Jun 30, 2012

Futility - The View from Here ...

Back in October of 2009, I came across this Aussie band Futility who were following the doom-print of the Peaceville Three but coming up with a very fresh take on that much-used death-doom formula. Almost 3 years later now and the death-doom genre has become awfully stagnant and predictable so the most you can hope for is at least great songs even if they are unoriginal. I liked the début album from this band, it was a fresh sounding album with great riffs, melodies and it had a lot of infectious qualities. This new one titled 'The View From Here' is not as catchy to my ears but the musicianship, songwriting and production values have all stepped-up a notch and this has resulted in a very dynamic, emotional and for the most part, captivating album. While the band are still following the footsteps left behind by My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and early Katatonia, the band is still far more diverse than most other death/goth-doom bands. The icing on the cake with this album is a cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb' which highlights the fact that their own songs are still far from perfect as this cover is easily the highlight of the album but still stacked this up against other death-doom bands and it stands tall.

Starting with a track called 'Drowning' with all the haunting guitar and keyboard melodies you would expect from a band with the goth-doom tag, the band show their diversity by bringing in heavier, darker, ominous riffing and the track slowly builds with some killer chugging. The song is insanely depressive, bleak and without too much sugar-coated gothic romanticism that often wrecks many other songs from death-doom bands. This track is one of six songs that go way beyond the 8 minute barrier which does take away from some of the albums intensity and it does get overly tedious so a little trimming would have been nice. That overly long track is followed by an even longer track, 'Another Black Day' which follows in the same vein. What I do appreciate is the blend of the simple and complex. The guitar riffs can be straight-forward heavy and chugging but often they inject a short dose of intricate playing which really adds to the dynamics. The drums also have a good blend of straight-forward pounding and complex fills so for stock-standard death-doom, this is all very interesting.

The hardest track to sit through is the 15 minutes of 'And Still I Hate' which highlights their expertise as players and composers but also highlights how their songs can seem overly bloated and extended way beyond their effectiveness. This track features haunting acoustic guitar and a hypnotic approach to minimalism which would have been perfect if it wasn't so long and drawn out. This is followed by a track called 'Nothing' which seems almost short by comparison even though it is still almost 9 minutes long. The piece is a good blend of the frightening and the beautiful. Menacing riffs clashed with gorgeous blasts of guitar melodies so this is a kind of relaxing head-banging death-doom that they unleashed here. This track has what I think is the albums best riff, or at least the most infectious so this stands out as a very memorable track indeed. Up next comes another almost 9 minute tune titled 'Misrecollections' and this seems to be the most "stock" track out of the bunch. A highly listenable piece but nothing out of the ordinary by death-doom standards.

Then comes the Pink Floyd cover and I must say I have heard dozens of Floyd covers in my time but this stands right up there with the very best of them. Rather than just doing a death-doom take on the song, they make their own and give it a whole new vibe. When you hear versions of classic songs like this one, it makes you realize how great the original was. The only downside I feel is it highlights the weaknesses of their original tracks. It is not that much of an issue but I think when a cover turns out to be a highlight of an album, you have a slight problem and it makes you look a bit closer at the band's original works. I have always thought Pink Floyd were often a very doomy band without anyone being really aware of it and Futility certainly backs up my theory. 'Comfortably Numb' is actually a very bleak piece of music and Futility squeeze every depressive note out of the song in mesmerizing fashion.

Perhaps the Floyd cover should have been left to last in the albums playing order because the track that does end the album is the 15 minute epic 'Mantra' which really seems forgettable after what came before it. To be fair, it is a good track but like 'And I Still Hate' it just seems horribly long and slightly bloated. Despite some tracks being a little tedious, there is still a lot to love about 'The View From Here.' The album flows fairly well and each track has its own identity. The band is diverse in the way they approach their songs, simple one minute, a little complex the next so that keeps it interesting. The one element I haven't mentioned as yet is the vocals and they are also something that makes this release way above average by death-doom standards. The vocals are growls, shrieks and howls and they convey a sense of depressive bleakness that is perfect for these songs. The actual voice isn't that different from a lot of other vocalists in the genre but the way the emotions are presented are honest, passionate and most of all...believable. There is a lot of great doom coming out of Australia and this is right up there at the top of the pile. Highly recommended....8/10.

Futility | Facebook

Jun 29, 2012

Sleep - Dopesmoker Deluxe Reissue ...

Do I really need to review this album again? I think I have reviewed it at least 3 times already for different webzines and there is not much you can say that hasn't already been said several hundred times before. The album has of course grown from underground cult-classic to a highly influential release. So influential is Dopesmoker that some bands base their entire direction around this one album but is it really that good? The album got very mixed reactions at its time of release. Some people found it to be one of the most boring albums ever released while others did nothing but praise its organic heaviness and epic, hypnotic atmosphere. As time has gone on, comments have shifted to being overwhelmingly positive so why the change in opinions? The truth is this 60 minute celebration of weed-metal has some of the most famous riffs in doom, stoner-metal history. Most doom/stoner fans will instantly recognize the piece even just from a few seconds anywhere during the duration of the epic track. The track was unique for its time and is still unique now. After all how many bands have tackled a 63 minute epic of this size since, the answer is none really. There has been epic tracks released by other bands but no one else has really be able to capture the same organic approach that Sleep did back in 1999 when the album was still called 'Jerusalem.'

The Dopesmoker mix of the album was originally released in 2003 and still is the superior take of the track. It is longer and recorded the way it was intended in the first place. If albums that are "narcolepsy inducing" are not your thing, this is an album to avoid at all costs. Dopesmoker is long, slow and even slower at developing and building as a piece of music. A lot of people turn the album off within the first 10 minutes because frankly speaking, not much happens, especially for the senses of the unexperienced listener. Analyze the album more closely however and indeed a lot happens, but you need to be patient to fully appreciate it. The track starts out with about 3 minutes of a distorted, droning riff which is nothing special but it does set up the meditative vibe. Eventually the drums come crashing in and the track slowly starts to move, mind you the track really doesn't go anywhere till at least 10 minutes into the track. The music becomes hypnotic and repetitive while lyrically it starts to tell the tale of a "bong-hopping trip to the holy land." About 20 minutes in, there is a short break, a short solo but the main riff keeps on going on and on and on, pounding the senses into a big pile of poop. Luckily, it is a very good riff but is it worth listening to for an hour, I doubt it but if the right mood takes you, there is no finer album to listen to and yes, it helps if you are high!!

The main driving force behind this track has nothing to do with guitars at all, it is the drums. After 40 minutes of this track, the only instrument providing variation is the drums. The main riff doesn't really change at all but the drums are constantly changing, adding new fills, patterns, and it is really the key to keeping this track interesting. For me personally, the Dopesmoker track really doesn't fully come to life till some 40 minutes in which is a problem for me seeing as who wants to sit through 40 minutes of mind-numbing music waiting for their favorite section to arrive. Finally at this point the track seems to have major variance, the bass takes on a more experimental approach, the guitar work varies slightly even though that main riff is still on repeat mode and Sleep introduce the best leads of the album. The last 20 minutes of Dopesmoker is what lifts the song out of a quagmire of semi-boring, repetitive riffing and turns it into the monolithic epic that it is. If the track would end 40 minutes in, you would be left with a pretty ordinary epic track, it is the last 20 minutes that really makes it special.

Now producer Billy Anderson has said in interviews that there was no expense spared in making Dopesmoker the heaviest thing ever put on record and you can hear why he makes that claim. Guitar tracks are layered on top of other guitar tracks and it is sounds huge but this remastered reissue sounds even bigger. Whether it is worth buying again if you already have the original is your call but I would highly recommend it if you have the spare cash to blow on buying an album you have probably heard a million times by now. As a bonus you get a live version of Holy Mountain' recorded in 1994 when the band was at the peak of its powers and this is almost worth the purchase price alone. The new cover art has been under some debate, personally I prefer the original cover art but that is not an issue, it is the epic track that matters and it sounds even better on this re-issued version.  The main thing the remastering has done is new renewed clarity, the album sounds bigger and clearer without sacrificing any of the original organic heaviness. If you have never bought this album, this is the version to get. If you have never had the urge to buy this album, it might be time to re-think that decision.

Sleep | Facebook

Portugal: From Fado to Doom ...

Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Spain on the other. It is famous for its past conquests, food, ceramics, the Algarve, food and wine and of course Fado, a very melancholic and gloomy style of music. Amália Rodrigues was and is still is the most recognizable Portuguese name in music but, in the past years, Portugal has produced and exported some important names such as Xutos e Pontapés (Rock) Moonspell (Gothic Metal), Madredeus (Fado/Folk), Buraka Som Sistema (Electro/Kuduro) and Mariza (Fado).

