Gåte, Nord (Indie Recordings 2021)

Heavy folk band Gåte release their fifth album, Nord.

It has been more than twenty years since Gåte first got together in Norway. They have released eight previous recordings – four each of EPs and LPs. The music is what I call acoustic doom. I am also at peace with doom folk as a label. The musicians are Gunnhild Sundli (vocals and violin), Magnus Børmark (guitar, vocals, and percussion), Sveinung Sundli (Hardanger fiddle, organ, vocals, and percussion) Jon Even Schærer (percussion and vocals).

“Solfager og Ormekongen” has the sound of a soft and soulful tale with persistent tamping percussion, organic huffing in the background, strings, and the occasional impression of woodland creatures. The English translation of the title is “Solfager and the Worm King” and there is a detailed description of the story, too, in the press materials. It is nice to read, and certainly interesting, but it also a little like cheating since I will never understand the lyrics when I hear them sung. Whenever I hear songs in a language I do not know, the vocal becomes a pure instrument with only the literal sound and the emotional expression that comes through the presence of the singer’s voice. It is an incomplete experience but it is also an unclouded one.

I love Gunnhild Sundli’s voice and, listening to it without narrative understanding, I am nonetheless transfixed. This is not metal, not even folk metal. And yet, listen to “Rideboll og Gullborg” and tell me it is not heavy in tone and deep in ponderment. Like doom music. The folk setting and the use of traditional instruments, especially the heavy reliance on percussion, changes the perspective and style, but does not disturb the seriousness or the depth of emotion. To me, it is enthralling. Recommended.

Nord is out on Friday, December 3rd through Indie Recordings. Bandcamp is the place to go in the US for an easy acquisition.

Links.

Website, https://gaate-music.com/

Bandcamp, https://gaate.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Gaateband

Indie Recordings, https://shop.indierecordings.no/

Gåte, Nord (Indie Recordings 2021)

King Buffalo, State Theatre, Portland, Maine, October 3, 2021

King Buffalo opened for Clutch during part of their Fall tour, leading into performances by Stöner then the headliner. The show at the beautiful State Theatre in Portland, Maine was one for the ages.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://kingbuffalo.com/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/06D0YfeNZgBA7XWQ79Y42R

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/kingbuffaloband/

King Buffalo, State Theatre, Portland, Maine, October 3, 2021

Thy Worshiper, Bajki o Staruchu (Pagan Records 2021)

Innovative metal band Thy Worshiper unleash their fifth long-player, Bajki o Staruchu.

Stationed in Dublin, Thy Worshiper originated in Poland in the early 1990s. Their music is in the line of black folk metal, with heavy death metal vibes occasionally blinking in and out. Pagan themes and mysticism are infused throughout resulting in both an apparent lightening and a clear sinister deepening. The band is Monika Lubas (vocals), Marcin Gasiorowski (vocals and guitar), Dariusz Kubala (vocals and guitar), Krystian Mazur (bass), Marcin Pazera (drums), and Tomasz Grzesik (vocals and percussion).

I read that Bajki o Staruchu translates into English as “Fairytales about an old man.” Further, the album is “a concept with eight new tracks based on fairy tales that are held together by the main character of the album title, the Old Man.” That adds up for a folk metal set.

The compositions have some familiar elements found in many folk metal constructions. The unique aspects are the placements of traditional-sounding instruments and interplay of the more modern black (and even death) metal workings in the context of folk tellings unfamiliar to many who will listen to them. The metal elements are not as scritchy as they would be in metal-only music and the folk entries are moreso than you typically hear in blended musical paradigms. It is an intoxicating combination.

The beautiful voice of Monika Lubas contributes immeasurably to the cohesiveness of the music. Lovely, lilting singing engages you in parts of the songs and macabre whispers or chants appear elsewhere. The hypnotic nature of much of the music is the set stone to the experience. You are pulled in and brought along by the rhythm and the voices, even when you do not understand the language the words are sung in. I can see how playing this album could become a ritual for me. Recommended.

Bajki o Staruchu is out now from Pagan Records.

Links.

Website, https://www.thyworshiper.com/

Bandcamp, https://thyworshiper.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/thyworshiper/

Pagan Records, https://pagan-records.com/

Thy Worshiper, Bajki o Staruchu (Pagan Records 2021)

Anthrax, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

When classic thrash is on the bill and Anthrax is one of the best. They made a number of festival appearances in 2021 – I saw them three times. There set in Virginia was one of the best of the entire festival.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://www.anthrax.com/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/3JysSUOyfVs1UQ0UaESheP

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/anthrax

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazine, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2021 – (ryze-up.com)

Anthrax, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

Sabaton, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 9, 2021

Sabaton plays old school metal and they cranked up the energy on the first day of the festival.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://www.sabaton.net/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/3o2dn2O0FCVsWDFSh8qxgG

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sabaton/

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazineBlue Ridge Rock Festival 2021 – (ryze-up.com)

Sabaton, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 9, 2021

Frau Fleischer, When The Sun’s Down (Sliptrick Records 2021)

French industrial cabaret metal band Frau Fleischer turn the world up a notch on their new album, When The Sun’s Down.

The band is made up of Gabriel Daimon (vocals), Greg Lambert (guitar), and Franz Schultz (electronics) . The core of the music is industrial dance metal, but it branches out in all manner of directions from there, most interestingly, as far as I am concerned, toward the cabaret. When The Sun’s Down is their first album.

The band describes their musical intentions, in part, this way, “Like the sound of a steak thrown heavily on a white canvas, we must bleed out the darkness to reach the dancing floor and, together with you, transform this pain into our own powerful cry.”

