The Ravenna Arsenal – I. (2013); Gholas – Litanies (2014)

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The Ravenna ArsenalI. (self-released, 23 February 2013)

 

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GholasLitanies (Dullest Records, 11 February 2014)

 

Hello out there, folks. Hope this week has gone well for you all. Over the past few days — during which things got pretty crazy busy, to the point where I didn’t have any time to get anything written — I’ve heard some pretty incredible brand-new releases, and I definitely look forward to sharing those with you. But not quite yet; instead, today we’re going to turn back the calendar a little bit, and spend some time with a couple of my favorite releases from years past that I just never quite got around to writing about yet. These were featured in my Top 13 of 2013 and Top 14 of 2014 lists, respectively, chiefly due to the fact that both of these bands know how to write a hell of a song. These are both albums that I’ve listened to front-to-back like dozens of times, and I feel pretty certain you’ll agree that every single song on each is of excellent quality …

 

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Win FREE Tickets for FULL OF HELL in Pittsburgh!!

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Steel Bridge Promotions Presents:

Full of Hell

with Bleak, Joey Molinaro, CHOIR, Pregnant Nun

Saturday 06 August 2016

at Black Forge Coffee House, 1206 Arlington Ave., Pittsburgh (Allentown) PA 15210

All Ages (BYOB for 21+), 8:00 show / 7:30 doors, $10

 
Tickets are on sale NOW at this link… OR you can WIN a pair of tickets FREE, courtesy of Steel Bridge Promotions and Valley of Steel! Keep on reading to learn more about the show and to enter for your chance to win …

 
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Conan / Slomatics – Split (2016 Reissue)

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Conan / SlomaticsSplit (original release 2011 / to be reissued by Black Bow Records, September 2016)

 

Yesterday when we talked about Slomatics‘ first two albums, I mentioned that the band has signed with Black Bow Records, who has rereleased those two albums in advance of the band’s new record due later this year. But this partnership was not the first time they’ve dealt with that label OR its owner Jon Davis. Slomatics and Davis‘ band Conan — from Merseyside County, England, just across the Irish Sea from Belfast — had put together a split record back in 2011. After that limited-edition vinyl quickly sold out, Black Bow put out another pressing of the split in 2014, which also wasn’t around for very long.

And now, they’ve announced that there will be a new batch coming soon — only 200 copies will be made available this time, and each record will be pressed onto a full-color representation of that incredible cover art! An exact release date hasn’t been set yet, but pre-orders are on sale now, and they’re expected to begin shipping around early September.

 

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Steel City Fest (July 2016, Pittsburgh PA)

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Steel City Fest

Saturday 23 July 2016

at Cattivo

146 44th St., Pittsburgh PA 15201

All Ages | doors 3:00, show 3:30 | $13 ADV, $15 DOS

 
More details | Buy tickets

 
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Slomatics – Flooding the Weir, Kalceanna (2015 Reissues)

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SlomaticsFlooding the Weir (original release 2005 / reissued by Black Bow Records, 20 November 2015)

 

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SlomaticsKalceanna (original release 2007 / reissued by Black Bow Records, 20 November 2015)

 

Here we find ourselves in the midst of another magnificent Monday. It’s kind of shocking to realize how much of each day (and therefore how much of the workweek) is spent basically sleepwalking, semi-conscious, sort of in that fuzzy slow-motion daze that they always use in movies and tv shows when someone has been drugged or tranquilized or something. And I mean, a large portion of each day even after a cup of coffee or two. Maybe this is why I find myself drawn to low-tempo, fuzzy, swampy/sludgy, crawling-through-quicksand styles of music so much of the time?

I don’t know. But that’s exactly what the music we’re here to talk about today sounds like. Slomatics, from Northern Ireland, have been actively creating heavy fuzz-sludge music for about a dozen years now. Their first two albums were released in 2005 and 2007 on CD, but have been out of print for years. So naturally, after they had signed to Black Bow Records (the label run by their neighbor across the Irish Sea, Conan‘s Jon Davis), while the band got working on their upcoming fifth album (which is set to release in early September), the label decided to once again make those early two releases available in digital format.

 

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Anicon – Exegeses (2016)

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AniconExegeses (vinyl Gilead Media / CD Avantgarde Music, 08 July 2016)

 

Good morning, reader — hope you’re having a good, relaxing weekend! Normally this would be my time away from writing, too, but I just realized that Anicon are coming to Pittsburgh tonight. And I realized that last year when these blackened Brooklynites came to town, I had their 2015 EP Aphasia on my to-do list, but something came up that prevented me from attending that show or even getting a chance to write about the band’s most recent release. (I eventually did get around to it earlier this year, but I still felt bad for my negligence.)

So this time around, the band has a brand-new album which just came out earlier this month, and — even though, due to some rotten luck, family obligations will prevent me from being able to see this fantastic band perform again — I definitely did not want to miss the opportunity to share this with you people before tonight.

For those of you in the Pittsburgh area, The Smiling Moose on the Southside is the place to be; here are all the details. For those living elsewhere, the band’s scheduled dates can be found here, and in either case, keep reading to check out their newest record …

 

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Heathen Beast – Rise of the Saffron Empire; MAKE – Pilgrimage of Loathing (2016)

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Heathen BeastRise of the Saffron Empire (Transcending Obscurity Distribution, 25 April 2016)

 

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MAKEPilgrimage of Loathing (Accident Prone Records, 15 July 2016)

 

It’s pretty much a universal truth that there are terrible people and terrible situations everywhere in the world, often when it comes to people who have power and influence over other people and the ability to make decisions about the laws and how the public is governed. This has been a societal problem for as long as society has existed, and people have always tried to find ways to protest or fight back. Back in olden times, folks like Woody Guthrie or Peter, Paul and Mary would sit around, holding hands, and singing about how the times were a-changin’. But since then, the times have a-changed; from MC5 to Public Enemy to Rage Against the Machine protest songs have increasingly shifted from blowin’ in the wind to fighting the powers that be.

To illustrate that concept, today we’re going to take a look at new or recent releases by two bands from different sides of the world, which nevertheless seem to share a similar ideology.

 

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