Friday Full-Length: Humble Pie, Smokin’

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Humble Pie, Smokin’ (1972)

Good times had by all. And by all, I mean everybody. Some records just don’t take no for an answer, and that’s Humble Pie‘s 1972 LP, Smokin, all the way. The UK heavy rockers’ fifth full-length, it was also the first after guitarist Peter Frampton split, only to be replaced by Clem Clempson (Colosseum) in the lineup alongside guitarist/vocalist/founder Steve Marriott (Small Faces), bassist/vocalist Greg Ridley (Spooky Tooth) and drummer Jerry Shirley. It’s also unquestionably their biggest album, released by A&M Records and powered by the landmark single “30 Days in the Hole,” which opens side B, but of course it’s a far richer offering when taken front to back than that ultra-hook can fully convey, and whether it’s the guest spot Stephen Stills puts in on organ and vocals for “Hot and Nasty” — which lives up to its name — or the driving heavy rock and roll of closer “Sweet Peace and Time,” Smokin’ is a classic through and through in performance, songwriting, and vibe. Like I said, good times had by all.

Like a lot of acts of the era, particularly 1970-1973, Humble Pie were taken with a post-Cream blues sensibility, but they cleaned up the boogie with a slice of funk, as one can plainly hear on cuts like “The Fixer” — a Marriott original; compare to Cactus‘ slowed down take on “Long Tall Sally,” released the year before — or the ultra-friendly Eddie Cochran cover “C’mon Everybody,” both of which appear on the first half of the record. One can debate whether or not “You’re so Good for Me,” with its churchgoing acoustic blues foundation, piano and underlying rhythmic swing, was anything that Parliament hadn’t already been doing for three years at that point, but Humble Pie would hardly be the first of the English rock set to borrow from American black culture — or, for that matter, the American set, or any other — and the twanging context of “Old Time Feeling,” the jam on the Junior Walker cover “Road Runner” and the bluesy sprawl of “I Wonder,” Smokin‘ could hardly be accused of being one-dimensional in that regard. Marriott‘s interplay with background singers in “30 Days in the Hole” is likewise an aspect drawn out of soul and R&B, but Humble Pie marry it to rock heft and impact in a way that would help shape the model an entire generation of acts followed.

The band continued for a long time after Smokin’, with various lineups, various players taking control of the name, and so on. When Steve Marriott died in a house fire in 1991, Greg Ridley held the reins on their by-then formidable legacy, and after he died of pneumonia in 2003, Jerry Shirley toured with a lineup as Humble Pie and derivations thereof as well. When the Smokin’ incarnation of Humble Pie split in 1975, Clempson hooked up with Cozy Powell (Jeff BeckBlack Sabbath, etc.) in Strange Brew and went on to do film work and play backing a whole swath of distinguished acts and solo artists from the era, be it Jack Bruce or Bob Dylan.

As always, I hope you enjoy. I’ve wanted to close out a week with Smokin’ for a long time, and as it’s Universal at this point who owns the label group to which A&M Records belongs, the album rarely stays on YouTube long. But even when it gets removed, the record’s been reissued more times than I can count, so it’s not like it’s not readily accessible, and hell, if you’re reading this, you probably own a copy already anyway. So just go grab it and put it on. And again, enjoy.

Quick week. Needed one. Not free of stress by any stretch of the imagination, but could be worse. The Patient Mrs. and I put our townhouse on the market this week. Monday we had a photographer in to take pictures. You can see our collectible plate with Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation in the kitchen shot (because yes, it hangs in the kitchen) and my Candlemass promotional wall hanging for their 2005 self-titled reunion album in the office, but other than that, the place looks good. I take no credit for any of it. The Patient Mrs. took the idea and ran with it and basically the plan is to see what we can get for the place before we decide if we’re actually going to move. If we do go anywhere, it’ll be south a bit, probably to Rhode Island if we can, or otherwise near the border. We can just inch our way toward living in Connecticut (the dream) one domicile at a time for the next 35 years. That’ll be fine.

Open house on Sunday, if you’re free. Someone’s coming in this morning to clean, so hopefully by then the place won’t be re-covered in dog hair.

