Friday, February 16, 2018

Smoke - Stoned to Death (2018)

With a name like Smoke, you can only imagine what this band sounds like. Hailing from the deep swamps of Louisiana, Smoke is heavy on the Stoner vibes while also mixing in some Sludge Doom for good measure. If you mixed Iron Monkey, Weedeater, and maybe a little QOTSA together, you would most likely get Smoke. The band has that warm and fuzzy sound to it, while also managing to hit hard like a left hook to the jaw. Scratch that, make it a shovel to the head. These guys definitely love their stoner riffage, but you can definite catch a whiff of that NOLA Sludge/Doom heritage in there as well. These dudes sound nasty as fuck though.
Like I said they have that warm and fuzzy sound and that comes mostly from the guitars on this. It's definitely laid on thick like Robitussin to a sore throat. Speaking of which, the vocals on this are fucking killer, and I couldn't imagine them using anything else. It really gives them that edge and contributes to their overall dank and dirty sound. There's a really good bass tone on this album, that is really punchy and cuts through. A lot of times I often associate the sludge sound with the guitars, but if I were to pin a "Sludge Sound" for bass, this would probably be it. The drums on this are fucking amazing. There are moments where you wouldn't expect it and this dude throws in some double kick that really adds a heavy layer to this. It's also used sparingly, which gives it even more of impact when it does happen.
Overall I really dug this. It's not the most original stuff out there right now, but it's definitely the type of music I'm into that's for sure. If you're looking for something that has a stoner groove, but want something that's harsher than your typical heavy psych, then Smoke is definitely your shit. This gets my stamp of approval! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fu Manchu - Clone of The Universe (2018)

Usually I don't review albums from established bands like this, but I felt like I needed to make an exception here. Fu Manchu certainly doesn't need my help in promoting their new album. I'm simply writing this review to file it away for the "Best of" year end list, and also to proclaim that it is probably my favorite Fu Manchu album of all time. Even more so than "The Action is Go".
My love for that album started not too long after it came out. I was reading Thrasher or Guitar World (I can't remember where the article originated), and I saw Fu Manchu being featured with J Yuenger of White Zombie (who I'm still a fan or, just not Rob) who apparently produced their new album. I remember him saying he let the band use his vast pedal collection, but that's the only thing I really remember from that article. Either way, It peaked my interest and when I finally got my hands on "The Action is Go", it blew my mind. The front cover with the retro skateboarding picture captured the full essence of the whole album. Godzilla sized 70's style rock riffs with a punk rock energy played to the backdrop of a California summer.  This was my introduction to Stoner/Desert Rock, and I believe this was my doorway drug to the harder stuff like Sleep and Electric Wizard. I was already a metal head well before that, so it makes sense I would be drawn to the more sinister and aggressive aspects of the Stoner genre.
Fast forward to yesterday when I listened to this for the first time. I mean up until this point I have casually followed their albums. I liked "King of The Road" but after that I got quite lost on their stuff. It just didn't seem to hold up for compared to what I heard. Until now. I mean seriously, this is a great fucking album. The guitar and bass still have that massive fuzz sound that's often duplicated but nothing is quite like the original. The riffs are just as Kaiju-like as they ever have been before, and they're just a little less California Sunshine and little bit more Angry Red Planet Mars. I think what I like most about this album is the fact that the last track is about just as long as all of the other songs combined, and it features Alex Lifeson from Rush on it.  In a way it makes me feel a little nostalgic about rush even if i'm not the biggest fan. Just knowing they're not going to be together anymore makes the track seem a little bit more special.The song might seem vast but it doesn't get old, and it's not bogged down by being repetitive with plenty of tasty riffs to keep the listener satisfied.
So overall this is definitely one of my favorites of the year from a band that I have been a fan of for decades now. So grab your skateboard, or bong, or whatever you need this to be the soundtrack for and turn this shit up, because it fucking rules. We live in a day and age where Stoner Rock is plentiful, and for the most part have nothing new to offer. Yet, for whatever reason, Fu Manchu manage to pull off their signature sound while still feeling fresh after all of these yes. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Krvshr - Night Terrors (2018)

Great news! If you've been sleeping too soundly at night, Krvshr is here to grab you by the throat and make you shit yourself with their new album "Night Terrors"! This is some brutal sludge that was raised on a steady diet of hardcore and brushed with a light layer of doom. It's the band's first full length and they really worked hard to make sure you feel this deep in your bones. When the guitar and drums hit in unison, it feels like a machete hacking away and opening up fresh wounds with its sharp and rusty guitar tone and murderous rhythmic force. It's filled with rancorous rage, pissed off guitar strains, and squealing feedback, but its hardcore/punky nature still gives it some catchy bits. The first track "Wax Wings" is a great example, but I especially love the third track "Sailors Grave" and the vocals on the chorus. The last track "Walking Hell" is longer than the rest and a little more brooding, but features the same wretched ire. The whole album has an addictively abrasive power - it hits you like a brick, then someone drags that brick across your skin. Okay, yeah, it doesn't sound 'addictive' when I spell it out like that, but trust me, you'll keep coming back the sound. You might hear one song, think it's good, and walk away, but before too long you'll be wandering back, hungry for the Krvshr's painful bite. -Brandon

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tentacle Wizard - Bringer of False Light (2018)

