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    CONAN is one of the hottest names in the Doom scene. Their songs are long, slow and at times their volume may cause permanent damage on the ear drum. While someone could argue this style is a bit unfriendly for live shows CONAN have the reputation of a “live band”. Having witnessed one of their live shows myself I consent that their sound is nothing less than phenomenal. This year CONAN return with a live recording from their 2012 Roadburn performance. Jon Davis (vocals, guitar) has a few words to say about it…

    Dr.Doom: “Mount Wrath” was recently released in digital form! With just one full length album in your catalog someone would say it’s a bit early to record a live album…

    Jon Davis: I think it should count for something that we have released Horseback Battle Hammer and a split with Slomatics also. Horseback Battle Hammer was longer than Reign in Blood (widely recognised as a ‘full length album’) and our side of the split was around 17 minutes I believe. I’m not sure there is a universally recognized amount of output required before you release a live album but when we played at Roadburn in 2012 they recorded it (like they do with most sets) and then they asked us if we would like to release it as an album – I guess we’d be stupid to turn down such an opportunity. I’d agree with you if we were talking about a ‘Greatest Hits’ album, but I don’t think it’s such a big deal that we’ve released an album recorded live at this stage.

    Dr.Doom: It seems that you completely neglected songs from the split with SLOMATICS on that Roadburn show. Do you still play these songs live frequently?

    Jon Davis:We didn’t play them, obviously, but we had an hour to play a set and due to some problems making our way to the stage through the crowd and a couple of amp issues we had to play a slightly shorter set and therefore didn’t play Retaliator, which is a regular on our live shows. We don’t play Older Than Earth because it features a Moog synthesizer on the studio version, played by our bass player at the time (David Perry). We don’t use such an instrument now so don’t want to play a dumbed down version of the song, so have left it out of our set.

    Dr.Doom: While some of your songs are a bit “unfriendly” for lives shows, people always view you as a live band. In your opinion why is that?

    Jon Davis:I’m not sure people who come to a Conan show would view any of our songs as ‘unfriendly’, I’d hope they would expect us to play them the way we play them so I’m not sure how to answer this question. But I guess people view us as a live band because we actually make the effort to go out and play shows, big or small. We don’t just play the festivals and make the big bucks, we’ll play any show we want to if we are asked of course. That way a lot of people get to see us live and therefore our reputation as a live band will spread. Whether they think we are a ‘good’ live band is all down to the listener.

    Dr.Doom: Do you think that in studio it’s hard to capture the devastating amount of heaviness you are after?

    Jon Davis:It’s clearly difficult to capture a ‘live at a gig’ vibe on a studio album as a stereo can not put out the same amount of volume as a 4×12 guitar cab or a PA system rated at several thousand watts. We record with the same gear as we play live on stage so it will always sound authentic. We don’t use a studio’s fine equipment and then tour with shit amps as that would be weird. I think we do ok on record though, we seem to sound pretty heavy on record compared to most other bands so we’re happy with that.

    Dr.Doom: Would you ever consider recording live, one of your next albums instead of going to the studio?

    Jon Davis:No.

    Dr.Doom: It seems that Tony Roberts has become the standard artist of CONAN and this time returns with the crushing cover artwork even for a live record. Should we expect to see one of his works in your upcoming album?

     Jon Davis:Well we’ve always said openly that Tony Roberts is the perfect artist for us and that hasn’t changed. The artwork on this Live at Roadburn album is great, we love it. He is indeed working on a couple of things for us currently, t-shirt designs, and artwork for a new record. The new stuff looks just great so we can’t wait to see the final product.

     Dr.Doom: Since ELECTRIC WIZARD don’t care about playing heavy anymore several contenders for the title of “heaviest band on the universe” have appeared. I consider CONAN along with BLACK SHAPE OF NEXUS and SLOMATICS as the top ones. Who do you consider as the heaviest band right now?

    Jon Davis:We’ve been lucky enough to play with BSON and Slomatics and can attest to their heaviness live. Therefore, aside from those two bands, I’d say the two bands that have blown me away with their heaviness live is Ommadon (Scotland) and AHAB (Germany). Both play slightly different styles but they almost killed me with weight when I saw them.

    Dr.Doom: Would you ever consider sacrificing some of the musicianship of a song just for the sake of heaviness?

