Happy 2017(?)

2017

 

Well folks, here we are, starting another new year. 2016 was quite an eventful one, both on a personal level (Valley of Steel headquarters has relocated within the past few months! — which is why we’ve been so quiet for a little while; we’ve been hella busy between finding a place to move to, moving there, getting settled in, etc. — although for those who may be worried: we’re still in a valley in a former industrial area outside Pittsburgh, so the website title is still accurate, it just happens to be the valley of a different river than our former location), as well as on a sociocultural level (politics, both domestic and foreign, has really been a mess lately, hasn’t it??).

Of course, like every year, tons of great music got released in 2016 as well — and like every year, I’ve failed to write about everything I’ve wanted to share with you folks (or even half of it). We’ll be diving back into the reviewing and sharing of new (and some fairly not-so-new) music very soon. But today, I’d like to hit a few other items as we briefly glance over the year that was…

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Tombs & Hivelords On Tour / Win FREE Tickets For Pittsburgh Show!!

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Tombs and Hivelords Announce Spring Tour Dates

 

Hey folks! I’ve got some quick tour announcements to pass along to you… starting this weekend there will be a handful of northeastern U.S. dates featuring Philadelphia’s blackened experimentalists Hivelords (whom you may remember from our review of their 2013 album Cavern Apothecary) and Brooklyn’s post-black luminaries Tombs (whom we’ve mentioned before — nearly four years ago — when they came to Pittsburgh with 16 and we did an interview with the drummers of local openers Molasses Barge and Vulture).

Since then, both bands have undergone line-up changes — Hivelords now features two new guitarists (including Evan Void, formerly half of that band’s frequent tourmates Sadgiqacea), and Tombs has replaced some of its members on at least two occasions (also, coincidentally, including new guitarist Evan Void) resulting in essentially a wholesale overhaul for that band.

They’ve both also put out new material with their respective new line-ups: Hivelords‘ album Tapered Limbs of a Human Star came out in 2015 via Anthropic Records, while Relapse Records released Tombs‘ new EP All Empires Fall in early April this year.

And now, these two bands will be performing together on a series of dates, the details of which will be shared with you as you continue reading below. Further down, we’re also including the remainder of Hivelords‘ currently announced dates through mid-summer; and finally, details specific to both bands’ stop in Pittsburgh next Saturday, including your chance to WIN FREE TICKETS to that show!

 

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The List of 2013 Year-End Lists

Photo Collage - 2013 Shows - by Asya Yanyo

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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 5)

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6119 (East Liberty / Pittsburgh, PA), 23 February 2013

 
These videos are from Saturday’s Winter’s Wake performances.

 
The Gates of Slumber – “Bastards Born”

 
Occultation – “The Sea of Snakes and Souls”

 
Derkéta – “Rest in Peace”

 
Vattnet Viskar – Untitled (New Song) and “Intention Oblivion”

 
Molasses Barge – “Crux Influx” (New Song!)

 
Molasses Barge – “Bone Chills” (New Song!)

 
Vulture – “Coming Storm” and “Dead Sea”

 
NAVIGATION
 
Part 1 (28 December – 18 January)
Part 2 (01 – 09 February)
Part 3 (16 February)
Part 4 (22 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)

Deathcrawl – Accelerated Rate of Decay

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DeathcrawlAccelerated Rate of Decay (self-released, 16 October 2012)

 
Okay, true story: earlier this month, I had a cookout for a handful of friends (mostly musicians or music-related folks, just because that’s how I roll). At some point in the evening, as we were standing around the fire and socializing, I remember talking to someone about a song that was playing (I’d hooked up my MP3 player and set it to shuffle); during that conversation, the song ended and the next one began — and on hearing the grimey riffs that were pouring out of the speakers, I then remarked, “Oh, and this is Deathcrawl.”

Well. Standing nearby just happened to be Josh Thieler, vocalist for Slaves BC. You may recall that his band creates some awesome music, and so it’s no surprise that he’d generally have pretty good taste in stuff to listen to. Anyway, I could see that his eyes were all lit up. “I was just about to ask you what this is,” he told me, “because it’s really good. This is Deathcrawl?” I nodded, and he added (I’m paraphrasing here; this was a couple weeks ago), “So, my band is playing with this band at the end of the month??” I nodded again, and his face lit up even more.

