Friday, September 28, 2018

Husmanskost - Ambi-Valence (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

Gnosis - Dweller on The Threshold (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

Southaven - Belcefuzz (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

Ursular - S/T (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

Conan - Existential Void Guardian (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

Medicine Noose / Spewn - 12" Split (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

Zombie Eater - Slumberjack (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

Alms - Act One (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

Oxygen Destroyer - Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death (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

GRRRMBA - Embodiment (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

Stygian Crown - Through Divine Rite (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

Soliloquium - Contemplations (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 ( 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

Ourang Medan - De Ebúrneo Ossuário - Feral Responso (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 - Holy Terror (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

Organ - Eterno (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

Z/28 - Nobody Rides For Free (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