Legendary alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins previously announced their signing to Sumerian Records (Animals As Leaders, Black Veil Brides, Asking Alexandria) and their new album Cyr, on November 27th. The band just dropped two more singles – “Confessions Of A Dopamine Addict” and “Wrath” which you can check out below. The album was produced by frontman Billy Corgan and is the first new music since their 2018 album The 20-song follow-up to 2018’s Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. The band has now revealed the artwork and full tracklisting and pre-orders are live at the links below. Continue reading
Legendary alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins previously announced their signing to Sumerian Records (Animals As Leaders, Black Veil Brides, Asking Alexandria) on November 27th. The album was produced by frontman Billy Corgan and is the first new music since their 2018 album The 20-song follow-up to 2018’s Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. The band has now revealed the artwork and full tracklisting and pre-orders are live at the links below. Continue reading
The Melvins formed in 1983 in Washington, and have been dishing out radical tunes since day one, but thirty-four years deep they’re pushing the envelope once more, with a double album. Disc one, Death, sees nine tracks of corkscrew, minimalistic arty alternative rock, while the second part, Love, sees the band provide the score to a short film from independent director Jesse Nieminen; a combined effort with sees a kaleidoscope of murky, temperamental and psychedelically angular musical ideas. Continue reading
Wow! The Melvins have announced that they will be releasing their first ever double album this Summer. Continue reading
Progressive metal manics Periphery premiered a new song today, ’22 Faces’, in anticipation of their ambitious double-album dropping in early 2015 on Sumerian Records. In addition to a flurry of activity to promote Juggernaut, the band is hitting the road with Nothing More, Wovenwar and Thank You Scientist.
Official Press Release:
WASHINGTON,Dec. 15, 2014– Periphery, the DC-based sextet that Revolver Magazine recently said “stand at the vanguard of a new, and thoroughly modern, musical movement”, premiere the new song “22 Faces” via Rolling Stone
Digital pre-orders for the band’s forthcoming dual album releases, Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega, are available today (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/juggernaut-omega/id944060803andhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/juggernaut-alpha/id944061541) with instant downloads offered for “The Scourge,” “The Bad Thing” and “22 Faces.” Physical pre-order bundles are available now viahttp://sumerianmerch.com. The physical release of Juggernaut: Omega will be packaged with The JuggerDoc, a documentary on the making of the two albums.
“’22 Faces’ is a track off of Juggernaut: Alpha that I happen to be super proud of. One minute it is ambient and pretty, and the next minute it is assaulting you from every which way,” sing Spencer Sotelo explained to Rolling Stone. “This track also goes right to the heart of the Juggernaut story and gives a good look at some of the conflicts that the main character has to endure.”
Periphery documented the recording process for the ambitious, two album release and is releasing footage as a series of webisodes via Sumerian Records’ YouTube page (youtube.com/sumericanrecords). Clips featuring drummer Matt Halpern and guitar player Jake Bowen have surfaced with four more installments to come, the next arriving onDec. 21and profiling guitar player Mark Holcomb’s work on the albums.
A five-week tour kicks off on Jan. 10at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, N.C. A video teaser for the tour, which includes openers for the upcoming tour are Nothing More, Wovenwar and Thank You Scientist, is available here:http://youtu.be/oXL0yHsKGl0. Tickets are on-sale now with VIP packages available via Soundrink.com.
Confirmed dates are as follows:
January 10 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
January 11 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore
January 12 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
January 13 Tampa, FL Orpheum
January 14 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live
January 16 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
January 17 Houston, TX House of Blues
January 18 Dallas, TX House of Blues
January 20 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theatre
January 21 Phoenix, AZ Club Red
January 22 Los Angeles, CA House of Blues
January 23 Anaheim, CA Yost Theater
January 26 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
January 27 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theater
January 28 Seattle, WA El Corazon
January 31Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
February 2 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theater
February 3 Chicago, IL House of Blues
February 4 Detroit, MI St. Andrew’s Hall
February 6 Toronto, ON Opera House
February 7 Montreal, QC Corona Theatre
February 8 Albany, NY Upstate Concert Hall
February 9 Rochester, NY Water Street Music Hall
February 11 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
February 12 New York, NY Irving Plaza
February 13 Silver Spring, MD The Fillmore
February 14 Philadelphia, PA District N9ne
April 25 – 26 Jacksonville, FL Welcome to Rockville Festival
May 15 -17 Columbus, OH Rock on the Range
If the last album from the Devin Townsend Project, the brilliant Epicloud (HevyDevy), taught us anything about Professor Townsend and his creative mind, then it was proof positive that, yes, he could pretty much turn his hand to anything he fancied, yet still deliver something uniquely “Devin”, irrespective of the often eclectic styles and byzantine layering of his music.
Epicloud was glorious, carefree and packed full of tunes. Earlier this year, his crowd-funded Space-Country experiment, the introspective Casualties of Cool (HevyDevy/Pledge) album was so warmly received by fans and critics alike that Townsend’s stock has rarely been higher – his forthcoming show at London’s Royal Albert Hall was an instant sell out, for example. In many eyes, he is currently the man who can do no wrong.
