Clouds Taste Satanic “The Glitter of Infinite Hell” Album Review + Stream…

Clouds Taste Satanic

The Glitter of Infinite Hell – CD // DD

Self Released – October 31st, 2017 on Helloween!!

Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Yum…May I have a second helping?”

                  

Hey everyone this is Terry the Ancient One and I got some more kickin’ Doomaphonica for your Rocktober by  Clouds Taste Satanic. Formed in 2013,  Brooklyn’s instrumental Doom Quartet is made up of bassist Sean Bay, drummer Christy Davis, guitarist Steven Scavuzzo, and guitarist David Weintraub. While pretty close mouthed about themselves on their Facebook Page and just as mysterious in Encyclopedia Metallum, They have managed to amass a small army of followers which I think is due to the fact Clouds Taste Satanic is promoted mainly by their loyal and deeply devoted fans through word of mouth and social media outlets.

While “DOOMED & STONED”  has been quoted as saying “one of the most remarkable and tragically unknown metal bands of our time continues to reach new creative heights.” in their review of latest album by Clouds Taste Satanic.  I must say I disagree on the part about them being tragically unknown. If they are then tell me why I am seeing them all over Facebook’s various metal and doom pages and communities and in the big underground Webazines: Decibel Magazine , CVLT Nation, DOOMED & STONED, Outlaws of the Sun, The Sludgelord , Metal Bandcamp, Sleeping Shaman  and these are just the big ones. DOOMED & STONED, as cool as I think you are I think you’ve smoked a bit much.

Band Logo

Now that I have probably pissed off the Rolling Stone of doom music I will tell you a little about Clouds Taste Satanic latest musical offering  “The Glitter of Infinite Hell.”  Scheduled to be released October 31st, 2017, this 4 song, 74 minute demonic masterpiece of doom backs one hell of a punch. It’s songs fell like an opium dream turned into nightmare. Quite possibly inspired by Old Scratch himself “The Glitter of Infinite Hell” seems to tell the story of Lucifer’s rebellion and fall with the songs Greed, Treachery, Violence, and Wrath.

Opening Track off “The Glitter of Infinite Hell”

The songs feel like an opium dream turned into nightmare. What’s really cool about this album is the songs sound like the titles they are given. Through a brilliant combination of Doom, Sludge, Psychedelic Rock and Stoner riffs; “The Glitter of Infinite Hell’s” tracks manage to convey the meaning of the songs titles. For instance, the opening track ‘Greed’ sounds like a hulking beast lumbering across the land it laid waste filling its maw in a vain attempt to satiate its endless hunger. I could continue about every track but I think you are going to have to listen for yourselves to fully understand.  You now have your soundtrack for Halloween this Year compliments of CTS!!

Break out your headphones for this one boys and ghouls  Clouds Taste Satanic has some amazing ear candy ready for you. In “The Glitter of Infinite Hell.”  If you can’t afford this one, beg your  mom, dad, wife, husband or don’t buy that $6.00 Cup of Coffee for One Day… and spend the $5.00 to get the digital download, or $7.00 for the CD. If that doesn’t work, sell blood, volunteer for an experiment, sell sperm/eggs or you could try to sell your soul to Satan. In the mean time here are some of their past videos and a Bandcamp link to the new album.

Band Pic

Additional Links:
https://www.facebook.com/CloudsTasteSatanic/videos/970541083038312/

https://www.facebook.com/CloudsTasteSatanic/videos/1106859459406473/

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

https://www.facebook.com/CloudsTasteSatanic/


Nihilosaur “Hymn & Ruin” Album Review + Stream…

NIHILOSAUR

Hymn & Ruin – Digital Download

Independent – Released July 1, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Florian Analfox / Voices, Bass
Felix Geniusfix / Guitars, Samples
Tiwo Meiz / Drums

Review:

From the nether regions of Poland, Nihilosaur return with their 3rd full length album entitled “Hymn & Ruin”. Nihilosaur has a unique sound. I don’t feel that music needs to be categorized but it’s a lot easier to describe a band by their genre. Usually when I don’t know how to classify a band I’ll hit the net and check the usual places. Wikipedia is my go to but Wikipedia never heard of Nihilosaur. My next stop is Encyclopedia Metallum who list Nihilosaur as “Death Metal / Hardcore”. Even the shortest of listens leads me to believe that what they actually meant when they said “Death Metal / Hardcore” was “we don’t know”. Off to Nihilosaur’s Facebook page where they list their Genre as “Hymn and Ruin”…. That’s not a fucking genre. That’s the album title. I assume what they mean when they say their genre is “Hymn and Ruin” is “We don’t care”. I don’t think we can lump them into any category.

