Friday, October 26, 2018
I have been following Brainoil since their beginnings, and this newest release is super fucking amazing. They have definitely come along way as a band, as their newest release "Singularity to Extinction" combines the scuziness of both old school Death and Sludge to create some nasty fucking tunes. The tones on this album are so fucking sick. When the the swollen catchy riffs mix with the death growl vocals, it's fan fucking tastic. The bass sound is fucking killer, and it really makes it's presence known on the slower sludge grooves. This is probably their heaviest release thus far. I really love the pacing on this album. It has the right mix of speed and slow sludge doom parts, not mention some solid mid tempo crunch. "The Spectre’s Vile Hand (The Shock Doctrine)" is a perfect example of this, and is easily my favorite track off of this release. It has a pretty memorable verse riff that I'm going to have a hard time getting out of my head. This is easily one of my favorites from this year. It's a banger of an album, and definitely their most brutal and savage to date. It's just primitive and raw, and it speaks to the lizard part of my brain telling me to run in circles and smash things with big rocks. Highly Recommended! Cheers! -Samir
Thursday, October 25, 2018
There are two things you're going to realize right away with Magna Fvzz. The first is that Fvzz Popvli does not like the letter U. The second is that there is an ungodly amount of fuzz on this thing. Taking heavy psych and mashing in chunks of stoner-doom and garage rock these dudes have conjured up a potent cloud of smog that'll make you dizzy. All these tunes are banged out with low-key chaos behind a murky lo-fi filter. "And Let It Die..." kicks the album off simply with upbeat drums and mangled distortion on a reeling riff before breaking out into hazy garage rock with manic, spaced-out vocalizations and eventually giving way to a classic sounding guitar solo ripe with wah. Afterwards on "Napoleon" the band treads through twangy waters for the first half of the song before dark vibrations worm their way to the foreground and turn the bright and blunted tones into doom. "The Deal" swings things back up with some unhinged psych-fed rock 'n' roll that gets heavier by the minute until "Get Me" cools things down with a sort of indie strumming punctuated by scummy outbursts. The drums and bass that open "Rvmpeltvm" might make you think the song is going to burst into some kind of party tune, but then a slow building phaser has things veer off into more abstract and aggressive directions. But fear not! It's followed up by "Cherry Bowl" which delivers on the dashed expectations that you may have had earlier and then some providing plenty of good times. Magna Fvzz closes with the title track, a long, sprawling, and spacey experience complete with extra keys that will lead you out to an extraterrestrial atmosphere and bombard you with cosmic outbursts between subtler movements. This album is a pretty wicked variety pack soaked in Fvzz Popvli's own brand of ultra fuzzy goodness, so check it out, cause there's probably a little bit of your favorite flavor in there. -Brandon
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Friday, October 19, 2018
Never heard of MooM before until recently and I dig their sound. The band combines Powerviolence and Sludge to craft some pretty wicked tunes. Whether the music is played fast or slow, it makes no difference as the band crushes, kills, and destroys its way though six blistering tracks with gnarled riffs and cutthroat precision. I really dig the mix on this one. I mean everything sounds ravaged in general with loads of feedback and distortion, but the mix is just pristine, because everything is just coming at your so clearly without anything being muddled. It's really awesome because this is super pissed music, and the impact is just full force peal you skin off your face type shit.
The vocals on this definitely more in line with the hardcore aspects of Powerviolence and they are hoarse as fuck. Like I mentioned above with the mix, there's nothing muddled between the guitar and bass, as you can hear both of them cutting through on the mix, and they're pretty fucking fierce. The drums on this are pretty fucking sweet too. Nothing too technical but lots of great blasts and punk beats. The grooves and the riffs have got me hooked though. They're catchy as fuck, and nothing on this is filler. I'm glad I stumbled upon MooM, and I hope they release a full length at some point, because I'm pretty sure it would be and end of the year worthy release. The EP is super short, so make sure you listen to their other shit as well. Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
I really like the Hazytones, so I had no doubt that their second full-length album was going to be anything less than awesome - but even so, when I first listened to their new, mightily named release "The Hazytones II: Monarchs of Oblivion" I was still blindsided by how great it was! While their original self-titled album stuck mainly in stoner and heavy psych territories, this time around they've made things darker and doomier - and they weren't exactly full of sunshine to begin with! The Hazytones bring us tons of... well, hazy tones! Fuzz works its way through the soul of the sound at a swaggering pace with riffage wrapped around it and raspy reverberating vocals on top. The band manages to elicit the feeling of a cool autumn breeze through a graveyard without dwelling on the gloom or the terror, leaving a picturesque, slightly moody backdrop for some shady tunes. There's just a touch of the blues on here that peeks through from time to time - you can hear it on "The Great Illusion" as it chugs through the introduction before it disappears into the low, dusky, and vaguely mystical groove before it bursts through again during the guitar solo. My favorite track on here is "Hell" which starts out as a supremely catchy rock tune that will have you singing along, but then halfway through it dives into heavier waters and develops out of doom sensibilities. The two-parter "Monarchs of Oblivion" definitely stands out too, with Part 1 hitting some evocative vocal melodies and rock 'n' roll bounce while Part 2 gets into a sauntering doom. This is a great one for all the wicked folk out there who want to stir up the darkness! -Brandon
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
While at first you might think that Chronobot is a robot with control over time, it turns out that they're actually a band (that may have control over time)! Hailing from Saskatchewan in Canada these dudes are shaking foundations and warping minds with their new album "Chronic Titan". It's like Sleep's Holy Mountain played on a warbly record player in a haunted house - it's got big ass stoner grooves and riffs but takes plenty of dark turns that will have you wandering through a trippy nightmare. In addition to a mountain of riffs there's some wicked, shrill, possessed organ on here - half the time following the riff and the other half creating its own eerie avenues in the sound. "On The Level" and "Goblin King" show off some of those spooky twists on the more doom-heavy tracks complete with cosmic effects and whistles. But this album isn't a total creepfest and there are plenty of beefy, hard-hitting jams that will hit you like a sack full of stones. "Get Broke Or Die Tryin'" and "Laudercycle" take this approach with harsh vocals on slow grooving stoner metal that's going to crack a couple ribs just for fun! The opening track "Cheebacca" has it all though mixing the chilling organs with the catchy riffs to create a ghoulish party! I've been jamming this one over and over and I'm still not tired of it - check it out for yourself! -Brandon