Tentacle Wizard is a band out of Serbia that wants to take you on a nice, meandering stroll through a world of devastation and ruin. Their debut release "Bringer of False Light" takes slow stoner-doom with psychedelic and post-metal touches and plays it with a mellow tone over the course of three long-ass songs. How do they achieve such a sound? Well it can be attributed in part to their use of two bass guitars, which makes the air feel dense, as though you have to wade through the music. But beyond that you can give credit to the songs themselves, which are as exploratory as they are heavy. Guitar leads wander all over the place, trying to dig their roots anywhere they can. The final song in particular kicks around in the darkness angry and aimless for the first six minutes before diving into an absolutely serene sense of psychedelic peace. Don't get me wrong, even though this has a smooth disposition, it's still got its rough patches and a strong arm. The vocals are hoarse declarations shouted into the cosmic void, and while the tone might put you at ease, there are enough crushing riffs to put you right back on edge. It all just depends which tentacle the wizard summoned out of the abyss - sometimes it's going to gently guide you through the wasteland, other times it's going to slither all around you, bind you up, and squeeze. In any case, it's definitely worth letting tripping out on for a while. -Brandon

Friday, February 9, 2018

Rotted - Pestilent Tomb (2018)

Holy fuck this is some good shit! Influenced by American and European Death Metal of the late 80's and early 90's as the band's bandcamp firmly states, Rotted is a one man project that indeed had a penchant for OSDM, but also combines aspects of Death/Doom and Sludge, adding to the brutality and carnage of its predecessors. The album is aptly named "Pestilent Tomb" as the grooves on this maggot infested slab of putrescent flesh is noxious enough the wake the dead.  Riffs move and sway like waves of rot, and fester in its disgustingly heavy prominence. 
I'm just a sucker for a detuned slow to mid paced heavy groove-laden riff, which are plentiful on "Pestilent Tomb". This is where a lot of the OSDM influence comes from. Riffs stew in their own repetitive filth, as the riffs are simple and heavy. Don't get me wrong though, just because the riffs simple doesn't mean they're stupid. The music just isn't concerned with the technical escapades of more modern Death Metal. The sound production on this release however is definitely more modern, relishing in its agonizing nastiness, without coming off as being too polished or over produced. 
The strings are definitely fat and heavy, and there is a good mix between the sludgy chugging of the guitar and the deep low bass sound. Sometimes you can here the bass entering or exiting a riff before or after a pause, and I think that's an awesome way to make you forget you're listening to only one person perform all of the instruments. That and the top notch musicianship. Even though the sound is a little loose like decaying meat off of bone, the playing on this is tight as fuck. Especially the drums. Not everything on this release is slow, as it's clear the intentions aren't to make a straight Death/Doom album. It just so happens that these are the types of riffs that this dude likes playing. However when shit speeds up, the drums make their presence known with wallops of double kicks, and bludgeoning blast beats. The they get out of the way again for the strings and the vocals to do their tending to the dead. Lastly the vocals really kill on this. It's deep, but it cuts through the mix, and is as subtle as a chain saw in a backwoods cannibal massacre. 
Overall I really dug this. I'm really into the fast shit, but I also like the stuff that let's you savor the riffs before beating you over the head into a bloody pulp. "Pestilent Tomb" is definitely one of those types of releases for me, and if you're into that kind of shit as well, you should most definitely check this out. Highly recommended! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Rip VanRipper - Pars Flaccida (2018)

Hey it's some fellow Michiganders who happen to Stoner/Sludge/Doom, and these guys sound down to bake out! Combining the sounds of Dopethrone, Church of Misery, and a little bit of Beastmaker, Rip Van Ripper are high on dope and ready to lay down some tasty stoner riffage. Combining Traditional Doom templates with Stoner/Sludge grooves, Rip Van Ripper are super dank for sure, and sound nasty as fuck.
One thing I've noticed for sure with these dudes is that their influences they cull out seem to span over decades rather than being limited to a certain era. You can hear the 70's but it's not just rampant Sabbath and Zeppelin worship like you'd expect. There's a bit of the 80's and 90's Doom/Sludge in there, as well as the more contemporary bands I mentioned above.  These bits and pieces here and there craft some pretty sick and memorable riffs for sure.
There's definitely some fuzz in the guitar parts, but nothing that is overpowering, especially when the riffs get extra sludgy. The low detuned part come in with enough clarity to make an impact, and not seemed one big ball of mud. This could also have something to do with the bass sound as well, which while slightly distorted is almost devoid of all fuzz. The bass tone itself, sounds more like something you'd hear on an old school punk record. Think Geezer Butler playing for Black Flag. I am a fan of this drummer's foot work for sure. I really like Stoner Doom that really accents and stresses the heaviness of the guitar and bass, rather than just sitting back and staying out of the way. The vocals on this release are fucking amazing. There's a high and low death growl mix that makes this band stand out in the crowd bong in hand. There's also some cleaner vocals in there as well, and altogether it makes for a great sound. This helps in a way, because the genre itself can be pretty stale if you're not bringing something different to the table.
"Pars Flaccida" fucking rules, and is definitely one of my favorite stoner jams of the year thus far. This isn't Rip Van Ripper's first release, but it sounds like they're definitely honing in on weed metal mastery with this one. Pack a bong, order a pizza, turn this shit on, and let the party commence! I definitely recommend this one for sure! Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Megaritual - Dreamfeeder (2017)

Born of both sky and soul, "Dreamfeeder" is the latest release from Australian one-man band Megaritual and it manages to feel simultaneously worldly and cosmic over the course of its 25 minute musical odyssey. It's a beautiful mix of genres that you can almost think of as an audio mosaic - you can zoom in and analyze one component, but when you do, you're missing the bigger picture. Here, that big picture is a swirling, trippy journey that starts in your head and ends sprawled out among the stars. The album starts with the title track, which leaves acoustic trails echoing through the void before blossoming into a booming doom metal and then evolving beyond that. The doom is strong here at the beginning, but over the course of the album it shifts, evaporates, and simply leaves behind its dark flavor to enhance everything that follows. Conversely, you'll hear a hint of Eastern musical influence trickling through the music at first, but when the second track hits, it's like the dam breaks and you feel it rushing forth like a raging torrent. Exotic Indian tunes (raga) weave through a mesh of psychedelic, stoner, doom, and rippling cosmic sounds. It's the kind of stuff you should burn incense to, but even if you don't you'll probably get a whiff anyway because the music practically gives off its own fumes. This is unique piece of work for sure, sort of outside the realm of what I'd normally dig into, but I'm really glad I did. -Brandon