With that in mind, I think the best way to describe Nihilosaur’s sound is by conjuring up an image in your mind of the Nihilosaur itself. What would that be? First, the Nihilosaur is ancient & long dead but reanimated, presumably by some toxic waste and a few shots of lightning though no one knows for sure. Some of the Nihilosaur’s flesh was preserved in the tar pits from whence it came while some places the flesh is rotten, even decomposed to the bone. Its movements are slow. Despite having emerged from the pits a decade ago, tar is stuck to the Nihilosaur’s exterior. Flowing like molasses off its body with each movement, despite leaving a trail behind there seems to be no end to the muck. Nihilosaur is large, carnivorous and hungry – but not evil. No. Nihilosaur will devour you with indifference; not malevolence. He’s also horny as fuck.

Let’s see if we can complete the metaphor as we tour through the album. Starting with the cover, the analogy breaks down but let’s ignore that for just a minute. We’ve got a comic book style cover with an upright elephant with multiple arms, its trunk rammed into its gut. I guess it’s eating itself? I’m not really sure. The lettering of the band name looks eerily familiar and I’ll kick myself when I figure out where it’s from. Hopefully you’re reading this and yelling it at your screen, maybe I’ll hear you. Anyway, I have no clue on the significance of the elephant. Maybe it’s some sort of Nihilist symbolism though that’s a complete nonsense thought.

The album opens with a track called “No, No, No”. The heavily distorted guitars start the number, giving us a clue as to what comes next. The drums and bass of join the fray filling out a thick doom sound. Slow, melodic, distorted voices start creating eerie, ancient doom. They soon give way to death voices but quickly return to eerie again. Unfortunately none of the voices are discernible so I have no idea what this song is about. I agreed to review this album based on the band name alone (it’s so clever!!) and was hoping to hear what these guys have to say. The incomprehensible voices are a theme throughout the album. In fact the voices are turned down so they don’t stand out but rather blend in with the music. I suppose this is why the band calls them voices as opposed to vocals. It does suit the sound.

Moving on track to track, we have an atmosphere of thick goo. Imagine your lungs filling with tar. How they achieve such density with a 3 piece is beyond me. I would guess it has something to do with the heavy distortion and the blending of the voices which throughout the album go from eerie to death vocals to deep chants to low rumblings to screams.

Bimp Picture

Song titles like “A Kiss is the Beginning of Cannibalism” and “A Bag of Bones” tell me the Nihilosaur is hungry…or perhaps he was. After all, it’s not a bag of drumsticks, it’s “A Bag of Bones”. Song titles like “Night is My Nudity” and “What Are You Doing After the Orgy?” tell me he’s horny… but then again, if “A Kiss is the Beginning of Cannibalism” then he’s probably planning on working up an appetite during the orgy. Don’t go anywhere alone with the Nihilosaur unless you want to be dinner.

The album closes out with a track called “Reptile Parthenogenesis”. If you’re not aware, parthenogenesis is when an animal impregnates itself. Get ready for there to be many little Nihilosaurs running around having orgies and devouring whatever’s in their path. (Edit note: after writing this paragraph and submitting this review, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized what the elephant is doing to itself on the album cover… a little parthenogenesis action!!!).

Seriously though, it’s hard to take a band seriously when their members have names like Analfox and Geniusfix. I have to assume that they don’t take themselves too seriously either. That’s a trait I think is very admirable in music and musicians. It’s supposed to be fun. Grab a copy of Hymn and Ruin, give it a listen and have a good time.

