May 31, 2012

Velvet Robe - La Séance Haunted and Bartzabel’s Fire 7” ...

Velvet Robe … such an inspiring name suggestive of anything inbetween seducing sensations and sinister shadows moving in dim lights with the air filled of smoke from burning candles and incense …
Well, with this mysterious occult black drone/ambient doom act from Boston, USA the scenery is the grim one …The band is recent as the conspiracy started in 2011. However occult books and whispers reveal that the unholy priests involved are not at all new to the scene.  The line-up includes three mysterious entities, Khristos Phero Ocheron de Chauve-Souris (on vocals, bass, guitar, ukelin, drums, organ and ambience), Baron Corpulus Lazerus VI (on drums, vocals and ambience) and Chancellor Baal Adramelech (on vocals and ambience). A description was given of them: “(…) They are described as thin, with long white mustaches, pointed ears and sharp teeth. They are dressed all in black and have hair on their palms. Mehemet Bey described them as old men; 'cruel looking' and giving an effect of 'extraordinary pallor”.

Velvet Robe is related to the fine underground label Yersinia Pestis Records. This is the same label spreading around some great releases like, for example, the Ice Dragon vs. Pilgrim split, the new awesome LP version of Ice Dragon’s debut album, or reissues of seminal italian occult black-death metal bands like Necromass and Mortuary Drape. Yersinia Pestis released Velvet Robe’s debut album, the now sold out limited de-luxe edition  2011 tape "La Seance Haunted". The album is also firmly settled in Bandcamp as well where recently (April 2012)Velvet Robe shared a new release, the Bartzabel’s Fire 7” EP.

The band describes its sound and style as “odd and creepy”,  a “mixture of Ride For Revenge and Moss”, although undeniable sympathies go to retro horror experimental/prog acts like Antonius Rex and Jacula, occult (funeral) doom, experimental industrial noise, dark ambient and, definitely, horror movies. The result is a hybrid beast which sounds like a blackened and suffocating version of Electric Wizard but also shares features with bands like Reclusa, Hell, Moss, SunnO))), as well as Adamennon, Lustmord, and some acts worth of Crucial Blast’s roster.  In the debut album "La Seance Haunted", the sequence of tracks and the shift between spoken parts (with creepy low distorted voice), samples from movies and songs are arranged as to act as a soundtrack to an old-fashioned horror movie, or nightmare, where all bad things and sinister deeds are suggested as taking place in a mossy vault at the trembling light of candles arranged in a circle …

Actually some sort of occult ritual is hinted by the titles of the tracks making up the 28 minutes-long “La Seance Haunted”. Some track titles are just announcements, other sound like the titles of ancient alchemic or negromantic treatises (e.g. “ Of Which Words Cannot Speak, and of Which Writing Can Only Confuse”), and even Italian titles (La Torre Diavolo, the Devil’s Tower). The creepy spoken intro and the distant, soft but sinister keyboard-driven dark ambient sound of the short second track “The Lamps are all alight” prepare the ground to the crushing, creepy snail-pace distortions in the stunning, Wizardesque third track “In Visible Shadow” (see the video). The leading riffs are very simple, gritty and produced by what seems to be an extremely downtuned bass. Mammoth riffs, evil whispers and equally slow, martial background percussions monotonous and plodding like a bell announcing a funeral.

This gloomy rhythm, into the context of the whole album, also much reminds me of the oscillatory movement of the heavy pendulum at the Louvre Museum in Paris as described in the final tragic chapter of one of my top fave books ever, the creepy, intricated, occult novel “Foucault’s Pendulum” by the Italian writer Umberto Eco. Real funeral bells and the invocations of the dark voice introduce to the next section of the album which includes a series of tracks which heavily mix spoken parts, samples from movies, extreme prog, dark ambient, and really disturbing blackened industrial noise drone blended with funeral doom (e.g., in Kharsis Lives).   The gloomy suite “The Gods Forget, They Are Distant, They Must be Reminded” is probably the most varied of the whole album and even hosts a central part lead by a hypnotic mid-paced raw industrial doom rhythm that imparts an unusual dynamics to the ritual before its waning phase is announced by the dark, drony, retro-sounding organ-driven bleak melody in track “La Torre Diavolo”. A hieratic invocation by the creepy thundering voice and the sample of organ from an old movie will put an end to the ritual.

Velvet Robe’s debut couldn’t and can’t but arise interest and generate pleasure into those attracted by dark, occult slow and raw heavy music. The only objection I move to La Seance haunted is the excessive use of samples and spoken parts penalizing the musical parts. Every time I listened to La Séance I longed for more of those evil drony industrial funeral doom slabs.
… And my desire was satisfied! The Bartzabel’s Fire 7” that Velvet Robe posted on Bandcamp is only slighly longer than 10 minutes but it is exactly what I wanted to hear! Two doses of utterly nasty blackened industrial/drone horror doom where the ritualistic component of the previous album is recalled just in the short spoken intro of the sophomore track. After those few spoken invocation Pure Evil raises from the depths of Earth! A pervasive buzzing background noise envelops the extremely distorted riffs and the exploding percussions. 

A filthy, sick and extremely obscure nightmareish sound is created where evil, raw, “primitive”, scary sludgy black metal screams are nested, as heard in Reclusa, Bruja and similar bands, as well as in bass-driven Ride For Revenge (absolutely), in Void Meditiation Cult or Teitanblood. The second track “The Door at the end of the Hall” brings back some somber occult atmosphere as in the debut album by means of a hypnotic drone-doom leading melody. However in this new release the ability of the band in creating impressively scary atmopheres stands out and, for me, shows a great improvement. Probably a help came from the production as well as from the stabilization of the line-up, with the inclusion of the new drummer.  However one of the improvements, for me, is related to the wider space given to the “real” music in evoking mightmares instead of excessive employment of vintage movie samples. The nightmares, the monsters evoked by  the new tracks by Velvet Robe are “modern” and ancestral at the same time, and they are not human …So the new tracks by this occult and nasty entity, Velvet Robe, seem to mark an evolution towards an impressive sound incorporating and elaborating elements from different alienating genres but without straying from doom and its intrinsic sense of melody.  I am a nasty old witch and I obviously possess a magic glass ball. So you can trust me if I tell you that more excellent haunting evil darkness is coming from this mysterious occult trio from Boston! So keep label Yersinia Pestis checked for a new black mass …   

Words by Marilena Moroni

Velvet Robe | Facebook
Velvet Robe | Bandcamp
Yersinia Pestis Offcial

Video of In Visible Shadows from “La Séance Haunted”.

NEWS: ROBUSTFEST is Coming ...

News from Stonezilla

We were busy enough by preparing the pleasent ground for the next Robustfest volume. First of all I'd like to say that we changed the place and date due to the objective circumstances. So now we'll have more time and possibilities to make this event even more memorable for you. We try to get the most interesting and actual bands that are playing around nowadays.
Most of them will play for the first time in Kiev, Ukraine and Eastern Europe as well. The one and only source with original Information will be this blog
Robust Fellow Blogspot

It means that you will be first to know from the first hands all actual news about Robustfest Vol.II such as lineup, schedule, any poossible changes (we hope to have it as minimum quantity as we can), and all futher information. Robustfest's official artist for this year - xNinjax from
He's gifted and talanted robustfellow. We glad that he've joined the Robusteam! In this year's volume you will contemplate new hero for Robustfest. Let's call him Elephellow or Robustfant...or create your own smart name for this smart guy, heh. The funniest name creator can get some cool merch with the Robustfest's symbolism.


Date: 8th of September
Place: Bingo Club, pr-t Pobedy 112, Kiev, Ukraine
Price & tickets: little bit later fellas, later. No pre-sales. You'll get ticket at door. Don't worry the capacity of the club is big enough to accomodate more than a thousand of cool people at same time.

Line Up
(Berlin, DE)

(Vasto, IT)

(Moscow, RUS)

(Donetsk/Kiev, UA)

PS: More bands will be announced soon. For all further information please follow

Robust Fellow Blogspot

May 30, 2012

Wedding In Hades – Misbehaviour ...

As only a medium-sized fan of the goth-doom/death-doom genre, it is always satisfying to come across a band that offers a few surprises or a break from the usual death-doom norm. The Wedding In Hades sophomore album does just that and while it is not always great, they once again have succeeded in making an interesting album within this sub-genre of doom metal.

What makes this band as good as they are is that they blend the generic death/goth doom style with enough elements of traditional doom and straight-forward metal to keep the songs from becoming stagnant. The sound they came up with for their first album is back, no surprises there. This is death-doom in the style of My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun and Paradise Lost but it is melted together with trad-doom elements like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus. As heavy as some of this is, most of the emphasis is on melodies and a sublime, cold atmosphere.