Thursday, October 11, 2018
So I posted on our Facebook page about Corrupt Moral Altar more than a year ago, but failed to ever produce a review for them. I'm kind of shocked I didn't because this is really good shit. They're like the equivalent of getting your head repeatedly bashed into the pavement. This band is like the best of both worlds, dominating on opposite ends of the spectrum. The precision of the blasts and double kick are so flawless and brutal, yet at the same time "Eunoia" is like a weeping wound with putrid sludge oozing out. It's a constant barrage of super fucking heavy riffs, and blistering blasts. Yet it also seems like their musical tastes aren't limited to the genres already mentioned, as I can detect a little post hardcore in there as well. There's definitely a frenetic energy to it throughout the entire album, and it's quite relentless. I'm a big fan of the way the guitar and bass sounds in the mix on this one. The low detuned bass definitely comes out, and the strings together just produce this fat crushing sound. I'm honestly really surprised I didn't proclaim this band when I originally posted about them on Facebook, as my new favorite band. This is the kind of shit I am currently seeking out right now, and I can't get enough of. Seriously, send more bands my way that mix Death, Grind, and Sludge. Highly recommended! Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Epic death/doom - it is a rare amalgamation to behold, forged in ancient crucibles under the watch of hooded mages with fiery eyes and dark intent. It sinks to deep, melancholic lows hidden beyond the shadows in the human heart in order to draw upon powers of a bygone age and roar with a scathing, primal rage. It is this scarce commodity that Cult of Salem brings to us with their debut album "Unhallowed Rites". Hailing from Germany the band blends traditional doom, epic doom, death/doom, and a few near-gothic symphonic arrangements with themes of evil and Lovecraftian horror to create awe-inspiring songs of darkness. It's as though Cult of Salem found the rift between Candlemass and Paradise Lost, erected a gilded palace there, and then summoned an orchestra of spirits to haunt the place. Chanting choirs and melodic guitar leads bleed through the band's grim yet thundering determination creating a loud storm of stark and beautiful misery. Low, warbling, nigh-operatic vocals descend into biting death growls in the unholy din. Placid moments will either erupt into a sharp, bleak barrage of anguish or ascend to inspiring heights with mighty riffs and synth. I keep listening to this over and over and losing track of time as I get lost in the otherworldly vortex of dark and exquisite sounds. This is truly consuming - Cult of Salem is a cult worthy of your devotion! -Brandon
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
From the unceasing work ethic and ever-busy fingers that brought you Crushing Yellow Sun is a brand new stoner-doom project that's going to have you crawling through a dungeon in chains - Wizard Hand. This stuff takes a heavier and less psychedelic approach than Crushing Yellow Sun, trading in the long, trippy guitar solos for a low and groaning stoner sleaze. Dark and murky songs slog their way through the gloom led by the sound of dirty, crunchy riffs and grumbled vocals pontificating on themes of zombies, wizards, and weed. It treads at a relatively slow pace and with blunt steps which gives things a weary kind of feel but you still get a sense of its dormant strength - like a tired warrior dragging a giant mace on the ground behind them. "Dying Wizard's Sleep" and "Instrumental #2" ditch the vocals instead opting to let the music stir up the darkness and explore the shadows that they've created. On top of all that, there may or may not be a hidden track at the end featuring a doom-ified version of a KISS classic - but you'll have to pick it up the album to know for sure! Whole thing comes across dark, natural, and a little nasty - just the way I like it! -Brandon
Friday, October 5, 2018
I remember when I first read about read about High on Fire. It was some article about heavy metal bands to be on the lookout for and I remember it specifically name dropped High on Fire and Mastodon because I checked out both bands and was immediately hooked. 16 years later in the same year Sleep dropped a new album on 4/20, we also get “Electric Messiah” High on Fire’s 8th album. Only Matt Pike could release two albums in the same year, and have them both be contenders for Best Album of The Year. I’m actually really glad I liked “Electric Messiah”, because I was pretty disappointed with “Luminiferous”. I’m not sure if this is already popular opinion, but for the most part, a lot of the songs weren’t very memorable with maybe a few exceptions here and there. This one is a definite ripper, and continues to solidify Matt Pike as a true Riff Lord. This album is jam packed with one excellent riff after the other. Also production wise, “Electric Messiah” is one of High on Fire’s heaviest albums yet. This is the band’s third outing with Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studios, and out of those albums this one is my favorite. I think I may have listened to this 5-6 times in the past day. Anyway, I don't really need to convince you of anything. If you're reading this, you probably already knew High on Fire rules. Cheers! -Samir
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Oh this is fucking good. This shit is less than 8 minutes long but it seriously crushes throughout its entirety. Altars combines repulsive Death/Grind with filthy sounding Sludge, to create a monstrous sound that reeks of putrid riffs. I understand it's a 7" but I wish this had like 3 times the amount of music, but it's that fucking good. Seriously dudes, write some more fucking tunes! This is some really good shit! I was sold on this as soon as I heard the opening riff from "Unholy Retribution". It's a gruesome slow groove that's just nasty from the get go, and then everything explodes when the blasts and double kick come in, bludgeoning your ears with aural carnage. There's so much feedback coming from the guitar while it's playing that it literally sounds like a table saw at times, and I think it really adds to the disgusting aura this band is trying to put out there. That fucking bass sound is perfection on this 7". It's so fucking deep and guttural, and it cuts right through the mix to destroy your soul. I couldn't imagine spending that much more time writing about this since it was only 7 minutes long, but it's totally worth a listen, if not like ten. I couldn't tell you how many times I have listened to it. Maybe a dozen, and I still keep bobbing my head to it. Cheers! -Samir
Also I might as well sneak this one in here as well. Ramuh features members of Maruta and Full of Hell and they totally fucking rip. The riffage on this one is top notch for sure. You should totally check this out. It's even shorter than the Altars 7"!
