Friday, July 13, 2018

Bongripper - Terminal (2018)

So here's another release people have been waiting 4 years for, except this is a band many readers are very familiar with. So here it is! The lords of Instrumental Doom have returned to inform us the diagnosis is now "Terminal". Two long as fuck tracks "Slow" + "Death" which deliver on the riffs, especially since after the wait. In a year that saw the return of both Sleep, Dopethrone, and Yob, Bongripper had some great albums that preceded "Terminal's" release, however this one definitely does not disappoint. My favorite part of any Bongripper song is when they go for that ultra detuned low end, and both songs have those moments. However that's not all this album has to offer. To me "Terminal" definitely sounded like it had a lot of Post Metal influences going on, and reminded me of early material from fellow Chicago Instrumental Sludge/Post Metallers Pelican.
The music itself lumbers like a Woolly Mammoth during the ice age, and carries the power of an avalanche taking that same Woolly Mammoth out. There's an apparent whiff of death in the air, obviously hinted at by the album/song titles/artwork, and it can also be heard in how the songs are constructed as well, like a circle of life except with riffs. Songs build themselves over time while gaining momentum and regenerating until they finally decay and whither into the ether. If you wanna learn how to write great Instrumental Doom songs, just listen to Bongripper, and this album is no exception. When playing, make sure you listen to this on full blast to experience the music vibrating against your bones. Mandatory listening for sure! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Secret Cutter - Quantum Eraser (2018)

Ultra heavy Sludge Grinders Secret Cutter return with their much anticipated follow up to their Self Titled debut "Quantum Eraser". With a myriad of great Sludge riffs to showcase this time around (played either fast or slow), "Quantum Eraser" seems worth the 4 year wait. For those who are new to Secret Cutter, you need to hear this fucking band for sure. They have the super detuned string section, the extreme metal drumming, and the blood curdling vocals. These dudes are a Grindcore band at heart, but what do you call a band that isn't hitting those blasts every other riff? That's why Sludge/Grind defines their sound so well. They write Grindcore songs that often drips and oozes with a syrupy texture.
 These dudes have their own sound for sure. If I could pin point any bands I would compare them to, it's maybe like a cross between Triac and Ed Gein, but their style is so versatile I could imagine these dudes playing with a wide range of bands. If you are looking for Sludge is that is absolutely pulverizing and brutal as fuck, then you've come to the right band. Secret Cutter might collectively like Grief or Eyehategod, but that's not the kind of Sludge these dudes had in mind when they were making "Quantum Eraser". I think these dudes knocked this one out of the park. Great fucking sound, and an awesome blend of everything I love about Sludge and Grindcore. A marriage of devastation and infected wounds. A vicious dog bite that just won't heal. Highly recommended! Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bog of Anguish - S/T (2018)

From the grimy depths of Dayton emerges a new wellspring of terrifying misery - Bog of Anguish. The band starts with a tumultuous kind of black metal and mashes it against the downtrodden style and foreboding atmospheres of doom before throwing in a bit of death metal accent to create one concentrated, horrific instrumental swill on their debut-self titled release. Bone-chilling synth tones lure you in like a siren leading a sailor to his death before the rest of the band batters you from every direction with a chaotic cacophony of ever-shifting extreme metal. The effect is harrowing and with every song you can feel your heart drop as the eerie keyboard parts ring out clearly - almost laughing at your dread - over the sound of screeching, squabbling guitar and pounding, stormy rhythms. Tracks start out slowly, teasing the tense, frightful atmosphere before letting the beast off the chain to revel in bedlam. It's an abhorrent, formless nightmare that appears as a chimera of all the things that make your heart stand still in order to feed off of terror, torment, and revulsion. Those who choose to visit the Bog of Anguish should be warned - you will not return with your soul intact! -Brandon

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Haunted - Dayburner (2018)

Haunted. Yeah, that name is not a fucking joke. With the first eerie organ tones that slowly rise off of their newest album "Dayburner" you can immediately feel a dark presence come over you that will not leave. Filled with occult-inspired doom metal that will have your head swimming the album is an overwhelming source of wicked, swirling darkness that will have your hair standing on end. It balances airy, bewitching vocals that will set your soul free to float in the ether with a low, rumbling backend that holds the weight of the void and makes the world tremble. It is as though the reaper walks among us and the band does his bidding. Spacey guitar solos and trippy touches will have your mind crawling through the heavy crashing riffage, burdened by visions of ghostly spirits pulling you towards the abyss. The album taken as a whole is phenomenal, but there's a few bits that I keep listening to over and over - the chilling introduction on "Mourning Sun" bursting into that hard, gloomy riff with paranormal stirrings, the eerie chanting of 'follow me, follow me' at the end of "Orphic", and the acoustic segment at the beginning of the title track that will give you goose bumps and flashbacks to Elephant Tree's self-titled album. Everyone's comparing these guys to Windhand - and that's fair - but if that's all you're getting out of Dayburner you're not letting it consume you fully! You must drink from the seas of reverb, allow the black haze to overtake you, and bask in the pale spectral glow! -Brandon