    Jon Davis:Personally I don’t make a conscious effort around how much ‘skill’ I put into writing a song. We, as a band, just get together and write what comes to mind and it has produced the stuff we’ve recorded so far so I guess the answer to this question is no.

    Dr.Doom: As I already know you have written most of the songs for the upcoming record. Any estimation on when this record will be released. Is there anything you can share about its direction?

    Jon Davis:We have three tracks recorded currently as demo’s and already have earmarked areas for change. We have also got a couple of songs being formed currently. We’ll be back writing properly once we get our latest tour out of our system. In terms of direction, it’s hard to say because we don’t see it as going in any particular ‘direction’ – we aren’t steering it at anything in particular. However, we’re impressed so far with how heavy the songs sound and are happy with the ideas that have gone into each track. We’ll write the best songs we can and record them the best we can and then after that it’s up to anyone who listens to it.

    Dr.Doom: John McNulty is a classic heavy metal figure on stage. What is his impact on the band songwriting-wise and back when he joined the band was his adaptation hard?

    Jon Davis:John McNulty left the band in 2010 but I guess you mean Phil Coumbe? (Edit Dr.Doom: Yeap, apologies!) Phil has been great since he joined and his adaptation was actually very easy. He played Damnation Festival within a few weeks of joining so I guess that was a baptism of fire. Paul and I get on great with him and he’s a good friend as well as band mate now.

    Dr.Doom: What are your goals for 2013?

    Jon Davis:2013 so far has been great, we’ve recorded a track for a split with Bongripper, we’ve just come home from a 2 week tour in Europe and we have some shows in Finland and the UK and Denmark lined up. Our goals aside from that are to finish building a recording and practice studio at my new house (CLICK HERE) and to get the album written and recorded.

    Dr.Doom: It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Before we close…CONAN, what is best in life?

    Jon Davis:No problem, likewise. I’d say the best thing in life right now is a good night’s sleep because right now I am fucked.

    Interview By Dr Doom Metal (Dr Dooms Lair)

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    Alright let's see what we have here.....

    Songs with occult-based themes - check.
    A female vocalist in the vein of Grace Slick and Janis Joplin - check.
    Tempos that barely get above the pace of a snail on downers - check.
    Songs that seem to run their course in 3 to 4 minutes but insist on carrying on for another 5 regardless - check.
    Heavily distorted guitars and vocals drowning in psychedelic effects - check.

    As you might have guessed by now, High Priest of Saturn play stoner doom in the vein of 'Dopethrone' era Electric Wizard and despite the overwhelming predictable nature of their tunes, do it well. However they use every stonerized metal trick in the book that frankly was already done to death years ago.

    This is a typical "turn out the lights, drop acid, smoke copious amounts of weed and it probably sounds amazing kind of album." But what happens if don't have access to such kinds of music enhancements? Well the truth is you may find this album a bit dull. I am not condoning taking drugs to listen to music (you shouldn't have to do that to enjoy any music) but it would certainly help when it comes to a release like this one.

    The band released a great demo in 2011 so expectations were pretty high for this album so overall this is a disappointment. There is much to like about this however. There are great riffs and the vocals of 'Merethe Heggset' are engaging at times but songs go on and on and on some more without ever changing pace, direction or atmosphere. There is the addition of organ but again it is used in a frustratingly predictable way and it doesn't enhance the songs much at all. In-fact it tends to kill the atmosphere at times which I am sure was the complete opposite of its original intention. I don't want to dwell on song lengths as really long songs are part of the whole doom metal experience but HPOS just bleed everything to death to the point where a few minutes of this album is all you need to hear. A few minutes into the opening track 'Protean Towers ' and you have heard the entire album as nothing changes.

    The band work hard to create a kind of surreal, metaphysical psychedelic doom and on that level, it all works but four songs at over 9 minutes each that don't really progress is a bit ordinary. If this album had of come out 15 years ago, we would be falling over ourselves to sing its praises but it is now 2013 and this kind of doomy product is now officially burned out. Fans who still love repetitive psychedelic doom a-la early Electric Wizard will dig it enough to warrant repeated spins of the disc but if they want to attract a bigger audience than just a small group of stoner-doomsters, they will need to start adding some variation to their songs.......6.5/10.