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Pantheist have distilled the things that make you feel cold and alone and used it as a foundation for their harrowing, soul-eroding sound! It's been seven years since their last album but the band has finally returned with their latest funeral doom opus - Seeking Infinity. "Devastation" might be the best single word to describe what you're going to hear over the course of this hour long album as you practically feel yourself dissolving in the face of eternity. But Seeking Infinity is not an album that will just destroy you outright, immediately crushing you under the weight of its massive, drawn-out, melancholic riffs - atmosphere is the name of the game here. Beginning with organs, ambient sounds, and piano it starts evoking beautiful, desolate scenery like abandoned, decrepit cathedrals and wastelands bathed in ghostly light. Savage, sorrowful, slow metal bleeds up from underneath and enhances the feeling early on, but as the album progresses, the distinct elements become more intense. Layers with synth arrangements, gentle reverberating guitars, and chanting make the atmosphere transcendent and ethereal while the doom metal gets darker, harsher, and more crushing with low deathly growls that could abandon you in the abyss. Despair seems to echo through every note and ripple across your skin leaving goose bumps. It's an incredible mix that feels natural yet unsettling all at once, tapping into something almost metaphysical. This one's deep and highly recommended - fall into the sound as soon as you can! -Brandon
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
A name like "Cosmos" has me thinking of trippy, spaced-out, psych stuff, but with Rito Verdugo's Cosmos you're only going to get a glimpse of that as you speed through the stars strapped to the back of a rumbling rocket! Taking off from Lima, Peru with no signs of slowing down these dudes are on a collision course with anything and everything! Fueled by explosive rock 'n' roll rhythms and guitar leads that go off like fireworks Rito Verdugo is a band that's out of control, taking fast-paced stoner rock and burning it with some heavy psych and just a touch of doom for flavor. These songs romp and charge like a rhino with enough vigor to crack its own horn! From the first wild notes on "Sombras" you can tell that this is a band possessed by their own untamed spirits and damn if it isn't contagious! Subsequent tracks tease with slower intros before breaking out into a driven, chaotic, and rocking good time that'll have stars spinning around your head! There are a few moments on here where you think they might be out of breath, like the warbling groove on "Prisionero" or the spacey sounds that turn into a mid-paced stomp on "Navegante", but it only takes a little bit of time before the band is buzzing with energy again and rips through the night sky like a bat out of hell! There's no hi-fi bullshit here, just down and dirty rock 'n' roll, so play it loud! -Brandon
Friday, September 28, 2018
Husmanskost are certainly no stranger to this blog. I have reviewed their last release at the beginning of this, which I have enjoyed thoroughly, and here we are again with another release from them. In the previous blog post I made a comment about wanting to stray away from focusing on Stoner, Sludge, and Doom, and while I feel like I had my moments this year, not much has really changed from the usual fare I tend to review. With all that being said, here's a pretty sweet Grindcore release I recommend checking out.
It's kind of interesting to see how much of a difference can occur between two releases that are put out so close to each other like this. My personal expectation is that I would be hearing more the same, which in the case of Husmanskost is not a bad thing. Their previous release "Ründpült" was a fucking ripper of an album, so the bar was set kind of high for "Ambi-Valence". While I would also like to point that "Ambi-Valence" is a ripper in its own right, the band's growth in songwriting and musical ability should also be pointed out for sure. I personally have no idea how much time had passed between the actual writing of the two albums, but there is a notable difference between the two with "Ambi-Valence" delivering a heavy onslaught of brutality and carnage unlike anything they have done before.
Husmanskost still maintain their stance as being primarily Grindcore, however their Crossover and Thrash influences come out more on this album. There are some pretty sick grooves on this one especially when the band puts the breaks on it, and slows down to a mid tempo assault. I even detected a hint of Technical Death Metal throughout as well with the drums and guitar showcasing their chops. Speaking of drumming, holy shit! I don't know what happened, between this album and the last, but the drumming on this album is far superior. Either it's a different drummer or it's the way they were recorded on the last one, however it really doesn't matter to me, because the blasts and double kicks on this are so fucking insane! So yeah I dug this, and think if Grindcore is your thing, you'll probably dig this as well. Cheers! -Samir
Thursday, September 27, 2018
I had been meaning to check this one out for a while, and it was for sure on my radar as something I need to check out. So I finally got around to listening to it, and holy shit Gnosis fucking rules! The riffage on "Dweller on The Threshold" packs a crunch but also oozes with Sludge. Very simple at times, but also very effective. Not sure what kind of distortion they are using but I detect a hint of an HM-2 pedal in there, unless it's just the way the fuzz and distortion are mixing. Doesn't really matter because I really like the sound whatever it is. It's a little different for Sludge Doom, and makes it stand out. The mix between the guitar and bass are fucking fantastic and the low end of the bass really comes through adding that extra weight to each riff. The drumming isn't constrained to the typical Sludge Doom plodding, and is more in line with Old School Death Metal.
