Tuesday, July 31, 2018

GRRRMBA - Coalescence (2017)

I'm almost saddened that I had not known about GRRRMBA until only last week, but holy shit! This was one of those rare occasions where I spent most of my night listening to their entire discography on repeat. I cannot think of one thing this band does wrong. Their brand of Blackened Death Sludge is some top shelf shit. They're super fucking heavy, it's super fucking bleak and dissonant. With every bludgeoning groove GRRRMBA makes, you can feel the grime and muck as it escapes the blow to paint its surroundings pitch fucking black. These dudes seriously don't fuck around when it comes to playing bone crushing riffs that seek nothing but complete and utter devastation.
As far as I'm concerned these dudes are my ultimate go to band for Blackened Sludge. I don't know if it gets any better than this honestly. What also strikes me about this band is how well the songs are crafted as well. The band weaves their guitar and bass lines together in a barbed wire fashion that wanders a little from simple synchronization, but proves to be just as barbaric. I also love a drummer who plays in an extreme style despite playing slower or mid paced. It really adds another layer and dimension to the sound. The production on "Coalescence" is also phenomenal. That fucking bass sound is so pulverizing and really makes a difference with the overall sludge sound.
Anyway, there's no way of getting around it. I love this fucking band! I also know that they're about to drop a new album in September, and they have already a new track posted. It's definitely some heavy duty shit, and I can't wait to hear the rest! I provided a link to both their last release "Coalescence" as well as the new single below. So listen to this shit right fucking now! For real mandatory listening! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Magnatar - The Trail (2018)

When I first heard Magnatar's release "Vulgar" I was definitely anticipating a follow of some kind, but I didn't realize it would happen so soon! Even though this is only 12 minutes long, it's worth every bit of those 12 minutes. "The Melting Skin of My First Born Son" starts out with this wall of drone that ripples and swirls while the vocals roar and the drums crash like thunder. A perfect storm of Sludge Doom follows which culminates into a down pour of some serious ultra heavy riffage.
When we move into the second part of "The Trail" we hear the band change gears for the song "Markhor", and it definitely has an etheral vibe to it. While the riffs are lighter than the first song it still has a heaviness that's carried over transplanting this song in Post Metal territory. It's almost as of these songs are on two ends of a spectrum to showcase what it is exactly this band is trying to put out in the world. It's a departure from "Vulgar" for sure minus the crushing heavy parts, but I hope this is a sample of what's to come, and Magnatar builds a bridge between these two songs to create crippling Sludge that expands beyond its limitations within the genre. It was short but I really dug it! Highly recommend! -Samir

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Sons of Geezora - Blast (2018)

The earth trembles. An unnatural screech sounds in the distance. Could it be...? Yes, it is! Rising up out of the underbelly of Qu├ębec City with a follow up to last year's self-titled debut, Sons of Geezora are back knocking over anything in their path with "Blast"! But what is the source of their new power? Ultra-concentrated waves of radiation that warp heavy-psych, bluesy 70s hard rock, stoner-doom, and lo-fi garage rock into one mutated mix-up with enough might to take down a supersized extraterrestrial or two! Now loose on the streets Sons of Geezora are unleashing their freaky, scrambled rock 'n' roll powers on an unsuspecting public and goddamn is it glorious. The unpredictable nature of radioactivity has made their powers volatile so each track on this album gives you different concentrations of its source material. Space Amoeba features a heavy blues boogie with a couple of small stoner-doom nuggets in the middle, bookended by thoughtful guitar lines that bring balance, peace, and pensiveness while Osaka Blues is an eclectic instrumental that delves into some southern style and extensive guitar leads. My favorite track here has got to be Corrosive Sap with its doom rock beginnings that go careening into a tangle of power lines for an electrifying, high-energy finish! There are a few terrifying moments where you can feel a shadow overtake you as though the foot of the great lizard king looms overhead - but it always results in a near miss and you get to live another day. Blast is such a great name for this - not only are you bound to be subjected to bursts of raw kaiju energy but it's also going to be a damn good time! -Brandon

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Shrooms Circle - Asylum (2018)

