Oct 20, 2014

Doomdogs News – New Band Members, New Split 7” and more ...

Thanks to guitarist Christer Cuñat Candela from Swedish doom/stoner band Doomdogs, who have previously been reviewed here on Doommantia, we get some news and their latest tunes! According to Christer, Doomdogs “crashed” last summer leaving him as the sole remaining member needing to rebuild the band.

He has done so with a completely new outfit with the names of the new bassist, drummer and vocalist to be announced via the band’s website (HERE) in the next couple of weeks as Doomdogs are busy preparing a new full length as a reinvigorated doom crew.

In the meantime the band has stayed busy recording a cover of the Black Sabbath’s classic N.I.B. for No More Tears: A Millennium Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne released July ’12 via Versailles Records which you can listen to below. A fitting and well done tribute from Doomdogs to a more than obvious influence on the band’s sound.

Watch below:
N.I.B. by Doomdogs

Doomdogs also released Oceans of Despair for a split 7” with Maryland’s War Injun via Svart Records in 2013 and are now ready to wade further into the fuzzy world of doom and sludge with new members and a new album.

Oceans of Despair is a doomy Sabbath-esque track (complete with Children of the Sea like riffage) which is never really bad thing though personally I’m looking forward to Doomdogs with a new vocalist as now former vocalist, Tomas “GG” Eriksson’s vocals don’t really quite do it for me drifting from near death metal growls which he does well to attempts at Dio-esque falsetto which I don’t think he does very well.

With that said take a listen to Oceans of Despair below and click the bandcamp link to see the first two full lengths from Doomdogs as well.

Oceans of Despair

We should all look forward to new Doomdogs tracks in the coming days. I’m interested to see how they will sound in their new form but I think we can all rest assured it will be a doom, sludge and stoner rock fun filled experience. Thanks to Christer Cuñat Candela for sharing this with us and here are a couple of live performances of the above songs when Doomdogs opened for Candlemass in their bitter cold homeland of Sweden.

NIB Live

Oceans of Despair Live

As well as the band’s website you can also look for news via their Facebook page (LINK BELOW)

Words: Feind Gottes (editor - Thy Demons Be Scribblin)

Doomdogs Website: HERE
Doomdogs Facebook: Facebook
Doomdogs Bandcamp: HERE
Thy Demons Home: HERE

Oct 19, 2014

Sangria - Agnosis ...

Sangria: in many of you/us such a word may evoke some happy alcoholic fiestas during a sun-baked holiday roaming around in Spain ...All wrong!

Our Sangria speaks the language of the continental masses of Earth's crust clashing against one another. Such is the sonic power of Sangria's way of building up colossal doom-sludge metal since its inception back in 2003.
The Sangria trio hails from Santiago, from the great heavy and super-heavy underground scene of Chile. The trio involves Osvaldo Oss Frías on bass and vocals, Carlos Seitan Frías on guitar and vocals and Pablo Benavides on drums. Sangria is one of the great bands related to the cool underground production label Proyecto Sepulcro (Electrozombies, Hielo Negro, Bicefalo, Circulo de Barabbas, Budasses, etc.), which stands out for the care and the impressive quality of its limited-edition releases both for the sound and graphical aspects.  One of the earlier releases of Proyecto Sepulcro was the debut album by Sangria, Renaces de la Miseria (2009), which was rapidly sold out. The new album by Sangria, Agnosis, was finished already late last year. There were quite a few of us outside Chile who bombed band members and folks at Proyecto Sepulcro for being sure, this time, of grabbing a solid copy of the release. But some bad luck and mishappenings with labels for distribution hampered the release. Hopefully the band can finalize an agreement with labels soon for worldwide spreading, and get this new amazing album out as soon as possible.

Agnosis, or better “agnosia”, is indicated as a pathological state characterized by loss of the ability to recognize objects or interpret sensorial stimulation by sounds or images. But you will never find random clicks or casual minimalistic noise when Sangria are involved! The title of the album is obviously provocative. It is probably to relate to the highly critical attitude towards society and especially towards some disturbing aspects of politics and dominant religion(s) adopted by the band and revealed in Sangria’s lyrics. Like and probably even more than in Renaces de la Miseria, album Agnosis is a treatise on catastrophic and funereal sludge/doom-death built up via slow-paced, crushingly downtuned and distorted riffs, bleak atmospheres and abyssal vocals. Something appealing for those who are into bands like Corrupted, Thou, Moloch, Yob, Conan, Fuoco Fatuo, Disembowelment, Shadow of the Torturer, Whitehorse or Funeral Moth. Differently from what often seen/heard in doom-sludge bands, the tracks in Agnosis are rather short, with lengths almost never exceeding 6 minutes. There is no over repetition of refrains in these tracks even if I personally would love to be overwhelmed by these sounds even more. However the relative brevity of the tracks have the effect of turning them into a relentless charge of blows in your gutter. 

The opener Ritualista is lead by a majestic, plodding rhythm of authentic funeral doom in the vein of Tyranny where Osvaldo’s raw and torn vocals roar their occult chant and fight to emerge over the slow, colossal riffs.  Funeral doom features also dominate long tracks like Agnosis and, where, however, the band employs some minor but effective tempo changes for pumping further energy to the war-like march. In various tracks, like for example Cegados, Catarsis, Pestilencia, Culto Al Odio etc., the band often speeds up and destroys everything with the pulverizing effects of the rolling mammoth riffs.  Catarsis and Pestilencia in particular are small jewels where the band is able to merge funeral doom, filthy sludge groove as well as death metal aggression  in barely 3 minutes. These killer tracks occupy the central part of the album, together with the super-tight aggression of Culto Al Odio and Seminal Inhumacion, where the minor tempo changes do not enlighten the relentless pressure induced by extremely heavy, magmatic riffs. This is pure South American version of Conan’s “caveman battle doom”! But in this “fast” and overly aggressive core of the album there are also “pills” of funeral doom (like Averno) of crushing impact but able to restore the somehow dark ethereal atmospheres of the occult, ritualistic onset of the album.

