High Tone Son Of A Bitch. That’s it right there eh?! ‘Nuff said. Only it’s not even the half of it. Back in 2007, with merely one EP to the Oakland quintet’s name, ex-Cruevo guitarist Drew Kott fell from a San Francisco window and plunged his bandmates, especially brother Paul, into a deep mourning. It sparked a long hiatus which was broken by last year’s release of long-recorded EP Velocipede (Self-released), and there’s a show of intent to stick around with new two-track Death Of A New Day / Eye In The Sky (Self-released). Continue reading
The 2017 Hellfest Open Air Festival will be taking place from June 16th-18th in Clisson, France next year, and the final lineup has now been confirmed. Continue reading
The purveyors of great underground music at Sentient Ruin Laboratories have partnered with Ghost Cult today to stream the new album from French extreme metallers Karcavul, Intersaone, out tomorrow. You can hear the stream of the album at this link or below:
Sonically adventurous, brutally unrelenting, and mysterious in aura, Karcavul’s Intersaone makes good on the promise of their earlier death metal/sludge-toned releases with an increased maturity and polish. Fans of Dragged Into Sunlight, Coffinworm, Undergang, Coffins, Neurosis, Wolvhammer, Eyehategod, Noothgrush, Portal and Acturus are sure to unhinge their jaws and swallow this release en mass.
Karcavul- Intersaone track listing:
Intersaone will be released on July 8th 2016 as a 12″ vinyl LP and as a digital product on Sentient Ruin in North America, and through a collective of european labels overseas: Crustatombe, Deaf Death Husky, Et mon cul c’est du tofu, No Way Asso, Repulsive Medias, Saka Čost, Underground Pollution Records, and Witch Bukkake Records. The record was recorded live by Karcavul themselves, and mixed by Lizard. Mastering was done by Guillaume “Commissaire” Odile, while the cover art is by Rafaël Houée, and the LP will also feature and insert designed by the band.
Pre-orders are now live on our shop or on Bandcamp.
Karcavul Official Site
Deaf Death Husky
Et mon cul c’est du tofu
No Way Asso
Underground Pollution Records
Witch Bukkake Records
Tokyo death doom metallers Coffins have confirmed a string of upcoming US dates with Noothgrush. They will be releasing an upcoming, yet to be titled split with Ilsa, coming out in 2016 via Relapse Records. The split is currently being mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Noothgrush) and features artwork by Joshy of Ilsa.
COFFINS 2016 U.S. Tour Dates:
Feb 15: Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY (No Noothgrush)
Feb 16: Complex – Los Angeles, CA
Feb 17: Catalyst Atrium – Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 18: Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA
Feb 19: Starlight Lounge – Sacramento, CA
Feb 20: Famine Fest – Portland, OR
Feb 21: Highline – Seattle, WA
These days the London borough Camden is mostly just a tourist trap; full of tourists, and overpriced beer. It is, however, still home to some quality venues, and is the perfect place to let Desertfest UK take over for a weekend of stoner rock in all its forms. Special thanks go out to Jessica Lotti Photography for sharing her images of the weekend with our readers.
Opening the proceedings over at the Electric Ballroom is Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan. Boasting some decent rock star shapes on stage, front man/guitarist Óskar Logi Ágústsson clearly has an affinity for the late 60s/early 70s, delivering a boogie-filled set full of riffs and jams Jimi Hendrix and Cream would be proud of. A nearly full Ballroom is bouncing long before their set is over.
Over at the Jazz Café’s Prog stage, London five-piece Sumer aren’t afraid to show off their love of Tool. Clearly a talented bunch with a talent for combining thick riffs, vocal melodies and subtle dynamics all into one crunching ball. Unfortunately, while they fill the stage with numbers there’s not a lot of stage presence. But their debut album, The Animal You Are, is well worth checking out if you like your post/progressive metal.
The Black Heart boasts not only the best range of beers and ales Desertfest has to offer, but also the sweatiest venue. A tightly packed and perspiration–drenched throng squeeze in for the excellently-named Jeremy Irons & The Ratgang Malibus. The Swedish quartet deal in retro-psychedelic stoner and deliver an enjoyable set of classic rock, but their secret weapon is the wailing vocals of Karl Apelmo. Not a million miles away from the Scorpion Child’s Aryn Jonathan Black, he lifts decent music to something a lot more impressive.
Next up are Ten Foot Wizard, who deliver one the best sets of the weekend. Sporting some glorious Hawaiian shirts, the Mancunians take an already hot and sweaty venue into even wetter territory with their blend of dirty, fuzzy riffs and good time rock’n’roll. The band clearly know how to have fun on stage and that translates into one of the liveliest crowds of the entire festival. Mixing riffs of Clutch and early Queens of the Stone Age with a dirty groove of Alabama ThunderPussy, chuck in some megaphones, Theremin solos and songs about tits, and you’ve got a winning combo. TFW are a hoot and far better than their (fairly decent) debut record Return to the Infinite suggests.