11999722_10153681440203179_4715115568631966706_o

 


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

 


Screams of Winter “Divine Chaos” Album Review + Stream…

SCREAMS OF WINTER

Divine Chaos – EP – Digital Download

Independent – Released – Sept 1, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Michael Scola/ Vocals
Maxwell Damske / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Drum programming
Alex Damske / Lead Guitars

A Brief History:

Screams of Winter is a melodic death metal act hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Forming in 2004 as a middle school act, they disbanded in 2010 when they “failed to evolve musically”. (Reference their Facebook about page). Fast forward 7 years, Screams of Winter have reformed and re-recorded 5 tracks that “finally sound like what the band always wanted them to sound like”. I haven’t heard their 2006 release, which they describe as “far from listenable” but I have to say the 5 tracks schlepped up on Divine Chaos are what I want them to sound like as well.

 

 

Review:

First the cover, which I’m guessing is a depiction of Saint Peter. The gates behind the angel-like figure suggest he’s standing atop the stairway to heaven waiting to pass judgement on whoever seeks entry. He is the Devine. However, there’s also an element of space here. The planet, stars, and comets are the Chaos. Well thought out.

The album opens with ‘Mechanical Chaos’. The first minute and a half is mostly keyboard ambiance with some light percussion and the odd strum of the guitar. This is the kind of thing a band might have the Sound Man play at the start of a show to set the mood as the band enters. Sound Man or keyboardist, that is, if they had one which it appears they don’t though I believe I hear some here and there throughout the album. Guitars lead us into the tune and finally the vocals join the fray. The first thought I have is Screams of Winter sound like a cross between Children of Bodom and Arch Enemy. Michael Scola’s vocals remind me of Angela Gossow and whoever is taking the lead on the guitar shreds like Alexi, early Bodom. Upon reading their bio, I see they list In Flames as an influence and now I can hear it big time. To be clear, I’m talking early In Flames, not current In Flames. There is one low point to the song that I feel compelled to mention and that’s the clean vocals. They’re not bad; I just don’t think they fit the track. In this particular case, they remind me of Ray Alder of Fates Warning, specifically from A Pleasant Shade of Grey. While Alder is one of my favorites, unfortunately in my opinion, using them on this track takes away a bit more than it gives. And don’t get me wrong, ‘Mechanical Chaos’ is solid regardless.

‘Divine Tragedy’, track 2, opens with a super melodic riff and again I can hear that early In Flames. I love the harsh backing vocals here as they allow for a pace that couldn’t be done with a single screamer. Again though, they cut to the clean vocals which I’m not fond of. In this track, they do better suit the layout, as they come while ‘Divine Tragedy’ slows. I believe they’re inspired by God Forbid who uses clean vocals more frequently and who are also, coincidentally, listed as an influence on Screams of Winter’s “About” page. Despite my reservations, this might be my favorite on this EP.

‘Orwellian Overture’ begins with Rush-like keys which come and go throughout the track. Again with the clean vocals; but they’re growing on me. I love how they transition in and out of the melodic riffs on this track.

Scarlet Beast Promo

‘Rise of the Nephilim’ is the perfect tune for a live show. It’s got all the elements I’m looking for. It begins with a pace that’s sure to open a pit. It slows a bit after 30 seconds or so, allowing the guys who get gassed easily the opportunity to stand aside and breathe while the few psychos remaining can keep at it as the reduced pace still justifies some slamming. The backing vocals again suit the track (fry, not clean). ‘Rise of the Nephilim’ continue the tradition of sweet transitions as the guitars sustain, the drums take over for a few seconds before the soloing begins which gives way to a chant “Rise! – Rise! – Rise!”. Of course, in the live setting this is the time for crowd interaction and I have no doubt there’ll be any problems getting the fiends in the audience to chant along. Sure, the nuts in the pit will likely be gasping for breath, single fist raised to open the airways as they labor out a hoarse whisper.  Those who stand back banging their heads and fists will be sure to compensate. Once the chant ends the drums take off, a little back feed and back to the shredding… and moshing. Rise of the Nephilim maintains the pace until it closes.

