Oct 31, 2012

V/A - Twenty Years In Tears – "Tribute to Lake of Tears" ...

Today is a perfect day for celebration! It seems not so long ago you used to scratch out on the desk the logo of your favorite band, copying it from the title of the tape – and then, while you were sneaking around, graduating universities, looking for the job, making the world better and cleaner (or at least thinking that you do so) – this very band has a considerable anniversary! So, quite unpredictably, this year we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Swedish legendary natural philosophers of melancholic doom, heavy and progressive metal – The Lake of Tears. I suppose that musicians themselves would hardly remember the birth date of the band, but in default autumn is the best season for such jubilee. And the tribute album definitely would be the most wanted present in situation like this.

The traditions of tribute albums in Russia were not successful from the start. Each time I shudder, remembering miserable “Moskvalika”, I’m puzzled reviving in my memory tribute to Russian metal legends Aria. And now – The Lake of Tears! Who even dared to do that! The formal Russian funclub dared – and I have to admit that these people were not only enthusiastic, they’ve showed convincing professionalism, picking up together 26 (twenty-six) tracks from Russian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Mexican, Finnish and Swiss bands. There were much more participants, who left the project after all, including ancient Cemetery, but it is already discussed behind the scenes. What are the main features of the tribute album? The songs included you can divide into three types: sung note for the note (“because we love the team”), sung in the own way (“because we love the team and we were able to add something from ourselves”) and sung somehow (“oh, damn… it’s happened”). This dividing is optional, but it is true, you have to agree. Yes, you have!
So, “The Twenty Years in Tears” consists of two CDs. Songs are represented chronologically, thereby the album begins with compositions from significant death doom debut “Greater Art”, and ends with the track from last dark progressive opus “Illwill”. To be honest, there is also an interesting bonus track, but more on that later. As you understand, there was no way for teams, performing death doom part, to realize their own ideas – stylistic borderlines of “Greater Art” don’t allow that. However, neither Atra Hora, nor  Sacratus, who performed unalterable “Under the Crescent” and “Upon The Highest Mountain” practically without changes, have not disappointed. Grobut Neerg produced a real delight, reanimating the most driving track - “As Daylight Yields” – in origin it was not so rough, clear and therefore hard enough. But our compatriots added all of these ingredients, not exaggerating though. Adfail have covered “Evil Inside” in more wicked way – respect to the vocalist, the instrumental part has no changes, rather than reproaches, you can’t spoil porridge with butter. Aglarond (here comes Mexica) has added gothic apropos to “Tears” – you can hear piano, violins, keyboard arrangements, I can’t remember the original density of all this, but new arrangements are all on their places.

Resuming, covers for “Greater Art” came out equally good, may be the reason is, that in 1994 the original songs were not produced ideally. It was a surprise to meet Mental Home from Moscow (recently comeback the almost contemporaries of The Lake of Tears, founded in 1993), who has demonstrated the creativity as it is. The lyrics of cult song “RavenLand” has rewrote in Russian, but this version is close to the original, not copying it, it is called “artistic translation”. The temp of composition became vivid, and the sharp vocal typical to Mental Home, has added a real darkness to the mood of the song. The Ukrainian Tectum has performed “Dreamdemons” without making unwanted faces, it turned out half-baked bur cordial. The capital track “Headstones” was undertaken by Hexentraum, and they justified all hopes, making that step! The song sounded in a “folk” way, because of the vocalist, but the main discovery became the accordion, surprisingly good in new arrangement. Zerokarma sends regards from the Far East with the canonical hit  “Burn Fire Burn”, fresh and striking, but I have always run through that song. Dominia from St.Petersburg were very facetiously in performing their part. Known by their concert doom hit “Mountains of God’s Depression”, they were logical in performing “The Path Of The Gods” (Upon The Highest Mountain II), but this song, with strong vocal in origin, sounded chilly, even considering the violin, which made all the other instruments sound colourless. Satanation has almost made a sacrilege, but after all their version of “Cosmic Weed”, seriously mutated, sounds hardly recognizable, but very attractive because of the excellent female vocal, and somebody may like the melodic death-final. The first part of the tribute is finished with Tartharia, who prepared “Devil’s Dinner” in the most unrecognizable way, putting the hard sound to the rock’n’roll dance hit, the result is confusing in my opinion, but the death metal fans may not agree with me.

 The second CD begins with ”Four Strings Of The Morning” – played by Finns Awake In Shades, they gathered together to make this only song, and, honestly, their cover hasn’t touched me – the vocal is too smooth as it really needs more emotions. Mexican Aglarond has performed two tracks for release, and the second one - “Raistling And The Rose” sounds as tragic and oppressive, as the original song. Draconian and Doom: VS has made “Hold on Tight” in the performance of Shadowgarden, their rather new project, you can’t tell it from the original song, and I’m satisfied with it. Inside You (Istra), who formerly followed the lead of German pop-team Crematory, has spoiled the title song “Forever Autumn” – the instrumental part is brilliant, but the vocalist might not listened to himself, and it is quite regrettable. By the way, Draconian not only presented the abovementioned project, they personally in their special way as much as possible overloaded with death doom grief a melancholic ballad “Demon You / Lilly Ann”. Those Swede has made a significant doom-monument from the second-rate song, and they knew what they have done, believe me. “All-stars” pagan thrash / death metal team “Put’ Solntsa” (Sun Path) has humiliated the “Return of the Ravens”,  completely changing it for their own purposes, well, if they had fun, I’m glad but I see no reasons to do such higgledy-piggledy black metal song of good prog hit… The compatriots of  the celebrators who appeared on the Swedish stage in 1989 -  dark and almighty The Equinox Ov Gods have performed two compositions at once. Their version of “Let Us Go As They Do” is ideal, full of absolute gloom from deep forests and wet graves, Fredrik Wallin’s assistants have always been successful in expressing their visions of darkness in all it’s forms. In addition, musicians have completely demonized “Planet Of The Penguins” – in their peculiar manner – cheerlessly, hard, oppressively. The members of gothic doom formation – Beseech – are known today as The Mary Major, and I’m so grateful for their version of “The Greymen” – it became more energetic, emotions are hot at their most, and this interchange of splendid female vocal (thank you very much, Lotta, you’re the best, Lotta!) with solid hard rock male vocal – it sounds just great! “Black Brick Road” is not among my favorite albums, but I have an intension to listen it again to refresh “Dystopia” in my mind, because Swiss Xicon produced a modern hit for dark electro dancing out of it. Handful of Stars (Ukraine) have started on a merry note (their “Sister Sinister” was tempting from the first accords), but finished on a sad one – the chorus was accompanied with unsuitable thrash and jeer, only willful Hammond is on his place as other instruments do a totally cacophonic touch. The bastard-rockers Egonaut appear twice in the album (if I understood correctly, their guitarist plays in The Lake of Tears) - “Children Of The Grave” sounds positively sharp and forceful, and a new one for me “Floating In Darkness” reminds the alternative teams of the 90-s with its anarchy and aggression. However, I’ve mentioned the bonus-track, released separately, it is the vigorous “heavy metal / drum’n’bass” version of “Burn Fire Burn”, performed by Kaliningrad team Type V Blood. They made it with all responsibility, smart and professionalism, so I have to listen the new edit again and again. Respect to the vocalist – his voice fits the mood of the song and its attacking metal character best. I’m just bloody happy with such surprise, and glad to hear this track on the album.

So, I was not sure, that all twenty and a half tracks of “Twenty Years In Tears” turn out great and admirable. To tell the truth, the last albums of The Lake of Tears have not so many hits at all. Nevertheless I consider this tribute is successful. More than a half of bands have performed really interesting versions of old songs, the release has a great design, considerable efforts were applied to produce it. It’s much more preferable than to get another “greatest hits album”. So my best regards to all the participants and best wishes to The Lake of Tears!

Words: Aleks Evdokimov

Lake Of Tears.SU
Lake of Tears.Net
Tribute sampler: HERE
The Equinox ov Gods covers: HERE
Nekroheart “tape” cover (not included in original edition): HERE

BLACK SABBATH: Australian Tour Dates Announced ...

BLACK SABBATH will embark on an Australian tour next April. Confirmed dates are as follows:

Apr. 25 - Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
Apr. 27 - Allphones Arena, Sydney
May 01 - Rod Laver, Melbourne
May 04 - Perth Arena, Perth

General public tickets go on sale midday Thursday, November 8 and an exclusive presale will be available to Live Nation members from 9 a.m. Friday, November 2 until 5 p.m. Monday. Original BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler are working with producer Rick Rubin on their first recording project together in 34 years.

According to Metal Injection, 15 songs have been written for the CD, with 12 making the final cut and the additional three serving as bonus tracks for different special editions. The band has one songtitle confirmed: "God Is Dead".

