Feb 29, 2012

Heads Up: Weeping Ulcer - Dwelling in Filth ...

Weeping Ulcer are a sludge/experimental/doom band from Dublin, who formed in June 2010. They recorded and released their first 3 track demo, 'Dwelling in Filth' at the beginning of the year and now it is available for a "name your price" deal via Bandcamp. This is a short, raw demo - only 16 minutes or so long so it is hard to judge the band too much but I must say I am fairly impressed with what they have to offer.

These three tracks are extremely heavy, fuzzy, with lashings of feedback and some black-metal influence but this is pure slime-infested, sludged-out doom that sounds like it would be at home in the swamps of down-south USA. One of the strong-points of these songs is they twist and turn at regular intervals. They will plod along at times but often pick up the pace for some hardcore, punk-inspired thrash and bash.

The down and dirty bass sound is strongly appreciated by me personally - these tunes really pack a serious rumble and there is a great deal of crust that will please the hardcore sludge-metal fanatic. Listening to the three tracks, 'Chemtrail' and 'Shaman' stand out to me as the best tunes but the other one, 'Fear' is also strong and stands out for the being the most up-tempo of the three. I can honestly say that listening to Weeping Ulcer doesn't remind me of any other band in particular. Sure it is pure sludge-metal so the sabbathian factor is always there but they don't seem to be copying anyone which is a huge plus when it comes to this sub-genre.

The tunes are bleak, doomy and raw but if there is a problem, it is in the production itself. At times the sound doesn't seem as thick as it should be but hell, this is just a demo after-all. Can't say that this is anything mind-blowing but it is also a seriously enjoyable short dose of gritty sludge, doomy metal that deserves to be heard. Bandcamp is certainly the number one site to go to for discovering new bands and here is another one. Give them a listen, I am sure you will hear a lot more from them in the future....7.5/10.

Weeping Ulcer @ Facebook
Weeping Ulcer @ YouTube

Hellvetron - Death Scroll Of Seven Hells And Its Infernal Majesties ...

Swimming through a sea of rotting corpses would be a breeze compared to enduring the putrid sonic sludge that Hellvetron conjures with "Death Scroll of Seven Hells blah blah blah..." If that lengthy title leads you to believe this is another plunge into the grisly world of Incantation-inspired doom-death, step forward and claim your goat-headed demon doll, because you hit it right on the money.

This is a foul, murky swamp of slow, down-tuned riffage, hellish echoing vocals intoning Goetic chants and a general feeling of suffocating alive. Bands such as Disma, Encoffination and Necros Christos come to mind while listening to Hellvetron, though the careful listener can also find traces of very early Paradise Lost (listen to the opening strains of "Titahion-Foul Eaters of the Clay of Death" and tell me you can't hear a little "Lost Paradise"), disEmbowlment and even old Samael. There are also traces of industrialized noise and black metal here and there. But the overwhelming atmosphere is one of dragging, chaotic doom.

I can't place Hellvetron quite in the company of Disma or Encoffination because the songwriting is not there...there's sloppiness in the construction of these tunes and often they seem to come to an end abruptly due to lack of ideas. An exception is the final track "Gehinnom--Hellwomb of the Impure Hag Queen", which has some very eerie keyboard sounds and samples to cap it off...incidentally, that is also the most varied and promising track. However, the lengthy Incantation-inspired titles such as "Shaari-Moth, Ominous Gate of Death" and "Sheol--Grave of Supernals"  are so "super-evil" that they are ripe for snickers instead of shudders.

Recommended to lovers of the most torturous and dreary death-doom...and no others.


Death Scroll Of Seven Hells And Its Infernal Majesties | HELLS HEADBANGERS Records & Distribution

Repost: Spreading The Flames Of Witchburn - Interview With Mischa Kianne

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One of Washington State's greatest bands ever would have to be Witchburn, the band is made of three metal chicks that generate more power and attitude than most if not all of their male counterparts. That power is helped along by two dudes on guitar and drums and what you are left with is a killer whiskey soaked bluesy hard rocking outfit in the Sabbath/Pentagram tradition. They recently won the best rock band award in the Hot Rocks competition and in the short time the band has been together have achieved more than most bands could dream of in a entire lifetime including playing in front of 10,000 people supporting Slipknot. The Russian chapter of Doommantia led by Aleks Evdokimov put together this interview with guitarist Mischa while she was enoying the Hawaiian sunshine. Enjoy.

-Salute battle-sister Mischa! What is a progress of your high witch-hunting mission?
-Hi, thanks! The progress is good and we are always grateful to have more people joining the ranks and supporting this revolution everyday. We appreciate you taking the time to interview us and helping to spread the flames of Witchburn.

-The world is full of ignoramus but you took a sacred duty to enlighten these ignorant ones, to bring them word of Doom and Fire of purification! How long do you bear this honour commitment?  When did you feel yourself ready to act of Witchburn?
-Witchburn my vision that I set out to make a reality back in the year 2005. It brewed in my head as I wrote riffs and lyrics and compiled notebooks full of ideas about everything to do with what I wanted for this band. In 2006, I met Jamie Nova and she became my partner in the journey, then we brought Jessica into the fold shortly after that and began putting my song ideas together while we looked for a drummer and an additional guitar player. It wasn't until 2007 that we found them and Witchburn became a full band, playing our first show in June of 2007 with 3 Inches of Blood and Akimbo.

-Who were first witch-burners in your band? What kinds of requirements did other candidates have to correspond with to become a part of the command?
-I originally conceptualized the band and had a very specific idea of what I wanted Witchburn to be. I was looking for a voice that I wasn't sure existed, I could hear it in my head and knew exactly what it needed to sound like, but I just didn't know if it was out there, until I met Jamie. When I heard her sing for the first time, I knew that she was the one who could bring the songs I had been working on to life. She had the right sound and the right spirit behind that sound. So, she and I got together and started collaborating on the music I had been cataloging, then we began looking for a bass player... once we saw Jessica play, it's obvious why we knew this band needed her. Right around that time, the band I was in previous to Witchburn, had fallen apart and subsequently, the bass player from that band expressed interest in playing with Witchburn. Since we already had a bass player, Jacy told us that he would sell all of his bass gear to buy a full guitar set up the very next day if we would ask him to join the band. Jacy and I had such a long history of writing songs together and a chemistry that we already knew to be magic, so we knew it would be good and asked him to join. As far as drummers, we sort of had to break the "Spinal Tap Curse". Witchburn has had 3 drummers, but finally with Dana as our anchor, the curse is no longer upon us. Before Dana joined the band, we worked with Joe Frothingham (formerly of Himsa) for a short time, and before that, Matt Bos was our original drummer, who had also played with Jacy and I in the band we were in together prior to Witchburn... "prior to the fire" if you will... that's the title of the new record from Priestess... everyone should check it out, it's good. 

-Your demo "Witchburn" is too good for simple demo, why didn't you release it as EP? Great songs, excellent quality of record in itself and just a lack of proper art-work.
-Thank you, we are proud of the way it came out. Tony Reed from Mos Generator and Stone Axe recorded it for us at Temple Sound very shortly after we started the band. We wanted to have something on disc as quickly as possible, wanting to make sure we had our music available for people to take away from our very first show with them. So we went into the studio with Tony and recorded the first 4 songs we ever wrote together, all within a few months of starting the band. The goal was to have a simple medium to share these songs that we were proud of, and fast. So, we weren't concerned with fancy artwork and packaging or a big release. We just wanted a way to get our music out there and circulating right away.

-What was your advancement in your job with such release? How many followers did you get with this demo? Or most of them were already recruit during your live sermons?
-We got more mileage out of that disc than we had planned on even attempting to get. It was available at our very first show when no one had ever seen us play before, and people are still buying that demo now after every set we play, as well as people from far away places all over the world who have never seen us live.  So, a lot of people are still hearing Witchburn for the first time on that CD and becoming fans, sharing it with friends and converting others... the support people have shown is awesome. Dedicated fans of the band sometimes buy new copies of the old disc at our shows after theirs have gotten scratched up, sometimes recent recruits will show up for their second or third time to see us play and buy extra copies of the demo for their friends if they've already gotten one for themselves. It's like they're just compelled to spread the word and that means a lot to us. Seeing how much our fan base has grown just off of the seeds that one little demo helped to spread is pretty impressive, even to us. 
Of course, the plan was to have our full length done and released much sooner than it will be, but due to circumstances mainly involving line up changes, etc. the process was delayed several times.

-I would like to make it more exact - your songs sound not like sermons of course but mostly like battle hymns. Who is an author of lyrics and how do you usually compose songs' texts?
-All of the songs are a total lyrical collaboration between Jamie and I. It generally starts with a guitar riff I've come up with that has a concept behind it or a feeling that goes along with it, as they all do, which Jamie will ask me to describe or explain before she starts writing any lyrics, and then I write a lot of the lyrics along with her. Some songs actually start with my ideas for lyrics and vocal melodies where I will sometimes have all the verses and choruses nearly completed before the music is even written, and then she'll sit down with me and fill in words here and there. Sometimes I'll have just a couple of lines to each of a few verses that go along with a riff I wrote and she'll finish them, some songs she will have verse ideas for and then I'll make little changes to them and then maybe write the full chorus or maybe just a bridge in another song... so, we tend to take a different path on every song. There is no set formula as far as who writes what and when, the sequence changes per song, but it's always Jamie and I. We call each other musical soul mates, she calls me the Page to her Plant, I call her the Ozzy to my Randy.

