Happy Groundhog Day!

XXX F CADDYSHACK 04 S GLF

 

Hey! I know I promised recently that we’d be getting back to reviews soon. That was before I spent the majority of January just getting caught up on listening to stuff from 2016 so that I could belatedly finalize my list of the year’s best releases! But that’s finally online now, and our first review of 2017 is scheduled to be published tomorrow. First, though, it’s time for another quick news update.

In this edition: charity donations at Bandcamp; tour news from Katatonia, Conan, and North; album release news from Ever Circling Wolves; plus more news about new videos and shows!

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Noothgrush / Coffins – Split (2013)

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Noothgrush / Coffins – Split (11 November 2013, Southern Lord Records)

 

Well, the long weekend is over (for a large number of readers: yesterday was Memorial Day in the U.S. and Spring Bank Holiday in the U.K.) and it’s time to return to boring, mundane reality. I’m sure it’s much more of a system shock for those of you who attended Maryland Deathfest this weekend. I’m still jealous of how many awesome bands you got to see over the past several days, though, so I don’t feel bad for you. For the rest of us, I’ve got some more music to share, which comes from some more bands that we missed out on seeing this weekend. This split LP, issued by Southern Lord several months back, serves as a nice little primer for two excellent sludge/doom bands — Noothgrush (who performed at MDF Saturday, 24 May) and Coffins (who were there Friday night)…

 

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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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New Zealand’s ULCERATE Invading North America This Month!

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ULCERATE: Vermis North America MMXIV Tour Now Underway

 

Sometime in the latter half of last year, the bands for this month’s Maryland Deathfest were announced, and as I recall, Ulcerate was one of the names that many people were really excited about. At the time, the name was somewhat familiar to me but the band itself was not.

Well, a bit more recently, my family acquired a new tv which has Pandora Radio built-in — which is nice for putting something on in the background while working around the house, because previously we’ve had Sirius-XM satellite radio through a satellite tv provider, and now these Music Choice channels through our local cable tv company, and believe me, each of those options are equally worthless. So anyway, within the past few months I’ve seen Ulcerate appear a few times (mostly stuff from their 2011 Willowtip release The Destroyers of All) on one of our Pandora stations (I’m not sure which, but possibly Agalloch, which is a household favorite), so finally I can see what all the hype was about.

Anyway, getting back to my original point, the New Zealandian band is heading for the eastern U.S. for an appearance at MDF; furthermore, and seeing as how they just put out a new record a few months ago (Vermis, their first release via Relapse), apparently they decided to make the most of the trans-oceanic trip by hitting a whole bunch of stops across North America along the way.

This tour, presented by Metal Injection, will be the band’s first appearance in this part of the world since they had a mini tour in conjunction with an appearance at MDF back in 2012. Fellow Relapse artists Inter Arma will also be appearing on a handful of tour dates. See below for the full list, and then keep reading for a peek at Vermis

 

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Carpathian Forest Frontman: “Fuck You All!!!”

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Formed more than twenty years ago (in Norway, despite the eastern European name) and with a plentiful number of releases under their (presumably studded leather) belts, black/blackened thrash band Carpathian Forest have remained relatively quiet over the past few years.

Naturally, as is often the case when longstanding groups lapse into a period of inactivity, whispers began to circulate through the grapevine that their dissolution was imminent, as well as a variety of reasons for this turn of events — most prominently (again, as is often the case) being attributed to a communication breakdown or a falling-out among the band’s members.

Recently, though, the band have been appearing on a gradually increasing number of festival line-ups for 2013 (including a first-ever appearance in these United States!), and so it has become clear that these rumors have been exaggerated — if not outright fabricated.

 

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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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Upcoming Shows: Warriors of Metal Open Air (WOM Fest V)

…and while we’re on the subject of metal festivals on American soil that don’t suck…

Here’s the latest info on Ohio’s Warriors of Metal Festival, which is being held on the 29th-30th of June this year (which is, coincidentally, the same weekend as the birthday of a certain metal blog writer/editor!) in Pataskala, Ohio (just east of Columbus). Tickets are on sale now at this location; $50 for both days or $30 for either Friday or Saturday ($40 for both or $25 each if you buy your tickets in a four-pack, and youth tickets are also discounted).

This open-air festival is now in its fifth year, and this year’s headliners include two legends of American heavy metal: Wichita’s Manilla Road and Helstar from Houston, Texas! Plus, there will be a pre-show in Columbus on Thursday night, the details of which have not yet been announced can be found here.

UPDATE, 15 MAY 2012: I’ve just learned that the 2012 Promo Video for Warriors Of Metal Fest V Open Air has been released. The video was produced by the vocalist & guitarist of the Brazilian Thrash Metal band Machinage.


 

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