Crowbar and Spirit Adrift at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

It was a big night of monstrous riffs at Piere’s when Crowbar and Spirit Adrift stormed the stage, along with openers Wolftooth, Blood Of Heroes, and Lust Witch.

You know The Riff Beast Tour is well named if you have ever heard Crowbar. As the headliner and anchor of the evening, they provided the biggest, most massive guitar pronouncements. There were many incredible preludes as well when the opening acts were on the stage.

First up was Indianapolis doom band Lust Witch. This trio is working on a new EP called We All Die Alone, and you’ll be able to grab before too long. I love doom metal so this was the perfect way to start the evening as far as I was concerned. The band was already playing when I got inside the venue and I am sorry I missed part of their set because I really liked what I heard.

Danville, Illinois metal band Blood of Heroes came next. Having recently signed with Dark Star Records, they have several up-coming dates to promote their presence and get ready for more roadwork and newly recorded music. They play in a heavy metal groove lane, and put out an energetic live performance. I am looking forward to the follow-up to their debut album Symbolic Voices (AMG).

Wolftooth is from Richmond, Indiana. Their most recent album is Blood & Iron (Napalm Records), and they played several songs from that set. Their record label describes their sound as “offering a colossal slab of genuine, proto-metal influenced heaviness with a deep dose of doom essence and addictive stoner riffage to boot.” I can’t argue with that. Spirit Adrift’s lead singer described them as “corn-fed Iron Maiden,” and certainly their sound can be experienced in the Iron Maiden vein. Whenever you see them on a bill, make sure you get to that show.

I have written about Spirit Adrift regularly since I saw them for the first time at Aftershock in 2019. They are a straight-up heavy metal band with killer hooks and amazing guitar work. Lead singer and guitarist Nate Garrett has an ideal voice for their brand of music, and every time I have seen them has been an occasion. I would go to festival on the strength of them performing there alone. Spirit Adrift has a new EP coming out soon with a couple of originals and a half dozen covers – expect to hear a lot more about that album in this column when it drops.

Crowbar is an iconic sludge metal band. Fronted by the legendary Kirk Windstein, Crowbar has been putting out music for more than thirty years. Zero and Below is their newest album, and it forms the basis for the current Riff Beast Tour. When I was reviewing that record, I wrote, in part, “Windstein’s vocals blast power and energy that combine with the titanic riffs and percussion to forge an instantly recognizable and unforgettable sound.” Somehow, in all my years I had never seen Crowbar live. I don’t know how that is possible, but the situation was remedied on the last day of July in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Crowbar is out for the next few weeks with Spirit Adrift. Both bands continue after that in separate directions for dozens of dates throughout 2022. Go out and see them when they enter your orbit. It’ll be a show you talk about for months to come.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Band Links.

Crowbar, https://crowbar.bandcamp.com/

Spirit Adrift, https://spiritadrift.bandcamp.com/

Wolftooth, https://wolftooth.bandcamp.com/

Blood Of Heroes, https://www.bloodofheroes.net/

Lust Witch, https://www.facebook.com/Lust-Witch-110221191691214/

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

Photo Galleries.

Spirit Adrift, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/08/06/photo-gallery-spirit-adrift-at-pieres-ft-wayne-july-31st-2022/

Wolftooth, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/08/05/photo-gallery-wolftooth-at-pieres-ft-wayne-july-31st-2022/

Blood Of Heroes, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/08/04/photo-gallery-blood-of-heroes-at-pieres-ft-wayne-july-31st-2022/

Lust Witch, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/08/03/photo-gallery-lust-witch-at-pieres-ft-wayne-july-31st-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Crowbar and Spirit Adrift at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Coscradh, Nahanagan Stadial (Invictus 2022)

The debut full-length album from Dublin’s Coscradh is a menacing dark wonder.

Formed in Ireland in 2015, Coscradh is a death metal band that integrates black metal and doom elements to produce profoundly heavy music. They have released a demo and a couple of EPs over the years, and now they present their first long-player, Nahanagan Stadial.

