Sumokem “The Guardian of Yosemite” Album Review + Stream + Vinyl Release…

Sumokem

The Guardian of Yosemite – CD // DD (released October 6, 2017)

Cursed Tongue Records – Limited Vinyl (100) // TP Edition Vinyl w/ 7″ (20)

// Jet Black Vinyl (200)

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

 

Tracklist:
Attack of the Mammoth (7:52)
Warning (6:44)
War Pipe / Rite of the Calumet (7:38)
Ogama (8:43)
Tisayac (9:34)
Mescalito/Meeting of the Half Moon (7:02)
Nantucket (10:05)
Emerald [digital-only bonus track] (4:05)

Band Members:
Present:
Jacob Sawrie – Vox/Rhythm
Drew Skarda – Percussion
Tyler Weaver – Lead
Dustin Weddle – Bass

Past:
Josh Ingram (RIP) – Lead
Alan Wells – Bass

 

 

To say the least, 2017 has been a huge year for heavy music. The year has granted us several new releases, most notably Mastodon’s Emperor of Sand. However, the music world often functions like archaeology – The deeper you dig, the more treasures you will find such as the gargantuan slab of Doom that is Sumokem’s “The Guardian of Yosemite”.

When I say gargantuan, I mean it. Each tune on this release is not only long, but feels like it has been custom-tailored to be as gigantic as possible, from the performance to the production to the composition. Every riff hits like a Warhammer to the temple and it wouldn’t feel right any other way. Each member is extremely in tune with one another and they really feel like a single living and breathing organism.

Sumokem’s Special Vinyl Release Date – Friday, January 12th, 2018

Limited Red_Gold_Wax_100

http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/product/sumokem-the-guardian-of-yosemite-2lp-ltd-blood-gold-edition

Special credit, though, goes to their lead guitarist. Every member is excellent at their instrument, but the guitar goes above and beyond to ensure that each and every solo is searing and quick, keeping the listener’s attention while still progressing the song further and further down into heavier and heavier territory as the album goes on.

It’s unbelievable just how heavy this album can be. It opens like a freight train, but by the time the epic-length dirge and album high point “Nantucket” begins, you can only be floored by how well Sumokem brings music back to its primordial roots. There is no feeling greater than finding a band that is both classic and novel – one that both pushes the boundaries of music while reminding us why we love it in the first place, and with its ultra-heavy prehistoric jams, Sumokem’s “The Guardian of Yosemite” has given us just that.

Band Pic


Matthew Thomas’ Top 60 Albums of 2017 + Top 10 EPs + Links to Listen…

Matthew Thomas’ Top 60 Albums of 2017

Top 10 EPs of 2017 + Links to Listen & Buy

 

1. Junius – Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light

https://junius-official.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-rituals-for-the-accretion-of-light

 

2. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand

http://www.mastodonrocks.com/

 

3. Elder – Reflections of a Floating World

https://beholdtheelder.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-of-a-floating-world

 

4. Samsara Blues Experiment –  One With The Universe

https://samsarabluesexperiment.bandcamp.com/album/one-with-the-universe

 

5. Racquet Club – Racquet Club

http://riserecords.merchnow.com/catalogs/racquet-club

 

6. Hobosexual – Monolith

https://hobosexualmusic.bandcamp.com/album/monolith

 

7. Kadavar – Rough Times

http://kadavar.com/

 

8. Our Ceasing Voice – Free Like Tonight

http://music.our-ceasing-voice.com/album/free-like-tonight

 

9. Bask – Ramble Beyond

https://basknc.bandcamp.com/

 

10. Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry

https://wolfparade.bandcamp.com/album/cry-cry-cry

 

11. Telekinetic Yeti – Abominable

https://telekineticyeti.bandcamp.com/album/abominable

 

12. Sorority Noise – You’re Not As ___ As You Think

https://sororitynoise.bandcamp.com/album/youre-not-as-as-you-think

 

13. Ethereal Riffian – Afterlight DVD

https://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/

 

14. Quicksand – Interiors

https://quicksandnyc.bandcamp.com/album/interiors

 

15. Spidergawd – IV

https://www.stickman-records.com/shop/spidergawd-iv/

 

16. Forming the Void – Relic

https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/album/relic

 

17. All Them Witches – Sleeping Through the War

https://allthemwitches.bandcamp.com/album/sleeping-through-the-war

 

18. House of Lightning – Self Titled

https://houseoflightning.bandcamp.com/album/house-of-lightning

 

19. The Black Angels – Death Song

http://theblackangels.com/

 

20. Pallbearer – Heartless

https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/heartless

 

21. Ohhms – The Fool

https://ohhms.bandcamp.com/album/the-fool

 

22. VOKONIS – THE SUNKEN DJINN

https://vokonis.bandcamp.com/album/the-sunken-djinn

 

23. Mother Mars – On Lunar Highlands

https://mothermars.bandcamp.com/

 

24. Crackhouse – Be No One.  Be Nowhere.

https://crackhouseofficialband.bandcamp.com/album/be-no-one-be-nothing-2

 

25. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

https://www.amazon.com/american-dream-LCD-Soundsystem/dp/B073Z99YP4/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1514830700&sr=1-1&keywords=lcd+soundsystem+vinyl

 

26. The Atomic Bitchwax – Force Field

https://theatomicbitchwax.bandcamp.com/

 

