Battle Path – Ambedo (2015-16); Hollow Leg – Crown (2016)

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Battle PathAmbedo (digital+vinyl Inherent Records / Crimson Eye Records, 09 November 2015; cassette Wood and Stone Productions, 24 June 2016)

 

Hollow leg crown

Hollow LegCrown (Argonauta Records, 04 March 2016 EU / 24 June 2016 NA)

 

Well good morning, readers, and a happy Tuesday to you all. I’m finally back after taking an extra week off from writing — partly to recover from the Independence Day holiday weekend (and that Primitive Man show last Monday night!) and partly because of me being so overloaded at my day job. But as always, there’s tons of stuff to tell you about — both old and new — so here we go again. Today we’ll be taking a look at albums by two different bands from the southeastern United States, Battle Path from Murfreesboro and Hollow Leg from Jacksonville. Each of these albums originally came out a little while ago (Ambedo back in November and Crown in March), but they both just got reissued near the end of last month (the former has now come out on cassette, while following a European release the latter is now also available domestically).

 

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High Fighter – The Goat Ritual (2014), Scars & Crosses (2016); Zirakzigil – World Builder (2016)

EP Cover Artwork + by Dominic Sohor Design

High FighterThe Goat Ritual (self-released, 28 October 2014)

 

High Fighter 'Scars & Crosses'      Album Front Cover_ By Dominic Sohor

High FighterScars & Crosses (Svart Records, 10 June 2016)

 

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ZirakzigilWorld Builder (Prosthetic Records, 10 June 2016)

 

Hey folks, how are you? Thanks for stopping by. Are you ready for another dose of good stuff to listen to? I hope so, because once again I’ve got some here to share with you today.

Both of the bands we’ll be discussing today will have an album released on Friday: High Fighter from Hamburg, Germany, will see their first full-length put out by Svart Records, which we’ll talk about in addition to that band’s debut EP that was self-released a while back; Zirakzigil from Portland, Oregon, also have their first LP forthcoming, one which was originally released by the band last year but is now being repackaged (and etched onto vinyl for the first time) by Prosthetic Records.

 

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The Mound Builders / Pale Horseman – Split (RSD 2016) +3 Pale Horseman Albums (2013, 2014, 2015)

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The Mound Builders / Pale Horseman – Split (Failure Records & Tapes, 16 April 2016)

 

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Pale HorsemanPale Horseman (self-released, 17 April 2013)

 

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Pale HorsemanMourn the Black Lotus (self-released, 07 July 2014)

 

Pale Horseman - Bless The Destroyer (2015) cover

Pale HorsemanBless the Destroyer (Bullet City Records, 30 November 2015)

 

Here at Valley of Steel headquarters, we’ve been trying very hard to bring you quality reviews almost every day (sometimes two at a time!) as a public service, so that you, the reader, get the opportunity to check out as much new music as possible. Hopefully some of you folks out there appreciate that, and you’ve managed to discover at least one thing you’ve really enjoyed after reading about it here.

Well yesterday there was no new review (but as a side note, for those who live near Pittsburgh, have you entered yesterday’s contest for Chelsea Wolfe tickets yet? — And as a side side note, have you also entered our other current giveaways, for Baroness or Thy Art Is Murder yet??), so to make up for that, today we’re presenting an unprecedented quadruple review!!

…Ok, ok, that’s not exactly how this came about — the truth is, just a couple of days ago, we received word that Failure Records had a special release lined up for this year’s Record Store Day (which is this Saturday, the 16th!), a split record featuring a pair of songs each from Lafayette, Indiana’s The Mound Builders and Pale Horseman from Chicago. And the second of those names really rang a bell, because over the past few years Valley of Steel has received a total of three albums from that band — all good ones, too — but somehow we just never have gotten around to writing about any of them.

Until today. Sit down and buckle up, because we’re about to cover all of it.

 

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King Buzzo – This Machine Kills Artists (2014)

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King BuzzoThis Machine Kills Artists (Ipecac Recordings, 02 June 2014)

 

The bulk of my formative years were spent in the 1990s, from age eleven (when I was being introduced to Faith No More and Overkill) through twenty (when I was discovering Pentagram and Emperor). I experienced lot of music both new and old during that decade, all of which had a strong influence over my tastes and preferences, and frankly, made a huge impression on my life in general. And looking back, I think it could be argued that (taking into account both direct and indirect effects) singer/guitarist Roger “Buzz” Osborne and his band The Melvins had made at least as much of an impact as any other person or band, if not more.

After all, not only did I discover their own music somewhere in my teens (and found myself blown away by it), but that band can be said to have been almost singlehandedly responsible for entire genres of music — some of which rank among my absolute favorite. Where would sludge or grunge metal be, if it weren’t for their groundbreaking work? What would Crowbar or Eyehategod have sounded like; TAD or Harvey Milk; or dozens of other bands who’ve served such an important role in my life?

