Blog Archives

Jason McCash, RIP (photo gallery)

The Oracle thumb their noses at your elitist metal attitudes

The Oracle from Maryland brings the collective musical influence and experience of four well-established performers to create something unique that they hope will challenge the elitist attitudes of all the metal subgenres they meld together. It’s a little bit sludge, a little bit doom, a little bit black metal and maybe even a little bit crust.

The Metallomusikum podcast team (Derek Beam, Jason Waldmann, and I) met with The Oracle this week at Midtown BBQ and Brew for a chat about their first few shows together as a band.  The Oracle is James Haun (guitar/vocals), Russ Strahan (guitar), Ron McGinnis (bass/vocals)  and Ben Proudman (drums).  James (ex- Sourvein, ex- Ol’ Scratch), Russ (ex-Pentagram), Ron (Pale Divine, Admiral Browning, Trilogy) and Ben (Rhin) collectively bring decades of experience to this new project.  This is evident in the music they produce which fairly defies neat classification.

In performance, The Oracle produce a ferocious wall of sound. James presents a formidable lead vocalist both in height and aggression. Russ lends a quiet class –he even started the set wearing a top hat — demonstrating his well-earned reputation as one of metal’s most skilled and soulful guitarists. Ben lays down a solid foundation that sets the pace for every song, shifting from doom-y drone to black metal blast beat at any moment.  Ron, plucking his signature six string bass, also offers strong supporting vocals to counter James and rounds out the profoundly heavy rhythm section.

For me at least, despite the fact that the music drinks deeply from black metal’s chalice of blood, the tunes remain mostly in the sludge/doom camp.  You can get an idea what the band sounds like on their demo  “Veiled Oblivion” but that recording features the vocals and bass-work Helena Goldberg (Akris), who left The Oracle after nearly two years of songwriting, to raise a family.  The latest incarnation should be experienced live.

Listen to the podcast here.

Check out a gallery of photos from the March 8 show at the Sidebar. PS. Happy Birthday Sidebar owner, Travis Hunt.

Podcast 4: Autumn Screams Doom

Doom, stoner metal and sludge seem to be what the kids wanna hear these days. So this time on the podcast, we talked to Hasan and Dan about the fall fest Autumn Screams Doom, October 25 and 26 at The Ottobar. Specific details of the fest can be found on the Facebook event page here. There is even a matinee Saturday upstairs at the Ottobar, featuring a screening of the movie “Last Days Here,” which is a documentary about Bobby Liebling, vocalist for Pentagram. Details about the day event can be found here.

I have seen only seen four of the bands slated to play, so much of this music will be new to me.

Philadelphia’s Wizard Eye puts on an unforgettable performance. I’ve seen them only one other time. Who doesn’t love a band that features the theremin? They open up the show on Friday, so don’t be late.

Loss at Stella Natura. Photo by Mary Spiro.

Loss at Stella Natura. Photo by Mary Spiro.

One of the most interesting bands playing is Saturday night’s headliner, Loss. This band fascinates me because, although their lyrical themes are very dark and despondent, they also seem to project a sense of hope in their music. In general, I am not a fan of depressing music, but Loss is different. Can’t wait to see them again. It will be the third time for me this year. Read a previous interview I did with vocalist Mike Meacham prior to their show at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest.

Listen to our podcast here and then check out a few videos from some of the bands that will play. We welcome your feedback on the podcasts. We drink a lot along the way and sometimes things get a little weird. Well, mostly I just get weird.

Autumn Screams Doom promises blues inspired, doomy heaviness with a good dose of “hey brothers” and high fives all around. Simply put, it will be two days of freaky, crushing madness. Tickets are $15 for each night (so $30 for the weekend) and the Saturday Matinee is $8. Tickets can be purchased at the ASD website.

