Blues Funeral Recordings – releases October 19, 2018
Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Band Members: Martin Widholm – Guitar Martin Wegeland – Bass & Vocals Anders Dahlgren – Drums
Previous Releases: ‘Domkraft’ EP (2015)
‘The End Of Electricity’ (2016)
Review: OK, I’ll admit it… the first question I had was what does the name Domkraft mean?? Translated from Swedish to English, it simply means ‘screw-jack’ like what you would use on a larger vehicle or a house foundation. Hmmm… this can ONLY mean that this is going to be some ultra-heavy shit I am about to immerse myself into. I had not heard of this power-trio until I was handed the album and told to give it a listen. Little did I realize just what awaited me on this true-sophomore effort from this band that describes themselves as simply, “Organic, electric, hypnotic and loud.” And, engage………
Opener “Landslide” wastes no time in getting right down to the heavy riff that knocks you over, complete with the soaring vocals that cascade over the staggered tempos that keep your feet moving during the almost ten minutes. “Landslide” sets the tone for the rest of the record to follow with a slow fade out, leading right into “The Watchers” with another lead you slowly follow along until the full body of stoner-might pops you in the jaw this time. Making sure you feel the reeling as you spin in amazement at the sheer force pumping out of this three-man machine that keeps the slice-and-dice routine swirling around you, even as the last chord strings in sustain.
“Flood” is more even tempered and keeps the air shimmering with a bass tone that is ALL enveloping and shows zero sign that it will relent anytime soon, and why would you want it to??
Domkraft….The Calm before that Tsunami!!
“They Appear To Be Alive” comes out nice and sedated and is the sole instrumental contained on this slab of intensity and then after a half second space, “Sandwalker” hits hard again, maintaining the stature of a giant that looms above and beyond as the musical winds whip the air around with a fury not witnessed since, well, the LAST Domkraft record!!
“Octopus” is one of the harder-hitting compositions with the bass-slides and power chords encasing a drum line that fits like a ‘magnum’ and serves ‘this ride’ well. The stand-out track, in MY opinion, “Dead Eyes Red Skies” wraps this masterful-morsel in the perfect foil of musical precision that in it’s HUGENESS of mix, towers above the rest of the album and promises so much yet to come from this triad of mega-power.
I believe this release will be making a lot of ‘best-of’ lists for 2018 and does indeed indicate that Domkraft is set to be in the leagues of their peers with bands like Monolord and Neurosis to name a few. If you don’t believe me, get your copy, share it ALL around and see what those around you are saying. Support / witness these guys in a live format if you are given the opportunity and above all else, keep it LOUD!!
Boss Keloid are a Progressive/Groove Metal band from Wigan, UK and have been active since 2010. For me this release held a lot of mystery when I first received it. Looking at the cover I was not expecting what I got. I thought the album was going to be either an Art Rock or a Power Pop record. (and boy was I in for a shock when I started listening to the album.)
As with most prog bands, tempo is played with and changes a bunch. The first track is a great example of that. The band likes to play with different genres as well. A good chunk of the album is Metal while hints and parts of other’s types of music are overlaid and played in between parts of the songs.
The titles to these songs are in some fantasy like language and I cannot seem to find a translation or where they came from.
The vocalist has a pretty good range, if I wasn’t paying as much attention I would think there were at least two singers. At a few moments he reminds me of David from Disturbed, but with more range. The band hold their own as a unit; no one seems to be trying to outdo the other.
Three of the tracks are over 7 minutes long and the others are both 5 minutes long, with and while listening I never got bored or tired. The band go all over the musical board and, even though it sometimes gets a little messy (in terms of meshing genres, like in the beginning of Tarku Shavel) it never sounds bad.
Overarching album review:
Here is where I’d break down each track and give a brief synopsis of each. For this album I feel it will get redundant after the second track; so instead I will give a highlights version.
Boss Keloid sound great and, for the most part, blend elements of rock, world, progressive, and metal together really well. The lyrics are interesting and the delivery is executed good as well. The playing by the band never seems to be sloppy. Every song seems to be a part of one bigger song or jam session(s). Alternatively the album sounds like it is one big song. So no song in particular sticks out to me. That is not a bad thing or a dig at the band. This album sounds great and is a solid album.
