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    Procession are working on a new album. Felipe has said in an interview that work on the new Procession album has been done already: “Sort of … the title is 'To Reap Heavens Apart' and it is probably our most (conceptually) ambitious work to date. We're locking ourselves into the studio in October/November to finish details, arrangements and finally record. We'll be ticking around 45 minutes in six songs of pure obscure slow HEAVY METAL without compromise. Doom Metal is DEATH, and DEATH is forever …”

    This new, very limited edition two tracker is not just a teaser for the new album but a vital release for fans of this band that was originally from Chile. There is one new original and a cover version of Scald's "Nightsky." What is unique about the cover is it sounds like a song made for or written by Procession themselves. Scald are a very obscure band from Russia so it is likely that most folks out there have never heard their underrated classic album 'Will Of The Gods Is Great Power’ so this cover version will sound like another Procession original to most people. What they do with the song is give it the Procession treatment while keeping the vibe of the original intact but it pales somewhat compared to the brand new Procession track, 'Death And Judgement.' The new tune is not much different from other works from the band but in terms of quality, it is right up there with the very best of Procession songs. It has the classic trad-doom feel, a-la Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus with some Hour of 13 thrown in but with a totally original edge that is all Procession. The vocals are again, amazing while the melody lines are instantly memorable. Just one spin of the song is all it took for me to be hooked in this great track. The production is loud, heavy and precise and the red and black cover art is striking to look at. For fans of the band, this is essential especially if it doesn't end up on their new full length but fans of doom metal in general wont want to miss out on this. Awesome release from Processsion. ....9.5/10.

    Procession | Facebook

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    It has been a long time since a Solitude Productions release has been reviewed on this site but in the case of this band, the wait has been worth it. Inborn Suffering are not reinventing anything within the melodic death doom scene but this is still a damn lot more original than their previous album Wordless Hope that came out way, way back in 2006. However it is still in the classic death-doom mold and sounds along the same lines as Daylight Dies, My Dying Bride and Swallow The Sun. I don't know if this band is trying to beat the death-doom originators at their own game but they sure are giving them a run for their money with this album.

    A couple of elements concerning this album do raise some negative issues. The vocals are a mix of the low-down death growl kind and a black metal raspy style and very little of it is what could be called "real singing." The vocals and the lyrical content seems to be there in the mix just to fill out the sound and offer next to nothing to enhance these songs in any way but at least musically, Inborn Suffering throws out a hell of a lot more interesting passages than the average melodic death doom act. There are 7 songs on 'Regression To Nothingness' that range from 7 to well over 13 minutes so it is all about whether it can hold your attention but it does do that very well for the most of it.

    Opener 'Slumber Asylum' is discordant and kind of hypnotic and that doesn't let up for the next hour or so of crippling death doom and they do have some variance but the changes do come in a very predictable way just the same. Songs are given room to breathe and do take their time in getting going especially on the longer tracks like 'Apotheosis,' 'Grey Eden' and the almost 14 minutes of the title track. With a lot of death doom bands, the listener is forced to wonder when the song will finally get into top gear and that happens too a lot with 'Regression to Nothingness' but it never gets too tedious.

    Guitar work including the bass work is interesting but nothing terribly exciting, the bass work especially is a bit meandering at times and I often wonder if it is enhancing the music or just a distraction. The vocals also fall into that same situation at times. The music is oppressive, thick, dense and very dark in terms of atmosphere but the album is oddly relaxing in a heavy, depressive kind of a way. ' Apotheosis' usually sounds like the pick of the album due to it being a little different from all the rest of the songs. At the other end of the spectrum, the last song 'Self Contempt Kings' seems to drag on forever despite having some nice passages of bleak melody. The close to 70 minute album is certainly more engaging than the bulk of death doom released so far this year but I still find myself on the fence with it. If you are like me, you might find this album to be best taken a few tracks at a time. Check it out for yourself death-doomsters.....7/10.

    Words: Sally Bethhall

    Inborn Suffering | Facebook

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    Few bands can effectively mine misery and heartache with such woeful proficiency as Indianapolis, Indiana’s Apostle of Solitude. In preparation for the band’s third full-length, the revised lineup—now including Steve Janiak of Devil to Pay on guitar and multi-band alumnus Bob Fouts on bass—has recorded a three song demo conspicuously titled ‘Demo 2012’. Despite the lineup changes the overall mission and approach has remained the same. Chuck Brown’s unique, emotive vocals are still at the forefront as the band doles out a potentially lethal cocktail of crushing traditional doom, hard rock, and metal. If anything, the lineup change has focused and fine-tuned the band’s sound.

    ‘Demo 2012’ opens with “Blackest of Times”, one of the strongest tracks ever penned by the band. The song’s slow build can be attributed to a lone, lumbering doom riff that is eventually joined in unison by a second, overlapping riff, and Corey Webb’s hard-hitting percussion. The song’s intro isn’t overly long before it storms into a mid-paced groove that is highlighted by some heavy-as-Sabbath doom riffs, catchy lead guitar, and propulsive drumming. “Blackest of Times” doesn’t merely march to its end, but rather it launches into an up-tempo, head-banging metallic gallop before its conclusion. The second track, “Die Vicar Die”, comes crashing in, but eventually puts on the brakes. The majority of the track is slower than the demo opener and Chuck’s vocals really carry the weight of the tune. It’s not all snail-paced doom and gloom as the song builds in intensity and similar to “Blackest of Times” the song breaks into an up-tempo burner before returning to the chorus and ultimate conclusion. “Good Riddance” closes out the demo and returns to the doom metal chug intimated by “Blackest of Times”. “Good Riddance”, like the rest of the demo, really stands up to anything in Apostle of Solitude’s catalogue.

    ‘Demo 2012’ is a powerful statement from one of doom metal’s most unique bands. The addition of new members has not drastically changed Apostle of Solitude’s overall sound, but has seemed to result in heavier songs with more complexity. The band continues its cathartic examination of human existence by plumbing the depths of despair and uncertainty while crafting memorable tunes. The production of ‘Demo 2012’ is excellent and the release could easily be marketed and sold as an EP. Based on the strength of this demo Apostle of Solitude’s impending third release could result in the band’s heaviest and memorable album to date. As a teaser ‘Demo 2012’ has effectively built suspense and their newest release is highly anticipated. The limited run of CDs has sold out some time ago, but the demo is streaming on the band’s Bandcamp page and Sarlacc Productions is planning a limited run cassette release with download code. Highly recommended.