It has only been a few short months since the first recordings of the underground cult known as Shrooms Circle were distributed to the public. In that time their dark influence has spread rapidly, drawing scores of followers by seducing them with the sound of maniacal psychedelic doom metal offered up in devotion to the sinister forces that bleed through subtle cracks in the universe. They've quickly followed up their initial release with the full-length album "Asylum" which sees their wicked visions more fully realized and is poised to drag countless hallucinating souls into oblivion. Songs on Asylum swirl madly with massive warbling guitars, moaning vocals that seem to drain you, spine-chilling organs, and dizzying phaser and feedback to create a kaledescope of cult worship while maintaining the crushing force of doom metal. It's as though Shrooms Circle were able to take all of the most evocative scenes of classic horror cinema, splice them together, soak it all in acid, and then turn it into sound. Like a knife retracing an etching in stone this album refines the depraved ritual as it first appeared on their EP. In addition to the three new hymns ("Witches Are There!", "Out From The Grave", and "A House Behind The Hills") the "Asylum" demo track is now finished and fleshed out and the group has affirmed the unholy nature of the songs "The Druggist", "Trapped", and "The Island" and cemented them as dogma. As the slow riffage comes crashing down amid the mesmerizing procession of devilish psychedelics you'll realize there is no escaping the all-consuming sound. From the moment its twisted essence had reached your ears you were doomed to be haunted by the demented delirium that Shrooms Circle brings. Each song is a bottomless pit into which you'll fall eternally, swallowed by the darkness body and soul. Asylum is a monument of depraved and distorted doom - a brilliantly deranged piece of art for all to lose themselves to. -Brandon

Friday, July 20, 2018

Hexendrone - Heavy Drugs Smashed Amps (2018)

There is plenty of great Doom, Stoner and Sludge coming out of Russia and Hexendrone is definitely not an exception. Upon first listen to the opening track of "Heavy Drugs Smashed Amps" you are bombarded with feedback thick like a cloud of smoke presumably from said smashed amps, and that's the only warning before the band hits that first chord. After that you are exposed to an ungodly sound and tone. One that mixes copius amounts if fuzz and distortion with ultra detuned stringed instruments. It's something that conjures the images in my mind of barbaric caveman death matches, fighting each other with the teeth, claws and bones of predators, hunted for survival.
Then we are treated to the riffs (I'm not even done describing the first track let alone the rest of the album, but you get the idea). They seem to break up the chaos and give order and structure with monsterous and gargantuan presence. They're catchy as fuck as well. It's a suffocating mix of bludgeoning guitar/bass, irritated vocals, and slow yet violent drumming that is exactly what I need in my life right now music wise. It's simple and primative with it's agressive, and makes me want to band my head and pound my fists in approval. Comparisons to Conan would be easy to make, and while they do sound similar, Hexendrone are a different breed of Barbarians who seem hell-bent on forging their own steel, and quenching its thirst with the blood of both man and beast. I really dug this album and it's definitely a contender for my end of the year best of list. Highly recommend! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pretty Please - Fur Model (2018)

Pretty Please hail from Atlanta, GA but you could've fooled me, because these dudes sound like they're from Aberdeen, Wa! Combining the Grunge of "Bleech" era Nirvana with the Sludge of early Melvins, and the Noise Rock tendencies of the AmpRep discography, these Atlantians play brutish grooves with a snotty attitude, and punk sensibility. Fierce yet catchy, "Fur Model" is a throwback to the 90s rock that didn't suck. While the major labels we're conquering and dividing the indie landscape to cash in on the Alternative craze, this is the kind of shit that slipped through the cracks. Too dangerous for modern rock radio, but enough hooks to lure you in.
I think the biggest takeaway is how much the singer sounds like Kurt from the "Bleech" album, and I mean this in a good way. Had this come out 25 years ago I might feel differently about it, but it's also so much more than that. The riffs are pretty aggressive, with a guitar sound that is mangled lacking any interest in fuzz for a more mechanical sound. Great bass sound, that fits in with that whole Noise Rock sound. Same can be said about the drums as well. The rhythms stray a little off the usual standard rock beats in favor of Jesus Lizard esque pocket grooves. I definitely dug this one. Not exactly the kind of Doom stuff we usually cover, but just as good. Highly recommended! Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ripis - Shadow Dies in Morning Light (2018)

