Sep 30, 2009

Armaga - In The Ruins

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Well i have received some killer CD's this year but this isn't one of them.I mean it had to happen sooner or later didn't it ? Armaga are a Russian gothic death doom band that i don't know much about apart from this CD.The first thing that hit me is this band sounds like something from the 90's,not saying they sound out of date or anything like that but the overall sound is from 10 plus years ago.They have some good crunching guitar and thankfully don't use the typical female gothic vocal approach that is so predictable in bands like this.They do have some OK material in songs like "Human Plant" that has a simple but good plodding doom rhythm and another track "Poisoned" creates some good atmospheric vibes.The problem i have none of the riffs are memorable in any way, just so pedestrian it just gets instantly forgettable.I know this is a audience for bands like this so i don't want to put those people off this band,they do have a good material like ""The Left Manor" which sounds like something King Diamond might have done.The old saying " a band is only as good as the riffs" speaks volumes with this band.The potential is there but the songs just don't cut it for me.The production on the album doesn't do the band any favors either,while it does the job it also sounds a little dull at times.The keyboard sound's kind of cheap and lacking any heaviness at all, its just used like a cheap horror movie effect.The good thing is the band works hard to avoid the obvious cliches for a gothic doom band but once again,the material isn't strong enough to create any long lasting impact.This album shows a band with potential but they need improvement in the writing department.The musicianship is there,just not the song writing.Its just run of the mill,standard gothic metal stuff that while it is still within the doom genre,it just sounds uninspired.The best moments are on the songs i have already mentioned,at least they are a bit catchy but the rest sent me into a coma.Oleg Sobolevskiy is the singer and is the bands strong point,its a pity he hasn't got some stronger music to put his raspy vocals to.He reminds a little of the dude from "Rotting Christ" in terms of delivery.The band will hate me, but i find very little to enjoy about this. 4/10

Switchblade - S/T

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This is another band from Sweden,it seems every review i am doing at the moment is a Swedish band.You can't complain though when bands like Switchblade are just so good.I will put it this way,if you have been listening to bands like "Khanate" for so long you have become immune to the heaviness then you must check out this band.The band has been flying under the radar for most people for years so it might be surprising to know that this is their fifth album and best but strangely self-titled album.This is one real ugly sounding album,bleak and often painful to the senses but so heavy at times its in danger of being crushed by its own sonic weight.Its not a album that you need to highlight certain tracks,it is better appreciated to be judge as a whole body of work.There is only three tracks on here taking up the best part of a hour and its a body of work that is bleak,dark and extremely abstract.Obvious comparisons will point to Khanate and Earth but really this band can stand out on their own.I don't think any other band can touch them at the moment for avant-doom.Musically the band can move from ambient moments with whispering vocals to massive,bludgeoning sections with some frenzied shrieking vocals.The guitar and bass is thick and buzzing while the drumming is hammering but with a real feel for making the tracks even more dramatic.This is a band that understands the dynamics needed to make some rather uncomfortable doom-noise while still retaining enough arrangement skills to keep it interesting.

This record is a beast that makes no excuses for being absolutely monolithic and intense,this band plays from the gut.There is some insane vocal work to compliment the harrowing guitar work and the production is right up to the challenge.If you like music that builds to massive peaks and then takes you down to dark ambiance only to bring you up to harrowing heights once again then check this out.I can't see how this band can follow this album,its a monster and one of the most intense doom albums ever made.Don't expect many if any traditional doom metal riffs or heavy metal style vocal techniques here,this is for the hardcore doom/sludge fan that can appreciate the abstract doom approach.Best listened to by yourself in a dark room,cranked to 10 but don't expect to get too cozy in your chair because this is one punishing album. 9.5/10

Sep 29, 2009

Pyramido – Sand

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Want to hear some great Sludge,well you could do a lot worse than checking out this band from Sweden.Yeah Sweden is producing the most damn high quality heavy music at the moment and this another one you should add to your collection.There is nothing new or original here,just some of the most hard hitting Sludge/Doom Metal you will ever hear.Cant talk about individual members,the CD is lacking such information and i haven't checked out their website as yet but these guys have all the riffs to melt your brain and more.They sound like they have been listening to lot of Grief and Eyehategod as all the songs have been written with that blueprint but who knows they might not be even into those bands.There is a high level of boogie and blues based riffing but cranked up to maximum velocity all delivered with a Sabbath groove.All of the 5 songs are great and no tracks stand out more than the other but there is some bits and pieces that have to be mentioned.The closing track "Above Our Heads" is a 11 minute Sludgefest,starting with a mid-paced lumbering groove before moving into a guttural feedback soaked second half complete with some killer riffs.Like all good bands,the 11 minute running time is barely noticeable as its such a awesome slab of Sludge.If anything you want it to keep going,this track is a monster! The title of the second track says it all, “Calculating Doom” and that is exactly what it is.The Sabbath groove is more evident in this song than in the others,its a anger filled attack filled some pounding brutal drumming and has a bit more speed than what i expected. “Carry us to War” sounds like High On Fire gone Doom,slow for the most part but some dirtier more aggressive moments thrown in for good measure."Cutthroat" is another crusty Sabbath groove track and is one of the heavier moments on the album.“2 Years, 8 Months, 21 Days” is the opening track of the CD and maybe this track best sums up the bands sound.When this track really kicks into gear,its a real punishing force that will push you back into your seat.The band plays with a kind of Doom Blues feel with the Sabbath meets modern day Sludge sound complimented by a singer who sounds like he just escaped from a mental hospital.Like all the songs on here,there isn't a huge amount of riffs but each one of the riffs crushes you into submission.If you like Sludge/Doom played with a lot of crusty anger,then check it out....8/10

Sep 28, 2009

The Whorehouse Massacre - End Of Days And Time

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This is another installment from the very dark world of the one man Doom machine known as "The Whorehouse Massacre".The first effort i got from them was "The Death Tree" which was a apocalyptic Droning Doom Fest but this one sounds even darker and heavier in some ways.At 35 minutes its a exhausting listening journey but a enjoyable one if you like you Doom,slow and as threatening as possible.The opening section sounds like Sleep on downers,i mean this is a slow grinding,lumbering riff that has you on the edge of your seat wondering where its all going but does it go anywhere at all.Well not really,its a repetitive,hypnotic riff that drones its way for some 23 minutes before there is a subtle change in the riffing but that is where the magic is.Other bands have done all this before,Sleep's Dopesmoker/Jerusalem being the most famous example and this is just as good in my opinion.I have often thought as much as i love Sleep those albums have become a little overrated in recent years.You have to be a fan of Droning Doom to appreciate this but if you are of that frame of mind,this is will become a favorite.It conjures up thoughts of some apocalyptic world and its haunting atmosphere keeps your attention if you sit back and let the riff wash over you.There is not much to talk about with this from a musical standpoint,its really just a couple of riffs droning out in a controlled but a tension filled manner.Its strength lies in the fact that its like a horror soundtrack of nightmarish proportions,this is not the sort of thing to party with.Its a late night,listen to by yourself exercise in droning ambiance.This is for those among us who dig Sunn O))) etc etc but if you need riffs and lots of them then might be too much to sit through.Personally i think is one of the best projects going around at the moment.9/10