-How did you choose the way to express your vision of doom and stoner at all?
-It had everything to do with the way we were raised and the things we found comfort and joy in... this is what's in our hearts and in our souls. This is the music that creates the feeling which allows us to feel complete... and bands like Black Sabbath have provided that feeling for us since the first time we heard them.. now, doing this has become a necessary means of purging and cleansing for us.

-It's obvious that Black Sabbath and few other bands have a certain influence on you, it's normal and we couldn't get without it any good doom band maybe, but I'm wondering when I see Bible as one of your sources of impression. Which parts do you like the most? There are not so many action (of course I remember Old Testament with it's genocidal raids), though the acts of unbelievers' scourging and purging are…
-There are actually a lot of stories from the Bible that are relatable for some of us in different ways, and a lot of its stories are just intense whether they're relatable on a personal level or not and have made enough of an impression for us to want to write songs about them, as people have done in music since it began... and then I would also say that some of the more personal influence it had on us came more indirectly. For example, through people who allow church and organized religion to change their hearts in a way that places more importance on what other people think rather than on what the words in "the good book" are actually saying... the way that people can suddenly consider you a cause of contention and discord because you're simply asking questions... the kind of influence that would likely draw one to want to embrace rebellion in general, not necessarily toward any specific religion or the Bible itself but the overall spirit of rebellion... as it did with us. 

-Next on? is about "witchcraft and medieval ages": don't you want to record a conceptual album? King Diamond had "The Eye" for example which was based partially on real story of heresy, seduction and witches' trials.
-King Diamond is awesome and concept albums are pretty awesome too... I could see Witchburn doing a concept album at some point. 

-Your comrades at arms (ones who like to warm their hands at witch's stake) need reinforcement, so the main question for today is maybe one about your long-expected LP. There was news last year that you were heading in studio to record full length album but then there were only silence…
-We did enter the studio at that time and through a long and sometimes painstaking process, we have completed our full length record with Producer Jack Endino. It will be released this August and we are touring the states, west of the Mississippi, throughout August to support its release. It took a long time to make this record due to the fact that we had to work within such small windows of time that were spread out pretty far from each other, because it was so difficult to get our schedules to mesh with Jack's schedule, but we wanted to start chipping away at the project sooner than later rather than wait for a big space in time to open up for us to be able do it all at once, which did have some benefits too. It gave us the chance to step back and process each bit that we had worked on before continuing on through the next. Jack is also in a band that tours and he's always working on so many recording projects as well, so between everything he had going on and the amount of shows Witchburn plays, we would get a week to work on the record, then we would have to wait 3 weeks to get back to it, and then we would go in for another week and then have to wait for a month before we could continue... so it was hard to work that way in many regards and it took nearly a year to finish, but we put everything we had into it and we are so excited that it's now complete and we can't wait to share it with the world. 

-Did you find and scourge that unworthy heretic who has stolen Jessica's bass?
-Not yet... still hunting, diligently.

-What is your favorite way of pulling of admission of guilt from wicked ones, from unbelievers? What is your favorite way of purifying?
-We are living proof that the hasty judgments of man upon one another are often brought about by sheer ignorance and that there is no greater sense of freedom than that which we are granted when we stand up for who we are and what we believe... knowledge is power, truth brings freedom, rock and roll saves lives... it has saved all of us, time and time again. Music will always be my favorite form of purification, and I can't think of a more gratifying means of seeing one come to a place of self discovery and revelation than through the almighty rock and it's ability to bring our hearts to terms with what's real.      

-Why is the theme of sorcery and witch-hunting so popular in doom metal scene? How do you think?
-Perhaps because it is the nature of this sound that has always lent itself to
being associated with the mysterious, the unknown and the misunderstood in some way or another... which I believe is also a large part of why musicians who've felt misunderstood as people are drawn to that sound, it's instantly relate to.
-Who are your comrades at arms in USA underground scene? With which bands do you like play?
-Valient Thorr, Early Man, 3 Inches Of Blood and Steel Panther are some of our favorite bands to play with, as well as Brothers of the Sonic Cloth (featuring Tad Doyle formerly of the band Tad), Stone Axe (featuring Tony Reed formerly of Mos Generator), and Heiress (featuring John Pettibone and Josh Freer formerly of Himsa). They're all amazing in their own unique ways, they've all been gracious to us as well as an absolute blast to share the stage with. There's also a Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth/Mico De Noche split 10" vinyl record that came out last summer, which features the Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth song "Fires Burn Dim in the Shadows of the Mountain" that I played violin on in Tad's home studio. He recorded the whole thing in his basement and it sounds amazing. I went over there and checked out the song, wrote the violin parts and then we tracked it right then and there. It's definitely worth checking out for anyone who likes the doom, as is everything those guys are doing. They're just awesome and it was a great experience getting to collaborate with them on that song.  

-You played even with Slipknot - how it was for you? It's a great chance to spread the Word amidst wide auditory so did you used this chance right?
-The experience of playing in front of close to 10 thousand people was definitely invigorating and to share the stage with a band as great as Slipknot was certainly an honor. We poured out our whole hearts and projected every ounce we had inside of them as far out into the crowd as we could... there's no chance we would step up to an opportunity like that and not give it our all. The feedback we've gotten from people who saw us for the first time at that show has been incredible, a lot of people have said they became life-long fans that day and have been coming to more of our shows ever since.

-As we know Witchburn will take a part in Doom Kvlt fest. What do you wait from this fest? And how does it feel to know that you'll play at one stage with such arch heretics as Crowned by Fire?
-We're definitely excited to be a part of it, should be an awesome day filled with killer music from awesome bands... we're honored to have been asked to play the very first one and it's amazing that someone has gone to such effort not only just to put something as cool as this together for fans of doom metal and sludge rock, but to make it free for people to attend as well, especially with the way the economy is right now.

-Will you spare their lives at least? They need some cleansing of their sins of course but we know - as honored Klovis Redeemer says - "it doesn't hurt - it doesn't count!"
-Well, strength is gained from every scar and we're always happy to provide a good bludgeoning... besides, we're all sinners anyway and we all need a good purging, so this is most certainly going to feel good.  

-It was the last question for this time so I would like to thank you for this interview and your patience!
-We just want people to feel encouraged in remembering that they're not alone when they feel persecuted and cast out as the hunted... never let that be a reason to want to change who you are. Stand up and be counted... and enjoy some good rock and roll while you're doing it. That is freedom...

Interview By Aleks Evdokimov
This interview is coming soon to metallibrary.ru
Photos by G. Gribbin

Sadgiqacea / Grass - Split 12" Album ...

Here we have a great split album from two of the best bands in the Philadelphia area. Both bands are supposed to be very hard-working bands that have built up a solid following but both bands are new names to me in the sludge metal scene. Both bands treat the listener to heavy doom, stoner and sludge-metal grooves and for once there is no clear winner between these two bands, both are excellent. I will start with the Sadgiqacea side of the split. They kick things off with 'The Great Divide' which starts off slow and a little meandering before it builds up some steam and launches into a series of killer, infectious heavy grooves that are slightly experimental and complex. The only band I can compare this to is early Mastodon but that is a little unfair as they have their own sound and style happening as this sounds very fresh. The musicianship is tight as a duck's ass and powerful. The drumming is especially punishing.

The next track of theirs, 'Avianizer' is less sludge and higher on the psychedelic scale. It starts off mellow enough before becoming an aggressive barrage of pummeling riffs and again, the drumming is intense. This track is epic at over 10 minutes and they sure do pack a lot into its playing time. They keep it interesting with different guitar variations and moods and after this one is over with, it leaves the listener exhausted. I challenge anyone to keep the neck muscles still during this track. Like I said, these bands are new to me but jesus fuckin christ, what a find! You should find the two tracks from Sadgiqacea totally captivating.

The Grass side of the split kicks off with a tune titled 'Future Ruins' which is an 11 minute pock-rockish, doom meets sludge hybrid of a tune that gives Neurosis a run for their money. The influence of that band seems to be all over this but I am only guessing on that one, I have no idea if Neurosis are an influence or not but it sure sounds like it. Like Sadgiqacea, Grass are big on grooves and layered instrumentation and vocals and it is those vocals that really drive this piece. Out of the four tracks on this split album, this one is perhaps the hardest track to get through but it is still a totally engaging track that you won't want to turn off.

The next track 'Chasing Demons Out The Holler' features some fine psychedelic guitar playing and they really stretch themselves on this tune. This is still a lot of killer riffage to satisfy the riff lovers out there but there is also experimentation to please the more open-minded metal fan. The track also features some cool studio psychedelic wizardry like sounds bouncing from left to right speakers that really adds something to the track instead of being a cheap studio effect. Grass are on the one hand, a straight-forward sludge, psychedelic metal act but they also have enough twists in their songwriting to keep the listener guessing.....great band.