The Rock and Metal scenes have been growing a lot in the last few years with the appearance of many underground bands in the Sludge, Stoner, and Doom categories. Men Eater, a Sludge/Stoner band from Lisbon, is one of the most recognized bands.

They combine such influences as Mastodon, High on Fire, Doomriders, Isis, Neurosis, Black Sabbath, etc. They have three successful full-length albums (Hellstone, Vendaval and Gold) which have allowed them to tour Europe and play alongside bands such as Metallica and Mastodon in some Portuguese festivals.

They have also started influencing other underground bands from the north of the country such as Burning Man and Wild Tiger Affair, two young, energetic and hungry bands. "Ronin" (Burning Man) and "Lost Fathers" (Wild Tiger Affair) are two great examples.

In the Stoner territory, the most internationally recognized band in Portugal is Black Bombaim. The power trio hailing from Barcelos take stoner to an all new level. Their latest album, Titans, is a pure demonstration of instrumental pyschedelic stoner rock executed perfectly. Earth Drive and Aspen are two other promissing bands that also do justice to this genre and are growing imensely in the underground, featuring in some national festivals and in some gigs in smaller venues. In a more Rock oriented Stoner vibe, two main bands would have to be Miss Lava and Dapunksportif. Influenced by Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age, they bring the desert feeling to Portugal. Miss Lava have a new record coming out soon mixed by Matt Hyde (Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu, Slayer, Deftones) and have also participated in the latest Rock In Rio festival in Lisbon. Dapunksportif have their third album, called "Fast Changing World" in the final stages of mixing and mastering and it will be released very soon.

Moving into the darker, slower and more Doom genre, Portugal proudly presents Process of Guilt, LÖBO, Before the Rain and Sinistro. Faemin, the latest release from Process of Guilt, has gotten great reviews on both national and international websites and have started projecting themselves into the international scene. They are definitely the next big thing in Portugal. Before the Rain had a very well acclaimed album released last year named "Frail". It was actually considered by the readers of Metal Storm as the third best doom album of 2011. LÖBO will release their follow-up to "Alma" later on this year. Sinistro are a misterious instrumental band to keep an eye on. They have recently released their surprisingly great self-titled debut that caught everyone off guard. Overall, the Portuguese scene looks pretty healthy. There are dozens of bands being born in the underground that have an honest and DIY approach to music. Shame is there is not so much support from the music industry and music labels here. Still, there are a few that support and promote their artists like Major Label Industries, Lovers and Lollypops, Raging Planet and Rastilho.


Man Eater | Facebook
Burning Man | Facebook
Wild Tiger | Facebook
Black Bombaim | Facebook
Earth Drive | Facebook
Lesaspen | Facebook
Miss Lava | Facebook
Dapunksportif | Facebook
Process of Guilt | Facebook
Lobo | Facebook
Before The Rain | Facebook
Sinistro | Facebook

Major Label Industries
Lovers and Lollypops
Raging Planet

Article By Mark Martins

Jun 28, 2012

Mentat vs. Cementerio Split 2012 ...

Several months passed since the release of this charmingly gloomy split between two cool Spanish, Valencia-based bands, Mentat and Cementerio. Both bands are in the roster of the French underground label Boue Records which has by now become guarantee of quality and eclectic taste for doom, sludge, black and dark metal in general.  This is one of those split releases where  there seem to be more discontinuity than affinities between the bands involved, at least at a first, surficial approach. However what links and justifies the coupling of Mentat with Cementerio here is something beyond the geographical provenance, it’s a basic, archetypal element, let’s call it “Doom”. Mentat and Cementerio elaborate Doom with different approaches and spirit, and their being in the same “cage” offers a cool trip into contrasting forms of dark and heavy music.   In the split Mentat contributes two suites, the 6:21 minutes-long opener Un Juego Estupido and the 7:44 minutes-long track Dependencia Y Sustrato (XV). On their side Cementerio quartet offer a single 18:19 minutes-long track including three parts called "Consumidos Por Las Probabilidades" + "Y Acabamos En Un Afluente" + "El Cielo os Banaba".

Mentat are not new to Doommantia (see Here) and Cementerio are not new to the old Sludgeswamp devotees. Both bands and Boue Records have been generously sharing their previous fine outputs in the blogosphere in a recent past. In their substantial 2010 full length album Amarillo Abyssal the Mentat quartet had fully expressed their eclectic style encompassing powerful, dark sludgecore/doom metal blended with post-metal and experimentation, in the vein of bands like Rorcal, Neurosis, Flatlands, and Spanish acts like Lords of Bukkake, Warchetype, Aathma etc.. The link between the new tracks and Mentat’s previous major release is not only in the band’s stylistic continuity but also in the employment of Roman numbers (XV) related to the sequence adopted in the previous release. Mentat’s leading melodies may possess a dirty, distorted and sinister core stemming form the band’s mixture of dark, dramatic doom-sludge and drony post-metal. However the band mold this grim core via tempo changes and with the employment characteristic atmospheric parts varying from intense epic doom to delicate acoustic piano-/cello-driven sounds. A somber cello- and piano-driven melody coupled with a soft, occult background mumrmur is actually what opens the split on Mentat’s side. But it doesn’t take long before a dramatic, dark and epic, beautiful slow melody develops where harsh screams alternate with a solemn epic chanting. The second track, Dependencia y Sustrato, is again introduced by a rather long, soft and slow piano-driven melody which gradually fades when the leading distorted, almost sabbathian riffs and the tortured screams burst almost like a storm. However heaviness and gruesome sounds are again tempered by a growing intense, epic, atmospheric post-metal melody, so that the intimate acoustic, keyboard-driven outro sounds almost as natural.

Senses benumbed by the charming, dark, heavy but somber trip lead by Mentat will be then shaken up by the crushing onset of Cementerio’s side of the split.
Cementerio are wild! They sing, or better roar, in Spanish and mix sludge and metallic crust punk/ hardcore with some infectious doom/stoner groove. They were duly described as being a bit “like Eyehategod playing with Discharge and Slayer” in the (Spanish) desert. Other influences may be seen in Moho, Amebix, Electric Wizard, High on Fire, Khanate, and so on. So you have to expect, and you’ll get, much heaviness, radical tempo changes and furious riff and drumming blasts. The first part of Cementerio’s single long track is a rumbling charge of frenzied, mid- to up-tempo, sludgy , abrasive riffs and raw nasty vocals. This happily goes one for a while until the pace gradually slows down and the band enters pure doom territories via a sequence of plodding, genuine early Sabbathian  riffs. Fierce booming drumming and a new explosion of boosted riffs mark a shockingly rapid transition to fierce, rumbling heavy doom metal of straight High on Fire memory. Samples from horror movies and noises separate the first part from the second of the track which develops more or less according to the scheme seen before. The second part is dominated by a relentless mid-tempo heavy doom metal assault lead by a tremendously powerful, distorted riffage and majestic war-like drumming. Halfway through the second part there’s some slowing down in the pace and the sound becomes heavier, if possible. A final, breathless acceleration in riffs, roars and drumming abruptly stops  and after dark, gloomy background chanting Cementerio’s no-mercy, heavy sludge/doom metal storm of wildly galloping riffs and pummeling blows comes back again for the last minutes until a roar marks the sudden end of everything.

Yes, I guess it is not so frequent that two bands in a split are so different in style. However these two bands, Mentat and Cementerio, fit together in building up a solid release extremely rich in shades and greatly enjoyable especially for those who approach an album also like a stimulating, unpredictable trip full of surprises. This split was released during early 2012 as black vinyl via Boue Records and on co-release with labels Odio Sonoro, Disco Macaras, In My Hear Empire, Nooirax records and Tu Pa Tu Tu Pa. I saw a note that at Boue Records the album is sold out. Well, I like it when I see such notes! People still support the underground …  A digital version of this great split had been and still is available for free download on the Bandcamp page of Boue Records. There you can also find the digital versions of the other two albums by Mentat and Cementerio, well worth getting hold of in case you missed them before. Or else go and visit Boue Records for the smart solid, vinyl versions of them …

Words: Mari Moroni

Mentat vs Cementerio Split | Bandcamp
Boue Records | Official Website
Mentat | Myspace
Mentat | Facebook
Cementerio | Myspace

Lovecraft's Doom - Interview with Innzmouth ...