Sep 26, 2009

The Lamp of Thoth – Sing As You Slay CD version

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This is the CD version, limited to 500 copies, with all 4 (four!) Bonus tracks, and thus almost length album! As usual quirky, lovable old-school cult doom of the British trio, as a bonus, there is the song from the split 7 "with Kill for Satan, more new songs (studio / live), and the brilliant 'hand of glory' in the live version!“Into The Lair of the Gorgon” opens the CD in true classic Lamp Of Thoth style,most fans of the band will already know this one.The band is very unique and this song is typical of the bands style,the Doom Groove as i call is all over this track with its stop/start sections and great solo work by Mr.Reaper.While a lot of bands do songs like this,"The Lamp Of Thoth" somehow manage to put a original spin on it.“Thomas the Rhymer” is the odd track of the bunch as they perform a light piece of poetry inspired by something i cant get a handle on at the moment.Kind of bizarre they should include this on here but this band has always been a band that is different from the norm. “Ancient Fire” returns the band back to more mid - tempo Doom Metal madness,a lovecraft inspired tale.As usual the solo is just perfectly placed and executed,Mr.Reaper is becoming a real Guitar god and songwriter.Miss Emma Pentangle’s drumming compliment the guitar work perfectly and the song moves with move groove that most bands can muster.Best track for me is the brilliant “Sing As You Slay”, a lumbering doom tune that is once again proves the band is one of the best things going at the moment.Sure they are a little cheesy at times but the quirky nature of the band gives it a appeal that makes them stand out from other bands.On the CD you also get two live tracks originally released on a 7" single and the brilliant "The Doom That Came To Sarnath" which was featured on the split with Kill For Satan.This is essential to pick up if you can find it,especially if you don't have the above single and the split album.While the original 4 tracker was a little overpriced and short on running time,this CD version gives you over 40 minutes so it gives you at least some value for money.Pity its limited to 500 copies but its really just a teaser for the next full length album.Can't wait for that one,hard to rate this one too high though as i already have half the tracks on here and "Thomas The Rhymer" doesn't do much for me.Still worth every bit of 8/10.

Sep 23, 2009

Mourning Dawn - For The Fallen

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One of the things about Doom Metal that i have always loved is when the scene seems to be getting a little stale,something comes along that kicks you in the ass.This the second album from "Mourning Dawn" is one of those releases."Mourning Dawn" from France play a blackened kind of Doom that leaves you exhausted and devastated.They are a bit different from the norm in Doom Metal as they use some blast beats but this is still primarily a bleak heavy as hell Doom album.The harrowing songs on this album don't let up throughout its 70 minute running time and they have a slightly unique modern spin that they incorporate on all the tales of Doom and woe on this album.From the first track " In Flanders Fields" the atmosphere is set with a song that is a exercise in torture and darkness."God Damn The Sun" has a crushing riff before it moves into a spooky spoken word section that just adds to the horror filled tale.Just when you think you have heard it all,the tempo shifts into a Doom Groove ridden section that gives off a certain amount of tension before coming to a fitting climax.While these are great tracks,the album actually gets better the further you get into the album.On track five the band is joined by Marquis (Jonathon They) of label mates Hyadiningar (and many others) who take the microphone for a guest appearance.At this point in the album,the songs actually get even stronger,the title track and "Death Youth" are monumental examples of classic depressive Doom.These two tracks alone make up 25 minutes of the album and are epic to the extreme.Five of the seven songs are close to or beyond the 10 minute mark but the tracks never drag and keep your attention right to the end.The band is firmly entrenched in the Black Doom sound but they take it to another level but if there is two things that might stop you from digging this to death.First point is the production,at times it sounds a little weak and the other problem as i see it is there is no much light and shade.It is rather one dimensional but for this style of don't come much better than this.The above two criticisms is what stops me from giving this a 10 rating but this album wont be for everyone.I am just enough into this amount of bleakness and despair in Doom Metal to crave bands like this but its a acquired taste.Musically brutally awesome,pity about the production though.Still it deserves at least a 9/10 for sheer depressive value.

Echoes of Yul - s/t

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Echoes Of Yul are a Polish duo have brought out this rather long but very listenable self titled album on the obscure "We Are All Pacinos" label.Combing Sludge,Ambient and some Industrial sounds into a seamless(some might say)experiment.One of the things that set them apart is their use of melody as oppose to the noise factor.While there is 13 songs on the CD,it is all put together so well it could be viewed as one long epic.They avoid the need to be abstract for the sake of being experimental and deliver 76 minutes of real powerful instrumental music.There is some vocals on here but its more just screams and shouts and they also use a few samples but its all used in a very effective manner.Not much need for me to single out certain tracks because its all good solid material.They also have a fine balance between memorable riffs and percussion while not over doing the improvisational nature of the songs.Even though this is the occasional crushing moment and droning sections they don't do too much of anything leaving us with a fine balance of all those techniques.The atmosphere is dark like most of these kind of recordings but its real creative so it makes the 76 minutes pass real easily.Unlike some bands that drone and hum along endlessly without progression,this duo have a kind of driving energy that makes them unique.I guess you could compare them to Godflesh and other industrial kind of Metal bands but this band has a lot more to offer.I believe this album is in limited supply so there is a chance it may be overlooked which is a pity because this is one of the better albums around in this genre.Give it a listen.9/10

Sep 22, 2009

A Death Cinematic Interview

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In a world where one man bands and projects are everywhere,there is only a few that reach the standards that "A Death Cinematic" manage to do.The music is dark,bleak and very much full of atmosphere with a dramatic edge.Hard to sum up in a few words what this band is like,you are better off listening yourself with the lights off and letting it soak into your brain.I did this interview with the man behind the music.

1. I must start off by saying thanks for doing the interview. Can you give the readers a history of your musical background ?

thank you. the pleasure is all mine. well, my musical background is quite typical. i grew up listening to slayer, metallica, sepultura and from there i went into punk and straight edge hardcore. along the way i picked up on tom waits, nick cave, johnny cash and slowly started to slip into post rock stuff like godspeed and mogwai, form there i started to drift into ambient and drone, noise stuff. i also listen to a lot of old time blues like mississippi john hurt, skip james, elizabeth cotton, and of course, robert johnson. i even get into some classical stuff. basically i like whatever seems genuine to me. as far as playing music goes. i started playing guitar late and it has been the only instrument that i can "play." there were no other bands or projects that i was in and i hardly had any traditional guitar lessons. i suppose you could say i am self taught.

2. I am sure you have been asked this before but the album (A Parable On the Aporia of Vengeance and the Beauty of Impenetrable Sadness) is a real bleak sounding cd. Is there a concept behind the music,it sounds very dark and apocalyptic.

there is a concept to the album and it is meant to be bleak and dark but it is also meant to be reflective and even peaceful at times. although it is an uneasy peace that comes more from exhaustion or an acceptance of one's fate rather than any type of enlightenment. the concept deals with the days right after the apocalypse. it is a musical vignette of humanity's fevered nightmare as it realizes what has happened and tries to deal with who might be responsible. there is some secondary concepts that pertain to beauty and vengeance and how the former is defined and the pointlessness at such a time of the latter. it is hard to encapsulate everything in the span of a few sentences.

3.At times the music sounds like it would fit in well as a movie soundtrack. Is that something that inspires the music ?

oh yeah. very much so. i am interested very much how concepts and ideas are conveyed through time and moving images. i guess you could say that all the music i do is a soundtrack to the images in my head, the little films of altered memories. it is another way of expressing the ideas and emotions through time. as opposed to a painting or a singular photograph which is stagnant. it is really a different way to communicate artistically. it is also why i find packaging to be significant, it allows a glimpse visually into the context of the music and therefore expanding the experience.