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    For many doom fans the home of doom is and always has been the UK and with good reason. The amount of doom bands coupled with a long and colorful history of bands pushing the heavy envelope has been well documented. You may have heard of a little band from the early 70's called Black Sabbath that started it all. But it not only the rich history of the UK scene, it is also the quality factor. There is a certain class that most UK bands have that very few bands in the rest of the world's doom bands struggle to meet. Pombagira have now released 5 albums in the 8 years of their existence and like so many UK bands, they don't seem to be able to do anything wrong. One of the key ingredients to the continuing high standard this band keep on attaining is their colorful, progressive, space-rock and psychedelic influences that seamlessly interweaves between their crushing doom riffage and suffocating atmospheres and moods.

    While the band is well and truly a "doom" band, they also have the psychedelic and proggy elements perfected. This album is extremely heavy, no question but there is also an English quirkiness that is closer to early Pink Floyd, King Crimson and even Caravan than it is a Electric Wizard or a Moss. The band is a heavy-duty doom act and are far from an easy listen - this release only has 2 tracks 'Maleficia Lamiah' and 'Grave Cardinal' and both are around the 20 minute mark! The band have all the distorted LSD-drenched guitar riffs that many other stoner-doom bands have but that is where the obvious elements end. This band mixes stoner-doom with sonic experimentations and a jam-rock sensibility that is soaked in atmosphere. The album may have 2 tracks but it seems like it is more like one track split into 2 sections. Often times with this album it is easy to forget where track one ends and track two starts as the two effortlessly bleed together.

    This is certainly a "headphone-lovers" delight with orgasmic guitar textures and a wonderful layered sound. There is nothing repetitive about the album which is another bonus when you have tracks as long as these two and the vocals are a melodic wonder. The album in some ways is an enigma. On the one hand it is as crushing in its guitar, distorted heaviness as one would expect with a band like Pombagira but at the same time it has a warm, mystical quality that reminded me of some of Uriah Heep's more ethereal moments. Name dropping aside, this band is very original and while there is a serious 70's hard prog flavor to this album, nothing about this seems like it has been recycled from somewhere else.

    Along with the crushing guitar work, there is organ that washes over the listener (another reason this sounds great through headphones) and the entire album seems concise despite its trippy improvisations. Fans of the band won't find too many surprises but it is not just more of the same either. The band seems able to come up with something fresh with each mind-blowing release and so this is another must-have from a band that shows no signs of slowing down. Great album.....9.5/10.

    Pombagira | Facebook

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    Italy has been a important home to doom metal for decades now and while Italian bands don't get the same attention as their US and UK counterparts, there is no denying how strong their scene is. Tiresia Raptus is a band I want to call a "super-group given the fact the band has members from Doomraiser and Blackland in their ranks. However whether this short release can pass as doom metal release is questionable. The self-titled release is sure as hell gloomy and dark but the 7 songs lean towards a 70's hard proggy rock style more-so than anything within the realms of doom metal but it has one big thing going for it and that is variety. No 2 songs sound the same on this and the colorful way different instrumentation weaves in and out of these tunes keeps this very enjoyable and intriguing. Also unique is the band has 7 members and so that is something unusual.

    Starting with 'Whales' and 'Memorie Del Sottosuolo,' the album or is it a EP gets off to lets say a less than spectacular start. Both tracks are solid ('Whales' is basically just a intro) but par for the course for anyone experienced in the ways of occult rock and 70's proto-metal sounds. However enter track three and the band hit their stride and the release is very good from this moment onwards with 'Raptus' and 'Guardiano Della Soglia' sticking out as two of the albums major high-points. I must point out that this is psychedelic and certainly on the trippy side of the heavy music spectrum. There are waves of organ crashing onto the shores of old-school Pentagram-ish sounding riffing that is laced with effects to give it that extra-psych rock flavor.

    This release is not as heavy as one may expect given the people involved in the project but it is a curious piece of work. The atmosphere is one of horror and suspense with small amounts of weirdness entered into it but that is in-line with the great traditions of the Italian prog-rock scene. This is indeed proggy in the Italian 70's rock tradition and like all good prog, songs never stay the same for long. Changes in tempos, moods and instrumentation occur during most of the albums playing time and quite often, these changes in pace and direction come very unexpectedly. There is really only one problem with this worth mentioning and that is it feels incomplete. The total playing time is only 31 minutes but it also seems incomplete in other ways too. About half of the tunes seem like there is another verse waiting in the wings but the tracks always die out before getting there and overall the band seem a little unsure of what kind of band they are trying to be. This is doom, prog, occult-rock, traditional metal, psychedelic and horror-laced but it also has a strong euro-goth rock sound in places. That makes for a constantly engaging release but it also seems a bit confused and disjointed.

