Tuesday, May 26, 2015

SERIAL HAWK To Release Their Long-Awaited Debut, Searching For Light, via Bleeding Light Records September 18th; Summer U.S. Tour Dates Announced

Seattle, Washington's crushingly heavy three-piece doom act SERIAL HAWK just signed to Bleeding Light Records and will release their debut full-length, Searching For Light, September 18th. The band's penchant for punishing, building riffs and reputation for bringing live audiences to their knees with a wall of sound has been encapsulated in this long-awaited album, which will be available on vinyl, CD, and digital download. Keep an eye out for more details in the coming months, but in the meantime, be sure to catch the band playing the songs live on their summer U.S. tour.

 Watch the official Searching For Light teaser via The Obelisk now at THIS LOCATION.

Searching For Light Track Listing:

1. Desolate
2. Lying In Wait (Listen HERE.)
3. Of Decay
4. Searching For Light

Serial Hawk Spring 2015 Tour

May 22 – Eugene, OR – The Wandering Goat
May 23 – Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
May 24 – Redwood City, CA – Bobby D’s
May 25 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Sweet Springs Saloon
May 26 – Glendale, CA – The Complex
May 27 – San Diego, CA – The Hideout
May 28 – Phoenix, AZ – Rogue Bar
May 29 – Santa Fe, NM – The Cave
May 30 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Observatory
May 31 – Bryant, AR – M. F. Metal Music
June 01 – Birmingham, AL – Syndicate Lounge
June 02 – Atlanta, GA – 529
June 03 – Raleigh, NC – Slims Downtown
June 04 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
June 05 – Boston, MA – Cambridge Elks
June 06 – New Haven, CT – Three Sheets
June 07 – Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose
June 08 – Chicago, IL – Cobra Lounge
June 09 – Omaha, NE – The Hideout
June 10 – Laramie, WY – Buckhorn Bar
June 11 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Music Garage
June 12 – Boise, ID – The Crazy Horse
June 13 – Portland, OR – The Know
June 14 – Seattle, WA – Black Lodge
For a taste of Serial Hawk's live experience, watch their 2014 in-studio KEXP performance HERE.

Will Bassin - Guitar, Vocals
Adam Holbrook - Bass
Sean Bulkley - Drums


Greyhaze Records Reissues Trio of Brazilian Black Metal Classics

Greyhaze Records is proud to announce that three classic reissues from the Brazilian Black Metal Underground are now available for purchase. Included are MYSTIFIER's
Goetia (CD & 2xLP), VULCANO's Bloody Vengeance (CD/DVD), and IMPURITY's Into the Ritual Chamber (CD).

The audio for each of the albums has been carefully restored and dynamically remastered. Each release has been repackaged in a way that honors the original artwork.  All three titles can be purchased HERE

Visit the Greyhaze Records Bandcamp page for complete album streams of all three reissues.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Bonehunter Set Release Date For Hells Headbangers Debut

Much like they've done with Armour and Evilnight, once again, Hells Headbangers unleashes an underground gem from darkest Finland, ready to take up the heavy metal fight: Bonehunter and their debut album, Evil Triumphs Again, set for international release on August 21st on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats. All too appropriately titled, Evil Triumphs Again is a cryogenically frozen blast from the past, offering obeisance to debut-era Bathory in its unremittingly cavernous atmosphere yet resolutely punk-rocking thrust. Bonehunter hail all forms of evil (a quick rundown of some of the album's song titles include "Acid Fuck," "Succubus," "Burning Skulls," the telltale "Devil Metal Punks" and, of course, the title track itself) and extol these virtues through simple, pounding metalpunk drenched in sulfur and sewage, each anthem crankier and catchier than the last. One listen through and these songs will NOT leave your head - and thus, Evil Triumphs Again! Hear the first evidence of such exclusively HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Bonehunter's Evil Triumphs Again  
1. Messier 666
2. Black Shrine
3. Acid Fuck
4. Burning Skulls
5. Devil Metal Punks
6. Symbol of the Curse
7. Succubus
8. Deviler
9. Evil Triumphs Again