As a consequence, expectations are not just high but positively stratospheric for Townsend’s latest endeavour. Z2 (HevyDevy) is a double album (there’s also a limited edition triple CD for those of you who really can’t get enough Canadian in your life) split into two distinct parts. Sky Blue appears to be the natural successor to Epicloud, a record filled to its aural brim with infectious and joyous tunes straight from the heart and the drawer marked “top”. Dark Matters, its companion disc, is a radio play cum musical. However, it’s not quite “Wicked a la Townsend”. No, Dark Matters sees the return of everyone’s favourite fart loving alien, Ziltoid the Omisicient. We’ll come back to him in a bit.
Double albums are notoriously difficult beasts to grapple with. If there’s a suspicion of “all filler, no killer”, that’s perhaps understandable given some of rock music’s recent inglorious past when it comes to musical heft. The common consensus on this sort of exercise ranges from how to edit Use Your Illusion (Geffen) into one digestible chunk; realising that, yes, Fleetwood Mac really did do ALL of the drugs when recording Tusk (Warner Bros) and, frankly, even Corey Taylor must think that there is way too much padding on House of Gold and Bones (Roadrunner). Breathe easier, then, as this is not a sprawling, indulgent mess. Z2 is indulgent and there is a LOT to get through but Z2 is two records being issued simultaneously rather than some attempt at a single, 23 song epic.
Sky Blue comes out of the traps quickly with the chest-beating, fist bumping, anthemic surge that is ‘Rejoice’; long-time collaborator Anneke Van Geisberger is again in tow and there is a lovely, warm homely feel to it all. Well, as homely as crunching metal riffs and sweeping keyboard flourishes can sound, anyway. The pounding tenor of ‘Fallout’ swiftly follows and both tracks combine as an aural one-two to the solar plexus. This is thrilling power pop, bristling with guile and intelligence. ‘Midnight Sun’ is lush orchestration par excellence with more than a nod to the Twin Peaks soundtrack that Angelo Baladamenti conjured with David Lynch back at the start of the 1990s.
‘A New Reign’ continues in similar vein – it’s the yang, to ‘Midnight Sun’s Yin, if you will; both tracks are effectively a call and response to each other, built around a yearning mid tempo beat that comforts as much as its carries you along. ‘Warrior’, a song surely designed for closing credits of a Hollywood blockbuster with its swirling harmonies and cavernous chorus, sees Van Gisberger centre stage once again, her ethereal voice resplendent in the layers of complex yet deftly executed melodies. There’s a lot of metal love on ‘Silent Militia’ – it’s a sort of “Look! I can still do this heavy stuff whenever I like!” statement from Townsend just in case you thought the migration to the centre ground of melody had become a permanent one. That relatively lightweight piece gives way to an altogether dark atmospheric on the reflective ‘Dark City’ while its companion track the plaintive and haunting ‘Forever’ gives the listener as well as artist pause for thought, reflection and introspection. Reflection over, the defiant and defiantly life affirming ‘Before We Die’ wraps up another glorious slice of inspired and inspirational music, as only Devin can provide.
And then we come to Ziltoid. Or, rather, come back to Ziltoid.
Dark Matters is a genuine and brilliantly composed piece of musical theatre and requires the attention of the listener from beginning to end. It is rather akin to a radio play, wherein Devin has recast himself as a modern day Orson Wells and Ziltoid is the protagonist for this most unusual take on War of the Worlds. Those of you familiar with Townsend’s career to date will recall that he used Ziltoid as the bridging point between the early part of his career in Strapping Young Lad to the musical polymath/everyman that we know and love today. Ziltoid is doubly important as it has also given an insight into the mind and sense of humour of Townsend via a medium and backstory that is, at the very least, unusual.
Dark Matters reboots the caffeine addicted puppet as a real alien for this 2014 version. Eschewing the tale from the 2007 album of Ziltoid having attacked earth, we now find that Ziltoid has built a coalition on Earth through the gloriously named Captain Spectacular (hello there, Fozzy’s Chris Jericho). In amongst this densely packed extravaganza of kidnapping, alien planets and weird creatures called Poozers there’s a humble (ish) narrative thread around vanquishing kidnappers and continuing to find the ultimate cup of coffee.
Dark Matters commands your attention because there is so much going on and at a rate of spectacular knots. Whether it’s the architecture of the entire piece with its grandiloquent opening, the self-deprecating narration or some of the heaviest music he’s created in years – witness the serious head-banging proposition of ‘Ziltoid Goes Home’, for example – Dark Matters is a grand and never less than interesting experiment that tests the energy, innovation and creativity of its artist to its limit, and serves the listener with a complex, exhausting, energised and enthralling experience.
Dark Matters works but only in the context of itself – it is supremely indulgent but regard this as the indulgence of a deep long, warm bath or a gluttonous feast. Dark Matters is sometimes hard going but it is often grin-inducing listening. It’s admirable and occasionally genuinely funny. As an exercise in florid musicianship it’s hard to knock but you need to prepare yourself to be immersed- this is a record that commands and needs your attention. All of it.
Barely six months after self-releasing the wonderful introspective space-country Casualties of Cool project, Townsend’s creative juices appear to be in full flow with this latest release, a musical extravaganza that covers a quite astonishing range and depth of musical style and influence. From metal, hard rock, Euro-pop to the magnificent, scatological and barking mad return of Ziltoid the Omniscient, there really is something for everyone here. That old cliché of less being more has not only been thrown out of the window, it’s been pushed off a cliff, thrown to the wolves, run over by a train. On Z2, more is clearly more and this is a musical feast to gorge upon. If the adage “you can’t keep a good man down” has any ring of truth about it, then this must mean that Devin Townsend is a very good man indeed.