4.Do you find being a "one man band" limiting at all ?

i don't really think of it in such terms. i really focus on what i can do and the explorations of making sounds with a specific set of elements. i am not opposed to working with other people and i understand that different instruments would expand the sound and musical textures but this project is really about what comes out of the limited basic elements. i have been in contact with other people and there is going to be some collaborative work where other people do the writing and setting up the impetus for the songs. i am looking forward to that but that is still sometime away.

5. How does the writing come together for you,have you got a specific process you go through ?

i don't really write the material. i improvise the sounds and i really can't recreate the tracks. they are meant to be transient movements through time. i record them and move on only to revisit them in the post production process and then the final version that ends up on the disc. usually very early in the morning or late at night i sit and play guitar while thinking of some concepts and my hearing is still fresh. i search out the appropriate noises and melodies and then i try to assemble them into a comprehensive and succinct whole. most of what i do is by gut and intuition. i find it to be a very liberating way of working.

6.Is there anyone in the Ambient/Experimental scene that is a major influence ?

there are a lot of artists and bands that i am influenced by. to name a few albums i have been listening to an awful lot in the past couple of weeks, the new sunn o))) is an amazing album, as is the new isis. invisible mountain by horseback is one of my favorites of the year. i see it as a flawless record. i also have been listening to a lot of other releases from utech records. a superb label. there is the kro and hourglass drops split as well as the hourglass drops chapter one ep. at the head of the woods is a mostly one man project from the northwest and his album is superb, a psychedelic trip through melancholia. the clouds and shining trees release, cast is super fine. i really have been getting into these two projects, austerity and wheel of knowledge both out of italy. haunting stuff, just beautiful. there are quite a few more and to list everyone would be a daunting task. i feel i should mention that there are two blues songs that i have been listening to almost on a daily basis, sort of like vitamins for the soul. hard time killin' floor blues by skip james and hell hound on my trail by robert johnson. there is just something about these two songs that just gets down into the marrow of my bones. they remind me of a time and place i have never been to but am somehow very familiar with. it is hard to explain but their mark is indelible.

7. What has been the reaction like to the album and do you find ( like i do) that some people just don't understand the Ambient Music concept ?

i think overall the reaction has been very good to the album. people seem to pick up on the fact that the packaging and the music are integral parts. these people seem to understand ambient, drone, and noise music. sure, majority of the people don't get it or they don't want to. that is why this type of music is always a sub genre or on the outskirts which might be one of the reasons why i gravitate toward it. frankly it doesn't bother me if people don't understand this stuff, there are a lot of things about music that i don't understand and i really don't want to. the popularity of linkin park or three days grace is one.

8.I would love to see the music played live with a stunning light show and maybe with some short films running throughout the songs. The music has a real visual element to it,is this something you would consider doing ?

well, the live thing is something that i have been thinking about for a long time and one of these days i am just going to have to do it. the biggest hurdle is that i play all the parts myself which are layered. this is a bit though to do live. the other problem is that i can't replay the songs which means that it would have to be a live improv type of show which means i have a lot of work to do in order to get my shit together. when i do play live i have this idea of playing short films that i have made as i play, so the music is informed by the images moving throughout time. the music is quite visual and i would love to do something to accentuate that aspect.

9. Tell us about the equipment you use for your recordings ?

the equipment is pretty basic. i now have a tascam digital 8 track recorder which has been great. i have been recording a lot, very simple to use. i have a line 6 flextone III modeling amp. i play everything on an american deluxe fender telecaster. various distortion and delay pedals. a loop-station and some broken effects pedals that i manipulate with paper clips and screwdrivers. i use the computer to mix and master. i do everything up in my attic so it is not all that professional but i try to do the best with what i have.

10. What about upcoming recordings,are you always writing new material ?

upcoming recordings, there is some that are in the works right now. there is a hemingway split coming out which has been in the works for a long while now. the music has been done for awhile. should be out soon. there is another split with the sons of alpha centauri which should be out in a couple of weeks. i am finishing up the covers for it and those guys are getting the cds made. i think it is going to be a great release. there is a single that should be coming out soon of a 20 min+ track i did but that is kind of on the back burner. there are going to be some brand new and exclusive tracks coming out on some amazing compilations. i am always working on new recordings. in the past few weeks i have recorded some 15 tracks. which has me thinking about the next full length. i try to record every chance i get and recently the creativity has been flowing so i try not to hinder it with procrastination.

11. The packaging for the CD is very unique,how did that idea come together ?

i am not quite sure how the idea for the packaging came together. i wanted it to have certain elements based on some of the themes represented by the album. then i tried to figure out a way i could have a larger edition and still keep everything hand made. i had some images in mind but the cover design is kind of intuitive, like the music. i spend a lot of time making mock up and prototype covers. till i have something that works.

12. What are your plans for the rest of the year ?

the rest of the year is going to be pretty busy. in addition to getting stuff ready for the above mentioned releases. i plan to keep recording new music. i have some t shirt designs that i want to print and several limited edition visual projects: small boxes of photographic series and small hand bound books. i am also looking at doing a larger edition of a hand stamped book of poetry. however, that might be more of a next year project.

13. What do you want people to feel when they hear your music ?

i want them to feel that they have been invited on a journey or into another world and that they allow themselves to visit. i have no specific sets of emotions or even ideas i want them to feel or have, just a genuine response and interaction to the sounds. i don't want to dictate how they should react, that is up to them and is based on their personal contexts. i think a lot of people find it difficult to do when it comes to music but they don't question it when it comes to movies, books, or even tv shows.

14. Thanks again for the interview,any final words or thoughts ?

thank you. i appreciate your time and your tireless efforts and support of underground music is invaluable. remember to support diy music. thank you.

Sep 21, 2009

Horisont: - Tva Sidor Av Horisonten

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The band "Horisont" was born out of the ashes of the band "Union".They play a mix of classic rock, progressive, blues and psychedelic brings the mind back to the days of Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath and other 70's Hard Rock legends. The wha-wha, fuzz, slide, double riffs, powerful drum work,doom inspired sections and classic vocals are all here and surprise,surprise they are Swedish ! The first thing that is hits you is the warm analog production and when you are done with opening track "Nightrider",you will be impress with their natural ability to play bluesy hard/psychedelic rock.There is a abundance of masterful songwriting and classy instrumentation throughout the entire CD that at times makes you checking the release date.Is it 2009 or 1969 ? Take a listen to "High Time" for the excellent use of Heavy Riffs,monster drumming and still manage to squeeze in some great melody.There is so much to love about this album from catchy more radio friendly numbers that for a change are actually really good.There is swirling Jamming passages,psychedelic parts and plenty of more Sabbath influenced rockers.In fact the track "High Time" as a kind of "Children Of The Grave" feeling about it.At times you might feel like you have heard it all before but when its this good,who really cares." The Unseen" is Psychedelia played with some real passion while "Just Ain't Right" even features some cowbell.Yes its true,they overdo the cliches in places and there is nothing original about this but its pure quality all the way.One of the more interesting things is the vocals,half sung in Swedish and half in English.The dude's voice has a "Ian Gillan" quality about it and there is enough Guitar tricks going on to please even the most hardcore 70's purist.The final track "Efter Min Pipa" sends the listener into a more Doom direction,think of the most Doomed "Pentagram" track and you will get the general idea.Did we need another band like this,properly not but this is so well played and produced it makes it impossible to get out of your head.Fans of Graveyard,Witchcraft,Pentagram will get a smile on their face listening to this.Predictable it is and a little cheesy in parts but such a memorable album even after just one spin....8.5/10