27. Spaceslug – Time Travel Dilemma

https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/album/time-travel-dilemma

 

28. Slowdive – Self Titled

https://slowdive.bandcamp.com/album/slowdive

 

29. Nekromant – Snakes and Liars

https://nekromant.bandcamp.com/album/snakes-liars

 

30. Frozen Planet…1969 – From the Centre of A Parallel Universe

https://peppershakerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-centre-of-a-parallel-universe

 

31. Egypt – Cracks and Lines

https://egypt1.bandcamp.com/

 

32. Electric Orange – EOXXV

https://electricorange.bandcamp.com/album/eoxxv

 

33. Electric Age – Sleep of the Silent King

https://electricagela.bandcamp.com/album/sleep-of-the-silent-king

 

34. Comacozer – Kalos Eidos Skopeo

https://comacozer.bandcamp.com/album/kalos-eidos-skopeo

 

35. Pink Frost – New Minds

https://pinkfrost.bandcamp.com/

 

36. Deaf Radio – Alarm

https://deafradio.bandcamp.com/album/alarm

 

37. Red Scalp – Lost Ghosts

https://redscalp.bandcamp.com/album/lost-ghosts-2

 

38. Earth Drive – Stellar Drone

https://earthdrive.bandcamp.com/

 

39. I, Captain – Tiid

https://icaptain.bandcamp.com/album/tiid-2

 

40. Red Mountains – A Slow Wander

https://redmountains.bandcamp.com/album/slow-wander

 

41. Olde – Temple

https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/album/olde-temple-2

 

42. Devil Electric – Self Titled

https://devilelectric.bandcamp.com/album/devil-electric

 

43. Sautrus – Anthony Hill

https://sautrus.bandcamp.com/album/anthony-hill

 

44. The Janitors – Horn Ur Marken

https://thejanitors.bandcamp.com/album/horn-ur-marken

 

45. Electric Moon – Stardust Rituals

https://electric-moon.bandcamp.com/album/stardust-rituals

 

46. The Re-Stoned – Chronoclasm

https://re-stoned.bandcamp.com/

 

47. Clouds Taste Satanic – The Glitter of Infinite Hell

https://cloudstastesatanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-glitter-of-infinite-hell

 

48. Ufomammut – 8

https://ufomammut.bandcamp.com/album/8-2

 

49. Lamina – Lilith

https://ragingplanet.bandcamp.com/album/l-mina-lilith

 

 

50. Space Witch – Arcanum

https://spacewitch.bandcamp.com/album/arcanum

 

The Final Tasty 10

 

51. Radio Moscow – New Beginnings

http://radiomoscow.net/

 

52. Geezer – Psychoriffadelia

https://geezertown.bandcamp.com/

 

53. Gypsy Sun Revival – Journey Outside of Time

https://gypsysunrevival.bandcamp.com/album/journey-outside-of-time

 

54. Tau Cross – Pillar of Fire

https://taucross.bandcamp.com/

 

55. Aphodyl // Cosmic Fall – Starsplit

https://psyka.bandcamp.com/album/starsplit

 

56. Summoner – Beyond The Realm of Light

https://summonerboston.bandcamp.com/

 

57. Contra – Deny Everything

https://robustfellow.bandcamp.com/album/deny-everything

 

58. Bloodnut – St. Ranga

https://bloodnut.bandcamp.com/

 

59. Poseidon – Prologue

https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/prologue

 

60. Propagandhi – Victory Lap

https://propagandhi.com/

 

 

Top 10 EPs of 2017

 

1. Mastodon – Cold Dark Place

http://www.mastodonrocks.com/

 

2. Howling Giant – Black Space Wizard Part 2

https://howlinggiant.bandcamp.com/album/black-hole-space-wizard-part-2

 

3. Kal-EL – Astrodoomeda

http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/en/music-/235-kal-el-astrodoomeda-lp.html

 

4. Cachemira – Jungla

https://cachemira.bandcamp.com/album/jungla-2

 

5. Derelics – Guilty of Being Young

https://derelics.bandcamp.com/album/guilty-of-being-young

 

6. Bad Monster Black – Diablo

https://badmonsterblack.bandcamp.com/album/diablo-ep

 

7. MAIRA – EP

https://maira.bandcamp.com/album/ep

 

8. Traffic Death – Dead End

https://sumppumprecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-end

 

9. 1968 – 1968 EP

https://1968band.bandcamp.com/releases

 

10. Norea – Norea

https://norea.bandcamp.com/


Iron Monkey “9-13” Album Review + Stream…

Iron Monkey

“9-13” – Vinyl // CD // DD

Relapse Records – Released October 20th, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

The Simian Rage Has Returned!!

 

Hey all you doom freaks this is The Ancient One and I have just learned of the return of Nottingham, England’s IRON MONKEY. Their original line up was: Justin, Greaves, Johnny Morrow, Jim Rushby, Doug Dalziel, and Steve Watson . Formed in 1994 this band of misanthropes sole purpose in life was to irritate and piss as many people off as they could. Spewing forth an  auditory assault of bellicose, nihilistic vocals IRON MONKEY then fronted by Johnny Morrow was doing a hell of a job. But, like the notorious  G.G. Allin they developed a cult of Misanthropic followers who liked what they were doing and so began IRON MONKEY’s then 3 year recording career that produced 2 albums and a split album with Japan’s Church of Misery.

