Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Xroadie Files

Guillotine – ST
Adam Miller – Vocals/Bass, Lance Miller – Guitar, Evan Posey – Drums

Gravety heavy riffs pounding drums screaming guitars that just worm their way into your brain.  Black Emperor slow heavy dark musical emotions with death metal vocals.  Death Culture heavy fast in the pit slamming together in a fury and focus of aggression.  (Don’t) Shoot the Messenger blast beats deep growling vocals and chainsaw vocals that just grind you into nothingness.  Prepare The Drill fast heavy music inducing the crowd to form a pit of violence.  Kraken is violence and aggression that just takes you to an entire new level of pain.  Not Worth Saving dissonant noise from guitars blast beats and demonic vocals that just drive you insane.  

Jupiter Zeus – Eyes On The Prize
Aaron Smith – Drums, Simon Staltari – Guitar/Vocals, Jeremy Graham – Bass, Michael Lawson – Guitar

Eyes on The Prize slow feedback building then a great riff that very heavy but catchy and some excellent vocals.  Saviour With Destruction a excellent slow riff to start off then the band kicks in with a Sabbath style of rhythm which speeds up and kicks it in full overdrive back and forth fast to mid-tempo with screaming guitars.  Read It And Weep pounding drums rumbling bass heavy guitar riffs one excellent song with some Ozzy style vocals.  Midnight Renegade a fist pumping metal riff that will have the entire crowd engaged in the song.  Arise a slow guitar riff that melds into a stoner rock style with deep vocals.  Broken Plates sounds of a storm with melodic guitar that slowly builds to a heavy melancholy sound.

Kingdom In Kaos – Morality For Savages
Stouty – Vocals, Ryan – Guitar, Stigney – Guitar, kennedy – Drums

Void eerie guitar heavy tribal beats and grinding guitars swirl around your head then pound you into submission.  Head Of Snake grabs you and just tries to annihilate you over and over again.  Nailesque drug down a path of violence and destruction thru time.  Hierarchy chainsaw guitars heavy beats and growling vocals mixed with clean that just work its way thru your very soul.  Ballad of The Grotesque evil sound slowly moving up from behind with some melancholy guitars then it yanks you into the fury of the pit.  If All Else Fails anger and aggression all wrapped into one song.  Spineless get ready to jump in the pit and thrash away with some parts to slow down to.  Morality For Savages slow melodic guitar which builds into a thrash metal style of song.  Pandora’s Box melody from guitars and some clean male/female vocals which turns into more pf a power metal song. Natural Selection swirling feedback that worms its way into your brain then an evil strange rhythm that just kicks into full bore death metal fury.  Devolution industrial sounds fill the air then demonic music and vocals try to rip tour soul apart.

Malakhim – Demo
E-  AN-  AK- TK – VT

A Thousand Burning Words full on evil death metal that just permeates your very soul and tries to drag you down to hell.  The Mass Of Flesh evil incarnate with eerie sounds that just try to rip your essence to small pieces.  The Golden Shrines thrash about and try to run away from the sounds of horror and violence.

Mississippi Bones – 2600 A.D. And Other Astonishing Tales
Dusty Donley – Guitar, Jared Collins – Vocals, Derik Dunson – Guitar/Vocals, Jason Rector – Bass, Jason Miller – Drums, Heather Collins – BG Vocals

Bakshi To The Future has a slow melodic heavy rhythm with some excellent vocals its very catchy and great to just jam along to.  Butcher Of The 9 Lunar Mansions gets your foot tappin and the air guitar going and a riff that sticks in your head.  Outhouse Poet Or Shitty Lyricist is a fist in the air head banging song that will have your jamming along till the very last note has a Raging Slab feel to the music.  Sleep Atlas At Last has a southern rock feel to the music with some great sing along vocals and excellent musicianship.  Robot Kaiju Hullabaloo slow building melodic guitar then a nice southern style of beat add some spoken words and searing lead guitar get ready to rock has a Black Stone Cherry feel to the song.  2600 AD air raid sirens piece the air with other strange sounds and bombs blowing up then a riff that will get you playing air guitar or air drums what an excellent song to just jam away to.  The Eulogy of Captain Sam Quint is a very southern rock bluesy style of song that just makes you want to close your eyes kick back and drift to the music.  Greener Pastures foot tapping head banging southern metal style of song to while away the time to.  Metaphor Is Just A Word Foghat melds with Black Stone Cherry get in your car crank it up and jam down the road.  The Fly In Your Ointment excellent guitar work with lots of emotion that just permeates your very soul what a great band excellent musicianship. Thank You For Listening is a great way to end this southern rock /metal fest it has lots of emotions and great playing.  

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Ripple Conversation With Underground Hero Steven Kerchner, Part 2

I love Super Black Object but they are sadly no more. What happened? Also, what made you form the band to begin with?

