Hell’s Heroes III – Houston TX, April 2020

 

 


 

 

Hell’s Heroes III

 

Saturday 19 April 2020 (doors 2:00 pm)

at White Oak Music Hall – 2915 N Main Street, Houston TX 77009

All Ages | $40 in advance, or $40 plus box office fees at door

 

The third annual Hell’s Heroes all-day festival had already been scheduled for next spring and was already slated to bring an outstanding lineup of performers both domestic and international to H-Town (see below for more details)… but this week some breaking news just came out, pronouncing the headliners for the show will be the Grammy-nominated Candlemass!

This performance will mark the very first opportunity for U.S. fans to see Candlemass with the singer of their debut album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Johan Längquist, since his recent addition to the band as an official member.

 

Tickets | Facebook page | Facebook event | Instagram

 

 
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Forest of Tygers – I Will Die of Violence (2019)

Forest of TygersI Will Die of Violence (Acteon Records, 08 November 2019)

 

Here at Valley of Steel HQ, we’ve been big fans of the husband and wife duo Forest of Tygers ever since they released their first EP Bruises over five years ago. We’ve written about these Nashvillians each time we’ve heard something new of theirs, and we’ve been anxiously awaiting the full-length record they’ve been talking about for a couple years — and (as of about a month ago) it’s finally here!

Guitarist/vocalist Jim and drummer Rachel Valosik have established themselves quite a reputation for creating superlatively black- and ugly-sounding conglomorations of hardcore/sludge/doom/metal, and newly-released I Will Die of Violence will only increase that…

 

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Forgotten Bottom – Hostile Architecture (2019)

Forgotten BottomHostile Architecture (digital: self-released, 25 July 2019 / cassette: Black Horizons, coming soon)

 

Around here, we’ve had a bit of a history picking on the city of Philadelphia, and its residents, and especially its sports fans. But we’ve also spent plenty of time listening to and enjoying — and writing about — the variety of musical output from “The City that Bombed Itself.” And here is yet another example of that, in the form of a uniquely-orchestrated instrumental two-piece.

Forgotten Bottom, which has just recently come to my attention, includes one person we’ve mentioned multiple times on this website: swiftly becoming perhaps the most significant experimental-music violist since John Cale‘s stint with The Velvet Underground, the prolific Myles Donovan has also appeared with Disemballerina and A Stick and a Stone.

The line-up is then rounded out by Eric Bandel who plays a bit of guitar here, but mostly bouzouki. If I hadn’t already been excited to hear this project, that’s the part that fully sold me. A life-long fan of uncommon musical instruments of all ethnicities, I’ve especially enjoyed the bouzouki ever since Monty Python taught me what it was called.

(As a kid, I had this double-cassette set, which I listened to a zillion times — and “The Cheese Shop” was always one of my favorite sketches included here. While this was also performed on the Flying Circus tv show, the audio-only version included on Final Rip-Off clearly mentioned the instrument by name: check it out here, specifically from 0:40-0:50 and from 3:33-3:43.)

 

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Lapsarian – Ruminant (2019)

LapsarianRuminant (self-released, 22 November 2019)

 

Last time we took a look at the latest release from a multiple-platinum artist whose discography dates back many decades. Naturally, today our focus turns to an album that just came out last week, from a band who just formed last year.

With just over 100 Facebook likes so far (does that still even count as a metric in 2019?), and without a huge marketing campaign backing them, it’s probably a safe bet that Washington, DC’s Lapsarian is a new name to most of you reading this. So go check out Ruminant, and then once the word gets out, you can brag to everyone else about how you’ve already been on that bandwagon way longer than they have …

 

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Mevrimna – INHIBIT\\EXHIBIT (2019)

MevrimnaINHIBIT\\EXHIBIT (The Fear and the Void Recordings, 01 November 2019)

 

While they may take the stage silently, completely shrouded in the anonymity of long black cowls, I don’t think either member of Pittsburgh-based blackened noise duo Mevrimna is making any real attempt to conceal their real-life alter egos: the guitarist (and occasionally bassist) and the drummer/vocalist serve in those same capacities as members of the much-acclaimed Slaves BC.

In fact, their live debut (almost exactly one year ago in Turtle Creek, PA) was slotted immediately before a performance by their “other” group. While I don’t know whether they found themselves to be a hard act to follow that evening, I can confirm that the peculiarly-named twosome did succeed in utterly scaring the hell out of everyone in attendance.

And now, following a few one-off tracks, this month these guys have released a brand-new full-length recording, which assuredly will serve up the exact same result. Consider yourself warned.

 

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Fister – Decade of Depression (2019)

FisterDecade of Depression (Listenable Records, 27 September 2019)

 

Hey, have you heard? St. Louisan grimy doomlords Fister are celebrating their first decade of existence!

Well, maybe “celebrating” is not the correct word — taking a cue from the Slayer live album Decade of Aggression, the band has assembled an LP filled with covers paying tribute to some of their main influences, entitled Decade of Depression.

Here at VOS we’ve been huge fans of this trio for the better part of that decade — ever since a joint tour with The Lion’s Daughter led to a stop here in Pittsburgh back in the summer of 2013, which was completely mind-blowing to those few of us in attendance. From then on, we’ve tried to make it a point to spread the good word anytime there is new Fister material with which to desecrate one’s ears.

It’s been a little over a month since Decade of Depression hit the streets, but for those who may have been sleeping on this, kindly do yourselves a favor and direct your attention this way…!

 

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Tia Carrera – Visitors / Early Purple (2019)

Tia CarreraVisitors / Early Purple (Small Stone Records, 22 March 2019)

 

Many of you may already be familiar with this group, who rose to superstardom when they appeared in the 1992 film Wayne’s World as the fictional band Crucial Taunt, as well as having a few of their songs appear on the soundtrack. But perhaps you soon lost track of these guys, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if you hadn’t heard that several years later they decided to move to Texas, fire the lead singer, fire the rest of the band, bring in a completely new set of musicians, not bring in a new singer, and adopt more of an improvisational psychedelic style.

To cap it all off, they went on to alter the spelling of their name just barely enough to avoid any potential lawsuits. See, in a situation similar to Alice Cooper, who had been the vocalist of the Alice Cooper Band prior to his appearance in Wayne’s World, the original singer of Tia Carrere legally changed her name to the band’s name — using it in her acting career when she, too, played roles in Wayne’s World and its sequel. This left the rest of the band — which, to reiterate, by this time consisted of entirely different members anyway — in an awkward position, and they had little choice other than to change the name to Tia Carrera.

Or to put it another way, virtually nothing I’ve said thus far has been even remotely true, aside from “Texas” and “improvisational psychedelic style.” Austin-based trio Tia Carrera, who (as far as I can tell) are completely unrelated to the similarly-named actress or her fake glam rock cover band, put out an album with two new lengthy songs (their first new material since 2011!) via Small Stone earlier this year, and if you haven’t heard it yet, I’m going to tell you why you should.

 

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