Apparently, Iommi completed all 15 guitar tracks during the band's sessions in England earlier this year, and judging by the way most bands record, that would mean drums are done as well. Ozzy and Geezer are working to complete the tracks in five-song increments, with the first five being worked on currently at Shangri La Studios in Malibu, California. Ozzy is tracking vocals, with Butler writing all the lyrics.

As for Iommi, Ozzy told SiriusXM Liquid Metal DJ Jose Mangin that he spoke to the guitarist recently and he is in good spirits and recovery is coming along very well from his cancer scare earlier this year. Iommi, Osbourne and Butler discussed their new album in a video interview posted at NME.com. Osbourne dropped a clue about the set's title, hinting, "Next year, 2013, is a good clue to what we're going to call the album." As for how Rubin influenced the band's approach to writing together again, Butler explained, "He sat us down, put the first album on and said 'listen to this', imagine it's 1969, you've just done that, what would you do next?" Iommi added, "It's taken on the flavor of the old stuff in the way we put things together, but with a different look on it." BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward announced earlier this year that he was declining to join his former bandmates for its scheduled 2012 dates, as well as the recording of a new album, due to a contractual dispute. In addition to Download, the members of SABBATH played at Lollapalooza in early August in Chicago, their only U.S. gig. The rest of the scheduled SABBATH tour dates were played by Ozzy and billed as "Ozzy & Friends."

Oct 30, 2012

...and I lust for Death... Interview With Ryan from NECARE & RECLUSIAM ...

With the exception of doommantia founder Ed Barnard, few people honestly bleed doom. Ryan Henry is one of those chosen few. Having made rumbles in the underground scene with both Necare and Reclusiam for years he has been kind enough to do an interview with us.

Michael Ventura: Thank you for doing this interview with Doommantia! How are things?

Ryan Henry: It's my pleasure to speak with you. As for "things," I'm getting by.

MV: You had a few demos and one proper album with Necare, why didn't you release more & did you have any additional material written for Necare before its end?

RH: This is a hard question. I think G.C. and I put so much time and attention into Ruin that we hit a brick wall in terms of creativity. I can't speak for G.C., but I felt that we had taken Necare as far as it could go. We got some good press, but the bad press we got for Ruin was all about how we 'weren't breaking any new ground.' For fuck's sake, that was never our intention to begin with. We were paying tribute to the doom/death bands we love. You know, we wanted to tap into those inscrutable feelings we had when we both heard Anathema and Saturnus for the first time. I don't know if we accomplished that, but at least we gave it a shot. The only thing that never got released to the public was a cover we recorded of Saturnus' "Christ Goodbye," namely because we didn't want to get sued. Aside from Jhon Ackerman (our producer/ sound engineer), the only other person who heard the cover was Chris Molinari from Evoken/Divine Silence.

MV: Necare has been described by some to be in the same vein as early Anathema, was this intentional?

RH: Very much so. Both G.C. and I are fans of their early material. I think his favorite album is Silent Enigma, while mine is a toss-up between Serenades + Crestfallen (the version with All Faith is Lost) and Pentecost III. Out of the Peaceville Three, we found Anathema's early material to be the most morose and flat-out heart-wrenching music on the planet. Hell yeah, I wanted to make doom like that. Funny thing, though. I listen back to Necare and I hear no Anathema in any of it. I don't think it's even in the same universe of quality as the early Anathema albums I mentioned.

 MV: Your Funeral Doom band, Reclusiam, is amazing, are you planning on releasing any more material for it?

RH: Thanks for the compliment on Reclusiam. I am not planning any new material at present. I am actually on a medication that causes neuropathy in my hands as a side effect. Playing my guitar, bass, or keyboard is painful. I'm not as strong at fretting anymore. I can still play, but I won't put out any music that's half-assed. What I am plannin, though, is a re-release of the Reclusiam album with new art and liner notes. I'm seriously thinking about pitching it to smaller labels, although I burned a few bridges when labels offered support years ago and I turned them down. At the time, I wanted everyone to hear the music, and I wanted complete control over my creation. That has not changed. But I would not be averse to label support if it meant more people could hear Reclusiam. At present, the album is free for download at Reclusiam.Com.

MV: Have any of these bands played live?

RH: No. I had an idea for a live show for Necare that would be performed by candlelight only. You know as well as I do that kind of shit would never be allowed in any metal venue. An old chapel, maybe.

MV: What inspired you to go from Doom/Death to Funeral?

RH: Hard to say. I took Reclusiam on as a personal challenge. I wanted to record something extremely heavy and slow, without the poetic lyrics of Necare. I was also listening to way too much Skepticism and thought I could pull something off that tapped into that vibe. That didn't really happen. Reclusiam usually gets compared to Shape of Despair's "Angels of Distress," which is probably my favorite funeral doom album of all time. I guess it made an impression on me.

MV: Have you been working on anything musical since the release of the Reclusiam CD?

RH: I've been using my computer, some VST plug-ins, and my keyboard to create dark electro/industrial. Music in the vein of early :Wumpscut: and Velvet Acid Christ. I doubt that will ever see the light of day. I just do it to keep busy, and it's easier on my hands than guitar and bass these days.

MV: I know you wrote a book recently, tell us about it.

RH: It's called Omega Zero and it's a character-driven story about two plague survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. Yet it has a Twilight Zone ending, so nothing is really what it seems. It's been edited and is in the "beta read" phase right now. I plan to offer it as a cheap eBook once I'm satisfied with the final manuscript. As with Reclusiam, it's not about making money. Just creating art for art's sake.

MV: What are some of your interests outside of music?

RH: I read a lot of books on WWII. I'm interested in all aspects of that conflict -- especially the war on the Eastern Front. I am a horror, sci-fi, and war movie fanatic. Whenever I have down time, I'm usually watching something from one of those genres. And I'm an unrepentant comic book geek and tabletop gamer.

MV: What is your ideal gig line up?
RH: If I could get a handful of musicians together to play a live Reclusiam gig, I'd want us to be the opening act for Evoken. That would flat-out kill.

MV: Is there anything you'd like to say to the Doomed masses?

RH: At the end of the day, we're all doomsters -- listening to bands that trace lineage back to a handful of riffs played by Tony Iommi. It's hard enough to get outsiders to understand why we like the music we like. So there's no need to play the "true versus false" game. That was a real problem a decade ago. I hope all of that is over with.

MV: Thanks again for doing this interview with us.

RH: No problem. Doom or be doomed!

Interview By Michael Ventura

Necare | Official Site

NEWS: Penance, Victor Griffin’s In~Graved, Pale Divine Added to Days of the Doomed III ...

Here is the latest update Mercyful Mike Smith- exciting news !!!!

I know you’ve all been waiting patiently for this announcement, myself included! We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it, shall we?

I am excited to say that my first announcement is actually breaking news, and this will be the first anyone has heard of it!!! It is with great honor that I announce Victor Griffin’s IN~GRAVED will taking part in Days Of The Doomed Fest III! Consisting of Victor Griffin (Pentagram/Place Of Skulls) on vocals/guitars, Guy Pinhas (The Obsessed/Goatsnake/Acid King) on bass, Pete Campbell (Place Of Skulls/Sixty Watt Shaman) on drums, and Derek Hall on keyboards, IN~GRAVED will be performing songs from their highly anticipated upcoming debut album due out early this spring, as well as a few choice Place Of Skulls tunes. Do not miss this opportunity to witness doom metal royalty and his brand new band! Victor Griffin’s IN~GRAVED will make believers of us all!

Next up, something I wasn’t sure was going to be possible to pull off, but through several conversations and a great line of communication, I am announcing to all of you today to brace yourselves for the return of PENANCE!!! Here is the official statement provided by the Penance camp:

“Not since vocalist Lee Smith sang with PENANCE in support of their 1993 European tour with CATHEDRAL & SLEEP have these two forces come together in a live setting. It has been nearly 20 years since PENANCE followed up that tour with their now legendary sophomore release Parallel Corners on Century Media records, long considered a classic record and the band’s strongest effort to date. Many consider it to be one of the greatest post Sabbath records of all time, including Fu Manchu who recently covered “Words To Live By”. With their rich lineage as pioneers of Doom firmly intact, the time is now right for the lineup of guitarist Terry Weston, bassist Rich Freund, and drummer Mike Smail to reunite with vocalist Lee Smith as PENANCE. Their exclusive appearance and only U.S. show will take place at Days Of The Doomed Fest III on the weekend of June 21st and 22nd, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. See you all there!” Parallel-fucking-Corners! That’s all I’m saying folks!

