Hey all you doom freaks this is The Ancient One and I have just learned of the return of Nottingham, England’s IRON MONKEY. Their original line up was: Justin, Greaves, Johnny Morrow, Jim Rushby, Doug Dalziel, and Steve Watson . Formed in 1994 this band of misanthropes sole purpose in life was to irritate and piss as many people off as they could. Spewing forth an auditory assault of bellicose, nihilistic vocals IRON MONKEY then fronted by Johnny Morrow was doing a hell of a job. But, like the notorious G.G. Allin they developed a cult of Misanthropic followers who liked what they were doing and so began IRON MONKEY’s then 3 year recording career that produced 2 albums and a split album with Japan’s Church of Misery.
Rumored by its cult of follower to have been playing when Pantera’s frontman Phil Anselmo had a near fatal heroine overdose the IRON MONKEY S/T debut album was first released on the Union Mills label. The release generated a stir that when combined with their insane live performances lead them to being signed on with Earache Records who re-released the album in 1997. Soon after its defection to Earache Records, IRON MONKEY released their masterpiece of negative rock “Our Problem” in 1998. Then in the following year they released their IRON MONKEY/Church of Misery Split album. Following their split album the band members got involved in side projects and with the death of their unholy vocal terror Johnny Morrow in 2002 it seemed IRON MONKEY was to be a legend relegated to compilations and box sets that old SLUDGE-CORE / PSYCHO-DOOM fans told the young’uns about. But the Fat Lady hasn’t sang yet.
Rather than call IRON MONKEY a memory, Steve Watson and Jim Rushby with addition of current Chaos UK drummer Brigga have returned once again, this time on Relapse Records with their album “9-13″. So get yourself ready for this psychotic power trio to unleash their simian rage. While Johnny is no longer on this earth to assault us with his beastly vocals Jim Rushby who has taken up the mantle is a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the 9 original tracks and 48 minute album, Jim Rushby assaults us with bellicose hate filled rants as Steve Watson lays monstrous fuzzed out sludge laden riffs with Brigga pounding out warlike drum beats.
While I had a great time listening to 9-13 it really seems to take off with the album’s 4th track “Toadcrucifier – R.I.P.P.E.R.” It is the point were I start hearing some ass kicking guitar leads to go along with the breakdowns. With Five short verses THE ROPE, NO HOPE, NO HOPE, THE ROPE, THE ROPE… The 7th track “The Rope” is a breakdown that prepares you and flows into “Doomsday Impulse Multiplier”. Listening to this album has truly damaged me!! Listening was like being attacked by a baboon in the throws of a PCP induced rage. Available on Relapse Records “9-13” is set for release on October 20th, 2017!!
TAU CROSS, the multinational punk/heavy metal collective featuring Amebix bassist/frontman Rob “The Baron” Miller, Voivod drummer Michel “Away” Langevin, and members of cult crust outfits Misery and War // Plague, has announced their second full-length album, Pillar Of Fire, due out July 21st on CD, Double LP, and digital formats via Relapse Records.
Comments TAU CROSS on the new album: “Pillar Of Fire is the continuation of some of the ideas that were explored on our first album. This time we have managed to share the songwriting more equally and introduce some other textures to the songs. This should help to establish TAU CROSS as less of a one-off phenomenon and more of an ongoing musical collective producing our own distinctive sonic environment.”
Pillar Of Fire was recorded across three different countries and co-produced by “The Baron” in the same manner as their eponymous debut. The drums were tracked in Montreal, guitars in Minneapolis, bass in Seattle and Minneapolis, and vocals on the Isle Of Skye in Scotland.
Physical preorders and exclusive bundles are currently available via Relapse.com at THIS LOCATION. Digital preorders are available via Bandcamp HERE.