Because yes, I’m pleased to say, the Ohioan sludge factory that is Deathcrawl is finally playing a show in Pittsburgh, and that show is tomorrow night!! In addition to Slaves BC, that line-up will also feature Meth Quarry and (coming back to the city for the first time since last summer) The Osedax from Virginia. More details on that show coming up soon, but first, I’d like to bring you up to speed on a band and an album that you really need to be listening to (if you haven’t already)!

 
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Person or Persons Unknown: Six Questions with Grisly Amputation/Vulture Guitarist Gene Fikhman

  
Person or Persons Unknown

 

Six Questions with Grisly Amputation/Vulture Guitarist Gene Fikhman

by Asya Yanyo

 
 
My second Person or Persons Unknown is with Gene Fikhman, guitarist for Grisly Amputation and Vulture (one of my personal favorite bands EVER), horror and gore movie enthusiast, and all around cool and collected kind of guy. I must admit that I don’t know Gene very well, but in my personal interactions with him it has always seemed like he was the type of person who knew lots of information once you scratched the surface. I’ve had a lot of men in my life that are like this — in fact, I am married to one — and it’s been my personal experience that you are never disappointed when you get to know these kinds of guys. They are usually extremely intelligent, full of useless knowledge, helpful in all kinds of situations and hell to play trivia against. This is what made me want to interview him, not about just GrisAmp or Vulture, but about him personally so I could see if I was correct and I think you’ll see from this interview that I wasn’t disappointed. I hope you won’t be, either.

 
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Person or Persons Unknown: Six Questions with Slaves BC Bassist Jason Cantu

Hey there, folks! I hope your week is going well. If it’s not, I guess you can be glad that it’s almost over! Personally, I’m just about totally recovered from last weekend’s Winter’s Wake festival, and sometime soon I’ll probably even start writing again.

In the meantime, please enjoy this BRAND NEW feature which will be running periodically here on Valley of Steel — courtesy of the lovely and wonderful person to whom I am fortunate enough to be married!

 
Person or Persons Unknown

Six Questions with Slaves BC Bassist Jason Cantu

by Asya Yanyo

 
Greetings and salutations! Many of you know me, or have met me, or at least know of me. My name is Asya (aka “Mrs. Valley of Steel“). I’ve been married to Eric (aka “Mr. Valley of Steel“) for about five years now — tomorrow [01 March] is our five-year anniversary, in fact.

I’m sure most of you have seen Eric‘s many posts about shows that are occurring in the Pittsburgh area. Well, he doesn’t just post about them; he actually attends — we both do, actually. [Editor’s note: at least, as frequently as physically possible!] Well, through the course of attending these shows, we’ve met some great people and it occurred to me that you (the general public) might like to hear a little bit more about these interesting people, the bands that they are currently in, and what brought them to the musical path that they are traveling down.

I will be doing these on occasion: they will always be six questions, just enough to give you a sense of the person and their tastes (as opposed to the same old stale band questions you’re always reading). So I hope that you will join me on this new journey in getting to know these wonderful and unique people, and — who knows — maybe you’ll find a new band that may change your life, too!

My first “Person or Persons Unknown” interview is with Jason Cantu, the bassist for Slaves BC, whom Eric and I have already seen three times this year. Jason, while just one part of this great band, has an infectious enthusiasm that really enhances their live show. His love and support of music in general is also infectious, and it has inspired me to do these interviews.

Everyone should have a friend like this: someone who’s always posting about records you’ve forgotten about, or wearing t-shirts you would kill for (specifically, I am referring to the Ten Years After shirt he sometimes wears), and someone who is supportive of not only his own band but all local and non-local bands. He is the type of fan that makes you want to be a better fan, too.

Check out his band Slaves BC on Bandcamp, and then come out to see them FOR FREE this weekend [Saturday, 02 March] at Kopec’s Bar. You will not be disappointed.

 
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