This is an almost perfect split album that is available from Bandcamp and as a limited edition 12” vinyl. Whatever format you decide on, you won't be disappointed. The production on this split is also amazing so I can't find any real flaws with this at all. Two bands with incredible potential - check it out....9.5/10

Grass @ Myspace
Sadgiqacea @ Facebook
Sadgiqacea @ Bandcamp

Feb 28, 2012

Review Request: Dolorian - Voidward ...

I have been asked to review this album a few times now which is surprising. Surprising considering I thought they were about as obscure as its gets in doom-metal but it seems they do have a decent underground following. This album is far from new, it was released in 2006 but it is still significant as it is the last album they ever did. The status up on metal-archives says they are still active if that is anything to go by but if someone has any idea what they are up to, I would love to know. Dolorian are a Finnish doom band that started off their career in fine style with two very good albums, 'When All the Laughter Has Gone' in 1999 and a self-titled album in 2001 and then went quite till this album, 'Voidwards' was released on April 30th 2006.

What is interesting and what has always been an issue with the band is what tag they are given by the underground music critics. Usually funeral doom is the genre they get called but this album (especially) is far too psychedelic to fall under that banner, I prefer to call them "Floydian Doom" as this is pretty spaced-out, trippy stuff but make no mistake, it is still doom, just different doom from what is considered the norm. The tracks on this album are creepers, literally. Songs move slow and sinister with shimmering guitar tones and a nightmarish ambience. They rely on this more so than plodding doom riffage but there is some of that as well. If psychedelic music is all about isolating the listener from reality then this is indeed psychedelic but the mood here is atmospheric bleakness and not a psychedelic organic wonderland.

The funeral doom elements that do come and go throughout the album are your generic type - growled or snarling vocals but also with whispered sections, guitar work that runs the gamut from plucked strings to crushing doom riffing. Despite its floydian tendencies, the album is still uncompromisingly depressing. 'The One Whose Name Has No End' which is the albums centerpiece is an exercise in the morose but it is just one of 10 steadfast, gloomy tunes devoid of anything catchy. Don't look for melodies either, this album is more about being disturbing than melodic. Those of you looking for traditional elements - won't find them here and those looking for generic death and goth elements like romantic imagery and melodic leads will be sorely disappointed.

This album is without a doubt in my mind is the best album Dolorian ever produced but it is lacking one crucial element and that is, it hasn't got one single track that is truly memorable. A lot of albums in the funeral doom genre are bleak but they still manage a catchy lead, an infectious riff or at least a vocal line that sticks in your memory - this album has none of those and seeing as the album pushes towards 70 minutes of playing time, you can be forgiven if your mind starts to wander halfway through listening to this release. If you like your doom to be of the lovecraftian horror kind, you should find this interesting but whether you can stomach the entire album in one sitting is the million dollar question. It is solid, well-played and fairly original as it certainly doesn't copy anyone but it is made for an acquired taste....7.5/10.
Best tracks: 'The One Whose Name Has No End, 'Ivory Artery,' 'Epoch of Cyclosure,' 'Raja Naga – Rising.'

Offical Site but appears to have not been updated since 2010

Pale Divine - Painted Windows Black ...

If there is one band that defines the Maryland doom scene, it would be Pale Divine. Since forming some 17 years ago, they are still underrated by many but they are worshipped by many doomsters and rightly so. They are also far more of an influence that most people will ever know, inspiring countless bands, especially traditional doom-metal outfits. Looking back at their career, they have never made a wrong step. Their first recording was the magical 'Crimson Tears' demo back in 1997 which was followed by the incredibly good 'Thunder Perfect Mind' in 2001.

After a three-year wait and they released another excellent full length in 'Eternity Revealed' but it was their 2007 album, 'Cemetary Earth' that proved to be their masterpiece, at least to my ears anyway. Last year they were featured on a split with Spiritus Mortis but apart from that, it has been 5 years between albums for the band. Pale Divine are your "classic" trad-doom band - a band that doesn't try to reinvent anything because in many respects, they are the inventors so they don't have to. Of course Shadow Kingdom Records reissued 'Crimson Tears' in 2008 because it was thought the band was over and done with.  But the band made a triumphant return at 2011’s Days of the Doomed fest in Wisconsin and it was obvious that this band shouldn't go anywhere - the doom scene needs bands like this one!

Most of the 68 minutes of 'Painted Windows Black' is typical Pale Divine and you wouldn't want it any other way with a band as genre defining as this one. What grabbed me when I first listened to this album is it sounds soooo Pale Divine - so recognizable, so them and there are very few bands in the traditional doom scene that have a sound that is uniquely theirs. Bands like Candlemass have it and maybe a few others but Pale Divine are one of those rare bands that stand out on their own and this album further reinforces that fact. What is also true about this album and ALL albums from this band is they always manage to make the old trad formula sound fresh. It never sounds old, tired or recycled and this album is no different.  This album is full of infectious hooks, catchy riffs, classic 70's hard rock elements, great melodic leads and hypnotic atmosphere. The album's opening instrumental, 'Nocturne Dementia' is over 6 minutes of finely tuned musicianship that is deceptively complex. The track is faster than anything else on the album but in terms of atmosphere, it perfectly sets the mood for the rest of the album.

'The Prophet' is up next and it is the start of 7 perfect, almost flawless songs that grab your imagination and never let go. 'The Prophet' is still over five minutes long but it is the albums shortest track and what sounds like the most simple offering the album has but it still sounds epic. The songs are incredibly well-crafted so even the 9 minutes plus of the following tune, 'Angel of Mercy' keeps your attention right up to its dying seconds. So gifted as songwriters is this band that they know exactly when something has run its course so there are tempo changes at just the right time and some of the riff switches are so precise and well-placed, these songs never get dull. I could rave on endlessly about how good songs like 'End of Days' and 'Black Coven' are but honestly I would just start repeating myself. Song for song, this album is relentlessly good but there are no real surprises either but like I already pointed out, you wouldn't want that to happen anyway.

If there is a downside to 'Painted Windows Black' it is all the best songs seem to be in the first half of the album - not that there is anything wrong with the albums second half but it does seem like the most memorable tunes end with track four - 'End of Days.' The highlight of the album's second half without a doubt is 'Shadow Soul (The Awakening)' which is unfairly placed so late in the albums playing order. This track would have made the perfect opener in my mind. What makes this album work though is the cohesive song construction and the flawless playing. There are no dull passages, no moments where they just mindlessly plod along and it is captivating at all times. The musicianship is majestic, epic and full of grandeur and class and the production is near-perfect also. I rate this release second only to the 'Cemetery Earth' album but I know many people will hear this as their best work yet. A must-have for 2012...9/10.

Official PALE DIVINE website

Heads Up: Assumption - Mosaic of the Distant Dominion ...

 It is never easy to judge a band just on a demo, especially a demo that is just 21 minutes long but at least this demo, 'Mosaic of the Distant Dominion' by Assumption has a good sound and doesn't sound like your typical demo release with sub-par production. The band itself, I know little about except they play a blend of death doom and funeral doom and they are Italian. This demo review comes from a request after a doom-metal friend of mine stumbled across them on Bandcamp. This four track release is epic even though it is short on playing time. The songs sound huge, monolithic and they have a vocalist that has one hell of a demonic voice. My first impression was they sound like Evoken but now after about a dozen spins, I am not so sure as I think they have more originality than I first thought. From the opening track, 'A Suspended Commemoration' it is clear that Assumption are not prepared to do things by half and you are a fan of Evoken and other similar acts, you should find this demo and band to be essential listening.

They are not breaking down any barriers, not inventing anything new within the death doom and funeral doom scenes but are creating foreboding, menacing bleak tunes that are mesmerizing. The musicianship is excellent and is already of the quality you would expect from a experienced doom metal band. If the first track doesn't hook you in, the following tracks, 'Deity' and the more relaxed 'Choir #4' will. The closing track and my personal favorite of the four tracks is the title track, 'Mosaic of the Distant Dominion' which is a monster doom listening experience. Of course it all ends far too quickly but it is obvious this band has the potential to be one of the next big things in the death and funeral doom scenes. Bring on a full-length album soon, please..8.5/10.


Liebling Documentary Makes the NY Times ...

Interesting article from the NY Times....

A Rock Life, After the Hammer Falls

NEAR the start of the documentary “Last Days Here,” the co-director Demian Fenton asks Bobby Liebling, the lead singer of the band Pentagram, “Have you ever done anything else besides rock ’n’ roll?”

“Nothin’,” Mr. Liebling mumbles, sitting on a couch as he inhales from a crack pipe. “Yeah, this,” he adds, gesturing toward the pipe. “Drugs.”