A statement from the band reads: "As longtime fans of Hells Headbangers and many bands from their roster, we are proud to release our first full-length sonic assault under the banner of HHR. With the support of Hells Heabangers, we will continue forging our devilish tunes and to make your ears bleed. This is only the beginning of our triumph, because true EVIL NEVER DIES!"
In other Bonehunter news, the band is slated to play Hells Headbangers' "Hells Headbash - Part 2" festival, set for September 4-6 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Agora Theater and Ballroom. Bonehunter will join other such HHR-affiliated bands as Satanic Warmaster, Profanatica, Archgoat, Midnight, Inquisition, Deiphago, Acid Witch, Destruktor, Black Witchery, Deceased, High Spirits, Deathhammer, Nyogthaeblisz, Demonic Christ, and tons more. More info can be found HERE.


Denmark's UNDERGANG Streaming New Song at Noisey

Denmark Death Dealers UNDERGANG have teamed up with Noisey for the exclusive stream of "Kogt I Blod," a brand new song from upcoming Dark Descent Records release Døden læger alle sår. Check it out at this location.

The band will release its third album Døden Læger Alle Sår on CD and digital formats via Dark Descent Records July 10. The vinyl version will be released on Me Saco Un Ojo Records. Long live the new flesh!

Døden Læger Alle Sår was recorded at Earhammer Studio, California subsequent to UNDERGANG's three-week U.S. tour in July 2014. The new material is a blend of the suffocating and filthy heaviness heard on the band's previous two albums, Indhentet Af Døden (2010) and Til Døden Os Skiller (2012), whilst adding more twists and neck-breaking brutality to the mix. The new album will out just in time for UNDERGANG's European tour with STARGAZER.
1.Døden Læger Alle Sår
3.Kronisk Betændelse i tarmene
4.Ad Ligbitum
6.Lemlæstelsens Kunst
7.Kogt i Blod
10 Det Gør Kun Ondt til du dør

UNDERGANG was formed in the early summer of 2008, with the intent of playing old styled, low tuned and extremely heavy Death Metal. Since the earliest breath of existence took place, the band has always kept pushing their limits and always stayed active, both in the studio and in live environments. The band has released two full length albums - Indhentet Af Døden (2010) and Til Døden Os Skiller (2012) ) - and several smaller releases and splits. They've also done several tours in Europe and the U.S., not to mention their exclusive opening slot for U.S. Death Metal legends AUTOPSY, at their first show in New York after 19 years in May 2012. Since then several other tours were completed in Europe, America, Australia and Japan, thanks to the help of underground networking and various connections.

A. Dødshjælp - Drums
K. Ondsind - Bass
D. Torturdød - Guitars / vocals

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ripple Field Trip - Saxon Live At BB Kings

May 12, 2015 

Photos by Ali Amendola 

Life is like a boomerang sometimes. Or a merry go round – or a circus. At least my life lately has not been static. Without going into too much personal detail, I had a really rotten April, I logged more hours as a visitor in the hospital than most people at their day jobs. It's a bad sign when the security guard at the CCU ward stopped asking for ID – he just offered a sympathetic smile on a daily basis. 

May was starting to even out a bit – my daily routine was changed but we had somehow avoided disaster. My social life was non existent. I was the sole person in charge of some else's care, and couldn't be away from home for more than a few hours without panicking and fearing the worst.

On the morning of Tuesday, May 12, I got a Facebook message from my friend Paul Mortz, who I joke is the “tattoo artist for the rock n roll elite” He had gotten in touch with his friend and client, Toby Jepson, who with Biff Byford, co-produced Saxon's 2011 album, “Call to Arms”, and explained to him he had a friend in NYC who was going through a rough time, was a huge Saxon fan, and could he call in a favor. 