The album starts off fine enough but the opening track tends to drag on and I always think it would have been much better as a closing piece. Starting any album off with something a bit tedious is never a good thing but get past the opening epic track and it is all mostly uphill from here on. 'Men to the Slaughter' is one of the albums highlights with a captivating blend of mid-tempo doom riffing, acoustic elements, stunning leads and symphonic metal touches.

It is all put together in a seamless, almost hypnotic way so despite a playing time of seven minutes; it seems like a short burst of enchanting metal. They do have a tendency to do the obvious; the vocals are a mix of death growls and a clean voice and sometimes it is great but sometimes, it is all just a bit too pedestrian. Despite those clichéd elements, the band still manage to excite most of the time and absorb the listener in some mesmerizing passages of melodic doom metal.

'The One to Blame' is another track where everything works perfectly, coming together to make a track that gets much heavier than what you might be expecting. When the band do let loose, they can indeed be a heavy outfit and they don't get trapped in the slower than slow doom plod too often either. Guitars quite often attack and the mid-tempo variations keep tracks like this one from ever becoming dull. The traditional metal elements show up in almost every song on 'Misbehavior' and it is those moments that offer the real highlights more so than the straight-out doom passages. 'Almost Living (But Not Dead Yet)' is a 9 minute epic chiller that gets under your skin and gets stuck in your brain long after it is over with. The atmospheric nature of the piece is wonderfully haunting but it also has enough quirks and twists to set itself apart from other bands and similar songs in the death-doom scene.

'Sleeping Beauty' is my pick for the albums best track but only just over the other tunes mentioned here.  While this track is basically generic epic traditional doom metal, the great guitar work and the hypnotic feel of the song is instantly addictive. The rest of the album isn't quite up to the same level but it is never weak at all. The band have many eclectic changes in tempo, structure and atmosphere so they are always leaving you guessing where they are going to go next. The album's only real flaw is the heavier passages could be heavier like they are lacking a bit of grunt or dirt in the mix but apart from that, it is hard to find any major weaknesses anywhere throughout this 56 minute album. I get the feeling that their début release 'Elements of Disorder' is more consistent than this new release but this one is certainly more adventurous as they search for more of their own style, sound and direction. If you like your doom melodic with unexpected breaks from the standard death-doom formula, this will be a good album to check out....8/10.

Wedding in Hades | Bandcamp
Wedding in Hades | Facebook

NEWS: ELECTRIC WIZARD To Headline Damnation 2012 + AURA NOIR, GAMA BOMB & 40 WATT SUN Confirmed ...

DORSET doom heavyweights ELECTRIC WIZARD have promised a “mind-destroying” exclusive headline performance at Damnation Festival. The band, who recently sold out London’s cavernous Forum, will bring their full lights and visuals show to Leeds University Union on Saturday, November 3, 2012, for what will be a full on assault of the senses. Also joining the bill are Norwegian blackened thrash outfit AURA NOIR, Irish thrashers GAMA BOMB and elegant doom trio 40 WATT SUN, who will play their only UK show of 2012 on Damnation Festival‘s newly sponsored Eyesore Stage.

ELECTRIC WIZARD‘s Jus Oborn believes fans who couldn’t get their hands on tickets to the London performance, will experience something special at Damnation. He added: “The sellout show at the Forum was a massive success and the fans loved the psychedelic lightshow. “We had been working on the film show for years and when the opportunity arose to work with the lighting people from the Hawkwind lightshow we knew it would be the ultimate mindfuck. “Now, Damnation have given us the opportunity to repeat the experience for everyone outside of London and we are going to make it even more mind-destroying.” And if the prospect of ELECTRIC WIZARD at Damnation Festival wasn’t enough to celebrate, Irish thrash kings GAMA BOMB will be hosting a one-off 10th anniversary party on the Jagermeister Stage.

The band said: “Given that we started our band with the ambition of playing songs that sounded like Nuclear Assault and the aim of some day playing a show outside of our home town, it’s pretty amazing that we’ve lasted for 10 thoroughly wasted years. “Though we’re insanely busy doing behind-the-scenesy stuff right now, we’ve managed to find time to book one special 10th anniversary show this winter at Damnation Festival. “By the time we put on some trousers and take to the stage there, we’ll have a killer fourth album to show off, as well as wheeling out all kinds of old songs we’ve forgotten how to play. “The UK has been very good to us over the last 10 years, so this is our way of saying ‘Cheers for that, can you pay in to one more show please?’.

“We’ll see you there!”

ELECTRIC WIZARD, AURA NOIR, GAMA BOMB and 40 WATT SUN join previously announced MY DYING BRIDE and PIG DESTROYER at Damnation Festival, which will take place at Leeds University Union on Saturday, November 3, 2012.

Source: ELECTRIC WIZARD To Headline Damnation 2012 + AURA NOIR, GAMA BOMB & 40 WATT SUN Confirmed | The Sleeping Shaman

VIDEO: Official Video for UNDERSMILE'S MILK ...


Future Noise and The Sleeping Shaman are thrilled to announce that this July will see the coming together of 2 doom warhorses in the guise of London’s SERPENT VENOM and Liverpool’s BLACK MAGICIAN. We still need to fill a couple of dates on the Friday and Sunday, so if you think you can help, please do drop Lee an email at and the so far confirmed tour schedule is as follows:

Thurs 5th July: The Black Heart, Camden, London w/ Throne
Fri 6th July: TBC
Sat 7th July: Bannermans, Edinburgh
Sun 8th July: TBC

And here’s a bit of info about the bands…

Serpent Venom
Serpent Venom arose from the grave in 2008. Originally conceived by Pete Fox (Olde Crone) and enlisting Paul Sutherland (Blood Island Raiders) they sought out Garry Ricketts (Sloth) to tell his tales to the backdrop of their sounds. The weight of the guitar and sheer fury of the drums had to be kept together by bassist Nick. Together they channelled Pete’s riffs, Paul’s thunder and Garry’s tales of sacrifice and woe into the sonic potion that is ‘Carnal Altar’. Receiving high praise from the doom community the band ventured forth to the live arena in support of their Church Within debut.

In 2011, Pete amicably left the band to live in the US and the band have enlisted 6 string wizard Roland Scriver (Sloth, End of Level Boss) to continue their path towards the blessed darkness. Sharing the stage with such bands as Blood Ceremony, Lord Vicar, the Devil’s Blood, Taint, Manatees and Devil to touring with Orchid, Seamount, Conan, Grimpen MIre and Undersmile, the band continue to lay waste to live venues in the UK and Europe.

Serpent Venom | Facebook

Black Magician
In an age when music tends towards the derivative, the mechanical, the over-produced, Black Magician cast their attention backwards, and then back some more. The result of many a long discussion in country pubs, and long rambles through the more isolated areas of the English countryside, they formed through mutual appreciation of 70s prog, eerie folklore and a good real ale.

While they confess to being just as influenced by the late 60s British folk scene as by the old guard of heavy metal and doom, there’s no hippy-drippy philosophising here. Black Magician’s ideology is firmly rooted in the sinister. The brooding landscape of Arthur Machen, the haunted countryside of M.R. James, is where they reside most contentedly.

Black Magician distance themselves from the current trend for pseudo-occult rehashed doom posturing and clichéd horror film imagery. What you can expect is something much more sincere, a genuine fascination with the darker side of British history.

Monolithic cosmic-nod-inducing riffs, swirling Hammond organ and dark acoustic passages are the ingredients in this alchemical brew, the resulting concoction a grim incantation, an ode to anti-urbanism, a very English darkness.

Black Magician | Official Website
Black Magician | Facebook

Wort - Wort ...

WORT is a Doom/Sludge Metal band from Huddersfield/Manchester, UK. Reminiscent of American Sludge/Doom quintet EYEHATEGOD and their album “Take as Needed for Pain;” WORT’s EP “Wort Snall” is a 4 track sludge filled doom epic. The opening track starts with a noisy guitar before the drum picks up. The rhythm guitar flows in neatly before the gruffy vocals pick up. There is a sense of dirty noisy guitaring in the track and that’s what makes sludge metal so special. Within the first five seconds of the opening track you are onto a yummy earful of rolling, bass-heavy riff, giving the impression that the band is trapped under rubble.
KDK12 is no different from the first track; except for the change in the song pattern. It is again very slow and bass heavy. Suffice to say; these transitions certainly do keep the album engaging, as opposed to many other slower bands that seem to fail in keeping the listener’s attention after a few songs. The constant battling between bluesy, slime-drenched riffage and rhythmic galloping makes each track just as fresh as the last. Overall  all the tracks are very interesting and if you are a fan of this genre, you will like it. The production could have been better but who cares, as this is just an EP and one might as well forget the nuances of production in the process of listening. WORT is an excellent upcoming Doom/Sludge Metal band and this EP “Wort Snall” is worth every penny. Truly indispensable!
Words: Mahesh
Wort | Facebook

May 29, 2012

Edenian - Winter Shades ...