If you enjoy more soundscape-y albums with progressive music, heavy rock and well written lyrics you should check out Boss Keloid and “Melted on the Inch”! Top Year End Contender!
Lineup: Russel Clark (Vocals)
Christos Athanasias (Guitar)
Nicolas Dumont (Bass)
Andy Alkemade (Drums)
Tracklist: Promised Land 04:53
Black Widow 03:53
Raging Bull 03:21
Killing Time 04:31
Love Enemy 03:56
You & Me 03:58
Little Birdy Told Me 04:10
The Fire 06:24
The Ugly Kings are a Rock band from Melbourne, Australia. I’ll let the band explain themselves further; “[we] offer a stripped down but powerful injection of energy and emotion to the modern rock scene [by] formulating what can only be described as ‘Power Blues’ [with] memorable beats, thunderous bass lines and an electrifying barrage of bluesy ‘grit’ riffs tied with raw and emotive vocals.”
Darkness Is My Home is the first full length album by the band. (The previous releases being a E.P. of sorts, Of Sins, and a single, Promised Land, which is the same as the version on this release but has a b-side that is not on this album.)
Overall the band’s sound is a mix of early Classic Rock and are heavily inspired by Blues Rock. The perfect descriptor tag for the album is Doom Blues with Rock flair. In a way this album sounds like you can chop up and mix it up and make different songs each time. At the same time I like that it sounds that it was recorded in one take in a converted garage to studio.
Promised Land: I found a quote from the band on the song; “‘Promised Land is about the false promises that are preached to us by the charlatans of our society (politicians, big business, etc…). It’s about the pipe dream they sell us to keep us in servitude to the 1%, to keep us slaves to the dollar and material things. There is nothing at the top of the ladder, except another ladder. The Promised Land isn’t the destination we get sold, it’s inside of us.”
The band also have a beautifully shot video for the track too.
Black Widow: This is the 2nd hardest rocking track on the album. There is a bunch of back and forth in the tempo. It is also what I imagine the cover art comes from. (That and for Love Enemy)
Raging Bull: This is the hardest rocking track on the album. The riffs on this song sounds so familiar and I can’t think of what it is from.
Killing Time: Watch the music video for this track HERE
Love Enemy: This is a slower and more blues filled track. They sit on the riff while Russell is delivering the vocals. This track also feels like it could be a 2nd part to Black Widow.
You & Me: This is where the title of the album comes from. This is another slow track.
Lazarus: This track is a cover of David Bowie’sLazarus from his swan song album “Blackstar” and the band manage to make it their own while keeping the original close at hand.
Little Birdy Told Me: Kind of feels like Love Enemy.
Transcending Obscurity Records – releases June 22, 2018
Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler
“Lending an Ear to the Mouth of Madness”
Not very long ago I was feeling a nice mellow after listening to some outstanding stoner rock however that soon changed after I received and listened to a pre-release of a debut album by Portugal’s black metal band GAEREA called “Unsettling Whispers”. Though they conceal their identities from the world at large behind black masks with occult symbols, GAEREA do not fail in making their intentions known. In the statement on their Bandcamp page they say to their audience: “Let’s make one thing clear. We need to stress the fact that our era is lost in a huge void of numbness. We are here to bring and present you what your system could not solve by itself. We’ll cover the daylight with ashes and smash the massive skull that’s blocking your brain and will to evolve.” – We’re GAEREA –
I can’t say with certainty when GAEREA began their quest to lead our world that is lost in a void of numbness to its ultimate destruction or evolution. But after a bit of research I learned many in the black metal underground began taking notice of GAEREA after the released it’s S/T debut EP on the Italian label Everlasting Spew Records in 2016 earning a small but loyal cult following and positive reviews in the black metal web-a-zines and blogs. Presenting themselves as a musical adversary GAEREA spits Narcissism, Self Destruction, Misanthropy, Mental Numbness creating an image of humanity at its worst through their music which it’s audience will hopefully be inspired to NOT become.
