Jul 31, 2012

Zatokrev - "The Bat, The Wheel And A Long Road To Nowhere" ...

With such a unique title for an album, you would expect this to be a little different from the standard doom and sludge fare and it sure is. Unique in terms of not easily tagged under any one banner, Zatokrev are one part sludge a-la early Baroness and Mastodon,one part Katatonia and Neurosis and one large part something that is all their own. The band from Switzerland have released this, their third album and it is one very long epic album, jammed full of long songs. Six of the nine songs are over eight minutes long and the album has a total playing time of an exhausting 76 minutes. This band has made a rather thought-provoking album but I hate to say, I found the whole thing to be a little tedious. The band have a habit of stretching songs out beyond repair which is a little frustrating because I think this album could have been a great album if the songs could have been shorter and more concise. When songs do work, it is a curious blend of styles that they have hit upon. At times it is an odd blend of doom metal and southern rock/metal with black metal vocals. This blend mostly makes its appearance felt during the second half of the album but the album as a whole is an interesting piece of work. It is hard to pick highlights as almost every track starts interesting enough but ends up dragging on with repeated riffs that seem to be trying to build to something but without never actually getting there. Opening track 'Goddamn Lights' and the slightly twisted 'Rodeo With Snakes' tend to stick out as the more exciting tracks the album has to offer. Both of these tracks are in the first half of the album but the closing track 'Angels Of Cross' is a decent piece of early Neurosis worship and at least it doesn't seem to drag as much as some of the other tracks.

To sum up now, 'The Bat, The Wheel And A Long Road To Nowhere' is an interesting and very deep sludge/post-rock/doom metal album that suffers from being too meandering despite some fine musicianship and production. Basically the best advice I can give is ignore my personal vanity review and just check it out for yourself. It is certainly not my cup of tea but I am not a big fan of the bands it sounds like either. They are certainly unique but the album isn't as mind-bending as the album title might suggest....5/10.

Words: Jack Sabbath.

Zatokrev | Facebook

Jul 30, 2012

TOUR NEWS: SAINT VITUS Announces U.S. Tour ...

Heavy/doom metal progenitors SAINT VITUS will embark on an extensive U.S. tour at the end of the summer. Starting on September 14 in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Scion AV–sponsored trek runs for five weeks, ending on October 19 in San Antonio, Texas. Support will come from WEEDEATER and SOURVEIN. Additionally, SAINT VITUS will join DOWN for a one-off performance at the Best Buy Theater in New York City on September 28.

Commented SAINT VITUS founder and chief songwriter Dave Chandler: "We're stoked to destroy America again. The last U.S. SAINT VITUS headlining tour was in 1993. This time we'll be playing [songs from the latest SAINT VITUS album] 'Lillie' as well as fan favorites and some old surprises. So leave your ear plugs at home and come bleed with us."

The dates are as follows:

Sep. 14 - Little Rock, AK - Rev Room
Sep. 15 - Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone Cafe
Sep. 16 - Nashville, TN - Exit / In
Sep. 18 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade
Sep. 19 - Raleigh, NC - Lincoln Theatre
Sep. 20 - Richmond, VA - Kingdom
Sep. 21 - Huntington, WV - V Club
Sep. 22 - Lexington, KY - Buster's Billiard's & Backroom (Boomslang Festival)
Sep. 23 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Rex Theater
Sep. 24 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Downstairs
Sep. 25 - Brooklyn, NY - Saint Vitus Bar
Sep. 27 - Washington, DC - Black Cat
Sep. 28 - New York, NY - Best Buy Theater (with DOWN)
Sep. 29 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
Sep. 30 - Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
Oct. 01 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock Social Club
Oct. 02 - Lawrence, KS - Granada Theater
Oct. 03 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
Oct. 04 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
Oct. 05 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
Oct. 06 - Portland, OR - venue tbd (Fall Into Darkness Festival)
Oct. 07 - Seattle, WA - The Highline
Oct. 09 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
Oct. 10 - Los Angeles, CA - Bootleg Theater
Oct. 11 - Sacramento, CA - Harlow's
Oct. 12 - Santa Cruz, CA - The Atrium at The Catalyst
Oct. 13 - Pomona, CA – [to be announced] (no WEEDEATER, SOURVEIN)
Oct. 14 - Santa Ana, CA - The Constellation Room at The Observatory
Oct. 15 - Mesa, AZ - Nile Theater
Oct. 16 - Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad
Oct. 18 - Austin, TX - Beauty Bar
Oct. 19 - San Antonio, TX - Bonds 007

SAINT VITUS' new album, "Lillie: F-65", was released in North America on May 22 via Season Of Mist.

SAINT VITUS recently released a seven-inch single featuring "Blessed Night", a track from "Lillie: F-65". The B-side is a live version of classic VITUS tune "Look Behind You", recorded in December 2010 at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland.

The band's current lineup features Chandler, drummer Henry Vasquez, bassist Mark Adams and Weinrich.

NEWS: BLACK MAGICIAN Premier New Track From Debut Album At The Sleeping Shaman + LP Pre-Orders Now Available ...


With a name like BLACK MAGICIAN you sure as Hell ain’t going to be getting glam rock or emo!!! No sir, these Liverpudlian retrogressive throwbacks are about to drop their debut album, ‘Nature Is the Devil’s Church’…5 tracks of expansive, ritualistic, soul stealing doom of the highest order in a little over 40 minutes. Huge, monolithic riffs entwine with swirling Hammond organ around unique throat burning vocals combine to create a sound that has been described by the living legend that is Doomlord as “Atomic Rooster playing early Cathedral”, nuff said!

And now, The Sleeping Shaman is thrilled to be streaming the 2nd track from the album ‘Full Plain I See, The Devil Knows How To Row’, enter the world of fear and despair at THIS LOCATION.  Shaman Recordings will be releasing just 300 copies of ‘Nature Is The Devil’s Church’ on appropriately sacrificial blood red vinyl that also comes with a digital download card, and for those of you who prefer things a little more compact, Burning World Records will be handling the CD version with a planned release date of September 2012. BLACK MAGICIAN vocalist Liam Yates commented on the album… “Thus marks the inauguration of the Black Magician. Five hymns of mystical Doom metal and folk conceived from intense study of the bleak annals of English history and folklore, and meditation on old heavy metal, prog and folk. Inscribed in the heart of Lancashire at Full Stack Studios, surrounded by dark satanic mills, in view of witch-haunted Pendle Hill, with Matt Richardson at the helm. ‘Nature is The Devils Church‘ is an ode to brigands, boggarts, witchcraft and the dark British psyche. All hail!”

Pre-Orders for the vinyl of ‘Nature Is The Devil’s Church’ are now available on the Shaman Recordings website HERE and please note, the LP will not be shipped until the last week in August.

Black Magician | Facebook
Shaman Recordings
Burning World Records

Ice Dragon / Kroh – Split ....

 The ever prolific psych/doom outfit, Ice Dragon, has teamed up with industrial influenced miscreants, Kroh, for a split 7” that is a diametrically opposed study in the dark arts separated by both essence and execution. Musically, both bands unleash up-tempo rockers that are thoroughly distinct within their catalogues while managing to maintain a semblance of familiarity to each band’s chosen path. Birmingham, England’s Kroh infuse a dose of early 90’s, Wax Trax! era industrial rock that is equal parts 1000 Homo DJs, ‘Psalm 69’ era Ministry, and the Butthole Surfers at their most mainstream, without sounding as abrasive or experimental as any of the above bands. Ice Dragon, on the other hand, embrace their familiar lo-fi production to beckon forth a galloping, sword-and-sorcery fueled anthem straight from the Enchanted World.

 Kroh’s offering, “White Lies”, is an anomalous union of tribal drumming, charged industrial guitar riffs, and melodious vocals. The vocals of Francis Anthony are a distinguishing characteristic of Kroh’s sound and a key element that really separates the band from many of their influences. Kroh ignores the dominance of heavily distorted vox celebrated and selectively employed by many of the late 80’s/early 90’s era industrial acts in favor of a style that is more tuneful and saccharine. While initially cloy, the vocals offer an interesting juxtaposition to the dark lyrical content and instrumentation that dominates the band’s songs. “White Lies” easily stands out as one of Kroh’s strongest tunes to date and, despite its divergent approach, complements Ice Dragon’s contribution to the split.

 “The Hooves of My Lord” gallops up and tramples the listener from the onset with a mesmerizing, infectious riff suitable as a soundtrack for strutting your stuff at the renaissance faire in a homemade tunic.  The track marches along triumphantly—slowing down to allow for some psychedelic lead guitar—only to bridle up and dash into the nether at a breakneck pace. Hail to thee, Oh Minotaur. This may be one of Ice Dragon’s catchiest endeavors and, yet again, illustrates that their creative depths are seemingly boundless.