I hate to say it but this is one of those albums that we knew what it was going to sound like without even hearing it. The name of the band, the band logo, the album art, the song-titles and that they are a female-fronted (with male growls) band told the story without having to press play. We figured this was going to be a gothic-doom band and it is but we didn't expect it to be as generic and derivative as it turned out to be. The band follow the Draconian and My Dying Bride blueprints of symphonic-gothic doom to the letter but those bands do come up with interesting arrangements and have really strong songwriting talents. Edenian however just sound bland and you get the feeling that everything is forced. The plastic-sounding keys and what sounds like programmed drums don't help matters either but then....the vocals. As you might have guessed by now, they combine melodic, almost sweet female vocals with male growls and while they are a respectable example of the death-doom, male/female vocal formula, it is just so predictable and ordinary.

I haven't written many reviews in my life and I have certainly have never had to write a negative piece about a band and it is a painful thing to have to do but there is no way of sugar-coating this, 'Winter Shades' is just a very average, very formulaic album. Musically and production wise, the band have all the polish in the world however and the heavier passages do have more than enough crunch to satisfy in the heavy stakes. There are moments of good riffing and some stimulating leads that make you take some notice but those exciting passages are few and far between. The band is from the Ukraine and just like in Russia, this style of melodic gothic doom is spreading like an epidemic so it was bound to hit a generic peak and that time seems to be now and the Winter Shades album is a classic example of predictable, production line melodic doom metal at its worst. Just like most other bands from those countries putting out this stuff, none of it is very, very bad, it is just not too good.

The spoken word intro to 'The Field Where I Died' by David Duchovny is so banal and frankly embarrassing that getting past it requires summoning some inner strength and this is only at the start of track four so it is an uphill battle getting through this. The album has no real total disasters but it also has absolutely no highlights and there is certainly not one track here I can recommend to anyone with any vote of confidence. At least they are good musicians and Samantha Sinclair has got an angelic voice so they have some potential to be a great band in the future but for now, this album is too dull for words...3.5/10.

Words: DoomVixen

Edenian | Bandcamp

Ahab - The Giant ...

The main issue with expectations is that they can drive a listener towards wrong conclusions very quickly. As an Ahab fan, one that has listened to “Divinity of Oceans” so many times that I can almost repeat it by heart, my first reaction towards this new album was a vaguely disappointed one. Actually not vaguely, strongly disappointed. My problem was this: I knew that Ahab had melodic tendencies running in their merciless Funeral Doom. “Divinity...” had a sad vein of ghastly melody in the crushing horror of its riff and got contemplative at times, between the pulverizing weight of its riff.  Still, the opening passage of “Further South”, with its ethereal arpeggio and the vaguely post rockish tone of its mood, sounded like a big step from what I expected from Ahab. And not necessarily a step I wanted them to make.

The melody of the vocals is almost overwhelming at first. It takes a while before the actual, familiar explosion of distortion and crushing heaviness its, and even when it does, its strongly tempered by a pensive atmosphere. The following tracks are more in the long, plowing brutality I know from classic Ahab. And while still being more oriented towards a “Post” feeling than its predecessors it does hit hard and fiercely. It has almost the overall feeling of being the band's attempt at approaching the grey areas of sad, prog toned despair that Agalloch touched. Only it feels slightly more strident when Ahab does it. Do not get me wrong, it's a good album, for many it will probably be excellent. But its not what I wanted to hear from them. Rating: 6

Words : Andrea Contanzo

Ahab | Official Website

May 28, 2012

Mortalicum - The Endtime Prophecy ...

Alright we all know that Sweden are masters at producing great stoner metal, doom metal and retro riff rock bands but people often forget how great they are producing incredible straight-ahead heavy metal bands and Mortalicum are certainly one of the best. The band impressed everyone with their spectacular 'Progress of Doom' album released a couple of years ago. However this new album fine-tunes their classic metal style and while they haven't changed at all really, this new opus sounds even more infectious and has even more finesse (if that is possible). Mortalicum stand out on their own among other Swedish acts. They are more old-school than Grand Magus and less stonerish than a Spiritual Beggars and have neatly carved out their own little niche within the retro-metal scene.

They are not just another throw-back band either but they are certainly not following any real modern metal trends. They are known as a heavy doom band but there are far more traditional heavy metal elements going here than the usual doom metal album. The band has always had a sound that gets its roots from Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Judas Priest but there is also a classic Maryland doom scene vibe that pops up more than once on 'The Endtime Prophecy.' I think of bands like Iron Man and The Obsessed a lot while listening to this album and is it that blending of sounds and styles that makes this so addictive.

Just like their first album, this comes released on the great Metal on Metal label which seems to know a classy heavy metal act when they hear it. The amount of quality acts on the label is quite staggering and as with all of their releases, the artwork and production is second to none. As a band Mortalicum are gifted in more ways than one. Vocalist and also guitarist Henrik Högl has a warm, charismatic voice that has a fiercely commanding presence and he is also an excellent axe-slinger while Mikael Engström - guitars and Patrick Backlund - bass guitar are always impressive players. On drums, Andreas Häggström unleashes a precise performance throughout this album so you have a very tight machine at work right here. The style of the band might not have changed at all but the songwriting seems more mature with the melodic nature of the band really coming to the fore-front of their sound.

The album wastes no time in getting the metal flowing with exciting riffs and melodies. The opening duo of 'My Dying Soul' and 'Revelation Within' are both thrilling examples of mid 70's/early 80's heavy metal without sounding too ancient and while this is pretty heavy driving metal, it is all very accessible for the average rock music listener. The title track and 'When Hell Freezes Over' further showcase the more mature songwriting approach they have unleashed for this album. While the band might not win any awards for originality, they more than make up for it in the classy execution of their song melodies, riffs and arrangements. As the album progresses however, the darker is seems to get. 'Devil's Hand' and the very Maryland doomish 'Dark Night' are very foreboding tunes and are well.......mesmerizingly good but it is the next two songs where the album reaches its peak of brilliance. 'Ballad of a Sorrowful Man' and 'Embracing Our Doom' make up for more than 18 minutes of the albums playing time and it is pure hair-raising, chill up the spine majestic doomy metal that are worth the purchase price alone.

'Embracing Our Doom' is particularly majestic as it builds, moves and twists into a magical epic that even Candlemass would be proud of owning. The album comes to an end on something called 'The End' and it is a sorrowful, emotional ending to a very classy album. The best way for me to sum up this album is to say this is stylish hard rock with a doomy flavor made for lovers of the classic 70's rock aesthetic....If you are a fan of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy and modern bands such as Sesta Marconi, Spiritual Beggars and Grand Magus you will want to pick this baby up as soon as possible...9/10.

Mortalicum | Official Website
Mortalicum | Facebook
Mortalicum Reviews & Interview | Doommantia
Metal on Metal Records | Official Site & Store

Twingiant - Mass Driver ...

This band from Phoenix, Arizona really showed incredible potential when they released their demo. You can read a review for that little nugget right HERE. Some 6 months later and they are back with their much anticipated full length début 'Mass Driver' and it exceeds all expectations. The band play intense sludge/stoner riff workouts that seemed to have become just that bit more progressive with this release. The band have a great balance going on. There is stoner doom riffing a-la Sleep but there is also a progressive angle in their songs too that is closer to the likes of Baroness and Mastodon  only far more intense in my book. There are nods to 70's heavy prog bands and twin guitar bands from the same mid-70's era but that is kept to mere inflections and not out-and-out influence so the album has a very fresh, original vibe even though the style has been done many times before.

The first couple of minutes of the album which is the instrumental 'Abduction' sets the tone for the album just perfect. It sets and builds up the pensive atmosphere that this album is choking on for all of its 38 minutes. From that atmospheric wonder comes the moody space-rock adventure known as 'Awake In The Hull' and the great guitar work hits you in the balls (or tweaks your nipples depending on the gender) from the get-go; especially about halfway into the piece when the band unleashed some amazing riff work. The roller-coaster ride into space sends you into a loop the loop with 'Burning Thru' and 'Eat The Alien' which are two infectious tracks that mix up tempos and grooves into a sonic dream experience. 'Adrift In Space' has the band hitting the gas ever so slightly with a more energetic piece of tasty sludge meets space rock. As is their way, Twingiant don't get stuck in one gear for too long. The songs are always shifting gears and directions without ever losing the original vibe of the track. What is even better is that each song has its own personal identity without drastically changing the mood of the album too much.