Metallomusikum Podcast 4 by Metallomusikum.Com on Mixcloud

New Iron Man video single posted on YouTube

Maryland doom engineers Iron Man have released a video single from their forthcoming album, South of the Earth. The track  “Hail to the Haze,” is posted below.

ironman

Jason Waldmann, Dee Calhoun, Alfred Morris III and Louis Strachan are Iron Man.

Iron Man recently signed to Rise Above Records in Europe and will be distributed stateside by Metal Blade Records. You can pre-order your very own copy (CDs, for now) via the Metal Blade website here, which will be shipping in the USA on Oct 1. Vinyl will be available but it is as an import and kind of pricey. Still if you want it, it’s can be found on Amazon.

There are lots of exciting things on the horizon for these east coast doom stalwarts, including the possibility of some international show dates. I am glad to see them finally getting the recognition that they deserve. Guitarist Alfred Morris III has kept this dream alive for more than 25 years, and all I can say is better late than never.

Upcoming show dates include:

Iron Man has an upcoming show on Sept. 11 at Cafe 611 in Frederick with Keefshovel (members of Elder), Admiral Browning and Rhin.

With Saint Vitus, Pallbearer and Hookers on Oct. 13 at Metro Gallery in Baltimore. The event page is here.

Autumn Screams Doom festival, Oct 25 -26 at the Ottobar. Iron Man plays Friday. The full line up and ticket info can be found here.

Podcast: Review of Windhand – Soma

GD30OB2-N.cdr

Metallomusikum is proud to announce the launch of our very first podcast! My good friend Derek and I discuss the new album Soma by the Richmond, Virginia group Windhand. We also talk about some of the upcoming shows we plan to attend. We hope to make this podcast a weekly thing, and we look forward to your feedback both good and bad! If you have an idea for something you would like us to review, please send us a note or leave a comment below.

Windhand will be performing at The Sidebar in Baltimore on Thursday, Sept. 5 with Savagist, Musket Hawk, and Ophidian.  Here’s a link to the event page.

Look for new podcasts about once a week or as often as we can get to them. Future podcasts will include some special guests and surprises. We promise!


You can listen to a trailer for the album here.

Iron Man band sign to Rise Above Records

For the last several months, fans of the doom metal band Iron Man have been teased–nay–tortured by Facebook status updates about a new album. Then there was a YouTube video previewing songs for this new full-length.  Not long ago, we learned the name of that record– South of the Earth. I have heard most of these songs live, as well as listened to the new recording in its entirety and can attest to the fact that this record will deliver everything the fans have been dreaming about and more. It’s eargasm material.
But more importantly, now we know that this fifth full-length record will not be a self-released affair, as Iron Man announced today that they have inked a deal with Rise Above Records, the London-based independent label launched in 1988 by Cathedral vocalist Lee Dorrian. Rise Above Records host an impressive array of artists whose sound is in keeping with the Iron Man musical mission. This roster includes heavy hitters Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, Blood Ceremony, The Gates of Slumber, Church of Misery, Ghost and many others.
Alfred Morris III of Iron Man. Photo by Mary Spiro.

Alfred Morris III of Iron Man. Photo by Mary Spiro.

The Maryland metal legends, which consists of founding member Alfred Morris III on guitar, Louis Strachan on bass, Dee Calhoun on vocals, and Jason “Mot” Waldmann on drums, have not published a full-length recording since the 2009 issue of I Have Returned (Shadow Kingdom Records).  Devotees have had to make-do during this interim with two self-released EPs, Dominance in 2011 and att hålla dig över in 2012. I spoke with “Iron Man” Al Morris the other day about what signing with Rise Above Records means to the band:

