Jan 20, 2015

NEWS: WARHORSE - Massachusetts Doom Legends To Reissue Debut LP And Final EP Via Southern Lord ...

In a time where doom is flourishing in all directions and manners, Southern Lord is exhuming the sole full-length from Massachusetts' WARHORSE. Long out of print, rabidly sought after, and unconditionally vital in foreshadowing the plethora of current acts who partake in longform, recklessly downtuned sound voyages, 2001's As Heaven Turns To Ash will be reissued on double LP and digital formats on February 24th, 2015 combined with their final 7" EP, I Am Dying.

Formed in 1996 and lasting the best part of a decade, WARHORSE wallow deep down, grooving at the kind of frequency usually associated with imminent natural disaster. But in addition to their intricate delivery, WARHORSE possesses an experimental, verging on psychedelic streak which gave rise to gritty and memorable riffs, and saw them sharing stages with the iconic likes of Electic Wizard, Khanate, Acid King, High On Fire and Unearthy Trance.

As Heaven Turns To Ash and I Am Dying are sinister demonstrations of ultra-heavy riffs as a weapon, and with Southern Lord gearing up for their re-release, doom fans worldwide will need to start saving pennies for the sub-woofer damage they are sure to inflict.

As Heaven Turns To Ash Track Listing:
1. Dusk
2. Doom's Bride
3. Black Acid Prophecy
4. Amber Vial
5. Every Flower Dies No Matter The Thorns (Whither)
6. Lysergic Communion
7. Dawn
8. Scrape
9. And The Angels Begin To Weep

I Am Dying EP:

1. I Am Dying
2. Horizons Burn Red

For WARHORSE coverage inquiries, in North America contact liz@earsplitcompound.com and in Europe contact lauren@rarelyunable.com.

Southern Lord Official
Southern Lord Bandcamp

Interview With Wedge ...

1) When did WEDGE form Kiryk?

The very first scarce jams were as early as Summer 2013 I guess, only fooling around in the rehearsal room with 3 or 4 songs and a lot of free form stuff. We even had 2 support gigs by that time but yet remained without a name. The real start was in January 2014 just after we recorded the album and finally found our name. Immediately after that we started to play a lot live. We kind of made everything the other way around: First the album then the gigs.

2) Whom are some of your musical influences?

We like old music mainly. 60s psychedelia, 70s rock, progressive stuff, beat, garage, even 50s jazz, folk, country, blues, pop music …nearly everything that sounds organic and analog I would say.

3) Will the band be playing any live dates, or festivals?

Oh, sure! We constantly play shows. We will be on tour in March including Germany, The Netherlands, Swiss, Austria, Luxemburg and Italy. The year we hope to tour in Spain and whatever comes along. We love to play live.

4) Any bands out there now that you like or have shared the stage with, Kiryk?

Yes, though we're pretty new on the scene we had the luck to play with many cool bands like Blues Pills, The Flying Eyes, Aqua Nebula Oscilator, Pontiak, Siena Root, Heat and many more.
There are many great new bands around. It feels like this whole rock'n'roll thing is really happening at the moment. …But to be honest: it was always around and it will always be I guess.

5) What is the psychedelic scene like these days in Germany, and Europe?

I think the word "psychedelic" has become a hip accessory these days and completely lost it's original meaning regarding music. Suddenly so many bands call their sound psychedelic or they are called that by others. I have done psychedelic music for many years but with WEDGE I don't even think we are that much of a psych band.
So the real 60s-Psych scene is really small. Well, there are a lot of kids who like to do drugs wearing funky retro clothes and stuff like that but many of them have no connection to real psychedelic music. But on the other hand that's all right with me as all the small scenes seem to merge into something bigger I guess. Like I said before: People are getting more open minded these days. After all it's all rock'n'roll more or less. I rather think this is a good thing.

6) Who is the songwriter of the band?

I write the most tunes so far. I really like melody and I think a good song has to be catchy no matter if it's a rock song or a pop song. Many people tend to think that they loose their underground credibility or whatever if they pay attention to melodies but this kind of thinking is only the straight road to boring songs. 

7) Do you jam sometimes to work out songs in the studio?

If I write songs I have most everything down before I let anybody hear it. This includes the band. I write nearly all my songs on acoustic guitar so of course we have to jam along on the tunes to see how we can make them happen as a loud rocking band but to be honest there is not too much jamming in the songwriting process. There are certain parts like bridges or endings and such stuff that come out of a jam sometimes and we arrange the songs all together. Everybody adds his part to make the song better but the basic idea is always there first. …but we jam a lot live once we "know the song"!  

8) What lies in the band's future and any WEDGE side projects that you wish to tell us about?

This year will see our second studio album, new videos, a lot of touring and many surprises! ; )
For my part I started out this band as a kind of a side project to my other band The Magnificent Brotherhood but it turned out that after 12 years or so it was just time to do something else and now WEDGE is my only band. The Holg & David are playing in another band, The Feminists. A great live band too! They dress themselves like women and rock like crazy. It sounds weird but …well, IT IS weird! Great band.
Appart from that there is not much time for further side projects as we want to put all our energy into WEDGE.

9) What do you spend your time doing when not in the studio, or writing music, Kiryk?

I am a graphic designer. I do a lot of record sleeves and posters for bands. My work is very much inspired by the psychedelic art of the 60s and art nouveau so I do stuff mostly for psychedelic bands …more or less. New ones but also the original folks like: Vanilla Fudge, The Seeds, The Electric Prunes etc. Other names you will find on my posters & covers are Baby Woodrose, DeWolff, Atomic Bitchwax, Fuzz Manta and a lot of garage psych bands of today. You can check it out HERE.

