Thursday, August 31, 2017

Owl Coven- Cosmic Void (2017)

Kneel down in reverence because Owl Coven has arrived with an EP that's ripe for worship! There are only two songs here, but that's more than enough to make you tremble before the ghastly sludge/doom sound that they conjure. The first track "Wanderer of the Cosmic Void" will serve as your introduction to their gloomy domain. It creeps along eerily, but has an almost dream-like quality that will set you adrift in a sea of stars. You'll be propelled by a deep, booming bass and pounding rhythms as a phantom guitar lead guides you through the dark. You'll hear some chanting early on, but this devolves into a violent yet subtle rasp that seems to reach from a place beyond your understanding, but can't quite burst through to consume you. The second song "Dying Mammoth" builds on the sound from the previous track, but with a 70s psych-rock undertone featuring a little bit of groovy bass and even more trippy guitar leads that occasionally slip out during this monstrous crawl. By the end, you'll probably find yourself in a daze. Don't worry, that's normal. These songs are slow, massive, and will still threaten to crush you, even through the cosmic fog. -Brandon

Mountains of Madness- Kick It In The Guts (2017)

You hear the name 'Mountains of Madness' and you're probably going to think of Lovecraft right away. But this Australian band isn't going in that direction at all. Their second EP "Kick It In The Guts" has no creep, nor crawl, no eerie atmosphere, and no unworldly horrors from beyond this plane. Instead, it's stoner metal that's built on straight-forward, gas-powered, Motorhead-injected attitude, a la Orange Goblin. It's the kind of sound that will get your heart pounding so fast that your blood will catch fire! The first half of the EP is savage and adrenaline-fueled with a great rock 'n' roll rhythm that'll have you driving down the highway at 150 miles an hour. The second half is more mid-paced with a dirty groove to get your body moving and your head banging. Every once in a while the band drops the tempo down low and you get a glimpse of something doomy, but then they kick it back into gear and return to the land of the lively. There's some grit and gravel in everything you're going to hear that give the tracks just enough bite to keep things interesting. In the end, this is exactly the kind of shit that's going to kick you in the guts. Man, they really nailed the name! -Brandon

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Morbid Evils- Deceases (2017)

Morbid Evils is the Sludgy Death/Doom side project of Keijo Niinimaa (Rotten Sound). As far as comparing sounds Morbid Evil retains that fat detuned low end of Rotten Sound, as well as Niinimaa's gravelly and abrasive vocals, but that's where comparisons stop, as Rotten Sound is Grindcore and speed and blast beats are their thing. This shit is nothing but slow, murky, gurgling, putrid sludge. There's a stink in the air for sure. A miasma of death and decomposition. A reek and stench of oppressive foulness. Maybe it's the cancerous looking, deformed creature featured on the cover art, meandering and dying like a beastly abomination. Maybe it's the thick sick distorted atonal tones from the strings in Morbid Evils that emit a pungent vapor and aura that is repulsive yet captivating and satisfying. Niinimaa's vocals over these filthy sewage encrusted riffs is the perfect match. A grotesque pairing that makes for a great release. The music flows and slops like rotten discharge. It moves like the excrement the riffs suggest. I know I just wrote that Owlcrusher is definitely going to be an end of the year lister, but this one is definitely going to be on there as well. It's hard to top this one. The riffs are sick as fuck, and this is some top shelf Sludge right here. Plus it's super fucking heavy! It doesn't get much better than this. "Deceases" is a killer album, figuratively and maybe literally. This shit is highly addictive! I highly recommend it! -Samir

Owlcrusher- S/T (2017)

