Apr 30, 2011

YOB Preparing To Enter Studio ...

American doom metal titans YOB have entered Dogwood Studios in Eugene, Oregon with producer Jeff Olsen to begin work on their sixth album. This marks the second time that the band has teamed with Profound Lore Records, the first being for 2009's highly regarded "The Great Cessation".

Commented YOB vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt: "We will be recording with Jeff Olsen at Dogwood Studios in Eugene, Oregon, where every YOB recording has been realized. Profound Lore will be handling the album's release and we couldn't be happier.

"This album is very aggressive. Certainly it has all of the elements of our other albums, but it propels and pummels in ways that are unique in our catalogue.

"We are very excited to share this new music with our friends worldwide.

"YOB has received many request over the years to tour again. This year, we will do exactly that. After we are done recording, we will begin rehearsing for a full U.S. tour beginning the first week of July, followed by a full European tour in September.

"We are thrilled to announce that our labelmates DARK CASTLE will be accompanying YOB on all of the dates both in the U.S. and in Europe, with Rob Shaffer of DARK CASTLE laying down drums for YOB on both tours.

"It is going to be a great year for us, and we can't wait to see you on the road! DOOM!!!

The Orange Goblin / Gates Of Slumber / Naam Tour ...

The Orange Goblin / Gates Of Slumber / Naam tour is coming

05/28/11 Santos Party House, New York NY w/ Orange Goblin
05/31/11 Casbah@Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte NC w/ Orange Goblin
06/01/11 The Earl, Atlanta GA w/ Orange Goblin
06/02/11 One Eyed Jacks, New Orleans LA w/ Orange Goblin
06/03/11 Liquid Sludge Fest @ Scoot Inn, Austin TX w/Kylesa, Orange Goblin
06/04/11 Launchpad, Albuquerque NM w/ Orange Goblin
06/05/11 Clubhouse, Tempe AZ w/ Orange Goblin
06/06/11 Troubadour, Los Angeles CA w/ Orange Goblin
06/07/11 Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco CA w/ Orange Goblin
06/09/11 Dante’s, Portland OR w/ Orange Goblin
06/10/11 Studio Seven, Seattle WA w/ Orange Goblin

Apr 29, 2011

Benighted in Sodom - Reverse Baptism ...

Matron Thorn - the man behind Benighted In Sodom is one of the prolific musicians in the depressive black metal scene, this album 'Reverse Baptism' is his 10th full-length album in 4 years and then there is many splits and EP's also recorded in the last 4 years. Actually he records so often, it is almost impossible to keep up with what he is doing. Quantity usually means lack of quality but not in this case. The albums have always maintained a consistent quality and while some are better than others, this man has never released anything average. Also usually these one-man black doom projects are hurt by poor production values but yet again, the production on Benighted In Sodom has always been pretty good.

The latest album, 'Reverse Baptism' has no surprises, it carries on with the same sound and style as their other albums. The ethereal atmospheric approach that has become the bands trademark is here again, as is the lyrical themes of self-loathing and hatred. Musically it is still black metal mixed with ambient Doom but there is perhaps a bit more melody this time around. How the hardcore black-metallers will react to this will be interesting but those of you with a open-mind should find most of this album mesmerizing in a depressing kind of way. Benighted In Sodom is a little different from most in this genre of music, the almost soothing black metal at times sounds out-of-place with the ugly vocals but when it works, it is very hypnotic.

There is no real standout tracks on the album but there is also no overly weak tracks either. The two-part Ocean is a little hard to take though at a combined playing time of 24 minutes but apart from that, the album is an easy recording to get through. There is some ugly, menacing doom riffing with the odd serving of blast-beats which usually hurts the atmosphere more than anything else on the album. This is a band that will most likely stay obscure forever which is a shame but I can understand how most people wont hear the beauty in Matron Thorn's work. Of course black metal heads will say, it's too doomy and doom-heads will say it is too black metal but personally I find the style intriguing. 'Hybrid Parasite Evangelistica' for my money still remains this bands finest work as this album doesn't quite reach the standard set by that disc but it still blows away most other black/doom crossover acts.....7.5/10

Benighted in Sodom Official Facebook
Benighted in Sodom @ MySpace
Matron Thorn @ Blogspot

Sinister Gospels - A Interview With Year Of The Goat ...

Year Of The Goat take inspiration from the occult rock bands of the late sixties and early seventies such as Coven and Black Widow, as well as Pentagram and Black Sabbath.  Unlike some other Swedish bands who dabble in dark music such as Witchcraft and Graveyard, musically Year Of The Goat are not a direct clone-band, they actually sound fresh and are breathing new life into this style which has started to get a little stale recently. Sandrijn van den Oever caught up Thomas & Jonas from the band for this interview...But first here is their bio taken from Facebook...

“They walk through the mist, to an ancient place, gathering for the King, to invoke his name, potion from the darkest well, opens for pagan souls, hear the angels of heaven wailing, as they call for the lord of darkness...”
The setting is one of archetypal horror: a gathering of evil entities celebrating the coming of their king in a secluded, rural place pregnant with age and surrounded by mystery, a picture audibly painted close to perfection by so many dark luminaries in the past – Pentagram, Sabbath, Black Widow, Coven...

YEAR OF THE GOAT, while recognizing that the 60’s and 70’s saw the birth of true genius within the performance of dark art, aim is to abolish time and make you see it for the illusion it is - sinister gospels with properly dank atmospheres can be created whenever and wherever.

Thomas Eriksson (vocals, guitar) received vision in 2006. Since then an amalgamation of different elements has taken place, Fredrik Hellerström (drums), Per Broddesson (guitar), Tobias Resch (bass) and Jonas Mattsson (guitar) now constitute one sombre congregation whose debut MCD Lucem Ferre is due for release in (April/May ?) through Ván Records.
Lucem Ferre, which is latin for The bringer of light/The son of desert fire/Lucifer, consists of four gospels: Of Darkness, Vermillion Clouds, Lucem Ferre and a cover of the Sam Gopal song The Dark Lord (originally sung by Lemmy).
In these times of global upheaval YEAR OF THE GOAT will add fire to chaos and ignite the branches spread out for Christ by his flock to further the triumphal return of a Lord that never left… So rejoice in sin, every hour and every second is yours and yours only, just like every year is, and always has been, the YEAR OF THE GOAT!

Q: Wolf, thank you for giving us the opportunity to interview you guys! Year Of The Goat created quite a buzz the last weeks, look at the amount of reviews on Lucem Ferre circling the internet for example. How do you experience this media attention?

Greetings Sandrijn, Thomas and Jonas here.
J: Yes, it seems people like what they’ve heard so far. Of course it is charming that people like it and we would lie if that wasn’t part of the plan. However we will never change our style based on people's reviews or opinions. I believe we have been playing music for so long now that to some extent you know what sounds good in a human ear.
T: It nice that the media is making a buzz about us. I think its only natural when new interesting music comes along, hopefully we go under that category.

Q: As far as I could see on the internet, this is one of the first interviews. To start, could you lift a tip of the veil about the history of the band members? Rumored to be Swedish, which bands are Year Of The Goat’s band members linked to?

J: You are correct about Sweden. We are from different parts around the middle of Sweden. We do have links to other bands and there’s info to be found on different sites, but we’ll leave the other bands out of this and leave the detective work to the listeners.

Q: Fenriz recently proclaimed Year Of The Goat band of the week! Quite an honor I think? Fenriz states ‘my guess is Sweden’. And a friend of mine coined the name: mystery bands (like Ghost). Do you deliberately create an atmosphere of mystery around Year Of The Goat? If so, why?

T: Hail to Fenriz!!! No we are new upcoming band and that is why theres not much information. But there will be a webpage for YoG shortly.
J: Of course it’s an honor when Fenriz does a statement like that. I’ve had a couple of ”band of the week” with Darkthrone aswell so that’s cool. A positive thing is that lots of people read his blog and that helps us spreading our name.
We have never deliberately planned to be a “mystery band”. And if this is the fact right now it’s not that strange. We are just about to make our first official release.

Q: What is it about Sweden and quality heavy metal and rock? Thanks to In Solitude I recently got into the whole NWOSHM thing.

J: Is there a NWOSHM?? Then what is SHM?? Yngwie Malmsteen?? Heavy Load??
I have no idea what brings out good bands from Sweden. I do agree with you though. There is lots of quality coming out of Sweden but of course there’s also lots of crap.
It might have something to do with the climate. I honestly have no idea. But I have the same opinion about Great Britain. Be it Heavy metal, crust, psychedelic or doom they almost always release quality. So it either has to be the climate or something in the water.

Q: Why did you choose Germany based Van Records to release your début?
T: I think it comes out naturally for us to sign with Van, because i worked with Sven before YoG was formed. And i think he has a really good roster with bands, and we are very proud to be on that roster!

Q: Looking at doom, stoner & heavy psychedelics, what exactly is your take on the new wave of occult retro doomsters like Blood Ceremony, Sabbath Assembly, Devil’s Blood, Jex Thoth and the like? Does Year Of The Goat fit within this niche?

J: The only band I’ve really listened to is The Devil’s Blood and Sabbath Assembly. The others doesn’t really speak to me. But as far as TDB goes I guess we would fit in the same niche. We both have more hooks and melodies compared to the other bands you mentioned. But if people need to place us in a genre I guess they would place in some sort of retro doom/rock.
T: I think that TDB is an amazing band!

Q:What is your take on ‘the occult’? Ornament or fundamental?
J: Both in my opinion. An ornament lyrically, a fundamental in way of living.

Q: What makes Year Of The Goat so special? What sets Year Of The Goat apart from other bands operating within the same niche?
J: I believe that’s up to the listeners to decide. What makes us different is that I think we are more progressive than other bands.
T: i think that we have a good mixture of both progressive songs and shorter songs with more common structure. It´s important to have a strong melody and a good structure in all songs.

Q:The obvious question: what are your influences? Music, literature, movies, games, you name it.
J: Musically, everything that sounds good. Be it rock from the 60’s and 70’s, ambient music from for example Bo Hansson (a Swedish organist) or metal in different styles.
I hardly ever read but I do watch a lot of movies. Lots of horror movies of course but anything that makes sense. There are some movies I could see over and over like Evil Dead, The Beyond, The Exorcist I and III, Amityville II – The Possession, Requiem for a Dream, Jacob’s Ladder, Cube etc.
T: 60´s and 70´s music, art and movies is my biggest influence. But i receive inspiration from new bands, books and movies as well. Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky is a good  example of a movie, that i find inspiring.

Q: The 6th of May Lucem Ferre is released on Van Records. I heard a lot of people pre-ordered the album. How will Year Of The Goat’s future look like?
T:I´m proud that Lucem Ferre is going well and it hasn’t been released yet. I wasnt even aware that so many people had this interest in YoG.
J:From here on we will finish the material for our full-length album. We have a few songs to complete and if everything goes as planned we will start recording during autumn.

Q:Are you planning on touring Holland? If so, let me know J.
J: We will tour anywhere if the time is right and make sure not to miss it.
T: Love to play in Holland i think you guys have an amazing scene over there!

Q:Thanks for this interview, and I hope to catch Year Of The Goat live soon!!
Thomas and Jonas:  Thank you Sandrijn and the best of luck with doommantia.
Interview  By Sandrijn van den Oever

Year Of The Goat @ Facebook
Year Of The Goat @ Reverbnation
Van Records

Apr 28, 2011

Egypt - S/T

Doommantia doesn't review many old albums but now and then a request comes in for one that deserves to be reviewed no matter what. This band Egypt was formed in Fargo, ND in 2003 and split up in 2005 but in that time recorded a 4 track demo that eventually got released on vinyl in 2008 by Lyderhorn Records. Still the band remained obscure but thanks to Meteorcity Records - that might end soon as just last year they released the demo on CD. Also strangely coincidental, the great Crestfallen Podcast recently played one of their killer tracks - I guess great minds think alike ha ha. The band made up of Aaron Esterby-Vocals &  Bass, Chad Heille-Percussion and Ryan Grahn-Guitar were not the most original band around but this album is a pure gem that all doom-heads should appreciate especially if  the sounds of Sleep and Saint Vitus mixed with 70's psychedelic rock sounds is your cup of stoner-doom.

There is only four songs on this album but the bands execution on each track is total perfection. The opening track, 'Valley of the Kings' starts with a relaxing groove before knocking your ass in the dirt with thunderous rhythms and sophisticated melodies. Aaron Esterby’s bass is thick and sleazy and is the driving force behind most of the music. His voice is also stunningly good as he has a great vocal range, almost like a doom-metal version of Chris Cornell. Guitarist, Ryan Grahn doesn't do anything flashy or complex but his playing is wonderfully psychedelic and manages to create a surreal kind of desert-atmosphere in these tunes. The drumming of Chad Heille is dead basic but it suits the band's songs perfectly and the sound of the drums is suitably warm and earthly. By the time 'Valley of the Kings' has run its course, you are already mesmerized by the band and the best is yet to come.

'Queen of All Time (Red Giant)' is the most stoner-ish tune of the four and certainly the one that is the closest to bands like Sleep. This tune is classic stoner-doom with an opening hypnotic bass line that builds up into a churning, pulsating sabbathian groove much like Sleep's 'Dragonaut.' The band was very fluent in terms of songwriting as they have class in their grooves, there is moments of Hendrix and Clapton inspired bluesy grooves just as much as they have elements of Iommi's riffing techniques. The songs might be un-original but they more than make up for it with pure sophistication. The next tune up is 'Dirty Witch' which is like Sabbath gone funk-rock and there is no question about it, if this one doesn't get your head nodding, you must be dead. The tune is so damn catchy, it is impossible to sit still to this tune. The album ends on 'Touch Ground' which starts kind of quirky but ends up being totally epic in every possible way. The grooves, the feels, the riffs are just irresistible.

This album makes me think of what stoner-doom might have sounded like if it had truly existed in the mid 70's. It is stoner, metal, psychedelic and doom but it also has a slightly cheesy, funky blues - rock flavor. Egypt has been re-released by Meteor City to hopefully spread their music to the people who didn't hear them the first time around which was next to nobody anyway. Seeing they were only around for 2 years and only have 4 songs to be remembered by, it is kind of sad that this is all there is. I hope this album creates enough of a buzz that it might push the people involved to think about re-forming the band. This album is a undiscovered masterpiece of stoner-doom history that must be investigated by everyone reading this........9.5/10

Egypt @ Myspace

INDIAN – Guilty Of Being Sludge ...

Chicago-based sludge metal mongers Indian took the sub-genre to its limits of raw heaviness and sheer brutality with their fourth studio record “Guiltless”, which was released through Relapse in April of 2011. Devastating and hammering riffage, extreme vocal abuse and suffocating tempos are what Indian is about. The weak don’t come out of there alive. Will Lindsay, on duty as a guitarist and vocalist, and earlier involved in the Wolves in the Throne Room and Nachtmystium, told We Wither about his bands and other extremely important issues.

I have to tell you „Guiltless” is a ruthless, merciless, radical album. You don’t play blast beats or participate in the metal-racing contest but still it’s very extreme. Is it your heaviest album so far?

I feel that it is, but various people will no doubt have various opinions. A lot of people into Indian still swear by “The Unquiet Sky” as the heaviest.

How do you get such a heavy sound? Is it only a matter of production?
Production certainly plays a role in the heavy sound. The equipment that we use is very crucial to the heavy sound, as well. The guitars were Les Pauls, a Monson Doomsayer and a Lakland bass. The amps were Sunn Model Ts, a Marshall JCM 800 2203 and an Acoustic 370. The cabinets and drums were all Emperors. Sanford's expertise and knowledge as an engineer was very important, as well.

Does the album have a concept in terms of the lyrics? Could you point out the most important things you sing about on “Guiltless”?
There is a concept through the album but Dylan wrote almost all of the lyrics and I wouldn't feel comfortable commenting on what he wrote. The lyrics that I wrote tie into the concept of being guiltless and are about a personal experience in my not-too-distant past. I'm afraid it is something I can't really get into, though, as I wouldn't want to name or embarrass the people involved in the aforementioned experience.

Does your band name mean that you identify with the native Americans in the way you feel like rejects and misfits, or is that explanation a little bit too obvious and naive?
The band started before I was a member and I never have asked why they chose that name. I would imagine that it is something other than the idea that you mentioned, though.

Is there a distinct line between doom and sludge in modern metal? What would you rather call Indian?
I don't really have an opinion. However, a lot of other people seem to. I personally don't have a preference in which term people use to describe us. Whatever is going to help them make sense of what we're doing or whatever is going to give them a comfortable reference point is on them.

You have been recording with Sanford Parker, who has produced lots of awesome albums is the last couple of years. What is the best thing about working with him?
Sanford is a good friend of ours. There are a lot of great things about working with him. He's actively involved in the “scene” or “genre” or whatever beyond his role as an engineer. He has a lot of good ideas and he is not afraid to voice them. He also has a high level of tolerance for people and their idiosyncrasies, which is a key and often overlooked element of being an engineer.

How close is Indian with the hardcore/punk Chicago scene?
I've only been living out here since July and have not really gotten involved in the local punk/hardcore scene. I haven't really been involved in the local punk/hardcore scene since I lived in Eugene, OR, honestly.

I really like your artwork. I generally love bands that stick to certain aesthetics and develop it from album to album. Could you tell me about the graphic artists you have worked with?
The only artist we have worked with for our album-related stuff has been Scott Fricke. He is a tattooist here in Chicago and a good friend of the band. Scott has been very good at making visual representations of our music and ideas. He actually spent some time at the studio with us to get his ideas for what to do with the artwork for “Guiltless”.

You seem to love tattoos and all of the Indian covers look like perfect ideas for a tattoo. Did you get any of them inked yet?
I have the pentagram that we use for our logo on my shoulder. Everyone in the band with the exception of Sean has the pentagram. I don't know that I would get album-specific tattoos, but I do love Scott's style and look forward to having him tattoo me in the future.
Read The Rest Of The Interview At We Wither
Interview By Adam Drzewucki

Official Page
Indian @ MySpace

Mhönos - Rotomagus Ritualis

Mysterious, ritualistic drones made through bass layers, amplifier worship, possessed chants and Burzum-inspired ambiance or so says their Myspace bio. Drone has always been a hit or miss kind of genre and even experts at the genre like SunnO))) walk a fine line between being incredibly atmospheric and just plain boring. I have always been real picky about drone-music, when its done well, it is great atmospheric music that can transport your mind to other worlds but at the other end of the scale, it can be the most tedious noise you can imagine.

Also, simply making a never-ending hum or buzz on a bass amp is hardly what you would call music, it is just irritating. A newish band to this genre is 'Mhönos' who have already proven it is better than most other drone-acts with an album titled 'Miserere Nostri' that is very interesting despite being one 45 minute piece - the album is anything but dull.

This new album was recorded live in Rouen and it is truly live as you can hear the audience very clearly on this recording and no they are awake and not yawning their heads off but the album does have some issues in my opinion. It consists of a single 38 minute track and while the extended drones worked on the last album, this time it does seem very one-dimensional. There is low frequencies, incredibly deep bass sounds, chants and distortion but it all sounds far too simple to hold your attention for the entire 38 minutes.

It would have been different for the audience that saw this performance but sitting at home, listening to this on the home-stereo gets tedious very quickly. In a live setting with the right mood-lighting and the right atmosphere, I can imagine this track would be great to watch and hear but sorry, on CD it is lacking anything memorable. However, Mhönos have the right idea and spirit for drone, they know that to be interesting it has to be about the atmosphere, just not amplifier worshiping noise so this is still better than most drone albums, check it out if you are a fan of drone....6/10

Mhonos @ Myspace
Buy Miserere Nostri Here

Apr 27, 2011

Doomsower - Vintage Era ...

Doomsower Portland's doom-titans have been plodding away at their doom-metal for quite some time now and have been ever progressing and building up a loyal following. One listen to their first two demos and you can hear the huge leap in quality between the first and second recordings. The band has turned another page with the release of "Vintage Era," a 4 track, 45 minute monolithic beast of epic-doom metal released on the new Doom Metal Alliance Records label. With any genre of music, if you are passionate about what you play, it comes through in the grooves and that is how it is with Doomsower. Nothing is contrived about this band, they display an honesty and a passion for playing doom-metal. It is not played on a whim, this band truly live the doom-metal experience. The constant playing and perfecting their art is really starting to pay off now with this recording that blows away earlier demos for sound quality and raw heaviness. The major change in the band is they now have grown to a 3 piece with an addition of a bassist, this has filled out the sound immensely. The band was heavy before but they are absolutely bombastic now.

Vintage Era begins with a Doomsower classic, the hellishly tasty "Cimmerian Sunrise." One spin of this nasty animal and you get the impression you are getting a taste of what could become a doom-metal standard in future years. It begins with a sickening tone before a sinister riff kicks in that sets up the depressive vibe of the song. After some hauntingly morbid ambience, the riffing turns to slow-motion guitar crunch, pounding drums all played in an extremely ponderous tempo. Guitarist and Vocalist Justin has a curious voice that doesn't sound like anyone else but could be compared to Reagers in terms of its menacing tone. He has a deathly, almost ill kind of voice, one that exhibits pain, torment and a type of twisted evil. "Cimmerian Sunrise" is a song that is constantly building in atmosphere without ever-changing tempos and that is not easy to do in any genre of music. There is a slight change in arrangement 10 minutes in and it is given some added spookiness with a spoken-word sample. It grinds to a plodding halt some 14 minutes later but somehow this is a catchy 14 minutes of raw menacing doom that keeps your attention throughout. Comparing the band with anyone else if difficult as they simply don't sound like anyone else, maybe Saint Vitus is the closet reference I can give but Doomsower are their own beast with their own unique take on doom-metal.

Second track, "Sower Mighty Sower" by comparison almost seems short and sweet at over 8 minutes long. It kicks off with an apocalyptic whirlwind of guitar/bass thunder before it sets off on its journey. It is more of a mid-tempo chugger by Doomsower standards and has a very infectious groove. The groove is shattered by an almost kind of blues break halfway through with a mesmerizing bass line backed up with gentle guitar-lead runs. "Sower Mighty Sower" gets very hypnotic at this point and lets say kind of druggy showing the band have more than one trick up their wizard-sleeves. The crushing doom soon returns before the tempo increases again slightly and it is pure old-school songwriting in many respects of arrangement with 3 very unique sections filling out the 8 minute tune. "Hexenjager" 3 tunes in, also begins with a screeching guitar intro and caveman-like drumming that neatly sets up the essence of the song. The song is a plodding, crawling piece with a strangely sing-along vocal line, for me it always sounds like Witchfinder General jamming with Saint Vitus on sedatives. I don't think I could play this slow even if I was on tranquilizers. Doomsower have that in-built doom-skill of knowing how to keep up a crawling tempo and keep it locked in a solid groove. Even though most of "Hexenjager" is at the pace of a slug, they still break it up with some killer mid-tempo sections and the infectious hooks that are in those passages basically rule, this is a great but sick tune.

Last track is another monster epic in "As The Sword Splits The Air," and this one is the most different of the four songs. Breaking with the usual bombastic guitar intro, this tune starts off very psychedelic and hypnotic in its ambience. More huge riffage is unleashed and drummer Kalvin rolls around his kit particularly well on this tune, perfectly adding accents to each element of the guitar work. If you read my earlier reviews for the band and I hope you did, you would have read my praise for the drumming. He doesn't play the typical expected beats and his drumming is mostly off the edge of the world somewhere, this gives the songs a real unique character to set them apart from most other bands. "As The Sword Splits The Air" in many respects sums up everything this band is and what will become in the future. It is epic, brooding and an apocalyptic sprawling piece of doom-metal that has an intense atmosphere that is unforgiving. Mostly instrumental, the song showcases all of the band's elements in the one long track. It has the crushing doom-riffing you would want from a doom-band but there is also a lot of subtle psychedelic interplay between the musicians. It is a mesmerizing way to end of a very enjoyable, unique album. I have nothing but praise for Doomsower and I can safely say they have arrived, it is now a matter of time to see if everybody in the doom community picks up on it. The production is done from a old-school D.I.Y approach so it is far from perfect but in the case of Doomsower it gives it a sound of its own. I think they would lose a lot of what they already have if they all of a sudden got a polished production job. I highly urge you to buy yourself a download from the DMA Store or at least go to their bandcamp page and have a listen, I think you will dig their epic dirges...............9/10
Doomsower @ Bandcamp
Doomsower @ Myspace

PLEASE READ: This DOOMSOWER album is now available on CD. Please contact the band for details or contact me and I will pass on the message. PLEASE support this band especially in you believe in the future of US Doom Metal. Again, pick this up on CD - DOOM ON.....

Joyless – Without Support ...

Another outstanding release from Van Records. Joyless sounds like nothing I have been listening to for the last couple of years. Hailing from Norway, Joyless was born out of the ashes of the black metal outfit Forgotten Woods, originated in 1991. Get their As The Wolves Gather! Listening to Forgotten Woods actually shines some light on the original sound of Urfaust. According to last.fm, together with Burzum, Forgotten Woods helped to create the so-called depressive black metal subgenre. Last.fm – always a pleasure to juggle with tags – calls Joyless depressive rock J. Actually, Joyless released quite a few EP’s, LP’s and splits, amongst others with Urfaust.
 It’s hard to pinpoint Joyless sound. The overall atmosphere is one of neurotic, slow lethargy with haunting riffs and a clear voice. You can hear post-punk elements, new wave, ambient and folk all combined into one enthralling release. It is depressive as it is beautiful, so let me stress once again how utterly original this release is. The only way to describe the conjured atmosphere is a mildly happy, demented dreamlike state.
 Have A Nice Fight starts with multiple levels of guitars and a sparse, clean drum. The singer’s vocals are as beautiful as they are fragile. Puberty And Dreams is quite different from the rest of the tracks because of the male voice included. The riff of this 2nd track is truly memorable and has a strong, radio friendly hook. Better is this happy-go-lucky track (‘Every Day Is Better Than The Next’) that serves as a antidote to the ‘depressive’ tag.

Shadow Spree is a fun, poppy new wave kind of a track, with a strong, ‘indie’ riff. Notice how I get tongue-tied & mixed up in tags and labels while trying to describe the tracks of Without Support. Trilobite is quite a punky song with an old school drum and in the spotlight once again the lovely voice of Ida Hellebø. Shimmer And Shine has this slowly, dragging thing going, while Velvet Willows is all sweetness and Velvet Underground. The last track Journey has this nice organ or keyboard, creating an enchanting atmosphere.

For more information on the band, check out this sweet interview on carnagemetal: Carnage Metal Blogspot. This interview sheds some light on the title, Without Support. According to Ida Hellebø, the title refers to the expected reaction from critics because of the unpopular or untrendy sound of Joyless. Well, I have good news for you Joyless: you’ll get support from Doommantia J.

You can listen to Joyless’ De Profundis Domine here: YouTube. And here to their Shimmer And Shine: YouTube.

Review Written By Sandrijn van den Oever
Without Support is now available at Van Records.

8 / 10

Joyless @ Myspace
Joyless @ Facebook
Van Records

Apr 26, 2011

Roadburn 2011 Day One Review By Paul Robertson ...

Roadburn 2011 - Day 1
Tilburg, The Netherlands 14/04/2011
So here I am....I finally made it to Roadburn! Flying into Amsterdam the day before it all kicked off, the sense of excitement was palpable. Who would I get to see? Who would surprise me? Who would be a let-down? Well, read on....
I decided to head to the Midi Theatre, just around the corner from the main venue – the 013 – after having picked up my guest/press wristband, in order to see The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, whom I recently reviewed for this very website.
Since the weather outside was so pleasant and sunny, the band had opted to play with very subdued lighting, in order to help conjure up some moody late-night ambience to match their music. It worked a treat. Dark, mean and sultry, the band slithered out deep shuddering slabs of bass, splintered, almost atonal, piano and Chet Baker-esque sobbing trumpet lines, accompanied by a back projected movie with a definite hazy urban-noir quality. A disembodied female vocalist spilled out booze-soaked blues atop the audio collage, chilling the hearts of all present, making us all forget that outside all was sunny and bright.
An inspired choice for an opening act, as the laid-back doom and gloom purveyed by TKDE was exactly what was needed to ease us into the spirit of the festival.

Cutting the set short, I headed back to the 013 in hopes of catching some of Quest For Fire. Sadly, I was denied due to the band playing in the 'Bat cave', a tiny room right at the top of the 013 that holds a very small amount of people. The room was RAMMED, with a good many people standing outside too. A shame, as I'd been really enjoying their latest album, but there were plenty more fish in the sea, so to speak!
I managed to catch the tail-end of Year Of No Light's set on my way back over to see the wonderful, and highly divisive, Ghost and mighty fine sounding it was! They do the majestic Neurosis-inspired epic post-sludge thing very well indeed, and I heard a great many good things about their live 'Vampyr' soundtrack accompaniment the following afternoon too. Another casualty of timing clashes I'm afraid.
Ghost were simply sublime – effortlessly theatrical, musically rock-solid and just a little bit camp, basically everything you could want from a band such as this. The five mysterious musicians in the band were attired in leather-trimmed inquisitorial robes with blacked-out faces, and the equally mysterious front-ghoul was bedecked in sparkling bishop's robes and mitre adorned with the Ghost logo, containing as it does an inverted cross, his by now traditional skull-face mask and swinging an incense-emitting thurible to and fro. It was quite a sight to behold.
Swapping grand theatrical gestures for traditional intros and between-songs talk, the front-ghoul was an entrancing presence, swaying and sashaying around the stage, interacting with the frontline of the band and generally filling the room with sheer PRESENCE. Musically, we were treated to near-flawless renditions of the entire 'Opus Eponymous' album, with 'Elizabeth', 'Ritual' and the closing guitar harmonies of 'Genesis' being personal highlights, although mass headbanging ensued when 'Prime Mover' kicked in too.

I really do think that people who are dismissive of Ghost as being nothing more than gimmickry owe it to themselves to see them live, as their 'Blue-Oyster-Cult-plays-Mercyful-Fate' sound really cuts through in the live environment and when welded to the theatrical aspect makes for one hell of a good show!
A hop, a skip and a jump back to the 013 and I briefly managed to catch the last 15 minutes of Winterfylleth's set, which sounded blistering despite their worries, later revealed to me, that their drum-trigger unit had been forgotten. It mattered not, they sounded as fierce as ever.
Next up were Woven Hand, a band high on my 'must-see' list.
The musical and spiritual vehicle of David Eugene Edwards, late of alt-country band 16 Horsepower, Woven Hand are a thoroughly entrancing and riveting proposition. Currently a trio of drums, keyboards/percussion, and Edwards on guitar and vocals, it soon becomes apparent that once seen, the eyes never leave Edwards.
His divergent family backgrounds of Native American Cherokee and serious fire 'n' brimstone Nazarene Christianity have found full flower in Edwards as his between-song banter is almost exclusively in Cherokee, and his bravado is that of a fully fledged Cherokee brave – performing mocking displays of masculinity, offering to take the entire crowd on and posturing with his big ol' Gretsch geetar – but his burning passion and intensity seem to come from one possessed by religious fervour. He still favours the denim of the alt-country outlaw, but there are feathers in his hair and a Native American choker at his throat. This conflict spills out of him into his music and into his stage persona – violently attacking his double microphone stand and then dismissing it with a shrug and affected wave of the hand – he seethes and from out of him pours this wonderful, wonderful music.

Part Eastern, part western and wholly individual, Woven Hand are seriously HEAVY. Not heavy in that 'molten ball of lead' way, but HEAVY, like Swans or Diamanda Galas – emotionally and spiritually HEAVY. A definite highlight for me, and for many others it would seem.
Now, I'm gonna be controversial here. Next up I had the choice between watching Pentagram, Today Is The Day, Cough and Earth, so I chose.......Today Is The Day.
Apologies to all you true doomsters out there, but I have NEVER been comfortable with modern-era Pentagram, I find their lyrics toe-curlingly embarrassing, the music a little too trad for my liking, and have never really bought into the cult of Bobby Liebling. As for Cough and Earth, I recently saw Earth, and had planned on catching Cough on their own tour, soooooo Today Is The Day it was!
It's been a while since I saw Steve Austin and the boys – both of whom are members of excellent NYC noiserock-metallers Wetnurse – and I managed to miss 'em on their own recent UK tour due to their playing locally the night before I was due to fly out, so I was pretty keen to catch up with 'em.
They didn't disappoint. As full-on and intense as ever, a bug-eyed and shrieking Austin smashed his way through the first three tracks from 'In The Eyes Of God' in rapid succession, ably abetted by current drummer Curran Reynolds and bassist Ryan Jones – proud wielder of the most berserk-looking bass guitar I have clapped eyes on in quite some time, a salmon pink (?), tiger-striped BC Rich Warlock, sporting luminous yellow strings. They played a set of killers spanning all eras of the band and threw in a brand-new track that just SLAYED. Standing next to me in the tightly-packed crowd – it was a small room - were the ever-splendid Jamie Grimes of Drainland and his lovely missus Una, and when TITD ploughed into the frankly obscene guitarless 'Pinnacle', Mr Grimes leaned in and told me that THIS was 'their' song. That says it all really. A blinding set of full-blown aural perversion.

Following that, on the main stage, was the long-awaited, by some, Godflesh set in which they played 'Streetcleaner' in its entirety, in track order and including the 'Tiny Tears' EP. Having seen Godflesh a number of times over the years, and having actually seen 'em on the 'Streetcleaner' tour, playing with Loop and World Domination Enterprises, I was more than a little apprehensive as they were always a very hit and miss live band. Tonight was no exception, landing squarely in the 'miss' section.
An inappropriate cod-classical intro, fluffed opening lines to half the songs and the fact that Broadrick had taken the frankly puzzling route of processing EVERYTHING through his laptop meant that the entire set came across as shoddy and half-assed. Occasional rises above the mire, such as grinding versions of 'Christbait Rising' and 'Pulp', did nothing to salvage the set as a whole.
Dispensing with the vocal harmonizer that makes the vocals on 'Streetcleaner' so inhuman and overpowering for most of the set meant that Broadrick's erratic voice wasn't quite up to par, samples were missing from 'Devestator/Mighty Trust Krusher' and 'Locust Furnace', and the vocal doubling effect running on the laptop was too loud and out of synch. The biggest disappointment to me was that in processing the guitars, and possibly the bass too, via the laptop, the sound coming out was horribly flat and completely lacking in midrange. All the vital feedback was processed-sounding and utterly lacking in dynamic response. I know he uses a floor-based POD unit for Jesu, but for Godflesh, the rough edge is VITAL, so such a device is totally unsuitable. Back in the day, Broadrick simply plugged a strat into a Marshall stack and added a touch of delay, I advise he goes back to that if he attempts this again.
I made it through as far as 'Locust Furnace' but couldn't face the 'Tiny Tears' material. Being told later how fantastic Wardruna had been across in the Midi theatre at the same time did nothing to cheer me up either.

A few wee drinks later and I headed back to the smaller Green Room of the 013 to see Count Raven. Sadly, so did every other bugger and I had to make do with watching their excellent set from in the doorway, craning over the heads of people much taller than I. From my vantage point, their majestic doom sounded just splendid, although the vocals were a little weak in a live setting.
Just across the hallway, Soilent Green were playing on the main stage, so I ducked in to catch the rest of their set. Having never seen Soilent Green live before, and being a fan of their earlier recordings, I wondered how they would come across in a live environment. Amazingly underwhelming, as it turned out. Only vocalist Ben Falgoust really connected with the crowd, seeing as how the other band members were left more or less rooted to the spot navigating the shifting rhythms of their music.
Falgoust's engaging metalhead presence, furious headbanging and air-guitaring may have been entertaining to watch, but frankly that was the ONLY entertainment onstage during SG's set. I have no idea why this band is so popular, outside of the Eyehategod connection, or why they were closing the night on the main stage instead of the, in my opinion, far more suitable Count Raven, tucked away in a jam-packed smaller room across the way.
Soilent Green's music is incredibly one-dimensional, considering how much complexity and rhythmic shifting there is in it. It comes across as one completely flat expanse of tricksy riffage with no peaks or troughs or attempt at dynamics whatsoever. As I said, Falgoust is an engaging enough frontman, but vocally he's a little too close to Phil Anselmo territory for my liking these days.
So, there you have it, a slightly flat ending to my first day at my first Roadburn, BUT, there are still two and a half more days to go yet, with PLENTY to look forward to...

Review written by Paul Robertson on the 26/04/11. Used with kind permission from The Sleeping Shaman

Ethereal Riffian - Shaman's Visions ...

The stoner-doom scene in the Ukraine and Russia was once the home for goth-doom bands but over the last couple of years, these countries have woken up to the joys of traditional and stoner-doom metal. What kills me is these new bands emerging from there playing this style are among the very best in the world. Without God, Stoned Jesus, Lord Of Doubts and The Moon Mistress are the bands leading the charge but that is only the beginning, there is many more bands about to be unleashed. It is so great and exciting to see this new scene emerging. Another new band is Ethereal Riffian and this album titled 'Shaman's Visions' is an album that simply had to be made and they have done it. Much like when Sleep released the 'Jerusalem' album, this album comes along as a breath of exciting smoke-filled air. While the style has been done many times before, there is something fresh about this that makes this one of the most interesting releases of 2011 and they are giving it away for free if you can live with just a download, check the links at the end of this review for details.

This Kiev based band has put together an amazing CD package so I don't see how anyone would be happy with just a download of this album. The artwork and packaging is stunning, if only every band would put this much work into how their albums are presented, maybe people wouldn't be so obsessed with just stealing a download. This is the most gorgeous package I have seen all year with only the limited-edition Orchid coming anywhere close to being this spectacular. But if the packaging sends your mind into orgasmic overload, wait till you hear the music. Ethereal Riffian play a mesmerizing, hypnotic brand of stoner-doom that is mystical, spiritual and infectious. They are not as 'heavy' as you might expect, this is more your meditative kind of stoner-doom, something to let your brain float away with and take you on a little voyage into the cosmos. They are part Sleep, Kyuss, Ufomammut, with a healthy dose of Hawkwind on the side but it is bundled up with something that sounds truly fresh. The album is split into five parts and I guess it could be called a 'concept' kind of album with each part having its own unique vibe.

The short, mostly instrumental 'Part I Whispering of the Ancients (The Awakening)' begins the album and you are immediately thrown into what sounds like a kind of ancient ritual ceremony. The smoke-filled atmosphere, heavy riffing and primitive, hypnotic drumming and the LSD tinged melodies are truly mesmerizing and that doesn't really change throughout the next thirty minutes. While 'Shaman's Visions' is made up of five unique parts, they bleed into each other giving the impression this is long epic track and it is easy to lose track of where you are in the album's running order. The album is so mesmerizing that it usually ends without realizing the five parts have all be done with and then you have no choice but to play it again and again. There is many variations and changes that are sometimes obvious but usually very subtle, 'Part II Beyond (The Search)' is one of the sections that is a highlight along with the closing piece 'Part V Light of Self (The Truth)' but the album as a whole is really a highlight. It is almost impossible to single out one part as a favorite track, the entire album from start to finish is totally engaging.

Like I already mentioned, the band is more about psychedelic stoner-doom that is hypnotic and melodic than just being heavy for the sake of it. There is truly great riffing on the album but it is the atmosphere on the recording that ultimately wins you over. This is one of the most tripped-out albums released in recent years and you will feel like you are on a psychoactive drug while listening to 'Shaman's Visions' as the music really does alter your cognition and perception of everything around you. It is so easy to lose yourself in tracks like 'Part III Yax Imix Che (The Path)' for example. This is the début album of the year so far in my opinion, essential listening. Download it for free but I am sure you will want the CD after you soaked up the psychedelic, mesmerizing sounds of Ethereal Riffian. .....9.5/10

Ethereal Riffian @ MySpace
Ethereal Riffian @ Bandcamp - Download The Album Here !

Apr 25, 2011

Remember When Stoner Rock Still Kicked Ass ?

Do yourself a favor and buy the Ride The Sun EP, out on DMA Records. Buy it here - Doommantia Webstore

The Great Sabatini - Napoleon Sodomite 7" ...

Since forming as a band in 2007 The Great Sabatini, the Montreal quartet have been slowing building up a following of admirers and rightly so. The band has been ever improving since day one and judging by the sounds and grooves on this 7", the break-through album should be right around the corner. Of course it should have already happened with their 'Sad Parade of Yesterdays' album released in 2009, that album is a pure yet to be discovered masterpiece.

Maybe it is an isolation thing being an Canadian band that is holding them back but whatever the reason, it is about time that got the kudos they deserve.The Great Sabatini have always had a great knack of blending memorable hooks and sonic experimentation and this 7" is a great 15 minutes that further proves the band is full of talent and potential.

The first track on this EP suggests the band might be heading in a more complex direction, the title track, 'Napoleon Sodomite' is abrasive and full of attack but the approach is slightly twisted. It is not overly technical but there is a strangeness to the riffing that makes this a bit different to other bands in the sludge, doom genre. There is screaming vocals, bulldozer bass with tempo changes that leaves you breathless and exhausted.

The Great Sabatini are a band not afraid to listen to all kinds of rock and blend the influences into their music. There is elements of sludge, doom and stoner-metal but there is also a quirky 70's rock vibe and even moments of a kind of grindcore aggression. Just when the track is at full steam, they slam on the brakes bringing the tune to a sudden stop, all I can say is - this tune kills.

'Helter Skeltor' kicks off side B with something different again. It is a quirky instrumental using of all things, a banjo. Strangely it is very atmospheric and oddly haunting. The track acts like an odd but interesting intro to the last track, the metallic and bruising 'Trap Sequence.' The song takes sludge, doom and grind and puts into a psychedelic metal blending machine to create something that is truly epic even though it is not epic in length. It just has that larger than life vibe - the tune takes you on a mammoth journey in a short space in time with intricate guitar work, pulsating grooves and doom-laden brutality. The 'Napoleon Sodomite' EP slays but what is more important is how complete it is, there is no passengers in The Great Sabatini and if you have never heard them before, this 7" makes the perfect introduction to the band. Don't miss out on this wonderful EP from the incredibly massive and diverse The Great Sabatini. .....9/10

The Great Sabatini @ MySpace

Myosis / J - Schism of Precepts ...

Schism of Precept is an album with bands MYOSIS and J doing a split with equal tracks to give a wonderful journey into the world of Sludge Doom Metal. MYOSIS is a duo Sludge/Doom Metal Band from Pakistan. When I got this material, I was a bit surprised to find a band from Pakistan. I was very curious to check it out and it proved to be a real drone doom trip. With members, Agha Majid on vocals and Asadullah Qureshi on dual duty of guitar and drums; MYOSIS plays slow, loud and good Doom/Sludge Music.

The track “Cultivating the Taos” starts with sick vocals and slow paced guitars combined well with a seemingly never-ending Drum beat. This track is pretty interesting as it ends with a lead solo which is pretty well done. This song structure continues in “The Uncaring Strokes of Master” with a mid paced music. There is a repetition of certain riffs in the song structure but after a minute, the vocals beat us heavily, taking the center stage. There is a clear-cut absence of bass and it shows up very well, thought it does not look clumsy as there are quite a few interesting riffs. You get 3 excellent tracks on for about 4 mins each. If you are a fan of Electric Wizard, you will love this band. Albeit they have a long road to traverse to catch up in terms of production; but MYOSIS is clearly a band for the reckoning.

J is a one man Singaporean Funeral Sludge Doom Metal Band. On this side of the album you get 3 long Sludge Funeral Doom Metal Tracks on for 22 minutes in total. And it is epic, creepy and very slow moving. Fans who are into Sketicism, Evoken and Esoteric will appreciate the efforts of this band. Even though it is a one man band, the instruments are played well within the limits. The pace and the timing is maintained and balanced very well. All 3 tracks are outstanding. Especially "Sounding the Death Toll of God" is done very well. The guitar sound is thick and heavy to give you a feel of sludge doom attack.

The production on Schism of Precept is quite good and overall it is a good split CD of MYOSIS and J. It is worth checking up once.
Review written by Mahesh

Myosis @ Facebook

Somnolent - Renaissance Unraveling ...

I must admit when this album arrived in the mail, I was worried and felt kind of ill. You see I had an album by them called 'Monochromes Philosophy' which was and still is an album so bad in my mind that I refuse to review it. I thought it was just my biased opinion till I saw other reviews that shared my views. One of those reviews had the headline, "Great... if you are completely, utterly tone-deaf" and that was one of the more positive ones. Needless to say I thought the album was totally awful in the extreme. This new album titled 'Renaissance Unraveling' is a improvement but only a small one as some of the same problems that plagued the earlier album, have reappeared here. One of the strange things with this Ukraine-based five-piece is they don't seem to know what kind of band they want to be. They are part sludge, part funeral doom, part prog-rock, part post-rock, part death metal and part just plain weird and most of time, it sounds like a bland mish-mash of ideas that is exhausting and irritating to listen to.

The album has one interesting moment though, 'Visible World Eraser' sounds a little like Down in parts but with some strange twists and turns that actually work for a change. There is wah-wah guitar, atmospheric acid-drenched bluesy sections and overall it is an entertaining track. Sadly these moments of greatness and few and far between. The opening track, 'Exhale!' sets off this stylistically confusing album, it is typical of the album with the band throwing sludge, psychedelic, post-metal and progressive rock all into the one song and the result is boring, irritating and frustrating. The second track, 'Emptiness Beyond The Horizon' is the point in the album when you say to yourself, 'what the f**k' is this? The album follows a formula of a hardcore rocking track followed by a more ambient tune and so on but if you think the hardcore tracks are bad, the ambient tunes are even worse. The two-part, 'Chrysalis Verge' is perhaps when this album sinks to rock-bottom, its mixture of growling vocals, distorted guitars interwoven with ambient elements never really works.

This album starts in first gear and by the end of it seems to be stuck in neutral with one foot squeezing the gas pedal but not going anywhere. By the time the last track, 'Division of Nihil' comes around, I am basically pulling out what is left of my fragile head of hair with this album. Somnolent have produce one very strange album and strange can be good but in the case of this album, the band sounds like they are stuck in a state of genre-limbo. I will give them full points for being original, in terms of metal, nothing else really sounds like this but you still need songs that are interesting or at least kick your ass, this band has neither of those elements in my opinion.......3/10

Somnolent @ Myspace

PENTAGRAM: New Video Interview ...

Robert Williams of Metal-Rules.com conducted an interview with Bobby Liebling and Victor Griffin of legendary doomsters PENTAGRAM last month in Austin, Texas during the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival. Check out the chat below.

PENTAGRAM, the band that has been churning out widely admired hard rock/doom metal for over four decades, released its new album, "Last Rites", on April 12 via Metal Blade Records. The CD contains 11 new tracks of behemoth tunes that fans have been clamoring for since the last Liebling/Griffin masterpiece was released in 1994 ("Be Forewarned").

"Last Rites" track listing:

01. Treat Me Right
02. Call the Man
03. Into the Ground
04. 8
05. Everything's Turning to Night
06. Windmills and Chimes
07. American Dream
08. Walk in Blue Light
09. Horseman
10. Death in 1st Person
11. Nothing Left

The cover artwork for "Last Rites" was handled by Mo Moussa who is best known for his work with Marvel and DC Comics. Mo Moussa's other credentials include New Line Cinema, Nickelodeon as well as the four major TV networks. A Philly native and a huge fan of underground music, his work also graces the covers of several of his favorite local bands, including TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION.

Cult rock legend Bobby Liebling has been churning out genre-defining and highly admired hard rock/doom metal for over 40 years with PENTAGRAM. Within its first decade, the band is largely regarded as co-creating two subgenres of hard rock — heavy metal at the birth of the 1970s and doom towards its death.

PENTAGRAM's classic "Death Row"-era lineup and the band's debut album, "Relentless" (1984), was inducted into Decibel magazine's Hall of Fame in 2010. Guitarist Victor Griffin's invention of the "Drop B" tuning is first heard here. This heavy-handed hallmark went on to influence handfuls of players and defined a subgenre. These numbers recently included Jack White and his band THE DEAD WEATHER who cover "Forever My Queen" (Liebling) live. It was also played on late-night talk shows worldwide and even released as a single on White's own Third Man Records.

SAINT VITUS: New Video Interview With DAVE CHANDLER ...

Robert Williams of Metal-Rules.com conducted an interview with guitarist Dave Chandler of doom metal legends SAINT VITUS when the band performed at the Dirty Dog Bar in Austin, Texas on March 18, 2011. You can now watch the chat below.

In a recent interview with Hellbound.ca, SAINT VITUS frontman Scott "Wino" Weinrich stated about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's next album, "We're already doing new material. I wrote the lyrics to a song we played live on our last European tour. It went over really well. We're getting together to work on an album in June or July. We're going to go to (drummer) Henry's (Vasquez) house and record."

When asked why he thinks SAINT VITUS' music continues to resonate, Wino replied, "Because it comes from the gut. The music has that low tone and it hits you in those emotional places. I've always tried to make the lyrics just as interesting as the music. It's always been a little bit dark but I'm not drawn to the happy stuff. I like music that grabs you by the balls."

"Superskum" (web site) has uploaded quality video footage of SAINT VITUS performing a brand new song, "Blessed Night" (which the band has been playing for the past few months) on March 29, 2011 in Denver, Colorado during the 2011 Metalliance Tour with HELMET, CROWBAR, RED FANG, KYLESA, THE ATLAS MOTH and HOWL. Check out the clip below.

First Annual Liquid Sludge Fest ...

First Annual Liquid Sludge Fest will blow up the East Side of Austin
With hard hitting Stoner rock and Sludge Metal

No Strings Attached Media has announced their first annual Liquid Sludge Fest to take place as a part of Chaos in Tejas in 2011. This festival will be celebrating the independent sub-genre of metal referred to as Stoner Rock and Sludge Metal.

Headlining this festival will be Honky from Small Stone Records on June 2nd and a double-feature of Kylesa and Orange Goblin on June 3rd. The first day will feature a highlight of Small Stone Records with Tia Carrera, Suplecs, Dixie Witch, Lo-Pan, and Honky.

Other announced bands include – Big Tattoo (Denver, CO), Asylum on the Hill (Dave Angstrom from Hermano), Amplified Heat (Austin), Squidbucket (Austin), Switchblade Jesus (Corpus Christi, TX), Rust (Austin), Sanctus Bellum (Houston, TX), Naam (NY), Gates of Slumber (IL), Rise Thy Ruin (Austin), and The Roller (Austin).

See full line-up below: Liquid Sludge at The Scoot Inn (1308 E. 4th – Navasota and East 4th Street

June 2nd
Amplified Heat (inside stage)
Squidbucket (inside stage)
Honky (outside stage)
Lo Pan (outside)
Dixie Witch (outside)
Suplecs (outside)
Tia Carrera (Outside)
Asylum on the Hill (outside)
Big Tattoo (Outside)

June 3rd
The Roller (inside stage)
Rise Thy Ruin (inside stage)
Kylesa (outside stage)
Orange Goblin (outside)
Gates of Slumber (outside)
Naam (outside)
Sanctus Bellum (outside)
Rust (outside)
Switchblade Jesus (outside)
* Doors Open @ 3pm Both Days *

Times are tentative and may be changed.

Tickets are already available at Ticketscene. The first 50 tickets sold to the Kylesa/Orange Goblin double feature are $10 and with only 19 left they're going fast. Standard admission is $10 (advance June 2), $15 (at the door June 2nd and in advance June 3rd), $20 (at the door June 3rd), and $21 (advance 2-day).

Liquid Sludge Fest can be found on Facebook at: Liquid Sludge @ Facebook

For more information, to schedule an interview, or for sponsorship opportunities contact No Strings Attached Media at Colin@TheNSAMedia.com.

Apr 24, 2011

Roadburn 2011 Review By Sandrijn van den Oever ...

The ever so lucky member of the Doommantia writing team, Sandrijn van den Oever has sent us what should be the first of several Roadburn 2011 live reports and yes I am still jealous....Ed

In my humble opinion, Roadburn 2011 was THE shit. Why? Tons of awesome bands, friends and a near flawless organization. I remember the 2008 edition being quite crowded: too many people moving around within too little space. 2008 was fun, but 2011 was a whole of a lot better. I went for two days and I’ll write down some words on the bands & performances I loved, starting with Year Of No Light. What’s there to say?

A prima band on record, although you don’t want to listen to them too often, because the music wears out after a couple of listens. Being the first show on Thursday, the little room was overcrowded and after two, maybe three tracks we headed on to The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, but really to be on time for Ghost. 

Really, I cannot stress enough how much fun Ghost is. I LOVED the record, and I have been relistening Opus Eponymous vehemently the last couple of days. Their performance on Roadburn was perfect. The singer disguised as an evil pope is quite frightening, and his vocal delivery was stellar. Their combined execution of the songs was superb, and I’m still amazed at how fresh, original and good their debut sounds. I tried Repugnant a few times, but it’s definitely not my cup of tea.

Ghost features members of Repugnant, Swedish death metallers. Ghost’s Stand By Him was and is engraved in my ears and every time I woke up in the middle of the night to take a piss, I was accompanied by the sweet tunes of Stand By Him. I didn’t keep any notes, but I think Ghost played close to the whole album. Their visual presentation was on spot, and they didn’t fell out of character. Although funny in a way, it did fit perfectly with what Job called their ‘scooby-doo rock’ (in a positive, affirming way). Brilliant performance! This is the sort of show that leaves you longing for more…

On we went to Blood Ceremony, same stage. Great, great show, although something was missing maybe. They delivered on every level, but alas there was much competition to begin with! Blood Ceremony was plain awesome. I was a little in doubt after listening to Living With The Ancients, because I liked their debut so much. The live presentation on Roadburn won me over though. Surely top 5 material for 2011. Blood Ceremony’s singer looked haunted and a little bit frightening. Not as frightening as the evil pope of Ghost, but she managed to get the feeling across that she was for real. Very for real. The pan flute live was awesome, and in my recollection they didn’t play too much songs from their debut. Correct me if I’m wrong.