Rumored by its cult of follower to have been playing when Pantera’s frontman Phil Anselmo had a near fatal heroine overdose the  IRON MONKEY S/T debut album  was first released on the Union Mills label. The release generated a stir that when combined with their insane live performances lead them to being signed on with Earache Records who re-released the album in 1997. Soon after its defection to Earache Records, IRON MONKEY released their  masterpiece of negative rock “Our Problem” in 1998. Then in the following year they released their IRON MONKEY/Church of Misery Split album. Following their split album the band members got involved in side projects and with the death of their unholy vocal terror  Johnny Morrow in 2002 it seemed IRON MONKEY was to be a legend relegated to compilations and box sets that old SLUDGE-CORE / PSYCHO-DOOM fans told the young’uns about. But the Fat Lady hasn’t sang yet.

Rather than call IRON MONKEY a memory,  Steve Watson and Jim Rushby with addition of current Chaos UK drummer Brigga have returned once again, this time on Relapse Records with their album “9-13″. So get yourself ready for this psychotic power trio to unleash their simian rage. While Johnny is no longer on this earth to assault us with his beastly vocals Jim Rushby who has taken up the mantle is a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the 9 original tracks and 48 minute album, Jim Rushby  assaults us with bellicose hate filled  rants as  Steve Watson lays monstrous fuzzed out sludge laden riffs with Brigga pounding out warlike drum beats.

Band Shot

While I had a great time listening to 9-13 it really seems to take off with the album’s 4th track “Toadcrucifier – R.I.P.P.E.R.” It is the point were I start hearing some ass kicking guitar leads to go along with the breakdowns. With Five short verses THE ROPE, NO HOPE, NO HOPE, THE ROPE, THE ROPE… The 7th track “The Rope” is a breakdown that prepares you and flows into “Doomsday Impulse Multiplier”. Listening to this album has truly damaged me!! Listening was like being attacked by a baboon in the throws of a PCP induced rage. Available on Relapse Records  “9-13” is set for release on October 20th, 2017!!

Additional Links:

http://ironmonkey.bandcamp.com/album/9-13

https://youtu.be/5Bc1vnGpu_M?list=PLq6NULtuhFumlE6qykJxcStiDhhYfJzpv

https://youtu.be/L-S-LsLJqIc?list=PLq6NULtuhFumlE6qykJxcStiDhhYfJzpv

https://youtu.be/_JH0os_xukQ?list=PLq6NULtuhFumlE6qykJxcStiDhhYfJzp


Ufomammut “8” Album Review + Tour Schedule + Stream…

Ψ Ufomammut

“8” – Vinyl // CD // DD

Neurot Recordings – released September 22, 2017 

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Dalle Pesanti Psichedeliche Rock Wizards

 

Ufomammut is:
Poia – Guitars and FX
Urlo – Bass, vocals, FX and synths
Vita – Drummer

Ciccio – Soundlord
Lu – visuals

Previous Releases:
– Godlike Snake – full length cd/lp – Beard of Stars – 2000
– Snailking – full length cd – The Music Cartel – 2004
– Lucifer Songs – full length cd/dvd lp/dvd – Rocketrecs/Supernatural Cat – 2005
– Idolum – full length cd – 2lp+cd – Supernatutal Cat – 2008
– Snailking – full lenght double vinyl – Supernatural Cat – 2009
– EVE – full lenght cd – LP+cd+dvd – Supernatural Cat – 2010
– ORO – cd – LP+dvd – LP – Neurot Recordings / Supernatural Cat – 2012
– ECATE – full length cd – LP + dvd – Neurot Recordings – Supernatural Cat – 2015

 

 

Review: 

Hey doomsters this is the Ancient One and I’ve just returned from yet another odyssey through the cyberscape traveling the ethereal soundwaves. While traveling I learned through fellow music heads Italian wizards of heavy psych / stoner / doom Ufomammut  have released a new album entitled “8”. Wanting to know more I wasted no time in getting a early preview but I unfortunately failed you. While I wanted to let you know about it before its  September 22nd release date to give you all time to get your pre-orders in I was unable to because personal issues got in my way.

For those who are unfamiliar with them, Ufomammut (pronounced- ufomam’mut) is a heavy psych / stoner / doom band hailing from Italy. Going strong since 1999 “Ufomammut” was formed by  Poia (guitarist, synth, and sound effects), Urlo (bass guitar, synth, sound effects and vocals), and Vito (drums)  With 7 albums to date the bands upcoming album was released on the “Neurot Recordings label on September 22nd and is the bands 8th album, thus its title “8”.

As in past albums “Ufomammut” fearlessly experiments with sound and music. But what makes “8” unique is the method in which it was recorded. Seeking to give the listener the experience of listening to them live Ufomammut recorded the instruments in live studio sessions. And this painstaking process that has resulted in an amazing album.

Ufo by Malleus - web

Opening with “BABEL,” stoner doom Wizards Ufomammut begin weaving their auditory spell using a language all can understand. While I’d like to tell you which songs I liked most I really can’t. Every time I took time to look at the title of the song playing it broke my trance. So instead I will tell you what I enjoyed about “8” as a whole.

Unlike some music in which you feel like a spectator watching or listening to the metal gods on high, “8” envelopes you making you feel like you are part of the music. Listening to the fuzzed out guitar, drums, bass, droning chants, and psychedelic sound effects had me feeling like I was part of some strange musical mystery cult.  “8” is best listened to in full and if you don’t have a decent stereo I recommend listening with headphones.

