Atlanta’s Order of the Owl, Volume IV Hit the Road En Route to Stoned Goat Festival

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Atlanteans Order of the Owl and Volume IV are northwardly bound, on their way to the Eye of the Stoned Goat in New England next weekend. But along the way, they’re making a few pit stops — the “No Sleep Till Stoned Goat” mini-tour kicked off last night in Tennessee, and will be followed by jaunts through Pennsylvania and New York before hitting Massachusetts for Sunday’s festival. If you happen to live in the general proximity of any of these shows, I can’t recommend highly enough that you take advantage of your chance to check out both bands.

 

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Meth Quarry Interview: Pittsburgh’s Grim Hardcore Assault!

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Folks, if you’ve had your ear to the ground over the past few months you might have noticed that there has been some rumbling coming out of the dark underworld of hardcore. There has been so much hype swirling around the crusty, grimy beast known as Meth Quarry lately, that the band has reached a nearly mythical status — without having played a single show yet!

But all of that is about to change, because these guys are finally ready to come crawling out of the dank cellar of Pittsburgh’s underground and expose the good people of the Steel City to their grim “dirge” hardcore style. Last weekend I met up with the quintet (guitarists Chris Smith and Kevin Hogue, bassist Aaron Kaczynski, vocalist Adam Joseph Bailey, and drummer Brandon “Fluffy” Baker) to talk about the story of the band’s formation and what sort of things they’ve got on the horizon — I joined them at one of their rehearsals, which took place in the basement of Kevin’s house, so when I say “crawling out of the cellar” I actually mean it literally…

 
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What To Do In Pittsburgh Tonight (06 November 2012)

Well, today is election day. But left or right, blue or red, fascism or anarchy… whatever, there’s one thing we can all agree on, which is that a kick-ass show with mind-numbingly loud music is just the right prescription for avoiding the endless analyzing and scrutinizing and prophesizing that will be happening on every tv station in the country this evening.

Unless you aren’t a Corrosion of Conformity fan for some crazy reason, in which case, fuck you for being unpatriotic and un-American.

 
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What To Do In Pittsburgh Tonight (02 November 2012)

Hello out there! It’s been quite a wet and wild week, but the end is finally in sight!

It’s Friday, and the weekend is nearly here — which of course brings with it plenty of opportunities to get out there and check out some shows, right? Of course it does.

And I’ve got some pretty good shit to share with you, happening tonight, right here in Pittsburgh! You might want to hold onto your hat…

 
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The “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week: The “Where Are They Now?” Edition

Hey there, loyal and devoted Valley of Steel Readers!  For the past four months I’ve been doing these little profiles every Monday about bands that I’ve discovered on the “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records” website.  Mostly they’ve been bands that have sent me messages seeking reviews of their music, but occasionally I’ll just randomly stumble across something good and then I end up writing about that.  Either way, I’ve found some really cool stuff that I might not have known about otherwise!  I hope the same has been true for you, readers — have you seen any bands profiled here that really resonated with you?  Let me know in the comments section below; hearing that I’ve introduced a reader to some awesome new music (and also that I’ve given a band some much-deserved exposure to new fans) validates my existence and gives me a reason to get out of bed each morning.

Over the course of the past several weeks, I’ve tried to keep up with some of these exciting new discoveries — either by following their Facebook pages, or signing up for an email list, or possibly by watching for smoke signals.  In any case, I’ve been hearing some things lately about some of these bands — in terms of new songs, new videos, or upcoming new releases — and so I decided to use this week’s post to reflect back on some of those previous posts and see what the bands have been up to since I wrote about them…

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In Case You Missed It: Stéphan Forté – The Shadows Compendium

Stéphan FortéThe Shadows Compendium (Listenable Records, 28 February 2012)

Ugh, I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. Last week, with the holiday and me adding on a vacation day, I only actually worked three days… which I think has now totally spoiled me, because I keep feeling like the workweek should be just about over. This sucks. I spent most of the past couple days listening to some ultra-heavy monolithic death metal, which is usually great for settling the nerves and calming me down. Right now it isn’t really doing it for me, though, and I’m afraid the next person that bothers me is going to end up with a pretty nasty punch to the throat unless I find a better way to chill out. Considering the fact that the majority of the time, I deal with the pain-in-the-ass people over the phone or by e-mail, the whole punching thing might be a bit awkward, but believe me, I’d find a way.

So that brings us to the subject of this review, since I was looking for something totally different to listen to. How about some guitar-driven instrumental metal? Probably not something you’d expect me to gravitate towards, especially since I’ve discussed some of my thoughts on the genre previously, and how it can really rub me the wrong way unless it’s done just right. I was a bit skeptical too, at first, especially when I saw this album cover (see above) and noticed how much this guy looks like a French Steve Vai with a bunch of eyeliner. But then I decided, what the hell, I can be open-minded and at least check out a song or two, then move on to something else.

Well, I’m glad I did give this album a chance, because honestly I was pretty impressed by the quality, and — if I can say this without having it sound like a backhanded compliment — I was surprised by the overall lack of pretension and pomposity that one normally expects from solo guitarists (e.g. Yngwie, etc.).
 

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Out Today: Fist Fight in the Parking Lot – Self-Titled

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Fist Fight in the Parking LotFist Fight in the Parking Lot (21 February 2012, Innervenus Music)

Good evening, readers! Sorry for the tardiness of this review — I totally meant to publish it this morning, but then I got distracted by something shiny. It happens. Actually it was an announcement that the new self-titled album by Corrosion of Conformity was streaming in full over at AOL Music. I hadn’t heard it yet, and I don’t know how long it’ll be available, so I wanted to jump on that. I’m sure you can understand. If you haven’t heard it yet, you’ll probably want to check it out, too.

From what I’d read about it, the new COC album is supposed to appeal to fans of their earlier, more hardcore-oriented work, as well as those who prefer their more recent foray into Sabbath-inspired stoner metal. So I was curious to see what it was all about. What I found surprised me: I heard very little of the sound mainly associated with either era of the band’s history, instead feeling more of an old-school doom vibe — along the lines of some of Wino‘s earlier work, or any of a slew of his bands’ imitators. A style I enjoy, to be sure, but one that can also seem monotonous at times, over the course of an entire record. This was one of those occasions: despite some higher points, the album really didn’t reach out and grab my attention at any point. Missing here were the truly memorable songs that make you want to sing along, or hear them again and again.

Well, all of that soon changed, because a little later in the day I switched gears to the brand new release by Pittsburgh’s Fist Fight in the Parking Lot, made available today through the Innervenus Music Collective.

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