Pillar Of Fire further expands the group’s unique musical approach ranging from dark folk witchery to industrial punk metal brutalism; a moody melting pot of Killing Joke’s metallic post-punk and Motörhead’s anthemic, hard rock with flourishes of traditional instrumentation and an infusion of 16th century English mysticism. Pillar Of Fire is a musical unearthing of TAU CROSS‘ philosophical preoccupations: mythological motifs, ultra-terrestrial hypotheses, surreal, social political landscapes, and the endless search for meaning in a controlled universe.
TAU CROSS: Rob “The Baron” Miller – bass/vocals
Andy Lefton – guitar
Jon Misery – guitar
Michel “Away” Langevin – drums
Tom Radlo – bass
James Adams – keyboards
Portland, Oregon’s sludge/doom heavyweights Graves At Sea are officially on tour in the U.S. as of right this moment. Dubbed The Cold Dead Hands Tour 2017, the trek kicked off yesterday evening in Boise, Idaho and will close June 16th on their home turf in Oregon. The run includes performances at 71 Grind Fest in Colorado Springs, Colorado as well asNorthwest Terror Fest in Seattle, Washington. See all remaining dates below.
Graves At Sea are touring in support of their 2016 debut full-length album, The Curse That Is. Engineered by Greg Wilkinson (Noothgrush, Brainoil) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, YOB), The Curse That Is melds walls of feedback-laden sound with gargantuan riffs that burden and crush one with the weight of mountains. The Curse That Is is out now on Relapse Records. For physical orders visit Relapse.com HERE. For digital orders go to the Graves At Sea Bandcamp page HERE where you can also stream the record in its densely savage entirety.
GRAVES AT SEA [remaining dates]:
6/01/2017 Hi Dive – Denver, CO
6/02/2017 71 Grind Fest @ Black Sheep – Colorado Springs, CO
6/03/2017 Sister Bar – Albuquerque, NM
6/05/2017 Club Red – Mesa, AZ
6/06/2017 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
6/07/2017 Five Star Bar – Los Angeles, CA
6/08/2017 Alex’s Bar – Long Beach, CA
6/09/2017 Starlite Lounge – Sacramento, CA
6/10/2017 Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA
6/15/2017 Northwest Terror Fest @ Neumos – Seattle, WA
6/16/2017 Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR
Pacific Northwest rockers Red Fang, who are playing atRock On The Rangetoday coincidentally, are debuting their latest Official Video, ‘Cut It Short‘. Yet another visually comedic clip as par for the course from the band, the song hails from Red Fang‘s latest release, 2016’s Only Ghosts. The Relapse Records-issued band’s fourth album was produced by the famed Ross Robinson (Sepultura, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot) and reached #143 on the US Billboard 200. Whitey McConnaughy directed the clip, continuing the partnership that birthed previous videos for “Wires”, “Prehistoric Dog”, “Hank Is Dead” and most recently “Shadows”.
Alongside Red Fang‘s ROTR date today, the band plays one more additional North American date (May 26th at the Modified Ghost Festival II) before heading to Europe for a month of shows. Then they’ll resurface in the US for September’s Bumbershoot and Crucial Fest dates, here’s all of their planned upcoming appearances:
19 – Columbus, OH – Rock on the Range
26 – Vancouver, BC – Modified Ghost Festival II
10 – Guilford, UK – Boileroom
11 – Donnington, UK – Download Festival
12 – Lille, France – L’Aeronef
14 – Orleans, France – Astrolabe
15 – Lyon, France – Epicerie Moderne
16 – Clisson, France – Hellfest
17 – Dessel, Belgium – Graspop
19 – Berlin, Germany – Lido
20 – Vienna, Austria – Flex
21 – Orfu, Hungary – Fishing on Orfu
23 – Saarwellingen, Germany – Saarmageddon Festival
24 – Scheessel, Germany – Hurricane Festival
25 – Neuhausen, Germany – Southside Festival
28 – Roskilde, Denmark – Roskilde
29 – Nimjegen, Netherlands – Doornroosje
1 – Pratteln, Switzerland – Fuzz Jam Festival
5 – Biarritz, France – Atabel
6 – Viverio, Spain – Resurrection Festival
8 – Barcelona, Spain – Razzamatazz 2
9 – Ile du Gaou, France – Pointu Festival
1 – Seattle, WA – Bumbershoot
2 – Salt Lake City, UT – Crucial Fest
As other members of Mastodon have actively stepped into involvements in outside projects like Troy Sanders (Killer Be Killed, Gone Is Gone) or Brent Hinds (West End Motel, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra), drummer Brann Dailor has now followed suit. Arcadea was born when Brann Dailor teamed up with upside-down guitarist and keyboardist Core Atoms (Zruda) to create a synth-laden progressive, heavy psych band. The duo soon added guitarist Raheem Amlani (Withered) on synth and the three recorded their synth odyssey outing at Orange Peel Studios in Atlanta, GA.