Helping them launch their latest album on September 22nd  the “Malleus Art Collective” unveiled it’s “A Malleusdelic Art Trip Into Ufomammut exhibition”  at the release party  held at the Santeria Social Club (Milan, Italy) on September 22nd.

AVAILABLE NOW (Here) https://www.malleusdelic.com/store/index.php… – “The Art of Ufomammut” is a graphic journey by Malleus through 18 years of UFOMAMMUT.  We wanted to put together almost all the designs we created during these years for Ufomammut, from the first album covers to the last silkscreen posters, from the Limited Edition vinyls to the t-shirt designs. 96 pages – softcover.

Like many Ufomammut fans, I would have loved to go to the release party or to one of their European dates following it. But since I can’t get to Europe I can console myself with the fact Ufomammut will also be appearing at the Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore, Maryland next year May 24th – 27th, 2018.  Highly Recommend!!

 

Tour Schedule

 


The Flying Eyes “Burning Of The Season” Album Review + Stream…

The Flying Eyes

Burning Of The Season – Vinyl // CD // DD

Ripple Music // Noisolution (Europe) – released September 22nd, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

The Flying Eyes:
Adam Bufano – Guitar, Lap Steel
Mac Hewitt – Bass
Will Kelly – Vocals, Guitar
Elias Schutzman – Percussion, Vocals

Tracks:

  1. Sing Praise (4:17)
  2. Come Round (3:26)
  3. Drain (4:41)
  4. Circle of Stone (7:29)
  5. Fade Away (5:18)
  6. Farewell (4:29)
  7. Rest Easy (4:56)
  8. Oh Sister (8:09)

 

 

Review:
The Flying Eyes know exactly what kind of band they are: A riff or two, some vocals, a solo, and a heaping tablespoon of Black Sabbath worship- that’s all they want, and to be frank, that’s all they really need.

Despite it being reminiscent of “the good ol’ days”, it’s always refreshing to hear a band that knows that all they need are guitars, bass, drums, with quality guest keyboards from Trevor Shipley, and a good, solid overall composition.  That’s precisely what Maryland natives The Flying Eyes deliver.

Pro Band Shot 2

Opening track “Sing Praise” bursts out of the gates with an astonishingly memorable bass riff. “Drain” opens with reverb guitars that one would be forgiven to expect out of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” before taking a left turn into Sludge and Doom territory with an absolutely blistering guitar solo. Even though the music is well-composed and performed even better, the vocals of guitarist Will Kelly are the real standout here. They won’t be fronting an opera or performing a Tenor aria anytime soon, but they are absolutely perfect for the music that is focused on here. When this music is coming out of a sound system, images of cruising through the desert in a 1970’s muscle car are sure to follow. This is the type of music that should accompany a vision quest or a protest montage of the Vietnam War and The Flying Eyes seem all too aware of this, owning that image with all the confidence in the world.

However, this album wears its influences (or “influence” in this case) on its sleeves perhaps a little too proudly. The Flying Eyes seem to have listened to Black Sabbath’s “Master of Reality” many, many times and that particular influence seems to show itself quite a bit. That’s not to say it’s their only influence, as by the time the 7th track, “Rest Easy”, begins, some sections are reminiscent of Pink Floyd rear their heads. but by the time the listener gets there, they may have already gotten used to the already strongly-established vibe, giving them something of a case of stylistic whiplash. The riff-verse-riff-verse-solo-riff structure permeating throughout this release gets a little old after a while, and a listener would be excused for needing a couple of listening sessions to really get the intended effect from Burning of the Season, and it takes a little bit of patience despite being a fairly short album at a very digestible 43 minutes. Make no mistake, this is a high quality and highly recommended album.

On the whole, Burning of the Season is an album that knows what it wants to be.  If you are looking for an album that provides what is promised very effectively despite putting nothing particularly new on the table, then you should look no further than The Flying Eyes’ excellent new release.

Live Band Shot


Monolord “Rust” Album Review + Tracks Stream…

Monolord

Rust – Vinyl // CD // DD

Riding Easy Records – Release Date September 29th 2017

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

Lineup:
Thomas V Jäger – Guitars & vocals
Esben Willems – Drums
Mika Häkki – Bass

Born:
2013

Review:

I don’t write many reviews of actual doom albums, for good reason.  It’s a surprisingly complicated subject, not to mention a very personal one.  The whole stoner doom “genre” has a rather rich history, which through inexplicable luck, I’ve been privileged enough to play a small part in.  Like any other “genre” (and I use the word very loosely), it’s tough to pinpoint its exact birth, the point where it all started.  There are obviously precursors, though for me, the first real groundbreaking record of the genre was Sleep’s Holy Mountain.  And what exactly made it so groundbreaking?  It was such a convincing replica of the Black Sabbath model, condensed into a power trio, that even Black Sabbath said that Sleep did it best.  Perhaps you’ll already see where I’m going with this.  Stoner doom isn’t generally about innovation and originality, unless you’re YOB.  It’s more about the VIBE, man….

