Here’s some news that just popped into the Valley of Steel inbox: Greek psychoexperimental black-ish-metal sextet (more on that later) Hail Spirit Noir have a new deal with Poland’s Agonia Records, with a new album planned in just a few months!
Death Alley – Live at Roadburn (Tee Pee Records, 24 February 2017)
Hey, have you heard the news — the Netherlands’ biggest annual hard rock party Roadburn is coming up this weekend! (Oh wait, of course you already knew that — because you read this review yesterday of a band who’ll be playing there!)
But first, why not check out this local (well, only about 100km or so away) band who appeared at the festival in 2016? Following their 2015 Tee Pee Records debut Black Magick Boogieland, Amsterdam’s Death Alley was invited to perform at Roadburn, where their set was reportedly so “moving” and “magical” that Tee Pee decided to document it and make it available to the public in various physical and digital formats.
Bi-coastal DOOM duo Insect Ark is made up of film music composer and animator Dana Schechter (Angels of Light, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Zeal & Ardor, Gnaw) on bass and lap steel, and electronics expert Ashley Spungin (Taurus, Purple Rhinestone Eagle, Negative Queen) on drums as well as various synths and analog noise pedals she created herself. With this unique arrangement (featuring zero electric guitars, in the traditional sense), the instrumental assembly has brought forth their latest sonic creation (through a combination of long-distance collaboration and in-studio cooperation).
Although nearly two months have passed since the record’s Profound Lore release, last night (Sunday, 15 April) was the celebratory release show in Brooklyn. Next up, the pair will be hitting the Roadburn stage later this week followed by a month-long tour through Europe. You can find a listing of all those dates at the bottom of the page, but first, check out Marrow Hymns!
Menhir – Hiding in Light (Tartarus Records, 17 April 2016)
Sunwølf – Eve (self-released, 18 April 2016)
Good afternoon, and a very happy Friday to you all. I don’t know about you, but for me this week just couldn’t end soon enough. It’s been kind of rough around here. Of course, for those of you reading this in Europe, it’s already late Friday evening and your work week has probably been over for several hours by now. And for those who are way on the other side of the world, it’s already Saturday morning and maybe you’re hungover by this point and already totally forgot about this week. I don’t know. But for me, the day is just about over and I’m totally ready to head home. Before I do, I’d like to share a bit of music with you, though. After all, that’s what we’re all here for, isn’t it?
After yesterday’s whopper of a review, I figured it might be nice to scale it back a little today, and only focus on two releases. The two that I’ve chosen to write about actually have very little in common with each other apart from the fact that they’re both scheduled to come out within the next few days. But I found them both quite enjoyable, and I suspect several of you might also like each of these — or at the very least one or the other just may be your cup of tea …
Moloken – All is Left to See (Temple of Torturous, 23 October 2015 [EU] / 13 November 2015 [NA] / 04 April 2016 [vinyl])
Recently — like within the past few months — I stumbled across this new album by Swedish progressive-post-sludge metal band Moloken (which translates to “dejected”), which came out this past November here in North America. It was their third album (fourth release overall) since forming in 2007, but it was my first introduction to the band. In any case, the material sounded really good, so I added it to my “to do” list, which currently contains hundreds (no exaggeration) of albums I intend to write about eventually. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get caught up with that list, because it feels like stuff keeps getting added to it at a slightly higher rate than it gets crossed off.
But today I’ll get to cross this one off, because I saw an announcement that this week Moloken are embarking on a tour across Europe (including their first-ever performances in France and the UK, plus an appearance at Roadburn) alongside Cult of Luna, who happen to come from the same city, Umeå — in the northern part of the country, situated on the Gulf of Bothnia between Sweden and Finland, and just slightly below the Arctic Circle. In light of this news, I’ve decided to write about the album All is Left to See to let you folks know you should check it out!
In the press announcement for the joint European tour, Cult of Luna frontman Johannes Persson said, “It is not easy to be in a band that comes from a small town in the north of Sweden. The physical distance forces you to do the 8+ hour drive to Stockholm (a drive we’ve done more times than I can count) before you can do anything. The distance to everything relevant is a disadvantage for a band with the ambition to grow. Moloken is one of these bands that needs to get more recognition. They are hailing from our hometown of Umeå and it feels great to be able to present them to our audience in Europe. So for the love of Odin, don’t miss them.”
Sounds like good advice to me. The full list of scheduled dates (most with both bands, but there are a few extras with just Moloken) will be in the comments section after you’re finished reading here …
Tau Cross – Tau Cross (Relapse Records, 19 May 2015)
Hello, and happy Easter Monday! Today’s kind of an ugly, rainy day here in Pittsburgh, so I guess it’s not such a bad thing that I’m stuck at work. Maybe the weather is nicer where you live, and maybe you don’t have to work because maybe in your country today is an official holiday — folks many parts of the world will be celebrating the beginning of Eastertide. In either case, I’d like to talk about an album that was released almost a year ago — actually, it was during the last week before Pentecost, the conclusion of the Eastertide season.
That album is the self-titled debut of crust-post-punk supergroup Tau Cross, whose name comes from the T-shaped symbol of the Franciscan Monks, based on the Greek letter Τ (Tau). In traditional symbolism, this letter is used to represent the cross, since ταυ is an abbreviation for the word Σταυρός (Stavros, which means “Cross”), and because the letter itself is cross-shaped. As such, the Tau symbol has also come to stand for Resurrection, and by extension, is closely associated with Jesus — nearly as much as the letter Χ (Chi).
Anyway, that’s surely enough of a history lesson for today, let’s get to the music! As an added bonus (for those who live in the northeastern U.S. — which includes Pittsburgh! — or southeastern Canada), scroll down to the comments section to find details about the band’s trip across the region which starts tomorrow night and runs for about a week and a half — their first live performances ever!
Hey, good afternoon! We’ll be returning to our regular schedule of album reviews and snarky remarks shortly. But first I wanted to pass along a couple of tidbits that have hit my in-box courtesy of Earsplit PR. Apparently there will be some new material emerging in the near future from two bands who both happened to be among the most impressive live acts I’ve seen in the past year: Inter Arma and Today is the Day. Also Inter Arma has a shit-ton of tour dates coming up over the next couple of months, including a stop in my nearest metropolis — and perhaps a city near you as well. You’ll find the full list below.
Hi again readers, time for another Winter’s Wake band interview!
As I’ve been saying, with so many people to talk to, I tried to keep these short and sweet. Just long enough for you (the reader) to get a bit of a lesson about each band’s history, to learn a little about where they came from and what they’re doing now, so that you can be as excited about seeing all of them this weekend!
Here’s what Vince Verkay, drummer for Evoken had to say…