Wisconsin. America’s dairyland. The Badger State. Home of the Packers. And next weekend, the site of one of the summer’s biggest showcases of filthy, ugly, underground metal.
Gilead Media has made quite a name for itself, mostly by issuing highly sought after vinyl versions of some of the best names in bleak, black noise. And for three days (18-20 July), a huge collection of those will be converging on the city of Oshkosh. I know several people who are making the trip out there, and every year I wish I could too because they always have an incredible “no filler” line-up. This year is no exception, and I’ve got all the details for you below.
But many of the bands playing at the fest have also arranged a series of shows in various other cities on the dates before and after next weekend. Several of these will be hitting Pittsburgh over the next week or so, and chances are some of them may be coming near where you live too. I’ve got details of those tours too (at least, I’ve tried to make this as comprehensive as possible). So check it out.
Begrime Exemious – Visions of the Scourge (Dark Descent Records, 04 April 2012)
Good afternoon! Remember yesterday when I wrote about the new Wrought Iron album? I mentioned that they’d be having a release show to celebrate TONIGHT, at Howler’s Coyote Cafe in Bloomfield (Pittsburgh). Full details on that can be found right here. That show also features locals Post Mortal Possession and two out-of-town bands who are each currently engaged in (separate) tours: Cryptic Yeast from New York, and Begrime Exemious from Alberta.
Well as it turns out, I remembered that I had an album from the Canadian band — one that I’d never quite gotten around to writing about, so it’s just sort of been sitting here in my “to do” pile for the past 2+ years. With this news that they’re coming to Pittsburgh, in the midst of what I believe to be their first American tour (outside of a short excursion down the Pacific coast last summer), I figured it’s as good a time as any to revisit Begrime Exemious and their second full-length album Visions of the Scourge. (They’ve also released a number of splits and EPs, before and since then, and you may be interested to learn that pretty much their whole discography is available to download from Bandcamp for free or “pay what you like” — see the relevant link at the end of this post.)
Wrought Iron – Rejoice and Transcend (Grimoire Records, 24 June 2014)
Ever since the band was formed (which was at the end of 2011), and especially since they started playing live shows (the following spring), there’s been a significant amount of buzz surrounding Wrought Iron within Pittsburgh’s underground music scene. People who’ve caught their live shows (often appearing with some pretty big names, like Abigail Williams, Absu, Alcest, Dying Fetus, False, and Nachtmystium, just to name a few) have reported being spellbound by the ferocity as well as the raw talent on display.
Well, that — and one other thing too. It seems like whenever this band is being discussed, the performance of vocalist Kenny Snyder often gets brought up; several times I’ve witnessed certain people (without mentioning anyone specifically, but I will say it’s almost always been members of other local bands) trying to imitate the combined snarl-shriek-squawk that these folks affectionately refer to as “like a dying pterodactyl.”
Anyway. I personally may have been a little bit late to the party, but after hearing them recommended so highly for so long, I finally got the chance to see Wrought Iron last summer (and a couple more times since then). I was very impressed by what I saw and heard — they definitely lived up to the hype, no question about that. Fast-forward another year, and we find the band recording an album with Maryland’s Grimoire Records, which is being released digitally (as well as on CD or cassette) today.
The Smiling Moose (South Side / Pittsburgh, PA), 31 May 2013
Dethlehem – “Valley of the Blades” and “Oathbound” (New Song)
The week of this show marked the birthdays of two of the band’s members (drummer Overlord Brom and guitarist Hildor), so the audience joined in singing to them. Here’s a video of that, plus the song “Sky Palace of the Dragonriders” (with a guest appearance by former vocalist Lord Bonecrush, currently a member of Supervoid):
Wrought Iron also played at this show, and I swear I got video of one, maybe two, of their songs. But apparently those haven’t been uploaded to YouTube. I’ll have to search for them and make sure they didn’t just disappear into the ether or something…
Valley of Steel private picnic event (South Park, PA), 08 June 2013
Six Questions with Steve Kaczynski (guitar) and Aaron Kaczynski (vocals) of Jericho Theory
by Mrs. Valley of Steel
Here I am again, writing another Person or Persons Unknown about another Pittsburgh band member, but this time I decided to change things up a bit. This time I am focusing on two guys actually: Steve Kaczynski and his son Aaron.
