Friday, September 21, 2018

Conan - Existential Void Guardian (2018)

I mean it's kind of a no brainer that we would review this. I think once I heard the singles, I knew "Existential Void Guardian" was going to be one hell of an album. As far as newer fans or people who are unfamiliar with Conan go, I would say "Existential Void Guardian" is more accessible in terms of reaching a wider metal audience. Not saying that Conan suddenly gained pop sensibilities, and have "sold out". The same old Conan is here again, playing the barbaric Hyborian Age Sludge Doom we have come to know them for. What I am trying to say is that the songs seem to chug along with a noticeable uptempo beat throughout without being overtly droney, and while there is plenty of fuzz to go around on this one, there is also more clarity between the strings, and the bass comes through now deeper and heavier than I remember on previous releases. Both of which are tuned super fucking low as always which I like a lot.
Then on the other hand the band seems to explore other musical possibilities on this one as well. I know on "Revengeance" they experimented black metal-esque blasts however with "Paincantation" the band goes full on Grindcore. I know I can't be the only one right now who is wishing for Conan to do an all Grindcore album after listening to that. It looks like Conan switched drummers again on this one, and with new drummer Johnny King, the drumming on this one seems as versatile as ever. The band never lost their groove though, remaining mighty and heavy as ever, and it's apparent on "Existential Void Guardian" Conan is still a force to reckoned with in the overall Doom Metal scene. I can see why this album was highly anticipated. Overall, I really dug it, and if you're reading this I'm assuming you already heard it and dug it too. If not then you should probably listen to it immediately. Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Medicine Noose / Spewn - 12" Split (2018)

I'm usually pretty skeptical about writing reviews for splits, because it's like what if I like one band, but I don't like the other? Then it gets all awkward when I only review one side of the split, however I really like Medicine Noose, having reviewed them already once this year, so I trusted their judgement, and yeah this is a good split.
Medicine Noose is Germany's answer to Eyehategod. I mean why wouldn't they sound like them, they're named after one of their songs. I feel liken this past year I haven't encountered too many bands who are into Eyehategod worship, but Medicine Noose do it right, and they are the shit. They have a real strong 90's style Sludge/Doom sound that's slow as molasses, but just super pissed, with that raw swampy bass heavy sound. It has all the bells and whistles you would expect, with the piercing harsh feedback from the strings, and the tortured screams from the vocals. The bass sound on this this is super fat and thick, and I really liked that. Plus the riffs were really great. Overall, Medicine Noose continues to slay, and you should check them out if you haven't already.
I am new to Spewn and had not heard them before, so I had no idea what to expect. After the two songs from Medicine Noose, the genres sort of switch, and while Spewn is slow and sludgy, what they play is more in line with Man is The Bastard. Nothing but super distorted bass, drums, and screams. It's super fucking filthy and it's great. It's almost as if you played Medicine Noose or similar sounding band and played them at a slower speed. There's some blasts on the second track along with some bludgeoning double kicks from the drums, but it's mostly played slow. Like I said, I didn't know what to expect from them, but I ended up liking this as well, so overall it was a good split from two bands that do not sound anything like each other but share a commonality for slow sludgy abrasive music. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Zombie Eater - Slumberjack (2018)

Crawling out from underneath a scummy rock near Helsinki, Finland comes Zombie Eater - a three piece that's ready to tear a hole into you with the stoner/sludge assault on their debut EP "Slumberjack". It's a short trip for what's normally long-winded genre - clocking in at under 20 minutes - but that's all the time these dudes need to bludgeon you with savage riffs, spill some booze on your wounds, and then leave you to rot. It kicks off with "Turbo Liver" (that's gotta be a Judas Priest reference right?) which grinds through the slower side of things to start before picking up the pace and kicking into driven stoner energy fuming with weed, whiskey, and decay. These vocals are so destructive that they're burning through burning through the guy's vocal chords before they even get out of his mouth and then corroding anything in earshot. Next song is "Nuclear Jesus" which keeps things hot and nasty, featuring some nice bass groove that keeps popping out at you. "Slumberjack" is the final track on the EP and it's the longest. It's got fat riffs swinging around like an ogre's fist but the band takes a quick break from the harsh and heavy stuff mid-song to stir up some primitive grooves plus they let you wander through a forest of feedback and ambient noise at the end. Awesome set of filthy tracks right here that will have you banging your head until you're dizzy! Dopethrone fans need to hear this right away and everybody else should turn their volume up too! -Brandon

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Alms - Act One (2018)