As if this isn’t enough, we’ll also be welcoming back another Days Of The Doomed Fest alumni… PALE DIVINE! We’re all familiar with their stellar back catalog, but next June, we’ll all be treated to some of the instant classics off of “Painted Windows Black”, undoubtedly one of the top releases of 2012. So get ready… PALE DIVINE IS BACK!

I’m also extremely happy to announce that Infernal Rock Radio will once again be sponsoring our Thursday night pre-show! Chicago’s SPYDERBONE is the first band to be announced for the pre-show, but others will be announced soon!

I also have some bitter-sweet news to report. WHILE HEAVEN WEPT has been forced to pull out of Days Of The Doomed Fest III, but for good reason! There will be a new addition to the WHILE HEAVEN WEPT family due right around the weekend of the fest next June! So obviously, this is a “family first” situation! I wish the band and family all the very best! Congrats!!!

The official Days Of The Doomed Fest website, HERE, has been updated, and you will want to check out the “Lodging Options” link! Best Western Milwaukee and Super 8 Milwaukee are the exclusive hotels of Days Of The Doomed Fest!!! There are links to both hotels, and each one has a special “fest rate” for rooms!!! They also offer free shuttles to and from the airport, and we are working on setting up a shuttle to and from the fest! I encourage you to take advantage of this special offer!!! Both hotels are only a 5 minute drive to the venue!!!

I am also very proud to welcome back Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer as one of our main sponsors!!! Tallboy specials and PBR swag will once again be available at Days Of The Doomed Fest III!

I should also mention that I am working on setting up a shuttle bus from Chicago to Milwaukee and back to help out all of our Illinois friends who would like to attend the fest but may not want to drive. More info on this as it becomes available!

So get ready! Days Of The Doomed Fest III is returning to the Blue Pig Bar/Venue and is going to be the biggest one yet! Online ticket sales begin 12/1/12 – just in time for X-mas! Grab your tickets early and book your rooms! I am fully anticipating a sell out next year! Oh, and I’m not quite done yet… one more trick left up my sleeve! Big, massive, giant size bag of Ruffles goes to Kathy Reeves for creating our teaser trailer below! Cheers everyone!!! Happy Halloween!

Oct 29, 2012

NEWS: Mighty Dozer Awaken From Slumber For Desertfest 2013 ...

Desertfest are super psyched to announce that stoner giants Dozer will stir from their deep self-imposed sleep to shake London to it’s foundations.

Way back in ’95, whilst lovers of the down-tuned lick were in mourning at the split of Kyuss, another band was being formed far away in Borlange, Sweden, simply called Dozer. The titan 4-piece are made up of Fredrik Nordin (vocals, guitar), Tommi Holappa (guitar) Johna Rockner (bass) and Olle ‘Bull’ Marthans (drums) and the Swedes released five studio albums, the last being 2008?s ‘Beyond Colossal’ which featured guest vocals from Clutch’s Neil Fallon on ‘Empire’s End’. They went into hibernation in 2009, with Nordin returning to education while the other members worked on side projects, notably Tommi who joined up with Greenleaf once more and released ‘Nest Of Vipers’ earlier this year. So slumber they do no more! Dozer are back and ready for Desertfest 2013.

Desertfest 2013 takes place between 26th – 28th April 2013 over 4 venues in Camden, London and tickets go on sale on the 13th November at Leedstickets.com

Source: The Sleeping Shaman

Grim Eloquence - Interview with Chris from EVOKEN ...

Evoken might be the heaviest band in the world and their new CD kicks major ass! Guitarist Chris Molinari was kind enough to let me interview him.

Michael Ventura: Greetings Chris and thanks for doing this interview with Doommantia! How are things?

Chris Molinari:Things are going pretty well. I am very glad for this interview opportunity.

MV: How did you come to be in Evoken and what bands, if any, were you in prior to joining?

CM:I have known Evoken for a very long time, and I actually did a gig with them as a live guitarist in 1996. In 2008 I was asked to perform with them again after Nick left the band, and eventually became a permanent member. Prior to Evoken, I was in a band called Divine Silence for a very long time, as well as with Grey Skies Fallen for a brief period.

MV: How much of the latest album did you write?

CM: As far as Atra Mors in concerned, I wrote an instrumental interlude and contributed a lot to the song writing, but the entire album was a creation of all five members of Evoken. I would say the major contributors to the basic song structures were John Paradiso and Vince Verkay.

MV: I recently got the new CD and I love it but it's decidedly more melodic than I was expecting; was this a conscious move or something that happened by accident?

CM: In all honesty, we did not intend this album to be melodic from the start, it kind of just happened. There actually was no real blueprint of how we wanted Atra Mors to follow. It just turned out the way it did during the writing and recording process.

MV: How have the fans reacted to the new CD so far?

CM: So far the reaction to Atra Mors has been overwhelmingly positive. I am yet to read a bad, or even indifferent review. I am sure there are people out there who do not like the album for one reason or another, but so far it is exceeding our expectations. We have received many compliments from fans at the handful of gigs we did shortly before and after the album's release.

MV: Was there any one specific thing that influenced the albums lyrical or musical direction or was it an assortment of things?

CM: I would say the biggest influence on the album was The Plague. Not to say Atra Mors is a concept album, but a lot of the imagery and lyrical content are influenced by this. Musically, we tried to convey the same atmosphere associated with this tragic time in history; cold, dark, and at times peaceful.

MV: Are there any major touring plans in the works?

CM: Right now there are no immediate plans for a full on tour, but we are taking part in the Decibel Magazine 100th issue celebration show in Philadelphia this coming January, as well as the 2013 Maryland Death Fest. I am sure Evoken will be on tour again in the near future.

MV: The artwork for this album is pretty cool, who decided it was right for the album?

CM: The artwork of the album was an idea we were thinking of for a long time. Basically, it consists of the dead rising from their graves and marching into oblivion. The artist, Robert Hoyem, really did a splendid job of bringing it to life.

 MV: Are there any new bands you've been digging as of late?

CM: Most of what I listen to are bands from the 80's and 90's. As far as new bands are concerned, I am a really big fan of Ghost and The Devil's Blood. I eagerly await new releases from both bands. Of course there is also Trypticon. They are such a great band. We would love to do a gig, or a tour with them.

MV: What is your ultimate gig lineup?

CM: We have played with some really awesome bands. Katatonia and My Dying Bride were probably the best in the band's history. I feel if we could get Evoken, Skepticism, Esoteric, and Trypticon together; it would be a hell of a doom assault on wherever we venture.

MV: Is there anything else you'd like to say to the doomed masses?

CM: Thank you for your support of Evoken and Atra Mors. We look forward to seeing you all soon.

MV: Thanks again for talking with us Chris.

CM: You are very welcome. Best of luck to you!

Interview By Michael Ventura

Evoken | Facebook

Oct 28, 2012

A Riff in the Aura - Interview With Avernus ...

Avernus has been and will always be one of the more significant American Doom Metal bands of our time. Their history is a rich tapestry of sounds going from Doom/Death to Gothic to Funeral and back again. They announced they had disbanded back in 09 and just recently got back together for a reunion show. Founder, singer, falafle cook and burrito expert Rick McCoy recently decided to answer some questions.

 MV:Greetings Rick and thanks for doing this interview with Doommantia! How are things?

Rick McCoy: Thank you for the interview! Things are good, busy preparing for an upcoming show, and dusting off some old tunes.

MV: What made you decide to resurrect Avernus?

RM: I would say that it really wasn’t me who made this decision alone. Erik Kikke(guitars) called me up one day and threw out the idea that why don’t we do a couple songs. We started talking, and then we were offered this show coming up, which we decided was definitely worth doing. When Macabre asks you to do a show, you do that fucking show, hehe! Also a series of events brought me back to Chicago around the same time. It’s wild how things come together sometimes…

MV: Is the Macabre gig a one off show or are you planning on doing the band thing again?

RM: We are focusing on this gig at the moment, and we are doing ¾ of the Sadness demo as we were asked to do. I can definitely see us playing out after this. I think we all really just realize how much we enjoy working together, and it shows in the live setting.

MV: Is this show with the original line up?

RM: The original guitarist left in 1993, but this is pretty much all of the Sadness line-up. I have to say that I have had a lot of different band members over the years, and while these different people brought something of their own into Avernus, this particular line up is the definitive line-up, and the one I think is the most creative as well. We just know how to work together and knock out material quickly. It’s an unspoken thing sometimes, and there is not any pretension or trying to change the way we write.

MV: Any new material in the works? Will you be filming/recording your next show for release?

RM: Yes, we are currently throwing some skeletons together, but right now it’s relearning the Sadness material. I believe we are going to try recording this show, what we have planned is going to be awesome.

MV: What have you been up too these last few years?