The title of the album refers to a time in history usually called the Younger Dryas in the US. It is thought to be a time of cataclysm, with meteor impacts and coronal mass ejections from the sun causing the sudden onset of a short-lived ice age that destroyed civilizations across the globe. In Ireland, these events wreaked havoc, decimating the population and driving them off. Keep this in mind when you listen to the album, because that is what it’s about.

The set opens with the title track. It sounds like a catastrophe is underway. You can hear and feel the destruction; if you close your eyes you can see it. Guitar riffs impact you like granite slabs dropped from a great height, pulverizing your senses. The vocalizations are warnings that come too late. The lead guitar describes the rending of reality, and the grimy end to your own existence. The track is ten minutes long and there is no respite at any point.

“Feast of the Epiphany” follows and it is more actively aggressive, like an attack. You might say this track leans more in on the death metal side than doom, and ends in screaming. “Plagues of Knowth” offers a similar pace, even faster, in fact. The music breaks into chaos in the second half and your ability to reason flees as well. “Cladh Hàlainn” is a black metal upheaval, a rattling so severe its echoes might never leave your ears.

The record ends on the twelve-minute epic “Feallaire Dóite.” The mass of the doom in this song has a planetary equivalent. There are pace changes throughout, and magnitude of the musical presence remains dense. For a time, you can hear the howling wind of the ice age grow and the whispering of lost souls freezing in their places of ethereal torment. The is album is a dark destructive wonder. Recommended.

Nahanagan Stadial is out on Friday, August 5th through Invictus productions. Stream sample tracks for free and buy the album at the Bandcamp link below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://coscradh.bandcamp.com/album/nahanagan-stadial

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

Invictus Productions, https://invictusproductions.net/shop/

© Wayne Edwards

Coscradh, Nahanagan Stadial (Invictus 2022)

Photo Gallery: Lust Witch at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Indianapolis doom band Lust Witch was one of the opening acts for the Crowbar stop on the Riff Beast Tour at Piere’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I got to the show just as they were finishing their set so I was only able to get a couple of snaps. Photo galleries of the other bands and a show recap coming in the next couple days.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Lust Witch, https://www.facebook.com/Lust-Witch-110221191691214/

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Lust Witch at Piere’s, Ft. Wayne, July 31, 2022

Grave Bathers, Rock N Roll Fetish (Seeing Red 2022)

Philadelphia psychedelic stoner band Grave Bathers regale the world with their debut album, Rock N Roll Fetish.

Since 2018, Grave Bathers have been delighting the stoner rock/metal crowd with mood- and mind-altering music. Their combination of doom, groove, and even boogie produces an alluring aural argument for even more of the same – once you start listening, you don’t want to stop. The band is Drew Robinson (vocals), Jaret Salvat-Rivera (guitar), Steve Capitanio (guitar), Davis M. Shubs (bass), and Sean Lafferty (drums).

The album is massive, with twelve tracks mostly running over six minutes each. The opener “Ghost Em All” is an excellent example of what to expect. A peppy, rockin’ riff up front, a dooming slow down with a killer lead guitar break, then a shift back in the to more up-tempo rock-n-riff posture. And then little guitar-driven boogie side of fries to go along with that. Damn.

So, each song is a journey, but they certainly are not all the same. “Brain Thief” starts with a craftsman riff that is a thing of beauty. The vocals are spacier here than in the first song, and a generally more psychedelic feel obtains. O, and there is a wild drum solo in the middle. “The Mole” stalks into different terrain altogether with an eerie, slow intro that builds into monstrous doom riffs then turns melancholy before exploding as the end nears. “Tarman Cometh” sounds at first like a straight-up doom treatise but careens into Clutch territory. The patterns are dissolving, if they were ever there at all. When the title track rolls, I finally stop trying to anticipate what will be next because this could be Dr. John sitting in on a doom session and I did not see that coming. Fantastic.

I could go on and on here, but I think you are getting the idea and it is better if you go right to listening to it instead of reading more of my musings on the subject. This is a grooving doom album with inventive, unstoppable guitars, astonishing percussion, and, if I haven’t mentioned it yet, amazing bass lines. I don’t think I will never get tired of hearing this record. Recommended.

