Ruby the Hatchet – Planetary Space Child (2017)

Ruby the HatchetPlanetary Space Child (Tee Pee Records, 25 August 2017)

 
I’m putting the finishing touches on writing this article during breaks between watching Philadelphia’s hockey team getting demolished during the first game of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Entirely by coincidence, that city (a place whose biggest claim to fame is striking a beloved holiday character with snowballs) happens to be the home base of psychedelic ensemble Ruby the Hatchet. But I’ll implore you not to hold that against them.

As you may recall, we wrote about this band’s 2012 debut album Ouroboros when it was reissued back in 2016, and then last summer we mentioned that they would have a new album out soon. Today we’re discussing that album, as RtH prepare to head out on a whirlwind tour of the country over the next few weeks (kicking off this Friday, 13 April 2018). Check out the full list of dates at the bottom of this page.

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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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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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Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies – Earth Air Spirit Water Fire (2013)

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Selim Lemouchi and His EnemiesEarth Air Spirit Water Fire (Ván Records, 06 December 2013)

 

Good afternoon. It’s been about eleven days since you last heard from me — sorry, but I’ve had shit going on. Like one of those times where everything decides to break all at once, and everything needs urgent attention. Whatever. I hope you’ll be able to forgive me when you hear the ABSOLUTE FUCKING MASTERPIECE that I’m sharing with you today. This album — a solo work by the former guitarist of Dutch occult band The Devil’s Blood — was released to not-a-whole-lot-of-acclaim at the tail end of 2013, and then was tragically overshadowed by its creator’s death just about three months later. A huge surge in attention for his former band ensued, but it felt (to me, anyway) like this record accidentally got swept under the rug. Which is really a shame, because it’s sheer genius.

One quick word of caution, before we get started, though — speaking of genius. This article is going to contain references to Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. If hearing those names conjures images of sappy poppy teeny bopper surf music — and nothing further — please take a moment to educate yourself about what is universally considered to be that composer’s (and his band’s) landmark achievement in the history of recorded music. You can thank me later. When you’re ready, please join us directly beneath the following photograph…

 

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Cave of Swimmers – Cave of Swimmers (2014) and Reflection (2015)

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Cave of SwimmersCave of Swimmers (The Path Less Traveled Records, 15 April 2014)

 

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Cave of SwimmersReflection (self-released, 4 May 2015)

 

Dear Friends, I am thoroughly confused about something. It’s been about two months since Cave of Swimmers, the Venezuelan-American guitar/moog/vocals/drums duo who live in Miami, released their second album Reflection. This is a collection of four songs that are sheer excellence — every bit as fantastic as the four songs on their self-titled debut which had been released about a year prior — unquestionably one of the most incredible things I heard in 2014, and quite a pleasant out-of-nowhere surprise. So what I can’t understand is, at this point, why is this band not just exploding, and being lauded with overwhelming international renown??

To a small extent, I accept and acknowledge my share of the blame: on both occasions I’ve let trivial things like “being too busy at work to get much writing done” keep me from publicly sharing my thoughts on the release of these two brilliant albums (with one minor exception). Well that all ends today. Get ready to fill your ears with this…

 

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Person or Persons Unknown: Six Questions with Grisly Amputation/Vulture Guitarist Gene Fikhman

  
Person or Persons Unknown

 

Six Questions with Grisly Amputation/Vulture Guitarist Gene Fikhman

by Asya Yanyo

 
 
My second Person or Persons Unknown is with Gene Fikhman, guitarist for Grisly Amputation and Vulture (one of my personal favorite bands EVER), horror and gore movie enthusiast, and all around cool and collected kind of guy. I must admit that I don’t know Gene very well, but in my personal interactions with him it has always seemed like he was the type of person who knew lots of information once you scratched the surface. I’ve had a lot of men in my life that are like this — in fact, I am married to one — and it’s been my personal experience that you are never disappointed when you get to know these kinds of guys. They are usually extremely intelligent, full of useless knowledge, helpful in all kinds of situations and hell to play trivia against. This is what made me want to interview him, not about just GrisAmp or Vulture, but about him personally so I could see if I was correct and I think you’ll see from this interview that I wasn’t disappointed. I hope you won’t be, either.

 
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Pagan Altar’s ‘The Time Lord’ EP Now Available On CD!

 

Pagan AltarThe Time Lord (11 September 2012, Shadow Kingdom Records)

 
Dear Readers — by now I assume most of you have heard the sad tale of Ed Barnard, from the website Doommantia?

If not, the Readers’ Digest Condensed version goes something like this: after some major health-related issues, then came the astronomical medical bills, which led to serious financial struggles, culminating in the loss of his home. Reportedly, he is now sleeping in a tent somewhere — you can read more at Doommantia (here might be a good place to start).

First of all, I think the whole situation is utter bullshit — something like this shouldn’t happen to anybody. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen to anybody. This is the sort of thing people need to keep in mind when they complain about health care reform, or when they look down upon unemployed and/or homeless people as the result of laziness (or whatever). The point is, shit happens, and it can happen to anybody. At one time or another, we all could probably use a little bit of assistance. Right now, it seems, would be one of those times for Mr. Barnard.

Additionally, I’ve just learned this morning that the Maryland-based doom band War Injun has made it known that they are in the process of putting together a benefit concert to help raise some funds. It will be held on a date yet to be announced, in Frederick MD. No other details are available yet, but here is the preliminary announcement.

Frederick is only a few hours from where I live, so depending on when this takes place, I’ll definitely do my best to be there. If you are somewhere around the area, you should too. If not, well, you can check out Doommantia here, and please note that there is a Paypal donation button embedded on that page. Every little bit helps.

Anyway, it’s interesting that I found out about this today, because it ties in with the post I was already planning on publishing. In addition to the excellent collection of reviews and articles featured on the website, Ed also had a hand in the internet radio station Foundry of Doom. (If I remember correctly, a few years ago the station was forced to cease operating — due to whoever originally ran it having financial trouble of his own, I believe — when Doommantia stepped in and resurrected it.)

Sadly, FOD Radio is no longer broadcasting at this time, but I used to spend countless hours listening to it at work, often discovering some amazing music, both new and old. Before I found that station, of course I was well-versed in some of the bigger names of doom metal — Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Candlemass, and so on — but I found myself getting quite an education.

One of the most significant discoveries I made around that time was the UK’s Pagan Altar — in fact, I can still remember how quickly I was hooked the first time I heard their song “Satan’s Henchman.” I think it’s a crime that this band doesn’t get quite the recognition that some of their peers do, and consider them to be seriously underrated.

So anyway, I guess you could say Doommantia is responsible (either directly or indirectly) for my high level of excitement when I learned that Shadow Kingdom Records had plans to release some Pagan Altar music that had never before been available on CD! This long-out-of-print EP of old demo recordings — some dating back to the band’s beginnings in the late 70s — is called The Time Lord, and it’s officially available from SKR as of today!
 

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