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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. 

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Days of the Doomed II to crush heartland this June

UPDATE- NEW VENUE!!!!!!!!!

This news just in on Days of the Doomed 2 from Mercyful Mike Smith:

“Just so everyone is getting the info, here it is again! Update: DAYS OF THE DOOMED FEST II will be moving to the Milwuakee area this June, and is now scheduled to take place at The Blue Pig on June 15th and 16th!!! Please make a note of this. More details soon! I am forced to do this due to the fact that the new owners of the building that houses DOTD Fest are Jedi-Masters at blowing smoke up people’s asses. After constantly offering to pay for the hall since last NOVEMBER, the new owners (who own L&M Meats in Kenosha by the way) let me know that the hall will not be available just this past Thursday. They don’t even have occupancy, and now plan on remodeling. Uh, they didn’t know this back in November??? For those of you who have already booked rooms, purchased tickets, or scheduled flights, please feel free to contact me and I can help you out any way I can. The show will go on…”

I’d never thought of Kenosha, Wisconsin as a hub for doom and heavy metal music. When I think of Wisconsin I think of cheese and the cows that give the milk to make it. And when I think of Kenosha I think of my sister-in-law Kathy who grew up there. She’s pretty musical, so maybe she’s been hiding something from me.

However, it was through my associations with various Mid Atlantic doom bands that I learned about a fairly young metal festival called Days of the Doomed and “met” organizer Mercyful Mike Smith on Facebook.

This year’s Days of the Doomed (DODT II!) will be held June 22 and 23 at a place they are calling The Hall of Lore on 4902 7th Ave. in Kenosha.  Twenty doom metal bands are slated to play this two-day extravaganza, including some of my regional favorites War Injun, Beelzefuzz and Argus, as well as other favorite acts such as Earthen Grave, Blackfinger, Revelation, Solace, Earthride and many others. Tickets are only $50 for the weekend.  If I left from Baltimore on a Friday night and stopped over in Cleveland, Ohio and then continued on the next day, it would be totally possible to make it to Kenosha before the first band took the stage at 3 p.m.

I wanted to find out more about DOTD so I asked Mercyful Mike to grant me an interview. He showed “mercy” and did. Here is the result of that Q &A.
How did the festival get started? What’s the story behind that?

I had attended several shows and fests over the years, most notably Templars of Doom and Born to be Doomed, and I had always flirted with the idea of doing a fest of my own. After much discussion with the likes of Jason McCash (TGos) and John Brenner (Revelation), I decided to proceed! I got lots of encouragement from Ron Holzner, Tony Spillman, and Michael Lindenauer along the way as well. The rest is history.

What is your vision for the festival? What do you hope happens?

My vision is to have our own version of Roadburn  stateside. I’d really like to see Days Of The Doomed Fest grow considerably each year to the point where it sustains itself. This will take a lot of time and patience, and there are no guarantees. I am optimistic though!

How do you select who plays? Who would be your dream groups to come play?

Well, several bands contact me in regards to playing, so I consider who would work out the best and represent the scene, but I also tend to pick out whomever I would like to see as well. One of the selfish perks of being the promoter! Haha! Dream groups? Pagan Altar, Lord Vicar, Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, the list goes on…

Why Kenosha? 

Well, Kenosha is basically in the middle of Chicago and Milwaukee, so it geographically lends itself to two very good markets. Also, because Kenosha is my hometown, I like to give back to the community. Several local business located close to the Days Of The Doomed Fest venue did outstanding sales last year. I like to hear that.

What are the challenges of putting on a festival like this?

Wow… lots. Am I promoting enough? Are we advertising in the right places? Could I have cut costs here? Challenges are everywhere you look, but this being our second fest, I’ve learned from some mistakes I made last year. Slightly less stress this year. Slightly.

Who are you especially excited to have at DOTD II ?

I’m really, honestly excited about every single band on the roster this year. Seeing Revelation is going to be killer, as is While Heaven Wept and Blood Farmers. Having Ogre back on stage is going to be awesome as well. I can’t really name just one.

One of the cool things I noticed about DOTD is that you actually can participate in the festival without coming to the show through your Raffle of Doom.  (The raffle ends March 31 so buy your raffle tickets now!) What a great idea! Where did the raffle prizes come from?
All the prizes involved came from bands affiliated with the fest, as well as some not. The generosity displayed by these bands is beyond words. All of the items up for grabs are stellar, and the loot just keeps rolling in. So many signed LPs, and rare items. I hope the winner is happy!


Are their any raffle prizes that you want to draw attention to?

All of them! Photos of prizes so far can be seen at http://www.daysofthedoomed.com. “Raffle of Doom” tickets can also be purchased there!

Anything else?

I encourage everyone planning on coming out to Days Of The Doomed Fest II to plan ahead!!! Tickets are moving along, so don’t be left out in Lake Michigan while the rest of us are getting our heads caved in by the DOOM! Visit http://www.daysofthedoomed.com for tickets, time slots, and lodging options! Hope to see you all in June!!! Thanks, Mæry! Really appreciate the interview!

Many thanks to Mercyful Mike Smith for taking the time out to answer my questions.  Below is the running order for the bands for DOTD II, although that is subject to change.
Bands/Time Slots
FRIDAY, JUNE 22nd, 2012     DOORS OPEN AT 2:00 PM

3:00 – 3:35      SNAKE DANCE
3:55 – 4:35      SUPER INVADER
4:55 – 5:35      SANCTUS BELLUM
5:55 – 6:35      WAR INJUN
6:55 – 7:40      RITUALS OF THE OAK
8:00 – 8:55      LAS CRUCES
9:15 – 10:15    EARTHEN GRAVE (featuring former Trouble bassist Ron Holzner)
10:35 – 11:35  BLACKFINGER (featuring former Trouble vocalist Eric Wagner)
11:55 – 1:00    REVELATION

SATURDAY, JUNE 23rd, 2012     DOORS OPEN AT 12:00 PM

1:00 – 1:40       CYRUS
2:00 – 2:45       BLIZARO
3:05 – 3:50       BEELZEFUZZ
4:10 – 4:55       APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE
5:15 – 6:00       ORODRUIN
6:20 – 7:05       ARGUS
7:25 – 8:10       BLOOD FARMERS
8:30 – 9:15       EARTHRIDE
9:35 – 10:20     OGRE
10:40 – 11:40   SOLACE
12:00 – 1:30     WHILE HEAVEN WEPT

Unable to attend the Days of the Doomed fest, but would still like to be included?  Leave your mark on the fest by helping us out with a donation!  Any amount will be greatly appreciated!  All of those who are kind enough to donate will have their names displayed at the days of the doomed fest on our “sponsor board.”  Donations of $25.00 or more will receive a special gift. 
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