Sleep once again pulled off a landmark album with Jerusalem/Dopesmoker, which was innovative only in that it pushed the limits of length and repetition to their logical extreme, eschewing traditional songwriting structures in favor of elements from classical composition and Eastern motifs.  Perhaps most importantly, it established the importance of unique tones and massive low end above all else.  It’s largely unimportant from a critical perspective that the album is so monotonous – the repetition actually works in its favor, whereas with other genres, it would not.  Dopesmoker simply punishes, relenting only in shorter, quieter sections.

Other groundbreaking albums in the genre followed suit – Acid King pretty much perfected the combination of fuzzed out post-Sabbath riffs and ethereal vocals on Busse Woods.    Electric Wizard’s Dopethrone pushed the limits of production to the very extreme, with spaced, blown out vocals, hyper fuzzed guitar, unearthly effects and massively distorted bass.  I often deride this album as my least favorite of the Electric Wizard catalog, sheerly because it doesn’t sound GOOD.  However, that was never the point.  It doesn’t sound like anything else that came before it, and that’s why it’s so important.  I remember the first time I heard that bass burst in with that massive riff from “Vinum Sabbathi”, and my jaw literally dropping in disbelief.  Nothing had ever sounded like this up to that point.  Nothing.  Sure, Witchcult  Today sounds much better, Black Masses has much better songs….and Dopethrone will always hold a special place in my heart.  When you get into these groups, there’s only a couple ways you can get out….

Tour Schedule

There’s a few other landmark albums I’ll reference for context – Warhorse released As Heaven Turns To Ash, offering a sound that branched into death metal territory, utilized more dynamics and pushed the extremes to which a guitar can be downtuned.  Despite their sole album, they’re always going to be fondly remembered as the band that blew Electric Wizard off the stage when they ventured to our lovely continent on their first American tour.  Around the same time, Sloth borrowed Electric Wizard‘s gear and somehow unveiled a real corker of an album that seemed to stop both time and space in the wake of its gravitational field.  Goatsnake dropped a couple key albums around the turn of the millennium, matching big tone with accomplished vocals and making Sunn 0))) amps a household name and a much valued commodity.  A little later down the line, The Sword’s main achievement was in marketing and promotion, though they did introduce faster tempos and broke away from the established power trio format, utilizing NWOBHM inspired harmonies.  Conan pushed the limits of volume and heaviness with their first release, issuing forth a single-minded and monolithic statement of intent.  Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats injected sugar coated Beatles-eque harmonies into their psych-doom, and frankly, also changed the face of marketing by deliberately cultivating an air of mystery, concocting a lovely yet bogus legend around their origins, and then initially refusing to play live.  This combination resulted in massive hype.

Of course, there’s also the first Black Pyramid album (full disclosure: I am a member of), which for some inexplicable reason made quite a splash at the time.  I don’t know – I just tried to draw influence from these bands, and I also tried to write good, brutal songs that mix things up in terms of tempo and style.  I wrote the lyrics to be evil in a way that I didn’t think evil was fully explored in the genre.  That’s it.  It wasn’t rocket science or anything, and I’ve honestly never fully understood the appeal.  I guess it just hit the right spots at the right time.

Band Pic

Enough ruminating on the past, let’s fast forward to the present.  It’s 2017, stoner doom is somehow still a thing, and Monolord is the band of the movement.  They are a Swedish trio and their bassist was previously in the grind outfit Rotten Sound, whom I rather like.  The other two were previously in Marulk, whom I’ve never heard.  I suppose that doesn’t matter all that much, as they’re in Monolord now, and I’m writing about them.

What can I say about Monolord?  How do they contribute to the landscape of the genre?  Well, first off, their name is an excellent description of their sound.  Secondly,  they’re very obviously influenced by most of the bands I’ve listed above, with the obvious exception of The Sword.  There’s some serious Sleep, Electric Wizard, and Acid King worship going on, so if you dig those bands, I don’t see any reason you’d write this off.  Thirdly, they’re a relatively young band, though not green by any means.  Their first album was released in 2014, and they’ve had an impressive array of releases since.  A single here, an EP there, a sophomore album in 2015; they’re certainly staying busy and making a name for themselves.  Their sound has stayed pretty consistent from their first release, and it’s everything that you’d want and expect from a good stoner doom band – downtuned, fuzzy guitar interspersed with trippy effects and bursts of feedback, huge bass tones, spaced out vocals, and a rock-solid drummer holding it down underneath all that precious noise.  They tend to stretch song lengths upwards of ten minutes at times, though I’d be hard pressed to define what criteria differentiates their decision to keep a song shorter or to extend it.  If I had to venture a guess, I’d say they just ride out the riffs that they really, really like to play, and this lends an authentic, organic vibe to what they’re all about.  That’s vitally important in a genre that’s so inherently derivative.

pics and patches

If anything, I’d say that the consistency has been Monolord’s strongest suit up to this point.  They haven’t made many efforts to tread new ground, and up until, they haven’t really felt the need to.  Their second album, Vaenir, is a little more polished than the debut, and this was exactly what they needed to do – double down on what’s obviously working.  The Lord of Suffering 10″ showcased a little more maturity in the songwriting department, and it’s still exactly what you’d expect.  This brings us up to Rust, where they’ve thrown out everything that’s come before, re-written the proverbial book and drastically redefined who they are as a band.

….

