Southern stoner metal juggernauts Corrosion of Conformity wrapped up a long and winding 30 date North American tour in Music City with sludgy brothers in arms Crowbar, Maryland doom metal veterans The Obsessed, and Dallas based trio Mothership stopping by The Cowan to fire up an already atypically warm February evening. Continue reading →
*This is part of the Epicenter Festival Spotlight segment where we help you get to know some of the non-headlining bands performing at the festival. This week we introduce you to High On Fire!*
If you are familiar with High On Fire you will be in agreement that it’s hard to believe they are billed earlier in the day on the inaugural Epicenter Festival lineup. The mastermind behind the band is of course Matt Pike known famously as one of the best doom guitarists ever from his work with his other band Sleep. He formed High On Fire in 1998. Pike is a talented musician that has a huge discography between his bands. With Sleep he has released 5 albums and one EP, and with High On Fire he has released 8 studio albums and 1 live album. He was also a part of the bands Asbestosdeath (which was was an early incarnation of Sleep) and Kalas who combined have released 2 EPs and 2 albums. The one area where High On Fire differs is that Matt Pike in addition to playing guitar also is the vocalist as well. His vocal style is gritty, raw, aggressive and it’s impossible to not thoroughly enjoy. The bands most recent album is ‘Electric Messiah’ which released in October via Eone Music and the album has been on nearly everyone’s best albums of the year list. In addition to that successful album High On Fire has also been nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. With the nomination they are joining some legendary past nominees like Metallica, Motörhead, Faith No More and TOOL, this is the first time the band has been nominated in their twenty-year career. In regards to their nomination the band had this to say: “We are so honored to be appreciated by our peers,” says vocalist and guitarist Matt Pike. “We love and live our art.” “It doesn’t matter whether we win or not,” says drummer Des Kensel. “It’s just an honor to be recognized for our hard work and sacrifice after devoting our whole lives to music.” Finally, bassist Jeff Matz adds, “This is pretty mind-blowing. We’re beyond thrilled about the nomination. We all put a lot of sweat and sleepless nights into writing and recording this album. It’s amazing that our efforts are being recognized in this way.” On February 10th High On Fire won that Best Metal Performance Grammy for their album ‘Electric Messiah’ beating out other metal powerhouses Between The Buried And Me, Trivium, Deafheaven and Underoath. With that much talent in one category it certainly shows you the talent that High On Fire will bring to the Epicenter stage. Continue reading →
BWAK DWAGON was forged in the rock n roll town of Cleveland, Ohio. The three piece band is made up of Matthew Clement on drums and vocals, Dave Busch on guitar, and Jason Robinson on bass. Together, they mix heavy riffs with haunting tones and lyrics. This powerful trio has plenty to offer and though this band may be small in numbers they are big in sound. The band released their self-titled debut album in 2014 and was released independently by the band. It is also now available on vinyl via Gotta Groove Records, I might add. The debut was recorded by Paul Maccarrone (Obnox) at 71st Door in Cleveland, OH and mastered by Charlie Loudin (The Pistolettes) at My Other Car Is The Space Time Continuum in Kent, OH. The band of course has had a strong string of live performances in and around the Cleveland area and has quickly garnered attention for their heavy and haunting sound. Just 2 years later the band has released a follow up to their debut titled ‘Plum Island’ which released in September of 2016. The band coming off the heels of a successful first album again went to Paul Maccarrone for recording and Charlie Loudin for mastering. The lyrical content is one of the strongest points within the Bwak Dwagon sound and those words are brought to life on paper and in voice by Matthew Clement. It’s not often we get a chance to hear the drummer show off his pipes while also beating his drum kit to shreds but Clement is able to easily accomplish this. The band’s brand new release is ‘Underground and Passed Around’ which released on January 26, 2019. Bwak Dwagon recorded the new album again with local producer Paul Maccarronne and again locally based Gotta Groove Records to press the vinyl. However, this album includes 3-D glasses to enhance the album art. “The color scheme [of the album art] has a lot of red and blue to it,” Clement explained to CleveScene. “There happened to be a pair of 3-D glasses in the room, and when we tried them on, the artwork looked great, so we decided to include a pair with the album. We have a gimmick of some sort with each record.” ‘Underground and Passed Around’ includes 12 well thought out tracks. Continue reading →
It’s old and it’s new, it’s funky but familiar, Kings Destroys’ pseudo stoner melodic rock harkens a fresh taste of experimental riffage with slow-mo head bobbing. New York City dwellers they are and a hotbed of artistic exploration they inhabit since their 2010 formation. Gracing the shelves March 8th, “Fantasma Nera” is the bands upcoming fourth LP through Svart Records, a Finnish based label that is home to Acid King. Continue reading →
Hungry and visceral with a hint of southern edge. SavageLand is a beautiful sip of aged bourbon, followed by a punch in the face. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri they sound more like they are straight from the heart of New Orleans. The band was formed in 2016 and has since released one six song, self-titled EP, with tremendously impressive production value.