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Cardinal - Omut (2018)

When I first stumbled across this album on Bandcamp, I couldn't find ANY info about Cardinal - it was as though "Omut" had simply been pulled out of the abyss. Thankfully the label (Crab Stoned But Rocking) eventually put a bio up on their website, which Google then kindly translated from Russian to English, so now I know these guys are more than a sweet, dark dream. Much appreciation to all the wicked forces out in Moscow that conspired to bring Cardinal's first full-length album out to the world - this is a rocking piece of female-fronted stoner-doom with tunes that will drive into your ears and create a rhythmically churning tornado in your head! The album kicks off with a completely original rendition of "Me and the Devil Blues" from the legendary Robert Johnson. It takes the blues classic and throws it in a blender with big chunks of modern, fuzzy rock 'n' roll and sprinkles a little black magic in for flavor to create an electric stoner rock anthem. It's a good one to put up front because it sets the tone for the bluesy stoner-doom that's to come. The band doesn't hide their influences, musical or otherwise, because aside from the Robert Johnson cover, they also put a Pentagram tune on here and turned a couple of poems from Lord Byron into songs. It's clear that they've got a solid foundation of good taste! But on top of that the album's got a ton of stoner groove with some psychedelic and occult touches that come to the surface from time to time. It's definitely the kind of stuff I want to jam - this album should be heard! -Brandon

Friday, February 2, 2018

thallMOTH - ANVRF (2018)

thallMOTH is the shit! Super fuzzed out Instrumental Stonerdoom, that's slow and droney. Pretty much the antithesis of my last couple of reviews, but I don't give a fuck. It's simple, it's heavy, and the sound is super fucking thick. What is Instrumental anyway other than songs without lyrics? That's how you write a song right? Well, it's not always that simple, and I think these dudes make it work. For what it's lacking in vocals and lyrical content, they make up with ambient noises, and guitar melodies that keep things interesting without it just being too repetitious and stale.
The low end rumble on this is fucking amazing. It's a sound that I can imagine being played at an insane volume, and letting the music resonate through your flesh and bones, while you pack the next bong. "ANVRF" is definitely the kinda stoner shit that needs to be blasted. Fuck your neighbors! If they don't like it, tell them they need better taste in music! The intertwining detuned bass and guitar fuzz work as one to cast its stoner spell on the listener, keeping you locked into a trance that will leave you wanting to see this journey to its completion.
There is one song however that does have vocals, and it's the last track titled "Message from ANVRF (Black Sabbath Tribute)" and at first I was shocked to hear this. Are they really covering "War Pigs"? How could they even top Faith No More's version? Well, even though I didn't see this coming, I will say that the band doesn't play the song as a straight cover, and they definitely make it their own. At times they completely ignore the original rhythms, opting for something that seems more natural to their stream of musical flow, however you can still tell it's "War Pigs". When the vocals come in, the singer doesn't even bother emulating Ozzy, as they come up with a haunting new melody that seems even more ominous and sinister than the original. It also kills me at the same time, because now I'm a little torn! Come on guys, do an album with vocals! Not necessarily these songs, but give us something in the future! I really dug the vocals! Yeah so overall, this was very enjoyable, and I hope to hear more from thallMOTH in the future. Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Ditch And The Delta - Hives In Decline (2017)

You can add this to my ever growing list of releases I didn't get around to reviewing last year, but better late than never I suppose. Hailing from SLC, The Ditch And The Delta deliver crushing Sludge grooves with Post Hardcore, with a pinch of Math Rock, but nothing that's too noodly to wear out its welcome. I could see this band being on tour or at least the same roster of bands that were on Hydra Head Records or Robotic Empire in the late 90's early 00's, because one they definitely share a similar sound, and two they're that good. Think Fugazi meets Mastodon or Neurosis meets Unwound. It's highly emotive but also hits you hard because they're also heavy as fuck.
I kinda peg these dudes in the same category as Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean (who I reviewed last week), as a contemporary Sludge band that's doing something a little different, and not really concerned with what everyone else is doing. This suits them well, as they stick out like a sore thumb, rather than just being another fish in the endless sea of Doom/Sludge bands. Also similarly like CTTBOTO for all of their gargantuan heavy moments, there are those moments where they tend to reach for the non-metal influences to bring something interesting into the mix. The strings are burly, with the distorted bass low end rumble having a menacing prominence in their overall sound. The guitar sound is detuned and thick. However, they do not shy away from the fact that they are a trio, with some melodic parts seeming sort of minimal or stripped down, to expose their numbers. This is used to the band's advantage to open up a world of different possibilities though, not limiting themselves to simple chug riffs, or drone doom power chords. Then there is the blanket of shouted vocals, which adds that layer of aggression and raw fury, even when the strings and the drums aren't reflecting the same irritable expressions.
Overall I really dug this. It's definitely a change of pace, and definitely something I would recommend to those who are looking for something that's a little different than the Sludge bands in the underground right now. I'm definitely into the bands that are knockoffs of others, especially if they sound like Eyehategod or Grief. However, I feel like for every ten of those, we need a band like The Ditch And The Delta around, so things don't get too stale or redundant. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Abysmal Grief - Blasphema Secta (2018)