RM: I tinkered with music for a while, but not on this level. I was working with this band from Utah, NEVERTANEZRA, which is a great death/doom band. I’d call it a nice mix of the old English death/doom front with some progressive elements. I also have been working on my graduate degree, and just working on myself.

MV: If there is any new material what can we expect to hear?

RM: We are working on material, but when people should expect to hear it would probably be in 2013. We are taking our strongest elements and just letting it happen naturally, which is something we have not always done. All we care about right now is that it has feeling and it fucking rocks.

MV: I've read that the guitar synth is dead, what will you do to compensate for its loss?

RM: Actually, we just procured a new one! We’ve done the old songs with keyboards, and it just never sounded as good as the guitar synth. This will be the first time we’ve used the guitar synth in about 14 years…

MV: Are there any new bands you've been digging as of late?

RM: I love the new Ahab! For metal, I’m more of the Armored Saint, Judas Priest, Anthrax Asphyx, Deceased, Bolt Thrower, Old School Swedish Death metal guy. I would say I’m a fan of many genres, except Rap. I can’t resonate with busting caps in people’s asses, and calling women hos’ and bitches. I also can’t listen to country because I have no inclination to sleep with my cousins, and I fucking hate cowboys and rednecks. I do want to say that today’s lamestream music is so horrible, so lifeless. I feel bad for kids today trying to find something with substance. Good luck!

MV: What is your ultimate gig lineup?

RM: Hmm, I’d say Macabre, Hall and Oates, and Entombed-Left Hand Path era? If it had to be a doom fest, I’d bring in Ahab, Doom Vs, Nevertanezra,reunite dISEMBOWELMENT, or bring in Inverloch, Evoken, shit like that…

MV: Is there anything else you'd like to say to the doomed masses?

RM: Look out for a new Avernus website, and merchandise, meanwhile, we are on Facebook. Expect something new in 2013 as well. Oh, and check out Nevertanezra!

MV: Thanks again for talking with us Rick.

RM: Anytime, thank you very much for this opportunity!

Interview By Michael Ventura

Avernus | Myspace.com

Demonic Death Judge – "Skygods" ...

Finland’s psyche-sludge overlords, Demonic Death Judge, have closely followed the orbit established by 2011’s excellent full-length album, ‘The Descent’, with another earsplitting slab of progressive minded stoner metal entitled ‘Skygods’. Not to dismiss their self-titled EP, but the band has been on an upward trajectory since the release of 2010’s ‘Kneel’ EP. Each successive release has found the band layering impossibly heavy riffs with atmospheric passages and Jaakko Heinonen’s sinisterly harsh vocals. While their method of attack has remained consistent, the band’s sound has subtly evolved over the past three releases. The ‘Kneel’ EP was an all out attack of abrasive, mind-melting catchiness capable of leveling a skyscraper. ‘The Descent’ found the band branching out by coupling more complex arrangements with classic rock influences and an increased depth of psychedelic textures. ‘Skygods’, the next logical step in the band’s evolution, makes an incremental sacrifice of their acerbic sludge in favor of Sabbath-inspired riffs and a deeper investigation of ambient soundscapes.

“Skygods”, the album’s namesake, kicks off the release in majestic fashion by layering post-metal guitar leads atop mesmerizing riffs. The element that truly elevates the opening track to greatness is the penetrating, fluid basslines of Pasi Hakuli, which is imprinted all over this release. The second track, “Salomontaari”, slows things down by featuring a more doom-oriented sound. The song twists and turns through its near eight minute run time, eventually breaking down not once, but twice into instrumental passages that selectively features lead-guitar jamming, Pasi’s infectious basslines, and even keyboards. The brief, dreamy, ambient passage “Latitude” gently lulls the listener into a false sense of calm before escalating into the onslaught that is “Knee High”, a tune that could easily have been lifted from the “Kneel” EP. “Knee High” competes as an album highlight due to the staggering, up-tempo riffing of Saku Hakuli which Heinonen’s vocals complement perfectly.

The second half of the album begins innocuously enough with an instrumental passage featuring acoustic guitar before Heinonen’s shriek pierces the calm. “Aqua Hiatus” easily flows between calmer, acoustic inflected moments and doom-inspired riffing. Again, Demonic Death Judge knows how to mix things up and keep every composition interesting. The sludge-swagger of “Cyberprick” has a jazzy breakdown incorporating a brief spoken-word sample that menacingly claims: “You're looking at me and you're looking at the future. See, this country is gonna blow. And people like me are gonna light the fuse. The despised, the betrayed. We're gonna light the fuse and this country is gonna blow. This country is gonna blow…” Eerie lead guitar launches into “Nemesis”, another effectively atmospheric track in the vein of “Latitude” though more song oriented, which features a rarity from Demonic Death Judge…clean vocals. While the song embraces atmospherics in favor of the hard-hitting sludge that the band is notorious for, “Nemesis” really stands out as an album highlight. The longest track, “Pilgrimmage”, appropriately closes out the album. At ten minutes in length, it allows the band to really spread their wings and really venture into a moody composition that seems to combine all of the softer elements that make the other seven tracks on this album so great.

Demonic Death Judge’s ‘Skygods’ is another addition to an already stellar discography. The band has managed to effortlessly combine seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive whole of psychedelic-inflected sludge metal. While this album may not be as immediately heavy as the ‘Kneel’ EP, it does manage to surpass that early recording in terms of songwriting, and overall mood. ‘Skygods’ is easily the band’s most mature and varied album to date. It’ll be interesting to see how the band continues to evolve on future releases and where their sonic explorations will take them.

Words: Steve Miller


Oct 26, 2012

The Howling Void - "The Womb Beyond The World" ...

The third album of The Howling Void takes the listeners from the aerial and weightless previous album to the earth depths depicted by overwhelming sounds of epic funeral doom metal. Unique sound of the band is still magically attractive, its style is still recognizable; but this time heavy guitars combined with atmospheric keyboards bring the sense of moonless nights severity, ice-cold breath of dungeons and deserted landscapes. «The Womb Beyond The World», the album, the journey, the phenomenon. The cover artwork features another masterpiece of Russian art of 19th century, Nikolai Ge’s painting Conscience. Judas» which figuratively reveals the album concept: gloom, desolation, and despair. The album comes as a limited edition digipack. ( BANDCAMP )

Certainly one of the more interesting bands on the Solitude Productions label. I have always thought The Howling Void would be an essential band in the doom scene if they could develop more of their own sound and I was hoping this would be the album to do that but it is not to be. This is still a very good funeral doom album but it sounds even more unoriginal as they have added more keys and in the process have ended up sounding like many other funeral doom bands. But of course originality is not everything and what they lack in that department, they more than make up for it in sheer, atmospheric epic doom works. If you are easily bored by long, slow songs that take their time in building then you might want to stay clear of this release. There are 4 songs that stretch this album out to about an hour and each of the tracks are repetitive and follow a similar pattern of adding layers of sound as they crawl along. The result is hypnotic but make sure you are sitting comfortably....this takes some patience to get through.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect to 'The Womb Beyond The World' is it is the work of one man and considering the vast layers of sound on the album, it is a remarkable effort. The music is rarely threatening, it is actually kind of beautiful for a funeral doom album. The guitar work is spacey in a Planet Caravanish kind of way but it still has its moments of crushing intensity. There is a big emphasis on keys that does diminish some of the more doomy qualities even though the guitar sound is deeply distorted. The vocals are deep growls but are not over-done but are nothing special either. Thankfully there are real drums and not the usual one-man band drum machine and the production is of a high standard. There is no real standout track out of the four, they all have equal strengths and weaknesses.

Funeral doom is usually about as bleak and depressing as doom gets but 'The Womb Beyond The World' is surprisingly hopeful and positive. Fans of classic funeral doom a-la Shape of Despair will dig this just as fans of more obscure acts like Ea will. It is rather predictable, even by funeral doom standards which is predictable at the best of times anyway but this is a way above-average release that will satisfy funeral doom and death-doom fans alike........8.5/10.

Words: Doomm@niac

Official site
the Howling Void | Facebook

Oct 25, 2012

King Dude – "Burning Daylight" ...

Doomy folk from Seattle! Dark folk is the name of the tradition: think Blood Axis, Spiritual Front, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Death In June, Sol Invictus and Current 93. And if you like later Johnny Cash, then this may be your thing too. Or, as they state on their facebook: [King Dude is] “Dark pagan-fueled folk wrapped tight with outsider Americana, steeped in themes of love, death and redemption.” King Dude has released albums on Avant!, Bathetic, Clan Destine and Dais. According to a nice interview on CVLT Nation, King Dude is also the singer / lyricist for the epic black metal band Book of Black Earth. Check the interview HERE.