After such a party, returning to the cool and spacious Ballroom for Brant Bjork is something of a comedown. The set is full of quality tunes drawn mainly from his latest album, Black Power Flower, but the chilled out desert rock vibe, combined with a fairly static performance from Bjork – with his Low Desert Punk Band in tow – is kind of underwhelming. Bjork’s solo material is severely under-rated, but the former Kyuss drummer’s laid back style fails to really the get juices flowing.
Opening Sunday is Belgian psychedelic rockers Moaning Cities at The Purple Turtle. Sporting funky dance moves and the only sitar of the weekend, this Belgian outfit combine hypnotic atmospheres with 60s psychedelic pop and still manage to make a lot of noise. Trippy, intense, loud, and not a bad way to start the Sabbath.
Over at Koko, we’re treated with back-to-back instrumental bands with Karma in their name, but very different approaches. German four piece My Sleeping Karma do their best to create an atmosphere; employing eerie visuals [which unfortunately didn’t seem to be working right for much of the set] with soundscapes that create a nice audio-visual experience that’s easy to get lost in. It’s almost the opposite of Karma to Burn’s approach. The US power trio only deal in thunderous noise, punching their way through sonically crushing set that pounds your eardrums repeatedly for 60 minutes. There’s no subtly, but it is invigorating and gets and keeps the crowd’s attention throughout. This is how instrumentals bands should be done; Guitarist William Mecum is a one man riff machine that’s few on words but has stage swagger that makes up for the lack of verbatim, while drummer Evan Devine is an absolute powerhouse.
It’s not all quality however. Despite hailing from Hampshire, XII Boar really, really wish they were from the deep south of the US. The trio’s bland brand of cowboy metal is a concoction of groove, whiskey-soaked “YEAAAH!”s and unsubtly-recycled Pantera riffs. The kind of racket you’d expect at a keg party in a Bam Margera video, it’s really, really, really dumb fun at best, and a poor man’s Hellyeah at worst. The Underworld, meanwhile, has been wasted as stage dedicated to originally NWOBHM bands such as Quartz and Angel Witch along with a bunch of thinly-veiled tribute acts. Londoners Amulet fall unashamedly into the latter category. Sporting tight denim, bad moustaches and the Iron Maiden riff-book, Amulet definitely aren’t cool, but they clearly don’t care. An over-abundance of enthusiasm and a decent selection of riffs & solos ripped off from the likes of Maiden, Diamond Head and Angel Witch means by the end of the set it’s hard to dislike them. Painfully original, but harmless fun.
Back at the Purple Turtle, there’s a double bill of Doom. Despite some initial sound troubles, Sweden’s The Order of Israfel combine classic Black Sabbath-esque 70s doom with an almost Thin Lizzy-like appreciation of twin leads and guitar solos to create something evilly epic on a medieval scale. The Wounded Kings, by contrast are a bit of a let-down. Despite being chronically heavy on riffs, they’re surprisingly light on songs. They might be able to rattle the foundations of the building with the same kind of Earth shattering reverb as Electric Wizard, but vocalist George Birch is lost in the mix and things never really go as far as entertaining.
It wouldn’t be a proper stoner festival without the riffs of the mighty Matt Pike, and with Sleep he delivers spades of them. The stoner legends were under-appreciated during their original run but a rammed Koko goes crazy for ‘Dragonaut’, while new song ‘The Clarity’ get a rapturous response. More involved in their own playing than the audience, the band stomp through barely ten songs with no encore in an hour and a half set, but there no complaints. The likes of ‘DopeSmoker’ and ‘Holy Mountain’; manage to be both crushingly heavy, yet at the same time hypnotizing. An appropriate ending for a weekend of Black Sabbath-and-bong worshipping.
WORDS BY DAN SWINHOE
With Roadburn having just ended last weekend, the season for European music festivals is here Joining the ranks of it’s better known sister festival in Germany, Desertfest UK is fast becoming one of the best events in the world. The event will take place from April 24th-26th at stellar venues in London such as: The Electric Ballroom, Koko, The Underworld, The Black Heart, The Jazz Cafe and the Purple Turtle Especially if you pray to at the altar of the riff almighty, the subsonic tones of sludge and just a rocking good time in general, this fest is for you. The weekend passes are already sold-out, further proving the attraction these line-ups will bring.