 The Ice Dragon/Kroh split is essential listening for fans of either band as both bands have contributed memorable, catchy tunes that make this split 7” a worthwhile purchase. The 7” is limited to 80 orange and 120 green discs of standard weight vinyl, so pick this up before it’s gone for good. Track it down through either band’s Facebook or Bandcamp page.

Words: Steve Miller

 Ice Dragon:
@ Facebook
@ Bandcamp

 Kroh:
@ Facebook
@ Bandcamp

Jul 28, 2012

Compel - "Compel" ...

There aren’t an overflowing amount of “Swamp Doom” practitioners flooding the scene with their slow oozing brand of sloth-like metal pouring out of the speakers, but Compel make a good argument that we should be seeking them out. The duo that make up Compel hail from South Carolina, and this three song ep boasts engineering credits by none other than Jay Matheson (Baroness, Kylesa.) What duo Joe Horne and Tim Davis do here on guitar and drums, respectively, is at once unique, and in an ambiguous way, compelling. (Sorry about that, it really was the best word.)

From the start of the first track, “(The Capture) Hag” this is a slow brooding affair, but it certainly isn’t an aimless jam, as so many instrumentals from this genre are in danger of being. No, from the out start of this swamp doom offering, there is implied movement. This piece goes somewhere, and if you let it, it will take you along for the slow ride. The instrumentation is sparse, so the musical ideas have lots of breathing room, and there are quite a few subtle tempo changes and shifts in direction to keep you looking out for the next compositional twist. I only wish I knew more about the subject matter that these three compositions are based on, and there is clearly strong links that tie these tunes together, a larger story arc is implied by the titles.

The next track, “Let It Be The Devil” really does an admirable job of moving us to a new place, with a much faster tempo, and lots of stock riffs that are intertwined in ways that let us ignore their pedigree of having been used by many a doom merchant, as the track twists through more variations to keep you glued to the speaker.  The track moves along really nicely, and has a great feeling of building up to the next track.

The last track “Giants (The Escape)” starts off with a lyrical, moody riff in a slower tempo, which through me for a loop on first listen, because of the previous tracks feeling of building up to something big. Compositionally, this is no misstep on the band’s part, however, as the last track is really the main course in many ways, and has an epic feel to it, even more so then it’s always meandering but never lost predecessors. The EP really does go out on a high note; while there is nothing  here to shock you in the last track; it certainly never gets boring, and it brings the album to an end in a perfectly fitting fashion, leaving you wish there was a fourth track…

All in all, this is a fun ep. It never teeters on the fence of falling into saminess, which so many do; and it really does engage you in ways so few instrumental outings do. If I were to assign this some kind of rating, I would say it is easily a 7.5 out of ten. The murky moods and heady mix of riffs bring to mind all kinds of fantastical visuals, and I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. While it may not be genre redefining, it certainly makes Compel a name I want to watch out for, and while it is available on their bandcamp site in a “name your price” capacity; I would encourage you to spend some bucks on it, because I want to hear what they record next.

Words: Jonathan Dee



Compel | Bandcamp

Butcher in the Fog - "Butcher in the Fog" ...

Mmm, this stuff is rocking yummi indeed …
Instinctively the band’s name, Butcher in the Fog, hints to some splatter kind of gore-filled brutal metal. Alternatively the name may recall Jack the Ripper looking for next prey in the grim Victorian foggy London slums. Well, this gets more appropriate as the band dealt with here is from London. But, halas, that’s about it with horror feelings.
Here you’ve got some cool twisted punkish and sludgy garage/noise rock drenched with much much cheeky groove that must be sounding badass in a live exhibition especially in the above-said metropolitan context …
Butcher in the Fog play a music loaded with contrasts due to different genres explored and quoted. This band has its roots in the cool London underground scene, and in particular in a heavily rocking act that had been appreciated by the Swamp readers back in the days, i.e. the hybrid prog doom rock/metal band Dead Man’s Root.
Butcher in the Fog includes drummer Alex, one of the two American/British De La Cour brothers founders of Dead Man’s Root, where they were accompanied by bassist Avi Lugassy. Since the dismissal of Dead Man’s Root, Ben, the other De La Cour brother, has been devoting himself to his charming acoustic neo-folk project. On the other side, deep love for raw and dirty rock and downtuned metal must have never left drummer Alex who paired up with another guitarist/vocalist, Yanni Georgiou, and started Butcher In The Fog back in 2009. The band remained as a duo until early 2012 when a powerful bass player was duly included in the line-up in the just seemingly delicate person of charming Emmy Porter.

The 2012 Butcher in The Fog EP is the follow-up of the very first release, the 2011 Bonafide EP. Both releases are available on Bandcamp.
The two EPs are rather different from one another. The Bonafide EP is powerful and includes some tracks with quite strong impact, as it is the case for the opener, Royal Game. The EP is instrumental only. To me this first release sounds more affine to the past experiences. In the EP you can appreciate a dominant blend of groovy doom and raw progressive/desert rock with much in common with the "Caveman Death 'N Roll Blues" and “Lounge Doom” styles colourfully envisaged for Dead Man’s Root’s only album Mouthbreather.
In the first EP only occasionally the band’s guys were blasting into furious and groovy Motörhead-charged garage-punk noise assaults. This happens, for example, in tracks Cluedo, Triangle Song, or a bit more extensively, for example, in the frenzied second half of the otherwise sober closing tracks Escape.
The contrast these punkish noise assaults make with the darker and more sophisticated doomy parts  is cool indeed. This must have been what intrigued the band as it is the feature that has been better expressed in the new EP where also vocals were added.

Vocals? Yessss …
Sorry, just my opinion. For me vocals are always welcome even with drone/ambient etc. stuff. But vocals become ultimate, no wait!, compulsory especially when angry rock is involved …
Yanni Georgious’s vocal style is perfect for the sound this trio play: aggressive, gritty, drunken sludgy and very groovy. Even in the tonal range Yanni’s singing is actually not too distant from Ben’s vocals in Dead Man’s Root, so there’s a tasty Clutch-esque vibe coming from these new songs.
The 5 tracks of the EP will keep you busy for 18 minutes.

The opener track “The Birds of Black Death” neatly protraits the band’s new style fully developed in this EP. This style is fast and heavy and is overflowing with juicy dirty downtuned guitars and twisted, solid garage rock riffs at a punkish to jazzy/funky syncopated pace dictated by the urgent to crazy drumming. There are insertions of dissonant sounds affine to post-metal and noise, but the groove and the roaring chanting style are fitting to a hybrid beast amenable to be described like Clutch going a wee bit avantgarde. The raw, strained and aggressive singing possesses a hot vibe and stays somehow in the background as if it were struggling to surface through the texture of the fat punk’n’roll riffs.
Track Rabbit Punch is slower, but it is full of the same vibe described above created by strained, funky syncopated leading melodies, breathless roaring singing, and explosions of killer noisy punkish riffs when the band decides it’s time for speeding up. A little jewel indeed.
The central track, Butcher in the Fog, is instrumental only. Without being “distracted” by Yanni’s sick chanting, this is the occasion for appreciating these guys’ technical performances, the cool bass-line leading the acrobatic guitars as well as the complicated rolling patterns at the drums. This track is longer than the others and is probably more varied as it also reminds of the prog roots of the band’s members.

Stage peasants is another fast track lead by the very fresh and catchy beating melody made nasty by raw distortion and Yanni’s great drunken singing.
The closing track, Marching Orders, is another instrumental track lead by a badass raw, fast and galloping distorted melody where again Yanni is having a great time in teasing his guitar with distortion and Alex is busy chasing him with his dynamic drumming.
So, all in all Butcher in The Fog’s style sounds to me like a cool groovy hybrid of Unsane and Clutch, with as well as Primus and/or Faith No More like in album King For A Day.
The production in this EP especially enhances the dry, gritty sound of distorted guitars while building up the garage/rock’n’roll riffs as well as the sickness of the bold singing. Probably the drumming wasn’t responding well (at least for me), as drums sound a bit dull. But this is a very minor flaw, if any, as minor imperfections are the spice in creating that fresh underground vibe making songs heard on a piece of plastic closer to the live experience.

I guess in the 2012 self-titled EP the band has better carved their own style and have departed from the previous band, Dead Man’s Root, in a bit deeper way than in the first release, the 2011 Bonafide EP.
Just a curiosity …A sort of inner tie to the old glorious band must be still alive, though, if one reads that weird note “band outings to the aquarium” in the info on the band’s Facebook page and then looks at one of the funny official photos with the mariachi playing in front of a dugongo. So much recalling the sea themes, the tentacula deep-sea diver (and the dugongos …) on the old band’s only album … 

Butcher In the Fog in its present, complete line-up (trio), have been having great success while playing live in the past months in UK. Gig activity is going on but the guys plus gal are now busy with completing the debut full length album. So if Butcher In the Fog’s EPs, available on Bandcamp, have been teasing you and duly made you need for more, expect a new flood soon for quenching the thirst for fat noisy riffs …

Words by Marilena Moroni

Bandcamp
Facebook
Myspace

NEWS: MY DYING BRIDE: New Album Details Revealed ...