There are nine rambunctious tracks on the album, every one filled with hypnotic hyper-energy. “Sacrifice” is the first crack in the assault on all that is. Clearly, this is snarling dance music – a club take on industrial metal that channels the ethereal spirit of Soft Cell. Catchy, insistent, repetitive in exactly the intended way, the music is designed to make you move.

The addition of a strong theatrical element to the compositions is a significant innovation. Without it, Frau Fleischer might blend in with the many others trying to attract attention. As it is, this band stands out for their ingenuity in combinatorics and for the confident beauty of their presentations. I am attracted to the guitars and the harsh aspects of the industrial elements. And the vocals, too, as in the fashionably rolling “Holy Crown” and also in the somewhat more mechanical “Bloody Curls.” The different tones and takes provide a warming friction.

Frau Fleischer is outside my musical comfort zone and I didn’t know what to expect from the music going in. What I heard made me want to know more. Recommended.

When The Sun’s Down is out now from Sliptrick Records. Poke around the links below and you will find what you are looking for.

Links.

Website, http://fraufleischerband.fr/

Bandcamp, https://fraufleischerband.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/fraufleischerbandofficial/

Sliptrick Records, https://sliptrickrecords.com/

Frau Fleischer, When The Sun’s Down (Sliptrick Records 2021)

Civerous, Decrepit Flesh Relic (Transylvanian Recordings 2021)

The Los Angeles blackened metal band Civerous brings forth its first full-length album, Decrepit Flesh Relic.

Beginning only a couple years ago, Civerous has released two demos and a live set, along with a split pairing them with Stygian Obsession. The steady work has paid off, culminating in one of the strongest records in the blackened death/doom arena this year. The band is Daniel Salinas (guitar), Alonso Santana (guitar), Lord Foul (vocals), Drew Horton (bass), and Matt Valencia (drums).

After the creeps-inducing intro piece “Eidolon,” there are six primary tracks on the album. Having set the mood to dark and tense, “From The Crypt To The Cavern” is a functional nightmare. The riff is a heavy clomp that batters you up front in anticipation of the following tenderizing percussion and growling vocals filled with the wisdom of eldritch blackness. “Herodacy” deepens the lines of inquiry as a well-timed lead-in to “Rot Delineated (Decrepit Flesh Relic),” a quieter and creepier rendering of similar sentiments, evolving slowly into beautifully crushing doom.

“Hubiku” is a trip down the sinkhole into the swirling chasm of hell – once you pass the event horizon, there is no escape. “Bone Wreath” is the song that stuck deepest in my brain. The hopelessness conveyed in the opening moments is monumental, and the reckoning of that promise is unforgettable. The final movement is the epic “Spiral OF Eyes,” a tale older than time; maker of destruction. The darkness evoked is sincere and penetrating.

I appreciate especially the commitment to doom throughout the album, and the willingness to explore in directions that could not be easily predicted by the listener in advance. This recording deserves attention and should make year-end “best of” lists far and wide. Highly recommended.

Decrepit Flesh Relic is out now through Transylvanian Records. Hit the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/civerous-decrepit-flesh-relic

Transylvania Recordings, https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/

Civerous, Decrepit Flesh Relic (Transylvanian Recordings 2021)

Stöner, State Theatre, Portland, Maine, October 3, 2021

Stöner is Brant Bjork, Nick Oliveri, and Ryan Gut, the former two being original members of Kyuss. Their music takes a heavy stoner jam angle – it is the kind of thing you can easily get lost in. They were middling for Clutch on a Fall tour and I caught up with them in Portland, Maine.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://www.stonerband.com/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/2mkGbwg4uYaUlmQDZpga27

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/StonerBandOfficial

Stöner, State Theatre, Portland, Maine, October 3, 2021

Sevendust, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

This was the first time I had seen Sevendust live from the pit and it was quite an experience. Lajon Witherspoon has a commanding presence on the stage and crowd is swept away by the performance. They have made my never-miss list.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://sevendust.com/collections/war-store

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/35Uu85Pq33mK8x1jYqsHY2

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sevendustofficial

Rise Records, https://riserecords.com/collections/artist-sevendust

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazineBlue Ridge Rock Festival 2021 – (ryze-up.com)

Sevendust, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

Clutch, Doom Saloon IV Livestream , November 26, 2021

Clutch put together an excellent live streaming event for the Thanksgiving Weekend, Doom Saloon IV.

Clutch was out on the road this fall. Their tour got cut a little short because of the pandemic. They do have more dates coming up around the end of the year, and a tour next year as well. Meanwhile, there is Doom Saloon IV.

During the lockdowns and slowdowns of the past couple of years, Clutch has put on several streaming events, notably three full-length concerts from their rehearsal space. The plan for the fourth livestream was to play one song from every Clutch album and two new songs from the upcoming album. Even better: there were to be no repeats from previous Doom Saloon performances. That’s a good plan.

They played these songs, many not heard live for years: “Wicker,” “Impetus,” “12 Ounce Epilogue,” “7 Jam,” “Wishbone,” “Release the Kraken,” “Immortal,” “Sea of Destruction,” “(Notes from the Trial of) La Curandera,” “10,000 Witnesses,” “Child of the City,” “Struck Down,” “Crucial Velocity,” “Decapitation Blues,” and “Vision Quest.” The two new songs are “Slaughter Beach” and “Strive For Excellence.”

Every Clutch show is great. If you missed this one, don’t worry because you can buy the recording of Doom Saloon IV – get ready for a little bit of wait on the vinyl because of the global supply crunch. Link below. You can watch a replay of the stream for a couple days if you happen to be reading this before the weekend is over. Same link. Can’t wait to see them in person again.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards from State Theatre performance in Portland, Maine earlier this year. Doom Saloon shots are screen grabs from the livestream.

Link.

Doom Saloon IV merch, https://www.clutchmerch.com/

Clutch, Doom Saloon IV Livestream , November 26, 2021