Friday kicks things off in the early afternoon with up and comers Torpor leading off. Likely the best afternoon band of any day of the fest will be Floor at the Electric Ballroom. Following them will be The Atomic Bitchwax, and headliners Electric Wizard and the mighty Red Fang. The Underworld is host to grimmer acts such as Dopethrone, Agrimonia, Black Cobra, Minsk, and Noothgrush. Also not to be missed on Friday are comeback kings End of Level Boss. They are always super fun live!
Saturday has a super doom and sludge infection in the form of Vintage Caravan, Sex Swing, Pale Horse, Black Pyramid, Lo Pan, Anthromorph, Obake, Ten Foot Wizard, Hang the Bastard plus Brant Bjork And Low Desert Punks. EyeHateGod continues their return to Europe, promising another brutal set.
Adding to the awesomeness of Saturday is the fests first prog stage, led by Amplifier, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, I am The Morning, Landskap and others. This is really momentous for the fest and hopefully it becomes a regular thing in years to come.
Sunday will bring things to a boil with more underground bands Amulet, Quartz Cancer, Sallie, Witch Hazel, SSS, The Wounded Kings, and Angel Witch amongst many others. Of course the headliner Sleep might be half the draw for the weekend, as well as Ufomammut, Karma To Burn, and Acid King. With official after show every night of the fest, this promised to be a non-stop jamming party the whole time.
Day three: today we get just what I longed for after yesterday: more traditional heavy Roadburn fare. We start off with the bone crunching Noothgrush. Though not the mellow I was looking for they were very good. However, I didn’t get caught in their more abrasive deathy-sound and soon wandered off to catch some of Monster Truck. They pretty much play trucker hard rock, and if you have no idea what to imagine when I say that, think the kind of hard rock, burly, manly tough truckers would sing along to while driving down the long lonesome roads on long distance hauls. This was proper manly stuff, and very entertaining. After their set in the stuffed Greenroom I wandered outside to catch some air, meaning to go see Circle. However I got completely sidetracked and since I also wanted to see Windhand returned to the main hall to see them play an amazing set.
Windhand are rare, as they have a female vocalist, and not one who does overly female vocals. You could be forgiven for mistaking the deep throaty voice their vocalist has for a man singing and I’m not sure if they’d mind. Their stage presence is completely introverted, and they shamble and shuffle around in trance of their one performance, hardly seeking a connection with the crowd they play for but with them it doesn’t matter. It’s actually better, and makes you feel a bit like a voyeur if you actually watch them instead of dragging into the music, eyes closed slowly swaying side to side.
Today has been a day of good intentions getting sidetracked. I meant to see Scorpion Child, but ended up missing them and going to see Yob. Ah Yob,’s 5th set at Roadburn, 6th planned for tomorrow. What can we say but what Yob say themselves? Yob is love and right they are. The sound these three can produce is staggering, not just in sheer volume of the bass still audible in a restaurant across the street from the venue…), but also in the layers they produce with just three people. The drums pounding on while the bass crashes against the walls of the venue like cliffs, and the guitar heavy yet clear and melodic in her higher registers. The vocals are a refreshing snip through all the heavy being more a high end scream. The most incredibly thing about Yob though is the atmosphere and vibe they give off. You may be forgiven to think they make sad, angry and melancholy music, but really all the vibe is very mellow and even spiritual, taking you on a journey you never expected to go on. After their set we’re back to the theme of the day: meant to but somehow it slipped. I meant to see Indian, who played an incredible set, I heard, and had a que outside the door of Het Patronaat that stretched about 20-30 meters, I meant to see old man gloom, but decided I needed a bite to eat at that time. I meant to see Horisont, but instead went to catch some of the Icelandic Momentum. What to say of these guys… confused. For the first two three songs I didn’t quite know what to think of them, it was pretty straightforward doom, with some proggy bits, but nothing fantastic. And then their vocalist switched from grunts to clean, with harmonies that made no sense and just… no. I’m a stickler for clean vocals, if you do them, invest the time and training to do them properly, or else leave them to someone that can, or leave them out. They may grow and become better or may realize what style they want (it still felt very confused and in search of a solid style), but I walked out at that moment in search of something less wincing on the ears. This as it turned out was Loop. Here again I’m not sure what to think of them they were good, yes very good and technically excellent. But I’m not sure if the music is my cuppa tea. It felt a bit too 80s for me, and if I do retro I tend to lean more towards 60-70s than 80s. in any case after having tried to form an opinion on them for a while I gave up and went to see some of the Vintage Caravan again. They were again packed and again excellent, but the claustrophobic conditions in the stage 01 meant I didn’t stay long. I sincerely hope they get called back on a roomier stage another year or I can see them somewhere a little less crowded and enjoy them properly. Now here’s a pickle. Harsh Toke, Horse Latitudes, A Storm of Light and Glitter Wizard, playing the same time slot. These four bands are all over the board, but that doesn’t make choosing easier. Horse Lattitudes is properly heavy oppressive stuff, and A Storm of Light is best put in the more conventional sludge side, with some post core influenced I’d say. Harsh Toke is a proper party band, but loud and heavy enough that no-one goes “weak!” They’re psych rockers, but not in such a way as most are. While the riffs and notes are complex the dreaminess is kept in check by some good steady bass and drums, making it much less bewildering than most psych rock and definitely a very good band. After a bit of them I go see Gliytter Wizard though. The moment these Americans were put on the bill I knew I had to see them. A party band, these guys manage to 70s psych rock n roll with glitter touch (bare chests, sequined open black vests and magnificent moustaches) without becoming so terribly cheesy and well… glittery all balls are lost. The absurdity of this band however cannot hide they play incredibly good music and while it’s doused in a good dose of party even the musical connoisseurs of Roadburn seem to really enjoy these glitter wizards. And then off we go to the after party, heavy metal disco with Alan Avrill from Primordial spinning 80’s metal discs for our enjoyment, and while drunken shenanigans are a plenty, the foyer is definitely much more crowded this year than other years before. Maybe we need to move this party back to Het Patronaat?
