Sep 30, 2010

Electric Wizard Set To Release Black Masses November 1st

The occult doom masters are set to rise again with their new album titled "Black Masses" set for a November 1st release on Rise Above Records. Details on the album are still sketchy but there is an sequel to the "Satanic Rites of Drugula" titled "Crypt of Drugula" and the reports are the album is a natural progression from the "Witchcult Today" album and is extremely heavy but that is to be expected from one of the heaviest bands of all time. The band has become icons of dark, psychedelic stoner-doom through ground-breaking influential recordings like "Come My Fanatics" and the legendary "Dopethrone". Here is the track-listing and Doommantia has already requested a promo so hopefully there will be a review up soon.........HAIL THE WIZARD.

1. Black Masses
2. Venus In Furs
3. Night Child
4. Patterns Of Evil
5. Satyr IX
6. Turn Off Your Mind
7. Scorpio Curse
8 Crypt of Drugula

Electric Wizard @
Rise Above Records Electric Wizard Page

Redrum Inc. - Heavy Division

This band call themselves Redrum Inc and without a doubt they model themselves on Down, Pro-Pain, Madball and Crowbar and that is where Crowbar guitarist Kirk Windstein comes into the picture, not only does he appear as guest singer on a song called "Carry The Burden" but the band also do a cover of Crowbar's "All I Had (I Gave)" which turns out to be the best thing this album has to offer and that says a lot in terms of the "Heavy Division" album. The band has been around for over 10 years and in that time have done some big shows and shared the stage with bands from Angel Witch to Undertow and Windstein from Crowbar raves about how good this band is so I was eager to check them out. They have other recordings apart from this one but this is my first taste of the band. I guess this album brings up the question when does a band come under the banner as an "clone band"? This album is certainly generic of the bands I have already mentioned although they are indeed a bit thrashier as they blend Nola Sludge and Doom with elements of Thrash and Death Metal but this is so damn predictable from start to finish, still alright but predictable.

The real star of the album in my opinion is vocalist Michael Dohmen, his style of singing makes this a album you can listen to all the way through as the songs themselves don't do that much for me really. There is nothing bad here, its just the songs lack any real feeling or atmosphere and the actual riffs sound likes ones that have already been recycled countless times before. Now before you Redrum Inc fans stay typing furiously, I will say the band is solid and indeed heavy. The best original song here is perhaps "We Are The Ones", this tune does have a element of originality and is infectious but the rest of the album is basically monotonous except for the Crowbar cover which stands out because its easily the most well-written track but its a Crowbar tune and we all know how great that band is anyway. There is some good grooves here and there but they tend to come and go too quickly to have any lasting impact but the performance of the players is solid throughout. If you hear the first track, then you know what to expect from the rest of the album and while there is 100's of albums that are like that, this album does get a little stale by the halfway mark of the disc.

In fact if it wasn't for "We Are The Ones" coming in at track number eight and the Crowbar cover finishing up the album, it would be hard for me to sit through the whole album in one sitting. After the intro, the first real track "Breaking The Deadlock" promises a lot as its a great tune and "Carry The Burden" is at least worth hearing because of Kirk Windstein's guest spot. Apart from these tracks, there is not much to get excited about. The aggressive approach seems out of place in some tracks as they blend in some hardcore elements into the performance and some bands can make it work but here is sounds disjointed to me. Without a doubt there is some great moments on "Heavy Division" but just not enough of them to push this album up beyond average run of the mill material. Still, check them out and if you really dig them, more power to you but I find this to be a fairly lackluster album......5/10
Redrum Inc Myspace


Sep 29, 2010

Flippin The Egg One More Time ........

NOGG once known as EGGNOGG are now EGGNOGG once again. They have decided to revert back to the original name for their next album. The album is undergoing the final stages of mixing and will be released in the coming months and will be titled "Moments In Vacuum". The guys have have this little video teaser from the new album for of you (WATCH IT BELOW), its a live version of "Nebuchadnezzar". They still have free downloads of their EP available at the Eggnogg Website so if you have never heard them, now is your chance to sample this fine power trio from Clinton, New York.

Eggnogg official
Eggnogg Myspace

Source of Deep Shadows - Source of Doom and Perpetual Night

I got to know this doom death band from Poland four years ago due to release of really deep underground label Endless Desperation from Russia, few songs of Source of Deep Shadows were included in split-CD "Infinity in Souls" and I note these Polish doom-bringers among another bands - Lake of Depression (Panama), Crepuscularia and Quazar (Russia) because they were really worth of being noted! Source of Deep Shadows demonstrated their doom-skills in the best possible way recording four tracks and realizing few good and dark ideas through them. Well, quality of record - it was a only problem, yes, it was raw… But some dishes are better to take cold.

With some delay - which however doesn't spoil my joy - I finally have received band's full-length CD "Source of Doom And Perpetual Night", and I must admit these men continues their play with limits of the genre even on this release - they pick up the most of edge but don't go further. They can put out hard - almost death - riffing as on a track "Hidden Doom", they can mix threatening growl and melancholic acoustic guitar ("Poranek"), they even can make bloody brain-crushing mush as into "?ród?o G??bokich Cieni" and they do it into that song so fast that I was starting to think that they wanted to become an black-doom band but such extreme is no longer manifested, so I'm able to get my breath again. Lyrics of Source of Deep Shadows are in Polish and it sounds very intrigue when Dod (voiceman) both growls or declaims his texts with a normal voice, such vocal lines add to the album specific originality especially since they are surprisingly legible for me. Oh and with heavy heart I must admit that it reminds about Zaraza (R.I.P.) who left us a few years ago. Doom metal from Eastern Europe is still rare - you have to agree, maybe that's why it is so colorful… and I will not confuse the sound of this band with anything else.

Men of Source of Deep Shadows are not indifferent to a hard labor therefore they were able to achieve interesting results with their album though after few listens the CD leaves a strange impression onto me and I still wonder which equipment the guys used during their record-session. But as I said I like their raw "cellar" sound - damn, yes, it really gives them another couple of points for this release! (as well as that unusual backbreaking growl and atmospheric fragments of their songs) It seems to be good when Dod roars thunderously at full power but a dull, more "human" growl sounds cool too - check track "Martwa" for example which make the band close to sacred canon of funeral. Unobtrusive roughness and underground charm makes "Source of Doom And Perpetual Night" a very worthwhile album for me, it is not a compilation of melancholic gloomy serenades but surely somnolent sketches from very heart of Polish catacombs. And dare I guess that those who listened to doom death bands about 15-18 years ago will experience some light pleasant  longing for these days because this music keeps fractions of the past.

Source of Deep Shadows is sometimes compared to early Katatonia somehow, but I would not do such haste supposition, although for convenience, we could be followed this tradition, but why? And even cover-version of Paradise Lost's "Eternal" doesn't make me feel that Source of Deep Shadows are zealous followers of those English gentlemen just because the band needs no such postscripts - for now they have their own face. I like this CD and look forward to the new album, which is already written and should appear shortly for sale.
Review By Aleks Evdokimov

Source Of Deep Shadows Myspace

Dusted Angel - Earth Sick Mind

"Earth Sick Mind" is the first full-length effort from the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal band Dusted Angel from California, the first thing to grab my attention was the name of Clifford Dinsmore, this dude sure gets around. Spaceboy, Gargantula and Bl'ast and now Dusted Angel; four bands miles apart musically from each other so Dinsmore is certainly a very talented gentleman. Dusted Angel are nothing like the hardcore sound of Bl'ast or the spaced-out drug-rock of Gargantula and Spaceboy, Dusted Angel play Doom Rock that injects influences from 1970 to now without getting bogged down in any of these decades of sonic exploration. Trying to compare them with anyone is a task I wish not to indulge in, they have been compared with Kyuss but for my money, that is way off and way too an simplistic judgment to make even though tracks like "Dogwhistle" do take you back to the early days of Desert Rock.

Dusted Angel don't dwell onto an formula for too long, opener "The Thorn" starts off in an very traditional Stoner Doom manner but subtle changes like the chord progression that soon enters this tune takes their music to another realm time and again. "The Thorn" keeps moving by switching between quieter parts to driving energetic Stoner Metal grooves with Dinsmore's band-mate and also ex-Bl'ast member, Bill Torgerson unleashing some real pulverizing drumming. The next tune "Seeking the Dawn" gallops along with an old-style kind of Heavy Metal fury, its effective at first but ends up being a case of heard it all before and done much much better than this. Things do improve in a big way with "Tards on Shards" that is repetitive without getting too bland, one problem I have with this album is sometimes you get the feeling the band are simply recycling their own riffs to take up time but "Tards On Shards" is one of the golden moments on the album that despite it being the longest cut, its also the most enjoyable.

