Thursday, September 28, 2017

Womb - Devotion To The Sea (2017)

WOMB - They were born out of the murky waters of Seville, Spain in order to deliver a ghastly form of death/doom that will cast countless souls into a pit of despair. They first struck two years ago with their debut album "Deception Through Your Lies", which roared with a slow, sophisticated melancholy that took many to the grave. Now they've released "Devotion To The Sea", a bleak maelstrom that crashes on the listener with waves grief. It's got an atmosphere like a thick fog that completely surrounds you and leaves you feeling trapped under the weight of this gloom. Guitars sing out tragically in somber tones while the vocals are a deep, howling death that grip you tightly and pull you into to a watery tomb. The album is touched with the occasional gentle melody that lures you into a false sense of security before tearing off the mask and exposing some gruesome agony beneath. There are moments where I feel as though I've just seen someone suddenly rip the flesh off their own chest to reveal their ribcage and still-beating heart. It's grim beyond measure, but at the same time there's a beauty in all the sorrow that leaves you transfixed and unable to escape. In the end, it's left me feeling absolutely miserable, but it's so good can't stop listening to it! -Brandon

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tides of Sulfur- Extinction Curse

This release came out over a year ago, but I'm glad I stumbled upon because this is exactly the shit I'm into. Tides of Sulfur are definitely a Sludge/Doom band at its core, but they also have elements from other extreme metal sub genres like death/black metal, but also punk roots as well with some grind and crust peppered in. These guys have a filthy and nasty sound that is layered with copious amounts of detuned chugging, plenty of double kick and blasts from the drums, and a searing savage attack from the vocals. Each song comes at you like a biblical plague and engulfs you with locusts as they swarm your body. Hell-bent on destruction these dudes like a well-oiled machine bulldoze through every song letting the brick and mortar collapse and fall, creating heavy slabs of rubble and debris. This is where the heavy riffs lie. Within the crunch and the crumble, from being trampled upon. The overall atmosphere of this album is dark as fuck. Even the quieter moments on here are ominous and foreboding. The sludgy parts are definitely sludgy. No fuzz here, just straight sewage grooves here that ooze thick as tar consistency. The songs definitely got me hooked in as the riffs were pretty memorable and catchy as fuck. Overall I really dug this, and I'm glad I came across it. It really fits in with the other shit we've been reviewing lately in the sludge sub-genre, so hopefully you'll dig this as well. Cheers! -Samir

Dragon Sunday - Tales to Terrorize (2017)

Step right up! Behold! Appearing before you seemingly out of nowhere is Dragon Sunday, extollers of stories both chilling and strange with their debut release "Tales to Terrorize". This one is loaded with horror-themed doom metal for those unafraid of the dark. Songs cover topics including Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Cthulu, and more, but be warned! This is not a quiet, creeping horror slinking along in the dead of night, but instead a loud and booming creature ready to step out in the open and show you all the things you have to fear. The band draws inspiration from traditional and epic doom to deliver a forceful sound that's been lightly drizzled with synth in order to draw out an eerie atmosphere. There is an overpowering melancholy to this album that will drag you down and leave you aching with woe - perfect for breaking down your defenses to let all of the terror crawl in. So sit back and let your sense of dread overtake you as the sound seeps in and blasts visions of horror in your head. -Brandon

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wardehns - S/T EP (2017)

If Matt Pike had a bunch of younger brothers who were all crust punks and decided to form a band, that band would probably be Wardhens. With a mix of blackened sludge and dbeat fury, these heshians from the Midwest sound like the result of High on Fire and Asbestos Deth being mashed together, and it's fucking awesome. Pissed off, and filthy sounding with broken bottles in hand, these dudes are most definitely headed to the riff filled land, but the smoke they're following is probably due to a flaming car or a dumpster fire. The music conjures a sort of chaotic imagery for me that fuses urban decay landscapes with moltov cocktails. Ravaged, wartorn, and explosive, Wardehns delivers two fiery tracks for a short, but definitely memorable EP. I'm going to end this review by saying the guitar solo on "Shards of The Time Glass" totally fucking rips. Like really really good. Anyway, check out this wonderful EP. It fucking rules! - Samir