After a hiatus from working together in Ol’ Scratch, and prior to my introduction to LORD's line up, this was a project that brought Will and I back into the same creative sphere. We initially had a more doom laden approach in mind, but after switching the line up around, both with members and position, we approached the project as a cathartic bloodletting in homage to the raw and primitive black metal music we loved. We had decided the band would create only for a period of time and we recorded the ‘Rituals of Blackened Perfection’ album during the winter of 2009/10. We believed what we had created had served it's cathartic purpose for us and trying to force a continuation of that wasn't our desire, believing it would fall short in honest intensity. I had approached Will about the idea of a new SBO record in the fall of 2016 but I ended up founding Tumba Carcomida instead and the plans for Hopekiller continued to grow. I don't believe there will ever be another SBO release.

You mentioned Tumba Carcomida as a project in the works. How's that coming along?

Tumba Carcomida was a short lived death metal project I was involved with. I played the drums and did some backing vocals for us. We recorded a four song demo EP that I'm extremely pleased with and additionally we were able to make a video for one of the songs. The video entailed some running around a graveyard sans shirt, covered in blood, dragging a burlap sack around. It was a lot of fun to shoot and I'm also extremely stoked about how that turned out. At this time, however I no longer have any desire to pursue focus on Tumba Carcomida.

You and Willy have been partners in crime for many years now. Both of you have been in several bands and still are in several other bands together. How do you keep it going? Is it the diversity between the bands, your chemistry or both that fires you up?

Willy and I have done quite a few things over the years; SBO, Ol Scratch, LORD, Absent Sky, Hopekiller, etc. We are as brothers and we definitely have a common chemistry that smooths the process of working with each other. Easy to say we work well with each other naturally, then combined with years of working together, we understand each other very well – which certainly aids in the creative process. The same can be said of Todd as well and it's huge blessing to be able to create with both Todd and Will simultaneously in LORD.

Todd Wuehrmann, who you just mentioned, is someone else you have worked with for a long time. First in The Seventh Gate and Palkoski and now in Lord. How have you guys kept up this long running partnership?

Todd and I first met at a basement show in Mclean, VA. I barely recall this, but he reminded me of it the first time that he came over to jam with and try out for The Seventh Gate in February of 2005. Our (The Seventh Gate’s) first show with Todd was a free show at the Exxon station across the way from the infamous “toilet bowl building” near Tysons Corner, VA. It was a spectacle you see, not many walk into a gas station convenience store expecting to find a smoking friendly (filled) environment, a crowded (by attendees) selection of aisles and a metal band drenched in blood playing in front of the coffee maker and slurpee machine. Todd has been a lifelong friend and companion ever since we first became friends and bandmates. We’ve collaborated on innumerable projects together and I consider him to be one of my closest and dearest friends. He and I are committed to making music together so long as we shall be alive. May that be a long time!

How do you approach songwriting? Does it differ depending on the band or do you approach the same way? And where do you get your inspiration from?

It definitely depends on the band and within that individual group dynamic exists another plethora of creative methodology to sculpt sound together. When it comes to playing a traditional sit down drum kit, I enjoy playing as fast as I can and really pushing my limits. For the auxiliary kit, I am typically playing along with another seated drummer, answering and responding to that active dynamic. Lyrically, I always choose to draw upon something I am passionate about.  For me to find the voice to have a true impact is being made, it is critical that the voice is saying something meaningful and means what is being said. On the upcoming Pain Tank album, a large chunk of the lyrics are based on atrocities happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The current LORD album spans a lyrical quilt of Armageddon by capsaicin, erosion of ecology, installation of pipelines, perpetual genocide and modern slavery for western “goods,” philosophy on living and leaving a lasting mark, racism, assimilation via mutilation, temptation and perversion, out of body into spirit interaction/experience and suicide. 

When balancing multiple projects I closely examine not blurring the lines lyrically between what's happening and strive to make each thing stand independently of any other project. Lyrics aren't the only tool I use to make different projects stand independently, as setting any kind of creative restriction may also be inspiring. For example, in LORD there is no vocal style I won't explore, however in Pain Tank there is a methodic and intentionally conscious decision not to use any clean vocals, thus encouraging the project to embody a different expression.

Some of your bands are on your own label, while others are not. Why the split? Is it easier to be on someone else’s imprint?

Most projects are self-released by default through Heavy Hound. Human Services was something I joined up with after their birth, so we did our own thing and already sort of had an independent (of Heavy Hound) thing going on. Pain Tank was initially a project that Tony Petrocelly had started and asked me to become involved with so naturally the default also wasn't Heavy Hound. Since Pain Tank originated with him and he had Edgewood Arsenal going on it was released that way. For both of these projects I had a backseat to some extent with the layout of the album so yes, there was less responsibility and therefore more flexibility to focus on other projects, in some cases being released or recorded simultaneously. It was enjoyable to work with others that I had an initiative in artwork planning and project finalization, as it frequently something I have taken care of over the years. I thoroughly enjoy this process of artwork planning, creation, etc but with multiple projects going on, being the passenger on this ride gave me an opportunity to redirect focus to other projects as well as balancing aspects of my personal life.

When and how did Heavy Hound Records come about?