"Scottstober" takes a while to get into gear but once it does, it is a gem of an tune with a decent amount of grit to it while "Dogwhistle" is a heavy, southern-styled basic riff-fest with an fine groove that ends all too soon and I hate it when songs do that. "Pulverizer" does indeed pulverize in a old-school kind of way, I thought of the mid-80's Californian Black Metal scene when I heard this track, it has similar kind of break-downs that were used by a hell of a lot of Metal bands back then. The album ends with the title track and it seems a little generic with a feeling you get that they were a little short on ideas so they just dragged out the ideas they had for the sake of another tune. So its a mixed bag of Stoner Metal, Sludge, Doom with some hardcore elements thrown in there. The production is alright but the vocals sound buried at times but most of this does a good job of crushing your brain-cells and will make a fine addition to your list of Cali bands to check out. From what I have heard they have built up a solid following by playing with bands like Nebula, Saviours, Saint Vitus and Black Cobra and I can imagine they would go down a treat at those type of shows. The album is a little short but if you pick up the i-tunes version you get a bonus track titled "Sensory Obliteration" which I haven't heard (I wish I had have known that first) but either way I still recommend you check this out......7.5/10
Dusted Angel Myspace

Falling Leaves - Demo 2010

This is the first demo and first ever released from Jordanian band Falling Leaves who just formed last year. Falling Leaves are a 6 piece band made of Abdul-aziz Assaf - Vocals, Alaa Swalha - Rhythm Guitar, Rami Mazahreh - Drums, Husam Haddad - Keyboards, Anas Safa - Lead Guitar and Tamer Al-Shishani on Bass Guitar. If you spotted the keyboard player in the line-up and looked at the artwork then its a good chance you know already that this is an Gothic/Doom band in the vein of My Dying Bride and Katatonia and you would be right on the money. Hearing a band from Jordan is an pretty rare event so I was curious to hear what their take on the Gothic Doom genre might be; Well it is very generic, predictable but they also sound like a band still searching for a sound of their own as these three songs seem to following a very well-worn formula that really should have expired years ago.

First track "Silence" begins with rainfall and the cracking of thunderstorms before an gentle, melodic acoustic guitar and an refreshing clean voice sets the mood of this atmospheric track. Its an strange opening track as its very relaxing and gentle with mournful, crying lead guitar parts but its well played and the production is huge but calling this Doom Metal on any level is a real stretch of the imagination. "All Is Gone" begins the same way "Silence" ended so on first spin I was getting worried if there was any real Doom to be heard here at all. Thankfully two minutes into "All Is Gone", the first sign of anything remotely heavy is presented with a deathly yet clean vocal and thankfully there is no cookie-monster vocals here but its all so tranquil and one-dimensional, its not till the last minute of the song when an beefy guitar riff appears and by then the song is drawing to a close.

The final track "My Perfect Disease" follows the same formula yet again but it is the best track here especially in terms of creating atmosphere. The fine keyboard work on this track is the tunes best element but by now the spoken word vocal is getting a tad dull. Being such a new band, you have to give them some slack but a few more dynamics injected in their songs would work wonders. As they are, its a little lifeless but there is no questioning their musicianship, the playing is very nice indeed. I would tag this as "Gothic Rock" more so than Doom so keep that in mind if you decide to check them out. I look forward to hearing this band develop over the next year or two, they have potential to write some stunning melodic music in the future...........5/10
Falling Leaves @ Unsigned.Com

Sep 28, 2010

Cough - Ritual Abuse

Somehow I have the idea that this band is going to be big! Set for release in the US on the 26th of October and the 1st of November in Europe & UK on Relapse Records, Ritual Abuse is the successor to Cough’s Sigillum Luciferi. What I like about Cough? For one thing, the vocals do remind me of Electric Wizard – carrying, penetrating and ‘evil’ in it’s nicest form. That is to say, the imagery is maybe familiar (Satan, etcetera) but the interpretation is very entertaining. Further, the riffs are outstanding, and set very loosely, so while listening to Ritual Abuse, you’ll get deeper and deeper in some sort of state of subjugation. In the background you’ll hear lots of sound effects, and this adds to the spooky atmosphere. Ritual Abuse is actually a very good title for this album, since Cough’s Ritual Abuse can be described as ritualistic in its very experience.
The riffs are massive and the five tracks named Mind Collapse; A Year In Suffering; Crippled Wizard; Crooked Spine, and Ritual Abuse are all tributes to the same power of the Riff.

You can check out their song Crooked Spine for free on their myspace by the way, see the address below. On their Relapse artist page, they state the following on their new album; "Ritual Abuse is the result of all the shit and suffering we put ourselves through to continue to write this music. Hopefully you all feel as miserable listening to it as we did creating it." I think that’s very (very) funny, because I felt pretty happy happy joy joy while listening to Ritual Abuse! As if anyone listening to doom should be depressed in the first place to be able to thoroughly enjoy the music. When I’m listening to Darkthrone or Mayhem (to name an example), I’m not in a ‘metal’ state of mind, or in a miserable state of mind, quite the contrary. I can wildly laugh about the imagery and the guzzling lyrics of said black metal, and still be able to enjoy the music offered. Granted, in real life the guys from Cough may not be your happiest chums, but their music can be very entertaining.

The only shortcoming on this disc is maybe the lack of long-term memorable songs. Of course, Electric Wizard has all these hooks and stuff, and when Cough evolves in their songwriting, the next album can only be a total winner. Cough do a full US tour in November 2010, and a European tour in 2011. As a warmer, here a fragment of their debut show at Ramakins. You know it’s gonna be good! 9/10
Review By Sandrijn van den Oever

Cough @ Myspace
Cough @ Facebook
Cough @ Relapse

Pylon - Doom

Pylon from Switzerland released this album "Doom" (catchy title) over a year ago but I only recently picked this monster up so sorry for all you Pylon fans out there but here is a long overdue review. Pylon formed in 2002 and have recorded 3 full length albums including this one and a split album with a band called Painwork. The last album "Th' Eternal Wedding Band" released in 2006 was an interesting album that mysteriously went unnoticed by the majority of doom-heads and its a shame as it was a great album. The "Doom" album however takes all the elements from that and previous efforts and exploits them to full capacity on a album that is epic and I mean real epic, 77 minutes worth of epic, maybe even too epic! Pylon are based around just two musicians, Matt Brand (guitar, vocals) and Jan Thomas (bass, flute) but on this album they enlist the help of no less than 5 drummers and 3 guest guitarists to produce a piece of work that is in the vein of Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus. The band's lyrical concepts are centered around themes about Christianity.

The first track "Renovatio" basically sets up the mood that carries on for the rest of the album, its lumbering and full of sorrow with Brand's vocals being one of the most oppressive voices in Doom Metal. The opener and the following track "Doomstone" take up 20 minutes of this 13 track album so already early on, its not a easily digestible album. "Doomstone" highlights the progressive doom edge the band has and they are very proficient in their delivery of blending the mournful with aggressive doom while keeping it musically diverse. The organ work in "Ho Theos Erchestai" is at odds with the rawness of songs like "DeadLove" and "Psych-Icon" but also keeps the album from ever becoming too one-dimensional or stagnant. A lot of the tracks are centered around long instrumental sections (Renovatio, In The Shade, Hors Des Sentiers Battus, An Angel Tale) but they also include an ballad like approach in the tune titled "Beneath, Beyond"; you can never accuse Pylon on being short on ideas.

"Dream A Dream" picks up the pace halfway through the album with an driving metal tune that verges on a more generic HM style while "De Rerum Sanctarum Una" and "Age Of Despair" are both two minute keyboard-drenched instrumentals. While this album is very long, there is some killer riffing along its journey that is worth waiting for, "Ho Theos Erchestai", "Doomstone" and "Renovatio" are all major highlights. Along with the great guitar work, the bass playing of Jan Thomas is incredibly solid and he even supplies some flute that creates even more atmospheric touches. The vocals of Brand will NOT be to everyone's taste however, his monotone Ozzy-ish vocal range doesn't leave much room for dynamics in certain songs but I personally dig his voice but I can also see that some will find his style a bit dull, he does throw in some Death Metal growls in songs like "DeadLove" but these variants are rare. The other factor to hurt the album is its length, 77 minutes is a long time to listen to any band and this is a tough album to sit through especially given the fact that the two longest tunes are the first two. Maybe if the album was book-ended by these two, it might have flowed a little easier.

This one is for fans of Saint Vitus, Count Raven, Trouble, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Faith and Nomad Son and I am sure most of those more Trad-Doom listeners will dig this but getting through it in one sitting will need some effort but I guess that gives you even more reason to spin it more often, right? Jan Thomas said this about the album's title, "The title was not conceived as a statement purely about the musical aspect of the compositions; instead, it’s synonymous with the meanings (of) fate, ruin and divine sentence at the center of the lyrics". This is indeed Doom as the title suggests and I hope this album gets more credit than their other albums have as this is their strongest work to date......8.5/10
The Official Homepage of Pylon
Quam Libet Records

Sep 27, 2010

Mar De Grises - Streams Inwards

I have been lucky enough to hear Mar De Grises sound develop since their 2004 debut titled "The Tatterdemalion Express", such an impressive album that was and still is so it was always going to a benchmark album that they would have a hard time matching in my view. The follow up album released a few years later was "Draining The Waterheart" which marked a change in the band's sound as they were heading in a slightly more "progressive doom" direction. Listening to these albums shows just why they are so highly regarded in underground metal circles although some in the underground media still don't get it and I could easily throw some links out as this point in the review but I won't, lets just say the attention span of some reviewers is limited at best. This Chilean Doom Metal band has indeed evolved into an captivating act with a sound that is always searching for new innovations within the death/doom scene and this new album further extends on the themes created on the "Draining The Waterheart" album but this time around their approach seems to be even more sparse and more spacious. The band has always been moving in an surrealistic direction with their atmospheric pieces and with this album, they have finally achieved a perfect balance of  doom psychedelia and a kind of blackened ambiance.

