Friday, June 22, 2018

Welcome to Holyland - S/T (2018)

I can't think of an opening riff in recent years that got me hooked liked the one from “War” on Welcome to Holyland's S/T release. It's so simple and catchy, and also made me think, if all the great sludge riffs have probably already been written, then Welcome to Holyland may have discovered some of the last remaining ones. I'm going to be bold here and just say this is some ugly/filthy yet punishing sounding shit. The guitar tone is so fucking sick, and it's like the perfect sound for sludge doom, and the vocals fit perfectly with the special blend of nasty that the band spews forth on all four tracks.
 Plus the riffs just have a groove to it, which I think is what also makes them so catchy. I wouldn't say that all songs a groove-laden , but even the shit that drags and drones, still is captivating enough to pull you in. This is an amazing fucking debut by a band, that everyone needs to check out right now. I couldn't be more ecstatic about a new band/release. Yeah Yob just released an album, and I'm sure a lot of people were excited about that. I mean I know I was. However, I can honestly say I was more impressed by this release than that one. This is the kind of shit I started this blog for. It's those moments where you find something that just stops you in your tracks, and you just say damn, someone figured out exactly what you wanted to hear. Obviously this is one of my favorite releases of the year thus far. Highest recommendation possible for this band! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Flood Peak - Plagued By Sufferers (2018)

Sounding like a Blackened Sludge version of mid 90s Neurosis, Flood Peak delivers the rain to wash the filth and the garbage away with “Plagued By Sufferers”. A torrential downpour of darkened hymns and fractured odes in the key of ugly, Flood Peak create the perfect storm of slow grimy riffs with agonizing execution. The music itself is very primal, as if it were born in a cave, and never has seen the light of day. When it finally feels the burn of the sun's heat, it retreats and trembles back into the darkness. This band and its sound exist on this plane.
The guitar chords are preoccupied by diminished and minor tones, and that's what makes Flood Peak's sounds so grim and ghastly. The distorted bass on the other hand seems to wallow in the muck, and a lot of the band's pummeling low end. The vocals have a lot of grit and guttural anguish that one would expect listening to music like this. It fits with the feel and the tone, bringing together a harsh reality that can drown you in the tears of despair. Get your fucking life vest on, because in the sea of shit, you wanna be damn sure you're gonna float. I'm not really sure what that last line has to do Flood Peak or their release “Plagued By Sufferers”, but I do know I was compelled to write that after listening to it a few times. I guess I feel gloomy and this put my in a dour mood. This shit is bleak, and you should definitely check it out! Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Witch Mountain - S/T (2018)

Although the band was founded over 20 year ago and their new, self-titled album is actually their fifth full-length, this release still represents a first of sorts for Portland's Witch Mountain. Although they've been teasing the world with singles for the past couple of years, this is the first full release to feature singer Kayla Dixon and bassist Justin Brown who have been with the band since 2015. But even with the new(ish) faces in the lineup, Witch Mountain is still playing the same style of traditional doom metal fronted by powerful, bewitching vocals that they've become known for and goddamn - it might just sound better than ever. The album kicks off with "Midnight" which stirs up the darkness as it hammers on slow, hard, and steady while Kayla showcases more soul in the vocals than we've ever heard before. It sets the tone and a precedent for the rest of the album of wicked songs and riffing - and the band doesn't disappoint! Every track has its own kind of magic and command over the shadows as the tunes conjure a devilish aura. The guitar work has plenty of evil, bluesy style to it and the music keeps giving me flashes of classics like Trouble and Reverend Bizarre but with a modern dynamic depth. The album closes with the 14 minute odyssey "Nighthawk" which combines all of the albums strengths into one magnificent track that starts off ominous and bluesy before lashing out with some metal brutality and then ending in a bone-chilling vortex that swirls everything together. This album is a treat for longtime fans and newcomers alike, so put it on and play it LOUD - it's worth the hearing damage! -Brandon

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fading Bliss - Journeys in Solitude (2018)

