Jul 31, 2011

The Asound - S/T EP ...

North Carolinian rock trio The Asound has a EP out on 'Tsugiri Records,' which is a label run by their bassist Jon Cox. I recently reviewed their split they did with Magma Rise but the three tracks on this EP sound a little different. Not as doomy as what is presented on the split and not as polished, not that they are that polished anyway but there is a distinct difference here. The first two tracks have already been heard before; 'Joan' and 'Snow White' were on a split they did with 'Flat Tires. The production on this EP is pretty rough and raw but still sounds powerful, especially cranked up loud. 'Joan' has a lot of low-end groove and a sludge meets commercial stoner riffing that sounds a little like Sleep jamming with Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. That might sound odd but there is something about the vocal and its delivery that sounds very much in that vein.

The second track 'Snow White' is decent but seriously way too short to have any lasting impact. Maybe I have spent too many years listening to epic doom tracks but anything under three minutes for me seems too short to be memorable. It is also strangely commercial but in the rawest possible sense but kind of forgettable. The pick of the three tracks has to go the last track on the EP titled 'Open Eyes.' It is the longest track and also the most diverse. Not only does the song got more twists and turns that the other two tracks but it also showcases the musicians at their most busy. The track has a nice building arrangement and a great live vibe. It is without a doubt to me, the best track on offer here blowing away in my mind at least, the other two tunes. So in conclusion The Asound still have a way to go in my opinion but all the right elements are in place for producing some kick-ass music in the future. Even though this is a patchy, rough recording and way too short, it is pretty decent for what it is..........7.5/10

The Asound @ MySpace
Tsuguri Records

Domovoyd – Mythonaut EP 2011 and Promo 2010 ...

North Europe is bringing more cool freaked-out heavy tunes to our attention.

Those of you who like to explore Bandcamp treasures found this Domovoyd gem of a band a few months ago. Domovoyd’s sounds were spread around the web and were streamed by radios (well, I too gave my humble contribution in that respect).

So it’s about time to spend a few words on these four young musicians from Seinäjoki/Kaustinen, in Finland: Oskar Tunderberg on vocals and guitar, Niko Lehdontie on guitar and effects, Dmitry Melet on bass and Axel Solimeis on drums.

Domovoyd is a rather recent creature as it has existed since spring 2010. Before then the band was called Potbelly. Well, I can get the reason of the first name, but I must say “Domovoyd” sounds a wee bit nicer …

Domovoyd’s releases so far consist of a mammoth EP “Mythonaut”, self-released in early May 2011, and a group of tracks going under the name of “Promo 2010”. These tracks were composed before the band changed name.

Both releases are available on Bandcamp for free download and are well worth being got hold of, as they show the many different shades of this new, attractive band.

The band’s style masterfully mixes various genres, i.e. doom, sludge, stoner and psychedelia, although the psychedelic component strongly permeates any vibration of the band’s production.

As with several bands devoted to psychedelic jamming and doom, the Mythonaut EP is a fake EP, as it includes 6 tracks summing up 44 minutes, i.e. the length of a full-length album for many bands. Apart from the 3 minutes-long intro, the other tracks are suites lasting even longer than 13 minutes.

The Mythonaut EP has a fairly typical “trip” structure, at least for psychedelic albums, with an intro and with the final sounds in the last track somehow contributing in “closing the circle”.

Hypnotizing space psychedelia helps the guys in making a contorted, mind-driven travel where doom downtuned heaviness, sludge sinister noise and bong-loving stoner groove and fuzz build up a remarkable sonic wall and create a pleasant variety. “Pleasant” doesn’t mean “easy” here. The resulting blended style is actually crushingly heavy and quite dark and fits with lyrics reflecting the band’s own, not-so-cheerful views on life and spiritual issues.

The Domovoyd guys say: “Domovoyd's music is about worlds in our consciousness, such like our own reality, different kinds of spiritual levels or even mythological dimensions. People, beings and occult events are central in the lyrics. In earthly ways told, the lyrical content is much about occultism, apocalypse and psychedelia, greatly influenced by great men such as Aleister Crowley, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe.”

Tracks may have a soft start, as the one in the first part of the intro, and then develop in a crescendo of fuzz, distortion, crazy to trippy psych jamming with lots of pedal effects, powerful drumming and some cool and varied vocals. Or else tracks may start directly with an infectious groovy doom-stoner boost, like for example in the second track “Pool Of Gods” or in the closing track “Soothing Doom”.

Loads of fuzz and some imposing percussions dominated by the use of cymbals contribute to the dose of “noise” of the overall sound. Some raw, sinister-sounding dissonant riffs more typical of sludge and post-metal styles surely dilute the groove introduced by stoner components and by some retro-sounding, LSD-inspired mesmerizing krautrock psychedelia.

So Domovoyd make dark, evil heavy psychedelia, where even the quieter intervals, in which single guitar chords vibrate in the cosmic silence, are uncomfortably alienating. Heaviness, fuzz, doped alienation may recall immediately bands like Electric Wizard, and they do. But Domovoyd’s evil cosmic psych doom slabs remind me somehow also of their country mates Oranssi Pazuzu, even if there’s no black metal involved.

The dirty character of the sound also get benefits, in that respect, from the vocal styles as well as from a rather “gritty” production as well. Actually the production is quite balanced as all the instruments can be distinctly heard and do not cover each other. Even cool bass leading lines can be perceived during the many psych jam parts. Vocal parts are also effectively rendered by production as in semi-background, actively contributing to the dark psychedelic, tridimensional character of the sound.

Vocals are something worth to be mentioned in Domovoyd. Oskar Tunderberg possesses a wide tonal range which is able to add some quite interesting shades to the sound. Oskar may sing in his cool clean voice, not too deep but not too acute either. He can also rapidly shift to a rather raw, deep, alcoholic semi-growl full of rage which reminds me of a hybrid between Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto and Jim Morrison in his stronger performances, or else also Church of Misery’s singer Yoshiaki Negishi. Oskar’s clean vocal performances are distorted and add sensations of melancholy and loss of control during a chemical trip. The deviations towards raw, raging roars do increase the tension in this evil album. A sense of tragedy in this not so pleasant chemical trip is also added by the employment of a movie sample with a nasty laughter of a man followed by a desperate scream of a woman, announcing bad news. This can be heard at the beginning of the monumental, +13 minutes-long dark, hypnotic doomy suite The Summoning (Part 2).

Earlier I mentioned Church of Misery for the singing style. Actually I can feel Church of Misery quite a lot in Domovoyd. The Japanese nasty psych doomsters are definitely worshipped in the powerful tracks included in Domovoyd’s Promo 2010 EP, where the more experimental space psychedelia of the “new” Domovoyd is basically confined in the last track Argentum Astrum. However I grasp some Church of Misery again in Mythonaut as well, for example in the heavier parts of the closing track “Soothing Doom”.

In case you want some names of young, emerging bands to which Domovoys can be compared, well, you can read a long list on Last.Fm, although similarities may sometimes hold for some features. Anyway I may definitely mention bands like Arenna and Sesiones Acidas for the trippy psych parts, some bands of the remarkable growing Ukrainian scene like Ethereal Riffian and, especially, Snakerider for the various shades of the powerful psych-heavy doom blend, Belzebong and Ramon Zarate (in the last album especially) for fuzz and dope … But you can add more bands as you like, as there are many possible matings.

As I mentioned above, Domovoyd’s releases are available for free download on Bandcamp. A support to the band can be given by going to the gigs (if at the right latitudes) as well as by buying the self-produced solid CD of Mythonaut EP which is distributed by the Swedish label Ozium Records.

My vote? 8.5/10

By Marilena Moroni

Domovoyd @ Bandcamp
Domovoyd @ Facebook
Domovoyd @ Myspace
Ozium Records

Paradise Lost: Drown in Darkness - The Early Demos ...

You could say a few things about when a band releases all of their long out of print recordings on CD. One could easily say that they just devalued everything prior to their first release. In the same breath however it could be said that they didn't because a true collector will always seek out the originals regardless of what repackaging has taken place. In any event, this is a great opportunity for newer fans, or even older ones that weren't around in the bands formative years, to hear how their idols started out. The inside of the four panel/poster pullout has some liner notes from the band's singer Nick. He simply states how these are embarrassing to the band since they're so rough and that they are best listened to whilst getting drunk. This, though insulting to the fans, is perhaps the most he talks about the recordings. The bulk of the two page soliloquy is about his days as a tape trader. Not exactly what one expects to read about when it says "liner notes about the recording by the band's singer" on the outside of the packaging. Never the less, it's still a worthwhile purchase.

