Sunday, September 21, 2014

Calling All Creeps...

Merlin - Night Creep (2014)

Following up on their well-received new album, Christ Killer, Merlin have already put together a new single.  The A-side, “Night Creep”, makes use of an extended synth intro before bursting out into the sand-blasted desert doom the band does so well, stomping along to the crash of drums and some solid guitar crunch while the vocals outline a mysterious stalker's approach.  Plenty of switch-ups in the riffing and structure keep this one popping along, flying by the seat of its pants until the end comes in a din of psychedelic freak-out.
The B-side, “Robe Of Bones”, trades in the regular keyboard synth sound for a bigger, more pipe organ-like lavishing, letting its chords ring out as the band shifts into a slower mode with more emphasis on a traditional doom vibe (or as close to traditional as this band will let themselves be).  A lot of this track sinks into a heavy instrumental groove, gradually adding in extra touches until rising back up into a mighty organ-backed high-lighting of the drummer's prowess over growling bass.
Both tracks are pretty damn good (as you'd expect if you've heard the band before), and it makes for another strong entry in the band's catalog.  Details on the single's format for physical release are still a little hazy, but the digital version will be available on the band's site October 13th, and you can expect the '70s horror movie imagery to stay strong no matter how it emerges.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Celophys, Eternal Elysium, Spiral Shades, Wolf Blood, From Deep Space


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Let's Get Crushed...

Sunken - Recoil (2014)

Recoil is the first full album from the Belgian duo of Sunken, which employs just a bass and a drum set, but assembles some very strong and inventive material from their intentionally-limited tool-set; they even omit vocals, just so they can give their full focus to the noises they coax from their instruments.  And what noises!   Slow and unnervingly creepy, hard and fast and brutal, glistening with sludgy snarls of bass riffs, and sharp with raw aggression... it's all of these and more, in an hour's worth of ever-changing tunes.  Some hair-raisingly good use of feedback on the bass, plus a well-balanced level of cleanliness in the production, makes this one to turn up the volume on until you can just barely endure the sonic punishment, or until the bass rattles your speakers apart.
I can't really imagine what the practice and song-writing sessions could have been like for this, but they really paid out in spades.  The inventiveness Sunken shows is made even more admirable by their decision to go with only two instruments, as it really drives and challenges them to turn their hats inside-out with all the tricks they pull on this album.  The sheer fervor they inject into those instruments has the duo sounding bigger and meaner than bands three times their size, and the way in which they dole it out, making sure the listener will have gotten comfortable with the crunchy melodies before getting blasted by an assault without warning, deserves much respect and recognition.
Recoil is currently only available digitally, from the net-label GodHatesGodRecords, but if we're all very, very lucky, some wise label will get this pair signed for a physical release.  Until then, this will be regularly spinning on my hard drive and slowly burning away my speakers.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Acid Bath, Wolf Blood, Lightning Bolt (if they went doom), Bell Witch, Norska


Friday, September 19, 2014

Tale of the Iron Giant

Canyon ~ Iron Giant single (2014)

Canyon wanted to let us know about their latest single "Iron Giant", and hopefully it's little taste of a new album from the Brazilian group. Opening up with a 70's Heavy Rock riff that's straight from the textbooks of retro sound, it feels very familiar yet still fresh and new, even working in flute sounds and a couple of psychedelic goodies at times. Switching from high energy rocking passages to slower, almost doom-ier passages, it's equatable to three guys taking all of the best things and somehow squeezing all of it into about four minutes and thirty seconds of song. The vocals start to make an reverb saturated appearance before the minute mark, but are only heard from in bouts throughout the track, which leaves plenty of room for some swinging Rock and Roll jamming, and they don't disappoint. The guitar tone is always polished and clear, and always ready to blow faces off, along with tight, precise drumming and a thumping, round bass tone.  Touching on everything from Heavy Rock to some Prog and Psychedelic Rock moments, if you're a fan of that retro sound that's so popular nowadays, then this should push all of the right buttons for you. You can check out our review of their longer self titled debut from earlier in the year here, and get all of your listening fixes over on their bandcamp.