    At its best, this is another great Italian occult/doom/70's hard prog release but it seems 10-20 minutes and a few ideas short of being an essential album. However trying to find something to hate about this is impossible for yours truly. This album won't be stealing the limelight from albums like Doomraiser's 'Erasing the Remembrance' anytime soon but as a debut release from the band, it is still damn good and worthy of your attention....7.5/10


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    Thanks to John putting together this little interview with stoner-metallers Mothership. Enjoy...

    Kyle - Bass/vocals
    Kelley - Guitar/Vocals
    Judge - Drums

    Could you tell us how Mothership got together, where did the members of the band meet?

    Kyle: Mothership started about 3 years ago when me and my little brother Kelley stopped playing with our previous band. We had quite a bit of material written and began the writing process to some of the songs that ended up on our debut album. We asked our father John to play drums so we could start playing as soon as possible, we recorded a 3 song demo and within a few months of starting Mothership we were playing cover shows at biker bars and working in original sets here and there. Judge joined the band at the end of 2011 and has been with us since.I met Judge at a bar in Lewisville, TX and had seen him play drums for multiple bands out on the town. He was a perfect match for us and has become another brother.

    The band has a new album released-will there be a tour?

    We will be touring with Gypsyhawk (Metal blade Records) starting on March 8th, 2013 until April 5th, 2013. The name of the tour is "March Out Of Winter Tour". The Gypsyhawk guys are brothers of ours and we are stoked they are having us out on the road with them, they just finished a killer tour with The Sword and we are pumped for this little run with them. We are also in works of planning a few more tours that will span across different parts of the U.S. from May through August.

    What bands have influenced you? Would you call the band Doom metal or hard rock? are you guys fans of the stoner and doom metal scene?

    Kyle: The band is definitely more hard rock than doom metal, although I have lot of respect for the doom and have hints of some doom in a few of our most recent creations, but we no doubt come across more hard and heavy. I love the whole "Stoner"/ "Doom" scene although I consider most bands in these genres to be heavy rock bands, some heavier than others, and some fuzzier than others. It's still rock music no matter how you look at it or what name people dub the music this day in time. Fact of the matter is, if most of these bands played 30+ years ago they would be considered heavy metal or heavy rock. My top influences would have to be Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, ZZ Top, Deep Purple and of course Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin...but that's a given.

    Kelley: Sabbath, ACDC, Hendrix, Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Maiden, Blue Cheer, ZZ Top, UFO, Metallica, and Wishbone Ash. If its killer riffs and good vocals but not too redundant I am into it no matter what the music "genre" is considered. Screaming or monotone vocals not so much.

    Judge: I'm influenced by a all kinds of bands, from all over the world, but I've always had a special place for Texas Music. Pantera, ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson, etc. Growing up I really felt a sense of pride that these guys were from the same place I was. I'm a fan of good music. Subgenres arent for me. If it's good, I jam it.

     Any new bands that Mothership champions in stoner/ doom metal scene?

    Kyle: There are so many good bands I come across everyday thanks to zines like yours and Bill Goodman's over at The Soda Shop, but it's almost impossible to name them all. Some of my current favorites at this time are Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, Orchid, Orange Goblin, Goatsnake, Graveyard, and the new Egypt.

    Kelley: Orchid, Wo Fat, Earthless, The Atomic Bitchwax, Serpents Throne, Priestess, Nebula, Orange Goblin, Red Fang, The Sword

    Judge: Texas bands like Venomous Maximus, Scorpion Child, American Sharks, Eagle Claw, The Sword are all getting recognition and are all awesome dudes which is badass. Graveyard, Orchid, Witchcraft, Red Fang
    come to mind off the top of my head.

    What are the band's members doing when not writing music or recording?

    Kyle: Working on booking the next tour or show, enjoying the company of good folk in a bar while drinking a nice whiskey, going to see shows every chance I get, and of course record shopping.

    Kelley: I am usually chilling at home or at the tattoo shop. Playing guitar, computer games, listening to records, cooking or trying to score at record stores and thrift stores / Antique stores.