    Words: Steve Miller

    Official Website

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    ORANGE GOBLIN will embark on their longest touring schedule ever in 2013 as they continue to promote the critically acclaimed A Eulogy For The Damned offering, released in February 2012 on Candlelight Records and hotly tipped to be a contender for the album of the year! The touring schedule will kick off with a 15-date UK tour at the end of January and start of February (dates to be announced soon). The band will then head to Australia for their first time ever to join the Soundwave Festival 2013 alongside Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Blink 182, Kyuss Lives!, Ghost, Stone Sour and many, many more. The full dates for Soundwave 2013 are as follows:

    2/23/2013 Rna Showgrounds – Brisbane, AUS
    2/24/2013 Olympic Park – Sydney, AUS
    3/01/2013 Flemington Racecourse – Melbourne, AUS
    3/02/2013 Bonython Park – Adelaide, AUS
    3/04/2013 Claremont Showground – Perth AUS

    There will also be club shows in both Australia and New Zealand to coincide with the band’s appearances at Soundwave. From there, ORANGE GOBLIN will embark on a full tour of the US and Canada, taking in the SXSW Festival in Texas. This will also be the first time ever that ORANGE GOBLIN have appeared in Canada! Full dates for all to be announced shortly. The band will then spend the Summer extensively touring Europe and appearing at as many of the summer European Festivals as they can squeeze in before heading back to North America and possibly more new territories they’ve yet to play. Please keep checking the bands websites for further updates. In 2013... ORANGE GOBLIN look set to shake the world!

     “OG simply don’t put a foot wrong from start to finish. Near total perfection! 9/10” -- Metal Hammer UK
    “A respectfully powerful slice of heavy fuckin’ rock! 4/5” – Terrorizer
    “Long-haired limeys, maximum riffage and turbo doom. Biker rock. From England. And it’s pretty awesome.” – Decibel
    “Overall, their first record for Candlelight is pretty damn fantastic. Rockin’, riff-tastic and possibly the best record from start to finish that they’ve released yet.” – Popdose
    “Album of the Month!” -- Sweden Rock Magazine
    “A truly amazing piece of work? This is absolutely the case! 4/5” – Molten Magazine
    “With a sound that splits the difference between Sabbath and Motörhead, ORANGE GOBLIN serves up a potent dose of ’70s-style metal on A Eulogy For The Damned. Gloomy doom and punk power have seldom sounded so good together.” – Metal Underground
    “Apart from the anxiously-awaited end of the world, I can’t imagine a scenario in which 2012 finishes and ORANGE GOBLIN’s A Eulogy for the Damned isn’t among the high points. Highly recommended for beginners and converts alike.” – The Obelisk
    “I highly encourage you stop what you are doing and run right out and purchase it. 9.8/10” – Pure Grain Audio
    “On a scale of 5 stars, I’ll give it 6 because it’s just that damned good!” – The Ripple Effect

    Official Website
    Candlelight Records

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    I don't often get excited about bands mining the 70's retro sound and style but maybe once a year a band comes along that is just doing that little bit more with it. This band with the all so 70's name of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell have released which is not only the best 70's retro-rock of the year but it is quite possibly album of the year overall. It is hard to make the 70's approach sound fresh again but this is what this band has done and the result is nothing short of mind-blowing.

    If you are one of those whiners that hate the retro rock bandwagon and wonder why it is so popular, then take a listen to this band. Bands like this one sound so hair-raising exciting and fresh, they are like hearing Black Sabbath, Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin for the first time. Basically speaking, we are talking about the same level of brilliance and the same kimd of instantaneous magical and timeless quality.

    This band is winners on every possible level. Great musicianship, great songwriting and a production job that is miles beyond and above most other bands mining a similar style. The sound on 'Don't Hear It... Fear It!' is raw but precise, it is vintage sounding but fresh and it even has the vibe of the needle drifting across a classic piece of 70's vinyl. Now I will throw some names at you - Sir Lord Baltimore, Buffalo, Incredible Hog, Iron Claw, Jerusalem, Captain Beyond, Budgie, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Blue Oyster Cult, Hawkwind, Truth & Janey. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell not only can stand along-side these classic bands but in some ways, they beat them at their own game. I could kiss this band butt for another 2000 words and they would deserve all of my unrelenting praise. Formed in 2008, the band is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Johnny Redfern, bassist/vocalist Louis Wiggett and drummer Bill Darlington, who describe their own musical niche as a mix of “neo-psych, garage, freakbeat and powerpop but that is understating the majestic and varied magic that is unleashed on this incredible record.

    Even more amazing is the band have seemingly came out of nowhere, signed by Rise Above Records that has not only a great taste for doom metal but a surberb ear for what makes great retro rock and this band is without a doubt their greatest find yet. The way they describe their sound and style only tells part of the story. The band is proto-metal, garage-rock, early punk rock, prog-rock, heavy metal, space rock, psychedelia, blues, funk and that is still only scratching the surface. While 'Don’t Hear It…Fear It' sounds straight out of 1970/71, this has an energy and an infectious fresh vibe that goes beyond eras. This is one hell of an infectious album but it is not exactly melodic. The gruff vocals and some of the strange passages ensures this is not a typical riff-rock album (The Sword this band is not).

    The album is a mix of free-form jams, solid concise songwriting and electrifying instrumentation that is constantly changing one minute to the next. There is only one word I can think of to describe the grooves ------ Insane! The album also benefits from having a unique personality for each and every song and each song has at least one riff that leaves your jaw dropped to the floor. Each member of this band are masters of their craft. The guitar work is dynamic and exciting, the bass work is out of this world and the drumming is simply world-class. The vocals while being the weakest element the band has is still a perfect fit for their sound and style and I have already mentioned the wonderful production.

    What is also remarkable is most songs sound like a 70's classic track but still sounds unique enough to sound incredibly fresh. 'Devils Island' sounds a little like Budgie's "Guts." blended with Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" but still comes off sounding unique and that is the story with the entire album. Opening track 'Mark of the Beast' starts out spacey and kind of spooky with backwards reverb effects before it launches into dark and chunky riffing with a kind of laid-back aggression. Grooves punch the listener between the eyes and really the album could end right here and that would more than enough to satisfy but the album (if anything) gets even better from here on. The following 'Devil's Island' has a sabbathian meets Budgie kind of vibe and is the doomiest offering on the album while 'iDeath' completes a trio of amazing songs with a tune that seems to be channelling Aussie proto-metal legends Buffalo.

    'Red Admiral Black Sunrise' slows things down a little with a moody, brooding track with blends infectious grooves with funky vibe. There are more great riffs, excellent leads and vocals. The main riffs seem influenced by Buffalo, Budgie and Sir Lord Baltimore all at the same time but yet again, it sounds positively fresh and not recycled at all. 'Scratchin' & Sniffin' is half a free-form jam and half, a solid concise prog-pop kind of tune. They bring in a Hammond organ on this track which further compliments the authentic 70's atmosphere. Next up, 'The Last Run' pushes the aggression level to new heights for the album and is again flawless in its execution.