The time has come to embark - to delve into the heart of despair in search of beauty viewed through a lens of pain - as guided by the tormented souls in Belgium's gothic doom ensemble Fading Bliss. The band's second full-length album "Journeys in Solitude" delivers on the title by taking you on a trip of sorrow and lament traveling through four separate biomes: "Ocean", "Mountain", "A Forest", and "Desert" as the tracks are so named. Under the weight of a tragic atmosphere each song walks slowly, giving you time to absorb everything that's going on here - and there's a lot. Elegant piano melodies, ethereal female vocals, growling male vocals, bursts of slow, calloused metal played in death tones, ominous synthesized strings, impassioned, forlorn guitar leads, and more all come together creating a grand kind of doom that's drowning in woe. As if the band wasn't already doing enough shit right, the third track "A Forest" is indeed an extended cover of the Cure's classic song that brings even more depth and darkness than the original, immediately drawing you in with a haunting essence that never lets up. This album has a refined sense of melancholy that quietly ensnares you in the shadows - there are a few big, swelling moments and a couple of extreme metal blasts but the real power here is in the serene, melodic misery that builds those up. Fading Bliss have definitely captured some beautiful grief here so I recommend checking it out! -Brandon

Friday, June 15, 2018

Beastmaker - EP. 1 (2018)

I was quite surprised to see a new release from Beastmaker, but according to guitarist/vocalist's Trevor William Church's Facebook, this is the first of a string of EPs using unused tracks. Also mentioned in his post is their departure from Rise Above Records, and the band's new direction moving away from "Horror Doom" and even taking on a second guitar player. Beastmaker is definitely one of my favorite newer Doom bands from the past five years, so whatever they plan on doing, I will be sure to listen to it, just like I did this one.
Right away I noticed a slight difference in the way this batch of songs sounded compared to their last two LPs. The Horror Doom sound was definitely there, but it also seemed like they were definitely going for a Proto Metal vibe as well. The riffs were simple yet catchy as always, but it definitely had a more 80s metal/hard rock influence to it, which kind of made me think of Ghost if they were actually a Doom band. The solos fucking ripped as well. Overall, I liked what I heard. I'm looking forward to the next couple of EPs, with the band finishing up this chapter of their musical journey, only to open a new chapter with a fresh start shortly thereafter. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

King Goat - Debt of Aeons (2018)

Although the throne sits in a low place King Goat seems to tower above its kingdom with a dark, domineering majesty. The English band's second album "Debt of Aeons" evokes a foreboding kind of grandeur with doom metal that touches on both the epic and progressive scales. Their sound can be sprawling - exploring gentle tones that become more eerie, then blasting doom in a traditional vein before it grows into the epic, wandering off with divergent melodies, and then finally exploding in strains of bleak, extreme metal all in one long progression. There always seems to be some quiet chaos brewing in the background, subtly threatening to burst through and upset the balance, but the band demonstrates their power by maintaining control and enforcing a twisted sense of harmony. The variety gives it an almost cinematic quality as though the music itself has a story to tell - but if you weren't paying close enough attention to that, the vocals certainly do. They're almost operatic the way they soar and swell, plundering the shadowy depths, conquering nigh impossible heights, and then ripping into snarling growls as they recount tales both fantastic and forlorn along with the occasional backing chants to enhance the mood. Although the music is somber generally speaking, this is an album that seems to be overloaded with passion as you can really FEEL the music through its intensity and emotion. This is definitely something you're going to want to hear - no exceptions! -Brandon

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Postmortal - Soil (EP) (2018)


As the thunder starts its low rumble and a sea of dark clouds rolls in Postmortal beckons you to enter their dungeon. Upon entry, you realize that even in the dim light the band is still casting long, ominous shadows and that here in their subterranean realm the gloom and the furor of the rainstorm is being amplified by the power of their debut EP "Soil". Crashing in with a grumbling sorrow, the band delivers three tracks of woeful death doom that flirts with the gothic style of My Dying Bride and just a touch of skin crawling eeriness. Instrumentally, the songs creep slowly with tones that are languid, lamenting, and loud all at once - it's a horde of ghosts and demons bleeding through the cracks in the walls swarming you with every kind of misery at once. These tunes hit you from two sides simultaneously with a low, wretched, roaring back end but also clear heartbreaking agony up front. It's not going to mash you right out the gates - it comes in like the rising tide, growing larger with every wave and every moment until eventually you find it enveloping you as you're being dragged into the depths by an awe-inspiring melancholic force. The vocals are comprised of deathly growls so deep that you can - and will - fall into them. You shouldn't miss out on this so get ready to descend into darkness and embrace the miserable end! -Brandon