Holy Lust closes out Divine Chaos with a nice slow melody that takes off unexpectedly. Again, smooth transitions bridge the gaps as the songs changes speed, from death to melodic and back again. I mention them every track as I feel transitions are key in separating the average Melodic Death Metal acts from the exceptional.

With so much going on in each track, it’s hard to notice that the earworms on Divine Chaos average almost 5 minutes each. Despite being just a 5 track EP, Divine Chaos clocks in at 29 minutes. Aside from being an amazing blend of Bodom, Arch Enemy and In Flames this album has one more feature extremely attractive feature and that’s the price. Digital download of Scream of Winter’s album (at the time of this writing) is listed on Bandcamp for $4USD. Are you kidding me? $4? I could create an endless list of trivial items people piss away more money on, sometimes on a daily basis. I’m not going to. All I’m going to say is there’s links below to 4 different ways you can buy it and Bandcamp is the cheapest.

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/screamsofwinter/

https://screamsofwinter.bandcamp.com/album/divine-chaos

https://play.google.com/…/a…/Screams_of_Winter_Divine_Chaos…

https://open.spotify.com/album/1Ei8nKuOBaKlqCpfpB40mB

https://itunes.apple.com/…/al…/divine-chaos-ep/id1278661776…


GoatWhore “Vengeful Ascension” Album Review + Stream..

GOATWHORE

Vengeful Ascension –Vinyl // Digital Download // CD

Metal Blade Records – Released – June 23 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Ben Falgoust/ Vocals
Sammy Duet / Guitars and Vocals
Zack Simmons / Drums
James Harvey / Studio Bass
Robert “TA” Coleman / Live Bass

Born:
December 20, 1996

Review:

GoatWhore: Just saying the name puts a smile on my face. Say it with me now: GoatWhore. Did you smile? If you didn’t I’m willing to guess you didn’t say it out loud. Maybe you’re on a bus or waiting for the doctor and afraid to be judged? Toughen up a little. PC culture would love to take our GoatWhore away. Are you going to sit back, stay silent and let them take our GoatWhore? Let me hear you! GOATWHORE!

Fuck that feels better! I sure got some dirty looks stopping through white bread America wearing my GoatWhore shirt on my way home from seeing them live at Full Terror Assault. (Check this shit out, best kept secret in American metal). Seeing GoatWhore live has been a treat each time. The energy is electric and these guys know this full well. In fact, according to their Facebook page when they recorded Vengeful Ascension, GoatWhore aspired to match the live experience as much as possible. Let me say, they 100% have the right idea. On one hand, it’s unfortunate that you simply can’t package up the energy of a GoatWhore concert so they’ll never reach this goal. On the other hand it’s fortunate you can’t simulate a GoatWhore concert because you’ll never be able to download it and that means you have to get off your ass and go see them. Each time I have, Ben Falgoust says roughly the same thing (paraphrased): “Get the album. Buy it from the merch booth, off Bandcamp or steal it off the internet BUT come out to a concert and support the band.” So just what are we stealing off the internet?

First the cover of Vengeful Ascension depicts what I believe to be their rendition of Lucifer, having fought his way back from the depths of hell and risen to the earth, clutching the sun and marking it with some sort of magic symbol. He appears to be sucking the energy out of it and into himself no doubt to power himself for impending battle. This imagery seems to hold true to the theme of the album. Straight from their Facebook page, the following is what they intended the album to be all about. I feel compelled to directly quote Falgoust, his words eloquent and clear:

“There’s that whole idea of Lucifer being the anti-hero. He’s cast out from this place in Heaven to the depths of nothing. He keeps trying to ascend to the top again but no matter what, there’s always this significant force trying to destroy him at any point and banish him back to Hell. If you look at it from an everyday aspect in life, it’s the idea of people, hitting the bottom of the barrel or you know, things just aren’t going right in life… emotion plays a huge part in how people react. Whether it’s based on love or hatred or sadness or whatever, there’s always an aspect of emotion that drives people to an extent. So the whole idea of a ‘Vengeful Ascension’ is built on being at the bottom, working your way to the top, and realizing along the way that there’s other facets to the journey aside from just pure retribution. Within negativity there can exist a positive angle as well.”