    'Killer Kane' ends the album, well at least from the point of view of the track listing and this is the most off-the-wall track with oddball timings and a mix of styles that blend everything from early 70's proto-metal to N.W.O.B.H.M galloping heavy metal a-la Iron Maiden (I wonder how many people will spot the riff that sounds oddly similar to Maiden's "Two Minutes To Midnight"). At this point 'Don’t Hear It…Fear It!!' appears all over but it is just a chance for the listen to pack a bong or get a beer out of the fridge because after 7 minutes or so of silence, a hidden track emerges which is none other than a cover of Buffalo's "Bean Stew" and Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell amaze once again by delivering a cover that is every bit as good as the original.

    Now this band play like they are blissfully unaware it is not 1971 anymore and simply don't give a shit and perhaps that is one of the reasons this album works on every possible level. The production is vintage and raw as if the band was just thrown into a studio and told to hurry up, play all your songs and get the fuck out and this has created a busy, intensely busy vibe to the album. The gritty, no-frills sound is a perfect match for the no-bullshit attitude of the performance from the musicians. The band is tight but also loose enough to give this a very live in the studio kind of feeling and I hope they keep this going for their next release too because it suits them perfectly. A lot of bands get called retro or stoner-rock these days, The Sword are one example when they are basically just a metal band, pure and simple. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell on the other hand ARE pure RETRO but they are almost reinventing the approach to 70's hard rock music (take note I wrote almost).

    The production on the album has to be mentioned again too. This is about as authentic and vintage as it gets, right down to an amp hum that is present throughout the album making the listener feel like the band is right there in your living room, bedroom or whatever. The production is raw but crystal-clear and the  vocal distortion effect that is used makes this album seem even more fresh as hardly anyone else has a vocal sound like what is on here. The last retro band I got excited about was Orchid, before that I have to go way back to the early days of Gentlemans Pistols so an album of this magnitude and excellence is well overdue. Alright I will admit that I probably sound like a bit of a dick with all this bum-licking for this band but I can't praise them enough. This is an early contender for best album of 2012 but it has already won one thing for me personally and that is "the best retro rock album of the last 5 years". Don't agree, prove me wrong. Essential purchase for lovers of 70's proto-metal and classic hard rockers in general, the new gods have landed....10/10.

    ASCS | Facebook
    Rise Above Records

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    A benefit concert is being put together to help Ed and Doommantia. If you are in the area, show you care by attending this event. Big thanks goes out to all that organized the show. You have no idea what this means to us. The line-up for the show is awesome (as you can see) so you don't want to miss this show. Show your support and attend but if you can't make it, send a donation this way.

    Again thanks to the organizers.

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    If your thirst for Doom, no-frills robust Doom bearing a most tasty retro flavour, as well as drenched by darkness, horror and traditional macabre witches’ tales, is always making you ask for more, well, Black Magician are for you. Black Magician hail from Liverpool, UK, and include five doomsters: Liam Yates on vocals, Kyle Nesbitt on guitar, John McNulty on bass, Matt Ford on keyboards and Jay Plested on drums. They wear bell-bottomed trousers and four out of five of them have beards too!
    They formed in 2011 and have a debut album called “Nature Is The Devil's Church” out now via Shaman Recordings and Burning World/Roadburn Records.
    Album “Nature Is The Devil's Church” can be described as a “slab of doom” easily and with great satisfaction. With its 43 minutes this is not a monumental album at least in terms of physical length. But the album is great, indeed. It develops via an overbearing plodding rhythm which is quite gripping but may turn to monotony if in excess. There’s no such problem with this album, though, as it is well calibrated and not redundant. The album includes a short intro and four long tracks.
    The short acoustic intro, “The Foolish Fire”, is driven by a simple, soft melody made of echoing touches of piano. The sound is delicate but will make you feel uneasy, like an animal sensing an earthquake to come … And soon the roaring of Doom starts with the onset of the 10.25-long track bearing the amazing title “Full Plain I See, The Devil Knows How To Row ”.

    Black Magician’s doom is definitely occult and grim, especially due to the massive employment of Hammond organ. Doom here smells of crypt, of too strong incense, of sacred and blasphemy. The backbone doom melody is unfolded solemnly like the narrative of a gothic tale unfailingly endowed of an occult and dangerous event halfway between the world of humans and some other arcane temporal or space dimension. The first three minutes of the ballad are filled with the pure distilled Sabbathian growls emitted by the downtuned guitar and bass in the leading riffs, as well as with some howling guitar solos, with the pounding drums and with that amazing “voice” of the organ. Then the time comes for the flood the invocations by the occult preacher Liam.

    The leading riffs are so smelling of mold and incense and so Sabbathically grim in their vibrations that they seem to be drawn straight from the necromantic roots of the British doom. The band occasionally imparts intriguing accelerations to the leading creeping aand hypnotic melody. These mid-tempo insets are so intense in their burst, or better in their rapid growth and subsequent explosion (like in the final part of the first second track) that they are able to pull your mind numbed by the buzz and drag it into a black viscous vortex …

    Already in this first long track one can have a fairly good grasp of the band’s style. Several features in Black Magician’s doom recall sources of inspiration coming from the British scene. The most obvious quotation, especially but not exclusively due to Liam’s vocal style, is for Cathedral. Well, Cathedral has been such an influential presence in the UK doom scene as well as in the rest of Europe (see for example the Italian band Misty Morning) that it has rightfully become an icon for Doom with a distinct British flavour.

    As a matter of fact, not only the plodding doom rhythms and the chanting style, but also the dynamic, accelerated parts of this and the other tracks in Black Magician do remind me of Cathedral in their groove-laden rocking aspects. But in Black Magician this explosive infusion of British doom is contaminated by and mixed with folk, vintage prog rock and, I guess, occult doom from outside the boundaries of the British Isles, like, for example, Reverend Bizarre, Paul Chain, … I am almost sure that Black Magician do know the cemeterial, organ-driven horror doom by Abysmal Grief as well. As a matter of fact, there is much of Abysmal Grief in this British band both for the overly morbid atmospheres as well as, and above all, for the distinct fuzzy growl of the leading monolithic riffs.

