Apostle of Solitude – Of Woe and Wounds (2014), Devil to Pay – A Bend through Space and Time (2016)

Apostle of SolitudeOf Woe and Wounds (Cruz del Sur Music, 04 November 2014)

 

Devil to PayA Bend through Space and Time (Ripple Music, 12 August 2016)

 

So — maybe you’ve noticed a running theme this week — but once again I’m sharing some music with you from a band that will be playing at The Maryland Doom Fest this weekend! That would be Apostle of Solitude, whose latest album Of Woe and Wounds has been hovering on my to-do list ever since it was released nearly three whole years ago. And while I’m at it, there’s another album I’d like to bring to your attention, last year’s offering by a band who are Indianapolis neighbors (and even overlap by one guitarist) with Apostle of Solitude, and whom we’ve spoken of highly in the past, Devil to Pay.

 

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Wretch – Wretch (2016)

WretchWretch (Bad Omen Records, 26 August 2016)

 

From the instant I first heard 2008’s Conqueror, I’ve been a huge fan of Indianan doom titans The Gates of Slumber. Certainly one of the greatest highlights of running this website was getting the opportunity to chat with that group’s founder, guitarist and vocalist Karl Simon, back in 2013 — and then a few days later actually meeting him and bassist Jason McCash in person before their incredible performance at the Winter’s Wake festival in Pittsburgh. Tragically, the following year would see the loss of iconic bassist McCash, and a grieving Simon decided to put the band permanently on hold.

Since that time, though, he seems to have felt the need to continue expressing himself musically, and with the help of bassist Bryce Clarke and drummer Chris Gordon (who has done previous tours of duty with both TGoS and fellow Indianapolitans Devil to Pay) formed a new trio named for his previous band’s final album, 2011’s The Wretch. By last summer this new group had put together an album’s worth of material and released their self-titled debut, which happened to be one of the best things I heard last year. And now I’d like to share that record with all of you, in advance of Wretch making an appearance at The Maryland Doom Fest later this week (along with a handful of other shows — scroll down to the comments section for more details)

UPDATE 21 June 2017: all Wretch shows that were scheduled for this week have been cancelled.

 
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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)

 

Pale Horseman - MournTheBlackLotus_cover

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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Devil to Pay – Fate is Your Muse (2013)

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Devil to PayFate 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.

 

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Now Available for Pre-Order: Coffinworm – Great Bringer of Night (Vinyl Reissue Shipping Soon!)

Good afternoon! How are you on this lovely Wednesday? Personally, I’m pretty sure I’m about to choke somebody. I don’t know who yet, but it’ll be the next person who says something about how gorgeous the weather is outside. It isn’t raining, and it’s actually been pretty sunny for most of the day, and if you’ve never been to Pittsburgh then you probably don’t realize how rare that is — especially in the springtime. In general, though, we have one of the lowest average numbers of sunny days in the whole United States. Even fewer than Seattle — although we don’t get as much rain, if you factor in cloudy or partly cloudy days and overcast days, we average fewer sunny days per year. True story; you can Google it if you don’t believe me.

So anyway, on the rare occasions that the sun is actually shining and there’s no precipitation around, all these idiots walk around prattling on about what a beautiful day it is, until you feel like you’re going to vomit. Being shut inside a windowless office all day is kind of a double-edged sword, too. On one hand, you don’t have to be subjected to the stupid sun, but on the other hand, all the people around you feel some sense of obligation to give you the goddamn weather report at least once an hour.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an office door. I think there’s an official policy somewhere that dictates who exactly can qualify for an office with a door, and I’m definitely not there yet. In fact, the people one or two levels above me on the organization chart also don’t have doors, and I have no idea how much time and hard work it will take to rise three whole levels on that chart. I suspect it doesn’t involve spending half of one’s day writing a metal blog, though. So for now, I have to make do with the invisible, virtual door provided by loud music through a pair of headphones. It makes the days pass by more quickly, and sends a clear signal that I don’t want to be disturbed by any passers-by.

On a day like today, though, it takes a little bit extra to be able to block out the outside world — some music that’s especially miserable and filthy and nasty. If you’ve been paying attention to Facebook today, you might have noticed that I spent part of the day with Vulture. That helped for a while, and then since I was already in a dirty, sludgey, agonizing kind of mood, I’ve moved on to Coffinworm.

Although it might feel like this band has been around forever, based on the amount of underground cred they seem to have accumulated, they’ve really only been around for a couple of years — their debut full-length When All Became None was just released by Profound Lore about two years ago, while the three-track demo Great Bringer of Night had been self-released about one year earlier. While that demo had been made available for an extremely limited run of physical copies, those have been pretty hard to come by for a long time now.

Well, all that’s about to change, because The Flenser has been kind enough to repackage the songs, along with the demo versions of two additional tracks from around the same time, got all five remastered by James Plotkin, and stuck them on some vinyl inside the warm and inviting cover whose artwork (by Bryan Proteau) you can see at the top of this page.

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