Before I get to next week’s stuff — there’s a lot of it — let me just say that if you didn’t get to check out the Zaum album stream that went up yesterday, you should do so. I turned 35 this week and every year I decide to write about something special on my birthday to treat myself, and this year I wrote about Zaum on the day before the post went up as my little present to me. So yeah, if you haven’t dug into that, obviously I think it’s worth your time.

Also had a blast writing the Asteroid review that went up this morning, so there’s that as well.

Okay, next week. Of course it’s subject to change, but here’s the current plan:

Monday: Full album stream and review for the new Albez Duz.
Tuesday: A Devil to Pay album review and a Droids Attack video/audio premiere that’s going to be really cool.
Wednesday: A full stream and review of the new Scissorfight EP.
Thursday: A one-two combo review of new stuff from Mos Generator and a video premiere and big news from Geezer.
Friday: Pending, obviously, but right now I’ve got a review of the solo debut from Magnus Pelander of Witchcraft.

That’s what’s slated as of today. Could shift around some. I’ve already pushed that Pelander review back considerably.

Any video gamers out there? I bought myself a tablet last weekend (I guess that was actually the birthday present to myself; got a Samsung one on the cheap) and have been playing Final Fantasy V on it as I’ve never actually played that one and IV is my favorite game of all time and VI is an ultra-classic as well. They’ve got Final Fantasy XV coming out next month and I’m considering preordering a PS4 Pro to play it. Anyway, just some nerd stuff that has me excited. If you’re down, awesome. If not, sorry for the aside.

My mother and sister’s son are coming north tomorrow to spend the day and stay over to Sunday, so lots going on this weekend between that and the open house. Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a great one. Stay safe and have fun and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Backwoods Payback Announce Dec. 2 Release for Fire Not Reason

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

I have a hard time reading the title of Backwoods Payback‘s new album, Fire Not Reason, at this point and not hearing it in my head in the voice of guitarist/vocalist Mike Cummings. He delivers the title-line in the song “Dirge,” for which the West Chester, Pennsylvania-based dirt rockers premiered a video here back in July — which you can also see below if you don’t feel like going to all the effort of clicking a link — which is one of the most striking inclusions on the nine-track offering, in part for the screams that show up later on, but even more for the breadth that Backwoods Payback cover in its sub-four-minute runtime while still keeping to a straightforward structure. I called it “dirt rock” basically because that’s what I’ve always called them, but the truth is way more complex, particularly as regards this outing.

They’ve set a Dec. 2 release date for Fire Not Reason, getting it in just before the music universe shuts down for the holiday season and everyone goes home to record who isn’t out playing a holiday tour. Half shuts down, maybe. Either way, it’ll go down as a 2016 release, and to mark its arrival, the trio — Cummings, bassist Jessica Baker and drummer Erik Larson (ex-Alabama Thunderpussy, many others) — will head north for weekender shows in Vermont and New Hampshire. Preorders are reportedly imminent as well, though through what outlet those will be has yet to be announced. Keep an eye out, I guess.

The band offered few words on the subject, but showed off the presumed cover art for the album, which shows the strip-it-to-the-core mentality from which they’re working at this point:


Dec 2nd 2016.
fire not reason
digital / cd / cassette

preorder info to follow

Jessica Baker – Bass
Mike Cummings – Guitar/vocals
Erik Larson – Drums

3 human beings rocking harder than you.

Backwoods Payback live:
Dec 02 Showcase Lounge, Higher Ground South Burlington, VT
Dec 03 Dover Brickhouse Dover, NH

Backwoods Payback, “Dirge” official video

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Mars Red Sky Post “Alien Grounds” Short Movie

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Mars Red Sky have released a series of videos over the last five or six years, and they usually follow a similar pattern. They’re homemade, comprised mostly of found footage, etc. There have been exceptions along the way, as with 2015’s clip for “The Light Beyond” (posted here), but to generalize, they’re meant to showcase the song more than a direct visual narrative. Not so the short film Alien Grounds which takes “Apex III” and “Sapphire Vessel,” the first two tracks from the Bordeaux trio’s third and latest album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here), and puts them to a science fiction narrative that comes told through visuals as lush as the band’s melodies and a professional production of a level yet unseen from them.