With a “Self Titled” debut EP out in MP3, CD, and Vinyl format, appearances around Portugal, and Spain and a boatload of reviews, GAEREA signed on with Transcending Obscurity Records and began work on their debut Full Length which is set for release June 22, 2018. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Miguel Tereso. With much better production, GAEREA has managed to put more focus into the artistic aspect their music deserves. While I felt the angst and venomous bile in their “S/T” EP, pushing the play button and listening to Unsettling Whispers was like lending an ear to the mouth of madness. Though I could only pick out a few of the words because the vocalist uses some hardcore vocal techniques that are spat out in a feral growl, I could definitely feel the musics intent and emotion he is trying to convey which I think were best represented in these “SELECT” standouts!
Svn– Beginning with an eerie oscillating sound that moves into pained ghostly whispers, ‘Svn’ feels like walking up to the very gates of hell and seeing a glimpse of what is in store as the build up begins and then let loose with a maelstrom of melodies, blast beats, and bellicose harsh vocals that lead into ‘Absent’.
Absent – What I managed to pick up from this is its about a person that discovers a loved one dead by their own hand. Throughout the song I hear the guitarist playing with a melodic tremolo picking technique and the drummers blast beats lending the bitter disrepair in the vocals creating a vision of somebody smashing their house up and setting themselves ablaze.
Whispers – What impressed me most about this song were the buzz saw riff, and jackrabbit fast blast beats that fooled me into thinking the song was nearly over as the tempo slowed only to pick right back up again before ending in a furious crescendo.
Lifeless Immortality – While GAEREA definitely uses some Hardcore elements in their music. They also have a melodic feel that shows up in ‘Lifeless Immortality’ using techniques on the guitar and bass that would work just as well on a violin or cello.
“Unsettling Whispers” will be available on Jun 22 in MP3, Vinyl, and CD on June 22. This is definitely an album to pick up. You can pre-order it on Bandcamp at the above link and buy a T-Shirt.
Tracklist: Rise Of Beesus 07:31
6ft Under Box 03:55
Sonic Doom/Stoner Youth 06:21
Mata La Vergüenza 04:41
Beesus In Dope 07:40
Earlier this year the band made a Pledge Music page to promote and raise money for there second album. It is now closed (of course) and, luckily, reached 101% of its goal. It had some interesting options like, a cover song of your choice, a in your house performance, and an executive producer credit. Sadly the website doesn’t tell you how much of each option was bought so I can’t tell you what got bought the most. But anyway to the review…
Beesus’ second album has more of a venom and late 80s grunge, noise rock feel. The production and playing on this album has tightened up. There is also a more punk feel and the fuzz is still present but is toned down.
For a couple of songs the band have introduced a vocoder. It makes it’s entrance in “I Don’t Wanna Be” and it’s exit is “Beaux”.
The “Intro” and “Outro” are a strange mix of keys and maybe a garage door opening.
“El Dude” starts with a lot of noise and a solid bass riff. It also sounds like it could be the first part to a later track (I Don’t Wanna Be).
“Dubblegum Boom Metla” has four movements the first part which is medium passed and has a repeating riff and speeds up as it gets to the the second which is faster and then it speeds up and suddenly slows to the background screaming and slow churning fuzzy guitars. It then speeds up again, back to the second pace, but only briefly and then it fades out.
“Nuña y Freña” is somewhat of a throwback to their first album kind of like “Kusa”.
“Reichl” is the roughest and noisiest of the main tracks. “Take the cure, my man” is repeated many times throughout the song. Sonic Youth will definitely approve!
“I Don’t Wanna” be is a mix of stoner, punk, and a few moments of rapid, almost rapped vocals. This is the first track with the vocoder. It is in the background emphasizing some of the vocals.
“Junk Around” has the most affects added to it. Strangely enough it is also the most punk of the tracks. There is “You’ll succumb to me.” and “On your knees” are the phrases for this song.
In “Beaux”, the vocoder returns. It is more prominent. This song is also the slowest, and longest, on the album. Has a well executed sludgy feel to it.
“Sgt. Beesus and the lonely ass Gangbang!” is definitely an improvement on their first album and I am excited to hear some of those cover songs if anyone bought that perk.