Tell me about the label you are signing with?
Rise Above Records is the heaviest label on the planet! They have an incredible roster of bands.
What is your relationship with the person who runs this label?
Lee Dorrian and I have been very good friends for 20 years! We met at a Cathedral gig in Washington D.C., back in 1993. He had heard “Black Night” and was a fan of Iron Man.
What does this mean for Iron Man in terms of touring, distribution and so forth?
Iron Man will be on Rise Above/Metal Blade worldwide. Touring will also be worldwide! The fans all over the world that have been waiting for years will finally get to see Iron Man for the first time!
What is the timetable for the release of South of the Earth?
Sept/Oct 2013
In what formats will it be released? Digital/LP/CD etc?
All of the above.
What is your assessment of the overall lineup of Iron Man right now?
This line-up is the best. We can write songs at will and perform with lots of energy on stage. Iron Man is now the total package!
How does it feel to reach this point in your career’s history?
It feels good because I am not alone trying to keep things together. We are a group of professionals that can move in any direction that we want to.
What will you do next?
Finish writing the next CD and enjoy the fans!
Is there anything else you want people to know about how this record was written, recorded, mastered or otherwise produced?
The writing method has never changed. I introduce a riff and the guys put in their parts to make a song. This is how each member can be as creative as possible because they create what they feel, not what they are told to feel! We went back to Frank Marchand to record this CD. We had worked with Frank before on, I Have Returned, and knew that this CD would be incredible!! He knows Iron Man music like the back of his hand. Frank is a great engineer/producer. We will use his talents again for the next CD!!
Anything else?
We are looking forward to playing for Iron Man fans around the world!! Thank you so much!
Iron Man, from l-r: Jason "Mot" Waldmann, Dee Calhoun, Alfred Morris III, Louis Strachan.

Iron Man, from l-r: Jason “Mot” Waldmann, Dee Calhoun, Alfred Morris III, Louis Strachan.

Read the official announcement from Rise Above Records here

REVIEW: War Injun/Doomdogs 7" split

International penpals were once a method people had to learn about other cultures. Maryland’s War Injun and Sweden’s Doomdogs have created such a dialog with their new 7″ split released by Svart Records. In this case, however, it’s a dialog of doom.

War Injun describe themselves as power doom, though I’d put them squarely in the stoner rock category along with Pentagram and similar. This band is all about the riff delivered expertly by Kenny Staubs and Dave Morgan. Their rhythm section, which consists of JB Matson and Tony Comulada, lays down a crushingly heavy foundation for every song.

Their contribution to the split is the previously unreleased “Smokethrower” featuring former singer JD Williams. Vocal duties were recently filled by Jack Roemer (also of Tank Murdock and formerly of Dead Men Sway). During some recent live performances Roemer, no doubt by some shamanistic spell, has been able to make War Injun’s lyrics even more thunderous than they were with Williams.

“Smokethrower” is most definitely a rockin’ tune featuring rapid-fire verses halted by a more ponderous chorus. The varied pace adds drama.  The guitar tone is flawless, obliterating everything in its path. It’s a fitting swan song for Williams and a great showcase for the talents that remain in War Injun.

On the flipside, we have “Oceans of Despair” from Doomdogs, who  play somewhat more melodic doom, but their sound is definitely companionable with War Injun.  Vocalist Tomas “GG” Eriksson projects the lyrics with a kind of raw operatic flare over the powerful riffage provided by guitarist Christer Cuñat, whose solos are reminiscent of 70s blues-rock. The song features an extended funky jam segment with a fat bass and sizzling lead. The tune marches to its somewhat untimely end, whereupon the song seems to abruptly fall apart. Except for this unsettling conclusion, “Oceans of Despair” is a stellar response to War Injun’s call on the other side.  Former member Emil Rolof is featured on drums and Patrik Andersson Winberg on bass, who is set to perform his last gig with the group on April 6.

War Injun’s drummer explained that the split came about because the two groups were fans of each other music. “We actually hooked up with Doomdogs through Facebook,” Matson said. (Well, doesn’t everyone?)

The split has also become something of a promo for a Doomdogs/War Injun tour slated for late summer. And for War Injun, at least, it offered a means to transition into writing and recording with their new singer.