Heavy Hound came about when I was booking a weekly metal show at a local bar and wanted to be able to offer the bands that came through this sort of full services offered platter; venue, low cost studio time and a represented collective of bands releasing music through the Heavy Hound name which would benefit from the elements of mutual promotion and distribution. I had found the joke of Satan Rock Records to be more long lasting and misunderstood, and much like changing the name of the band from The Seventh Gate to Palkoski, I found the title of Satan Rock to be incredibly juvenile and misrepresentative. Just about as fast as this idea started to be implemented I found the venue was closing down and my immediate access to local bands at a frequent rate was diminished into yesterday, leaving the Heavy Hound label to basically be a vehicle of self-releasing music that I was involved with. I was able to record the band Xeukatre from Baltimore and released a cassette for Kohoutek, those are definite highlights from Heavy Hound's history that are outside of my creative involvement. The name Heavy Hound is a dedication to my dog at the time, “Heavy,” as well as a statement of dedication to seeking out heavy music. Without the intended collective support going into the label it became that vehicle for self-releasing music.

Pain Tank appeared almost out of nowhere and took me by surprise, indeed! How did this band come about?

In late spring/summer of 2015, I got in touch with Tony Petrocelly about contributing tracks from LORD and Palkoski to a compilation of local bands he was organizing. Once submitted, he and I continued talking, and he offered that I complete some instrumental tracks he had been sitting on. After recording vocals for these five songs, we had no intent of pursuing the project, until one night I found the disc in my truck. Whilst driving around I enjoyed to myself some death metal karaoke to the demo we had done and suggested to Tony that we could form a line up and perhaps play a few shows. I had known James for a long time and we hadn't ever really collaborated and I already knew Chris may be interested due to his response when overhearing the demos.  We got together and immediately the chemistry allowed for the creation of songs that would be released on our first album, which was recorded entirely live at Trepan Studios by Tony. Currently we're sitting on about 60 songs that are hopefully destined to be recorded on and released as our follow up to ‘97, 901, 726 Confirmed Kills’.

What's Hopekiller about?

Hopekiller is a very new project that Will (LORD, SBO, Absent Sky, Ol Scratch), Tony Petrocelly, Jeremy (Coke Bust, Last Kid Picked and Wallbreaker) and I are working on. I'm playing the drums and we're playing some fast grindy hardcore songs that will be a lot of fun for us to play. It's still all very fledgling at this point, so there's not a lot to comment on just yet. If all goes according to plan our 4/5 song debut should be available early in 2018.

You have a solo project in the works. How is that taking shape?

This is currently in the planning idea stage. I had originally set out to begin focusing on this in November of 2017 {however being at the end of October currently}, it just doesn't seem likely I'll be starting this on time. It's still something I intend to carry out, but timewise it will take a backseat to other projects I am currently active with; LORD currently recording a full length, Pain Tank pausing (during the LORD recording) before recording a full length, Hopekiller gearing up to record the debut EP and producing the new Absent Sky album. 

You are also helping Willy Rivera on his solo project, Absent Sky. In what capacity are you assisting him?

Will is recording the new Absent Sky record with me here at Heavy Hound HQ. I'll be appearing on the record alongside numerous other guests, playing some drums and contributing some vocals. I'm honored to be a part of it, both as pilot behind the board and as a contributing musician.

From a very personal point of view, your former band Ancient Astronaught is of particular interest. Not only because it was the "odd one" out being more of a stoner band, which differs a lot from your other bands. But also because I got to do guest vocals live with the band as well as recording a very rough demo version of the song 'Slo Burn'. A great experience indeed which allowed me to see up close how you work off stage so to speak. Why did you form this band?

Steve and Skip and I wanted to continue being creative together after the final Ol’ Scratch hurrah and we were all familiar with each other creatively from a history of different projects. It's always important to me to keep projects sounding different from one another. I was interested in playing some different kind of drums, otherwise most enthusiasm regarded speed, haha. Knowing that slower doomy kind of riffs are normally paired with sparser styles of drumming, Ancient Astronaught brought a busier drum sound to the table. Oh man! Having you be a part of Ancient Astronaught and was a true honor! It was really something fantastic having you write Slo-Burn with us!!!
I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but I do recall that the band was formed after Ol’ Scratch’s final show. (We probably discussed it and made plans prior to the last show, but didn’t get to jamming until afterwards.) It was a way for some of the members to continue making music together in the same vein, yet on different instruments (mostly). We released the first EP and then had an entire full length ready to record, however after a short stint on the road in August of 2011, the ship crashed so to speak. I have the full collection of demos from the unreleased album, which would of course include ‘Slo-Burn’, the track you were on and performed with us.  Matt Le Grow from Admiral Browning and JD Williams from Internal Void were other guest contributors as well.  I had a tremendously fun time working on these songs and it’s truly a shame that the album wasn’t ever released and is very unlikely to ever be released.

Our conversation is coming to end unfortunately but it’s been an immense pleasure talking to Kerch about what has been, what is now and what the future might hold. There are so many prolific musicians out there working relentlessly for very little, or no, accolade whatsoever. This knowledge made our talk even more enjoyable because these fighters rarely, or ever, obtain the recognition they duly deserve. And if you think about it, Kerch is only one of tens of thousands artists in the same situation. It would be stating the obvious that the current popular “scene” should simply disappear and take with it, its horrible plastic fantastic dispensable junk, and subsequently open the door for real music. As things are this is wishful thinking, so it’s better to rejoice that if one dig a little bit beneath the surface, artists like Steven Kerchner will appear before you unravelling treasures of the greatest kind.