U.K. doom metal veterans MY DYING BRIDE have set "A Map Of All Our Failures" as the title of their new album, due on October 15 In Europe and October 16 in the U.S. via Peaceville Records on CD, double vinyl and special-edition CD/DVD. The CD eas recorded and mixed at Futureworks Studios in Manchester, England with the band's longtime production partner Rob "Mags" Magoolagan at the helm.

According to a press release, "a step up from 2009's 'For Lies I Sire' — which set and subsequently met new heights of expectation placed upon the legendary Yorkshire doom troupe — 'A Map Of All Our Failures' is a further voyage into the darkest depths of humanity, religion, folklore, love and death. MY DYING BRIDE's distinctively sumptuous dual-guitar melodies effortlessly flood into juggernaut doom metal riffs, with the vocals of Aaron Stainthorpe weaving a rich tapestry of tragic tales into the accompanying soundscapes. 'A Map Of All Our Failures' is perhaps best and most effectively summarized by guitarist Andrew Craighan, who describes the album as 'a controlled demolition of all your hopes.'"

"A Map Of All Our Failures" track listing:

01. Kneel Till Doomsday
02. The Poorest Waltz
03. A Tapestry Scorned
04. Like A Perpetual Funeral
05. A Map Of All Our Failures
06. Hail Odysseus
07. Within The Presence Of Absence
08. Abandoned As Christ

MY DYING BRIDE will embark on a European tour in December in support of the new album. The band will also make an appearance at the U.K.'s esteemed Damnation Festival in November, at which Peaceville will be a proud sponsor to coincide with the label's 25th anniversary.

Source: Blabbermouth.

Jul 27, 2012

Chowder – "Passion Rift" ...

Player of guitar , bass, synthesizers, mellotron, theremin, and all-round genius Josh Hart has played in bands like Unorthodox, Revelation and Earthride so with a pedigree like that you would expect to hear something special....and here it is. 'Passion Rift' by Chowder is one of the most mind-bending instrumental albums to be released this year. Hart is joined by bassist Doug Williams and drummer Chad Rush whose surname will be of interest once you hear this album because if you can imagine an instrumental doom metal version of Rush you would be getting close to the sound of Chowder. I am loathing to use the word "progressive" but there is no way around it, this is a proggy album but mixed with doom and given a 70's horror movie atmosphere. Quite frankly, I can see a lot of people having a hard time listening and simply "wont get it."

This full length album has amazing production and outstanding musicianship; there is elaborate drumming with very interesting time-keeping techniques. There is also amazingly dynamic guitar and keys while the rumbling to sometimes cutting bass attack is Geddy Lee kind of stuff go insane. The album starts with 'Mysterioid,' 'The Innsmouth Look,' and 'Salt Creep,' three tracks that pulverize the senses with jagged guitar work, gorgeous keyboards that wash over the top of everything and give the songs a unique feel. Meanwhile there is also dynamic shifts, doom riffs, and polyrhythmic drumming that is incredible and then you get treated to the multi-layering of melodies which are stunning at times. The band is very old-school metallic at times, like an early Voi Vod but without the crappy production of the early 80's.

If there is a point in the album when all the prog-rock noodling is a bit testing, it is the title track which comes up next in the album. While the first three tracks are shortish tracks, title track 'Passion Rift' goes on and on for over 18 minutes. Sounding like Rush, King Crimson, Voi Vod and any number of Maryland doom and stoner bands, this track also combines grooves and drones so to suggest this epic is adventurous would be an understatement. It is a great track, but is it too long you ask? Well yes it is, I do feel compelled to skip to the next track usually about half-way through but having the prog-rock tendencies that I do have, I usually manage to make the distance but it is a grueling, exhausting musical journey. The next track 'Insidious' starts with a sample that partly sums up this album - "Alright, it’s Saturday night, I have no date, a 2-liter bottle of Shasta, and my all Rush mix tape, let’s rock!" However this is when it begins to stop rocking for me personally...

The album doesn't go downhill, the quality of the songs don't diminished either. It is just 30 odd minutes into this album and it becomes very same-sounding. In-fact 'Insidious' with its 80's hardcore punk groove is the last track where anything really different happens. The album picks up my interest again in the last track called 'Custody' which sounds like a doom-metal version 'Rush's "Cygnus X-1" but done....like I say very doomy. One thing about this album is the heavy passages are not that heavy at all and the doom riffing parts are a little boring. The prog passages is where the album reaches its high-points and I really appreciate the ominous old school sounds of the mellotron. This is easily my favorite instrumental album of the year so far but some of you readers may have to be in a certain mood to appreciate this brand of instrumental progressive doom. It is an acquired taste but you will be better off for investigating this intriguing release from Chowder.

Words: Doomm@niac

Chowder | Facebook

Jul 26, 2012

Om - "Advaitic Songs" ...

Al Cisneros of stoner giants Sleep fame and Emil Amos, collectively known as Om have always been one of the most unique bands on the planet. They have always been pushing in different directions and always with a new trick up their sleeves. What perhaps is so remarkable is they have managed to release classic album after classic album without sticking to any one formula or genre. Om are still known as a "stoner-doom" band by most but the band are beyond genre type-casting.

The one recurring element in the bands albums has been the meditative quality that they are so good at producing in the studio and during live performances. The new album, just released 'Advaitic Songs' pushes even more into the realms of meditational darkness. While the album cover has the image of Christ on it, the album draws most of its influence from Hinduism, in fact it actually embraces the concept.

The first thing fans of Om will notice is this is a new Om at work and the tag "stoner-doom" can no longer be applied to the band at all. If anything this album is a modern-day take on minimalistic performance art a-la La Monte Thornton Young. The aesthetic beauty this album possesses is quite stunning, whether it be the way the complex instrumentation breathes or from the perspective of the transcendental. What the lyrical themes are about is really anybody's guess but it does give you something to analyze and study with every spin of the album which is something pretty rare within the world of doom and drone music.

'Advaitic Songs' has five tracks on it but it is best off played from start to finish, loud while sitting alone for maximum effect. The sound is thicker than molasses but the feeling to these pieces is so relaxed and hypnotic, the sounds seem to slither out of the speakers, rather than blasting you in the face.

The single 'State of Non-Return' is the only time on the album where the band approaches anything straight-forward, especially in the riffing department so this is the most accessible track the album offers. It appears second in the albums playing order and it is the first time you hear any of Cisneros's typical mesmerizing bass-lines but don't get too comfortable with it because the album twists or should I say slithers all over the place from this moment onwards. The album is heavy on the violas and cellos and also features tabla, santoors and flutes which do take a bit of getting used to and this is a step away from the sound the band had in its early days but it grows on you pretty quickly. It is a bit of a stretch to call this a "metal" album but it is heavy but it is more likely to have you swaying back and forth rather than headbanging. The vocals are sparse and are as meditative as the music itself and are a perfect match to the oblique nature of the instrumentation.

Highlights? Well the whole album is one giant highlight really but where you rank it alongside their other albums is cause for debate. I am sure this will be a favorite for many fans of the band, while for others, it may seem too obscure and impenetrable. The track 'Gethsemane' stands out as the albums golden moment for me personally but the entire album is basically one long trip of progressive mind-bending music. As a reviewer of albums, this is one album that could be reviewed 10 times over and you could write something different about it each time. 'Advaitic Songs' is expertly played, arranged and produced and it has so much depth, you will discover new elements with every spin of the disc. In closing; this album might not be the total classic release that many people will say it is but it is right up there with some of the most inventive and original releases ever unleashed on the world and it will finished up at number one in album of the year polls once this year is out.....9/10.

Official Om Website
Om | Facebook

Moon Curse - "Moon Curse" ...

Being just another drop in the bucket isn’t necessarily a bad thing and Milwaukee’s riff-rocking trio, Moon Curse, contribute their straight forward brand of doom-tinged, stoner rock to an already overflowing pail with mixed results. Falling somewhere between the beer soaked grooves of Red Fang, the classic rock inspired stoner riffs of Egypt, or Dead Meadow’s homage to 60’s and 70’s psychedelia, Moon Curse treads a well worn path with little innovation or individuality to truly carve out their own niche. This lack of innovation or individuality hasn’t stopped a multitude of bands from finding success either through the sheer determination of a road-warrior work ethic, word-of mouth praise, or simply satisfying the need for more of a good thing. Enter Moon Curse. While the band probably won’t baptize new initiates in the murky waters of stoner or doom metal, it does have the potential to satiate the need for more of a good thing.

