One of the U.S.’ most promising, upcoming oldschool thrash-influenced bands, Atlanta’s Death Of Kings, have shared some details of their upcoming release. ‘Kneel Before None‘ will be issued through Boris Recordson June 2nd and is the anxiously awaited full-length follow up the band’s fierce 7″ Single, ‘Hell Comes To Life‘. Death Of Kings is sharing the new song ‘Shadow Of The Reaper‘ today, an incendiary salvo of scorching guitars and all-out metallic aggression.
In further news, the band will also embark on a US tour that will begin in June. All dates can be found below.
June 1st – Atlanta, GA @ the Clermont Lounge (record release) June 9th – Knoxville, TN @ Open Chord June 10th – Louisville, KY @ Haymarket Whiskey Bar June 11th – Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge June 12th – Detroit, MI @ The Dodge June 13th – Pittsburgh, PA @ Black Forge Coffee Shop June 14th – Blackthorn 51 in Queens, NY June 15th – Boston, MA @ O’Briens Pub June 16th – Brookyln, NY @ Golden Sounds June 17th – Richmond, VA @ 25 Watt June 18th – Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone
Narcotic-like noise mongers Drug Honkey are preparing to unleash their new offering, ‘Cloak Of Skies‘, via Transcending Obscurity on May 5th. The pre-release hype for the punishing delivery of sonic abuse is reaching a fevered pitch of late. The album, which features guest appearances by the godfather of bleakness, Justin Broadrick and saxophonist most sinister, Bruce Lamont, is the baddest of trips seemingly. With crushing despair and abundant psychedelic savagery , Drug Honkey are poised to scar lives forever.
Today, Drug Honkey are serving up their video for the song ‘Sickening Wastoid‘, which is its very own frightening hallucination thanks to the twisted mind of Paolo Girardi. The morphing, animated album art from ‘Cloak Of Skies‘ appears alive and threateningly menacingly in the clip. Prepare to experience something you cannot un-see once you have your third eye opened to this vile visualizer.
For my own take on Drug Honkey‘s ‘Cloak Of Skies‘, check out my review of it over at Riff Relevant.
EVOKE THY LORDS Lifestories – CD//DD Solitude Productions – Released April 24th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Imagine if you will a band that melds a magical blend of psychedelia with traditional doom vibes, groove-fueled heavy rock and death metal-ish vocals. Oh, and they do it all from Russia with love and lysergic lividity. Well, thanks to Steve Woodier and Frazer Jones, I too have now discovered a band that does all of that and more, Evoke Thy Lords. Their latest offering, the 5-song ‘Lifestories‘, was dropped this week and now here we are experiencing this amazing aural ride for ourselves.
And what a ride it is, my friends! With fuzzened riffs that reverberate for miles, the fantastic trek begins with the stoner-fied rumbles of ‘Regressed‘. A hypnotic rhythmic pattern keeps you anchored in place while periodic flutes and trippy effect-laden vocals swirl about. The doom is undoubtedly doubled down upon with a southern slant on the superb ‘Still Old‘ and its follow-up, ‘Life Is A Trick‘. The latter’s music evoking a classic Trouble feel for the most part and takes on a much different approach vocally compared to the other cuts. With ‘Heavy Weather‘ comes a palpably more gloomy, somber tone as it encircles you with trance-inducing rhythms and minimalist drums at first. It all soon gives away to some increased tempos that eventually yield themselves to some hazy, ethereally enhanced music. I cannot help but have comparative memories of Cathedral’s ‘Forest Of Equilibrium‘ during this song and times during others as well. At nearly twelve minutes in length, it covers a lot of territory and contains some interesting tones or effects, like the springy or “boingy” sounding licks around the 8:15 mark. Things end with the scorching delivery of the last song ‘Stuff It‘, an uptempo, heavy hitter containing some killer guitar work. Yep, what is stuffed is opiate-like riffs drenching the cut, more airy flutes, and some true to form, tight knit drumming.