The result of a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, Alien Grounds starts out by finding a clever mechanism to tell its story, to give the viewer background and insight into what’s happening and what’s going to happen, and then unfolds in a manner complementary to the way “Apex III” acts as the intro to the album. There’s an astronaut, an apparent kidnapping, a bit of rocking out, a bit of horror, and an apparent space-cult who use the same hand-sign as the hippies from my (second) favorite episode of Star Trek — think “we reach” — and teleport the hero of our narrative to a distant planet he heretofore thought was of his own creation. Very cool stuff all around, and easy to get lost in the story as well as in the music, so mark it a double-win for the band.

After coming to the States earlier this year to play, among other gigs, The Obelisk All-Dayer and Psycho Las Vegas, the progressive heavy psych three-piece are once again hitting the road this week in Europe. They’ve got shows booked through next month and into December that you can find listed below, along with more info on the video and the cast featured.

And don’t get me wrong, I like those homemade-style videos. This is just something special and that’s worth pointing out.


Mars Red Sky, “Alien Grounds: Apex III/Sapphire Vessel”

Cool vintage car, handsome actors, crazy spaceship, dangerous alien, odd dive bar…

ALIEN GROUNDS is based on the 2 first tracks of our last album APEX III (Praise for the Burning Soul). Directed by Sébastien Antoine.

Music: “Alien Grounds” – “Apex III” – “Sapphire Vessel”

Starring: Yan Tual, Dan Bronchinson, Victoria Cyr, Grégory Dreyfus, Jean-Claude Tisserand

Oct 27 Alte Hackerei Karlsruhe, Germany
Oct 28 Klubovna Prague, Czech Republic
Oct 29 festival Soulstone Gathering Cracow, Poland
Oct 30 Klub Firlej Wroclaw, Poland
Oct 31 Ostpol Dresden, Germany
Nov 02 La Sirène La Rochelle, France
Nov 10 6 PAR 4 Laval, France
Nov 11 La Nouvelle Vague Saint Malo, France
Nov 12 Monteray Live Stage Kyiv, Ukraine
Nov 18 CAVE A MUSIQUE Macon, France
Nov 19 FILE 7 Magny Le Hongre, France
Dec 10 PAUL B. Massy, France
Dec 16 Le Poche Bethune, France
Dec 17 La Fourmi Limoges, France

Julien Pras (vocals, guitar)
Jimmy Kinast (bass, vocals)
Matgaz (drums)

Mars Red Sky on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records

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Asteroid, III: Standing at the Gates

Posted in Reviews on October 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Much of Asteroid‘s aptly-titled third album, III, is unassuming. It arrives via Fuzzorama Records with a photo of the band’s gear — artfully shot, but a gear photo — on the front cover, and at seven tracks/36 minutes, it’s quick, almost humble listen. That’s precisely the point. It’s been six years since the Örebro, Sweden, three-piece released II (review here), and while they would’ve been well within their rights to turn III into some grandiose, probably hyper-produced excursion given the occasion, it also would’ve been completely out of character. Asteroid went a much more fitting way, and III benefits from that choice.

Natural vibe, on every level. That’s what the gear shot represents. It’s not about some over-the-top presentation, but about the work that guitarist/vocalist Robin Hirse, bassist/vocalist Johannes Nilsson and drummer Elvis Campbell (since replaced by Jimmi Kolscheen) do in that rehearsal or studio space. It’s their chemistry that shines through, in combination with the unremittingly memorable songcraft of cuts like “Last Days” (premiere here), “Wolf and Snake,” “Silver and Gold,” “Them Calling,” and so on. And yes, III does build on the accomplishments of II in the direction it takes, since that record — thought to be their swansong, notwithstanding the 2013 7″ single Move a Mountain/One Foot in the Grave (review here), until their reunion was announced here late in 2015 — shifted from the more straight-ahead fuzz rock of their 2007 self-titled debut (discussed here) toward a more open, bluesier, jammier style.

III pushes further in that direction from the gentle way Campbell‘s drums seem to start opener “Pale Moon” in medias res joined soon by Nilsson‘s inimitable warm bass tone and ambient guitar swirl from Hirse down to the soaring leads and into-the-night howls of closer “Mr. Strange.” There is no song of the seven that doesn’t deliver a standout factor, whether it’s a hook, solo, overall groove, vocal tradeoff between Hirse and Nilsson, and the flow created between the tracks makes III a better return than one could’ve reasonably hoped for from Asteroid.