Friday, September 22, 2017

Shadowmaster - S/T (2017)

Three years ago, a massive crack split the earth just outside the city of Sundsvall, Sweden. From this fissure, a vile miasma poured forth and out crawled three wretched beasts. The trio formed a band called Desert Crone and recorded a filthy three track demo of sludgy stoner-doom (as subterranean creatures are known to do). Fast-forward to today and the monsters have renamed their band Shadowmaster and put out a self-titled full length album featuring the same vein of nasty sludged-up doom that they debuted several years ago. This shit is gritty like sandpaper that will wear down your soul - you didn't need that anyway, right? It's super distorted and hard-hitting with sharp tones to cut you deep so you can feel this at your core. There's a ton riffage and pounding rhythms that slam into you over and over again. The album ends with "Under His Black Skies", a nearly 20 minute song that builds up at a glacier's pace before making you dizzy with a series of far-wandering guitar leads that descend into noise. However, make no mistake: Shadowmaster is seeking to daze you with otherworldly music and drag you back to the foul hole that they crawled out of... But you should probably just let them do it. It's a really cool place.-Brandon

Thursday, September 21, 2017

SHC - S/T (2017)

Most of the time psychedelic doom is a slow exploration of sound, with trippy guitar solos over colossal riffs, ambient space noise, and bottomless pits of reverb. SHC's self-titled album is happy to give you some of that heavy psyched-out goodness, but then when they're done with that they're kicking shit into overdrive. Typically, these songs start slow, building up delicious, vibrant riffs, but then devolve into a frenzied mess of unhinged guitar leads backed by punk rock fury. It's a bright, chaotic burst of wicked sound that will draw you into an beautiful sea of disorder, all without abandoning the malevolent doom at its core. There's very little in the way of vocals, but the pieces you do hear are black metal styled rasp floating around zoned out. I just can't get enough of the way this hazy doom spins out of control. It's like there's just too much destructive energy built up for the sound to stay stable, so it just implodes on itself over and over again. I can't think of anything else that combines slow, depraved doom and fast, hectic intensity so well - highly recommended! -Brandon

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hell- S/T (2017)

Emerging from the doom laden landscapes of the Pacific Northwest comes the band Hell, who's music seems pretty fitting to the band's moniker. Hell (not to be confused with the NWOBHM band) plays some dank ass filthy Sludge/Doom with hints of reefer madness thrown here and there. Right off the bat you'll notice Hell's big fat sound. The strings come together to form this monstrous tone that sounds like it came from the rotten bowels of Godzilla. The band moves like a monster too, as it heftily meanders through murky swamps and dilapidated surroundings. By band, I also mean just one dude, since the music was all done by one man (MSW according to the bandcamp page). The dude's vocals are shrill and grating as fuck, which adds to the nastiness of the sound. At times it almost seems like he's caught in some kind of storm, or even like a locust swarm, and his agonizing cries become almost faint but just as ghastly and haunting. Of course not everything on here is just for the follower of the low and the slow. Especially when it comes to the drums. Granted the drums do end up playing your typical stoner doom beats, but there are the moments like when the drums start doing blast beats or starts doing straight double kicks throughout an entire riff that really set this apart from the rest. The end of the album also ends eliminating the distortion and going for a more clean yet somber sound, that kind of gives you a moment to take a breather, collect your thoughts, and think "What the fuck did I just listen to? That fucking ruled!". When you die and go to hell, hopefully the red man downstairs is blasting this shit while smoking a big fat doobie. I really liked it that's for sure! -Samir

Magnatar - Tar EP / Vulgar (2017)

I've decided to do a double review of this band since these releases were not that far apart (about a year), and I feel like it's worth looking at both, especially after the name change. It's not all the time you run into this unique kind of situation where you get two awesome releases back to back like this.