Interview By John Wisniewski
Official Website

Jan 15, 2015

NEWS: YOB - Portland Doom Monarchs Announce North American Headlining Dates ...

In addition to their previously announced North American live takeover this March supporting progressive black metal technicians, Enslaved, long-running Portland doom monarchs, YOB, today reveal additional headlining stage rumblings. With various performances scattered prior to, throughout and following the Enslaved run, YOB will decimate ears in Sacramento, Boise, Columbus, Raleigh, Johnson City, Atlanta, Memphis, New Orleans, Houston, Austin, Albuquerque and Tucson. Support will be provided by noise rockers, Will Haven, doom wranglers, Witch Mountain and trance-inducing psych rock perpetrators, Ecstatic Vision (also on the Enslaved tour) on select dates. See confirmed itinerary below.

YOB North American Tour 2015:
3/04/2015 Press Club - Sacramento, CA w/ Will Haven
3/05/2015 Brick By Brick - San Diego, CA w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/06/2015 Rey Theatre - Los Angeles, CA w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/07/2015 Slim's - San Francisco, CA w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/09/2015 Hawthorne Theater - Portland, OR w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/10/2015 Rickshaw Theatre - Vancouver, BC w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/11/2015 Corazon - Seattle, WA w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/12/2015 Crazy Horse - Boise, ID w/ Ecstatic Vision
3/13/2015 Bar Deluxe - Salt Lake City, UT w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/14/2015 Summit Music Hall - Denver, CO w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/16/2015 Mill City Nights - Minneapolis, MN w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/17/2015 Thaila Hall - Chicago, IL w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/18/2015 Ace Of Cups - Columbus, OH w/ Ecstatic Vision
3/19/2015 Opera House - Toronto, ON w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/20/2015 Les Foufounes Electriques - Montreal, QC w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/21/2015 Gramercy Theatre - New York, NY w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/22/2015 Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/23/2015 Baltimore Soundstage - Baltimore, MD w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/24/2015 Sinclair - Boston, MA w/ Enslaved, Ecstatic Vision
3/26/2015 King's Barcade - Raleigh, NC w/ Witch Mountain
3/27/2015 The Hideaway - Johnson City, TN w/ Witch Mountain
3/28/2015 The Earl - Atlanta, GA w/ Witch Mountain
3/29/2015 Hi-Tone - Memphis, TN w/ Witch Mountain
3/30/2015 Siberia - New Orleans, LA w/ Witch Mountain
3/31/2015 Walter's - Houston, TX w/ Witch Mountain
4/01/2015 Red 7 - Austin, TX w/ Witch Mountain
4/03/2015 Launch Pad - Albuquerque, NM w/ Witch Mountain
4/04/2015 The Flycatcher - Tucson, AZ w/ Witch Mountain

YOB will be touring in support of their critically-fawned upon Clearing The Path To Ascend full-length, released early last Fall via Neurot Recordings. Recorded at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene alongside longtime YOB comrade/iconic sound wizard, Billy Barnett and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Beastmilk, Nails) at Audiosiege, Clearing The Path To Ascend has reaped the praise of major media outlets globally, including Rolling Stone who placed the record at the coveted  #1 spot on their 20 Best Metal Albums Of 2014 noting, "The seventh album from Oregon doom metal sky-gazers, YOB ... makes perfect bedfellows of volume and beauty, pain and transcendence." The esteemed publication further commends the record noting, "Opener 'In Our Blood' extends a simple riff into complex arches, tracing [vocalist Mike] Scheidt's voice as it moves from an exquisite falsetto to a death-metal bellow in the course of sixteen-minutes. And during the colossal closer 'Marrow' - possibly the best metal song of the year, one that uses low notes to play uplifting melodies - Scheidt sings 'Time will fall inside the dream.'

His voice suddenly reaches out like a clarion's call, clear and telling and beautiful. It's a pronouncement from the living, a semaphore pointing into the future." Elsewhere the sentiment echoes. Free Williamsburg crowns Clearing The Path To Ascend, "An absolute monument of musicianship, songcraft, and raw emotion," noting, "this hour-plus slab of gut-wrenching, god-toppling doom, crafted by frontman Mike Scheidt in the wake of divorce and the decision to stop taking anti-depressants, operates on a grander scale, both sonically and philosophically, than any other album this year." Decibel Magazine concurs, "Mike Scheidt's songwriting has never been stronger or more dynamic... a masterful return to form by an American doom powerhouse," while Stereogum adds, "Clearing The Path To Ascend is YOB at their most frenzied ('Nothing To Win') as well as their gentlest ('Marrow'), but taken as whole, its four songs feel like the seasons or the elements: powerful, eternal, wondrous, and bigger than all of us."

YOB's Clearing The Path To Ascend is available now via Neurot Recordings HERE.

For YOB coverage, in North America contact liz@earsplitcompound.com, in Germany contact ansgar@community-promotion.com, and in the rest of Europe contact lauren@rarelyunable.com.

Yob @ Facebook
Neurot Recordings Official
Neurot Recordings Facebook

Jan 13, 2015

Doomology Vol. 5: Euclid - "Heavy Equipment" ...