So, to summarize, Evoke Thy Lords‘ Lifestories tells a tale of unique woe but woe with a lot of go and energy really. Tagged with being Stoner Doom is really quite fitting and to be sure, the band has a rather unique sound and style of their own going on. If you’re open to hearing something different then by all means, perform your very own evocation via the Bandcamp embed below.
Dark Matter is “heavily influenced by 70s downer rock and obscure prog.” That’s the description on their Bandcamp page. Apt summary for sure, but there is much more going on here than just 70s prog. Once you scratch that surface, you will find their sound also borrows from the doom, space, and psych/acid genres as well. Think Black Sabbath and Hawkwind to go along with that 70s downer rock tag, and you’re in the ballpark as far as pinning down their sound.
Wood Lane is Dark Matter’s second effort. Whereas their debut was completely recorded by Dave Gilbert, he has enlisted the services of Gandalf’s Fist’s drummer, Stefan Hepe on this one. The addition of Hepe has only served to enhance the overall sound and atmosphere Dave is attempting to create with his compositions. Thematically, this album runs the gamut of religion (‘The Truth is Out There’ and ‘March Out to the Sun’), technology (‘Four Walled World’), Witches (‘Down in the Valley’), and loss (“Wood Lane”). Unquestionably, a diverse lyrical tapestry is woven throughout.
‘King of Colours’ and ‘The Truth is Out There’ open the album with a space rock/acid feel. ‘Four Walled World’ touches upon the dangers of letting technology take over your life. This is the third track on the album and the first where you truly start to see that early Black Sabbath influence—especially towards the tail end of the song. “Wood Lane” is well placed midway through the record and serves the purpose of giving the album a welcomed change of pace with its laid back psychedelic sounds. Lyrically, this song will make you contemplate life as you know it with its deep and emotional theme. As the song suggests, “it’s a lonely place.” The Sabbath influence makes a more obvious return on ‘Down in the Valley’, and the final track, ‘March Out to the Sun,’ boasts a riff that would be more than comfortable fitting in on any doom record.
This is a strong second effort from Dark Matter. The album is cohesive and dynamic and the songs are structured in a way that make them memorable. Gilbert’s vocals fit the overall mood of the record, however, a more varied vocal delivery may have made some of these songs that much more memorable. Minor gripe when considering how well this album embraces the feel of classic 70s proto doom and space rock. Looking forward to what they come up with next.
Swedish psyche/doom trio Vokonisare sharing a stream of the title track from their upcoming Ripple Musicrelease, ‘The Sunken Djinn‘ today. The band, guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, drummer Emil Larsson and bassist Jonte Johansson, will release the new album on June 9th. The eagerly anticipated new effort is the follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed Olde Ones Ascending and today’s song share provides ample reason to fuel clamoring for the new record.
As the press release puts it: “Following countless appearances in the underground’s essential heavy directory The Doom Charts and frequent “Next Big Thing” mentions in end of year lists, Vokonis’ The Sunken Djinn will undoubtedly mark the arrival of Sweden’s next great hard rock and heavy metal export.”
A vinyl 7″ of today’s Single, ‘The Sunken Djinn’ (top image), will be released on May 13th from Ripple Music and the full-length album itself on June 9th.
The Taste Nation LLC review of ‘The Sunken Djinn‘ is coming to the site soon.
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
1. The Sunken Djinn
2. Calling From The Core
3. The Coldest Night
4. Blood Vortex
5. Architect Of Despair
The sisterhood of heavy metal is strong as all-female Swiss band Burning Witches are hard at work on their debut album. They have launched aPledgeMusic campaign where fans can pick up the album with some added bonuses from the ladies. The album was recorded and produced in tandem by V.O. Pulver and Schmier of Destruction at Little Creek Studio in Switzerland.
Burning Witches aka Seraina (Vocals), Romana (Guitars), Alea (Guitars), Jay (Bass) and Lala (Drums), have a very traditional metal sound. In fact, their sound is not too far removed from the great Doro Pesch/Warlock if you need a convincing comparison to gauge it by. But what you should do is check out the ‘Burning Witches‘ track below and hear the band for yourself.