I’m just kidding, none of that is true.  Any one of the songs on Rust could have comfortably fit on a prior release.  That’s by no means a bad thing – I’ve already touted the consistency of their artistic vision.  The subtle though obvious shift this time around is that they’re beginning to make more use of the studio to explore more textures and sounds, and it makes for delicious little surprises interspersed between gargantuan riffs.  After opening the album with two pretty straight forward songs, the title track initiates with a haunting organ intro that drives the catchiness of the vocal hook home.  Once the riffs do actually drop, it makes for an extremely effective counterpoint.  It’s a seemingly little thing, and it makes a whole world of difference.  This is my favorite track on the album, and I think it’s the best song they’ve written to date.

They follow this up with “Wormland”, an instrumental with slower, more deliberate riffing that takes a stark turn once again into more melodic territory, with a most triumphant, transcendent lead guitar line once again surprises by finishing up with a violin echoing the same melody.  “Forgotten Lands” once again surprises us by making ample usage of its near 13 minute run time, detouring into a full-blown psychedelic breakdown mid song, with a delightfully wonky guitar solo and more exotic, modal guitar work.  The final song, “At Niceae”, basically utilizes a false ending.  It’s an otherwise standard track for Monolord, except that the riffs fade out, leaving us with feedback.  I thought the album was over, and then an acoustic guitar kicked in, overlaid with some heavily echoed vocals and a sorrowful melody.  It’s a great conclusion to a well executed album.

Monolord_Band Pic

As I stated earlier, there has been a maturity inherent in the development of the band, and it’s firmly showcased on Rust.  It’s not like they’ve gone full prog or anything – they still do what they do best, which is just heavy, zonked to the nipples doomliciousness.  There is simply an increased emphasis on melody within the songwriting itself, while retaining the heavy, trippy sound that’s made a name for them.  As far as how it fits into the continuum and tradition of the genre?  Well, they’re currently on top of the game.  Electric Wizard’s last album was far from their best work; it’s most likely their weakest.  Veterans like Acid King and Goatsnake are only sporadically active.  The Sword have a full-blown musical identity crisis on each album.  If Sleep actually drops a new album, that will be a game changer based on the strength of the one song they’ve recorded since their reunion.  Since for some inexplicable reason, there’s still a lot of interest in this sound, it leaves a lot of room at the top for more established bands that aren’t quite stoner royalty yet,  like Windhand and Cough, as well as newcomers who are able to make a name and get some momentum behind them, like Monolord and Vokonis.

In closing, I’m continually perplexed at the longevity of stoner doom.  Other genres that are so pigeonholed and overspecialized have only occupied a single moment in musical history before they’ve been forced to evolve or become redundant and obsolete.  You can’t really call it a trend – trends quickly rise and fall within the realm of heavy music, though doom’s rise in prominence has been slow, steady, and continual.  Indeed, there are those who have already evolved beyond their humble roots, bands like High On Fire, Elder and YOB.   What is it about turning up really loud, tuning down really low, and aping Black Sabbath that’s had such a lasting, overarching appeal?    Is it that musically, it digs right to the very roots of metal, the birthplace of all things heavy? Is it some primal, ritualistic element buried deep within the collective human subconscious?  Is it an attempt to identify with, and thereby transcend the darker aspects of human nature?  Some kind of catharsis for our more socially unacceptable emotions and fantasies? Once again, I don’t really know.  I can tell you that even I’m not immune to its perpetual pull – even though I’m bored with the more common cliches associated with the genre, I’m such a sucker for a huge, over-amplified Sabbath riff.  In that regard, Monolord has delivered the goods in spades.  As always, my brain jumps right head to “what are they doing to do next?”  It’s a fair question even now.  Will they continue down the path of predictable consistency, with a pragmatic and gradual approach to change, or will they choose to truly branch off into the outer limits, returning to us with some unique permutation of psychedelic doom-inspired mayhem that will blow our minds like the forebearers of the genre did before them?


Temple Of Void – Band Overview + Album Reviews + Music Video + Streaming Music…

Temple of Void 

Demo MXIII (May 13, 2013)  – Album Review – CD // Cassette // DD

Of Terror and the Supernatural (September 30, 2014) Album Review – Vinyl // CD // Cassette // DD

Lords of Death (May 1, 2017) Album Review – CD // DD

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

Motor City’s Metal MonstersPro Band Shot

 

Line Up:
Alex Awn – Guitar
Eric Blanchard – Guitar
Mike Erdody – Vocals
Jason Pearce – Drums
Brent Satterly – Bass

Review:
Hey Metalheads, this The Ancient One, and this is my special shout out for fellow Michiganders Temple of Void from Detroit. In Michigan we have a roaring underground metal scene full of amazing bands people fail to notice. Failing to notice Temple of Void is mighty damn difficult. For more than a decade now they have been working the metal underground with their special blend of somber sounds from the early British doom and Devastating Old School American death metal. This has earned them a reputation and a large following in the underground.

 

Demo MMXIII_Album Cover

MMXIII

Not letting their acclaim go to waste Temple of Void took matters into their own hands by self  producing and releasing “Demo MMXIII” on May of 2013. Soon after the band signed on with four different record labels to distribute it across the world meeting with great success from the underground. This 20 minute 27 second Demo packs quite a punch. While it’s a 3 track offering which can be found on the bands debut album it serves as a preview of what is to come in “Of Terror and the Supernatural.” Of its 3 songs my favorite is ‘Bargain in Death’  a song I believe comes from a movie or short story about a person that tries to scam their life insurance by making people think he is dead through the use of a drug that put him in a deathlike state. Only to awaken buried alive and discover he was double crossed by his conspirators who have no intention of digging him up and sharing the loot. The 10:36 track expresses the mood of the song’s theme amazingly well. Beginning like a funeral procession with a somber plodding doom sludge riff that slows to a near stop before the tempo picks up into panicked horror while the vocalist describes what it might be like to try and dig oneself out of the grave and die buried alive.