On that first day of shooting “Last Days Here,” which opens on Friday in New York, Mr. Fenton and his co-director, Don Argott, interviewed Mr. Liebling for five hours in a hot room strewn with cigarette butts, eight-track tapes and broken 45’s; there was blood on the floor. Mr. Liebling, now 58, who wore bandages on arms ravaged by decades of heroin use and rubbed raw by compulsive scratching, played his band’s music on a stereo, from Pentagram’s hard-rock inception in the 1970s through its pioneering doom-metal phase in the ’80s, while he talked, smoked cigarettes and crack, nodded off and apologized.

The filmmakers were, unsurprisingly, concerned. “We didn’t want to document this poor guy dying in his basement,” Mr. Fenton said.

Sean Pelletier, Mr. Liebling’s on-again, off-again manager, was also in the room that day. “He was so nasty and wasted,” Mr. Pelletier said. “He was this person who no one would want to root for on screen. But I thought: ‘Finally, someone’s going to tell his story. And maybe we’ll get him out of here.’ ”

“Last Days Here” is the latest in a string of rock documentaries that not only aim to lift audiences but also to revive the faded careers of their subjects. The trend started with “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” released in 2009, an account of a sad-sack Canadian heavy metal band that never achieved front-line success but continued to rock on for decades nonetheless. Told with affectionate humor, “Anvil!” depicts the band members as heroes dedicated to a music they play loud, hard and occasionally with sex toys. Sacha Gervasi, the director and a screenwriter who had been a roadie for Anvil 20 years earlier, portrayed the band with an empathy that has since led to its renaissance.

“Do It Again,” from 2010, directed by Robert Patton-Spruill and produced by Geoff Edgers, is a love letter to the Kinks, depicting Mr. Edgers’s unsuccessful bid to reunite his favorite group. Last year’s “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone” brought fans up to speed with that Los Angeles punk-funk-ska band, which peaked in the ’80s and continues to mix it up in the mosh pit, albeit more gingerly. And at the Sundance Film Festival in January, “Searching for Sugar Man,” about two fans who try to learn whatever happened to the ’70s rocker Rodriguez, earned an Audience Award and comparisons to “Anvil!”

What distinguishes “Last Days Here” is what’s at stake. In 2006 Mr. Fenton, 36, and Mr. Argott, 39, Philadelphians who also play in a Black Sabbath-inspired band called Serpent Throne and who have collaborated — with Mr. Argott as director and Mr. Fenton as editor — on previous documentaries like “Rock School” and “The Art of the Steal,” heard “rumblings from the underground,” Mr. Fenton said, about Mr. Liebling’s condition.

Mr. Fenton, a fan of Pentagram’s brooding sounds, approached Mr. Pelletier with the idea of making a film about the singer, who was struggling to record a new album and get his life together. In addition to his decades-long drug addiction, Mr. Liebling had toiled in obscurity and had an uncompromising attitude that sometimes put him at odds with his revolving cast of band mates and producers.

A year before “Last Days Here” began shooting, Mr. Liebling overdosed during a gig in Washington. Though he made it onstage, he had to be propped up and collapsed before singing a line.

Despite the grim prospects for both the film and its subject, Mr. Fenton and Mr. Argott spent the next four years driving from Philadelphia to Maryland, where Mr. Liebling still lived with his parents, documenting his struggle to get clean, his tumultuous relationships and his moribund career.

“I was ready to die,” Mr. Liebling said in a telephone interview. “So I didn’t give a damn about being filmed.”

The supportive relationship that developed between filmmakers and subject is evident on screen: Mr. Fenton, along with Mr. Pelletier, is named in a contract in which Mr. Liebling promises to stop smoking crack or else give up his record collection. “The goal was always to see Bobby pull himself together,” Mr. Argott said. “There is that line where you ask, ‘Wait, am I a friend or a filmmaker?’ With intimate character pieces like this one, that line does get blurred.”

Mr. Liebling, who said he cried while watching “Last Days Here,” wishes his music were more prominently featured but said he believed that the documentary told a “touching” story. And it’s storytelling that ultimately drove Mr. Fenton and Mr. Argott, despite any personal investments. “Bobby had to be a character to us,” Mr. Argott said.

That sentiment is shared by Chris Metzler, a co-director of “Everyday Sunshine.” “We wanted our film to be successful for Fishbone,” he said. “But also for us as filmmakers.”

And yet, in the real world, not all subjects have happy endings. The results for these documentary stars have varied.

“Sacha made a movie, and it changed our world,” said Robb Reiner, the drummer of Anvil. “Everything changed completely.” After opening for AC/DC, playing “The Tonight Show” and maintaining a robust tour schedule, the members of Anvil have realized their dream: they no longer work day jobs and have become full-time musicians.

“Everyday Sunshine” and the band it portrays have not achieved the same level of popular success. Fishbone released an album and played shows close to the film’s release, and while it is enjoying an “upswing,” according to Norwood Fisher, a founder of the band, “things are better, but still not easy.”

And unlike Anvil, whose triumphant tour accompanied more than 50 screenings of “Anvil!” around the world, Pentagram has no scheduled coming-out party, though the band’s comeback album, “Last Rites” (Metal Blade Records), was released last April. Perhaps that’s partly because of the nature of Pentagram’s music, which is best played in dark shadows, at decibels too loud.

“It’s doom metal,” Mr. Pelletier said, referring to Pentagram’s current status. “There’s a gray cloud over us all of the time.”

The Mound Builders - Strangers in a Strange Land ...

Remember when the term "stoner-rock" actually meant something? Remember the days when if someone recommend a stoner-rock album, you knew you were going to be treated to 70's guitar riffs cranked to 10 with tons of fuzz and blistering leads? Well believe it or not, it still exists. One band that is still doing it and doing it well is The Mound Builders from Lafayette, Indiana. But as usual the stoner tag doesn't do the band justice.

The Mound Builders are another hybrid band, blending stoner, sludge, classic 70's hard rock, southern rock, punk and metal into an energetic melting pot of grooves and cool riffs.  At the core of their sound is 70's rock but it is given  the sludge/stoner-metal treatment and for once, it sounds inspired and not just a series of generic fuzzy riffs.

The four bands that spring to mind when listening to this are Clutch, Fu Manchu, Down and Crowbar but they are influenced by only the very best aspects of these bands, not the throwaway stuff that all these bands have been guilty of producing, especially in recent years. The album kicks off with an instrumental opener, 'Wake of the Red Witch' and on first impression, you may think this album may be too fast-paced to fit the sludge or stoner-metal tags but that thought quickly goes away with the heavy, slower grooves of 'Hessians of Stone.'

This track, 'Ironhide,' 'White Horse' and 'Winding River' are the albums most infectious tunes. Full of great grooves and vocals that are kind of crooning, these tunes are distinctly 'Clutch'ish but I actually think The Mound Builders beat them at their own game. They obviously have a love for hardcore punk as there are punky breaks within the songs that sound Rollins Band inspired at times but the rest of the time, it is all groovy sabbathian riffage with a southern rock twist.

While those four tracks standout as highlights, there are no filler tracks either. The closing track, 'Narcomancer' is interesting as it starts off in a different direction completely with an almost grunge rock feel but it soon changes gears and gets back to the swampy sludge-rock that the band does best. There is some great playing to be heard but the vocals didn't grab me too much. They are nothing bad but also didn't impress me too much either but I certainly wouldn't disregard the album just on this alone, they are still listenable and never get in the way of the music. It is important to give this album a few spins before making up your mind on it. It is a grower and not the kind of album that is an instant winner. The songs are all short, except one so nothing drags or gets repetitive and the album is short and sweet with a playing time of just 36:46. Nothing to get blown away by here but nothing to ignore either, just a damn solid, groovy stoner-sludge album....7.5/10.


Feb 27, 2012

Heads Up: Demonauta - Vol.1 EP ...

The first time I met the Chilean rockers in Demonauta was back in 2009 when I wrote a heads-up post for the Sludge Swamp about this and other emerging stoner-doom bands from southern and northern hemispheres.

Demonauta, from Santiago, Chile, had haunted me by means of their groove charge and their kickass saturated distorted fuzzy riffs. It’s not by chance that the old logo of the band had a fuzz pedal as a symbol. It’s actually not that easy to remain untouched when approaching the great scene of heavy music gracing Chile ...
Demonauta’s rockers (i.e. David on vocals and guitar, Miguel Angel on bass and Ale on drums) are righteous members of the glorious Chilean scene and proudly keep the flag of classic psych-fuzzy stoner/desert rock flying high since 2007. Well, after the juicy 2009 debut Demo, the rockeros are back with new tracks and a new digital-only release, Demonauta Vol.1, entirely shared for free by the band as were the tracks of the previous demo (via Last.fm).
The new release includes seven tracks, four of which are new songs (Lluvia, Frente al Volcan, Fumatton and Jardin do Sol) and the remaining three are reworked versions of three killer tracks of the great 2009 Demo (Ufo and my personal top fave songs, Desevanecer and Demonizador), where those peculiar seismic fuzzy riffs, like those recently heard in new bands like At Devil Dirt, happily vibrate.