According to the packaging, the songs in question were remastered, having only heard the latter of the three recordings on this CD in its original format, its safe to say that they did to some extent. Right off the bat is must be stated that all twelve songs are very raw and sloppy. The first three, from the 'Paradise Lost' demo, are the "worst" of the bunch and are easily more Death than Doom with the band perhaps throwing in a few slow parts here and there. Two of the three songs were never put to any album after the demos were released. Those two are 'Drown in Darkness' & 'Morbid Existence'. Both songs are excellent, for primitive Doom/Death Metal and its a shame that they didn't make it on to the bands first proper release. 'Internal Torment' is mostly the same with a few noticeable differences in the middle of the song. These are cool and its interesting to hear a different version of this song alongside the rarer gems. Nicks vocals are possibly the best they'd ever be on this recording.

In the notes, Nick mentions that the second demo 'Frozen Illusion' is where you can start to hear the beginnings of the band's style form. This is true as the songs are vicious and intense. They are better sounding than the versions heard on 'Lost Paradise'. The distortion is thicker and the playing isn't as sloppy as on the first demo. Everything is, in essence, taken up a level in terms of over all quality. With that being said the last song is a little quieter than the others. The last demo of the group is the 'Plains Of Desolation' live bootleg. In its original format it's nearly impossible to discern what is being played because the recording quality is beyond sub par and its very quiet. The remaster (if it can so be called) does turn the instruments up a little and the vocals up a lot. This is very annoying as Nick has a tendency to practically drown out the others throughout much of the recording. Once again, this is very good aside from the aforementioned issue. You can hear the crowed cheer and laugh at Nick's random and amusing diatribes between songs. He growls everything in between songs, but if you're familiar with his voice its easy to make out what he's saying. He pays tribute to 'Metalduck' (this elicits laughter from the crowd) as well as a friend of theirs calling him a wimp. He also reminds the crowd that they're "Not Glam, its for wimps and we're not wimps". In retrospect his personality hasn't changed a bit.

All in all the songs are heavier with thicker distortion and better vocals than anything the band has ever done. It's also great to hear four new songs; Drown In Darkness, Morbid Existence, Plains Of Desolation & Nuclear Abomination. It's really a shame that these never got properly released as any fan of old school Doom/Death would really dig these. This is worth getting for anyone into this style, not just diehard fans. There is a lot of good here with only a few drawbacks.....8/10

Review Written By Grimdoom

Official Facebook

Jul 30, 2011

Caravan of Whores – Present ... A Cosmic Interlude ...

Caravan of Whores is a three-piece stoner/doom metal band based in the UK. Released in late 2010, 'Caravan of Whores Present…A Cosmic Interlude' is the band’s three track EP. The amazingly original artwork designed by Jonah Wimbush grabs your attention but even better is the music which is equally as impressive. The EP comes a total surprise release as I have never heard of the band till now but looking at their Myspace Page it seems to suggest they are a busy band. The band plays an unoriginal but still very good style of riffy doom-metal with some surprise tempo changes and an epic feel.

'Now' kicks off with a repetitive, low-ended riff with great vocals from bassist Pete Smith who has a very good vocal tone that really goes together with the music. The track uses catchy grooves and sense of commercialism without sounding too mainstream but it is certainly on the radio-friendly side of the doom-metal spectrum. The band has been given the 'stoner-doom' by many people but I don't hear it personally. They are however, doomy and very heavy and that is helped along by some powerful production. 'Now' is an epic and is more upbeat than what else on the EP but with heavy grooves and a memorable chorus that will get you hooked.

'Crowfeet Eyes' is heavy as f**k and also very epic with a slower pace and more intense, grim doom riff and atmosphere. It has a long instrumental section made up of captivating riffs and solos that totally crush the listener.

Again they are not re-inventing anything but simply delivering a high-quality doom performance that is hard to ignore. They capture your attention with their infectious hooks. The other track on this EP is also very good; '9 Bar' is even more epic at over 11 minutes long but it never fails at being totally mesmerizing. This is the most Black Sabbath inspired track but they avoid falling into the plodding doom vibe by supplying classy instrumental sections that move and switch directions. There is mid-tempo catchy passages and the blend of fuzzed-laden riffs, droning riffs and the more traditional heavy metal riffs is throughly engaging up to the dying seconds.

This EP is tasteful, extremely well-produced and exceptionally well-played and their song-writings skill are incredible for such a new band; they already sound like seasoned veterans of the doom-metal scene. You can hear this entire EP on their Myspace Page so I urge you to head over there and check out the tunes. I expect to see this band climb the ladder of doom-metal very quickly indeed, this is great..............8.5/10

Myspace Page

Saint Vitus – “Saint Vitus” b/w “Born Too Late” 7' ...

Photo By Wes Cueto
Two totally solid live renditions of classic tracks by a band that can do no wrong by me. Limited to 1,000 copies [I got #785] and pressed on olive green wax, the A side features the Saint’s titular jam while the B sports a probably more well-known classic from the Wino era. Both sides were recorded live, “Born Too Late” at the Viper Room in Hollywood on 6/29/10 and “Saint Vitus” at the Palladium in Worcester, MA which actually features Dez Cadena (Misfits, Black Flag) performing guest vocals on 10/17/09. The only thing that bothers me is that whenever I hear Wino singing the Scott Reagers tracks (i.e. anything off their self-titled debut, Hallow’s Victim and Die Healing) it makes me feel a certain sense of loss because they are both very distinct vocalists, each with his own unique style and vocal pattern and I much prefer the Reagers stuff to be sung by Reagers himself. Wino is not a poor singer by any stretch of the imagination however he does not produce the same high-pitched inflection that I love from listening to Reagers. Something weird about the label on the B side of the record is that is claims “Saint Vitus” on “this side” and “Born Too Late” on “that side” but if you’re familiar with the tracks [hell you really wouldn't have to be, given the choruses] you would plainly hear that the opposite is true. Also, the 7? claims to run at 45 rpm which is also blatantly untrue as it spins correctly at 33. Strange, I don’t know if that boils down to a grievous clerical error or an inside joke. Could really go either way.

On a sad note, this 7? was dedicated to Peter Steele of Type O Negative as the Massachusetts show was the last time they got to see him before his tragic death that year as well as founding Saint Vitus drummer Armando Acosta who sadly died just before this record was released. They are both in better places now.

Review Written By Wes Cueto

Saint Vitus @ Myspace

My Dying Bride - The Dreadful Hours ...

My Dying Bride is more or less synonymous with Passion, saying anything less is a flagrant lie. Few bands in the history of music have kept as true to their roots as they have and even fewer still have managed to update their sound/style while staying true to said roots. This album will take you to several different and horrible places internally and you will come back wanting more. If you are not there is something seriously wrong with you as these masters of dejection have once again crafted an opus of hate and contempt that is so invigorating and new that you will be hooked seconds after the first few notes seductively find their way into your soul.

After the release of the bands gigantic leap backwards "The Light at the End of the World", and the annoying release of two compilations afterwards the men of My Dying Bride somehow managed to get their collective acts together and release what is by far the bands heaviest album to date. From start to finish this album simply doesn't let up going from beautiful ponderous moments to rage fueled tirades of utter bitterness. The songs and the lyrics make an atmosphere of dense and unforgiving pain and sorrow. What’s more is that the majority of the songs are ridiculously catchy to boot.

The production is tops as the band rip through vast choirs of misery and woe. The guitars are heavy, happily chugging their way through every song. There are the leads we've come to expect as well as the long dirges of emptiness. There is an imminent feeling of desperation and despair even in the more upbeat and moderate moments. There is not a solo to be found, but this doesn't hurt the songs. The band hallmarks are securely in place but they venture into new territories, moving forward this time instead of backwards. While calling this the successor to "Turn Loose the Swans" or "The Angel and the Dark River” would be inappropriate, it's certainly the album that the fans had been sorely waiting for. The bass is the standard from MDB and as such not that interesting, although it does lead the beginning of a song towards the middle of the album. The drums are fantastic and tight. They add a very welcome organic flow to the soul crushing guitars. The best way to describe them would be; original and well done. Anything less at this point would be a disservice to not only the band but the fans as MDB has always been more than exemplary in this particular field.

The keyboards (preformed by session member Yasmin) are excellent as well, but different from Martins. It does make one wonder what he would've done differently had he stuck around. They add a vast amount of oppression to the atmosphere at large. Neither as crafty nor intricate as the aforementioned masters’ they more than get the job done. Aaron's vocals are acceptable on this album to say the least. His cleans are the best they'd ever been up to this point in their career. He actually decided to sing as opposed to sustained speaking. His growls aren't that bad either, although you can tell that they were starting to give out on him. His passionate lyrics add the final damning strike to this masterpiece of Doom/Death. The music flows easily from song to song, almost as if the release was intended to be a concept album. The darkness and horror seethe from the notes of the players ebbing as flawlessly as blood from a damaged artery. This also seems to be the first album that shows the band updating their distortion. Trading in their tired and headache inducing sound (found on everything from their inception until this album) for something fresher and more visceral. This virginal sound adds the primal and raw feelings that seemed forced on their past efforts. This album could also been seen as the first of a trilogy of differently styled albums. The following two releases aren’t necessarily ending the ending to this new direction but rather the fleshing out and mapping of new territory. This is a great starting point for someone new to the band, or an old hat that wasn't pleased with the direction the band took after "The Angel and the Dark River "....9.5/10

Review Written By Grimdoom

My Dying Bride Homepage

Jul 29, 2011

Solitude Aeternus - In Times Of Solitude ...