The last thing that you expect nowadays is this kind of collaboration, here we have a funeral project with two members – from Syria and USA. If you watch TV you know how strange it sounds but there’re still ideals in this world which make people all over the globe united – it’s doom (funeral doom in this situation) and Ancient Ones of Lovecraft. Innzmouth gave a birth to their first full-length album not so long ago – go and check “Lovecraft’s Dream” if you dare. Here come two travelers from Innzmouth, their names are Daemon and Reverend John Hex, they bring a Word of Peace, of Doom and Cthulhu.

Ctulhu ftangh gentlemen! What is a current situation in your unholy sect?

Innzmouth : Ia Ia ! The situation is as always dark, gloomy and Lovecraftian to the core.

I guess that it’s a good sign in your situation… I can’t avoid that trivial question but you know that behind this loud and evil band’s name are two persons one of which from Syria and another one – from USA. What kind of dark forces did bring you together?

Daemon : Well, I was looking for a guitarist to record some of my songs when I found my partner John . I told him about Innzmouth and it turned out that he was a huge fan of Lovecraft so we began to exchange ideas . We discovered that we share a similar style of composing and that led to the release of our debut album “Lovecraft’s Dreams”

Daemon plays in few black metal act as Reverend John Hex has his black metal / funeral project too. Can you both tell us more about your musical background?

Daemon : Well, I don't think that you can call it a background because I'm not a professional musician and I'm not planning to become one. Music to me has always been a way to express myself . I had many different bands/projects because at the time that I founded these projects I was mostly inexperienced and because of that, the biggest part of my music was immature, so at best, these projects were more like tools that I had used to craft my musical ability.
Reverend John Hex: I have been an underground horror musician for alittle over 13yrs now, ranging from playing Deathrock/Horror Rock-n-Roll/Black Metal/Horror Sountrack/and now Funeral Doom, seemed like a natural path to follow musically, as horror ties in with my passion for music. Obviously I am not in it for money, or I would have stopped creating music a long time ago, or become some sorta hipster sellout and play something trendy. I am a unconvential person that doesn't follow the formula of genres.

Demon, you had a lot of different black metal solo-projects, why did you finish all of them the end?

Daemon : Because they were more like an experimental projects that I had used to develop my musical knowledge and I finished them because their job was done.

Men, you’re both from countries which could inspire stronger than any Lovecraftian fable tales could! Daemon, do any of your other bands have conception which is attached to your land’s historical or cultural legacy?

Daemon: Inspiration has an unpredicted nature and it's personal. I don't believe that you can divide it into "levels" and say that "X" could be more inspiring that "Y". We come from different places, different societies and we have different fears, fantasies and complexes and this heavily affects the case of inspiration.
Of course that doesn't mean that I'm not interested in my land as a whole, but what interests me the most are the current issues/troubles that we're facing as a growing society and as a developing country.

And John, what’s about you? Why did you choose Lovecraft as your central source of inspiration when you have a lot of real nightmare creatures in your land? Gluttony demon Ronald McDonald, that Dick with a gun and… damn… sometimes I forget that it’s American site – sorry!

Reverend John Hex: I live in New England which is the stomping grounds of H.P. Lovecraft, living near graveyards he visited, and living near the coast where he was inspired to write the tale Shadows over Innsmouth, so the inspiration is strong in these blood soaked lands, and I ask who better to create music about Lovecraft? Beats the shit outta some band from Cleveland, or Soviet Russia to write about it dont you think? I suppose if I lived near a Ronald McDonald house we would be doing an interview about that stagnant tales of the dollar menu, but luckily we are not, and I prefer the term Cocks with Bullets than that Dick with a gun, ha ha.

 I bet that bands from Soviet Russia could write the stuff about Cthulhu defeated by submarines and bears-kamikaze. You tell the stories of Ancient Ones as in canonical writings of H.P., don’t you want to expand this mythology with your one ideas?

Daemon: We actually did that in our song “The Voyage”.

Innzmouth début album “Lovecraft’s Dream” was released onto small Russian label Satanrsa records. How did you find these guys?

Daemon : It was intended to be released by another label called "Razorback Records" but things didn't work out well So we began to ask various labels, Satanarsa was one of these labels.

What’s about albums promotion? Does label help you with it or do you promote it only by yourself?

Daemon: Yes it does help us with the promotion, but even if it doesn’t I don’t care because I’m not looking to shove my music down people’s throats. If someone is interested in listening to some Lovecraftian Funeral Doom then he’ll search for us.

The album starts with nearly insane yet brief intro “Esoteric Order of Dragon”, I guess that it reflects all conception of the album, don’t you think to continue your work in such avangarde doom vein or funeral (or slow death doom) is best incarnation of Lovecraftian lullubies?

Daemon: That was composed by John. I think that our music doesn’t fit entirely under one particular subgenre because it has different elements attached to it. I believe that we will follow the same style that we had developed in our album “Lovecraft’s Dreams” because we both felt that it represented the feeling of “Cosmic Horror” that the both of us are fascinated by.

Tell us please about a process of creation of “Lovecraft’s Dream” – how long did you work with that compositions? And do you feel that you have finally completely fulfilled dreams of Lovecraft in your music?

Daemon : It took us about 4 months to be fully composed and recorded. You can say that "Lovecraft's Dreams" is only a chapter in our tale of Lovecraftian horror, but nobody knows when there will be another one.

Don’t you see composing of such album as a challenge? Funeral doom is one of more or less restricted genre, stories of Lovecraft are on of most famous source of inspiration in underground…

Reverend John Hex: Any album I work on is challenging in its own way, I put a lot of thought into my guitar work, and hope the listener will be influenced by it. Funeral Doom is a special genre ranging from its cosmic vastness to its wondrous abyss, there are no limits to where you can go, and the atmosphere’s you can create. To me the music itself is the source of inspiration, as the music is always created first and then the lyrics fall into place to complete the song. While I cannot speak for the whole underground, I would agree with you Lovecraft is a famous source of inspiration, as it is very apparent with Innzmouth, I am just happy to be doing my part musically and help push horror forward however I can.

What elements do distinguish Innzmouth from other doom bands worshiping Lovecraftian Old Ones?

Reverend John Hex:  You have Daemon from Syria, and me from the USA, thats an interesting combination there in itself. Two different unique styles blending a tapestry of darkness together to bring you these literary tales of the Old Ones. You could consider us an international Lovecraft funeral doom band, I would say that makes us pretty unique, and stand out from the rest.

Daemon please tell us about underground scene in Syria – do you have some kind of community there? Does your music have listeners in your country?

Daemon: There are some bands out there trying to do their best, but to be honest I don’t really care about the scene or whatever and yes, my music have listeners in my land.

Do you plan to continue work with Innzmouth in a future?

Daemon : It's not like a duty or an obligatory task. Music is an act of expressing and such thing should be done in a spontaneous manner so it's not like I push a button in my forehead and the compositions come out because we also have our personal lives, our everyday problems, my Law studies (In my case) and work (in the case of john) so we will create more music when we feel like we have new ideas to produce and new visions to transfer.

Men, I don’t know how about you but I catch myself that I think too much about that shit – our “civilized” world is slowly plunging straight to cesspool. Do we have time and right to sing and listen songs about imaginary horrors when some of them are already here. Death from “tentacled horror” or death from “fighter for freedom”… result is the same.

Daemon : You like to tease people, don't you ? Makes you feel that you're deeper than us and that we are some shallow cunts that don't know anything about the world.
I have a default position about the problems of this world because I know my limits. I'm just another ordinary citizen. I lack the power and my voice doesn't matter, more like a pawn in a chess game and I bet that your position isn’t better than mine so let’s forget about that old utopian thinking and face the reality.
Reverend John Hex: (puts on sunglasses) Each generation of humanity has always been vain thinking they were the last, but as you can clearly see life goes on. Do we have time and right to create songs of horror? Fuck yes we do. Death wears many masks and I believe people would rather listen and be entertained by our imagery of horror than fighter for freedom, or tentacled horror....well Tentacled Horror does sound pretty cool ha ha. So if our civilized world does get flushed away into the cesspool, I humbly ask that you buy our album Lovecraft's Dreams from Satanrsa and let it be the soundtrack to your own personal doom.

First of all I don’t aim to tease anyone, for I just want to make this interview a bit far from standard one if you please. Second – I don’t see you as shallow cunts. At least three of us here have dicks, and I see no reason to measure which one is bigger. Most of bands tell that they’re out of policy and this world-wide shit, but I hate to see that hypocrisy when one country brings fucking democracy to another with carpet-bombing or bans of trade. So I’m glad that two guys from two different countries do some common dirty job. Daemon, if you do not mind tell me how do you see a situation with Syria from inside?