'Concrete Home' is another change in the album's mood. This track has a psychedelic vibe that is very different to what else is on the album. This is followed by 'H.I.S.M' which is a mainly proggy almost instrumental piece that brings to mind early Mastodon but only more exciting in my opinion. The next track 'Pale Blue Dot' you might remember from the 2 track demo. It was a great track there and it seems even better with the version. The album then departs your head-space with the title track which is another thrilling space-rock meets sludgy metal tune.

A couple of things set this album apart from other similar bands. One is the musicianship is insane and the performance is done with the utmost passion. It only takes a few seconds to realize how great the production is and the vocals are powerful and aggressive at times but without ever sounding forced. There are great passages of classy hard rock that is not too far removed from some mid-70's twin-guitar bands (Lizzy, Wishbone Ash etc) but there are also moments of unrelenting heaviness so there is a great blend happening on Mass Driver. Twingiant sound musically aroused and animated on this album and there isn't a second where it is not brilliant.....9.5/10.

TwinGiant | Facebook

Words: Ed Barnard & Sally Bethhall

May 27, 2012

Grand Magus - The Hunt ...

This review that you are about to read might upset some people. You see ever since Grand Magus released 'Iron Will' in 2008 they have tetterd on the edge of mediocrity. Thankfully they have still managed to produced very solid albums but there has been this underlying fear that the band may be drifting too far away from what made albums like 'Monument' and 'Wolf's Return' such great albums.

The new album 'The Hunt' is certainly not a dud release; it is actually probably the best thing Nuclear Blast has put out in the past year but there are moments on this album that just seem bland, like the band is simply treading water and is no longer progressing. There are only two negatives I can come up with for this album but they are major bugs. One is the songs themselves.

Too often a song will start with a lot of promise but it ends up just trundling or galloping along without little passion in the performance. The other more minor gripe is the production which seems awfully thin compared to their earlier works. With those concerns out-of-the-way I can still say this album has a lot of great moments but there is no way around saying this, I am disappointed ever so slightly in 'The Hunt.'

The style of the band has changed a lot. They started as a doom-laden trad-metal meets stoner band and have slowly album by album became more straight-forward traditional heavy metal with the doom elements becoming harder and harder to find with each new release. This new album is another step further into the realms of trad-metal a-la Dio era Sabbath and Dio era Rainbow and classic Judas Priest. There has always been the viking metal and folk edge present in their albums and this album features even more of those elements. Grand Magus has always had the knack for big riffs and loads of hooks and this album certainly again supplies the riffs but I don't hear as many catchy hooks as I did on their other releases. The vocals of JB Christoffersson are one of the keys to the band sound and they sound better than ever on this new album. One feature of this album that was lacking just a little on older albums is variety and I am glad to hear they really mix it up pretty well on 'The Hunt.'

The album kicks off with 'Starlight Slaughter' which is in classic 70's hard rock vein and you could swear at times that Ritchie Blackmore himself at something to do with the guitar work in this track. It is a pretty simple track, catchy but becomes slightly under-whelming after a couple of minutes and this is a recurring problem that some people may have with the album. The viking rock vibe that they are known for really makes its presence felt in the next three songs; 'Sword of the Ocean,' 'Valhalla Rising' and 'Storm King' and each of these songs have better than average riffs and melodies. If you think the song-titles have a Manowar-ish kind of vibe about them then you might be surprised how Manowar-ish the music is at times. They have the same anthemic kind of quality, metal made for stadium rock with gigantic choruses and fist-pounding bravado. 'Silver Moon' is a oh-hum moment on the album, not bad at all but instantly forgettable but the following title track is a monster featuring one hell of a monster riff.

The albums centerpiece and major highlight is the two-part 'Son of the Last Breath' which takes a step away from the simple big riffing concepts of the other tunes. You could hardly call this prog-metal but it is certainly far more adventurous that the usual Grand Magus songs. This mini-epic combines folk elements using acoustics and strings before building into a very heavy atmospheric track that is the band at their most dark and moody. The band switch gears once again for the next track 'Iron Hand' which is an orgy of pulverizing drums, intense riffing and thundering bass and I don't think the band has ever attacked like this before on the album; this is a powerhouse of a tune that simply crushes and stomps all over the listener.....great track. The band then settle back into their usual mid-tempo groove for the closing 'Draksådd' and it is a solid although unremarkable way to finish off the album. Without a doubt the Grand Magus fan will be more than satisfied with 'The Hunt.' For those who still remain undecided, this won't change anything for you folks. 'The Hunt" is excellent at times, formulaic at other times and lacks enough hooks to be truly memorable in the long-term but for straight-forward traditional metal, you wont find much better than this. One thing that I can say is Grand Magus deserve much better than the Nuclear Blast label and I mean that with all due respect to that label. This is classy heavy metal that deserves mainstream support.....7.5/10.

Grand Magus | Official Website
Grand Magus | FaceBook

May 26, 2012

Low Gravity – Incarnadine ...

Low Gravity made a mistake straight from the beginning, when they chose their band’s name: they are a bit too heavy for that name …Here is Incarnadine, the new, totally DIY effort of this unsigned US power quartet from Denver, Colorado, and involving Devin Ferguson on bass and vocals, Adam Mullins busy with drums and vocals, and Austin Williams and Jess Ellis on guitars. As they claim, “four drinkers with a music problem who decided to form a support group that resulted in some shows”… The album is available via Bandcamp for a meager offer.

Incarnadine is a 46 minutes-long album for substantial 6 tracks which last between 7 and 8 minutes. One track, the central “Lord of Time”, runs for about 4 minutes “only”.
The band fully develops their high-energy “Rocky Mountain” style already outlined in their acclaimed début self-titled Ep released in 2010, i.e. a hybrid between hard-hitting stoner and swampy sludge metal lead by some intense, aggressive roaring and shouting  (almost sludgecore-styled) single/double vocals. The result of this hybrid in this new album is a relentless sequence of definitely thick, mid-tempo sludgy slabs which may surely appeal to those who enjoy rugged groovy fuzzy heavyweights like Kylesa, High on Fire, Orange Goblin, Red Fang, Valient Thorr, Weedeater, Keelhaul, Baroness, Clutch and other similar “bearded” and swampy bands. This last effort even winks to Down as well, especially in the last, awesome track (probably my favourite one), Dëathūg. Dëathūg also hosts guest singer Randy Olinger, from Workhorse, who helps in building up a great passionate interaction with Low Gravity vocalists. This steaming hot, mid- down-tempo track dripping swampy, almost melancholic, bluesy NOLA metal ambience is actually not the only track drenched with pure hard blues alcoholic / doped groove, also in the name of Clutch as well as Kyuss, Karma To Burn, etc..

The album actually seems to swing between more “dramatic”, darker sludgy suites and relatively lighter, fuzzy stoner/southern metal songs. The latter, however, do not lack a single atom of the crushing heaviness and the impact of the down-tuned mammoth “riff-machine” which is the trademark of this band since their awesome début EP.  I think a difference from the début EP is that in Incarnadine the band tried to diversify their sound and to introduce some more darkness  and dramatic feelings by making their sound more gloomy and their vocal part coarser and more aggressive in several occasions. For example the opening track (The) Crushing Black starts like a “normal”, seducing bass-driven fuzzy stoner metal song but rapidly evolves to a dark, epic, painful sludgecore invocation. Another dramatic suite is the remarkable Bloodline. Bloodline also starts with a teasing, single southern/western metal riff vibrating over a semi-acoustic background and then it turns into a very intense mournful to angry ballad where mid-and even a few down-tempo intervals alternate, as if to simulate an inner struggle between oscillating states of mind. Lord of Time is shorter but equally dramatic, especially when the two vocalists join forces and utter their rage in short choirs. Track 27 Names is a dynamic, fast stoner metal with a seemingly lighter, more catchy melody than the previous darker songs, but then the torn, shouted invocations to Lucifer come almost as a surprise.