Original Tracklist: Intro 00:32
Down And Outer 03:36
Trip Down Memory Lane 01:11
Drugged Up Dolls 02:19
Sex Devil 05:50
The Doped Up Devil 04:05
Perversion For Profit 03:28
You Are The Prettiest Pill 04:06
Did You Know? 03:11
You Had This Coming 03:49
Nothing Song (Bonus Track) 03:30
Re-release Tracklist: Intro 00:33
Down And Outer 03:19
Drugged Up Dolls 04:40
Sex Devil 06:01
Perversion For Profit 03:19
Nothing Song 03:29
You Are The Prettiest Pill 06:53
Did You Know? 03:08
Devil’s Advocate 03:16
The Doped Up Devil’s with Sexual Grooves (Re-Release)
I’ll let his Facebook bio explain: “Bad Monster Black is a project formed by King Jeremy The Wicked (Jeremy Vibbert). “Bad Monster Black: The Doped Up Devils With Sexual Grooves” EP was released late 2014 and did not fit the KJTW catalog, it was something different, it had swing, punch, and an undeniable groove that broke away from the thrash metal criteria. So shortly after releasing the EP, it was re-released under the name Bad Monster Black, and eventually taken off of the KJTW Discography. Thus, making Bad Monster Black the new home of the experimentation with swinging riffs, overloaded guitars, and a tongue in cheek attitude that makes the music even more fun to listen to. This isn’t music you’d take home for your family to listen to, and that’s how it’s intended.”
The sound of Bad Monster Black’s music is very 90’s; it is very reminiscent of the music of Puscifer, Marilyn Manson,White Zombie and even Rob Zombie’s solo work. Even though those influences are very prevalent Jeremy found a way to make it not sound too dated. Both releases have different track-listings and have a couple of different songs on each.
That being said I’ll make a somewhat in depth look on the tracks that are same (and what has changed on the remaster.) On the tracks that are different I’ll say what each of them do to make the release different.
Almost all of the tracks stay except; Trip Down Memory Lane, The Doped Up Devil, Control, You Had This Coming, and Outro (on the original release) and on the re-release; Intermission, Devil’s Advocate, and Stoned. These tracks are either new (in the case of the re-release) or taken out (original) the only track is the Intermission which is a shorter version of The Doped Up Devil.
The tracks that stay almost the same; Intro, Drugged Up Dolls, Sex Devil, Satanola, Nothing Song, You Are The Prettiest Pill, Did You Know, Low. What did change was samples and some of the production. Overall there was less use of samples in the remaster and, in a way, that makes sense for the update to fit the Bad Monster Black catalog since the focus changed to more sleazy Rock. Intro, Did You Know and Low did not change at all, or not enough that change the experience. Satanola is a standout that would fit nicely into any Puscifer album.
There are only two original tracks that are different, Down and Outer and Perversion for Profit. For the remaster the guitar solos were replaced by slower guitar parts and dirtier production.
“The Doped Up Devils with Sexual Grooves” – (Original 2014)
The original release is more of a current sounding album than the remaster and is a heavier/more metal than it as well. As I stated before; the main differences between them is that on the remaster the recording is less clean and more fuzzed out for that dirty 90s feel and the guitar solos that are in the original are changed to fit the dirty sound so the sound isn’t as muddy and has less of a touch of Metal. The sleaze is upgraded for a more solid Sleaze Rock feel. If you like music that is dark, sleazy, has hints of blues, lots of fuzz, Rob Zombie-ish (and at times Tonetta-ish in the remaster) this band and its’ albums are for you.
Bad Monster Black (King Jeremy The Wicked) is a prolific writer and pumps out high quality music on a regular basis. To use Mr. Wicked’s own words about this album and his process, “This is a re-release from the 2014 version. The reason? This band is all DIY, Which means about 90% of the time it’s all trial and error.” So Support!!!
Download the original HERE and the Re-release HERE
P.S. to King Jeremy the Wicked, if you would like to do an interview about this album please contact me.
Tracklist: Moon Curser 08:26
Blood Lovers 06:37
Corpse Revival 08:26
Fucking Oath 06:12
Dear Demon 08:10
Old Hopeless 06:37
Spiritual Abuse 05:02
Grand Rites 08:48
On bandcamp the band describe their sound as, “…influences ranging from doom metal to classic rock, Dead Quiet seeks to meld melody with catastrophe as they weave through a dissonant landscape of crushing metallic riffs and somber choral musings.” Dead Quiet masterfully delivers this is high fashion with “Grand Rites”. If you recognize some of the members’ names above that is because Dead Quiet are the closest thing to a modern day “Supergroup”.