    Judge: Going to shows locally.

    Is the band interested in magic and the occult as a band like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath was?

    Kyle: There is definitely an element of magic or the unknown that interests me. I am more into how the universe works and what lies beyond the stars and into other galaxies. I don't dwell to much on the occult side of things. The heaven and hell war is always something interesting to think about it though.

    Kelley: When I read things on the subject like Aleister Crowleys magick or the Illuminati I find that stuff interesting but its not my cup of tea. If I stumble on some information ill read it but that is the extent of getting into it.

    Judge: That shit is cool, and I dig alot of the bands that are into it, but I don't think it defines our band in any way. We're space nerds.

    Any band side projects so far?

    Be on the look out for Titanoboa

    What lies in the band's future?

    Touring on and off until August, writing new material for the next album, working on a cool little special release we will be putting out at the end of this year if all goes according to plan, and preparing for our next invasion.

    Interview By John Wisniewski


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    "They’re like the best parts of Mastodon crossed with Motörhead. Yeah… that good."
    Gun Shy Assassin

    "Bludgeoning, catchy… Beastwars leave an immediate, lasting impression. This is far too good to be limited to just Down Under."
    MSN Metal

    "Beastwars make music that’s as much an assault on the senses as it is an assault on nature… these dudes are playing heavy tunes for heavy times."
    ALARM Magazine

    "To say that the band has captured the heart of New Zealand's metal fraternity would be an understatement; Beastwars have collected souls."
    Heavy Metal

    BEASTWARS – Blood Becomes Fire – 19 April 2013

    In 2011, sludge metallers Beastwars transformed New Zealand's heavy music scene with their internationally acclaimed, multi-award-nominated debut. On 19 April 2013, the Wellington-based four-piece return with their highly anticipated new album, Blood Becomes Fire.

    Abiding by Beastwars' own steadfast maxim, 'Obey the Riff', Blood Becomes Fire features 10 songs that serve witness to the end of days, told through the eyes of a dying traveler from another time.

    "It's a reflection on mortality, death and disease. Sooner or later they come for all of us," says vocalist Matt Hyde.

    "It’s a heavy album, both sonically and lyrically," says drummer Nathan Hickey, "but what solidifies it are the triumphant 'fuck yeah' riffs. To us, this music is like getting psyched up to go into battle. You could be at war with yourself, or someone else."

    Following a successful collaboration on Beastwars' debut, Blood Becomes Fire was co-produced, recorded and mixed by Dale Cotton (HDU, Die! Die! Die!), mastered in California by John Golden (Neurosis, Swans, High on Fire), and features the art of Weta Workshop's award-winning Nick Keller—whose mind-melting gatefold oil paintings depict a twisted world inspired by the aural artillery within.

    Beastwars formed in 2007, and their self-titled debut was released in 2011. It went in at #15 on the national charts, was shortlisted for the Taite Music Prize and nominated twice at 2011's New Zealand Music Awards, was a successful vinyl release, and topped Bandcamp's most downloaded lists.

    Beastwars' reputation as a commanding live act has been secured with sold-out shows on multiple nationwide tours, and the band was hand-picked to support acts such as High On Fire, the Melvins, Kyuss Lives!, Kylesa, Black Cobra and Fu Manchu on their New Zealand tour dates.

    Streaming audio sample and limited edition pre-order merch bundles of Blood Becomes Fire are available now at  Bloodbecomesfire.Com. These include 100 gold and red split colour LPs with gatefold art, which come with custom Beastwars guitar picks.

    Following the release of Blood Becomes Fire, Beastwars will tour Australia and New Zealand supporting John Garcia's post-Kyuss band, Unida, before headlining their own shows in May.

    1. Dune
    2. Imperium
    3. Tower of Skulls
    4. Realms
    5. Rivermen
    6. Caul of Time
    7. Ruins
    8. Blood Becomes Fire
    9. Shadow King
    10. The Sleeper

    Clayton Anderson – Guitar
    Nathan Hickey – Drums
    Matt Hyde – Vocals
    James Woods – Bass


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    Relapse Records this week officially welcomes Richmond, Virginia’s masters of ethereal doom metal, WINDHAND, to the label’s roster, having signed the quintet for the release of their forthcoming LP.
    Stated the members of WINDHAND in response to their joining forces with the Relapse horde, "We're all so honored to be in the company of so many amazing artists. To know that our next record will be alongside some of the albums that inspired us to play music is pretty incredible.” WINDHAND has begun laying down tracks for the to-be-named upcoming LP in their home studio, The Darkroom, where the outfit will record and mix the entire album, and deliver it to Relapse for a Fall 2013 release date. More details will be made available as the album nears release.