Barely creeping beyond EP status, Moon Curse’s self-titled debut opens strong with the album’s doomiest riff and some impressive, eruptive drumming. The initial promise of “Medicinecoma” quickly erodes, though, as the song launches into bouncy, hard-rock/stoner-rock territory. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it certainly is unremarkable. The song finds life again in the chorus which utilize the song’s excellent, doomy intro, and amid the beautiful, acid-toned guitar solo in the song’s latter half. The second track, “Brontis”, is not too far removed from the album opener, save it relies more heavily on lead guitar soloing. It’s another capable, up-beat, hard rock number that establishes a groove early on and it doesn’t let up. “Northern High” is easily the standout track of the album and it’s the band’s most moody and interesting composition. It’s hard to dismiss the vocals of this track as they employ a similar, if not identical, voca
l effect to Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan”, and guess what? It works. The song is carried along by a catchy bassline and atmospheric riffing until it propels into a whirring, stoned-out instrumental passage that is mesmerizing. “Chandra” is an odd-ball tune that can only be designated as filler. While it serves as an introduction to the organ that is used on the last song, it’s a two-minute long instrumental that is both mediocre and misplaced. The longest track and album closer, “Black Elk”, is easily the second strongest tune on the album and it contains the most impassioned vocal delivery of the lot. It’s the most complex composition and fluctuates between classic rock inspired stoner metal and doom.

Moon Curse have unleashed a competent, if not average, debut that is slightly marred by its lack of consistency and originality, but based on the strength of tunes like “Northern High” and “Black Elk” the band displays promise. They may not be innovators, but they certainly are adept students and most fans of the genre should be able to appreciate Moon Curse due to the familiar territory they choose to occupy.  Though the band’s Bandcamp page doesn’t identify this release as a demo, it surely sounds like one and it could be an indicator of greater things to come.

Words: Steve Miller


Moon Curse | Bandcamp

Jul 25, 2012

No Spliff, No Riff: A Interview with YAMA ...

Welcome Alex Schenkels (vocals, bluesharp) and Sjoerd Albers (guitars) from Tilburg (Netherlands), these guys deliver a word of Tibetan god of death Yama straight to your home in most classical and psychedelic stoner manner! They focus on heavy grooves and really big riffs! Think about Goatsnake, Baroness, Graveyard and the occasional stoner-metal riffs and you’ll have an idea of what they’re about – heavy fuzzed-out stoner rock! Feel a synergy of seaquake!


Alex, you’ve started in 2008 under name Les Ailes, your music takes it’s roots in culture of 70s as it’s combination of “psychedelic rock, doom and stonerrock to delta-blues” (as your official bio says). So we could say that you play in retro-style but I know that Yama already have a huge positive feedback, don’t you feel vertigo from this?

Alex: You mean like the reviews and reactions on our EP? Well as it was kind of overwhelming, indeed. We sort of released ‘Seaquake’ a year ago just as a demo. By then we recorded three songs in a repetition room and our guitarist (Sjoerd) mixed the tape. After a few weeks on bandcamp we found reviews on our EP on American, German, Spanish and Russian sites that was quite surreal. It was also really call to walk to the post office once a week to post yet another cd to the States, France and even Vladivostok… 

Vladivostok? It’s just crazy… So does Yama bring only such positive experience for you till now? Did you get that you expected from the band?

Alex: To be honest the response to our little demo has exceeded all of our expectations! Most of it is truly positive, and we're very happy to be picked up by people who are very supportive and enthousiastic. We had no expectations beforehand, but working out the way it does now, we're even more motivated to get that release done!

And how do you think what was a reason of such heartfelt welcome?

Alex: Pfjiew that’s hard to say. One reason I can think off is the concentrated stoner and doom scene. There are a lot of fanatics (in a positive way) in this scene, it’s not that big a scene but well spread over the globe so maybe that’s the reason we got picked up quite early. But the reason for the enthusiastic welcome?  I think that’s for others to say…

Man, don’t be so shy! Yama’s Ep has strong songwriting, sound is awesome… By the way, how did you work out your sound? What kind of equipment do you prefer to use to get that you want from your guitars?

Sjoerd: Interesting question! We've recorded this demo with the help of our friend Marijn, who provided the space and the equipment. Being the amateurs we are, we've used what was available to us there and just worked with it. Everything you hear (apart from a couple of overdubs) was recorded live with all four of us playing in the same room. The crosstalk we picked up on the drum-mics was horrible, but manageable. The guitar used here is a cheap Yamaha 112 pacifica through a Orange Rocker 30 combo. Only one overdub for rhythm guitar, one for solo's. FX were kept to a minimum during recording (only reverb was used in the studio). Most of the sound was done later in post-production, which I did at home. The final mix & master was created using software (mainly Adobe Audition). Took me a couple of weeks, and towards the end it felt a bit like polishing a turd, but I'm pretty happy about the end results of my first production.

What is a current band’s line-up? And how do you share responsibilities between each other?

Alex: We have Sjoerd Albers on guitar, Peter Taverne on bass and Joep Schmitz is our current battery. From my experience we’re a really democratic band, I don’t know what the rest thinks of that statement J.. There’s a lot to organize in and around a band – musician life is not a bed of roses- and Peter plays a big part in that. As for songwriting most of the riff material comes from Sjoerd, the two of us set up most ‘building schemes’ for new songs .  

Yama is a name of Tibetan God of Death, how does it reflect on your songs? There’re no “good” or “evil” gods in Tibetan system, so I wonder did you choose it only for it’s death-incarnation?

Alex: Well the way I understand this part of Tibetian Buddhist mythology the role of ‘death’ is a symbolic feature. It’s like a kind of crises someone has to endure to reincarnate. I think that’s the system you’re referring to? I find this symbolic relation between the ‘divine’ and the existential spheres of humankind interesting material to write about. There are also more rare writings about Yama as the God of illusion, also a very interesting metaphor. In my lyrics I try to interweave these symbolic meanings with a critique on the common world order. I’d like to write in a more allegoric or poetic way which doesn’t reveal it’s meaning at first sight. The reader has some work to do J.

Yes, Alex, you’ve got my question right but why do you choose to compose the lyrics in “allegorical” way? I mean that forthright text based onto Tibetian tradition could work better.

Alex: It could, but that would leave out a lot of other themes and moods we want to explore. 

What is a core of band’s conception besides musical influences?

Alex: That’s a complicated question. What inspires us besides musical influences?

Hm, question of inspiration may sound trivial but yes, it’s about this. What came first – musical or lyrical conception? Do you orientate onto rules of stoner scene or do you follow an example of some bands?

Sjoerd: Good examples are vital if you want to start a band. You have to make so many decisions about songwriting, sound, performance, visual appearance etc. that sometimes it's best to follow these examples instead of trying to re-invent the wheel. This doesn't mean, however, that we're just copying stuff. Alex has been writing songs for many years; I've been playing heavy music since I was little, so bringing the two together was a lot of fun. Our love for music coming out of the 'stoner' scene was something we all shared and it gave us a sound and an approach to work with. There's no set rules, and it seems to me like a waste of time to try to fit in with all the other Kyuss-clones in order to be a real 'stoner' band. At it's core, the band is just Alex and me writing songs on with an acoustic guitar in the middle of the night, the four of us jamming in the rehearsal room and a bit of ganja.

Your official demo and EP consist only of three songs, but I see that you have quiet busy tour schedule. What else do you play besides these tracks?

Alex: We have a few songs dating from the same period as the songs from the EP. One or two of them are still in the set. But although some new songs have already been deleted we have about 4 or 5 new songs we play.

 Okay, and as you see I must ask you how soon you’ll enter the studio and bring it all on?

Alex: Yeah that’s a difficult one as well. We’re aiming at releasing one before the end of this year. We kind of feel the pressure because it’s already a year ago we released our EP. But we’re still really busy on writing new material and we have to find time and of course money… So if you or your friends win a lottery….

I know that festival Dutch Doom Days is donated partly by government of Netherland, can you get donation too as a representatives of modern local cultural sphere?

Alex: In some instances you could. But local governments have to judge whether this is something that promotes the city or region in a relevant way. Apparantly drinking beer and smoking weed is not  good enough of a plan for them. =)

Does weed help to compose songs? It’s a popular stereotype – I know, but you’re from Netherlands where such stuff is legal and I wonder is your grass greener than others?

Alex: ‘No spliff, no riff!’… rest my case

Summer is a time of vacation and most of people do their best to run away from the city. What’s about you? Are you satisfied with your life in Tilburg? And how do you want to spend summer-time?

Alex: Well I’ve had enough from Tilburg for this summer me and my girl are heading to Russia. So save some vodka for me!

I need to think about it, because I wouldn’t like to see vodka after hangover which I was enduring this morning. But well – just for you mate! What kinds of alcohol drinks do you prefer besides vodka? And hey! Maybe you go in for sport, do you?