Filthy, disgusting, and blackened to the core, Owlcrusher hail from Northern Ireland and they play hateful sludge doom oozing with loathsome riffs. This trio of hate mongers have been around for almost a decade starting out as Dwell In Sun, and have seemed to morph into a hideously deformed creature, while honing their craft and make something truly malevolent and abhorrent. I hope you like your sludge extra long and drawn out, because with only three tracks the shortest one is at 11 minutes. No worries though, as nothing on this is really that repetitive and it's packed with plenty of slow churned bowel shattering riffs. The vocals on this are harsh as fuck throughout, while the guitars have the right amount of fuzz and distortion to get some sick tones. The bass rumblings from the low end crush and destroy, and the drums slowly pummel and demolish as the band's devastation lies in the wake of its path to total apocalyptic ruin. This shit does grow on you with every listen though. As far as shit we reviewed this year the closest I think of is "Crestfallen" by Weltesser which is definitely a "best of" for the end of the year list, and I'm thinking this is going to be on there too. I'm pretty blown away by this release. It's just so fucking heavy, and sludgy in all the right places, and catchy as fuck at the same time.  When I'm looking for good Blackened Sludge Doom, this is the kinda shit i wanna find. I highly recommend this, you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sulphur Dreams - The Divine Anthropocene (2017)

Uttering an otherworldly howl out of Gothenburg, Sweeden comes Sulphur Dreams baring their fangs with their first album, "The Divine Anthropocene". What the fuck does Anthropocene mean? Well I looked it up for you - it's a term for the current geological era in which humankind is the primary force shaping the environment. According to the band, the title refers to the arrogance of man in its domination. Pretty cool, but it gets even cooler when you actually hear it. These songs are spellbinding specimens demonstrating fuzzed out stoner-doom that shifts around slippery and smooth underneath all the distortion. The guitar strings must have been coated in lube when they recorded this because every note seems to slide right into place, whether the song is an upbeat headbanger or is twisting into a gloomy, psych-dusted tangent. Some of my favorite moments here are when the band kicks into something energetic and driven like on "Babel A.D." or "Wisdom Hunters". This stuff makes me think of a reverb-soaked version of the Sword, and I mean that in the best way possible. But there's a lot of other stuff to experience across the album's seven tracks, and they touch on a lot of moods: mystic, nasty, sorrowful, frantic, thoughtful, and even more as you probe deeper. It hits a wide spectrum, so if you're into this kind of music, this is an album will probably capture you in one way or another. -Brandon

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Thugnor - The End Of Time (2017)

Thugnor is a Portuguese band that's been playing off and on for quite a while now - more than 20 years! Their previous works have been slow, destructive glaciers that draw from doom, death, and black metal to create a vile mixture of brutality. However, after a few line-up changes, they recently put out their second full-length album, "The End Of Time", which moves things in a more epic direction. Gone are most of the black metal elements and the death metal influence is diminished, leaving behind a heavy doom sound that is now fronted by powerful, soaring vocals. You'll still hear some death tone and chug in the guitar, but overall this is more akin to Candlemass than Asphyx. Big changes, but the results strike with the majestic fury of a dark god. Every song seems to gradually build up the intensity, so by the end of the album you're being hammered by divine metal wrath! The rhythm pounds with a force that will make your speakers shake, but you'll probably be too busy banging your head to notice. This album might appeal to a different crowd than their other releases, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - it's definitely different, but it's definitely awesome! -Brandon

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hawkbill- S/T EP (2017)

Hawkbill plays angry THC infused Sludge Doom from Kentucky. Think the swamp vapors and drunken shuffle of Eyehategod's Sludge meets the Whiskey Soaked southern charm of Weedeater's brand of Stoner Metal. It's got all the bells and whistles of a great Sludge release, bathed in feedback and fuzz from the strings, with hard hitting drums, and vocals/screams that are as hazy as the pot smoke that probably fills their practice space. Don't get me wrong there's a lot of anger and disdain in their music, and it's not all bong hits and spliffs. They're pissed off, with riffs that hit you like a bloodied fist square in the jaw, as it lurches forward in a drunken swagger. Hawkbill's strings manage to throw a lot of bluesy and soulful riffs in the mix, while hammering down a healthy dose of chugging as well. In conclusion, this is an excellent S/T EP and I'm kind of stunned I didn't find this sooner. Oh well, stay miserable my friends. Cheers! -Samir