Tracks like Satellite and the already praised Dëathūg, bring back the glorious irresistible groove riff attacks of the début EP. Satellite, for example, is a no-mercy, alcoholic slab of Clutch-like distorted heavy blues metal which forces you to leave whatever you are doing and shake your bootie and your neck while following the rumbling riff parade till the end of the +8 minutes. And you want it to go on … Compared to Satellite, Dëathūg retains a dramatic background which is actually enhanced by the load of southern groove and is developed at its best in the killer dialogues between the singers halfway through the song. In this track I find echoes of Ghosts along the Mississippi  as well as of the intimate atmospheres in Down’s song Where I’m Going in Down II, even if that song is acoustic. Maybe it’s because I can’t wait for new tunes from Down, but, well, for me Low Gravity could not choose  a better and more inspired way to close their new album.  To sum up, my feeling is that the new Low Gravity grew a bit darker than before. I must say I somehow prefer their super-groovy side to their dark sludge-core trend, because they are able to unleash impressive surges of distorted, pummeling heaviness able to turn southern-flavoured stoner metal into something difficult to ignore. Anyway, this band rules hard, this new album is really strong and one of their gigs might be quite an experience indeed. Also, even if these guys have not invented anything new and have already moulded their style substantially, they are still in evolution and I am sure we’ll get some more surprises from them ……   9/10

Words:  Marilena Moroni

Low Gravity | Facebook
Low Gravity | Bandcamp

May 25, 2012


Internet Radio and Podcasts are at a peak right now. There are so many great radio shows to listen to that there is something to tune into seven days a week. The doom, stoner, sludge and psychedelic scenes are not being left out either as you, the listener are spoiled for choices. There is Foundry of Doom, Crestfallen, The Soggy Bog and those three can be accessed right here @ Doommantia but there is another one you may or may not know about - The Left Hand Path which is airing Sunday nights on Core of Destruction Radio. Patrick from the great black/death metal site Winter Torment interviewed DJ Baphom3t....

1. Hello Baphom3t, how is your week starting out so far? Please introduce yourself to the readers?

Doing good man.... I could complain but it won't help. :D
Well.....I'm known around the net as Baphom3t, first name is Troy, I live in Columbus, Ohio and I do the show The Left Hand Path on Core of Destruction Radio. (insert plug for the station here... :D )
I have a Bio page here HERE

2. When did you first start listening to metal and rock? Who were some of the first bands that caught your ears? Who are some of your "current" favorites?

Oh shit man..... some of the first stuff rock/metal I started jamming to was Love Gun, Destroyer by Kiss on freakin 8-tracks way back in the 70's when I was like 6..... (say it with me now..... Aaaattteee Trrrraaacckksss !!!) Damn.... that's been a long time.
Honestly, some of the first bands that really caught my attention was, Possessed, Venom, Slayer, Death Angel, Exorcist, Dark Angel, and Metallica.

I see your putting me on the spot with this one.... but, It's really hard to sit and pull out current favorites with so much good music of many genres showing up all the time, but if I had to name a few, Vulture (Pittsuburgh,PA.), White Orange (Portland, Or.), Love Sex Machine ( Saint Brieuc, Fr.), The Loathsome Couple (Seattle, Wa.), oh man, the list can go on and on.

3. When did you meet grave,and lizard messiah? {owners of core of destruction radio} was it long until you decided to try your own show? are you happy with everything so far?

I met Grave and Lizard Messiah back in January of this year. I think I met them both at the same time while DJ Teabag_Stallone was playing a broadcast I made for CoDR. I actually started playing a show like one week after I met them. Yeah I'm happy with the way everything is, the staff, support, and group of DJ's we have at CoDR are all knowledgable about the music they play and are very approachable when another user may have an issue, we're just a bunch of music junkies that like to turn on and help out other music junkies.

4.Is the left hand path your first ever radio show? What would you say is the hardest and the easiest part about doing the radio show?

No, The Left Hand Path (TLHP), is not my first radio show, I been DJ'ing around 7 - 8 years, I use to do a show called Stoner Metal Sunday for Metal-Legions (R.I.P), then off and on I did just independent broadcasts until I ran back into the folks at CoDR.

The hardest part of doing a show isn't really just one thing. But if I had anything to pick out as one of the hardest things to do, it would be picking out killer song, after killer song, after killer song. It can get a little difficult when there are so many kick ass bands with kick ass songs.
The easiest part of doing a show would probably be just having fun being myself, sharing and supporting the music I love to share with the listeners.

5.When can people tune-in to your show? if there are any labels or bands interested in submitting music to you for air-play how can they get in contact with you?

Folks can tune into my show every Sunday 7 - 10 pm est. You can also pick up past broadcasts of TLHP on the show's page at FACEBOOK,  CoDR forum and Sludgehenge forum.
If any labels or bands wish to submit music to me for airplay they are more than welcome to send it to or leave me a private message at FACEBOOK | LEFT HAND PATH

6.If anybody reading this is thinking about trying their show. would you have any advice for new d.j's out there?

If any advice I could give to a new DJ, it'd be, be yourself and relax, have fun with what your doing.

7.You live in the great state of Ohio,how long have you lived in this state? What is your opinion of Ohio's music scene?

I've lived in Columbus going on 3 years now, I personally think Ohio and the rust belt as a whole is one of the newer hubs for the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal genres producing a multitude of new rifftastic bands while existing bands continue to pound out monster jams.

8.Who are some of your all-time favorite bands from Ohio? Are their any new bands you think the readers should check out soon?

Hmm....all-time favorite bands from Ohio, that's a tough question, there's quite a few, like, Fistula, Rue, Lo-Pan, Mockingbird, Red Sun, Keelhaul, Rebreather, Bridesmaid, Churches Burn, EYE, man.... this list could get big if I go on.
Again this list could get big because there is a lot of talent throughout Ohio, but, some of the bands to check out for sure if you haven't would be, Before the Eyewall, Traitors Return To Earth, Mephitic Husk, Brujas Del Sol, The Tarpeian Fall, Tank Destroyer, Struck by Lightning, those are just some of the Ohio bands I could recommened, other bands to check out I'd have to say would be, White Orange, Dead Southern Bishop, Vulture, The Christpunchers, Black Moth, Love Sex Machine, The Loathsome Couple just to name a few.

9. In your opinion what is the best and worst thing about the music/metal underground today? And, what does the term "underground metal" mean to you?

I can't really say what the best thing is.....there is many things that make being apart of the music/metal underground community good but if anything it'd be, being able to approach the bands and talk with them. That to me makes it one of the best things I suppose.
The worst thing would probably be the person trying to put you/ get you in the pit when you just don't want to. I still head-bang and all, just, I gave up pits and all that shit years ago and those type douchebags I just mentioned aggravate me, I could tell you a story about what happened at the Weedeater/Cough show that came through Columbus on 4/20.

Underground metal means many things to me, one of the biggest is the fact that most the bands have decided to say "fuck you" to the so-called bigger companies and have found they can do the same without the aid of those bigger companies, opting to work with smaller, more independent labels that allow full artistic expression and more $$ for the band, and to get their material out to the public, of course this is nothing new, but it is a staple of DIY/Underground music. There are many things like I said, but to me, that is one that's very important.

10.When you need to take a break from your show what do you enjoy in your spare-time? Any hobbies?

I do my show once a week, so taking a break is never really an issue, but throughout the rest of the week that I'm not on the air, I do other junk like, find new music, graphics work where/when needed,look for a better job, play my guitar, goto shows, eat, sleep, poo and pee, burn incense, sip a little brew, you know.... things and stuff.
The above mentioned would happen to be my hobbies for the most part. :D

11.Well Baphom3t,thank you for taking the time to fill out this interview good luck to you and your show!! Do you have anything you would like to add before we close the interview?

Thank you for taking the time to make this happen, it's been a pleasure.
Be sure to check out my show every Sunday 7 - 10 pm est. you can also follow me and chat with me on facebook at FACEBOOK
Also, be sure to check the other DJ's and shows we have at Core of Destruction Radio, we have a lot of great DJ's spinning alot of good Underground/DIY metal and music 24/7 only at CORE OF DESTRUCTION RADIO.COM
Support the underground !!!

Interview by Patrick. ( WINTER TORMENT ZINE )

May 24, 2012

The Big Four of DOOM METAL Tour in the Works (Maybe) ...

Smokin’ Johnny (apparently the same guy who’s responsible for the DANZIG rumours) has created an online petition by asking its fans to help make a “Big 4 of Doom Metal” tour featuring SAINT VITUS, TROUBLE, PENTAGRAM and CANDLEMASS happen.

On why “The Big 4 of Doom Metal” tour should happen, the creator explains:

    Since a Big 4 of thrash metal exists, how about a Big 4 of doom metal? Saint Vitus, Trouble, Pentagram and Candlemass all helped shape that genre and a Big 4 lineup featuring all of those bands would be one hell of a tour. They all excelled and made doom metal popular. Unlike the other three bands, Candlemass is from Sweden, but their music has become an important American phenomenon in over the last few decades, and yes, this is one reason why they’re in the lineup.