In fact I think the band's approach exudes Old School Death Metal, but it's really like a best of both worlds sort of thing going on here, especially with their contagious Sludge Grooves. It's like as if some Old School Swedish Death Metal band decided like they just wanted to change gears and play Sludge Doom from now on. There's nothing is overly technical riff wise, and the pace is often mid tempo (with some blasting flourishes here and there), but the band epitomizes what I would expect from great Death Sludge. The album artwork really sets the tone and the atmosphere for "Dweller on The Threshold" for the listener. It's like ancient primordial dread, drained of its color to be super fucking bleak. It pairs well with the brutal nature of the songs. Overall, I really fucking dug this one. I mean there are some really great fucking riffs here, and if you haven't check it out yet you definitely should. -Samir
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
The city of Caracas, Venezuela is no longer safe - the fiends in Southaven have gathered together in secret and summoned the Belcefuzz! For more than a year now people have been catching glimpses of Southaven's terrifying hell beast through singles and EPs but now the full thing is out and running loose on the streets! If you haven't yet come toe-to-toe with the Belcefuzz yet it is a demonic entity made out of overblown, fuzzy as fuck stoner-doom that drowns itself in a flood of distortion. Its overwhelming waves of gnarly fuzz and riffs will crush you before washing out into drone-inspired passages where you find yourself floating and getting lost in the dark and dirty tones until it starts to feel trippy. Every once in a while things will quiet down for a little while to allow eerie notes to drag a sense of dread up your spine, but then the riffs will start roaring again and once again you're bashed up and set adrift in the hoarse and hazy sounds. When the devil lets out its harsh cries they seem to get torn apart in a wild mess of static and distortion and create a vortex into the endless void - don't bother trying to escape. This behemoth groans its way through 7 original tracks of murky doom before possessing 3 classic tracks - White Magic / Black Magic, Into the Void, and White Rabbit are all swallowed whole and given the Southaven treatment and the results are awesome. So when you're ready for your inevitable demise in a sea of fuzz give yourself up to the Belcefuzz! -Brandon
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Out in nature, in the woods - even just a short way removed from human presence - there is a mystic, primordial energy that seems to hang in the air. Ursular have managed to capture that feeling and blend it into their music on their self-titled debut EP resulting in a shadowy, druidic magic fit for the modern world. The band hails from Berlin and combines stoner-doom with heavy psych to build up a kind of psychic-electric enchantment that looms in the darkness. Bewitching vocals call you into a gloomy dream world as riffs churn and creep through the night. Ursular have deemed their sound "saxodoom" for the smoky saxophone additions that evoke a sense of mystery and even a touch of the noir. Everything treads lightly at first, delicately drawing out the primeval spirits and letting you slide slowly into the atmosphere but eventually the doom starts booming and the witchery comes into full force. The tone is like smoke and mist intermingled, harsh and smooth all at once, rolling off of the songs and dissipating in the night sky. Ursular only has three songs on this EP - they're all pretty incredible, but it's got me wanting more! I'd love to hear how this kind of sound plays out across a full-length, so I'm just gonna hope that they've got more in the works and they'll be putting out more soon! -Brandon
Friday, September 21, 2018
I mean it's kind of a no brainer that we would review this. I think once I heard the singles, I knew "Existential Void Guardian" was going to be one hell of an album. As far as newer fans or people who are unfamiliar with Conan go, I would say "Existential Void Guardian" is more accessible in terms of reaching a wider metal audience. Not saying that Conan suddenly gained pop sensibilities, and have "sold out". The same old Conan is here again, playing the barbaric Hyborian Age Sludge Doom we have come to know them for. What I am trying to say is that the songs seem to chug along with a noticeable uptempo beat throughout without being overtly droney, and while there is plenty of fuzz to go around on this one, there is also more clarity between the strings, and the bass comes through now deeper and heavier than I remember on previous releases. Both of which are tuned super fucking low as always which I like a lot.
Then on the other hand the band seems to explore other musical possibilities on this one as well. I know on "Revengeance" they experimented black metal-esque blasts however with "Paincantation" the band goes full on Grindcore. I know I can't be the only one right now who is wishing for Conan to do an all Grindcore album after listening to that. It looks like Conan switched drummers again on this one, and with new drummer Johnny King, the drumming on this one seems as versatile as ever. The band never lost their groove though, remaining mighty and heavy as ever, and it's apparent on "Existential Void Guardian" Conan is still a force to reckoned with in the overall Doom Metal scene. I can see why this album was highly anticipated. Overall, I really dug it, and if you're reading this I'm assuming you already heard it and dug it too. If not then you should probably listen to it immediately. Cheers! -Samir
Thursday, September 20, 2018
I'm usually pretty skeptical about writing reviews for splits, because it's like what if I like one band, but I don't like the other? Then it gets all awkward when I only review one side of the split, however I really like Medicine Noose, having reviewed them already once this year, so I trusted their judgement, and yeah this is a good split.
Medicine Noose is Germany's answer to Eyehategod. I mean why wouldn't they sound like them, they're named after one of their songs. I feel liken this past year I haven't encountered too many bands who are into Eyehategod worship, but Medicine Noose do it right, and they are the shit. They have a real strong 90's style Sludge/Doom sound that's slow as molasses, but just super pissed, with that raw swampy bass heavy sound. It has all the bells and whistles you would expect, with the piercing harsh feedback from the strings, and the tortured screams from the vocals. The bass sound on this this is super fat and thick, and I really liked that. Plus the riffs were really great. Overall, Medicine Noose continues to slay, and you should check them out if you haven't already.
I am new to Spewn and had not heard them before, so I had no idea what to expect. After the two songs from Medicine Noose, the genres sort of switch, and while Spewn is slow and sludgy, what they play is more in line with Man is The Bastard. Nothing but super distorted bass, drums, and screams. It's super fucking filthy and it's great. It's almost as if you played Medicine Noose or similar sounding band and played them at a slower speed. There's some blasts on the second track along with some bludgeoning double kicks from the drums, but it's mostly played slow. Like I said, I didn't know what to expect from them, but I ended up liking this as well, so overall it was a good split from two bands that do not sound anything like each other but share a commonality for slow sludgy abrasive music. Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Crawling out from underneath a scummy rock near Helsinki, Finland comes Zombie Eater - a three piece that's ready to tear a hole into you with the stoner/sludge assault on their debut EP "Slumberjack". It's a short trip for what's normally long-winded genre - clocking in at under 20 minutes - but that's all the time these dudes need to bludgeon you with savage riffs, spill some booze on your wounds, and then leave you to rot. It kicks off with "Turbo Liver" (that's gotta be a Judas Priest reference right?) which grinds through the slower side of things to start before picking up the pace and kicking into driven stoner energy fuming with weed, whiskey, and decay. These vocals are so destructive that they're burning through burning through the guy's vocal chords before they even get out of his mouth and then corroding anything in earshot. Next song is "Nuclear Jesus" which keeps things hot and nasty, featuring some nice bass groove that keeps popping out at you. "Slumberjack" is the final track on the EP and it's the longest. It's got fat riffs swinging around like an ogre's fist but the band takes a quick break from the harsh and heavy stuff mid-song to stir up some primitive grooves plus they let you wander through a forest of feedback and ambient noise at the end. Awesome set of filthy tracks right here that will have you banging your head until you're dizzy! Dopethrone fans need to hear this right away and everybody else should turn their volume up too! -Brandon
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
I can't tell if this is magic created by heavy metal or heavy metal created by magic, but whatever the case may be Alms have cast a powerful spell with their debut album "Act One". Bellowing with doom and early metal stylings in the vein of Pagan Altar, but bubbling with infectious 70s organs that fill the air with sorcery and give things a driven intent when the time is right. You can almost imagine it as though classic Uriah Heep or Deep Purple got really into the occult. It's a beautiful blend of mystical doom and grooving hard rock that manages to walk the line between the dark and the light. The band's simultaneous male/female vocals help to evoke a bewitching aura, drawing the listener in with their charming mixed melodies while the music treads through dangerous territories. The opener "Dead Water" and the following track "The Toll" have enough sullen attitude that they could provide the soundtrack for a condemned prisoner's march through the stone halls between the dungeon and the gallows, but they still have a bright swagger to them that eventually builds and bursts into a heavy headbanging moment of passion. As the album progresses songs pick up more galloping power, crusading onwards like wizards on horseback. Throughout the album there's always this vague notion of ghosts looking over your shoulder - it becomes most apparent when the music hits a quiet point - but you never quite manage to catch a glimpse so you're left wondering if it's a haunting or it's all in your head. Alms has definitely found THE sweet spot between heavy organ-laden proto-metal and doom and now they're hammering it hard! Here's hoping for more! -Brandon
Friday, September 14, 2018
I couldn't pass up the opportunity to review a Kaiju inspired metal band. There's no fucking way. I stumbled upon this after wanting to listen to something not related to Stoner, Doom, and Sludge and this was for sure a great find. The Kaiju inspired Oxygen Destroyer play Death Thrash that harkens back to the Teutonic Thrash of Kreator, as well as Early Sepultura/Sarcófago; while also having a more modern sound that reminded me of Ghoul on meth. It's brutal, it fucking rips, and it has that vicious Thrash Attack like the three headed King Ghidorah swooping down from the sky to spew fire at his arch nemeses and scorch the earth.