Unfortunately I was not able to turn up a whole lot of info for the heavy hitting (or bashing) New England quartet, Euclid. But they absolutely rock like hell and I felt it would be just plain irresponsible of me not to do a Doomology article on them. The band consisted of the brothers Gary Leavitt on lead guitar and vocals and Jay Leavitt handling the assault and battery, as well as backup vocals. Filling the bass guitarist’s shoes, as well as additional backup vocals, was Harry “Marris” Perino. And the final piece of the puzzle was a second guitarist, Ralph Mazzota, who also provided further vocals. Both Leavitt brothers had previously played with a band called The Cobras who released the single I Wanna Be Your Lover/Instant Heartache in 1966, which was a minor garage classic in the Northeastern part of the country. And Ralph Mazzota originally played with the renowned, top tier, sixties psych group, Lazy Smoke who released an album in 1968.

Each member brought their various influences of psychedelic and garage rock from their previous outfits and created a hybrid of those styles combined with the heavy rock that was quickly gaining popularity at the time. Signed with Amsterdam  Records (a subsidiary label of Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman Records), the group recorded a lone album with producer Bobby Herne (who also produced The Cobras’ single) and had it distributed by the ironically named Mainstream Records. Outside of New England the band was almost completely unknown. However they enjoyed a fairly large following within their confines and were a popular live attraction. Unfortunately the band’s death bell chimed in 1975 when the group’s leader, Gary Leavitt, was killed in a motorcycle accident. With the exception of drummer Jay Leavitt, who occasionally plays with his band Bluezberry Jam in and around the Maine area, the other members of Euclid have sadly passed away as well. However they left behind an absolute beast of an album that more than deserves to be heard by a larger audience

With the album they waste no time in kicking out the jams right off the bat. The opening track is all you need to hear to know that these guys have something special in store for you. The song is divided into three parts; Shadows Of Life, On The Way, and She’s Gone. Part A opens the track with a no fucks to give, testosterone fuelled riff and pummels all the way through. They mellow out a bit for part B and show their psychedelic side, but the momentum keeps up and builds to the final section of the song. She’s Gone brings back the destructive guitar and further pummelling ensues. Overall an 11 and a half minute monster of a track that demonstrates the strength of the band perfectly. Even though the opener is the stand-out track of the album, what follows is by no means subpar. First up to bat is a revved up to the max cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’.

Minus the title and lyrics, this version is in a completely different stratosphere and takes no prisoners; everyone dies. However if you do somehow survive you’ll just be trampled again by the next track, First Time Last Time. A magical toy box jingle, followed by some church bells, then a sitar, introduces the fourth (or sixth if you count the parts of track one individually) cut of the album. The appropriately titled Lazy Livin’ definitely gives you a bit of a break from the previous destruction, but still keeps the energy intact. It’s just moving a little slower now. This band really straddles the fence separating the sixties from the seventies and they show that they can successfully dabble in both. Lazy Livin’ definitely reminds of the psychedelia of the previous decade. And the following two songs, 97 Days and Bye Bye Baby, are perfectly at home with the metallic hard rock emerging at the beginning of the new decade; but still being able to retain the garage and psych influence as well. And for the finale the band treats us to another beefed up cover of The Stones’ It’s All Over Now. Like with Gimme Some Lovin’ this song is way out in the “heavy and raw as fuck stratosphere” and is a fantastic way to close a fantastic album. This band uses just the right amounts of psych, garage, and hard rock to deliver a recipe that is absolutely delicious to the ears and makes you feel like you were just run over by a tractor.....10/10

These guys must have known they were only going to get to do one album, because they clearly put everything they had and more into it. You can practically see the energy levels blasting out of your speakers while listening. Yet another of the countless bands that deserved far more success than they were originally given and one that proves that obscure doesn’t mean a lack of quality. So now what you’re going to want to do is YouTube the three-part opening song (any of the songs will do really), listen to it, then proceed over to Rockadrome, Amazon, Ebay, or wherever, and get yourself a copy of the album.

Recommended tracks (they’re all fantastic, but if I had to narrow it down):

-Shadows Of Life, On The Way, She’s Gone
-Gimme Some Lovin’
-First Time Last Time
-It’s All Over Now

Words: Brian

Jan 7, 2015

NEWS: SOURVEIN - Cape Fear Sludge Saviors Begin Tracking New Full-Length; Guest Collaboration With Amebix's "Stig" Miller Confirmed ...

Long-running Cape Fear sludge saviors, SOURVEIN, are currently holed-up at SSP Studio in Raleigh, North Carolina with Corrosion Of Conformity bassist/vocalist Mike Dean at the recording helm tracking their forthcoming new full-length, Aquatic Occult. Slated for release later this year via Metal Blade Records, the long player will include a two-track collaboration between SOURVEIN mainman, Troy "T-Roy" Medlin, and guitarist "Stig" Miller of UK crust punk icons Amebix. Further details to be revealed in the weeks to come.

SOURVEIN has existed through two decades of distortion, damage and relentless doom, their resin-coated carnage made of toxic riffs, grooves and just the right amount of psychedelic appeal. In properly commemorating the release as well as chronicling twenty often-times tumultuous years as a band, Medlin was recently interviewed by friend and fellow musician, Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God, who penned the band's new biography. The text will serve as a thorough SOURVEIN introduction for the uninitiated.