    Having formed in 2008 in the fertile Richmond, Virginia musical underground, WINDHAND’s incredible, organic style of low-end doom and trancelike occult/ethereal vocals helped the band catch immediate attention well beyond the region, drawing comparisons to everything from Electric Wizard and Pallbearer to The Devil’s Blood and Blood Ceremony. Continuous live shows and US tours have seen them share the stage with notable acts including Pallbearer, Tragedy, Balaclava, Iron Tongue, Bastard Sapling, Pilgrim, Elder, Pentagram, Sourvein, The Gates of Slumber, Graveyard, Thrones, Mares of Thrace, Coffinworm, Across Tundras, Primitive Weapons among countless others.

    In the meantime, Reflection Of The Negative, a split album with WINDHAND and local scene brethren and now labelmates COUGH, will see release via Relapse in mid-April. COUGH leads off, delivering a characteristically electrifying down-tuned epic track, while their brethren in WINDHAND serve up two brand new epic songs for their half of the dirge, in the end bearing nearly forty minutes music from two prime acts in the contemporary doom/sludge circuit. An album trailer and preorders for the split LP are available here.

    To check out WINDHAND music, live footage and more, ENTER HERE.

    Stay tuned for more recording and live updates on WINDHAND over the coming months. For Relapse Records artist coverage requests, in North/South America contact, in Europe contact, or for the UK.

    WINDHAND Lineup:
    Asechiah Bogdan - guitars
    Dorthia Cottrell - vocals
    Parker Chandler - bass
    Ryan Wolfe - drums
    Garrett Morris - guitars

    Windhand | Bsndcamp
    Windhand | Facebook
    Relapse Records | Bandcamp
    Relapse Records | Facebook

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    Some music, some albums are able to induce something like the Stendhal Syndrome to those who are going to write about them. These pieces of art are so charming, so crushing, so magic, so involving that you just feel paralyzed by beauty and words seem inadequate compared to the experience of listening to the music straightaway.

    A more effective way for dealing with such albums would to be take a photo of one’s own skin with goose bumps, the kind of photo posted on social networks for showing one of the physiological effects of music when it is really good.  Ouroboros Collapsing, the new album by New York-based sludge-doom band Archon causes goosebumps.

    Definitely. For more than 47 minutes. And the phenomenon is recurrent, every time you approach the album after the first time. Moreover this album is addictive. You feel the need to go back to it and listen to one of four suites in it, caskets of mammoth heavy sounds, awesome doom riffs and majestic atmospheres. Ouroboros Collapsing is magnificent. For me at least.

    And I should close like this, after copying and pasting the links for streaming and getting hold of the album, for those who might have, incredibly, missed this breathtaking release so far. But obviously I can’t and I won’t stop my ranting here …

    Eh, cool performances are nothing new with Archon, a relatively young band but involving experienced musicians related to several other fine acts of the US sludge-doom metal scene like Agnosis, Tides Within, Alkahest, Queen Elephantine, Nevertanezra etc. . I was among the many who had been haunted by this heavy band since back in 2010 when they released their cool split with Old One and especially their début full-length album, Ruins At Dusk (see HERE). That monumental, and somehow controversial, album collected the first utters of a gorgon-like ultra-doom/sludge monster involving up to seven  different musicians fluidly contributing to the album (music, chanting, lyrics, recording, …) with their personal style.  The four long tracks of the début album had featured up to four different guitar players and four different vocal contributions in the making of a luscious, mind=warping heavy style compared to Sleep’s and encompassing crushing doom, sludge sickness and droning experimental space psychedelia, all cemented by infectious swamp-flavoured, dark groove. I had appreciated the results of this collective work. I had been hooked by the originality of the combination of sounds coming from the extended line-ups, typical of this band at that time, and the superposed vocals in those long, hypnotizing doom-sludge metal slabs graced by a skillful sound production.