As a follow up to their first album it fits in well. They have improved sonically and sound as if they are maximizing the talents of each member while making it a cohesive and flawlessly executed throughout the 64+ minutes and 9 tracks that comprises “Grand Rites”. With their roster set, there truly isn’t a dud in this second album. Like I said before this album is an improvement over the first, they went from a good first album to a great second and sadly, more times than not, bands do the opposite due to a myriad of reasons; time constraints, label demands and just the overall pressure of the “Follow Up” from the “Big Debut”.
Keegan’s vocal delivery is certainly worth noting. The songs are packed with acid laced lyrics ranging from Politics to Religion to The Thrill of the 1st kill in closer “Grand Rites” that name a few subject matters. Keegan preaches to the listener; the concert goer. He draws the listener in to pay closer attention as it is impactful, powerful, meaningful, genuine and most important…..it fits perfectly with the band’s overall sound – a melting pot of Rock, Sludge and Metal. We are only at the beginning of 2018 and we may already have a top 3 contender!!
So….I was record shopping in lovely downtown Northampton one fateful afternoon, and ran into this dude Glenn, who works for the Italian label Minotauro Records. I’m not sure exactly how his collaboration with the label came to pass, though we got to talking music: cool bands from New England we’d both been big on, such as Ogre, whose back catalog was re-released by Minotauro Records, incidentally. At any rate, all good things come to an end, and when Glenn and I parted ways, we planned on staying in touch, and he said he’d send me some stuff to review over at Taste Nation LLC. Well, as it turned out, he sent me quite a bit of material to review!! I was thinking of different ways to approach this, maybe figure out what the priorities are, see if any of the writers wanted to take on some of the work. It seems that everyone else here at Taste Nation always has a ton on their plate, and this was kind of my pet project, so I decided that I’d just forge ahead and do a feature on Minotauro, and basically write mini-reviews of each of the albums that Glenn sent me.
Now, that’s STILL a lot for me to take in and process, and like a lot of my creative endeavors, it really took on a life of its own. With that being said, I’ve decided that I’m going to break down the feature into two parts, with a longer biographical element on Minotauro in the second part of the feature.
Without further adieu, strap on your shields folks, as we take a trip into the labyrinth, the lair of the Minotaur, in search of our proverbial Daedalus within the dark depths of Italian underground doom and metal….
Where The Sun Comes Down – Welcome
Minotauro – 2017
This collaboration between Death SS founding member Thomas Hand Chaste and Alex Scardavian, who played with Paul Chain, has some of the more interesting cover art I’ve seen of late. It looks like a child’s drawing done with magic markers, though it’s none-the-less intriguing, especially given the reputation of the folks involved. This led me to reach for this album first and foremost. What I really liked about it was that it bucked all cliches of metal and doom in general, and I had no idea what to expect when I pressed play on the album. Would it be similar to Paul Chain’s material post Death SS? Even then, Chain’s projects and various solo albums haven’t all sounded the same, and have explored various styles and aspects of his personality. Would Where The Sun Comes Down opt for a more psychedelic or space rock sound?
It’s actually pretty close to what I’d initially expected: ultra raw cult doom with dramatic, emotional, over-the-top vocals, noisy, blown out Sabbathian riffing, off the cuff guitar and saxophone solos, a sparse yet powerful rhythm section, and haunting keyboards, all delivered with a heavy emphasis on atmosphere, theatrics and the bizarre. I don’t pull any punches and I’m not going to do so here either: it’s called “cult doom” for a reason. It’s not going to appeal to everyone, and it’s not meant to. The vocals alone are a hard sell, as they’re all over the place and quite frequently strained and/or out of tune. That’s not a deal breaker for me personally, as they have moments when they really shine, and they’re a vital part of the whole experience. They add a flair for the avante garde, and they make me feel like I’m living in a horror movie for the duration of the album. This is the perfect soundtrack for October….