"Finally, man. Finally," T-Roy relays in an excerpt from the text. "It's the record I wanted to make when I was in those rooming houses, but I couldn't. There was too much pain, so I got lost for bit, falling back into the party life and trying to numb myself with alcohol. But motherfuckers need to feel the pain. There is more to life than numbing yourself." Is that what Aquatic Occult will be about, bringing the pain? "I'm going to bring the truth. The lyrics are reality to me; I don't write about cars or chicks or fucking horror movies, I write about getting my nose fucking broken, all the stuff I saw growing up and now. But I want it to be positive, to let people know that there is a way out of bad times and tough situations. I'm living proof." 

Stay tuned for further SOURVEIN transmissions including studio updates and live actions.

Sourvein @ Facebook
Sourvein @ Twitter

Dec 30, 2014


Some musicians just need a simple but intriguing refrain for instantly capturing your mind and dragging you into something awkward and obscure, such as a story about a blasphemous ritual run by four eerie ministers of suspicious sainthood; populated by evil beasts, odd malevolent entities, freaks and culminating with a mass celebrated for a dog …I’m not into some badly cut drug, it’s all fault of the brand new, visionary and overwhelming album by the French doom congregation in Barabbas. Barabbas are an unsigned quartet from Northern France (Combs-la-Ville, Île-de-France) that prepontently entered the international doom scene back in 2011 with a stunning debut EP called Liberéz Barabbas! (here; two cool interviews here and here.)

The choice of an ambiguous historical/religious reference like Barabbas goes side by side with the adoption of peculiar nicknames for the band members. They are all saints: Saint Rodolphe on vocals, Saint Stephan on guitars, Saint Jérôme on bass and Saint Jean-Christophe on drums. There are other interesting features in Barabbas, like, for example, the lyrics in French and the original, if not unique, contaminated music style.  Barabbas’ style had been described as inspired by Black Sabbath, Saint-Vitus/The Obsessed and Cathedral as well as injected by explosive hardcore energy, in spite of Barabbas’ doom being markedly melodic. But this definition is far from being exhausting for tagging the new load of tunes making up the new full-length album, Messe Pour Un Chien, that is the above-mentioned mass for a dog.

The new album was self-released on November 5th 2014 and is available as digital download and as cool digipack version via the Bandcamp page of Barabbas. Messe pour un Chien can be considered a concept album encompassing 8 tracks for over 56 minutes, i.e. almost double length of the 2011 debut. The trait-d’union seems to be the intriguing, sinister refrain starting and leading the first, short track, “La malédiction de Sainte Sélène”, a sort of secret door which will open over a moon-lit gloomy tale and eventually close.  The refrain will stick to your mind immediately with its simple dynamics and soon it will become the backbone of something monumental, supernatural and, well, quite menacing via the burst of Barabbas’ rough, noisy riffs, thundering drums and the prominent, thick bassline, another highly appreciated trademark of the band. Saint Rodolphe won’t wait too much in adding his own specialty, his vocals. Whispers will give way to half-chanted declamation of Isaiah’s verses about Lucifer’s fall, and eventually to blood-chilling screams seeping through the electric noise.  Soon everything will be swallowed by a grim sonic fog where only some slow bell tolls are calling the sinners to the mass …

The following tracks (in sequence, Le couteau ou l'Abîme, Moi, le Mâle Omega, Judas est une Femme, La Beauté du Diable, Priez!, Le Sabbath dans la Cathédrale and the title track, Messe pour un Chien) will be just action, pathos and suspense like in a vintage cinemascope horror movie where intricated textures coupled with freshness and infectiousness of sounds and melodies stand for the typical hypersaturated colours.  Long ballads (over 7 minutes long) alternate with few shorter tracks, although the difference in length is not instrumental for variation. Each track in this album is kaleidoscopic and surprising. Barabbas’ songwriting is impressive. The leading melodies are never straightforward but incredibly catchy and addictive. To this you have to add the breathtaking performance of Saint Rodolphe. The vocalist is endowed of an amazing tonal range and employing the richness and the intensity of the French language also for crosscutting the boundaries between metal and the “Chanson”, like a raucous Jacques Brel, in the most heartfully intense, epic passages.

Total classic doom may be the blackboard where Barabbas depict their ballads, and it is the actual leading feature in Le couteau ou l'Abîme, where the slow, plodding pace is set by the bell toll. However in this album Barabbas’ doom is more contaminated than ever. For example, in this and other tracks on the new album (like, for example, Priez!) several features remind me of the gothic-tinged metallic deathrock by Babylon Whores. Such impression stems particularly from style, intensity and dynamics of the melodies and probably also from some features in Saint Rodolphe’s singing style, especially when he goes for the clean or slightly raucous singing. Barabbas’ gothic aura coupled with strong melodic approach and fresh dynamics are also somehow reminding me of another cool French band that I admire a lot, Modern Funerary Art. Not for the vocals, of course, but for some features in the music. In album Messe pour un Chien I think I also caught some proggy echoes à-la-Opeth, and maybe some minimal  but charming exotic contamination, be it oriental like in Priez! or else tribal-like in Le Sabbath dans la Cathédrale. These different elements in Barabbas’ music go side by side with the onmipresent massive load of raw, beefy groove, for me hands and feet deeply into the best moments in Down. So maybe it would be the case of writing about Barabbas’ own “doom-influenced metal style”.

