I can still vividly remember the first time I heard Graveyard: it was “Ain’t Fit to Live Here,” the opening song from their 2011 album Hisingen Blues. High-energy electric country-blues with great wailing vocals, that could have fit seamlessly on side A of Led Zeppelin III (an album which, front to back, was unquestionably and irrefutably the finest output of Zeppelin‘s repertoire — please feel free to comment below if you disagree and I’ll gladly tell you how wrong you are), the song instantly hooked me and still hasn’t let go to this day.
After buying that CD shortly afterwards, the rest of the songs (like the title track and Uncomfortably Numb) pushed the Swedish retro-rock troupe onto my list of my favorite 2011 releases. And the following year, the promise of a Graveyard material was so appealing that we had pre-ordered Lights Out as soon as it was released.
Now, that one (the band’s third overall) came out to somewhat mixed reviews, and although the basic style and quality of performance were very similar to what had come before, I have to admit that there really didn’t seem to be the same “wow” factor, standout tracks that would stick in your head for days or weeks after hearing them. While it wasn’t a bad album by any measure, it didn’t quite pull me in for repeated listens nearly as many times as its predecessor had done. And the next thing I knew, the band had split up or gone on indefinite hiatus or something — which I remember feeling disappointment after learning, because it seemed like they had so much unrealized potential.
As an aside, I never even realized until just recently when this new record was announced, that they had actually put out a fourth one prior to disbanding. Somehow that news had completely escaped my attention and I’ll want to be sure to go check that out soon — but first, their big comeback album will be out tomorrow, so let’s talk about Peace!
The seventh annual Desertfest is happening THIS WEEKEND in Berlin! The complete line-up and schedule is out now, including the headliners for each day, Monster Magnet, Graveyard, and High on Fire! There are plenty of other names to get excited about as well, which we’ll list for you below. And as an added bonus, a preview of information about albums coming later this month from two of these bands…
Demon Eye – Prophecies 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 …
Castle – Welcome to the Graveyard (Ván Records, 15 July 2016)
Good afternoon, all you fine people visiting the Valley. Things have gotten a little bit hectic around here recently — I’ll never understand what it is that makes people want to go on vacation in the summertime when it’s so gross and hot and humid outside. Given the choice, I’d rather sit in an air-conditioned office all day, and save days off for later when I really don’t feel like going. Not that much writing happens while I’m at work anyhow, I’m plenty busy enough doing my actual job, but I usually at least can spend the day listening to stuff, and jotting down some little notes that I can turn into a full article or review later. But sometimes lately I haven’t had much chance to even think, let alone formulate coherent sentences.
But as always, there’s tons of stuff happening in the music world, new releases to tell you about, older stuff that you may have missed but really deserves your attention, tours kicking off that just might be coming through your city. And this will be a blend of all of those things: one band whose new album comes out next month, and who started a tour (that will last pretty much all summer long!) just last week; another band who released an excellent album two years ago but somehow we never got around to sharing it with you, and who will be joining the first band for a handful of those shows in a few weeks. So keep on reading, you’ll hear some great music, and the full set of dates for each band will be listed down below in the comments …
Devil to Pay – Fate is Your Muse (09 April 2013, Ripple Music)
I’M GETTING TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT.
Anyone that read my reviews yesterday will be able to deduce what I’m talking about. My head is killing me, my entire body is aching, and overall I pretty much feel like a zombie. Accordingly, I feel like listening to something very pleasant this morning. Here’s what I came up with: an album (another one that ranked on my best-of-2013-list!) with a central theme (at least, as far as my tired mind can ascertain) about how you’re going to die someday and there’s nothing you can do about it. Furthermore, a recurring concept is that of being a born loser, unlucky at everything, and not being able to do anything about that either because it’s all pretty much dictated by fate. Just warms the heart right up, doesn’t it? Here’s Fate is Your Muse, the fourth full-length by midwestern heavy psych/blues/stoner/sludge metal band Devil to Pay, which came out just over a year ago, about a decade or so into that band’s career.
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.
Hey. You should already know this, because you should already be reading the No Clean Singing blog. But in the event that for some reason you missed this, yesterday morning they published a list that I threw together, summing up some of the top new releases of the past year. The list represents my eleven favorite albums that I heard, that were released in 2011 by bands I had never heard prior to last year. I also chose to exclude albums I had already written about here at the Valley blog, because I didn’t want to bore you by just rehashing the same thing over and over again. I hope you enjoy the list, or at least find something there you might not have heard before. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, either here or there.
Continuing a trend started in Monday’s post about Ghost, here is some info that was announced a few days ago by heavy blues/classic rock band Graveyard. Like that earlier post, this is happy/sad news. I’m excited as hell that these Swedes also are gracing this country with their presence. But again, the list of confirmed dates doesn’t include any stops in Western Pennsylvania or the surrounding areas.
But lest we despair prematurely, there is one big distinction between these two announcements. Unlike Ghost’s statement, which emphasized a total of thirteen “rituals” – even going so far as to incorporate the number thirteen in the name of the tour – which leaves pretty much zero hope for the possibility of additional dates, Graveyard have left theirs very open-ended – and clearly stated that more information is yet to come. So at least there’s that. I’ll be crossing my fingers and holding my breath when I pass a cemetery or whatever else is supposed to ward off bad luck.
Meanwhile, once again if you live elsewhere, feel free to peruse the tour info, and maybe you’ll be blessed with a visit from this amazing band.