Devouter Records Does It Again: Solar Halos’ Self-Titled Debut (Review)

Artwork

Solar HalosSolar Halos (20 January 2014, Devouter Records)

 

When halo rings the moon or sun, rain’s approaching on the run.

So goes the old saying. The atmospheric phenomenon known as a halo (which could be solar or lunar) involves the refraction of light through ice crystals in the air; as a beam of light strikes the crystalline structure at just the right angle, it is refracted as if passing through a prism, and the rays end up being bent into an arc shape that appears (to the viewer on the ground) to encircle the source of that light (i.e. the sun or moon). Traditionally this has been seen as an omen of approaching bad weather — which makes sense because, as people discovered when they started learning more about the science behind meteorology, the conditions that produce this optical wonder involve a certain amount of moisture being in the air as well as the approach of a warmer front which would generally precipitate (pun intended) impending rainfall. A quick Google image search shows that these halos are beautiful to look at, even though they may be foreshadowing that things could soon turn dark and unpleasant.

There’s another truism that says an email that comes from Devouter Records is a sign of excellent music on its way. Although not nearly as old or well-known, I’ve found this statement to be 100% accurate, dating back to the 2012 LP Trephine by MAKE and through every release since then. Added just a week ago to this impressive list is the debut album by Solar Halos, who just happen to come from the same North Carolina town (Chapel Hill) as their labelmates.

 

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The List of 2013 Year-End Lists

Photo Collage - 2013 Shows - by Asya Yanyo

Click for full-sized image

 

Hey folks — a very Happy (Belated) New Year to all of you! 2013 definitely turned out to be an interesting year for me, with lots of big changes, new projects, new responsibilities, etc., but an unfortunate side-effect of some of that was (as you’ve surely noticed) that the amount of time I’d been spending writing really tapered off as the year went on, to the point where I didn’t post
anything here for the last few months! Well, as you may have seen, I’ve started writing reviews of some new 2014 releases — and as time allows I promise I will also be sharing plenty of older stuff I’ve missed writing about, because believe me there has been a TON worth sharing!

But more on that later. As I started doing last year, I’ve once again put together a collection of various people’s “best of” lists from 2013. Admittedly I sort of got a late start on this (I didn’t even put out the open invitation until after most websites had already finished with publishing all their year-end stuff), but several people have answered the call and contributed some really interesting lists that you’ll want to check out…

 

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VOS Videography 2013: A Mid-Year Retrospective (Part 2)

VOStube

 
 

Mr. Smalls Theatre (Millvale, PA), 01 February 2013

 
Enslaved – “Riitiir” and “Ruun”

 
Enslaved – “Allfǫðr Oðinn” and “Immigrant Song” (Led Zeppelin cover)

 
Pallbearer – “An Offering of Grief” and “Foreigner”

 
Royal Thunder – “Shake and Shift”

 

31st Street Pub (Strip District / Pittsburgh, PA), 09 February 2013

 
Slaves BC – “Lucifer Bound”

 
This show originally included Supervoid in the line-up, but due to an emergency they had to cancel at the last minute, so some of the members of VEGA agreed to fill in. Here they are performing with their then-guitarist Lee playing drums. (For the record, this band has recently reformed as Dope Lake.)

VEGA – “Steal Your Light”

 
Meth Quarry – “Flatline Divinity”

 
NAVIGATION
 
Part 1 (28 December – 18 January)
 
Part 3 (16 February)
Part 4 (22 February)
Part 5 (23 February)
Part 6 (02 – 09 March)
Part 7 (10 March)
Part 8 (14 March)
Part 9 (16 March)
Part 10 (22 – 24 March)
Part 11 (28 – 29 March)
Part 12 (02 – 11 April)
Part 13 (12 – 19 April)
Part 14 (20 – 26 April)
Part 15 (04 – 05 May)
Part 16 (11 – 17 May)
Part 17 (18 – 27 May)
Part 18 (31 May – 20 June)
Part 19 (23 – 30 June)

The Huge List of 2012 Year-End Lists!

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.

 
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Some Awesome News: New Bell Witch Album On Its Way Soon!!

 
Ladies and Gentlemen and whoever else may be out there reading this: I just have two words for you. FUCK YEAH, NEW BELL WITCH!

And following that, a few more words: SHUT UP, I KNOW IT WAS FIVE WORDS, I CAN COUNT, HONESTLY!

Anyway, believe it or not, it’s been almost a year since the official release of the band’s demo EP (see it reviewed described in excruciating detail here.) And now reports are starting to come in about their upcoming full-length debut album, so it’s definitely time to start getting excited…

 
Late last night I stumbled across this little gem from Profound Lore Records, revealing the title and release date, and a sneak peek at one of the tracks! Well, half of a track anyway — only about the first eleven minutes’ worth. But still.

 

BELL WITCH – Album/Tour Announcement, New MP3 Posted

Published September 11, 2012 | By Profound Lore Records

 
Seattle extreme doom metal duo Bell Witch, comprised of bassist/vocalist Dylan Desmond (also of Samothrace fame) and drummer/vocalist Adrian Guerra, have completed their soul crushing debut album Longing along with announcing a U.S. tour to coincide with the release of Longing respectively.

By creating massive, epic, and crushing soundscapes of doom, all this merely with just bass, drums, and a dual vocal pummel, Longing expands on the promise Bell Witch laid down with their 2011 demo, which was seen as one of the best doom metal demos of last year. Longing (which features guest vocals by Erik Moggridge of Aerial Ruin on the track “Rows”) is a slow, time-stretching trodden journey through sounds of darkness, pain, and suffering and serves as one of the saddest, morose, and most despondent, stripped down, doom metal releases of the year.
 
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Damnit! Windhand Tour Started Last Week! Anyway, Here’s the Details…

 
In reviewing their self-titled debut album, Cvlt Nation calls Windhand “way more than a band that you should be on the look out for, they are a group of humans that will change the way you hear doom.”

With members who’ve also done time in bands like Alabama Thunderpussy, The Might Could, and Facedowninshit, Windhand are gaining enough recognition and accolades to stand out in what sometimes seems like a pretty crowded field of female-fronted occult doom, and rightfully so.

…Which is why I was pretty pissed off when I came across this announcement about their month-long U.S. tour, a week after the tour had already started — particularly when I discovered that they had already been to Pittsburgh last weekend and I hadn’t even heard anything about it until now! Clearly, I’ve been spending way too much time dealing with less-important bullshit (work, for example), and not enough time paying attention to goings-on in the world of good quality music!

So anyway, all of us folks who live in the northeast, and some parts of the midwest (Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan earlier this week) have already missed out — unless some of you readers have been more perceptive than me, and managed to catch one of those shows. But for the rest of you, who live all over the middle of the country or in the southeast, you’ve still got a chance. A full list of tourdates can be found below.

 
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