On their fifth and self-titled LP (Svart), Witch Mountain are trying to decide if they’re the most melodic Doom Metal act or the heaviest Blues band currently on the planet. Blues informed riffage has always been a part of Doom, and we dearly thank Black Sabbath for that contribution, but many a modern practitioner have ditched tradition in favor of harsher noise. Witch Mountain is not about modern convention, but about sticking with tried and true basics. Continue reading
Doom metal warriors Witch Mountain are releasing their new, self-titled album on May 25th, via Svart records. The have also booked their first headline tour of the USA, for what seems like ages. All dates below are on sale so check out the full routing and support this amazing band when they come to your town. In the meantime jam out this killer new track, ‘Burn You Down’.
Nashville, Tennessee is more traditionally known as the home of country music. But it’s also home to Season of Arrows, a Female-fronted doom outfit with a real knack for mixing swampy grooves with classic Heavy Metal Doom sensibilities. Continue reading
This past year was a huge one for music with so many bands releasing new material it was hard to keep up, even for us here at Ghost Cult. So many legacy bands, modern classic acts, and up and comers dropped new music this year, some may wish they had waited until 2017 to drop it like it’s hot. Without further ado, here are our picks for the new tunes you need in your life in 2017. Continue reading
For the fifth year in a row, the best underground metalfest west of Maryland Deathfest is the Southwest Terror Fest. No other festival brings you the quality of bands from across the heavy spectrum, and Tuscon is just a cool town to host this shindig! Starting tonight October 20th through the 23rd, nearly four-dozen artists from across the US and Canada converging on five stages at multiple venues will wreck brains and eardrums. Full details, with shows and daily lineups are below’ Continue reading
Saturday at Psycho Las Vegas was no less impressive and perhaps the best single day of the fest band for band, especially if you were still able to stand after the first few days. Starting off with the public première of the Melvins documentary, The Colossus Of Destiny, followed by a Q & A by the director, Bob Hannam; this set the tone for the day. Continue reading
In a video message today, Portland rockers Red Fang have announced a full European tour supporting their forthcoming album Only Ghosts, due out via Relapse Records on October 14th. Continue reading
Another year, another Rock and Shock Festival arrived on the scene to get us even more in the Halloween mood. A terrific lineup of iconic personalities, and amazing vendors at the DCU Center along with a strong lineup of music titans over at The Worcester Palladium made this a year to remember. I have been to eight of the eleven years of this great festival and it gets better and better every year. This was one of the years where the convention ran slightly ahead of the show for me in terms of love, but that is less about the bands and some the horror giants that were in attendance, among my favorites in the genre, ever.
Friday was marred slightly by the typically shitty I -90 traffic heading out to the venue, taking almost 2.5 hours to arrive from Boston. Not only did we miss a tight group of local bands, I missed some of the bands I really wanted to see like Brick By Brick and Shattered Sun. Getting there in time to catch some of Soilwork at least made up for it. Not only did they play some more recent tracks from The Ride Majestic (Nuclear Blast), they played the throwback classic cut ‘Bastard Chain’ which was amazing.
Following Soilwork it was time for some more old-school jams with Sanctuary and Soulfly. The reactivated power metal/thrashers Sanctuary were super tight and sounded great. Better than I expected or remember. Soulfly also put on a great show. Max Cavalera and crew played a lot of hits as well as Sepultura classics and even a little Nailbomb jam. Maybe about the best Soulfly set I’ve ever seen. Max is just really great at extolling the crowd to move: screaming, rapping, or playing some percussion instruments, the guy does it all.
As expected Hatebreed’s career spanning, 20th anniversary set was as great as could be. Jamey Jasta and his crew have boundless energy and played an almost two-hour set. Track after track of classic beat-down songs and deep cuts from every era of the band rained down from the speakers. Many times Jamey jumped into the barricade and had fans screaming along with him. It was epic feeling and people were just throwing down all over the venue. It was a pretty amazing time and Jamey made sure everyone new Hatebreed is coming back with a new album in 2016.