Abysmal Grief. Even if I don't stick the word "fucking" in the middle, it's an evocative name with an inherent power behind it. It screams of misery beyond normal convention - an inner darkness that could only be unearthed by extreme measures. I've been an Abysmal Grief fan for several years now and their music has always lived up to their name. Their fifth full-length album "Blasphema Secta" is no exception - it's the first album I was looking forward to this year and it's lived up to all my expectations and then some. This is scathing doom metal heavy with the atmosphere of a gothic horror as though the sound was born in the middle of a thunderstorm at a Transylvanian castle. The 3 and a half minute introduction plays chilling synthesized strings and organ over a sea of ambient sounds including a crackling fire and blowing winds that will come to bookend each track. It establishes an air of sophistication and terror right away and builds tension before gliding into the second track "Behold The Corpse Revived". It starts with a forlorn violin, but then with the chime of a bell and a wretched scream, the coffin lid is ripped off and the decent into darkness truly begins. The violin will resurface periodically throughout the rest of the piece as the drums pound a steady, even-keeled assault, the keys sing out with sinister intent, and the guitar growls like it's ready to bite you at any moment. Entwined in this malevolent mix are the vocals which command your attention with a sepulchral rasp. Eventually this song gives way to a the third track "Maleficence" blasting an eerie keyboard melody and grizzly rhythms fit for a ballroom dance of the undead. The fourth track "Witchlord" is one that Abysmal Grief dragged up from deep within the crypt - it's actually a cover of a song by the now defunct Italian black metal band Evol. Consequently, you do hear black metal influence pushing through here - especially in the vocal performance - but it's still well in line with the other material on this album. You can feel the song stewing in hatred, but it calms itself for organ passages and some clean guest vocals. "When Darkness Prevails" is a more subtle tune than the rest with soft choirs and synth work that will make your hair stand on end - it's an opportunity to let the atmosphere soak in before the fury of the final track "Ruthless Profaners". This is an excellent song to end the album on as it feels like the culmination of everything that came before it. It's a decadently evil combination of haunting synth and organ, dark snarling metal, ritual chants, and harsh vocals that eventually closes with a piece that seems fit for a cathedral. Blasphema Secta is definitely an album I got lost in. I wanted to complain about how short it seemed, but when I checked the length it's a solid 45 minutes - I was just so engrossed in what I was hearing I didn't realize how much time had passed. This album is an absolutely incredible work - another awesome entry in Abysmal Grief's catalog. Highly recommended to anyone who hungers for darkness, horror, and doom!- Brandon

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Absent - Towards The Void (2018)

On January 1st, 2018 Brazilian three piece Absent released their debut EP "Towards the Void" and set the bar extremely high for doom metal this year. The band chose the title well as each track feels like a slow march into the endless abyss, especially given the way the sound swirls with reverb. Songs will bulldoze you with a wall of overbearing somber riffage, but then pull back to leave you floating in a space that now feels very empty as distant psychedelic tunes aimlessly wander around you. When the vocals call out, it's like a trail of ghosts trying to reach you from dimensions unknown, helplessly urging you to turn back. Add to this some trippy guitar solos and bottomless echoes and you can definitely feel the music working its way into your head space. Plus a few chants strewn throughout breathe some eerie tones into it that keep you moving hypnotically towards the black. The only thing I'm unsure of with this release is why they've dubbed it an EP - clocking in at just over 40 minutes, this is as long as most full-length albums. But if what they're suggesting is that a future album will have even more material, I'm all for it! Towards the Void is one hell of a way to start the year and a recording career, so I'm looking forward to more of both! -Brandon

Friday, January 26, 2018

Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean - Decay and Other Hopes Against Progress (2017)

I wouldn't say this one slipped though the cracks for me. I just never got around to reviewing it. However after months of keeping it on the back burner as something I would like to review and recommend, I revisited this tasty sludge morsel, and sure enough I like it just as much as I did when I first listened to it. Maybe even more this time around!
I mean come on, look at their fucking name! They couldn't of picked a better name for themselves that sums up the dreadful doom and gloom that is their sound. Mixing Sludge Doom with a little bit of Post-Metal in there, Chained to the Bottom of The Ocean have waves of heavy riffage to drown you with. I think what I like the most about CTTBOTO is that they aren't trying to imitate anyone and that's pretty fucking amazing for a first release. I mean there's definitely hints of things here and there. I mean while they don't sound exactly like them, the only other Sludge band that comes to mind that is going along in a similar trajectory is Thou. They revel in detuned slow sludginess, but also have a hankering for non metal leanings as well. It's safe to say their pool of ideas is deep with vast influences. 
The strings on this have a really fat low end distorted sound, with tides of feedback and ghost trails of feedback to help create the threatening mood of duress and aquatic imprisonment. All of this kind of disappears when the band switches from all out aggression to Post Rock/Metal Exploration, relying more on dissonant atonal chord pairings using higher notes, rather than power chord drones. The vocals on this album, really fucking cut like rusty knife. Jagged, Primal, and Agonizingly Brutal, don't expect anything clean about the way they sound. Definitely a Black Metal quality to them. I think what's also interesting is that the vocals never change throughout this release. Not even for the aforementioned Post-Metal parts. 
Well, I really dug this album. I've listened to it a lot over the last couple of days while trying to prep for this review, and I feel like I missed the boat for not putting this on my best of list for 2017. CTTBOTO deliver on their first album what many bands strive to do on their third or fourth release. Who knows what the future brings for this band, but whatever it is, count me in! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Pulsar - Dark Universe Arise (2017)