    Over a two year period, from 1984 to 1986, all four of the Big 4 bands released defining debut albums; Saint Vitus released their eponymous album, Trouble released Psalm 9, Pentagram released Relentless and Candlemass released Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. Not only did all of those albums give the scene a united front and further the awareness of doom metal as a genre, but they would influence and inspire many well-known later musicians.

    Another thing in common about Saint Vitus, Trouble, Pentagram and Candlemass is that they all cite Black Sabbath as an influence. Candlemass recorded a track called “Black Sabbath Medley” on their 1988 album “Ancient Dreams”, which is composed of both parts and lyrics to many of their songs, while Saint Vitus named themselves after a song from Black Sabbath’s 1972 album Vol. 4 called “St. Vitus’ Dance”.

    Seeing Saint Vitus, Trouble, Pentagram and Candlemass tour together would be such an honor. We, as fans, would love to thank all of them for their hard work and all the classics they’ve been putting out since the 1980s.

If you think the tour should happen, go here  to sign the petition. “The Big 4 of Doom Metal” also has a Facebook page, go here  to “like” it.

Source: Idioteq.Com

SLEEP: Stoner Metal Icons To Play Four Special U.S. Shows Next Month ...

Following a near month-long stretch of European live dates, currently underway, stoner metal icons SLEEP will play four special U.S. shows next month in Florida, Washington and California. The performances come in celebration of the epic deluxe reissue of Dopesmoker released via Southern Lord Recordings earlier this month. Entirely remastered from the original smoke-encrusted Ampex reels, the reissue features an unreleased live recording of one their greatest live performances -- "Holy Mountain" from San Francisco's I-Beam in 1994 -- as well as a brand new artwork by long time SLEEP artist Arik Roper.

Dopesmoker stands as one of the towering achievements in recent metal history: a mesmerizing, intoxicating, and incredibly complex composition that remains unrivaled in the evolution of stoner metal. In a recent review, Alarm Magazine christened it “a monolith of metal,” MSN echoed the sentiment calling the record, “one of the most influential stoner/doom albums ever recorded,” while Pitchfork crowned Dopesmoker “Best New Reissue” noting, “it's an hour of adventure and momentum, where the lumber and the repetition somehow always push ahead. At a moment when black metal reinventers and D-beat revivers seem to dominate large sections of the heavy music world, maybe the thought of a resin-voiced singer intoning for an hour over riffs that wrap into themselves and drums that aim ever for infinity seems boring. But no matter how many times they had to record or rehearse ‘Dopesmoker’ to master it, or no matter how much pressure London placed on them to make something more commercial than personal, SLEEP sound as if their very existence depends upon the successful exercise of this weed ritual…. This record's influence on substance, style, and simple ambition within heavy metal has long outlived the band that made it. “

SLEEP 2012 European Tour Dates [remaining dates]:
5/23/2012 Button Factory - Dublin, Ireland w/ A Storm of Light
5/24/2012 Stylus - Leeds, United Kingdom w/ A Storm of Light
5/25/2012 ATP I'll Be Your Mirror - London, United Kingdom w/ Slayer, Melvins
5/26/2012 Villette, Sonique - Paris, France
5/27/2012 Trix - Antwerp, Belgium w/ A Storm of Light
5/28/2012 Feierwerk - Munich, Germany w/ A Storm of Light
5/31/2012 ATP Primavera Sound Barcelona - Barcelona, Spain w/ Wolves In The Throne Room

SLEEP 2012 U.S. Tour Dates:
6/02/2012 The Ritz – Tampa, FL
6/03/2012 Neumos – Seattle, WA
6/04/2012 Neumos – Seattle, WA
6/05/2012 Fox Theater – Oakland, CA

May 23, 2012

El Thule – Zenit ...

Third album for a well-known trio (of the Italian heavy stoner panorama) now turned into a duo, and celebrating the tenth year of activity. Take these numbers, play lotto and you might win! Those who certainly win are the dudes in the Italian heavy drug rock band El Thule, in particular the last two active members, i.e. guitarist/vocalist Andrea “Mr. Action” and drummer/back vocalist Gweedo Weedo (a name of Truckfighter’s memory…). El Thule “lost” their historical member, bassist El Comandante a.k.a. Matteo, after he moved away from Italy to follow his dream of a better life. But Matteo never completely abandoned the band and, especially, the scene also thanks to his successful activity as European-scale gig promoter.
The new album by El Thule is called Zenit.

Please note that “Zenit” is not a typo but is as we pronounce the word “Zenith” in Italian by ignoring the final “h”. The title is meant to indicate the apex of the sun and is spelt in Italian. Why? Because this time El-Thule abandoned English (used in all their previous albums) and decided to sing completely in their language, Italian. A choice maybe for feeling and make their brother El Comandante feel closer to home. Or maybe the attempt for boosting their music with the force coming from the surely powerful and emotional impact of one’s own language coupled with the aggression of dirty distorted rock/metal. Mid March saw the release of Zenit via the Italian label Go Down Records after five years from El Thule’s last, successful album, Green Magic. As the title might suggest, that album especially seemed to be devoted to experiment how heavily stretched can stoner boundaries get by poisoning via down-tempo rugged heaviness, abrasive as well as drugged noise and mesmerizing, drony acid raw psychedelia, without losing the distinctive charge of groove. This kind of experiments and reworking on stoner is not obviously an exclusive of El-Thule, but with Green Magic the El Thule guys as well as their fans at their live exhibitions were surely enjoying themselves a lot!

Album Zenit bears names of stars, constellations, nebulae and planets as track titles, and may fool you around for this fact. Nope, El-Thule did not devote to psychedelic space drone …
As a matter of fact album Zenit is absolutely “solid”. It is thirteen tracks (twelve plus a short acoustic outro) for about 50 minutes of some cool relentlessly churning, extremely tight, loud and angry (stoner) metal aggression. I put “stoner” in brackets above because actually the new album is very heavy. But there are doses of beloved stoner for sure, as well as some highly enjoyable additions of sun-burnt, sweaty swampy groove and seducing, lazy psych blues flashes. And there’s also some space for some cosmic psych trips (like in track Quasar), for surprisingly delicate touches of vintage proggy-psych folk (like the melody with the flute in Sedna) as well as for the mammoth touch of doom. Often radical tempo changes make this album full of surprises and of great impact. There are several examples worth of note. Track Phobos is led by an almost thrashy blasting rhythm sustained by some great tight syncopated riffs and smartly dying out into an atmospheric doom-flavoured slow-down. La Nube di Oort is another example of striking pairing of styles, seducing doomy bluesy clashing with surges of frenzied riffs and pumping drumming. Titano is another one of the kaleidoscopic tracks of this album hosting sounds encompassing everything from the most classic acid stoner rock groove to viscous sludgy rawness to pure angry heavy metal!
Tracks are rarely exceeding 5 minutes but are like small worlds. Their compactness does not prevent musicians to express their stylistic whims fully.  Mr. Action is almost acrobatic with riffage and drummer Gweedo Weedo is conspicuously keeping the pace with the guitar player’s lunatic and schizophrenic escapes by means of an octopus-like, dynamic drumming, which is particularly well rendered by the excellent production of this album, cured by the musicians. The downtuning of Andrea’s guitar and the multifaceted architecture of the riffs and the drumming patterns are such that enough deep “noise” is supplied to make up also for the absence of El Comandante’s bass in most of the tracks.

The album is drenched with groove and melody for sure, the latter being conveyed especially by Andrea’s clean singing somehow veined with melancholy in spite of the undeniable strength. It is the same grim melancholy I feel when I listen to the many cool Spanish-speaking psych doom/stoner bands, e.g., from South America. Vocal parts are maybe the feeble part of this powerful album. Although tighter than before, chanting sometimes failed in sustaining the charge of the riffs. Andrea might learn how to roar a little bit …
I still have to get used to listen to heavy tunes in my own language: at the beginning the relative ease of grasping the meaning of the words distracted me from concentrating on the pure sound. Anyway, Zenit’s often introspective lyrics are reported in the smart artistic and occult-looking booklet accompanying the album and done by the band’s guys.
What is somehow new in this album is a rather radical choice of the band of sacrificing part of their previous raw psych stoner/doom imprint and steering towards paths of “in your face” breathless dirty groovy metal heaviness like that heard in other well-known duos like Black Cobra.
You will excuse me, but a final comment in Italian is due: “Bell’album, ragazzi!” ……..  8.5/10

Words by Marilena Moroni

El Thule | Blogspot
El Thule | Facebook
El Thule | Bandcamp
Go Down Records | Official

Templars of the Luciferian Cult: Interview with Huata ...