Deranged riffs are whipped up in a maniacal whirlwind at breakneck speed throughout "Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death" (What a name!). If only more Thrash were played with this kind of ferocity and barbarity. This shit is just non-stop relentless savagery front to back. Chainsaw guitars, blast beats, raspy demonic vocals, blistering leads; this what it sounds like when Kaiju fight. I was really blown away by this release, and it's definitely inching its way to my year end list. I mean if you're into Extreme Music that's played super fucking fast, I'm pretty sure you'll dig this one. Highly Recommended! -Samir
Thursday, September 13, 2018
A month and a half ago I did a review for GRRRMBA's "Coalescence" and I was blown away by how great this band was, and how I completely dropped the ball on covering them last year when they released it. It was also around this time that I learned they would be dropping some new shit, and the band was cool enough to send me an advance copy of it. Well "Embodiment" dropped last week, and I don't what the fuck you're doing right now, but you probably want to check this album out. It's a fucking Blackened/Sludge/Death/Doom Masterpiece. Not only is this like one of my favorite albums of the year, this has to be one of the heaviest fucking albums of the year as well. Seriously it's like Coffin Torture's "Dismal Planet", Primitive Man's "Caustic" and this. GRRRMBA has like the sickest Guitar and Bass sound. It manages to be slick and pristine, but absolutely filthy and disgusting at the same time. The vocals and drums are also spot on, and add to the already crushing heaviness. It's pure sludge groove satisfaction. "Embodiment" decimates and is just completely desolate in atmosphere. It's pitch black slime from the darkest and deepest depths of this world borne out pain, suffering, hatred, and pure fucking evil, but in aural form. What more is there to write? I'm sold, and I think this is mandatory listening. Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Be careful when you hit the play button on this one because Stygian Crown is a band with a mighty force that will throw you to your knees and then leave you there so that you may worship at the altar of doom! They're bringing some much needed darkness to the sunny city of Los Angeles, California with their "demo" entitled Through Divine Rite. I put "demo" in quotes there because I've heard a lot of demos and this is a way higher quality than most of them and with some pretty incredible songs to boot! It's heavy as a truckload of stone, weighed down with the sound of doom and taking plenty of inspiration from epic acts like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus as well as traditional metal. Up front, powerful female vocals call out across the void and summon an otherworldly might into the shadows while the band attacks mostly with slow pounding waves of sound that crash without remorse, occasionally working into a merciless gallop. A few symphonic moments creep in to add some dramatic tension and adds a beautiful accent to the doom metal without impeding anything heavy - a fitting soundtrack for rituals serving ancient warrior gods! These songs should be echoing through the hallowed halls of a temple, offered in tribute along with the spoils of a morose war. You could compare the band to Avatarium, but Stygian Crown doesn't bother with anything gentle or proggy on this demo, they're always giving you full-on power! There's only three tracks here which just isn't enough for me, but the good news is that there's a full-length album in the works, so here's hoping for more soon! -Brandon
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Contemplations is an album that cascades down on you like a waterfall - melodic death/doom blends together with acoustic guitar passages, bleak, beleaguering assaults, and reflective thoughts to create a sound that crashes overhead and envelopes you in its mood. This is the second full-length album from Swedish group Soliloquium who sound smooth and coarse all at once producing a crushing sound that ripples through the darkness and into the recesses of your soul. There's an undercurrent of harrowing, bitter metal but melancholic melodies keep breaking through resulting in a stormy sea of sound on which you'll be taken under by a raging wave only to find yourself floating back to the surface in the eerie calm afterwards! Clean guitar weaves its way through the album leading to introspection between the anguished outbursts commanded by deep death vocals. Everybody compares these guys to Katatonia and with good reason! Not only does the band cite them as an influence but you can hear a ton of similarities in musical style - and while you can attribute some of that to commonalities of the Swedish metal sound, I gotta say that if you like Katatonia, you're going to like Soliloquium. Contemplations is somber, fierce, and beautiful all at once - highly recommended for death/doom devotees! As an extra interesting note, Soliloquium's website (deathdoom.com) contains more info than just about the band - there's also all kinds of primers and guides on doom metal and its various subgenres that are definitely worth digging into, so check it out! -Brandon
Friday, September 7, 2018
I missed this one from earlier this year, and I'm glad I came across it, because it's a really good release. Ourang Medan hail from Brasil, and play face melting droned out Sludge Doom that's heavy on grooves and as slow as molasses. "De Ebúrneo Ossuário - Feral Responso" (which Google translated as "Of Ivory Ossuary - Feral Answer") is only two songs long, but clocks in at a little over 20 minutes, giving the listener enough sarcophagus juice to stew in while appreciating the disgusting filthy sludge riffs dripping from the tomb ceiling. There is some real nasty riffage going on here for sure.