Sjoerd: We mostly drink beer over here. Hard liquor like vodka is not something a Dutch stomach can hold for to long. With beer it's a different story. Not that we're heavy drinkers, but we like a couple of beers during rehearsals and after a show.
Which brings me to the 'sports' section of this answer: We don't.

How often and where Yama plays gigs? Is it difficult for the band to find a right venue and gather people there?

Alex: We've been very lucky over the last two years. It's hard to say how many we've done exactly, but right now we play a gig every other week approximately. We've been writing to venues since we could play a half hour set, so that's a lot of e-mails. But the best gigs just fall in your lap somehow. Right now we might have found a third party to do bookings for us as well, which could save us a lot of time!




Thank you for your patience guys! I hope we’ll have a chance to meet in Russia, and I guess that it would be good to see you here with Yama in some local club :-). Best regards, men. What’s about few more words for our readers?

We're honoured that you take interest in what we do! We've never thought, two years in, that we would be doing an interview for this site! Thank you so much for the support, and we'll see you at one of our shows!

Interview By Aleks

Yama | Bandcamp
Yama | Facebook
Yama | Myspace





NEWS: HOODED MENACE: New Song Available For Streaming ...

Death/doom powerhouse HOODED MENACE is gearing up to unleash "Effigies Of Evil", its first effort for Relapse Records, on September 11. Now fans have their first taste of music from the record as the band has partnered with AOL's Noisecreep to unleash the album's title track, "Effigies Of Evil".

"Effigies Of Evil" is available for pre-order now at the Relapse online store. You can order the album in several different forms, including CD, digital and 2xLP vinyl — containing a special deluxe edition, which comes with an exclusive, limited-edition seven-inch featuring HOODED MENACE covering tracks by WITCHFINDER GENERAL and ETERNAL DARKNESS.

"Effigies Of Evil" will come in a wrap-around gatefold with artwork courtesy of David D'Andrea (ULVER, WITCHCRAFT).

In other news, HOODED MENACE has scheduled a few live outings in Europe. Don't miss your opportunity to see one of the most devastating metal shows you can witness this year.

"Effigies Of Evil" (song) audio stream (courtesy of AOL's Noisecreep):






Jul 24, 2012

REPOST & UPDATE: S:T Erik - From Under the Tarn ...

UPDATE:
Spora Recordz, a distribution label based out of Austin,TX are getting ready to release the "From Under The Tarn record on clear vinyl.They are a great band and very underrated and under appreciated. Get behind the band, show your support and watch this space for more info on the band and this release in the future. Here is a repost of the original review I did sometime ago...

It is time to play catch-up again with another album that was released and disappeared under the radar without hardly one ever hearing it. The band is the obscure S:T Erik who released this album titled 'From Under The Tarn in 2009. They got a few reviews, if that and I haven't read about them since. The band is still together as far as I know but they are one hell of an elusive, mystery band. When this was released, I thought they would be huge in the underground. You see, this album is a psychedelic doom fans wet-dream come to life. They take the influence of Electric Wizard, Ufommamut, Om, Acid King and Sleep and give it some serious treatment. One thing I do know about them is bassist and vocalist Erik Nordström is the bands center point, backbone, and from all reports is the one behind all of the band songs and these tunes are killers. They lack originality maybe, but there is so much cosmic, down-tuned goodness to the grooves on 'From Under The Tarn' that it is hard but not to get a massive head-rush over this act.

A lot of bands have the same influences as these guys but S:T Erik really take only the very best of elements from each band to use as ingredients for their doom pieces. Basically this is stoner, psychedelic doom with lashings of trippy synths, long hypnotic instrumental sections, but when they really get the groove on, it is some of the most infectious stoner doom you will ever hear. The band also have a sense of individuality that is unique to them even though they are mining a fairly limited genre of music. This no more obvious than what you hear on the opening track, 'Goddess.' This is a mesmerizing example of how to be extremely heavy and insanely catchy at the same time. There is an odd vibe too to this track as you could almost mosh to it in a stoned-out slow-mo kind of way, its hard to explain but this tune is like psychedelic, almost violent head-banging kind of doom that has a tempo and feel that is simply, crazy good fun to listen to. One of the trademarks to the songs on this album which also appears in this opening track is soon as you think it is going down the road to generic, jammy stoner-doom, the band takes a detour and takes you somewhere else again. The twists and turns come when you least expect it.

'The Search' takes the band into the land of wide-open psychedelic instrumentalism. This tune ups the strangeness factor a few notches and it becomes a heavy dose of mesmerizing, lovecraftian jammy rock. It also has a female/male duet vocal which gives it yet another unique element and as the track progresses, you could swear this is a completely different band from the one that opened the album. Without a doubt, S:T Erik are not exactly original but they are diverse as this track demonstrates. The key instrument to a lot of this is the synthesizer but it is played with pure class and never sounds cheesy or just simply tacked on as it does in a lot of other bands. It is also the instrument supplying the atmospheric edge that this album strives on. Without it, the album would be lacking. For example, the bass-work is average and can be called overwhelmingly basic at times and the use of two guitar players doesn't add-up to much if listened to on their own but put all these elements together and the end product is amazing.

'Your Highness' has a feeling of attention deficit disorder about it; the song is ever-moving, changing, and reinventing itself and just as well as these songs are quite long. There is only 5 tracks that range from 7 to 14 odd minutes of psychedelic-doomy splendor. 'Your Highness' is more of the same style but yet again, doesn't sound like anything else on the album. This is the track that Om fans will most likely gravitate to, very trippy, ambient, and has a trance-like atmosphere. 'Black Wall' is even more Omish with hypnotic grooves and a vibe that creates total anxiety for the listener; this track really puts you on the edge on your seat. If there is a problem, it would be some of the instrumental sections are a bit too extended for what its worth and that point really hits home in the album closer; the almost 14 minute 'Swan Song.' The frustrating part of this track is its opening few minutes are kind of tedious with too much emphasis on atmospheric sparseness. 'Swan Song' does become a monster track a few minutes in and to its ending though with some mesmerizing musicianship on display.

One word of warning now; this album is mostly slow, I mean really SLOW. Think of Sleep's Dopesmoker and you will get some idea of the tempos that are featured on this release. However, if you are like me and love the monolithic crawl of such albums as the Sleep classic, you will dig the trance-like grooves and mesmerizing atmosphere. This is the kind of album that Electric Wizard should be making these days, it is atmospheric, psychedelic, droning, and above all else HEAVY. One thing that will bug some folks is the synths; one reviewer describe it as "taking a camp of stoned hippies from the 70's, jamming them into an arcade hall consisting of nothing but old Asteroid games and with Black Sabbath as the soundtrack." I don't know about you but that sounds kind of cool to me! 'From Under the Tarn' has its flaws but when it's at its best, you will be hard pressed to find a better psychedelic-doom album...............9/10

S:t Erik Myspace
The S:t Erik Blog.

Ehnahre - "Old Earth" ...

Those who are attracted by slow sounds, doom as well as experimentation and atmospheres, sometimes weird atmospheres, there’s some fresh and cool news from gold mine label Crucial Blast about a maybe hermetic but overly charming US band, the avant-garde death/doom/prog trio Ehnahre. Crucial Blast will release the new full-length album from Ehnahre on September 10th, 2012. Old Earth is the name of the new album which is the third release and the haunting follow up to the critically acclaimed 2010 album “Taming The Cannibals” (released on Crucial Blast as well). “Critically acclaimed” is the right expression used by the prolific writer and owner of the label for introducing his creature. Ehnahre’s music is indeed an oppressive and love-it-or-leave-it experience, but it is of great attraction for those who enjoy exploring unusual horizons in heavy dark music and who appreciate the creative, unique, “untraditional” fusion of hellish death-doom, blackened prog, avant-jazz and experimental modern music composition this trio is able to do. The band includes Ryan McGuire (Bass, Double Bass, Vocals, Percussion), John Carchia (Guitar, Vocals) and Ricardo Donoso (drums). Ryan McGuire and John Carchia are former members of the avant-prog rock band Kayo Dot.  It is worth reminding you of a cool interview with Ryan McGuire hosted  HERE at Doommantia and done at the time of the previous release.

Ehnahre’s “'Old Earth” album is about 38 minutes long and is divided into four chapters whose development is beautifully described in the extensive release notes on the label’s pages.
Get a glipse of how this new twisted adventure, or nightmare, starts:

“It begins with distant rustling sounds creep out of a dank underground space, as the dusty warbling strains of an old 78 rpm record drift through, introducing 'Old Earth' with an eerie haze of slightly corroded, somewhat hallucinatory sound. As a terrifying chorus of operatic female howls suddenly waft out of cracks in the floor, the guitars finally appear, all alone and slowly weaving an ominous dissonant melody that takes over the piece as the listener is propelled further into Ehnahre's twisted soundscape. It's not long before the band tumbles into their trademark atonal death-doom, that spidery fractured guitar suddenly swelling into a monstrous clanging anti-riff while withered, ragged screams and bizarre mewling join in, and the rhythm section erupts into brief blasts of chaotic slow-motion heaviness and free-jazz inspired drumming.”