Earlier this year HUATA released one of the biggest surprises in Doom! “Atavist Of Mann” is a dark, heavy, tribute to the ancient Lords of the black arts. Although demons did not allow a first meeting with the band members, luck (or fate) made it possible and I a present to you, our brief chat with Ronan (vocals, keyboard).

Dr.Doom: Since HUATA is a fairly new band can you give some information about the background of the band and its members?

Ronan: The band started in 2006 under the impulsion of our Grand Guru, since then many of the foreign Huata’s disciples were cursed because of their lack of faith in the holy power of doom.

Dr.Doom: Comparing to the EP “Open the Gates of Shambhala”, I see there is a slight change in the vocals style to less extreme forms, unlike the rest of music which sounds heavier, darker and Doomier. Was that intentional or it just happen?

Ronan: We wanted something less frontal and screamed for the vocal parts as we included another instrument into our music. The addition of the Hammond Organ gave us an opportunity to explore new melodies for Huata, so we tried to do the same for the vocal.

Dr.Doom: The music is massive and some songs bring memories of early Electric Wizard, back when they used to be known as “the worlds heaviest band”. I am wondering would ever care you sacrifice some of the heaviness to favor experimentations with vintage equipment for example?

Ronan: As we are already using vintage equipment we can tell you that heaviness is not left behind when we are experimenting on new stuff, what doesn’t appears in the latest Electric Wizard’s albums for example. Vintage and experimentations can be heavy as well, but we want can’t pretend to sound like in the 70’s, we are conscious that we are living in a modern millennium so we are just trying to make an actual music focusing on its essence.

Dr.Doom: Now that the word experimentation came up would you say that the Doom genre does not allow much room for experimentation? Would you care to explore totally new musical paths with HUATA?

Ronan: Actually, we are very open to experimentations on our new compositions. But as we want to keep our music huge and slow, we have to find another way to explore musical themes that are different from the dark, devilish ones that is usually found in the Doom metal genre. We are looking for a new musical vocabulary, with a lighter and a more spiritual expression of the sound. For the moment, bands as Goblin, Magma, Jacula or King Crimson are parts of our influence to work on this way.

Dr.Doom: Although lyrics on the LP version of “Atavist of Mann” are somehow encrypted, I think it’s safe to say that they twist around subjects like occultism and Satanism. Do you have a real interest towards this kind of subjects or do you treat your lyrics as part of your image?

Ronan: We do have a real interest to the ancient traditions, secrets of the origins of our world and of our universe. As “Satanism” is just a depraved interpretation of the luciferian cult from disabused Christians, we are trying to link what relates to the Cult itself and not just a degenerated interpretation thereof.

Dr.Doom: Let me ask you on more thing on this one. Since about 80% of the new bands claim to be “occult” would you say that this theme is overused? Isn’t there a danger of becoming a Doom cliché?

Ronan: the problem with claiming to be occult is the total contradiction with what this therm means and refers to, as the first function of an occultist is to hide its own nature. That’s why the lyrics on the album are encrypted to hide to the uninitiated souls our beliefs and holy tales. As you said, most of the bands who claimed to be occult aren’t even dealing with a relevant occult purpose, but this kind of fashion was already a big part of the 70’s B-side cinema: the Church of Satan, Hammer or Pornographic exploitation movies for example. That’s not an issue to us as the cliché of these movies are relevant of occultism’s matters in a theatrical way and if we weren’t enjoying this aspect of the occult we would not use them.

Dr.Doom: The cover art is a serious contender for the year’s best album cover on Doom. Who is responsible for it?

Ronan: You’re not the first one to say this, we are really glad that our artwork is enjoyed by our listeners, thank you ! Our Sub Bass Guru Benjamin did the whole album’s visual based on a Sabbath we made, pictured by our dear friend Lucie Inland, more generally, he takes care of all the iconoclast aspect of Huata.

Dr.Doom: Some obvious influences of HUATA are BLACK SABBATH, COVEN and ELECTRIC WIZARD. But are there any newer bands that you find interesting or perhaps have influenced the band to some level?

Ronan: Actually EW wasn’t the main influence on the writing process for “Atavist Of Mann”, we were more into Black Widow, Bongzilla, Cathedral, Church of Misery, Asva or Ocean Chief for example. But as we said before for now we’re more into progressive, jazz, drone bands from the 70’s than into the classical Doom-Stoner-Sludge genre.

Dr.Doom: MARS RED SKY, VERDUN and BARABBAS are some of the hottest newcomers on the Doom scene and they all come from France. How do you explain this sudden explosion of Doom in France?

Ronan: We don’t know, it seems that France is always ten years later than the American or British musical waves. For example, our friends from MONARCH started to make their music in 2002 and everyone were throwing empty bottle on them on stage, 10 years later they are the most known Doom French band and are playing worldwide. We don’t know what suddenly make the French crowd attentive to this music, but it is a good thing for the expansion of the genre! For example Ronan and Ben were reviewers of this genre in webzines for years and no one was interested about it, now there are a huge amount of webzines, webradios, blogspots, forums etc. Maybe the doom crowd is “true” or “hipster” but we don’t care, we are doing this for years because we love that way to express the sound material in its deep vibrating essence, and won’t change till the new millenium.

 Dr.Doom: Are there any French bands we should know?

Ronan: Of course there are ! As you said Mars red sky, Verdun and the saints Barabbas, but we can also cite you Wheelfall, Cult of Occult, Stangala, The Bottle Doom Lazy Band, Ataraxie, Hangman’s Chair, Mhönos, Rising Dust, Habsyll and also all the team of the Stoner West Coast. These bands have a strong value and deserve to be known in foreign countries. But Massacra will always be the best French metal band of all time.

Dr.Doom: This year you were invited to Roadburn fest! What a nice accomplishment for a young band! How did that happen and what did you gain from that experience?

Ronan: We were invited in person to play in this fest thanks to Jaap from the Mudfest Festival in Netherlands who invited Walter the Roadburn organizer thou. He just experienced our music and enjoyed it so we get in touch with him when we came back in France. We were really glad to be a part of this event with great names as Wino, Yob, Witch etc, and it gave us some credibility and exposition to the doomsters.

Dr.Doom: One of your trademarks is your live shows. Do you believe that some of part of the your recognition is because of your uncommon way to appear on stage and would care to take your live shows a bit further by adding more theatrical elements for example?

Ronan: We are just trying to do what we intend, as it’s not often easy to play with too much theatrical things. But yes our goal is to put a lot of theatrical elements on our shows : we just want to go on the best way to express what Huata must be, and that’s what we’re doing right now. Actually that’s what divides our listeners between those who think that wearing grimmrobes during our ceremonies are not enough, and those who think that it is already too much.

Dr.Doom: Are there any plans for more touring this year?

Ronan: Yes we are planning to tour in Spain for a dozen of shows, and we’re also looking forward to Scandinavia. We do have some contacts to play outside France but we are still looking for a tour manager to help us to spread the doom in Europe and further.

 Dr.Doom: Before we close are there any future plans of the band you can share with the fans of HUATA?

Ronan: To reach the great north star with the luciferian-agarthian-venusian Great Ancient Emissaries before the rise of the New Millenium !

Interview By Dr Doom Metal ( Dr Dooms Lair )

Huata | Bandcamp

NEWS: Southern Lord and Scion A/V Metal To Host Cali Showcase As Part Of Label Summer Package Tour ...

From Earsplit PR:

This week Southern Lord confirms the details for a special free label showcase in Pomona, California this June! As part of the massive Southern Lord label package tour set to tear through the country in the weeks ahead, the label showcase co-presented with Scion A/V metal will take place at The Glass House in Pomona, andwill be the solitary manifestation of the entire tour to take place in Los Angeles County. The lineup for the show features all four core acts on the label tour -- Enabler, Burning Love, Martyrdöd and Black Breath -- in addition to a special headlining guest appearance by labelmates Pelican. As a free Scion A/V metal RSVP-only event the spots will fill up extremely fast. If you plan on attending, make sure to reserve your spot RIGHT NOW,AT THIS LOCATION. The Southern Lord label tour will run through the U.S. for nearly a month, with the core acts Enabler, Burning Love, Martyrdöd and Black Breath being joined by the likes of Poison Idea, Noothgrush, Pelican, Power Trip, Wild//Tribe, Dead In The Dirt, The Secret and more via special regional appearances.