This EP has a such a great mix/sound. The strings are low and detuned with that fat bloated corpse sound you would expect from a Death Doom band but it's done so savagely with the sickening ooze of sludge with the right amount of feedback as well. The wretched vocal stylings are just so spot on, and pierce through the mix forcing the living to tremble upon listening. I definitely think the first song is a little bit more somber than the second, with the second one giving off a more sinister vibe. Either way these drab anthems are capable of waking the dead, and that is why I highly recommend this release. Cheers! -Samir
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Bummer has returned with their brand of Sludgy Metallic Noise Rock, and pull no punches with the brutish "Holy Terror". Combining rad gnarly riffs with tongue in cheek song titles/lyrics ("Fred Savage 420" is my favorite), Bummer is here to fuck shit up with zero fucks to give. "Holy Terror" sounds like the equivalent of super pissed troglodytes skateboarding in caves, armed with bones and other weapons in order make each other crash and burn and risking death doing tricks over fires and shit. In other words, this is good stuff! There seems to be this particular bass sound that is often associated with Noise Rock, whether it be Jesus Lizard or Unsane, and these dudes have it as well. It's pretty robust and well defined in the mix. While the guitar sound is not thin by any means, it's pretty clear the band wasn't trying to create a wall of nothing but guitar sound here.
Each member beat the shit out of their instrument, and that's what you get in the mix. The guitar sound harkens back to the Grunge era Sludge sound of the 90s, while the drums hit with tremendous force not unlike being knocked the fuck out by some brass knucks. The vocals are spot on too, with the right amount of anger, grit and aggro. Overall Bummer continues not to disappoint. This marks their fifth release after last year's split with Pinko, and they just keep hitting it out of the park as far as I'm concerned. Definitely one of my favorites from this year, and if Noise Rock is your thing, you should check this shit out. If it's not, check this out anyway! Highly Recommened! Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Sometimes I wonder about the persistent darkness that looms over Italy. There seems to be something that haunts the entire country allowing them to make consistently chilling doom metal - the kind of stuff that makes your hair stand on end and your heart stand still. Eterno - the second release from doom harbingers Organ - is no exception and manages to bludgeon us with thick and terrifying instrumentals that groan with a ton of synth and an eerie atmosphere that doesn't hold back anything heavy! The first track "Aidel" starts with a symphony of whistles and whines before pounding out a megaton of force at a slow, satisfying pace. It's as though you've been strapped to a chair in a haunted mansion and you feel yourself slowly eroding while they keywork heightens the tension like a knife running along your spine as goblins dance before your eyes. Next is "Faithless" which feels like a dreary funeral procession traveling across miles of gray, desolate wasteland in which wandering spirits stop to mock the living. Finally the last song "Decadence" really is pure doom decadence that revels in melancholy. The synth here gives me the occasional flashback to Type O Negative with the way it paints a high yet depressive melody over the somber dirge of the guitar. If you're feeling afraid, that's natural, but don't let it stop you from turning the volume all the way up until the sound throws you against a wall! -Brandon
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Now here's an album that I've been waiting for! I remember a couple years ago when I first stumbled across Z/28's self-titled EP - three tracks of hard-hitting, headbanging stoner rock - and I thought to myself "These guys need a full-length album immediately". I stared at their Bandcamp page for a few hours hoping it would materialize, but it didn't, and I gave up hope. Thankfully only a few years later it's here and titled "Nobody Rides For Free" featuring plenty of the shit that made their first EP great and more! If you aren't aware, Z/28 features Jeff Hayward of Grief while sounding nothing like Grief at all, instead getting down and dirty with high octane stoner rock with more 70s inspiration than you can shake a stick at! It kicks off with a rocking rhythm as in fades a killer guitar solo that would fit in on almost any classic rock album - then gears shift and suddenly the second track slaps down some Kyuss style riffing while the back end mashes on at a heavy, steady pace. Songs only get better from there as they're hashed out with a punk-ish attitude and small doses of doom, sludge, and dirgey synths are ground in to the already wicked sound. Riffs and solos abound with plenty of driven rhythm - there really isn't a bad track on here with each one making its own twist on the formula and damn if they aren't all brilliant examples of how to play heavy fucking rock music. If you told me you liked rock 'n' roll but you didn't like this album, I'm not sure I'd believe you - just turn this one up and let it take you burning down the road! -Brandon
Friday, August 31, 2018
I totally missed out on this one from 2017. For some reason, I feel like I knew about this Toten Hex release last year, but somehow never got the chance to listen to it, or forgot about it. I'm really regretting that after finally catching up, and this is some really good shit. "Cemetery Avenue" was most likely one of the best releases I missed out on from last year. If you enjoy that big fuzzy Doom sound with slow thunderous riffs, you will most likely dig this one. One interesting aspect to this release is that the songs are pretty fucking short, not just by doom standards, but by general song standards. However, I couldn't tell at all, and I only noticed this when I really took a closer look at the Bandcamp page. The songs really flow and blend well together. On top of that I was so drawn in to the music that it didn't matter anyway.