A year after their full-length debut "Monolith" Ripis has once again distilled a gloomy mountain rain into heavy music and now presents their second album "Shadow Dies in Morning Light". While it's no less colossal than the first take, it turns down some of the wretched aggressive tones present on the previous album and replaces it with more chilling melancholy and mourning. On Bandcamp this is tagged as 'doomgaze' which is a term that I'm not super familiar with but just feels right - it's three parts doom and one part gaze where the slow, mammoth force of metal is slightly softened by a dreamy mist, but is made no less solemn because of it. The resulting sound is majestic and it has a blunted might perfect for leaving you desolate and alone in the valley seen on the album cover. There's a churning agony in the music that seems to sap your life away to produce a sharp haze of pensive guitar. A haunting voice only adds to the dreary atmosphere and the vocal melodies leave a spectral trail across each song - in particular the despondent pleas to 'kneel down and pray' on "Burdened by Stone" seem to channel something from beyond this mortal coil and could make your heart turn to stone. This album occupies a lot of headspace with its dismal ambience so get ready to be drawn in and left somewhere low! -Brandon

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Chill Child - Bong Colony (2018)

If I was president of the Band Naming Association and in charge of approving all band names then Chill Child would have to choose something different. When I first heard that name I guessed that the California three piece was playing some kind of poppy, semi-relaxing something-wave music. However, what Chill Child actually gives you is an out of control stoner punk party hopped up on rock and roll energy! Their new album "Bong Colony" starts off with the slowest, heaviest track (the title track) dwelling in mid-paced stoner metal that allows the smoke to spread, but after that the band decides to go on a "Beer Run" and gets your blood pumping by ripping through punk sound with a fuzzed-up reckless abandon. It barrels onwards from there with an onslaught of chords and riffs while the rhythm section injects some much welcome groove into the fast and hard hitting style as the vocalist belts out some delightfully nasty, gravelly shouts. It comes screeching through the sun with skater energy that makes it perfect for when you want to ride fast and cause some trouble. You really can't go wrong with any track on here, they're all quick and make you want to fuck shit up and have a good time - good luck not banging your head to this! So yeah, the name Chill Child may not be representative of the sound, but you better listen to Bong Colony anyway because this shit rips! -Brandon

Friday, July 13, 2018

Bongripper - Terminal (2018)

So here's another release people have been waiting 4 years for, except this is a band many readers are very familiar with. So here it is! The lords of Instrumental Doom have returned to inform us the diagnosis is now "Terminal". Two long as fuck tracks "Slow" + "Death" which deliver on the riffs, especially since after the wait. In a year that saw the return of both Sleep, Dopethrone, and Yob, Bongripper had some great albums that preceded "Terminal's" release, however this one definitely does not disappoint. My favorite part of any Bongripper song is when they go for that ultra detuned low end, and both songs have those moments. However that's not all this album has to offer. To me "Terminal" definitely sounded like it had a lot of Post Metal influences going on, and reminded me of early material from fellow Chicago Instrumental Sludge/Post Metallers Pelican.
The music itself lumbers like a Woolly Mammoth during the ice age, and carries the power of an avalanche taking that same Woolly Mammoth out. There's an apparent whiff of death in the air, obviously hinted at by the album/song titles/artwork, and it can also be heard in how the songs are constructed as well, like a circle of life except with riffs. Songs build themselves over time while gaining momentum and regenerating until they finally decay and whither into the ether. If you wanna learn how to write great Instrumental Doom songs, just listen to Bongripper, and this album is no exception. When playing, make sure you listen to this on full blast to experience the music vibrating against your bones. Mandatory listening for sure! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Secret Cutter - Quantum Eraser (2018)