Demonauta’s brand of desert fuzzy rock is kickass, fresh, epic, dynamic, infectious and rich in shades, as these guys are able to explore both the badass, hard rocking side of desert rock as well as the most atmospheric features by means of balanced doses of retro-sounding, guitar-based psychedelia. Demonauta’s style is absolutely genuine, classic desert rock sharing features with and inspiration from the international and Southern American masters, like Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Nebula, Truckfighters, Dozer, Yajaira, Hielo Negro, Humo Del Cairo, and a bit of Sangria and Dragonauta as well, etc.

Demonauta’s Vol. 1 digital EP is almost 40 minutes long and would be well worth of becoming part of a bigger, “trve” solid release gathering the whole production by this band. Demonauta share the DIY philosophy of most bands of the Chilean heavy scene, which is one of the most intriguing and creative and, yet, I feel, very much underrated.
These guys have been on the scene since a while and know very well how to induce (a) a hardly containable push to headbanging or at least to shaking like a rattle-snake, (b) an irresistible impulse to get lost into some great fat joint under the shade of a rock, (c) an equally irresistible dream of an escape from daily burdens by riding a corvette or a biiig bike along a straight road in the (Atacama) desert with wind in your hairs and a majestic volcanic peak at the horizon ...
Welcome back, Demonauta!    ……  9/10

Words: Marilena Moroni

Demonauta @ Facebook
Demonauta @ Myspace
Demonauta @ Soundcloud
Demonauta @ Last FM

Feb 26, 2012

WINO & CONNY OCHS – UK Tour March 2012 ...

Via The Sleeping Shaman

Future Noise and The Sleeping Shaman in association with Exile On Mainstream Records are thrilled to announce the now confirmed dates for WINO & CONNY OCHS UK Tour in support of their recent collaboration album ‘Heavy Kingdom’, to quote Ollie from The Sleeping Shaman about the recording “The songs are in their raw, basic state that displays the naked emotion that underpins the album as a whole” and you can read the entire review HERE.

The dates for Wino & Conny are as follows:

20/03/2012: Preston, The Continental (supporting Mary Epworth)
21/03/2012: Edinburgh, Bannermans
22/03/2012: Bradford, The Gaswork
24/03/2012: London, The Black Heart (Matinee Show 2pm)
We’re still on the lookout for a date on Friday 23rd March, the location would ideally be between Bradford and London, if you think you can help, please get in touch with Future Noise HERE.

Please note that the London gig on the 24th is a Matinee show which starts at 2pm! The Black Heart are also playing host to Conan, Serpent Venom, Undersmile & Grimpen Mire the same night, so stick around for a night of impending Doom.

Scott Weinrich Official
Conny Ochs Official
Future Noise
Mainstream Records

Mother of God – Forging a New Path ...

Part of my “Sludge Swamp Legacy” series, Mother of God is an interesting little beast that flaunted one thing at first but turned out to be quite another when I got down to it. This Swedish band displayed a flair for hyper-charged stoner rock when I first took a look, but the EP has so much more doom in it than I first surmised.  No matter, I like surprises as much as the next dude.

Mother of God play hard-hitting, to-the-point yet never by-the-numbers stoner doom.  How that plays out is as thus: with a good vocal range overlaid on top of fat guitars, thunderous bass, pounding drums and kicking off nice stoner grooves.  Add to that a healthy dose of doom, music representative in its feel and “color” the album cover, and vocals that alternate between the doomier and stoner rockier varieties, and you get the gist of Mother of God.  Only problem is, they don’t really offer much more than that.

The first track is “Four Wanderers” which has all the trappings of a stoner rock stomper with the slightest bit of doom influence: the band throws a bombastic, grooving, hard-hitting riff our way and keep revisiting it.  The refrain sections are more atmospheric, emphasized by drums and riding guitars, but the hard and fast sections hit like a mack truck and the band plays around with the main riff enough times to display diversity with just a singular riff.  Then comes “Ancient Tracks”, an interesting churning track. 

It’s basically centered around a grooving, churning, clenched-teeth riff that drones onwards, and is about, as the song repeatedly reminds us, “the war machine.”  It has a nice wah-wah solo two-thirds through it, but it’s where the weakness of the band starts to show – the track just can’t keep me interested enough to get me hooked to the music.  I get lost and then I get bored and switch to the next one.

“Blind Monkey” is when the band has a psych rock moment and conjure up a slow-burning, low-tempo groove with soaring vocals (often accompanied by crooning backing vocals too) and the bass-driven track simply moves on until the three-minute mark, after which, the band decides to kick things up a notch.  Some nice guitarwork throughout, subtle licks first in the background jumping to the foreground and all.  I don’t know, it’s hard to find fault, it’s just that I can’t find myself getting over-excited.  Something, some crucial part is missing.
The EP comes to a close with “Into the Unknown” which is basically more of what came before.  Grooves, stoner tones, slightest bit of (decidedly of the Swedish tradition on this particular track) doom influence, nice licks of guitar, good base and adequate drumming.  That’s really all I can say.  The band stomps, grooves, rises, falls, screams, rushes, but it all just feels very, very underwhelming – a lot more of an underwhelming song than it should be with the grooves thrown our way, but it is what it is.  I mean hell, I find myself trying to come up with a way to apologize because I can’t like this.

And there’s the problem I’ve had with these guys: the music itself isn’t bad, in fact, it’s very very good, but the EP is one of those efforts where you can’t find anything wrong, it’s just that it’s not quite right.  It’s one of those.  Hence, points for effort and potential, but in the six months I’ve had this EP, never once have I had even a remote thought of giving it a spin, except for the purposes of this review.  So yeah, far from essential, yet not exactly bad.  7/10.

Words:Sarp Esin

Mother Of God Facebook

The Sun Through A Telescope – Summer Darkyard ...

The Sun Through A Telescope, the project by the Ottawa-based Canadian multi-instrumentalist Lee Neutron (aka Leigh Newton), is back with a new work, the EP Summer Darkyard.
The Sun Through A Telescope is not new to these pages as my review of the monumental debut, the combined, double cassette-hosted Orange and Green/Black EPs is hosted Here

The new album includes three long tracks, or else, as indicated by the author, “3-song singles” of “blackened doom sludgewater through a psychedelic hose”. Here is a smart, concise definition for those in a hurry. But if there’s a kind of music that is not for when one is in a hurry, well, the one explored by Lee Neutron is one of those.
The three long tracks of Summer Darkyard partly share the fate of those included in the debut double cassette, as these tracks derive from recordings made between 2007 and 2011, with the release date being end of October 2011.
The Summer Darkyard EP is in digital format only and is available for free download at Bandcamp or as free offer via the US net-label Handshake Inc.
Bandcamp also hosts another fruit stemming from the long-lived collaboration between The Sun Through A Telescope and the Canadian sludge-post metal masters Alaskan, i.e. the track Euthanize, which is featured in the second volume of the substantial Casa Diversion compilations. The track will be included in a split between Alaskan and Co-Pilot, out via The Treaty Oak Collective label in a few days, on February 29th 2012.

The new EP Summer Darkyard is very much in line with the genre, or better the polyedric and multi-layered style widely developed in the earlier production, therefore a hybrid style combining and placing strikingly different genres and sounds, e.g.  ethereal ambient psìychedelia, alienating noises and bleakest slow metal, side by side. And continuously creating much surprise …
The ambiguous nature of this release starts from the somber, only apparently harmless and reassuring cover art, the smart elaboration of a photo depicting a white owl, a cute one, actually, but still a rapacious animal, an efficient nocturnal hunter.
The tracks in Summer Darkyard are three suites lasting between +6 and +8 minutes and bearing some weird titles halfway between drama and black humor: I’m especially thinking about “Cro-Magnon Nightmare”, coming after the opener Darkyard, and the closing track “I’ll Die, Goodbye”.

The Sun Through A Telescope’s music promises cool surprises but listening to it in a hurry means just picking up the most obvious and open surprises, those deriving by the striking effects created by contrast. Like as with cool releases of this kind, this is “mood” music and needs to be listened to in the right conditions as to pick up the subtleties of the sounds and atmospheres as well.
Right from its very first minutes the opener “Darkyard” reveals its tricky nature, marks the pace and shocks you with the disturbing (or intriguing) contrast between somber, delicate leading melodies and atmospheres and the sudden chilling blasts of scary screams. Have you ever slept in a wood, in a tent, during summer when owls hunt and tear the peaceful silence of the night with their sudden blood-curdling hunting calls? Well … This track is sweeping through ambient to Alcest-like post-metal/shoegaze sounds and some seriously tortured blackened sludge metal able to make scars in your skin till the end of this suite where the sharp closure is almost theatrically performed via charges of violent and heavy sludgy riffs.