Daemon : Even if you are teasing, it doesn't matter because I'm used to deal with such things. Haha, funny about the dick thing (Although I believe that it's kinda primitive because we as modern human beings should get ahead of the subconscious fear of who might have a bigger dick)
I think that you need to distinguish between governments' policies and citizens because we as people aren't very much different. Despite what each country views on each other are, John and I are people looking past political issues of each country, and defying the odds to create something that inspires the both of us during these turbulent times. I have always stood against the foreign policies of the big five countries because they care about nothing but their own power and their need to expand or control or manipulate other countries for the sake of their greed and wealth. They don't care about democracy and bloodshed isn't an important issue to them as long as their interests are not being threatened. They aren't really different from your standard street-thug who will stab you if you don't hand him your wallet. Their double-standard policy is crystal clear in cases like Palestine. Sure they love to sell illusions about freedom and democracy every now and then, but like once George Carlin said "They call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it"
It would be a pretty long story if I decided to talk about the current situation in Syria so I'll pass.

At least it’s something that I wanted to hear – a point of view of citizen. Okay, thank you guys for the interview. Have you few more words of doom and darkness for our readers?

Daemon : Thanks for this interview.

Interview By Aleks

Innzmouth | Facebook

Jun 27, 2012

Songs On The Grave Side - Interview With Khthon ...

Khthon is amazing epic doom band from England. Gentlemen were starting in 2007 and two years later release a brilliant EP “Songs on the Grave Side” which keep a spirit of old foggy sacred places of Albion, massive doom riffs and haunting melodies from realms on the edge of mortal world. Short EP “Above the Fog” (2011) wasn’t enough for me so I’ve decided to reach the band virtually and my try was truly successful! Adam Robinson (vocal) and Kevin Lawrey (guitars) patiently answer our questions.

Hi comrades! How are you? You’re closing with your band’s mates to release of first full-length album of Khthon, where are you now? How much you have to do to finish a record?

(Kevin) Hi Aleks! I’m very happy as I’m going through a very productive spell of musical creativity at the moment. I would say we’re almost ready to record the Khthon record now. We just need to decide which songs to record, as we have a lot of material. The plan is to start recording in September/October time depending when the band can get together.
I’ve invited Khthon’s vocalist Adam to take part in this interview as well to give your readers further insight into the band.

Man! I thought that you’re on a half way to the finish and you yet choose songs for record… How many songs do you have now? Do they continue the line of your last EP “Above the Fog”?

(Kevin) Khthon will be recording 6 songs for the record which are almost complete. We plan to re-record ‘Look Where She Lies’ and ‘The Wanderer Above The Sea of Fog’. The new material is in a similar style to those two tracks. But each song we write sounds better than the last. I think the band is starting to discover what our sound is and where our strengths lie as a band.

Don’ you think to do a split-CD with some band if you have songs which will not be included in full-length album?

(Kevin) A split EP is something we’ve discussed doing with another band. However, I think that it’s better that we concentrate on getting the début record finished before thinking about too much else. Khthon have several other songs which are part finished so I can see us releasing two albums fairly close together.

You’ve released a very good EP “Songs on the Grave Side” in 2009, then you recorded EP “Above the Fog” and again – it has amazing stuff but there’re only two songs! Why did it take to long before Khthon finally enter a studio and how many songs did you prepare for release?

Everything to do with the band seems to take forever!  I think that, mostly, it’s down to two main factors.  First, we’re quite spread out geographically so getting us all together in the same room can be tricky.  We’ve tried using modern technology, emailing files to each other and so on, but, for me at least, it’s not the same.  I think I need to be in the same room as the guys, hearing the hum of the amps, to get my creative juices flowing.  Second, we all have other commitments (families, careers etc.) that sometimes have to take precedence.  If we were all in our early 20s I think we’d be putting all our time into Khthon, but the average age of the band is 38 – everything gets slower as you get older!

Adam, let me tell you that such factors do not impact on quality of Khthon songs! Well, and I wanted to say it since I’ve heard “Songs on the Grave Side” – your manner of singing is one of most remarkable characteristics of the band, it’s pleasant to see a good English doom-band with such crew as you have. Is band’s crew still the same?

(Adam)  Thanks for your kind words about my singing.  I’m my own worst critic and I just can’t bear to listen to myself, especially live recordings; all I can hear are the mistakes!  I do think my vocals do make us stand out a bit though – there just aren’t that many bands using a purely clean style.  My main influence vocally is Messiah Marcolin, although I’d never claim to have anywhere near his power and range!
As for the line-up of the band, it’s changed a bit over the years.  We struggled for ages to find a drummer but that seems to have settled now.  The only other major change was the departure of my brother, Benjamin, a founder of the band alongside Kevin and myself.  His life is pretty hectic and he just couldn’t commit to both us and everything else he had going on.  It was a difficult time for the band when he left but, luckily, Jeff parted company with Eye of Solitude at exactly the right moment.  So, for now, the line-up is stable and everyone is contributing to writing the new stuff. 

Lyrically you still held same conception in your last EP as it was in “Songs on the Grave Side”, how it will be at this time? Will you keep on writing songs of dark foggy times evoking spirits of Old England in your songs?

(Adam) I’m inspired by folk stories and ballads as well as classic literature and art and that’s what I draw on when writing.  It’s really important for me to tell a story via my lyrics; there has to be some sort of narrative there.  I get very frustrated when I read a band’s lyric sheet and it’s just a random collection of words that fit the music. Thematically, I suppose I’m mostly interested in loneliness and loss, and the strange beauty that can be associated with these ideas.  The challenge is to find characters and stories that allow me to explore these emotions.

Excellent! I never had any doubt that your approach to lyrics composing is serious. How do you share responsibilities between yourself in the band? Who is leading author and do you have someone who work with promo or gigs’ organization?

(Kevin) Initially, I will write riffs and have a loose structure of how I imagine they will sound within a song. Then we work on the song as a whole band and it turns into something better than I originally planned. Also, Jeff our new guitarist is coming up with some great riffs too. Adam has an endless amount of lyrical themes and ideas to accompany the music we write. In all though, the thing I love the most about being in Khthon is that we’re all so creative and there are no ego’s within the band which is what makes Khthon work. We do most of the promotional work ourselves as well…we’re very DIY!

Well, but you forget to find an art-work to “Above the Fog” EP, right?

(Kevin) The ‘Above the Fog’ EP is printed on a black vinyl cd replication. The disc fits inside a black Cardboard sleeve which is very similar to a 7” vinyl so an actual front cover wasn’t necessary for this release.

How much time did you gather in studio’s cellar? Is it more fun or work for you?

(Kevin) We try to get together every other weekend with our drummer Simon as he lives the furthest away. But as Adam mentioned earlier in the interview this isn’t always possible. Adam, Mark, Jeff and I get together in between the weekend sessions to write and work on material when we can. Even though we play Doom and our songs have a melancholic feel it’s always a fun time for us when we can all get together as Khthon.

What is your ultimate goal with new album? What kind of visions would you like to summon with your music?

(Adam) One of the things I think we’ve always done well is to combine massive, crushing riffs with haunting melodies and harmonies that take the listener on a journey of light and shade.  When we play live we spend a lot of time thinking about how to create a dynamic set and we often talk in terms of build and release.  Hopefully, the album will achieve the same result.

You name Khthon as English Epic Doom band, I know my own answer on this question, but how do you perform English elements in your songs?

(Adam) First, as the singer, I feel that it’s incredibly important to sing in my own accent and about my own culture.  So many English bands sing in a fake American style and that really upsets me!  It’s like they’re ashamed of their own heritage, or that they think that, somehow, it makes them sound cool.  It doesn’t.
Second, the music itself has a distinctly English feel.  It’s hard to define but I think that there is an understated quality to what we do; we’re not ‘in your face’ or arrogant and. I guess, those can be seen as typical English qualities. 

Adam, I understand your point of view and I totally agree. Can you name few more “real English” doom bands? Right now I can remind Arkham Witch / The Lamp of Thoth as example.

(Adam) There are a few great bands around at the moment.  Witchsorrow, Serpent Venom, Iron Void and Grimpen Mire are probably my favourites.

How do you plan to release your first full-length album? Have you already found a label or will it be DIY?

(Kevin) I think we’ll most likely self-release but do something special with the record so people will want to buy it. We have been discussing some good ideas about the record but we’ll wait and see what happens nearer the time. There is still time for a label to get involved!

Will you play a tour or something supporting new album?

(Kevin) It’s unlikely that we’ll tour as we don’t have the budget for that at the moment and it would be difficult with band members other commitments. I think Khthon will definitely put on a special release party/gig or something similar when the record is ready. The key for us is to get the band noticed so we can play a few European shows as this will help break Khthon to a wider audience.

