Thursday, March 29, 2018

Septic Rot (now known as High Cost) - Cult of Grief (2017)

Septic Rot is your new favorite band, but you just didn't know it yet. Or at least that's what happened to me when I caught a video of them playing live recently. All I could think is "Where the fuck did this band come from, and why haven't I heard of them?". Well, first off they're from NY, and second, I'm not quite sure why I'm just getting to them now. "Cult of Grief" was released last May but it's still worth checking out today. As in now! Right fucking now!
Anyway, Septic Rot play Grinding Hardcore that pulls no punches, doesn't try any fancy stuff, and gets straight to the fucking point, which is playing catchy pissed off music. Septic Rot kind of reminds me of this local band from Detroit, called Pure Hiss. Very similar things going on in both bands. In fact, I mean I think it would be cool if they reached out to each other. Why not?
Songs explode with an array of blasts and punk beats while the guitar/bass parts are fast and furious, hellbent on burning everything to the fucking ground. The vocals kind of go back and forth between screams and shouts, and there's definitely enough sandpaper grit in them rub the skin off of your face. Together this band is just a whirlwind of cataclysmic rage, and I think it's great.
I'm hoping for more from this band in the future! Cheers! -Samir
P.S. I just found out they changed their name to High Cost.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mane of the Cur - Retreat of the Glaciers (2018)

Incoming! More awesome shit from out of Portland - this time in the form of "Retreat of the Glaciers", the second album from the wicked spellcasters in Mane of the Cur. Using mystic rhythms, hard-hitting riffs, and darkness abound it strikes a chord somewhere between 70s-inspired hard rock and doom metal. It kicks off with the title track creeping in slow and mysterious with flute and synth creating an arcane atmosphere throughout a heavy, crawling instrumental jam. It isn't until the second track that the vocals come seeping out of the speakers, but when they do, they get tangled up in your soul and lead you away to disappear into the night. Generally the flute/synth/vocal combo evokes the magic on this album while the guitar/bass/drums hit the root of rock slowly and methodically like a blacksmith pounding steel. My favorite track on here (and the most doomy) has got to be "1 Bullet" with its chilling synth flutters and evil riffing. It starts out eerie but it gets real dark within the last minute of the song when things take a trippy turn and the layered vocals paint a scene of melting ghosts calling out to you. Come for the occult flavor, stay for the slow swirl of hard rock - or you could probably flip those depending on what you're into! Either way, these are some tunes you're going to want to hear. -Brandon

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hikan - Begotten (2018)

In the city of Curitiba, Brazil there is a one-man band putting out music like black tar bubbling out of a crack in the earth. Hikan (or 悲観) is Japanese for pessimism or disappointment - and that all makes sense when I tell you that the first two albums under the Hikan banner were woeful pieces of depressive black metal. However, the third and most recent release "Begotten" seems to turn over a new leaf (presumably a pot leaf) and transform the sound into a stonerfied force of doomy sludge. Gone are the hammering drums and crestfallen wails, and in their place are evil grooves and harsh, firey shouts - out of the darkness and into the light is a calloused, snarling monster! The first two tracks ("Begotten" and "Dirt") unfold slow and rough as though they are coming to terms with their metamorphosis from black metal to coarse stoner/sludge/doom chimeras and are tenuously clawing their way out of the cocoon to only burn under a hot sun. But with the third and fourth tracks ("Traps" and "Sick") beast is fully formed - a nasty creature massive enough to topple buildings with its swaggering riffs and aggressive attitude. Here you'll hear some scathing rhythms and hoarse vocals that could peel back layers of skin! The EP ends on a cover of Eyehategod's "Anxiety Hangover" that's sharper and more jagged than the original - it feels like someone's threatening you with a rusty knife up against your throat. I'm not sure what prompted the change in Hikan (I mean, presumably some THC) but the results speak for themselves - let this shit wreck you! -Brandon

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Noose Rot - The Creeping Unknown (2018)