Fans of Solitude Aeturnus continue to pull their hair out over waiting for a new album. Their latest was Alone released in 2006 and 5 years later, no new songs have appeared. This is very frustrating if you are a huge Solitude fan like myself but this new compilation at least fills that empty void in a small but important way. 'In Times Of Solitude' is not a 'best of' but a collection of rare, demo and live tracks taken from rehearsal sessions and one live performance. Solitude Aeturnus are the USA's greatest ever epic doom-metal in my opinion. There is no other band that shares their great body of work and even though they are far from being the most productive band, they have managed to release six classic, timeless doom-metal albums. This album is a treat for their fan base but it is also an important document showcasing how the band developed in their early years. The material was re-mastered by guitarist John Perez and it sounds he has done a great job considering some of these recordings which are fairly raw.

The album begins with a demo version of 'It Came Upon One Night’ which is pure classic doom-metal the old-school way. The song can also be found on their second album 'Beyond The Crimson Horizon' but this version sounds like a rawer, more off-the-cuff take but even with that rawness, it still showcases the great powerful melodic vocals and the stirring, intricate guitar work. 'Transcending Sentinels' is presented here in a demo-version. The song was originally on their second album 'Into The Depths Of Sorrow.' With an acoustic intro, atmospheric synths, and the emotionally draining atmosphere, this is another timeless track in its raw form. The track has a mesmerizing arrangement that builds to a faster-section section and this is a killer piece of head-bangable doom-metal. 'Into Battle’ and ‘Sojourner' are two of the rarer tracks that the album has to offer. 'Into Battle' is pretty fast for a Solitude Aeturnus track while 'Sojourner' is pure, typical SA material - traditional doom and totally epic.

'Where Angels Dare To Treat’ is originally from their classic début and this is a rough demo version that have been cleaned-up a little for this compilation. Even as raw as this version is, the track still kicks ass with the thick riffs of absolute despair show shining through. 'Remembrance Of A Life' is the compilations first weak track but it is still has quality moments. Its weakness comes mainly from the sound-quality which is pretty bad. The drums sound like someone hammering on a wooden floor and not a drum-kit and the vocals are horribly muffled but it is what it is. The next song is from a live performance at Joes Garage, ‘And Justice For All’ also suffers from bad recording quality but it is cool to hear the interaction of the singer with the audience. This track serves as a nice piece of nostalgia for those that were out, seeing the band performing in those days.

The album finishes with another version of 'Sojourner' - a rehearsal recording with this one and I don't know if having two versions of this track on the one compilation is truly necessary. The album ends on a demo version of the excellent 'Mirror of Sorrow' and we are back to decent sound-quality at last. It is an outstanding track, epic, evocative and multi-layered and the vocals are incredible on this track. An excellent way to finish the compilation. All up it is 52 minutes of great doom-metal history but with patchy sound-quality that at time's kind of kills the mood. In Times Of Solitude’ appears to be mainly for die-hard Solitude Aeturnus fans or anyone remotely interested in the history of US doom-metal. The album comes with a booklet filled with rare photos and some interesting notes from the band. It is essential for anyone who is a fan of the band, for anyone else, its value is debatable but personally speaking - every doom fan should own this even with some of shoddy-recordings it presents...........9/10

Solitude Aeturnus @ Facebook
Solitude Aeturnus Official Forum
Massacre Records
Brianticket Records
Read My Interview With John Perez

Devil – Time to Repent ...

If anything, Devil is the underdog’s favourite - has been for some time in the online community. See, back when I was a casual observer (read “just newly getting into doom and whatnot”) I witnessed the online music community bolstering Devil’s six-track demo as sort of a weapon raised against the more well-known and well-supported. The demo, titled “Magister Mundi Xum” made them one of the underground hits of 2010, and now, one year later, their full-length “Time to Repent” is at hand.

Devil is a very honest doom metal band who carry obvious heavy metal influences. One of their greatest strengths, easily heard in their work, is their utter and complete lack of pretension: there aren’t any attempts to create grandeur or over-arching, soaring, epic sound. Instead, the band relies on pronounced guitar work, grooves and chuggier partitions complimenting one another, bass that steps forth and goes away into the background and incredible harmony between the three.

And when the band takes the stage, they kick it off with “Break the Curse”, which, as they say, “true love’s first kiss will not break.” It’s a trailblazer, it moves you along in the same pace it moves itself along. The guitars alternate between grooving it, letting it ride and pulling it together, and the song brings the image of a wanderer forth with ease. With a solo that fades in when the guitars are just chugging it on, the song is a testament to what Devil is, intends to and will do (blow your mind, in case you were wondering.) Then comes the recently released single, “Blood is Boiling” and it’s every bit as infectious as the rest of the album – be it the catchy guitars that begin the song, the bass that makes its presence felt or the fact that the song grooves on at a comfortable pace before switching it up and raising pulses (or get “blood boiling”)… Devil is ready to chill and to thrill. They do something interesting with the bridge – the guitars chug it out, but keep an even pace while the drums speed up, and the whole thing culminates in a blazing solo before snaking back to the base line. It’s an amazing detour.

Then comes the now-title track, “Time to Repent” which has gotten a revamp on the way to getting on the full-length. The grooving guitars, the drumming (some of the best on the album) and subtle bass, the call to repentance and vocals that shout, sing and croon everything is present. They take you right out of wherever you are and into the town square where witches are burned and polish it off with a blazing solo – it’s mind-blowing. They follow it right up with the hard-and-fast “Crazy Woman” which sacrifices heavy metal presence for some hard rock influence, but as always, it is done with the attitude of Devil. It’s one of those strange, infectious love songs (sort of) which features thunderous drums, groovy guitars and bass on the forefront. It even has a small, sort of bluesy passage where the vocals and the attitude of the guitar carry the feel, and it’s a rockin’ one, for sure.

As if thinking we are now ready for something harder, the album goes to the next one. “Open Casket” harks back to the time when heavy metal meant dungeons, skeletons and horror stories about an inability to die. The song carries the Devil vibe in its instrumentalization and tones, but it has a pronounced heavy metal attitude. From chugging guitars, accompanying drums, to the doomy vocals and general feel, it is a track that’ll easily carry you back to the 80’s (or early 90’s, whichever was your time) with ease and is the curveball on the album. Then comes, what I believe Stian (Fossum, guitarist) meant when he said there’d be a ballad. “Death of the Sorcerer” is a ballad, of sorts. It’s got the feel of a campfire story, one of sorcerers, magic and a thousand hells. Acoustic guitar, chanting vocals and very light vocals/bass characterize the actual story, and the rest of the song is hooks intercepting the journey/montage. And the said hooks are harder-hitting, heavy metal style little passages where the distorted chords ride but the lead guitar embellishments lay it on. It’s the second curveball of the album, and is one hell of a track.

Next up, is “At the Blacksmith’s”, also a piece from the début/demo EP that got a revamp. The song is a pinch faster and the vocals pack a noticeably harder punch, but otherwise, it is the same controlled riffs versus letting it ride at the hooks, the dynamic drums that hit faster and harder, the same head-bobbing, foot-tapping groove Devil is known for. All-in-all, it’s still the essential Devil song, inviting us all (As “riders of the apocalypse”) to gather at the blacksmith’s. Oh, and the cowbell during the bridge is much appreciated. Then, Devil decide show that instead of barking at the moon, they choose to be “Howling (At the World)” and it is a marvelous howl indeed. It’s the meeting and merging point of everything that you’ve heard until now – amazing cymbal work, accompanying drums that fill in the spaces that usually are silent, lumbering guitars/bass and soaring vocals. It’s the culmination of all that precedes it and is Devil and doom to its very bones, displaying doom’s ability to make complex riffs groove and sound simple and get stuck in your head. It’s one of the best tracks on there.

The album decides to close with an extension on the previous song, and “Outro” is just that, but it has a bit of a humor in it. See, they just don’t stop at the end of the ninth track, they make like they’re going to stop, but then they just keep going but the vocals change, and they close with that, as if they just didn’t want to end the track, but instead worked it into finishing the full-length.

So, what is offered in “Time to Repent”? Lots of things, but mainly, an easy, thrilling and frankly amazing ride. It’s comfortable, both because the band feels good in their skin and because they make you feel right at home. What’s more, it’s positively addictive. I mean, once you get hooked on this, you just can’t break away, and they keep you coming back for more. I will, however, complain that the album may be too short for some, as it is a mere 35 minutes plus on 10 tracks, but it’s just the right size, length and strength for a fix of some great doom which will stay with you for a long, long time. 9.5/10

NOTE: Excuse my almost obligatory Ozzy reference there in talking about track nine, I just couldn’t resist! Oh, and yes, I am aware of the doublespeak in the introduction segment. Again, couldn’t resist.

Review Written By Sarp Esin

Devil @ Myspace

Paradise Lost - Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us ...

One thing you can always count on Paradise Lost to do is the unexpected. This album in particular was a wild card because for all intents and purposes they could've reverted to something weaker akin to 'One Second - Believe in Nothing', but they didn't. For the first time in a long time Paradise Lost REALLY delivered something special. Two years after the bands "real" return to form they released something that while not their heaviest album is certainly the closest thing to 'Lost Paradise' that they've ever done. This album while still Doom, is almost more in the Dark Metal vein than anything else in their long catalog. The production has been stepped up, the intensity has been stepped up but it's still lacking something.

The production is as good if not slightly better than their prior album. The guitars are very heavy, happily chugging their way through the bulk of the material. The leads follow the same blueprint of 'In Requiem'. There are plenty of melodic leads and a few solos too. The band used 7 sting guitars tuned to 'A' on this recording. This is lowest the band has ever tuned. The riffs are very heavy and dark. They are very old school but with a modern twist, and while not as simplistic as their older works they are very sinister in their delivery. The only bad thing about their presentation is the distortion is very thin and painfully annoying as a result. Had the distortion been as fluid as it has been on the bands past three albums this album would be better. The bass is once again par for the course. Frankly, at this point in the game you'd think that Stephen would've spiced his style up but alas he hasn't. He sounds good regardless and his bass certainly helps the heaviness of each song come out. The drums are good but its obvious that their not Jeff's. Session member Peter certainly does get the job done admirably but they're lacking somewhere. There are no electronic sounds in the songs, thankfully their all organic. The atmosphere is very dreary but almost artificially, as if they were trying very hard to be "evil".

Nick's vocals are probably as good as they're ever going to get (post 'Shades of God' anyway). His clean vocals are higher when used and sound great. For the more aggressive songs, his vocals are close to what was heard on 'Draconian Times' but perhaps slightly more deathly but not full on death. They are perhaps best described as a cross between 'Icon' and 'Draconian Times' but with a more bitter edge. The lyrics are also very much in the vein of the first five albums, dark and damning; certainly one of the higher points of the album at large. This is very much a return to form without repeating or copying themselves. Sadly, this album is only half good, where as the other half is bland and boring. Another down side would be the modern touches are just out-of-place. The poly rhythmic sections on "Living with scars" while good, after a few listens, sound somewhat forced and out-of-place considering the band have never tried to sound like Meshuggah. Interestingly enough Greg drastically changed his style of playing sometime around or after 'Symbol of Life'. Normally guitarist don't change their playing style or signature sound, but he did and it's arguably just as good and captivating as his prior style. The new style doesn't sound like old Paradise Lost but it's still Paradise Lost none the less. It's very rare when something like happens and as such an example for comparison cannot be given.

This is a very good Doom/Death (for lack of another term) album and its very original; but sadly, as stated above, the songs just aren't all there. The band is trying to hard to be modern when they don't need to. This is still recommended to all fans of the band however.

Review Written By Grimdoom

Official Facebook

Jul 28, 2011

The Asound / Magma Rise - Split 7'' ...

I recently reviewed the very doomtastic 'Lazy Stream Of Steel' from Magma Rise and now here is another one from them, this time it is a 7" split with the equally good The Asound who I be reviewing in greater length in the coming week. Magma Rise a Hungarian doomish outfit and The Asound an American doom-sludge hybrid is a great mix for this split that comes from the teaming up of two labels, Tsuguri and PsycheDOOMelic.

Lets start with The Asound with their track here titled 'The Baron.' The great thing about this band is they are one of the most musically diverse sounding doom/sludge outfits around. While all the sounds stay within those genres, no two songs ever sound the same and 'The Baron' is no exception. This track is a kind of psyche-rock meets doom jam with odd time-keeping and a blend of fuzz-rock, space-rock and droning guitar work. The off-kilter guitar work is matched by off-kilter drumming which sounds more jazz-inspired than traditional doom or sludge metal stylings. Despite the odd structure, this track still kills and it is still a heavy monster of a track. It is harsh yet extremely colorful and totally captivating. If you still love Sleep and want something in that vein, only with a avant-garde approach, this should suit your needs......Great Track.

Magma Rise’s 'Five' is equally as good but different. It carries on from the same-sound as most of their 'Lazy Stream Of Steel' album. It is a melodic doom-laden track with an infectious groove and vocal hook. Great bass lines, twin guitar attack and pulverizing but straight-forward drumming pushes this song along in cruise-mode which is a great hook in itself. The highlight of the track is the emotional guitar solo that goes from mesmerizing wah to pain-filled, tear-soaked notes of torment and sadness. In short, this track is just as good as anything from their album, if not better. If you like them already, you will love this.

I don't know if there is too many people who buy split 7"'s. Afterall it is just a few minutes from each band but if they are great tracks, they are still essential in my book and I love the sound of vinyl so this is a total winner for me personally. If you are already a fan of these two bands, you will need this anyway. If not, this is a great introduction to two fine bands.............9.5/10

Tsugui Records
PsycheDOOMelic Records
Magma Rise Official Homepage
The Asound @ MySpace

We Never Wanted To Be "True Stoner" - Aleks Evdokimov Interviews Stone Cold Boys ...

It's been more than a year since Stone Cold Boys (stoner rock band from Moscow, Russia) released their last record — EP "Fuss for the Housewives" was available for free download in March 2010. If the latter was more or less close to classical stoner, "Upright" (a new six track acoustic record) became a bit of a surprise for the band's fans (and believe me, there are some). Powered by double bass and saxophone this record is more about psychedelic jazz, than stoner. No one knows if the band continues to work in this direction, so here they are to answer some of our questions concerning this matter.

Q: Salute! Who's on the air today to tell us more about SCB?

Pavel: Here's Pavel (drums) with Eugene (vocals) and Dmitry (manager) and we are doing fine. Getting done with our new album.
Q: The band was born with the beginning of stoner movement in Russia. Why do you think it took so long for this genre to become popular in our country?

Pavel: We are one of the two bands who performed at first stoner gig in Russia ever. The second one is Cactus Jumper. And it was that late comparing to the other wide world because of the regular problems at our custom-house.

Eugene: Stoner is not the only genre that became known late in Russia. And that's because of the low-level of musical culture. You can take a look at show posters in Moscow and Saint Petersburg — there are bands on retirement mostly. But we're being optimistic and we are not idle. Moscow's underground scene is various and active.

Q: And if that culture level was higher, would there be any difference? People would stop downloading pirate stuff and start buying CDs and attending live shows? Do you need that populism? I mean that there are some certain values in underground culture, and do you think it would be better if everybody were listening to anarch-punk or stoner?

Dmitry: I don't see any problem with that, neither am I dividing music on "true" and "untrue" categories. If any anarch-punk or stoner sludge band would find themselves in heavy TV rotation, I would be happy for them and even jealous in a good way. Let the kids talk about how they are unique and underestimated having a low show attendance. I would prefer to hear some cool music coming out of one's car's window.

Q: There is a normal tendency in the world of music in common and in underground music specifically: when people make up a band, they have an idea in which direction they should work. And usually they end up with "playing stuff like these guys play". OK, the new band is good in technique, but they appear to be "another new Russian band that sounds like this foreign band". Is your story different?

Pavel: Well, it's different if you speak of our quartet. We have different musical tastes and we never wanted to "play like these guys". We've produced a couple of songs in that way, but we've never finished them. And why such a question? Do you think we've been busy with plagiarism?

Eugene: The thing is that we've never wanted to be "true stoner". Our musical tastes are different, and the only common thing is our passion for heavy and dirty sound and the sense of the "inner black man". When we are working on the material, each member of the band is trying to put a part of him in there, and if the song is complete — it is a compromise between four of us, a solution that seems fair enough. That's why we are eclectic. If you ever attend our show, you could meet different people, starting with metal fans and ending with R'n'B girls. And we're getting a polar feedback. From passion to disgust, and no indifference. It's all about being different in a way.

Q: OK, I'm not accusing you in plagiarism, because I am not that good in knowing foreign stoner scene, but it's obvious, that you sound a bit "western". Are you aiming for the western auditory, or you are trying to make "their" music popular here?

Pavel: We never thought about that. As for me, I'm aiming more in the south-east direction.

Dmitry: It's impossible to promote our music abroad without playing local shows in Moscow. We're looking in both directions with interest, but we would appreciate a better feedback from people here. But everyone knows that Moscow is well fed with cool music.

Q: What's about your connection with stonerrock. ru? If I am not mistaken, Dmitry, the band's manager, was busy with its promo for some time already. Are there any results?

Pavel: As a result we get some people who follow stonerrock. ru coming to our shows.

Eugene: It was the first site to mention us. And Dmitry was doing more about enlightening people in stoner and close genders and that helped a lot, because three years ago in Moscow it was a rare thing. Now he's administrating the portal with a couple of other people and writing for the news page. It's hard to say how many people came across our band via stonerrock. ru, but there is a regular core of fans from the portal who follow our music.

Q: Well, in that case let me ask you this: Russian underground bands usually don't have a manager, and your band has. And we're talking about the country, where such music is less popular than abroad. Is it a commercial project?

Pavel: Having a manager doesn't mean that the band is commercial, it means that everyone is doing what he's supposed to do. And almost every small band abroad has a manager, except the bands where one of the members is in charge. We're not that good in organizing stuff, and Dmitry is. And money is not the corner-stone for us, we are enjoying creating and playing music, and our manager is enjoying its promotion.

Eugene: Yeah, he said that he wants to ride Bentley when he gets thirty-five. If being serious, of course we are trying to earn some money with our music, but we're being realistic at the same time. We have to work, and work a lot. I think we're heading the right way. Dmitry has been with us from the very beginning, and it has been mostly altruism for him. Add mastering, poster-making, video-editing and working on web resources to this to get the whole picture. And now he's busy with our new clip. We all put our personal finances in the band, and that's because we are friends first of all.

Q: If you're interested in my opinion, I'm against the statement, that a true artist should be hungry. Music should bring some money. That story with The Re-Stoned, when Iliya Lipkin had to sell his guitar to record new album is not good. What about your LP "Just a Fish"? Was it selling well?

Dmitry: No. In Russia CDs are not popular, and it was a mistake to make a thousand copies. But if anyone still wants them, we could send two for the price of one.

Q: I've seen your interview in Russian Rolling Stone magazine and your album review in Izvestiaya (one of the head Russian newspapers), and I see it as an active band's promo, right? There is a good example: The Grand Astoria. Kamil, its founder, put all his money and his best efforts in it, and as a result we have a self organized European tour, three albums in three years and plans for greater expansion. What about you? What can you sacrifice for the band? I am not talking of the blood of just-born children.

Pavel: We are completing goals in order of their appearance. Right now it's creating a base and you can add media there. Then it's creating a good material. We have a second album coming, and we are putting our best hopes in it. And after we'll do the touring, which shall make it clear what and how can we sacrifice. As a beginning is a non-perspective in career growth of three band's members out of four. And it's not something to be proud about. And The Grand Astoria is not a orienteer, though we respect how much soul Kamil puts in it. And three albums in three years is not an absolute. We're not competing in jerking off, are we?

Eugene: At this moment it's hard to tell for everyone, because we have some democracy in our band, and nobody makes no one "to put everything on the altar". But from the other side we became more serious in playing music, we are all aiming for self-education, and that is a good sign of the band's growth. We're sparing much time for the rehearsals and Ivan (guitar) and Pavel are involved in some other bands. Talking about homework-making up your own parts in songs — we are paying much attention to it outside the rehearsals and even being on the job. So you can tell that we are surrounded by music.

Q: What about the other projects Ivan and Pavel are playing in?

Pavel: I am playing in a band called Reverba, which is mostly instrumental, except our accompanying with Olga Pulatova — she is a singer in Fleur, and Kira Lao's band. I'm busy in another project with a friend of mine, but it's another story for now. Ivan is playing in Detiyeti (Children of Yeti), which appeared long before SCB and another band called Rudolf. Detiyeti is a humorous sludge-core with crooked structure and it's about everything — from funk to jazz. Rudolf is even more insane. Ivan is playing as a scratch DJ there, mixing samples from Soviet comic shows by Petrosyan on vinyl.

Q: Ok, back to business. You've released your LP just a fish in Dec. 2009. How did you know it was time to do it? Did you have a plan, you were carrying out, or you just realised, that there is a number of completed songs, waiting to be recorded?

Pavel: Actually, we had a great deal of songs, cause at some point we were overtaken by new ideas, not all tracks made it to the LP, though. As to me, I consider this LP, not the first but "test one". A kind of "what we've been at the moment of a beginning". Half of the stuff had been written even before this line-up was formed, so this is more like some artifact.

Eugene: We've just made a checkpoint of a beginning of our way, no conceptions. We had a plenty of songs, picked the oldest ones.

Q: How soon did the release reflect on your career? You know, how it happens you have a release, reviews in a different paper media, publications in a thematic web communities, throw a number of shows so the people could learn that you have a record.

Pavel: Yeah, it was just like that. But we received much feedback only after the EP's release. I'm not saying stuff about Just a fish, but I think It's OK.

Eugene: Like I said, by the moment of album's release we HAD overgrown it. Sure we had a load of a promotional business, and the presentation was quite good, despite the awful frost at the day of the show, but we began the work as the real band only after the release. We weren't ready for the push yet. Though this LP has attracted some new fans.

Q: Do the shows create a feedback? Big bands often speak about a spiritual contact and energy exchange with the audience, do you feel it too?

Pavel: Right. I wouldn't have played without these things. And I'm happy to see the fans getting it too. Sometimes I want to give them more, then I receive back, though it's a corrupting practice.

-Material feedback is a sad story on the contrary.

Eugene: The gigs sure pump you up, though we had our share of a crappy ones. I like to see the people singing along and dancing away, enjoying our music. We love our fans, and we try to keep contact with them.

Q: Do you drink or get high on your shows, like the big guys do, or kicked the habits like the most of a Russian rockers?

Pavel: Russian rockers have never kicked the habit. Kidding)

We used to get fucked-up before, but we don't do that anymore. Not to THAT state.

Q: In 2010 EP Fuss for the housewives was released. How can you estimate now? Frankly, with the songs like gloomy Christmas murderer or mocking Ode to the superman, "Drag me to hell" sounds too simple, not to mention the reference to the crappy movie.

Pavel: It was named after the movie actually, we like movies! And what's wrong with the simple songs? Well it is definitely the best our attempt at the moment, and the recording day was one of the best in my life for sure.

Eugene: Great release, very nice attempt. That EP has revealed that we are not afraid to be ourselves, so I will not be surprised if the guys try to record electroclash with vinyl scratching one day. And "Drag me to hell" is a sort of soundtrack song. Many people find this Sam Raimy's movie strange and absurd, so this is the kind of the music which might have been in the soundtrack. Simple, absurd with nonsense lyrics and played in a "country-like" style on top of it. Just wondering, if the listeners search for the sense and complicated music patterns in "Barney the Cowboy" song? What? Pavel once told in an interview, that this is a cinematic music, so the song fully corresponds to the movie.

Dmitry: Nevertheless, I think this film is a piece of shit.

Q: Relieved to hear that. Have you ever considered to make a soundtrack for almighty greatest Russian producer N. Mikhalkov (hope this will make it through the censors) ? As I know, he already has a zombie movie and some western trash.

Dmitry: Oh, we will be happy to participate in any of this once great director's projects. For cash like hell we will.

Pavel: Where should I sign?

Dmitry: Actually, we have already allowed to use two our songs in a black comedy "Shattered", which is due to release in October 2011.

Q: How was the "Christmas murderer" song written? With all the diversity of your music, this track seems not that typical for you

Pavel: How was it written? We wrote it. Why it's not typical, I don't get it? We wanted this song to have a "thriller-like" atmosphere. You know, like a movie about a guy, who kills on a Christmas eve.

Eugene: It took us two rehearsals to compose it. First one for the structure, and on the second we came to the idea of a "funky" coda. We are still getting back to arranging it, time to time. The whole band is into psychedelic stuff, so it definitely sounds better and better. And I wouldn't call it "not typical"

Q: Your new EP "Upright" has been released on May 16th could you shed some light on how common such experiments will become for you? How did you prepared it?

Pavel: We had been doing a set for our special acoustic night back then, in the process we were smoking a lot of fine hash and just started to fool around with jazzy, surf or latino stuff, you know rearranging our songs, what we do now and then, and the set-list just came by itself. Speaking about experiments? Who knows, maybe we'll release an album of techno remixes, kidding. What else was curious about this show and release is, that most of the bands usually launch a record first and various remixes later, but we have played and recorded a rearranged versions of yet unreleased tracks that night. Trendy Moscow magazine Afisha called it an unexpected, but good, move.

Q: What helps more, articles in press or notes and reviews on Specialized web sites?

Dmitry: If it isn't a mass lobbying attack through the Russian press, like it was with a Padla Bear Outfit band, which all of a sudden became critic's favorite, it doesn't do much. But publications on a web sites are always one mouse click away from your music, which is good.

Pavel: Everything does it's part.

Q: You have began working on a second album, are you planning to keep to the "Upright's" line or hit it hard with a real stoner-rock stuff?

Pavel: It's going to be heavy and melodic, just as we like. Though it will have a couple of laid-back, relaxed songs as well.

Eugene: Yeah, the work is underway, we are about to have a first record session in a couple days, but it's much too early to tell, how will it go. A number of songs will be recorded to leave a half, that'll form an LP. Gonna be fighting and arguing on that.

Q: Do you notice the band's progress from record to record? Can you say, that it's progress goes along with your personal growth?

Pavel: Taking a look inside I definitely say yes. And I like the way the band is going, though I would have changed some things. Can't do that. Not my own band.

-Eugene, you have almost drowned in 2008 and this story is really bad, but I wanted to ask, if that accident had affected your personal looks and the band's development?

Eugene: Well, my life has been divided into "before" and "after", that's true. Remembering that day, the whole decision to go for a swim was a pure idiocy, but you have to get the picture, we just had a sold out gig, which was our first one as a new band, got drunk and high, were overwhelmed by it.

The accident left a great mark on me, I've been living in a "do my best" mode ever since. And it also made us closer for Pavel and Ivan (with Alex, Pavel's friend and bandmate) actually saved my life. I own all to the whole SCB crew, which put me back on tracks.

Q: Eugene, once told about the reasons to write in english (Russian poetical cliches, education, etc) and I dig it, but the question is, what reviews did your music get from foreign media? What do they say about you, if they do?

Eugene: There weren't much of a reviews, mostly opinions from the people I Know, they disliked the first records quality, but favored the music. The lyrics, I know, is not always close to the western listeners. Hearing stories about fishes fucking or mummy stealer after the "hard-rock" intros might be a bit strange (though it's just what Pixies and FNM with a song about a flying dick were doing)

Q: We only live once, and the biggest happiness is to use this chance to make the world a better place. I've read this in a book today and decided to mention in the interview. Are you trying to make this world a better place?

Pavel: I might be doing it by not being an asshole and demanding the same from my friends. That's all I can do for now. So "stop being a dick" is my motto.

Eugene: We are. Cause we don't live like a plastic shit bags. We try to do what we want to do, to be ourselves, not anyone else. Doing Music in our country isn't an easy thing, it's an ungrateful thing to do, but we try, cause we just can't quit.

Stone Cold Boys @ Myspace
Official Website

Meth Drinker - S/T ...

How do you like your sludge? I like it raw …

Raw music may take you back to instinct, and this may be scary. Raw music doesn’t necessarily consist of simple sounds, but maybe it is the resulting sonic experience that destroys any romance and makes you feel naked, and even bad.

Meth Drinker, from Wellington, New Zealand, make raw music and can make you feel really sick.

Their self-titled debut album was released on the 29th of April 2011 via Always No Fun, an underground label promoting New Zealand hardest underground and run by the band’s members.

The album was released both a LP and CD versions. The LP ran out soon, but the CD is still available. The album includes 9 tracks dripping some highly disturbing, more insane than simply filthy, raw doom/sludge metal impossible to ignore.

Meth Drinker’s brand of doom/sludge is neither a simple couple of riffs nor dominated by extremely slow pace. Nothing so easy. Their style has been made up by inspiration from different genres as well as absorption of the sound by various bands that you can often easily pick up. But Meth Drinker don’t sound like imitation or patchwork, because Meth Drinker get to some impressive levels of sickness and heaviness rarely reached even by the masters.

Is it a coincidence that these guys come from the metal underground of New Zealand, one of the most explosive and sickest scenes around? They don’t play the primitive raw war black metal which has almost become one of the trademarks of this scene (think about the nihilistic and blasphemous fury of Diocletian, Skuldom, Vassafor, Witchrist and so on). But Meth Drinker are equally able to poison your blood and fuck up your mind.

Band’s name, track titles and lyrics, sounds and available videos are evocative of sickness, derangement, horror and insanity to the utmost consequences. One of the most obvious visual translations of Meth Drinker’s sounds is an asylum where horrific, inhuman conditions reign, where mind numbness via drugs appears to be the sole way to escape a nightmare. And a portrait of the nightmare is depicted by the vocals, which are among the scariest vocals I have ever heard. Neither growls, nor typical furious hardcore belching: with Meth Drinker’s unique vocals you plunge into the horror, into the deranged asylum. The inhuman screams are those of insane people deprived of dignity and isolated in forgotten cages or else in the hands of improbable medicians looking like butchers experimenting on them. The video chosen by the band for the closing track of the album, Broken Down And Used Up, is terrible in this respect, as images are drawn from the 1967 documentary film called "Titicut Follies” directed by Frederick Wiseman.

Watch The Video Here

In the mixing the vocal parts seem to be slightly in the background. The resulting effect is that you are hearing these blood-curdling voices as if coming from below your feet, vibrating right from your own basement through your legs and into your gutter. You ARE inside the asylum. Or else the voices and the sounds tell about the explosion of murderous insanity from frustration, the unleash of bestial instincts and other horrors from everyday deception, or just from a situation with no escape.

The nightmare starts with any of the tracks. The sense of horror is even more increased by the periodical use of dramatic dialogues predating the disaster (like in track Combat Shock), or else samples of pop/disco or old-styled songs taken from a radio. Everyday frustrations or the noises of a normal day are paired with utmost horror, either real or imagined in a sickened mind. Horrific scenes, evoked by riffs, drumming and insane vocals, and everyday normality are part of the same experience, and there comes the nightmare you are plunged into: horror can be triggered in any moment and the sounds help you figuring out how it burst and develops. Even if you don’t understand the words in the screams you figure out what’s happening. And you can’t but shiver.

I’m insisting on these grim “pictorial” aspects of Meth Drinker because I guess they are essential part of the experience, together with the sound.

The overly heavy sound in Meth Drinker is equally raw and rich in shades. It is not difficult to see the influence of bands like Buzzov*en, Eyehategod, Noothgrush, Grief, Fistula, Bongzilla or Iron Monkey. But you can also grasp doses of doped doom à-la-Electric Wizard as well as some “classical” early Sabbathian riffs, like, for example in track Skull Smashing Concrete. But there’s no hints of (southern) groove whatsoever as found in some sludge monsters mentioned above. To me the misanthropic grimness and tortured heaviness heard here may also recall bands like UK Moloch, Coffinworm or even Thou (without the black metal touch).

Monolithic, strained riffs, seismic bass and rumbling drumming will roll over you at breathtaking slow pace. Tempo changes are limited but do occur and they don’t take any bits of heaviness away. Moderate accelerations do take place and turn the sound into furious war charges like those heard in Mistress or in the hardest moments in Acid Bath. And especially when a martial drumming leads the rhythm, the sound turns into a war-like march. For example, try the whole package of effects in track “Incurable Illness” or, again, in the closing track “Broken Down And Used Up”. Track “The Shining” is a bit different, as it is pure, plodding extreme doom but the anguishing squealing of the guitar chords basically replaces the tortured, insane vocals.

What is even more impressive is that these guys can do even heavier, gut-blasting tunes, like, for example in the “ancient bestial sludge death” metal band Baboon King, a side project of one of the guys.

But let me stick to Meth Drinker and name these killers properly: James Quick on bass and vocals, Sam Thurston on guitar and Tony Pearson on drums and vocals.

And let me tell you more about this definitely obscure band totally deprived of myspace or facebook page. Guitarist Sam Thurston was so kind to provide some info about the background of the trio, which is well worth exploring and which tells about the approach of the band to rawness of sounds and lyrical themes. James, Sam and Tony come from a common punk background, as they were in a d-beat crust band called Scab for several years (Scab released a 12" and a split 7" with Australian female-fronted black metal band Walrora). James and Tony were also in the “sludge/blast” band Drug Problem which was the fore-runner for Meth Drinker. Sam and James were also in a thrashcore band called Shortlived that put out a couple of 7"s and and 12", and toured Australia and also Europe. Tony is the man behind the sludge beast Baboon King and the “rotten black metal” band Invertebrate that made an impressive split with Baboon King and two demos. Tony also runs the New Zealand underground blog Drug Violence where several releases mentioned above are hosted for promoting the bands. That blog and the Always No Fun website are basically the only spots where scarce news about Meth Drinker and related acta can be gained.

Meth Drinker have played only about 9-10 shows around the north island of New Zealand (there are a few videos on Youtube) but their performances were enough to attract attention of several bloggers as well as the talent scouts of magazine Terrorizer.

At the moment Meth Drinker guys are into writing for another release and looking to tour Australia and South East Asia. Hopefully they will soon infect the rest of the World.

I don’t know, this album smokes and for me it is one of the top candidates for the “sludge album of 2011”. But if you don’t feel in the vein of such heavy, nasty and disturbing sounds, you will hardly agree with my 10/10.

Review Written By Mari

Meth Drinker @ Always Never Fun Records
Drug Violence Blogspot

Stoner Hands Of Doom XI ...

If you’re a fellow doom dog or wench you won’t want to miss the twelfth anniversary of the Stoner Hands Of Doom fest next month down in Frederick, MD. The fest will be held at Krug’s Place between August 12-14 and the line-up boasts some sonic titans including: Acid Queen, The Gates Of Slumber, Earthride, Hour Of 13, and Cough as well as smaller, well-known acts like Weed Is Weed. Check out the flyer below

Article By Wes Cueto

Hour Of 13 – The Rites Of Samhain 7" Review #2 ...

Photo By Wes Cueto
On this release Hour Of 13 have perfected their strutty brand of 70?s style occult rock with the title track, “The Rites Of Samhain”. A really well crafted song not unlike those previously released [If you haven't heard them yet, think if 70's era Judas Priest were strict Satanists] by the group who appear on this 7?, the very first release by Yersinia Pestis Records, courtesy of their home label Earache. The 7? is on perfectly clear vinyl and features some beautiful artwork and layout design by Josh McAlear of Yersinia Pestis. Inside is a fold out sheet that tells you which number out of the limited 300 you have received. Mine is number 48/300. The sheet also boasts that the 7? was released on the very first day of Samhain MMX or 2010, for those who can’t do Roman numerals.

My favorite aspect of this release however comes in the form of a Samhain cover on the B side. Hour Of 13 chose to cover “To Walk The Night” which was a perfect bridge as a Samhain track between that goth-punk era and what Danzig would later achieve with such tracks as “Blood and Tears” and “777?. The crooning and bass line in this ode to the night time ballad of a track are some of the most dark and weightiest you’ll hear this side of Hell.

Review Written By Wes Cueto

Hour of 13 @ Myspace

Mockingbird - S/T ...

And If That Mockingbird Don’t Sing…

Mockingbird are a power trio that hail from Ohio where they’ve all but perfected a unique blend of sludgy and jammy doom rock that is very reminiscent of the what bands like Romero and Baroness are doing with their own music. Each song seems to have a movement, like in classical, and also like in classical each movement seems to be its own song. This stuff is rather complex for a 5 track self-titled debut that clocks in at a quick and enjoyable 27 minutes. The track “Nephelim” stomps and crushes as would a giant cyclops in a Harryhausen flick through its just over 6 minute run time, while a cut like “Pompeii” has riffs that swoop and soar like an ancient astronaut. The longest and most beautiful track at just over 7 minutes is “Trained Apes” which is a brilliant acoustic instrumental and the perfect comedown closer. Mockingbird just did a short east coast tour run this past month and have shared the stage with the likes of Fistula, Keelhaul and Unearthly Trance just to name a few. The self-titled debut from Mockingbird can be obtained on LP & CD over at the Hellville Webstore

Check out the video for the opening track off the album, “Puma Punca” and trust me – you won’t need papa to buy you that diamond ring.

Review Written By Wes Cueto

Poema Arcanus - Telluric Manifesto ...

After three long years of waiting with a compilation of their early material thrown in between for good measure the long awaited follow up to the great 'Iconoclast' album finally arrived to the bands eagerly awaiting fans. Never ones to settle on a specific style, as displayed on the aforementioned compilation, the band once again throws the listener a curve ball by going from Doom/Death Metal to a more sinister and generally pissed off Dark Metal sound. This was both a good and a bad thing. The guitars are heavy, vicious and threaten to rip your face off for the bulk of the album. Igor's trademarked style is very much intact and more solid than ever. There is more palm muting to open chorded passages and tons of leads. The opening track is horrific and sets the tone for the whole album within the first couple of notes. There are a few solos but this is nothing unexpected.

The bass is also outstanding acting more like a rhythm guitar than a bass in more than a few instances but excellent in its delivery throughout the recording. This album also showcases the bands then new keyboardist Michael Leroy. He does a pretty good job of adding extra creepiness but given the bands style he doesn't really shine the way he could've in another band. The drums are as good if not a little better than on the bands prior album. Tight, pounding and relatively creative.

The vocals are probably one of the better parts of the album over all. Claudio really out did himself especially with his clean vocals showing that he is a very versatile singer. They lyrics are based on a dark concept, listen for yourself to find out the topic.

The production is good but not what it should've been feeling weak in more than a few places. As a whole this album can be halved. Part of it is not bad the other part is just bad. Whether it was lack of ideas or simple apathy is unknown but literally after middle of the album the repetition of the bands new found direction wares on the listener. The over all sound/vibe is just dark, bitter and anxious and it will make you feel uncomfortable while listening to it. This is worth getting if you dig the band and/or Dark Metal........5/10

Review Written By Grimdoom

Official Site

Jul 27, 2011

Sungrazer – Mirador ...

After releasing their impressive self titled début a year ago, Sungrazer return with Mirador, an album packed full of fuzzed out riffs, cosmic bass lines and soothing vocals. If your unaware of Sungrazer, imagine Kyuss mixed with Hawkwind via Jimi Hendrix and your only just scratching the surface. Although these guys have been around for a short time, they have proved themselves to be a prominent act on the European Stoner Rock scene, touring with the likes of Colour Haze and Rotor on the Up in Smoke Tour, while also performing stand out gigs at this years Roadburn Festival and Stoned From The Underground.

So is the album any good? Yes it bloody is. Since receiving this record, its been on constant spin on my CD player, there is something intoxicating about their dreamlike vocals, and massive yet laid back sound that is highly infectious. Kicking off the album with style 'Wild Goose' immediately transports the listener to a cosmic plane, with its soft beat and mellow sounds the listener is instantly placed in the moment, and when the bassy, heavy riff kicks in its difficult not tap your feet and go with the flow.

After a great album opener the band change pace slightly with cheeky instrumental 'Octo'. Each band member gets time to shine during its brief three-minute running time, from bassist Sander Haagmans laying down a frantic groove to Guitarist/Vocalist Rutger Smeets weaving a hypnotic guitar solo and drummer Hans Mulders pelting of cymbals. It's a nice change of pace and takes the listener out of their hazy mind-set and shakes them about, before dropping them back into a calm atmosphere with 'Sea', another tranquil song rife with rumbling notes and a great crescendoed mid eighth.

Other tracks such as 'Goldstrike', 'Mirador' and '34 & more' continue this laid back feel, yet the highlight of the album is 'Behind', a truly beautiful song that throws out the fuzz and volume, only to be replaced by soothing guitar parts and dreamlike vocals, and when the heaviness kicks back in it still carries that calm, soothing feel but with copious amounts of volume. It is these shuffles between mellow moments juxtaposed against bassy colossal heaviness that make the album this writers favourite of the year.

While describing the album words such as dreamlike, escapism and absolute spring to mind, yet to fully appreciate the band and their sound its best to catch Sungrazer in a live setting, where psychedelic images swirl around on a projection screen, hot lights shine down on an awe-struck crowd, and their laid back grooves spiral out from massive amps. However if your lack of transport/money is a defining factor, you could just pick up this album it's just as good.....10/10

Words – Saul Crowley

Sungrazer @ Myspace

Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus Reissue ...

Peaceville Records celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Candlemass classic début album, 'Epicus Doomicus Metallicus' will this re-issued, re-packaged CD. This edition of "Epicus" includes a special commentary disc with founding member Leif Edling, recorded early 2011, discussing his memories and inspirations of the writing and recording process whilst the tracks play and I don't know if this is a first but it is the first time I have heard it done in this format, DVD's yes but never on a CD before. The booklet also has liner notes from the band, including an introduction from Aaron Stainthorpe of My Dying Bride. So do I really need to review this album, it is a classic that most, if not all doom fanatics know so reviewing it almost seems pointless.

Once every few years an album is released that becomes a touchstone release, an album that goes on to have a life of its own and one that influences countless bands. This album is one of those releases. At its time of release, it sounded great but over the years, it has seemed to get better with age and that is the sign of a quality release. Also most doom-metal fans rate it as the best album the band ever did which I guess sucks for the band because now they will always have it as their 'benchmark' but it is such a solid, well-rounded, well-balanced doom album and it is unlikely they will ever do anything better. Not everyone loves it though, one reviewer many years ago blasted the band with comments such as 'third-rate' sabbath clones but I wonder where that dude is now. Time has proven that his opinions are in the extreme minority when it comes to what I consider the first-rate excellence this album projects.

Originally released June 10th, 1986 - yes it really was that long ago, this album has stood the test of time. 'Epicus Doomicus Metallicus' is an aptly named doom metal record, for it is just that. With thrash reaching its fruition at the time and the embryonic death metal genre beginning to reach major popularity, the need for speed was ever-present. So this album along with a new band at the time by the name of Saint Vitus (not really new, they had been around for over 6 years by this stage but they were considered new at the time) were a rare act in metal. Keep in mind, Witchfinder General had long since split, and Trouble were changing direction from doom to a more generic heavy-metal sound so doom-metal was a rare animal. Perhaps the saddest thing about this album is that this would be the first and last appearance of vocalist Johann Lanquist. His performance on this album is perfect in every detail. When you consider the world of metal was starting (at the time) to be getting drowned in cookie monster vocals, the vocal performance here was pure classic.

All six tracks on this album are flawless epic doom tracks. They all stand out equally on their own and each song has its own characteristics to make them unique. I have already mentioned how great the vocals were but the guitar work is also mesmerizing as is the bass performance by Leif Edling. So most of you have heard the album and most of you probably own the album already so the question for you folks is, is it worth buying again just for the bonus special commentary disc? Well, the answer is not really. While it is interesting, it is the kind of thing you will play once and never listen to again. However if you one of those rare fans of doom, that has never bought this album then this version is ideal. It is also the perfect way to discover Candlemass if haven't already done so. It is timeless, epic-doom metal.......10/10

Official Website
Candlemass @ Facebook

White Light Cemetery - The Crow Sessions ...

At times I realize that my reviews seem to come from a person who is easily prone to enthusiasm and over hyping. Fact is that whenever I find a band that I love, I really LOVE it and I want to share my love with others. White Light Cemetery, whom apparently already had a cult following I wasnt aware of, won me over from the opening riff of “2001 Maniacs” and had me gushing when this EP came to its closer, the burningly intense “Farewell Letter”.

I have a soft spot for this type of sound, heavy rock in the spirit of Down and Black Label Society, mixing Sabbath riffing with Southern warmth a-la Lynyrd Skynyrd. But still, it's a type of music that can be easily done in the wrong way, if it lacks heart and skill, and drop into a simple copy of stuff that's already been played. Doesnt happen here. Where other bands in the same mold seem to have failed recently, see the latest Birch Hill Dam, White Light Cemetery gives five tracks of great riffs, heavy beauty and warm melodies, balancing the southern touches with that slight smokey, electric despair that Down seem to have matched so well. And they also have a great, powerful vocalist which is always a plus.

Pick, as a taste, the great Track “Rain Song”. It's a slow burner, hazy, druggy and melancholic, not far from a “Stone The Crow”, to say one. And yet it has a sweet energy that builds a crescendo and burns up, getting to the heart. The whole thing is over pretty quickly, surprisingly quickly, since the tracks are all very good. Give the band support and hopefully they'll be able to make more of this goodness.

Review Written By Andrea Contanzo

White Light Cemetery @ Myspace

Doom And Gloom Forecast For Next Year’s Deathfest ...

The undisputed kings of drone, England’s Godflesh, death-doom pioneers Autopsy and Winter and NOLA sludge masters Eyehategod are some of the latest editions to the quickly expanding list of bands, which already includes stoner vets Electric Wizard, Saint Vitus, Church Of Misery, Confessor, Noothgrush and Rwake as well as newer groups like Cough, confirmed for next year’s Maryland Doomfes… err Deathfest.

Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the festival. Keep checking MarylandDeathfest.com for updates and see the full, updated list of bands confirmed below:

May 24-27, 2012

ANVIL (Canada)
MORGOTH (Germany)
TSJUDER (Norway)
DEMIGOD (Finland)
HORNA (Finland)
SARGEIST (Finland)
THE DEVIL’S BLOOD (Netherlands)
ULCERATE (New Zealand)
NAUSEA (California)

Article By Wes Cueto

Officium Triste - The Pathway ...

After a brief separation the boys of Officium Triste thankfully regrouped and put out their second full-length album. The joy felt was brief however, because said album fell very short of the band's debut in pretty much every way possible. First off, the ONLY good songs on this are the first two tracks. Both of them are brimming with intense doom and emotional goodness, it's the five songs that follow that drag this album from amazing to just above shit. The production is better than their début but that does nothing to save this festering waste of sound. The guitars are pretty heavy with the bands trademarked melodies and harmonies. There are even a few solos mixed in with the mostly chug happy songs. Their distortion is thick and songs are played well.

The bass has never been an interesting feature in this band and this album is no different. It plods along as expected. The drums are outstanding as usual however. What little excitement there is to be had comes from mastermind drummer Martin. The vocals are always a treat with this band as well. Pim has a very unique vocal presence and this album is no different except that he sings cleanly in a few places and has a surprisingly good voice. The lyrics are the standard bag of Doom topics. The one exception to this being that their English/grammar isn't the greatest but this doesn't detract from the songs (except for Camouflage). Over all this album sounds as if it was thrown together at the last-minute. Not that songs sound rushed but that they weren't fully explored. This hinders the album because the songs are very dull and don't really go anywhere. How you can go from sheer brilliance on your début album to utter trash on your second is up for debate....2/10

Review Written By Grimdoom

Official Site

Jul 26, 2011

Saw Her Ghost Heralds The Apocalypse ...

Like the Silver Surfer to Galactus, the Michigan based imprint Saw Her Ghost records has reissued the Beast In The Field World Ending double LP on purple marble vinyl. The A/B record was colored on the first run and this time around it will be 130 out of the 239 C/D records that are colored. Saw Her Ghost are also set to release Beast In The Field’s Goat Isle Seance on possibly gold or amber [yummy] vinyl at some point.

These records are underground instrumental doom classics. Not to be missed. Beast In The Field are also in the works to do a split LP with Hellmouth later this year so keep checking the official Saw Her Ghost webpage at SawHerGhost.net and check out Beast In The Field on facebook for continuing updates! Also, if you live in the States go jump on those World Ending 2xLP reissues now while they’re hot as the price has been dropped by a whole buck! For fans of Bongripper, Electric Wizard and Hour Of 13. Not to be missed.

Article By Wes Cueto

Jump Into Your Boogie Van And Ride The Sun ...

Aleks Evdokimov was kind enough to put together this short interview with Ride The Sun. I hope you take the time out to read it and think about buying their EP.....

Q: Hail Ride the Sun! Who is performing the band today?
- Lydell, Kip, Dan and Dominic

Q: Okay, let’s start from very beginning – the band was born in 2007 when Lydell (guitar, vocals) moved from Minnesota. Minnesota is North-West of America but you play the music with certain “southern” sound, what is your location now?
- San Diego, CA

Q: What is musical baggage of Ride the Sun crew? Where did you play before the band?
- Lydel was in Red Dessert and Countach and the rest of us from various bands

Q: You played at Hellride Festival – what is it? Is it your local fest for bikers? How did you feel about such gigs and how often do you play shows?
- Its a new Festival that was not very popular.....we play once or twice a month

Q: Man, it’s said that you Ride the Sun plays a lot of shows but look – I know that you have only one Ep and there’re just 5 songs, what do you play besides this stuff?
- We has lots of new music ready to record.

Q The art-work of Ride the Sun self-titled Ep is pretty simple but memorable – a topless girl on the grass and car. What is that car? Why does the girl lay on the grass?
- Its a Boogie Van...these vans were very popular in the 70's.....we like them and this is a classic old picture we wanted to use for the cover

Q: Bands who play in similar genres (stoner, southern rock, hard rock) have some common conception – it’s about fast cars/bikes, about whiskey, girls and other rash stuff, how do you think do your music and lyrics suit such ideals?
- Our's is the same really

Q: Do you have a master-mind in the band or do you share your responsibility between Ride the Sun members at equal conditions?
- We share everything...lydell tends to write all the lyrics

Q: How often do you spend time rehearsing and composing new songs? Is rehearsal a relaxation or labour for you? Well, what do you prefer to do to relax after hard working week?
- We practice twice a week but we are writing new music all the time on our own time individually..... we just like to take it easy with friends

Q: Your songs have inimitable mix of drive and energy and as I think in my stereotype way they are a best soundtrack for long ride along American highways with rare stops at roadside cafes and bars. What is your view of that question? What is best to do listening Ride the Sun?
-  I have been told this alot......we call it driving music.....we try hard to make the music diverse so it doesnt sound the same........

Q: Man, I know how this question sounds and I’m not sure that Ed will publish it amidst others, but can you tell me that common citizens of USA think about that show with killing of Bin Laden?
- From aside it looks so unnatural, just a good political turn… I’ve read Mike Moor’s “Where’s my country, dude?”, I’ve seen “Zeitgeist” movie parts I and II and some things are too obvious! Bin Laden is dead and his death has solved most of our problems – corruption in government, economical crisis, high level of criminal activity and so on. It seems that we have nothing more to fear and everyone is happy.
We are not a political band a tall.............but we have  our political problems for sure and we still must protect ourselves from fanatics even if Bin Laden is dead

Q: Kip you look like that man from zombie-movies who kills hundreds of dead with shotgun and axe, do you have a gun? And what do you think about that movie’s genre and it’s typical personage like “big guy with shotgun”, can you imagine yourself shooting throngs of walking dead?
-Thats funny...I never really thought about it but I guess I could in a movie......I do have a couple of guns......I grew up with great movie classics like The Omega Man, Planet of the Apes, Solient Green, Dirty Harry, The Gauntlet, The Machanic, Halloween, Phantasim etc....I loved this era for music and movies.

Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Ride The Sun @ Reverbnation
Ride The Sun @ Bandcamp
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