Holy Rivals – Holy Rivals (self-released, 25 May 2016)
Hey folks, remember all the way back to yesterday, when we talked about a pair of Howling Giant releases from 2016 and 2017? If not, make sure to go check it out! Anyway, way down at the end of that post you might notice that the Tennesseans are heading out on a tour of the eastern United States tomorrow night (Thursday, the 10th of May) and swinging through Pittsburgh soon after (Saturday, the 12th).
Well as it turns out, one of the local bands performing at that show also happens to be someone whose music we’ve been meaning to share with you for a while — in fact, their self-titled debut EP came out two years ago this month. So before any more time passes, today let’s listen to the self-described “three sludge/grunge dudes from Pittsburgh” known as Holy Rivals!
Howling Giant – Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1 (self-released, 12 August 2016)
Howling Giant – Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 (self-released, 25 August 2017)
Starting this Thursday (the tenth of May) and then lasting for the next two-plus weeks, Nashvillian trio Howling Giant will be traipsing all over the eastern USA in what they’re calling their “Escape from the Lab” tour. We’ve got details down below, and on your way there we’ll be covering the first two portions of the band’s planned trilogy Black Hole Space Wizard. That way, once you get to the list of dates you’ll either be very excited if you find your city included or very disappointed if you find it omitted. Either way, though, you’ll be treated to some great music — which you’ll have the opportunity to download for as cheap as you’d like. Win-win!
Slaves BC – Lo and I am Burning (The Fear and the Void Recordings, 16 March 2018)
The new record from Pittsburgh’s blackened hardcore doom juggernaut Slaves BC officially hit the streets about a week and a half ago. Considering this writer’s lengthy history of covering the band, it’s pretty shameful that I haven’t gotten around to writing about this one much sooner. Especially in light of their last album All is Dust and I am Nothing landing so high on my list of 2016’s top releases. And yet, “The world is an ugly, ugly place. Virtually everything and everyone in it is awful.” I used that line in a different review just a few days ago, but that axiom is a terrific way to succinctly summarize why I haven’t managed to write more often over the past few months.
Coincidentally, it also describes Lo and I am Burning to a “T” (as well as the general underlying themes upon which the album is based). Two quick spoilers: first, Lo marks a huge step forward for a band that has essentially dropped all the other descriptors that used to follow “blackened”; and also, this is going to be a strong contender once again when year-end rolls around. Here, we’ll take a look at the album in slightly more detail, and that’ll be followed by the info about the band’s record release show — which will be coming up in just a couple weeks here in Pittsburgh, featuring Vile Creature (whom we’ve also discussed quite recently) and Imperial Triumphant (who you can expect to hear much more about on this site in the near future)!
Huntsmen – American Scrap (Prosthetic Records, 23 February 2018)
“Storytelling is the great, albeit fading, American pastime. It predated writing and in many instances, was told in song. In modern times, many musicians have approached their music from a storytelling point of view: Dylan, Springsteen and Waits to name a few. Chicago’s Americana metal outfit, Huntsmen, are carrying the torch for heavy bands to be added to that list.”
So begins the press release for this band’s debut LP, which came out about a week ago. Bold words? Sure. A little presumptuous? Maybe. But the self-described Heavy Americana band caught my attention, and the fact that they were kicking off the Prosthetic Records release of American Scrap with a short excursion across the mid-west and mid-Atlantic with label-mates Livid (with whom our readers ought to already be familiar) especially got me to check out this album.
That tour actually wraps up tonight (Sunday, 4th March) — see the details listed way down below — but first let’s talk a little about the band and their songs …
Back in December we told you that this year Gilead Media + 20 Buck Spin‘s extravaganza Migration Fest would be coming to Pittsburgh in July. At that time the majority of the line-up had been announced. Well, within the past week, the remaining holes in the schedule have been filled in, and tickets have gone on sale! There are some names here we’ve written about before, and several more that we plan to sometime in the near future. Stay tuned for that. But in the meantime, check out the complete updated list down below, and then grab your tickets before they all sell out!
Following the success of Wisconsin’s Gilead Fest in 2012 and 2014, the organizers (Gilead Media) hooked up with west-coast label 20 Buck Spin to continue the biennial tradition, kicking off the new Migration Fest in Washington state in 2016. Naturally, the next edition of this festival would be slated for 2018, and the labels have jointly announced that it will be held at the highly-esteemed Mr. Smalls Theatre in Millvale, PA — immediately adjacent to Pittsburgh.
This is, of course, huge news for us at Valley of Steel, and anyone else who lives in the general vicinity. And the first wave of bands has recently been released, which can be found listed below; we’ll continue to bring you more news about this festival as information becomes available. There are many more announcements forthcoming, including the headliners (although just the part of the line-up we know about so far is more than enough to get pretty excited about!)