In tracks Agnosis and Pestilencia the double vocals create a confused echo that makes the chanting even more painful and suffocating, but in Pestilencia the second singer, Carlos, is overlapping some extremely low growling thereby turning the chanting into frankly sepulchral.  Trance Mortuorio, the longest track of the album (6:29), cannot but close album Agnosis by means of a reprise of the funereal lithany that started the rituals. This dark ballad is majestic and highly atmospheric not only for the slowness of the reverbered riffs but also for the echoing double vocals which vary from Yob-like to ultra-funeral until everything dies out into pure silence.
Stunning …

Track list:
2. Cegados
3. Agnosis
4. Catarsis
5. Pestilencia
6. Averno
7. Culto al Odio
8. Seminal Inhumación
9. Trance Mortuorio

You can listen to a track from Agnosis on the Bandcamp page devoted to the album HERE.
Track Culto Al Odio and a raw live version of Ritualista can be appreciated on Youtube.

Keep the Facebook page of the band and of Proyecto Sepulcro checked for updates.
While waiting for getting hold of the new album via a solid agreement with a label, you can get hold of the previous, crushing album by Sangria, Renaces de la Miseria, which has been generously shared by the band for free download on Bandcamp HERE.

Words: Marilena Moroni

Sangria @ Facebook
Proyecto Sepulcro @ Facebook
Proyecto Sepulcro @ Official Website

Oct 18, 2014

Iron Void - "Iron Void" ...

Having influences, these days, is a decidedly mixed bag. Writing unique new music within the well-established confines of the metal genre is difficult and becoming harder by the year. Popularization of anything helps entrench formula.

For a young band like Iron Void, their music proudly influenced by pioneers like Black Sabbath and Pentagram, formula is not a dirty word. Slavish imitation will stunt any band's artistic potential and, even if they are powerful in a live setting, bands like this rarely inspire the sort of commercial devotion from fans that build long-lasting careers.

They dodge the pitfalls of such influence by virtue of talent, conscientious songwriting while, nevertheless, benefiting from the association and gratified by playing in a style they love.

Low-fi or not, I loved the album's sound from the first few notes of "Tyrant's Crown" on. The thick, even slightly muffled, production fills the music with added density. Iron Void builds the song around a guttural, galloping riff that rides the back of nimble percussion. Naturally, this guitar part is key to the song's appeal, but the song exhibits a number of underrated strengths enriching the overall whole. The vocals are very solid and, despite having learned long ago that looking for literary merit in metal lyrics is usually a fool's errand, Iron Void's lyrical strength surprised me here.

Iron Void proves their skill for creating sturdy, interesting arrangements with "I Am War". An appealing inevitability heard in the best metal defines the music; seamless transitions assure the various riffs never sound shoehorned together and each section resolves itself in a satisfying way. The drummer peppers the song with subtle rhythmic touches highlighting the band's penchant for leaving understated, distinctive signatures in each song. "The Mad Monk" opens as a mid-tempo drag, but the band explores a handful of tempos throughout the song. This is the album's first "look" at Iron Void in full power mode and the riff largely abandons the melodic flair heard in earlier songs. This isn't a weakness. The grinding crunch works well with the song's restless movement between tempos and, in tandem with the strong lyrics, creates a gray, claustrophobic atmosphere.

"Those Who Went Before" is plodding, minor key joy from the start. There is an obvious debt to Black Sabbath here, but again, Iron Void distinguishes themselves from their influences. The lyrics are tighter than a clinched fist - not a single word is wasted. Their clarity and poetic suggestiveness are, likewise, key elements in why this relatively short song plays, nevertheless, like a quasi-epic. "Own Worst Enemy" has a sleek musical attack that wastes no time getting its point across. We've certainly heard songs with similar sentiments since the era of the Delta bluesman, but Iron Void work within this well-established tradition with fresh energy and a refreshing lack of irony.

The muscular and melodic riff opening the apocalyptic "Black Mirror" promises a lot and the band delivers. It's one of the album's high points and I found myself fascinated by how such a young, guitar driven band plays with such calm confidence. The lyrics are never overwrought, avoid cliché, and benefit from a cool, dispassionate vocal. The guitar break blazing in a little after the halfway point is worth the price of admission alone. The bass riff bubbling from the black in the first seconds of "Outlaw" gives way to a massive guitar riff flattening everything in its path. I hear this song as an uniquely Iron Void "blues", rugged and street tough. The band specializes in a relatively straightforward sort of music but demonstrates their chops in other ways - for example, the abrupt turns and stops in tempo. "Necropolis (C.O.T.D.)" superbly marries two familiar elements, metal and horror, into a strongly cinematic song. While some might complain a zombie song is, perhaps, a little trendy at this cultural moment, Iron Void is dealing out some musical rehash of a Waking Dead episode and their smart songwriting gives this the quality of an individual take on the subject matter. Another well-constructed melodic guitar solo is the song's highlight.

"The Burden of Regret" is another of the album's peaks. A song that, perhaps, that best illustrates how a listener cannot listen to the first fifteen to thirty seconds of an Iron Void song and make anything like an informed judgment about its quality. This is a band seemingly overflowing with ideas and their songs demand a complete hearing. The lyrics once again tread into some familiar territory for popular song but avoid the trite by containing a strong narrative thrust and control of the language verging on the poetic. However, the singing for this set of lyrics needed a stronger emotive edge than it gets here. If a band has a complete package of skills, like Iron Void does, it behooves them to explore each skill to its limits. The closer, "Xylanthia", is a beautifully evocative instrumental that suggested images of mist-bound rivers and oddly colored skies to me as I first listened. Any group capable of covering the long distance between this and the opener, "Tyrant's Crown", is a musical outfit with substantial depth.