“We are nearly done with the writing process for our next full length ‘Left For The Wolves’, which will be released before August,” Matson said. “Jack is working out tremendously. War Injun is without a doubt, the most solid of a unit as it has ever been. We have already written five new songs with this lineup, and it’s the best music we have ever written. The 2013 Summer Tour starts August 2 in Fort Worth, Texas and continues through August 11 from Texas to Florida and then straight up the East Coast. Leather Nun America (California) are touring with us, and if all things work out, so will Doomdogs.” 

Check out both songs below. 

REVIEW: The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair, plus philosophizing with Ptahil

I like to imagine that somewhere in northeastern Indiana there lies a portal to the Underworld where the members of the Ptahil have set up camp to receive messages directly from their Dark Lord. I am probably not too far off, based on  the content of their most recent recording.

Ptahil, which in gnostic mysticism can also be spelled Fetahil, is described as the builder of the material world. Ptahil, the band from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is comprised of drummer/vocalist J. Mhághnuís and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist D. Luathca, and they have been building their world of chaos since 2009. They have created two demos, two EPs, one single and two full-length recordings in that time, the most recent of which, The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair, came out December 21, 2012 (defying a predicted Mayan apocalypse).

Ptahil

Both members have also been in and are currently contributing to several other musical projects. Currently, Ptahil is in the process of mixing a third full-length recording called Born Against with Wraith Productions and is slated for release in 2014. But let’s talk about the album at hand.

The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair roars forth like a swarming horde from the very first track, “Satanicus Sabbathicus,” which features pummeling drums and an almost industrial black metal atmosphere. Launched with backwards invocation, “Possessed by Death” transitions the listener to a much doomier plane of existence. I can imagine fans chanting along with the refrain here.

The third track “Blood, Semen, Shit”– well, that just about covers the entirety of human existence doesn’t it. This song is a bit more trashy and lyrically will make you “curse all life’s creation”.

Track four, “Mors Aut Libertas,” continues in the somewhat trashy vein. Here, Ptahil builds a wall of sound with heavy guitar distortion and drumming. Lyrically, I think this may capture Ptahil’s spirit. “And what magic was (sic) you trying to summon, stirring up men’s hearts to action? Revolution and change? This is paid in blood. Not by obliging the chains to bind you. Nor by giving up your spark. Raise your fire for All the Gods to see. For your soul to be free.”

“Pact with the Devil” returns to the doom and features some of the most melodic segments of the album. At times, it dips into psychedelic realms! This track trudges along, crushing everything in its path. It is among my favorite songs on the record.

The title track of this album clocks in at nearly 13 minutes, which is long for a black metal song. Yet this epic and multifaceted track builds and builds to a crescendo of rage befitting a title song for this recording. Lyrically, like most Ptahil songs, the themes are simultaneously obscure and evident. “What love can survive and flourish in this realm?” There is deep “gnosis” here, but many people will probably not want to dwell on the possible implications and will be content to simply bang their heads.

Like a freight train plummeting over a cliff, the album’s final track, “Hell Spells and Satanic Rituals,” moves at a break-neck pace and concludes in under two and a half minutes. The album ends with another backwards vocal. A malediction perhaps, rather than a benediction.

Overall, The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair will likely leave you satisfied and exhausted, like a good old-fashioned shag. That’s ironic, given the underlying theme of the record that reveals itself through the lyrics. This album may cause you to question your existence and purpose in this shadowy physical plane. That is a mighty accomplishment from little more than 45 minutes of music and should put this record on the watchlist of any follower of American black metal.

On the downside, I am not sure I like the way this recording was mixed (granted I know nothing about this process). I feel like the vocals, which are quite good, get lost under the music. The guitar work sounds indistinct at times. Listening on headphones helps.

I interviewed Mhághnuís via email. Here’s what he had to say about the band, the future and this recording.

What did you set out to achieve with this recording? 
Total freedom. To put into light the terrible instinct of human reproduction. As people go on, so goes enslavement.