Cavalcade- Lake Side Effect

I guess I should start out by saying I really liked this album a lot before I get into the preamble. Cavalcade play a sort of Stoner/Sludge Rock at their core (detuned, slow paced, kinda space, etc), but there's a lot more going on here. First off one thing you'll notice about their sound, is that they have a singer that pretty much sounds like he's a transplant from a black metal band, with his raspy harsh shrieks, that go beyond what is considered the norm for Sludge Rock/Metal. Then the rest of the band itself seems less interested with the the whole stoner/sludge thing and are more interested in playing post punk/post rock musings. Then there's all this ambient noise and samples that are added in. At certain points this even treads on shoegaze. Now let's be clear when I write shoegaze, I actually mean shoegaze and not doom gaze or blackgaze or whatever My Bloody Valentine infused sub genre you want to come up with. Actual fucking shoegaze. So these guys are a fucking engima when it comes to pegging down their sound, as they are pretty fucking unique and evade any sort of catorgorization. Experimental Sludge/Avant Garde Metal is about as close as you're going to get. The one thing I want people to walk away with though after everything I just wrote is that Calvacade rules and "Lake Side Effect" is a great album. Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Meterse- Power Collector (2017)

People often tell me that they don't like instrumental bands because they're "boring". However, I don't agree with that sentiment at all and we've got an album here that might change some minds. Meterse is an instrumental trio playing stoner/sludge out in Vancouver, WA. They just released their debut album, "Power Collector" and it's got my attention like a vise grip. Vocals or no, the songs on here grab you and keep you invested by combining swaggering riffs with dirty distortion and putting some forceful beats behind it. It's a sound that's domineering without being overwhelming - light-heartedly heavy, let's say. It's gritty, but vibrant - building passages with a rasp and a groove but never lingering on one for so long as to become monotonous. But this album isn't just a riff fest. It's got a couple of songs that have been set aside to bathe the listener in waves of ambient fuzz throwing in some percussion along the way. With the tone these tracks sit amazingly well beside the more driven tunes and keep things from getting stale. If you don't normally like instrumentals, I want to challenge you with this one. Or if you already like instrumentals, this is going to be awesome for you. -Brandon

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wax Brain- S/T (2017)

With a grimy blast out of Morgantown, West Virginia comes Wax Brain, here to kick some gnarly stoner jams down your throat with their self-titled debut release. Make sure you buckle in now, because this one isn't content to sit in one place! The first two tracks are nestled somewhere between stoner metal and punk rock - there's an awesome, aggressive energy with catchy vocals. It's the sort of sound that's going to knock you to the ground if you don't get your fist pumping and start shouting along. Then the third track comes in and you begin to see a transition. This one's an instrumental that starts off with the same sort of frenzied spirit but then develops a much more prog-influenced sound, swapping the untamed energy from earlier for a heavy groove that snakes around in all kinds of directions. That stoner-prog instrumental idea is continued onto the last two tracks and is pushed even further as the pacing slows down so you can let the riffage linger in your ears and leak into your mind. But whether the band is playing something fast and hard or slow and exploratory, be warned that the lead guitar has no mercy on this release and a wild solo can burst out at anytime and bring you to your knees. I really dig both styles they go through here, as well as the ever-present sticky stoner sound, so this one is definitely recommended! -Brandon

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Opium Heathen- S/T EP (2017)

With a thick layer of filthy fuzz and a solid stoner groove comes opium heathen's self titled EP. These Belgium harsh tokers sure know how to pack a bowl, and dial in some nasty tones. With riffs that reek of "Dopethrone" worship and sinister thoughts, the green smoke permeating from this one is sure to delight any stoner with a rolled joint, a pizza, a cup of koolaid, and nothing to do. I really liked the vocals on this one. Definitely sung in a good way, and the singer has a good voice that goes with the music. Going back to the whole Dopethrone thing, while that might not be the only Electric Wizard album that has inspired Opium Heathen, it is definitely a point of reference for their sound. The guitar and bass melt together with that maxed out over driven fuzz and distortion blend that became a signature sound for that album in particular. The tunes themselves are pretty fucking catchy, and I enjoyed this EP a lot. No ragging intended for all the Electric Wizard shit, as these dudes rule in their own right, and aren't afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves. Overall, this is really fucking stellar. Cheers! -Samir

