Molasses Barge – S/T + Covered in Molasses (2017)

Molasses BargeMolasses Barge + Covered in Molasses (Blackseed Records, 28 July 2017)

 

So I’ve been writing about Molasses Barge basically as long as I’ve been writing about music in general. It all started way back in late 2011 when they had a few shows scheduled, and I threw together a little synopsis of my first experience seeing them perform live (earlier that year when they opened for Pentagram). This was followed by an interview with drummer Wayne Massey in 2012 (as they were about to open for Tombs and 16), and then guitarist Justin Gizzi also answered a few questions as part of our coverage leading up to the Winter’s Wake festival in 2013.

In all, these Pittsburgh-based doom-metal workhorses have appeared (at least mentioned in passing) on this website a few dozen times. And yet, as active as they are (and despite having been in existence for close to a decade now!), the band’s official recorded output thus far has consisted of one EP six years ago, plus a three-song demo a few months later. (Both of them are available to stream or download FREE at Bandcamp.) But that all changes now: this Friday they will be unleashing their stunning debut self-titled LP, and as a special added bonus (perhaps as a thank-you to all the fans who’ve been patiently waiting so long), it’ll come bundled with a second disc filled with cover songs.

 

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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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Winter’s Wake Winterview: Molasses Barge

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Hello again! Here’s the next Winter’s Wake “Winterview” — one more time I had a little chat with Justin Gizzi, this time about his heavy doom band Molasses Barge.

I did an interview with that band’s drummer Wayne Massey several months ago, which covered a bit of their history and lots of other interesting information (check it out here), but in today’s post, Justin fills us in on all the latest Barge happenings.

 
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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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VOS Interview: A Drummer Double Feature! Molasses Barge vs. Vulture!

Hello folks, and a happy Friday to you! Just when it felt like it would never happen, the weekend’s finally here. I’ve got a feeling this is going to be an especially good one, because there’s a ton of amazing shows and events happening! I’ll have more on that later, so stay tuned.

One of them in particular stands out, though — tomorrow night at the 31st Street Pub is the first date on the joint headlining tour between Relapse Records artists 16 and Tombs. That by itself is reason enough to get excited, but opening the show will be two of my absolute favorite local bands, the heavy doom armada that is Molasses Barge and Steel City sludgelords Vulture!

I’ve only seen Molasses Barge once before (and it was over a year ago! — read more about that here), and (believe it or not) although I’ve been listening to Vulture for a long time, I’ve never had the chance to see them play live yet! So needless to say, I’m really looking forward to this show. I’ve already got my tickets (they can be ordered here) but if you don’t, it’s just twelve bucks when you show up at the door. More info on the show itself can be found here.

Anyway, in anticipation of this event, I decided to get a couple of interviews lined up. If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you may have picked up on the fact that I often tend to focus on drumming while listening to music. It’s just the way I hear things, I guess — and I don’t know if it’s because I play drums (occasionally) or if I chose to play that instrument because it’s something I pay a lot of attention to.

In either case, the drumming in each of these bands’ genres is one of the main things that attracts me to those particular styles. So, it only seemed natural for me to talk to the two bands’ drummers. Here, then, are the questions and answers from Molasses Barge’s Wayne Massey and Vulture’s Kelly Gabany

 

 

 
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Upcoming Shows – Don’t Miss Molasses Barge!

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Pittsburgh’s own Molasses Barge is kind of a recent discovery for me.  I had become aware of them a while back by virtue of the fact that singer Brian ‘Butch’ Balich is also the frontman for the fucking awesome Pennsylvanian doom band Argus.  But, I hadn’t actually heard them until this August when I saw them open up for Pentagram.

In a clear case of truth-in-advertising, Molasses Barge sound just like how something with such a name should sound.  The main thing that struck me as I witnessed this sludgey beast in action was the setup drummer Wayne Massey was using.  He seemed to have all the drum and cymbal hardware adjusted to the lowest possible height, so that it was all barely above the level of his throne.  In this way, he constantly seemed to be hunched over the kit, throwing everything he had into a downward motion as he struck each beat.  While it seems this would take a lot out of a person – in fact, before the second song began, Massey had already cast aside the t-shirt he’d begun the set with, and also by this time he was looking as though he might have benefitted from a jug of water like the one Butch was constantly taking swigs from between sections of vocals – nevertheless the technique was very effective in laying down a thundrously driving rhythm underneath the rest of the band.

Guitarists Justin Gizzi and Ken Houser mainly hung off to their respective sides of the stage, out of the spotlight, but their combined crunchy riffs and melodic soloing built a substantial wall of noise that more than made their presence felt.  And Butch sort of bounced around the area between the two guitarists,with an imposing presence and also very impressive singing; meanwhile, occupying whatever real estate the vocalist had vacated at any given moment, Amy Bianco sort of meandered through the middle of it all, offering up basslines that similarly filled the empty sonic space between the others.

Of course, I can say all the words in the world describing the show these folks put on, but nothing would help you envision the experience as much as an actual video of the event.  Well fortunately, some kind soul recorded the show I saw, and then made it available on Youtube for all who had missed it.

Part One | Part Two

Anyway, now you pretty much know all you need to know, in order to know that you need to get out there and see this band live, as soon as possible!  And you are in luck, because over the next few weeks you’ll have not one, but TWO opportunities to do so – as long as you are fortunate enough to be within driving distance of the greater Pittsburgh area.  See below for descriptions and details for each of the upcoming shows.

Molasses Barge on Facebook

You might also be interested in:
Molasses Barge – Jewels (download)
Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed (CD | download)

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