Grand Delusion – Supreme Machine
Minotauro – 2017
Sweden’s The Grand Delusion play pretty traditional doom metal with a focus on the metal. Blending Black Sabbath, NWOBHM and 80’s metal influences with Wino inspired biker blues licks, big stoner tones, and just enough experimentation with psychedelic sections and additional instrumentation to keep things interesting. The vocals also offer up a nice cross-section of influence and variety, from the full throated bellows of the first two tracks, to the Iron Maiden-esque epicness of the two-part “Trail Of The Seven Scorpions” and the operatic choir chants of “Imperator.”
This is a really solid release. I like the production a lot – it’s fairly clean and polished, and the sheer variety of cool guitar tones and well written compositions benefit from this approach. There’s a lot of more mid to uptempo sections, which keeps it from feeling like a slog. They’re not reinventing the wheel by any means, as that’s a tough feet with doom. However, if you’re bored of the same monotonous stoner doom fare, this is both a bit more nuanced and upbeat. It wears its influences well, giving them all a chance to shine and never sounding merely derivative.
Kroh – Altars
Minotauro – 2017
Birmingham UK occult doom crew Kroh also bring a refreshing take to the table with their second album. With a new lineup and new vocalist, Polish born Oliwia Sobieszek, they craft a captivating, dark and mesmerizing take on traditional doom metal. This sound revolves heavily around the powerful and ever prominent vocals and slim song arrangements. None of the tunes overstay their welcome, all clocking in at under the five minute mark or so, which is a mixed blessing. In one sense, it makes the album stand out, a concise statement trimmed of all excess. On the other hand, sometimes the lack of expansive parts makes the songs feel stifled and abrupt. There’s also the impending sense of predictability when all the songs follow a similar format. I personally like a bit of decadence here and there, and I certainly like variety. It’s the spice of life, as a wise woman once sagely stated. With all that being said, this is a great record, and makes ample space for improvement on future albums.
It’s worth noting that the guitar sound on this album is one of the meanest and most distinctive I’ve heard in recent years. It’s got that massively distorted, “swarm of bees” hyper-fuzz going on, and it also retains much of the notes clarity rather than just becoming a blur of notes. This alone makes this one worth a listen, just hearing those righteous, crushingly oppressive guitar riffs coupled with the haunting vocals.
Ufosonic Generator – The Evil Smoke Possession
Well, once again, this is totally not what I was expecting based on the name, illustrating the old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I was expecting something a little more space-y, of the more cosmic doom variety, and that’s simply not the case. Ufosonic Generator play pretty straightforward stoner metal, complete with Garcia inspired vocals, uptempo songs with righteous boogie breakdowns, a rock solid rhythm section, and scorching guitar solos. The songs are a bit paint by numbers – you’re not going to get many surprises, and the influences are the usual suspects: Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Dozer. You get the idea; it’s a tried and true one.
I dig what Ufosonic Generator are doing on this album. Its approach is both charming and disarming, just four peeps really going for that proverbial “it”, with songs served meat and potatoes style, lean and mean. There’s certainly some standout tracks with killer riffs going on throughout. I’m not going to spoil the magic by giving you the play-by-play, song-by-song analysis. You’re going to have to do the heavy lifting and figure out for yourself which songs make your mind soar and your booty shake.
Funeral Marmoori – The Deer Woman
Italy’s Funeral Marmoori have a classic doom sound with a 70’s horror tinged vibe, thanks largely to the excellent usage of Farfisa organs, which make them sound like a more evil version of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep at times.It’s cool to hear a band that has such an intense interplay between the guitars and keyboards, just like the days of old. They wear some of their other influences on their sleeves, a bit of Saint Vitus styled gonzo guitar solos, some vocal mannerisms reminiscent of Lee Dorrian’s work in Cathedral, and of course a heavy debt to all things Paul Chain. Hell, they even cover a Death SS song, “Profanation.”
One of the things I really like about this album is the way that the vocals alternate between sounding more theatrical and more psychedelic. Similarly, there’s excellent variation in the guitar parts: sometimes we’re treated to righteous Sabbath-inspired riffs, other times more otherworldly explorations and introspective moments. The thing that really makes this one work for me is the rhythm section – the busy bass and drum work keep things moving forward. The Deer Woman never gets dragged down into the gloomy realms of excessively downtempo dirges, while the music always retains its evil edge. Highly recommended for fans of cult and traditional doom metal.