The subtitle for this review should be "Or How Jason Learned To Stop Worrying And Listen To Iron Void". This outstanding debut will lead to more and better.

Words: J. Hillenburg


Oct 12, 2014

Ides of Gemini - "Old World New Wave" ...

Ides of Gemini's second album from the Neurot label, Old World New Wave, is an important release in recent metal history. No genre or sub-genre can evolve or keep even a tenuous grip on relevance if it exists largely as an extended tribute to its primary influence. Countless megabytes of press materials invoke Black Sabbath and throw their name around like a catch-all for metal excellence, but it isn't the Birmingham Four's fault that, nearly half a century later, record labels and public relations hacks indiscriminately promote new acts as Sabbath's second coming. It's understandable that young bands and their support team hope to glean at least a sliver of reflected glory.

Fortunately, Ides of Gemini makes no such attempt. The unfortunate fact, however, is many others bands often sound like they seized upon one aspect of the band they loved and stopped there. They share little of the same ambitions held by their heroes. A well-written and played homage or an entertaining, imaginative metal song about the supernatural will always have its place. I believe it scarcely touches doom metal's potential and have long believed that, as a style, doom metal must mature and evolve or else face irrelevance. We are entering uncharted waters where posterity will test the merits of pop culture's icons and many, including Black Sabbath, might be found wanting or buried and blurred by an avalanche of years.

Ides of Gemini serves notice, from the first song, that they will be among the vanguard in any effort to redefine the genre. What initially begins with a strutting, staccato metal riff quickly reveals a band subtly plundering a wider range of reference. "Black Door" certainly isn't the first metal song I've heard with a female vocalist, but the slightly sleepy drone of Sera Timms' voice maintains an impressive balance between power and delicacy. I hear notice of the band's talent in their astonishing and fluid synthesis of doom metal's bedrock elements and a condensed, melodic sensibility. "Black Door" doesn't carry the listener so much as sweep them along with satisfying focus that makes its brief length, a little over three minutes, seem half that.

"The Chalice & The Blade" crawls from the speakers, but the atmosphere is far from funereal. It plays like an anthemic march, but never feels celebratory. Instead, the song has a determined, dogged sort of spirit influenced in no small ways by another fine Sera Timms vocal. Her exultant power strikes a compelling contrast with the music and lyrics alike. One disappointment I will note is how the mix and quasi-ambient vocal production sometimes obscures too many of the band's fine lyrics. I admire any approach that utilizes the musical possibilities of the voice in the same way as a man-made instrument, including strengthening the theatrics of a piece like it does here for Ides of Gemini and other cutting edge doom bands like Pallbearer and Yob, but this particular habit comes with a trade-off.

A bit of catchy rock drumming opens "Seer of Circassia" before Jason Bennett's guitar crashes in with a strong riff. I found myself wanting to hear the interplay between the drumming and bass in a clearer way. Kelly Johnson-Gibson's fleet and steady timekeeping reminded me, in a small way, of Velvet Underground great Maureen Tucker's exuberant, but unobtrusive, pulse. It is no small feat of skill to provide such a superb rhythmic structure while providing sympatric accompaniment to the surrounding players. The layered drone kicking off "White Hart" is a master class in building tension. The processional drums give Bennett firm musical footing to orchestrate the intro with such exquisite timing that the seamless shift into the verses jolted me. One of the album's definite highlights.

The band's theatrical flair sparks again on "May 22, 1453", a reference to a lunar phenomena witnessed in the Constantinople area days before the city's fall. It represents a new development in metal music, particularly doom, that younger musicians have upturned the understanding of what constitutes "heavy" and the limitations of thinking only a distorted guitar ran through a hundred stacks can provide the needed crunch and authenticity. Other reviews have compared Timms' vocal talent to Stevie Nicks, among others, but if she has a clear antecedent in delivery and phrasing, poet and performer Patti Smith is probably closer. In the end, however, all comparisons should hang. Her voice conspires with the music to imbue this track with weighty poetic power and musical muscle.

"The Adversary" has the band again combining their doom grind with melodic vocals. There is a hoary line of thinking on power trios that the sound is too thin without a good bass player high in the mix capable of duping as a quasi-rhythm guitar. A song like this dispels the notion because of structure. I hear a tightly woven axis of "voices" here and the near-note perfect placement of sound and space coalesce into an authoritative whole. I never get the feeling of an undersized boxer punching above their weight. "Fememorde" moves with a confident stride and uses harmonies to strengthen refrains in tasteful ways. This is another gem shaped by the same deceptively minimalist pressure discussed earlier. Timms' is at her emotive best here while Bennett and Johnson-Gibson thrash out a tight, steady backing.

"Valediction" is another of the album's finest moments. The poetry in its lyrics, Bennett's buzz saw guitar attack and gate-pounding fury propelling Johnson-Gibson's percussion are impressive enough, but the song's sturdy construction is another key to success. As in "The Adversary" and some earlier songs, one of this band's important achievements is subsuming strong melodic strains into doom metal's sonic identity. This sort of synthesis needs the sort of structure that metal music often lacks. The regimented structure of metal music doesn't readily support the sort of melodic turns liberally sprinkled through this music. Not every band need apply for this approach. It works for Ides of Gemini for a number of reasons, among them the range of singer Sera Timms. The finale song, "Scimitar", is an appropriately chaotic piece musically, given its subject matter, and the feel of clattering dissonance I feel off the track suggests a battle. It doesn't just stop here though. This feeling runs through me with every song, a sense that the fission produced by the band's performances pours out from the invigorating movement and tension between instruments and words.