So with the original Tar EP, you get nothing but crushing and debilitating sludge. Probably some of the best sludge from the past year or so. Just nothing but heavy duty straight from the tar pit sludge. It's got everything anyone could want. Ultra-detuned strings, loads of feedback to bask in the filth, serpentine like winding rhythms, and agonizingly harsh vocals. The wall of sound from the guitars is just pulverizing, deep, and unforgiving. These guys got some catchy riffs as well. The main riff from "Executioner of Time" is memorable and pretty fucking unique. Unfortunately it's only two songs and it's over before you know it. It was a little taste of what was to come from this band, after listening to "Vulgar" this was only a small sampling of what these dudes are about and/or what they are capable of doing.

So transitioning over to "Vulgar" we see the band has opened up a little more and is moving in different directions, including more post-metal influences, ambiance, and atmosphere, while still retaining that wooly mammoth sound, and its stock pile of heavy sludge riffage. We end up getting a wide range of dynamics here. There are moments on "Vulgar" that are quiet and clean, with riffs that sound both melancholic and bittersweet. Definitely some more proggy groove moments on this one as well. This doesn't take away from their large massive sound, which seems even more vibrant on this released compared to the first one. Both songs from the Tar EP are included on "Vulgar", both rerecorded and heavy as fuck. However, they're probably the heaviest songs on this album, as it seems the band wanted to make the most of the other songs to kind of explore other pathways for reaching how they want to express themselves more fully as a band. But holy fuck, when these dudes get heavy, they fucking annihilate. The heavy riff from the song "5" could clear a forest. Other notable difference include a lot of little drones and synth noises here and there, that may have been on the original Tar EP, but there are more spaces for the sounds to fill the void on this release. Overall, "Vulgar" is devastatingly beautiful and surprisingly original. "Vulgar" definitely stands out from the rest of the pack, and their progression from being beefy sludge merchants to post metal ponderers is pretty fucking cool. Awesome fucking album dudes, I can't wait to hear what you're working on next! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Lucid Furs - This Ain't No Mating Dance (2017)

The Lucid Furs are a musical whirlwind based out of Detroit playing unhinged rock 'n' roll that's ready to crash through your window and shake your spirit. Their first album "This Ain't No Mating Dance" is born out of classic hard rock, but has so much more built on top of it. Depending on the track, you're going to get flashes of blues, jazz, and psychedelic sweetness injected straight into the sound, taking it in whatever direction feels best at the time. Everyone in this band is a master of their chosen instrument and there isn't a single thing here that seems generic or phoned-in. They're each outstanding on their own, but when they come together on this album it's enough to make you dizzy. Every time you listen to a song you'll probably hear another little detail to appreciate because it's hard to take in all this greatness at once! However, the thing that will probably draw people in most is the vocals - they're deeply soulful and have enough power to knock you over, definitely a stand out feature. The guitar leads are going to snag some people too, sounding like they stepped straight out of 1974 just to bring that forgotten sound to a new era. This one definitely has "awesome" covered from all kinds of angles, so let it warm your ears and start a fire inside you. -Brandon

Talsur - Offertorium (2017)

Tucked away in a shadowy, forlorn corner of Russia is a one-man doom band by the name of Talsur. Since the project's inception in late 2015, Talsur has put out several albums exploring different subgenres of doom metal and every single one of them is absolutely killer. The most recent release is an EP entitled "Offertorium", a magnificent EP that delves into gothic death-doom in the style of Paradise Lost. You can think of this one as beauty and the beast. There's an air of sophistication in everything that you hear, but beneath that veneer is a snarling monster that could snap your neck and drain your blood if it chose to. The songs on this album are slow and elegant, featuring acoustic guitars, strings, and keyboards that intertwine with melancholic metal. The first two tracks build gradually before bursting with rage and lamentations, where as the last two seem to stew in a dark romanticism. Vocally, it's a mix of low, gothic style singing and vicious death growls, both of which fit perfectly with the sound. Even in its violent moments, there's a deep sorrow that runs through this release and that sorrow produces some painfully haunting, beautiful melodies. Fans of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, or anything in that vein have got to hear this. Allegedly, Talsur's next album is due to come out soon and I can't wait! -Brandon