Ancient Spell – Forever In Hell
Los Angeles’ Ancient Spell bring something much different to the table, with a decidedly more modern take on doom metal. It’s really telling that they list Death, Slayer and Lamb Of God as influences, because they bear more resemblance to these bands than Black Sabbath or Saint Vitus. The vocals in particular are more on the death metal end of the spectrum, harsh growls and drastic screams with dark and misanthropic themes. The guitars definitely utilize those chromatic style intervals that Slayer famously made into their trademark, and alternate between a thrash chug and a doom groove. Though the tempos can get pretty quick for a more doom influenced band, they never approach anything near the breakneck tempos associated with either thrash or death metal.
in keeping with the thrash tradition, this is a pretty short and sweet album, clocking in at under 40 minutes. That’s a good thing, as there’s not a ton of variety. It’s interesting to see a band bring together such diverse influences, and this feels like an album where they’re trying to figure out how to make all of those influences come together into something coherent. While it certainly never lacks in that department (their sound is fluid and polished, and never sounds forced), I think they have a lot of room to grow and try other things. I’d love to see them incorporate some of the aforementioned faster parts, some death or black metal styled tremolo picking, some super slow doom bridges and breakdowns. Forever In Hell seems like a great jumping off point for a band that has lots of room to grow and develop.
Tony Tears – Follow The Signs of The Times
Wow, what an opening to an album!! This one starts off with a brief intro that could straight up be a Goblin track that’s part of a D’Argento soundtrack. It nails that sound with a combination of synth washes, blurps and appergiated chords, overlaid with creepy, demonic voices. From there, we’re treated to more cult, esoteric doom in the traditional Italian style – darkly dramatic vocals reminiscent of King Diamond, 70’s metal riffs, ever present keyboards and a battering ram rhythm section of bass and drums. True to form, they even cover a Paul Chain song.
I really dig on the production job here. For me personally, cult doom has to have just the right production: grimy and cavernous, yet with enough clarity to let each individual instrument shine. Follow The Signs of The times showcases exactly how this is pulled off. I also really enjoyed the three shorter tracks (intro, an interlude, and an outro) that pull off that Italian horror soundtrack vibe so convincingly. It’s always great to hear a band so refined in their craft! Apparently Tony Tears started off as a solo outlet for Antonio Polidori, though he has since added a full band of backing and touring musicians, and I must say that I’m impressed with the results.
My Silent Wake – Damnatio Memoriae
Hailing from England, My Silent Wake are another band in the world of doom with decidedly modern influences, most noticeably of the death metal/goth metal variety. However, that ain’t the end of the story. There’s also a modern progressive slant to the songwriting and arrangements that keeps things fresh and dare I say, lively? Take the intro to the song “Highwire” for example, with its bouncing bassline and bursts of jazzy, dissonant chords. The album is loaded with tons of tempting little musical moments like this, and it makes for a rather refreshing listen.
Basically, if you’re into The Peaceville Three….you’re going to like this. I’m generally not into the more goth doom bands like Paradise Lost, Anathema, and My Dying Bride. I do like this album by My Silent Wake, as it’s got a lot of variation, tons of twists and turns. The keyboards add a nice texture, it ‘s got a clear production, some strategic usage of guest musicians, and they’ve clearly got the chops. Fans of the bands I’ve mentioned should give this a swing, it’s rather righteous in its ambition and scope of vision.
Misantropus – The Gnomes
Oh cool, another album with some truly bizarre and iconoclastic cover art, this one a simple cartoon looking drawing of what I’d assume to be a trio of green gnomes. I’ve talked earlier about the lack of longer numbers in discussing the other albums, and although this Misantropus album is rather short on the whole, tracking in at just above 35 minutes, it’s only four songs. So….we’re treated to a 9 and a half minute opening track and closer pushing the 13 minute mark.