It had to happen and I'm glad it did. All bands like Ides of Gemini owe a debt to the pioneers of doom metal, but the total is long since paid. Bands such as this and others mentioned previously are redefining the artistic limits of an important style. Doom metal deserves this constant redefinition and expansion while remaining true to its essential vision. This music resonates most deeply with its devotees when the songs are honest depictions of lives in distress. It speaks clearest to us when it pulls us face to face with our fears, dives headlong into mysteries of life and the heart, and never flinches. Old World New Wave is doom metal at its finest and much, much more.

Words: J.Hillenburg


Oct 9, 2014

Troglodyte Dawn - S/T ...

We're all in it for the inspiration. Writers, painters, musicians, songwriters, anyone working in an artistic medium lives for those moments when everything falls together in their work. The heart speeds up, sweat pops out of the forehead, and even the hands slightly jitter. In that moment, we feel connected to some reservoir deep within where we hide the truth about ourselves, experiences, and what we love. Even rarer still are those moments when we sustain that same flush of inspiration over the course of an entire work. Troglodyte Dawn's self-titled release from Stone Groove Records manages that impressive feat.

The band describes itself as "doom with ambient tendencies", an amusing way to phrase it, as if those ambient tendencies are bad habits needing curtailed. The album opens with an expression of those ambient tendencies, "667", an introductory instrumental establishing the general tone for what's to come. "Fallen World" is a model of tight songwriting. The crushing, uncluttered opening riff pile drives its way into memory like a piston, the percussion dodges self-indulgence, and the tempo shifts contrast with each other in a compelling way. The lyrical content never lapses into clichés or tropes. The lyrics are tailored to serve the musical content rather than standing on their own, but full of brief flashes of observant detail. 

"Redeemed" is imaginative, idiosyncratic, and yet wholly accessible. The song startled me on first listen. I've heard nothing in my thirty-nine years alive like its serious unblinking delivery of religious subject matter over an orchestrated march. Orchestrated, in this sense, means structured by melody and the stellar vocal pulls it off. This is someone testifying about the faith for redemption and the melodic sweetening surroundings the chorus with a grand air. The sparkling guitar work on "Longing" has, thanks to its "circular" feel, a romantic air, but is never maudlin. "Forever After" is a brilliant rewrite of Black Sabbath's classic "After Forever". The lyrics have a completely different slant - rather than succumbing to the cynicism and despair strewn through the Sabbath lyric, Troglodyte Dawn stresses the seriousness of its subject while offering hope for a better life. A loose, informal-sounding performance approximating the original benefits from raw and inspired guitar playing - it sounds full of joy, proud that it has successfully co-opted a resonant aspect of a great band's vision and turned it into something uniquely its own. Pouring old wine into new bottles doesn't always work, but it does here. The tacked on excepts including Tommy Chong emphasize another element of this performance - tribute, not just to the track and band, but to an earlier era in their personal lives.

Troglodyte Dawn shows their scope with "Flower", a tuneful track driven by an artfully expressed metaphor. The song's vocals and nylon-string acoustic guitar sound recall Jimmy Page's mid-80's collaboration with Roy Harper, Whatever Happened To Jugula? The clear, resonant timber of the singing cuts through the music in an authoritative way and impressively mines palpable emotive highlights from the lyrics. The blurred chanting and skeletal backbeat of the brief instrumental "Dood" is the album's oddest moment, perhaps, but its traditional strengths, like a beautifully simple hook, aren't easily forgotten.

We're dropped back in doom territory for "Lust", the album's longest piece thus far, and it's worth the wait. Troglodyte Dawn blast through a melting pot of tempos, but each section flows into the next and the band never fails to cover their tracks and hide any stitching. Another impressive aspect of the song is how the composition invokes its influences, predominantly Black Sabbath, without ever immersing itself in full-on imitation. "Look On The Cross" is another spiritually themed song and has a hazy, hallucinatory edge. The fuzzed out rhythm guitar and languid tempos work well with the theatrical vocal delivery. The effect is almost hymnal and contrasts sharply with the song's vague psychedelic stylings. The album concludes with another ambient piece, "Dawn", that is an evocative bookend to the first track.

Inspiration and structure. If you have one without the other, you've met half of the potential in anything. Troglodyte Dawn's songs are full of passion and skill, cross genres with admirable confidence, and never waste the listener's time. Highly recommended.

Words: J. Hillenburg


Oct 8, 2014

Past Lives: OM, Johnny Brendas, Philly 10/6/14 ...

Fresh off a Sleep show in the same town about 6 weeks prior, last night, half that crowd sold out Johnny Brenda's to show Om the love.  And they reciprocated in kind.

Hit the merch table early, not knowing what was available or if the line would be as nuts as at Sleep, and was so glad that I did.  Al was selling his 7", the first release for new label Samaritan press, that I desperately wanted.  Empty Tomb/Sepulchure Dub ( mine is # 966) is now in my hands, and it's a beautiful 45 that sounds really Al

One of Emil's "other" bands, Watter opened for Om and brought the instrumental space-love to us.  Three guys, the guitarist, Emil on drums and the key/sound effect wizard. 

This is heady music, very much accessible yet also completely psychedelic.  The guitarist for the most part was playing Hendrixian solo's mixed with the simplicity and pacing of drone, the key man underneath adding this Come My Fanatics interstellar bass that sounds like a black hole crushing a galaxy and weird trance stuff, and Emil kept it all together.  I really enjoyed their set and was glad I caught them and would definitely see them again.  Mellowed me right out and put in the perfect mood for Om.