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Monte Luna- S/T (2017)

Monte Luna play southern tinged Stoner/Sludge/Doom that is both heavy as fuck and soulful at the same time. These two dudes have some pretty toasty riffs here that are thick as molasses with vocal melodies that are so good and catchy as fuck, they prompt you to sing along with them. If I could put a finger on their sound I would say they sound like a cross between Goatsnake and early Torche with some Joe Preston era Melvins worship in there for good measure. While this self-titled release from the band runs at about 70 mins, there's plenty of riffs to keep you occupied, and they don't get stale. So you know, maybe roll a few joints instead of just one, when listening to this. The sludgy goodness on this one is gooey and syrupy. The guitar tone on this kind of reminds me of Tom G Warrior's tone from Celtic Frost's "Monotheist" album, and I think it's great sound. It's totally mean and rough, but when paired with the that southern fried stoner blues and it just seems like the right combination. The bass on this is really good in the mix. When it hits those low sludgy detuned notes, those are the moments I look forward to the most on this album. The drummer is really hard hitter for sure, and I don't mean from off of the bong. Every beat seems to add that extra punch that when these dude plays together just creates this very large and massive sound that tips the scales. I'm willing to bet this will be on my year end list. I mean it's for sure one of my favorite Stoner Doom albums of the year. You just can't beat the stoner riffage on this one. It's the kind of shit that gets your head bobbing as you feel that stoner groove the band is slanging at you. With every listen, this one kept growing on me. Well done dudes! -Samir

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

So Much For The Sun- S/T (2017)

The first thing you hear when you listen to So Much For The Sun's recent S/T Release is the opening to the tv show "Tales From The Darkside" and it very much so sets the tone for the rest of the album. We are then greeted with a wall of fuzz, that is not unlike the tone from Electric Wizard's "Dopethrone" album. However, it's definitely fuller, and it's definitely meaner. While I would describe the smoke emanating from the studio during EW's recording session as probably being green and smelling dank as fuck. The smoke exuding and dispersing from So Much For The Sun's studio session must have been grayish /black and reeked of sulfur. I honestly dig this sound a lot more, and I think it has to do with the extra bass in there that's really pacing a punch, and makes their sound that much more devastating and crushing. Tone comparisons aside, these two bands don't really have much more in common, as SMFTS seem to be more in line with all the other bands we've been reviewing from Ireland (for real what the fuck is up with that scene?), and lean toward the gloomier side of doom. I mean there's parts of this that sway to the stoner side of things, but for the most part this has a dreary atmosphere about it. Be it dark clouds over a decaying landscape or industrial ruins, you can feel the vibes of pure dread. There's some great grooves going on here, and things get kinda sludgy at moments with the detuned strings, which is excellent. The vocals definitely have some range, going from a smooth and almost soulful shout/scream (kind of reminds me of Burning Witch) to a deep harsh growl. The drums on this hit hard as fuck, even when the band goes off on little boogie tangents here and there. Overall I really dug this. It's a rather enjoyable piece a doom that casts its shadow on a world that needs good Doom, and these dudes deliver. Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ripis - Monolith (2017)

Monolith, the debut album from Ripis, is a cacophonous symphony of miserable sludgy doom metal. With layers of slow, wretched sound each song is a mammoth capable of leveling mountains and ripping you apart from the inside out. The band provides a gargantuan sound - deep with scathing intent, practically inescapable. Most of the songs on this album are devastating with massive, crushing guitar tone, lumbering rhythms that will pulverize, and a limitless sense of grief. The vocalist does a great job of keeping things varied as you'll hear both impassioned gravel-mouthed shouts and spaced out singing. Every once in a while they take a step back with tunes like "Death Process" and "Solace". These are gentler featuring clean tones and echoing ambiance, but manage to amp up the already insurmountable level of sorrow. Once you've been wrecked by the savagery you'll hear on the other tracks, these ones really let the agony seep in and have you drowning in melancholy. The way everything comes together is bleak, but also majestic, like staring out across a thunderstorm. This one can be a soul destroyer, but every moment is worth it. -Brandon