Noose Rot features members from Gatecreeper, Skeletonwitch, and Wolvhammer, and they have an OSDM sound that incorporates elements of Sludge and Death/Doom. This shit hits hard with it's production sound. Nothing fuzzy going on that's for sure. It's aggressive, it's chunky, and it's got a swamp vibe to it, while at the same time is as crushing as a wrecking ball destroying a mausoleum. I'm definitely a sucker for the slower deep sludge grooves that these dudes for sure revel in, but for the most part "The Creeping Unknown" is dedicated to bludgeoning, pulverizing Old School Death Riffs, set to the sounds of a modern production. Speaking of riffs, they're fucking contagious, with this one. I can't get enough of this that's for sure.
The guitars and bass definitely have that murky low deep thick sound to them, but like I mentioned above a certainly chunky, and resemble something that's distinctly Death Metal, and a little less Doom Metal. Definitely some hefty crunch going on here. As expected from what I've described thus far, the drums hit pretty fucking hard, and are pretty fucking relentless as well. I mean even when the drums are slowed down or whatever for a dank sludge groove, the drums are still fucking annihilating the shit out of the riffs.  The vocals are spot on perfect. They capture the feeling and atmosphere of this release keeping it strictly death growls, and high pitched shrieks. A classic sound that doesn't need to be fucked with. If it ain't broke, don't fucking fix it.
Overall, really fucking great EP. Highly recommended for sure. It delivers everything I like about Death Metal and Sludge in 4 impressive tracks. Great songwriting, great sounds, great band. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Blue Cheese - Reborn Into Void (2018)

Blue Cheese is on the rise! No longer content to be your favorite food, now it can be your favorite band too! These dudes are sauntering out of Montreal, Québec with their second album "Reborn Into Void" - a rowdy slab of stoner rock with some dirty blues on the side. Yeah, that combo means there are riffs for days and some jams you'd have to be dead to ignore. The guitar tone attacks you with a sharp fuzz that feels like a jolt down your spine and the vocals come crashing in scratchy and rough - either this guy has been gargling with gravel or he's got some serious cottonmouth, someone get him some water! Most of these songs are packing a rugged groove with some 70s hard rock inspiration just a whiff of something wicked in the wind - a tinge of doom to twist things in the direction of darkness. The second track "Uncrowned Queen" is probably one of the most stand out tracks on here, starting with a cocky swagger that gives off some Sleep vibes (think Dragonaut) before revving the engine and taking off! But it's not a full on stoner party here, there are some dives into smoky, moody passages for you to get lost in and space out on. The title track is one of these and closes the album by letting you down nice and slow with a few heavy blows thrown in here and there. If you're not listening to this one already you're missing out, so get on it already! -Brandon

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Crimson Altar - MMXVII (2018)

The time has come to light the black candles and let the ritual commence, for Crimson Altar has arrived from Portland, Oregon and they will be leading the incantation with their newest release "MMXVII". They put out this demo in preparation for their upcoming full-length (due later this year) and if this is any indication of what's to come then they wield a shadowy power that may yet rule over us all. Crimson Altar is a wellspring of murky female-fronted doom metal with occult leanings and a sound that evokes the mystique of a spring night in Transylvania. There's an almost otherworldly duality here between the dusty riffs that feel like they're crawling out of the crypt and the fresh, nearly spiritual air that the flute and two acoustic guitar passages bring. The combination will leave you enchanted by the unnatural twilight and you may find yourself in a manic trance singing praises to Pan under the light of the full moon. Atop this are the bewitching vocals invite you to submit to your wicked inclinations and welcome the gloom of night as your mistress - and you'd have to be a fool to refuse. I'd say the band owes more to Bedemon than Blood Ceremony, but you can definitely hear the influence of both. So when you're ready to commit your heart to the darkness, you're going to want to check this out! -Brandon

Friday, March 16, 2018

Thra - Mourn (2017)

Definitely file this under shit I missed in 2017. Well honestly, this only came out in December so I'm not too far behind on this one, but holy fuck is this a gnarly sounding blackened nugget of crust sludge. Like imagine Brainoil if you put them in the Blackened Sludge/Death Doom blender and you get Thra. This shit is nasty as fuck, and just as pissed off. These dudes play with the subtlety of cavemen, and are about as chill as a pack of mange-ridden wolves looking for their next meal. Ferocious and mean, these heavy. dissonant sun baked riffs are nothing to fuck with.
Like I mentioned Brainoil comes to mind, but when it comes to their guitar tone the only other band I can think of is Blessing The Hogs. It's a sound that's definitely more in line with other forms of Extreme Metal than your typical Stoner Doom or Sludge. Feedback is strewn between riffs and helps with creating a misanthropic atmosphere. The bass although it's hard to pinpoint sometimes in the mix, is most definitely there and it's distorted as fuck and fits right in with the overall nastiness of the band. The vocals are fantastic with its shrieking cries of hate and misery. There's also a lower death growl vocal that's employed at various times for great effect. Going along with the whole Extreme Metal vibe, the drummer seems to be avoiding the regular Stoner Doom or Sludge tendencies of just playing slow, and is pretty varied making use of interesting fills as well as decent foot work on the double kick.
I highly recommend this tasty sliver of rage inducing sludge. My only complaint is that this release is only 3 songs, and they're kinda short, so I'm definitely anticipating more! If you like your Sludge Doom being a few shades away from just being straight up Death Metal then this shit is probably for you. Great stuff! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wytch Goat - Kult Of The Wytch Goat (2018)

