Saturday, December 26, 2015

Photos and video from Noctomb and Chateau



I was able to catch two promising local bands -- Noctomb and Chateau -- Wednesday, Dec. 23, at  Slim's. Basura was also on the bill, but they were already on when we arrived, and I didn't get anything from them. Chateau has been consistently described to me as black metal, and while I do hear a lot of black metal in their music, I think that's a limiting term for them. They describe themselves as "black metal with rock 'n' roll influences," which I think it pretty accurate. Check out the videos below and judge for yourself. See more photos here.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I'm very excited to be writing for Metal Bandcamp, in addition to the reviews I write for Heavy Metal. Here's the latest Metal Bandcamp review of a fantastic band, Magic Circle.

Composed of veterans from a slew of well-regarded Boston hardcore bands, Magic Circle are about as unlikely a doom band as you can imagine. They’re also not terribly visible. There’s no Facebook page or dedicated Bandcamp page (you can find some info on their website and the 20 Buck Spin Bandcamp page), and they don’t seem to play live very often. Any publicity about Magic Circle is almost entirely word-of-mouth from dedicated doom fans and blogs. After gaining a lot of underground attention with their 2013 self-titled debut album, they’ve just released Journey Blind on 20 Buck Spin. Read the full review here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Castle, Bedowyn, Irata and Caustic Casanova

Caustic Casanova




Here are a few photos from the Castle/Bedowyn/Irata/Caustic Casanova show at The Maywood on Nov. 21. I had to miss Castle the last time they were here, so I was interested in seeing them again. Honestly, though, I was most looking forward to both Bedowyn and Irata, both of whom have released stellar albums this year. It's really exciting to have two bands of this quality in North Carolina. It was also good to see Irata in fine form again after illness caused them to cancel their last tour. Here's video of "Keepers Maker." See more photos on the Flickr page

Also, looks like I'm back on Youtube!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Photos of Alcest and Emma Ruth Rundle

After the great camera fiasco of Hopscotch, I finally bit the bullet and bought a Nikon D7100. The Alcest show last Thursday (Oct. 15) at Kings was my first chance to try it out, and I was pretty happy with the results, except that I accidentally deleted several photos -- the best ones of Alcest -- before they downloaded to my computer. A lesson to be learned for next time.

Boston industrial-prog trio InAeona opened the show, and won over the small crowd with a very enthusiastic performance. Singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle was next. She's been compared to Chelsea Wolfe, and she actually toured with Wolfe and Russian Circles with her band, Marriages. I imagined her as Feist's dreamy, introspective little sister. Her duet with Alcest's Neige was one of the evening's highlights for me.

I admit to not knowing as much about Alcest as I should. I missed them the last time they were at Kings. But listening to their dreamy, swirling melodies was one of the most uplifting experiences I've had in a while, so I'm going to make sure to get to know them better.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Photos from Chaosmic, Mountain Thrower and Freedom Hawk


Mountain Thrower 

Freedom Hawk 

Last Friday I checked out Raleigh progressive-metal band Chaosmic (reviewed here) during the Rabbit Hole FX pedal release party at the Maywood. Chaosmic bass player Adam Cohen is one of the company's owners. I liked the album a lot, but was pretty blown away by their live set. Singer Aulden Smith has a fantastic voice and is a pretty dramatic frontman to boot. Next up were Wilmington's Mountain Thrower, who were less heavy and more retro-bluesy. The evening ended with a fine set from Virginia rockers Freedom Hawk, whose latest album "Into Your Mind" was one of my favorite albums of the summer.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Music: New Light Choir

Nearly two years in the making, "Volume II" by Raleigh duo New Light Choir just might be the most surprising and difficult to categorize release of the year. Right now it's a studio-only project, the brainchild of guitarist/singer John Niffenegger and drummer Chris Dalton (Goner), two guys who are true music geeks (that's a compliment) and whose musical tastes are extremely varied. Chris in particular is a devoted Carcass fanatic whose favorite album is Kate Bush's "The Hounds of Love." Musically New Light Choir leans a little more toward NWOBHM and early Scorpions, with some blackened touches here and there. Vocally, John sings desperate, gloomy lyrics in a pure, clean voice. The band has been compared to early Rush multiple times. I think they can also be compared to a slightly poppier Dawnbringer. "Volume II" was released in August on Germany's High Roller Records, and they've received a lot of good press from Europe. I'm curious to see if they do flesh out the band and actually start playing live! Check out their Bandcamp here. Standout tracks are "Violet Skies (From the Ashes)," "July Sky" and "December Flying."