     Burning Daylight is King Dude’s latest. I liked predecessor Tonight’s Special Death, and some loose tracks on different compilations. Speaking of ‘loose tracks’; this exactly seems to be the main charm of King Dude’s music. No doubt a live show will be very entertaining, but a whole album is simply to uneven to just yet make it into my top ten / top twenty something albums. It’s a perfect album when you love individual songs instead of the concept of an album. Of course, there are some musical pearls like My Mother Was The Moon, Holy Land, Barbara Anne, I’m Cold,  Jesus In The Courtyard and Vision In Black.

     There seems to be an enormous buzz on the internet surrounding King Dude’s latest album, and I sincerely hope this will make him strive for even greater musical achievements in the future. The whole production seems lo-fi, and this doesn’t help the overall impression of the album. Some of the tracks on Burning Daylight aren’t that memorable alas. Due to the echo, you can’t even make out all the lyrics. What makes this album special, is the dark, gloomy atmosphere. Plus, the tracks on which King Dude is accompanied by female vocals (featuring his wife Emily). Luckily, King Dude is recording some new songs together with Chelsea Wolfe. To sum it up: as an album Burniung Daylight is somewhat uneven but it has a couple of very good individual tracks and a very good promise for the future....7/10.

Words: Sandrijn van den Oever

Watch Jesus In The Courtyard HERE. And Holy Land HERE.

Van Records

Oct 24, 2012

On Pain Of Death - "Year Naught Doom" ...

It's a great time to be miserable. Never in history has there been so much music devoted to utter wrist-slitting throw-yourself-over-the-bridge despair, especially in the metal world, where bands are in competition to see who can be the slowest, most oppressive and depressive. On Pain Of Death have thrown their rotted hat into the ring of flies with their debut "Year Naught Doom", but I'm afraid they will not be able to claim the crown just yet.

A few weeks back, I heard the mind-crushing debut from Serpentine Path and in comparison with that mighty slab of horror, On Pain Of Death just cannot compare. It's not due to the fact that they lack any authenticity or true doomy feeling, it's just that they are betrayed by a weak production and the fact that there's so much of this creepy-crawling doom-death on display right now. 5 years ago, this would have been a revelation, but after bands like Moss, Bunkur and the aforementioned Serpentine Path, it is no longer so revolutionary. The production I believe is deliberately low-fi and muffled for "atmosphere", but anything that is gained in atmosphere is lost in power. The drumbeats sound were "engulfed" and the wooly guitar sound needs more heft.

Three miserable odes are on display and each one crawls in a puddle of its own blood like a dying animal, oozing towards the finality of death. It would take a pretty strong soul to endure "It Came From The Bog" or "Tell Your God To Ready For Blood". Melody is a stranger to this band, all is total suffocation.

It's a painful offering of doom-death but could have been much more damaging.

Words: Dr. Mality ( Wormwood Chronicles )

On Pain Of Death | Facebook

Oct 23, 2012

The Epitaph for the Earth - Interview With QHWERTT ...

Today we have a conversation with Simon who is an author of experimental drone / funeral project Qhwertt from Argentina, you may heard his brutal growl in more famous funeral doom project Fungoid Stream. But Fungoid Stream released their last album "Oceanus" in 2010 as Qhwertt has brand new full-length "He Who Has Known The Gardens" due to collaboration with Furias Records. What is it? About which gardens we must know? Let me answer with verses from poem "Zothique" of Clark Ashton Smith:
"He who has known the gardens of Zothique
Were bleed the fruits torn by the simorgh's beak,
Savors no fruit of greener hemispheres:
In arbors uttermost,
In sunset cycles of the sombering years,
He sips an amaranth wine".

Hail Simon! You run two projects at the same time: funeral doom project Fungoid Stream and experimental drone project Qhwertt, the last one released the full-length album "He Who Has Known the Gardens" in 2012 via Furias Records. So let us start with it - how long ago was Qhwertt born? Few words about it's creation and advantages are all we need.

On 2004, Joseph C. called me to join Fungoid Stream as a vocalist. Once the first album of Fungoid Stream was released, I started thinking about creating my own project. I've chosen funeral doom, but I wanted a more monolithic, bleak sound. Then Qhwertt was born by 2005.

First release of Qhwertt was "Cloudland" (2006), how can you describe this album comparing it with your last work?

Perhaps "Cloudland" has more dronic touches (Qhwertt would be under the "funeral drone doom" genre). I remember I wanted to do it even "droner", but I could not avoid the melodies, and after composition and final correction, I was more than happy with the result.

You waited for almost 6 years before the time had come to finally produce "He Who Has Known the Gardens", how much time did it take to compose and record this stuff?

Certainly, it didn't take all that time. There was a number of situations that delayed the releasing. Anyway, the real duration of the composition and recording process is unpredictable. I remember that the first album took less than a month to be composed, corrected and recorded. "He Who Has Know The Gardens" took more time: there was an initial stage of experimentation before composing started.

For me the first strong impression of Qhwertt's last album was from the album's art-work, then I was amazed with it's whole conception which is based on the works of Clark Ashton Smith. Please tell us how you did come to these elements of your project?

I am an enthusiastic reader of Clark Ashton Smith, one of the Lovecraft's correspondents,. With a similar level of horror, but with a essencially different style, Smith was an excellent narrator, and a poet as well. Besides, he was a painter and a sculptor. For the booklet artwork, I added several illustrations of the german naturalist Ernst Haeckel, taken from Kunstformen der Natur.

I've read some poems of mister Clark and I wonder why did you choose to reflect these pictures in such mystic yet quiet extreme way? Why do you think that it was a good idea to embody these images in sounds of such experimental drone music as you play.
My opinion is that horror (in the vein of Smith and Lovecraft) can hardly go out of tune with funeral doom. Of course, this could be wrong to some listeners, but I think it works great.

Oh, man, sorry - forget to ask you how did you find this name for the band? Does it mean anything?

This is a silly story. I wanted a minimalistic name, and I chose the letters of a keyboard "qwert". But after that, it seemed too minimalistic to me, so I decided to decorate it with some additional letters, trying to sound like the odd names of the Smith's characters in his short stories.

And let us return to "He Who Has Known the Gardens", some songs are reach with very interesting and atmospheric elements besides standard drone stuff - for example "Chant to Sirius" has bloody cool keyboard's arrangements with kind of vibe from old space rock and "Epitaph For the Earth" has middle tempo electronic beat. How did you figure out the way to combine these methods with droning sound of Qhwertt?

I could invent some plausible reasons, but the answer is: I've just tried it and it worked fine. I did know at the very moment of writing those songs that some sounds were not intrinsecally funeral drone but, as a funeral doom listener, I thought that many other funeral doom listeners would enjoy that mix of sounds.

Can you name the leading mood and subjects of "He Who Has Known the Gardens" album?

Every track was called as a Smith's poem. These poems explore the typical subjects in the Smith work, such as mythical lands, heavenly planets, terrifying stars, odd creatures, the forgotten past, the unpredictable future, mixtured with a bit grotesque atmosphere. I like to think that every track of "He Who Has Known the Gardens" is tuned with these subjects.

 What is a current state of Fungoid Stream? I think that it's more known than Qhwertt so how do you see place of Fungoid Stream onto world doom scene?

Well, regarding Fungoid Stream (latest album was released on 2010), I know Joseph C. is about to start composing a new album. Fungoid Stream is his creation, I'm glad to help with vocals and some composition brushstrokes. I must say that worldwide comments about Fungoid Stream work were always very encouraging.

What kind of responses did you get after release of Fungoid Stream last full-length "Oceanus"?

It was great. We receive very good reviews from several websites, and specially great review on doom-metal.com. Apart from that, "Oceanus" was nominated as the best 2010 extreme doom metal album at metalstorm.net. Local scene attention was limited but, again, the few comments received had only good words and wishes.

Songs of Fungoid Strean are based on works of Lovecraft, there're still a damned lot of his followers into metal scene. What can you say about such bands… Which visions of his works are most interesting for you?

As a member of Fungoid Stream, I can say that one of the common interests with Joseph C. is, undoubtly, the H. P. Lovecraft work. But, it's a real thing that the important part of an album is the music, not the lyrics. Of course, lyrics are a valuable companion and tool for creating atmospheres. What I mean is: many bands use Lovecraft myths, stories and poems, but I think all of them have a different vision of his work.

For Fungoid Stream part, what we like in Lovecraft literature is the cosmical level of horror. He surpasses the boundaries of our known universe, transporting the reader to an outer, no-human space.