I can't tell if this is magic created by heavy metal or heavy metal created by magic, but whatever the case may be Alms have cast a powerful spell with their debut album "Act One". Bellowing with doom and early metal stylings in the vein of Pagan Altar, but bubbling with infectious 70s organs that fill the air with sorcery and give things a driven intent when the time is right. You can almost imagine it as though classic Uriah Heep or Deep Purple got really into the occult. It's a beautiful blend of mystical doom and grooving hard rock that manages to walk the line between the dark and the light. The band's simultaneous male/female vocals help to evoke a bewitching aura, drawing the listener in with their charming mixed melodies while the music treads through dangerous territories. The opener "Dead Water" and the following track "The Toll" have enough sullen attitude that they could provide the soundtrack for a condemned prisoner's march through the stone halls between the dungeon and the gallows, but they still have a bright swagger to them that eventually builds and bursts into a heavy headbanging moment of passion. As the album progresses songs pick up more galloping power, crusading onwards like wizards on horseback. Throughout the album there's always this vague notion of ghosts looking over your shoulder - it becomes most apparent when the music hits a quiet point - but you never quite manage to catch a glimpse so you're left wondering if it's a haunting or it's all in your head. Alms has definitely found THE sweet spot between heavy organ-laden proto-metal and doom and now they're hammering it hard! Here's hoping for more! -Brandon

Friday, September 14, 2018

Oxygen Destroyer - Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death (2018)

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to review a Kaiju inspired metal band. There's no fucking way. I stumbled upon this after wanting to listen to something not related to Stoner, Doom, and Sludge and this was for sure a great find. The Kaiju inspired Oxygen Destroyer play Death Thrash that harkens back to the Teutonic Thrash of Kreator, as well as Early Sepultura/Sarcófago; while also having a more modern sound that reminded me of Ghoul on meth. It's brutal, it fucking rips, and it has that vicious Thrash Attack like the three headed King Ghidorah swooping down from the sky to spew fire at his arch nemeses and scorch the earth.
Deranged riffs are whipped up in a maniacal whirlwind at breakneck speed throughout "Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death" (What a name!). If only more Thrash were played with this kind of ferocity and barbarity. This shit is just non-stop relentless savagery front to back. Chainsaw guitars, blast beats, raspy demonic vocals, blistering leads; this what it sounds like when Kaiju fight. I was really blown away by this release, and it's definitely inching its way to my year end list. I mean if you're into Extreme Music that's played super fucking fast, I'm pretty sure you'll dig this one. Highly Recommended! -Samir

Thursday, September 13, 2018

GRRRMBA - Embodiment (2018)

A month and a half ago I did a review for GRRRMBA's "Coalescence" and I was blown away by how great this band was, and how I completely dropped the ball on covering them last year when they released it. It was also around this time that I learned they would be dropping some new shit, and the band was cool enough to send me an advance copy of it. Well "Embodiment" dropped last week, and I don't what the fuck you're doing right now, but you probably want to check this album out. It's a fucking Blackened/Sludge/Death/Doom Masterpiece. Not only is this like one of my favorite albums of the year, this has to be one of the heaviest fucking albums of the year as well. Seriously it's like Coffin Torture's "Dismal Planet", Primitive Man's "Caustic" and this. GRRRMBA has like the sickest Guitar and Bass sound. It manages to be slick and pristine, but absolutely filthy and disgusting at the same time. The vocals and drums are also spot on, and add to the already crushing heaviness. It's pure sludge groove satisfaction. "Embodiment" decimates and is just completely desolate in atmosphere. It's pitch black slime from the darkest and deepest depths of this world borne out pain, suffering, hatred, and pure fucking evil, but in aural form. What more is there to write? I'm sold, and I think this is mandatory listening. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Stygian Crown - Through Divine Rite (2018)

Be careful when you hit the play button on this one because Stygian Crown is a band with a mighty force that will throw you to your knees and then leave you there so that you may worship at the altar of doom! They're bringing some much needed darkness to the sunny city of Los Angeles, California with their "demo" entitled Through Divine Rite. I put "demo" in quotes there because I've heard a lot of demos and this is a way higher quality than most of them and with some pretty incredible songs to boot! It's heavy as a truckload of stone, weighed down with the sound of doom and taking plenty of inspiration from epic acts like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus as well as traditional metal. Up front, powerful female vocals call out across the void and summon an otherworldly might into the shadows while the band attacks mostly with slow pounding waves of sound that crash without remorse, occasionally working into a merciless gallop. A few symphonic moments creep in to add some dramatic tension and adds a beautiful accent to the doom metal without impeding anything heavy - a fitting soundtrack for rituals serving ancient warrior gods! These songs should be echoing through the hallowed halls of a temple, offered in tribute along with the spoils of a morose war. You could compare the band to Avatarium, but Stygian Crown doesn't bother with anything gentle or proggy on this demo, they're always giving you full-on power! There's only three tracks here which just isn't enough for me, but the good news is that there's a full-length album in the works, so here's hoping for more soon! -Brandon