Picture groove riffs with guttural stoner vocals. Fans of Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity meet fans of Baroness and also meet a calloused hard working slide guitar player by a campfire. The EP opens with said slide guitar, and a Mastodon quality riffs. SavageLand crafts these pseudo-stoner anthems with such ease. Down and Pantera influences, too, leak into the blueprints of their songwriting. “Animal Kingdom” has a wiry riff strung through the verses, swelling behind the chorus. The kind of jams to smoke a joint and enjoy a beer to. It’s aggressive but not disruptive.
SavageLand teased the early stages of new material mid 2018, after stating in 2017 they are inactive. Fingers crossed that 2019 will be the year the band gets in gear and releases some new music because this stuff is really something.
Not only was tonight the climax of prog-rockers Ohhms’ headline UK tour with Boss Keloid, it doubled up as a half-dayer release party for their eagerly awaited sophomore record ‘Exist’. Released just two days prior on Holy Roar Records,I admit that the temptation to listen to the full stream premiering on Metal Hammer in the run up to the show wasn’t an easy one to ignore, but my decision was final. I for one wanted to keep the thrill real, unlike the instant gratification junkies who whore over new releases with no real connection made or lasting dedication to the artists cause. Nothing beats the experience of hearing brand new music live for the first time and witnessing the passion first-hand. Ohhms deservedly took their place as headliners and showed why they are one of the scenes biggest risers.
Taking place at the Boston Music Room, little brother to The Dome in Tufnell Park, London. The night featured a mixed bill showcasing brand new talent from Old Blood and Mountain Caller with label mates Body Hound for the first half, and London doomsters Torpor and Boss Keloid as direct support for the second. Continue reading →
20 Watt Tombstone is a ballbastic duo playing deafening rock to their fans. Coming from Wausau, Wisconsin 20 Watt Tombstone combines metal, country, Hip Pop and Jim Bean intravenously into their music. They have been nominated twice for the people’s choice WAMI in 2013 and winning in 2014. 20 Watt Tombstone is combined of Grand Master Oh to the Zee handling drums and yellin’ and Reverend Meantooth riffing on guitar and hollerin’. Continue reading →
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state.This month’s state is Wisconsin.*
Moon Rats was formed in 2016 by members of Calliope and Sonic J. The hard hitting 5 piece is dedicated to psychedelic stoner rock that is out of this world. The band is comprised of Al Kraemer on vocals and guitar,
Victor Buell laying down riffs on lead guitar, Brendt Dondero behind the kit on drums, Myles Coyne on bass, and
Nathan Toth on organ. The bands first release came in the form of a single back in May of 2017 with the track “Motor Sword”. The track would also appear on the bands debut full length ‘Highway Lord’ which released on June 23rd 2017. The album was recorded in the remote northern woods of Wisconsin. It was written, produced and recorded by the band and mastered by Justin Perkins at The Mystery Room. The album was released on cassette via Gloss Records, however the band is an independent/unsigned band. ‘Highway Lord’ is by far one of the best debut albums I have heard in years. To think this band formed and recorded this album themselves within a year is an astounding feat that deserves attention. I believe their ability to record on their own and the added ambiance that recording in the remote Wisconsin woods helps the chemistry of the band and keeps their sound unique with no outside influence. Moon Rats have also proved they aren’t lazy and have already released a new single since their debut. The track ‘Ride Or Die’ released in February of this year and claims to be the first glimpse at Moon Rats’ second installment into the Highway Lord mythology, ‘Lonestar.’
Formed in late 2012, Dope Default are a stoner/heavy rock’n’roll band from Thessaloniki, Greece, influenced by artists such as Alice in Chains, Queens of the Stone Age, Monster Magnet and Planet of Zeus. While the band has an array of influences ranging from grunge to stoner rock their wheel house seems to be centered around hard rock. They do include elements of stoner rock within their music, but unlike most grunge they truly showcase riffs and solos throughout their music. They released their debut EP, ‘Nuclear Honeymoon’, in 2015, to favorable reviews by fans and press alike. Like most modern era bands Dope Default has solidered through several lineup changes, and have continued on with their passion to create music for fans around the world. They released their sophomore EP, ‘Tales From the Wasteland’, in 2017 and have now released their debut full length ‘Ofrenda’. The album released March 3rd, 2018 and was recorded at Ypoga Studios in Thessaloniki, Greece. The band has toured extensively, which has not only made their stage presence more superior but also better prepared them for the studio and releasing what is likely their best release yet.
Jollymon is comprised of frontman/principal songwriter Carey Rich (vocals, bass), Mark Blackburn (drums), and John Colgate (guitar, vocals) – originally formed in Eugene, Oregon, releasing their debut full-length, ‘Sailing’, in 1995 on Eugene’s Elemental Records. They followed up Sailing with 1997’s ‘Nobody Knows Who You Are’ and 1998’s ‘Stoned Nation Radio’, both on Elemental Records. Then, in 2000 they released their fourth full-length, the self-titled album, on Battle Arena Records, before imploding shortly thereafter, walking away, with no plans to return. Now after 18 years, the Stoner Metal outfit is set to release their fifth full length, ‘Void Walker’ on June 8th, 2018!