Welcome back, readers. Sometimes, when the world gets us down, we look for ways to help others in need to boost our own spirits. I have seen first hand the way the metal community has banded together to help where it counts, and while metal as a whole is far from a utopia, I love that I have surrounded myself with people who are working towards making metal the kind of community it always should have been; one that is inclusive and safe for everyone, one that sticks together, and one that helps pick up those that need it the most. So with this Evcharist, I wanted to try to be the change I wish to see in the world and do what I can to help one of metal’s own, the legendary Mike Scheidt. If I can help someone find great new booze or tunes in the process, so much the better. The Metal: Vhöl’s S/T. The Booze: Evan’s Brewing Company’s Chocolatté Porter.
The Metal: Vhöl’s S/T
If you’ve never experienced the sheer exuberance of Mike Scheidt’s work in either Yob or Vhöl, you are truly missing out. Being a fan of both, (and being lucky enough to catch both bands live in my lifetime) I can honestly say watching that man work on stage or just listening to anything he does is some of the most all-out fun one can have with music. With every gesture, every note, every impassioned yell, you can tell that he is having the time of his life playing for you, and the mood is utterly infectious; you can’t help but nod your head or dance along and smile. Vhöl’s self-titled debut is the closest recording that I have found that captures that essence. Featuring Mike alongside members of Hammers of Misfortune and Agalloch, Vhöl’s music is an amalgam of crust punk, traditional metal, prog, and black metal that on paper sounds like it should fall apart at any minute. What both keeps these compositions together and makes this album a triumph is the amount of fun these musicians obviously have playing together. Vhöl is a joy to listen to from start to finish and even though their formula seems out there, the love and liveliness that seeps from every pore of these songs makes this an album worth coming back to time and time again.
The Booze: Evans Brewing Company’s Chocolatté Porter
For someone who professes to not have much of a sweet tooth, I sure do gravitate towards the chocolate imbued beers, huh? The combination of chocolate and coffee has always been something I gravitated strongly towards, and so when I was out of ideas for a drink this week I went right back to what I knew would deliver a satisfying experience: a good old-fashioned chocolate porter. Irvine, CA’s Evans Brewing Company delivered the goods on their Chocolatté porter. Blissfully leaning toward the “latté” more than the “choco,” this is a very evenly balanced beer with a distinct coffee-forward sip that is mellowed out nicely by velvety chocolate and deep malts. Not too sweet, not too heavy, just rich enough to have a pleasing mouth feel, and full of flavor without being overpowering. A definite people-pleaser.
So where, you may be asking, is all of this going? Well, Mike Scheidt just pulled through some pretty harrowing medical problems, involving surgery and significant hospital time. You can read what he has to say about the whole ordeal in a piece he penned for Noisey, but the long and short of it is that surgery is expensive and with the recovery process, Mike has no ability to get money from playing music to offset that cost. This is where we as a community have an opportunity to shine. A GoFundMe has been set up so family, friends, and fans can donate money to help with the cost of medical expenses as well as day to day expenses while Mike is in recovery. In addition, 20 Buck Spin will be donating all profits from their repress of Yob’s 2011 album Atma to this fund through the end of February; if you need a reason to pick up any music by this fantastic project there is no better time than now. If you don’t have the means to donate, that’s quite alright: I would ask that you simply share the campaign along and raise a drink to Mike’s health. There are all kinds of things, both large and small, that we can do to show one of our own we care, and now is the time for all of us to be the kind of people we wish to see in the rest of the metal community at large.
Cheers, and be good to each other,