Rock N Roll Fetish is out on Friday, August 5th through Seeing Red Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://gravebathers-us.bandcamp.com/

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

Seeing Red Records, https://www.seeingredrecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Grave Bathers, Rock N Roll Fetish (Seeing Red 2022)

Fleshrot, Unburied Corpse (Me Saco Un Ojo 2022)

Texas’ own Fleshrot present their inaugural album, Unburied Corpse.

The death metal scene in Texas is flourishing these days. Fleshrot is a relatively new band from Lubbock, having released a demo and a split (with Phantasmagore) in 2020. Out now with their first full-length album, they play an intense style of death metal that carries a monstrous weight with it.

There are seven songs on the new album. Let’s take a quick sniff at each one. The opener is “Wrapped In Entrails,” and the doom influences are writ large in this terra stomper. “Intricate Dissection” is short and to the point, with croaking, growling vocals and a persistent guitar thrust you have to dodge or else it’ll get you right in the face. “Draining The Liquified Remains” is the grimmest of doom in the opening bars. About a minute in, it takes off on a rampage of death metal. The lead guitar sounds like a warning siren, and the doom returns toward the end to consume whatever is left.

In the title track, Fleshrot hits the high speed button and scorches the earth ahead of a marching army of metal that tromps through land thereafter. “Post Burial Extractions” is a song that forms a coalition to raise the dead through the application of death metal toward a specific goal. This is my favorite on the album. It is the ideal combination of dark mystery, death metal, and doom.

“In Filth and Pain” is another short one, and it tips the velocity scales then it beats a wretched path toward the pit. “Haunted Visions of Sick Depravities” is the perfect bookend to the saga begun by the opening track. Fleshrot is only getting going but they are already on the road to the land of Texas legends. Listen to the album and see if you agree. Recommended.

Unburied Corpse is out on August 1st through Desert Wasteland Productions in the US and Me Saco Un Ojo Records in Europe.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/album/unburied-corpse-2

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

Desert Wastelands Productions, https://desertwastelands.com/

Me Saco Un Ojo Records, https://www.mesacounojo.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Fleshrot, Unburied Corpse (Me Saco Un Ojo 2022)

Hissing, Hypervirulence Architecture (Profound Lore 2022)

Hypervirulence Architecture is the new album from Hissing.

With three EPs and a long-player under their belt, Seattle’s Hissing brings out a new full-length album, Hypervirulence Architecture. Having begun only in 2015, this is a notable record of musical creation from the highly respected death and black metal band. The musicians are Zach Wise (bass, vocals), Joe O’Malley (guitar), and Sam Pickel (drums).

This new record is noticeably different from their debut album, Permanent Destitution (2018). The press release gets it right when it notes that, on Hypervirulence Architecture, “the trio take their sound into more nightmarish, trance-inducing, mercurial, and mind-altering sonic dominions.” They achieve a delicate balance between what we might think of as death metal and black metal, while making concerted use of ambient/noise moments constructed sometimes almost ritualistically. It is a sinister blend.

“Cells of Nonbeing” is the first of seven tracks. It sounds for all the world like a frantic casting about in a dark cave that might very well be an abyss. The farther in you go, the more mysterious it becomes. The guitars lean toward dissonance part of the time, and the vocals are not meant to be reassuring. “Hostile Absurdity” further loosens the moorings you thought were secure, leaving you to drift into dangerous regions. “Operant Extinction” is then unleashed, and it is the most impressive track on the album. An epic piece, running over ten minutes, it is fascinatingly doomy and filled in every space with dark and frightening looks.

The second half of the album starts with a transition piece, “Hypervirulence,” then kicks in the door with “Intrusion,” a song that builds tension to the bursting point. “Identical To Hunger” and “Meltdown” are reflected images – visions distorted by a warped onyx glass. Listening to these last two tracks, I began to feel appropriated by some existential object that could not be clearly discerned. This album will affect you. Recommended.

Hypervirulence Architecture is out now through Profound Lore Records. Have a look at the label’s website and/or pick the album up at Bandcamp.