As far as the strings go, it seems like most of the power is coming from the guitars. If there is bass on this it's either very low in the mix or just it blends in with the guitar. However that is quite alright because that guitar tone is thick and toasty as fuck. Plus it's pretty bassy in its own right, carrying a lot of the low end. I was a fan of the vocals on this as well. Throughout each song they float somewhere between angry chant and death growl, and it really does compliment the fiery riffs. These riffs are really fucking good, and have a nice groove to them. I can't wait for whatever Toten Hex releases next. Highly Recommended! Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
After a few years and a boatload of EPs the devilish one-man act known as Golden Bats has finally released a full-length album! "Residual Dread" drags you wailing along a gravel road and into the depths with heavy, dingy doom played with sharp, rusty sludge tones. This album fills the role of a gravedigger - it's dreary, morose, a bit grisly, and beneath the glum appearance there's a whole lot of taut, wiry muscle used for putting people underground. A constant doom metal undercurrent churns with that understated strength while savage, corrosive vocals rain down from on high spraying the songs with a bitter venom. Meanwhile, melancholic melodies will stalk you over the course of each track only to emerge from the shadows when you least expect them and strike with sorrowful guitar leads, organs, and keys. The result sounds like it could have been lifted from a Transylvanian funeral if it was mashed up with a back-alley knife fight. Songs creep slowly with riffs swinging in a dangerous, steady rhythm like a mace at the end of a pendulum. At the end there's even a whiff of black metal spirit blowing in the cold, deathly wind. No doubt this is one for the wicked - needs to be played 'til it disintegrates your skin or dismantles your soul - or maybe both! -Brandon
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
This descent will take us impossibly deep into the bowels of a crypt long forgotten by God and man alike in order to gaze into the cold heart of eternity and try not to be driven mad in the process! You have been warned - this will be gruesome. After the demise of the warbling, water-logged stoner/doom act The Devil's Swamp, a new band arose from their tomb going by the name Unholy Slough. However, all the time spent in the grave means that the sound has decayed, becoming an especially grim mix of death, doom, and sludge that must have been burned dry in hellfire. The first track "Prologue" creates an eerie atmosphere that grows more harrowing with each passing minute building tension as you feel the air grow still and your heartbeat quicken. And then you find yourself in a world of terrifying misery as "Ritual" begins and the first, low, wretched shout engulfs you like a cloud of stale and putrid rot. Slow and bleak the song continues with riffs and an atmospheric synth that make you feel as though you're trudging through the catacombs with the tempo picking up only briefly so that the dead may taunt you. "SM" strikes even harder, picking up and echoing through the dark chamber and shaking the walls with an extra dose of gloomy brutality. The final track "The Last Chthonic Vision" reaches a grumbling, agonizing climax that crawls through a seemingly endless vortex of desolate, swirling death before abandoning you frantic and delirious in the depths of despair. Once this album has you there's no escape, so submit to the somber, unnatural growling in the darkness and embrace your cursed fate! -Brandon
Friday, August 24, 2018
"Dope Rider's" cover art was very misleading to me. Before I decided to hit the play button, I thought it was going to be listening to Stoner/Desert Rock. The opening drum beat sort of back this notion up as well. However once the strings and the vocals came in I realized I was listening to an entirely different beast altogether. Kurokuma's fiery Sludge Doom is catchy as fuck. The riffs and grooves had me locked in right away on "Dope Rider". You have to savor them though, because this EP is only like 13 mins long. When that final riff on Track 2 ("Dope Rider Part 2"), and you revel in the gooey sludgy goodness of its detuned riffage, you find out how fleeting that moment really was when the song ends minutes later. That's alright though, because if you're like me, you will just start the damn EP all over again and give it a few more listens, because it's that fucking good.
There's also a hint of Noise Rock abrasiveness, but I don't know if it's enough to reclassify this as being anything other than Sludge Doom. It can be heard primarily in the vocals and the bass. I really dug the screaming from the vocals, and I felt like it had the right amount of aggression to compliment the riffs. I think the drums have something really interesting going on. I don't think I truly noticed until a few listens of the EP that he has this consistent hard hitting shuffle and swing throughout both songs. I think maybe the last bar or so is played straight but who cares, it was a little off and a little different, and added a little flavor to the whole Sludge Doom experience. Overall, this EP was a pleasant surprise. I'm really glad this didn't turn out to be a Stoner/Desert Rock album, as Sludge Doom is really more my thing anyway. With all that being said, I highly recommend this one! Cheers!
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Eye comes to us from Russia thickly veiled in a shroud of mystery - even the cover of their new album "Out of Body" is a cryptic bramble of dim neon contours hiding in the darkness - but the sound they bring is unambiguously heavy. They've arisen from the underground to ensnare all who will listen by playing psychedelic stoner-doom with dual male/female vocals and just the right kind of twists to turn your mind into mush. The first track ("Transformation") brings in the battering ram of doom and starts banging at the gates - first slowly in majestic arcs then faster and more frantically - until your ears are blown out and your head is full of static. Once you're on the ground with fuzz pouring out of your ears, then things start to get trippy as the second track begins swirling in extra psychedelic wind-swept desert sounds and eastern influence into the mix. The next two tracks ("Moment Balans" and "Smoke Weed") see the band fighting with their stoner instincts as songs shift seamlessly between slow, cosmic head spaces and spicy, driven beats. On the last song ("Circle of Suffering") Eye starts to get ethereal as though the band has expended the last of their mortality and now they're able to ascend into the night sky to spread their sound among the stars. And so just as they came, now they go, leaving us with an important lesson: if your eye comes out of body... you don't have to put it back in, 'cause this shit is awesome! -Brandon
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
A new plague of misery has broken out in the city of Ferrara, Italy in the form of a band called Lightpath! They're slowly blighting souls and corrupting minds using a crass kind of death/doom that's heavy on the raspy and nasty tones. They've dubbed their first release "Children of the Void" as a 'promo'. What's a promo? Is that a demo? An EP? Well it doesn't fucking matter because whatever it is rips! They've only got three songs on here, but each one hits like a riot echoing through the catacombs with subtle occult undertones. Strains of wrath writhe their way through the dark and narrow passages of the decrepit, doomy underground, but they take any available opportunity to burst out into a driven death metal fuming with sharp, rotten odors. Revolting terror will arise in some of the slowest passages eliciting a sense of hopelessness before you're mangled by musical storm that follows. A sense of gloom hangs overhead as it rolls through with grumbling patches and ominous thunder before breaking out into a chaotic, merciless buffeting. I love the drums on here as they seem to have a raw, tribal energy and some standout rhythms that hold the torch and lead the way as songs creep through the decaying darkness. Regardless, Lightpath take the harsh road all the way through this thing and that makes it all the better - definitely worth a listen or twelve! They've got me hooked and I'll be watching for what comes next! -Brandon
Friday, August 17, 2018
Here's an album that flew under my radar from earlier this year. Holy Shit this is an amazing album! Combining the right amounts of Sludge, Doom and Drone, "Second Sight" from Foehammer is a behemoth of an album. This shit is meant to be cranked at the fullest volume, so that the low and slow riffs can reverberate against your bones the way Doom Metal is meant to be played. Out of the four tracks, not one of them is under 7 minutes, so you definitely get enough time bask in its radiant misery. As toasty as these riffs might be, there's still this sense of dreariness that casts its shadow over every song. The music is fiery, but it is also very ugly in a gratifying way.