 

Of Terror And The Supernatural_Album Cover

 
Of Terror and the Supernatural

A Little more than a year later the band released a 2nd album called “Of Terror and the Supernatural.” A 48 minutes; 8 songs of devastatingly kick ass Doomaphonic Sonic awesomeness that had me hooked after I sampled it’s first song ‘The Embalmers Art’ a demonic ditty about a murderous mortician that made art out of his victims. ‘Savage Howl’ the albums 2nd  track is a song about the terror of being hunted by a werewolf. Besides the fact I really dig the werewolf horror genre I love the heavy drums and guitar tones that create a seance of shock.

 

 

Lords of Death_Album Cover

Lords Of Death

If you enjoy these first two albums you will be happy to know ToV has released it’s 3rd album “Lords of Death” which is meeting with very favorable reviews from being called “A beastly band from the death-encrusted, doom-laden city of Detroit, MI” by Metal Sucks I’d say I agree with their assessment. “Lords of Death” is full of loud sludge and fuzz laden riffs with beastly growling vocals that feel slow until they get rolling like a tank. The best way I could describe this album is Cannibal Corpses meets Cathedral. This album is going quick so I’d recommend putting in your order as soon as you can.  Highly Recommend for the strong of heart!!

 


Nekromant “Snakes And Liars” Album Review + Stream…

NEKROMANT

Snakes And Liars – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Transubstans Records – released June 16, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Established – 2011

Location – Vänersborg, Sweden

Band Members:
Adam Lundqvist– Guitars
Mattias Ottosson – Bass/Vocals
Joakim Olsson – Drums

 

Previous Releases:

As SERPENT – ‘Master Of Ceremony’ single (Oct 2015)

“Nekromant” (Dec 2015)

As NEKROMANT – ‘Stoned To Death, Doomed To Die single (May 2017)

‘Ashes & Rain’ single (June 2017)

 

Review:

Quote – “Fans of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, och and so on will not be disappointed!” Enquote. The first words I saw used to describe this three piece from the land of the often refereed ‘NWOSHM’ movement of the last several years, with bands rising to the forefront that are letting the rest know that they are just bloody sick of nu-metal and the glut of ‘pretentious hipsters’ that think they know what good old blues-based HEAVY is about with their auto-tuned machine based garbage and hyper-polished turds being passed off as the best-yet…

Back to basics, balls out and cranked to the top, these guys show that they are here to represent with some of the best progressions and time shifts held high on thick bass runs that hit you in the chest with each note. No splintering of genres here, but higher, CLEAR vocals that are easily understood, unlike so many that permeate anymore and the fit is tighter than a glove with the precision-playing that slices cleaner than the sharpest blade.

Coming together in 2011, Adam and Mattias spent the better part of the next two years consumed in a series of jamming/drinking sessions in the metropolis Mjölby, located in the eastern part of Sweden, playing hard rock, which did result in an EP and an LP.  It was in 2013 that  they joined forces with Jocke, a hard-hitting drummer with roots in both heavy metal and other types of music, that everything coalesced into what is now presented to us as NEKROMANT.

 

Band Pic

 

Thirty-five minutes totaling from 9 tracks that stand out on their own as individuals as well as are the perfect summation as a whole. From the immediately head-banging inducing opener ‘Stoned To Death, Doomed To Die’ with it’s quick-gallop paced tempo and screaming squeals of harmonic bending strings over that soaring vocal, the stage is set and even the seemingly effortless time shift halfway through, you are hooked for what will prove to be exactly what you have been waiting for to show; that true rock-and-fucking-roll still exists. This is proof positive that it is indeed alive, well and flourishing in all the riff-laden, relentlessly paced ecstasy you could ask for. And when ‘Funeral Worship’ hits, slow and rolling low, it is the precise gear-shift needed, fully owning a doom-laden structure with Mattias’ voice ringing clear and true, never wavering in delivery all the way to the sudden-stop ending.

‘Black Velvet’ comes out in full 80’s metal glory, wringing of a sound that made me think of a mixture of Italian masters BULLDOZER meets WITCHFINDER GENERAL in a salute to the essence of that heavy duty blues-rooted guitar onslaught so thick in tone that you almost forget there are only three guys in the room here, where ‘Ashes & Rain’ is from the start all loopy and heavily, dare I say it, ‘progressive’ in structure and pace in the arrangement that transcends any labeling with the various soft-touches scattered throughout this song.  Again, further showing a versatility you may not have expected after the last full length, yet sounds honest and natural here, and in my opinion is what makes for legendary music. It can really be heard if you mean it when you play it.  When it is from the core of your being as these songs each show these three are doing, then they become timeless and relevant as would seem to follow their original statement in intent.

From the soft fade-in wash cymbal of ‘Inside Yourself’ with another crop of time-shifts from hell, perfectly stirred into this brew, to the instrumental indulgence of ‘Mardröm’ through to the even-slower measures of ‘Never Saved’, there is no room for dissapointment here as you have been consumed along the path you have been walking with this album to get to the title track ‘Snakes & Liars’ that gives its ALL with its staccato opening that is close to being the fastest beat on this album and you are pulled right along this almost two minute run through the “Fortune and Fire” described.

