Friday, November 28, 2014

Just One Word...

Attalla - Attalla (2014)


Though each of the six songs on Attalla's self-titled debut LP uses just a single word for its title, those songs all deliver an expansive sound drawn from roots in various regions of doom's domain.  Starting off with "LIGHT", the group merges some '80s tradition with slow blues underpinnings comparable to early Black Sabbath, then throws in some grittier near-thrash elements for a rousing finish.  From there, it's on into "HAZE", which shifts attention to one big dominating riff shared by the guitars and bass, and things just roll on from there, through the heavy-rock leaning "LUST", back to the early days for "THORN"'s fierce groove and lavish drums, then past the powerful pounding and serious shredding of "VEIL" into the sludgy finale of "DOOM".
All of the tracks offer their own solidly-grounded take on the variety of flavors available to doom metal, and Attalla's band members fully deserve to be proud of their debut.  It shows off their capabilities in a variety of areas (perhaps most strikingly in their deep-groove powers), while at the same time not taking the listener's attention for granted.  About the only thing missing is a few scattered horror movie samples, but then again, clearing those for usage can be a nightmare.  These guys are working hard to deliver stuff that's up to snuff, and that effort really pays off for both them and their audience.  Anyone with a fondness for doom metal (and I'd expect that would cover most of our regular readers) should do themselves a favor and check out Attalla.  Copies of the album are available for download and (for now) on vinyl, through their BandCamp, though I'd act fast on that if I were you.  Let them know you like how they play, and hopefully they'll deliver another release to the world in the near future.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Black Sabbath, Funeral Horse, Sleep, Ladybird, Church Of Misery




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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

To Listen Quietly...

The Fateful Hour - An Everlasting Silence (2013)


It's been a while since I've come across a melodic doom album that really managed to hook me by the ears, but The Fateful Hour's new release provided me with a refreshing dip back into the side of doom that relies more on developing their tunes through shifting pieces and counter-points, and less on megalithic slabs of riffing.  That's not to say that The Fateful Hour aren't heavy; on the contrary, they've got some impressively weighty bass presence serving as the bedrock for much of their material here.  But there's also a fluidity to their music, in the sense that they never really feel tied down to a piece of the song past the point where its utility has been effectively established.  Instead, the music has a persistent sense of the unexpected, thanks to the deep bag of musical tricks from which they pull to assemble each song.  There might be a quick piano flourish here, a sudden drop into near-solo bass for some atmospheric embellishment, an abrupt use of contrasting vocal styles, or... well, you get the picture.
Best of all, the band is able to string together all these parts into something that's tight and effective in the final product, managing an organic (though rapid-fire) shifting from moment to moment.  While trying to think back over even a single song from An Everlasting Silence and recall every last piece of it is a daunting challenge, when it's in the flow, it all fits together in a way that just seems natural.  The result of all this is an album that demands more than a few listens to really dig past the surface, with considerable bounty waiting in the depths for those willing to take the time to journey down.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Baroness, Opeth (Blackwater Park era), Have A Nice Life, Ulver, Lake Of Blood




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Monday, November 24, 2014

Weed and Whiskey

Leather Lung ~ Reap What You Sow (2014)


 Leather Lung is a Stoner Metal band from Massachusetts, and being from that area, it's not much of surprise that they work in a few Hardcore and Punk influences into a heavy, Stoner Metal sound. The five songs on their release "Reap What You Sow" are full of piss and vinegar, with each track an aggressive bout of brutality and groove. After losing count of how many times I've listened to this EP before I even started writing the review, I can confidently claim that it's one of the rawest Stoner Metal releases I've heard all year, and the track "Moth to the Flame" is testament to that fact. Opening up with a long bass part, it doesn't take very long for a bombastic flurry of drum notes to come crashing their way in, followed shortly by some of the only melodic vocals on the recording, but that quickly gives way to the rough, dirt road styled vocals that dominate most tracks. While the low end groove is present and accounted for in droves, that fuzz saturated guitar tone drops, and blows the song out of the water. When the tracks reaches the half way point the guitar solo kicks in and it temporarily becomes the heaviest Truckfighters song you'll ever hear. After the vocals return the tracks starts to slow down a little bit, delving into a little bit of a Sludge Metal jam session before coming to an end. With it being one of those always cool "Name Your Price" deals on their bandcamp, you can't go wrong with giving it a listen and picking up a copy.
~Skip

For Fans Of; Orange Goblin, XII Boar, Thieving Coyote

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Monster Rides Again...

Hibagon - Hibagon and the Quest for the Creature Previously Known as Moughra the Guardian (2014)


Hibagon are a tough band to pin down.  There's so many flavors and styles blended together over the course of their new EP that picking any of them to define their musical output just doesn't seem to be doing it justice.  They rock out, they rain down metal thunder, they show off precise technicality, they get down and dirty with the music… it's just a roller-coaster through their music for mutants, and it's a damn fine ride.
The band keeps up their drive-in sci-fi/psychedelic flavor in their approach to song-titling, from the opening track of "Odyssey in a Maze of Premonitions", past the "Challenge of the Doppleganger" and a couple of other hazards, all the way to "The Seven Faces of Moughra".  It's nice to come across a group which is so earnestly packing in so much character around the music. and almost makes it seem like there's a coherent narrative behind the walls of sound.
Really, though, the band identifies the music best with their own description of "heavy and loud".  Making things too concrete just doesn't fit with their style, so instead, you'll need to form your own impressions beyond those two words.  Grab a copy (CDs and downloads are available from the BandCamp page, along with some fine T-shirts), take the time to appreciate the wild cover art, then plug the music into your ears and enjoy the trip.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Qualeaceans, Narcosatanicos, Broughton's Rules, Art Institute, Elephant Rifle




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Friday, November 21, 2014

Tear Up The Skies...