The band adds: “We had the dream to form an all women’s traditional heavy metal band – now here we are with our first record and we hope that you gonna help us with your pledge to climb up the first steps of the ladder of our career! We have put together a nice collection of items for you, including signed CD’s, posters, shirts, hoodies, girly shirts and opportunities to spend time with us at rehearsal and hang and party with us! Thanks in advance for your support! Ready to fight!”
For many, Easter is all about church services celebrating the New Testament era of the bible and the savior Jesus Christ. However, I was party to a whole other kind of religion with a Testament all its own on this most recent Easter Day, April 16, 2017. Yes indeed, the Brotherhood Of The Snake itself, Bay Area oldschool thrash legends Testamentwere at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina and they brought friends. The revival of classic metal would also be preached by Prong, Sepultura and new converts, The Convalescence. Before the night’s electrified sermon would unfold, we had the opportunity to meet Testament for a signing session and brief interaction with the guys which was cool. And for the record, the guys currently in the long running powerhouse are vocalist Chuck Billy, guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, bassist Steve Digiorgio and drummer Gene Hoglan.
The evening’s events would kick off with a band totally unknown to me, the Toledo, Ohio sextet,The Convalescence. I’m not totally certain what genre you’d classify the act as since they incorporate some Metalcore and Death Metal (Deathcore?) into their sound. But oddly, there are keyboards, varied vocalization styles and yes….corpse paint! Now the band received decent crowd support and interaction, I’ll give them that but to be added to support this bill of oldschool acts was an ill-conceived plan on someone’s part I believe. I am sure it was some label employee’s big idea perhaps but a modern metal act like this would be better served on a more accommodating roster like a Van’s Warped Tour or Knotfest (do those still exist?). Being unfamiliar with The Convalescence, I’m clueless to what songs they performed but allow me to add that the band was not bad or terrible or anything…just a tad out of place in my opinion.
Next up were a band I have had a long, ongoing love for over many, many years…Prong! My seeing the band, albeit with differing line ups, dates back to their touring cycle for their third release, 1990’s Beg To Differ. Tonight would see band founder and frontman/guitarist Tommy Victor joined by drummer Art Cruz and bassist/bkg. vox Jason Christopher. If you are a fan of Prong‘s then you should be well aware that this band are on a roll and they only get better with each new album, and each new day it seems. Clearly, there was a venue full of Prong fans here too as people were singing right along to classic tracks from the trio. Songs like ‘For Dear Life‘, ‘Beg To Differ‘ and ‘Unconditional‘ elicited energetic sing-alongs during their oh-so catchy choruses. Other, more current songs like ‘Cut And Dry‘ and ‘Sense Of Ease‘ from 2016’s critically acclaimed X – No Absolutes were also well received but the most involved tracks were the one-two-three punch of some really well known selections. Just like how they unfurl on 1994’s landmark Cleansing record, the trio of ‘Another Worldly Device‘, ‘Whose Fist Is This Anyway?‘ and ‘Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck‘ nearly brought down the house.
The legendary Brazilian metal band Sepultura would take the stage next and I have a confession to make concerning them. I was an avid fan of the earlier era of the band, seeing them numerous times when Max and Igor Cavalera were still present but I kind of lost touch with the act many years back. No particular reason other than my tastes changed and as most people know, so did the iconic band’s membership. Currently, only longtime guitarist Andreas Kisser and bassist Paulo, Jr. remain from those early days and they’re joined by vocalist Derrick Green and drummer/percussionist Eloy Casagrande. Sepultura has thrived in the years since I saw them last, releasing several albums and furthering the legacy of the beloved band. In fact, 2018 will make twenty years that Derrick has fronted the band so truth is, he’s as much a part of that legacy as anyone else at this point.