Now, Om.  Well, I'll say that I've been a fan since before they were a band, let's put it that way.  One time I tried to see them and Emil broke his arm skateboarding, and the other was a venue change that brought the need for new tickets at the end of the month for me, and I couldn't swing it.  I've been wanting to see this band a long time, and I'm elated that either at or somewhere near my 50th gig, I finally heard Om do their thing. 

My lady friend went in hoping for anything Conference, and frankly so did I.  That album is a top 5 all time record as far as I'm concerned, and though we didn't get to hear those old songs, we were still moved.  Robert Lowe's tambourine and flourishes vocally added a beautiful accent to the core bass and drum sound, and during the parts where the cello plays you can tell Al is really into combining the tone of his Rickenbacker with classical instrumentation.  Mostly songs from the last two records.  Emil was awesome, the fills, speeding up slowing down, a very, very different style to Chris Haikus, whom I still hope to finally see live one day, but I know chances get slimmer as time marches on and it's probably a lost cause at this point, but that's the hope Om gives me.  This set was a great counterpoint to the Sleep show, and now with High On Fire last November, I've see Sleep, Om, and High On Fire in less than a year.  That's pretty snazzy.

At one point Al brushed against me to walk by, and I sensed a  centered, green positivity as he passed.

We'll catch you back at Johnny Brenda's a little later this month on All Hallow's Eve for Pentagram/Bang!  What a double bill, TWO proto-metal bands?Plus Radio Moscow AND Kings Destroy?  You bet your ass.  Warning, though I may be forced to dress up, the beard stays.  Deal with it. 

Thanks as always for reading, over and out from SabbathJeff.

Oct 7, 2014

White Manna - "Live Frequencies" ...

White Manna are an American outfit out of California and their latest offering from the label Cardinal Fuzz, Live Frequencies, is a far reaching imaginative work. Nods abound to Hawkwind and other psychedelic, proto-punk predecessors in this live setting, but the band's punk influences are a little more pronounced and they bring a tough-eyed, modern lyrical perspective to their songs that their models lacked.

"E Shra (Stangade)" opens the album in an ambient swirl with partial guitar arpeggios floating through the mix. This dreamy mood persists for the first two minutes before the rhythm section joins in. Steady drumming and bass playing anchors the disjointed wall of guitars engulfing the piece into some semblance of structure. "Acid Head (Le Kalif)" has a much clearer design than the previous song, but starts off with the same windswept ambience. It is intended to give the music a more cosmic effect and, indeed, succeeds on that count - the first two songs never play so much as they emerge, as if an assembly of pulse escaping from a celestial body. The singing is quite competent, but the muddy articulation practically renders the lyrics a moot point. The riff, refreshingly simple and memorable, never wears thin.

Another strong riff opens "Evil (Le Kalif)". The band, once again, lays a healthy dose of windswept ambient effects over the song, but the riff's electrifying energy leaves it sounding more like an affectation than a significant contribution to the song. It is the album's first unadulterated stab at punk rock and any attempt to cloak it with trippy, psychedelic trappings is doomed to failure. We return to familiar ground for "X Ray (Le Kalif)" and its loping, hallucinatory groove. The ambient keyboard swirls drop in and out of the mix rather than maintain a constant presence through, but the heart of this tune is the relaxed drumming that never rushes a tune clearly designed for an extended take. "I'm Comin' Home (Le Kalif)" might, initially, give hope to the novice listener that they're in for lighter than usual fare, but the primitive shuffle and gritty, skeletal rhythms form the backbone for one of the album's most impressive songs. The highlight comes with a blistering guitar solo near the song's halfway point.

"Sweet Jesus (Le Kalif)" is another oncoming tank of a tune with primal drumming and a relentless, simple riff thrashing over the top. It breaks down a little after four minutes into a slightly amorphous quasi-bridge crackling with fractured, fiery lead guitar. The tempo builds to a crescendo before the song races to its final jarring conclusion. The exotic opening to "G Shra (Le Kalif)" catches the listener's attention, but more impressive is how the band maintains such a strong, continuous pulse. The instrumental recalls the opener with a number of the passages sounding like variations on a theme.

The Stangade performance of "Evil" is more pure rock and roll rave up than psychedelic excursion. The energetic, uncoordinated dual vocals and flailing guitar chords make this an irrepressible romp. Likewise, the Stangade version of "X-Ray" takes a much cleaner, direct line of attack than its counterpart. It's always a marker of greatness to me when a band can take strong material and give distinctive, but different, performances each outing. It doesn't just prove the elasticity of the material, but willingness to risk in the performer. The album's final number, "Sweet Jesus", suggests that the Stangade show must have been an inspired evening. It takes the approach "Evil" did by clinging tighty to what constitutes great rock and roll. Without a doubt, White Manna subscribe to the theory that stripped down, muscular, and gets to the point. However, like before, the band does find opportunity to wander and jam some during an extended bridge.

If White Manna lacks finesse, who cares? This is a band that intuitively understands many will never get the music, but writes and pursues this genre despite grim financial realities. They are looking to engage the listener rather than losing them in their latest reverie and Live Frequencies shows a band in full command of their connection with their audience and music.

Words: J. Hillenburg


The Myrrors - "Solar Collector" ...

This is music existing out of time. The Myrrors' four-song collection from the Cardinal Fuzz label is outstanding guitar-driven instrumentals that resist easy labeling as stoner rock, a throwback invocation of more psychedelic times, or an impressionistic alt-rock piece. The production matches the music well and accentuates its strengths. There is a sleepy, free-floating melancholy wafting through each of the release's four tracks. Tempos never rise above shuffle speed and no track clocks in at less than seven minutes. The Myrrors are clearly a band far more interested in getting inside your head instead of belting out verse, chorus, bridge, and chorus. The collection opens with the title track. Reverb hangs over the mix and the effect creates a sonic distance of sorts without sacrificing immediacy. The guitar sounds as if it is rising perpetually, like something immense dawning over the horizon, and its minor-key feel gives it a sense of grandeur. The track also strikes me as a duet between two lead instruments - the guitar and drums. The percussion is freewheeling without ever leaving the timekeeping slack and brimming over with intelligent fills that carry the song higher.