But after the hallucinatory and, well, rather sober, tame sounds occupying most of the first “chapter”, Ehnahre's poisonous sound explodes in its distressing, mind-melting tentacular aspects. There surges of warped noisy death metal, described as a crossbreed between Disembowelment and Obscura-era Gorguts, gurgle side by side with shadowy and even delicate drony melodies, menacing dissonant and martial/industrial death-doom charges as well as creepy and alienating free jazz escapes.  You are continuously hauled in and out from emotional and painful soundscapes throughout the album. The awakening from the nightmare takes place at the end of the fourth “chapter” in the same sober way it started, i.e. by mean of a fairly abstract, slowly plodding, solitary dull dissonant sound, the only thing surviving from the decomposition of a final breathtaking wave of bone-crushing death metal surge.  As it is fairly typical in this band, metal instruments and tortured chanting are employed together with keyboard and atypical instruments like double-bass and trumpets. The latter are taken care of by guest musicians Greg Kelley (Heathen Shame) and Forbes Graham (Kayo Dot) during the most spellbinding incursions into avant-jazz fusion and shadowy atmospherics. 

“As terrifying as it is haunting, 'Old Earth' is another intensely challenging and completely unique offering from Ehnahre, who still sound like nothing else in the metal/avant underground. It has some of the most bleakly beautiful, burnt-out moments the band has brought us so far, and those jazz-influenced passages in the middle of the album are pretty goddamn stunning. Might be difficult listening for some, but Ehnahre's otherworldly heaviness is immensely rewarding for the adventurous listener.” (release notes) As noted above, the CD edition of 'Old Earth' comes in a full color digipack, as well as digital release, on September 10th, 2012 via Crucial Blast. Those who are teased by curiosity can, however, stream ‘Old Earth’ in its entirety on Crucial Blast’s Bandcamp page.

Words by Marilena Moroni


Ehnahre - Crucial Blast | Bandcamp
Ehnahre | Official Website
Ehnahre | Facebook
Crucial Blast | Official Website

Riding Down the Miskatonic on a Dead Thing: Interview with the Mainman from Aarni ...

And once again I meet that extravagant trickster who grow Finnish quaint doom breathing dragon Aarni. Witch Sermon Productions released a split-album of Aarni andPersistence In Mourning just in April, and believe me – there is lot to ask when we’re dealing with mister Warjomaa. I’ve understood that such a heretic as him is totally lost for divine absolution so I didn’t insist on extreme confessions yet he revealed blasphemous nature of Aarni in his mocking answers again! The pull of Ahriman is overcome.

Hail mister Warjomaa! How are you doing? What kind of sinister plans do you hold in your extraordinary head?

Hullo Aleks! I'm getting by, thanks. I may have some extraordinary plans in my sinister head. Or perhaps you could say my head is dexter and the plans are merely ordinary. Currently I slowly work on 'Lovecraftian' and also another Aarni album, plus a top secret project. When and if I get those finished, we shall make the sorely needed 'Tohcoth Redux', meaning completely remixing and largely re-recording that album, so that it will suck less and on the whole be more like what we originally intended. As always I have lots of plans and chaotic ideas, but precious little to show for them.

It's not a secret that you release a split-CD with extreme doom project Persistence In Mourning via Witch Sermon Productions. Firstly I thought that collaboration of such opposite bands was idea of label, but suddenly I've remembered that you told it yourself - about work between Aarni and Persistence. So how did it happen that two different band with different sound and sound’s quality appear in one release?

Andy (PiM main man) had the idea. Because he runs Witch Sermon you could say it was also the label's idea. This release happened because we have done some collaboration in the past; Andy contributed some guest vocals for 'Lovecraftian' and I to his 'The Undead Shall Rise' album.
Anyway, generally I think the bands on a split album should not sound too similar – it could get quite boring for the listener. But I feel that Aarni and PiM are not too dissimilar either, as both probably come under the broad "doom metal" umbrella. It's not like one band plays tango and the other gangsta rap, or something along those lines.

Comrade Warjomaa, what is your progress with third Aarni's full-length "Lovecraftian"? And do you still feel that tag "Lovecraftian" is actual one? I'm asking because I see that a number of "lovecraftian" bands didn't increase through the time.

The process seems about 63 % complete at this point, and like I mentioned earlier Aarni simultaneously works on another album - the main reason being that we grew bored with concentrating on just a single theme, and so needed to balance it with more varied musick. The irritating thing with theme albums appears to be that the idea sounds great in theory, but in practice it can prove to be annoyingly labourious when it comes to actual songwriting. So, Aarni works on two releases and switches between them when the relevant mood/inspiration possesses us. In a sense I guess that this other album can be seen as a follow-up to 'Bathos'. Or can it?
Yes, I feel the title 'Lovecraftian' still applies, for when I first had the idea "I'll start a band by myself!" back in 1998 e.v., my second idea was "I'll make a Lovecraftian theme album!" I know there's been loads of supposedly Cthulhoid releases especially in the metal genre in recent years, but so what? I have heard none that I would personally describe as sounding Lovecraftian to me. The subjective feeling and atmosphere I get from reading HPL doesn't come across to me from these puerile releases, so as a Tr00 elitist and eldritch scholar I natural believe only my own vision is pure enough. It's just a question of capturing it in recording. Lovecraftian music should be akin to HPL's ideas expressed in his stories and letters: alienation, cosmic horror, futilitarism, inhuman, nonhuman etc. dissociations from "ordinary" human states in general. How do you realize "alien" music? That's the challenge, because it could lead to the whole album being a discordant, monotonous, maddeningly cacophonous collage of noise. Which Aarni's album isn't except occasionally. For HPL was more diverse than just the tentacles-up-your-ass stuff.

Comrade, you’ve told about preparing of fourth Aarni’s album – how much songs do you already have for it and what kind of conception want you put in it? If “Lovecraftian” has to contain unique mood and atmosphere then what’s about another release?

The fourth (or will it be third?) album will be the opposite of a theme album. In other words, no underlying theme for all of the songs; every one of them shall be an independent whole…although they probably share some themes in common. There will be the occult stuff, maybe a folky track or two, I don’t know yet. So far I’ve got 4 or 5 song ideas and have even recorded some of them. Currently the album seems to contain both traditional and non-traditional doomy stuff, plus material from the prog, avantgarde and wossname genres. Possibly I’ll release it as an exclusively digital album in various audio file formats, with the artwork etc. as pdf files. Like I’ve done with ‘Bathos’ and ‘Omnimantia’ on the Bandcamp website. Because making CD’s doesn’t pay…there’s the manufacturing cost and probably only a handful of people buy them directly from the band, so it isn’t worth all the effort and costs involved.


And are you really so disappointed by 'Tohcoth' sound that you’re going to re-release it? What will be different in the re-issued copy from the original one?

Yea, we do feel very disappointed with the original. Something mysterious happened during the production stage…maybe I didn’t take enough breaks when mixing it and became deaf to all the shittiness. Also I intentionally experimented with unconventional panning settings etc., which in retrospect I feel was not such a good idea.
So, the “redux” version shall correct those things, plus I want to add more layered guitar tracks, synth parts and better percussion and drums, improved vocals etc. and make the mixes clearer, at least.

Your works are very diverse: there aren't similar tracks in each album. But don't you think that it release loses some of integrity through that?

Well, it depends on how you define the term "integrity". If you mean "all tracks on an album have the same drum, bass, guitar sound, mic placement, effects, mixing settings etc.", then yes, Aarni releases probably don't have much integrity. I like to start from a clean slate every time I record a song, even if I do like e.g. the rhythm guitar sound from a previous recording. But it cannot be helped, I still dial in new amp settings and the like for each new track I work on, and try to find a combination of sounds that fit together for each featured instrument. In the creative sense I regard Aarni as having very high musical integrity, in other words not filtering our output by unwholesome and pompous ideas like "giving the audience what it wants" or such nonsense. Entertainment isn't art, but art can entertain…er, what?

For example you could compose a complete album using themes from such track as new "49 Angeli Boni" with its doom layers, deep "shamanic" vocal lines and moderate key lines. I found not lyrics of this song - what was it? Enochian once again? That's why my eyes start to bleeding yet adjna shines brighter, is it?

That would be the cheap beer repeating on you, mate. "49" does not feature the Enochian tongue, but something closely related to it, actually a form of proto-Enochian probably. The lyrics can be found on the Aarni webshite as usual! It's that wheel-like thing on the song's lyrics page. The first verse of the song starts with the section labelled "1" in the picture and proceeds clockwise until the cycle is completed. On the FAQ page of the website has been included a breakdown of the whole album, track-by-track, and also of our other albums. Yet I see we haven't included "Omnimantia", maybe we should correct that in the near future.
Probably Aarni won't make a whole album of songs like "49", as it would prove too boring even for doom metal.