The second track, “Cro-Magnon Nightmare”, more or less follows the pattern of the characteristic band’s style, i.e., the mixing of ethereal and exceedingly raw, heavy sounds but there’s no repetition of what heard in the first track. The start is again somber and melodic. However a sense of uneasiness is immediately induced by the employment of electronics, by the insertion of industrial noise and then by the vibrations from a highly distorted and reverbered guitar that sounds almost like a distant lightning rumble whenever the heavy riffs start. There’s space also for some scary and menacing vocal parts emerging from the electronic background and ranting curses and stories about a grim future. Surprisingly the end of this long track is lead by the initial soft ambient/shoegaze melodies that however have lost their reassuring features and just hint to a sort of mental numbness and blindness behind which something menacing is hiding. 
The third and concluding track, “I’ll Die, Goodbye” is completely dominated by ethereal cosmic ambient/psychedelic melody and by Lee’s beautiful clean voice periodically strained by electronic manipulation (or by the use of Vocoder). This beautiful airy meditative, cosmic track is equally relaxing and chilling in its contrasts. Sensations like those evoked by being in peaceful contemplation of a starry night sky are poisoned by the deadly words told by the clean and only seemingly mellow chanting.

So this is broadly what Summer Darkyard EP may offer.
As already pointed out in the past, the different sounds in The Sun Through A Telescope draw inspiration from and bear undeniable similarieties with Jesu, Sunn O))), Om, Nadja, Khanate, Thou, Moloch, Melvins, Attila Csihar’s, Alcest, Brian Eno, early spacey Porcupine Tree, etc..
I guess this new work will gratify those who appreciated the debut work by The Sun Through A Telescope, although the shortness of the release maybe is penalizing the full development of Lee Neutron’s wide-angle skills. For example in this release the heaviest parts, that I dig a lot, are highly subordinate relative to the employment of drony ambient/post-metal and psychedelia. Nevertheless this doesn’t means that the overall sound here is unbalanced, not at all. The new EP is haunting, it encloses a wealth of sounds and effects and sensations evoked by contrast and contamination, and deserves to be listened to in the right mood and best conditions possible.  And it is too short … 9/10

Review by Marilena Moroni

TSTAT Official Blog
Handshake @ Bandcamp
The Treaty Oak Collective @ Bandcamp

Sun Gods In Exile - Thanks For The Silver ...

The band's début, “Black Lines, White Light”, was one of those discoveries a heavy rock fan ends up doing through the magic of labels like Small Stone Records: maybe not groundbreaking or really excellent, but always played soulfully and always quite high, quality wise. In this case, we were treated to a band that basically delivered everything that is classic, bluesy, slightly southern rock. Great solos, melodic singing and a general sense of warmth. The new album from Sun Gods pushes the style even forward. What you get is pretty much a cleaner sharper version of what was on the début. A lot of guitar meltdowns, vocal harmonies and a whiskey soaked feel all over the record. Still, something to me, is lacking. While I tend to appreciate this type of sound in all its forms, the excellence of the usual Small Stone rooster, and the premises of the début, made me feel slightly underwhelmed st this one. Do not get me wrong, it's a good record. It has heart and soul and a huge amount of rocking, much more than the average results from any of the seemingly unending amount of retro bands that are coming out of my speakers, daily. But again, something is lacking from the recipe. The songs are always a tad too long or dispersive, more focused on the playing that the tune itself, but without the loose feeling that would be needed if this was a jam oriented record. And those flaws in the end, make me not listen to the album more than a couple of times. Pity. Check this out if you are hardcore fans of this style, or Small Stone aficionados. Otherwise..... Think about it twice....6/10

Words: Andrea Contanzo

Small Stone Records

Feb 25, 2012

Dreams After Death - Embraced by the Light ...

A Little Rant To Begin
I was thinking about the biggest changes in the metal scene of the last 10 years and one of the biggest changes is the up-surge of the 'one-man band.' Starting with the early days of Myspace, the scene saw the birth of the one-man band and it has grown into a music-world of its own making. One of my rare non-metal friends is into this musician Owen Pallett, who is the man behind the one-man indie group Final Fantasy. Well you might be thinking who in the hell cares, well in an recent interview he had this to say, "Drummers ruin bands," he said simply, as if the fact were common knowledge. "There are probably about 10 people in indie rock who know how to play the drums. If you’re in a mediocre band, just fire the drummer, and chances are you’ll have the best band in the world." The same article goes on to say, "Advances in recording and performance technology now make it possible for musicians not only to fire the drummer but also — if so inclined — to do away with accompaniment altogether without losing the richness, or seemingly the spontaneity, of a full-size band." (NY Times)

My opinion on the one-man band approach to making music is I am still not convinced. While there are some truly remarkable albums being made by just one guy and an array of instruments and imagination, there still seems to be something missing most of the time. Like it or not, this trend is likely to get even more popular as people look for the "easy way out" approach to putting an album together - not that putting music together without the help of other musicians is easy but it does leave the artist free to make his or her own decisions without any outside influences or interference. When I first started hearing one-man doom bands, they were usually pretty awful. Cheap home-recorded albums slapped together by Myspacers who claimed to be musicians or even worse - rockstars! These days though, times have changed. Like the quote above rightly states, technology has improved to the point where one-man band recordings can be just as effective as a full band. Now with the CD market verging on extinction and venues for live music disappearing worldwide - this is the era of lone musician making albums for whoever wants to download them. Look at the rise of bandcamp for example, CD's and full bands are fading away, one and two person bands and downloads are here to stay....Sad but true.

One guy making doom metal all by himself is András Illés with his Dreams After Death project from Hungary. This funeral doom/death doom project has released a début album via the Endless Winter label titled 'Embraced by the Light.' On first hearing the album, I immediately thought of Shape of Despair and Thergothon but the more I listened, the more originality came out of the music. Every track on this album features layers of sound whether it be guitars, keyboards or the vocals. The sound is huge and extremely well produced so the fact it is a one-man band means little to the power of this album. The songs here are discordant, majestic, and intensely dramatic - almost cinematic in many ways. Make no mistake, this is funeral doom, bleak and foreboding but it has a strange, uplifting funeralized vibe in some of the passages that is rarely heard in the funeral doom genre.

The opening tracks, 'Genesis' and 'Funeral' are both very hypnotic. The heavy side of the music produced is similar to Skepticism, Thergothon, Shape of Despair and Colosseum while the softer side which is usually when leads are present reminds me a lot of Esoteric so I can't say this is totally original but it is still far more unique than 80% of other funeral doom releases released in recent years. András Illés is a great songwriter just as much as he is a very talented musician. Songs have great variations but perhaps the best example of his songwriting craft comes in the third track, 'Meeting with the Ancestors.' Over the course of 11 trance-like minutes, the song goes through stunning variations in light and shade. 'The Endless Time,' 'From Time Immemorial' and 'Outer Space' are more of the same but not quite as spectacular but I think like most funeral doom albums, it all starts to sound the same after a while.

Now for some nitpicking; The vocals are your typical deep growl, not bad but don't add a hell of a lot of emotion to the songs. Some instrumental passages throughout the album seem to steer off-course ever so slightly and a couple of sections seem to be a bit roughly played like the passage wasn't perfected before the recording took place but this particular gripe is an extremely minor one. Overall, this is a very impressive album that should suit most funeral doom fans as long as you don't mind the odd goth-rock detour. So yes, going back to my opening rant, one-man bands can indeed be very good and this is one of the better ones....8/10

Dreams After Death@ Facebook
Dreams After Death Official

SAINT VITUS - New Album Artwork, Tracklisting, Release Date Revealed ...

The long-awaited new album from US doom legends SAINT VITUS, entitled Lillie: F-65, will hit the stores on April 27th in Europe via Candlelight Records. North American release date in May to be announced soon. Expect a full-scale review very soon here on Doommantia as well a interview.

'Let Them Fall'
'The Bleeding Ground'
'Blessed Night'
'The Waste Of Time'

The band have released a 7" single for the song 'Blessed Night', a song from Lillie: F-65. The B-side is a live version of classic Saint Vitus tune, 'Look Behind You', recorded in December 2010 at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland.  The 'Blessed Night' 7" single is limited to 1,000 hand-numbered copies. Order it at this location.

Saint Vitus was recently confirmed for the following festivals:

27 - Maryland Deathfest - Baltimore, MD

6-9 - Sweden Rock Festival - Sölvesborg, Sweden
16 - Hellfest - Clisson, France
29 - Tuska Open Air - Helsinki, Finland

Feb 24, 2012

Heads Up: TORT – S/T ...

The Spanish band Tort that features none-other than ex-Lords of Bukkake guitarist Sergio Sancho have this pretty short but very sweet piece of sludge out on the always excellent Total Rust label. Formed not much more than just a couple of years ago, this is their début release. The band's influences seem to come through loud and clear, at least to my ears. There are echoes of classic sludge in the Iron Monkey tradition, some filthy doom a-la Grief and more metallic sounds that range from High On Fire to even Slayer.

There are riffs galore and some solid grooves and generally speaking, it is more up-tempo than your average, run-off-the-mill sludge-metal act.  The album kicks off with a tune called 'Vallaha' built around the one monstrous riff. It is not exactly what you would call diverse and there isn't much variation throughout the 6:15 of this tune but it is an intense, almost thrashy sludge attack that never lets-up. The vocal style is a little different from most other sludge bands. Vocalist Xavier Guerrero Calduch has a raw, primal screaming voice that would probably be more at home in a grindcore band than a sludge-metal band but it still sounds great nonetheless.