Current bands

Pain Tank
Solo project

Selected former bands

The Seventh Gate
Ol' Scratch
Ancient Astronaught
Born To This
Lost It
Human Services 


Monday, February 26, 2018

FOX MEDICINE - Greetings From Mars


Fox Medicine is a two piece originally formed by Neezy Dynamite (Guitar/Vox) and Vanny Keeps (Drums). This two piece from Eugene, OR has just put out a noisy album of eight new songs for destroying eardrums everywhere.

The fuzz is laid on nice and thick, vocals that are a bit distorted and sometimes shouted and sometimes so blasé that you would think a mid ‘80s valley girl was singing, but that’s not an insult, it actually sounds cool. This has a fuller sound than you would think that only two people could pull off, especially how much power and raw emotion there is on these songs. Yes the songs are dense, the fuzz and the effects are in your face, but it has warmth and a realness to it that makes you come back to it again and again. The band sounds like they are close to losing grips in what they are doing sometimes, especially at the beginning of “Stars,” but they add in some synth and pull it all together and you have a great track that is both insane and amazing.

Maybe not something for every day to listen to, but a definite keeper that you will put on to enjoy, and piss off the neighbors with. How can that be anything other than a glowing review?

-Rick Ecker


Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Ripple Conversation With Underground Hero Steven Kerchner, Part 1

I first met Steven Kerchner, Kerch, at The Sidebar in Baltimore, when I visited my future wife in the summer of 2007. His band The Seventh Gate played that night and turned my world upside down. Up to this point I had very little knowledge of extreme and brutal metal, but this band changed that forever. When I moved to the States 6 months later, our paths would cross numerous times through the years. I was soon intrigued by his diligence and perseverance with the music he plays, as well as by the many shapes he has taken on in different bands. Therefore, a conversation with the man was in order to focus on what keeps him going and what motivates him to write and record music. So over the course of a couple of months we talked about music and about….more music. Sit back and enjoy, dear waveriders.

What made you become a musician? What was the defining moment?

I used to sneak out with some friends of mine. When we got busted, my friend who had been asked to be the vocalist in a band with some other friends of mine was shipped off to boarding school. When he departed I was asked to join. My desire had always been to play the drums, but I found my introduction to sharing the creative experience of being in a band, would be as the mouthpiece of the music.

Did you have a masterplan when you became a musician? If so, did it turn out the way you planned?

I can't say that I have any masterplan other than that I intend to continue to create music until I live no more.  As long as I bare my own self and soul unabashedly and honestly, the integrity of the music will resonate truthfully. Art has a way of communicating with people timelessly and I'd like to continue to exercise the vehicle of expression and connection that sharing artistic creations affords.

What's your aim with music these days? Has this changed through the years?

My aim has been to achieve catharsis through creation and to leave something with the listener that is provocative, inspiring thoughtfully and or spiritually and or creatively, and to write something I enjoy playing and hearing back. My direction and focus, project to project, release to release is in ever constant flux and development mirroring the shifting dynamics of my own path and experience in life.

The Seventh Gate is the band that introduced me to you, and subsequently means a lot to me. The band eventually morphed into Palkoski, what brought on this change?

In 2005/2006, I began the initial manuscript for a character named Frank Palkoski. In reaction to personal experience and witness to the world, I created him as a vehicle to express my vehement vitriol for myself and for others. The turbulence of my inner thoughts paralleling the character Frank in his many personalities, developing upwards into a statement on victims of abuse, dictated the points of view and ideas expressed in the songs. In hindsight, I introduced the character poorly, and subsequently he was pigeon holed and diminished into (just) a serial killer character, just another part of the overall statement of who this character was (is) and how he mirrored the atrocities of modern culture. 

Beginning with (The Seventh Gate's) ‘AOTTMLHDYETP?’ release written entirely from the perspective of Frank Palkoski, all subsequent releases were written around the idea of this character. Songs took form to bolster the pieces of the story of Frank's life and experience as they were told (in song.) As the albums came out from his perspective the directness of his involvement grew and grew and simultaneously I had been thinking The Seventh Gate was a rather juvenile name for the band, didn't truly reflect the direction the band had gone and also due in part to the significance of the line-up changes. When ‘Random Antagonist Complex’ came out, it was October 14, 2010 and we celebrated the name change of The Seventh Gate to Palkoski with an album release show opening for Devourment and Cattle Decapitation.

Palkoski was a beast amongst beast, a rare deity within extreme music, if you ask me. It is such a sad situation with the passing of drummer Nick Crisostomo which hit everyone who knew him hard.. Palkoski subsequently ended but how did Nick's passing affect you? Did you ever consider quitting music all together?

