Molasses Barge – S/T + Covered in Molasses (2017)

Molasses BargeMolasses Barge + Covered in Molasses (Blackseed Records, 28 July 2017)

 

So I’ve been writing about Molasses Barge basically as long as I’ve been writing about music in general. It all started way back in late 2011 when they had a few shows scheduled, and I threw together a little synopsis of my first experience seeing them perform live (earlier that year when they opened for Pentagram). This was followed by an interview with drummer Wayne Massey in 2012 (as they were about to open for Tombs and 16), and then guitarist Justin Gizzi also answered a few questions as part of our coverage leading up to the Winter’s Wake festival in 2013.

In all, these Pittsburgh-based doom-metal workhorses have appeared (at least mentioned in passing) on this website a few dozen times. And yet, as active as they are (and despite having been in existence for close to a decade now!), the band’s official recorded output thus far has consisted of one EP six years ago, plus a three-song demo a few months later. (Both of them are available to stream or download FREE at Bandcamp.) But that all changes now: this Friday they will be unleashing their stunning debut self-titled LP, and as a special added bonus (perhaps as a thank-you to all the fans who’ve been patiently waiting so long), it’ll come bundled with a second disc filled with cover songs.

 

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Argus – Beyond the Martyrs (2013), From Fields of Fire (2017); Arduini/Balich – Dawn of Ages (2017)

ArgusBeyond the Martyrs (Cruz del Sur Music, 01 October 2013)

 

Arduini / BalichDawn of Ages (Cruz del Sur Music, 24 February 2017)

 

ArgusFrom Fields of Fire (Cruz del Sur Music, 08 September 2017)

 

I can still remember the first time I heard Argus — in the burgeoning days of the early 2010s, the song was “The Damnation of John Faustus” from their self-titled album. I can’t say for certain, but it was probably on Foundry of Doom radio, since that’s what I spent most of my time listening to back then. And here, among epic tracks by the likes of Solstice, Atlantean Kodex, Solitude Aeturnus, etc., this song’s dark themes and powerful vocals really caught my ear.

This was still months, maybe even up to a year, before the genesis of my career as a writer, but I’ve always been inquisitive and wanted to research and learn more about everything I heard. In this instance, I was struck by how new the band was (their first demo dates back ten years, now, but at the time of this story the debut full-length was about a year or two old), but even more surprised to see that these guys were local (originating in Franklin, PA, just about an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh)!

I also discovered that the vocalist, Brian “Butch” Balich (formerly of Penance), is also a member of Molasses Barge, another local doom band that would greatly impress me when I saw them for the first time just months later. Eventually I’d manage to catch Argus live, as well, and they definitely managed to live up to the high expectations set by their incredible recorded output. I believe this was just before the 2013 release of their third album Beyond the Martyrs — one that immediately made its way onto my writing “to do list” but inexplicably has stayed there for these past years.

But now there’s a ferment of activity surrounding the band once more: they recently announced that their fourth album will be coming later this year — and I’ll be discussing both of those today, with an added bonus that was released a few months back by a side project involving Balich. And to top it all off, Argus will also be performing in Pittsburgh THIS FRIDAY (14 July) at an event that doubles as a preview of September’s Brewtal Beer Fest as well as featuring the world premiere of the new beer produced through a collaborative effort between the band and Big Rail Brewing! So after you’re done reading about the music, pop on down to the comments section for more information about that.

 

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Ruby the Hatchet – Ouroboros, Mars Red Sky – Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (2016)

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Ruby the HatchetOuroboros (RUR Records, 29 April 2016)

 

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Mars Red SkyApex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (Listenable Records, 20 May 2016)

 

Good afternoon. Today I’d like to talk to you about two different bands who each fall under the general umbrella of “psychedelic/stoner rock.” Both have new releases out (recently, or within the next two days), and both will be hitting the road (separately) playing various shows and festivals across the USA over the next few months. First I’ll introduce you to those recent releases, and then head down a little further to the comments section where I’ll share the scheduled tour dates!

 

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The List of 2013 Year-End Lists

Photo Collage - 2013 Shows - by Asya Yanyo

Click for full-sized image

 

Hey folks — a very Happy (Belated) New Year to all of you! 2013 definitely turned out to be an interesting year for me, with lots of big changes, new projects, new responsibilities, etc., but an unfortunate side-effect of some of that was (as you’ve surely noticed) that the amount of time I’d been spending writing really tapered off as the year went on, to the point where I didn’t post
anything here for the last few months! Well, as you may have seen, I’ve started writing reviews of some new 2014 releases — and as time allows I promise I will also be sharing plenty of older stuff I’ve missed writing about, because believe me there has been a TON worth sharing!