The band used to have a substantial quota of "post-rock" influences in their style in the past but it appears most if not all of that has been dropped on this album in favor of straight-out Progressive Rock elements and it works. Opening track "Starmaker" fuses large amounts of keyboards with strong melody lines while keeping some fine guitar riffing in its rightful place for a Doom Metal act. "Shining Human Skin" follows on with an similar vibe while "The Bell and the Solar Gust" provides one of the album's highlight despite it being a very tame version of doom. I know some people will hear as "doom-lite" as it is centered around expansive melodies and not much at all in the way of crushing riffing but this somewhat quirky formula works in a way that if many other bands tried to do the same, it would just sound lame, in the case of Mar De Grises though, its a very polished piece of epic music. "Spectral Ocean" brings in a warm electronic element which gives the track a barren vibe and a atmosphere of total desolation however its not that stimulating but its thankfully a very short interlude. "Sensing the New Orbit" is one of the more "traditional" songs on the album and this is where the band are at their weakest, its still highly listenable but it lacks the atmospheric elements of the other, stronger tracks.

The second half the album is not as strong as the first half with "Knotted Delirium" worth mentioning simply because its weird as the piano sounds like it is drowning in a layer of quicksand. Meanwhile "A Sea of Dead Comets" brings back a certain complexity into the music which is the band's strongest feature, the keyboards on this tune add an outer-space, other worldly vibe and its this side of the band I like the most. Ironically though one of the best songs here is the limited edition bonus track that comes with the digi-pak release. Its titled "Aphelion Aura" and odd for me to dig this tune so much as it drops the guitars all together and is an fully electronic piece. Apart from the outstanding keyboard work of Juan Escobar, its also his vocals that provide many highlights. His varied vocal technique makes full use of light and shade, mixing growls with clean vocal parts but there is the also added addition of female vocals which supplies some extra emotion. They can still be compared with Katatonia and My Dying Bride but Mar De Grises seem to be moving away from the "norm" within the death/doom genre, they seem to be getting more melodic and more progressive with each release and most importantly to note for doom aficionados, less heavy overall. The truth is this album isn't really that heavy at all so I guess you could call it doom made for a wider audience, yes the "doom-lite" tag is accurate but this is a good album, I was hoping for them to top their debut masterpiece but they haven't managed that one as yet, but for now though I am still happy with "Streams Inwards"......8.1/10
Mar De Grises Myspace

Sep 26, 2010

Dopefight - Buds

UK's Dopefight play some of the craziest pummeling sludge/doom metal ever created, support them and buy this CD....End of review, only joking. This three-piece which literally sounds like a 5 or 6 piece at times have an wall of sound that is so gargantuan, so thick, so monolithic that at times listening to this disc called "Buds" (see the eye-catching artwork above) is simply jaw-dropping, the kind of album where hitting pause is necessary just take a breather from the intense weight of this recording. In 2009 the band released killer demo and a split EP with Dead Existence that has already gain "cult classic" status. I have read some amazing things about the amount of damage this bands has caused to folks eardrums during live performances as well as the rumor that they hire six ambulances before each gig, that is obliviously just a good "Spinal Tapish" kind of a story but cool just the same. They have the reputation of blasting out song after song with very little or no communication with the audience to create an pure deafening sonic experience with no relief in sight for the patron's senses. There is also some rumors floating around about this album like it was the labels idea to print a black strip on the front displaying the band's Myspace link and this in-turn made the band mad as it took away some space to display even more weed. All entertaining stories but what is most important is the tunes and they are simply among the most pulverizing examples of doom/sludge riffage.

"Baby Goat Sick", "Leviathan's Burp", "Do Not Inflict Your (Spawn) Upon Me" and "Brighton Town Is A Fucking Whore" are just some of the great song-titles on the album which is mostly instrumental but they do include some shouts, growls and wails of pure aggression here and there into the madness of their insane, bombastic weed-worshiping expressions of sonic intensity. Dopefight are influenced by the heaviest of bands - Church Of Misery, Bongzilla and other pot-smoking doomsters but they are far more aggressive and up-tempo than most of those bands, another influence Hail! Hornet are perhaps closer to what Dopefight really sound like. This album is non-stop killer riffing with an incredibly big, warm, rich sound and the guitar is right up there with the bass in terms of pushing the levels of the human aural threshold. On top of their insanely, crippling heaviness they are also savagely tight and this isn't just a "in the studio" thing, reports are they are equally precise in a live setting. Another stunning factor about "Buds" is this is very infectious, the riffs have a class about them and they don't just plod along, riff changes and tempo changes are plentiful, the opening "Baby Goat Sick" is a prime example of their brilliance in this department. The opening minute of "Leviathan's Burp" is another example of Dopefight's ability to smash your brain around with slow to mid-tempo brutality.

"NOB. NOD. NOI" is a galloping, sabbathian groove stomper played with the force of a sonic boom, its pure head-banging chaos guaranteed to raise a smile and a chuckle. "Specimen" is an ugly, slime-fest of sludgy doom, listen to the riff that comes in at just past the two minute mark of this tune, pure greatness! "Slug 'N Mop" is half Sabbath meets Vitus with explosive mid-tempo chugging thrown for good measure. "Brighton Town Is A Fucking Whore" is up next and I take they are spewing some hatred for their home town here and its an two minute psychotically induced hell-ride that is a pure riff-fest. "La Mano Del Daemon" and "Jock Witch" are both sonic experimentation gone into the realms of lunacy especially "Jock Witch" as it has a one of the most ear-catching hilarious intros for a sludge/doom track. "Do Not Inflict Your (Spawn) Upon Me" is another trip into an infested swamp of filth-ridden dirge while keeping the infectious element at a peak while "Bogtrotter" is under two minutes with a main riff that you wish would go on forever. "Pistophelees" and "Ampnoncefuck" round out the album with more exciting, churning nasty riffing but hang around and you will get a bonus, un-titled track not mentioned on the rear spaghetti artwork and its the only time of the entire album you will hear anything you could call soothing but its worth checking out for the ending "ferrets down your trousers" sample (is that the dude that hosts the UK's Top Gear show?), whoever it is, its great shit.
Update: I just found out its Alan Partridge's voice used on the sample, thank you Richard.

When I reviewed their demo, I had a feeling this band was heading for nothing short of greatness and they have achieved just that with "Buds". They are NOT just another mindless weed-obsessed band plodding out riffs played to samples of people pulling bongs. This is a band that can deliver some of the most classic riffs in the sludge genre and while we are on the subject seeing as you all are getting real anal about tags and sub-genres, I will throw my hat into the ring and stigmatized Dopefight by calling them "Sludge Metal" despite the doom elements they are so expertly proficient in composing. Therefore I am giving this my early pick for "Sludge Metal" album of the year, buy it, turn it up and worship the riffs of this power trio.....10/10

Dopefight MySpace
Dopefight @ BigCartel

Pasi Koivu - Dark Tales And Mad Dreams

Prog Rock has to be two of the dirtiest words in Rock music, I only have to say the word "prog" and some people I know will squirm and get instantly sick to their stomachs. In rock, it is one of the most misunderstood genres and one of the most abused musical tags. Real Progressive Rock was created by the likes of King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer but over-time like most styles it became diluted and blended with other styles including Heavy Metal (Dream Theater). The real basis of Prog-Rock is in Technical musicianship that blends influences from Jazz to Classical and everything in-between but with a Psychedelic and a very visual element incorporated into the themes of the songs. Its a art form that requires a certain gift and an musical vision that has to be embedded within your mind and blood. One of these gifted types is Pasi Koivu, a musician from Finland and also the brains behind a Myspace Black Widow page. Also known as Psychedelic Eye, he has already many recordings to his name but this one under review is "Dark Tales And Mad Dreams" released in 2010 and limited to 100 copies; without a doubt Pasi is one of Finland's most industrious musicians.

Starting with "Madman's Dream" the 70's atmosphere of swirling organ and heavy grooves come at you with authenticity, passion and an infectious feel, no doubting also that Pasi knows his way around keyboards as this is real groovy stuff. The image you get is one of late 60's dance halls with people getting down to the sounds of The Nice under an liquid-projection light-show. "Ghost Forest" however is a longer, more atmospheric piece that  has an kind of ambient darkness about it. The song nicely builds with various elements weaving in and out of the arrangement and although it all centers around the Korg M50 Keyboard sound, the sounds vary enough to make it a very multi-dimensional piece of jammy Psychedelic-Prog Rock. "Sombrero" changes the mood again into a hypnotic, mesmerizing medi-evil melodic vibe, the song is very beautiful and filled with a warm, floating atmosphere. "Purple Sky Saw The Widow Dressed In Black" is the first of the longer, extended tracks. This one clocks in at over 13 minutes and has a very horror-laced cinematic quality and is the kind of haunting soundtrack that would be right at home in many a Italian 70's horror movie flick (at first that is) but then goes through a succession of different mood changes, its all very cinematic but also lacking anything to tie all the musical sections together. Thankfully all the sections are interesting so it still succeeds at being an accomplished piece of work.