Where was the recording done and what atmosphere were you trying to create. 
Ptahil does all our tracking at our temple/studio. For The Almighty Propagator… mixing and mastering was done here as well. We always try to bring an atmosphere of chaos to our releases. With this release, however, we wanted to bring a manipulated feel. This is what mankind is the best at doing, manipulation. Manipulating other living things. Manipulating the landscape, and nature. This is why the full release could be played both forward and backward. There are specific messages both ways in our own attempts to manipulate the listener to seek out their total freedom by any means necessary.

I heard the band was looking for a bassist. How is that going? 
Ptahil is D. Luathca and myself. We are looking for a third to make our magic stronger, at least for live rituals, but we have not found anyone who can both play the music and deal with what Ptahil is about. It takes more than playing the music perfectly. It is about making a specific pact.

I have not heard reverse recording in music for a long time. I suppose the only way you could listen to it would be to get it in vinyl and spin the disc in reverse. Why did you decide to use this?
Well, when this was originally being recorded, the plan was to release it on vinyl. However we did not give a fuck about time constraints, we just worried about doing the release how it felt it should be done. This led to the recording being too long for a standard vinyl pressing by two songs. Our record label (Wraith Productions) received the masters and did not want to exclude the two songs. So we opted to release it on CD. (You can find this and other Ptahil recordings and merch here.)

What plans do you have to tour in support of this record, and how will it be distributed? 
We have distribution in Europe through Code 7 with Wraith Prod. People can pick up the releases in stores in Europe. There is limited distribution in America however, (of course) Into The Void Records carries our releases in their store in St. Paul, Minnesota. You can get the releases in the mail through us and Wraith.
Ptahil will be playing THE DEVIL’S COVEN FEST at Station 4 in St. Paul on May 18. This so far is the ONLY show for Ptahil in 2013.

What is on the agenda for the upcoming year? 
Ptahil has another release finished and in the mixing stages titled, Born Against, which is to be released through Wraith. We also have 2+ more releases in the rehearsal recording stages. We will start tracking these songs during this year.
D. Luathca has a release recorded playing bass for The Lurking Corpses, which is set for release this year. I have also joined up with Demonic Christ for their two fest appearances for this year and look to be recording their new release this year as well.

Anything else you want to mention? 
Demonic Christ will be performing at Cathedral of the Black Goat Fest March 30 and Martydoom Fest June 29-31. Ptahil will be performing at THE DEVIL’S COVEN FEST at Station 4 in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18. So if anyone hates my guts enough to take my life, there are your three chances.

Days of the Doom 3 tickets on sale Dec. 1

Unless you are planning a wedding, June 2013 might seem pretty far off. But for the organizers of Days of the Doomed 3 (or III if you like your numerals Roman), June can’t get here soon enough.

Billed as the biggest doom fest in the midwest, DOTD3 will take place on June 21 and 22 at the Blue Pig in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tickets for this two day celebration of the riff and distortion go on sale December 1, 2012 and are expect to move swiftly! A two day pass is $50 and single day tickets are $30.

The lineup so far includes Penance, Victor Griffin’s new group In-Graved, Dream Death, Iron Man, Pale Divine, The Gates of Slumber, Chowder, Kings Destroy, Orodruin, Earthen Grave, Argus, King Giant, Whaler, Beelzefuzz, Venomous Maximus, Moon Curse, Hollow Leg, and Gorgantherron. According to organizer Mercyful Mike Smith, one more band will be announced sometime in January. You will just have to trust him that whoever it is will be killer.

I can’t think of a better holiday gift for the doom metal aficionado in your life or yourself than some tickets to this event. Besides, Milwaukee in June is reportedly quite lovely. Check out a preview of some of the bands playing in the video below. And then go over to this link and grab a ticket for yourself and a 21+ sexy loved one.

By the way, I wrote about DOTD2 last year. This thing is legit.

%d bloggers like this: