May 31, 2011

Cosmic Boogie - New Groan Video ...

Here is a new video kindly sent to me from Groan. It's due to be released in a few months on a new split EP with Vinum Sabbatum. If you have never heard the band, you are missing out on one kick-ass unit. Their album, The Sleeping Wizard is still available Here and from the Doomanoid Records Store so do yourself a favor and buy it. Now enjoy this video from The Riff Wizard, Mazzereth, Thor's Hammer and the Forest-Dwelling Fuzz Creature collectively known as Groan

Groan @ Reverbnation

Maligno - Universevil ...

Without a doubt the number one album on my 'must-have' list at the moment is the new album by Maligno called 'The Funeral Domine' but I haven't got hold of it just yet so as a teaser for that album, I thought I would give you all a heads up about this incredible band and an equally incredible album titled 'Universevil.' This album is their second recorded in 2008 and it is one of the best sabbathian-stoner doom metal albums recorded in the last 10 years. By that I mean it follows the Black Sabbath blueprint but it doesn't just merely copy the style, they give it a new modern twist while still capturing the grooves and the vibes of the first 6 sabbath records. There is a lot of sabbath-inspired rock in the world but these guys are one of the very best.

This album is one hour of infectious metal that reminds you with every earth-shattering note why you got into metal in the first place. It has the 70's classic rock authenticity, the head-pounding grooves and the epic, majestic riffing that is up there with Iommi or any other rock guitar god you care to mention. A bit of history for ya now, the band was formed in 2004 and come from Monterrey, Mexico. They came together with a passion and love for bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pentagram, King Crimson, and Cathedral and with the desire to make heavy-rock music that will stand the test of time and they do just that.

They are a largely unknown band outside of Mexico but are quite the opposite in their own country after touring with Metallica, well not really a tour, just a couple of shows but it brought a lot of attention to the band just the same. It is also very rare when any underground act of any substance gets to play on the same bill as a band like Metallica so it is impressive to say the least.

A self-titled début appeared in 2006 followed by 'Universevil' in 2008 and now I await their new album. I think if more people heard the band, they would be equally excited as I am about that prospect. Now to 'Universevil' - I will keep this fairly short as the album doesn't need a long-winded review to do it justice. It is classic-metal and about as solid as you can get. The sound is 70's but not in the same way as say.... Orchid is, Maligno do use Orange amps and all the vintage-sounding stuff required for an authentic classic sound but they also try to keep a bit of modern sound in there too and I don't think there is another band around that have mastered that balance quite as well as this band. This man handling the sound for this album was Alan Douches (Mastodon/High on Fire etc) and he did a remarkable job, the sound is huge but real with no element of over-produced studio manipulation showing itself anywhere on the disc.

'Universevil' is just one killer track after another from mid-tempo stompers like the opening two tracks 'The Red Witch' and 'Two Suns' to the mind-bending epic metal of 'Bloodworld.' They also mixed it up a lot with the mellotron-laced 'Astral Bacchanalia' to the down and dirty boogie of 'Dirty Black Suit' that comes complete with cowbell. Elsewhere on the album, tracks like 'Golden Demons' and 'Wait is to Fall' just leave me speechless. The album of course is hardly original but if Orchid, Ghost and older bands like Witchcraft and The Sword can get the god-like status in the doom-world, then Maligno deserves to be right up there with them. Nothing against those bands by the way, just merely pointing out it is a mystery to me why Maligno are not given the same status. Now this review has been produced here for my love of the band and nothing more, they didn't send me a promo and no label pushed me to review them. This is a 'heads-up' for all you folks out there to check them out now whether it be this album or the soon to be available (and hopefully reviewed by me)  'The Funeral Domine.' If there is any band that has what it takes to be mainstream stars as well as adored by the underground doom/stoner metal scene, is it this band. Essential...9.5/10

Maligno Official Website
Maligno @ Facebook
Maligno @ MySpace

Heavy And Not To Be Missed …

From Mari & The Sludge Swamp Team

I captured the smoke signals from our friend Mo)))urner aka Sven, from the über-cool German Doom Metal Front ‘Zine website, and I'm conveying the info onto you, folks.

The new, monumental n°6 issue of the Doom Metal Front ‘Zine is available for free download on the zine website.
You know this 'zine already, but it is worth refreshing memories on how cool it is ...
The content of the ‘zine, in pdf format, carries a huge amount of infos and great photos, in this issue covering up to 77 pages!
News and interviews are partly in German and partly in English, so there’s plenty of stuff to read and dig through.

Moreover, as usual, there is a slab of heavy tunes accompanying the words, 48 (!!!) tracks of heavy tunes making up the Doom Metal Front Compilation n° 4!
This giant contribution is devoted to one of the "hearths" where heavy tunes are forged and to a corner of the world where any rocker and metaller would like to go to at least once for "unholy" pilgrimage: Scandinavia.
The compilation is faithful to the line of the 'zine. So you’ve got shovels of traditional doom, stoner, “retro” psychedelic rock, space rock, sludge, doom-death, funeral doom, drone-ambient …
Details about the tracks, the contributing bands and the nations involved are found in the dark and charming cover art images for the compilation as well as in a plump chapter at the beginning of the ‘zine.
I don’t know some of the bands included in this huge comp, and, well, I find this great because I love to explore …

So, Sven, thanks heaps!
Folks, you can’t miss this …

Keep the 'zine under your radar here

Download Here: Doom metal Front ‘Zine Issue 6 + VV.AA. - Doom metal Front Compilation n. 4 - Scandinavia

Read more Sludge Swamp Here ~ Your source for Sludge, Stoner, and Doom

Witchcraft – Firewood ...

Witchcraft, unless you haven’t heard, is a band who completely missed everything after the 70’s in terms of developments in rock music, and emerged in 2001 with their debut to bring an interesting blend of retro rock. This Swedish beast of a band is, by far, one of the most unique I have encountered.

Allow me to try to define what the Witchcraft sound is. It’s soft-spoken, yet impact-heavy rock that sounds like it was recorded back in the 70’s, with guitars hardly ever fully distorted like we hear today, which are coupled with impressive solos and soft-toned licks. The drums blend in and make their presence known in occasion, as does the soft, light bass. With vocals somewhere between crooning and shouting. One thing there, is that you hear this extra vowel at the end of almost every line. It can get somewhat irritating after a while, but you get used to it.

And here’s where I’ll break the mold: I can’t do a track-by-track analysis of “Firewood”, because it’s a cohesive whole. On it’s own, every song displays the trademark, classic rock of Witchcraft, coupled with witty lyrics that lend themselves easily. From the foot-stomping grooves of “Mr. Haze” to the soft-spoken, engaging “Sorrow Evoker” to the groovin’, rockin’ “If Wishes Were Horses” to the rather progressive (and I use the term loosely) “Wooden Cross (I Can’t Wake the Dead)” the album is engaging, yet brimming with character at every turn. You can expect new things with every song, but each new tune, chord or tempo will carry on the Witchcraft character. That’s the biggest strength they have, and they have it in spades.

If one word could describe this album, it’d be “solitude.” The music generally centers around a mid-tempo baseline, and even the harder, faster moments don’t deviate much from it. As such, it lulls the listener into a sense of ease, and allows you to just fall in sync with it. For something not much centered on atmosphere, quite unlike most genres we cover here, it’s a marvelous achievement.

Shortly put? Well, whatever you say, if you like retro rock, or classic rock, or any type of end-of-60’s-and-then-there-were-70’s, this is your thing. It’s a quiet, laid-back, incredible ride that I doubt will disappoint anyone. 9/10, easy.
Review Written By Sarp Esin

Official Witchcraft Page
Witchcraft @ Myspace

French / Aussie Doom Goes Dutch - A Interview With Pierre From Atolah

PsycheDOOMelic Records doomlords Atolah need no introduction, they seem to have amassed a lot of loyal supporters just from one EP released in 2009 titled 'Relics.' I think everyone is dying to hear something new from the band but as you can tell from this interview that John put together with globe-trotting bassist Pierre, it might take a while longer yet.....

Hello Pierre.

Hey John!

1) Could you tell where that photo was taken-the one inside the CD cover of your album-just curious?

This picture, if I'm not mistaken, was taken in the catacombs in Paris, France

2) When did the group form and what was the group idea for what the band was to sound like?

Atolah was born in 2007 and was slightly different that how it sounds today. We just took it slower as time passed. We wanted the band to be heavy as, while keeping the groovy vibes and have interesting riffs without necessarily revolutionizing music you know.

3) What other bands were you in before the forming of Atolah?

Jeez…I started playing in bands around 1993. Just to name a few, I was n Zoophobia (a trash/crust/death metal band) and we recorded one tape entitled "No Meaning". Then I was into two black metal bands (Fjalar nd Devilish Era), with whom I recorded two Eps. I then joined a band called Nevrosis (techy trash/death) with whom I mainly toured. Around 2002, I was playing in a stoner rock band called Gonzo (only recorded a couple of songs). My last band in France before I relocated to Australia was called Margo Winchester. This band was really Kyuss-influenced. The highlight of this band was when we played along with Ultraphallus and Suma in Strasbourg, France.

4) Are the band members studiers of occultism?

Studier is a big word…I have read the satanic Bible if that counts and love dark imagery. Other than that no.

5) Who are some bands who have influenced you?

The most influential bands would definitely be Acid King as well as Sleep.

6) Why did the band decide not to have a vocalist?

It just happened. Our drummer, JB - who was also in Margo Winchester- also came to Australia. When he encountered visa issues and had to leave the country, we decided to record our songs, mainly to have a souvenir. As we had never planned on recording and were only jamming for the sake of it, we never wrote any lyrics. Then PsycheDOOMelic signed us and we became an instrumental band. We recently added vocals on  the newer songs though.

7) When did you sign with Psychedoomelic Records and how was the band promoted?

We signed maybe two weeks after we recorded Relics. Mark did an outstanding job at promoting and distributing the band and I feel like I owe him big time. He's extremely proficient in his work and is one of the best dudes in the music industry as far as I am concerned.

8) Why did you decide to play bass? Are you influenced by the bass player of Black Sabbath?

I started playing bass when I was in Zoophobia. We didn't have a bassist so it was the most logical thing to do really. Since then, I've been writing all the songs on bass. I'd be an total liar if I said I didn't like Geezer Butler man, but I have been more influenced by Scott Reeder and Guy Pinhas to be honest.

9) Will the band go on tour?

Being in Perth, Australia (the most isolated city in the world) it is kind of hard to tour really, even though we did a small east-coast tour back in 2010. Otherwise we mainly play local shows.

10) How are listeners taking to the music when you play live?

We generally get a good response from the crowd. What I like is we got to play with bands from many different genres because of our style: post-rock, rock n'roll, drone, power-violence and punk. Of course, you can't be loved by everyone and it's just fine the way it is.

11) What lies in the future for the band?

About that…I'm about to relocate to the Netherlands in 10 days. I'm keeping the band and am looking for a drummer. It seems I already found a guitarist (even though I'm open to the idea of having two guitars) so if anyone is interested, feel free to get in touch. I'd
like to record something and above all tour in Europe.

Thanks Pierre-I loved the RELICS album!! Great!!
Interview By John Wisniewski

Atolah @ MySpace

Officium Triste – Ne Vivam ...

The Netherlands have a habit of releasing talented Metal bands, specifically Doom, Doom/Death Metal bands; and Officium Triste are not only the standard bearers, but also one of the best.

Reviewed here is Ne Vivam, the third release from these profits of DOOM, and it doesn’t disappoint. From start to finish the only flaw (assuming you consider it a flaw) would be the production, as it’s a little thin. This however adds a “raw” element to the music that might otherwise have been lost.

The mood of the bulk of the songs go from happy to depressive and back again. This is accomplished while never losing the integrity of the song that’s being played. All of the songs have this epic, melancholic feel to them that is incredibly appealing. The music is tight and executed flawlessly. The vocals are extremely unique; never will you hear a Death Metal vocalist that has this exact tone or delivery. There are perhaps a few hints of early My Dying Bride in the first song but the rest of the album stands on its own.

The guitars have the right amount of distortion and harmonize when appropriate. They more often then not follow the traditional lead/rhythm roles and even throw in a few solos from time to time. There are a variety of creative and fun (for lack of a better word) riffs that make this album stand out amongst the bands catalog. The bass plays its role of following the drums. The drums however are amazing, very precise and never over indulgent. The drummer is rather creative and yet seems to be holding back, giving only brief glimpses into his true potential.

This is perhaps the bands best release as the entire album is very consistent. There are a few tracks that are either weak by comparison to the album as a whole and/or get old really fast. Maybe two songs from the album are in this field with rest being rather good. With their latter releases, typically only the first two or three songs are good while the rest seem to be filler (good filler, but filler none the less). In conclusion, this album is worthy for any diehard Metal head to own, not just the Doominoids! This gets a 8/10.
Review Written By Grimdoom

Officium Triste @ Myspace
Official Site

Triggerman - Brand New Day ...

Not The Actual Cover Art
Triggerman play like a bunch of southern-fried Jack Daniels drinking crazy men that dish out gigantic slabs of brutal bluesy nola-metal but hang on, they are from the UK - well that doesn't make sense. Trust a UK band to come along playing US styled stomping rock better than most of its originators. The truth is if the likes of Clutch and Down are so worthy of all the praise they regularly receive, you better bow to your knees and worship Triggerman because they are just as good, if not better than many of these mainstream stoner metal acts.

Ollie at The Sleeping Shaman beat me to this but remember those glory days of Mans Ruin Records? You had bands like Scissorfight. Altamont, Drunk Horse all delivering some of the most swaggering southern stoner-metal ever made and still to this day, most of those albums have gone under appreciated for their awesome-ness. Triggerman are definitely a throwback to those classic days of the peak of Mans Ruin. The vibe, sound and attitude are all here just like those early days of Mans Ruin Records and Southern-styled stoner-metal.

The title of the opening track, 'The Riff Holds Sway' says it all, this is powerhouse groove riff-rock that has a simple, no-bullsh*t attitude and it is straight to the point rock and roll. The band has a bombastic, thunderous sound that steamroll's its way over the top of you at first before you get settled into what this band is all about which is unpretentious kick-ass rock music. 'The Riff Holds Sway' is over and done with before you know what happened and then the album launches straight into 'I Got the Lurgy' which has more infectious riffing and whiskey-soaked vocals. Theres nothing fancy here at all and certainly there is nothing that is musically progressive or complex but when it comes to grooves, Triggerman have their bottle of rock full to the brim. 'The Road To Damascus' is one of the more obvious southern-influenced tracks only played with the intensity of a metal band.

The title track, 'Brand New Day' is up next and Ollie at The Sleeping Shaman also pointed out this fact but it has to be mentioned again here, this sounds awfully close to a Clutch song. There is no other way around it, if you have heard Clutch you know exactly what to expect with this tune. The following 'Horns' doesn't change the situation much either but both these songs are so catchy and have such strong grooves, it is hard not to dig them any way but yes, it is a little too close to Clutch and seeing as I don't like Clutch much at all, it presents a problem for me. Triggerman are not original nor are they trying to be but this gets a little too close to being a cloned-version of Clutch at times and it seems to increase in that direction, the closer you get to the albums final tracks. However 'There Strides Goliath' ends up being one of the albums best tracks, it has a gargantuan groove, monster riffage and the vocals melodies are perfect for this genre of music. This track gets a bit repetitive towards the end of it but still stands out as one of the album's highlights.

The album ends on 'Voices' and by now the Clutch-ism is starting to wear a little thin. The riffs and grooves still pulverize and are as catchy as hell but it all gets all too familiar and the magic that the album had in its early stages tends to get stale. A couple of things about Triggerman now, they are better than Clutch in my opinion even though they sound like a clone of the band most of the time. Their grooves are more infectious and have more to offer in the riffing department but they can't compete with the likes of Down just yet but that is the direction they seem to be going with this recording. If the albums second half gave me the buzz that the albums first half does, this would be right up there as a contender for one of the albums of the year but sadly the albums second half sounds very patchy and clutch-esque to my ears. Triggerman are great players and they have more balls and attitude than most bands but they just need more originality to go to the next level........6/10

Triggerman @ Reverbnation

May 30, 2011

Angel Of Damnation - Carnal Philosophy ...

I know very little about this band from Germany except just one song from a split they did with Don Juan Matus. That track titled '...As Heaven Cries' certainly got me interested in hearing more by they eluded me till now. 'Carnal Philosophy' is the album and it has been released via Kneel Before The Masters Throne Records which I also have never heard of till now. One look at promo pics of Angel Of Damnation gives you a clue to their musical intentions, this is old-school metal. Then you look at the band members names for more proof of their old-schoool roots - Doomcult Messiah on vocals, Avenger on Guitars, Bass and Keyboards and Hellbastard on drums. What I recently discovered though is the band features members from Dawn of Winter and Nocturnal and any band that has a members from Dawn Of Winter has to know their doom-metal.

Angel Of Damnation come from the old-school of doom, influenced by such acts as Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Witchfinder General, Pentagram and Saint Vitus and they openly display these influences within the 6 tracks on this album, mini-album or EP depending on what you want to call it. It is very short, only about 35 minutes at a guess but this is a raw, and very un-polished but still a great album. The demo-like quality to it doesn't hurt the listening pleasure to be gained from spinning this doom animal and in fact, it actually enhances it. The songs sound live and not exactly well-rehearsed as the songs don't sound as fluent as they should be but the tracks do have a great vibe to them just the same. As musicians, they have one major plus and that is the vocalist that sounds like a cross between Rob Lowe from Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass, and Scott Reagers from Saint Vitus. This gives the songs a real feeling of menace and emotion as well as a touch of pure evil.

The release has a few highlights like 'I'll Drink From The Chalice Of Blood' which sounds like it could have been written for the first Black Sabbath album. It is heavy and dark but still has the bluesy element that Sabbath had in those very early couple of years. 'Into The Coven Of The Damned' is also very sabbathian in its riffing with only an organ setting it apart from the usual Black Sabbath cloned material. 'Bow Before the Goat' is total Candlemass in every possible way but it is not really a rip-off, more like a tribute to the great band. The rest of the album follows the same formula, Sabbath-inspired riffs, vocals in the style of Candlemass and Saint Vitus and a never-ending supply of great hooks that go way beyond the norm for catchy doom-metal.

In conclusion, it is hard to get too excited about this album as it sounds all so recycled to me and while some bands tread the line between influence and just straight out copying a style, Angel Of Damnation do tend to sound like copyists. This is not to say avoid 'Carnal Philosophy,' as this is so big in the timeless riff department that you can't help but like it anyway. The lyrics are very good, no sign of cheese or childish horror movie clichés on the album from what I can hear and each track is very catchy. Apart from the question hanging over their originality, the production and the stuttering musicianship, the rest of the ingredients cook up a good dose of traditional doom-metal. Hopefully for their next album, they can iron out these issues and produce a no-holds barred masterpiece. For now I am treating this as a rushed demo and in that context I hear nothing but epic potential for the future...7/10

Angel of Damnation @ Facebook
Kneel Before The Masters Throne

Premonition 13 - 13 ...

Scott “Wino” Weinrich doesn't need to prove himself as a major force in the doom, stoner, sludge, and classic metal genres but he continues to do so on a seemingly regular basis. With his recent solo mostly acoustic album Adrift, and his work in Shrinebuilder and of course Saint Vitus - the man is legendary. Also no one can forget The Obsessed, The Wino Solo Band, The Hidden Hand and Spirit Caravan either. Maybe he is out to set a record for how many influential bands can one man create or at least join. Keeping with tradition, Premonition 13 are another trio which is of course is the ultimate in classic rock band formats. In this trio and on this album, Wino is joined by Matthew Clark on drums and Jim Karow on a second guitar and vocals and like the earlier EP they released, Wino also lays down the bass for this recording. It is pretty safe to say the result is a predictable one but in the case of most things Wino is involved with, it is exactly what you want to hear. The man has a trademark guitar style and a vocal presence that is all his own and if that was to change, all the magic would be lost.

In many ways Premonition 13 is very close to The Hidden Hand in style and sound except there is two guitars playing off each other here which gives the songs room to breathe and move more than they ever did in The Hidden Hand. But some things remain the same - the doomy riffing, blistering lead work and Wino's half spoken vocal croon all make their presence felt in a collection of 9 very strong songs.

'B.E.A.U.T.Y.' starts the album sounding huge and grandiose but of course all so typical Wino! I found this opener to be a little lackluster but the following 'Hard To Say' is where the album really kicks into high gear. An increase in tempo, an infectious verse and chorus, an exciting solo all makes up this very memorable track. Where as the opener 'B.E.A.U.T.Y' is psychedelic in structure, 'Hard To Say' is in perfect contrast being classic riff-rocking stoner-metal, so it is a powerful combination and an exciting way to kick off the album.

The album takes another slight detour with the next tune, 'Clay Pigeons' at least in terms of its complexity. The guitar interplay between Wino and Karow is fairly complicated when you compare it with other songs from Wino's past catalog of works. The song ends on a long fade out and I hate fade-outs but in this case it sets the mood for the quieter 'Senses' which I guess could be classed as a 'power-ballad' with its mellow verse to heavy chorus to mellow verse arrangement. 'La Hechicera de la Jeringa' begins with a prelude section before getting the track going into full-doom mode. When it does kick in, you are met with something that Wino does so well and that is the almighty sabbathian riff and this one is a doozy. It is without a doubt the albums big 'doom' moment and while it is generic in light of what Wino has done in his past, there is no denying the power of this riff. What follows is so different it sounds a little out-of-place in the albums running order ~ it is the boogie-rock of 'Deranged Rock N' Roller' and we all can't be doom 'n' gloom all the time but this track seems to be oddly light-hearted and almost too much fun for a tune coming from a Wino led band. Still it is a good track for what it is and it is very short at just a bit over 3 minutes so it is not too distracting.

What comes on next is one of the most irresistible tunes I have heard in a long time, the incredibly catchy and slightly amusing 'Modern Man.' Listen to the lyrics and you will hear what I mean about 'amusing.' It is songs like 'Modern Man', 'Hard To Say' and of course 'La Hechicera de la Jeringa' that will give this album some longevity. Not that the other songs are bad but it is these 3 songs that push this album into being anything but not 'just another wino' album. The album ends on the mainly instrumental closer 'Peyote Road' which makes the album run full circle as it is similar in structure to the album opener 'B.E.A.U.T.Y.' I think it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that some folks will here this as another typical Wino album and maybe it should be released as a Wino solo album rather than Premonition 13. Personally though I feel that Karow and Clark give the album enough individuality to be given its own title and identity, as songs like 'Deranged Rock N Roller' certainly give it is own unique appeal. In my mind this almost carries on where The Hidden Hand left off and that is enough reason alone to make this essential listening.......8/10

Thanks to an anonymous Greek doomster for getting this album to me ahead of its June 21st release date.

Premonition 13 @ Official Facebook page
Premonition 13 @ Official MySpace page
Premonition 13 @ Official YouTube page

Sigiriya - Return To Earth ...

The much sadly missed Acrimony released their last studio full-length in 1996 with 'Tumuli Shroomaroom'. Even though the band recorded splits with Iron Rainbow and Church of Misery, and appeared on the Leaf Hound Records compilation Bong on – Live Long! released in 2007, it is the 'Tumuli Shroomaroom' that the band is best remembered for. So when four out of the original five Acrimony members announced a new band called Sigiriya, riff worshippers everywhere were excited and rightly so. Only guitarist Lee Davies is missing from Sigiriya’s début titled 'Return to Earth'.

This bio should have you drooling with anticipation ~ "Beneath the soil of a Welsh valley a heavy metal life-force regains strength: rising from the ashes of stoner doom merchants Acrimony, Sigiriya is born. Eight years after the demise of Acrimony, guitarist Stu O’Hara, bassist Mead, drummer Darren Ivey and vocalist Dorian Walters have reconvened. Not wanting the limitations of reforming a project long dead to them, Sigiriya brings a fresh take on their trademark monolithic heavy groove. While Acrimony hailed from the temples of deepest space, Sigiriya come from the earthy depths, bringing hefty, tremor-inducing sonics that pay homage to the riff."

A couple of things before hitting play on this album is it is 4/5 of Acrimony so it has to sound a bit like that band, right? It is being released on the exceptionally good he Church Within Records so it must be high-quality? Lets tackle the first question first, yes they will be compared with Acrimony and there is indeed some similarities but Sigiriya is a new band, with a fresh take on stoner, sludge, riff-rock or whatever you are calling it this week and should be analyzed on its own merits. The main overwhelming difference is the music of Sigiriya is more focused on big crunchy traditional rock grooves and less on psychedelic jamming, although there is a little bit of that on here too. There is more of an injection of metal into the sound rather than the desert/stoner-metal vibes of yesteryear but at the same time, this is far from being traditional metal. In the band they have Stuart O’Hara who was also in Iron Monkey so that spells heaviness right there. There is vocalist Dorian Walters, bassist Paul “Mead” Bidmead, and drummer Darren Ivey.

Note, I got these tracks one by one via a download promo so the actual running order will be different on the album once it is released and I think that was important to mention as some of these songs sound like they should bleed into each other. One thing I do know is 'Deathtrip to Eryri' is the album closer and it is also one track that gets me totally mesmerized. The interstellar-overdriven space-rock voyage is a total trip for its 10 minutes. It features prominent groovy bass lines and a hell of a lot of sabbathian qualities in the immensely doom-laden riffing. The song only takes a few minutes to send you into a trance-like state with hypnotic bass and drum work and when the lead comes in floating over the top in a sonically charged fashion, the result is like downing too many red-bull energy drinks - the track is a rush but also leaves you on the edge of your seat with restless anticipation. At the other end of the scale is 'The Mountain Goat' which sounds nothing like Acrimony at all, this tune is totally infectious and surprisingly metallic.

Vocalist Dorian Walters sounds even more sure of himself these days and his vocals have matured over the years since the Acrimony split. The rawness is still there but it is more refined now and the same can be said for the rest of the band as well. There is an element of class and self-assured maturity that you didn't hear too much on the original Acrimony recordings. A good example of this is the excellent 'Robot Funeral' which still can carry the 'stoner-metal' tag but it is more metal than stoner. The start-stop arrangement coupled with infectious vocal melodies is certainly groovy riff-rock kind of stuff but this is severely metallic and seriously heavy. 'Dark Fires' is a similar to 'Robot Funeral' in the metallic sense, it still has that psychedelic edge to it but this is one band cooking up some killer metal on these songs. Not traditional, generic metal by any means but the metallic crunch is enough to blow most of other generic-metal bands away any day.

'Tobacco Sunrise' sees the band stretching out a little bit with a more spacious groove and vibe while another song, 'Hurricane' simply kicks up a bombastic charge of metallic fury. 'Return To Earth' is a pure metallic riff-rock album that keeps the psychedelic jam-rock leanings of the band members past in the background and yes this is a kick-ass rock album, first and foremost. Acrimony fans should dig this album but don't expect this to be a cloned-version of that band, this is vastly different and a whole new approach and a new beginning for the musicians involved.  There is not a weak moment on this album and there is not a second where the metallic riffing or the melodies are not catchy. I knew these guys couldn't do anything bad given their heritage and experience but this goes way beyond expectations. A killer début from Sigiriya. .....9/10

Sigiriya @ Facebook
Doom Dealer/The Church Within

May 29, 2011

The Protectors Of The Downfallen - A Interview With Pombagira ...

From Myspace; "Formed at the crossroads between 2006 and 2007. The programme of intent is based on a strong acknowledgement to the forces associated with the downtrodden. The name PombaGira comes from the Afro-Brazilian religion of Quimbanda. Within the confines of this religion for those socially marginalized, PombaGira's attributes are strength and protection. She is the wife/consort of Exu, a trickster spirit that has in the past been mistaken for the devil. She is the protectress of the downfallen, prostitutes and the weak. She commands obedience and is considered to have a fiery constitution.

Because she 'serves with both hands', an adage describing her flexible approach to how she treats humans, she is to be feared and revered. If you treat her with respect she will potentially grant you what you wish, however, if the compact is made and then broken she will unleash a surge of destruction that will leave no-thing standing. It is this kaleidoscope of hidden depth and potential within the expression of the life world, here enfleshed, that is made manifest through the medium of sound. It is this thin veneer between the hidden and the seen, the fixity of a reality and the possibility for exploration into the sphere of the invisible that defines the inspiration for the band."

Aleks Evdokimov got to speak to Pete from Pombagira.........enjoy the voodoo !!!

Q: Salute Peter! How are you? And where are you? I’m finally confused – are you in Sacramento or in London? Or maybe you’ve already bought a little house in the territory of Haiti or Louisiana?

-Hey Aleks, thanks for getting in contact with us about the band and our interest in all things religious. You ask where we are living, currently we live in the countryside close to stansted airport, which is about 40 miles north of London.

Q: So you finally settled there and finished with the life of a nomad? You lived in USA, you ride quite long tours with Pombagira, don’t you have gypsy’s blood in your veins?

-Well it was not so much that we were nomads rather than forced out of the UK by British immigration. That’s how we ended up in America for three months. We applied to get married and because she is an American we had to this through the Home Office. Submitted all our paperwork with the application and then were told that Carolyn’s right to reside in the UK was being made void because it had hinged on her being married to a Polish guy. That’s when we packed our bags, managed to get some legal representation and headed off to the states where we were married a week into being there. Then we sent the application for the British consulate in LA and waited almost three months before we heard they had accepted her application. I do think at some points in life we become overtaken by what you describe as gypsy blood, the desire to move and explore.

Q: I read two interviews from your and the questions about origin of band’s name was there amidst others of course. Okay, we know that Pombagira is goddess of some Afro-Caribean cult and as I understand she has few “sub-guises”, after all that I read about such things dare I make a conclusion that in that case she is like shakti, female aspect of God (which took shape of mother Mary in Christian religion). What do you think? Is there a conception of monotheism in such cults?

-To infer the existence of monotheism through a type of retention, would in one respect be true, because all Afro-Caribbean or Afro-Brazilian religions recognize an overarching God, however they all regard this entity in a very pragmatic way by saying that if he is running the universe he is way too busy to be dealing with the vagaries of human everyday life. An explanation such as this not only illustrates the detachment felt to an overarching power but also explains why people relate to the spirits, their messengers, and their convener.

Q: Does such belief (if it’s more than hobby for you) somehow help you in common life? How does it influence you?

-It’s impossible to detach oneself from their presence on an everyday basis. Their presence directly affects my life, they act as silent navigators.

Q: Such topics are original and deep enough to write down a lot of songs but you recorded only 4 tracks for “Baron Citadel”, from where does that love to do epic long songs come from?

-The long songs we write are never intentional, I never sit down and go “right it’s time to write a long song”. I believe every song has a life of its own and therefore the duration will emerge as the song is developed. Usually I start with a basic structure which I then build on as moments of inspiration take me. This can be a long and drawn out process taking months to complete and perfect. I think also that each song is like a voyage, a journey if you will into the world of dark imaginings. Another part of the mix that creates an epic song are my influences, ranging from Amon Duul II to Nektar to early Pink Floyd. Each of these bands used music as a mind expander, and since I have been listening to this material for more than 30 years the methods by which to open up sound and use texture has gradually seeped into my very soul.

Q: Yes, I know about your psychedelic likings but they show themselves only in one song of “Baron Citadel” – it’s “Corporeal Altar”. And this combination of psychedelic and groovy sound makes amazing effect, may we expect more of such songs in future?

-Corporeal Altar was indeed an indication of desire to break out from just playing doom , or you could see it as us wanting to inject a more prog/psych element into the proceedings. I would say all our songs have an element of Corporeal in them. Our new album coming out in the autumn Iconoclast Dream certainly does. It’s a one song 42 min album and it is without doubt the best thing we have ever released.

Q: You recorded material for “Baron Citadel” for a quiet long period and now I see how carefully you approach a process of working with your songs, did you work that long with your two previous albums – “The Crooked Path” and “Black Axis Abraxas”? Though one album per year is a very good result.

-Crooked Path was different for us because we recorded it in two stages. The first was when my previous band Flyblown were into record but the drummer had flu, so we had two days where he couldn’t play so Carolyn and I recorded the last two songs on the CD as a demo. Then we went back a few months later and completed the recording, but with crooked path the main purpose of the release was to get everything that we had done up to that point. The idea being that we then had a clean slate so as to move on and record new material. Black Axis Abraxas probably took another six months to write, but we were even changing it while recording the album in the studio.

Q: Pete, your voice is ideal for a true doom band, I’m glad that we have the bands like yours with such strong vocal, but I’ve got some sort of cliche – when shaggy men with a beard roar with that hoarse voice I automatically start to think that he praises Lovecraftian Elder Gods! Why don’t you sing about that stuff or about typical “occult” or “esoteric” themes?

-The main reason why I don’t song about more typical doom topics is because they are hammer house of horror cheesy. Don’t get me wrong I love those types of songs, but in contrast I am actually interested in religious practices, Voodoo, and the crooked path.

Q: How did you come to this way of spiritual life and why did you decide to embody your vision of it in doom-music? And what do you think – are other extreme musical genres suitable for this specific theme?

-The things I have witnessed in my life act as a great muse. I write my lyrics and imbibe my experiences within a sound. In the past I have been involved in a few magical occult orders, I have also traveled to Nepal where I have seen and met Chagri shamans, I’ve been to Haiti where I have participated in Vodou ceremonies. These are things I try to recapture when writing songs.

Well I think these things can work in any genre of music. The first Scalplock CD, another band I used to be in, had music Vodou music on it as an intro that came from my own recordings of ceremonies in Haiti. Likewise our 3rd album On Whose Terms begins with a Kreyol song to Legba asking him to open the gates.

Q: As I understand the album’s title “Baron Citadel” points us to a figure of Baron Samedi, what is an origin of his cult and why did you choose him as kind of a central figure of the album?

-Well Baron Citadel as a name refers to the large human boned tomb that Baron Samedhi inhabits. Baron Samedhi in the north of Haiti is regarded as a cemetery spirit, as one of the keepers to the crossroads. He symbolizes the central point demarcating the world of the living with the world of the dead.

Q: I remember only one album which was a little bit similar with “Barn Citadel” conceptually – it’s King Diamond “Voodoo”, did you listen it? What do you think about it’s subject as the man with academic knowledge of African religions?

-I have never been into King Diamond and therefore don’t know this song

Q: I’m not a fan of King Diamond too, but let me clarify just one thing – “Voodoo” is a conceptual album. Pete, you play in the band with your wife, don’t you think that it would be good to grow a replacement? Though it would be strange family business – ride across countries and spread a word of African paganism…

-I have to say I’m not really into proselytizing a religion, each to their own is what I say. The making of a family with Carolyn is one we aren’t ready to commit to, probably because I already have three children from two separate relationships.
Q: You were going to release split 12” with bands Windhand, Wounded Kings, Coffins and Jucifier but I see only split with Eagle Twins your discography, so what do you plan to record in nearby future?

-I know so many of the splits never took place, Coffins never submitted their material, Wounded Kings have just changed their line-up so there is a chance sometime in the future a split will happen, a Windhand split is at the top of our priorities, and Jucifer they did submit material but it had been previously released so we said we wouldn’t do it.

Q: If all those deals have been delayed then it would be good to give Pombagira’s listeners a chance to listen some new tunes, because if you planned to record all these splits then you must had at least three songs for them, what’s about new stuff, Peter?

-This is a good question. I can’t prepare songs for splits I have found because if I do they become album songs. That’s why doing splits is a difficult thing for me to accomplish, and why we have some many ideas to do them but have never done them apart from the Eagle Twin split. But even with that, Dawn of the Black Sun was always an independent, standing on its own, kind of song. Well the next thing we have out is as I mentioned above Iconoclast Dream, vinyl only, release date 19th September and can be found soon for pre-order at or at We also now working on and have nearly completed our 5th album, we plan to record it in Oct of this year, that will have three songs on and has a working title of “Summon”

Q: Man, I know that you’re real fanatic and have at least a whole room of different equipment for your guitar, what kind of apparatus do you prefer to use during gigs? And do you really feel that you need so many things just for your guitar?

-The set up at the moment comprises of three sunn model ts, two Laney supergroups, and an impact by status 120 watt amp for bass, this has only recently changed because I now have an ampeg svt for bass, we also plan to use more of our equipment, so we will hopefully be adding in the near future two Laney Klipp amps as well.

Q: You like harsh grooves, you like fat riffs but it seems that you avoid solos – why?

-Solos, I love playing solos but they tend to be very bluesy, consequently the don’t necessarily suit the part. I also take into consideration that any solo I play I won’t be able to play live.

Q: Playing songs which lyrics are rooted in pagan religion don’t you try to use in your music melodies or rhythmic structures of their rituals? It’s a well known theme - how followers of voodoo fall into a trance listening drums’ beating. Did you ever watch such situations during your Pombagira’s live shows?

-I believe the riffs and a lot of carolyn’s drumming really sounds like it is in the spirit of Vodou. While on tour with Eagle Twin I had moments when it felt like I was close to be possessed.
Q: If you would be a practicing bokor which famous person would you like to return from the grave and why?

-Two obvious ones would be Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and of course Bon Scott

Q: And which one (from the living ones) would you like to turn into a zombie? …Just to do some homework, to work in a garden, to carry all your amps and do some dirty deals at God-forsaken graveyards…

-Sorry I don’t know hahaha reason being they may not what they are doing and therefore they may damage our equipment.

Q: What is a final goal of voodoo (and other Afro-religions)? Most of us know about Christianity and other monotheistic religions, someone heard about neo-paganism (for example we discussed Wicca with guy from El Hijo de la Aurora), someone gains for Buddha’s virtues or just chant “chtulhu ftangh” taking a shower in bathroom. What’s about voodoo, Pete?

-There is no final goal with Vodou, it is used as a method of getting through and negotiating life on a daily basis.

Q: Thank you Peter for your patience, I bet that this interview will be interesting for our readers, good luck man! Please add few words for our readers.

-Thank you so much Aleks for doing this interview with us. As mentioned before check out for news on the upcoming album etc. New material will be posted there hopefully in the next couple of weeks. We are also coming out to Europe at the end of Sept early Oct, hope to meet some of you on the road. Thanks again….
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Pombagira @ Myspace

The Deadists – Time Without Light (Second Opinion) ...

I noticed the other day that here on Doommantia we have given some time to go over the bands that are now comprising most of the roster of Slow Burn Records: Talbot, Catacombe, A Cold Dead Body, The Death of Her Money, Somnolent and the Fading Winds/Starchitect split were all covered. One of the two bands in Slow Burn’s roster we haven’t gotten to yet is The Deadists, (we are actually reviewed them in 2010- Ed) a Swedish genre-bender outfit knee-deep in stoner metal.

Let’s get the classifications and likewise out-of-the-way first. The Deadists can’t be concretely classified in one genre, they’re one of those bands who don’t really sound like anything but at the same time, they sound like everything. The music itself is based primarily in stoner metal, that is their foundation. You get the thundering bass, minimal yet pounding drumming, fuzzy/thick guitar tones and stoner style riffs, along with throaty, hearty vocals. On top of that, some subtle guitar partitions and the way it can sometimes feel is a bit of sludge. Polish that off with that little bit of Slow Burn Edge, the indescribable feel of the band, and you get the music. The Deadists, it’s also worth mentioning, are one of those stoner-based bands who find their strength in repetition rather than variation – this is a little bit of a minus for them, as the passages are often too clear-cut to offer any true dynamism. Which is where the vocals come in – they are usually monotonal, in that there is a set form cutting between the John Baizley-esque neutral “shout-sing” and the growling vocal style, but Joacim’s ability to have his voice rise or fall in tone makes all the difference in the world. Of course, this means you only hear pieces of what he’s singing.

However, regrettably, whereas stoner genres are usually instrumentally based, The Deadists aren’t – there aren’t long, drawn-out instrumental passages, which does wonders for me since I don’t like instrumentals, but might turn off quite a few others. There is also a very notable absence of solos, as in, you will hear no guitar solos; there are small passages resembling solos, but aren’t, not by a long shot. That, coupled with the polished, clean-cut, Slow Burn-edge production creates a bit of lack in the album. Just look at the cover image, and combine it with the fact that this is Doommantia and you actually get a pretty accurate picture of what they’re about.

Anyway, to not prattle on for too long… the EP kicks of with “Woven”, a nice track that will have it’s main riff, simple as it is, stuck in your head for days and it’s not before long that you’re introduced to the vocals. It’s a mid-tempo opener, not too exciting, but is a basic example of The Deadists’ sound. Next up is where they display their sludge influences a little bit more, “Human Stain” which has a likewise catchy main riff, some more prominent drumming that often makes itself known, and some pretty sludgy passages that churn onwards while tuning lower and lower at each turn. Interesting thing about this one is that the riff is faster, but the song keeps to mid-tempo, even with double bass drums pounding on. Following that up is “Infinite Self”, which kicks off bright and mysterious, but churns and lumbers on like a slow monument on parade, the vocals setting the tones higher than they actually are and offering nice bit of variety.

Next up is “Deeper Within.” It is deeper, alright, in that the vocals and the guitars start to literally drag the ground with their tuning, I mean, it’s at sea level, basically. With Joacim churning on with his vocals and the song being slightly off-kilter with it’s instrumentalization at some parts, it’s a solid track with more dynamism. You will, remember the riff at the very end, because it’s that easy and that catchy. The EP’s closer, “Chase the Giving” has some interesting vocals at one point, but is mostly hard-hitting, chopped-up riffs exhibiting the same groove as before, but managing somehow to groove a bit more. It’s plagued by the same extreme compartmentalization of partitions and passages, however. The Deadists do shake that up a bit by raising the tempo for real for the first time in the album towards the end of it. Then, after a few minutes of eerie sound clips that freak the living spirits out of me each time, the bonus track “Blizzard of Nails” kicks in. Which is a little more visceral to say the least, the production values are a little lower, and it feels like it was born from a studio session and wasn’t polished. It’s not anything special, though, and it doesn’t offer anything new. Perhaps that’s the issue throughout the EP, that every song is The Deadists, but that just means they’re more of the same every time.

In short? Well, this is an above-average release, to be sure, but it’s one of those albums where, although nothing in particular is exactly wrong with it, it’s just... off. Maybe it’s that they haven’t managed to come to full potential, maybe it’s the over-polished production or lack of solos, or that everything is compartmentalized too much, maybe the vocals are too monotonous at times, or maybe it’s just nothing but that inexplicable “something.” In all cases, it’s worth listening to, though it might take some getting used to and is not the be-all, end-all of stoner-based genre-benders. Give it a go, though. 7/10
Review Written By Sarp Esin

The Deadists @ MySpace

Black Oath – The Third Aeon ...

Black Oath are an Italian band devoted to a very “Italian”, by now traditional, type of doom sound, the so-called heavy occult “cemetery” horror/doom rock.

The band’s line-up include three musicians who hide their identity behind acronyms: A.Th on guitars and vocals, Howls P.V. on bass and C.Z. on drums.

The band is rather young as the guys started in 2006, but they appear to have learnt and personally reworked the lesson from the local, big, past and present fathers of the genre quite thoroughly.

Labels discovered the potential of these gloomy rockers soon as the releases by this band have been spread around in USA and Europe by label Subject To Suffering (USA), Horror Records (Denmark – the same spreading the Abysmal Grief’s virus) and, recently I Hate Records (Sweden).

The Black Oath guys started soon with some important collaborations as in their self-titled 2009 debut EP they involved members of outstanding occult/horror black metal bands such as Mortuary Drape (from Italy) and Denial Of God (from Denmark - they did a split with Abysmal Grief as well).

I was lucky to see Black Oath playing live in an exceptional occasion: they opened for one of the rare Abysmal Grief’s concerts on the stormy Hallowen night last year in a music pub outside Milano.

Abysmal Grief were the main attraction, obviously, but Black Oath proudly used their keys to open the doors of hellish crypts and catacombs …

With their motherly milk the three guys in Black Oath must have absorbed dark tunes and a tendency to create some epic atmospheres from traditional Swedish mournful heavy doom, NWOBHM and dark rock from the 70’s.

The band’s sound openly pays hommage to the 70-early 80’s Italian dark doom-prog and horror rock masters like Jacula, Zess, Death SS, Black Hole, Paul Chain, of the later obscure prog acts such as Malombra. Black Oath also follow the path painfully and gloomily kept ripped by the present-day macabre doom monsters Abysmal Grief and the other notable occult heavy/epic doom acts such as Sancta Sanctorum, The Black, L’Impero delle Ombre, Witchfield, etc..

Recently (early April 2011) the band released the debut full-length album, The Third Aeon, via label I Hate Records. This album definitely consecrates the band in terms of style and professional quality of performance. In spite of the fact that it comes shortly after their minor releases (the debut EP, the single and the split with the Italian doom-death act Tetramorph Impure), the new album only contains new tracks. I think this is a very good sign of a lively activity in this band.

The new album consists of six tracks, where the third, eponymous track is an about 3 minutes-long instrumental-only interval in a sequence of quite long, +7 minutes-long suites.

In spite of the monumental character of the tracks, the album flows away smoothly and the attention of the listener is kept alive by a well-composed and varied development of the sound.

Doommantia already hosts Ed’s review of the 2010 Portrait of the Dead 7” release.

So you may already know the band’s style, which consists of an absolutely classic, epic doom metal which shares features closely with Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus, especially vocal-wise.

Black Oath’s tunes are often vintage-sounding. Rhythms vary from slow- to mid-tempo via periodical, balanced acceleration of the plodding ritual-sounding dominant riffage and bass lines and clean but powerful drumming.

Evocation of gloomy, dusty, funereal atmospheres may cause the automatic comparison with the horror doom rock à-la-Abysmal Grief. However Black Oath are a bit less heavy than Abysmal Grief. Black Oath charge their songs with doses of mournful, melancholic feelings, but when the band “quotes” Abysmal Grief, morbidity and a sense of horror takes the place of sticky melancholy. Abysmal Grief are especially quoted via the frequent employment of sinister, funereal keyboard-driven melodies which mark some of the most involving, occult, evil passages in the album. Keyboards are especially dominant in opening track, Death as Liberation, in the fourth, the beautiful Evil Sorcerer, and in the magnificent closing track, The Black Oath. In this last track in particular the full range of stylistic features of the band are displayed: the conclusion of the track, and of the album, is performed via a great final NWOBHM-styled acceleration anticipating a, well, almost obvious final sequence of menacing thunder noise.

The vocal parts, performed by guitarist A. Th, as well as the sound production have been getting better and better with time. The vocal style is typically clean and similar to Solitude Aeturnus’ or Angel Witch’s rather high tones. However A. Th is able to smoothly shift towards moderately darker, deeper tones and thus to add further atmosphere and richness to the sound. Vocals are slightly in the background relative to the other instruments and sometimes sound slightly echoed. The result is an impression of backing vocals in background, but I guess a reverberating effect is applied to simulate echoing vaults of a crypt. The employment of monk-like choirs, coupled with extensive use of keyboards, in the powerful last track, The Black Oath, imparts the maximum of solemnity and, well, blasphemy.

As to the production specifically, improvements relative to the debut EP are striking: in particular guitar and a great bass eventually sound dirty, fuzzy and “solid”. Riffs, bass and drums are all heavy the equal amount, wrap you like evil restless ghosts and drag you in the catacombs.

The sound in the debut EP was OK in general, although a bit too “flat”. I heard the EP just after seeing the band at the Halloween concert (the EP was the only non-vinyl object I could buy) and there I couldn’t find a proper expression of the actuall richness of shades and the energetic aggression of Black Oath’s live sound. The highly improved quality of the production in the new release definitely helps in fully appreciating the great potentials of this band.

The arrival of the new Black Oath’s album made me almost automatically go back and refresh some other Italian occult doom rock bands mentioned above, and a few general considerations came to my mind.

Instinctly the luscious nature and the sunny landscapes of Italy may not appear an ideal scenery or at least rather uninspiring for horror and dark occult tunes. And a somehow puzzled feeling about this weird mating seems to be shared by several music reviewers who wrote about this fully established tradition in the Italian metal underground.

Cemeteries full of colourful flowers and graced by moss-free elegant, artistic tombstones, sculptures and monuments lit by sunshine may appear almost relaxing places, in comparison to some definitely macabre-looking, mossy British cemeteries drowning into thick fog or darknes, like in some movies. But some features of the Italian tormented history and culture may help in creating some striking dissonances in this sometimes idilliac-looking environment. The historical complex relationships of both society and individuals with the dominant, extremely solemn, so often oppressive religion may have helped in casting loads of sinister light especially in the relationship with the sense of sin and death.

Some common extreme musical expression of these feelings in the Italian underground panorama are, grossly, via powerful black metal as well as doom rock/metal or else in gothic metal, more than essential funeral doom. My impression is that the epic, solemn, complex, if not baroque features of the Italian black metal or of the doom-horror rock may partly be an equally imposing reply to or a reflection of the heaviness in the influence of the institutional religion on society for centuries.

Also, in a horror story nothing is more surprising and eventually scary, sometimes, than the contrasts between a jolly-looking environment and what is going to happen, potentially.

For example, I still have a sense of terrifying sense of hollow in my gutters when I remember pieces of Italian literature by Sicilian writers active during late 19th century, and their plain, yet incredibly desolating descriptions of funerals in the blinding sunshine of Sicily, one of the most charming islands dreamed for holidays.

Well, let’s go back to the object of my writing, Black Oath.

Black Oath’s own, very personal style may well be inserted into the stream of epic doom metal which is sweaping the Mediterranean shores and which sees some impressive representatives in Nomad Son, Heathendom, Fangtooth, etc. And actually I would see Black Oath perfectly fit for taking part to the next edition of the outstanding Malta Doom Festival (where another promising, emerging Italian doom act, Focus Indulgens, will play).

But there are some cool chances coming soon to discover this band. Black Oath will play during a few summer festivals or gigs in Europe, like the Muskelrock festival in Sweden in early June or the cool Hellpleasure festival in Germany at the end of July. Next October Black Oath will be playing in the fourth, monumental edition of the Black Lake Fest in Retorbido, not far from Milano, together with some monsters: Abysmal Grief, Nechros Christos, Mortuary Drape …

So it is well worth checking the band’s webpages for updated infos.

I’m concluding by saying that Black Oath definitely reached an outstandingly high level in their performances and style, but they are still a young and fresh band. In this case it means that potentially we’ve got much much much more cool tunes to expect from this heavy trio. Let’s see how they will evolve. Something new is actually coming, as label Horror Records is going to release a new 7" EP called "The Cursed Omen" in early July.

Allow me just add a short, final, shamelessly chauvinist note: Black Oath hail from Milano, my town, and, well, they make me proud. 9/10

Review by Marilena Moroni

E-mail official contact:

Black Oath @ Myspace

Black Oath @ Facebook

I Hate Records

Horror Records

May 28, 2011

Abysmal Darkening – No Light Behind ...

The Total Rust promo sheet reads; With a unique mix between traditional doom riffing, stoner doom, elements of 70s proto-metal and some blackish influences, Abysmal Darkening managed to create a new form of audio sonic terrorism. Transcendental, sharp, suicidal, old school music and yes, it is recommended to fans of Bethlehem, Deinonychus  and even Celtic Frost and Urfaust.

This is all true but there is a lot more to this band like the sonic dirges of Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Burning Witch,  and even early Pentagram can be heard within these hellish blackened grooves. They are still known as a 'black-metal' band by most in the underground media but lovers of extreme doom will surely get a lot of pleasure out of this crusty blackened doom-metal and yes I am calling this doom. It has taken the band 7 years between their demo recorded in 2004 and this 2011 début full length so the wait better be worth it and thankfully it is. The album kicks off with Godzilla-like plodding with 'Behold The Gods' that combines giant doom riffs and some very dirty low-ended bass rumbling with a disturbing amount of tortured black-metal ambience. There is a blast beat section that enters the track about halfway through but the bulk of the song is a sickening sludge-metal crawler in the vein of Burning Witch and Khanate only with much more black-metal influenced hatred. The screeching vocals are a perfect match to the guitar assault which sticks to fairly basic chord progressions but that only helps to support the atmosphere of unadulterated misery.

The following 'Dead Eyes' is possibly even bleaker if that is possible at all. It starts with the most minimalist of doom riffs and a snail-paced tempo along with growls, moans and tortured vocals. It is so slow and heavy that at one point it sounds like the track might stopped all together but instead goes in a blackened droning section. This doom misanthropy is very sparse so don't expect much in the way of musical dynamics but do expect something truly scary, depressing and ethereal. 'A New Dawn' changes the mood ever so slightly with more of a cruising stoner-doom kind of vibe but it still has that washed out Saint Vitus kind of feel especially in the tempo of the song. It is still slow but faster by Abysmal Darkening standards, like 'Dead Eyes' it has the mid-song breakdown or mood shift going from sinister to melancholy.

'Endless March Of The Dead' is up next and one the albums best pieces. This is probably the closest the band ever gets to traditional doom at least in the sabbathian sense of the genre but it is still played at half-speed and with twice the aggression. Like most songs here they blend in bursts of black-metal hatred which mainly stems from mid-tempos and menacing screaming vocals. The band follows this highlight with another one, the eerie grooves of 'Words Of Doom' which really highlights the bands skills at atmospheric sludgy doom. It also highlights this bands ability at mixing 70's rock groove with drones and plodding yet melodic doom-metal. This is where the band and this album reaches its peak in my opinion. Even though the songs move in a heavy but awkward way, there is an element of melody in the guitar lines which is hypnotic. They follow this monster with 'De zomer Is Dood' which really showcases the bands twisted, deranged melodies to perfection. This track is almost like three bands in one, it is has the trad-doom laden section, the bombastic aggressive sludge element and also a black-metal blast to round things off.

The album ends on a druggy cover of Sisters Of Mercy’s 'Marian' and the band not only put their own stamp of doom onto the song but they basically re-invent it as well. Strange but I have always hated Sisters Of Mercy and this song but this version is excellent. It is like Darkthrone and Burning Witch got together for a jam and the result is sheer brutal madness. This rounds out an excellent, almost flawless album and it must be said that Total Rust who put out this album are on a roll right at the moment. Along with Abysmal Darkening they have just released killer albums by Pyramido and Highgate and this adds up to three of the best albums released this year but back to this album. 'No Light Behind' is an essential sludge-doom album for 2011 from a band that has been worth waiting for. Not only will doom,sludge and stoner fans dig this but black metal fans and lovers of the extreme should find this album nothing short of exceptional.....9.5/10

Abysmal Darkening Official
Official Myspace
Total Rust Music

Talking With The Spirits - Interview With Ethereal Riffian ...

Shaman's Visions by Ethereal Riffian is the début album of the year so far for myself and many others I know. It currently has 'album of the month' status here at Doommantia so we needed an interview and the Doctor of Doom has done just that. Here is a in-depth interview with Ethereal Riffian main-man and fellow doom-metal blogger Stonezilla.

Dr.Doom: Congrats on your début! Reading all those enthusiastic reviews about it I was wondering do you think “Shaman’s Visions” will ever receive any negative comments haha?
Stonezilla: Hi man! First of all let me express my gratitude for the review and kind words. The positive feedback we’ve received from various people, musicians and labels makes the band really motivated regarding our future. As for the negative comments, well, you never can tell! But if you don’t like it – you’d better be aware, for we have made some acquaintances with shamans during the record.

Dr.Doom:I remember I heard a song on “Odd Sonic Frequency VI” was that the real Etherial Riffian début?
Stonezilla: This is an interesting question to answer! It was the song I recorded with my “ancient” mp3 player in winter of 2009, when I had been playing guitar for something like 4 month (that’s why it sounded so awful! hahah), and there was no band yet. It was something I just felt playing. The song’s called Yeti’s Hide, and it came to my mind on one of those winter’s evenings when yetis woke up and trees fell.
So it can’t be called Ethereal Riffian’s début, though this song will be performed by the band once for sure (on the third record hopefully).

Dr.Doom: Can you give some details about the history of the Etherial Riffian, the band members, previous bands etc. Why do you use nicknames?
Stonezilla: The band is pretty young – it was formed last summer (in July), though the pre-history brings us back to 2007. I’ve met with my classmate Max (Southman), and found out that he was playing guitar. Damn, he was really good at it even back in 2007! At that time I had no skills at all and wanted to play drums. We’ve decided to try to create some music. During the following three years we’ve tried grind-core, blues, heavy metal, southern, thrash…well, a whole lot of styles! A lot of music was written, but nothing was released. In the autumn of 2009 I’ve picked up guitar (drumming wasn’t my destiny), and that was the push-up for the creation of Ethereal Riffian. Half a year later my brother (SAF) put his beard on bass, and half a year later we’ve decided that our beards are long, and our balls are strong enough to start up a band. There was also Dr. Smoke (great guy with cool ideas & concepts) who should be on vocals, but that wasn’t supposed to happen. Anyway he influenced the band and we’re thankful for his contribution.
The band’s name came to me right from ether three months before creation of the band.
As for the nicknames. You see – people don’t have a clue who Valeriy Korniev or Max Yuhimenko is, and they are more likely to remember something that sounds easier to them (for stoners even native) . Something like Stonezilla, Southman or SAF. Besides we are using these nicknames for a long period of time.

Dr.Doom: What has changed in the band since this small track on “Odd Sonic Frequency VI”? I mean in “Shaman’s Visions” you seem to have a very clear perspective about your music.
Stonezilla: Oh, a lot has changed since that time. Pretty much everything. Our ideas about the music, our line-up, my vision for the band, and it’s music. You know we have more than an hour of unreleased stoner/doom stuff which was written before the release of Shaman’s Visions. But on Shaman’s Visions we have shown what really the band is about – searching for new ways to breath new life in counterproductive genre. So now we have to work hard to make that old material as interesting as, or better than our début release. You won’t get anything, but something kick-ass and fresh-sounding – that I promise. What’s the sense of playing music otherwise?

Dr.Doom: Shaman’s Visions gave me the impression of a single song rather than 5. More like a musical concept. Is there a lyrical concept also? The lyrics seem quite abstract to me.
Stonezilla: Yeah, we are bound to come up with conceptual albums – and Shaman’s Visions covers just one story. Actually it’s very important for us to make listeners hear the message we send in our music, though people seldom take notice of artist’s lyrics in this genre. “Shaman’s Vision” is about shaman’s soul-searching/truth-searching trip to the roots of the universe. Titles of the tracks and lyrics describe the progress of this trip. You know, it’s just the story which has to be told.
Our great friend PhillO))), who is an irreplaceable part of the ER team wrote nicely about it on robust fellow.
Lyrics is made a little bit amorphous to make your mind add your individual shades to it. Some of the topics covered are: complex simplicity, life beyond (earth & consciousness), ethereal world, soul-searching, shedding light.
I have heard that some people compared Shaman’s Visions theme to Carlos Castaneda’s creations. Well I haven’t read them, but as far as can judge from what I’ve heard – it’s pretty close.

Dr.Doom: In my review I wrote that “..this is how Sleep would sound like today…” how accurate do you think this comment is?
Stonezilla: Hah, thanks for that comparison. It could be accurate if Sleep evolved in terms of songwriting, but I think this band just doesn’t need it (same goes to Motorhead, AC/DC etc). Sleep is a unique band which inspired a lot of people first with Sleep’s Holy Mountain in 1993, secondly with Dopesmoker (the heaviest song ever, and the most influential for me) ten years later, and as for me they don’t need any evolution, they’re perfect as they are.
On “Shaman’s Visions” we try to recreate this feeling of a god-damn long song, and if you will play it on a good music center you won’t hear any breaks between the songs. We’ve recorded the CD this way deliberately to create that one-song-effect. In fact it is one song divided into five parts to make the concept more understandable.
Dr.Doom: You seem to give a lot of attention in the presentation! You even contributed in the cover art if I am not mistaken. Do you believe that if all bands gave the same attention to the album art, then things would have been different with the illegal downloads?
Stonezilla: Presentation is very important. You know, I think that musicians shouldn’t think only about the music. Because what musician comes up with is a complex product. It consists of music, visual presentation (great looking CD’s, kick-ass live shows), unique vision for their bands etc. So, in my opinion, modern musician should be unique to get noticed, that’s why we pay much attention to every detail of our activity – starting with music, ending with signing the CDs.
Max Mute (who made artwork for as) made a great debut with us, and represented the CD the way we wanted. Personally I have designed the book (in the right sleeve of the digi-pack) for the release.
You may ask if it gave us any benefit…Hellyeah! We have sold/exchanged more than a half of all copies we’ve made in less than two month. CDs in shamanic packing are selling out like hot cakes, we will soon just run out of them.
This experience makes me say that if all bands gave the same attention to the album art, then things would have been different with the illegal downloads, because having a piece of art on your shelf is way better than having just a good record.

Dr.Doom: Lately there has been a revolution of stoner sound in the eastern Europe. In your opinion why is that? I don’t remember it was like this a decade ago.
Stonezilla: It’s because of those pills and herbs they started to develop in their secret alchemical depots! Hah, kidding. To tell the truth conditions changed for the better. More people who are interested in creation of good musical product started to appear. It resulted in appearance of better equipment and record studios.
A good example is our sound director Max Poops. He’s only 20 years old, but he’s very passionate about what he’s doing, and I would be surprised if you could show me some other guy who would spent about two sleepless weeks to create a good master CD.

Dr.Doom: What is the scene like in Ukraine and how it differentiates from the rest of the doom/stoner scene?
Stonezilla: “Now he’s taking me to Black Woods, Oh YEAAAAAAAH!!!” (line from Stoned Jesus’ song)
We don’t have much stoner/doom bands around. The only active cool band is Snakerider. Stoned Jesus has changed its style to 70th oriented rock (good for them!), and we don’t have a drummer to make shows. So the scene is weak these days. But what’s worse – there’s no demand for such music here. We are receiving orders for CDs from all over the world, but have sold only five CDs in Ukraine. Attendance to live show is in average like 25-40 people.
For me it means only one signal – our bands should concentrate on quality more than on quantity. Got to search for better ways to express your band and your music.

Dr.Doom: I believe that stoner or doom in general is a style that evolves really slow. Basically it is the most direct link with heavy music in its infancy. Do you feel like this could be counterproductive for a musician?
Stonezilla: Man! That’s the most counterproductive thing ever, hahah! Everytime we try to experiment -we end up cutting 70% of experiments, because they all sound kinda odd. But that is the way it works if you choose your primary genre. 60-75% is genre, other part is experiments. We don’t try to be something revolutionary, but we try damn hard to be fresh-sounding, and I think that our attempt to achieve it on Shaman’s Visions was successful.
We suppose that musicians should try to bring something new to music they play (even if the genre is counterproductive). There’s no sense in creating it otherwise.

Dr.Doom: You are an active member of the blogsphere, how has this helped you with Etherial Riffian?
Stonezilla: I’ve paid bloggers to give positive reviews! Hahah:))
Actually it was great to have our album reviewed on Doommantia, Sludge Swamp, Robust Fellow, Insane Riez, Stonerobixxx (and other blogs which I may have forgotten). How it helped me? Well, all the people behind the listed above blogs are great guys, who love what they do! They all knew me and they were interested in the music my band plays, so I’ve just asked them to listen to it, and drop some lines on their blogs about it. I’m glad they’ve liked it that much.

Dr.Doom: Since Shaman’s Visions is self financed I have to ask was it hard to raise funds for this release? Are you talking with any labels right now?
Stonezilla: Raising funds is hard, because it’s the money you receive from your everyday jobs, where you work like a horse, to do a good job. But you know, it’s worth it. Having our CD released is better than a plasma on a wall, a new notebook, or a loan in a bank. It’s the best investment we have ever made in our lives.
We aren’t talking to any labels at the moment and we don’t plan to. If someone would be interested in signing us, we will be glad to consider this option, but as for ourselves – we feel perfect doing everything on the old good DIY principle. It makes you feel good when you release a better product, than is being released on labels, on your own. It’s all in your hands. Want to be a slave – be a slave, want to be the king – be the king, want to be a stoner…well you’ve got the point.

Dr.Doom: Ethereal Riffian is one of the bands that impressed me the most so far this year. Knowing that you listen to a lot of music what band has impressed you the most lately?
Stonezilla: Since I’ve started playing music, the percentage of the music I like has fallen dramatically. The process of evaluation became more complicated. So there’s not many bands which impress me nowadays. But it really puts a smile on your face when you hear a good band! To name the few bands which impressed me lately…they would be Ayahuasca Dark Trip (meditative stoner/doom), Bluesbreaker (local hardcore band), Quest For Fire & Samsara Blues Experiment (well you know them), Sungod (heavy psychedelic tripping), WhoCares (they still know how to rock, Iommi’s riffs are perfect) and the goddamn Left Lane Cruiser which don’t cease to impress me for 3 years already!

Dr.Doom: I heard you are looking for a drummer does this mean that there are plans for any live shows?
Stonezilla: Yes man! And I’m planning to make them as kick-ass as possible. It will take a lot of work and effort, and I don’t know how they would look, but we’re determined to tour through Europe, US, and wherever the road could take us (Mars?).

Dr.Doom: So what are your plans right now? Is Ethereal Riffian one of those bands that needs to take some time off between releases, or you have something coming up already?
Stonezilla: We have plans to start recording our second album in the end of the year, don’t want to tell you any precise dates, because we don’t know them either. We will try to make something really extraordinary on that one. Hope we’ll have enough nerves, herbs and tea to cover our plan, and let the higher powers bless us.

Dr.Doom: So this is it. Any final words?
Stonezilla: Thanks for the interview bro, and a good set of questions!
As for the final words…look up you dark side, and start shedding light. There’s enough darkness around.
Cheers and riffs from the whole ER team!
Interview By Dr Doom  ( Dr.Dooms Lair )

Ethereal Riffian @ Bandcamp
Ethereal Riffian @ Myspace

May 27, 2011

Witch Mountain - South Of Salem ...

After a 10 year break between albums, Portland's Witch Mountain are back finally, with their new album called 'South Of Salem.' This is where I will get my only real complaint out-of-the-way, this album is a measly 38 minutes long. I know I should be grateful for getting at least this much from this great band but their last album 'Come the Mountain' was over 70 minutes long, twice the length of this one. Oh well, beggars can't be chooser's. The meager running time doesn't make this any less of a monumental album though, the second vocalist Uta Plotkin opens her mouth on the first track makes you aware you are in for one hell of a ride. The band was first-born back in 1997 only to be put on hold in 2002 before starting to perform again in 2005, only to temporary split again I believe for a number of years. I think this had something to do with various band-members bringing kids into the world and as some of you would know, that pretty much puts a halt to most things in life but they are back now and the world of heavy music is much better off for it.

The album opens with a 8 minute masterpiece titled 'Wing of the Lord' and the opening minutes of the Sleep-ish riffing coupled with Ula Plotkin's amazing vocal phrasing is mesmerizing. This beast of a track is down-tuned and heavy with all the sabbathian qualities you would want from a doomy outfit. Plotkin's vocals are soulful, bluesy and full of old-school power or to put it another way, you don't hear too many female singers in metal like this these days.

Musically it is familiar and not exactly unique but it is so infectious with such a strong groove, it don't mean a sh*t, this is about as good as it gets for trad-doom. 'Plastic Cage' follows nicely but isn't so immediately satisfying. It starts with a killer bass riff followed by another riff with another emotional-draining vocal performance. I don't normally pay too much attention to vocalists especially in doom bands but I can't help myself with Witch Mountain, the vocals really are the center point to the band's sound. 'South Sugar' keeps the infectious riffage going but a bit more bluesy this time and the atmosphere is simply electrifying.

'End Game' gets the albums second half off to a bone-jarring start with some mid-tempo crunching guitar-work. The song is fairly short and straight to the point but it is again, incredibly memorable. From here on, it is doom all the way with the 12 minute plus of 'Hare's Stare.' The crawling, seething riffing along with Plotkin's menacing vocal take gives this track the distinction of being 'South Of Salem's' most evil tune. It is mostly plodding, ritualistic doom-metal with tribal drum patterns but with a droning twist that enters the picture before a mid-tempo gear change. By this point in the song, you will be drooling with the majestic, hypnotic groove of it all but wait till the song's final section kicks in, it will have you rolling on the floor in doom-metal heaven. The album ends all too quickly with the 1:28 minute instrumental, 'End Game (Slight Return)' which is a rather lucid psychedelic ending to the 'South Of Salem' album.

This is highly recommended for fans of Sleep, YOB and of course Black Sabbath and I don't know how many of you have ever heard the band Zephyr from the early 70's with the great vocals of Candy Givens but something about Witch Mountain reminds me of a heavy version of them.

This album won't change the world of stoner-doom, nor will it go down in history as anything terribly unique but song for song, this is just as memorable as any other doomy kind of  album made in the last 40 years. Not quite a 10 out of 10 as it is a bit short but it is damn fine and gets better every time you listen.....9.5/10

PS: This album is available via their bandcamp page with a 'name your price' deal - what are you waiting for ?

Witch Mountain @
Witch Mountain @ Myspace
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...