But Barabbas are masters also when it comes to speeding up by blending the “immiscible” plodding, sabbathian doom and wild metallic punk, like in the stunning Moi, le Mâle Omega, or in La Beauté du Diable. There you get possessed straight away, no resistance at all, and just feel like joining the dance. La Beauté du Diable is a stream of frenetic energy almost evoking the flickering movement of the devouring hellish fire. It is a concentrate of infectious, super-groovy riffs for wild dance and almost joyous headbanging and totally, insanely decoupled from its gruesome lyrics based on the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood. This decoupling too is part of the black magic operated by these four French saints! In La Beauté du Diable Saint Rodolphe’s voice is probably performing on the widest range, even producing a peculiar, dark growl, the growl of the wolf hungry for blood … Here like elsewhere of Barabbas’ music, the bassline is the solid, pulsating backbone, those thick vibrating chords!

Priez! is one of the short (less than 6 minutes) tracks on the album and is a gem of catchy, gothic doom rock where the band shows a magistral way of transforming the leading melody according to original and enthralling patterns. The piece Le Sabbath dans la Cathédrale is an imposing, heavy and strongly melodic ballad oozing energy as well as sinister atmosphere. The latter owes some contribution also from the adoption of keyboards (not a novelty for the band, though). The organ sound fights for emerging from the rumble of the guitars but it doesn’t fail in imparting the due horror gothic brushstroke required for chanting the sabbath. The “exotic” element here comes towards the end of the track in form of a tribal rhythm coupled with the choir of the sabbath acolytes. It’s just a brief flash of macumba quickly turned into gothic atmosphere by means of the organ-driven refrains. In the new album there is also space for more sombreand even intimate songs, like Judas est une Femme and the title track, Messe pour un Chien.

“Judas est une Femme” is a moving, anguishing ballad. It starts via a pure Electric Wizard-esque riff. Barabbas have however no need of indulging too much into over-exploited riffs, as the Saints rework the wizardesque input into their personal style: high tension in the leading riffage, wide open, almost epic melodic charge and proggy textures in contrast with the roughness of Saint Rodolphe’s singing. In Messe pour un Chien, the longest track (over 10 minutes), the band couple a typical feature heard in many doom albums, the falling rain, with blues and proggy elements. This is the most melancholic song of the album and alternates semi-acoustic parts with “slow” bursts of solemn, “oceanic” riffs. It’s the end, the dreary end of everything narrated in the album. There is no organ here but in the second part of the piece some flutters from the synth give a slight vintage, Goblin-like touch, not long before the initial, sinister refrain will come back and definitely drag you out of the story and close the door …

The addictive music and the highly involving performance of the singer were among the features that made me particularly curious about the impressive lyrics in album Messe pour un Chien. As in many cases in extreme metal albums, the “satanic”, orgiastic ritual of the black mass is just the excuse for writing, in an often extremely bitter way, about the supreme evil naturally residing in humans. Barabbas’ lyrics involve concepts and images belonging to both typical religious/ritual features and contemporary critical social issues. When not declaming about the liberatory sabbath bacchanals, verses may often be very sharp and hard, sometimes provocative (like Judas est une Femme) and sometimes broadly inspired by classic child tales (like in La beauté du diable) where innocence and bestial cruelty often tragically meet. Cruelty … All in all, the impression I got from the dark poems interpreted by amazing Saint Rodolphe is what follows. There is no need of resuscitating or dragging any black-winged alien monster from Hell. Human innate perversion and rational/irrational cruelty against its own species and any other living beings, when not against nature as well, over the centuries are the best personification for the so-called Horned Almighty, so powerful that sometime a scary doubt may arise that God, the good one, either never existed or else was defeated by ruling Evil. How to survive”dans cette vallée de l’ombre”? But when Death comes we are all the same, the nasty human beast is as impotent as his victims, and the blood-thirsty wolf is reduced to an exhausted dog.

In case you don’t feel like dedicating much time to exploring lyrics, well, Barabbas’ music is so crushingly involving that satisfaction is guaranteed all the same and you’ll find yourself craving for more. Barabbas’ first EP, Liberez Barabbas!, had a pitfall, it was too short. The new full-length album has a pitfall too, it is too short. The world needs more killer French metal like this.

Words: Marilena Moroni

Barabbas @ Bandcamp
Barabbas @ Facebook

Tracklist :
1. La malédiction de Sainte Sélène (03:45)
2. Le couteau ou l'abîme (07:28)
3. Moi, le Mâle Omega (04:14)
4. Judas est une femme (08:23)
5. La beauté du diable (07:56)
6. Priez! (05:42)
7. Le sabbath dans la cathédrale (08:14)
8. Messe pour un chien (10:32)

Past Lives: The Feast Of Krampus 12.27.14 Underground Arts, Philly, PA ...

For my lady friend's birthday the 18th, and mine the 24th, we decided to hit this show up as a present for both of us.  Great way to close out another year with some hard hitting locals, a reinvigorated Sixty Watt Shaman, and Wino capping the evening.

Chimpgrinder got things off to a sludgy start.  Very down-tuned, but they have a groove happening.  Would see again.

The Company Corvette, no strangers to us, had some fresh tunes to play.  This band gets tighter every time I see them.  The guitarist gets really into the riff in a Matt Pike kind of way, and each time I see them the hesher riffs just get a little sharper.  Great to see them again and I'm really glad they got added to the bill at the last minute.

Skeleton Hands were up next, and brought some standard, mid-to-faster-paced stoner/doom with them.  The singer has a John Garcia sound about him, and it fit the faster material very well.  Kind of a like southern friend Unida.  Would love to catch them again doing a longer set.

Wizard Eye were next, and they are a very good band right now.  The dual voclas threw me for a moment, but they made them work.  I felt unfortunately that some of the momentum was lost during a guitar solo break, but the riffs brought it all back home.  They mix equal parts southern sludge and stoner/doom, making for a very interesting mix.  That guitarist has the longest dreads I have ever seen.  If Electric Wizard and COC had a baby, Wizard Eye would be on that baby's ipod.