    The second 10:19 minutes-long suite, “Four Thieves Vinegar”, starts in the most funereal and horror cemeterial way as possible, with the bell, the sinister calls of crows and the buzz of flies, invariably evoking or suggesting the presence of something dead and rotting … After the first touches of the bass, the fuzzy distorted riff- and keyboard melody that follows is a blend of the purest, distilled Abysmal Grief-styled horror doom (check out track Crypt of Horror in the album Misfortune by Abysmal Grief), and of Cathedral’s severe doom aggression and declamations. It’s doom smelling of stench of rotting bodies, rotting wood and flowers in an old countryside cemetery which is host to birds during the day and unholy gatherings in the night. This second dark ballad is driven by suffocating meandering riffs and Liam’s invocations, but it is closed by a spectacular, keyboard-driven, absolutely retro- horror-prog acceleration. Old-school organ-driven prog bands like Deep Purple, Lucifer’s Friend etc., as well as more recent retro-dark prog rock acts like Malombra and Wicked Minds, may easily come to mind while this last sonic vortex depicts the nasty end of the grim tale or else the wild sabbah dance at concluding the occult ceremony …

    “ Of Ghosts And Their Worship ” is the shortest track of the album, slightly less than 6 minutes, and is totally acoustic. It is opened by some peaceful bird singing and the buzz of a benevolent nature and then it develops via a charming folkish melody lead by by a beautifully sounding acoustic finger-picking which is periodically backed up by Hammond organ. The melody is melancholic and only slightly sinister except when the hammond organ sound is added. This acoustic guitar (plus organ) theme is surely reminding me of acoustic Opeth of the Damnation era in sound and Pentangle’s Cruel Sister in wicked folk atmospheres … This track is so entranching and refreshing as well as so gothic, so tricky and, in its own way, evil.

    And evil and grimness will not be too late … Hieratic, funerary Hammond organ sound is what brings darkness and blasphemy back with the over 15 minutes-long, final suite “Chattox”. In particular the mourning organ sound and an unusual lace-like delicate howling riff occupy the first few minutes of this suite before the duly fuzzy roaring riff charge and the menacing grunting lithany of the wicked preacher burst out. The roar of the distorted guitars is so loud that sometimes it swallows the sound of the organ and of Liam’s angry declamations.

    The main body of the suite more or less follows the pattern of the previous cemeterial ballads in the sense that something different is going to happen tempo-wise towards the end. However instead of accelerations, the final part of this beautiful dark ballad hosts an achingly haunting guitar solo and experiences a progressive slowing down of the pace which suggests that the blasphemous rite is coming to an end. …
    Is it dawn what is coming?

    I enjoyed the blend of dark, nasty atmospheres and the glimpses of nature in Black Magician’s album. They reminded me a bit of that awesome pictorial Disney version of Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain that fascinated me so much when I was a child.
    But, primarily, Black Magician hooked me by their powerful stream of basic, raw, pristine Doom, the same that haunted me when, again as a child in the early 70’s, first heard Black Sabbath. Black Magician are a young band with a huge talent expressed in this fine debut album. They are also a lucky band that met people and labels able and willing to support their talent so early in their career.
    Lee Dorrian’s quotation in Liam’s vocals is so strong that it is almost shameless, or better fearless, as blind faith can be, blind faith in Doom ...

    Liam has a tremendously powerful voice which is perfect for the declamatory chanting style he adopted. However I would be curious to hear his impressive voice also in a more personal chanting style, because I have the feeling that he would sound awesome … The band have already done a great work on their music by making it so close to the Masters yet quite personal. So it would be interesting to see where some further work on vocal styles would bring the band in the future. Well, this is just my opinion and my curiosity and it may not be shared by many.

    Black Magician’s “Nature is the Devil’s Church” is out now through Shaman Recordings and Burning World/Roadburn Records.Shaman Recordings is providing 300 copies on sacrificial blood red (obviously ) vinyl plus digital download card, whereas Burning World is handling the CD version. The album was was recorded and mixed at Full Stack Studio and mastered by Tony Reed (just after his work on the new Saint Vitus album).

    A few days ago I read that Black Magician have been added to the bill of this year’s edition of the DUBLIN DOOM DAYS Festival that will take place in a few days, on the 28th and 29th September 2012. I couldn’t be more selfishly pleased about this news as I shall be attending this awesome festival and I can’t wait to take part to Black Magician’s occult prayer sessions …

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Black Magician - 'Full Plain I See, The Devil Knows How To Row' - Video

    Black Magician | Facebook
    Black Magician | Official Website Coming Soon  
    Shaman Recordings
    Roadburn Records
    Dublin Doom Days Festival | Facebook

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    The college radio station where I DJ has a bin of promo CDs marked free. And this sounds great, but when I dig through the crate I’m reminded of the time my dad came home with leftovers and offered me a Styrofoam box, which I opened, only to find meatless rib bones.  But last week in that free bin I found more than the proverbial gristle on one of them bones. I came across “Down A River” by Dinosaur Eyelids. Now, the fact that Dinosaur was in the name hinted at heaviness, but who knows, they could have been using it ironically and actually been some freak folk outfit. Thankfully, they’re not. The Lids, as they call themselves remind me of Roadsaw, carved up by MTV’s Buzzbin. They take stoner rock and strain it through a nineties alternative filter and come up with an album that is more hit than miss.

    The nineties influences are in full force on “Show Me Your Way Out” which sounds like a lost Toadies outtake. But the clean guitars of those polished alternative rock records are roughed up a bit and you know these guys were listening to some of their dad’s records. “Paranoid Schizophrenia” is a full bore stoner rock track, with lyrics like “You don’t pay rent when you live in the sky/you don’t fear death when you’ve already died” gargled over thick guitars and some nice drums. “Across the Sea” slows things down a bit and is a fair representation of the slower songs on the album, of which there are a few. These might not appeal to all fuzz heads, but they never come off like the worst of those balladry alternative bands.

    If the guys in Lids grown their hair out and scruff up a bit they might find themselves on Tee Pee or Small Stone. Check them out now and you can say I’ve been listening to them since… “Down A River” came out in 2011 but they’ve got a new CD coming out in the fall of 2012.  Oh, and Dean Ween approves so they got that going for them, which is nice.

    Words: Justin Gish

    Official Website

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    I recall a scene towards the end of the movie "The Perfect Storm", after the ship has sunk for the last time. One lone sailor is left floating in the middle of colossal waves and raging winds, totally enveloped by nature's wrath and awaiting his inevitable death. The music created by Abstracter here makes the listener feel like they are that sailor...a tiny, insignificant speck, being absorbed by something much larger and more powerful.

    "Tomb of Feathers" is absolutely IMMENSE and one of the most powerful releases I have heard this year. Words can't describe how massive these three huge tracks are, clocking in at about 40 minutes total. Epic sludge is a meager description but comes close. The songs here are based on relatively simple riffs...but what great riffs they are. And how they build and build, carrying you along like a piece of bark through raging rapids.