June 16th will see the worldwide release of Arcadea‘s self-titled debut album on CD/LP/Digital via Relapse Records. It was mastered by Colin Leonard and features cover art from renowned sci-fi fantasy artist Essy May. Today we are sharing the audio-only stream of a song from the album titled ‘Infinite End‘ below.
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
01. Army of Electrons
02. Gas Giant
03. Rings of Saturn
04. Neptune Moons
05. Infinite End
07. Motion of Planets
08. The Pull of Invisible Strings
09. Through The Eye of Pisces
10. Worlds Can Go On
11. Magnificent Facade
As the 2017 campaign continues to establish The Obsessed‘s global domination, today comes one of the most magnificent moves yet. As ‘Sacred‘, the band’s first album in over twenty years, sees release via Relapse Records today (April 7), we have also received an Official Video for its title track. The video, much like the track and album itself, is a fluid monstrosity of the integral elements that establish The Obsessed as the doom legends they are. The mystical imagery, hallucinogen-tinged visuals and crushing musical delivery are all cohesive fragments that work to embolden the staying effect of the video and music both.
If you have yet to hear The Obsessed‘s new album ‘Sacred‘ (my recent review here) then check out this video debut and then immediately go purchase the album afterward.
This is the second time in recent weeks that I’ve had to be extremely critical of a band that I truly like. If you read my review of Ecstatic Vision’s debut, you’ll remember that I really liked their sound, thought it was a really promising debut, and was fairly nonplussed by the banality of the lyrics. They were for the most part extremely pot-centric, and lacked any real depth or sense of subversion. I like subversion in art, I think it’s a really vital and overlooked element to a successful artistic statement.
At this point in time, I feel like there are two distinct schools on how to be a band: one school just gets their asses on the road, plays as killer of a live show as they can day in and day out, and sells as much merchandise as humanly possible to support their efforts. They put all of their energy into the stage each night. Their records are made in an effort to capture some of that live show and establish an ongoing connection with the fans who have experienced them live. Ecstatic Vision seems to fall firmly into this first camp.
The second school is composed of musicians who take their time with songwriting and recording, and are more concerned with making records that actualize their artistic impulses. They play live sporadically, when they can, though it’s not really their focus. The album itself is the ultimate art form and personal statement. I’m someone who falls firmly into this second camp.
It’s worth saying that most of the best bands of past and present can do both, though it’s a rare commodity in this day and age, with the way that the modern music industry works. I think that it’s vitally important for bands to attempt to bridge the gap – bands that make amazing studio albums should make an attempt to translate that into a live setting, and bands that that are awesome live need to learn the nuances of songwriting and the studio. There are obviously some serious growing pains involved in this process, and part of that process involves the ability to take criticism and evolve accordingly. The responsibility to offer this criticism lies mostly with the fans, though there are those of us who are fortunate enough to have our thoughts published. I happen to find myself in this position, and we do bands and fans a disservice by not offering up our most authentic selves in succumbing to hype and the pressure of PR companies.