For Fans Of; Radio Moscow, Pink Floyd, Santana

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Good Bunch Of Geezers...

Geezer ~ Gage (2014)

I know that whenever I receive an email from STB Records and Steve's pretty hyped about something, I should start getting excited too. It's pretty standard practice these days to be honest. He's not put a foot wrong with his releases so far so I don't have much reason to doubt the man, and lo and behold this merry band of bearded Yanks are no exception.
Straight out the gates there's a couple of things that surprise me about this trio. Firstly that the term 'Geezer' has any kind of connotation over that side of the pond, who knew?!  And second, that these guys ain't from the deep south. If you're streaming this as you read you may very well not believe me, but its true. Not even close to Dixie as it turns out. For those of you who have yet to give this album a spin, trust me when I say what I'm talking about will all become clear to you once you hear the opening bars of track two, Thorny. It couldn't epitomise the genre much more - slow, sombre and dripping in that beautiful heavy blues twang. In fact, Gage couldn't be a more brilliantly executed example of southern rock if it was drunkenly banging it's sister in the back of the General Lee while shooting an assault rifle out of the sunroof and voting Republican. It's pretty much text book stuff, and while for some that term may translate as not being 'original' I don't care. So you may have heard a similar riff elsewhere, or Pat's vocals may sound a bit like [insert name here], it doesn't matter. Why? Well, because it's bloody excellent thats why! Whats more it manages to be diverse at the same time, with the guys periodically stretching their artistic muscles between down tempo blues and dirty up tempo fury. They even tinker with other genres too, most notably managing to effortlessly reach into the realms of psychedelic and space rock on more than a few occasions. The end result being one of surprising beauty and blissful harmony. Not something you find on you average southern rock outing, I'm sure you'll agree. But thats all just my opinion, and to me Gage is truly a stella achievement within the stoner rock parameters and beyond. I'd be pretty surprised if any of you came away with more than the gripe that it was over all too soon.
So with all that being said, go forth and treat yourself to one, or ya know, two... three of STB Records beautiful vinyl presses.
Go on, you deserve it!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Planet Of Zeus, Zodiac, Clutch, Scissorfight, Sex Type Thing


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

At a Snail's Pace

Snailking ~ Storm (2014)

Coming off of their well received album "Samsara" from a couple of years ago, this Swedish three piece are back with "Storm", and their slothish mix of Sludge and Doom Metal that drags its self along on its own time. Creating an atmosphere that completely enthralls you in music is a task, creating an atmosphere that's heavier than a truck full of depleted uranium is a completely different monster to tackle, but these guys make an exemplary effort, and deliver. They present the listener with a 5 track, almost hour long doom album that rumbles and rolls forward like a locomotive. The album's opening track "To Wonder" kicks off with a long, droning build up, that turns into the atmospheric guitar line, with a slow rolling bass line, and deep, methodical drumming it takes about two minutes for things to really amp up and you're ground to dust with a riff that seems to pummel you out of no where. After a couple more minutes the song makes another turn and goes back to being a bit more on the atmospheric side of things, with the vocals set a little farther back in the mix they can really sneak up on you at times, but anguished, shouted vocals that can slip into guttural territory at times really lends to the music, instead of detracting your attention or just being there. The eleven minute song ebbs and flows like a river full of rapids, but never losing any of the qualities that make them the quality Doom Metal band they are, and not really seeming like it took eleven minutes to finish. Before you realize it, you're knee deep into the second track "Premonitions", another eleven minutes of devastating Doom Metal that really hammers home exactly what this band is all about, and probably my favorite track on the album. You can hear the second and third tracks in their entirety right now on their bandcamp and pick up their earlier release "Samsara" in case you missed it, or get all of your physical copy needs covered here, including some colored and black vinyl.
For Fans Of; At the Graves, Pallbearer, Novembers Doom

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Honest Name...