Closer ‘Spelmannen’, which translates to English as ‘Player’ is sung in Dutch, has an almost traditional-folk song feel to it before the power chords hit, and even then, still maintains an anthemic feel that made even my black-heart feel a little less dark in the soaring solo sections and chorus alike. Excellent choice to wrap this package together and there is not one song on here I would not want them to play in a live setting!!

Keep this one as an option on your best-of lists for 2017, make SURE it is part of your library, AND your best buddy’s too and catch them live if the chance comes to you… keep it LOUD!!

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Blues Funeral “Awakening” Album Review + Video…

 

Blues Funeral

Awakening – CD // DD

Self Released – August 25th, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Line-up:
Jan Kimmel (El Janni) – Guitar, Nord, Vocals
Maurice Eggenschwiler – Guitar, Vocals
Cory Cousins – Drums
Gabriel Katz – Bass

Right now I’m sitting here at my laptop struggling put words together to describe what I just heard, and come right to the point rather than lose you in the lines of a long rambling review. Doing so will be difficult but I must try. Not too long ago I got a promo release of the new album “Awakening” by Blues Funeral, the band’s sophomore album.

Live Band Montage

 

As one who feels music rather than just hears it, playing what’s described by Blues Funeral as music influenced by “Early rock, proto-metal, jazz, classical, and things that make your skin crawl”  this is definitely the kind of music that speaks to me. What impressed me most about “Awakening” was the whole package. The harmonious vocals, the lofty guitar leads with earthy rhythms and the drums that gives the music a heart. This music took me back to listening to the late nights listening rebroadcasts of “The King Biscuit Flower Hour” on the local Classic Rock station were I was schooled on rock as a teen.

“Awakening” is what I would call a new AOR (Album Oriented Record) classic.  If you dig bands like “Deep Purple”, “Cream”, Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers then you are sure to dig this. The flow of the album renders you to listen to it in its entirety to let the sonic glory shower down and permeate into your being. These are the songs that stood out most for me:

‘Awakening,’ the albums title track sounds like kickass hybrid of a 60’s proto metal and classic 80’s metal song and establishes the band’s sound for the listener. Taking the lead guitarist and vocalist Maurice Eggenschwiler opens playing a soaring guitar lead in and is then followed by a soulful organ lead by electric organist, guitarist, and vocalist Jan Kimmel (El Janni). Throughout the song El Janni and Eggenschwiler play both competing and complimentary sounds that kept me waiting to hear what was next.

Track 4 ‘Firedrake’ blew me away. Featuring the vocals of Ms. Kelly Cousins with Lyrics by: Jan Kimmel.   This song is inspired by “Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road” and speaks of hopes and aspirations in a post apocalyptic world. Full of organ, bluesy guitar riffs and leads;  Eggenschwiler,  El Janni, and Ms. Cousins are simply amazing.  Refusing to let up Track 5 “Casimir” grabs the listener with lofty guitar and vocal leads, melodies, harmonies and rhythms.  While Eggenschwiler and El Janni are as amazing in The closing track ‘The Gathering Dust’ drummer Cory Cousins, and bassist Gabriel Katz shine through.  The riffs are sublime and hard hitting.  A perfect way to finish this release in proper form…EXCEPTIONAL!!

Blues Funeral will be playing a CD release show on August 25th at White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas alongside DoomstressFiddle Witch and the Demons of Doom.

 


Sound of Origin “Seeds of the Past” Album Review + Stream…

Sound of Origin

Seeds of the Past – CD // DD

Self Released – July 8, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Track Listing:
1. Warfarin 07:39
2. Driven to Distraction 05:14
3. Left For Dead 05:38
4. Seeds of the Past 06:17
5. Asphalt 08:57

 

Hey tasters this is The Ancient One. On the musical menu today are 4 heavy fuzzy psychedelic rockers from Huddersfield, UK. When I first listened to their EP  Seeds of the Past I really didn’t know what to make of them. When their 1st track ‘Warfarin’ started out sounding like it was recorded on a old fashioned tape recorder in a garage. Still they had the courage to put music on Bandcamp and ask others to listen so I listened on.

 

Pro Band Pic Color

 

As I sat listening the sound quickly improved and I realized it was an audio effect. What the music reminded of was the Misfits who fearlessly self produced albums on the cheap that they then sold at bargain basement prices. And at other times I was reminded of Faith No More. With vocal powerhouse John Bussey, the rafters rattling drum beats of Chris ‘Foz’ Foster along with  Jax Townend’s floor shaking bass and Joe ‘Zeph’ Wilczynski fuzzed out psychedelic riffs, Sound of Origin is not a band to be overlooked.

 

 

Some of my favorites on “Seeds of the Past” are ‘Driven to Distraction’ with it’s heavy drum and bass laid down by Foz and Jax.  In  ‘Left For Dead’  John Bussey’s vocal ability shines through with  Zeph’s fuzzy psychedelic guitar. I’m going to keep my eyes open for any future releases by Sound of Origin. If you like this EP you can get it at “NYP” on their Bandcamp page (above) and if you choose to pay nothing show them some love by following them on Bandcamp and giving them a like on Facebook. And while your at it come on over to Taste Nation and give us a like.

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