After Blood Ceremony we regrouped at Pentagram. Well, I attended an earlier show a couple of years back, and I loved every minute of it. This show sucked however, we left after two of three songs. Victor Griffin wasn’t really into it, and Bobby Liebling, well, what’s there to say. Laughing stock material?

It’s hard to take him serious. I love the new album by the way, but really, it’s an album that may or may not make my end list this year. Cough on the other hand ruled hard. It was slow, it was evil and God saw that is was good. A lot of atmosphere and Cough persuaded me to buy this rad t-shirt. Thank you Cough, great show and I’m already looking forward to whatever comes after Ritual Abuse. 

In Solitude was an eye-opener. Never heard of ‘m before, but right now I’m looking forward to their scheduled May 23 release called The World. The Flesh. The Devil. Tagged with a certain humor as NWOSHM (Swedish instead of British) these okkult metallers gave an excellent performance. Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest come to mind, and for the time being we have to make do with their latest release In Solitude. 

Wardruna was fun to watch, although after fifteen minutes you did get the picture. Folk, ambient & drones nicely mixed into one haunting performance with a lot of visuals, homemade instruments and one scary looking guy with a Rasputin beard. Wardruna concluded our first day of Roadburn. 

Friday started with Earth, which wasn’t any fun to watch really. In terms of presentation there wasn’t a lot to look at. The live performance didn’t add anything to the existing material on record, and their last album is surely one of my favorites this year so far. I left after a couple of songs to go see Place Of Skulls. They did rule. Victor Griffin’s sheer fun factor while playing his mighty guitar added a lot to the powerful riffing of Place Of Skulls. He was totally in his element, and his enthusiasm rubbed clearly off on the audience. What a difference when compared to Pentagram! 
After Place Of Skulls I saw one of the best performances I have seen over the last couple of years. Sabbath Assembly is always a pleasure to watch because of the lovely Jessica Thoth. Unfortunately, being hot isn’t enough to keep the audience captivated, and boy did they deliver. The difference with Blood Ceremony was striking.

Whereas Blood Ceremony stayed really close to the original versions of the songs on their great last album, Sabbath Assembly added some sweet variations to their tunes. I was totally blown away by the live performance of the whole band. They all improvised at some point during their performance, and I hope I will be able to catch them live again soon. I cannot recommend their album enough: go buy it.

Sunn 0))) started really late, and after five minutes I asked myself what all the fuzz was about. Sure, you get tons of drones, but it wasn’t entertaining in the least. One of the reasons was an overkill of smoke. Luckily we saw the remaining last fifteen minutes of their show, and that part at least was stunning.

Grave Miasma was some plain metal, not too good but not too bad either. These blackened death metallers put up a good show in terms of delivery and quality, but this kind of music isn’t my cup of tea really. On we went to The Secret, but the overall performance was a little bit too forced. I don’t know how to put it, but the overall picture they delivered was a little bit too, hip? You decide for yourself.

In conclusion: I’m very very happy to have witnessed Sabbath Assembly, Ghost, In Solitude & Blood Ceremony live in the one habitat for doom, stoner, heavy psychedelics & heavy rock: Roadburn. Thank you Walter!!

Live Review By Sandrijn van den Oever

Check out the Roadburn thread on the forum, another live review and more pics - Read It Here

Apr 23, 2011

The Funerals Essence - A Interview With Graveyard Dirt ...

Hope you enjoy this great interview with Graveyard Dirt's guitarist Kieran O'Toole. Thanks to Aleks and Kieran for putting this together. Also make sure you check out their 'For Grace Or Damnation' album.

-Good day sir Kieran! I’m glad that we’ve used this chance to tell our readers about Graveyard Dirt. But first of all there’s a message on your MySpace page, you know that it says so I would not like to tell it all. “Graveyard Dirt can only continue as a recording band” - why? After successful release of “For Grace And Damnation”… I do not understand.

-Hi Aleks.Yeah, that’s a bit of a long story really. Things are rarely ever straightforward in a band and it’s inevitable when there are 5 members that there will be times when some disagree with others. We’re no different I guess, and because there was a major difference of opinion concerning what our next step should be, two of the lads decided they didn’t really want to continue unless certain plans were made regarding gigs on foreign soil. The remaining members, for various reasons, were/are unable to commit to such plans and preferred to press on and create the music for a follow-up to the FGOD album. So with only 3 members happy to do just that the prospect of doing gigs would be very restricted and that’s why I posted that on our ‘myspace’ . The intention was that even with only 3 of us we could still record new material even if it’s not a perfect situation. There may well be more developments and the situation may yet be resolved.

-Who were main song-writers in a band and how a situation now has changed with all these troubles with line-up?

-If the line-up changes remain as they are now it shouldn’t affect the creative process much at all. Up to this point I’ve written quite a lot of the music, although anyone can suggest ideas and we all add bits here and there. David and myself have collaborated on certain tracks in the past, and on the album there is a track that David composed. Normally I make rough recordings of tracks I think would be good and then we all learn them and during the arrangements a few things might change. David also does any keyboard parts if there are any. Lyrically it’s either Paul or myself ,and occasionally we’ll collaborate.

If our current situation remains the same then it shouldn’t prevent us from continuing although it may slow things down. However I’m still guessing we might yet sort things out and get everyone back on board somehow for more mayhem!

-Kieran, I know that question about “inspiration” is one of most popular in such interviews but today I remember a word “muse” and I’m going to ask you about your “muse”: how does it/she looks? How does it drive you to compose music? I just can’t imagine a man who take his seat at home with guitar in his hands and think “okay, right know I’m going to write a slow death doom song… something about 7 minutes”.

-Sorry to disappoint you Aleks, but if I do indeed have a ‘ muse’, then she must be good at hiding because I haven’t found her yet! Usually the best ideas come when you’re not trying too hard. Once you sit down with the intention of writing a song you usually end up getting nowhere. In my experience the first germ or seed of a song normally comes out of the blue , often from something as simple as a little run of notes or a chord played a certain way. From that I usually can hear an idea in my head to complement the original idea and after that it’s best to let it come as naturally as possible, trying to avoid making things too contrived. If I’m also doing the lyrics it’s a similar situation, it might start with a word or phrase that fits in with the music then I’ll build it from there.

The length of the songs is rarely a deliberate decision but I do like to think that we manage to keep the longer songs interesting throughout.

-I’ve heard that you always had problems with drummers, why don’t you want to use digital drums? Nowadays it’s quite simple and sometimes rare one will tell it from a real drums.

-In the distant past that was always a problem. Since Gary joined for the Shadows of Old Ghosts EP we haven’t had that trouble. And even though like you say programmed drums can be very close to the real thing I would consider that a last resort. I wouldn’t feel happy knowing that it was a machine and not a human being. It would feel like cheating.

-What is a core of doom death for you? What is it’s spirit?

-If I knew the answer to that we wouldn’t be in the situation we are currently wallowing in! I don’t know, I guess there are a few key elements that are necessary- lyrics are important as is the delivery and vocal arrangement, heavy guitars mixed with just enough melody too are at the heart of what I consider the better doom/death metal. If it ‘moves’ the listener then it’s job done!

-Where was a great wave of death doom in a middle of 90’s, don’t you think that if you were working harder as Mourning Beloveth - for example – you could reach a real success, find more listeners? Though there were such great bands as Earthcorpse (do you remember them?) and most of them long gone anyway…

-Perhaps if our original deal with Ars Metalli had gone as planned then we’d be in a better place than we are now .Looking back I think both Mourning Beloveth and ourselves had demos done around the same time and at that time doom/death was entering a bit of a golden age so it’s possibly correct that we missed our chance. In our case it was really down to bad luck and being a bit too naïve more than lack of hard work. Having said that it would also be fair to say that it’s unlikely we’d have been able to make an album of FGOD’s quality back then so in some ways perhaps the long wait made us hungrier this time around.

I’m not familiar with Earthcorpse.

-Why was Graveyard Dirt’s activity so low from the beginning? And how did it change since release of “Shadows of Old Ghosts” in 2007?

-There were a few factors that contributed to our lack of activity in the early days. A full line-up was a major factor, our location in a more remote area than most Irish bands of the time certainly didn’t make it easy. There was no ‘scene’ in our area so gigs were never really an option except for the odd one in Dublin. So it was difficult to keep everyone interested .

By the time we did the Shadows E.P things had progressed a hell of a lot in terms of how much simpler it had become to promote things. The internet has many faults but can be a useful tool also! So getting the EP out there was easy and the response we received was outstanding. This in turn gave us a taste for more and once you have that then the ‘old ghosts’ of the past are no longer a problem. Everyone knew that an album had to be done so keeping it interesting wasn’t an issue.

-Are you meaning that Irish doom or underground scene was separated from British scene? What can you say about current state of both stages? I do not mean new band, because we have last issue of Doom Metal Front to answer on that question. I’m asking about relations and collaboration between bands, e-zines and etc.