Ocean Chief - Den Förste

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Ocean Chief have released some real good stuff in the past but here they seem to be treading water ever so slightly.Not that is bad,its actually still good but compared to their other releases,this one i found the hardest to get into.The band have always follow the "Electric Wizard" blueprint of Doom and this is no exception but "Ocean Chief" are not too big on mood changes,this is a lumbering dose of Doom that sticks to a same sound for its 30 plus minutes.This is a vinyl release on the increasingly popular "Electric Earth Records" label and its one of the heaviest albums ever unleashed on that label.The best track is the first track "Den Forste",it is full of gigantic riffs that crawls along but there is a little variation in pace here and there.The tune moves between total Doom and Psychedelia with quieter sections and incredibly louder/heavier parts that crush the listener.The minor problem i have is after that, the album really just does more of the same.Not much light and shade,just long crawling passages of Doom that while they feature some real heavy moments the songs lack a little of the progression that previous songs they have done do.Now i might be sounding negative at this point but this is still good stuff,just a little too predictable even by Doom standards.Track two "Tomrum" is a powerful piece for the most part but the band seems to be on repeat at this point.They seem to be making movements rather than songs by creating a atmosphere of bleakness much like some Drone bands do but within the context of a total Doom band.By the time the third track spews slowly out of the speakers,you are in danger of being crushed by the weight of it all.This is good heavy music but a changeling listen,if you like a lot of riff changes then this might be too much to handle in one sitting.I am a fan of this band so i can find things to love about it but its not for the casual Doom listener.Once again,i like this band a lot but i think they can do a lot better than this.Still worth checking out.7.5/10

Sep 20, 2009

Flood - Native

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This is one of those albums i wish i have bought when it first came out,Man was i missing out on something real crushingly heavy!! Flood from San Francisco are a Stoner/Doom Droning band of the extreme variety and while there is a lot of bands doing it,this band must be one of the best around.The four tracks on here range from the 6 to the nearly 20 minute length,i am guessing without looking at my CD player right now.Even the shorter tracks have a epic feel about,monster riffs and sonic dirges might be one way of describing them.The band seems have a concept here with songs titles like "Dam,Atlantis" and "Water",you get the picture ?They play a sort of Jamming Drone/Doom kind of music that will leave you crush under the weight of the riffs.While the guitar sound is real distorted,its also real heavy.The bass and drum sound is also huge,pounding and crushing through the entire album.Lyrics are not the real focal point on the album,its more of a guitar/bass/drum driven assault and that is its strength."Dam" is a classic example of their Drone/Psych/Doom appeal with somewhat basic riffing but with a real hypnotic atmosphere.The only band i can compared them to is "Yob" but only in the way they drive home their songs,there is a certain progressive thing going on here.It is not all slow and droning however,in "Atlantis" there is a faster section that takes you by surprise.Enough to make your hair stand up,its a real adrenaline rushing experience that blew me away when i first heard it.There is subtle hints at melody in "Water" and the guitar work has a uniqueness of its own,hard to describe but for some reason it doesn't sound like anyone else.That in itself is a achievement as its hard to be too original in this genre of music but Flood have manage to make something that stands on its own.The music on first listen seems kind of basic but once you give it more spins it hits you that band is actually a complex machine.If Stoner/Psychedelic Jamming is what rocks your boat i am sure you will like this,it might take a few listens but you will get hooked on this.Great album.9/10

Behold ! The Monolith - S/T

I have heard the previous recordings from this band and they were impressive to say the least but they have really taken it up a notch with this,their full length self titled album. “Battlestagg” kicks things off in true headbanging Sludge Metal fashion with a great riff and with awesome grunting vocals.A killer way to start any album or live show but things get even better as the album progresses."Battle For Balls Deep" shows the real potential and power this band can produce,it starts off with wild drumming and fast riffing before shifting gears many times throughout the 10 minutes plus epic track.Within the one song they dish up some tasty Doom/Sludge riff progressions before moving into a more melodic 70's Rock sound and then shifting back to Metal once again.There is plenty to get excited about in this track as it is a extremely well put together track and maybe the highlight of the album."Elders" and "Phantasmata/Waking Life" are two more good tracks especially the later with its more ambient vibe and its groovy bass lines.At the halfway mark of the track there is a chugging Sludge Filled riff section that slays before it moves into a kind of Blues meets Metal section.The band certainly moves between styles but they do it with ease and a fair amount of finesse.The final track is "Guardians of the Abyss/Primal Extenuation/Rise of the Brohemoth" which continues in a similar vein but stretching out past the 12 minute mark this time.Once again it all seems very easy for them because they obviously know their Sludge Metal techniques very well.This is a pretty solid 40 minutes of Sludge meets Rock with the only debatable point being the vocals,it may not be to everyone's liking.The album cover is very striking and production is good but without being overblown.This is a band that can only get better and they deserve more praise than they are currently getting,i don't see them mentioned very often while surfing the Internet which is a shame because they kick some ass.8.5/10

Sep 15, 2009

Shrinebuilder - S/T * promo copy *

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Well its safe to say this is the most eagerly awaited album of 2009,the amount of hype surrounding this Stoner/Doom super group as been phenomenal.The question is how good is it and has the wait been worth it.The answer is yes although being only five tracks long,i am now dying for the band to go record again(sorry dudes).The band is full of legends and masters of their craft, Scott Kelly (Neurosis) and Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed, The Hidden Hand, Wino) on guitar, Al Cisneros (OM, Sleep) on bass and Dale Crover (Melvins, Altamont) on drums.A amazing line-up indeed and i think these guys couldn't produce something bad even if they tried.While the members of the band have their own personal styles,they have somehow blended their influences and created something that sounds very natural and distinctly their own." Solar Benediction" opens the CD and is a wandering ambient track but the album really gets going on "Pyramid Of The Moon".The crushing Doom riffage is present just as we wanted it to be and the vocals by Kelly have a nasty edge to them,while the track is kind of standard fare in the Doom/Stoner writing handbook,its also a powerful piece on the album."Blind For All To See" obliviously has Al Cisneros influence all over it,the most Om sounding track on the album.It starts with bass before the drumming kicks in and heads off into a mellow/psychedelic direction.Some great psychedelic guitar work weaves its way through the song before it moves back to the bass,it then repeats itself till the end of the track."The Architect" is up next and is the most straightforward and accessible track on the CD,Wino comes to the party on this one.Sounding like a throwback to the Hidden Hand days.While this track is the most accessible,its also the strongest track on the album for my tastes.The track features some killer solo's before ending with a bass outro which i assume sets up things for the final track " Science Of Anger" which is missing off the promo copy.A bit strange that they should do that but can't complain too much,from the tracks i have got it proves to be a very good release.I think the best thing to do is not get too obsessed by the supergroup hype and listen to it as just another band.If you do this,you will love the album.Now i need to hear that missing track and hopefully another recording very soon.I hope the band and line-up stick around for a while yet because they have the potential to make some of the most powerful and timeless Stoner/Doom/Sludge recordings ever.Time will tell if that happens but for now this album will be in most people's top albums of 2009 lists.Thanks must go out to a buddy of mine who sent me his promo copy,the record company releasing this wouldn't answer my emails !Keep in mind this promo copy is one track short but i will give it 8.5/10 for the moment at least.