The two shortest tracks here are "Biker Song" and "Jester Doll", the former is a very hard rocking number in an Deep Purpleish vein while the latter is a gentle melancholic and sorrowful tune. On "Also Starring", the music takes on a very funky, jazz fusion vibe that reminds of music featured in 70's porno movies (I got no idea how I know that by the way ha ha). "Powered By Zeus" is a heavy romp with some really wild, squealing bass laden note runs while "Space Party" takes you on an journey into the cosmos with some very interesting and mesmerizing passages, the track gets very weird and wonderful in the second half. Things get funky again in "No More Face Boogie" with more mind-expanding note-runs and the jazz-fusion drumming approach which compliments the improvised ambiance of the piece. "King Scarecrow" is a frightening wild heavy-prog tune that reminds me of classic's like E.L.P's "Barbarian" with unleashed aggressive keyboards that verges on the apocalyptic, the keyboard is on fire on this tune. The remaining track is the almost 9 minute "Crystal Ball" and it delivers one of the darker moments of the album, it is perhaps a little long as it drags a bit but overall its an effective way to finish up the album.

With it being all keyboards and no vocals, "Dark Tales And Mad Dreams" is a Psychedelic/Prog Rock lovers delight as it has enough variance to keep you folks interested with gentle sections to the heavy all getting plenty of the spotlight. This is a recording tailor made for keyboard freaks, Prog-Rock fans and those old enough to remember the improvised happenings of the late 60's and early 70's Progressive Rock movement......8.5/10
Pasi Koivu - Psychedelic Eye

The Sepulture Union And The Moscow Doom Festival

The idea of making an interview with the Sepulture Union promotion group, which gives joy to doomsters by organizing the Moscow Doom Fest for already five years and also recently Shadow Doom Fest, took away my tranquility for a long time. Didn't work out last year, but this year, right to half-jubilee contacts have been arranged. Someone, possibly even now thinks that to bring a foreign, even popular all over the world doom-metal band to Russia, is not a problem. That everything is easy, cheap and goes smooth like a hot knife through butter, that musicians earn tons of money selling thousands of copies of their albums. Somebody may even think that on a doom-metal show one must stand with hands on a chest, legs on shoulder width and with a grim face. My dear friend, all of this is true - along with that ponies that eat rainbows and Santa is really preparing a present for you on Christmas. All what is real about organizing an international scale doom-metal fest, nuances of Moscow Doom Fest V - in the interview with Anton, Elena and Timofey, the initiators of Sepulture Union.

-What appeared earlier - Sepulture Union or Moscow Doom Fest? If I'm not mistaken, this fest is what started the history of the group. What aimed it at that time if, let's say, a show with local bands could be not so difficult to organize?
Anton: It all started with Moscow Doom Festival. The first one took place in May 2006. It is already hard to remember how the idea of this show appeared. But it anchored fast and hard in my sick head and began to grow with defined plans of preparations to the concert. The fest was quite unique at that time. The first point is that earlier (at least for the past ten years) nobody on the territory of our country had done any shows dedicated to a doom or around doom genre. Although I think that at that moment (2005-06 yy.) There was a visible progress in terms of bands playing doom-metal in Russia. And to listen to any of them you had to go to a black-metal or a thrash-metal party.
The idea was to create a show which will not be a style salad, but will be only doom. And different kinds of doom! This made it unique. For the first time in Russia a funeral-doom band performed live. This was another and more important reason for me to start the fest production.
I am a member of Comatose Vigil and in depth the first fest was made together with our guitar player Alexander and our singer Vragomor. The fest was successful. But, of course, the invested money did not return, although there were quite a lot of people. Never the less there was quite a strong will to continue and to make the fest international. Finding no support in band mates, I found it in our former bass player Timofey. So it was about that time the name Sepulture Union appeared.
After MDF II in 2007 it became clear that it was hard to do that kind of shows for two people and the third MDF we already did with Elena. Since then there have been no changes in SU. But there is always a good support from our friends helping us out with the show production.

-How do you separate the duties inside the group during show production?
Elena: There is no distinct difference in the duties and the principal of exchange is the main one. But of course every one has a part he is the best in. For example, Timofey is responsible for the merch design. Translation and communication with the bands is also his duty as he is the only one in the union who speaks English fluently. Most of the PR stuff is done by Anton. I do most of the management connected with accommodation, catering and transport issues. In general the concept of the fest is distinct and all style deviations, band selections and other things we discuss together.

-How soon the concept of expanding, globalising MDF with inviting foreign bands was born? What was the most memorable part of MDF II? It was the firs time the foreign band Saturnus was invited, but the show was also sopotted wit one of the oldest local doom acts performing - Ekklesiast.
Timofey: Well, after the first fest Anton came up with the idea to invite a band from abroad and it all spinned somehow. MDF II was the first time we met a foreign band that close, we could talk to them, drink beer with them - that is what every dedicated listener would give a lot to do, you know what I mean. Ekklesiast also played on the first fest.

-So MDF II was a successful one, because the next one had four bands from Europe invited - Frailty, Swallow The Sun, Worship and legendary - will be true if I say so - Esoteric. Here it's obvious that the budget of the fest must have become bigger and by default more problems occur - accommodation of the bands and management of their free time. How did SU managed with that?
Timofey: Yes that is right, MDF II was a good one. We got back our investments and in general there were no problems any way. After that we decided to make something bigger. The cost of production appeared noticeably higherr and the "recoil" didn't ... Of course we had a lot more tasks to deal with but I can hardly call them problems. And we had to forget about sleep during that time.
Anton: MDF II went smoothly in financial terms, like no other ever since. No show after gathered so many people. All problems were solved that very time they appeared. People from different countries gave and give very good feedback about our hospitality and good management of everything during their stay in Russia.

-By the way, I think, that from all the listed bands Warship were the least known - what makes your choice when inviting bands? I remember that some time ago there was a poll made to choose a most wanted band on the next fest.
Timofey: We try to vary the line-up depending on our possibilities. We are "blamed" from time to time that we are too much into funeral-doom. Yes, we do like that style, but if we have an opportunity of making the fest with different styles of doom presenter on it - we do that. As to Worship - they had their new album released (the first one after Max died) and we decided that it would be great to support it with a live show.

-Do you watch how such kind of shows goes there in Europe? Do you have any experience of communication with their organizers?
Timofey: Yes, sure, we watch what's going on with the scene in Europe (and not only Europe). Yes we had the experience and it was quite a pleasant one. Two last festivals were made with Adrian De Buitléar's of Lugga Music assistance.

-How did you manage to catch the three monsters - Longing For Dawn (Canada), Mournful Congregation (Australia) and Mourning Beloveth (Ireland) out of the European tour for Moscow Doom Fest IV in 2009? I'm sure that if not for the tour, the show in Moscow of at least two of them would have been unreal.
Timofey: The story of that fest started quite a long time before. Even before the MDF III. When Adrian Bickle (Mournful Congregation) and I started discussing the possibility of their performance in Moscow. Then the wheels started spinning and together with Lugga Music we managed to organize this fest. Would've been impossible without the European tour.

-Participation of three of these powerful bands already do an honor for any occasion, but more to that you've signed a British band The Prophecy and the fest became more global than ever. Did you not have a feeling that this is too much? You could take one more Russian band - we have good ones.
Timofey: Matt and I discussed this opportunity long ago. I think it was even before the MDF III. That is why we can say that the fourth fest was fully planned really beforehand. The feeling that this is too much could have been appeared at the beginning. Then it just disappeared - this is a fest after all.

-Right before this fest the singer of Comatose Vigil had left the band and the band had to look for the replacement. Still the show took place despite of that situation - so did the presence of the band in the line-up was a must? And by the way, how EndName were selected for the opening of the concert?
-Timofey: Anton will tell about CV better than I:). As to EN, their guitar player Sergo is a good friend of mine and I had known this band for quite some time before the fest. They create interesting music. So we decided that a good sludge won't hurt us ?. And the guys would show themselves in front of understanding public, which was good for them. And we were right, there were lots of positive feedback about them.
Anton: Bass player was also lacking in Comatose Vigil at that time. So we had to start an emergency search for both musicians. The task was hard, because we were not looking for session players, but for constant members of the band. This was really a serious trouble. Every time the point of CV's performance was discussed with a pretty high temperature, the reason - no new album. Which still can't be released due to different circumstances. But this time the decision was made that the band had to be there. The main reason was that lots of people were waiting for this.

-Comatose Vigil were a traditionally in the line-up of the doom fests ad by the fifth fest they dropped, even so I thought they would be there until the last moment - pointlessly. But there was merchandise presented, thongs with band's logo. Comatose Vigil launched a designer's cloths line?
Anton: Well, we've been having thongs for sale for two years in a row now. Looks like you didn't pay attention to this item on the last shows.
Elena: As to designers line - thet's a good thought, but at this moment it's unreal. Nevertheless SU can be proud of that our clothes can be seen on musicians, who performed on our shows: two robes were custom made in my native city Penza by my friend for Pantheist members. Robes were used during the show.