Then did you already try your songs onto listeners? Do you like to play gigs and how often you have opportunity of live shows?

(Kevin) Yes, the band have been playing live the material we plan to record. I think this is important as the songs start to take on a different feel as you play them live. As our good reputation for live shows is spreading we are getting more opportunity to play live. Please keep your eyes on the Khthon website for details of live shows.

Khthon “Asleep On Her Grave”

 Kevin, what’s with your band Crowned In Earth? Where’s second full-length man?

(Kevin) The new Crowned In Earth record will be released by Black Widow Records at the end of the summer. It’s taken a while to finish but hopefully it will be worth the wait for everyone. The record’s titled ‘A Vortex of Earthly Chimes’. For me personally, it’s the best record I’ve released so far. It’s a huge step forward from ‘Visions of the Haunted’ and has so much more going on compositionally. I don’t want to say too much and spoil the surprise for when people first hear it. ‘A Vortex of Earthly Chimes’ is incredibly epic to say the least. I still plan to put together a live line up of session players to perform live. I just need to create a few more hours a day to fit it all in with work, Khthon and home life!

Okay, then we has to be patient. What can you say about Khthon and Crowned In Earth popularity in England? How would you describe the local doom-scene and where’s your place in it?

(Kevin) Khthon have been steadily creating a fan base over the last few years building up our reputation as a live band to see within the Kent Metal scene. We’ve had loads of great feedback from the gigs we’ve recently played. Khthon will be supporting Orange Goblin in October which will give the band some extra exposure in front of a larger audience.
I think Khthon is probably better known in the UK currently than Crowned In Earth. As I’ve not been able to play the CIE material live, I’ve most likely hindered the bands progress. A lot of the people who write to me about Crowned In Earth are in America where I seem to have more of a fan base. I’m hoping to raise Crowned In Earth’s profile with ‘A Vortex of Earthly Chimes’. Massimo (Black Widow Manager) is planning a big promotional campaign for the records release which will definitely help! And, of course, hopefully playing some shows as Crowned In Earth will mean I can reach more listeners with my music.
There are quite a few doom bands now in the UK but I don’t feel it’s a particularly close scene. I think this is because the bands are all spread out. I have friends who play in great bands such as Pantheist, My Silent Wake and Witchsorrow for example in the UK but because of the distance we live apart we rarely get together.

 I saw news about epic floods in England, I hope they didn’t reach your town at least. How it is in Maidstone?

(Kevin) Yes, some parts of the UK were hit hard by flooding due to all the heavy rain we’ve had since April. Maidstone was lucky and unaffected by it but it was scary to see the damage the floods were causing in other areas.

Good, then I hope that you have no other obstacles on your way to Khthon and Crowned In Earth new albums. Let me thank you for that conversation, I’m sure that news from both bands come in nearby future. Thank you gentlemen! Do you have something to add?

(Adam) Only to say thanks to you for your interest in Khthon and also thanks to everyone who has supported us so far.  We promise we WILL pay you guys back by getting the album done as soon as we can.  Doom on!

(Kevin) Likewise, thanks again for your interest in Khthon and Doommantia’s terrific support of Crowned In Earth. I hope your readers enjoy ‘A Vortex of Earthly Chimes’ when it is released later in the year. Cheers!

Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Khthon | Official Website
Khthon | Facebook

Earthride – S/T Reissue ...

I am not normally a fan of labels reissuing albums. Usually they are just a cash-grab and offer nothing new for the fan. However in the case of the recent reissue of Earthride's début EP, it is all worth it for two reasons. For one, the EP is an underrated, under-appreciated gem and two, this reissue features three killer live tracks as a bonus which push the playing time out to near-enough full-length status. It goes without saying that Earthride are truly one of America's classic doom, stoner, sludge metal bands. The mix of Saint Vitus, Black Sabbath styled doom with a Motorhead level of grit and attitude is essential listening for any doom fan. Dave Sherman's raw vocals has more than a passing resemblance to Lemmy and is just as charismatic while the thick, slow to mid-tempo grind of the guitars are the stuff of legends.

Any doom fan of any standing should already know this EP but of course there are many people who don't. This EP was released and then kind of disappeared of the face of the earth it seemed. The following full length albums 'Taming of the Demons' in 2002 and 'Vampire Circus' in 2005 are what most people know as "Earthride" but this début EP is also very good. The original EP was just 4 tracks and 23 minutes of essential bluesy doom and equally as good as anything that was released in the year 2000. Since then the EP has become highly collectible and that is unlikely to change with this reissue because this release is limited to just 500 hand numbered copies. The main interest for Earthride fans is of course the bonus live cuts.

The fan gets treated to blistering versions of 'Fighting the Devils Inside You,' 'Hacksaw Eyeball,' and 'For Mere Remains' and while the sound is not 100% perfect, it still captures the band in all their ear-shattering glory. The vocals, guitar riffs and grooves are thundering, explosive assaults and the songs have a classic 70's meets modern doom vibe that still sounds fresh. If you like guitar work with a Iommi quality and feel mixed with crooning, whiskey-soaked vocals, it is impossible to go past Earthride. I think it is true that the band did go on to much better things after the release of this EP. Their latest full length 'Something Wicked' is a monster release for example that leaves this EP in the dust but the self-titled EP is still very good and still remains an (almost)essential addition to any doom fans collection. It is good to see this has been re-released by Totem Cat Records and I can see these 500 copies selling fairly quickly so you better get a jump on it.....8.5/10.

Earthride | Facebook

Jun 26, 2012

NEWS: EYEHATEGOD Announce Europe Is The New Vietnam Tour 2012 ...

EYEHATEGOD, Louisiana’s favorite purveyors of hardcore, blues-based, unrepentant, post-amplificated dirge, will head to Europe this Summer to further spread their audio message of discontent. The caravan of decadence and debauchery begins July 20 at Serengeti Festival 2012 in Stukenbrock, Germany and will pillage its way through 19 cities, leaving in its wake nothing but broken glass and hurt feelings.

Commented frontman Mike Williams of the latest rampage: “In this wonderful End-Time era of 2012, New Orleans’ only 'Brotherhood of the Pharmaceutical Probation System,' EYEHATEGOD, are once again hitting the rusted railroad tracks and unpaved interstates, hitchhiking their lonesome souls all the way across the seven seas to do even more psychological damage to the music industry, and put full blown reality and life's terrible immorality in all your faces...where it belongs.”

EYEHATEGOD - Europe Is The New Vietnam Tour 2012:
7/20/2012 Serengeti Festival 2012 - Stukenbrock, Germany
7/21/2012 Hammer Open Air Metal Festival 2012 - Turku, Finland
7/22/2012 Hafenklang  - Hamburg, Germany
7/23/2012 Magnet - Berlin, Germany
7/25/2012 Fonobar - Warsaw, Poland
7/26/2012 Viper Room - Wien, Austria
7/27/2012 IBK - Innsbruck, Austria
7/28/2012 Big Barre Club - Cesena, Italy
7/29/2012 Kab Usine - Geneve, Switzerland
7/30/2012 Garage - Saabrücken, Germany
7/31/2012 Bastard - Osnabrück, Germany
8/01/2012 Beta - Copenhagen, Denmark
8/02/2012 Truckstop Alaska - Gothenburg, Sweden
8/04/2012 Tribute - Sandnes, Norway
8/07/2012 Fleece - Bristol, United Kingdom
8/08/2012 Academy 3 - Manchester, United Kingdom
8/09/2012 Garage - London, United Kingdom
8/11/2012 Ieperfest 2012 - Ieper, Belgium
8/12/2012 Gebäude 9 - Cologne, Germany

In related news, EYEHATEGOD is preparing for another U.S. takeover this fall. Details to be confirmed in the coming weeks. In the meantime check out live footage of new track “Medicine Noose” from  Dark Lord Day 2012 in Munster, Indiana in April at THIS LOCATION. Check out the full set HERE.

Eyehategod | Official
Eyehategod | Facebook
News Via Earsplit PR

Barren Earth - The Devil's Resolve ...

With musicians from bands including Kreator, Moonsorrow, Amorphis, Swallow The Sun and many others I would say if any band qualifies for the "super-group" tag, it would be Barren Earth. The most misleading thing about the band is they get the death-doom tag but there is so much more to the band and while they have many traditional doom passages in the vein of Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus the band leans much more in a 70's melodic rock direction for a lot of their songs.