Thank you so much, the direction Palkoski had gone, has steadfastly been the pinnacle of my years making artwork. Nick's passing was an absolute devastation. A true musical soul mate and brother in life, it was apparent that to honor him Palkoski would rest as well. At the time he passed, I had also acquired a shoulder and knee injury that would require surgeries that continue to impact my performance to this day. (Better in time, but still not the same.) ‘Never Again’ Palkoski's final release depicted a confrontation of all of Frank Palkoski's personalities with one another (in the epic), begetting the inquiry of a physical death to the character.  It was intentionally not disclosed to an audience perspective and the ‘Reflections’ EP – the uncompleted EP that opens the ‘Never Again’ album – was yet again another jump in the timeline. To clarify some, ‘The Oblivious Ape (Who Covets Its Own)’, was a look into the personal cognizance of the fragmentation of Frank Palkoski's mind and being that specifically focused on the development during ages 17-24. ‘Random Antagonist Complex’ was a focus from the perspective of one of the nine characters Frank would embody and the follow up ‘The Oblivious Ape…’ release prequels this effort in timeline of story, but not in writing or in release. ‘Never Again’ in the concept of the story and character development marked the furthest expression of the timeline the band had covered yet. 

Closing the chapters on Palkoski was intensely arduous. We had been working on recording the epic for years already, having scrapped all the drums from an initial recording of it – a huge undertaking of discarding one hour's worth of recorded material and starting from scratch. The drums were recorded with all predominately dynamic mics not tailored for good drum sounds and financial hurdles prevented the replacement of drum heads leaving us with a drum sound to mix that we struggled to find happiness in. 

I never considered that I would stop making music altogether however depression and surgical recovery derailed some productivity. Palkoski was a huge part of my life and had been since (as I consider it) the inception of The Seventh Gate in 2000. Todd and I agonized over the mix trying to get it to sound better, but we eventually had to accept we could only make it sound so good with the recorded material we had. I feel the recorded album really lacks the beauty that the live performance of the epic encapsulated, but with the resources we had at the time, it was the best we had.

The song, ‘The Great Communicator’ on LORD's ‘Awake’ album is a direct dedication to Nick. There is a related dominant influence on the lyrical content of the rest of the songs on that album as well and there continues to be an element of our brotherhood with me every moment of every day to the current day. Making music with Nick was an absolutely incredible part of my life and having been blessed by the opportunity to do so is something I will be indefinitely grateful for. He was a true friend in a world of enemies and we shared a supreme musical chemistry unlike any other I've experienced. 

You sing in most of your bands but you also play drums/percussion and electronics in a few. What do you prefer? Or is this current set-up the perfect balance for you?

In some projects I incorporate different elements of each. In Human Services, there had been a trade-off between noise, auxiliary percussion and vocals. On album, I even had the opportunity to write and record bass lines as well as violin and various other home-made instruments. In points in time with LORD, I utilized a sampler and noise as well, and currently am not adding noise elements but am handling lead vocals and auxiliary percussion. I find the balance in each project swoon to the call of the music and what is necessary to compliment it. I would like to incorporate more noise back into LORD's creative process in our next effort. In Palkoski, I found a height of pushing myself into the extremity of playing auxiliary percussion, noise, samples and lead vocals simultaneously. In my opinion it is unparalleled and one of the pinnacles of my creative and performing history in it's intensity and demand, both physically and artistically.

How did you come to join Lord?

I had known Will Rivera from years of bumping into each other at shows and we knew each other even more so after VOG and LORD did a mini tour together in 2006. We played a lot of local gigs together as well and eventually Will and I both found ourselves performing together in a band called Ol’ Scratch. There was a point where LORD was booked to perform at Krug’s in Frederick MD and Andy (LORD's former & founding vocalist) had not yet appeared as show time approached and to avoid embarrassment of cancellation I was asked to fill in. Andy ended up arriving just in time to perform, but that was one of the last straws that led the band to reconsider their vocalist, and I was asked to join as a permanent replacement. My first gig with LORD was in April of 2011 with Karma to Burn and Honky.

Lord had stuff going on when a series of unfortunate events almost meant the end for them. How did you and founder Willy Rivera turn things around? After all, Lord puts out master piece after master piece!

Well during my duration in LORD, there was a long period of time where all the members of the band were not on speaking terms, and after an extended hiatus of conversation we came together over a shared interest in keeping it going. I had actually written some songs (lyrically; 3/4 of ‘Alive in Golgotha’) and was ready to forge onward full steam ahead when we came back together. We met for lunch and discussed our ambitions and the associated realities of doing LORD again. After some more distress, we ended up completing that EP (Golgotha) as a three piece and at this time it was clear that Stephen, founding member and legacy drummer, was interested in focusing elsewhere musically. Will and I discussed continuing to work together and thought it would be disadvantageous to create a new band that sounded like LORD but was called something else.  Granted without Stephen's signature drumming style a shift of sound was inevitable, though the vocals and guitars would still share a similar finesse. Prior to Stephen's departure, we already had Chris Dugay lined up as a bass replacement and called him back once a new drummer was secured.

You mentioned Ol' Scratch. They were actually one of the first bands I ever watched here in the States. Saw the band with you so many times and you guys crushed it. It seems though that you and Andy Murray kept replacing each other in both Ol’ Scratch and Lord, or am I wrong?

Thank you so much, I have some really enjoyable memories with them. Though we don't keep in touch these days, I have fond recollections of the experiences we shared and the shows Ol Scratch played. I knew Ol’ Scratch pretty well already when I was asked to join them in February (?) of 2008. The Seventh Gate frequently played shows with them and those guys were really supportive of local shows at that time, always seen in attendance. 
The (Ol Scratch) 2008 fall tour, “Yer Ol is our Business,” is in my top two tours of all time, based on friendship, fun, quantity and quality of crushing faces, successfulness and adventure.