DoomLord - Almas Malditas (2014)

Almas Malditas is the first side of a split between DoomLord (who provide these four songs) and King Heavy (whom you'll have to pick up a copy of your own to hear and evaluate, sorry!).  DoomLord pack as much material into their side as it can hold, with four tracks adding up to half an hour of traditional doom metal (with a name like DoomLord, what else would you expect?).  The Puerto Rican quintet starts off strong with the title track, which is so rich and vibrant you can practically hear the desolate graveyard setting creeping out of your speakers and into your home.  Throw in some magnificent guitar solos, which flip on a dime between growling menace and classic shredding, and some stomping drum-work, which ramps the energy right on up, and you've got a great traditional doom entry.
The band keeps up the quality as they move forward into “Illusion”, going for an even chillier atmosphere while maintaing the rich tonality and some hair-swinging riffs.  “Falso Dios” brandishes even more stone-cold riffs (they've got a real talent for that, in case you haven't picked up on that yet) and a monster break-down in which the guitars and drums have a body-shaking descent into wildness.  Lastly, “El Mal Renacera” pulls things shut with panache, starting off with the sound of slow rain before sliding into a dirge-like driving rhythm that packs in some tooth-gnashing guitar embellishments and inspired instrumental rampages before slowing to a close.
If you have a fondness for traditional doom metal, be sure to check in on DoomLord, and give your ears a treat.  Their solo full-length will be emerging before too long, and we intend to update you once that arrives; in the meantime, get yourself a copy of this split, and enjoy!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Candlemass, Carnivore, Demon Head, Below, Saint Vitus


Monday, September 15, 2014

Flight of the Moth

Black Moth ~ Condemned to Hope (2014)

 After a highly successful album in 2012's "The Killing Jar", the five piece out of the UK Black Moth are releasing their latest opus "Condemned to Hope" today on New Heavy Sounds Records, and it's a doomy, raucous, Heavy Rock album that just begs to be put on repeat. From the opening moments with the track "Tumbleweave", you're immediately enveloped with groove laden arms that are wrapped in vocal velvet. With a super fat bass tone, thunderous drumming, and a stunning double guitar attack the band has unlimited potential to play with, kicking out songs that are as catchy sounding as they are heavy. Then you get to the vocal performance which is edgy, bewitching, and silky all at once, like a siren of myth. Then over the course of the next ten tracks they deconstruct, reconstruct, and build on top of everything in their arsenal, with nothing sounding alike or feeling stale and played out. From fast and loud tracks that scream forward on the backs of slamming riffs like "White Lies", to darker and more melodic, doomier tracks that go down ridiculously smooth like good bourbon, such as "Red Ink". If you can picture Jefferson Airplane's Grace Slick being dropped into Black Sabbath to replace Ozzy, you're pretty close to nailing down the sound of Black Moth in all of its awesomeness. You can pick up a digital copy over on iTunes, or get all of your hard copy fixes, including some limited colored vinyl over at their label's shop

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Electric Citizen, Pura Muerte

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Shapes Combined...

Toska - Polyforms (2014)

On their debut release, this three-piece band from Northern Ireland bring in a guest, Aran Glover, to provide the vocals for their post-metal experimentation, which they've condensed into a ~10-minute track. Mr. Glover's vocals bring plenty of aggression to the mix, surging over the rhythmic interplay of guitar and bass while the drums provide a precise counter-point. Quick bursts and fades add even more unpredictability to the musical proceedings, as does the group's ability to suddenly transition into more directly melodic passages, while keeping an under-current of energy flowing along. There's some very nice attention to tonality and harmonics, with a clean mix doing right by the work this crew has put into the music. As a debut, it's pretty sharp, though it does raise the question of how they'll handle vocals on subsequent releases; personally, I wouldn't be averse to an EP or two just to hear the trio tackle some purely instrumental material. They've got the chops, let's just see where they go with it!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Tool, Spiral Architect, ZAVM, V Shape Mind, Queens Of The Stone Age