If you're a fan of Sleep, Electric Wizard, and Church of Misery (which if you're reading this, I'm guessing that's a yes), then you might wanna check this one out. While this definitely has more of an old school Stoner Doom feel to it, and borrows heavily from its predecessors, "Kult Of The Wytch Goat" works because of it's overall spooky atmosphere and sinister nature. The catchy riffs don't hurt either. With its occult leanings, and all around evil vibe, this release is the perfect soundtrack for wycthes gathered at black masses. 
One thing you'll notice for sure is the soulful swagger of the vocals, which haunts the listener with memorable melodies ghastly sing a longs. The strings are thick with fuzz and often join together as one, but it's when the guitar enters into a repetitious trance like lead, the bass weaves a web of intrigue and keeps you locked in before the two join together once again for a colossal riff fest. 
Through it's dread and foreboding horror, Wytch Goat are able to craft and conjure up some decent tunes that will more than likely get your head bobbing along to their maniacal stoner grooves. If you're gonna play Stoner Doom that sounds like this, you gotta bring the riffs along with the spliffs, and these dudes definitely deliver. Looking forward to hearing more from them in the future. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Druid Lord - Grotesque Offerings (2018)

I think the folks over at Hells Headbangers are desperate to see me go broke. On top of their incredible distro selection, they keep releasing all these wicked albums that I am powerless to resist. One of their more recent tactics in their war against my wallet is Druid Lord's "Grotesque Offerings". The band's second album is a contorted clump of horrific death/doom that will eviscerate you and drag your mangled carcass into the crypt! The first track is titled "House of Dripping Gore" and I think the imagery that the name conjures really captures the band's sound well - a fine estate with walls coated in bloody chunks of flesh, slowly creeping downward before suddenly dropping to the floor with a wet slosh. House of Dripping Gore also emphasizes the DEATH in death/doom - hell, if you didn't bother listening to the other tracks on the album you might just think this was a slow-paced death metal album. It starts to get gloomier with the second track, but it never loses those scathing death metal sensibilities it establishes up front - it just melds with the thick sounds of horror-inspired doom. As the album creeps on you'll start to hear organ/synth touches that bring moments of sophisticated terror to the agonizing atmosphere, but it's really the brutal, low, hard-churning metal that will keep you coming back. There are other death/doom bands playing in similar veins (Hooded Menace for instance), but damn do Druid Lord make their shit GRUESOME. So if you like your music grisly, Grotesque Offerings is going to do it for you! -Brandon

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Windhand/Satan's Satyrs - Split (2018)

Windhand and Satan's Satyrs - a sinister pair of bands each with some impressive releases under their belts - have come together to create an undeniable force of evil in the form of a new split album. Their titanic union has enough weight to open a portal to the underworld and let the denizens of hell come crawling out of the dark. But each band is going to take a very different approach in conjuring their demons - Windhand is slow and solemn, while Satan's Satyrs is rocking and rancorous. Windhand contributes their two tracks first, coming down with massive doom metal that slowly swirls with pentagrams and burning candles to evoke something mystic. "Old Evil" will hit you pretty hard with the fuzz and slow, smoky grooves and then "Three Sisters" quiets down to draw you in deeper using an ominous tone and a screeching organ that will make your hair stand on end. Guitar, bass, drums, and vocals all speak their impure intentions clearly with every note devoted to their dark ceremony. However, Satan's Satyrs is next and they don't need any of the black magic or profane rituals to make something unholy - they simply play on the evil already burning in your soul. Their three tracks are sleazy, motorized, completely wicked, and extra fun! "Alucard AD 2018" charges through the night high on speed and sin and I think "Succubus" is set to the unnatural rhythm of the devil's laughter. The last song "Ain't That Lovin' You, Baby" puts a pretty nasty spin on that sweet spot where rock 'n' roll grows out of the blues and then kicks it into high gear at the end. Different styles but the album's evil nature brings everything together to make one otherworldly hunk of metal that will drive you screaming into the dark - turn this one up once you're ready to take the plunge! -Brandon