There are many progressive rock elements and always has been with this band but they seem to have made that their primary direction for this new album titled 'The Devil's Resolve.' While Mikko Kotamaki (Swallow the Sun) still has the death-growls in check, there is a hell of a lot more melody and power behind his voice these days. The other side to his vocals is of course is his "clean-voice" and you can hear a lot more of that on this album too. However if all this talk of prog-rock and melody has got you worried, don't be, this is still a very dark doomy album.

The main ingredient to this approach is vintage sounding and very prog-laced keyboards that really are the main driving force behind the atmosphere for this release. What I find so great about this album is it sounds nothing like any of the bands the members come from so it sounds fresh despite the 70's rock elements.

'The Devil's Resolve" really sounds like a musicians album. It is an album put together by guys with many years of experience and they seem to be having fun in stretching themselves musically in ways they might not get to do in the other bands they are a part of. Barren Earth set a pretty high-standard right from the start with 'Passing of the Crimson Shadows' that opens this album. This epic track is doomy, melodic, progressive and death-metal but not necessarily in that order. They blend death doom riffs and vocals with prog rock instrumentation without going too far in either direction but they certainly can't be accused of playing it safe either. As the album progresses through songs like 'The Rains Begin,' 'Vintage Warlords' and 'As it is Written,' it is clear the band is still very much a guitar driven band with the keyboards there just to thicken the sound just that little bit more. At times the keys are pushed forward as the lead instrument, hear the mid section of 'As it is Written' for an example and that is when it gets really proggy but those moments are relatively rare. This is still a death doom album, just a lot more adventurous than most.

'The Dead Exiles' is the albums heaviest track and easily the most straight-forward in its doom appeal but it is the different interludes within songs that make this such a great album. Songs like 'Oriental Pyre' with its mellow acoustic breaks is what makes this such a captivating album and as much as I love pure crushing riffage, the wonderful use of light and shade is what keeps this so interesting. They also unleash several catchy riffs throughout the album so there is plenty for riff-heads to enjoy so this album is full of twists and turns. 'White Fields' and the mellow but also doomy 'Where All Stories End' brings the album to an end all too quickly for my liking. 46 minutes is far too short for an album that is this mesmerizing. 'The Devil's Resolve' is a diverse, multi-dimensional masterpiece in many ways and even the production is almost too good for words. The biggest surprise for me is in some of the sounds, especially the keyboards. At times it reminded me of Deep Purple and the great Jon Lord while at other times, it has an Keith Emerson kind of quality but again, I don't want to scare people off with all this talk of keyboards. The album is not quite 100% perfect but even still, it has to be a contender for album of the year....9.5/10.

Words: Doomm@niac ( Special thanks to Ed for his writing inspiration for this album review )

Barren Earth | Facebook
Barren Earth | Official Site

NEWS: WITCHCRAFT: New Album Release Date Announced ...

Swedish doom metal kings WITCHCRAFT have set "Legend" as the title of their fourth album, due on September 21 via the band's new label home, Nuclear Blast Records. The follow-up to 2007's "The Alchemist" was recorded with renowned producer Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios (KREATOR, OPETH, AMON AMARTH, PARADISE LOST, KATATONIA) in Örebro, Sweden. The CD marks the recording debut of the band's new members Simon Solomon (guitar), Tom Jondelius (guitar) and Oscar Johansson (drums). Going forward, WITCHCRAFT leader Magnus Pelander will focus on his unique vocals without playing guitar anymore. Commented Pelander: "At last the fourth album is done. It's with relief and euphoria we say this!"

WITCHCRAFT, who formed in 2000 in tribute to band heroes Roky Erickson and Bobby Liebling (PENTAGRAM), create heavy, blues-based rock augmented with touches of psychedelica and late '60s pop flourishes. The quartet's first-class songs reference the darker side of hard rock while remaining surprisingly accessible. Flying largely under the radar of the popular music landscape previously, WITCHCRAFT is a hallowed name in underground circles and has found itself championed by a diverse cross-section of distinguished music adherents including American actor Elijah Wood, who publicly called the band "amazing," and DOWN frontman Philip Anselmo, who in 2009 proudly proclaimed WITCHCRAFT as his "new favorite band."

Recorded 100% pro-tools and digital free at Stockholm's UpandRunning studios with producer Tom Hakava and using only vintage amplification, WITCHCRAFT's latest album, "The Alchemist", showcases a group of musicians at ease with their playing and songwriting. Addictive melodies flow simultaneously with catchy, heavy riffs, while maintaining a relaxed and laid back feel throughout. Among its many highlights, the album features the standout songs "Walk Between the Lines" and "Hey Doctor" as well as the record's plat du jour, the three-part progressive rock odyssey of the title track "The Alchemist".

Jun 25, 2012

Satellite Beaver – The Last Bow EP ...

In the heavy music realm Poland is surely better known for its wealth in ferocious to dark and gloomy metal acts. However in the last years a parallel underground scene has been growing which has been primarily influenced by the dry winds of the Californian desert, by the silhouette of giant saguaros, by psychedelic chemical trips, Sabbathian doom and by the languid atmosphere of the steaming southern swamps. So Poland  has became home to several bands spreading around cool and genuine, infectious, mammoth, lisergic desert- or weed-scented tunes, ideal for those who like their rawk or metal heavy, groovy, doped, raw, fuzzy and slow too. The Swamp aficionados will remember acts like Major Kong, and their sister band Fifty Foot Woman, Belzebong, Vagitarians, Luna Negra, Broken Betty, Elvis Deluxe, etc..

Well, another band feverishly contributing to the bustling Polish scene and charged with much enthusiasm and riff powerage is Warsaw-based Satellite Beaver. Satellite Beaver started in 2008. In the two early, raw but promising demos in 2008 and 2009 the band expressed a lively rock style mostly indebted to classic grunge and stoner rock reference bands. But the quest for a personal sound as well as the pleasure in making heavy noise have been pushing these dudes to strain their strings to produce impressively powerful riffs and hit skins and brasses stronger for booming and crushing drumming assaults.

The preliminary results of this treatment is Satellite Beaver’s new, 2012 EP The Last Bow.
In spite of the somehow sinister fate suggested by the title, this EP is not going to be an “adieu” by the band but it is intended as a gate towards a new stream of fuzzy heaviness by these guys. Satellite Beaver are actually busy organising their touring activity for the heart of summer and are working on brand new material for a début album due out soon. But, as the release notes of the new EP say in a somehow mysterious way, before this happens, “some chapters have to be closed” …  And a line-up to be renewed! The current line-up includes Szymon the Beaver on vocals and guitars, Tom the Beaver –on guitars and Mad the Beaver on drums. The band is currently searching someone to join on the bass. Hence the Last Bow EP is intended as an open gate across a boundary, as a way for the band to pay hommage to the original sources of inspiration (stoner, grunge, etc.) as well as to hint where these dudes are heading to, i.e. towards heavier and more gloomy territories. All of this is developed in a quite essential and smart way in less than 18 minutes via the four songs included in the EP and composed between 2010 and 2011.  Increasing the heaviness and charge of riffs and percussions is a rather normal push in stoner/doom/sludge bands. Satellite Beaver have a peculiar feature added to their riff-drumming attacks: the vocal parts by guitarist Szymon. Ah, these are impressive and, well, a bit unusual for the scene, as Szimon’s voice sounds halfway between Marilyn Manson and Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley. With such particular distorted vocal style Szymon is able to evoke either a slightly morbid and evil feeling or else a subtle sense of melancholy, or both at the same time. Both atmospheres and feelings fit well with this EP because of the variety in styles explored in this short but highly boosted release.

The first “shock” comes when the opening track, Pershing, starts and you instinctively think you are hearing Marilyn Manson gurgling, roaring and spitting evil during a noisy fuzzy stoner ballad played at a supersonic speed and lead by a war charge of nasty riffs and pounding drumming! The imperfect, rather raw, noisy grain of the sound is otherwise perfect for making this ballad abrasive and to add a somehow “industrial” feeling to the mass of groove dripping from the leading, hammering melody. After the groovy and rigid aggression in Pershing, it is the turn of Urania, a slower-paced song drenched with languid melancholy but lead by a set of powerful downtuned riffs. Urania almost starts as a Bolero-styled military march due to the combination of martial drumming and plodding, hypnotic, almost Wizardesque doom riffs. However the band never abandon their beloved groove-laden stoner background and enlighten the gloomy march with an escape into the desert rocka nd psychedelia in the second half of the track. Szymon’s vocals here are less aggressive but no less powerful than in the previous track. The vocals are often distorted and electronically superposed, and vary between painful-sounding, melancholic invocations, reminding of Layne Staley’s languid pessimistic singing, and Manson-styled sinister, deep, dry roaring and bellowing. The third track, Way Before, drags you back into frenzy pumping rhythms via its super tight riffage winking at nasty high-energy rock’n’roll and glam punk more than classic stoner. Here the vocal parts are more varied than ever. Szymon mostly roars in a deeper way and pleasantly closer to Clutch than to Marilyn Manson, but his raw shouts often loose tension and drop to deep languid wails. The combination of relentless, strongly distorted, almost booming leading riffage and the periodical inset of fast acute guitar howls sounds badass indeed and makes up a weird but intriguing pairing with the oscillatory style of the vocals.