I guess that you expect such a question so I wouldn't like to disappoint you - how does it feel to be an underground musician in Argentina? We know that internet helps to break through cultural isolation but it seems that's you're happy there on your own…

It's a fact that we have no contact with the local scene, not as Fungoid Stream or my project Qhwertt. We don't perform gigs or concerts and we won't. In my case, I don't know if that could change in the future. But I can say that Fungoid Stream never will play live: Joseph hates stages and crowded places. I think he is just like Lovecraft himself in that aspect. We were lucky to have found Furias Records. Furias had patience and support with our projects (Joseph has his own ambient project too, called Dormantgod) and we have only grateful words to them. Internet has became incredibly helpful in that way. This interview is a perfect example. We were asked to answer (as Fungoid Stream) to only one interview six years ago from a local fanzine. On the other hand, we received many from diverse places outside our country.

Simon, I didn't seen your photos and even this interview is done only via Eduardo from Furias Records (hi, Eduardo!), are you so close personally?

No, not at all. When we started Fungoid Stream, we agreed to use some kind of "avatar" images instead of our real faces. We are not going to perform live, never, so we chose that. Later, once Qhwertt appeared, I chose the same way: using interesting images or compositions. I hope that will not bother you. We are sending some images soon. You can mail me to qhwertt@yahoo.co.uk.

Or can you say what your occupation besides Qhwertt and Fungoid Stream is?

Well, I'd like to say that I'm a musician, but perhaps it's too much. My job is related to information technology, and that was the way I knew Joseph, as we became friends later.

I would like to end our interview with your words about future plans for Qhwertt, and I would like to thank you for your time, Simon! Best regards man and thanks for this interview!

First of all, thanks to you for giving me this space, I appreciated you have chosen my project for an interview. About Qhwertt: in the short term, I'm helping Joseph C with starting the third Fungoid Stream's album, although I think he barely needs me. After that, I'm sure I will start composing the Qhwertt's third CD.
Best wishes and thanks again.

Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Qhwertt | Orion Music
Orion Music Furias.Com

NEWS: HE POWER OF THE RIFF Celebrates The End Of Civilization With LA-Based Event ...

According the Mayan calendar, civilization as we know it will see its apocalyptic downfall as 2012 comes to an end. So to celebrate these end-times with full force, THE POWER OF THE RIFF is throwing one last bash for the year. THE POWER OF THE RIFF presents a massive all-ages event taking place on December 20th at The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The lineup for this gala will feature massive sets by HIGH ON FIRE, SUNN 0))), CORROSION OF CONFORMITY playing a set that will include classics from Animosity, Eye For An Eye and more, BLACK BREATH, DEAD IN THE DIRT, LOINCLOTH (featuring members of Confessor) and VOID OV VOICES (featuring Atilla Csihar).

Tickets for this devastating occasion are available now AT THIS LOCATION

POTR | Official Website
POTR | Facebook

Oct 22, 2012

NEWS: RWAKE: 'It Was Beautiful But Now It's Sour' Video Released ...

"It Was Beautiful But Now It's Sour", the new Casper Haugegaard-directed video from RWAKE, can be seen below. The song comes off the band's latest album, "Rest", which was released in September 2011 on CD, as a digital download and LP pressed on olive green and 180-gram black vinyl. The follow-up to 2007's "Voices Of Omens" was recorded at Engine Studios in Chicago, Illinois with noted engineer Sanford Parker.

RWAKE's 2002 release "Hell Is A Door To The Sun" was reissued March 2011. The long-out-of-print album was remixed by Sanford Parker, remastered, and repackaged to include new artwork, photography, and liner notes from the band.

The Sword - "Apocryphon" ...

The Sword - the band everybody loves to hate but the question remains, why? There are far worse bands around unless you are living under a rock somewhere and I am still yet to read a criticism that stands up to any scrutiny. I am not holding a gun to your head and saying "dig them" but it seems rather hip to throw shit at the band for no other reason than to join in with the rest of the elitist hate-mongering crowd. If you want proof of this, go to the Metal Archives site and you will read some of the most biased reviews you will ever read anywhere on a band. One review even went as far as to call The Sword a conspiracy and you wonder why metal fans often get accused of being stupid.  For me personally, I thought The Sword's 'Age of Winters' was a great album, one of the best albums released that year. Since then, the band took a bit of a nose-dive in quality so you could never call me just another fan-boy. 'Gods of the Earth' was a disappointing follow-up to the début while the next one 'Warp Riders' was far too inconsistent to be considered memorable.

Enter 'Apocryphon' and The Sword have once again hit their stride, releasing a powerhouse album that is not only memorable but also mixed to perfection. If you have ever wondered what makes stoner-rock/metal such a popular genre, then listen to songs like 'Arcane Montane,' 'Cloak of Feathers,' 'The Hidden Masters,' 'Dying Earth,' and 'The Veil of Isis' which opens the album. If you don't get a musical boner from these tracks, you need to get your head and ears checked. The songs mentioned are all highlights that are over-flowing with juicy, ear-catching hooks that get stuck in your head right from the very first spin of the album. Hooks aside, this is riff-heaven with the band throwing the listener, one gargantuan monster riff after gargantuan monster riff on every song. The band never get stuck in any gear as they provide non-stop tempo changes and variations that is not exactly the norm for stoner-metal acts.

Opening track 'The Veil of Isis' hits you between the eyes, kicks you in the balls and runs over you with the subtlety of a Mack track. The blend of catchy, monolithic riffs, sublime vocals, stunning instrumental breaks and the rumbling, bottom-heavy back-line makes the sound on this album irresistably tasty. The Sword are a song band and know the importance of great songwriting versus just churning out heavy riffs just because they don't know how to do anything else; IE: like thousands of death, funeral and some stoner-doom bands do. The opening track shows the band has return to the style of the début but with two big improvements. This is far better produced and mixed and most of the songs here are the heaviest stuff the band have ever recorded so it is refreshing to hear that The Sword haven't taken the easy road and simply recorded a radio-friendly commercial album.....this album is far heavier than anything I was expecting.

The second track 'Cloak of Feathers' is riffy, groove laden psych rock that avoids any of the usual plodding that most stoner or doom bands usually engage in. Moving onto 'Arcane Montane' and 'The Hidden Masters' and the band are on a roll, the like of which hasn't been heard since the stoner metal sub-genre first introduced the likes of Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu and dare I say Kyuss. Vocalist J.D. Cronise still has the Ozzy croon but he seems more melodic on this album which is another step in the right direction for the band. My personal favorite track on the album 'Dying Earth' is next and it is a bone-rattling exercise in riff-rock mayhem and psych-rock insanity. While the band has one foot firmly in the classic rock of the 70's, there is also a modern edge to these songs that ensures it doesn't sound out-of-place alongside more modern sounding metal acts.

'Execrator' is a short blast of concise psych-rock with a punk-rock edge while 'Seven Sisters' is another infectious, memorable track. In the past The Sword  have been prone to have some filler on their albums in-between the real good stuff but finally they have delivered an album that is 100% consistent all the way through. 'Hawks and Serpents' and 'Eyes of the Stormwitch' are more golden nuggets of stoner-metal with more insanely great riffing, memorable melodies and instrumental sections that raise the hairs, stimulate the senses while putting a strain on the neck muscles. The album then ends on the title-track and they throw in another surprise by blending heavy-ass riffing with electronic music. Normally this would spell disaster but The Sword nail the combination by putting together a track that is truly captivating. 44 minutes later, it all comes to an all far too sudden ending and you are left wondering why it took them 4 albums to get to this level of brilliance.

'Apocryphon' wins on all levels - musically, lyrically, songwriting, production and performance. The album art is perhaps the albums only weak point as it looks a bit cheap and slapped together to me but most people don't give a shit about album art anyway these days. I will get some flak for this review but go right ahead, I will be the whipping boy for this album and after all my garbage existence at the moment makes any hate-mail I might get seem trivial (which it is most of the time anyway).  'Apocryphon' is The Sword’s best album to-date but it is also a touchstone album for this genre that is rather carelessly referred to as "stoner-rock." Haters will continue to hate and I mean, they have nothing better to do anyway while lovers of the band will have this on heavy rotation for years to come. As a intro-album for newbies, it is perfect and this should push their fan base into even bigger numbers. Exceptional album by The Sword.....10/10.


NEWS: BLOOD OF THE SUN Featuring SAINT VITUS Drummer To Release New Album In November ...

BLOOD OF THE SUN, the Seventies-rock-inspired band featuring SAINT VITUS drummer Henry Vasquez, will release its new album, "Burning On The Wings Of Desire", in North America on November 27 via Listenable Records. To help with the CD, the band hooked up with MOS GENERATOR's Tony Reed, who produced, recorded, co-wrote and handled some guitar and bass duties. A video for the song "Good and Evil", which features SAINT VITUS frontman Scott "Wino" Weinrich on vocals, can be seen below.

