Demon Eye – Prophecies and Lies (2017)

Demon EyeProphecies and Lies (Soulseller Records, 11 August 2017 EU / 08 September 2017 NA)

 

Hey there, folks. Good afternoon/evening/whatever. Hope things are going well in your neck of the woods wherever that happens to be — sort of enjoying a lazy, quiet day here. Trying to get caught up on listening to stuff people have sent here, which is always an uphill battle. But then I noticed on my calendar that tonight, right here in Pittsburgh (specifically, at Howlers) local label Blackseed Records is putting on their Doom Over November show — with featured headliner Demon Eye, occult/traditional metal band from Raleigh, North Carolina. Recently I heard Prophecies and Lies, the group’s third album, which just came out in September via the Netherlands’ Soulseller Records (following an August release in Europe). Seemed like an ideal time to share some thoughts on the record with you folks …

 

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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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Reintroduce Yourself: An Interview with Chuck Mosley

 
Following on the heels of last month’s announcement about Chuck Mosley‘s “Reintroduce Yourself Tour 2017”, I was recently offered the opportunity to speak with the man himself — to find out the answers to some questions you may have about the tour or any of the numerous other things the singer/guitarist has going on these days.

Those answers can be found below, so go check them out. The tour continues TONIGHT (25 July) in Brooklyn, hitting stops in Connecticut, Maryland, and New York before closing out the week in Pittsburgh (Howlers in Bloomfield) on Saturday. Then starting next month, Mosley will be reintroducing himself all over the country — see the updated post for the latest dates (now running through November); at least a dozen more shows have been added since it was first published!

 
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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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Body Count – Bloodlust (2017)

Body CountBloodlust (Century Media Records, 31 March 2017)

 

Some of our younger readers may recognize Ice-T as the curmudgeonly old guy in the “It’s Lemonade” commercials, or maybe they’ll recall his stints as a reality tv star (here and here). Perhaps he’ll even seem familiar from his portrayal of a police officer on Law & Order: SVU. But before he was gracing screens small and big (and by the way, his acting career has included roles as cops dating back more than a quarter-century), the man born as Tracy Marrow in New Jersey (and then raised in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles) made quite a name for himself as a hugely influential part of the music industry.

Known primarily as one of the innovators who helped to shape the gangster rap genre, with songs like “6 ‘N the Morning,” he later formed the group Body Count with some high school friends who shared an affinity for hard rock music — introducing the band on a self-titled track on his 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster before they came out with a full-length self-titled album the following year.

They have been heavily influenced by fellow Californian contemporaries in the worlds of thrash (like Slayer) and especially crossover (like Suicidal Tendencies) — but for years I’ve seen a lot of negativity expressed towards these guys within the so-called “metal community,” from some of its more closed-minded individuals. Whether that’s a refusal to acknowledge rap or hip hop artists as genuine musicians, or a xenophobic reaction to a perceived “outsider” tresspassing into the “scene” — well, Ice-T‘s spoken-word intro to the original “Body Count” song can be applicable in both directions: “You know, as far as I’m concerned, music is music. I don’t look at it as rock or R&B, all that kind of stuff, I just look at it as music. […] But I do what I like, I happen to like rock ‘n roll. And I feel sorry for anybody who only listens to one form of music.”

 
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Borracho – Atacama (2016-17), Beastmaker – Inside the Skull (2017)

BorrachoAtacama (Kozmik Artifactz, 02 December 2016 CD/digital, 10 March 2017 vinyl)

 

BeastmakerInside the Skull (Rise Above Records, 19 May 2017)

 

Hey folks, let’s take a look at some recent (and semi-recent) releases from another two bands who are appearing were scheduled to appear at this weekend’s Maryland Doom Fest, one of whom will still be performing* — specifically, they’re both kicking off the festivities Thursday night at the Pre Fest Party. Representing the east coast, D.C.-area heavy-fuzz dealers Borracho, clearly no strangers to this website, dropped their third full-length at the tail end of 2016, while left coast doomsters Beastmaker saw the release of their second LP just last month. Listening to either of these would absolutely be time well-spent, so please feel free to continue reading …

Beastmaker has announced that they will be unable to make it to this year’s Doom Fest. Borracho is still slated to be there Thursday night!

 

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Wretch – Wretch (2016)

WretchWretch (Bad Omen Records, 26 August 2016)

 

From the instant I first heard 2008’s Conqueror, I’ve been a huge fan of Indianan doom titans The Gates of Slumber. Certainly one of the greatest highlights of running this website was getting the opportunity to chat with that group’s founder, guitarist and vocalist Karl Simon, back in 2013 — and then a few days later actually meeting him and bassist Jason McCash in person before their incredible performance at the Winter’s Wake festival in Pittsburgh. Tragically, the following year would see the loss of iconic bassist McCash, and a grieving Simon decided to put the band permanently on hold.

Since that time, though, he seems to have felt the need to continue expressing himself musically, and with the help of bassist Bryce Clarke and drummer Chris Gordon (who has done previous tours of duty with both TGoS and fellow Indianapolitans Devil to Pay) formed a new trio named for his previous band’s final album, 2011’s The Wretch. By last summer this new group had put together an album’s worth of material and released their self-titled debut, which happened to be one of the best things I heard last year. And now I’d like to share that record with all of you, in advance of Wretch making an appearance at The Maryland Doom Fest later this week (along with a handful of other shows — scroll down to the comments section for more details)

UPDATE 21 June 2017: all Wretch shows that were scheduled for this week have been cancelled.

 
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