With the last track, ballad Roadtrip, we definitely cross the ideal gate and enter into the presently favorite heavy domain the band’s guys are willing to devote efforts in a near future. So satellite Beaver seem to be bound towards an overly charming hybrid that builds up from the of spacey desert rock background and branch towards territories of noise, doom and lysergic psychedelia. Roadtrip’s style may recall what the band did in Urania for the leading Sabbathian hypnotic doom riffage. But the complexity and the variety of new components merged in Roadtrip make this ballad different from anything else and definitely stand out. Distorted downtuned guitars backed by the almost continuous vibration of the cymbals build up a numbingly rhythmic, epic, dark but catchy, leading doom ballad where periodical interruptions by either hideous screeching noise or somber psych/desert rock-like guitar notes help the band to prepare the listener to the evolution of the sound in the second part of the ballad, i.e., an impressive, rumbling crescendo of downtuned doom heaviness, drony noise and pure swamp sludgy groove that ends far too early.  A fundamental contribution to the overall style in this impressive track is given by the multi-tracked, polyedric and braided vocal styles fluently ranging from a drony background solemn invocation (or is it simply noise?), to, again, languid and morbid grungy chants, and to raw bellowing choruses lead by Szymon’s amazing voice. Above I called Roadtrip “complex”, although actually this song, like the rest of Satellite Beaver’s tracks, is actually made up by quite simple and almost “primordial” riff and drumming patterns. But the key of the extreme charm in this track might be the combination of the “simple” ingredients, like in a blend of different raw foods where the different basic savours are mutually exalted instead of being concealed.

Mixtures and contaminations of styles often provide intriguing results. Satellite Beaver guys showed they are eager to explore different territories of heavy music and define their own, very personal style. What announced with this Ep is quite promising in terms of what can be expected by this band for a near future. The addition of a good bass player to the present-day line-up will potentially add even more thickness and shades to an already outstanding powerful and solid sound. Surely Szymon’s singing is rather unique for the scene, I guess, and is so different from the Weedeater-styled snake-like hissing employed by several sludge-doom bands for conveying evil feelings. On the contrary Szimon’s grungy dirty singing tone is quite melodic but is always deeply pessimistic and dark, and makes a cool contrast especially when paired with groovy and fast riffs. I would encourage a further employment of that warm Clutch-like roaring, which sounds so boiling hot. According to what announced by the band, especially the last track of The Last Blow EP is to be taken as the new, extremely charming dark trend adopted or to be massively expected by future Satellite Beaver. I must confess I also enjoy the other side of the Beavers, when the band’s guys are nasty and fast and raaaawking and make your neck bang hard …
So, folks, Satellite Beaver from Poland - another highly promising heavy band to carefully keep under your/our radar!

Words: Marilena Moroni

Satellite Beaver | Facebook
Satellite Beaver | Bandcamp

Satellite Beaver - Roadtrip

Earthen Grave - Earthen Grave ...

Earthen Grave a 6 piece doom/traditional heavy metal band and has an extraordinary line-up considering it is made up of guitarist Jason Muxow from The Living Fields, Wintering, drummer Scott Davidson (ex-Stonehenge, owner of Rebel Radio), bassist Ron Holzner who you should know from Trouble, Debris Inc and Place of Skulls ,vocalist Mark Weiner from Trifog and guitarist Tony Spillman. The icing on the cake is classical violinist Rachel Barton Pine and with a line-up like that, you would expect something a little different and that is exactly what you get. The band has been tagged as a doom metal band and this self-titled album certainly kicks off that way but as it progresses, the album unleashes old-school heavy metal elements, progressive rock and an odd kind of psychedelic blues rock.

Starting with a track named after the band themself 'Earthen Grave' you get tolling of church bells and wind sounds and I would love to see someone count how many times that has been used on a metal record. This gives way to heavy riffs, very emotional, melodic singing and violin which is used very effectively. There is something about the general feel of the track that reminds me of early 70's proto-metal bands while the vocals on the other hand sound modern. The song travels along in a fairly generic fashion (while still being very good) till it gets 6 or so minutes in the piece when it all gets very jammy and slightly psychedelic. The combination of jammy, psychedelic guitar and violin might seem strange but it is actually a captivating combo. It has to be said and I am sure it has been said already that it is a unique sabbathian meets grunge-rock mix for the most part, especially in the vocal department. The song is multi-layered and certainly has a lot of musical depth but as soon as you get settled in your chair for a traditional doom metal experience, it changes gears.

The second track 'Life Carries On' has more of a biker-metal/stoner-metal vibe that is not too far removed from what Orange Goblin do so well. There are the usual big guitar riffs you would expect from the style but once again comes the violin and that is really what sets the band apart from others and gives it a totally unique vibe. There are exciting guitar solos being traded back and forth from Jason Muxlow and Tony Spillman but there are also guitar versus violin duels which really add a surprisingly large amount of variance to the approach this band has to songwriting and performance. The band then go into a cover of Witchfinder General's "Burning a Sinner" and it is a great version but why presents us with a cover when the originals are so strong seems a bit strange to me. Nevertheless, they give the doomy classic some good treatment. So three songs in for three different moods, feels and styles so they have already delivered more variance than most doom metal bands muster on an entire album.

The 70's classic rock returns with 'Blood Drunk' which can be compared with any number of 70's metal power-ballads. The band unleash huge riffs with passages of intense melancholy but it is perhaps one of the albums least unique moments. The sabbathian approach returns in a huge way for the next track; 'Dismal Times.' The track plods along in typical sabbathy fashion but is made unique enough with soaring guitar leads and more of the exquisite violin playing. It is atmospheric and haunting and very heavy and stands out as one of the albums most memorable tracks. For the first time on the album, they repeat themselves with another sabbath-inspired dirge 'Tilted World' which is pure mid 70's era Black Sabbath. It is so close to sabbath in fact that many people are pointing out a riff 4 minutes in which sounds remarkably like the sabbath classic 'A National Acrobat.' This is not us reviewers being picky but more of a case of pointing out the bleeding obvious. Despite that, this tune has the riffs and grooves needed for a classic metal track and it is so good, the effect is spine-chilling.

'Beneath a Shovel Load' is a doom blues with a great slow building arrangement and it has more than enough crushing and chugging riff work to keep even the most fussy doom-head entertained. 'Fall In' is one of 5 tracks that passed the 6 minute mark. The album is built around these mini-epic pieces and most of them never drag on or get tedious. This one, like most of the tracks features atmospheric passages, soaring guitar work and violin work that has to be heard to be believed. The albums biggest and only major weakness is covers. They do yet another cover, this time it is Pentagram's "Relentless" and while they are great versions, they are still weaker songs than the bands own originals. I know Pentagram fans have most likely spat whatever they are drinking into their computer monitors right about now but I do hear their originals as being much stronger tunes than the two cover tunes chosen for this release. The two tracks don't really enhance the album in any way and actually sound out-of-place when you stack them up against the original tracks.

While the epic tracks work on the rest of the album, the last and very epic 'Death On the High Seas' does seem overly long as it goes off the rails about half-way through only to leave the listener with another 5 minutes of dirge to dig through. Song-wise, this last track and the two covers are the albums only missteps but they are only minor flaws (if that) and hardly disrupt's how much pleasure is to be gained by listening to this album. The production is very good but at times, the guitar sound could have done with some extra meat. While the guitars are in line with the tones of the early to mid 70's, I can't help but feel they should be thicker. I have sung the praises of the violin work but special mention should also go to vocalist Mark Weiner who seems to be able to change his voice at will. Every song on this album is given a slightly different vocal take which is another great plus for the album. It keeps you guessing but it also provides some much-needed variety because some of the passages enter into typical doom-dirge modes.

Even with the minor questionable elements that this album has, this is a very impressive release with great atmosphere and a flair for stunning musicianship. There is a range of different moods, different textures and while it is not the instant classic that I was hoping to hear from Earthen Grave, it has become addictive listening for me personally. You may need to give this a few spins but if you do, you will uncover a unique and refreshing take on the doom metal genre....8/10.