Southern Lord Summer 2012 Label Package Tour
6/19/2012 El Corazon - Seattle, WA w/ Poison Idea
6/20/2012 Hawthorne Theater - Portland, OR w/ Poison Idea
6/21/2012 The Mezzanine - San Francisco, CA w/ Noothgrush
6/22/2012 The Catalyst - Santa Cruz, CA w/ Pelican, Noothgrush
6/23/2012 The Glass House - Pomona, CA *Southern Lord label showcase w/ Pelican
6/24/2012 The Casbah - San Diego, CA w/ Pelican
6/25/2012 Chasers - Phoenix, AZ
6/27/2012 Club Dada - Dallas, TX w/ Power Trip, Wild//Tribe
6/28/2012 Red 7 - Austin, TX w/ Power Trip, Wild//Tribe
6/29/2012 Walter’s - Houston, TX w/ Power Trip, Wild//Tribe
6/30/2012 Three Ring Circus - New Orleans, LA w/ Dead In The Dirt
7/01/2012 529 - Atlanta, GA w/ Dead In The Dirt
7/02/2012 Kings Barcade - Raleigh, NC w/ Dead In the Dirt
7/03/2012 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA w/ Dead In The Dirt
7/04/2012 Talking Head Lounge at Sonar - Baltimore, MD w/ The Secret
7/05/2012 Radio Bar - Boston, MA w/ The Secret
7/06/2012 Acheron - Brooklyn, NY w/ The Secret
7/07/2012 The Barbary - Philadelphia, PA w/ The Secret
7/08/2012 Blind Bob’s - Dayton, OH w/ The Secret (*NO Martyrdöd)
7/09/2012 Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL (*NO Martyrdöd)
7/10/2012 Borg Ward - Milwaukee, WI (*Black Breath & Enabler ONLY)
7/11/2012 Medusa - Minneapolis, MN (*Black Breath & Enabler ONLY)
7/13/2012 Carr's Corner - Spokane, WA (*Black Breath ONLY)

 Soutthern Lord Official
Southern Lord | Facebook

SAINT VITUS: UK Tour Dates ...

Doom Legends SAINT VITUS will be hitting the UK in less than 3 weeks in support of their new album Lillie F-65. Support comes from Acid King, Sardonis and Slabdragger.

June 11th: The Underworld, London,
June 12th: Academy 3, Manchester
June 13th: The Fleece, Bristol

May 22, 2012

Natur - Head of Death ...

Alright we don't usually review this stuff here at Doommantia but in light of the fact that even some extreme doom bands are singing the praises of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and the newer bands still carrying on the tradition, I thought I would give this album a go. Natur are pure old-school heavy metal. There is nothing fancy, nothing complex, nothing particularly heavy, nothing thought-provoking and certainly nothing ground-breaking.

In fact the tunes have all been done before some 30 years or more ago, back in a simpler time when heavy metal was just that...heavy metal. There was no sub-genres back then; you had headbangers and punks and there wasn't much else for lovers of riffy rock to listen to at all. This album titled 'Head of Death' is getting a fairly high-profile release on Earache Records so we want to see what all the fuss is about.

Now I loved the N.W.O.B.H.M at the time till it became another mainstream fad that got eaten up by the mainstream media who tried to cash in on it at every chance they could get. Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast" signalled the end of the scene or at least the end of the era as us (now) old-farts knew it. The scene all came crashing down pretty quickly after Iron Maiden hit the big time and within a year, it was mostly all but forgotten as thrash, death and black metal bands took over the world.

The era of the high screaming vocalist was replaced by cookie monster and Lemmy impersonating vocalists starting with Cronos of Venom and ending up with the unintelligible grunts of the euro-black/death bands. The days of still blues-based and progressive rock inspired metal died a death and that was replaced by thrash beats, mosh-pits while headbanging and air-guitaring became a thing of the past; some even called it hippie shit.

Yes I sound like your grandfather preaching about how good things used to be in the good old days but the cold hard truth is; when the old-guard of heavy metal was replaced by thrash; unity and to a certain extent, plain old fun was flushed away for good. Now I don't know how old these geezers from Natur are but they seem to be still trapped forever in the denim and leather metal lifestyle of 1979 to 1982. A part of you has to wonder what is the attraction for doom and stoner-metal bands to this style and that era of metal music. Why do so many metal bands sing the praises of Angel Witch, Raven and Witchfynde. Listening those early 80's records now and they do sound horribly dated and in some cases even more dated than albums that are much older still. There has been a massive resurgence of the classic heavy metal style in the last few years and frankly this niche scene has become over-saturated with cheesy second and third-rate wannabees but there are exceptions and Natur are one of those.

This is classic guitar-rock heaven even though the riffs are almost all about as "stock" as you can get. There are galloping bass lines and more power chords than the average modern metal fan could stomach but it is damn good fun. The vocals are thin, devoid of any range or emotion but that sums up 90% of all British heavy metal vocalists from the early 80's so it all fits perfectly. It must be pointed out that Natur come from New York City and are not British at all but this is more British than tea and scones. What Natur have that so many other N.W.O.B.H.M copyists don't have is a great deal of variation. There are ethereal moments and even a couple of passages that verge on the more sludge-metal end of the metallic scale and they do indulge in epic-scaled metal pieces as well even if all of that is in small doses.

At times it is anthemic stadium metal ('Decion') while at other times they try their hand at something atmospheric ('Spider Baby'). However for the most part this is almost like a tribute to the early 80's. Songs like 'Vermin Rift’ and 'The Servent' sound so much like Angel Witch circa 1981, it is uncanny but at least it is not a direct rip-off. Don't expect anything striking in the musicianship stakes but do expect an album that is about as solid as anything ever released in heavy metal. The riffs are fairly simple but incredibly catchy, the drumming is straight-forward but irresistibly pounding and it is perfect party-metal music without being sappy or too cheesy. Natur give a big f@#k you to all the sub-genres that have emerged since 1984 but especially nu-metal, metalcore and of-course so-called emo-metal bands. This is the complete antithesis to all those scenes and the world of metal is better off for it.

I still don't get the attraction to the N.W.O.B.H.M era and its sounds as much as I loved the era at the time. Maybe it is a kind of backlash to some of the garbage that is around today or maybe it is just a flashback to a simpler time in metal or maybe it is a style that comes naturally to these 4 guys. Whatever you take on it is, there is no denying what a fun record this is and after all, heavy metal was supposed to be all about good times and a release for all your worries and tensions and in that respect, this album works; fun, fun, headbanging fun...8/10.

Natur | Facebook

Words: Ed Barnard / Sally Bethhall

TOTIMOSHI: At A Loss To Release Vinyl Version Of Avenger; Pre-Orders Available NOW! ...

From Earsplit PR....

TOTIMOSHI: At A Loss To Release Vinyl Version Of Avenger; Pre-Orders Available NOW!

On May 29, At A Loss Recordings will unleash the vinyl edition of Avenger, the critically-acclaimed studio offering from California desert death rock trio, TOTIMOSHI. Championed by Rock Sound for its “smart and uniquely wonky brand of hard rock that’s sometimes bluesy, sometimes sexy, sometimes spaced out but never anything less than completely compelling,” and commended by The Obelisk for its absorbing variations, noting: “It’s dissonant but melodic, dirty and clean, noisy but engaging, structured but open,” Avenger is another eclectic milestone in the band’s already winding catalog of sonic  ingenuity. And now, Avenger will finally be available on vinyl! The pressing is limited to 500 copies and available on either opaque purple or black vinyl. Pre-orders are available at THIS LOCATION.  Avenger was produced by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Shrinebuilder, Tool), mastered by John Golden (Melvins, Mike Watt, OM) and includes appearances by Dale Crover (Altamont, The Melvins, Shrinebuilder), Brent Hinds (Mastodon) and Scott Kelly (Neurosis, Shrinebuilder).

 “Avenger is fresh and crisp, with much to digest…. a thoroughly satisfying album.” —

“Though it aims for the throat, Avenger consistently seeps into the soul, proving that Totimoshi remain one of the most original forces in modern metal.” — Exclaim

“Comparable to classic rock, but fused with enough modernity to grant relevance over nostalgia, TOTIMOSHI is a steady and robust rock unit, at times flirting with enough progressive adventure to negate expectations of typical rock repetition.” — Stereokiller

“The freshness of a band setting their own rules and virtually creating their own unique pigeon hole is rare, admirable and in the case of Californians TOTIMOSHI deeply satisfying.” — This Is Not A Scene

“…their best piece of work to date.” — Doommantia

 “Sludge metal meets alternative metal meets ‘70s hard rock… an album which – with the presence of elements from a number of different rock genres – probably will have a broad appeal among fans of alternative rock/metal, sludge metal, psychedelic heavy rock, progressive hard rock and perhaps even dark progressive metal along the lines of Psychotic Waltz.” — Sea Of Tranquility

Official Website
At A Loss Recordings
At A Loss | Facebook
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