Sep 14, 2009

Labyrintheory - In Memoriam Demo # 1

Labyrintheory is a Death/Funeral Doom project/band put together by Matthew P Davis(lyrics,vocals,keys,guitars,drum sounds) and this is a Demo recorded over 4 weeks in March and April.Along with Davis they have Bass Player Ron Miles and Violinist Aurora Grabill and the finished Demo is extremely well produced,well played and of a very high standard.I hear a lot of project bands/one or two man bands but this stands out as being extremely good reeking of some serious potential for the future.The opening intro piece has a real symphonic atmosphere creating a somber mood but maintains a degree of evil and malevolence,it sets the pace for the rest of the demo.Tracks "Broken" and in particular "Jehovah's Witless" are real powerful doses of Funeral Doom,slow and heavy but with a clean cutting guitar sound.The solo work is exceptionally full of class and feeling.The vocal sound in "Jehovah's Witless" is black but the lyrics put across a powerful message about the Hypocrisy that can be found in Religious circles.I don't know if Davis is writing about some personal experience but it is done with a huge amount of passion so it sounds like it.The track "Mythical" is a tasty slab of Funeral Doom but like other tracks on the Demo its done with lots of atmosphere and passion although i thought a little short.I found myself wanting the tracks to extend out a little longer.Track five is called "Of Blades And Burgundy",another great Funeral Doom track but the lyrics are particularly moving.The vocal work is a real highlight of the demo,there is millions of these type of vocals in this genre of music but its not very often you hear it delivered with such passionate delivery.Its not all growls either,he has a great melodic side which he uses to full effect on many of the songs.The use of keys is also very effective as they remain unobtrusive but provide a haunting backdrop to the songs.Track five especially uses the keys incredibly well. They are working on getting out a full length album for a Fall/Winter release,i will be looking for that because this is a great Demo displaying not only potential but real musicianship and a natural skill at songwriting.Pretty cool...9/10

Gnaw Their Tongues - All the Dread Magnificence of Perversity

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One word sums up this band - EXTREME,no other way to describe the sonic noisescapes this one man noise machine produces.Its ugly,terrifying,intense but its also a wonderfully intriguing piece of sonic work that some people will loathe with a passion but some other people will find a listening experience.Even though this is based around a Doom/Sludge experiment,this goes beyond that.Most of the time it barely resembles music at all,more of a trip into the brain of a seriously disturbed human being.There is some drumbeats,organ and some real filthy bass lines but for the most part its a experimental noise fest.A lot of it is morbid to the extreme and the ugly noise samples make it even more alarming to the ear.Among the downtuned riffs and the shrieked vocal work,this is a underlying beauty but whether you discovered this is a big question.This is not for the faint of heart,take songs like and check out these titles -"My Orifices Await Ravaging’, ‘The Stench Of Dead Horses On My Breath And The Vile Of Existence In My Hands’, ‘The Gnostic Ritual Consumption Of Semen As Embodiment Of Wounds Teared In The Soul" you get something hellish and perverse from a musical direction standpoint.There is "Godflesh" like moments,some Black Metal sounds but there is also a lot of dark ambiance.Hard to recommend this to the average listener but if you like to test your pain threshold,then is no better album to push your own listening boundaries.The sounds go from threatening to strangely melodic and everywhere in between but its so dark and sinister,its a tough listening to it all in one sitting.This is not a family-friendly album,nor is it a party album or something you would necessary listen to all the time.Once again hard to known what this kind of music(?) appeals to but its something truly unique even though there is other bands putting out this kind of stuff,Gnaw Their Tongues are one of the most extreme bands yet.7.5/10

Sep 13, 2009

Count Raven - Mammon's War

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Been nearly 13 years between drinks for Count Raven but they are back with one of the most eagerly awaited Doom Metal albums in the past year.So has the long break between albums hurt the band,well the answer is a big no.In fact they sound like they are carrying on from where they left off with the 1996 release "Messiah Of Confusion".All of the Count Raven trademarks are still there including the "Ozzy" replica vocals and the true heart felt Traditional Doom Metal sound."The Poltergeist" is a classic Count Raven opening track with a great pace and melodic chorus.They haven't lost anything over the years with their skills at producing some well constructed Doom meets old school Heavy Metal.The already well downloaded/stolen by the masses track "Scream" is spectacular and of course similarities to the almighty Sabbath are present on every tune on the album."Nashira" is good but not outstanding in my book but things bounce back in full force with "The Entity" and the environmental epic title track "Mammon's War".This tune is features some cool keyboard work and the vocals really shine on this one."A Lifetime" kicks off in a Funeral Doom style before shifting to a "Planet Caravan" inspired acoustic part,really cool tune.This one has a Candlemass feel to it."To Kill A Child" is more of a Doom Ballad track of sorts,interesting but not a major highlight.You get even more acoustics in "To Love,Where Ever You Are" and yes they have mellowed in some respects.There is not much in the way of anger on this album,its more of a Psychedelic Cosmic Doom Trip."Magic Is" produces what is the most real Metal track on the album and they certainty seem to be playing with a lot of passion on this number.One of the best tracks on the album without a doubt,a couple more like this would have been a bonus.The pure Doom returns with "Seven Days",a slugging riff pushes the track to Doom greatness and is my pick for best track on the album."Increasing Deserts" moves the album back into Cosmic mode,similar to the title track.While Count Raven are known as a Doom band,they have always been more of a old school Traditional Heavy Metal band to me.Yeah,the Doom elements are still there but like previous albums they crossover between various heavy styles.Judging this album is difficult for me being such a huge fan of their earlier albums so i can't really say this is their best.Its not their worst either,just a great Count Raven album and a welcome return from them.Its been 13 years but some things never change and Count Raven is one of them,still sticking to their roots and playing very much from the heart.The album is not as "Doom" as i would have liked but i am just glad they are back.The artwork is not too shabby either and its also well produced.9/10

POMBAGIRA - Black Axis Abraxas

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It didn't seem that long ago I reviewed their first album "The Crooked Path" so this coming out when it did took me by surprise.The debut album showed the potential this band had and I am glad to say with this album some of that potential is really shining through.While the first album had a lot of long rambling riffs and this album has the same,on this album they sound more concise and focused.This album only has two tracks covering over 50 minutes of Sludge Doom in the tradition of epic Doom pieces like Sleep's Dopesmoker.The title track "Black Axis Abraxas" almost drowns itself in a trudging riffery but somehow keeps it together for over 30 minutes.Like the songs on the first album,it takes a few listens before the you really get to grips with the track.The band do have their fair share of repetition so you have to give it time to fully appreciate what is going on.

There seems to be less vocal on this album and also the band seems to be more focused on being Depressive,Bleak and even more Minimalist than ever before.Tracks like "Black Axis Abraxas" maybe too long for some people to handle and with the meandering riffs that go on and on,it is an album for the Hardcore Sludge/Doom purist.I am a purist in that sense so I like this track but if you like your Doom to be ever changing and moving then this maybe a bit too hard to take.Even better though is the other track " Idol of Perversity" which is more dynamic in arrangement,the track switches from more mellow moments to some brutal passages along with some cool solos and even some Psychedelic sections.The tune is still total Doom and Gloom but is a much more listenable piece compared to the title track.Fans of Sleep,Electric Wizard and Reverend Bizarre will get something out of this but I am sure some folks new to Doom Metal may find this album too repetitive and the songs way too long to keep your attention.

Personally I think this is a slight improvement on the first album and they seem to be getting better all the time.The next album could be an all time classic but in the meantime check this out,its 50 minutes of pure crust filled Sludge and Doom.The album comes in a great looking package with a booklet and lyrics,out on the Withered Hand Records label.I gave this album a 9/10 but it took a few spins to get to that point,give it time and I have a feeling most of you will do the same.