These guys are obviously into the occult, as the song titles indicate. “The Gnomes (Ariel)”, “The Salamander (Mikhael)”, “Undines (Gabriel)” and “Elis (Raphael)” all connect an elemental spirit to the corresponding archangel for each of the Greek elements: earth, fire, water, and air. It’s obviously some kind of concept album, or ritual invocation – only the creators, an Italian duo, would know for certain. It definitely creates an air of mystery and intrigue. Musically, it’s an equally odd piece, consisting mainly of a variations on one stripped down guitar and bass riff with a trance-like drum beat. There’s a guest guitar solo on the second track, and some cool ambient synth passages that bookmark the beginning and end of the album, and zero vocals. Their stripped down instrumental approach levies them in my eyes as the Karma To Burn of Italian cult doom.
Once again, this is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s extremely monotonous, with very few changes, even from song to song. And while this may sound boring to some, and honestly left me pretty non-plussed initially, I found myself out humming those riffs in my head as I went out and ran my errands today. There’s something rather captivating and enchanting about them. If this sounds like your kind of jams, hey….I’d encourage you to give it a listen.
Additional Links to Minotauro Records:
Tracklist: Lactomeda 01:49
Known by the Ancients 07:01
Dead Blood for the Royal Weather 07:14
Two Temple Place 09:36
Stellar Drone 10:59
Are we Drowning in Digits 06:13
Magical Train 05:07
Review: The band have their album described as an “Addictive cosmic journey, one entrancing hybrid embracing heavy psych riffs and sweet vocal harmonies.” The album does have those elements of that. When Hermano is singing it sounds like Jane’s Addiction but heavier and more distortion on the voice. The parts when Sara takes over it sounds like either Belly or Hole. When they sing together it sounds almost new, but still has those influences. So in shorter terms; they gave their album a good description.
Lactomeda – Is a Spanish term for the Milky Way Collision with Andromeda. The cover even seems to be depicting it. The song is a collision of Noise Rock and Space Rock. It is almost sludgy for a noise song but in pace but it is also fast for a space song. It is a good intro for what the rest of the album holds.
Known by the Ancients – Here is where the Jane’s Addiction comes in (Especially in the 3 minute area). This song is more of noise than of space origin. This is a heavy rock song, Hermano comes in at the last two minutes and makes the song seem even heavier.
Dead Blood for the Royal Weather – This is one of the more radio friendly songs, even though it is eight minutes. It plays it safe and doesn’t do anything too crazy. It stays on the cusp of being space and noise.
Two Temple Place – This is the first true Space Rock sounding sounds and as it moves along it introduces some of the harmonies the description on bandcamp mentions. It is a slow song with slow vocals with stretched out chords with reverb and drum fill. That is until the 3 minute mark; more drums and distortion to the guitar is added and everything gets slightly faster. At around the four minute mark the tempo changes again and is like Known by the Ancients.
Stellar Drone (Favorite track) – This track is more spacey than the previous track but it is also faster and more distorted and changes tempo a few more times.
Are we Drowning in Digits – This song is almost like a continuation of Two Temple Place. It sounds very similar but has more “Normal” Rock influences.
Magical Train – This is the most radio friendly track and could have been released as a single to promote the album. It is also the song that reminds my the most of Hole (the first album.) Sara really goes in on this track and gives a great performance. It is like the previous track but stays on the heavy rock side of music.
Review (Continued): Musically, Earth Drive are bringing back the 90’s Noise Rock and helping to bring back Space Rock (in the more expansive tracks). During the mostly instrumental parts it sounds almost like a soundtrack to a late 80’s sci-fi movie. In some ways it sounds like it is two separate ideas for an album that were pieced together but it is done well so it doesn’t sound too different. To paraphrase the TV Series “Stranger Things” – ‘The Upside Down'”.
This is a very easy first listen and is also very accessible because the stretches of odyssey are in between more pop/rock radio-ish oriented tracks. If you have any interest in Space Rock or a modern take on it with influences with 90’s Noise Rock, you should take a listen.
There are two choices either from the Raging Planet (For a physical and/or digital) Bandcamp HERE or the band’s HERE !!! (Where you can get the full digital discography)
Attack of the Mammoth (7:52)
War Pipe / Rite of the Calumet (7:38)
Mescalito/Meeting of the Half Moon (7:02)
Emerald [digital-only bonus track] (4:05)
Band Members: Present:
Jacob Sawrie – Vox/Rhythm
Drew Skarda – Percussion
Tyler Weaver – Lead
Dustin Weddle – Bass
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
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.