Band photo by Marena Shear.

Links.

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

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

Profound Lore Records, https://profoundlorerecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Hissing, Hypervirulence Architecture (Profound Lore 2022)

Behold! The Monolith, From The Fathomless Deep (Ripple Music 2022)

Los Angeles metal band Behold! The Monolith have created a doom-laden masterpiece with their new album From The Fathomless Deep.

Behold! The Monolith have gone through some changes since their inception fifteen years ago. They have released an EP and three previous long-players prior to the latest album. The band has shifted and reshaped since the sudden loss of vocalist and bassist Kevin McDade in a car accident in 2009. Reorienting to a trio on the new album, Menno Verbaten plays bass and sings, Matt Price is on guitar, and Chase Manhattan, drums. This latest music is some of their heaviest to date.

There are six tracks on From The Fathomless Deep. “Crown/The Immeasurable Void” opens the set and establishes a weighty foundation. All instruments, including voice, hit on the first note laying out a heavy front of doom. Slow and monstrous, you can feel the behemoth getting closer as the song moves along. The tension grows throughout and, when you hear a quiet passage, it is positively ominous. “Psychlopean Dread” has a mysterious beginning and melancholy lead work. Verbaten’s gruff vocals churn primordial forces to create meaning from the mist. “Spirit Taker” picks the pace up, and then some. The stabbing guitar riff and rapid-fire percussion catch you off guard and hit all the harder for it. It’s a rager.

Side two leads with “The Wailing Blade,” a song that has a less ominous but more directly threatening tone. It is short and cracking. “The Seams of Pangaea” is a fascinating title when you think of the implications it carries, and the music delivers a full-on expression of the possibilities. The overlayed lead guitar work is exceptional, and the Pink Floydian movement is an experience. The album closes on the eleven-minute epic “Stormbreaker Suite.” This piece has some of the most progressive segments on the record, to my ear, anyway. Over the course of the song, an ambitious array of ideas is explored, and the answers are found.

The is album is very heavy, and it is one of my favorites, not just from Behold! The Monolith, but among the all the albums I have heard so far this year. Highly recommended.

From The Fathomless Deep is out now through Ripple Music. Secure your treasures at the label’s site, or at Bandcamp, like I did.

Links.

Band website, https://beholdthemonolith.com/home

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-fathomless-deep

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

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Behold! The Monolith, From The Fathomless Deep (Ripple Music 2022)

Wake, Thought Form Descent (Metal Blade Records 2022)

Canadian death metal band Wake release their sixth album, Thought Form Descent.

From Calgary, Alberta, heavy music band Wake has built a career by being different, not just from other bands but also from their previous selves. Moving from grindcore and crust toward black and death metal, combining and fusing them, and adding whatever was right and deemed needed is a hallmark of Wake. Over the course of five previous long-players, a couple of EPs, and split, the music is as reliably earnest and unpredictable.

There are eight tracks on the new album. “Infinite Inward” opens like a melodic death metal song and travels on an arc that leads to more extreme environments. “Swallow The Light” has a rambler kind of feel to it in the opening bars, reminding me a little of Mastodon. “Mourning Dirge (Repose of the Dead)” completes the first triplet, sounding for all the universe like a battling starship in an uncertain scrap that could go either way.

After a transition piece, “Venerate (The Undoing of All)” leads the way into part two. The song is a big production with dramatic presentations throughout, pushing even more than the previous pieces, and that is saying something as, up to this point, the album has already been intense. “Observer to Master” plasters rage across the horizon, and then does it again, and then does it some more. “Bleeding Eyes of the Watcher” puts me in mind of sorcery and has me thinking the world is not what it seems to be on the surface. This is a steady one that climbs a mountain then explores the coastline on the other side. Unsatisfied, the music presses on to reveal horrors buried deep. That is where it leaves you. “The Translation of Deaths” is a short reflective cooldown.

I presumed this album would diverge from the previous one because the previous ones had done that very thing to their predecessors. The new album lived up to that expectation and, more than that, provided active entertainment, drama, and opportunities for introspection. Recommended.