Ultra heavy Sludge Grinders Secret Cutter return with their much anticipated follow up to their Self Titled debut "Quantum Eraser". With a myriad of great Sludge riffs to showcase this time around (played either fast or slow), "Quantum Eraser" seems worth the 4 year wait. For those who are new to Secret Cutter, you need to hear this fucking band for sure. They have the super detuned string section, the extreme metal drumming, and the blood curdling vocals. These dudes are a Grindcore band at heart, but what do you call a band that isn't hitting those blasts every other riff? That's why Sludge/Grind defines their sound so well. They write Grindcore songs that often drips and oozes with a syrupy texture.
 These dudes have their own sound for sure. If I could pin point any bands I would compare them to, it's maybe like a cross between Triac and Ed Gein, but their style is so versatile I could imagine these dudes playing with a wide range of bands. If you are looking for Sludge is that is absolutely pulverizing and brutal as fuck, then you've come to the right band. Secret Cutter might collectively like Grief or Eyehategod, but that's not the kind of Sludge these dudes had in mind when they were making "Quantum Eraser". I think these dudes knocked this one out of the park. Great fucking sound, and an awesome blend of everything I love about Sludge and Grindcore. A marriage of devastation and infected wounds. A vicious dog bite that just won't heal. Highly recommended! Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bog of Anguish - S/T (2018)

From the grimy depths of Dayton emerges a new wellspring of terrifying misery - Bog of Anguish. The band starts with a tumultuous kind of black metal and mashes it against the downtrodden style and foreboding atmospheres of doom before throwing in a bit of death metal accent to create one concentrated, horrific instrumental swill on their debut-self titled release. Bone-chilling synth tones lure you in like a siren leading a sailor to his death before the rest of the band batters you from every direction with a chaotic cacophony of ever-shifting extreme metal. The effect is harrowing and with every song you can feel your heart drop as the eerie keyboard parts ring out clearly - almost laughing at your dread - over the sound of screeching, squabbling guitar and pounding, stormy rhythms. Tracks start out slowly, teasing the tense, frightful atmosphere before letting the beast off the chain to revel in bedlam. It's an abhorrent, formless nightmare that appears as a chimera of all the things that make your heart stand still in order to feed off of terror, torment, and revulsion. Those who choose to visit the Bog of Anguish should be warned - you will not return with your soul intact! -Brandon

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Haunted - Dayburner (2018)

Haunted. Yeah, that name is not a fucking joke. With the first eerie organ tones that slowly rise off of their newest album "Dayburner" you can immediately feel a dark presence come over you that will not leave. Filled with occult-inspired doom metal that will have your head swimming the album is an overwhelming source of wicked, swirling darkness that will have your hair standing on end. It balances airy, bewitching vocals that will set your soul free to float in the ether with a low, rumbling backend that holds the weight of the void and makes the world tremble. It is as though the reaper walks among us and the band does his bidding. Spacey guitar solos and trippy touches will have your mind crawling through the heavy crashing riffage, burdened by visions of ghostly spirits pulling you towards the abyss. The album taken as a whole is phenomenal, but there's a few bits that I keep listening to over and over - the chilling introduction on "Mourning Sun" bursting into that hard, gloomy riff with paranormal stirrings, the eerie chanting of 'follow me, follow me' at the end of "Orphic", and the acoustic segment at the beginning of the title track that will give you goose bumps and flashbacks to Elephant Tree's self-titled album. Everyone's comparing these guys to Windhand - and that's fair - but if that's all you're getting out of Dayburner you're not letting it consume you fully! You must drink from the seas of reverb, allow the black haze to overtake you, and bask in the pale spectral glow! -Brandon

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Cult of Occult - Antilife (2018)

Spewing forth misanthropic hymns of lunacy, agony, and despair, Cult of Occult have crafted a hideous monstrosity with "Antilife". It's been three years since Cult of Occult's last full length "Five Degrees of Insanity", and this one doesn't disappoint with its dark clouds of Blackened Sludge Doom misery. Repetitive and oppressively bleak, "Antilife" is sure to crush anyone's spirits with its howling drones, and its suffocating riffs. It's slow, and it drags, as if chained to a builder in a dank dark cavernous dungeon, with no sign of light or life, outside of the maggots and rats eating scraps of food. That's where you will find this music dwelling.
The strings definitely have good tone to them, providing a wretched sound that is oozing with hate and self loathing. The harshness of the vocals are shrill and guttural, and when combined with the rest of the band it adds to this disgusting display of human suffering. A mediation on grief, sickness, and pain, "Antilife" is sore that will never heal. Did I mention that I liked this? I could see this ending up on a lot of people's end of the year lists. It's up there for me that's for sure. I definitely recommend checking this one out, and it will most certainly ruin your day. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Thought Eater - Bones in The Fire (2018)