    Well, Archon are back after two years with a different attitude towards line-up. As a matter of fact since late 2010 their line-up was stabilized to five components, i.e. founder Andrew Jude and Nikhil Kamineni on guitars and bass, Rajah Marcelo on drums and Chris Dialogue and impressive Rachel Brown on vocals. Rachel Brown is also in charge of the keyboards.  Moreover during these last years Archon shared the stage with metal heavyweights like Unearthly Trance, Coffinworm, Wolvserpent, Negative Reaction, Apostle of Solitude, Cough, Hull, Batillus, Sea of Bones, Graven and Earthride. Archon still like to play long songs. And that’s absolutely fine, being a sludge-doom band and being able to write music and playing it in the way they do. The four long suites of Ouroboros Collapsing (called Worthless, Desert Throne, God’s Eye  and Masks) are able to capture minds and make them travel in space and time. All tracks share some common features, and especially the combination of sounds and styles partly stemming from the different musical background of all the musicians involved. The advantage of being a solid, instead of a fluid, line-up surely helped in making this album totally cohesive and consistent. Each track is monolithic and fluid at the same time. It is led by impossibly heavy riffs eating their way through the solid, drony feedback and dark and oppressive atmospheres. Sinister and groove-laden Sabbathian doom riffs and crusty sludge metal charges interact with more experimental sounds combining tempo changes, drony, ethereal space psychedelia and post-metal dissonance. The result is always the construction of impressively heavy, beautiful songs where the leading melodies sound even epic and develop according to meandering patterns. Yet these melodies hook the attention almost instinctively and keep it alive over the long time employed by each track to build up its part of the story of inner despair and disillusion narrated by the album.

    Distortion and down-tuning duly rule thereby often turning guitars and bass into growling beasts competing with sick and slow roars and growls provided by Chris Dialogue and Rachel Brown as well. Even more than in the previous album, Rachel Brown’s role and contribution, in particular, stands out in making this album special. Vocal parts are fundamental additions to Archon’s power. Again, the awesome production make the voices emerge from the feedback and further reinforce darkness, despair or else add some precious doses of unexpected light. Rachel’s vocal range is stunning. Her banshee-like interactions with Chris Dialogue’s scary death growls are impressive. But the most surprising effect is given by Rachel’s clean, often doleful singing emerging through the crushing, sick, dark sounds with the freshness and primordial beauty of a stream of clear water or of a transparent aquamarine crystal sticking out of a dark rock. Rachel’s beautiful clean voice is not there to bewitch you but somehow to save you from loneliness, despair and pain materialized by the punishing music behind.  If you want to know a bit more what’s behind this ravishing album, band Archon and what and when expect for future live exhibitions, you’ll find some interesting info in the recent cool interviews to Andrew and Rachel on webzines Temple of Perdition and Echoes and Dust

    If you like doom, powerful music, eclectic sounds, awesome vocals and getting goosebumps, get hold of Archon’s new album and play it loud, and with no hurry. You’ll be immediately drawn away by its drift and you’ll forget time.
    Ouroboros Collapsing is available as CD via The Path Less Traveled Records since February 19th 2013, but it can be streamed and purchased as digital release as well via the official band’s page.

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Archon | Official - Streaming and Purchase
    The Path Less Travelled Records

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    SITE UPDATE: The site is under-staffed and without Ed at the helm it isn't producing all the weekly posts it once was and for that, we are deeply sorry. We will continue to look for new writers and we will continue to TRY to keep the reviews and interviews coming but we are working under dire circumstances as you can imagine. The webstore is closed and is likely to stay closed, however you can request an album if we still have it in stock and we will get it to you, somehow.

    BANDS: We have been forced to get very selective over who we review. We are under-staffed and the writers will do have are very busy so keep that in mind when requesting a review. We will do everything in our power to see the review gets completed but there is over 200 albums/demos/promos & vinyl on the current waiting list so we have no choice but to get very picky over what gets posted. Sorry for any inconvenience caused....Sally.