So clearly, I don’t think I could overemphasize how big of a deal they — and by extension, their one constant member over their thirty year history — really are. And so when Ipecac Recordings issues an album full of Osbourne solo acoustic material, needless to say I am very intrigued…

 

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Seven Sisters of Sleep – Opium Morals (2013)

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Seven Sisters of SleepOpium Morals (20 March 2013, A389 Records)

 

Well folks, the last weekend in May is upon us, which means that most of my peers in the music-writing industry (and many of my other metal-loving friends as well) have made their annual pilgrimage to Baltimore for the year’s largest metal festival (outside of Europe, of course), Maryland Deathfest. Once again, a number of huge names jumped out at me from the announced schedule (Hooded Menace! Crowbar! Fucking Candlemass!!), but also once again, various factors have conspired against me being able to attend.

But — whatever, I’m not just going to sit around all weekend and whine about it. I’ve got plenty of good music to keep me company, and I fully intend to listen to all of it. All of the musics. For starters, although I will not be seeing Californian sludge band Seven Sisters of Sleep performing at the MDF kick-off show tonight (Thursday, 22 May 2014), I can always stuff their second full-length Opium Morals (which happened to rank among my favorite albums of 2013) into my ears. And while I’m at it, I can share it with you readers (who, I assume, are reading this because you also not at the festival in Maryland right now). So here goes.

 

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Crawl – Crawl Demo

 

CrawlCrawl Demo (self-released, 12 October 2012)

So who’s in the mood for some heavy doom with a nice dose of southern sludge??

Don’t bother answering that; it was a rhetorical question. Here we go…

There have been a few bands called Crawl over the years, but this one formed in Atlanta, in spring 2012. Most of what I hear coming out of Georgia nowadays is rather fuzzy and stonery; it’s clear these guys draw from SOME of the same influences as their fellow statesmen, but they also incorporate some darker elements of west coast doom and the weightiness of gulf coast sludge, for an amalgam that’s definitely worth checking out.

 
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Supervoid – Endless Planets EP

 

SupervoidEndless Planets EP (self-released, 11 November 2012)

Good afternoon, all you fine people! How are things where you are? Here it’s been rainy and nasty, and of course it’s Monday which is never good, but I’m actually feeling pretty good. For one thing, the day’s over, which means I get to go home. But mostly, I’m starting to feel healthy again!

You may have noticed things have been quiet around here for a while. Part of the reason is all the normal crap that keeps me busy and unable to write as often as I’d like to. But a bigger part — at least for the past two weeks or so — is the fact that I have felt like absolute garbage. My normal yearly sinus infection, which tends to completely drain my energy and make my whole body tired and sore for a few weeks (plus my chest, throat, nose and sinuses feeling congested and clogged — which is miserable enough as it is, but also makes it tough for me to listen to music because my ears don’t work right and my head hurts from feeling stuffed up and in general I’m in a very foggy and cloudy state). But I’ve been to the doctor and got some antibiotics, and they’ve finally started taking effect over the past day or two, so I definitely feel like I’m on the road to recovery.

I’m still pretty exhausted and blah, but no more than on any other workday. So, hooray for just feeling marginally lousy, rather than completely and utterly terrible! BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME.

With a few exceptions, I’ve really been slacking as far as writing anything here, and I’ve been especially remiss in my duties to share new music with you readers. Here it is, nearly the end of the year, and I’ve got a virtual stack of music I’ve yet to write about, which figuratively is towering over me as I sit here. I’d better get moving!

***

Here, for example, is something that I’ve been hanging onto for the past few weeks, and kept meaning to write about and share with you — because it’s a really incredible discovery, and I sure hope you all aren’t upset that I didn’t tell you about it sooner!

Endless Planets is the debut release from a relatively new band from the Pittsburgh area called Supervoid. Formed in 2011 by a couple Dethlehem ex-pats, and current and/or former members of several other bands across the region, the band decided to take time to perfect their style of space-rock/stoner/psychedelic/prog-metal before revealing themselves to the public. (By the way, check out this interview with The Sludgelord for more information about the band’s formation and their journey up to this point in their career.)

They had their debut performance at the end of August, and a few more shows since then, attracting a good bit of attention in the local music scene along the way. During that time, the band got together at Pittsburgh’s Treelady Studios to lay down some demo tracks — which they then decided to release in the form of this two-song EP.

Clocking in at around sixteen minutes, Endless Planets serves as a great introduction to Supervoid, as it showcases the band’s talent and is representative of the range they span as performers and songwriters. Plus, it’s available to download for free, so you have no reason not to grab yourself a copy — and once you do, you’ll understand why everyone who has seen this band has been so impressed, and you’ll find yourself anxiously watching to see where this quintet is heading next…

 
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