-Well at that time I had some contact with other Irish bands, Primordial, Arcane Sun and Thy Sinister Bloom being perhaps the best known ones. It was much slower back then of course, no email at that time. But in our local area there was nothing like a ‘scene’ at all, a few scattered metal fans in each nearby town but that was it. So anything that was happening here in Ireland at that time was happening in or around the Dublin area for the most part. I always felt quite separated from the scene due to our location, it was hard to feel a part of it. We did get some good contacts in UK, zines and distro etc.

These days there is a much more widespread ‘scene’ here. In fact I’d say it has become saturated to a degree, gigs happening most weekends in Dublin at least. I’d even go as far as to suggest that there are too many events nowadays and people are spoiled for choice. Not sure that’s a good thing!

-Can you remember how many gigs did Graveyard Dirt played? What do you like in your gigs and do you visit gigs of other bands?

-In the early days we only did 3 gigs, all in Dublin. After the EP in 2007 we opened for Primordial in Dublin again, that was the biggest crowd we’d played for – 700+ I believe was the attendance that night. We then did 3 smaller gigs around Ireland followed by the Day of darkness festival headlined by Unleashed. After that we did Dublin Doom Day 1 and since that only 1 more in Dublin with Cruachan last year. So that’s 10 altogether. Not sure how to describe our gigs really. No-one’s ever complained yet though so we can’t be too bad! Again because there are so many gigs these days it can be difficult to attend many, my last gig was Jethro Tull in Belfast with my wife and Gary our drummer. Next up is My Dying Bride next month followed swiftly by Roger Waters in Dublin. After that it will be a long wait before I get to any more I’d guess.
-Your previous Ep “Shadows of Old Ghosts” has a photo of old Irish castle, so is the art-work of “For Grace And Damnation” is “documental” too?

-It’s a ruin in Ireland..again!! ?

I think that type of image suits our music and that’s why we seem to stick with it I suppose. It instills a sense of wonder in a kind of melancholic way. Ruins in general do that to me anyway, almost like you’re transported back in time for a brief spell.

The album artwork is, for me anyway, all part of creating a preconception in peoples minds before they hear a note of the music.The ‘Shadows…’ cover was also tied in with the title.

-What are your favorite parts of “For Grace And Damnation”?

-There are a few that stand out for me, I like the way ‘These Hands Defiled’ starts immediately after ‘Daylights Wrath’, almost before you’re finished digesting it! Also when the main verse riff enters in the track ‘Silence Awakens’, the mid section in ‘Enslaved by Grief’ between the 2 quieter parts, the vocals on the heavy as fuck part of ‘The search for solitude’(“Unbinding,the valour of hordes….”)The entrance of the last track after the nice instrumental track ‘Solace’,again unexpected and heavy as fuck.

My absolute favourite part is near the end of the album in the song ‘A New Days Fire’ , after the quiet section(which I also love) when the heavy last riff kicks in after the words “ ..of not dying alone..or unknown”, its played once with 1 melody then when the 2nd harmony guitar melody comes in it just lifts it to another level I think. That track would be my favourite from the album I’d say.

-Which strong and weak sides of this material do you see as it’s author?

-If it’s a track that I’ve composed then it’s often easier to find faults than to judge it as others do.

I think the strong sides are that we combine something very very heavy with a good sense of melody without going too far. If the melodic side takes over then it would become something different to what I think Graveyard Dirt should be. Both elements are very important in equal measure, occasionally we’ll allow one side to outweigh the other if its within the best interest of the song or perhaps the vibe needed to convey the lyrics.

That’s how I see it anyway. Perhaps that may also be it’s weak side too in some peoples eyes as it could be seen that we are restricting ourselves.

-Once you said that you have “a glimpse of the nicer aspects of planet Earth” in your lyrics besides classic melancholic “doom”-texts, can you name such songs on “For Grace And Damnation”?

-Erm..actually no! ?HA. The lyrics on the album are more to do with doom and gloom. Dark themes really do set the mood much better.If I may be so bold as to borrow a few words from Ozzy “ there’s no point singing about flowers and nice things when your guitars are going KABLAM!!!” Honestly though, we have 1 or 2 older tracks that have more pleasant lyrical content to some degree!

- Kieran, didn’t you ever think to use lyrics of some Irish or British poets in your songs? William Battler Yeats for example or Wolf Charles… Though I guess that using of modern poets’ (Patrick Boran, Joseph Woods) lyrics would be more exciting indeed…

-That’s never really been something we would choose to do. I much prefer to put our own stamp on the lyrics. I’ll be honest I’m not familiar with a great deal of classic poets apart from those we were taught in school, and that seems a long time ago now!

-Hey, look! The poets of the past are classics now though some of them were underestimated during their lives, how do you think may modern authors of lyrics for metal bands became “classics” in a future? If human race has it’s future of course…

-Well I hope the human race has at least some future! It’s good to know that I’m not the only eternal pessimist around though. ?
I would doubt though that the lyrics of todays metal bands will be held in the same regard by future generations. I know quite a few people that take no interest in the lyrical side of things at all in fact. I think ‘doom’ is one of only a few genres where lyrics can add a lot to the end result, certainly more so than gore type bands or death metal even. There will always be exceptions I guess.

-You collaborate with Adrian of Lugga Music, you have Ashen Productions who released you last CD, you have an Internet! Kieran, don’t you think that there’re a really lot of opportunities to promote the band even without some members of original line-up?

-Absolutely Aleks, its all there to be used for the greater good of the band. We are grateful for the work both Ashen and Lugga have done for us either now or in the past….maybe even in the future, who knows. I think where things haven’t changed for the better is within the realm of printed media. Mostly the major metal magazines will afford bands with bigger label backing more space within their pages than a band like us on a small indie label regardless of the quality of the music. It’s understandable to a point as a label like e.g. Metal Blade or Candlelight or whoever can afford to pay for adverts etc in the magazines and as a result of that their acts will be given priority. That can be frustrating. Another example we had recently, Terrorizer mag were sent a copy of our cd to review on its release or soon after. 4-5 months later we got a tiny paragraph for our review in a sub-section of the actual reviews section while other acts on larger labels got in-depth reviews before their releases were even available. And again we actually scored a better mark than most of the large reviews but because they’re on a label that pays for ads etc they get more space. So that’s to be expected unfortunately, even in the underground money talks y’know.

-Don’t you think that now is a time of free music? I know that most of bands can’t record their albums without good studio and therefore they need money, but situation with illegal downloads is terrible for metal labels and it seems that there’s nothing we can do with that.

-Yeah, that’s one of the shittier aspects of the internet unfortunately. Many people have become immune to the charms of a slab of vinyl complete with artwork, even cd’s are becoming redundant as downloading increases. It all bounces back on the band eventually, and I suppose the label too if there is one involved. If they cant get their money back then they’ll be less likely to invest in a band to begin with.

-Kieran, what do you think about movie “Bundock’s Saints”? I’ve seen it a week ago, and I like it – do not know if main characters have something common with real Irish men, but it looks cool anyway.

-I haven’t seen it, or heard of it even. I ‘ll google it later. But if it’s a Hollywood movie then I’d doubt very much that its in anyway an accurate portrayal of Irish people. I’ll get back to you after I’ve had a look at it.

-No, man! I have real doubts that the film was even demonstrated in cinemas! But I do not want to retell you this story of two brothers from Ireland who do they best to cleanse Boston from criminal scum. What kind of films do you prefer? I do not know how it goes in Europe but we have just a bunch of stupid hollywood shit in our cinemas.

-Most of my favourite movies are older ones. I’ll watch anything once though so there’s no specific genre of movie that I’m fanatical about. Comedy is good, as is the right kind of horror or thriller. Gore movies just aint scary so I’ve little interest in those.

I rarely go to the cinema, as my wife can testify to…much to her dismay! She is a Jackie Chan fanatic so I tend to watch a lot of his films, which I do like I must admit.

-This question may be too personal, but really, man, it’s interesting though you may do not answer of course. What is your occupation? What are the problems of common people of Ireland?

-For the last 12 years or so I have worked in a warehouse of my wife’s parents business. I won’t bore you with the details but basically I despatch goods to hotels and that type of business. For many of those 12 years I also travelled around the country doing work in new hotels. However since our economy has fallen through the floor that side of my work has more or less stopped.

The problems we have here in Ireland now? Politicians run the country and most politicians have their own interest at heart. Thats a major problem for a start. Greed, ignorance and apathy are rife here if you scratch the surface though not necessarily in malicious ways. But hey, what would I know?! Most of it passes me by to be honest, thankfully.

-Oh… Nothing new as I see, it seems that the same situation is everywhere. But thank you for your patience, Kieran! I hope that this interview wasn’t too boring for you and I hope that we’ll hear something new from Graveyard Dirt in nearby future – don’t give up comrade! Doom on! And please say few more words for our readers!

-Certainly not boring Aleks. We appreciate each and every opportunity to spread the message to those who may be interested. So thanks a lot my friend. I too hope that there will be more to tell in the future, certainly we have some new material written and hope to begin rehearsing and arranging that sooner rather than later.

A big thumbs up to those who have bought the album, or supported us in any way. Stay tuned for more folks.
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov
Graveyard Dirt @ Myspace.com
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