Monday, August 14, 2017

Wastes- Into The Void of Human Vacuity (2017)

Wastes deliver punishing funeral/death doom from France, that speaks to the pain, suffering, and sadness endured by living in this dark universe. Each sorrowful grief stricken dirge packs a heavy blow, and hits you hard with it's meaty death metal sound. The vocals and pacing are just spot on. This album goes about as fast as a group of pallbearers heaving rather than carrying a concrete tomb in the mud during a heavy downpour until it reaches it's destination, which is a hole in the fucking ground. There's like one time that the drums play something that resembles straight up death metal or thrash beats, but that's all youre gonna fucking get here. The vocals are fucking killer. They have that classic death growl that is full and bellows with despair, while at other times it shrieks with anguish and animosity. This album is the perfect soundtrack for the rainiest days and the grayest skies. It's straight forward in it's execution, but there's an eerie layer of atmosphere that is ghastly and ominous, if not somewhat supernatural, that makes this stand out amongst the rest in the graveyard. I could listen to this kind of shit for hours. So yeah I obviously really liked this one. Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Judd Madden- Cosmic Black Wizard Demon Horse Lord (2017)

Continuing in the great tradition of Australia releasing excellent Doom/Sludge Metal comes Judd Madden's "Cosmic Black Wizard Demon Horse Lord". What you get with release is a heavy slab of Drone, Sludge, and Instrumental Stoner Doom being dragged by a sloth riding a giant snail through desolate landscapes. That might not the art that it is featured on the cover but it might as well should be (someone needs to make this!). Clocking in at almost an hour, this is a pretty straight forward with no frills and heavy metal thunder. Toward the end though on the last track we get the calm after the storm and shit gets chill. A pretty sharp contrast from all the headbanging and nodding that is being asked of you from the previous tracks. We've been featuring a lot of great Instrumental Stoner Doom on this blog as of lately and this is no exception. The sound on this is dank and full. When the strings hit that low note, it's a satisfying blow that I personally didn't want to end. Judd Madden is a beast and a one man doomsday device, threatening to turn the earth into fucking mad max fury road with his cataclysmic song of destruction and doom. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Mad God- Tales of a Sightless City (2017)

Gloomy riffage coupled with something a little more... Inhuman - that's what Mad God is bringing to the table. They're a stoner/doom trio based out of South Africa who have been divinely inspired by the Great Old Ones to create some fiendish tunes. Their first full-length album "Tales of a Sightless City" melds Lovecraft-influenced themes with a slow, doom-driven woe in a way that will fill your head with otherworldly visions of dreary horror. You'll get a solid dose of booming riffs on this release, but the band also seems to know when a quieter mood is more appropriate to carry the listener to an explosive finish. Some of these tracks have a long draw, but even in the more subdued moments, there's something sinister developing underneath the surface. All at once the tentacles will come out and start seizing your mind during a trippy solo or a fast stoner groove - and in your ruin you'll be enthralled! I really dig the lyrics here - every song is a dark fantasy with demons, magic, ancient curses, and more. There's a lot to love on this album, so get ready to worship the Old Gods... Or at least be destroyed by them! -Brandon

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Witch Throne- The Crystal Man (2017)