-So last year Comatose Vigil were playing live - and I think quite successfully - with a new singer, we've been talking about that a bit earlier, so for the most fans the reasons of inactivity of the band is unknown. How did that happen, that one of the most professional and loud Russian doom bands became inactive? And before that the band did not appear on stage as often as it could be expected, playing 1-2 shows a year - that looked like, perhaps, pathetically.
Anton: The band is alive and active. Nobody is going to bury CV.
I don't think that playing live once a year for a funeral-doom band is rare. In fact it may appear too often. Unfortunately new material is being recorded a lot slower and to play the same set every time is at least now very interesting. Our line-up is changed quite radically once again. We are back to a three piece from which we started at the very beginning. And at this moment we are preparing quite intensively for new album recording session, so playing gigs is definitely not a priority for us now.

-As far as I know, production of MDF IV was too costy for Sepulture Union, nevertheless there were four powerful European bands planned for the fifth chapter - Ahab (Germany), Esoteric and Pantheist (United Kingdom), Jack Frost (Austria). How did that happen that Ahab dropped out of the list?
Timofey: MDF IV was less expensive than MDF III and, as we already know, less than MDF V. Esoteric was originally planned for the next year. But after the basic agreement Ahab had some trouble which had nothing to do with us, so we could not do anything about it and they could not come during the suggested dates. And we thought, that if we have a chance to invite Esoteric earlier than planned, when why the hell not? We all know these guys an I shall not be mistaken if I say that we missed them. Moreover, it was the fifth, kind of jubilee fest.

-And one more - why Moscow Doom Festivel V did still happen? Some were looking at the chances of it being made this year with a load of skepticism.
Elena: We ourselves were looking at the chances with a large share of skepticism, but nonetheless the show went on. Hell with what will be after… this year we wanted the fifth, the jubilee fest to happen.

-Ilia (Pantheist guitar player) said that he would like his second band - Indesinence - to join the line-up. A really good band and it would've been easier to bring them together with Esoteric and Pantheist. But you did not choose the easy way by inviting (for what I'm endlessly thankful) Jack Frost. Simple question - why?
Elena: If we were always going the "easy" way, then we should have been limited by inviting our Scandinavian neighbours only for Moscow Doom Festival, and by inviting bands only from Moscow for Shadow Doom Festival. And to actively engage young team on toll conditions :-). Indesinence - a great team and we hope to see it as part of our next concerts.

-How did Septic Mind make in the list of participants? I may be wrong, but I suppose that the group could make some sort of fee for participation in the MDF V. I think this is normal - the team will not interfere with promotion, and thus, it could have been achieved, although the quality of their performance could be higher, with the sound they were not all right.
-Elena: In the history of our festivals has not yet been a case of paid speeches teams. Septic Mind at a concert came up to me with the demo of their material interested me, I showed it to other participants of unions and the decision was made. That's so simple :-).

-MDF V again paid off, it is clear that the organization of the arrival of several teams - is a hard work. Does worth the Moscow Doom Fest will ever?
Timofey: Yes, it was once. It was the second festival, and we are with Anton "earned" a hundred dollars ... more than this has not yet happened.

-From your point of view, what is a reason of such bad cost-efficient organizations MDF? Bad promotion, low attendance and apathy of our doom?
Anton: One of the main reasons I would note is the unpopularity of style. There are many other equally important reasons overpriced festivals. Much less expensive to bring a foreign group, and make her solo performance, and the likelihood that all will be repaid, will increase many times compared to our festivals, when they come for three or more staff. The problem is that all these teams play roughly the same style and have one and tighter, permanent audience. For example, on Skepticism about 200 people came, and at MDF V came to 240 people. That count. Naturally, the costs of organizing performances for one and for the three groups have a tremendous difference. Of course, if we have an expensive advertising on radio, TV, etc., then the concert came to more people. Maybe 100 or 200 more, but these people are not even close to beat back the money spent on such advertising.
Elena: Well, of course, we can not even try to compare the doom-metal-company with, say, an alternative punk hangouts or environment, they are very easy to lift, or fans of reggae, with their amazing word of mouth and because of high traffic concerts. Incomplete halls of doom-parties, in my opinion, due to the low social need of doom. In my opinion, the typical doom-fan - a lone person, often intellectual, deeply thoughtful and finely perceive the world, an introvert, perhaps a romantic and escapist. Learning about the event, he did not rush to tell all his friends about it, but rather will prepare for the concert: listen to music, read interviews... And then so carried away by doing this that not dare change a cozy home atmosphere at the club site or even forget about the concert (there were such cases):)).

-I must say that ticket prices MDF V were quite democratic. I am grateful for accreditation, but since I went to a concert not alone - one ticket is purchased, and I was pleasantly surprised by the price, of course, it was a respectable sum, but for such show the cost was more than acceptable. On the basis of what is calculated this amount? What kind of traffic you expected?
Helen: As the budget of the festival this year was approximately equal to last year, the price of a ticket was to remain at the same level. But we have further reduced the ticket price, to all interested persons could get to the concert. Therefore it is logical to assume that the number of people who came on May 29 in club Plan B is our main active audience. Perhaps to someone does not reach our information, but in general, I think, 80-90% percent of potential doom in the course of events and decide for themselves whether they wished at the festival.
Timofey: It was expected - not quite the right word, but rather hoped that it would be 300-350 people, but it was too optimistic.

-By the way, do not you guess that society underground music fans gradually switched completely to the consumer mode? You can simply lazy gab in the forums, download music easily from the Internet. On this idea has pushed me to how sluggish was reaction of audience to the performance of Jack Frost, really professional band, ha… though Jack Frost were more than satisfied with such welcome…
Timofey: I do not guess that. Now we know that! Although, I must say, there are folks who regularly go to our concerts and we already know them. And we are grateful to all who came for support. Jack Frost and even other musicians say that the public liked them, probably audience in Europe, still more feebly :-).
Elena: The beauty of instant music acquisition is not in any way be compared with the conscious of collecting, we call it so, the license vinyles.
You can spend a few minutes to download the entire discography of the group, but any connoisseur of music will confirm that it is much nicer to have a license merch of your favorite team, for the possession of which you had to make at least some minimum actions. There is a very unique opportunity at our concerts not only to acquire bands' CDs and merchandise, but to sign it, take pictures with the musicians and even a chat - with minimum knowledge of English.
As Jack Frost ... For many, their show was a revelation. Many people have discovered this band, or looked at it through different eyes. Yes, I myself was not a hot fan of their music and only after a speech at the MDF-V I was able to appreciate the tremendous energy of the musicians, gloomy atmosphere created by a mystical vocals and raw guitars muddy sound. And it confirms once again the uniqueness of live performances!

-When did you first start to produce shirts with emblem of Moscow Doom Fest? How successful do you think the idea of their release was? Would not it be better to organize the video-recording of the festival, this video would obviously be interesting not only for those who attended the festival, but for those who did not get to it, including foreign connoisseurs of the genre.
Timofey: T-shirts first appeared on the MDF III, and the idea was very successful. Due to this we were able to leave something to remember for those who came to the concert and for the very participants of MDF of course. Just sometimes a little can reduce losses, however, we try to put as much as possible affordable prices, since in addition to the economy is also an ideology, enthusiasm. The idea of filming soars very long time, but on a professional basis to implement it does not work, again due to lack of funds.

-Which gigs besides MDF did Sepulture Union organise?
Anton: We do annual Shadow Doom Fest beside MDF which is dedicated to Russian bands. And we did organize the gig of Skepticism in Moscow last year.

-How did the idea of the Shadow Doom Fest start? What is its fundamental difference from Moscow Doom Fest?
Elena: In 2007 I came to Moscow from the sunny city of Penza, and one of the first gig I have visited was Moscow Doom Festival ch II. The atmosphere of the festival was amazing and I imbued with mood, once again came to the conclusion that it would be great - to take a part in this great project.
Six months later - the fall of 2007 - I worked as art director at a music club "Shadow" and together with the enthusiast from Saratov city (who is well known under the name of Roman Corvinus) was preparing a doom concert. We just wanted to organize a festival with doom bands and invite groups from different cities of Russia and the CIS.
Actually, at this same event, there was a historic meeting with one of the organizers of the MDF, Anton, after which it was decided to work together and develop ideas of best doom-movement in the territory of Moscow.
Later it was decided to make an autumn festival venue for performances of the best groups of all post-Soviet space to develop such fest as an international day of Doom in Moscow. There were teams from Ukraine, Belarus and Latvia in Shadow Doom Fest, we even planned to involve band from Moldova. We always welcome new participants, we are open to suggestions and we are interested in new names and countries. If there are qualitative doom-bands in Kyrgyzstan, then we are happy to try to spread them doom in Moscow too :-).

-You have organized a joint statement by the legendary Skepticism and deservedly famous Frailty in December 2009, in Moscow, outside of any fests. Why was such an extraordinary concert organized?
Timofey: We had a chance to bring bands at this time, and we did not want to lose it. We have long wanted to organize such speech, but somehow not evolved, and as soon as there is a real chance - all happened. The concert proved its worth much more than festivals. More precisely, though the gig did not justify itself to a much lesser extent :-). But not everything depends on wealth, and we do not regret it.

-Within a few years of dealing with various groups, what impression left by contact with their members? Were there any difficulties with some bands?
Elena: Hand on heart, I can say that we have not seen the difficult groups. Naturally, all people are different and very often the mentality of the country affects the individual musicians, but in general, the problems never existed. The most charming (and on the presentation and the backroom communication) can rightly be called Saturnus. We have very good memories from communicating with the British Esoteric, Prophecy and Pantheist. And the Finnish Skepticism remembered as real funeral-doers - very serious, focused, self-absorbed introvert.