Following on from that little barrage of metallic fury comes 'Cannibals of Ma'arrat' that is bass-laden sabbathian inspired sludge mixed with slime-infested doom grime similar to Grief. Unleashing some (slightly) infectious grooves, this one packs a wallop and again has bursts of speed that is pretty un-common for anything within the sludge-metal genre. The album's centerpiece and first real excursion into something a bit different is next with the 13:33 of 'Gnosis of The Dead.' The band inject some psychedelia into the album at this point but still slow down for some Saint Vitus sabbathian doom riffing. Considering how long the tune is, it could be heard as being a little overblown and overly stretched-out. The track doesn't really start to grab me till almost 9 minutes in when they unleashed some hellish riffage and aggression so to my way of thinking, it would be a better piece simply if it was chopped in half but it is hardly a deal-breaker and still is a decent epic tune.

'Fire Rose Vampira' is the album's shortest track at under four minutes but they whip up a metallic frenzy that is like early Slayer jamming with Iron Monkey. The thrash-sludge metal hybrid is a winning formula for Tort and this track is a gem. The self-titled album ends on the 11:23 of 'Earl Estruch.' This is on the slower end of the sludge scale with heavy inflections of psych-doom a-la Electric Wizard with the violent attitude of a Eyehategod but with clean sounding passages of atmospheric psychedelia. This is the albums most 70's rock inspired tune with bluesy leads and more sabbathian riff work. This epic track works better than the 'Gnosis of The Dead' track and is certainly an easier track to get through. It also highlights more than any other track, how great these guys are as players. At just 41 minutes, this album is an easy listen with only one track threatening to get boring which is never really does anyway. I have to recommend this album to those people who think High On Fire should have stuck with the 'The Art of Self Defense' approach to making music than the cleaner, more polished output of their last couple of albums. For those people, this album should satisfy. Also recommended for fans of Grief, Bongzilla, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, Electric Wizard and even Slayer. All you people should get a buzz out of this....8.5/10.

Tort @ Totalrust Music

My Dying Bride - 34.788% Complete ...

As stated once before, every band (or at least most bands) have a point in their career where they change and/or experiment which always causes an issue with the bulk of their core fan base. This happened to Paradise Lost on 'One Second' and to Avernus on '...of the Fallen. After My Dying Brides' style defining album 'Turn Loose the Swans' they significantly lessened their deathlier side and opted for a more tradition yet highly original Doom Metal sound. This has often and wrongly been confused for Gothic Metal when there's absolutely nothing "Gothic" about it. This album is many things to many people but one thing that no one can deny is that it left its mark on the Metal underground.

This is a curious and sprawling release. The production is excellent and as such, helps to bring out the ponderous nature of this work. The guitars sound as if the are tuned to standard, but they remain heavy all the same. The bands trademarked drawn out guitar dirges and crunchy riffs are here, but in a new light. This is the album where MDB learned how to reinvent themselves while staying true to their original vision. There are no solos, but the riffs and leads are memorable.

The bass follows the guitars for the most part deviating here and there. The drumming is somewhat standard, but in the bands classic form, creative and complimentary to the music. Martin left after 'Like Gods of the Sun' and his loss is felt as there is no violin and the keyboards are missing his trademarked influence but the music doesn't suffer for it.

The vocals are decent at best with Aaron opting for a more clean/spoken word approach. His lyrics are deep and abstract for the most part. There is some humor as well specifically on the song "Heroin Chic" where he intelligently mocks the European drug scene. The only real complaint would be that the "foul language" is fuzzed out on this song. This could be a joke however as it is fairly amusing. There is also a female vocalist sharing duties on this track. This track is also interesting as its very trip-hoppy and ambient while during the choruses and various verses it’s undeniably heavy Doom Metal.

The last track on this is more in the vein of older MDB but still unique to this recording. This album has a rather odd atmosphere to it, drifting between ponderous to creepy and from sexy to odd. There is a lot going on if you pay attention. This album warrants several listens!

This album is an accomplishment in the fact that it's so different from anything the bands done before or since. Pure experimental Doom at its finest. This is truly a masterful work of art that they need to revisit at some point in their illustrious career. This is one of the best experimental Doom Metal albums ever. Even the album's art work is different as it’s perhaps their most modern to date. It only adds to this odd little gem. This is a must have for any true MDB/Doom Metal fan. This gets a 10/10.


My Dying Bride Official Website

Leif Edling: CANDLEMASS Are Not Splitting Up ...

Despite the fact that legendary Swedish doomsters CANDLEMASS have just completed work on their final studio album, the band's bassist/leader Leif Edling tells Terrorizer magazine that the group is not planning on hanging it up anytime soon.

"We're not splitting up," he said. "Yes, this is to be our last album, but we don't plan to disappear from the scene for quite awhile. We will tour this year, hopefully the next one as well, and then there's our upcoming 30th anniversary. So plenty more doom to come! It's just that we want to stop before we get too old and start putting out half-lame albums. Instead, we'll slowly fade away into the sunset with our dignity intact. We're not young anymore. Actually, some of the stuff I've been writing for this album ism in fact, about saying goodbye. It's a bit psalm-like in parts and has got a big epic vibe."

He added, "I have got a very good feeling about this album. It's so metal, so heavy, so doomy, so epic.. It's fucking colossal! I think this will turn out as good as [2009's] 'Death Magic Doom', something I thought would be impossible."

CANDLEMASS's final CD is tentatively due in April via Napalm Records. Songtitles set to appear on the effort include "Prophet", "Sadness Run Deep" and "Water Witch".

CANDLEMASS celebrated its 25-year anniversary by performing an extra-long, two-and-a-half-hour set at Debaser Medis in Stockholm on December 18, 2010. The band's classic debut album, "Epicus Doomicus Metalicus", was played in its entirety for the first time with the original singer Johan Längqvist.

CANDLEMASS released a new DVD, "Ashes To Ashes - Live", in North America on June 29, 2010 via Nuclear Blast Records (April 23, 2010 in Europe). The set contains footage of the band's performance at Sweden Rock Festival in front of 30,000 people as well as CANDLEMASS' entire October 2009 concert in Athens, Greece. It also includes a 30-minute interview and two photo galleries. The DVD was released as a CD+DVD, with the Sweden Rock show as the audio CD.

"Death Magic Doom", the latest album from CANDLEMASS, debuted at No. 79 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

"Death Magic Doom" entered the German Media Control chart at position No. 52. The group's previous CD, "King of the Grey Islands", debuted at No. 83 back in June 2007.

Feb 23, 2012

Heavy Days In Doomtown - A DIY celebration of all things SLOW and HEAVY ...

"Heavy Days In Doomtown - A DIY celebration of all things slow and heavy"
New Danish doom/sludge/stoner festival in Copenhagen, Denmark - May 3rd-6th 2012

PAGAN ALTAR (uk) / COFFINS (jp) / JEX THOTH (us) / COUGH (us) / WOUNDED KINGS (uk) / ALDEBARAN (us) – first European show ever! /GRIFTEGÅRD (swe) / WORSHIP (de) / DEVIL (no) / PILGRIM (us) / PURSON (uk) /CAUCHEMAR (can) / JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES (fin) / AGUIRRE (fr) / BLACK OATH (it) /HERDER (nl) / BURNING SAVIOURS (swe) / OCEAN CHIEF (swe)/ BRUTUS (no/swe) / KONGH(swe) / PROFETUS (fin) / SKOGEN BRINNER (swe) / PYRAMIDO (swe) / SUMA (swe) /MOONLESS (dk) / SINISTER CREATION (dk) / BOTTOM FEEDER (dk) / TORCHLIGHT (dk)

"Heavy Days In Doomtown -a DIY celebration of all things slow and heavy" will be a 4 day event at 3 different venues in Copenhagen:
-a warmup show at the alternative venue Stengade, Stengade 18
-2 days of music, art, events and madness at the DIY activist driven social centreUngdomshuset, Dortheavej 61
- a cooldown day in Copenhagens freetown Christiania with moviescreenings, accoustic outdoor shows and the final concert at Christianias finest rockclub Loppen.

The festival is organized by the association "Undergrundsmusikens Fremme" (translated: Undergroundmusic promotion) based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The association has for the past two years been organizing the successful DIY Death Metal Festival "Kill-Town Death Fest" (Kill Town Death Fest) and has now spread its ventures to the doomspectre.

The whole event is organized by the DIY principles, which means that neither the organizers, the bands nor the people who work at the fest are making any profit, and our main purpose besides having an amazing fest full of heavy music, is to promote the DIY principles to the genres who doesn’t usually organize this way.

Besides music, were inviting a bunch of great artists to come and make installations, visuals and more before and during the festival to make the experience of the fest visual as well as musical.

At the moment we are looking for people to help promote the festival, the flyers are finally done and ready to be shipped. We also have a web banner and flyer you can post on your page that you can find on our website. Please let us know if you'd like for us to send you a package of flyers and posters to help spread the word!