Friday, March 9, 2018

Ilsa - Corpse Fortress (2018)

Here lies Ilsa's Relapse Record's debut "Corpse Fortress", and it's a crusty slab of Doom Sludge that is blackened to perfection. While this release probably won't offer anything that sounds new or fresh to people who have one ear firmly placed on the Sludge underground, the repugnant sounds emanating from this moldy tomb are worth the listen. Ilsa has been around for a decade now, and it looks like all of that hard work pummeling people with brutish tones is definitely paying off. This release is slow, agitated, and heavy as fuck. The riffs are infectious like the plague, and are just as lethal. The tones and sounds on this are about as ideal as they get when it comes to Sludge Doom hymnals and volatile caveman-esque diatribes. These dudes have a crazy raw energy about them that's delivered with a feral and frenzied intensity throughout each of the album's 11 tracks.
The guitars and bass work together to create this deep, massive, and bloated sound, that's sure enough to shake the cobwebs and dust off in any crypt. Again I'd like to emphasize that the tones and sounds overall are like the epitome of what I would consider good when listening to Sludge Doom. Light on fuzz and heavy on chugs. Everything from the right amount of distortion, to the right amount of feedback. It's definitely spot on. I really like the drums on this as well, and the way that they know exactly what to play for each riff. It's not all low and slow, as there are some d-beat moments, some double kick OSDM/Death Doom moments, and one example of the strings and double kick playing in unison that pretty fucking sweet, but wasn't common throughout. The guttural screech of the vocals are like icing on a festering cake of sewn together skin, with bugs and maggots crawling underneath.
Overall I really dug this. I may have to revisit it again by the end of the year to see if it's going to be one of my favorites, but I'm pretty sure this is going to make it. Awesome release, highly recommended! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Tony Tears - Demons Crawl at Your Side (2018)


Last year I picked up a split between Tony Tears and Violet Temple titled "Witchmothers" - it was my first exposure to either band. While Violet Temple laid down some hair-raising doom, Tony Tears focused on building an atmosphere of eerie horror using trippy synth and guitar work. Both came together to create something delightfully dark, so when I saw that Tony Tears put out a new album called "Demons Crawl at Your Side", I was definitely interested in checking it out. But what I didn't realize earlier is that "Tony Tears" is a name much like "Dio" or "Danzig" - it's the name of both a man and the band behind him. While the Witchmothers split featured Tony Tears the man, this album is from Tony Tears the band and as a result this reaches beyond a chilling ambiance and hits new depths. If I didn't tell you these guys were from Italy, you would probably hear this album immediately ask me if the band was from Italy. They capture that Italian horror aesthetic perfectly, and on top of that they hit all the high points of Italian doom - layered instruments feeding you a psychedelic feeling with moaning, off-center vocals and synth tones that make you feel like you've woken up out of a dream, but you feel like you might still be in another dream. Paul Chain fans will be well satisfied. Sometimes you'll be left sitting hopeless in a gloomy stone dungeon like on "In Lilith's Days" which stews in melancholy as dreary riffs, disturbing whispers, and distant chants all seem to close in on you. But on the other hand "Demon Always Stands at the Darkness of Fear" is driven by a classic rock 'n' roll rhythm that sends it running motorized down the road, until it comes to a tense, terrifying pause when that rhythm falls away and a trepidatious guitar backs fearful vocals in the face of unholy judgment. Each track is a unique experience and the music tells amazing stories. You'll be taken through synthesizer squeals that will give you goosebumps, pensive guitar passages, gothic melodies, heavy headbanging moments, psyched-out sound experiments, and more all while Tony Tears maintains an unshakable eerie atmosphere that really makes this album special. You just have to hear this to understand its many facets - open yourself to this dark magic and let it evoke an unreal horror within you! -Brandon

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Deathbell - With The Beyond (2018)