Thought Form Descent is out through Metal Blade Records on Friday, July 22nd. Explore the possibilities at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://wakegrind.bandcamp.com/album/thought-form-descent

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

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/us/

© Wayne Edwards

Wake, Thought Form Descent (Metal Blade Records 2022)

Lucid Grave, Cosmic Mountain (Electric Valley 2022)

Stoner doom band Lucid Grave release their debut long-player, Cosmic Mountain.

Situated in Copenhagen, Denmark, Lucid Grave has been haunting stages for a few years. After a demo and an EP, they have now put together an impressive full-length album for their ever-expanding fan base to groove on. Heavy psych, doom, ritual, and stoner vibes infiltrate every nook in this music. The band is Malene (vocals), Jon (drums), Alex (bass), Casper (guitar and synth), and Kriller (guitar and synth).

There are six tracks on the new album, three long ones and three very long ones. The title track kicks the set off with opening ambient tones and an eerie, emotive vocal. The voice is mesmerizing, having the effect of a chant in this context, rather like ritual metal. It is nearly three minutes in before the first big guitar riff lands, and when it does the impact is titanic. The pace is slow but determined and meaningful. “Old Spirit” follows in a completely different way, reminding me at times of a Nina Hagen – digging in with punk attitudes and contemporary sentimentiation [I made that word up just now]. The lead break toward the end is very trippy.

The differential existence of both faster-paced and slow-paced songs works exceptionally well on this record. “I’m Still High” is next and it has an arc the other songs largely avoid. “I Feel The Fire” is somber and not at all sober. “Stay Away” is a Pink Floyd tonic and the closer, “Curse Of the Crow,” digs in deep. The massive natural musical weight of the composition gains access to your deepest inner self if you have prepared for it properly and if you are open to the experience. The ramp out could be effective in an Ayahuasca exploration. This song, and this album, could change you. Recommended.

Cosmic Mountain is out on Friday, July 15th through Electric Valley Records.

Links.

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

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

Electric Valley Records, https://www.electricvalleyrecords.com/category/electric-valley-records-releases

© Wayne Edwards

Lucid Grave, Cosmic Mountain (Electric Valley 2022)

Orthodox, Proceed (Alone Records 2022)

O, the doom. Orthodox release their eighth album, Proceed.

Spanish doom trio Orthodox always offer surprises in their music, I have come to understand. The band is Borja Díaz (drums), Ricardo Jiménez (guitar), and Marco Serrato (bass, vocals). In addition to the seven other full-length albums they have released over the years, there is also a list of EPs, splits, and other material that hold any number of wonders.

When you listen, at first it sounds like the album is going to be straight-up doom metal on “Past Seers,” but it doesn’t stay that way for long. The vocals stretch the ideas beyond presumed boundaries, and the composition flexes past any preconceived standard. The set continues with “Abendrot,” and begins to incorporate some experimental elements and lingering otherness that band has become known for over their career.

With “Rabid God” there are dark jazz looks and sidelines. Clinking percussion blinks in now and again, and the guitars foster clashes that unsettle any complacency that might be lurking. You can feel distress in the vocals, and the kind of pleading where no respite is actually expected. The heavy foot of doom clobbers you when you are not expecting it, and twists to push in postures that have been established.

The final two tracks are both long and involved. “The Son, The Sword, The Bread” stands sounds together that, on your own, you might not have thought of as musical combinations. When you hear them here as they have been arranged, they are a veritable symphony with a choir of one. “The Long Defeat” closes the presentation in what sounds to me like a solemn reckoning. The doom is mountain-sized, and it is joined in cosmic collision with other elements to form what I would call conclusions.

I was not very familiar with this band until I listened closely to Proceed, then went back to hear some of their earlier work. Their music is genuinely unique, and if you don’t know about Orthodox yet, the new record is a good way to find out what it is all about. Recommended.

Proceed is out through Alone Records now. Gather it up from your favorite vendor after investigating the info at the links below.

Links.

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

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

Alone Records, https://alonerecordsshop.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Orthodox, Proceed (Alone Records 2022)