-It's no secret that not all musicians from foreign teams know well English, and they can always find extraordinary situations…
Timofey: Well, rock musician can be drunken sometimes… But we must ensure that we do our best to make them feel in Moscow like they're in their home, they did not get into trouble.
Helen: All musicians usually hold their English at a good level which would not only communicate to the free themes, but also to solve a purely technical and organizational issues.
Freelance or funny situations happen at every festival. Meeting at the Kiev station group Skepticism, we had a long chat with the porters, trying to bring down the price. It turned out that he heard a foreign language, and seeing a lot of musical equipment, station officials have decided that pop stars before them, and inflated the price several times.
Part of their luggage was lost at the airport, and we had to urgently look for tools and environment. After the concert .... luggage was found in Argentina, where it was mistakenly sent instead of Russia!
But in general, in fact, each fest checks the strength of nerves of the organizers. Every time somebody does not manage to avoid problems with obtaining visas. Thus, in the past MDF until the last moment remained questionable part of Mourning Beloveth. At a recent festival in limbo was the arrival of Jack Frost, received a visa just before the departure ... And besides its share of unrest has made Icelandic vulcanizing fiend with an unpronounceable name, occasionally dozing Europe with a layer of ash and makes every day begins with a view forecast distribution of rain clouds.

-What teams would Sepulture Union like to bring to Russia? Just for your pleasure. Even if the ban is decayed, if Reverend Bizarre would be still active, I would desperately insisted on their arrival :-)
Timofey: I would choose Evoken, Novembers Doom, Mar De Grises, Poema Arcanvs, Void of Silence, Shape of Despair, from split-up, perhaps, Morgion.
Elena: There are Electric Wizard and Virgin Black in my personal wish-list. Raw Guitar English psychedelia and epic symphonism originally from Australia. It's a completely different music, but I am sure they would be identical in strength of emotion speech. And, of course, very sorry that the remarkable performance of the Finnish group Colosseum remained in the number of failed: vocalist Juhani Palomäki died on May 15th of 2010.

-Will Moscow Doom Fest VI be? I understand that if you will not, then nobody else takes up organization of arrival in Russia European doom-teams.
Timofey: Honestly, I can not give both positive and negative response. Too early. Sepulture Union while still active in this respect the organization, but the details will think about later. We need to heal the wounds.

-To be honest, I have no problem with writing down for you more questions, but you will agree that too long interview will look completely funeral :-) So I want to thank all the members of Sepulture Union for their hard work. Thanks for the interview and, of course, for MDF V! All the best!
Timofey: I'd like to say thanks to everyone who helped us: my wife (Summerpic), Antonio, Bor, Vladimir - our constant collaborator from Penza, Adrian (Lugga Music), Sergei (helps us from St. Petersburg), all of our friends who support us with word and deed.
Elena: I want to thank all those who come to our concerts and support the Sepulture Union and the very existence of festival. Every time they come to a concert with participation even if not the most popular groups, you make real the following statement is his favorite band.
And thank you, Alex, for the close attention paid to the doom-metal category!

Septic Mind: YouTube
Jack Frost (Duran Duran cover): YouTube
Pantheist: Youtube
Esoteric: YouTube

Interview By Aleks Evdokimov ( )

The Caravan To Roll Again In 2011?

In an interview with The Obelisk, Earthride vocalist Dave Sherman has confirmed his former band Spirit Caravan will reunite for shows and possibly new recording next year. In addition, the band`s classic Jug Fulla Sun full-length will at last be released on vinyl.

Spirit Caravan is Sherman on bass, Scott "Wino" Weinrich (Saint Vitus, Shrinebuilder, The Hidden Hand, etc.) on vocals and guitar, and Gary Isom (Pentagram, Unorthodox, Valkyrie, etc.) on drums.

Here`s what Sherman had to say:

Any truth to the rumors of a Spirit Caravan reunion?

That is true. That it is very true. Me and Wino is on the [Earthride] record too. He plays on the one track Supernatural Illusion and he is singing on there, and he plays a pretty crazy-ass lead. Sounds more Vitus-y. But me and him, have been talking and shit, and he is doing his Shrinebuilder and his Vitus right now, and I think he might even do another tour of his Wino thing, and I think he's got an acoustic thing, but amongst all that stuff, I think we might be able to pull something out next year. Something might happen then.

Would you do a record or just shows?

I think we would re-release I don't know who is gonna do it; that's not confirmed but Jug Fulla Sun never came out on vinyl, so we probably be backing that up. Bring that out on vinyl, and then you never know. Maybe well do a song or two or something. Maybe we could work on something for the tour as well, a little EP or something. It's just gonna take time, because obviously Wino's real busy right now.

Read more at The Obelisk.

Sep 24, 2010

A Interview With Andreas From Spirit Descent - A New Doom Rising

Doom Metal bands are still few and far between in Northern Germany – enter SPIRIT DESCENT. After the demise of Cold Embrace, where he had sung and played bass, Andreas Libera wanted to form a new group in mid 2008 under that name with the intent of establishing a more epic and melodic brand of music than his former outfit.

Having toyed with his idea for around two months, Andreas joined forces with former Deceptive Silence singer Jan Eichelbaum to flesh out new songs that, once unleashed online in 2009 under the title “A New Doom Is Rising”, enjoyed great response among the dedicated. Guido Preußner, drummer in Freakadella and The Name, took interest in the duo and hooked up with them in order to throw his progressive groove into the mix.

Come summer 2009, Spirit Descent were ready to record their debut “Doominion” in Rosenquarz Tonstudio Lübeck, renowned for forging the sonic excellence of heavyweights like The Lamp Of Thoth, Warning, The River, Solstice, Extorian, Spancer and Isen Torr. Joachim Folta from Subcutane, who topped the album with his guitar solos, sadly passed on the offer of full time membership in favor of his professional job.

Now “Doominion”: a classic doom metal platter seamlessly fitting into the traditional mould of Solitude Aeternus or Candlemass! Lush clear vocals, oppressive heaviness and nifty drumming – all swathed in a powerful yet transparent production – display a fresh approach to the genre. Still, Spirit Descent are not about reinventing the wheel of doom; after all, you need not fix what is not broken, do you?

A few months later, no other than The Lamp Of Thoth’s own Randy Reaper joined the band on guitars. While they were promoting the album on their own in a strictly limited edition, the group were looking for both a record label and the missing piece to their line up, a bass player.

Critics were raving over “Doominion” (enthusiastic reviews at Hellride Music, 10/10 points in Doom Metal Front Zine and at Doomantia, 8.5/10 in Rock Hard Germany), so it was only a matter of time until Spirit Descent could sign a record deal with the up and coming label Eyes Like Snow, known among connoisseurs for releasing metallic goodness throughout.

Under their aegis, “Doominion” will finally hit the shelves worldwide on September 17th, low frequencies meanwhile being handled by Andreas Schiffmann, who will surely add to the band’s sound with both fretted and fretless bass playing.

The stage is set for Spirit Descent … and they are eager to take it. (Myspace)

Q: Salute Andreas! Thanks for your time; I'm very grateful for this interview with you, for you know that it would be inexcusable neglect to overlook such a great doom-act as Spirit Descent. How are you, Andreas? What do the band does now?
A: Well, at first, thank you for your time and your questions, I really appreciate that !
Right at the moment, I have a lot of work to do with my company, but also the band takes a certain amount of time. We are working on new songs, preparing a new release, it will be a split with our label mates Wheel containing 3 new tracks, that will be recorded at the end of the year, I think......Due to the circumstance, that our lineup is complete (we found a bass player, his name is Andreas Schiffmann), we are about to plan some rehearsals and it is mostly important for us to take "Doominion" on to the stages, you know ? Andreas lives in Southern Germany and Randy Reaper in England, so we have to see, when we will be able to rehearse with all members.

Q: Man, what do you mean with such sonorous band's name? I'm asking because trying to find some info about the band I picked up few pictures with the print of Gustavo Dore among others as "Descending of (Holy) Spirit" is one of key subjects of New Testament story. It was when the Holy Spirit descended upon disciples after Christ's execution. Though I am not sure that you were thinking about it choosing a name to your band…. But why not?
A: This is really a good question, to be honest, the band name was chosen due to personal a way a kind of "holy spirit" descended upon me in 2008. I have been very ill for a while, had a complete breakdown, could not move the complete right half of my body, but I had a strong will to recover, to be able to play my instruments again. This will could be compared to a kind of descending spirit, because I got well within a very short time again, this was not expected by anyone, but it happened that way. A short time after my recovery I started writing new songs, so this was the birth of Spirit Descent. I am not very religious in a "christian" way, I am more into northern mythology and pagan thoughts, you know ?

Q: Hail Odin, of course I know about northern tradition! And the way how Odin got his illumination is similar to the way of Christ, man, there's much more lays beneath these tales. You played at least in four different bands besides Spirit Descent, what is your current "main" band? Is it difficult to share and channel your energy in diverse ways?
A: This question is almost obsolete, because I have cancelled all other bands and musical involvements during the last 2 years....Spirit Descent is my one and only main-band, I may appear as session-artist in other bands as well, but I don't have to channel my creative energy anymore, though, that was not a problem in the past. In a way I am still involved with my former band Cold Embrace as a kind of "musical adviser", but as I said, this is not a problem of creativity.

