Secret Cutter – Self Titled (self-released, 10 February 2014)
Secret Cutter – Quantum Eraser (self-released, 06 July 2018; dist. by Deathwish Inc. [N.A.] / Holy Roar Records [EU])
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania — in the heart of the Lehigh Valley — was named for the canonical birthplace of Jesus, while today it’s better known as the birthplace of Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Well, that, plus the fact that (like our own hometown on the opposite end of the state) it served a pretty significant role in this country’s steel industry.
While the city is not exactly known as a hotbed of musical activity (losing out to neighboring Allentown in terms of songs commemorating the working class), it has given us a trio who produces an utterly brutal blend of sludge and grind: Secret Cutter. In this article, we’re going to check out that band’s first two full-length records, the second of which sees the light of day today!
Holy Rivals – Holy Rivals (self-released, 25 May 2016)
Hey folks, remember all the way back to yesterday, when we talked about a pair of Howling Giant releases from 2016 and 2017? If not, make sure to go check it out! Anyway, way down at the end of that post you might notice that the Tennesseans are heading out on a tour of the eastern United States tomorrow night (Thursday, the 10th of May) and swinging through Pittsburgh soon after (Saturday, the 12th).
Well as it turns out, one of the local bands performing at that show also happens to be someone whose music we’ve been meaning to share with you for a while — in fact, their self-titled debut EP came out two years ago this month. So before any more time passes, today let’s listen to the self-described “three sludge/grunge dudes from Pittsburgh” known as Holy Rivals!
Howling Giant – Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1 (self-released, 12 August 2016)
Howling Giant – Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 (self-released, 25 August 2017)
Starting this Thursday (the tenth of May) and then lasting for the next two-plus weeks, Nashvillian trio Howling Giant will be traipsing all over the eastern USA in what they’re calling their “Escape from the Lab” tour. We’ve got details down below, and on your way there we’ll be covering the first two portions of the band’s planned trilogy Black Hole Space Wizard. That way, once you get to the list of dates you’ll either be very excited if you find your city included or very disappointed if you find it omitted. Either way, though, you’ll be treated to some great music — which you’ll have the opportunity to download for as cheap as you’d like. Win-win!
Huntsmen – American Scrap (Prosthetic Records, 23 February 2018)
“Storytelling is the great, albeit fading, American pastime. It predated writing and in many instances, was told in song. In modern times, many musicians have approached their music from a storytelling point of view: Dylan, Springsteen and Waits to name a few. Chicago’s Americana metal outfit, Huntsmen, are carrying the torch for heavy bands to be added to that list.”
So begins the press release for this band’s debut LP, which came out about a week ago. Bold words? Sure. A little presumptuous? Maybe. But the self-described Heavy Americana band caught my attention, and the fact that they were kicking off the Prosthetic Records release of American Scrap with a short excursion across the mid-west and mid-Atlantic with label-mates Livid (with whom our readers ought to already be familiar) especially got me to check out this album.
That tour actually wraps up tonight (Sunday, 4th March) — see the details listed way down below — but first let’s talk a little about the band and their songs …
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 …
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!
I think it would be safe to say that it’s not a normal trend for bands to grow in popularity after a significant line-up change, especially when it comes to a shift in the role of lead vocalist. Even more rare would be the case where a band goes on to achieve a global level of mega-stardom, seemingly overnight, but it has happened a few times throughout music history. And each time, there are invariably legions of die-hard fans of the original configuration — armed with countless reasons why Killers or The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was the band’s crowning achievement.
And frankly, “it’s just a difference of opinion“; what rational basis for argument could there really be regarding one’s musical preferences? Likewise, any discussion of Faith No More will immediately attract somebody who asserts that band’s best output was on its first two albums — 1985’s We Care a Lot and 1987’s Introduce Yourself, and they will never tire of explaining why the vocalist of those early years, Chuck Mosley, was preferable in every way to his (now) more well-known successor.
While I won’t be taking this opportunity to weigh in definitively on that argument — my personal obsession with that band has always been based less on the vocals than on most of the other elements anyhow — I will certainly agree that the band’s current singer is generally overrated every bit as much as Mr. Mosley‘s earlier contributions are perpetually underrated. After all, there’s no way to deny the band’s gigantic breakout moment — the one thing your average person-on-the-street will likely remember about the band, if anything at all — was almost entirely based on the vocal performances of previous recordings, most particularly the band’s first semi-big hit single.
Anyway, all of this is actually leading up to a point, which is that Chuck Mosley, that much-beloved former Faith No More vocalist, who went on to front Bad Brains for a while in the early ’90s before venturing off as a solo artist (sometimes under his own name and sometimes in conjunction with his band V.U.A.) with works like Will Rap Over Hard Rock for Food and last year’s compendium Demos for Sale, now finds himself touring all across America — starting this weekend and lasting well past the end of the summer (at least)! Dozens of shows have already been announced, and I’ve got a listing of all the most current information right here. (And the official word is that there will be more announcements forthcoming, so keep checking back if you don’t see your city listed yet!)
Bereft – Lost Ages (Silent Pendulum Records, 18 November 2014)
Bereft – Lands (Prosthetic Records, 31 March 2017)
Hey folks! Just a quick heads-up: Madison, Wisconsin blackened doom band Bereft will be appearing in Pittsburgh tonight (05 April 2017) at Howlers! Also appearing will be Aseethe from Iowa and Cant from Pittsburgh, presented by Winterforge Productions — you can click here for all the details about that. But first, who the hell are Bereft? Well, I’m glad you asked. Step right this way …