At one point, I had left Ol’ Scratch and been replaced by Andy. I then re-replaced him in Ol Scratch for another stint from early 2010 to the last Ol’ Scratch show in - I believe - August 2010. It was kind of comical how I was replaced by him in Ol’ Scratch and then I replaced him in LORD.


Read Part Two On 2/27/18!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

HORSENECK: Post-Hardcore/Sludge Unit Featuring Current/Former Members Of Will Haven And Chelsea Wolfe Releases Limited Edition Vinyl Edition Of Heavy Trip Full-Length; New Album Underway

California post-hardcore/sludge misfits HORSENECK - featuring within its ranks current and past members of Will Haven and Chelsea Wolfe - are pleased to unveil the vinyl edition of their critically-lauded Heavy Trip full-length, self-released via the band's own Worried Bird Records early last year. Heavy Trip was captured by Lance Jackman (Will Haven) at The Dock, mixed by Scott Evans (Kowloon Walled City) at Antisleep Studios, and mastered by Carl Saff (Big Business, Helms Alee, Russian Circles) at Saff Mastering.

Limited to 250 copies, the vinyl edition includes alternate artwork and is currently available via the HORSENECK Bandcamp page at THIS LOCATION where the album can also be streamed.

Issues the band "Heavy Trip deserved to be released on vinyl and live on in fans' record collections. We are so pumped to give this album a whole new way for people to listen to it. Turn it up loud and let the tone of the vinyl warm your eardrums."

If you missed it, check out HORSENECK's hilarious video for "Michael Caine" HERE.

HORSENECK will return to The Dock with Lance Jackman to begin recording their new album. The as-yet-untitled full-length will be released later this year with tours to follow. Further details to be announced soon.

From the depths of the unknown canyon comes a rock force that has undeniable power and style. Steeped in ancient tradition and ritualistic sacrifices this force continually bludgeons the masses who are compelled to witness them. Their heavy riffs continually snap the necks of anyone sent to challenge them. The wild thunder broom undertones growl from on high, and will never be denied. Powerful rhythms shake the very ground they walk on, and those who are lucky enough to witness this spine crushing quartet will undoubtedly never be the same. Anthony the riff Lord, Lennon the bass wizard, Lance the heaviest of shred, and Jess the power thwack and thud will always leave your neck barely able to hold your head up. HORSENECK, shredders and defenders of the rock!

 "Album opener 'Bird Worried' features an organ, bluesy guitar parts and a combination of clean and harsh vocals. It highlights HORSENECK's biggest strength on Heavy Trip - their music isn't what might be expected and it can be silly, but they bring it together well. There are more aggressive cuts on the album too, like 'Lester Vitalis' and 'No Gods,' that rely on thicker, fuzzier riffs but HORSENECK never fail to deliver something memorable." - Decibel

"...a solid blend of metal, hardcore, garage, and southern rock... a fun listen that packed with some cool riffs and plenty of reasons to wreck your neck." - Super Corrupter

 "...a catchy and heavy release that is extremely fun to listen to...hard rock with [a] heavy, bruising sludge." - Svbtterranean

 "...a fantastic record throughout... The songs are unique, and never feel like the band is stuck in a formula. The compositions are tight and although varied, never disjointed. The production on this album is exactly what's needed. It is heavy, not overly processed, and the mix allows all of the instruments and sounds to intermingle naturally - even with such dense arrangements." - Riffs Or GTFO

 "Heavy Trip isn't just a solid album but it feels like a statement of intent that rock 'n' roll is still very much alive.... The album is heavy, catchy and above all else, it's fun and a genuine pleasure to listen to..." - Altwire

 "Heavy Trip is an album that more than lives up to its name as it's a heavy, psychedelic trip and one that will appeal to fans of The Melvins, Queens Of The Stone Age, Indian Handcrafts, and Red Fang the most... Heavy Trip is perhaps one of the strangest and most addictive records you'll hear this year." - Outlaws Of The Sun


L-R:  Danny Wagner, Josh Wagner, Sam Kiszka, Jake KiszkaPhoto Credit:  Michael Lavine

LOS ANGELES, CA - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 -- Exploding onto the music scene just last year with all U.S. headline dates sold out in advance, its debut single, "Highway Tune" a #1 rock radio track in both the U.S. and Canada, and its upcoming inaugural European tour completely sold out, Frankenmuth, Michigan's Greta Van Fleet continues its red-hot streak with the announcement of additional headline dates on its 2018 North American tour, which will include the band's Canadian concert debut.  Tickets go on sale this Friday, 2/23 at 10AM local time; log onto for all ticket purchasing information.

All previously announced 2018 U.S. dates have sold out, including the band's two L.A. shows at the John Anson Ford Theatre that went clean in under an hour.  The band's confirmed itinerary is below.