Sep 12, 2009

Stone Axe - Stone Axe

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Stone Axe are 70's inspired Classic Rock but in a world where corporate Rock still controls a lot of mainstream radio and media,Stone Axe stand head and shoulders above most other bands.The band is the work of gifted musician Tony Dallas Reed from Mos Generator.While that band is also great at re-creating the true 70's grooves and sound,Stone Axe take it one step further.With Dru Brinkerhoff on vocals and Mykey Haslip (drums) and Mike Dupont (bass),the band is a powerhouse Hard Rock band.While the Guitar work is the major force here,its also the vocals of Dru that also stands out.His voice is Phil Lynott meets David Coverdale and so much so,you will think you are listening some long lost 70's band record.The dude's powerful vocal delivery combined with Tony's Wah Wah drenched soloing is inspiring to the ear.If Classic 70's rock still makes the hair stand up on end,then you will have to pick up a copy of this album.Songs like "My Darkest Days" would fit on any Zeppelin album but its such a killer track,in my opinion it actually blows away most of Zeppelin's work.In "Taking Me Home" they do a incredible impersonation of Thin Lizzy,especially with the uncanny Lynott vocal sound.The guitar/vocal combo is on par with all the 70's greats,think of Page/Plant or Blackmore/Coverdale and you will get the picture. “The Skylah Rae” is a mini epic and a major highlight on the CD,the way the Guitar work compliments the vocal and vice-versa just shows what prodigious talent this line-up really has.There is plenty of bar room boogie like “There’d Be Days”,another classic track complete with high octane vocal delivery.With no filler,this album will sit comfortably alongside your 70's classic Hard Rock collection.There is not much you can say about a album like this that hasn't been written before in reviews for Zeppelin,Sabbath,Purple record reviews with resorting to using cliches so i wont go there.This band are one of the new Rock Gods,they are not reinventing the wheel or anything but what they do they do so well that these tunes will have you headbanging and give you goosebumps.9.5/10

Sep 10, 2009

Pasi Koivu - Speaking In Riddles August 2009

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This is a astounding CD put together by Pasi Koivu from Finland.Fans of 70's occult rock legends "Black Widow" will be aware of his promotional work he does for them.The album opens with a distorted heavy fuzz attack before launching into "Madman's Dream" that features some groove ridden Keyboard work from Pasi.It has the similar vibe to 70's legends "Warhorse" with its throbbing keyboard sound pumping away some great vibes.Its short and sweet but there is a return to the track at the end of the CD so don't worry too much.Track number two is a more mellow piece titled "Wounded" that has "Andy Lee" doing a guest role in the tune.More great vibes in real 70's Progressive Rock fashion and what is great about it is while you can pick out some influences,it also has a original quality about it.The track has a effortless flow while still sounding like a spontaneous jam.By track three you will getting the message what this all about,its almost like a tribute to 70's prog greats but the real feature is the keyboard work.Moving and swinging at all times,the keyboard is the main thing happening here.If you have a problem with keyboards this wont be your thing but if you are like me and grew up with the likes of Yes and Emerson,Lake and Palmer then i think you will dig this.Track three is called "The Bringer Of Dawn" and it has a building atmospheric arrangement that is perfect for those late night smoking sessions.On to track four and Pasi dishes up a little piece named "Blessed Me" that has a real otherworldly sound,moving into the Space Rock world here.Words are by "Sylvie M.Durette" who is a accomplished writer herself and this just adds to the haunting atmosphere of the track,weird and wonderful is the best way to describe this.Track five "Pasirocker" gets things moving again with a more harder sound and groove.This is my favorite track on the CD,once again the sound hinges on the total 70's Progressive Rock approach but this time with a more Hard Rock edge.Track six"Animal's Right" is a chaotic number with pounding drums and a viscous attack,the track is stand out track from just being different from anything else.The mellow returns on the next track "Tramps On The Roof",this is a highly experimental Jazz Fusion influenced number and maybe the hardest to get into but its interesting from a musical standpoint."Out Of Hospital" which might be autobiographical considering the recent operation Pasi just went through is another great track.By now it would have noticed there is a instrumental venture,not much in the way of vocals or words.This doesn't hurt things too much though as putting vocals to these songs would be a real hard task.Once again there is a Jazz/Progressive Rock quality to "Out Of Hospital",kind of sounding a little like King Crimson at times."Ghost Wolf" is up next and the haunting atmosphere returns,blending Psychedelia into a melting pot of Space Rock meets Jazz Fusion.The CD ends where it began with a slightly different version of "Madman's Dream",like i mentioned at the start of this review this is a throbbing groove based track and a fitting end to a impressive CD.This may not appeal to some of my readers,it maybe too keyboard heavy or just to 70's for younger people out there that are too young to appreciate the Progressive Rock of days past but its rare to hear keyboard work played these days with such a authentic old school vibe.Songs are well constructed and well played,the production is pretty good considering that this is a low budget recording.I would expect a lot of Stoners,Psyche Rock Lovers,Prog Rockers and 70's Rock fans will find something to love from hearing this.9/10

Sep 9, 2009


I wrote this little live review a while and thought it was crap but i have decided to put it up anyway.This was the third time i have seen Heaven And Hell live and this was as good as any performance i have seen but much better than when i saw this line-up on the Dehumanizer Tour.They were tight back then but they seem to be even more precise these days.Dio was in great form as usual,how this guy maintains his voice after all these years is a mystery,he lacks the high notes these days preferring to keep his voice to the lower tones but no one is more professional that RJD.Iommi and Butler were thunderous,loud enough to be powerful but clear enough to hear every single note played.Appice was solid but not mind-blowing and he did his usual cheeseball drum solo.Set-List was good but would have prefer "Wishing Well" thrown in there somewhere,its bizarre to me that this song never makes it into the set.They did a annoying teaser version of "Country Girl",why they didn't play the whole song makes no sense to me.The newer songs sounded awesome live and blended in well with the old classics.The set-list seemed a bit short though,the whole gig was over before i knew what was happening but i was really enjoying myself.You know the old saying about "time flies when your having fun". A pretty new cool/evil stage setup with twin gargoyles on each corner of the stage, some electrical globes being held up by these claws, new animation during the songs, bringing a lot of portions of the Live Evil cover art to life.I couldn't help but think when leaving the show how these old dudes are still blowing away most younger bands after all these years,seeing them live is almost like a lesson in how hard rock music should be played.