So basically Saxon's producer had their singer Biff Byford put me on their guest list. (I am allowed to gloat) 

I got in touch with my best friend, and we made plans to head over to BB Kings. When we got inside it was one mishap after another. My bestie, Starchild, is disabled and has mobility problems. The hostess sat us at a cramped table and kept repeating we had to sit across from each other, those were the rules. I tried to make the most of it and made small talk with the two guys we were sat with. Starchild was becoming increasingly uncomfortable so we asked to be moved. We were then seated at a booth on floor level about five feet away from the stage. That will work!!! A few minutes after we were moved, someone tapped me on the back. It was one of the dudes we had sat with - he bought me a beer! “Great seeing female metal fans!” He said, clinking glasses with me, “Enjoy the show!”. When i did my walk around the club to get to the ladies' room, I had a good look at the crowd. It was 85% male. If I was single, I would have my pick of overweight, balding middle aged men proudly wearing faded Iron Maiden and Motörhead shirts that were being stretched way beyond their limits. I ran into about half a dozen people I knew – and just had a generally good feeling about that night. 

Local band Seven Witches opened the show – and they really impressed me. I liked their songs, they were good musicians, and set a nice tone.

Armored Saint were on next – admittedly I am not too familiar with their catalog but I recognized more than half their songs and halfway through their set I was fist pumping and headbanging with the crowd. John Bush still has an amazing voice, and in his sweatpants and flannel shirt still had great command of the crowd. 

Saxon were up next, after “It's a long way to the top” by AC/DC played over the PA, there was the sound of motorcycles revving. I stood up on the booth we were sitting in. My heart started pounding. “MOTORCYCLE MAN!” I yelled to Starchild. 

She had just had her ears cleaned, but didn't hear me over the roar of crowd, she just nodded her head and smiled the way you do at someone who's not all there. 

Then the band came out and guitarist Paul Quinn did indeed start the opening notes of the classic song. The first Saxon song I had ever heard, years ago, via the “NWOBHM '79 revisited” compilation Lars Ulrich put together in 1990. There they were only a few feet away from me – Saxon!! I couldn't stop smiling, and dancing, and headbanging, and smiling...but mostly smiling!! They sounded so good. Biff's voice was on point!! For a man in his mid 60's he had more control over his voice than singers half his age!!

This was the band's 35th anniversary tour, and was extra special because drummer Nigel Glockler was kicking major ass behind the kit after recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured brain aneurysm last year. As it was an anniversary tour, the set-list was peppered with classics from the band's heyday in the early 80's - as well as tracks from the rest of their long career. It was the first night of their US tour, and they played with so much energy it radiated into the crowd and no one in that room was standing still. I liked having my perch on top of the booth – Biff gave me a thumbs up (could be because of my Toby Jepson shirt too) – and bassist Nibbs Carter nodded and smiled a few times. Nibbs is the “baby” in the band – joining Saxon in 1988 at the age of 22, he is the longest serving bass player in the band's history. Guitarist Doug Scarratt joined the band in 1994, and the current line up has been in place since drummer Glockler rejoined in 2006.

At one point Biff looked into the crowd and remarked as to what a “handsome looking audience” it was. Maybe Saxon's no-frills, “meat and potatoes” style of classic heavy metal draws more of a testosterone filled following then some other bands – but honestly I did not mind watching Nibbs and Doug all night and wondered why there wasn't a gaggle of leather clad heavy metal mama's at the side of the stage throwing their bras at them (I'm too old for that stuff – plus if I threw my bra at someone I'd have to get it back – damn things are expensive!!!) Plus, for someone close to my mom's age, Biff still had that sexy English charm – and had the crowd in the palm of his hand! There was so much audience participation that I was reminded this was a band that was used to playing in front of thousands of people at outdoor festivals – but they felt equally at home in front of a few hundred (even though Biff did remark about how small the stage was). Not sure why he kept switching out microphones between every other song, but I did get a wink from him as he passed me by to go to the sound guy!! 

“I WANT TO HEAR DENIM AND LEATHER” Starchild yelled at me, waving her cane, “DENIM AND LEATHER!” I was the only one calling out “DOGS OF WAR” and the dude next to me in the Sabbath shirt was calling for “Crusader” (during which he played perfect air guitar).

