Hyborian, Nebula Drag

Friday, June 15, 2018

8:30 pm

Soda Bar

$12.00 - $15.00

Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

THE SKULL is a musical collaboration founded by three former members of American doom metal pioneers TROUBLE; vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff "Oly" Olson, all three noted for their talents and strong influence in the worldwide metal scene. TROUBLE formed in 1979 and is universally hailed as one of the pioneers of doom metal genre, alongside bands such asPentagram, Witchfinder General, Candlemass and Saint Vitus.TROUBLE created a distinct (and distinctly HEAVY) style by merging influences from the British heavy metal bands Black Sabbath andJudas Priest with psychedelic rock acts of the 1970s. The band's first two albums, Psalm 9 (released in 1984, enshrined in Decibel Magazine's "Hall of Fame" and regarded as one of the most important doom albums ever) and The Skull (1985) are cited as doom metal landmarks. The band later went on to flirt with crossover success when they signed with Rick Rubin's Def American Recordings for the release of 1992's Manic Frustration. THE SKULL formed in 2011 to "continue the sounds and spirit of TROUBLE - past, present, future" and has been performing for audiences in the United States and Europe to overwhelming response. THE SKULL released its first new material as a band in the spring of 2014 via NYC's Tee Pee Records.
Swirling sounds and mysterious voices introduce Hyborian Volume I, drawing you in, as you wonder what's going on in the audio depths. The moment the guitars burst into life on “As Above, So Below,” though – you're hooked in. The opening cut on the debut release from the Kansas City quartet Hyborian is a powerful attack of guitar interplay, sure to appeal to any fan of High On Fire's stoner riffage or the progressive lyrical strengths of Mastodon.

The recording is absolutely massive, but despite the stoner rock influences, there's no sludge here. It's clean. There's not a bunch of effects on Hyborian Volume I. It's stark and big: pretty much plug in, turn up, and go.

“We're pretty big into old-school Metallica and stuff like that, but everybody in this band worships Matt Pike,” says the band's frontman and guitarist, Martin Bush. “While we don't really sound like Sleep, and we're a lot more progressive than High On Fire is, that stark, straightforward raw aesthetic is really what we're going for.”

To make Hyborian Volume I, the band built themselves a studio in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, rather than opting to put the money into recording somewhere else. It allowed Hyborian's record to be exactly what they intended it to be.

“We thought, 'We've got these songs – what are we going to do?'” explains Bush as to why the band put the money into something that can be reused and be a home for themselves. Everything on the record was written specifically for Hyborian Volume I, with the band choosing to move beyond old material.

“We don't even really play that first group of songs anymore, because we hadn't really figured out who we wanted to be,” Bush continues “Our sound hadn't really been defined yet. The first group of songs were just really all over the place, and lacked focus.”

Hyborian's focus is now razor-sharp – Volume I is a very big thing, but it's subtle. Writing a song like “Blood For Blood,” with its decaying cyclical chug is more than just a riff-a-thon. The in thing for heavy music nowadays is to allow space for a jam, while the band drones on. Hyborian writes something, then breaks it down into its component parts, and figure out ways to create melodies and countermelodies, chord inversions, all of which really set Hyborian's songs apart from the pack.

Lyrically, they're looking to the low fantasy, sword-and-sorcery pulp aspect of things like Robert E. Howard's Conan stories to give the band's songwriting focus and direction. They're building a mythology with the band. Lyrics, artwork, and everything tie into their concept of an interstellar, extra-dimensional being called the Traveler – that cloaked figure on the cover of the record. Hyborian is the Traveler's chosen mouthpiece for this time in existence. He touched history, and at this place and time, so the band tells his legends from the time before written language.

From its inception two years ago, Hyborian had always pretty much been Bush, fellow guitarist and vocalist Ryan Bates and drummer Justin Rippeto. They'd gone through a couple different bass players, but it took a while to find the right guy to become a permanent fixture, and take the trio plus one into a true quartet. When Anthony Diale joined the band last year, that's what gelled Hyborian as a group, and when the band really figured out what their strengths were, and how to carve out their own space in a very crowded world of metal. Now that Hyborian is there, they know what they're doing and where they're at.

“If a Hyborian cult happened to pop up, that would be fine, too,” laughs Bush.
Nebula Drag
"Newcomers Nebula Drag join the ranks of a crowded heavy psych scene in their native San Diego via their self-titled, self-released debut, but the trio distinguish themselves immediately with a solidified underpinning of punkish intent, so that the airy vocals of “Sano” float over an insistent, noisy crunch. That blend is toyed with in one direction or another throughout the release, the five-minute “So Low” finding some middle-ground in grunge push, but as the subsequent “Up and Down”’s Melvins-style roll and the hardcore-style drive of “Lost Time” play out, Nebula Drag seem far less tied to any single approach. It’s a dynamic that serves them well throughout the album’s 10-track/37-minute run, and they maintain a sense of rawness in the almost thrashy breakdown of “I Can Not Explain” that speaks to a lack of pretense to go along with their potential for development. Will be curious to hear if one side or the other wins out in their sound over the long-term, but in a town where so many bands are geared on being the most laid back, it’s refreshing to hear a group with a more forceful tack. " JJ Koczan - The Obelisk
Venue Information:
Soda Bar
3615 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA, 92104