    Opening cut "Walls That Breathe" starts dark and moody, with hooks that sink in deep and roaring vocals. It just intensifies and intensifies, not changing course much, but shifting slightly as it rolls along. It's a great track in itself, but the least of the three on offer here. "To Vomit Crows" has a more aggressive, chugging feel...sludgier and thicker. The riffs are MONSTROUS and the track has a clever change in flow a little more than half way through that elevates it to another level. There are also some depressing clean vocals, somewhat similar to the moaning of Windhand, that appear.

    The best is saved till last with the monumental "Ash". This is my favorite song of 2012. It might just be one of my top ten of all time. I wish I could properly do it starts with a great "true doom" feel, then gives way to one of the most bestial bass chugs you'll ever hear and explodes into soaring, majestic riffing. It is so simple but so effective. Then it drops to a more melodic, post-metal kind of sound that builds and builds once more, until more crushing sludge Nirvana is reached. A truly transcendental track, one that shames many more famous and well known bands.

    One comparison I feel I can make with justification is YOB, but a thicker and sludgier YOB. That's not something I tossed in for shit and giggles, but high praise, which is well deserved. This is an album you must seek out.

    Words: Dr. Mality ( Wormwood Chronicles )


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    Oakland, CA heavy metal juggernaut HIGH ON FIRE has announced a full North American tour in support of its new album De Vermis Mysteriis. The eagerly anticipated run -- the band's first since the release of the new LP -- will kick off on November 15 in Austin, TX and is slated to run through December 22 in San Francisco, CA. Support on the HIGH ON FIRE headlining tour will come from Goatwhore and Lo Pan with special guests Primate (featuring Mastodon's Bill Kelliher and Kevin Sharp of Brutal Truth) joining the trek from November 23 to December 1 and Corrosion of Conformity hopping on the caravan from December 18-21. Simply put, HIGH ON FIRE will hit the road with all guns blazing for what will undoubtedly be one of 2012's best heavy music tours!

    On December 20 at the Mayan in Los Angeles, HIGH ON FIRE will headline a special "Power of the Riff" show that will also feature COC and Sunn O)))).  For more details, visit this location.  

    HIGH ON FIRE fall North American tour:

         (all dates include Goatwhore & Lo Pan)
         (Nov. 23 - Dec. 1 also includes Primate)
         (December 18-21 also includes COC)

         November 15      Austin, TX                     Emo's
         November 16      San Antonio, TX          Korova
         November 17      Dallas, TX                    Tree's
         November 19      New Orleans, LA        One Eyed Jacks
         November 20      Pensacola, FL             Vinyl Music Hall
         November 21      Savannah, GA             Jinx
         November 23      Washington, DC         Rock & Roll Hotel
         November 24      Boston, MA                   Sinclair
         November 26      Toronto, ON                 Opera House
         November 27      Montreal, QC                La Tulipe
         November 28      Portland, ME                 Port City Music Hall
         November 29      Philadelphia, PA          Union Transfer
         November 30      New York, NY                Bowery Ballroom
         December 1        Brooklyn, NY                  Music Hall of Williamsburg
         December 3        Buffalo, NY                     Mohawk
         December 4        Cleveland, OH              Grog Shop
         December 5        Columbus, OH              Ace Of Clubs
         December 6        St. Louis, MO                 Firebird
         December 7        Chicago, IL                    Double Door
         December 8        Minneapolis, MN           Turf Club
         December 9        Madison, WI                   High Noon
         December 10      Kansas City, MO           The Riot Room
         December 11      Denver, CO                    Bluebird
         December 13      Boise, ID                        Neurolux
         December 14      Seattle, WA                    Neumos
         December 15      Portland, OR                 Dante's
         December 16      Vancouver, BC              Venue
         December 18      Santa Cruz, CA             The Catalyst
         December 19      San Diego, CA              Brick By Brick
         December 20      Los Angeles, CA          Mayan  (* Power of the Riff w/ COC, Sunn O))) )
         December 21      Santa Ana, CA              Observatory
         December 22      San Francisco, CA       Slims 

          HIGH ON FIRE just unleashed the first music video from De Vermis Mysteriis, for the potent new track "Fertile Green".  Described as the "wildest video in heavy metal history", "Fertile Green" was directed, animated and edited by Phil Mucci (Passion Pit, Islands) and is a described as "frantic psychedelic experience" that expands on De Vermis Mysteriis' deeply mystical undercurrent and story of "the Christ Twin", combining scenes of the past and future with "the story of Balteazeen's sacrifice to the Oracle of Green."  Check out the VICE premiere of HIGH ON FIRE's WILD "Fertile Green" video NOW at this location! 

    HIGH ON FIRE's De Vermis Mysteriis 

    About HIGH ON FIRE:
    Universally recognized as one of the most potent acts in music today, HIGH ON FIRE creates modern heavy metal that merges primal fury and aggression, hesher bombast and hall of fame heaviness.  Described as "a supersonic exercise in conquest by volume," HIGH ON FIRE has rewritten the hard rock rule book since its formation in 1998, forging a style and sound that is both critically celebrated and absolutely unique.  The group features vocalist and cult guitar hero Matt Pike -- also a founding member of the famed underground band SLEEP -- along with drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz.  Pike was named as one of Rolling Stone's "New Guitar Gods" and is one of rock's most charismatic figures. HIGH ON FIRE's latest album De Vermis Mysteriis was released on April 3, 2012. 
         HIGH ON FIRE is available to speak with interested media now. To chat with the band, simply contact Carl Schultz @ ACTION! PR via any of the means listed below. Updated news and tour information will be made available via HIGH ON FIRE online (website / facebook / twitter) and ACTION! PR online (website / facebook / twitter).

         "High on Fire sounds rejuvenated, as if it's conquering the world all over again...Without fail, this no-BS stoner-metal band delivers yet another skull-bashing record, in the process challenging the metal world at large." - NPR

         "a beautiful, untamable kind of band" - THE NEW YORK TIMES

         "music heavy enough to unbalance the Earth's rotation...Pike is one of the best guitarists you will ever the best live bands you will ever see." - CHICAGO TRIBUNE

    Source: Action PR

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    BATTLEROAR: I’ve seen them many times but yesterday wasn’t one of those times… I missed the chance to see them with the singer of SACRED STEEL as guest vocalist! Most people hate that guy’s voice but I really love his tone since I first heard him back in “Reborn in Steel” album. The whole idea sounded appealing but I couldn’t be there on time. I doubt there was any deviation from the band’s high quality performances. If you are into the Epic Heavy Metal stuff then you simply owe to know who BATTLEROAR are. Check them out here.

    GRAND MAGUS: By the time the band appeared on stage, there were enough people in the club but in no way enough to justify the label of a new, hot name in the metal scene. JB appeared on stage with a new look which resembled a thinner, more bad-ass version of Santa Clause. With the first notes of the theme from the movie “Conan, The Barbarian” I knew what was in store. It is rare to see such power being unleashed upon the crowd. The sound was near CD quality and the three-piece gave an excellent performance (although JB’s lines between the songs could have been smarter).