Transmitting across deep space frequencies from a forgotten corner of the galaxy is Pulsar. This band of German cosmonauts has been traveling between the stars and gathering material of interstellar origins in order to produce the massive sound on their debut release "Dark Universe Arise". This album features fuzzy doom metal that wavers all over the cosmos before crashing on your ears and bursting into a haze of extraterrestrial dust. They've drawn plenty of inspiration from Electric Wizard, but exposed it to space radiation and set it adrift in the quasi-psychedelic lights of a nebula resulting in a dense mass of doom metal on a galactic scale. There's a steady feed of low, rumbling riffs set across a background of crackling cosmic noise. The drummer periodically goes wild on the cymbals and it's like a series of explosions driving the music into your mind. Vocally, it's a mix of distant, despondent cries and impassioned, aggressive shouts that fit the sound perfectly. Toss in a few movie quotes picked up from neighboring frequencies you've got yourself some super massive doom tunes that will swallow you like a black hole. I don't think it needs much more qualification than that - I highly recommend you let these guys transport you to the dark parts of the universe where their wicked music was born. -Brandon

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Floaters - Waiting For Amnesty (2017)

I think this is an album that slipped under everybody's radar with its release right at the end of 2017 - or at least I assume so, because if people had heard this one I think they'd be going nuts for it! Ripping out of the underbelly of Tokyo, Japan is a band called Floaters with their absolute monster of a debut album "Waiting For Amnesty". Creating a satisfyingly grotesque amalgamation of stoner, sludge, and doom the trio pounds out gnarly tunes that will eat through flesh and bone. Songs generally start out slow with abrasive sounds that will peel back layers of skin, but then move into faster, headbanging stoner riffs that are teeming with swagger - you're getting the best of both worlds here. On top of the band's harsh tone the vocalist pulls out delightfully nasty shouts to make sure that the album retains a hard edge and a nice sour flavor even through sweet stoner-doom grooves. It's a great album for the wretched slime waiting the darkness, writhing and agitated, ready to dissolve anyone it touches with an acidic embrace. Don't skip out on this one! Oh, and if you're staring at the wild cover art and want to know what the creature sounds like, check out the intro to track 7 - I'm pretty sure that's its mating call. -Brandon

Friday, January 19, 2018

Su19b - Neutralize (2018)

This will be my second review of the week featuring a grind band from Japan. Unlike Friendship (who was the band I reviewed on Wednesday) Su19b revel in the slime and the muck, as their slow sewage like sludge riffs cake the tracks from their newest release "Neutralize". If anything needs to be neutralized it's the noxious stench fuming from this rotten and repulsive sounding release. It's disgusting, and I really dig it. I think what I really like is the fact that these dudes actually sound like they're playing grind riffs at sluggish time consuming pace. However it doesn't take long before these guys pick up the pace and we're treated to blast beats, d-beats, and OSDM-esque fast beats. Su19b is like the nasty result if Napalm Death an Corrupted had given birth to a demon spawn. This shit is heavy as fuck by the way.
The guitar/bass sound is just fat and bloated like a water logged corpse in a decrepit humid swamp. This is dinner music for maggots. It seems to work with both the slow and the fast stuff. While the blast parts seem to get a little lost in the mix, once they hit that d-beat, it's hard to resist banging your head along with their infectious grooves. The vocals on this release are quite sickening to say the least. This dude has has a death growl that is reduced to a gurgle and it sounds like this dude invoked an evil spirit that has taken over his body and is doing the talking for him from now on.
Overall, this band delivers when it comes to grimy and filthy sounding tunes. Their hideous and revolting dirges left me feeling pretty satisfied. Plus I mean look at their fucking album art! What do you expect this shit to sound like?I was pleased with this release, and I think you should give it a go if you like a little grind with your charred blackened sludge. I like it! Keep it gross! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Doomstress - Supernatural Kvlt Sounds - The Second Rite (2017)

Beneath a black mantle Doomstress performs a dark ceremony dubbed "Supernatural Kvlt Sounds - The Second Rite". The original Supernatural Kvlt Sounds first saw release back in 2016, but now with an updated mix, new artwork, and a whole extra track The Second Rite unfolds and has YOU chained to the sacrificial altar! Filled with female-fronted heavy doom with traditional metal influences thrown in, this release comes stomping through the night with a good dose of mysticism. It drives forward with steady, hard rocking force as mysterious elements creep in to give tracks a hint of occult magic. In addition to three original songs there are also two covers on here that Doomstress drags into the shadows. I love Uriah Heep so hearing Rainbow Demon get doom-ified is amazing - I had no idea how well it would work. The way it gleams with dark majesty is more than I could have hoped for. On Wicked Woman the band trades in Coven's original late 60s twang for some heavy metal chug resulting in a unique take that drives the song to new depths. Good stuff here, so when you listen to it, turn your speakers up - this is the kind of music that needs to be played loud! -Brandon

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Friendship - Hatred (2017)

This is one of those releases I forgot to mention on my best of 2017 list, because I mostly focused on releases I had already reviewed. However, this release definitely deserved to be on there because it fucking rules! The sheer intensity and brutality of 'Hatred" is hard to beat. The band's name is cheeky when compared to the actual music. I would like to think of it as the opposite of Friendship, as it is much closer to the album's name "Hatred". When we hear the combination of the heavy blasts from the drums, and the feedback from the guitars, almost replicating the sound of machine gun fire, we know what we're getting into with this album, and it's a fucking war zone!
This fucking blast can be heard throughout, and it is crushing and relentless. I can contribute this to the way that the drums were mixed on this. The kick drum is unusually deep, and heavy as fuck. When it hits you, it's rapid, and it invokes a mood of hatred over the listener (in this case me), creating an atmosphere of pleasing agitation and aggression. Also let it be known that even when the drums aren't blasting it's listener into submission, and they are slowed down to match whatever the guitar riffs are playing, they still fucking crush. Speaking of guitars, the riffs are tasty as fuck, and dare I say catchy. I mean as catchy and memorable as riffs can be for power violence/grind. There's a bit of Dark Hardcore in there as well, but I mean who gives a fuck when it comes to labeling something like this? It's punishing and ruthless, and it's exactly the type of shit I want to be listening to. I would also like to add that the vocals and feedback add another layer of ferocity to the songs. I mention feedback, because it's often used as an instrument of its own, and really adds something special to different songs.
Overall, if you haven't heard this yet, do yourself a favor, stop what you're doing, and put this shit on right now! I've got a whole year of waiting to see if anything can live up to this, because it's that fucking good. Highly Recommended! Cheers! -Samir

