiousness evident on second album Soma (Relapse Records): Garrett Morris’ and Asechiah Bogdan’s riffs deceptively fluid and versatile; Ryan Wolfe’s cascading stickwork simplistic yet mind-blowing. It could almost be anachronistic yet sounds so vital, blending elements from the edgy Indie-Folk of Kristin Hersh with the Proto-power of Sabbath and the violent boundings of Soundgarden. As the bewitching centrepiece, full of mystic escapism, it’s easy to fix on Cottrell as the figurehead: yet the trance-like delivery is merely the most noticeable element of a unit as one, fully invested in its resonant creation.
The ensuing ‘Forest Clouds’ appears indolent yet gradually gains natural emotion and shuddering power: a slow, pulsing groove, made all the more seductive by those rising, subtly roared intonations and phenomenal rolls and fills from Wolfe. Despite the overriding Occult feel, these lazy, crushing waltzes reek of the insouciant yet bilious depression of Grunge, from that occasionally zoned-out drawl to the grimy riffs and plaintive, oscillating solos. The mournful acoustics of Soma reappear also: the intro to the dropped-out, Nirvana-like fuzz of ‘Crypt Key’ paving the way for the gorgeous, tragic smokiness of ‘Sparrow’ and heartbreaking closer ‘Aition’.
Parker Chandler’s pulverising notes add weight to the calming heaviness of ‘Hyperion’ while the crawling terror of the epic ‘Hesperus’, packing a sinister punch to dwarf Electric Wizard and with some deliciously drifting harmonies, develops a nasty quality which surprisingly suits the sound. The similarly lengthy ‘Kingfisher’, meanwhile, features switching rhythms and melodies evocative of The Wounded Kings: the howling, pedal-affected solos and atmospheric ambience reflecting the Devon fivesome’s invention.
At over 70 minutes long this is a typically ambitious Windhand offering. It is also undeniably ‘them’ yet something has happened here; an unsettling event or rite of passage, propelling this captivating outfit to the stars without drastically changing their identity. In doing so it has enabled the band to create its most sombre, hypnotic, emotive and supreme piece of work.
Hopscotch Music Festival, dubbed “America’s (Secretly) Best Festival” and “the premiere experimental and underground festival in America,” returns September 10-12, 2015, to downtown Raleigh, NC at Raleigh City Plaza. Confirmed artists performing include:
Birds of Avalon
Cakes Da Killa
Cloud Becomes Your Hand
Dad & Dad
Flock of Dimes
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Hank Wood & The Hammerheads
Ian William Craig
Jake Xerxes Fussell
Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler
Must Be The Holy Ghost
Natalie Prass and the Spacebomb Orchestra
New Music Raleigh: Music by Oscar Bettison and Evan Ziporyn
Old Man Gloom
Phil Cook presents Southland Mission
Steve Gunn & The Black
TV on the Radio
Raleigh, NC proto meallers Demon Eye is releasing their new album Tempora Infernalia on May 8, 2015 via Soulseller Records. The album was recorded at Seriously Adequate Studios in Carrboro, NC.
Tempora Infernalia Track listing:
01: End of Days
02: Listen to the Darkness
03: I’ll Be Creeping
04: See the Signs
05: Poison Garden
06: In the World, Not of It
07: Black Winds
08: Give Up the Ghost
09: Please, Father
10: Sons of Man
DEMON EYE tour dates:
May 09: Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, NC (Mastodon / Clutch / Graveyard after party)
Jun 13: Amityville Music Hall – Amityville, NY (as part of the Eye of the Stoned Goat Festival w/ Mos Generator, The Golden Grass, etc.)
Jun 26: Snug Harbor – Charlotte, NC
Jun 27: Pour House Music Hall – Raleigh, NC (Tempora Infernalia record release show)
Aug 22: Strange Matter – Richmond, VA (w/ Dorthia Cottrell of Windhand & Horsehead)
The epic single-track issue isn’t quite unique, but an uncommon level of creativity and musicianship is required to make the product entertaining and involving. Virginian quintet Inter Arma possesses an outrageous level of inventiveness and aptitude, and 45-minute opus The Cavern (Relapse) is certainly not shy of it.
The sheer gravity and fulminating power of much of the music here is oppressive yet it carries the weight easily, positively gambolling through more intricate moments whilst retaining intensity. A journey through the galaxies begins with eerie then soothing atmospherics, sparing acoustic and strings before the titanic, savage yet occasionally complex riff fires home and gradually introduces the plaintive hollers of Mike Paparo, delivered from atop Kilimanjaro. It’s a powerful flexing of muscle, the soundtrack to Atlas stirring after a deep sleep. That riff deals crushing blows, aided by TJ Childers’ mammoth drums, his sticks pulverising with the power of Thor’s hammer.
It would be simple to dismiss the early stages as the product of adventurous Conan wannabes but the magic of unfettered imagination shines through, not least with some staggering lead guitar play. Some fabulous intricacies at seventeen minutes lift the track to the heavens with the assistance of some SubRosa-like mournful strings, while Thin Lizzy-esque dual leads introduce the final third; a mournful howling pattern accompanying lush orchestration, the soaring beauty of Paparo’s clean vocals aided by Windhand‘s Dorthia Cottrell, all the while retaining the tracks unearthly power and superiority. It’s this blend of raw animal force, aching melody and immeasurable creativity which marks out this fantastic band. More duels bring a gloriously overblown 70s heavy prog passage to a pounding, crushing coda, a gradually slowing yet swelling reprise of the opening structures which is close to orgasmic.
This is an ambitious effort but Inter Arma haven’t merely managed to navigate it, they’ve ridden it into the skies upon Apollo’s chariot. Euphoric, moving and gut-wrenching, quite simply this is a piece of monumental greatness, a game-changer, and essential for all fans of low-end prog.
We should all pack up and go home now. Anything else will seem average after this.