The Hunted Crows - The Hunted Crows EP (2014)


Following up on a single they'd released a month earlier, this self-titled EP forms the bulk of The Hunted Crows' arrival on Australia's fuzz rock scene, and their entrance is done with plenty of style.  Making use of some sick and slippery effects on guitar while the drummer/lead vocalist (hell of a combo, that) belts loose with his voice and kit, the duo generates a surprising amount of noise and grooves, kicking ass in the process.  What boils up from their storm of activity is some deliciously dirty rock 'n' roll, and while there's some of that great bar-band flavor influencing the bluesy undertones, they rev things up with a slick glob of motor oil sound to the production and heavier riff assaults.
It's the type of music that would be perfect blaring out the open door of a mechanic's shop, with a lit cheroot ashing away under a welding mask while sparks fill the air, but that's just the first situation that came to my mind while listening; really, as long as you can get away with playing it as loudly as you should be, the music on this EP would be a nice addition to most of life's scenes.  Grab a copy, crank your speakers, and let your ears have some grit.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Manthrass, Demon Head, Wizard Rifle, Wicked Lady, Celophys




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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fill Your Bones...

Vodun - Loa's Kingdom (2014)


Ever since coming across Acid Bath about a decade ago, I've been looking for full-on voodoo metal.  There've been some close calls (Nunslaughter's Hex comes to mind) but at long last, Vodun seem ready to serve up the treasure I've been seeking.  That they're from the UK is something of a puzzler, but nonetheless, their new single (getting things warmed up for their first LP, Possession, which is slated for release sometime next year) has enough wild energy roiling beneath its surface groove to let them lay claim to channeling some spirits into their performance.
While "Loa's Kingdom" is just short of three minutes, the trio of Vodun make a strong impression in that time, showing off their liveliness on guitar, Caribbean-flavored drum rhythms, and vocals which pull off an edge of ethereality even while dwelling in the bluesy roots of doom metal.  It's enough to have me eager for their first full-length release, and curious as to how many different styles they'll incorporate through its run.  Hopefully that won't be too long in the making, but until then, you've got time to get a tantalizing taste for yourself.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Olde Growth, Necronomicon (Brazil), Windhand, Jess And The Ancient Ones, Moon Curse




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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Or...No Voices

Slow Order ~ Hidden Voices (2014)


Next up are Slow Order, a three piece from Italy that bang out heavy and ferocious instrumental jams that will leave you beaten and exhausted but completely enamored, like sex with a crazy chick. It's always a bit more of a challenge to review instrumental bands for some reason, like the lack of a vocalist suddenly makes the music harder to describe than it would be in the first place. With most of the tracks being in the three to five minute range, these guys aren't prone to long bouts of experimentation and random psychedelic noises, instead it's just full speed ahead, raw and visceral Stoner Metal.The second track of "Hidden Voices" is called "Crusade of Visigoth", opening up with a distorted and dark riff, it only takes a few moments for the bass and drums to join in, with the song bring to mind Primus at times, probably just the bass tone in certain parts that's doing it. With the whole band creating laying down a chest stomping groove, and the guitar putting down howling lead parts, they decided it was time for a change and slow the whole thing up just a bit around the half way point, which gives way to a full blown drum solo that rolls in thundering like the storm of the century, and before their three minutes are up, they're right back to the headbanging riff and sound that they're becoming known for. You can stream the album to your heart's content over at their bandcamp, and pick up a CD or digital copy for a few bucks. 
~Skip

 For Fans Of; Serpent Throne, Black Sabbath, Tumbleweed Dealer



Monday, November 17, 2014

Half Is All You Need

Half Gramme of Soma ~ Marche au Noir (2014)


After their self-titled release from last year, they shouldn't need much of an introduction as that should have done all the talking for them, but the five piece Half Gramme of Soma are a heart liquifying Stoner Rock strike to the chest for those of you who aren't familiar. While those of you that know who this band is are probably collectively rolling your eyes at my simplistic labeling of them, they are a whole hell of a lot more than your fly by night, Kyuss clone of a Stoner Rock band. Pulling from Grunge, Sludge, Stoner Rock, and Doom Metal they kind of throw it all together, and the resulting concoction is a new but comfortably familiar sound that is hard to pull yourself away from, and like a good whiskey, it hits all the right marks going down. While the first of the five tracks "Marche" is pretty much a straight forward Stoner Rock track that is full of groove, but not exactly anything new. When you get to the second track, "Seeking Shelter" you're presented with a completely different animal. This track is dark, heavy, and mired in more sludge than a swamp. After opening with a slow guitar part, the vocals come in and create a sort of spectral veil over the guitar for a bit before the rest of the band drops in. This is really the point that it becomes a dark, sludgy beast of a song, reminding me of Hangman's Chair a good bit. The guitars with their distorted, foreboding tone attempting to gnaw its way out of the speaker, the bass rumbling along with its rounded, punchy tone, the drums sounding like not-so distant cannon fire, and finally the vocal performance is powerful and melodic, but often edged with a certain rawness, and it all comes together to create one of the heaviest and sludgiest Stoner Rock songs I've ever heard, a work of art. While all five tracks are top notch tunes, this is the one that had me constantly hitting repeat, but you can check it, and all of the others out on their bandcamp, where it's "name your price", and a deal you can't pass up.
~Skip

For Fans Of; Kyuss, Hangman's Chair, Blind Dog