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Crushing Yellow Sun - Area 51 (2017)

Alright everyone, grab your sunscreen and lather up because you're about to be bombarded by the ultraviolet, cosmic rays of Crushing Yellow Sun! Based out of Richmond, Virginia, this is a one-man, mostly-instrumental, psychedelic-stoner workhorse. Since starting in 2016, Crushing Yellow Sun has put out more than a dozen releases under the name - in fact in the couple week time span between me I checking out "Area 51" and me sitting down to write about it, he released another EP and two compilations! Fuck, he literally just released another album AS I WROTE THIS. Even Area 51 itself kept seeing work after release - it was originally an EP, then bonus tracks were added a few days later, then a few more days pass with extra tracks, new artwork, and it had been re-classified as a full-length album! A little confusing, but the tunes are awesome so I'm not complaining. This is a non-stop series of fuzzy jams that will send you tripping through the galaxy on guitar leads filled with wah and some great basslines to back them up. On the first track "Snake Venom (Parts 1 and 2)" all the effects start to make the guitar sound like a supersonic harmonica blowing through the the universe, quickly at first and then more slowly as you drift beyond the known reaches of space. The hits roll from there with more wild spinning licks and riffs than your grandpappy can handle (probably - I mean, I guess I don't really know your grandpappy's limits). "Shipwrecked" stands out with more darkness than most tracks, starting out with some doomy bass before the wicked haze ripples through the rest of the song evoking devilish spirits. The whole album just throws down jam after jam of psychedelic stoner rock that you won't want to miss. I look forward to hearing a bunch of new Crushing Yellow Sun releases this year - plenty of back catalog to work through in the meantime! -Brandon

Friday, January 12, 2018

Your End - Le Sombre Triomphe + Deathcamp (2017)

2017 saw two releases from Your End (one in long form, and the other shorter), a Blackened Grind/Sludge Doom band hailing from both MI/NC. This shit straight up sounds disgusting and I love it. Although theses dudes reek of Black Metal filth, especially where the vocals and blasts are concerned, there is nothing cold about this band's sound or tone. I personally am a fan of the HM-2 pedal sound, that was made popular by Swedish Death Metal bands like Entombed and Dismember. It has been rediscovered countless times. and while some may think it's an overplayed gimmick, I Think there are some bands out there that are putting it to good use, and Your End is one of them. Their sound is fat and full, like a bloated corpse hosting a banquet for a families of maggots and flies. Not to mention these dudes are fucking detuned, and with that bass coming through in the mix, it really hits you fucking hard. They will bludgeon you like a beast with their slow and sludgy guitar riffs, and then pulverize you with their frenzied blasts. "Le Sombre Triomphe" has all the right elements, in all the right places. Like a demon taking possession of your body during an ancient ritual, once it grabs hold of your soul, it's grip is clenched tight, and it's hard to let go. This is what this music does for me.

The second release "Deathcamp" should be noted for its more Doom Metal anthems, while still retaining their penchant for blazing blast beat aggression. You will probably realize on this follow up they seem to not be using the HM-2 pedal, but the sound is very similar, and yet still very heavy. While there are subtle differences between the two releases, I see "Deathcamp" as being just a continuation of the previous release, hoping that this indicates the band might be releasing more in 2018. I'm actually not sure why this was split up like this, as this could have been release as one full album without even being that long. I don't have a favorite between the two, as they are both good, and I would just recommend listening to them back to back on heavy rotation. This shit is really good. Highly Recommended! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Humanity Is A Curse - Raging For A Lighthouse (2018)

Germany has their answer to His Hero Is Gone, and it's Humanity Is A Curse. Their brand of Blackened Crust/Sludge is the type of dark shit I need right now to get me in the right mindset, to experience the inevitable shit show of world events that will likely unfold in 2018.  These dudes d-beat their way through 8 tracks with a fervent wrath, and deliver a walloping blow like a fist with brass knuckles pounding on an already bloodied and bruised faced. With raw animosity, and grimy sounding riffs, HIAC have crafted a metallic rage filled release that will definitely have you banging your head in a euphoric fury to their miserable gaze.
The songs are definitely catchy and memorable, without seeming too repetitive. Each song has its main hook, that makes it distinct from the others, which also adds to the reasons at least for me, why this album is worth remembering. These riffs are pretty fucking sick. The mix on this is pretty solid, as all instruments come through clear. The guitars have a nasty tone, and the bass is super distorted which is par for the course. The sludge aspect really kicks in when these dudes slow down, but it can also be heard during the flurries of black metal-esque blasts that are speckled here and there throughout this release. I'm really digging the vocals. It has the right amount of gravel and anguish, that pushes the intensity on this. Everyone is doing a great job sounding pissed as fuck while playing their instruments.
So while these dudes worship at the alter of you know who, don't hold it against them. These guys are definitely well suited to carry the torch, and they do so burning everything in their way. Highly recommended for sure! Check it out! Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Afgrund - The Dystopian (2018)