Sixty Watt Shaman took a while getting started, but once they did, it was on.  Hearing Red Colony and all those old songs did my heart good.  In 2001, I missed out on catching 60 Watt due to life, and now, all these years later, I finally got to see them live.  Their drummer has that jazz swing, but a huge, Bonham-like upper body strength for pounding away on the toms or bassdrum when necessary.  Probably, my favourite drum performance I've seen this year.  No offense intended to Jason Roeder at Sleep last August.

I was spent after 60 Watt, but Wino came out and capped the evening acoustically, also playing some fresh material.  Forever Gone, a new track from the upcoming second Conny Ochs collaboration, sounded stark without Conny, who I thought was going to join Wino but alas, never showed.  Wino did take a woman on another acoustic up, and that sounded beautiful.  Who is she?

I was sad to see the poor turnout for the Philly festivities and the 60 Watt comeback, but I'm betting they have better luck in New York.  Most bands do, I suppose.  I'm glad they came, and grateful I got to sneak in a gig before 2014 closes up shop and gives way to what's next.

Hello/cheers to Wino, Frank/Bang!, Pellet, and all those stoner rock faces I know so well.

As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful new year.  Musically speaking, 2015 looks to be quite special.  See you there!

Words: Sabbath Jeff

Dec 27, 2014

Weed Is Weed - "Blunt Force Trauma" ...

Don't look at that pot leaf on the cover, see the band name, and giggle. Weed Is Weed wants you to have fun, light up, bang your head, but behind the smirks and cannabis-clouded lyrics, there is a serious band putting the boots to you musically on every song. It begins with 2/3 of the original Spirit Caravan lineup, bassist Dave Sherman and drummer Gary Isom, abandoning those long-associated instruments in favor of, respectively, a bong micstand and a guitar. Jason Fisher and Rob Portillo on guitars, Darren Waters on bass, and Cougin on percussion round out the band's lineup.

They bring thunder with the first song. Subject matter aside, this is music written to leave marks on the listener. Groove-heavy fare is a big part of the band's pedigree, but this opener pushes that aside in favor of up-tempo, furious metal riffing. However, it isn't just senseless bludgeoning only slowing for the chorus. A brief, but surprisingly melodic guitar solo strengthens the song immeasurably. "Lo To No" is a song about supply and demand - the dealer's supply that can't meet the smoker's demand. Sherman shines here. Despite his admittedly limited vocal talents, Sherman is a smarter singer than many realize. He's modulates his voice to distinctive, and often humorous, effect on certain lines. Funky guitars and drums are a highlight of the song, but never dull the song's hard rock edge.

"Big Green Patch" kicks off with a tasty bass intro before the riff explodes into a simmering, slow-burn band performance. There's power aplenty in the music, but the deep groove on this track is more impressive. Sherman could be singing his grocery list over this slow, bluesy crawl and turning it off would still be hard. What stays with you musically about it isn't the heaviness, that's a given, but the melody - this is great party music, but that doesn't make it disposable. "Cottonmouth" reinforces that idea. This hilarious ode to the bad taste in the mouth after smoking good grass is premium entertainment no matter how you hear it, but this is another song succeeding on multiple levels. The memorable riff is probably the best on an album overflowing with great guitar and has an appealing melancholy vibe juxtaposed against the humor of the lyrics.

"Alligator Crawl" is pure swamp blues that moves like molasses down a wall. Sherman's growl testifies to the power of hillbilly weed like some stoner Tom Waits and wraps itself around the music like another lead instrument. "Eat Pussy", perhaps the metal's first paean to the joys of cunnilingus, is either the album's comedic highlight or else its low point. Probably a little of both, but it's ridiculous fun and a lot of that good time hearing this comes from its utter shamelessness. More power to anyone who enjoys making their lady feel good.

"Goin' Down To Harlem" adopts the lyric structure of a traditional blues for modern use. This touch might escape the attention of some, but it's further evidence of the talent powering the album. These are players from a tradition, musicians with a frame of reference going back further than ten or fifteen years, and the quality of the songwriting reflects that. This is a sizzling heavy rock track steeped in blues. "One Hit Wonder" is another tribute to the power of potent pot and, like any good comedy, derives its humor from accessibility and focus. It might seem a little remarkable to say in light of songs like "Eat Pussy", but this is one of the least self-indulgent albums in my recent memory. This lack of self-indulgence isn't in running times, but rather in the economized songwriting - every note or fill serves a purpose and the minimalist lyrics convey everything a listener needs to know. Isom unleashes a wicked torrent of slide guitar near the song's conclusion.

The title track opens as a guitar juggernaut with Sherman's phlegm-clotted wailing about a stoner and his failed blunt roll. Isom and company whip up a dark electrical storm behind him with dive-bombing string bends and a relentless chugging rhythm and, once again, the contrast between the powerhouse musical backing and comedic lyrics creates a wildly entertaining contrast. Everything begins falling apart around the seven-minute mark and the song soon disintegrates into a nearly three minute long feedback wash.

Go ahead and light one up when you hear this album for the first time, but don't come weak. Roll a big joint because this is big music in every respect - a big-lunged lunatic on vocals along with mammoth riffs and grooves. Weed Is Weed will get you laughing, but this is a blistering musical debut that will knock you back on your heels.

Words: J. Hillenburg


Temple Of Void - "Of Terror and the Supernatural" ...

Detroit is rock and roll. From the days of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Iggy and the Stooges, the Mc5, Alice Cooper, and many others, the Motor City has served as a cultural incubator for pivotal figures in rock music history.

With their debut full length, Of Terror and the Supernatural, Detroit's Temple of Void carry this long tradition forward with a punishing, fully realized musical statement.

The punishment arrives immediately. Staccato down strokes anchor the main riff of "The Embalmer's Art" and flood from the speakers in a near continuous flurry interrupted only by brief tempo shifts at the turnarounds.

This sort of relentless, power-chord riffing creates a layering effect by contrasting repetition with a quickly resolved progression. Tempo shifts never cause this band to meander - this five piece plays slower passages with every bit of the same power and focus heard in different sections.

Mike Erdody's vocals are atmospheric and comprehensible - an ideal combination for his approach. "Savage Howl" embraces the opener's intensity, but develops it further. The band's songwriting is impressive on many levels and an important aspect is cohesion. You won't often read about the quality of a death metal lyric, but the words for "Savage Howl" approximate the music's intensity. Axe slingers Alex Awn and Eric Blanchard play with great chemistry.

Temple of Void further proves their chops with the time signature challenges of "Beyond the Ultimate". Initially, the disjointed riffing made it difficult to come to grips with this track, but while the band is certainly interested in challenging themselves, the song's move into more conventional tempos is key to its success. The stunning guitar work includes brief bursts of dual lead and surprisingly melodic touches. "Beyond the Ultimate" ranks as one of the album's best tracks, though one of its least accessible. "Invocation of Demise" has echoes of a good old-fashioned stomper driving things under the dry fire of the guitars. Jason Pearce's bulldozer drumming drives the band through each movement with such straightforward precision and shows tremendous attention to the guitars exploding around him.

Mike Erdody's acoustic guitar work on the instrumental "To Carry This Corpse Evermore" is a nothing less than a revelation. If the preceding four songs fail to convince a serious listener of the band's talents, this must or forego all hope for your hearing. Erdody's composition has real sophistication. Listen carefully to the darker notes coloring otherwise shimmering textures and how slight shifts in tempo suggest emotional dynamics as strong as any embodied in earlier songs. "Rot In Solitude" returns the band to its traditional fare, but the old-school vibe heard in "Invocation of Demise" makes itself felt once again. The band finds a memorable groove and rides with it, adding flourishes along the way, and locking in on steady march.

"Exanimate Gaze" has another strong groove mixing the guitars' muscular charge with frequent lead breaks. Nearing the end of the album, certain elements emerge. The recording is full of seemingly extraneous noise - picks scraping guitar strings and extended fade-outs, as an example. No song on the album seems to begin, per se, as it does "happen", leaping from each track change, and throttling you. I hear it is as a deliberate approach and if the band's intent is for these deceptively simple things to add to a feeling that this is a white-knuckled, live and five on the floor blast of metal fury, they've succeeded. Admirably.

"Bargain In Death", the album's closer, clocks in at almost eleven minutes. One can scoff at the clichéd idea of young band's "epic" final track, but the cliché lies more with the countless bands that get it wrong rather than truly worthwhile finales. The requirements are few. The first and most important requirement is that, for the extra time a band is asking for, a listener is entitled to hear a recapitulation of the album's best music, albeit in a different form. However, the band needs to tie this into a larger statement that somehow drives their point of view or the end of their story, into the memory with added emphasis. This is the album's best track. It is every bit of the multi-part epic laid out above - a coherent restatement of the album's strengths with dynamic riffing and incendiary solos. However, the band stretches out here and incorporates new elements like voice over narration for atmosphere and extended solos.

Temple of Void is fully rounded. This is a band equally capable of stretching your imagination or giving you claustrophobia. Echoes of the past streak their music, but not a single not smacks of imitation. Temple of Void, instead, is boiling over with a potent combination of power, originality, and ambition that will propel them far into the future.

Words: J. Hillenburg


Dec 18, 2014

NEWS - Doomraiser: Album cover art revealed ...

Doomraiser reveal the cover art for their fourth album "Reverse (Passaggio Inverso)". The artist is Roberto Toderico (Todericoart.Com), who worked upon the band's concept.

The album will be released for BloodRock Records on January the 13th, 2015 on CD, LP and DD.

Next shows:

23/01 | Rome | Traffic Club - Release Party (with Shores of Null e Funeral Mantra)
24/01 | Brescia | Play It Doom Festival II @ Colony - Reprise Party

Posted By Savannah

Dec 17, 2014

News: The Grand Astoria is invading Europe again for their Winter Mini-Tour …

The Grand Astoria, old acquaintance of the readers at Doommantia (
) and outstanding Russian band fronted by eclectic Kamille Sharapodinov, is about to come back to Europe for enlighting the winter gloom with a load of great and original psychedelic experimental fuzz metallic rock.

Better than the comet!
Let’s remind that The Grand Astoria consists of mastermind Kamille Sharapodinov on vocals and guitar, Daniel Danilov on vocals, keyboards and percussion, Igor Suvorov on guitar and Dmitry Ogorodnov on bass and backing vocals. Plus notable guests and friends collaborating for music, sound engineering and art to the innumerable and always substantial releases of this prolific and valuable band. The Grand Astoria guys are very busy in organizing their new, big 2015 Spring-Summer tour which will involve several other cool bands of the European psych stoner/doom scene, like, for example, Samavayo from Germany and Doctor Cyclops from Italy.