I say that as a fan of the band, which I acknowledge I am. Nonetheless, to have Asteroid come back in a manner that not only reinforces the work they’ve done before but actively builds on it and pushes it forward almost gives III a spirit of making up for lost time. It was three years between the self-titled and II, and even with the 7″ factored in, they’ve doubled that span between full-lengths. In the interim, Hirse went on to found The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, and it legitimately seemed Asteroid were done. It was no minor loss to the sphere of European heavy rock and psychedelia, since what Asteroid effectively represent as a band is an alternative in audio organics that doesn’t necessarily need to rely on vintage presentation to get its point across.

In that regard, they pick up where they left off on III and move ahead from there. “Pale Moon,” one of just two inclusions over six minutes long, enters with a jammy feel, winding guitars, a minimal vocal presence, and eases the listener into what follows. No stretch to imagine it came out of the three of them picking up their instruments and playing the first thing that came to mind, whether or not that’s actually the case. Near the end, a wash of effects takes hold and comes forward, and the song ends with a rumble that leads into the opening of “Last Days,” which turns from its rolling introduction into a Beatlesian bounce marked out by Nilsson‘s bassline and some call and response singing underscored by the just-in-case-you-weren’t-thinking-AbbeyRoad short instrumental chorus riff.

The verse itself is the hook, and shows the band’s penchant for darker lyrical themes — “Death will come, he always does/For each and every one of us” is a standout line traded between Nilsson and Hirse — that comes up again on “Wolf and Snake” and the penultimate “Them Calling.” “Til Dawn,” which follows immediately with a warmth of shuffle given to fuzzy push, is shorter and somewhat faster, but doesn’t let go of the underlying groove of “Last Days” before it, instead building momentum as it starts and stops fluidly and shoves its way toward what’s probably the end of side A, turning around the 2:30 mark into a denser tone that they ride out for most of the duration, turning back to a cleaner guitar line to finish out in the last few seconds.

If you happen to be listening on a linear format — or if the vinyl side split is elsewhere — that makes the transition into “Wolf and Snake” all the more seamless. The centerpiece and longest track on III at a still-manageable 6:31, it’s a classic blues morality play with the standout lyrics in its first verse, “In the end we are the same/Said the wolf to the snake/You and me we’ve been asleep/While everybody else had to stay awake,” and it comes delivered with patience, dynamic shifts in tempo and a chorus that makes it stand among the highlights of the record and Asteroid‘s catalog as a whole.


Emphasizing the turns they’re able to pull off without even a measure’s notice, Hirse‘s layered lead work, and the way in which Nilsson and Campbell sustain cohesive rhythms while bolstering the guitar in classic power trio form. When they get back to the chorus from the solo section near the midpoint, it’s a release in tension, but the real shift comes in the subsequent slowdown — a transition into thickly-fuzzed, peppered-with-ambience riffing instrumental departure that carries them through the bulk of the remainder of the song, until the drums and bass drop out and the guitar lightly strums out the finish for the last minute or so.

At that point, the impact has been made, but just how much “Wolf and Snake” offers in its time serves as a summary of much of what the rest of III has to offer, though the subsequent two tracks, “Silver and Gold” and “Them Calling” are marked points of departure and contrast — at least from each other if not from the style of the band entirely. Rising quietly from the finish of “Wolf and Snake,” “Silver and Gold” is the shortest slice of III at 3:11, and from the swirling echoes preceding the first verse onward through the harmonies brought forth by Hirse and Nilsson, it’s the most ambitious vocal arrangement they’ve ever done.

And it marks a shift in approach as well, since so much of their appeal has always been about the tone of the guitar or bass and even the drum sounds, but while the dual-vocals has long been a key element of what they do, “Silver and Gold” is a level of performance and a level of confidence in that performance that’s perhaps the clearest marker of their progression on this album entirely, and reinforces Asteroid‘s fierce commitment to moving forward even as they get their feet under them following their years away. It makes III all the more special, and with a couple far-back hits from Campbell, shifts into a peaceful kind of gallop in its second half, vaguely Western, and topped with more non-lyricized harmonies echoing out over the space created, wrapping with a stretch of silence after the passing of some residual effects.

The role that brief quiet plays is no less pivotal than any of III‘s other transitions, since what it sets up is the outright crash into “Them Calling,” an outright fist-pump fuzz rocker that’s almost all thrust and raises a glass with the lines, “Now I stand at the gates of hell/Waiting for you to arrive/I hear them calling, calling for me/But I want you here by my side,” as it careens through headbang-worthy proto-metallic groove.