Selim Lemouchi’s Enemies: Even when the clouds appear over the realm of Roadburn and it’s permanent inhabitants, it cannot break the unity. Selim Lemouchi and his Enemies was scheduled to play the afterburner until tragedy struck and the ex-Devil’s Blood singer took his own life a mere 1,5 months before the festival. The loss was raw and very real, but the organizers didn’t erase him. Instead they let the band, his enemies as he called them, play a tribute of over an hour fro their fallen leader. A big empty space in the center front of the stage symbolizes the loss and emptiness left behind as the whole of the room turns silent as the grave and the musicians play which such raw emotion it’s hard to bear. Projected images of Selim himself on the background add to the feelings that whirl through the main room. A heavy start to the last day, without the music itself being as “heavy” as some of the programmed bands.
To mellow us out after such an intense moment of grief for many attending, we have Avatarium. The gentler sounds of this doom band is a proper transition from something so intense to another very heavy show to come. The crisp clean female vocals of the band are exceptional in their opening number ‘Moonhorse’. The overall sound of this band is more towards Candlemass, but also Anathema’s older work. The sadness and mournfulness with a glimmer of hope depicted in the gentler, melodic patches of the music, after which the doomy storm of heavy bass and guitars pick up again prepare us for the onslaught that is to come; a second set by Yob.
He general consensus among all Yob fans (me included) that I chatted with was that their second set was better than the first, though both were very good. The thunderous waves of bass interlaced with melodies and vocals cutting through like clear knives is amazing with this band, especially with the energy they portray on stage. And while deep dark an oppressive, the mellow, happy gleaming beauty of this band rings through, as watching an ocean storm taking form and battering against the rocks. It is however a band that you need to fully immerse yourself in and then learn to ride their waves of bass to fully enjoy. Sit down, relax, close your eyes and let them move you and take you along.
Having already seen the new keepers of the water tower play during the per-sale party, I skipped them now, but their set was as magnificent and moving as it was then. The gentle psychedelics, combined with heavy riffs, beautifully harmonized drowning vocals and almost watery lights get everyone nodding. Their musical en technical prowess is more than adequate and these guys are definitely a band to go see when you can if you like the trippier side of heavy. Up next is Triptycon. What to say: bam! It blows you away and smashes your skull inside your head. Excellent set really and expertly done but again not really the thing I go for. Definitely one to cross of the “need to see” list, just didn’t move me the way some other bands do. Just a matter of taste. Having seen Harsh Toke the day before I decide to mellow out a little outside the room. I grabbed a glimpse of Mourne who were… immense. Immense, overwhelming and excellent, but a little heavy on the last few hours of an experience so intense as Roadburn. In the end I ended up watching Lumerians, and words cannot describe their show. They make very trippy atmospheric psychedelic… stuff that’s incredibly danceable, yet mellow and a perfect closer. And what appeared on stage can be described as wraiths or spectrals… they all wore long white hooded robes, obscuring the bands features, playing bent slightly forwards and sometimes a glimpse was caught of glowing eyes: L.E.D. -lights used inside the hoods as eyes of these spectral creatures. It gave an excellent extra dimension to a band that was more than enjoyable. And with them the last bits or Roadburn wither away and disappear, not to be seen until next year. Hugs were exchanged, goodbyes were said and sleep was needed. And right away the homesickness for Roadburn starts again. Just a year to go.
Words and photos by SUSANNE A> MAATHUIS