Horseburner – The Thief; Howling Giant – The Space Between Worlds (2019)

HorseburnerThe Thief (Ripple Music, 09 August 2019)

 

Howling GiantThe Space Between Worlds (Blues Funeral Recordings, 27 September 2019)

 

Good afternoon! Another week almost over, are you excited? Probably not so much, huh? It hardly makes a difference, since the days all just run together anymore. Hard to believe we’re coming up on three whole months of this quarantine, shelter-in-place, work-from-home, whatever you want to call it.

But on the other hand, it’s starting to feel like this is the way life has been forever — it’s getting hard to remember a time when things used to be different. Remember going out to restaurants, bars, wineries? Remember live entertainment? Sometimes there would even be entire events dedicated to bands performing music for large crowds of people, entire festivals. Remember those? Remember crowds of people?

It was exactly two months ago today that Ripplefest was supposed to happen in Germany, what would have been an all-day raging affair hosted by Ripple Music. I wrote up a thing announcing the event just a few weeks before the entire world flipped completely upside-down.

That event is tentatively being rescheduled for August, with a line-up yet to be announced. I hope, for the sake of everyone involved, that it works out this time. I hope, for ALL our sakes, that things are back to normal by then.

Originally scheduled to play at the festival in March were two American bands, Horseburner and Howling Giant. I’ve written about each of them before (here and here), but in February’s Ripplefest post I also mentioned that both bands had released excellent albums last year, and that reviews of both would be coming up soon.

The festival might not have taken place as planned, but at least I can fulfill that one small promise. And at least you can treat your ears to these bands in pre-recorded form…

 

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Boss Keloid – Melted on the Inch (2018)


 

Boss KeloidMelted on the Inch (Holy Roar Records, 27 April 2018)

 
Ok folks, let’s talk new music. Here’s one that just came out last Friday that you’ll surely want to acquaint yourself with. Two years ago, when north west England’s Boss Keloid released their second album Herb Your Enthusiasm, we described them by borrowing from a press release: “an eclectic mash of riffery, dirge, groove and sway that will leave you feeling heavy, warm and slightly damp in places.”

All of that remains true on this newer release Melted on the Inch, only more so. Very much more so…

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Conan – Blood Eagle (2014), Revengeance (2016)

ConanBlood Eagle (Napalm Records, 28 February 2014)

 

ConanRevengeance (Napalm Records, 29 January 2016)

 

Following our last article that covered a few of North‘s more recent releases, it only makes sense to talk about their current tour-mates Conan as well. The Merseysider trio has been around for over ten years — although the line-up has changed a few times: from 2011 (when their split record with Slomatics came out, which was the last release we discussed here) until the 2014 emergence of their second full-length Blood Eagle, Paul O’Neill had remained behind the drums, but Phil Coumbe had taken on bass/vocal duties; then by 2016 new drummer Rich Lewis had joined, and Chris Fielding (a prolific producer and engineer who had worked on all of Conan‘s previous releases) was added as bassist/vocalist. The only constant throughout the band’s career has been guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis, who also runs Black Bow Records in his spare time — oh and by the way, you may remember from when last year when we covered Boss Keloid‘s Herb Your Enthusiasm, which was a Black Bow release, Davis and Fielding both had guest spots on that record.

Well, it wouldn’t be accurate to say that Mr. Davis being part of the band continuously has been the only constant over the past decade-plus. The sound produced by this trio has perpetually been as savage and barbaric as the literary character from which their name was derived. To be specific, they identify themselves as “caveman battle doom” — and you’ll find, as we make our way through Blood Eagle and last year’s follow-up Revengeance, there really couldn’t be a more apt description …

 
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Happy 2017(?)

2017

 

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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Boss Keloid – Herb Your Enthusiasm (2016)

herb-your-enthusiasm

Boss KeloidHerb Your Enthusiasm (Black Bow Records, 08 April 2016)

 

Well it’s Thursday now, which means it’s almost Friday, which means the weekend is almost here, so I guess that’s a good thing, right? I dunno. I’ve been so tired all week, it’s tough to feel excited about anything. Although — again, tomorrow is Friday, and we’re now finding ourselves coming into what’s traditionally one of the biggest times of the year in terms of new music getting released. Which means a bunch of stuff will be coming out tomorrow (just as it has for the past couple of weeks and will over the next several). So at least there’s that.

I totally missed out on getting anything published here yesterday, due to some super lame crap that kept me busy all day, which means we’re already behind schedule in terms of what I wanted to be able to share with you people this week. So probably it’s about time to quit rambling and get straight to the music, right?

 

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