Q: By the way, other gentlemen of Spirit Descent played in different bands too, it's not an original question but what did drive you all to play traditional doom metal as all of you were busy with other projects?
A:  Well, meanwhile all of us a not involved in other bands anymore apart from Randy Reaper. Jan's former band Deceptive Silence already split up when Spirit Descent was formed, Guido left both of his other bands due to personal issues and Andreas is not involved in any other musical projects as well. Traditional epic doom metal is exactly what we always wanted to play, especially Jan and me, it was our vision, so we realized it. Guido may have a different background, but as soon as he joined our band he has become more and more interested in playing slower songs;) He is a very talented musicians with a much wider background than all of us, less conservative and it maybe an advantage he lacks this almost narrow-minded "true doom attitude", I have (yes, I confess, hahaha....;)).Meanwhile Jan, Guido and me are the core of Spirit Descent.

Q: Don't you think that there is a time now of the new dawn of traditional doom? If it's sun ever set indeed… There are a lot of really good and original bands in last few years, for example The Lamp of Thoth where your mate Randolph T. Reaper plays. Ha! And you have a song named "New Dawn" at least!
A: In a way, there seems to be a kind of doom-revival right now, but if you take a closer look at the "new" uprising bands, most of their members had been playing in other doom metal-bands before, so they may just continue, where they stopped with their former bands. The Lamp Of Thoth is a really good example of traditional doom, indeed ! We had been producing their albums so far at our studio (Rosenquarz Studio, Lübeck, Germany), this explains, why there is such a good contact. The song "A New Dawn" is very personal, dedicated to my loved one, she gave me some new views on to several matters of life and something changed in a very positive way, but in a way, you could easily find a connection between this experience and the dawning of the new generation of doom metal...( Myspace )

Q: Andreas, you're also responsible for vocal lines in Spirit Descent, do you have lead or back vocal parties as it is in the "Alternating Reality" song?
A: Most of the vocal-lines are done by Jan, he is our lead-singer, so it is his job !;) There are some exceptions (btw, "Alternating Reality" is done by Jan, the meantime I removed this song from our Myspace-account, an official, rerecorded version will appear on the split I mentioned in the beginning...). "The Path Of Doom" (partially, mainly the verses) and "A New Dawn" feature my vocal-work...I wrote the lyrics, I had already done the vocals for these songs on our "A New Doom Is Rising"-demo. We'll see, how we will share our vocal-work on future releases and if we will use second or third voices when playing live .Generally spoken, I prefer live appearances to be rougher and a little more stripped down, so I think, there will be no extra voices....we will just concentrate on invoking the spirit of doom, when we will be entering the stages;)

Q: Don't you have your nose in the air after such great reviews of your first release "Doominion" in leading metal web-zines? Of course such great results were got for your fair and laborious work but you have a chance to become doom-stars :-) If such a term could exist…
A: I don't like the thought of becoming a "doom-star", because doom and stardom are completely opposite. According to the reviews, of course I am a little bit proud, when I read 10 out of 10 reviews, but I don't have my nose in the the way, meanwhile there are some more reviews an not all of them were good, in fact, there are some 5-6/10 in between, mostly written by younger non-doomsters without any relation to doom at all....due to that Doominion is distributed almost everywhere and the promotional work here in Germany is done by a professional company, every single magazine or webzine is provided with copies of our release. Sometimes it scares me a little bit, because I rather would keep Spirit Descent more underground, but this is also mentioned in most of the reviews...doom-fans will love it, all others  will be bored....To be honest, I don't care for the younger metalcore-kid, he should buy the newest super-trendy, drum-triggered, vocal-processed bullshit release in his genre and stay away from Spirit Descent.

Q: For what do you like about "Doominion" as looking at this CD from a standpoint of simple listener - not as it's author? What are necessary components of good, successful traditional doom songs?
A: It is quite difficult to look at own compositions from a listeners view, so I prefer being the author in that case...;-)....I think, the creation of good doom needs a certain attitude, either you are into doom or you are not, it seems to be a matter of desire from the moment of birth, it is not a matter of mind, but a matter of emotions, you know? A band like Warning is a very good example, they created masterpieces that simply can't be repeated anymore.

Q: What is more difficult for you as a music writer? Do you look over at other bands trying not to repeat their ideas? What was your best result as a composer?
A: Usually I don't listen to other doom-bands when I am writing new songs, if there should be some parts, that could be a repitition of something that already exists, well....that's life, you know ? In a way doom metal is a limited genre, I bet, you won't find any absolute new riffs or melodies, it is a matter of arrangement. To be honest, some reviewers called us "copycat" according to Candlemass, but I don't think, "Doominion" sounds like Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus or whatever.....just because the music is in the same vein, it doesn't mean, we are trying to copy their style, that is pure nonsense ! There are some new songs coming up apart from those, that will appear on the split-release and I think, they are a little different from the songs on "Doominion", I think, they have a wider range without leaving the traditional path, next time, I won't be doing all of the songwriting-work by myself, before we start recording new songs, every band-member will be a part of the process.

Q: How did you compose "The Path of Doom" song? Truly to say I didn't pay attention to it when I saw it for the first time in your track-list in MySpace because most of doom-bands have in their stock song with the word "doom" in it's name, but it's masterpiece indeed!
A: Thank you very much ! "The Path Of Doom" was indeed the first song ever under the banner of Spirit Descent...the message is absolutely clear: we follow the path of doom and won't leave it!
This song may be the bridge between Cold Embrace and Spirit Descent, warrior-lyrics, a kind of "Never give up, fight `till death, never surrender"-spirit within the lyrics (close to the lyrics I wrote for Cold Embrace) in combination with a very traditional and epic approach to doom. I think Cold Embrace sometimes was a little bit too open-minded when talking about influences, I wanted Spirit Descent to be more clear when talking about keyboards, no violins, but riffs and melodies based on guitars, strictly traditional and METAL. That does not mean, I dislike, what I did with Cold Embrace, I still love the "Age Of Doom"-album and the guitar-sound on our first release "Ode To Sorrow", these albums are still a part of my personal history ! I always preferred the traditional, epic doom metal-stuff instead of heading towards droning, fuzzy stoner-rock or cookie-monster doom-death, you know ?....And we had a lot of epic stuff in Cold Embrace ! I prefer doom being epic, dreamy, melancholic, melodic but still METAL instead of just putting my faith on 40 BPM, low A chord sustaining for some minutes and doing "bbbbbuuuuuuaaaaaaarghhhhh", I did that when I was much younger so I think, no one should criticize me for having evolved !

Q: Andreas, it's said that the vinyl-edition of "Doominion" will be released in early 2011 and will feature an extra bonus-track and redesigned artwork. First of all, what is this bonus-track? And why did you decide to release this album as an vinyl, don't you think that it's some kind of fetishism?
A: To roll this question up from behind. Of course, there is a kind of fetishism when talking about vinyl, it reminds me of lucky days in the late 80's, early 90's when I did not have a cd-player, it is a ritual to cleanse a LP and listen to the slight, warm crackle.....much more personal than this small piece of plastic filled with one's and zero's...The decision was made by our label Eyes Like Snow and was one of the main reasons, why we signed there, I am almost sure, that most of the listeners will prefer buying the LP instead of the CD. Meanwhile I am not so sure anymore, if the cover will be completely redesigned, maybe just some adjustments, the artwork is good, I still like it, so why change it completely? By the way, the LP-release will feature 2 separate bonus-tracks on an extra 7". The first one will be the hidden track on the CD release ("Veracity"), the second one another straight heavy-metal-song called "Friend To Foe", so this bonus-7" will be for the headbanging fraction:-)

Q: Who was the author of the idea to compose the song "The Tragedy of Captain Scott", it's a grandiose track with really dark story behind it. I think it was a great idea to write the song about the person who did really exist. I remember your colleagues from the Ahab band, I think that musicians must do songs about such things, just to remind us about heroes of our time or of the past, about dangers of our time.
A: I fully agree, I have been studying history, scandinavian language and archeology for a while so this may show, how much I care about historical events and heroes of the past: They mean a lot to me ! If you don't know your roots, your history, you will not be able to create your future ! The lyrics were Jan's idea, he is as much into history as I am and he loves dramatic tales of struggle and heroism, Robert Falcon Scott was a true hero, who died for his belief and this song is a dedication. By the way, this is not our first "history lesson in dark doom"...."Of A Nation Forlorn" on the "Doominion"-album is about the downfall of the Maya-culture, ok, also inspired by the Mel Gibson-movie "Apocalypto", but if something catches Jan's interest and inspires him to write lyrics, he does a lot of researching-work by reading a lot of books just to refine his knowledge. Maybe someday we will compose a concept-album....who knows ?

Q: Don't you think that music is not only for relaxing or aesthetic pleasure, it has to make people think sometimes too, don't you?
A: Yes indeed...and I can only repeat, what I always say: READ THE LYRICS !!!! Or, at least, if not available, LISTEN to them ! An epic doom-metal-song MUST contain good lyrics, like a tale...So many listeners do not care for lyrics at all, but if you really want to understand the music you cannot avoid listening to the lyrics....Well, if you are in a stoner-rock-band "Yeah, baby, smoke it !" should be enough, but this does not move me at all....lyrics have to carry a certain message.