I would have needed to write a 10,000 word essay to convey this concept. And for this idea alone I would buy this album and use it as a theme to my rise.

live Shot

Musically speaking, Vengeful Ascension is very similar to what GoatWhore has been offering up for the past 17 years. They somehow manage to blend elements of several different sub-genres together in order to create their own unique sound. Wikipedia lists GoatWhore as “Blackened Death Metal”, whatever that means. GoatWhore’s Facebook page list them simply as “Metal”, which I feel is more accurate. Album to album, track to track we get emphasis on different sub-genres. Vengeful Ascension leans toward black more so than any.

Track 2, “Under the Flesh, Into the Soul” has elements of speed metal yet mysteriously sounds like something that might have come out of Dimmu Borgir’s playbook. This is one of my favorite tracks on this album and these jerks have not deviated from the practice of giving the most complicated titles to the earworms. Try yelling out “Under the Flesh, Into the Soul” between songs next time you see them live. As if to prove my point, “Mankind Will Have No Mercy” shows up later on the album again with that speed metal feel that I can’t get enough of. This one probably has the least blackness on the album.

They follow this up with the title track, “Vengeful Ascension”. Again, this track is heavy in the black metal but thankfully not without a slightly off-key melody. Later tracks, “Abandon Indoctrination” and “Those Who Denied God’s Will”, are structured very similarly. It allows the track to keep that black metal feel without being boring.

Pro Band P

Where the “Sun is Silent” is a slower paced track, thankfully the only one of its kind on Vengeful Ascension. I’ll admit my bias right now; I want to spend my live GoatWhore experience in the pit. I’m getting a bit old so one or two slow ones is a welcome breather. I really don’t have time for any more than that.

In summation, Vengeful Ascension is another great GoatWhore album. The band wants you to hear it and it sounds to me like they don’t really care how. The one caveat is that you go out to the shows. I think that’s a pretty fair deal. For those who just aren’t in the right geographical area or for those who aren’t in a financial position: Go back and review the Falgoust quote above and use it as motivation to bring yourself into a better position where you can afford to get out to a show or maybe plan that trip to the festival you’ve always been dreaming of… where you’re sure to see GoatWhore… and maybe pick up a shirt too.


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?


Olde “Temple” Album Review + Stream…

OLDE

Temple – Vinyl // Cassette // DD

STB Records – released August 10, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

Welcome to the Temple of Doom!!

 

Line Up:
Drums – Ryan Aubin (Sons of Otis)
Guitars – Greg Dawson (Sons of Otis)
Guitars – Chris Hughes (Moneen)
Vocals – Doug McLarty (Jaww)
Bass – Cory McCallum (Five Knuckle Chuckle)

Review:
I just finished listening to “Temple” by a band from Canada’s Greater Toronto Area called OLDE.  “Temple” by OLDE is the band’s 3rd  album. With a focus on crushing riffs that has left me with ringing ears and a spinning head, I had to recover a bit before I started writing this review. Formed by guitarist/producer Greg Dawson who was inspired by a recording session with long-time stoner metal stalwarts and bandmate in Sons of Otis as well as friends in Moneen, Jaww and Five Knuckle Chuckle, Dawson (Cunter, Grift, BWC Studios) handpicked and assembled OLDE.

Pro Band Shot

I loved what I heard on “Temple” but I wanted to hear what OLDE’s past work sounded like to get a better feel for the band. So I cued up their 1st 2 albums as well as “Temple,” turned out the lights, put my headphones on and had myself a musical feast. What I liked most about the music in general is how the band focuses on crushing heaviness and the almighty power of the riff with bellicose vocals and sludgy bass and heavy handed riffing .