Yet, it would be suitable for drone stuff, and quality drone has its good primordial vibe which sometimes takes listener to a ritualistic essence of music, your low “shamanic” chants would be good there too. Didn’t you try to develop Aarni in that direction?

No…I don’t much care for the drone genre, at least if it features lots of static amp buzz, feedback noises and such. I like music that takes you into trance states, but for me drone doesn’t do it well – more ambient and atmospheric stuff does.

What about folkish binder track "Emuu"? Is it you - Emuu ?

Yes, you've found it! You can even spot a reference to the initials "MW" on that site.




I’ve seen it that’s why I’m asking… Thanks for your "mainstreamy experiment" which name is "Land beyond the Night", you've said about this track "success is a failure" for it's bloody catchy tune, yet I don't believe that you could record a song which you don't like. What did drive you to write down tunes like this? It's a good soundtrack for successful astral voyage; I bet that Charles Leadbeater would be satisfied.

Unfortunately the Theosophists seem never satisfied, unless by their own hand. But we didn't make the song for them. I included the song as an experiment in a more mainstream/generic pop style just for the hell of it. I don't think I'll be doing another anytime soon...the track itself is
basically a tune I developed back in '97 while playing in our local little "gothic metal" band Inevitable. We recorded a three-song demo back then, but didn't include that particular track, perhaps because the other songs were even more melodic, simple and catchy.
For some reason I decided to rescue the tune from total oblivion for the split CD. I made the parts somewhat more complex than the original and wrote a bassline and vocal line whilst rewriting the lyrics...once again for the first time they feature some references to the material of various influential bands, for example the title itself has been taken from Camel and the lyrics contain little nods to Sabbath, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride.
All in all we intended the song to be upbeat, positive and empowering or wossname. Of course the chord progressions, melodies etc. can be seen as being pretty generic and corny, in other words unoriginal & uninspired by the extremely high Aarni standards...I certainly tend to feel that way most of the time, so now I aim to make music which is more unconventionally corny.

I'm glad that your secret twin Sampo Marjomaa aka Genius Albert Frankenstein has retuned to add his vocal in "Land Beyond the Night" as he did with two songs on your first CD "Bathos". Where does he sing besides Aarni?

He's an independent artist and you can find some of his music on Youtube and the like. He also sings on 'Logos' from 'Tohcoth' and on 'Lovecraftian' too.

Mate I test google translator onto your fourth track from split ("Lemminkainens Tempel"), but it doesn't help to decipher your evocations. Looks chaotic - really, you can check it. Oh, yes, and the question is: is it necessary for you to be so unserious in some songs?

Absolutely, especially with this song because of its subject. Don't blame us, blame Ior Bock. Actually you cannot, because he was murdered shortly after Aarni finished recording the song. Coincidence? I don't think so. You are right, Google cannot translate the outro lyrics of the track, for they are not really in Swedish but Atlantean. Google of course doesn't know any Atlantean because they are evil.

Do your colleagues from Umbra Nihil think about any creative activity in forthcoming future?

I don't know, for they only speak to interviewers. I think it would be a huge service to humanity if you would contact the band and ask them some pretty hard questions! They deserve it.

Thanks for important information, comrade Warjomaa. We’ll contact you when we need more. Words of repentance are not necessary at this time. Good luck in your metaphysical searches. Emperor preserves and so on…

Have a happy singularity in December and in preparation for it buy Aarni’s music directly from us. That way you support all the scatomadness, and can take personal credit/blame if Aarni continues to release stuff! Giving support to a band makes you feel almost as good as letting a fish pee on you for hours.

Interview By Aleks Evdokimov.

Aarni | Official Website
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Aarni | Bandcamp
Aarni | Myspace

NEWS: ORCHID Signs Worldwide Deal With NUCLEAR BLAST ...

Nuclear Blast Records has announced the signing of San Francisco-based doom rockers ORCHID to a worldwide deal.

Commented the band: "After many months of talking to different labels about our future, we're very excited to announce that we've decided to join forces with Nuclear Blast. We've been working on new material on and off for the last year and we're feeling really good about the new songs. It seems like they're a continuation in the same tradition of the material on our first full length, 'Capricorn', but also, show some new sides of our music that should surprise everyone and show that ORCHID isn't a band that just wants to keep making the same album over and over. We're really excited for everyone to hear it!"

Commented Nuclear Blast head of A&R, Andy Siry: "Ever since we first heard of ORCHID and witnessed their perfect way of bringing back the glorious days of rock music, we knew we had to work with this amazing band. After meeting them on their most recent European tour we literally were blown away by their stunningly intense performance! So here we are, proud as fuck, welcoming one of the most hopefully and authentic bands to the Nuclear Blast family. Every single one at the label loves ORCHID and so will you! Check them out!"

Since its inception in 2006, ORCHID — which features in its ranks well-known tattoo artist Theo Mindell on vocals — has achieved massive global awareness with their stunning releases "Through The Devil's Doorway" (EP, 2009) and "Capricorn" (full-length, 2011).

ORCHID is:

Theo Mindell: Vocals
Carter Kennedy: Drums
Mark Thomas Baker: Guitar
Keith Nickel: Bass

Source: Blabbermouth.

Santa Cruz – "Down On My Knees" ...

Hooray, unadulterated tripped out heavy fuzz rock from the Netherlands! The perfect summer companion for all your favorite drugs, Down On My Knees might just be what you were looking for this hot summer. Hailing from The Hague, Santa Cruz is of course a well-known band here, and it is time Santa Cruz gets some major attention elsewhere. Omen, the first track, introduces us to the overall mood of this record: slow, heavy & intense. Dorian sounds doomy as hell, because of the low tuned guitars, and the drones circling around in my living room as I’m reviewing this kick ass record.

Granted, vocally things could be a bit more interesting, but I’m not complaining when the songs are great and heavy, as Dr. Know’s Introduction Theme showcases perfectly. The guitars slurp you right into this thick, heavy atmosphere, which leaves no room for thinking. Demian (Always A Loner) sounds more classic rock in execution than the previous tracks. Interlude is the last song from side A. I’m very happy to have this album on vinyl by the way, because it is altogether a much different musical experience than on mp3.



Some Say opens up side B of the vinyl version of Down On My Knees. Great stoned cavemen drumming in the best Brant Bjork tradition, and an overall straight rocking vibe. Some Say lasts close to ten minutes, and you will enjoy every second of it. Black Needle is, well, blacker. The soaring riff numbs our delicate senses, and we dwell for a few minutes in an angsty, bleak world of rock. I Thank You is the very cool song by heroes ZZ Top. Of course Santa Cruz’ version is a lot heavier, but as much fun as the original. You gotta love ZZ Top! I Thank you ends side B.  The whole of side C consists of one song, titled What Is Love? (Crystal Meth Boogie). 15 minutes plus, this is super stoner rock at its best. The riff is very catchy, and it fits the whole album perfectly. What is there to say? Tracks like this should be experienced J. After ten minutes, even more fuzz and heaviness sets in.

Last side, side D! The Very End I sounds very depressing, and that is actually a fun change after all the previous tracks. Doomy and droney, The Very End might well be about The End. A fitting closing track I must say. The Very End II is more up-tempo. The Very End III is acoustic, and ends this superb album beautifully.  You can listen to previews of the tracks here, and you can order digitally via Santa Cruz Bandcamp. As awesome as they are, they even put up a free Mediafire link to the whole album.....9/10.

Words: Sandrijn van den Oever

Oh, and have a look at that amazing artwork! Get your copy now at Motorwolf Records. Records are distributed worldwide by:
Clearspot
Godspill

And locally in the Benelux by:
Surburban

Jul 22, 2012

Gandhi’s Gunn – "The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound" ...

Gandhi’s Gunn are back!
The (true) beards of my rocking countrymates are maybe shorter than in one of the official photos of Gandhi’s Gunn back in 2011 when the debut album Thirtyeah (reviewed by Sarp Esin HERE) was released.