Q: Not all of our readers (and to my blame - me too) know about the gentlemen at the Eyes Like Snow label, it would be right if you'll tell us about it. How do these men do they job?
A; Well, Torsten from Eyes Like Snow, which is a division of Northern Silence Productions does a really fantastic job, the deal is absolutely fair according to matter of sales and distribution ! Meanwhile his bands are distributed via Soulfood and the promotional work is done by Sure Shot Worx. I really can't complain, but as I said in another question, it is a little more than pure underground, of course there are a lot of advantages, but from the view of an artist that has been playing in one of the doom metal scenes best kept secrets before, it sometimes may be frightening, how fast the rumors are spread.

Q: And talking about bands and labels we sometimes forget about those who spread the Word of Doom - about web-zines and web-radios. I know about the great German web-zine Doom Metal Front: their way of work is very effective with magazines and epic mp3-compilations which are free for download, they do their job very good with devotion and responsibility.
A: To be honest, I would call Sven, the head of DMF-Zine a good friend meanwhile, sometimes we talk for hours about doom and the world.....He was the first one to take notice of us by the way, just a few days after we uploaded our "A New Doom Is Rising"-Demo and he loved it. He is a devoted doomhead, we have a similar background when talking about, how we got into doom back in the old days. His work is brilliant, of course, he is trying to put DMF-Zine out as printed issue one day, that is only a matter of money and distribution, but I really think, he'll make it and I'll wish him and his crew best luck with their zine! Doom Metal Front Zine will become the leading underground-zine according to low-bpm-rated music in Germany, that's for sure !

Q: Andreas, it is the last question for this time! Thank you comrade, and please send my best wishes to your colleagues of Spirit Descent, hope to hear news from you soon. It's very exciting that such bands as your's exist - thank you for that… Do you have something to add?
A: Thank you very much for your questions, it has been a pleasure to answer ! Of course, I'll keep you updated according to news about the band. The only thing, I want to add, the so-called famous last words: FOLLOW THE PATH OF DOOM AND NEVER SURRENDER !!!
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Spirit Descent @ Myspace
Eyes Like Snow Records

Sep 23, 2010

Psi Corps - All Roads Lead To Amber

Psi Corps is a side project of Alisa Coral from Space Mirrors. Alisa is a accomplished musician and a music visionary. The Alisa Coral story began somewhere in the late 90s in Moscow when she played bass and keyboards in a variety of local heavy-metal bands. That music appeared to stifle Alisa, and she pursued a solo career in 2001. Few recordings were produced at her newly equipped home-studio. It was a surprising departure from metal intensity and from guitar-oriented music in general. Instead, she worked primary with synthesizers, creating cold, sorrowful and sometimes sinister ambiance not so far from Gothic-industrial and post-industrial exercises. In August 2002, SPACE MIRRORS  were born, an “Infernal Apocalyptic Space Rock” duo of Alisa Coral and Australian guitarist Michael Blackman (ALIEN DREAM) which put out a string of remarkably intense albums with internationally acclaimed guest-performers: multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen (AYREON, STAR ONE), bassist Martin Litmus (LITMUS), vocalists Metatron (THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL) and Martyr Lucifer (HORTUS ANIMAE), saxophonist Nik Turner (of HAWKWIND and SPACE RITUAL fame) among others. Launched in 2008, Alisa Coral’s newest project PSI CORPS lies somewhere in between various aesthetics: dark rock, kraut rock, progressive rock, experimental and cinematic ambient. (source: Russian Association Of Independent Genres - Psi Corps).

Psi Corps is a project that records albums based on themes from books, the previous album "Tekeli-li" was based on a work from Edgar Allan Poe and with this new album titled "All Roads Lead To Amber" the author of choice is the fantasy writer Roger Zelazny. Alisa Coral (bass, effects, theremin, synthesizers and drums), has teamed up with Charles Van de Kree (electric and acoustic guitars, guitar synths, and de-tuned glockenspiel), of Jet Jaguar but also Arkady Fedotov of Vespero who adds some bass work. The album is split into two parts but its basically nine well crafted pieces that blend ambient atmospheric sections with heavy guitar parts and space-rock inspired synthesizers. Being more or less an concept album, the recording  flows like its one long piece lasting more than a hour but don't be put off by the "concept" tag. Its not a self-indulgent type of album but rather a collection of great songs that blend and flow together into a flawless soundtrack that matches the visions of writer Roger Zelazny. The medi-evil fantasy themes are recreated here musically with dark, brooding themes mixed with psychedelic hypnotic sections. The music is very cinematic with sounds resembling what you would read in the fantasy inspired writings.

What is also very effective is the mixture of loud and quiet parts which is perfect for both headphones or a surround-sound system, quiet parts that are both strange and unique blend well with loud sections that are dark and menacing. If you have ever heard Alisa's other band Space Mirrors you would know she has a natural talent for creating Space Rock sounds made famous by Hawkwind, Tangerine Dream and Ozric Tentacles and Psi Corps really isn't that much different apart from the concept album angle. Along with Alisa's incredible musical talent, Charles Van de Kree is also a stunning musician, some of his guitar work here is breath-taking and is an impeccable match for Alisa'a musical visions. The use of guitar effects and spacey sounds gives everything a very spacious atmosphere and you even get the use of the theremin! The album is not too complex but its no easy-listening experience either, the constantly shifting sound-scapes and mood changes make this an challenging album to listen to but along the way there is also some powerful emotional moments that keep your attention level up to a premium. Zelazny is known for his dark and brooding tales and on that level this album compliments it very well. This is a album for ambient music fans as well as prog-rock fans but its the lovers of Space Rock that will mostly appreciate whats on offer on "All Roads Lead To Amber". 8.5/10

Psi Corps @ Myspace
Raig Records

The Re-Stoned - Revealed Gravitation

There is nothing like a good instrumental hard and heavy jam-out session and here comes The Re-Stoned from Moscow, Russia that delivers just that on their album "Revealed Gravitation" released on the excellent RAIG Records label. The cool thing about this band is the amount of ground they cover, from the instrumental sounds of The Atomic Bitchwax, Karma To Burn to space/psych rock sounds of Nebula to Desert Rock of Kyuss to all out 70's riff-rock worship in the style of early Fu Manchu and a lot in-between. The Re-Stoned also pull out its fair of psychedelia as well making this one of the better instrumental albums to be released in recent years. The power trio is made of Ilya Lipkin (guitars, effects and voices), Vladimir Nikulin (bass) and Andrey Pankratov (drums) and have already released a 4 track EP called The "Return Of The Reptiles" in 2009. Another point of interest is this is album was mixed and mastered by Alisa Coral from Psi Corps, another great band on the RAIG label that I will be reviewing very soon. The album art is an spacey, psychedelic image so it is a perfect match to the music on this 60+ minute album which goes from the heavy to bluesy to ambient to doom to psychedelic and back again.

Rather than having some standout tracks and a few fillers, this album is solid throughout and flows wonderfully well so it comes off as an complete piece of work rather than just a collection of songs. The opening three tracks, "Gravitation", "The Mountain Giant" and "Space" (watch the video below) are a killer threesome to begin the disc. The guitar work is very multi-dimensional and dexterous combining flange pedals, phase effects and plenty of wild killer riffing. The bass work of Vladimir Nikulin is outstanding in the grooves he unleashes, being a bass lover myself I spend most of my time listening to this album being zoned in his wonderful throbbing and groovy bass lines. The drumming of Andrey Pankratov is also a powerhouse performance and provides an perfect back-up for Nikulin. "Gravitation" is a Stoner Metal riff workout, "The Mountain Giant" is more of a energetic but bluesy psychedelic tune while "Space" is a slightly laid-back rock-jam that lets you mind wander into the cosmos. On "Bells", the band takes on a more experimental approach that builds in atmosphere throughout its 7 minutes. "Fra Fuf" on the other hand sounds very American and is total Stoner/Sludge riffage with the bass player working really hard, this tune is really exciting.

"Green Triangles" also features some wild bass lines and is upbeat and infectious while the following "Orient Of Doom" is a mesmerizing downer-rock tune and is one of the more Doom Metal influenced songs on the album. "Moriarty’s Blues" brings in a guest muso in Pavel Panfilov who delivers a stunning performance on what sounds like a very old Hammond organ, the sound is 70's and very organic. This is the odd track out in terms of atmosphere but is actually one of the real high-points of the album. The album never stops supplying magic moments as the next tune titled "Eternal Search" is also a great track, again it builds in atmosphere adding new dimensions along the way. "Electric Storm" brings the band back to killer riffage and infectious hooks, the guitarist is again on fire unleashing stunning guitar breaks. The album ends on "Sleeping World" which is another odd track out as it ends the album on a very relaxed note, its still a majestic piece of musicianship but something more upbeat and rocking I would have thought would have been a better choice for a closing track. Yet again. RAIG Records have released another killer album adding to their already amazing catalog, The Re-Stoned are a excellent band and very diverse within the framework of instrumental Stoner meets Psychedelic Rock. If you admire the work of all the bands I have already mentioned, you should find this an irresistible album. The Re-Stoned and RAIG Records deliver the goods...9/10

The Re-Stoned @ Myspace
Raig Records
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