Getting up early on Saturday, we made sure to spend a lot of time at the convention at the DCU center and really get to see and do everything over there. There were many awesome vendors, specifically a lot of local businesses, which was great to see. There were also several dog rescues and pet adoption tables with people doing great work to find some puppies and kitties new homes in the middle of all this metal and horror greatness. While I was only able to get glimpse of George A. Romero, some of the movie personalities I got to chat with made up for it such as Doug Bradley (Hellrazor), William Sanderson, Bill Mosley, Traci Lords, and especially Stephen Macht and Michael Mackay from Monster Squad. Most of the band signings were happening here, with the longest line I saw being for Superjoint.
Saturday’s lineup was a little deeper and more eclectic than most years too. The second stage had an array of diverging styles represented by The Relapse Symphony, Byzantine, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein with his solo band, and Eyes Set To Kill among others. The main stage was led off by doom masters Witch Mountain. New singer Kayla Dixon has a tall order to fill replacing the much adored Uta Plotkin, but Kayla has amazing pipes and stage presence. She does justice to all of Uta’s material, the other past material of the band, and definitely brings her own style to the table too. I am so looking forward to a new WM album with her at the mic.
For a bit of consistency, the next three bands had a common thread in Wednesday 13, New Year’s Day and The Rocking Dead, all bringing an old/new take on horror punk, glam rock and metal. Wednesday performed the best, NYD had the most fans in the house, and The Rocking Dead was beautiful wreck. Both the later two performed with The Rocking Dead, an all-star collection of talented folks playing all covers. It was exciting to see and hear Doyle and Taime Downe of Faster Pussycat jam out to some great songs, but the band hadn’t rehearsed at all and the sloppy performance was not amusing.
Prong was up next and were one of the best bands of the weekend. The band seems reinvigorated by some new blood in the band and performed a mix of old-school (‘Beg to Differ’, ‘Unconditional’) and new-ish (‘Revenge Best Served Cold’) tracks. Props to Tommy Victor for pulling double-duty this tour with Danzig. I’m waiting patiently on that new Prong album in early 2016 too.
After catching a little bit of Veil of Maya’s performance, we had to grab some provisions (beers and food) and do a final sweep of the band merch for the weekend. Then it was time for Superjoint to open up a total can of whup-ass on The Palladium. Easily the most brutal set and pits of the entire weekend by far. Between Phil Anselmo’s between song levity, the amped up playing it was a really fun time. With an excellent blend of hardcore, doom riffs and heaviness, the band was actually tighter and better than they were back in the day to me.
Finally the set changed over for Danzig. As always he had an impressive stage set up and props, with the ominous “Skull Horns” mascot emblazoned on everything. The backdrop and stage were definitely the best of the entire weekend in contrast to the other bands except for maybe Soulfly. The band came out strong with ‘Skin Carver’ and ‘Hammer of The Gods’. Glenn still has a mighty voice live after all these years. The good thing about being an enigmatic artist and not touring all the time is that people are not burned out on seeing you. Even the songs you have heard a million times on record sounded good live. Feeling every note and dramatic beat, the front man flung himself around the stage like a much younger man. While this challenged him to keep his breath and tone steady, he held up well. The set list was also pretty eclectic with three new cover songs from his new Skeletons album (Evilive/Nuclear Blast).
One thing that was a bummer was the much talked about photo policy. As everyone now knows, Danzig hates photographers; professional or otherwise. I saw at least 25 people kicked out of the show by security for taking pics or videos, and that number may have been 3-4 times that number from what I have been told. Although I admit this policy is extreme, Danzig has a point. Everybody put your phone down and watch the goddamn show! Plus there were signs everywhere and it wasn’t exactly a secret since security guys were warning people all night and stopping the from filming.
Overall Danzig’s set was pretty sweet, although some people I talked to after quibbled with the song choices. He did mix it up well with 15 tracks spread across 7 albums. And I might have chosen a different closer than ‘Brand New God’ from Danzig 4P (American), but no matter. If it’s the last time I ever see the guy live, it’s all good to me.
See you next year Rock and Shock!
