The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Zim Zam Zim (2014)

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The Crazy World of Arthur BrownZim Zam Zim (Bronze Rat Records, 28 July 2014)

 

For those who may have missed the announcement, about two months ago, the highly influential and iconic Arthur Brown will be performing a series of live dates with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown — for the first time since that group’s earlier incarnation had disbanded after (or during, depending on which account of events you hear) a U.S. tour back in 1969! This new run of shows will be kicking off tonight(!), and we’ve got the details for you down in the comments section. But before we get there, I’d first like to call your attention to The Crazy World‘s newest album — 2014’s Zim Zam Zim

 

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Zgard – Reclusion (2012), Astral Glow (2013)

ZgardReclusion (BadMoodMan Music, 30 January 2012)

 

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ZgardAstral Glow (BadMoodMan Music, 25 February 2013)

 

Hey everyone. As promised yesterday, here’s a new review for you. Prior to that, almost a month ago, I wrote a quick little synopsis of last year, including some updates on artists we’d previously discussed, and what new and exciting things have been going on during our little hiatus throughout the last few months. One thing I had forgotten to mention, though, was the fact that during that downtime — about mid-October, in fact — this website reached its five-year anniversary! A lot of things have changed in five years, but a lot of things have also stayed the same.

One thing that hasn’t changed is our main mission, which has always been to discover music that’s worth listening to, and then publicizing it here in hopes of helping it to reach more people’s ears. Another thing that has remained relatively constant is the fact that the second part of that statement (writing about the music) has often lagged behind the first part (finding stuff worth sharing). Sometimes, alarmingly far behind.

Case in point: today I’d like to tell you about one of the earliest submissions we received when this site was still in its infancy, an album that came from the esteemed Russian doom label Solitude Productions, and one that has just reached the fifth anniversary of its release date. While this 2012 record and its follow-up from the next year have long graced my MP3 player as well as my to-do list, I’ve inexplicably neglected to get anything written about either of these. Until now.

 

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Happy Groundhog Day!

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Hey! I know I promised recently that we’d be getting back to reviews soon. That was before I spent the majority of January just getting caught up on listening to stuff from 2016 so that I could belatedly finalize my list of the year’s best releases! But that’s finally online now, and our first review of 2017 is scheduled to be published tomorrow. First, though, it’s time for another quick news update.

In this edition: charity donations at Bandcamp; tour news from Katatonia, Conan, and North; album release news from Ever Circling Wolves; plus more news about new videos and shows!

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Happy 2017(?)

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Well folks, here we are, starting another new year. 2016 was quite an eventful one, both on a personal level (Valley of Steel headquarters has relocated within the past few months! — which is why we’ve been so quiet for a little while; we’ve been hella busy between finding a place to move to, moving there, getting settled in, etc. — although for those who may be worried: we’re still in a valley in a former industrial area outside Pittsburgh, so the website title is still accurate, it just happens to be the valley of a different river than our former location), as well as on a sociocultural level (politics, both domestic and foreign, has really been a mess lately, hasn’t it??).

Of course, like every year, tons of great music got released in 2016 as well — and like every year, I’ve failed to write about everything I’ve wanted to share with you folks (or even half of it). We’ll be diving back into the reviewing and sharing of new (and some fairly not-so-new) music very soon. But today, I’d like to hit a few other items as we briefly glance over the year that was…

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I am the Trireme – Gnosis: Never Follow the Light (2015)

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I am the TriremeGnosis: Never Follow the Light (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, 30 June 2015)

 

Hello out there — and a happy Saturday to you! Hopefully you’re all in the midst of celebrating a nice long weekend (at least for those of us in the U.S.) in classic unofficial-end-of-summer style, with plenty of food cooked over charcoal, and definitely plenty of bottles of fermented beverages. Not to mention lots of good music. Seems like a perfect time to get out there and catch a show, whether it’s at an outdoor festival or somebody’s basement, or whatever.

If you happen to live somewhere near Pittsburgh, might I suggest this one: locals United By Hate are playing at the Rock Room in the Polish Hill neighborhood, and kicking off a bit of a tour; that trip will take the band through Philadelphia on Tuesday night, where they’ll be performing with that city’s I am the Trireme, who are returning the favor by making the trip out here to play at tonight’s Pittsburgh show! Sorry if that sounded a bit confusing, but to make a long story short, if you live in western Pennsylvania you’ll get to see both bands tonight, while our cross-state neighbors will have that chance on Tuesday the 6th.

I just happened upon this information randomly on Facebook, and it reminded me that I had been meaning to write something about IATT‘s album Gnosis: Never Follow the Light ever since I first heard it when the City of Brotherly Love based label Horror Pain Gore Death released it last summer. Mostly based in blackened and death metal, the album impressed me with its range and variety, and I think you’ll agree if you check it out …

 

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Shadow Woods Metal Fest (September 2016, White Hall MD)

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Shadow Woods Metal Fest

Thursday 15 September through Sunday 18 September 2016

at Camp Hidden Valley, 4722 Mellow Rd, White Hall MD 21161

21+ ONLY

Weekend pass (includes on-site tent camping) $130 in advance or $150 at gate; limited cabin bunks available for an additional charge; single-day tickets also available.

 
In exactly two weeks, the weekend-long sylvan music and camping party Shadow Woods Metal Fest will kick off for the second year. Described by its organizers as “some of the best music the underground music community has to offer, all while camping in beautiful surroundings. The festival features bands spanning the musical spectrum from folk to doom to black metal to experimental and are carefully curated for their uniqueness in the current musical landscape.”

More details: http://shadowwoodsmetalfest.com
Tickets: http://shadowwoods2016.bpt.me/

 
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Year of the Goat – The Key and the Gate (2014), The Unspeakable (2015)

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Year of the GoatThe Key and the Gate (Napalm Records, 28 November 2014)

 

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Year of the GoatThe Unspeakable (Napalm Records, 31 July 2015)

 

The year of the goat has ended: this past February, the year of the monkey was ushered in.  But the previous twelve lunar months had been dominated by this horned beast — the third such year since the one in which I was born — and around this time period, Sweden’s Year of the Goat had been fairly active.  Exactly twelve weeks before the commencement of the (Chinese) new year, their second EP The Key and the Gate saw the light of day via Napalm Records, who then went on to release Year of the Goat‘s second full-length album The Unspeakable once the year of the goat was actually in full-swing — in fact, right in the middle of the month of the goat.

And I’ll stop there, because that pretty much exhausts the extent of my research into Chinese astrology in preparation for writing about this band from Norrköping and their latest two releases — the latter and longer of which found its way onto my list of the best of 2015

 

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