The fucking string section on this album is just monstrous. Like two looming pillars of nothing but Sludge and Fuzz. It's just a downpour of constant heaviness, and it's super fucking slow. Combined with the pummeling of the drums, and the death growls of the vocals, the impact is monumental. "Second Sight" is an agonizingly brutal release, that has crawled its way up in Sisyphean fashion, to the top of my best of the year list. I'm glad I didn't go throughout the whole year not listening to this album, because I would've been missing out on a truly great album. Highly Recommended! Cheers! -Samir
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Based on the cover for Saltbuck's latest release "Cityslicker" (I mean maybe even the title is a bit misleading), you might not know exactly what you're in for here. I'm not saying either are bad, but at first glance I would have guess this was strictly a Noise Rock affair. It's not totally untrue, but there is definitely some slow and sludgy Doom Metal goodness with a slight stoner twinge if you really want to get down to the core of what it is. The riffs are fucking massive, like a huge cloud of smoke suffocating the listener with its sinister grooves. It's almost like the plumes are a mix of weed smoke from a depository and the grey smog from a rundown industrial part of town. Saltbuck inhabits both of those worlds, mixing purple/green haze with the gloom of modern day dread.
Like I mentioned, massive riffs, so the bass and the guitar have a really nice wall of fuzz that blends together really well. They're very thick, and definitely have a gooey center to them. The vocals are extremely grating in a Sludge Doom sort of way. No clean singing for sure! It's like a mix of the grit and the gravel of harsh urban landscapes with the hoarseness of smoking way too fucking long. The drummer is hard hitter, and I don't mean off of the bong. It really adds to the impact of all the pummeling riffs. I mean this shit is catchy. If you're looking for good heavy music to band your head to, this will get the job done for sure. It's not all straight forward either. It kind of gets weird (in a good way) in areas, but overall I dug it. High Recommended! Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Last year I wrote a bit about Talsur, a one-man doom metal juggernaut out in Russia who has been self-releasing all kinds of dark and melancholic music that touches on a variety of doom subgenres, just letting the sounds of lament come forth in a torrent, flowing in whatever direction natural chaos takes it in. Now with a little help from Sofia Strazhkova on violin, Talsur has put out a new full-length album entitled "Tormented" - a gloriously sorrowful piece of melodic death/doom with plenty gothic inspiration in the vein of My Dying Bride. Guitar, bass, and drums groan and growl with some morose doom that even borders on the grim at points, while piano and violin phase in and out adding somber melodies and a classic, refined atmosphere to create a romantic funeral of sorts. Clean vocals clash beautifully with death growls to drag you through grief - even if you don't understand the source - and then slow, grand riffs moan with ill intent as they prey on your heightened emotions before ripping into brief flashes of broad, grizzly violence. Scattered throughout the album are pockets of haunting, ghostly sound during which the lament of a dozen lost lives seems to weigh on your soul and you're left paralyzed, able to do nothing but let the pain wash over you, be it smooth or scathing. The intensity only ramps up as the album goes on, eventually swelling to an epic and anguished end. This is the sound of contemplation as you stand motionless in the graveyard - surrounded by beautiful stone monuments that herald eternity - ready to hurl yourself into your own tomb! Tormented is a record that was made for those bewitched by pain and sorrow - but if you aren't there yet, you will be after you hear this! -Brandon
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Each time Kingnomad appears, it seems like they're stepping out of an otherworldly fog as enigmatic travelers presenting music created from a place just beyond the outskirts of our conscious minds, and the delivery of their second full-length "The Great Nothing" is no exception. Now however the Swedish band is bringing an extra dose of cosmic and creepy vibes and kicking some more doom rock into their heavy psych formula - and I love it! From the opening group vocal harmonies on "The Yoga of Desolation" you'll get a glimpse into their eerie leanings before they bring things back with a brighter prog rock spirit on "Cosmic Serpent", and from there effortlessly snaking around styles but always conjuring evocative melodies that seem to resonate just beneath your skin. Between their dark/light dichotomy and chilling organ tones Kingnomad almost brings out an spooky rock 'n' roll boogie, but they tend to go wandering off into more exploratory head space before letting you get too comfortable in any one spot. It definitely hits some epic moments and with the acoustic guitars and the magic in the keys you'll hear sparks of Uriah Heep and other sorcerous 70s sounds dancing around the stern and steely-eyed rock grooves. The last track seems to go off in a dozen different directions over the course of 20 minutes, but it all twists around and melts back together at the origin point through the power of occult mysticism. There's no doubt The Great Nothing is an absolutely awesome record so let Kingnomad take you into the swirling void and show you all its unearthly splendor! -Brandon
Thursday, August 9, 2018
Combining Sludge grooves with Grindy Metallic Hardcore, Skincarver pummels the senses, while eviscerating your body with their new release "Shades of A Shallow Grave". It's not full on Grindcore and its not full on Sludgecore either, but it meets somewhere in the middle where riffs are delivered with a severe crunch or unload like a thick pungent ooze. It has the characteristics of a crocodile swimming in the sewers. Surrounded by refuse and slime the hulking beast slowly waits to feed and when it does it goes into a frenzy sloshing the gross sewer water around painting the tunnels with shit and rat guts.
I'm really digging the bass sound on this. It's not super detuned or anything but it adds that extra heftiness in there, that creates a good balance of Sludge and Hardcore grit. It has a prominent place in the mix as well, and is not so overly distorted that it's nothing but low end noise, which I like. It also pairs well with the guitar parts which already have kind of a disgusting swampy low end, which I mean in the best way possible. I always dig a really good versatile extreme metal drummer, and you definitely get that on this release. They aren't pigeonholed to strictly slow Sludgy stuff, and you get a nice variety of double kicks and blasts. Similar with the vocals. No clean singing of course, which I prefer, but nothing that is purely just death grunts. Anyway, every time I listen to it I wish it was a little longer because I have been enjoying it that much. Hopefully I won't have to wait another two years for a follow up to this one. Good shit! Highly Recommended! Cheers! -Samir