Tonally, it’s the densest material on the album, but it hits at just the perfect moment after “Silver and Gold,” and brings Nilsson and Hirse together righteously for the above-noted chorus, and shows that as far out as Asteroid are willing to go, they know the value as well that staying grounded can have. They rightly keep “Them Calling” to a straightforward structure, and in sheer effect, its leanness pushes it well into highlight status even before the solo in the second half gives way to one last bookend runthrough of the chorus and a couple hits to close. A “wow” moment, delightful in how unprecedented it is on III but still not at all a backward step on the part of the band, especially in the context of how it interacts with “Silver and Gold” before it and the closer “Mr. Strange” after.

As much as “Pale Moon” had a clear opening sensibility, “Mr. Strange” feels like it’s winding down — though, admittedly just about anything would with “Them Calling” before it — but as Nilsson takes the lead vocal, the foundation is laid for what will be the final push, complemented by memorable “whoa”s and a nodding lead-topped fuzz that once more casts out a sense of vastness without playing to the need for “sounding huge” or departing from the overarching class that Asteroid have shown all throughout the album to this point. In the end, it’s more active at its finish than “Pale Moon” was at its start, but no less fitting in the unassuming manner in which it rises to its occasion.

That is perhaps the most prevalent impression III leaves behind when it’s over. Asteroid probably could’ve made a “reunion” album. They didn’t. They made a third album, and the songs are stronger and more genuine for it in how they sound and what they signify as the band’s conceptual priorities now and going from here. III is one of 2016’s best, no question, and more over, it reminds of just how crucial Asteroid are and can continue to be as an influence to those who will invariably, hopefully, benefit from following their path. Recommended.

Asteroid on Thee Facebooks

Asteroid on Twitter

Asteroid website

Fuzzorama Records webstore

Fuzzorama Records on Thee Facebooks

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Roadburn 2017: Ulver Added; Tickets on Sale Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

We’re mere days from the previous, massive Roadburn 2017 lineup announcement, but if there’s ever been any act to grace a stage and stand alone, it’s Ulver, so I can hardly argue with the festival giving them their due space. The Norwegian post-black metal innovators are all the more worthy of highlight for the fact that they’ll arrive in the Netherlands this April in order to present a brand new full-length, to be titled The Assassination of Julius Caesar. I was fortunate enough to be there four years ago when Ulver played Roadburn 2012 (review here), and it was a similar openness and spirit that the band sought to capture with earlier-2016’s improv-based collection ATGCLVSSCAP, so while I wouldn’t dare hazard a guess as to what The Assassination of Julius Caesar might have in store in sound or theme, it speaks to the forward-thinking nature of both the band and the fest that it would be the latest work coming into focus on the Roadburn stage. They are a good match for each other.

Tickets for Roadburn 2017 may well be sold out by the time this post goes live, but here’s what came off the PR wire:


Ulver added to Roadburn 2017 line up; tickets on sale today

ULVER will present their new album, The Assassination Of Julius Caesar, at Roadburn 2017
Full current line up listed below – with dozens more artists still to be announced
Tickets on sale now

Ahead of tickets for the 2017 edition of Roadburn Festival going on sale, ULVER have been announced to perform on Sunday, April 23.

The highly revered Norwegian band will present their upcoming album, The Assassination Of Julius Caesar, at the album’s release show at the 013 venue. With little known about the album besides the title at this point, with only the vaguest of hints being dropped by the band, our appetites are well and truly whetted.

Back in 2012, ULVER delighted us with the first and only rendition of the songs on Childhood’s End, their album of obscure 60s psychedelia covers. It was a unique and unrepeatable treat that still resonates deeply within our collective Roadburn memory bank.

The release show for ULVER’s The Assassination Of Julius Caesar takes place on Sunday, April 23, at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Read more about Ulver.

The current line up for Roadburn 2017 is as follows:
Aluk Todolo
Chelsea Wolfe
Crippled Black Phoenix
Gnod (Artist in Residence)
Inter Arma
Les Discrets
Oranssi Pazuzu
The Bug vs. Dylan Carlson of Earth
The Doomsday Kingdom
Zeal & Ardor

There are still dozens more acts to be announced, including artists as part of John Dyer Baizley’s curation.