"Burning On The Wings Of Desire" track listing:

01. Let It Roll
02. Burning On The Wings Of Desire
03. Can't Stop My Heart
04. Brings Me Down
05. Rock Your Station
06. Good Feeling
07. The Snitch
08. Good And Evil

BLOOD OF THE SUN was formed in 2002 by Vasquez on drums and Dave Gryder (STORM AT SUNRISE) on keyboards. BLOOD OF THE SUN's goal from the beginning has been to carry on the tradition of the classic rock style of the Seventies, with contributions from highly respected icons Derek St. Holmes from TED NUGENT and John 'O Daniel and Rusty Burns from POINT BLANK. In 2004, the band released its self-titled debut on the independent Brain Ticket label. The group's initial lineup included LAS CRUCIS singer Mark Zamarron, SUB OSLO bassist Miguel Veliz, as well as ARCHIE BUNKER guitarists Jay Benfield and Rich Christopher. For their 2007 sophomore release, "In Blood We Rock", Richard Hurley and Ty Thompkins handled guitars while Vasquez took over on vocals. In 2008, "Death Ride" was released, with Derek St. Holmes on vocals as well as Erik Schmidt from REO SPEEDEALER and Mike Doty from THE HOUSE HARKONNEN on guitars. In addition to touring the States, BLOOD OF THE SUN played Europe extensively in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Oct 21, 2012

Bones & Comfort - "Mothersheep" ...

The folks out at GoDown Records know their raaaawk …That’s why they enrolled the Italian heavy rock band Bones & Comfort in their roster. And they did well! Bones & Comfort is a “power trio” based in my city, Milano: Daniele Murroni on vocals / guitars / banjo, Alberto Trentanni on bass and Luca Romano on drums. These guys are not completely new to Doommantia: the viking-looking bass player Alberto Trentanni belongs to that cool heavy psych jam rock beast named King Bong. The band started playing back in 2006 and released their fine debut EP In Fat We Trust back in 2009. While King Bong has been taking a rest during these months, Bones & Comfort have been and are rocking hard indeed in their high-octane live exhibitions where they play tracks from their debut full-length album, Mothersheep.   Mothersheep is a powerful album marking the definitive affirmation of this trio as riff machine for an infectious, dirty and blues-drenched, southern-flavoured, dynamic rock’n’roll.  Dirty sun-baked southern rock from the grey, foggy Milano? Oh yeah! But there’s some “trve” southern, Mediterranean blood in Bones & Comfort. For example, in spite of his blond locks and beard, frontman Daniele proudly comes from the charming and wild island of Sardinia. You know, Duna Jam …

So Mothersheep will keep you busy with 10 tracks for about 46 minutes. These tracks are sometimes quite substantial in their length for being rock’n’roll songs (they are often over 6 minutes long), but they are so juicy, infectious, involving, varied and enjoyable that you won’t realize that time is flowing away … The album includes only two tracks from the old Ep “In Fat We Trust”, i.e., the powerful opening track “We Choose Who Will Stand” and the fifth song “Road Pizza”, both cool choice. The rest of the album is brand new. By starting with the blistering track “We Choose Who Will Stand”, the band is immediately setting the rules of their game. What you’ve got here and in the rest of Mothersheep album is boiling-hot riff attacks at a tight pace by nicely distorted guitars/bass, dirty, sleazy blues-drenched melodies, southern and western atmospheres induced by occasional insertions of banjo and slide guitar sounds, cool gritty to acid vocals and alcoholic choirs, manly aggressive drumming, and a pulsating bass line that helps in making making the music solidly scarring your skin ...  Basically old school heaviness and tons of southern groove rooted in early Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin as well as in Black Label Society, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Clutch, Kyuss, The Obsessed, Down, etc. The sound is roaring, rough and dirty thanks to the production which is just (im)perfect for this style of music.

As it may happen in these cases, while listening to the tunes you suddenly realize that you are actually wearing some long mustaches (definitely …), black leather gloves, tight leather trousers, you are driving a biiig motorbike and your boots are stained with dust from the desert and mud from a swamp. This is rock’n’roll for sweating. And if you happen to be teetotal, well, you’ll start feeling the need of an ice-cold beer …  The subsequent track, kickass “Tex Mex”, is easygoing and almost winking to glam rock. The third track “Isaac's Wife Song” is developing its charge of groove via a relaxed, mid-slow paced rock rhythm, although tension is kept rather tight until you get into the short track “Unbalanced”. One minute-long “Unbalanced” will let you draw some deep breaths with its slow, soft, bluesy lullaby-like melody. Then you can get ready for “Road Pizza”, a badass, testosterone-drenched rock’n’roll blast lead by a rumbling drumming.  The sixth track “My Crusade” starts in tricky soft, “desert-like” way but guitars will soon start roaring. This beautiful song is a quite high-energy track which, however, stands out from the previous fast tracks for its grungy component. It may just be my impression but I can catch some hints of aggressive grunge à-la-Soundgarden in both melodic lines and in Daniele’s vocal style. Daniele’s cool voice is gritty, slightly strained and warm at the same time and is sharing some features with Ozzy, Wino, as well as with Chris Cornell.

The seventh track “Take Some Pills” is a semi-acoustic western-flavoured ballad built up by choirs and acoustic guitar with occasional insertions of slide guitar and banjo sounds. It is a deeply gripping blues ballad lead by a cool overlap of voices and a melody immediately evoking a lonesome night chant at the fire in the desert or in the bayou. You feel like singing along … I can’t but find the same aching atmospheres as  in some melancholic grunge ballads or better in that wonderful blues invocation called “Where I am Going” found in the second album by Down.  The lively rhythms in the in track “No Country for Musicians” will bring you back from languishing dreaming and straight into total southern vibes with a slide guitar rock serenade as with those great jam bands from the other side of the ocean. What follows is the southern heavy and manly metallic vibe in the ninth track “Inhale” which is so recalling beloved Clutch … Awesome super-heavy riffs here, coupled with some killer vocal parts including some insertions of voice deformation (with Vocoder or something like that).  The album is duly closed by the powerful track “Orange Blossoms and Four Swans”, a Bones & Comfort’s track that graced the Desert Sound vol. 4 compilation released by the Italian Perkele portal/webzine earlier this year (Here).

“Orange Blossoms and Four Swans”which will flood you with the last charge of high-octane riffs and coarse vocals (with guest vocalists Luigi Galmozzi and Andrea Maglia) in pure southern metal spirit. But then the trio will lead you into some great desert and blues/psychedelic jamming before the music will be lost into the void. Only deep, manly voices will be left repeating the refrain in a sort of choir halfway between alcoholic and blasphemous gospel …
Maybe it is time for some coffee now for your hangover …Get this kickass, heavy rocking album either at GoDown Records, at CdBaby or, better, from the band at one of their next hot  gigs listed on the band’s websites!

Words: Marilena Moroni

Official Website
Bones & Comfort | GoDown Records
Bones & Comfort | CD Baby

Video - Bones & Comfort - Orange Blossoms and Four Swans

Saint Vitus Sunday ...

Quality video footage of SAINT VITUS' October 3 performance at Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado can be seen below. 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: New SATURNUS Album Coming In November ...

Danish melodic doom metal masters SATURNUS will release their new album, "Saturn In Ascension", on November 30 via Cyclone Empire. The CD was produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who has previously worked with METALLICA, MORBID ANGEL and BLIND GUARDIAN, among others. The artwork for the effort was created by Frode Sylthe of Friction.com (AT THE GATES, NAPALM DEATH, THE HAUNTED). A bonus track, "Limbs Of Crystal Clear" (a remastered demo recording from 1994), will be included on the limited first edition digipack and the limited double LP.

"Saturn In Ascension" track listing:

01. Litany Of Rain
02. Wind Torn
03. A Lonely Passage
04. A Father's Providence
05. Mourning Sun
06. Call Of The Raven Moon
07. Forest Of Insomnia
08. Between
09. Limbs Of Crystal Clear (digipack bonus track)


Thomas A.G. - Vocals
Henrik Glass - Drums
Mattias Svensson - Guitar
Rune Stiassny - Guitar, Keyboards
Brian Pomykala Hansen - Bass

SATURNUS completed a four-song demo between October 2010 and February 2011 containing the tracks "Litany Of Rain", "A Father's Providence", "Wind Torn" and "Between". The recording was mixed and mastered by Flemming Rasmussen. SATURNUS's last album, "Veronika Decides To Die", was released in 2006. The CD was produced by Flemming Rasmussen and featured a guest appearance by MERCYFUL FATE guitar legend Michael Denner. The album was nominated in four categories ("Best Metal Album", "Best Metal Track", "Best Metal Production" and "Best Metal Artwork") at the 2006 Danish Metal Awards event.