You want to talk about fake news?? The music industry is 90% fake news, maybe more. Putting forth our honest, authentic and thoughtful reflections on an album is largely a lost art. You’ll see reviewers saying things like “If you haven’t heard this album, you’re living under a rock, people.” No. Fuck you. That’s blatantly manipulative. Lots of people cannot hear or not like a release for a wide variety of reasons, and they are entitled to their opinions and their dismissiveness. Those of us who have some sort of audience for our opinions, given our positions of power, it’s up to us to respect the tastes and opinions of others. If you think that I live under a rock because I don’t worship an album that you do, fuck you. Seriously, fuck you. Own your fucking opinion as just that – you’re not the do all and end all. You’re one small person with questionable tastes and an asserted opinion, in a veritable ocean of people with tastes and opinions. What I say about Raw Rock Fury is simply my opinion, take it or leave it. Any reviewer who asserts otherwise, you should rightly tell them to fuck off. Your opinion is just as important as mine, if not more so. People just publish my opinion, because I feel empowered to speak it. You should feel equally empowered. Seriously. If you’re passionate and articulate enough, someone will publish you. That’s my high dream, that every one of you that reads this review goes out and writes their own. Your opinion is vitally important, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a shitbag.
With all that said….
From my perspective, when a band releases a promising debut, the natural next step is to write a stellar sophomore album. That’s the make or break point for me. From where I stand, Ecstatic Vision have not delivered a knockout punch with their second album. Quite the opposite. I’m trying to think about how I can best express this.
I went to the movies with a good friend yesterday. We were both making comments about action movies and how banal they’ve become, how they lack substance, how directors have forsaken the art of pacing, and how these movies just rely on special effects and vapid over stimulation. Then we talked about how Hollywood science fiction movies are now basically constructed around a decent sci-fi concept that rapidly descends into a mindless action movie. See above for how that turns out. Still, people love that shit. It’s not for me. Have you ever seen 2001: A Spacey Oddity?? Do you still even have the attention span to watch it again? Do it, as a personal favor to me, not that I’m deserving. Do it for yourself then. It can’t hurt. Maybe you can’t do it. That’s sad.
Watch how there’s just a goddamn blank black screen with some of the most iconic film scoring of all time for the first five minutes. That’s it. Watch how slow and deliberate every single scene is revealed to us. It gives you time to think about what’s really happening, and more importantly, about the implications of what’s really happening, and what’s going to happen next. Then think about the conclusion, how ridiculous of a psychedelic, sensuous delight that we’re treated to!! Think about how climactic of an ending that is, and how it contrasts with the deliberate pacing of the beginning.
It’s like sex; all good art should be like good sex. Seriously. That’s why sex is so awesome. Great songs should be like great sex. Granted, there’s different kinds of songs, and different kinds of sex. Some sex is extremely one dimensional. This album is extremely one dimensional.
Ecstatic Vision’s music certainly has a primal, sexual appeal. That’s what I liked about their debut. It’s like that first time you hook up with someone, and you’re thinking, “Damn….that was pretty good, things are just going to get better from here.” After you hang out with this particularly special person and discuss it a bit, the next time y’all are together, they just bombard you with the most climactic techniques of your last encounter, rather than exploring the subtleties. The sex doesn’t turn out better; they’ve forgotten about the pacing and dynamics that made your first encounter so special, yet they think that they’re the shit when it comes to matters that happen between the sheets. They’re missing the point. I’m not going to expound on what that point is, because I trust that every one of you reading this has had a similar experience. Perhaps I’m wrong. I’m often wrong. If you haven’t experienced this, seriously….get yourself out more.
This is what their record company says about the album: “ ‘Raw Rock Fury’ is a raucous mix of troglodyte Detroit rock, soothing Krautian moto, filthy Beefheartian blues, and Hawkwindian primal world heavy psych!” I’m not going to disagree with any of this, it’s all true. It’s true in the same sense that Obi-Wan tells Luke that he didn’t lie to him because his spin on the whole Anakin/Vader situation was that he’d told him the truth, from a certain point of view. A record company’s point of view is based around selling records. I’ve told you what my point of view is, and I’m not even completely sure what it’s based around. Reconcile the two accounts of the album. Then, most importantly, take it in from your own point of view, and form your own conclusions.