E5150/The Mob Rules
Children of the Sea
Bible Black
Time Machine
Drum Solo
Falling off the Edge of the World
Follow the Tears
Guitar Solo/Die Young
Heaven and Hell/sing a long
Country Girl teaser/Neon Knights

Sep 8, 2009

Eternal Elysium - Within The Triad

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One of my favorite bands ever is the Japanese Stoner/Psychedelic Doom masters "Eternal Elysium" and this has been a long wait for this,their fifth full length album "Within The Triad".From the opening track "Agent of Doom" you are instantly sucked into their Psychedelic Doom vacuum as the sound on this album is very very heavy but also so trippy in a Hawkwind - ish kind of way.This band have a uncanny ability to mix up sounds and influences from Sabbath,King Crimson,Black Widow,Hendrix to modern day exponents of everything from straight out Metal to Doom to Stoner to even grunge and make it work."Agent Of Doom" is one of their best tracks ever and you will be reaching for the repeat button time and again with this tune.The way the band can blend some slow and bluesy rhythms and crank them up with one hell of a heavy sounding Guitar tone is stunning.While there is a lot of heavy Guitar sounds in the world today,somehow the sound on here still remains somehow unique.Nothing quite sounds like it,the only way i can describe it is like a Doomed Up Version Of Hawkwind but that doesn't even do it justice.Every track on here is essential listening for lovers of Space Rock and Psychedelic Doom,check out the hypnotic quality of a track like "DPS" for a good example.The track is like a Psychedelic freight train pummeling your brain through 8 minutes of pure ear candy.The well seasoned Guitar work is better than ever,they seem to get even more polished with each release.There is also a distinctly need to experiment with styles on this album while remaining heavy at all costs,everything from African beats to Kraut rock is used to produce unbelievable results.Again another mind-altering release with no filler,i can't pick a favorite track but "Agent Of Doom" and "DPS" would have to come close.Yukito Okazaki has turned into a modern Guitar God and on this album he has taken another step up into Stoner Doom glory,the depth of his work is exceptional.I always thought "Spiritualized D" was their best album and this album is on par with that,maybe not better but just as good.On a personal note,this sucker cost me some $45 to order being a import only release at the time of this writing.I don't know if that has changed but it needs to because this band is sadly underrated and to a certain extent under-heard.Another killer release from the Japanese masters of killer Sabbathian Riffing.9.5/10

The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder

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If there hasn't been enough killer albums released this year already,now the new Gates Of Slumber has landed ( well almost ).Its official release date is late September but luckily a copy has landed on my doorstep for this review.I must first make a little confession,i always thought their albums didn't really capture what this band is really about,lacking a little bit in sound and power.Although i liked "Conqueror" i still thought it could have been so much better.Well,things have changed now as "Hymns Of Blood And Thunder" is one hell of a solid album and easily their best release so far.As usual their classic Traditional Doom Metal roots are still showing on this album but this album seems to be a more hard hitting affair than their previous output."Chaos Calling" kicks off the album is the best opening track they have ever come up with,a powerhouse attack that sets the tone for the rest of the album.The riffs are absolutely killer on this track and with the right production to match,this track is a monster." Death Dealer" continues in a similar vein but you might be thinking this band is more N.W.O.B.H.M than traditional Doom at this stage of the CD.Its not till you get to "Beneath The Eyes Of Mars" that the Doom roots come out in force but even then it has a more Progressive Doom Metal feel rather than traditional."The Doom Of Aceldama" is more of a plodding epic of a track but has a grandiose,majestic feel right through to its headbanging ending." Descent Into Madness" is another song on here with the same kind of vibe,mixing classic Metal influences sty-lings like Maiden,Priest etc.I think this where the band really is at their best and i love the more Doom-laced tracks but the more Traditional Heavy Metal is where the band really shines."The Mist In The Mourning" is another high point on the album,another epic feeling track complete with female vocals.Guitarist/Singer Karl Simon is at his peak on this album,the solo work is well done and tasteful while the vocals have enough hooks to make most of the songs memorable.The mix on the album is also well done with a layered Guitar sound and even a few acoustic moments that really add to the majestic quality of some of the tracks.If you have never bothered to check this band out then this is the album to judge them by.While its not 100% perfect ( my opinion only ),its one solid album that will finish up on a lot of top 10 lists by the end of the year.I must also say this album has a thicker sound than they have ever had before,producer Sandford Parker has done a killer job on this.Recommended for Doom Metal and old school Heavy Metal fans alike.8/10.

Sep 7, 2009

Reverend Bizarre - Death Is Glory

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This has been in the works for a long time and finally its here but its no ordinary best of compilation.This 2 CD set features some obscure Reverend Bizarre recordings and a bunch of cover versions that any Reverend fan needs to own.Most half serious Doom fans would have most of this already but this maybe the best purchase you can make if you are thinking about picking up your first Reverend Bizarre album.The first song is one of the best on here,a 18 minute epic called "Demons Annoying Me".It was originally released in 2003 in a very limited form so getting it here is a real bonus.The album also features "Blood On Satan's Claw",one of the more normal Metal tracks they ever did with its Mercyful Fate meets Celtic Frost type of vibe." Apocalyptic Riders" is another interesting track but "The Tree Of Suffering" and "The Children Of Doom" really sum up how Doom Metal is meant to be played.These tracks are monumental in every extreme and among the best tracks they ever recorded.Disc Two is not quite as interesting being cover versions,i would rather hear their originals but the covers are still essential to own if you are a big supporter of this band.The two stand out tracks on Disc Two are their versions of Saint Vitus's "Dark World" and the Pentagram tune "Broken Vows".Both are brilliant versions but its the rest of the Disc that is the most intriguing. Mr Velcro Fastener is a Finnish electro band, who sounded a little like Kraftwerk. The strange thing is that they recorded a version of "Doom Over The World", as a tribute to Reverend Bizarre.Here Reverend Bizarre do a version of their song"Bend". All these can be found in their split 12", again limited in 888 copies."Rotestilaulu" is a cover of a Simo Salminen song, I don’t know anything about him to be honest.Basically if you are new to Reverend Bizarre then this will be a pretty good way to start and if you are already a fan then this will be a essential purchase. 9/10

New DMA Samplers Volumes 6 & 7

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1.WTTA - Life Ends Sanity Begins

2.APEHANGER - Carnivore

3.DREAD - Counter Productive

4.HOOKERFIGHT - Sonic Mountain

5.VINTAGE FLESH - Portals Of Confusion

6.MR.PETER HAYDEN - First Cycle Complete Parts 1 & 2

7.TOTAL DEATH - Reflections Of Weakness

8.WTTA - There Be The Ditch That You Shall Die In

Here is the link -

Dma Vol.6.rar

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1.Sunneater - Trampled

2.Ol Scratch - Infernal Judgement

3.Feeble Fetus - Home Grown Part 1

4.The Aging Relics - Temporary Relief Of Depression

5.Wintercold - My Northern Queen

6.A Death Cinematic - Onward(as the vultures take the sky)we slip into the apocalypse

7.Aathma - A Thousand Nails

8.Desolate Anguish - Traitor

9.Strength Of Will Is Mine - Tranquiliser

10.Skarva Av Glas - Raised On Rock

Sep 4, 2009

XXX Maniak/Coffins - Cracks of Doom Split CD

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This has been one of the most odd split CD's ever produced with one faster than fast Grind Band paired up with one slower than slow Doom band.Strange mix but it somehow works because both bands are great for what they do.I will start with XXX Maniak who are one of the most insane Grind bands around.I will point out that my days of listening to Grind are limited these days but when i do crank out some Grind i love it just as much as any other genre that i am into.This Grind has it all from some of the most offensive song titles to some of the fastest riffing you will ever hear.This shit will pinned you to the ceiling and leave you there,this is intense.They have a machine gun Drum Machine,weird sampling and a extreme twin vocal attack throughout.There is the occasional slow down to more traditional Punk/Hardcore sections but for the most part its pure insanity.Lyrics are obsessed with sexual deviance and serial killers,i mean you wouldn't expect much else with music like this.They rip through 20 tracks,all short in true Grind style and all straight to the point.Coffins on the other hand have 2 tracks,longer,much much slower and much heavier of course.On this split they do one original and a cover of "Cathedral's" "Ebony Tears".The Cathedral cover is a winner with the main difference being in the Death Doom growling in the vocal department.Musically they keep pretty much to the original blueprint expect the riffing is even more Sludge ridden.One of the best cover versions i have heard in some time and they really do the Cathedral classic some justice here.The original tune they offer is "The Cracks Of Doom" which has a bit more of a groove while still remaining slow and extremely heavy.It has a hypnotic feel to it and a almost 70's feel which is something a bit different coming from this band.The usual growling vocal is still there along with the typical out of this world atmosphere that Coffins is known for.If you are not into Grind then you properly wont buy this just for 2 Coffins tracks but its a very unique release from Creeping Vine Productions. 8/10