Whales And Aurora - "The Shipwreck" ...

One look at the album art of Whales and Aurora's 'The Shipwreck' and it is pretty hard not to think of Ahab but what you get on this album is a different kind of doom all together. Actually it is several different kinds of doom. This Italian band blend the post-rock of bands like Cult of Luna with black metal, drone, ambient styles and even has some shades of 70's psychedelia. At first the songs on this album sounded a little awkward to me but after several listens to the album what unfolded was a sometimes complex atmospheric concept album. I must admit I am one of those geeky music lovers that can't help but admire a decent concept album and this is one of the more interesting ones to emerge in the last couple of years.

I will get my gripes out-of-the-way first. The black metal influenced vocals get tedious very quickly with this album. I like a good growl as much as the next doomster but on this album they seem overbearing and they tend to overshadow the music at times which takes away some of the focus from the very well thought-out musical passages. The other little nit-pick is it seems a bit over produced but that is a personal criticism and many listeners are bound to disagree with me on that. The album starts with 'Refused Recounting Words' and if you haven't figured out yet that this is indeed a concept album, it soon becomes obvious what the band intentions are with this release. The songs are about the negative kind of consciousness that we all face on a daily basis and the resulting anger that tests our patience regularly. Life often pushes us to the breaking point where emotions become frayed and musically this album backs up that concept.

Now of course a lot of listeners couldn't care less about lyrical concepts so what about the riffs? This album is not exactly a mind-blowing riffing adventure but it is interesting. The arrangements are well thought-out and it is far from generic doom metal. Some of the timings are a little off-kilter and there is a great deal of ominous, suspenseful dramatics at play with 'The Shipwreck.' Where as the opening track is interesting but not all that memorable, the second cut 'Achieving the Unavoidable' is mesmerizing from start to finish. There are more interesting, unique timings and a good mix of mellow and heavy sections. Third track is also very good; 'The Aground Hard-Ship' is easily the albums best track for me personally. They inject some heavy Sunn O))) like droning, blending doomy ambience that gets under the skin very quickly putting the listener into a trance-like state.

'Abandoned Among Echoes' and 'Awakened By The Aurora' is where the band bring in some 70's psychedelic and progressive doom elements. There are variations in tempo, mood and instrumentation including some fine piano touches. 'A New Awareness' is one of the songs where the growls bring down what is a very fine track otherwise and I am sorry for dwelling on that but it is all I tend to hear when I listen to this track. The album ends on 'Floating On Calm Waters' which is a natural closer for this atmospheric album; heavy, distorted, mellow and aggressive at the same time, Whales And Aurora are at least not your run of the mill doom act. If there is a criticism to be made about this genre that we all love called doom metal, it is; it can be predictable at times but this band and album could never be accused of taking the easy road. It is hard to say how many doom fans will be blown away by this album. It is always intriguing but at times it is also a kind of frustrating release. There seems to be a vital element missing but pin-pointing what that ingredient is also debatable. As it is, this is a fine album that stands up on its own when put back-to-back against similar doom albums released recently but it is one you will have to judge for yourself. For fans of prog-laden doom and doomy post rock - check this out.....7/10.

Words: Doomm@niac


Oct 19, 2012

NEWS: Wo Fat Lay Down The Fuzz At Desertfest 2013 ...

Things are shaping up nicely for Desertfest 2013 and they are now proud to welcome Texan psychedelic fuzzsters Wo Fat to the bill.

Proving themselves over the last half of the decade to be one of the greatest fuzz bands in the US today, the Dallas three-piece are simply getting better with every stride they take. Last year’s Noche del Chupacabra smashed us in the face with swampy jams and foot stomping hooks; this year’s follow up, The Black Code, returns to finish the job, ironing out all the kinks and blowing us away in the process with an increasingly confident swagger. Tied together with Kent Stump’s ever so slightly gravelly twang, Wo Fat are at the front of the pack of up-and-coming American fuzz merchants that are storming the planet, taking their distorted tones along with them. Next stop, Camden.

Desertfest 2013 takes place between 26th – 28th April 2013 over 4 venues in Camden, London and tickets go on sale on the 13th November at Leedstickets.Com.

Source: The Sleeping Shaman

NEWS: FISTULA: Cleveland Sludge Henchmen Release New LP And Take It To The Streets ...

Cleveland’s long-running sludge kingpins FISTULA have just filthified the planet with their latest dose of resin-coated low-end antagonism. One of the most constantly productive bands of the modern sludge scene, FISTULA have tortured live audiences abroad and boast a lengthy discography of LPs, EPs, demos, split releases and more since their 1998 inception. Recorded in May and June with Eric Braunschweigerat Rogue Mobile Recording in Massachusetts (the vocals were recorded with Big Metal Dave at Broken Back Studios in Cleveland), the band’s latest caustic crusher, Northern Aggression, is out now via PATAC Records. The LP version of the offering is loaded with eight ceaselessly brutal anthems — including an album-closing cover of The Mentors’ “Going Through Your Purse” — while the CD version includes a bonus of FISTULA’s 2010-released six-song Loser EP, adding an additional 28-minutes to the aural beating. For ordering info, point your browser HERE. For limited vinyl and merch pre-orders, go HERE.

In commemoration of the album’s release, FISTULA will take to the streets this week on the Northern Aggression 2012 tour. The melee begins tomorrow, Friday October 19th in Lakewood, Ohio and will roll through Indianapolis, Chicago, Brooklyn and Cambridge, along the way sharing the stage with Vulture, Coffinworm, Black Goat, Cleanteeth (ex/members Goes Cube, Hull), Generation of Vipers (members of US Christmas) and more.

Source: The Sleeping Shaman

NEWS: EARTHEN GRAVE Parts Ways With Drummer ...

Chicago’s epic doom metal act EARTHEN GRAVE announces that the band has parted ways with longtime drummer Scott Davidson. Davidson played on the group’s 2009 Dismal Times debut EP and recently-released full-length album Earthen Grave. The band issued a collective statement this week: “We wish Scott all the best with his many other projects including his long time running Chicago's Rebel Radio,  his Sabbath/Dio tribute band Heaven & Hell Chicago  and all his future endeavors.” EARTHEN GRAVE is currently auditioning drummers for Davidson’s replacement. In the meantime, EARTHEN GRAVE will perform a special semi-acoustic show at The Iron Ward in Cleveland this Saturday, October 20th featuring Rachel Barton Pine, Ron Holzner, Mark Weiner, Tony Spillman, Jason Muxlow, and Hannah Barton. The band has also confirmed a headlining gig at the Double Door in Chicago on November 30th.

EARTHEN GRAVE was founded in 2008 by guitarist Jason Muxlow (The Living Fields, Wintering) bassist Ron Holzner (formerly of Trouble, Debris Inc., Place of Skulls), and  drummer Scott Davidson (ex-Stonehenge, Rebel Radio). The trio recruited vocalist Mark Weiner (Trifog), guitarist Tony Spillman (Spillage), and renowned classical violinist Rachel Barton Pine who performs on extended range electric flying V violin. In late April of this year, EARTHEN GRAVE released its mammoth first album titled Earthen Grave. Produced by Ron Holzner, and released via his own Claude & Elmo Music, this layered opus showcases the range and diversity of the band's epic and commanding material.

Stream the entire self-titled album at EARTHEN GRAVE’s Bandcamp page.


10/20/2012 The Iron Ward – Cleveland, OH [info]
11/30/2012 The Double Door – Chicago, IL w/ Red Rebel County, Skank, The Root Cause, Bill Ura Dik

"...one of the year's most promising debuts... Earthen Grave sounds old school without being retro, managing to go through every element on which lesser bands usually fail with exquisite grace and solemn subtlety..." - Terrorizer

"...the integrity and honesty of the musical endeavour shines through, making this a thought-provoking, melancholic metal creation with some real magic..." - Zero Tolerance

"Simply put, “Earthen Grave” is a modern doom metal classic that will live beyond a mere best-of-the-year bestowing. 4.5/5" - Metal Underground

"...a unique and refreshing take on the doom metal genre. 8/10" - Doommantia

"...they take the Black Sabbath/Pentagram/Witchfinder General formula to another level by adding in Pine's lovely violin work, which gives these crushing songs an almost Kansas-ish feel to them in spots. 4/5" - Sea of Tranquility

"...one of the year’s best doom newcomers." - Blistering

"...one of the most unique doom sounds I have heard in a long time. This Chicago based band has certainly offset themselves from their peers. 9/10" - This Is Not A Scene

Earthen Grave | Official Website

Source: Earsplit PR
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