There were so many highlights for me – I couldn't have asked for a better set-list, even though I didn't get my song or “Strong Arm of the Law”. I really went nuts during “747 (Strangers in the Night)”  

“There's a 747 goin' into the night
There's no power they don't know why
They've no fuel they gotta land soon
They can't land by the light of the moon”

That's when it struck me – the level of songwriting was really above par for a band of that “stature” . And literally it was during the guitar solo that I just shook my head and silently wondered why Iron Maiden “made it” while Saxon will always be an “also-ran”. Maybe it was bad business deals, or as rumored in the early 80's, because Saxon were “too ugly”? I'm shrugging as I type this.

“Princess of the Night” was the last song of the set, the song that was the reason behind the purchase of my first Saxon album, “Denim and Leather”. The song that's basically a love letter to a century old locomotive. Locomotives ARE metal!!

“Speeding, sparks like lightning 
Engine working hard
Furnace on the foot plate 
Shining in the night 
Iron striking metal 
The sound of racing steel 
It's all I ever wanna hear 
It's music to my ears”

I literally beat up my friend Darren who made the mistake of joining me in my little go-go booth for that song. I was so happy – so full of – relief – and it all came out at the show!! 

The last song of the night was the one Starchild, and undoubtedly the rest of the crowd, was there for, the bands iconic “Denim and Leather”. Biff lead the crowd into a sing along chant – fists in the air

“Denim and Leather brought us all together 
It Was you – you – you that set the spirit free!!!”

I advise anyone who has the chance to see Saxon on this tour to definitely check them out – you will most certainly get your money's worth!!! And any young metal musician who wants to know how it's really done – go down to a Saxon gig!!! 

Set list:
Motorcycle Man
Power and the Glory
And the Bands Played On
To Hell and Back Again
I've Got to Rock (To Stay Alive)
This Town Rocks
Dallas 1 PM
Solid Ball of Rock
20,000 Ft
Suzie Hold On
The Eagle Has Landed
Never Surrender
Heavy Metal Thunder 
747 (Strangers in the Night) 
Princess of the Night 

Wheels of Steel 
Denim and Leather  

- Rys

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - hip-hop, spoken word w/ Afrobeat, reggae & irresistible African grooves

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate are an unlikely duo. Joe, who grew up in Syracuse, New York and moved to Bristol, England, speaks no French. Sekou, who grew up in Guinea, where French is the official language, speaks no English. When they met at a festival in Marseilles in 2010, they relied on music to communicate. Joe raps, loops, beatboxes, and writes songs. Sekou, known in France as the Jimi Hendrix of the kora, plays the West African harp like no one else. Together, Sekou and Joe blend hip-hop, spoken word, funk, and soulful rock and roll with Afrobeat, reggae, and irresistible African grooves. The World Music Report calls their debut album, Faya, “spectacular,” “sublime,” “brilliant,” and “perfection.”

Sekou was raised in an accomplished musical family in Conakry, Guinea. Trained in the ancient traditions of the kora, he has toured the world as a member of the Ba Cissoko band, comprised of his cousin and brothers. Cee-Lo Green calls Joe “the gangsta with an iron lung.” Joe has been touring for years, spreading his unique fusion of folk and hip-hop. He uses live looping to create soundscapes full of beatbox, guitar, harmonica, percussion, and whatever sounds he can find. For an evening of exciting, energetic, and thought-provoking music, catch Joe and Sekou at the Freight!

Sunday, May 24, 2015, 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm)  Freight and Salvage, Berkeley,
2020 Addison Street / Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 644-2020 / info@freightandsalvage.org

Valkyrie - Shadows

Who is Valkyrie you ask? Well, to be honest I asked the same exact question just this year upon seeing the promo tease offered up by Relapse Records over at Bandcamp for their new album. ‘Shadows’ is actually their third full length album and debut on Relapse mated with other clutch bands such as Red Fang, Torche, ASG and Royal Thunder just to name a few. Apparently I’ve been sleeping under a rock having just found out about Valkyrie, but like the ancient Norse lore goes, the Valkyrie chose another day of life for me to listen to their astonishing new album ‘Shadows’. Will I survive the auditory battle, read on to find out?