Earthless - Live At Roadburn

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This is a review request,i have had a few people ask me "why haven't you reviewed this" and i don't really know why,i just can't review everything but here it is now.Better late than never,Earthless - Live At Roadburn.I doubt if there is many readers of this blog (if any) that have not heard Earthless.They are modern day Acid Rock Psychedelic Powerhouse of a band that can jam out a song while looking like its no effort at all.This 2 CD set is 90 minutes plus of the band playing live at Roadburn last year and its a monster.The only way this could be better is if it was a DVD so you watch their magical brain splitting action in surround sound.Now that would be something.Disc one starts off with "Blue" and the mind bending jamming doesn't let up from that moment till the end of Disc 2.The guitar work of Isaiah Mitchell is breathtaking as is Mike Eginton's throbbing bass lines,they are a modern day Cream or Hendrix Experience but in a more modern Fuzz Rock Tradition.The Disc 2 portion is the part that gets repeated spins in my house,'From The Ages/Godspeed' and 'Sonic Prayer' is 35 minutes of pure Psychedelic ear candy.While its more of the same sound and vibe as the first disc,disc 2 seems even more effortless as the music flows with such ease.Its as if these guys could play this music in their sleep.Special mention must go out to the drummer too which is so dynamic and is done with so much feeling and power but without sounding overdone.This is one of those CD's made to played loud while kicking back with a few brews and joint in hand.The perfect soundtrack to any smoking/drinking session,so good that it is real easy to sit through the two disc's.Time flies while listening to this but i am guessing you have to be into long spaced out jamming to fully appreciate it.Some people might find it a bit much to listen to in one session but i personally find it inspirational.9.5/10

Sep 2, 2009

Om - God Is Good - Preview / Review

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There is always a bit of a panic when a band loses some of its members but no fear here,Om are back and they maybe are even more focused than ever before if the music on this is anything to go by.The music on here still sounds like Om but the tracks seemed more concise than anything else they have ever done.Don't get me wrong,i dig all of Om release's so far,this one they have seemed to take their music to its ultimate peak.There is still Cisneros weird lyrical approach but the music seems fresher with the band playing with a new sense of purpose( if that make sense?)."Thebes" is the most normal of the bunch despite its 19 minute running time,the most traditional as far as OM's music goes anyway.The rest of the album contains 3 tracks of a more normal running length but its where the band sounds a little different at times compared to their earlier works.This is largely due to new drummer Emil Amos who creates a new feeling to the overall sound of the band.While the classic bass lines are still there,the drumming has taken a more jazzier approach."Cremation Ghat I" is the shortest track on the album which is a pity because its one of the best,a middle eastern flavored track but a bit more up-tempo compared to the average Om track."Cremation Ghat II" sees the band return to the sound we expect from Om,more ambient but once again i wish the track was longer.It feels like its been cut short without getting a chance for the song to run its natural course.Om have always had a spiritual/meditation feeling to their songs and this album its no exception.The band are stretching out musically on this one but how does it rate against other Om album's.Well like all Om's releases it takes a few listens before you can truly judge but at this stage i am rating it as the second best thing they have put out.I have the first two albums tied for first on that one.Om fans though should like this a lot but its not likely to win over folks not into Om.The weak point of the album is the last two tracks that should have been much longer,because of this the album seems top heavy but what do i know.You will have to check it out and judge for yourself. 8/10

Ancestors - Of Sound Mind

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After last years impressive release "Neptune With Fire",everyone has been wondering what they will do next and it seems with this release they are going from strength to strength.On this album you get 4 monster pieces surrounded by short interludes to fill out the album making it flow much smoother.The 4 main tracks are all around the 15 minute mark and all are impressive,full of dynamics and some visionary musical ideas.The opening track 'From Nothing' is the shortest on the album and is a bizarre start to the proceedings before diving straight into 'Mother Animal', more like a monster than an animal,this is where the album really takes off in true doomy fashion.

The first few minutes are slow and dark before it takes off in desert rock territory with suitably funky stoner grooves.The track simmer's down eventually but the haunting guitar and organ work keep things mesmerizing right to the end.'Not The Last Return' is one of the short piano interludes on the album,it's just a chance to give yourself a breather before the Progressive/Doom/Stoner vibes make a return."Bounty of Age" features some nice bluesy guitar work and is a highlight.A common theme of this album is the organ work that keeps things moving in the background,on this track it's no exception.There is a more electronic dimension that makes a appearance in the track "A Friend" which takes on the use of a synthesizer.The big standout track for me though is "The Trial", a huge piece of work and maybe their most solid track they have ever produced.The guitar work is majestic and beautiful in its delivery while the guest appearance of Sera Timms from Black Math Horsemen adds a even bigger twist to the tune.Even though her voice is fairly low in the mix it still comes across as powerful and engaging.

I love the production on this album,it's a improvement over the last album and they have proven once again to be one of the more innovated bands in the genre.Highly recommended who like their music heavy but with a rich quality and lushness.This is really classy stuff.9/10

Sep 1, 2009

Sihr - Beneath The Twelve Mile Zone

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Big thanks has to go out to the folks at the Sludge Swamp Blogspot for making me aware of this killer Doom/Sludge band.This is a must for fans of Electric Wizard,Bongzilla,Church Of Misery and Weedeater,this is one of the heaviest things released this year and its all free from their website,the link is below so grab a download and you wont be disappointed.The album starts with "Russian Legs" full of monumental riffage,shredding solo work and some spoken word samples that add to the crushing intensity of this track.They couldn't open the album in any heavier fashion,this is pure unadulterated heaviness."Comes With The Territory" is up next and continues the intense pummeling attack.The vocals are typical of bands like this but so heavy in their delivery,the thought of being unoriginal wont be a issue.The rolling riff lines combined with a super heavy bottom end bass sound makes this impossible not to get blown away."Working With Knots" starts off with a twisted,distorted riff before it moves into more pure Sludge driven headbanging ecstasy.This reminds me of "Church Of Misery's" finest work and the section starting at 2:20 is just magic in the most Doomed out way possible.The guitar work is exceptionally good and it seems like these guys were made to play this sort of music,this band has the potential to be the next kings of super heavy ass Sludge/Doom music."Running Wild" is again another killer track with the a riff that slays,not to mention the lead work that interweaves its way through the arrangement.Still 4 tracks in and the quality hasn't let up,crank this baby up and you will have to scrape yourself off the walls after its finished."Unbecoming Misdeeds" is one of my favorite tracks on the album,once again its heavy as hell with those tortured growling vocals pushing the Doom intensity to a new level."Kurmari Kandam",the final track and the longest track on the album at over 10 minutes is a tour de force of Sludge Metal.The solo that works its way into the track at around the 4 minute mark is a monster,swirling and twisting all the way.The track winds down to a feedback laden,Psychedelic finish which seems a perfect way to end such a great album.I say download this band before they become household names in the Doom/Sludge world.This is so good and so freakin heavy....Essential listening 10/10

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