Opening up with Robert Oppenheimer saying "..Vishnu takes on his multi-armed form and says now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds", Afgrund begins to devastate your ears with an onslaught of blasts, buzz saw guitars, and harsh guttural screams that threaten to lay waste to everything in its path. The aptly titled "The Dystopian", the new release from the band, is definitely appropriate listening material for the end times, as the four horsemen of the apocalypse come riding in. When societies collapse, and disease and famine take their stranglehold choking their life out of the remainders of the human race, expect Afgrund's "The Dystopian" to be the soundtrack to that. These dudes have a nice fat sound, that is both grimy and full. Most of which comes from the detuned string section. The guitar player sure loves his HM-2 pedal as that's where they're getting that nasty classic tone from. Fortunately enough this doesn't drown out the distorted bass, which is deep fills void that is likely to pound you into the earth until you're nothing but a plume of dust raining dirt down. The vocals are spot on, especially for this sort of grind/crust sound. It's the right balance and harshness of growls, shrieks, and shouts. Then it's finally rounded out by the drums, who's sheer brutality alone will summon any sort of beast for war. The blasts are fucking blistering, and the tunes themselves can shred away your face like a belt sander would, but when these dudes settle into a slow to mid paced groove, that shit is sweet too. What a way to start out the new year with a release like this. Nothing says welcome to 2018 like a grind release as pissed and heavy as this. Afgrund has set the bar high for whatever I review next. They're definitely going to be a hard act to follow. I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up on my end of the year list, as this is a serious contender that can't be fucked with. Highly recommended. Cheers! -Samir

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Dirt Wizard - Vol. 1 EP (2017)

With a name like Dirt Wizard I was expecting the band's first EP to sound like a total fucking bucket of gritty fuzz, but to my surprise it wasn't like that at all - in fact "Vol. 1" constantly defies your expectations to blindside you with new and interesting tunes at every turn. It kicks off with "Sacred Flame" a deceptively smooth stoner-doom track whose clean vocal melody will give you goose bumps with the evil that it evokes. About 6 minutes in the organ starts up and you're taken to a dark cathedral as a choir of voices sings "holy holy holy" in a way that will make your hair stand on end. The song had me hooked and as it ended I thought I had a good idea of what I was in for next - I was wrong again. The second track "Summoning Sickness" maintains the instrumental tone of the first song, but this is more of a moody alternative rock song than the occult inspired doom showcased originally. Some light synth work and guitar strains also add to the song to give it a vaguely post-rock feel. So there's only two tracks listed on Bandcamp - that's the end, right? Nope! Dirt Wizard keeps the surprise train rolling and if you download Vol. 1 you get the bonus track "Arch-vile". It's labeled as "a demo of a demo" but presumably that's just to lower your expectations and keep you guessing because it certainly doesn't feel like an early demo. It starts out with some heavy metal urgency and is faster than either of the songs that came before it. Stylistically it mixes all of the elements from the previous songs as stoner-doom, alternative rock, post-rock wisps, and a touch of fresh new metal mingle to form one nefarious anthem before ending on a dramatic cinematic score. Dirt Wizard definitely keeps you on your toes and I mean that in a good way - always throwing something new at you to keep things interesting. Vol. 1 has some good tunes for sure. I recommend the experience! -Brandon

Monday, January 8, 2018

Circadian Ritual - Befallen (2017)

After the sun sets, men and women wearing hooded robes gather in secret before an ancient, unholy altar. They've come to worship an evil god whose name has long been forgotten, but whose obscene will still works its way through this world and through the cult formed in its image. Eventually, with enough blood sacrifice and litany the god will manifest itself and eviscerate the members of its own cult as it is wont to do, but for now the soundtrack to this macabre scene is captured by "Befallen" the newest release from Circadian Ritual. Hailing from what is evidently the grimmest city in North America - Minneapolis, Minnesota - the band's second album features five blackened doom dirges exhumed from the catacombs. These songs layer slow atmospheric doom melancholy (complete with chanting and bell chimes from the temple) with crushing extreme metal to make an oppressively heavy sound. Titanic doom riffs meld with melodies that are played in a distinctively black metal style while synthesized touches add extra depth to make a miserable but mesmerizing soundscape. The bass grumbles with these far-reaching, earthshaking low tones that make up a deep, dreary foundation for the rest of the music to play on. There are a few different vocalists on this and I have to assume that they have lungs made of tar to produce such wretched shouts while calling out their dark invocations. With the spiritual motifs and amazing execution from the band, Befallen is a transcendent force of bleak and scathing doom metal - this is an album that needs to be heard! -Brandon

Friday, January 5, 2018

Deltastealth - Metagun (2017)

So I kinda stumbled upon this one, just browsing shit on YouTube, and I saw that it had Stoner, Doom, Sludge in the title so I was like wow, not sure how I missed this one, because never seen it before. So two things stood out to me before I even started playing this. First the description read "So it IS possible to create an album from scratch in 6 hours when you can't even play guitar... lol", and then second there is the comment left by the uploader "it was made in 6 hours as a joke dude :p". So I thought to myself "LOL, oh boy, I'm not sure what I'm getting into here". I was actually pleasantly surprised. 
Deltastealth (whose name could've been easily made using the Stoner Rock Band Name Generator on, definitely fucking rule! Now while it does have the characteristics of something that may or may not have been churned out in 6 hours (mainly the meandering train of thought riffs, continuous droning, and the above comments made on the YouTube page), this is still a massive slab of thick ass Sludge Doom. Granted there are times in which the guitars sound like a muffled mess due to a lot of the drones, it is by no means sloppy in any respect. The guitar, bass, and drums are definitely a solid sludge/doom rock formation. The guitar tone on this release is gnarly as fuck. It's thick like molasses but has the hiss of a thousand bees. The drums are pretty tight as well. As far as the bass goes, I know it's there in the mix at times, but the guitar is so fucking detuned I'm not sure if really matters. There's loads of feedback on this fucker as well. 
So while this appears to be a joke, mocking the complexity (or lack of) within the genre, maybe the people behind this have a good point,but at the same time I'm not here to point fingers. I will say that I did enjoy this, while others may find this a challenge, and question its very existence. The people behind may have downplayed their sincerity, but I still think it's more than just a joke. Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Asound - Commanding The Sword 7 Inch (2017)