Thought Eater play Instrumental Progressive Sludge with a noise rock slant to it. They remind me of the band Noxagt for some reason. The grooves are jagged, and full of twists and turns,but it's a unique sound that's packed with enough sinister sounding riffs to keep my attention and focus. Although these dudes definitely flaunt their musical excellence, it's never done in an over indulgent way with excessive noodling. Thought Eater craft songs that are tightly wound like a watch, barrel forward with precise execution, and it's definitely exciting to listen to. Did I mention the bass player uses a 12 string bass? I'm kind of glad this is instrumental, because I'm not sure what kind of vocal style you would want to do over this. Sometimes shit like that can ruin the music, and these songs are enjoyable on their, and if it's not broke don't fix it!
I'm really digging the tones on this especially from the bass and guitar. It's almost as if the bass is more distorted than the guitar to give it more character. Both are distinctly noticeable, but the bass definitely has that distinct Noise/Sludge Rock sound I was talking about above. There's even some organ parts that kind of give it a 70s (a la Deep Purple/Pink Floyd) vibe without sounding like anything directly from that era. I mean you can tell the influences for Thought Eater are all over the place with their warped sounding riffs, and deviant melodies/harmonies. It's definitely a fusion of a lot of awesome shit but it's core is definitely in the swamps with the muck and the ooze. Anyway, really solid release, and it's a little bit different than the type of Sludge I usually encounter, but as good. Definitely recommend this one. Cheers! -Samir

Lord Vigo - Six Must Die (2018)

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But sometimes, after going through the book you can step back and say "Yeah, that cover was perfect for this". Right now that's what I'm thinking about Lord Vigo's latest release whose artwork features the undead shambling out of the sea on a misty, moonlit night with a ghostly ship in the background - this is exactly the kind of shit you're getting on their third album "Six Must Die". Their last two releases featured epic doom steeped in horror, but even though their new album is inspired by John Carpenter's The Fog the band trades in a little bit of their hellish terror for some adventure/fantasy sense and mixes it all into one enthralling sound. The opening instrumental track "Elizabeth Dane" sounds like it could be a heavy take on a pirate theme, but before the tone shift scares you away it dives into the depths on the next track "Doom Shall Rise" with metal riffage, organ tones, and chilling clean vocals prove that the band is still dwelling in the darkness. Although the songs are all strong and have some muscle to them - even some traditional metal moments - the album has a sort of ghostly presence about it, as though the spirits of vengeful warriors have risen to haunt the songs - or maybe that's just the combo of moaning synths and rhythms fit for nighttime marches across a battlefield. Even though they're branded as epic doom, Lord Vigo has always brought their own unique sound to the table and Six Must Die presents an exciting evolution of that style - it's got my recommendation! -Brandon

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Monje - S/T (2018)

In the streets and alleys of Buenos Aires there are whispers of something sinister that lurks in the shadows, basking in the darkness and drawing in anyone who dares to get close - Monje. They stalk the night dealing out addictive stoner-doom with goth rock sensibilities that emerge when the thundering riffage comes down to a simmer. The band's first album hits a lot of sweet spots on the stoner-doom spectrum, managing to work its way into a trashing stoner groove on tracks like "Paisaje del Horror" and creep through the darkness like a vampire slipping into your bedroom on "Punto Omega" with a whole lot of wicked stops in-between. The sound itself is a true creature of the night pounding and plodding through the darkness until it finds the right moment to strike. Monje sounds just as comfortable creating a warbling creepshow as they do a in the middle of a scathing assault, and you better believe you're getting both. With the vocals the range goes from 'low, ominous, and eerie' to 'demon crime lord on a rampage' and what more could you want? Monje have crafted their own kind of underworld and any way you slice it this album is a delightfully nefarious soundtrack for banging your head through the twilight. -Brandon