Tickets go on sale today for Roadburn 2017. They can be purchased in person from 6.30pm local time at the 013 venue box office, where there will also be a pre-sale party featuring Ortega and Gomer Pyle.

Tickets will go on general sale at 9pm (NL and mainland Europe)/ 8pm (UK)/ 3pm (East Coast USA)/ 12 noon (West Coast USA). Tickets can be purchased from this link
4 day – 195 Euro
3 day (Thu, Fri, Sat) – 172 Euro
Single day ticket, Sunday only – 54 Euro

Thursday, Friday and Saturday single day tickets will be on sale at a later date.

For more information on the pre-sale party, click HERE.

Ulver, ATGCLVSSCAP (2016)

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Hour of 13 Reveal More Details for Salt the Dead: The Rare and Unreleased

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Well, we still don’t have a full tracklisting, artwork, or a solid release date, but more details have come through about the rare tracks comp, Salt the Dead: The Rare and Unreleased, that is serving as the marker for Hour of 13‘s reactivation, first announced here. The forthcoming comp on Shadow Kingdom will be the band’s first outing since 2012’s 333 (discussed here) and in detailing the origins of some of the tracks included, the label paints an image covering the band’s entire (initial run), and then goes as far as to confirm a new album in the works for 2017. My understanding is there are some contingencies to align before founding multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis and company hit the studio — for example, who “company” is — but however and whenever they get there, it seems inevitable if Hour of 13 is truly going to be a band again that a next record would happen at some juncture. Now the question is, will they tour?

Looking forward to this one, which will reportedly be out before the end of this year. Shadow Kingdom forwarded this along the PR wire:


HOUR OF 13 rejoin forces with Shadow Kingdom!

SHADOW KINGDOM RECORDS is proud to present a long-overdue demos & rarities collection from thee immortal HOUR OF 13, appropriately titled Salt The Dead: The Rare And Unreleased. Across this massive collection, one will find HOUR OF 13’s very first steps into doom metal godhood, alongside alternate recordings of fan favorites.

Listening to Salt The Dead: The Rare And Unreleased, it becomes quickly apparent that something truly special was being birthed upon the band’s first recorded notes. The first half of this collection – or sides A and B of the double-vinyl edition – comprise demos recorded in 2007. The first three songs were the very first written by HOUR OF 13 in November 2006 and then recorded not long after; the next five songs were recorded nearly a year later. Together, these eight songs would form the foundation of the band’s now-classic debut album, released by SHADOW KINGDOM as Hour of 13. Although recognizably HOUR OF 13, these early demo versions of the debut album’s songs have slightly different arrangements while others have slightly different vocals, but every single bit of the band’s trademark atmosphere is plentiful and poignant. Verily, this is the sound of lingering incense and burning blood.

During the second half of Salt The Dead: The Rare And Unreleased, we find a number of alternate recordings, some with special circumstances surrounding them. On side C is an alternate full-band recording of “Call To Satan,” recorded at the HOUR OF 13 rehearsal spot, alongside an alternate version of “The Rites of Samhain” with fully correct lyric placement and vocals by main man Chad Davis. But most poignantly is the song “Upon Black Wings We Die,” written and recorded within a matter of a few hours upon hearing the news of the passing of Jason McCash from The Gates Of Slumber. On side D are the complete Candlemass Eve Recordings, the second rehearsal with Beaten Back to Pure’s Ben Hogg on vocals: all recorded in a single session on a Zoom H2 microphone in the room, captured here with a newfound energy and stirring vocal performance. Feel the ancient atmosphere of early metal rehearsal rooms of yesteryear here!

As founder Chad Davis states in the liner notes to Salt The Dead: The Rare And Unreleased, “This album documents the times and tribulations that had shrouded HOUR OF 13, the early days of rejuvenation along with the dark days of contemplation, and serve as a testament of an entity capable of withstanding any obstacle in its path.” So far, the definitive HOUR OF 13 collection – and the cultest. Praise Him and enter the abyss!

More news regarding the track listing and album cover will be revealed soon!

HOUR OF 13 are currently working on a new album for 2017! More news will follow soon about that as well.