Here's a fun fact for you - according to the Metal Archives, in their 8+ years as a band North Carolina natives The Asound have put out 4 completely separate releases named "The Asound", all of which have different artwork and track listings. Thankfully with their latest output the band chose a different name! "Commanding the Sword" is a very limited 7" (25 copies only! ... and an endless supply of digital downloads) with two tracks of stoner-doom goodness. The title track begins with some bright, stoner guitar picking before the whole band kicks in and floods the sound with doomy darkness. The drums here ring out loud and clear, almost creating their own melody through devilish riffs and rough wails. After a little over 2 minutes the guitar solo kicks in sounding vivid and colorful over the rest of the band's deathlike march. The second song (which you can't call a b-side - it's on the same side of the record!) is a cover of Loanin' by the band Floor. Starting with an agonized shout that echoes through your mind, this is a sludgey assault on the senses with a riff that grunts and whines. It pays great homage to the original with a noisy, rhythmic fervor. Put both of these tracks together and you're still at under 6 minutes! I'd call it short and sweet, but "sweet" doesn't describe the gnarly sound. Instead, let's say it's short and just the right kind of nasty that you'll want to hear. -Brandon

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Æsthetica - Sonorous Æon (2017)

An unnatural cloud cover forms in the skies, masking the sun's rays and casting the world into a somber gray as Norway's Æsthetica come forth into the world. With their first album "Sonorous Æon" the band not only doubles down on their love for the ash (apparently that's what "Æ" is called) but they also interweave powerful stoner-doom with mysterious post-rock to create a shadowy union. Listening to this album, I divided the songs into three different categories with two of each type. First is the headbangable psych-influenced stoner-doom banged out on the tracks "Haze" and "Worshipper" - heavy, catchy, and ready to fill your head with smoke. Next are the post-rock instrumentals "Todesfuge" and "Gates" which will have you drifting through enigmatic atmospheres with the occasional rough edge - you start to pick up on the Godspeed You! Black Emperor influence here, but this isn't where it ends. Lastly there are the blended tracks exemplified by "La Paz" and "Ekstasis" where each of the distinct styles come together to form a supernatural force of harrowing sound with riffs and aura that smoothly meld into one and breathe chilling sonic haze into your soul. Æsthetica's vocals have an otherworldly reverberation to them and the guitar is comfortable with both booming fuzz and eerie twang. The drummer does a great job choosing when to pull back and let the atmosphere settle around you before pounding out rhythms to drive the sound forward. This all comes together to make Sonorous Æon a spectral and satisfying package that is definitely worth exploring. -Brandon

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Monads - IVIIV (2017)

Six long years after their last release Monads emerge from their mausoleum in Belgium with their first official full-length album "IVIIV". Their latest work is composed of four colossal tracks of funeral death/doom that ache with tragic misery. This is played low and slow, grinding out abrasive, haunting dirges of doom that will erode your very being. With the occasional blasts of death metal and heart-wrenching tones and melodies that run through every song it really drags you into a world of agony. Tracks smoothly transition from gradual, crushing riffage to howling metal squalor to thoughtful gentle passages and all the way around again. Listening to this album is like watching the process of death in slow motion - from the last painful breaths, to the world going dark, a soul escaping this mortal coil, the funeral wrought with grief, the cackling flames of cremation, and agonizing reflection as those who are left behind stare at the ash of what once was. Although the album progresses and the songs move forward the same pain and emotions come and go in cycles with each new piece. Yet through the misery, there are a few notes of triumph that keep this album from descending into complete despair and help push through the stone wall of anguish. Overall, this is a beautifully melancholic, heavy album that I'll be listening to again and again. -Brandon

Monday, January 1, 2018

Husmanskost - Ründpült (2017)

So for the last four months, I started doing overnights for the first time in my life, and I found that the only type of music I could really listen to that wouldn't make me sleepy was Grind, Death, and PV. If it had a blast, I was going to check it out. So I have been exploring more and more shit on YouTube, despite Super Dank being a blog that mainly focuses on Doom Metal and its subsequent sub genres. Along the way I discovered Husmanskost's first album "Fåricore", and I thought it fucking ruled so I put it on Facebook. Well here's their brand new one "Ründpült" and this shit just rips.
I mean these dudes are straight full speed Grindcore with no filler. There are definitely some crossover elements in here as well, where riffs seem to be thrashier than most, and I totally dig that. Then there's the dissonant atonal chord pairings that make this stand out for sure. I think the two biggest things I can take away from this recording is the face the production is so flawless. Guitars have a pulverizing crunch, but when paired with the rest of the band each instrument comes out in the mix crystal clear, which is great, and not always the case when listening to Grindcore. A lot of times i'll hear blasts, and the guitar parts will get lost in the mix from playing at blistering speeds, but on this release it's definitely not the case. It's not to say this thing isn't a noisy fucking beast, because it's definitely got some teeth, and it's both heavy and ferocious. The other takeaway is the samples. I have no fucking idea what anyone is saying, and they just seem so random. The only sample I knew for sure was the angry german kid, which I have provided for those who need a refresher on their meme history. 

So, going along with my recent review I did for Slund, let this be the first of many reviews that stray away from all the Doom stuff, and focuses on the fast and heavy stuff a little bit more. I've got a soft spot for the Sludge, but for the most part I think Brandon is definitely going to be your Doom man going forward, unless there's some gnarly Super Dank Stoner shit I share with everyone. Anyway, check this shit out for sure. Cheers! -Samir