Fuck man, where did this come from? After listening to it, my best guess is that this is a gift granted to humanity by the grim reaper as a ghastly reminder of our own inevitable demise, meant to breed terror in our souls and make us crumble under the weight of our own mortality. Or perhaps in a more unlikely scenario, there's an amazing band out of France called Deathbell and their debut album "With The Beyond" is mind-meltingly good. Assuming your speakers aren't busted you need to turn this on right now or you'll be missing out on chilling doom metal that you can feel reverberating in your bones with a sound that haunts you even after the music stops. The dirge of crawling, titanic riffs carve through this plane of existence and into the next, letting you slip through the crack between realms and see beyond the veil of death. In this murky, shadowy domain you will lose yourself, dissolve into a mist, and become one with the essence of the void. Songs are slow and fucking heavy, just the way doom metal should be, but also have all these memorable, catchy hooks that you just GIVE yourself to. Every note seems to produce this aural smoke that just hangs in the air until it bleeds into you. A ghostly voice sings out, and because you are now formless and wavering in the dark, its eerie tone is the only thing that you're able to latch on to as the music throws you around in the black. Occult and psychedelic vibes come in and out, but the bleak requiem of doom marches on through it all. Almost calls to mind Electric Wizard's "Witchcult Today", but slowed down and amplified through an unnatural fog. Once you've become one with the haze, there's no escape... But why would you want to leave? Welcome to your new home floating in the ether - I promise the sound of the abyss is worth every moment. -Brandon

Friday, March 2, 2018

Coffin Torture - Dismal Planet (2018)

I don't even know if it gets any better than this for me this year. I'm not even sure there has ever been a time where as soon as I heard like the first 30 seconds of an album, I knew it was going to be my favorite for that year. However, this album did it for me. It was that deep ultra heavy groove, and that dank wall of over driven fuzz that's more like a cloud of smoke that's thick enough to suffocate you. When I listen to this I feel like I'm surrounded. Further indication of what I am talking about can be seen on full display on the album cover. Feast your eyes on that nightmarish vision of a psychedelic mind warp. Mixing together a claustrophobic blend of Stoner, Death/Doom, Sludge, and an overdose of Heavy Fuzz, Coffin Torture wish to alter your preconceived notions of Stoner Doom, and send you lights years in space to the acid-tinged "Dismal Planet".
This album sounds like the aural equivalent to finding a black light poster that was abandoned in a shed, so it was adopted and made into a bee hive and it's now swarming with stingers and covered with thick liquid gold. The stoner grooves on this thing engulf you with fear, dread and paranoia. The riffs in general are colossal as fuck,  like some deep space dragon that vomits neon colored lava. A lot of that comes from the strings being tuned to god knows what. I'm assuming some ultra low bowel rattling tuning similar to Conan. The vocals and drums on this pretty spot on too. The singer has a nasty, harsh, and piercing voice, that's as subtle as sandpaper to skin. The drums seem to always know where to go. Whether it's time to slow down to a sludgy crawl, or time to take some speed and play a Motorhead beat, the drums are tight as fuck.
Stoner Doom gets a bad rap for just regurgitating the same type of shit, but Coffin Torture have shown us is that when everyone else is just ripping off Sabbath, Sleep, or Electric Wizard you gotta get really fucking nasty and play some gnarly ass sounding shit. It doesn't hurt that the riffs are pretty memorable as well. These dudes are going places. Well fucking done! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Madvro - Invocation of High Wizard (2018)

Upon a high mountain in Serbia, an incantation slips between a pair of old, wrinkled lips. Solemnly, with arms raised in the air and eyes closed in concentration, an ancient sorcerer recites a spell of ruin. At first, mere specks appear in the sky, but with each passing moment they grow larger until they are recognizable as a swarm of meteors set to crash upon the earth. This is the work of Madvro, a band that has damned us all with their debut album "Invocation of the High Wizard". We're all doomed, but it's going to be a hell of a ride! This is an album that hits both the highs and lows of stoner doom, combining rocking stoner grooves with a sense of impending terror, but the stoner-to-doom ratio varies from song to song. "Mouth Breathers" leans hard on the stoner side of things with plenty of upbeat swagger and only a twang of foreboding in the vocal tone to cast the shadow of fear across your soul. But "Healing the Good Child of God" takes the opposite approach with plenty of unfiltered doom - dreary, slow, and heavy. I kinda hear a touch of The Sword through it all, but if they had gone in a darker, more ominous direction. No matter what you're getting at the moment though, you can be sure that with every track you're going feel the ground shaking. It could be the massive riffs blasting through your speakers and making the whole building rumble or maybe it's just the earth trembling as doomsday approaches. Perhaps the best way to understand this album is through the last track "Mud Giant". Just think of the sound as a massive creature made of muck, towering over the land, spreading horror wherever it treads, and coating the world beneath it in sloshy filth - but within that the vague notion of humanity. However you want to think about it, it's really good shit, so I suggest you listen before the wizard's invocation kills us all! -Brandon