Yet the music isn’t just a bunch heavy riff and growling vocals.  Just like OLDE’s previous albums – “Shallow Graves” and “I”,  “Temple” has tons of meat to it. Besides the amazing guest solo on ‘Castaway’ done by  Joshua Wilkinson, and the stunt guitar work of  Ryan Aubin on ‘Maelstrom,’ “Temple” is full of intense leads and hooks. Some of my favorites are ‘Subterfuge’ and  ‘Now I See You’ which both have some killer riffs with drums by Ryan Aubin that sound positively tribal. The album’s title track “Temple” is an ominous bass heavy doom masterpiece that highlights the vocals of  Doug McLarty.

This album will leave you feeling like you’ve been in the mosh pit with Sasquatch (The animal) as you listen to OLDE  tell the world “it’s collectively full of shit.”

“Temple” was recorded mixed, mastered, and produced by Sons of Otis, guitarist/producer Greg Dawson at BEC Studio with album art by Joshua Wilkinson. The album also features a guest solo on ‘Castaway’  by Simon Talevski and a stunt solo on ‘Maelstrom’ by Ryan Aubin. “Temple” can be purchased as a Limited Vinyl LP on Bandcamp through STB Records, Limited Edition Cassette via Medusa Crush Recordings and in digital format on OLDE’s Bandcamp page.

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/oldedoom

http://medusacrushrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/temple

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

http://oldedoom.bandcamp.com/album/temple


Ruff Majik “The Hare And The Hollow” Album Review + Stream…

RUFF MAJIK

The Hare And The Hollow – Limited Vinyl // DD

Self Released – released June 20, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed:
September 1, 2012

Location:
Pretoria, South Africa

Band Members:
Johni Holliday (Guitar/Vocals/Organ)
Jimi Glass (Bass)
Benni Manchino (Drums)

Previous Releases:
“The Bear” EP (Oct 2015)

“The Fox” EP (Sept 2016)

“Monarch Of The Hills” single (March 2017)

“The Real Swan” (March 2017)

“The Swan” EP (April 2017)

Review:
Three piece band with a penchant for recording LIVE in the studio and this release that is being touted as not an EP, but part one of a four part release and was recorded in one take per their notes on their bandcamp page. According to their bio, Ruff Majik “has been aggressively marketing their brand of super-stiff rock ‘n roll madness since early 2012. Now they have three EP’s under their belt, an album filled with out-takes from the sessions for this album, and a reputation for wild and aggressive live shows, and they’re coming your way – tie down everything you want to keep, the boys are bringing earthquakes with ’em.” An intriguing descriptor for certain and I had to dive deep in. With the previous recordings, there has always been that garage-sound that lent itself to the ‘live’ feel that these guys tout as their modus-operandi,  while keeping that bass-heavy groove they are known for intact.

Live Band Pic

Let me re-emphasize that these songs were recorded  live and in only one take, not stopping for a break between songs but rather charging on through as a means to keep the cohesion true and the feel as ‘real’ as possible. Opener ‘Harpy’ starts off with a staggered drum line, mid-tempo pace, the bass hits four measures in and then the distorted guitar reaches out and grabs your throat before the vocals come out front in classic RM fashion, sounding slightly distorted and still clear in delivery.

Using all of the twists, turns and time shifts of stoner rock/metal you could hope for, ending with that hyper-fuzzed bass line that slowly fades into the opening progression of ‘Gone Down In The Woods Today.’  This is a full throttle galloping track that hits as hard as any SABBATH track with the veracity of a cobra and is relentless in the pummeling heaviness of the arrangement. Still no pause between as closer ‘Breathing Ghosts’ is even faster than the other tracks during the first minute until the vocal hits, tempo shifts and guitar drenched chords leaving their juices running down your chin as you drink it all in to the very last note.

If this is the tone of the next three releases, then the wait will seem unbearable. An amazing jumping point in this next stage of the evolution of this trio, MAJOR leaps in mix and composition and the arrangements truly are stellar in advance over all previous releases and should absolutely signify the turning of the tide for this band. Add it to your ‘rotation’ immediately, make sure every person you know hears it and support them live if they come to your shores…this IS South Africa after all. And as always, keep it LOUD!!

The Hare and the Hollow logo


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!!

Band Logo