While I have never really had too much interaction with Steve in the past, I have seen their joint band Jericho Theory and was impressed with the chemistry and talent they both posses. I must admit, doing this particular article was one of the main reasons for starting these interviews. In truth, I have known Aaron for a while now, and I’ve liked him from the first time I met him. He’s got an infectious enthusiasm that you couldn’t fake if you tried. I have gotten to know him better through this journey of Facebook messages, attending shows together, and also attending shows that his bands have played. I am not sure if I have ever met a more honest and caring person in our music scene. He is that guy that knows all your songs, and knows what shows you’re playing; he’s the kind of fan that makes playing in a band in Pittsburgh worth it. I don’t even think people realize what a positive and caring member of this circle he really is. He has a way of making shows I attend with him more fun — even with my weird habit of buying him a PBR at least once a show — it’s more a level of comfort and happiness when I know he’ll be attending a show. He’s kind of turned into an unofficial little brother for the husband and me, and listening to him tell me at least once during each show that this is his favorite band or his favorite song makes me happier then I could ever state — because his influence has actually made me want to be a better fan.
So with that, I figured that this kid with his infectious nature and love of music had to have an amazing musical role model just like I did. Now that I have the ability to figure that out, I was on a mission to do so — hence the reason for this interview, so I could see if my inkling about him was correct. I am very proud to call Aaron a friend, and I hope after reading this you’ll want to be friends with him and his dad too, and I hope it will make you want to see them in action this Saturday, March 30th, at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern.
Dendritic Arbor – Sylvan Matriarch (self-released, 26 March 2013)
Good morning, folks! What’s new with you?? I have to tell you a story about what happened to me recently, but it’s a little bit embarassing…
So I’m sure you all remember Quercus, guitarist/vocalist for that band of black metal eco-terrorists Dendritic Arbor — he and I had a conversation about his band last month when they were performing at the Winter’s Wake pre-fest show (which you can read here). As you’ll recall, there was some discussion at that time about their forthcoming release Sylvan Matriarch…
Anyway, fast-forward to a couple days ago, and I got a message from Mr. Quercus, where he asked me whether I do album reviews on this website. Well. That was sort of a reality check for me — I know that I’ve been very preoccupied lately and have been writing very, very little. And what I have been posting recently has largely consisted of interviews, either conducted by myself or by someone else. But at that moment I realized, geez, you really couldn’t tell just by looking — unless you were to dig pretty deep — that reviewing music is sort of supposed to be the primary purpose of this website!
So I got my hands on a copy of Sylvan Matriarch, which is officially available today — it actually went up on Bandcamp yesterday, but tonight Dendritic Arbor will be playing a show to celebrate the release. I’ve got all the information you need about the album, the show, AND a special super-limited bundle were you can get a whole bunch of goodies for a really low price, IF you’re one of the first few people to jump on this deal!
Hello, once more! Time keeps ticking away, it’s almost time to go to Winter’s Wake tonight!
Here’s another band interview! I talked to Adam Joseph Bailey, the vocalist from Meth Quarry, about what’s been happening with that band since I spoke with them back in December.
Admittedly, this interview was even more brief than most of them have been, but I already covered most of the topics — such as how the band formed and their entire history, all of their influences and how they molded their unique “Grim Dirge Hardcore” sound — in the much more in-depth interview from December. To learn everything there is to know about this band, go read it!
Here’s what Adam told me about the band’s latest developments:
The Winter’s Wake 2013 Thursday Night Pre-fest Show is coming up very soon! Here’s an interview with another band that’s playing tonight!
Once more, since there have been so many different bands to talk to, I’m keeping these relatively short and sweet. Hopefully there’ll be enough here for you (the reader) to get a bit of background info about each band, and you’ll get excited about getting to see every single one of them this weekend!
Below you will find the result of chatting with Quercus, guitarist/vocalist for the ecologically-minded harsh black metal band Dendritic Arbor…
It’s Tuesday, but it’s also Thanksgiving week, so I know a bunch of you are off work or school this week (or you conveniently got real sick all of a sudden) — and for those of us who still DO have to work tomorrow, everyone knows we’re just going to slack off most of the day and then leave early anyhow, right?
Either way, if you’ll be around the Pittsburgh area tonight, you’ll have plenty of choices if you feel like getting your holiday celebrating started early!
Joining them at Mr. Roboto will be an assortment of local hardcore/black/grind/death, including Pray for Teeth, Wrought Iron, and (as a last-minute replacement for Resin, who had to drop out of the line-up) Slaves BC (who just played there on Monday, so it seems like they’re getting plenty of mileage out of their new material!).