Earthen Grave | Official Website
Earthen Grave | Facebook

WIZARD'S BEARD "PURE FILTH" For Free Download > Don't Miss Out ...

Their bio on their  Official Website reads - "We got together over the love of all sounds sleazy, sexy and filthy. With influences from all genres and styles of music, from Mississippi John Hurt & William Elliott Whitmore to Iron Monkey & Emperor; we have enough inspiration to keep us going for a long time."

Now they have put up their 'Pure Filth' album on Bandcamp as a FREE DOWNLOAD for the first 200 people.  Go HERE to get yourself a copy of this killer album.

Wizard's Beard @ Facebook

Process Of Guilt - Fæmin ...

I first heard about Process of Guilt when I knew they were opening for Katatonia in Lisbon in 2007. I confess that they did not appeal to me so much at the time and ended up forgetting about them. Meanwhile, they have released two very successful and well-acclaimed LPs (Renounce and Erosion) and also an EP (The Circle). Faemin, the new release, got more of my attention for some reason.

Let’s start off with a small introduction: They are a doom/death/sludge band from the beautiful city of Évora, in the South of Portugal. They have opened for bands such as Minsk or Katatonia but they mostly play in smaller venues around Portugal. Process of Guilt are widely seen as one of the most promising bands here and just one step away from becoming known worldwide. This new album might just do it for them. What we listen to here are five songs well over six minutes each packed with massive guitars, growling vocals, tribal drums and hypnotic environments that completely swallow the listeners into the music. There is also a lot of Neurosis from the Given to the Rising era around here. Not in a bad way, though. I would call it more inspiration. The riffs build up in such a colossal and repetitive manner that you just cannot stop yourself from head-banging.

The drums are another highlight on this record. Gonçalo Correia, the drummer has done a great job and a great example of that is the final track, Faemin. The combination of the guitars, the intricate drumming and the growling, almost guttural vocals are just the perfect combination. Process of Guilt have finally done it. They have created THE record, different from the previous ones but, most likely, their best so far. What we have here is a band with their creativity levels peaking and hungry for more. This is an album that cannot be ignored.

Words: Mark Martins

Official Website

Sardonis - II ...

It should come as no surprise that this new album from Belgium duo Sardonis is a riff lovers dream. The fact that it is just two guys making this pummeling wall of sound makes it even more of a delight for fans of heavy riff rock. With a style that crosses over everything from High on Fire to Cathedral to the nastiest death metal you can imagine, Sardonis could never be accused of playing it safe. The band is of course instrumental but they are one of the few bands where you never notice there are no vocals and the truth is a vocalist would only lower the intensity anyway more than likely. The 'II' album is only 37 minutes long but that is just long enough for the album to hold your attention right up to the last notes.

The word "pummeling" really sums up this album better than any other word I can think of. The riffs are crushing and intense but the drums are equally up to the challenge by pounding, thrashing and barreling through songs with intense drum beats and sick drum rolls. Even at low volumes, the brutality of these songs is overwhelming at times. The opening two tracks 'Burial of Men' and 'Warmonger' are violent with their amount of aggression and unrelenting power. While it can easily be compared with High on Fire, the riffing on these tracks are less generic in their metallic qualities and more just off-the-wall sludgy mayhem. The riffing is not exactly complex, but it is also not exactly basic either. The main thing they seem to be after is energetic intensity and aggression and they have found an overwhelming amount of that with these tracks. The production is huge.....a perfect match for the wall of riffs and apocalyptic drumming style.

The formula if you could call it that doesn't really change through tracks such as 'The Drowning' and 'Emperor' but nor would you want it to but the next track signals a slight change which is perhaps the only low-point of the album. The track 'The Torch and The Bearer' lacks the intensity that the earlier tracks have and while it is certainly not a bad track, it disrupts the overall flow of the album. However that slight loss in intensity is made up for the last two tunes 'Entering the Woods' and the epic 9:33 of 'Aftermath of Battles' which is basically like being bashed over the head with a sledgehammer. Out of all the tracks, this one is the most atmospheric and the most diverse so the album ends pretty much the way it started....mind-blowing.

There are many instrumental bands in the world today but few have the intensity and driving power that Sardonis have and few can make it seem so seamless and fluid. The less than 40 minutes of this album seemingly blasts past the eardrums in just mere minutes of sonic-metal bliss. This album is raw but precise, polished but off the wall with its riffing aggression and it has the power to rattle the bones at loud volumes. If you like your music to be as obnoxious as possible, this is the album for you....9/10.

Sardonis | Facebook

Jun 24, 2012

Botanist – III: Doom In Bloom / Allies ...

Well Doommantia.Com have sure supplied me with a wierd-ass album for my writing début for this fine site. Botanist is quite possibly the strangest blackened doom album ever released. If not, it is right up there with the weirdest releases ever unleashed onto the doom buying public. This is basically the work of one man who started as a black metal artist but now has turned his talents over to doom metal of the blackened variety. This is atmospheric black doom but it must be pointed out it doesn't have any traditional elements at all. It is based around just two, maybe three main instruments and none of those is shredding guitar.

Instead you get music made with hammered dulcimer and the guitar work you do hear comes out with completely unexpected parts that is totally unique given that black metal and doom metal isn't renown for its experimental qualities.

The main album 'Doom In Bloom' comes with a companion disc titled 'Allies' so you end up with 115 minutes worth of some of the most original black doom you will ever hear in your lifetime. Musically this is dissonant and threatening while the vocals are pure horror. They are made up of spoken sections, whispered creep-fests, raspy black metal sections and haunting female vocal passages.

Going into a track by track review of this album isn't going to happen because you would really need to write a small novel on each track just to cover the basic elements. While a lot of this is all about ambience and minimalism, the audio destruction this man has created is captivating and brilliant. Even the drumming is unique as it blends standard doom slo-mo plods with burst of frantic blasts of blackened fury. Each track on the main album melts into the next so it plays out like a concept album of sorts. The track that starts all this; 'Quoth Azalea, the Demon (Rhododendoom II)' is 13 minutes long but it might as well be timed at 68 minutes because it bleeds into the next which bleeds into the next and so on. The flow of these pieces is majestic and wonderful and while it is a strange album, it is also quite accessible at times.

'Quoth Azalea, the Demon (Rhododendoom II)' is dramatic and full of sorrow and that is one musical angle this album revisits often. The following 'Deathcap' has almost a baroque vibe while being very ugly and violent sounding. If two different vibes isn't enough for you, it changes gears once again for 'Ganoderma Lucidum' which has a twisted space-rock meets black metal vibe going on and that is two genres you don't hear mixed too often. 'Vriesea' is based on military style drumming and there are all kinds of unique stringed wizardry going on in this track. 'Ocimum Sanctum' is one of the most hypnotic black-doom songs you will ever hear that literally sets you mind off floating into another world. Despite being over 12 minutes long, the dream-like state that this piece puts you in is deeply rewarding and relaxing. Just like snapping out of long meditative trance, the next track 'Amanita Virosa' awakens the atmosphere with the closest thing to traditional black metal although it is still slow by most black metal bands standards. As the track builds, it becomes ever increasingly bleak which provides the perfect lead into 'Panax' which closes the first disc. This track takes the album back to where it all started with a sorrowful, depressive vibe.

This leads me to the companion disc 'Allies' and in many respects, everything just gets more weird and wonderful. This disc is a collection of this mans leftover works, the name of this guy is Otrebor by the way. There are seven songs and each track has a completely different line-up so the feels are constantly changing but remarkably it still plays out like a very concise piece of work. The brilliantly titled 'The Ejaculate on the Petals of the Femme Orchid' starts and ends the disc with a two-part ambient freak-out track. Apparently all the tracks on this companion disc come from the bands Matrushka, Cult Of Linnaeus, Ophidian Forest, Arborist, Lotus Thief and Bestiary; none of which I have ever heard before but I have been told, these versions are nothing like the originals. 'The War of All Against All' is pure black-doom, nothing more, nothing less but delivered in a very original fashion. After this track however, the highlights seem to dry up except for some great guitar work in one track titled 'Nymphaea Carulea.'

This album comes out on the Total Rust label which really seem to be leading the pack in unique and original bands. Botanist still wont be for everyone, their apocalyptic visions are almost TOO unique for the average listener but littered in-between all these challenging, ambient bleak pieces are moments of very assessable music. It treads a fine line between being overly ambitious and too strange for its own good at times but overall, this is one of the most interesting releases ever put out there. The album demands some attention and is unlikely to blow you away on the first spin but give it time and you will be hooked by this release.....9/10.

Words: Doomm@niac

Botanist | Bandcamp
Botanist | Facebook
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