Fans in attendance at The Fillmore were more than ready for the Sepultura onslaught too as the band opened with back to back tracks from their recently released fourteenth studio album, Machine Messiah. ‘I Am The Enemy‘ and ‘Phantom Self‘ activated the crowd and they remained involved for a flurry of songs from that same record like ‘Sworn Oath‘, ‘Alethea‘ and ‘Resistant Parasites‘. For me, the most interesting moments came when the band played the earlier era’s material such as ‘Desperate Cry‘, ‘Inner Self‘ and the set closing ‘Roots Bloody Roots‘. Hearing these songs that I knew so well being done by band members I’d never heard them performed by previously was a somewhat surreal experience. Needless to say, for me, Sepultura circa 2017 are just as impressive now as the band was back a few decades ago and clearly able to stand on their own merits.
Then the time had come for one of the Bay Area’s most enduring thrash band’s to bring their aural legacy to the stage. Speaking of which, Testament‘s debut album, 1987’s The Legacy, turned 30 years old this past week on April 21st. The current incarnation of the band is 3/5 of the one that recorded 1999’s The Gathering, a much heavier-oriented album and that same heavy vibe comes through in the live line up as well. The guys immediately unleashed a quartet of tracks from their more recent albums with ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake‘, ‘Rise Up‘, ‘The Pale King‘ and ‘Centuries Of Suffering‘. Chuck’s vocals bellowed throughout The Fillmore as the crowd’s excitement went off the register and during the latter track, Peterson performed a scorching guitar solo. That set things up nicely for the catchy, melodic hooks of ‘Electric Crown‘ from the band’s 1992 album, The Ritual. Alas, the melodic moments were soon obliterated by ‘Into The Pit‘, a song proceeded with Chuck sharing a tale of about a night of too much booze in Texas back in the day. That, and them going to check out an up and coming band that night, Pantera. Another flurry of songs ensued including the death metal-ish ‘Low‘, ‘Throne Of Thorns‘ and ‘Stronghold‘. The latter was prefaced with Chuck’s commentary supporting the Standing Rock protesters and went out with yet another intense guitar solo, this time by Alex.
A return to that aforementioned 1999 album came with The Gathering track ‘Eyes Of Wrath‘ and then came a jaw dropping spectacle to behold: A furious drum solo by Gene ‘The Atomic Clock‘ Hoglan! One of the unquestionably best drummers on earth unleashed upon that kit like a man possessed before the band returned to the stage for a volatile delivery of ‘First Strike Is Deadly‘. From there another astounding event to witness, Steve Digiorgio‘s unhinged bass solo! In case you don’t know it, Steve has nearly four decades under his belt playing bass..and playing bass like only he can..and like he does. It cannot merely be described, it must be observed to comprehend and then come another block of fantastic songs: ‘Urotsukidôjí‘, ‘Souls Of Black‘, ‘Seven Seals‘ and the set-ending ‘The New Order‘.
Of course just as soon as Testament exited the stage the thundering chants of “Test-a-ment! Test-a-ment!‘ erupted in the auditorium. The call went forth, building and building until the guys came back out and hit us with staggering one-two of ‘Practice What You Preach‘ and ‘Over The Wall‘. The crowd was in a frenzied state by the time the band wrapped up these two favorites and there was no escaping the feeling that we had been subjected to some of the best oldschool metal on this planet…which we had of course.
Disclaimer: I am not a photographer. Bear that in mind when viewing the pictures included in this show review but then again, one thing I learned at Metal Nexus is that anyone can call themselves a photographer..even if they really aren’t!
We are ever closer to the debut album from The Ditch And The Delta, ‘Hives In Decline‘, to be released via Battleground Records on May 12th. To introduce people to the band’s unique take on progressive sludge, today we have the new track “Fuck On Asphalt” shared online. The cut features guest contributions from Gentry Densley of Eagle Twin and Iceburn while the album it hails from was produced by Andy Patterson of Subrosa. Enjoy!