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Cult of Occult - Antilife (2018)

Spewing forth misanthropic hymns of lunacy, agony, and despair, Cult of Occult have crafted a hideous monstrosity with "Antilife". It's been three years since Cult of Occult's last full length "Five Degrees of Insanity", and this one doesn't disappoint with its dark clouds of Blackened Sludge Doom misery. Repetitive and oppressively bleak, "Antilife" is sure to crush anyone's spirits with its howling drones, and its suffocating riffs. It's slow, and it drags, as if chained to a builder in a dank dark cavernous dungeon, with no sign of light or life, outside of the maggots and rats eating scraps of food. That's where you will find this music dwelling.
The strings definitely have good tone to them, providing a wretched sound that is oozing with hate and self loathing. The harshness of the vocals are shrill and guttural, and when combined with the rest of the band it adds to this disgusting display of human suffering. A mediation on grief, sickness, and pain, "Antilife" is sore that will never heal. Did I mention that I liked this? I could see this ending up on a lot of people's end of the year lists. It's up there for me that's for sure. I definitely recommend checking this one out, and it will most certainly ruin your day. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Thought Eater - Bones in The Fire (2018)

Thought Eater play Instrumental Progressive Sludge with a noise rock slant to it. They remind me of the band Noxagt for some reason. The grooves are jagged, and full of twists and turns,but it's a unique sound that's packed with enough sinister sounding riffs to keep my attention and focus. Although these dudes definitely flaunt their musical excellence, it's never done in an over indulgent way with excessive noodling. Thought Eater craft songs that are tightly wound like a watch, barrel forward with precise execution, and it's definitely exciting to listen to. Did I mention the bass player uses a 12 string bass? I'm kind of glad this is instrumental, because I'm not sure what kind of vocal style you would want to do over this. Sometimes shit like that can ruin the music, and these songs are enjoyable on their, and if it's not broke don't fix it!
I'm really digging the tones on this especially from the bass and guitar. It's almost as if the bass is more distorted than the guitar to give it more character. Both are distinctly noticeable, but the bass definitely has that distinct Noise/Sludge Rock sound I was talking about above. There's even some organ parts that kind of give it a 70s (a la Deep Purple/Pink Floyd) vibe without sounding like anything directly from that era. I mean you can tell the influences for Thought Eater are all over the place with their warped sounding riffs, and deviant melodies/harmonies. It's definitely a fusion of a lot of awesome shit but it's core is definitely in the swamps with the muck and the ooze. Anyway, really solid release, and it's a little bit different than the type of Sludge I usually encounter, but as good. Definitely recommend this one. Cheers! -Samir

Lord Vigo - Six Must Die (2018)

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But sometimes, after going through the book you can step back and say "Yeah, that cover was perfect for this". Right now that's what I'm thinking about Lord Vigo's latest release whose artwork features the undead shambling out of the sea on a misty, moonlit night with a ghostly ship in the background - this is exactly the kind of shit you're getting on their third album "Six Must Die". Their last two releases featured epic doom steeped in horror, but even though their new album is inspired by John Carpenter's The Fog the band trades in a little bit of their hellish terror for some adventure/fantasy sense and mixes it all into one enthralling sound. The opening instrumental track "Elizabeth Dane" sounds like it could be a heavy take on a pirate theme, but before the tone shift scares you away it dives into the depths on the next track "Doom Shall Rise" with metal riffage, organ tones, and chilling clean vocals prove that the band is still dwelling in the darkness. Although the songs are all strong and have some muscle to them - even some traditional metal moments - the album has a sort of ghostly presence about it, as though the spirits of vengeful warriors have risen to haunt the songs - or maybe that's just the combo of moaning synths and rhythms fit for nighttime marches across a battlefield. Even though they're branded as epic doom, Lord Vigo has always brought their own unique sound to the table and Six Must Die presents an exciting evolution of that style - it's got my recommendation! -Brandon