20  Doomroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands  SOLD OUT
21  Melkweg (Qudo Zaal), Amsterdam, Netherlands  SOLD OUT
22  Artheatre, Cologne, Germany  SOLD OUT
24  Molotow, Hamburg, Germany  SOLD OUT
25  PrivatClub, Berlin, Germany  SOLD OUT
27  AB Club, Brussels, Belgium  SOLD OUT
28  Les Etolles, Paris, France  SOLD OUT
30  Deaf Institute, Manchester, England  SOLD OUT
31  02 Institute3, Birmingham, England  SOLD OUT

 1   St. Lukes, Glasgow, Scotland  SOLD OUT
 4   02 Academy Islington, London, England  SOLD OUT
 5   02 Academy Islington, London, England  SOLD OUT
13  Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio, CA
16  John Anson Ford Theatre, Hollywood, CA*  SOLD OUT
17  John Anson Ford Theatre, Hollywood, CA*  SOLD OUT
20  Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio, CA
29  Welcome to Rockville Festival, Jacksonville, FL

 1   House of Blues Houston, Houston, TX*  SOLD OUT
 2   House of Blues Dallas, Dallas, TX*  SOLD OUT
 3   Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheatre, Austin, TX*  SOLD OUT
 5   Shaky Knees Music Festival, Atlanta, GA
 6   Carolina Rebellion, Concord, NC
 9   Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD*  SOLD OUT
11  Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ*  SOLD OUT
12  Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA*  SOLD OUT
14  Marathon Music Works, Nashville, TN*  SOLD OUT
16  Marathon Music Works, Nashville, TN*  SOLD OUT
18  Rock On The Range Festival, Columbus OH
20  Hangout Music Festival, Gulf Shores, AL
22  The Fillmore Detroit, Detroit, MI*  SOLD OUT
23  The Fillmore Detroit, Detroit, MI*  SOLD OUT
25  The Fillmore Detroit, Detroit, MI*  SOLD OUT

 8   REBEL, Toronto, ON Canada*  NEW DATE
10  Bluesfest, Ottawa, ON  Canada
18  Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA*  NEW DATE
20  9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.*  NEW DATE
23  House of Blues Boston, Boston, MA*  NEW DATE
27  Floydfest, Floyd, VA
29  Panorama Music and Arts Festival, Randall's Island Park, New York, NY
31  Agora Theatre, Cleveland, OH*  NEW DATE

 1  The Pageant, St. Louis, MO *  NEW DATE

* headline show

Friday, February 23, 2018

Ripple Music New Releases, Pre-orders, and the Baddest SXSW Party You've Ever Seen!


Hot on the heels of their sold out previous Ripple release, the mighty doom metal monsters of Blackwulf return with their newest, and arguably best album ever.  Bringing in the guest lead guitar of Doom legend Geof O'Keefe (founding member of Pentagram and Bedomon) Blackwulf rage through 8 tracks of what can only be described as old school, retro-70's unadulterated heavy rock and metal.   Limited Edition vinyl, worldwide black vinyl, CD's and test presses are up for pre-order now with the official release date Feb 23.  You dont' want to miss this one.
Everyone's been asking about this!  The brand new Freedom Hawk album is almost here, and it rages with all the fierce riffing and fuzzed mania you'd come to know and love from these Virginian rockers.  "Beast Remains" is pure Freedom Hawk in every sense of the word.  Pre-order are live now!  So pick one up with your Blackwulf!
I think this one caught many people off guard, except for the legions of ATG fans already out there.  Limited vinyl and tests sold out in less than 24 hours, but black and CD's are still in stock (actually CD's sold out too, but have been reordered!)  If you haven't heard these guys, you're missing out on some powerful, rampaging Motorhead inspired heavy blues.  You can listen here and enjoy!
And here it is!  The first ever Official Ripple Music SXSW Showcase!  Featuring Mothership, Wo Fat, The Watchers, Blackwulf (with Geof O'keefe), Steak (all the way from the UK) and Salem's Bend.  You don't need a SXSW badge to get in, you can get tickets at the door.  All you have to do is be in Austin and be ready for some damn good music.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard/Slomatics – Totems

I love splits and this one is certainly worthy of my affections. It’s brought to us by Black Bow Records, which is run by one of the fine gentlemen from the band Conan, so if you like your music loud, heavy, slow, and crushing, this release has you covered all the way around. This split is a little unique, in that it is more of a collaboration between the bands. They worked on the overall themes of the album together and there is a little more cohesiveness between what the bands have on offer here than there usually is with splits. In my mind, that’s even more reason why you should check it out.

I love Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard (hereafter known as MWWB), and it puzzles me a bit why they are not bigger in the heavy music scene. Perhaps some people are put off a bit by the name, which is taking the piss a little when it comes to other bands in this genre. They describe themselves as “3 ape descendents and an astral seraphim combining their powers to generate colossal interstellar arias of plutonium weight.” It seems a pretty apt description and if it sounds good to you, don’t read any farther, just go find their music. Oh, and they are from Wales if that matters to anyone.

MWWB contribute two songs to this split. The first, “The Master and His Emissary”, starts out with a couple of minutes of synth work that could have come from a John Carpenter soundtrack. Then the heavy drops and I promise you that mushroom clouds will come out of your speakers when it happens. At least it did with mine. Just crushing riffs that repeat paired up with ethereal vocals, and then they change it up a bit and hammer the listener some more. The second track is “Eagduru” and delivers more of the same. Of course, it's not the same track or there wouldn’t be any need to give it a different name, but you get the idea. Slow, heavy, repetitive, wonderful.