If you haven't heard of Witch Throne before, I've got great news: you've heard of Witch Throne now! The band formed in 2015, put out an EP titled "Follow the Witch", then went on hiatus shortly afterwards. But Witch Throne is back, now as a one-man project, and there's a monstrous new full-length to show for it! "The Crystal Man" is a concept album about the titular Crystal Man who is burdened by a great sorrow. He turns to a new drug called Celadon Sunshine in hopes that it will set him free... But stories like that never end well, do they? The sound is heavily influenced by doom greats - the first track gives off a strong Uncle Acid vibe and as the album rolls on you'll hear plenty of Sabbath worship too. With those two driving forces behind it, you can probably imagine that it's got its own type of dark swagger that keeps things moving. Structurally, the tunes seem to match the drug addict themes by switching between upbeat stoner highs and miserable, doomy lows. This makes for a killer roller coaster of sound that stoner/doom fans are definitely going to want to get on. Let this one take you for a ride, but be warned that you'll probably get hooked - I've been listening to it over and over and I'm still not done with it! -Brandon

Friday, August 4, 2017

Poseidon- Prologue (2017)

Jesus Fucking Christ, Poseidon is heavy as fuck!  This is the sort of sludge based doom I need in my life. This is probably what Mastodon wanted to sound like when they first started. With a name like Poseidon you do expect something that's big and grand, if not oceanic in size, and these guys deliver for sure. Their sound is definitely full, with thick heavy handed detuned guitars, and bass grooves that cause tectonic shifts. There are of course some chill moments on here. "Mother Mary Son of Scorn" is one long example of this. You get a different dynamic from band, w/ clean vocals and acoustic guitar. The music itself is still melancholic, but it's a change of pace. The band charges forward with the might of a killer whale on "Chainbreaker", returning to the merciless sludge doom introduced at the beginning. The mix on prologue is fucking top notch. I feel like I can hear everything as clear as it should be. But that fucking bass sound though. It's got the right blend of distortion and is just perfect. It's got the right amount of heaviness and weight to it as well. I should probably mention after all of that bass worship I just wrote, that I thought the singer had a good range. Both his singing and screaming were excellent, and it was a good fit with the music. Overall, I'm very impressed with this band, and if this is indeed a prologue of what's to come, then I can't wait to hear the rest of the chapters from Poseidon. Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Atomic Trip- Strike #1 (2017)

Judging by the cover, you'd probably think that this is just another Sabbath rip off, or someone worshiping at the altar of the Iommic one himself. However, there's more than meets the eye here with this explosive blend of fuzz and Instrumental Stoner Doom. These gargantuan sized riffs from Atomic Trip will hit you with hypnotic waves of radiation haze, while burying you in a mushroom cloud of fallout and smoke. Atomic Trip is so mesmerizing with their release "Strike #1" that the trance you are in will make you forget about the true horrors and evils of war, as you use the flames from the world burning around you to light up and continue your buzz. There's only two tracks on this, and both of them are very long, however it is common that when I review stuff on here, I've already listened to it about 5 or 6 times. So keep that in mind. Even though "Strike #1" is repetitive as fuck, it's not lackluster in the least bit and is enjoyable from front to back. The guitars on this are so fucking thick and just have the right amount of fuzz and distortion. Same goes for the bass as well. Overall, I fucking loved it. I didn't know what to expect when I saw the art, or at least I didn't expect it to sound like this. Cheers! -Samir

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fvneral Fvkk - The Lecherous Liturgies (2017)

GodDAMN. "The Lecherous Liturgies", the first EP from German doom masters Fvneral Fvkk, may only be two tracks long (three if you count the bonus track), but that's all the band needs to absolutely crush you under the weight of their monolithic sound. On first listen, you'll be hammered by a beautiful, dark, melodic flavor of doom metal that is soaked in sorrow and dripping with despair. The clean vocals especially add a dimension of seductive melancholy that can hit you deep. There are definitely plenty of epic, swelling moments here that will light fire in your soul and leave you feeling singed by the grim passion it inspires. Once you're good and wrecked by the power of the music you can start to delve a bit deeper into the lyrics - and if you hadn't noticed yet, you'll now realize that the songs are all grandiose tales of sacrilegious perversion. It's easy to miss if you didn't see that the first track was titled "Erection In The House Of God". The way the band pulls off this depraved motif with such subtlety in the music is amazing in itself - but the fact that the tunes are so great on top of that really makes this release stand out. I really love the few songs that are on here and I can't wait for the band to put out more! -Brandon