Hour of 13, “Upon Black Wings We Die”

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Wretch Announce Midwest & East Coast Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Having had the pleasure twice now, I can only recommend checking out Wretch live for anyone who hasn’t and might find themselves in a position to do so. The post-The Gates of Slumber project of guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon released their self-titled debut (review here) back in August through Bad Omen Records, and as you can hear on the full stream below, it captures the classic downtrodden vibes of Simon‘s prior work at its best while expanding on it in new directions, up to and including flourish of psychedelic jams. That’s right, I said it. Psych doom. Check it out and tell me if I’m wrong.

But I’m not. Also noteworthy that Wretch were included in the last round of additions to Roadburn 2017. Info and show dates follow, courtesy of the PR wire:


WRETCH (ex-The Gates of Slumber) Announces U.S. Tour Dates

True Doom Metal Trio to Hit the Road In Support of Celebrated Debut LP

Indianapolis-based doom metal trio, WRETCH, has announced U.S. tour dates in support of its self-titled debut album. The trek will launch on November 8 in Indianapolis, when the band shares the stage with Nik Turner’s Hawkwind. The WRETCH tour will run through November 22 in Chicago, hitting Detroit, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and more, along the way. Released on August 26 via Bad Omen Records, Wretch has met to staunch acclaim.

eaturing vocalist / guitarist Karl Simon, formerly of critically-acclaimed underground legends The Gates of Slumber, alongside drummer Chris Gordon and bassist Bryce Clarke, WRETCH rises from the ashes of the musician’s past project, which ended tragically with the passing of Gates’ bassist Jason McCash in 2014. With WRETCH, Simon carries on valiantly with the musical mission he began some eighteen years ago. In Wretch, the trio has laid down a fearsome salvo of cast-iron riffage and heartfelt traditional metal heraldry, shot through with a steely conviction instilled by the experiences of recent days.

Additionally, WRETCH has been confirmed as one of the featured acts at the 2017 Roadburn Festival, set for April 20-23 in Tilburg, The Netherlands. The band will perform on Thursday, April 20. Read the festival’s official announcement at this location.

WRETCH tour dates:
(additional dates TBA)
November 8 Indianapolis, IN 5th Quarter Lounge (w/ Nik Turner’s Hawkwind)
November 11 Detroit, MI Small’s
November 13 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
November 14 Pittsburgh, PA Cattivo (w/ Bongzilla and Wizard Rifle)
November 16 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus Bar
November 19 Baltimore, MD Metro Gallery
November 22 Chicago, IL Live Wire

Wretch, Wretch (2016)

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GIVEAWAY: Win a Signed Copy of Fox 45’s Ashes of Man LP!

Posted in Features, The Obelisk Presents on October 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Free signed record. Boom. Post over. Who said I wasn’t a salesman?

Oh wait. I say that. All the time. And while that’s true, I honestly don’t think it should take much convincing to get you on board with entering this giveaway for an LP copy of Fox 45‘s Ashes of Man hand-signed by the Rochester four-piece. Their debut album following a 2014 EP, it was released earlier this year via Twin Earth Records.

You can stream the record in full via the label’s Bandcamp below, and for giveaways I like to keep the posts pretty short — in hope that people will, you know, actually read them — but I’ll say that while it took me a little time to catch onto Ashes of Man, the band do make a striking debut. Raw in the spirit of grunge but unafraid to indulge a bit of boogie on a song like “Coup d’Etwat” — only one of several clever wordplay titles — or some doom on “Snake Oil,” it preaches righteously in a manner that the converted should have no problem hearing.

ode-to-doom-nov-16Particularly when it’s coming in the form of FREE FRICKIN’ SIGNED VINYL, so get on that.

Fox 45 will join Eternal Black, Clouds Taste Satanic and Goat Wizard at the second Ode to Doom show presented by Freebird Productions and The Obelisk at Arlene’s Grocery in Manhattan on Nov. 16, 2016.

You can find more info about the gig at the link below, which will open in a new tab. That’s convenient because you can still enter this giveaway; something I cannot encourage you enough to do.

Thanks to all who participate, to the band, to Ode to Doom and to Twin Earth Records. Winner will be picked at random one week from today and contacted at the email provided, which of course will never be shared. One more time, the prize is a signed copy of Fox 45‘s Ashes of Man on vinyl.

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Fox 45, Ashes of Man (2016)

Fox 45 on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

Ode to Doom at Arlene’s Grocery, NYC, Nov. 16 event page

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