Slomatics hail from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and it is easy to see how they were paired with MWWB on this split. To my ears, these guys deal in more fuzz, and there’s about as much here as on a teenaged sasquatch’s face. I was not familiar with this band prior to this split, but I am certainly happy to make their acquaintance. The things they do musically are right up my alley and I will definitely seek out more of their releases.

These guys mix it up a little bit on their side of the split. Their songs are shorter, so they get 3 tracks. The first is “Ancient Architects”, and it fits very well into the theme of slow and heavy music playing. Their second track, though, is the eye opener for me. “Silver Ships Into The Future” is a quieter, piano driven piece that shows that riffs can be played on an acoustic instrument as well. While it doesn’t have enough of a melody to say that it’s a pretty bit of music, it is a very nice change up. Which makes their final track, “Master’s Descent”, hit that much harder when it blows through your speakers like a rhinoceros in heat.

If you dig the slow, heavy type of music, this release is definitely for you. There is nothing new or groundbreaking here, but it doesn’t have be a game changer to be a good album. This one will definitely hit your happy spot.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Xroadie Files

Exalter – Persecution Automated
Tanjim Rahman Tanim – Vocals/Bass/Guitar, Afif Sarker – Drums/Vocals

Intro sounds of war that lead into the next song.  Holocaust Ahead has an excellent thrash riff that will have you head banging and fist pumping.  Reign Of The Mafia State get the pit ready to just mosh away fast and heavy.  World Under Curfew more in your face old school style thrash metal just enjoy.  The Dreaded End mix slayer with Anthrax and Testament and this song melds those perfectly.  Slaughter Cleanse Repeat fist in the air hair flying foot stomping thrash metal.  Incarceration another excellent thrash song for the pit to just mosh away.  Grip Of Fear extremely tight riffs fast and heavy get ready to thrash your entire body about.  Pathology Of Domination the circle starts and boys fly around and around slamming into each other.  Clandestine Drone Warfare awesome fast guitar riffs bass and drums that just thrash away in a perfect melding of sounds. 

Driven By Impact -  ST
Roman Rowinski – Drums, Eugen Rutz – Vocals, Kim Van Geel – Guitar, Jens Schafer – Guitar, Constantin Christ – Bass

Prologue is a classical piece that melds into the next song Building Fear which has buzz saw guitars driving rhythms and deep growly vocals.  Burning Bridges fist pumping thrash metal with dark demonic vocals and some excellent rhythm work.  Interludium melodic melancholy guitar that melds into Experience In Red which is just thrash death metal at its finest.  Place Of Gore drums that just pound into your very being and buzz saw guitar riffs get ready to be pounded.  Arise From Ashes has some excellent lead guitar work and heavy pounding drums that just take you to the pit.  Monstrosity Of Life more excellent guitar work with a very extremely tight rhythm section.

Fuzz Evil And Switchblade Jesus -  The Second Coming Of Heavy Chapter VII
Fuzz Evil – Wayne Rudell – Vocals/Guitar, Joseph Rudell – Vocals/Bass, Orgo Martinez – Drums

Better off Alone fast heavy beats and grinding guitars with some great vocals.  Graves And Cupids Sabbath style bass then an excellent riff to just jam away to.  If You Know kick back and jam with some excellent riffs.  Flighty Woman continues the riff fest get ready to groove.  

Switchblade Jesus -  Eric Calvert – Guitar/Vocals, Chris Black – Bass, Jon Elizondo - Drums 

Snakes And Lions rumbling psychedelic guitar that screams jam away and drift back to days of old.  Wet Lungs spoken words then a slow driving beat just kick back close your eyes and jam away.  Heavy Is The Mountain takes you back to the great times of old style Sabbath stoner rock.

Greytomb – Monumental Microcosm
Forge – Drums, J. Angus – Guitar, N. Magur – Vocals, D. Coffey – Bass

Null grinding heavt ripping betas with demonic vocals.  Antimeta grabs you by the throat and just pounds you into the ground.  Force Majeure evil demonic sounds and vocals that just drag you into the pit of hell.

Marginal – Total Destruction
Johan – Vocals, Timmy – Guitar, Martin Guitar/Vocals, Steven- Drums, Rui – Bass

Barbarians heavy grinding pounding music with deep demonic vocals to annihilate your very being.  Delirium Tremens get ready to run for your life as demonic forces chase after you.  Ruination the pit forms and bodies thrash about in pain and glory.  Impaled grabs you and throws you to the ground then proceeds to pound u into dust.  Useless Scum the crowd thrashes about in pure violence and anger.  I Used To Be Intelligent get ready to be devoured by anger violence and pain.  Rat Kebab is a voyage into hell and damnation with music.  The Violent Way is pain and suffering with anger and violence in a musical style.  Leech Invader garb ahold and hang on for a trip thru aggression.  Fucked Up Society buzz saw guitars demonic vocals and riffs that just sear thru you.  Atom Sapiens spoken words and demonic vocals with an angry aggressive rhythm and just drags you to the abyss.  Total Destruction more spoken words then evil riffs and demonic vocals that just try annihilate the entire world.

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