But more on that later. As I started doing last year, I’ve once again put together a collection of various people’s “best of” lists from 2013. Admittedly I sort of got a late start on this (I didn’t even put out the open invitation until after most websites had already finished with publishing all their year-end stuff), but several people have answered the call and contributed some really interesting lists that you’ll want to check out…

 

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The Huge List of 2012 Year-End Lists!

Well, friends, here we find ourselves in the waning moments of 2012. It’s been an interesting, eventful year that’s had lots of high and low points — a ton of excellent new music has been released and quite a few brand-new bands have emerged that I’d fully expect to be making some serious waves in the near future.

One of the best things about 2012, for me personally, was that I found myself (and my wife) going to lots more shows than in recent years, and as a result I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of new people — as well as starting to take a way more active role in the local music scene.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I had a suggestion from one of those people I’ve gotten to know in the past year (I won’t say who — he said he preferred not to be given credit for the idea, although I will say that it’s somebody who contributed to this). The idea was to collect top-ten lists from various folks in the Pittsburgh metal community.

So I put out an open invitation for any musicians or other people who are involved in the scene in some way — I was looking for anything, whether it was the traditional “Top Ten Albums” or something totally off-the-wall like someone’s ten favorite sandwiches they ate during the year. Really, the only rules were that it had to be a list, and involve something from 2012.

 
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What To Do In Pittsburgh Tonight (6 September 2012)

 

Allure of the Earth Productions presents…

While Heaven Wept (exclusive Northeast headlining show!)

with Argus and Vermithrax

 

at The Smiling Moose

1306 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh (South Side)

 

Thursday 06 August 2012 | 9:00 pm | 21+ only | $10

 
Well folks, it’s finally here — the show everyone’s been talking about all summer long! You can catch the epic melodic doom majesty of While Heaven Wept in their only headlining appearance (as they prepare to join Cormorant and Primordial for a string of dates, beginning tomorrow night — more info here)!

A couple of heavy hitters in the local scene (Argus and Vermithrax) will be kicking things off tonight, so you won’t want to miss this one!

 

Allure of the Earth – While Heaven Wept, Argus, Vermithrax video flyer from Jim Pitulski on Vimeo.

 
Grab your tickets here, then RSVP right here.

What To Do In Pittsburgh This Weekend (30-31 August 2012)

 

Argus, Iron Crown, Devil to Pay

 

at the 31st Street Pub

3101 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh (at the 31st Street Bridge)

 

Thursday 30 August 2012 | 10:00pm | $5 | 21+ only

 
Looking for something to do tonight? Head out to the Pub to catch Ripple Music recording artist Devil to Pay, coming to visit from Indianapolis. Joining them will be locals Iron Crown and Argus (be sure to get there early, as Argus says they’re taking the stage first, and dusting off a few songs they haven’t played live in a long time — or ever, in some cases!)

More details and RSVP here or here.

 
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Lurking Corpses, Mud City Manglers, Abysme

 

at Howlers Coyote Cafe

4509 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh (Bloomfield)

 

Thursday 30 August 2012 | 10:00 pm (doors 9pm) | $5 | 21+ only

 
Another great band from Indiana (these guys are from Fort Wayne) are also coming to Pittsburgh tonight: horror punkers Lurking Corpses. They’re making an appearance at Howlers, alongside local punk rockers Mud City Manglers, and opening the festivities with some Pittsburgh-style death metal will be Abysme (whom you might remember from the Iron Atrocity V.1 compilation).

More information and RSVP here.

 
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Fist Fight in the Parking Lot, German Shepherd, Supervoid

 

at the Smiling Moose

1306 E Carson Street, Pittsburgh (South Side)

 

Friday August 31 | 9:30 pm | FREE!! | 21+ only

 
How’s this for a fun Friday night? The Moose will be full of heavy rock ‘n roll craziness as FFITPL take the stage (of course you remember them, from when I reviewed their self-titled CD earlier this year, right?), with two other local bands, German Shepherd, and the newly-formed Supervoid. Best of all, the whole thing is absolutely FREE!!

 

 
More information and RSVP here.