Full Album Review Coming…
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Hives In Decline Track Listing:
1. Hives In Decline
2. Fuck On Asphalt
3. Sleeping Dogs
4. Dry Land
5. Till Body Quits
7. Dread Spectacle
Ventura, California’s Night Demon is, with little doubt, becoming a ferocious, unstoppable monster within the overall underground metal movement. Though their excellent 2012 debut e.p. seemed to sneak under the radar, it had the goods to land them a deal with powerhouse label Century Media. From there, in early 2015, the band released ‘Curse of The Damned’, a future classic of NWOTHM (New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal) and has followed it up with seemingly relentless touring and a live delivery that will melt your face off, straight down to the bone. Catch Jarvis Leatherby (bass, vocals), Dusty Squires (drums), and newbie Armand John (guitars) off-stage, and they’re every bit as cool as their music is hot. How can they possibly make the scenario any more appealing to metal fans? Easy- By releasing ‘Darkness Remains’.
Now, if you’re worried that the band has left its roots behind or grown beyond what’s made them so appealing thus far, rest easy. If you’re new to them, well, here is as good as any a place to start.
With a catchy as hell, old-school sound firmly in place, the band has wisely chosen not to attempt reinventing the wheel. Instead, they have fine-tuned the machine so that the 10 regular and 2 bonus cover tracks (including Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ in a really fresh, yet recognizable format) pulse and pound with earthy preciseness. Foreboding hooves gallop furiously through dark terrain like ‘Hallowed Ground’ and ‘Black Widow’, while mid-pacers ‘Stranger In The Room’ and ‘On Your Own’ really hammer home the early 80’s charm. The title track is the biggest surprise, showing the trio being as adept at penning a tranquil, almost Sabbathy psych vibe as anything else they’ve tackled thus far.
Individually, Jarvis’ melodic, “every man” vocals ala Guy Speranza (R.I.P./Riot) or Chris Bradley (Savage) are smoother and more assured, as is Dusty’s drumming. Armand John’s new role in the band is proving to be a great addition; the riffs are still blazing sharp, but his sense of melody is keener than his predecessor’s, tightening the trio’s sound down to the smallest details. Topping it all off is the robust, vibrant production ‘Curse’ could have used, but never got.
Quartz, Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, Jaguar, Cirith Ungol, Slough Feg and the like are nice touchstones to get an idea where Night Demon is coming from. In the end, they manage to get their own thing going in full force with ‘Darkness Remains’. This record isn’t good, or even great. It’s downright fantastic. I am, once again, blown away by this band to no end. Essential – Ohhhh, hell yes!
March 4, 2017 (Saratoga Springs, NY)- From Left To Right: Armand John, Dave Lampkins, Jarvis, Myself, and Dusty kneeling in front. They tore that joint doooown!
Fresno, California’s occult doom trio Beastmakerwill bring their macabre sonic arts to the music loving masses via their new album, ‘Inside The Skull‘, on May 19th. The Rise Above Records release promises to revive the halcyon days of proto-doom and early vintage rock. Today the artwork and track listing for the album have been revealed along with an official video, ‘Nature Of The Damned‘. Recorded and produced by the band themselves, in their own self-built studio, this promises to be an album of fundamental heaviness.
Once Inside The Skull is released, the band will be hitting the road in the US with Zakk Wylde‘s Black Sabbath tribute act, Zakk Sabbath. Tour dates can be found below.
“Heaven To Hell”
“Now Howls The Beast”
“Of God’s Creation”
“Give Me A Sign”
“Nature Of The Damned”
“Inside The Skull”
“Sick Sick Demon”
“Nature Of The Damned” video:
Beastmaker on tour:
May (with Zakk Sabbath)
17 – Morgantown, WV – 123 Pleasant St*
18 – New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
19 – New York, NY – The Gramercy Theatre
20 – Philadelphia, PA – Voltage Theatre*
21 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter*
22 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall*
23 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
24 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia Nola*
25 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Studio
26 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
28 – St. Louis, MO – Fubar
30 – Nashville, TN – Exit/In
31 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
June (with Zakk Sabbath)
2 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
3 – Indianapolis, IN – Black Circle Brewing*
4 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
6 – Spokane, WA – The Pin
7 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
8 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
10 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
17 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theater