Being late to the game, I’ll recap a brief history of the band. Undergoing several line-up changes between their formation in 2002 and their current state, Valkyrie consist of brothers Pete and Jake Adams (guitars and vocals), Alan Fary (Bass) and Warren Hawkins (drums). Pete Adams is also a guitarist in the legendary sludge band Baroness (take that at face value), which you can hear traces of in the guitar tone in Valkyrie. According to the diehard fans, the new album ‘Shadows’ was somewhat of a pleasant surprise as comments I read from fans ranged from:

Ø      I’ve been dreaming of this day since the day I was born, I’m 57 years old…”-some old dude,
Ø      “If I die tomorrow, please bury me in the shadow of Valkyrie - Shadows,”born again Christian mistress
Ø      “Listening to the song ‘Shadow of Reality’ cured me of cancer and my wife now understands my addiction to vinyl”…. –the man, the myth.

Ya, it’s that good folks. There is probably even memes on the internet describing the potency of Valkyrie?

My first impression of the band was to the point where I pre-ordered the vinyl after only a 2 song preview and a glimpse of the extraordinary artwork on display. As has been voiced in the heavy underground quite a bit lately, the artwork is a major factor in the success of rock music in the digital age. The appearance of vinyl also adds intimate value to the musical experience. Both the art and the vinyl options visible on pre-order left me no choice but to take a listen. What happened next I wasn’t quite ready for? Neither was my wallet. However, Mark Paypal sure made out well. You may know him too, maybe not.

I was hearing elements of several of my favorite styles of rock and metal in this band. Relatively long songs 5-7 minute territory, which is actually the prime length of a modern rock song for my taste, jam packed full of doomy vocals, stoney rhythm, and a hefty amount of dueling guitar solos. In fact, those twin guitar chops were the icing on the cake and one element that pretty much tops this band off as one of my favorites of the year. I am a sucker for a mean double guitar harmony. Instead of making the Thin Lizzy comparison, which is obvious and present, I’ll go with the more obscure nod to a couple modern bands I adore being Gyspyhawk with a little bit of Graviators thrown in for Sabbath worship measure. The guitar slinging goes from fuzzy distorted groove, to a ceremoniously metallic crusade of classic rock reverence. Just when you think the songs couldn’t get any better, another magical twist of chords enthralls the senses to a new level. Each of the 7 songs has its own unique blend of stoner fuzz, battleborn proto-doom, and classic guitar shreddage. It pays homage to the classics such as Lizzy, Deep Purple and Sabbath yet keeping a modern progression at the forefront distinguishing them as a modern and future classic band.

I’d say what sets ‘Shadows’ above some of the other standout albums released this year is their ability to keep the songs alive with several added jams of guitar solos interspersed throughout random parts of each song. I’m not a musical expert, but the format seems rather nontraditional in the sense of songwriting. It’s not your typical verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus type affair. It’s got wicked introductions with an energetic vocal offering, which by the way, won’t be winning any Grammys for Best Vocal Performance (meant as a compliment), followed by progressive stoner jams that sort of create a building current of excitement that prevents you from knowing exactly what is coming next. It keeps you on the edge of your earbuds as I like to say.

The songs flow really well and based on the song titles, I have to imagine it’s somewhat of a concept album. Forgive me for not being musically smart enough to decipher and explain the potential concept, probably more that I am just too lazy and just let myself get lost too deep in the instrumentation to pay too much attention to the lyrical theme at hand. I’m a guitar guy and Valkyrie is the riff dealer in the neighborhood. Just listen for yourself and you’ll understand.

After listening to ‘Shadows’ close to a dozen times, I finally decided I should probably check out their back catalog, which is completely sold out of vinyl (sign of a good band), has re-issue CDs available via All That is Heavy (sign of a good band), has a few songs streaming on bandcamp and new vinyl available at the Relapse Records store (sign of a good band). To no surprise the two previous albums were jam packed full of the same style of herculiffic melodies, scorching solos and Ozzy-esque bellows. You can definitely hear the positive progression from release to release hitting a climax with ‘Shadows’. I bought two vinyl copies of the bone white / bronze merge vinyl edition, one for me and one for a friend. Copies still available, get them while the getting’s good folks. Valkyrie will surely be one of the most talked about albums this summer and into the end of the year listings. I know they certainly will be on my list. 

Order the Record at various outlets either linked above or below here:

-The Huntsman

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