Thursday, September 17, 2015

News: SATAN'S SATYRS to Unleash New Album Don't Deliver Us October 30

Exciting news today!

Bloodcurdling Virginia rock & roll creepers SATAN'S SATYRS will release their highly-anticipated new album Don't Deliver Us on October 30 via Bad Omen Records. The underground trio, featuring bassist / vocalist Clayton Burgess (also of Electric Wizard), guitarist Jarrett Nettnin and drummer Stephen Fairfield, whose sound has been hailed as, "positively seething with a frenzied, untamed energy that takes everything you love about doom metal and punk rock and smashes them together in a glorious, technicolour explosion," recorded the album in Nashville, TN and calls it, "more stripped down, more raw, and definitely heavier."

"We wanted to recapture the primitive thrust of rock 'n' roll with our sound," asserts Burgess, who recently achieved the considerable feat of completing a sold-out U.S. tour performing double-duty in both SATAN'S SATYRS and Electric Wizard. "I've watched Tony Iommi rip into the opening chords of ‘War Pigs’ from 30 feet away. I've had Bobby Liebling look me straight in the eyes as he sang ‘All Your Sins’. I've had my hair stand on end and felt strange frissons from the music which means so much to me. My ultimate desire is to reach people in the same way with our music. That's what I strive for.”

Prior to the Halloween-ish release of Don't Deliver Us, SATAN'S SATYRS will hit the road as hand-picked guests of the aforementioned Liebling and Pentagram for a slew of east coast U.S. tour dates. The terrifying trek will kick off on September 30 in Philadelphia, PA. The just-announced dates are as follows:

SATAN'S SATYRS U.S. tour dates:
(All shows with Pentagram)
September 30 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
October 1 Providence, RI The Met
October 2 Amityville, NY Revolution
October 3 Washington, DC Rock N Roll Hotel
October 6 New York, NY Saint Vitus
October 7 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls
October 9 Chicago, IL The Abbey
October 10 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme
October 11 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop

SATAN'S SATYRS (L to R: Jarrett Nettnin, Clayton Burgess and Stephen Fairfield)
Track listing:
1.) Full Moon and Empty Veins
2.) Two Hands
3.) (Won't You Be My) Gravedancer
4.) Spooky Nuisance
5.) Germanium Bomb
6.) Creepy Teens
7.) Crimes and Blood
8.) You-Know-Who
9.) 'Round the Bend

Don't Deliver Us is available to pre-order now at this location.

New Music: Drowning Horse -- Sheltering Sky

I'd like to send a big thank you to Steve Howe and his excellent new blog for turning me on to Australian ambient doom group Drowning Horse. Their upcoming album, "Sheltering Sky," is a journey through vast musical spaces, at once crushing, open, freeing and oppressive. This is the second time this year I've looked at an album's cover artwork  -- empty, jagged red earth punching into a delicate sky -- and thought it a perfect visual description for the music within.

Fans of the recent MAKE and Locrian releases should absolutely give this one a chance. The first single, "The Barrow Stones," can be heard on the band's Bandcamp. The band is on Art as Catharsis, a Sydney label that has a lot of cool Australian heavy psychedelic/crust/doom releases, so check them out as well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Golden Void - Berkana

Golden Void, one of several projects featuring Earthless shred master Isaiah Mitchell, offers elements of Earthless’ psychedelic freak-out style, but does so in a groovier, bluesier way, that gives the music more structure, and ultimately more might. After gaining attention with their impressive self-titled debut in late 2012, the band is finally back with Berkana, a stellar work that should only solidify their reputation as one of the best psychedelic bands in the country. Read more on

Slight Hopscotch Wrap Up

Lesser Life

Suppressive Fire



Shitty Boots

Solar Halos


Hopscotch was this past weekend in Raleigh, and even though the line up was really good, I ended up not seeing as many shows as I originally intended to see. I did manage to see the killer MAKE, Vattnet Viskar, Locrian lineup at the Metal Lunchbox day show at Neptune's on Saturday, as well as the Primitive Ways day show at the Pour House on Thursday. My favorite show may well have been Nuggets-style psych rockers Shitty Boots on Friday at Slim's. It was also cool to catch free day party sets by Guardian Alien, The Bronzed Chorus and Nest Egg (Krautrockers from Asheville).

One big thing did happen for me over the weekend: My camera's hot shoe was destroyed when it fell off a monitor while I was capturing video of Vattnet Viskar. That was pretty upsetting, but I've been contemplating upgrading for a while, so I think it's going to happen sooner than later.