However music and sound power in Gandhi’s Gunn are “bearded inside”, invariably like all the fans and people (yes, women too!!) into the underground heavy music rooted into and inspired by the hard rock scene of the roaring 70’s, stoner/desert rock, doom, sludge etc. .. In this respect Gandhi’s Gunn’s new album has a cheeky and promising title: “The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound”. And these four rockers from Genova, Italy, are known for keeping promises … With this new album Gandhi’s Gunn showed, to those who had not yet realized it, that they are one of best heavy bands in the Italian underground scene for their infectious and muscular metallic rock style.
In the new album the band recharges the batteries of their adrenaline- (and beer-)fueled hybrid style mixing stoner metal, sweaty retro/southern hard/blues rock, and hints of powerful grunge in the vein of Soundgarden. To this matrix Gandhi’s Gunn add touches of doom and hints of post-metal/post-rock. The latter are actually employed by the band instead of classic psychedelia for occasionally evoking dilated, tormented or sinister atmospheres within their groove-laden metallic rock base. Album “The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound” is therefore heavily rocking and in full continuity with their previous release, except for the fact that in the meantime the band has been futher growning and improving their style also thanks to much live activity. Heavily bearded Massimo Perasso, aka Maso, provides powerful attacks by means of his pulsating bass, whereas guitarist Francesco Raimondi is able to knit some great distorted riffs possessing a metallic razor-blade intensity and a swampy density at the same time. Drummer Andrea Tabbì De Bernardi counterattacks the riff charges with his intensive beats. There’s another warrior, vocalist Giacomo Boeddu, definitely one of the most powerful gritty, deep heavy rock voices here in Italy. So we have 8 tracks for almost 33 minutes.

The opening track Haywire is lead by some crushing stoner metal even if some dissonant parts of post-metal affinity are introduced as to distract from the groovy aggression in the DNA of Gandhi’s Gunn. But some genuine southern groove comes back soon in the second track, the bearded and steaming hot Under Siege, as well as in the third track, Breaking Balance. The latter makes you just dream of a fast ride on an old chevrolet corvette along a straight dusty road in the  desert (well, typical dream for all Italian rock addicts. And not only Italian, eh eh …). Beside the heavy distorted and reverbered riffs and the blues-drenched metal inspired by Fu Manchu and Clutch, the new album also includes some performances in soft, clean singing by Giacomo Boeddu. This moderate variation in singing style is therefore becoming another characteristic feature in the band after the appreciation of tracks Lee Van Cleef and Club Silencio in the debut album. When employed, the clean soft chanting is paired with charming, almost acoustic, neo-folk to western/desert backgrounds. All this contributes to create an attractive variety to the Gandhi’s Gunn riff machine. So in the beautiful ballad Flood the long and sober acoustic intro eventually results into an amplification of the shock-wave created by the attack from the thundering guitars and from Giacomo’s roars. Flood duly ends in a dark, almost threatening and hypnotic doom-drone cacophony which is in full contrast with what comes after, i.e., the dynamic track Red (the Colour of God). Red is frantic in its development, as the charge of tight riffs is supported by fast and syncopated drumming halfway between funk and d-beat. However the guitar sounds are distorted, deformed and reverbered, and sound almost psychedelic.  More waves of hot, contaminated groove will knock you down with the powerful Clutch-inspired Rest of the Sun, as well as in the following track Adrift. In Adrift, however, a balanced dose of post-metal dissonance comes back like in the opening track Haywire.

Speaking about contamination in Gandhi’s Gunn, one cannot be insensitive to the long and seductive ethno jamming opening the final suite Hypothesis and lead by bass, reverbered guitar and sitar. Hypothesis is probably the first ever track where the band employs space metal. However the long exotic sitar-based intro is separated from the space metal core of the suite by an almost brutal surge of very tight doom riffs. Here Giacomo’s powerful chanting becomes almost hieratic.  The progressive grafting of experimental and post-metal dissonance on this brutal doom riff matrix eventually creates a sonic vortex of dark space metal lead by complex patterns that I think I heard in weird bands like Oranssi Pazuzu. And everything gets lost in space …

Well, Gandhi’s Gunn do have beards.
In the new album the quartet has been defining and polishing their personal dynamic as well as granite-heavy style already outlined in the debut album. The heart of Gandhi’s Gunn musicians surely beats for many big bands of the heavy stoner/doom scene like Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, Fu Manchu, High On Fire, Melvins, Down, Orange Goblin, Monster Magnet, etc..
At this point of their musical career especially, the infectious, groove-laden and crushing style in Gandhi’s Gunn is for me comparable to and possesses the same impact as in bands like Red Fang.
There’s undoubtely much of the first album in the new bearded one. However my impression is that in the new release the band has been “daring” more and has been exploring some different, and maybe darker, sonic territories to a greater extent than before, and with stunning results.
This suggests that this valuable band might have more cool surprises in the future for us.

Gandhi’s Gunn’s album “The Longer The Beard, The Harder The Sound” is available on CD, LP, limited LP and tape since late April 2012 via Taxi Driver Records.

Review by Marilena Moroni

Official Website
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Bandcamp
Gandhis Gunn | Big Cartel

Gandhi’s Gunn - Under Siege


NEWS: Fast-Rising Berlin Proto-Metallers KADAVAR and HOUR OF 13 Confirmed For Roadburn Festival 2013 ...

Roadburn are elated to announce that North Carolina doom metallers, HOUR OF 13, have been confirmed for Roadburn Festival 2013 on Thursday, April 18th at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, Holland. “Hour Of 13 are extremely honored to be a part of Roadburn 2013, the most important music festival in existence today”, says Chad Davis, “We guarantee a spot-on performance of our brand of gloomy Heavy Metal. As an avid admirer of this festival, it brings me great pleasure to become a part of this festival’s legacy.” Hailed by Darkthrone‘s Fenriz in his ‘Band of the Week’ blog, Hour of 13 offer an absolute master class in hard rocking heavy metal. They pair traditional doom with the spooky darkness of occult rock as showcased on their self-titled debut, 2010?s The Ritualist, and the band’s latest offering, 333, released through Earache Records earlier this year. Powered by Chad Davies‘ majestic, devilish riff worship, and shrouded with occult themes and sentiment, Hour of 13 venture into the dark side, psychologically bringing up demons that aren’t entirely mythological; demonstrating that heavy metal might doesn’t have to feature anguished vokills to threaten to collapse under the weight of unwieldy despair or to be highly disturbing. It’s Phil Swanson‘s pained vocal intonation, underpinned by Davies‘ gifted songwriting skills and sonic wizardry that sets them apart from the current crop of denim vested wannabes.

If you are banging your head to the likes of Judas Priest, Manilla Road and Mercyful Fate, or even to contemporaries as In Solitude and The Devil’s Blood, you need to be down at the front. See you all there! Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue and Het Patronaat in Tilburg, Holland. Roadburn are excited to announce that Germany’s Kadavar is confirmed for Roadburn Festival 2013 on Friday, April 19th at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, Holland. Kadavar is currently gaining momentum as one of the hottest underground bands around. Their thunderous take on 70s psych, doom, prog and stoner rock goes far beyond mere Pentagram, Sir Lord Baltimore or Black Sabbath worship. Of course there is a kinship with the aforementioned greats, and it would be easy to mistake Kadavar‘s recently released and impressive self-titled debut album with a long-lost, heavily sought-after relic unearthed from a charnel vault. But there’s more than just a visceral communion with the riff going on here.

The screech and wail of distorted guitars, heavy blues rock shouting, and grit-laden clouds of twisted soul constitute the real reason to immerse yourself in Kadavar’s chugging yet soaring and distorted psychedelica. The band’s immediate power and conviction will transport you to proto-metal oblivion!

Source: The Sleeping Shaman

Roadburn.Com

TOUR NEWS: SUNN O))) East Coast US Tour And Festival Actions Announced ...

Sunn O))) - Photo by Andrew Beardsworth

After three years since their last official US performances, and over two years since their live collaboration with Boris in Brooklyn, SUNN 0))) have confirmed several new performances this Summer, including a tour of the East Coast. SUNN 0))) will infiltrate venues down the East Coast with their oppressive drone hymns, with shows now confirmed in Philadelphia, Washington DC, Richmond and Atlanta, as well as a performance at the annual Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh.

The lineup for these performance will include vocals from Attila Csihar, moog from Tos Nieuwenhuizen, and as always, the low-end string attacks of founders Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson. Southern Lord signees Dead In The Dirt will provide direct support for SUNN 0))) on all dates except the Hopscotch Festival. The new tour dates come after the previously announced SUNN 0))) live actions at The Power Of The Riff West on August 11th alongside OFF!, DR. KNOW, REPULSION, NOOTHGRUSH, XIBALBA, DESPISE YOU, EAGLE TWIN among many others followed by The Power Of The Riff East on September 1st and 2nd with PENTAGRAM, AGNOSTIC FRONT, POISON IDEA, NEGATIVE APPROACH, XIBALBA, WINTER, REPULSION and tons more.

The Power Of The Riff - LA & NY 2012

SUNN 0))) Confirmed Tour Actions:
8/11/2012 Echo/Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA @ The Power Of The Riff West
9/02/2012 Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY @ The Power Of The Riff East
9/05/2012 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA w/ Dead In The Dirt
9/06/2012 Black Cat – Washington, DC w/ Dead In The Dirt
9/07/2012 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA w/ Dead In The Dirt
9/08/2012 Memorial Auditorium – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Music Festival
9/09/2012 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA w/ Dead In The Dirt

Additional worldwide SUNN 0))) tour actions will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Source: The Sleeping Shaman
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