    O.K. now let’s come to the bad stuff! I consider GRAND MAGUS a band that is as close as possible to the term contemporary Metal Gods. I might not completely dig what they play lately but that’s a different story. Yesterday, the band played as headliners. Yet, they gave a clean (without talking, intros etc.) 60 minutes show! Wow! These guys have 6 solid albums but they completely neglected their early stuff (which are legendary for a respectable portion of the crowd and not just me) and they barely remembered to play enough from their last record (3 songs if I remember correctly). I think with this kind of appearances you can never become “Big”. I may sound bitter now, but I’ll say it: JB and Fox repeatedly stated how cool the Greek audience is and how much they love us. If so, why couldn’t rehearse and play 2-3 songs more?

    In the end of the day, GRAND MAGUS proved with their music that they are a huge band but they did not justice to themselves with their setlist.

    Words: Dr Doom Metal ( Dr Dooms Lair )

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    Gothic/doom metal band Draconian has announced through their official sources that the search for a new singer has ended. Joining their ranks is Heike Langhans, a South African singer. She will replace Lisa Johansson, who left the band last year.

    This is the band's statement: "It has been nearly a year since last we braced the stages and said our goodbyes to Lisa. We had no intent of collecting dust and taking up old man's hobbies, so we set out to find a new female singer. For a band such as Draconian, this is no easy task and quite possibly the reason it has taken what seems to be ages. We thank our friends and fans greatly for their patience and a great thanks to everyone who took the time to apply for the position. We rifled through more than a hundred applications from countries far and wide and ended up finding a suitable singer in the most unexpected country of them all."

    "The Horde is pleased to announce our newest member, Heike Langhans - all the way from South Africa. She has since relocated to Sweden in order to join the band and has fit it superbly. She's a true doomster at heart and brings an even greater emotional flair to our sound. Our journey thus continues and writing for the new album has already begun. As Fall approaches, we ready ourselves for some serious rehearsal, recording and tour planning. We look forward to seeing you all out there again!"

    A few words from the lady herself: "Greetings to all, I will start off by saying that Lisa will be dearly missed. Replacing a voice such as hers is a concept foreign to most fans, myself included. I've listened to Draconian for many years and share the same sentiments as you do. She will never be forgotten and we wish her well for the future.

    That being said, this is a new era for Draconian and one to look forward to. My joining has not been an easy process. Dealing with Embassies, Migration boards and countless authority figures has delayed the joining process slightly, but we do what we can and remain patient. All in the name of doom.

    The last few months have been busy indeed. Traveling back and forth, rehearsing and getting to know my new surroundings has been exciting and hard work. I used to believe it can't be done, but I've proved to myself and others that everything we are passionate about in life is worth fighting for.

    As a new member, I have prepared myself for the positive as well as the negative, but would like to thank all the kindness I've received so far from fans upon the release of Draconian's 'Lake of Tears' tribute song, 'Demon you/Lilly Anne'. Though my part in it was not big, it's a little taste of things to come. I'm immensely excited to share a stage with these like-minded individuals and to touch the hearts of people all over the world with our musical poetry.

    I'll see you all soon! From my heart to yours, Heike."

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    If there is ever a country that produces predictable doom metal bands it is Russia/and or the Ukraine and if there was ever a label that releases predictable albums it is Solitude Productions. While the label has released some excellent death and funeral doom over the years, they also tend to release bands usually recycling the sounds of My Dying Bride and this is one of the worst examples. To be fair Embrace of Silence are not that bad but calling them predictable would be a understatement of mammoth proportions. I received this album the same day as I got the new My Dying Bride album and that just highlighted how much of a clone band this act really is.

    Embrace of Silence are not a throwaway band by any means and this album is certainly not a disaster in any shape or form but the death-doom cliché's are all here and 5 minutes into this album and you have heard the whole story. This is a My Dying Bride, Katatonia wannabee band providing some great playing but offering nothing that hasn't been done to death a million times already. On the positive side, the band do have a great dark atmosphere at work on 'Leaving the Place Forgotten by God' and it is hypnotic and enchanting in a predictable kind of way but that is where my interest ends with this release.

    Out of all the doom metal sub-genres, death and funeral doom along with stoner is the most copied approach to doom, but that is alright if a band puts their own identity into the songs. With this album, there seems to be nothing unique to be found. The playing is indeed great, the production is decent without being anything to write home about so it is down to the songs themselves and that is where it is lacking. For the most part, this album lacks spark, that magical element to set it apart from hundreds of other death doom acts. Occasionally some black metal is injected into the mix like what occurs in 'The Slave of Forgotten Graves' and that lifts the album up from being instantly forgettable but highlights like these are hard to find.

    Decently heavy guitar tones, chunky bass and solid drums meander along with a good blend of vocal approaches that give the album some color but if you have ever spent any time listening to My Dying Bride you will know what to expect with Embrace of Silence. The albums high-point doesn't come along till the last track 'I'm Your Jesus' but 'The Gates of Remembrance' and 'The Slave of Forgotten Graves' are also above-average songs. In the past the band have released two EP's and this is a step-up from those releases but they still have a long way to go if they are ever going to be seen as anything but yet another copy-cat band. Listenable but all too predictable to have a lasting impact.....5/10.


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    Update - Please don't give up yet with the donations, Ed is so close to getting out of this mess but the donations have dried up in the past week or so. Unfortunately Ed has no internet access to make this announcement and his hatred for begging for money means it is up to me to help the cause along by asking you, the loyal readers to reach into your pockets just a little bit more. There is light at the end of the tunnel but we are not getting there as fast as we would like. We appreciate every dime that has come our way but are still several hundred dollars away from our goal. Please help if you can...Sally.

    Ever heard that saying, "nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there" ? That has been my existence for the past 10 or so days. As you can see from the picture, my current view is quite nice but living in a tent loses its shine pretty damn quick but there is light at the end of this tunnel of torture and that I owe all to you, the readers.

    Through donations, I now have a glimmer of hope and I am about halfway there to getting a real roof over my head. The reality of the situation is I need another $800 or thereabouts and I will be able to find a house. I do work part-time so I will be able to come up with some of that cash myself but I can't do it alone.

    There are about 60 people who have donated and I would hate to forget someone so I won't name all those folks here. Instead I will contact each of you one-by-one over the coming week to give you an official thank-you.

    I have to give a special thank-you to Dr Mality from Wormwood Chronicles who came through with a very substantial donation which made all the difference but ALL of your donations are appreciated, no matter how small.