The mega tour next year will culminate in the release of more new music including a split with Samavayo. But our Russian friends were also able to find energies and opportunities for organizing a highly intensive Winter blitz across Europe! As you can see from the banner, the tour will start on saturday December 20th till sunday December 28th 2014 and involve Riga (Latvia), the German cities of Berlin and Nurnberg (right on Christmas Day) and three sites in northern Italy, Dalmine (near Milano), Torino and Parma.

Let’s say that a more than good reason for The Grand Astoria doing this tour may be their latest, fine full-length album, La Belle Epoque. This is surely not the only release for this year, as this ultra-productive band was involved in two splits (one with band Montenegro from Argentina and one with band Mother Mars from Australia), plus an EP and a fat Black Flag tribute album!  You can find everything on the band’s highly populated Bandcamp page.  And if you add the other musical projects involving Kamille Sharapodinov, i.e. Organic is Orgasmic and The Legendary Flower Punk, well you may start feeling a bit dizzy …  The incredible thing is that such relentless creative activity is coupled with top quality!

Anyway, back to the latest full-length album La Belle Epoque, the album has been available as digital download on Bandcamp since last September, but now the vinyl edition of the album, including spectacular violet LP version, is ready and will be available during the tour! Of course there will also be the cool digipack version of the album, in addition to other stuff, likely including the reissue of The Grand Astoria debut CD equipped with a fancy comic book. Another good excuse, beside excellent trippy but energetic, smart, and, yes, kickass heavy music, for those who are along the track beaten by these Russians!

Keep the Facebook page of The Grand Astoria folks checked out for details about the locations of the tour.

For those who will not be able to be there but who would like to put their hands on solid music, including that violet beauty, you can always contact the band and/or visit the webpage of the German label Setalight Records.

Words: Marilena Moroni

The Grand Astoria @ Facebook
The Grand Astoria @ Bandcamp

Dec 15, 2014

News: epic doom metal band King Heavy recording their debut full-length album, and more …

Some cool news are coming from King Heavy, the epic doom metal band gathering fine doomsters from Chile and Belgium.

Just a few months have passed since King Heavy concluded their first successful tour across South America in occasion of the release of their debut EP Horror Absoluto (as CD digipack). The Ep is also part of Almas Malditas, a substatial split 12” LP with Puerto Rico heavy doom metal squadron DoomLord (related to Dantesco) who provided an equally powerful contribution.
The split LP is released by the French label Emanes Metal Records

Well, King Heavy are back to work for a new load of passionate and majestic doom. No wonder, as the band features excellent musicians and performers, including Luther Veldmark (Hooded Priest) on (impressive) vocals and ex-Procession member Daniel Perez Saa on bass.

A few days ago the band announced the beginning of the recording sessions for their debut full length album (7 new songs), which due out via the Italian label Cruz Del Sur Music, home to other substantial heavy doom/metal bands such as Slough Feg, Argus, Atlantean Kodex, Bible of the Devil, While heaven Wept, among others. The new album is planned for a mid-2015 release, which will be followed by a Chilean and European Tour in October/November 2015.As to the latter, those who will attend the next edition of the glorious Malta Doom Metal Fest during late October 2015 (including me, hopefully ..) will have the opportunity of enjoying one of the exhibitions of mighty King Heavy on tour. In the meantime enjoy the official live videoclip for “The Origin Of The Witch Hunts” (from King Heavy’s debut EP “Horror Absoluto”) and get hold of one of the last copies of the EP and/or the split LP by contacting the “royal headquarters” of the band at kingheavydoom@gmail.com and/or from Emanes metal Records.

Words: Marilena Moroni

King Heavy - The Origin Of The Witch Hunts

News – first announcements for the Malta Doom Metal Fest 2015 …

The Maltese doomsters are surely no people who like to rest on their laurels. Less than two months have passed since the last successful edition of the Malta Doom Metal Fest, but the organizing committee, involving both musicians and fans (like Albert Bell of Nomad Son/Forsaken/Sacro Sanctus and Glenn Gauci – here), started quite rapidly working on the next edition, which will be the seventh!

So in the last few days the organization was already able to announce a substantial part of what the juicy bill will be for the Malta Doom Metal Fest 2015.
The festival will take place during October 23rd and 24th 2015 at the by now classic, picturesque location of the Buskett, right in the middle of the woodland occupying the heart of the charming Malta Island.
Here is the comment that officially announced the festival:

“ MDM returns for a mammoth and much awaited seventh edition on the 23rd and 24th of October 2015 with a hard-hitting line-up that should appeal to doomheads and true metallers alike; covering all the shades and hues of doom metal and related genres including epic metal, NWOBHM and early thrash!”

And here is the preliminary list of the bands that so-far confirmed their attendance to the festival (in alphabetical order):

Circle of Witches (Italy) Stoner metal

Doomed (Germany) Doom Death

King Heavy (Chile) Heavy Epic Doom

Marche Funebre (Belgium) Doom Death

Mother of Six (Wales) Stoner/alt Rock

Stonegriff (Sweden) Doom Metal

Void Moon (Sweden) Epic Doom Metal

Many more bands will be announced in the next future.
Hence the official website of the festival as well as its Facebook pages should be kept checked out by those who would very much like to experience this highly involving festival again (like me, for example …) or else for the first time! And it won’t likely be the last one …

Words: Marilena Moroni

Malta Doom Metal Fest 2015 Links
Official Website
Facebook Event Page
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