The same design aesthetic applies to "Escape Attempt". It is another expansive soundscape dominated by reverb-drenched guitar, but darker shades abound. The wah-wah slashes and growls through the mix like a distressed voice. The Myrrors never throttle the listener with a wallop of detuned metal guitars, but they achieve effects every bit as "heavy". This is intense, claustrophobic music churning with emotion. A shimmering swell of keyboards lingers throughout "Ascension" and gives it an ethereal quality. The music's slow, steady stride made me think of a column of souls slowly rising into the air. Long tracks, once considered de rigueur for a "serious" band, are often difficult to justify artistically, but the band avoids self-indulgence by never allowing the songs to meander.

"Whirling Mountain Blues" concludes the album with, arguably, the band's grandest statement yet. The song runs a little under fifteen minutes long and begins dramatically with ferocious, intermittent bursts of percussion and guitar. The band seems unsteady and impatient to find its feet. When they do, the band comes together at once and locks down on an enormous groove. There are countless mini crescendos littered through the song keeping it interesting throughout. It ends powerfully with the music falling apart, the band apparently exhausted, and nothing but fading static in its wake.

Solar Collector is a blistering invocation of the cerebral and physical. Between the extended structures and frequently jaw-dropping guitar work, few releases will engage the listener in such a complete way. Highly recommended.

Words: J. Hillenburg


Oct 6, 2014

NEWS: THE SKULL: (featuring original and former Trouble members) First Track Off Debut Album Is Streaming ...

"Till The Sun Turns Black", a brand new song from THE SKULL featuring original TROUBLE members vocalist Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson, alongside longtime former TROUBLE and EARTHEN GRAVE bassist Ron Holzner and guitarists Lothar Keller and Matt Goldsborough (PENTAGRAM), is now available for streaming via the Sound Cloud link below.

The track is taken from the band's debut album, "For Those Which Are Asleep", which will be released worldwide on Tuesday, November 4th via Tee Pee Records.

Source: The Ripple Effect
Posted By Doctor Doom

Oct 5, 2014

Horn of the Rhino – Summoning Deliverance ...

We, sometimes unfortunately, live in a time where music is easily available to anyone with internet access and it’s easy for bands to put music out for people to hear. Due to that fact there is a large amount of absolute garbage out there to wade through to find the bands that are truly loaded with talent yet have difficulty getting recognized.

One such band that I’ve been following for several years now that seems to get no love whatsoever but is incredibly awesome is Spain’s (yes, Spain!) doom laden masters Horn of the Rhino. Perhaps it’s because Spain isn’t exactly known as a hotbed of metal but to me that should make Horn of the Rhino stand out all that much more but yet I rarely hear them getting mentioned. It’s a complete shame because if you love doom or just metal in general you should know about Horn of the Rhino. Hopefully I can win a few of you over today.

Due to Horn of the Rhino getting little to no press it seems I tend to miss when they release new music. This was the case with their latest album, Summoning Deliverance, which I only found today because I went looking to see if they had any new music out. To my joy and surprise I found a new album waiting for me that was released at the end of August (August 26th to be precise) via Doomentia Records (link to label site: HERE). I couldn’t hit play fast enough. I discovered Horn of the Rhino a few years ago by mere chance on one of my many forays into my never ending quest for new music.

I forget what band’s YouTube clip I had clicked on but a suggestion for a HotR song popped up so I hit that, I was hooked immediately and I’ve been a fan ever since. That song was Speaking In Tongues off 2010’s Weight of Coronation, which is still my favorite HotR album btw. So I’ve followed the band ever since. As with any band some of their songs hit me, some miss but man when HotR hit they hit hard! The list of tunes from them I listen to on a near daily basis is long indeed. You can catch up on their back catalog via their bandcamp page here (link: HERE) including their last album as Rhino before changing their name to Horn of the Rhino.

Horn of the Rhino is driven by mastermind, guitarist/vocalist Javier Galvez along with Sergio “Rambo” Robles on bass and Julen Gil behind the drum kit. Their newest album is Summoning Deliverance and finds HotR being a little more sludgey than on some previous releases but they have always incorporated many styles into their sound even the inclusion of a saxophone in the past. To call Horn of the Rhino just a doom metal band doesn’t do justice to all they include in their sound from sludge to death to black metal and more. Having listened to Summoning Deliverance in its entirety a few times now I would say it may be their heaviest offering to date. Early on, especially on 2010’s Weight of Coronation, the band stuck pretty much to doom which they do fantastically well when they go pure doom but with each album they have incorporated more and more into their sound so now great doom isn’t all the band has to offer. Summoning Deliverance, I would say, is their most diverse offering to date incorporating even more elements into their unique doomy stew.

Summoning Deliverance starts off with the static fuzzed out intro, Awaiting The Scourge, that leads straight into the opening track, Exvenhstench. While this song like most HotR songs uses doom as a base it adds in some elements of black metal which to my ears, though I could certainly be mistaken, is the first time HotR have done so other than an odd random flash here or there somewhere in the past. Sometimes mixing styles can backfire but as HotR has so many times the mix works well and Exvenhstench just really rocks your balls off right from the get go letting you know Summoning’ is going to be one fun filled doom laden ride.