    I am tired of talking about this so this will be my last post on this till I actually move into somewhere I can call a real home. I could go into detail on some of my horrible experiences I have endured over the past couple of weeks but I won't, I know there are people worst off than me so I don't want to blow my own trumpet in that direction. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who was kind of enough to share a few dollars.

    PS: Donations have dried up just as it was looking good for moving into a house this week. Please help if you can, this situation needs to end. The graphic says "nearly homeless." Well there is no nearly homeless about it, he is shacked up in a tent and you can't get more homeless than that....Sally B


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  • 09/25/12--16:10: Slug Lord - "Slug Lord" ...
  • Do you ever wonder how bands come up with their names? What in hell is a Slug Lord anyway? Questionable band names aside, this band is another in a long-line of very good Finnish doom bands that seem to be taking over the world. Finland has to be the most prolific country in terms of the amount of doom it produces for its size but more importantly, the quality of its bands is up there with the very best of doom acts from around the world. Slug Lord are another Bandcamp discovery which further proves that Bandcamp is an incredible gold-mine for all things doom metal and stoner rock. As the name may hint at, Slug Lord are a fuzzy, THC influenced stoner-doom band that isn't big on originality but this EP does have one thing to set them apart from the hordes of other weed-metal bands and that is a awesome female vocalist in Johanna Rutto. She will get the obvious comparisons to Alia O'Brien from Blood Ceremony but I think she has just that little bit more charisma going for her but you can argue among yourselves on that one. This album or EP as the band calls it is a 6 track, 42 minute release that doesn't offer hardly any variation but that is not much of a issue because their simple yet brutally warm and fuzz-laden psychedelic doom riffing is infectious right from the first listen.

    What is lacking apart from the lack of originality is some spark in the sound. Guitars are heavy but you always get the feeling that they should be heavier given the context of the style they are putting out there for doomsters to hear. The guitar sound isn't lacking in fuzz but it doesn't have enough bottom end and even the bass seems a bit light-weight at times. The production is very good but the sound of the band raises some questions. Also as the 6 tracks cruise along at a mostly faster than usual stoner-doom pace there isn't any tracks that stand out but there is certainly no bad tracks either. Tracks like 'Gastropoda' and the ironically named 'Speeding' have more than enough killer riffage and memorable vocal lines to keep stoner-doom fans happy.

    Just a day before putting this review together, I was sent the news that Johanna Rutto is no longer in the band. I find this to be somewhat of a worry considering she is the bands most unique element and is what makes this EP just that bit memorable. I hope they find another vocalist of equal or greater substance because it is what makes this more than just another throwaway stoner-doom metal release. Fans of early Electric Wizard and the psychedelic occult/proto-doom sounds of bands like Blood Ceremony should find plenty to dig with this self-titled EP and if you want to talk potential..............yes this band has it. Smoke a bowl and give this a blast....7.5/10.


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    On August 29, conducted an interview with Jimmy Bower and Brian Patton of EYEHATEGOD at the Marquis Theater in Denver, Colorado. You can now watch the chat below.

    Between touring in EYEHATEGOD and their numerous affiliated projects, the band has been slowly stacking up new demo material to put towards an upcoming album. You may have heard a few songs in the band's live set as of late, including the recent staple "New Orleans Is The New Vietnam", which made its recorded debut via a seven-inch release on A389 Recordings. EYEHATEGOD released an official live DVD in March 2011 via MVD. Simply titled "Live", the 88-minute production features multi-camera footage from 2009 (Baltimore, Maryland) and 2010 (Cleveland, Ohio), with bonus clips from the last show of their 2010 European tour and videos never before released on DVD. Since forming in 1988, EYEHATEGOD has defied all odds and continues to exist and persist despite personal and professional setbacks. They've been called doomcore, sludge and stoner rock, survived line-up shuffles, label hassles and a short-lived split. And after more than two decades of creating some of the most corrosive, vile music known to man, EYEHATEGOD still hasn't lost the piss and vinegar that fueled it back in '88.

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    While promoting his "Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven And Hell With Black Sabbath" book at the end of last year, BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi spoke to Artisan News about his good friend, late LED ZEPPELIN drummer John Bonham, who as of today has been gone 32 years. In the clip below, Iommi recalled that the LED ZEPPELIN drummer was both good crazy and bad crazy — especially around motor vehicles. In a 2005 interview with "Sound of the Beast" author Ian Christe, Iommi revealed that he had studio tapes of BLACK SABBATH jamming with LED ZEPPELIN during the mid-1970s. "BLACK SABBATH used to jam with LED ZEPPELIN all the time." said the Birmingham-born Iommi. "We'd be trying to rehearse and they'd come interrupt us. I've got some tapes floating around the house."

    Speaking to Backpage Magazine last year, BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward stated about the infamous "Black Zeppelin" jam session rumored to have happened between SABBATH and LED ZEPPELIN during the 1970s, "It only happened on one occasion that ZEPPELIN and SABBATH were in the studio at one time, and I think it was in the mid-'70s. We were in sessions — I don't remember what album we were working on — but it all started when Bonzo [LED ZEPPELIN drummer John Bonham] comes into the studio and sits down at my drum kit and starts playing 'Supernaut'. That was one of our songs that he really liked. It escalated to a pretty crazy situation within about 30 minutes, because not only was Bonzo there, but Robert Plant and John Paul Jones were there as well. Jimmy [Page] wasn't there, but I wish he had been. And Bonzo was kickin' the crap out of my drum kit!" Ward laughed. "I can still hear him playing that intro on the hat, over and over.

    "Bonham's bass drum work, of course, was incredible," recalled Ward. "I played two bass drums, and they only let him play one in LED ZEPPELIN, so there he was playing two bass drums. 'Supernaut', I tell you, sounded like something from the hardcore bands of today, where they play two bass drums with such incredible speed. And you know, Bonzo was doing that easily. He was having a good time, playing two bass drums, and he was playing all the down beats and some quiet treble with all the high hats. So, he was playing 'Supernaut' with a whole different feel, all the while yelling 'Supernaut!' for pretty much the whole time. It was crazy, man."

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    This early autumn is full of ripe fruits. Here is another one! And not the last one …

    Retro-rock lovers, take note of another name, MAMONT, and of another date for some more cool stuff from rocking Sweden: September 28th 2012.

    A due premise - The Swedish label Ozium Records is one of those underground labels that are doing a cool work indeed for supporting and promoting their beloved music, i.e. stoner, fuzz and 70s retro-sounding psych /blues/ prog tunes, and the bands devoted to it.  (Ozium Records)
    Ozium Records has been therefore a great addiction to the panorama of the Scandinavian, first, and then international labels devoted to this scene. I say “international” because the label is continuously expanding its distro selection of albums by dirty hard rocking and fuzzy-loving underground bands from all over Europe and even from across the oceans. There’s a lot of research behind this expansion, research and endless curiosity by the folks behind this fine label.
    The appreciation and the success of this enterprise has encouraged the label in starting up its own roster of bands (Swedish bands, for the moment …) and producing their albums from the scratch.
    Lugnoro was the first band (see the post about their fine debut album  here.)