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Turbobobcat - Pentastar Rocket Ride EP (2017)

Blasting off from Catania, Italy is Turbobobcat launching their first EP "Pentastar Rocket Ride". Here's what you need to know: the cover has bigfoot hitching a ride on a rocket ship. Not only is that a reference to the lyrics, but it's also a great way to visualize what you're going to hear. It's big and gnarly, rumbling through the cosmos on a wild joyride! If you couldn't tell, this isn't super serious, it's all about getting a little bit goofy and loading up on the good times. Only three tracks here, but they're stuffed to the brim with stoner riffs and groove. These songs definitely have their own thick, heavy rhythm that keep everything moving forward and heads banging. Once the engines are roaring, there's no way to make this one stop - not that you'd want to! The tone has a bit of fuzzy crunch that really makes this EP a dirty beast, so expect to wind up with some scratches and tears by the end! But really, this one was built for fun, so don't expect to get hurt too bad. My only problem with this release is that it's too damn short! I need more in my life! -Brandon

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wax- Everybody Loses (2017)

Toledo's Sludge Punk Noise Rockers Wax are back with "Everybody Loses", a real fucking bummer of a title with hilarious artwork to go along with it. Yeah the music is great too. The EP opens up with Parts I & II of the title track. Part one kind of reminds me of something that's a cross between Black Flag's "Damaged" and their stuff off of Side B of "My War", but then they really kick it into fucking gear with Part II, which is the real gooey caramel center with nougat, and the rest of the EP is just as satisfying. There's been a recent trend to revive this sort of noise rock from the 90s. We've covered a few on this blog like Bummer and War Brides, and I think Wax fits in there with them as well. They've got some beefy caveman sized riffs though. I would say they get their Sludginess from the Melvins and their Noise from bands like Unsane. The music jerks you around, shaking you, with two big Neanderthal sized hands around your neck. Then it pummels you with said fists, while dragging you around in the fucking dirt. The artwork for this album, although snarky like the music suggests, is misleading only in its cutesiness, because that is one thing this music is not. It's brutish, dissonant, and abrasive. It's pretty straight forward in its delivery, and then its fucking over, so you'll want to play it again. I really did enjoy the mix on this. The bass really hits fucking hard, and it is kind of reminiscent of The Jesus Lizard. Overall, fucking check this shit out it's great! Cheers! -Samir

Krypts- Remnants of Expansion EP

Pure fucking Finnish Death/Doom. I can't believe I missed this one, and that's why I'm coming back to it. I've been drawn to a lot of Death/Doom lately, because it's a fucking great sub-genre. I'm a sucker for swampy sounding riffs, and bog like vocals, all played at a nice little crawl, so that you can enjoy that heavy groove. Definitely the bleak and crushing kind of stuff I want to hear. This shit is pretty relentless though front to back. Just because they like to resonate on the offensive noxious funk from the graveyard vapors when it comes to their riffs, doesn't mean they don't fucking hit back hard with slabs of tombstones. There is definitely some flesh on these bones, fresh or rotten, and often ventures into full on death metal mode, supplying chunky riffs from the string with copious amounts of blasts from the drums. Actually really digging the double kick on this one. It keeps my head bobbing to the endless stream of putrid riffs coming my way. The atmosphere on this  They are fucking ferocious as well. When they go full on death, they're like a wolf on the prowl in the marsh late at night maiming some small furry mammal. Ripping, and slashing, and smashing its way through bone and cartilage. When they riffs tend to be slower, they go for the throat. However instead of pulling away to rip it to shreds, they bite and clamp down to let the blood drain slowly in the red crescent moonlight. "Remnants of Expansion" is haunting, grisly, and barbarous. I'm glad I was able to discover this more recently, and I'm not sure I overlooked it. If you have in fact done the same, do yourself a favor and check this EP out, it's great! Cheers! -Samir