Onward Through Domination is another example of HotR laying down some absolute doom gold. When Galvez & crew make a pure doom song it never fails to kick your ass hard. For a doom track it’s not slow and plodding but more mid-tempo that had my head bobbing up and down nicely. It should be said that Galvez’s voice is just amazing as he can go from clean to growl and everything in between with the ease of spreading butter across a slice of warm toast. Then there are the riffs… just wow! The bass line of ‘Domination by “Rambo” is what hooked me on this one. It’s one fantastic song but not even my favorite on the album which should tell you how good this album is right there.

Onward Through Domination fades out and High Priest comes in to kick your ass. This is one fuzzy, fast sludge track that would fit perfectly on any Crowbar album or another of my favorite current sludge bands, Black Tusk. High Priest just rocks beating you over the head with its riff and Galvez’s screeched vocals barking in your ear forcing your head to bang even harder. Then we seemingly go back to heavy doom territory on Their Tombs which begins with what sounds like someone banging on the inside of a tomb wanting out. Though the song begins in slow methodical doom fashion it soon bursts out quickening the pace as if a jackhammer is being taken to your skull spilling the gooey insides onto the sidewalk. The song just won’t stop pummeling you setting the jackhammer to the side only to pick up a sledge hammer giving you one slow whack at a time until they pick up the jackhammer once more to go to town on you. By the end you’re just a splatter on the sidewalk no longer recognizable as ever being human. Then HotR attempt to put you back together.

Track Six, Deliverance Prayer, is absolutely my favorite off the album. After beating you to an unrecognizable pool of blood and gore Galvez’s oft times incredible soothing voice comes in to gently pick up the pieces and start stitching you back together. The track is just beautiful as if it may actually be able to deliver you up to the heavens as an offering to the gods. That is until the album continues pleasantly dragging you back into the depths of the Abyss where you belong with the short interlude Drogg Om Thraal pulling you back down into the depths. It sounds as if hell may just have opened up to swallow you where you must confront the Grim Foreigners. Grim Foreigners is yet another excellent sludgey track once more incorporating some black metal tones into the mix which, simply put, makes it sound more evil. Galvez sounds here like a demon chasing you until he finally has you by the throat to drag you to the feet of the Master.

Builder of Carrion Effigies starts off with some elephants stomping your skull riffage leading into a blistering sludge track in the vein of earlier track High Priest but where High Priest only beat you senseless for six minutes Builder’ makes sure you’re pounded to mush with an eight minute all out pummeling assault. Where Summoning Deliverance was the first time I can think of HotR adding black metal in the mix it is also the first time I can remember hearing flashes of thrash in the mix as well. Builder’ at its heart is a fuzzy, down tuned thrash attack which is as refreshing as it is awesome. HotR don’t hold anything back here defying the pigeon hole of just being a doom band though the album closes back on their doom roots with An Excess of Faith. Galvez seems to channel Ozzy on this one since it sounds as if the song would fit right in on an early Black Sabbath album which I say as a giant compliment. It reminded me a bit of the song Black Sabbath though there is plenty more in there as well.
If Horn of the Rhino is new to you I would encourage you to take a listen to all four of their albums but I’d say Summoning Deliverance is as good a place to start as any. My personal favorite is still Weight of Coronation but I’ve also listened to that more than any other and it’s really a pure doom album where now the band has incorporated even more styles into their sound which isn’t a bad thing at all. Too many bands today trod out one album after another all sounding pretty much the same but to hear a band grow and change over time evolving musically beyond where they started is far more enjoyable to me. It shows that a band are beyond just musicians but artists as well. Now having heard Summoning Deliverance a few times, I couldn’t help repeating it, I’d say while it definitely sounds like Horn of the Rhino it is also their most diverse album to date and I look forward to seeing how this band continues to evolve in the future. I certainly hope they’re around for a long time to come. So for those in need of a simple rating I’d give Summoning Deliverance about an 8.5/10. Now I think I’m going to go listen again, feel free to join me.

Words: Feind Gottes (Thy Demons Be Scribblin)

Horn Of The Rhino @ Facebook

Oct 1, 2014

NEWS: Zodiac Sing a Sad Song to a Sonic Child ...

Yesterday German blues rockers dropped their latest album Sonic Child via Napalm Records. While I have not heard it in its entirety yet I plan to as soon as possible. Zodiac’s sound is thoroughly rooted in the blues though they mix in elements of hard rock giving them somewhat of a stoner rock feel as well as, at times, a touch of *gulp* country.

No worries though as it all seems very good without ever being too much of one thing or another. The band is to be commended for the diversity in their songs drifting from ballad to rocker to somewhere in between fluidly like in the first early release, A Penny and a Dead Horse. Zodiac make some kick back and relax on a weekend afternoon jams that should bring a smile to your face and tap to your toes.

Recently they released another video for the title track and this morning I found a new lyric video for the ballad, Sad Song, in my feed so enjoy then order Sonic Child if you haven’t already down below.

Sonic Child released yesterday (Sept 30th) and can be ordered via Napalm Records (HERE). Zodiac is currently on tour in Europe, get dates (HERE)

For more info on Zodiac:
Official Website: HERE
Facebook: HERE
Bandcamp: HERE

Words: Feind Gottes (editor, Thy Demons Be Scribblin)

Sep 29, 2014

NEWS: ATRIARCH: Ceremonial Death/Doom Ensemble Unveils New Hymn Via Cvlt Nation; West Coast Live Rituals Confirmed ...

Ceremonial death/doom ensemble, ATRIARCH, today unveils the slow brooding audio treachery of "Allfather."