    Now it is time for another deed, a second band in the roster and another proud Ozium Records-tagged debut album out!
    The band is MAMONT, four rockers from Nyköping. The band is known to those of you who, for example, religiously follow Bill Goodman’s unfailing Daily Bandcamp suggestions out at The Soda Shop. Their self-titled EP earlier this year was a cool mouthful of Mamont’s style deeply rooted in and inspired by vintage rock of the roaring 70s, Black Sabbath, hard fuzzy stoner rock in the vein of Truckfighters and doped retro-rock à-la Witchcraft/Graveyard.

    So here we are: Mamont’s debut album “Passing Through the Mastery Door” will be out on September 28th 2012 via Ozium Records.
    A review will come soon.
    Please note that the release party will be on friday September 28th at KGB, Stockholm. There, and only there, it will be possible to buy one of the cool t-shirts bearing the jolly one-eyed mammoth on the album cover.
    If you are in Stockholm, don’t miss the event!

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Mamont | Facebook
    Mamont | Bandcamp
    Ozium Records Store

    MAMONT - Passing Through The Mastery Door - ALBUM TRAILER

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    Wizard Smoke are back ...
    There are not so many bands that are able to arise such a surge of enthusiasm with their very first utters as US, Atlanta-based, sludgy psych-doomsters Wizard Smoke bunch were able to do in recent years.
    With their killer couplet of 2009 album Live Rock in Hell and 2011 album The Speed of Smoke, this generous band battered your eardrums and cuddled your mind with their crushing blend of exquisite riff-based doom heaviness, groove-laden psychedelic atmospheres and desert rock swagger and strained, rough sludgy vocal aggression.  These five guys (Dan Nadolny, Matt Cherry, Sean Sawyer, James Halcrow and Dave) are back with a brand new EP that will tease your thirst and will make you ask for more!

    The Tickler EP includes just two songs, actually “suites”, Christian Cross, stretching across 10:31 minutes, and Old Snake, keeping you busy for the next 9:13 minutes.  Christian Cross is rather contrasting in its features. It starts with a dynamic, definitely up-tempo, hard-rocking pace which is a bit unexpected and very involving. But don’t count on this too much. Brakes are soon pulled and there we slide into Dooooom, a slow and dark kind of lysergic doom melody made for numbing your mind. Doom can sound mysterious but is never too dark with Wizard Smoke. There is always that psych and desert rock vibe in the background that enlightens the oppression of the downtuned guitars and the tortured vocals and adds much spacey atmosphere. The length of the track is needed for unfolding the numbing leading melody which progressively grows and dilates in intensity up to a peak, and then again plunges into doom and gloom. And you’ll do the same …

    Track “Old Snake” is another story. This song is drenched in dirty blues roughness and melancholy. The groovy swampy vibe, the fat riffs and James Halcrow’s singing performance will throw you straight into a smoke-filled pub smelling of stale beer and cheap whiskey, while your chopper is parked outside … You can’t keep from singing, ops, from shouting along with James in his drunken-sounding rage … Badass … But the end of this long track is accomplished by a beautiful, galloping retro desert-psych rock melody which is able to expand your mind. What happened? It is just you, back your chopper, riding free in the desert, your lungs filled with dry, pure air eventually …

    Wizard smoke's EP "The Tickler" will be available on Bandcamp starting from September 27th 2012  ...
    Keep the band's pages checked for the link!
    Then get into the stuff and enjoy it!
    And tell the band’s guys that more of this is needed  …

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Wizard Smoke | Facebook
    Wizard Smoke | Official Website
    Wizard Smoke | Big Cartel

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    Well Phil Anselmo promised a stripped down, rawer, back to basics Down release and that is pretty much what they have delivered. Raw production and a live atmosphere that has Anselmo even counting off the songs which further enhances the "live feeling" this EP has. To be honest Down are a band that I can go either way on and this isn't just a personal vanity thing, I really think they are a bit of a frustrating band to listen to at the best of times. They have always blended metal, doom, stoner, sludge and more mainstream rock approaches which is cool in itself but the blend doesn't always come off as memorable. I actually think sometimes the mish-mash of styles ends up being a bit of a pigs breakfast and doesn't produce memorable tunes you want to re-visit time and again. Having said that, Down do have a large fan-base so I guess I am missing something or so it seems.

    This EP with the title 'Down IV Part I: The Purple EP' is the closest they have came so far to re-producing the 'Nola' sound and feel. It is damn heavy, almost surprisingly heavy in parts and there are NO ballads or bluesy southern rock kind of numbers either. They also engage in some good old fashioned doom metal especially in the songs 'Misfortune Teller' which doesn't sound that much different to early Trouble while they seem to mirror early Cathedral in another track called 'The Curse.' Elsewhere the band have really got their groove on but at the same time, seem to be on auto-pilot producing tunes that are so predictable by Down standards, you almost don't need to hear them. If you can manufacture Down songs in your head, they would probably sound like these 6 tunes.

    As to be expected, the performances are excellent but you wouldn't expect anything less with a band that has Jimmy Bower, Kirk Windstein and Pepper Keenan, in the ranks. It is also a huge plus to have Pat Bruders in the band who is without a doubt one of the best bassists to ever walk the earth. Song-wise, the EP is solid but really only offers two possible Down classics, they being 'Misfortune Teller' and 'Open Coffins.' The rest of the EP is just a bit ho-hum and just a tad too much on the predictable side of the Down equation. The EP also has its fair share of irritating moments. Anselmo delivers a drunken sounding mumbling vocal from time to time but especially in 'Open Coffins' and while these passages are short-lived, they are more irritating than enjoyable.

    How much you are going to like this EP really comes down to whether you are already a fan or not. For the fan, this will satisfy but there is no way that this is going to create or build a even bigger fan-base because by Down quality-control standards, this is not much more than average. Out of the 33 minutes, 13 of those stand out as ear-catching, essential moments in Down's history but the other 20 minutes tend to leave no lasting impression. The raw, bare-boned approach is refreshing and it is hard not to appreciate the live vibe this EP has but again.....too much in the way of filler. Songs like 'The Curse' and 'The Work Is Timeless' seem instantly forgettable. Overall this EP does crush with a brutal intensity not heard from the band in a long time, so hard to complain about this too much but I can't get too excited about it either...7/10.

    The Official Down Website
    Down | Facebook

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