We hope to see all of you in Copenhagen in May for Europe's heaviest underground event of 2012!

All the best//
Natalia // HeavyDaysInDoomtown Crew

3rd – 6th May 2012

Ungdomshuset (4th-5th May)
Dortheavej 61,
2400 Copenhagen NV.

Stengade (3rd May)
Stengade 18,
2200 Copenhagen N

Loppen (6th May)
Christiania, Sydområdet 4B 1. Sal
1440 Kbh K


4 days (incl. warm-up gig): 375 dkr. / 50 euro (presale only).
3 days (Thursday-Saturday or Friday-Sunday): 350 dkr. / 45 euro (presale)
Thursday: 90 dkr. / 11 euro (at door).

Friday: 150 dkr. / 20 euro (at door).
Saturday: 150 dkr. / 20 euro (at door).
Sunday (Loppen): 90 dkr. / 11 euro (at door).

For more info on the festival incl. news and updates:
Heavy Days In Doomtown

If you have any questions, please write us at the following adresses:
For booking: heavydaysdoomtown.booking@gmail.com
For info:  heavydaysdoomtown.info@gmail.com
For volunteering: heavydaysdoomtown.volunteer@gmail.com

Please join us at Facebook:
Heavy Days In Doomtown @ Facebook

HIGH ON FIRE To Release New Album "De Vermis Mysteriis" on April 3, 2012 ...

World renowned hard rock band HIGH ON FIRE will release its new studio album De Vermis Mysteriis on April 3 via eOne Music. Recorded in Salem, Massachusetts' GodCity Studios with producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, the 10 song effort -- touted as "direct, eye-opening and powerfully supernatural" -- is the band's sixth studio recording and the follow up to 2010's Snakes for the Divine which debuted at #62 on the Billboard Top 200 and has been called "wonderful" by The New York Times and "an exhilarating rush" by The Chicago Tribune.

     De Vermis Mysteriis (or "Mysteries of the Worm") takes its title from a fictional grimoire created by Psycho author Robert Bloch and incorporated by H. P. Lovecraft into the lore of the Cthulhu Mythos (Lovecraft mentioned De Vermis Mysteriis as one of the books that "repeat the most hellish secrets learnt by early man"). The album carries a deeply mystical undercurrent, incorporating fantastical themes and lyrics detailing, among other things, time travel, a serum called liao that is made out of a black lotus and "a Jesus twin who can see the past through his ancestors' eyes."  And that's just scratching the surface!

      Musically, De Vermis Mysteriis is absolutely explosive, showcasing the California power trio's thundering roar and expanded harmonic and rhythmic palettes while the songs move confidently through multiple riffs and movements. HIGH ON FIRE construct tough, burly stoner metal that is at once devastatingly epic and mercilessly metallic as superstar guitarist Matt Pike's sizzling ax and avenging-angel riffs fuse with Des Kensel's double-kick-drum onslaught and Jeff Matz's concrete crushing, Burton-esque bass guitar. Over the course of forty-five minutes, HIGH ON FIRE have created an amalgamation of fantastical lyrical ideas and brute force musicianship anchored in an endlessly captivating, punkishly frantic sound. Simply put, the band generates awesome on demand and has a virtual chokehold on monolithic-sounding, masterfully crafted epic music. HIGH ON FIRE is a savage bull in the china shop of modern metal.

When asked for comment on De Vermis Mysteriis, Pike somewhat cryptically replied, "Prepare for your dark journey." 
The track listing for HIGH ON FIRE's De Vermis Mysteriis is as follows:

     1.) Serums of Liao
     2.) Bloody Knuckles
     3.) Fertile Green
     4.) Madness of an Architect
     5.) Interlude
     6.) Spiritual Rites
     7.) King of Days
     8.) De Vermis Mysteriis
     9.) Romulus and Remus
    10.) Warhorn

     In advance of the new album's release, HIGH ON FIRE will perform a number of live dates as part of the 2012 SXSW Music and Media Festival in Austin, TX. The band is expected to preview new material at the SX shows. The just-announced dates are as follows:

     March 13    Austin, TX      Emo's East (Non-SXSW headline show)
     March 14    Austin, TX      SXSW (MetalSucks day party)
     March 15    Houston, TX   Fitzgerald's
     March 16    Austin, TX      SXSW (Brooklyn Vegan day party)
     March 17    Austin, TX      SXSW TBA
     March 18    Austin, TX      SXSW (High Times day party)

     Finally, on June 30, HIGH ON FIRE will join Slayer, Slipknot, Anthrax and more as part of the 2012 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Tour.  The 26 city jaunt will kick off in San Bernardino, CA and run through August 5 in Hartford, CT.  The itinerary for the monster trek is as follows:

     June 30      San Bernardino, CA                 San Manuel Amphitheater      
     July 1          Mountain View, CA                   Shoreline Amphitheatre
     July 3          Auburn, WA                                White River Amphitheatre
     July 4          Nampa, ID                                   Idaho Center Amphitheatre
     July 6          Phoenix, AZ                               Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion
     July 7          Albuquerque, NM                      Hard Rock Casino
     July 8          Greenwood Village, CO            Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
     July 10        Dallas, TX                                   Gexa Energy Pavilion
     July 11        The Woodlands, TX                  Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
     July 13        Tampa, FL                                   1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre
     July 14        Atlanta, GA                                  Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood
     July 15        Noblesville, IN                             Klipsch Music Center
     July 18        Oklahoma City, OK                    Zoo Amphitheatre
     July 20        Maryland Heights, MO              Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
     July 21        Tinley Park, IL                             First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
     July 22        Clarkston, MI                               DTE Energy Music Theatre
     July 24        Cincinnati, OH                             Riverbend Music Center
     July 25        Cuyahoga Falls, OH                   Blossom Music Center
     July 27        Camden, NJ                                Susquehanna Bank Center
     July 28        Burgettstown, PA                      First Niagara Pavilion
     July 29        Bristow, Virginia                        Jiffy Lube Live
     July 31        Saratoga Springs, NY               Saratoga Performing Arts Center
     August 1     Corfu, NY                                     Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
     August 3     Mansfield, MA                            Comcast Center
     August 4     Scranton, PA                              Toyota Pavilion
     August 5     Hartford, CT                                Comcast Theatre

     HIGH ON FIRE's work on De Vermis Mysteriis follows more than a year and a half of world touring in support of Snakes for the Divine which included multiple North American headlining jaunts and international festival appearances as well as tours alongside friends and peers in Metallica, Slayer, Mastodon and The Melvins, the latter of which saw the trio caught in both the February 22, 2011 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand and the powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami in Tokyo, Japan on March 11, 2011. The popular U.S. group was unharmed, but shaken after surviving its second natural disaster in sixteen days and was able to return to its native Oakland a few days later.  NBC Bay Area spoke with Matt Pike following the Christchurch earthquake; that interview can be seen at this location.


Universally recognized as one of the most potent acts in music today, HIGH ON FIRE creates modern heavy metal that merges primal fury and aggression, hesher bombast and hall of fame heaviness.  Described as "a supersonic exercise in conquest by volume," HIGH ON FIRE has rewritten the hard rock rulebook since its formation in 1998, forging a style and sound that is both critically celebrated and absolutely unique.  The group features vocalist and cult guitar hero Matt Pike, a founding member of the famed underground band SLEEP.  Pike was named as one of Rolling Stone magazine's "New Guitar Gods" and is one of rock's most charismatic figures. HIGH ON FIRE will release its new album De Vermis Mysteriis this April.

 "a beautiful, untamable kind of band" - THE NEW YORK TIMES

     "These Bay Area lifers have so fully internalized metal's sweep that the genre's catalog could go up in flames, and as long as the transcendentally intense "Snakes" survived, we'd be able to reverse-engineer the music's history." - SPIN

     "music heavy enough to unbalance the Earth's rotation...Pike is one of the best guitarists you will ever hear...one the best live bands you will ever see." - CHICAGO TRIBUNE

     "High on Fire are the sort of band who put devils or skulls or snake-demon ladies on their album covers just because those things are awesome, not because they illustrate any larger cultural point.  And five albums in, they're very, very good at generating awesome on demand...High on Fire do it right." - PITCHFORK


     "it's not often something rocks this hard...stadium-sized" - STEREOGUM

    "magnificent...one of the best bands in the business." - THE ONION

     "a band that eats Motorhead, drinks Sabbath, and bleeds Slayer...at the absolute pinnacle of their game" - SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN

     "High on Fire are the new Mötörhead. The trio never falter" - ALTERNATIVE PRESS

      "majestic...monolithic-sounding...on the cusp of attracting a much larger audience than ever before." - POPMATTERS

     "Oakland's (and possibly Earth's) heaviest band, High on Fire, is ready for its close-up." - SF WEEKLY

Carl Schultz
ACTION! Public Relations / Media & Marketing
P.O. Box 302709 
Austin, TX  78703
(512) 926-4511  

Action PR.Com
High On Fire @ Myspace
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