The towering new hymn comes by way of the band's third full-length and first under the Relapse Record banner, An Unending Pathway. Recorded at Type Foundry in Portland, Oregon, produced by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Eyehategod, Melvins et al) and the band, engine-eared and mixed by Anderson at Everything Hz, also in Portland, and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Beastmilk, Nails) at Audiosiege, on An Unending Pathway, ATRIARCH delivers catharsis through sonic ritual, churning an otherworldly fusion of death rock, doom, black metal, post punk and psychedelic drone/noise, their haunting atmospheres and avalanches of chest-heaving sludge at once compelling and overwhelming. Imagine Bauhaus as interpreted by Eyehategod, or Sisters of Mercy filtered through Neurosis, and only then can you begin to grasp the darkness that is ATRIARCH.

Relays Cvlt Nation of the offering: "An Unending Pathway, is an arresting and welcome combination of doom metal, death rock, black metal, and Mid Eastern-influenced darkwave sounds.... this LP is a well-produced and masterful synthesis of its differing components. It sounds confident and assured, a definite step forward in ATRIARCH's sonic progression... it's ATRIARCH's best and most cohesive-sounding LP to date... singer Lenny Smith's deadpan, chanting-like vocals rise to the fore, echoing as if sung from the depths of a musty Egyptian tomb. Tribal-type drumming underscores the building intensity, and halfway through the track the band switches gears and Smith begins to sound like Rozz Williams, with the band picking up speed and fury around him."

Feel the cold audio decay of "Allfather" now playing at Cvlt Nation at THIS LOCATION.

And if you missed it, check out the haunting resonance of "Collapse" via Soundcloud at THIS LOCATION or YouTube HERE.

In related ATRIARCH news, the band will bring their ceremonials to the stage this November on a West Coast run of live dates. Scheduled to kick off November 7th in Seattle, the band will traumatize thirteen cities through November 21st. See confirmed shows below.

ATRIARCH West Coast Tour 2014:
11/07/2014 Chop Suey - Seattle, WA
11/08/2014 Obsidian - Olympia, WA
11/10/2014 Slabtown Records - Portland, OR Release Show w/ Usnea, Muscle, Marrow
11/12/2014 TBA - Eugene, OR
11/13/2014 Cafe Colonial - Sacramento, CA
11/14/2014 First Church of the Buzzard - Oakland, CA
11/15/2014 Black Castle - Los Angeles, CA
11/16/2014 Tower - San Diego, CA
11/17/2014 Sweet Springs - Santa Barbara, CA
11/18/2014 The Knockout - San Francisco, CA
11/19/2014 Catalyst Atrium - Santa Cruz, CA
11/20/2014 TBA - Medford, OR
11/21/2014 Wisp House - Salem, OR

An Unending Pathway will be released via Relapse Records on October 28th, 2014. Preorder your copy on CD HERE, via iTunes (which includes an instant download of "Collapse") HERE or via BandCamp HERE.

"...shambling, ritualistic drone that gets its talons into you via crusty howls, a colossal dynamic, and the overall feel of continuing ritual" - Pitchfork

"...doom-soaked, gothic death rock...an act that have our undivided attention." - Exclaim

For all ATRIARCH coverage in North America contact liz@earsplitcompound.com, in the UK contact pip@relapse.com, in the rest of Europe contact frank@pettingzoo.nl, elsewhere contact bob@relapse.com.
Atriarch Official

BLACK SABBATH To Begin Work On New Studio Album Next Year ...

Heavy metal legends BLACK SABBATH will begin work on a new studio album in 2015, to be followed by one final tour.

BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi, who has battled cancer since 2012, recently hinted that the group's July 4 gig at London's Hyde Park could have been the band's last because the touring can be tough on him. But frontman Ozzy Osbourne now says that the group will record another CD next year.

"The whole SABBATH experience this time around was great," Ozzy tells Metal Hammer magazine. "We all made friends, we didn't fuck around, we all knew that we had a job to do, and we did it. It was a lot of fun. So we're going to do one more album, and a final tour.

"Once the dust settled after the last tour, we started discussing the idea, because we were getting asked about it all the time. I said to [wife/manager] Sharon, 'What's going on? Because if there's no more SABBATH, I want to get on with my own thing again,' and she came back and said, 'Let me look into it.' Three weeks later, I asked her about it again, and she said, 'Oh, I still have to talk to so and so...' and I said 'Sharon, I ain't fucking 21 anymore. If we're going to do it, I want to do it before I'm 70!' Time isn't on our side! So she made the call and came back and said, 'Yeah, the record company wants another album.' I believe [producer] Rick Rubin is going to do it with us again."
No new material has yet been written for what will be SABBATH's fourteenth studio album, but Osbourne says that sessions will begin early next year.

"It'll be sooner rather than later," the singer says. "Obviously a lot of it is coming down to Tony's health, he's obviously got his cancer treatment, but we'll get onto it next year. I don't know if we'll be writing in England or L.A., but I'll fly to the fucking moon for it if I have to!"
"13", the first SABBATH album since 1978 to feature Ozzy, Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler, was No. 1 in the U.S., the U.K. and nearly a dozen other countries.

Butler recently said that that the threesome already have a head start on a new record, explaining, "We've still got four tracks left over from ['13']. So maybe we'll fill in the other four or five tracks and put out another album — if it's right. We wouldn't do it just for the sake of it, or the money or whatever. But yeah, maybe."

Original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward was on board for the reunion when it was first announced in November 2011, but backed out soon after due to contractual issues.
SABBATH has used Ozzy's regular touring drummer Tommy Clufetos since then for live work. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's Brad Wilk laid down the drum tracks on "13", which came out in June 2013.

Iommi revealed in January of 2012 that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, which is described by the Mayo Clinic as "a cancer of the lymphatic system, the body's disease-fighting network." He had to go back to England every six weeks for treatment, forcing him and SABBATH to work around both the treatments and the recovery time needed afterward.

Source: Blabbermouth
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...