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Superjoint, the band risen from the ashes of 90s hardcore metal band Superjoint Ritual is currently on the road opening for Danzig’s “Blackest of the Black Tour”, along with Veil of Maya, Prong, and Witch Mountain. Superjoint was conceived of and is led by Philip Anselmo (Pantera, Down, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals), Jimmy Bower (Down, EyeHateGod) and Kevin Bond (Christ Inversion, Artimus Pyledriver) and came to form a supergroup 15 years ago. They are currently backed by Anselmo accolytes José Manuel Gonzalez Jr. on drums (Warbeast, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals) and Stephen Taylor (Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Wovenhand, 16 Horsepower), on bass. In addition to tearing it up on the Danzig tour the band is heading toward the finish line of Phil’s 3rd annual Housecore Horror Festival. On the first night of the full tour at The Marquee in Tempe, Superjoint seemed energized from coming back and the reaction of crowd was vocal in their support. Unlike other bands trying hard to be clean and all prettied up, Superjoint is 100% no bullshit. Just ugly music for brutal music fans, who don’t need their riffs white-washed with interludes or overlong jams. The only breakdown you will hear is an emotional one, collectively from the crowd when all is said and done. Thanks to Melina Dellamarggio of Melina D Photography for being on point in the photo pit on this night.
Doom metal lords YOB have hit the road on a tour of the US, continuing to tour behind last year’s astounding Clearing The Path To Ascend (Neurot) release. Ghost Cult Chief Editor Keith Chachkes caught up with front man Mike Scheidt recently to preview the tour with Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision and Witch Mountain. Mike also chatted about touring in general opening for Tool in arenas versus small clubs.
Mike started our chat with some kind words about Enslaved and his being a fan of theirs:
“I’ve listened to Enslaved… I think the first album was Eld (Osmose), the first full-length album. I did have an Emperor/Enslaved album on CD as well. Over the years they have changed on pretty much every record. I am a big fan. My favorite is Monumension, and Below the Lights and Eld still hold a real candle for me. Mardraum (Beyond The Within) too. We are definitely fans of them. We got to see them one time at Roadburn, which was mind-bogglingly good. So just being able to go out with them is an honor for sure.”
Witch Mountain, playing a western US run of dates with YOB, holds a special place for Schiedt from a personal and professional standpoint.
“We’ve probably played with Witch Mountain 40 or 50 times. Our very first Portland show YOB ever played was with Witch Mountain played. So we have very old roots there. And their drummer Nathan Carson owns Nanotear Booking, and he has been booking us for the better part of 10 years too.”
Speaking about the coast-to coast spanning tour of North America, he was reflecting on the cities and people: “We have a lot of friends all over the place. I think in most places we are playing we have people we are stoked about seeing, as well as playing for all the people coming to see us, and making new friends, of course. Los Angeles, we have a lot of friends down there. Same with Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia. Vancouver. Chicago, we have a lot of friends in Chicago. We haven’t played Boston in a while so it will be great to play there again. We have a lot of good friends in Little Rock Arkansas, and Austin too. We haven’t been to Toronto or Montreal since 2011, so it’s gonna be great to go there. I don’t think there is one city we aren’t really excited about on this tour.”
Speaking about the challenges of touring, Mike offered up this assessment of YOB’s time opening for Tool.
“We toured with Tool for two weeks, and that was kind of like jumping out of an aeroplane without a parachute every night. Still, we just approached it… our view of it was “these guys picked us”. Some of those guys are our friends too, and they picked us for a reason. So we totally just threw every calorie of energy into our set. Arms raised, screaming. Instead of a 500 person club, it was a 20,000 person arena. We didn’t change anything about what we do. It just takes a little bit longer to connect with the room, that’s it. We were ready to be booed every night. We didn’t get booed, but I think some people were clapping that we were getting off stage! (laughs) It was just a crazy scenario to accept that we would even be in a place like that. But who knows?”
“We’re getting ready to go out with Enslaved, and some of their crowd is, I’m sure, not our crowd. The work of the band is two-fold. Of course we want to be received well. It’s also personal work. There’s stuff that we do, and stuff that we do for ourselves. It’s a discipline. We climb onto the stage and climb into ourselves. We climb into us and we let the music take us where it takes us. We want to share that with anyone who wants to come on that ride. Whatever happens is fine. We have no control over that. All we can be is ourselves.”
WORDS BY KEITH CHACHKES