    MESSAGE FROM ED: This medical debt, represents more than just a financial burden. I was once a kind, determined and capable man of confidence but now this ball and chain is a constant reminder of a man defeated by circumstance. I have since become a recluse with one constant, 24hr a day question running through my head: where can I get my next dollar.  Your contribution is critical. Your generous donation will meet real needs with immediate help, help that has a lasting impact. Having said that I am becoming prepare to face the reality that my situation now will most likely stay till the day I die which people keep telling me is likely to be sooner than later. I have got to the point where I want/need money to take the pressure off everyone around me just as much as I need it to keep my pain level tolerable. There are many innocent victims in this too which really hurts me to see. Close friends who have little money themselves, going without essential things just so I can get meds, food and other basic essentials. My girlfriend is working two very horrible jobs for minimum wage and every dime has been going into keeping me alive and fed while meanwhile, she is steadily getting herself buried in debt. The pain of the disease is bad enough but to see loved ones around suffering on my behalf is really starting to rub salt into my many wounds....

    I will say and I will keep on saying that we have some incredible loyal and generous readers here at Doommantia.Com and you people will always have my utmost gratitude. If miracles do happen and if somehow I manage to beat this illness, I will make sure you all get rewarded somehow. Thanks for your support (you know who you are) and please keep on visiting the site.

    PS: The "Chip-In" widget in the sidebar is soon to be removed. Apparently the site is closing so the widget will no longer work but you can still use the Paypal Donate Button and Sally will keep track on the donation total and will post updates so you can see how things are progressing. Right now however, standing outside of a Walmart store and rattling a tin is looking like an option.

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  • 03/11/13--07:50: Vulgaari - "Vulgaari" ...
  • Cubo de Sangre is a brand new label and Vulgaari's debut is their first offering to the metal world. Goddamn, did they pick a great way to kick things off! From the gruesome cover to the massively heavy music, everything about Vulgaari is striking. This is one of the best sludge/doom debuts of recent years and already this band has surpassed the output of many more seasoned acts in their sub-genre.

    Doom and sludge is the essence of Vulgaari, but dust that up with touches of death metal and heavy psych and you've  got the idea. There is something about this band's songwriting that elevates the tracks above the usual and makes them more memorable than the run of the mill sludge filling the racks these days. The heaviness is omnipresent and warm, thick riffs wash over you like a wave of cement with the opening salvo of "A World Created". Lots of down-tuned bassiness on display here and the death metal influence comes with the roaring vocals that are pushed to the back of the mix.

    I kept looking for a weakness and couldn't find one. "Battlestag" ups the tempo with a more war-like feel, but we really see how Vulgaari mixes things up with "Match". This is syrupy slow and depressing music where melodic twin guitar harmonies add an even mournful feel. Almost like a mixture of rough Southern doom and My Dying Bride melody. "Black Mountain" is the most standard sludge track of the album but still no slacker, while "Lie" starts with what sounds like an Australian didgeridoo and Orson Welles chanting a curse before launching into lurching, heaving heaviness that will bring you to your knees! Great Zoroaster, only heavier!

    That's not the end. "77 74" starts with the mother of all bass tones, a little bit of melody and then skull smashing doom riffing with a kind of outlaw biker feel. "Outride The Reaper" has some psychedelic overtones and the best riff on an album full of great ones. This shit is off the hook! "Forever Roam" bleeds in with a distorted, almost washed out sound that has a cosmic feel. This is a total doom monster, but with touches of melody and even bluesiness that make it more than just another bone crusher. This album finally comes to an end with the most psychedelic and bluesy cut, one that eases up slightly on the relentless heaviness but makes your head swim with trippy guitar.

    I don't know what else Cubo de Sangre has in store, but if it's even half as good as Vulgaari, I'll be waiting with drooling anticipation!

    Words: Dr. Mality (Wormwood Chronicles)


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    Heavy TV conducted an interview with the Portland-based stoner rock band RED FANG during this year's Soundwave festival in Australia. You can now watch the chat below.

    RED FANG's latest album, "Murder The Mountains", was recorded with THE DECEMBERISTS' Chris Funk and was mixed by three-time Grammy Award winner Vance Powell (THE WHITE STRIPES, THE RACONTEURS).

    RED FANG is completing work on a documentary that was shot by the band's resident director Whitey McConnaghy. Whitey followed the band while they were on the road in Europe with Relapse labelmates BLACK TUSK. This short film is being sponsored by Converse and will be released soon.

    RED FANG performed as part of the inaugural Orion Music + More Festival curated by METALLICA on June 23, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.


    Performance (November 19, 2012 at Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado):

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    Crowned In Earth are a band that from first listen I thought I would always like. They have a classic doom approach and sound that is timeless and my opinion has not changed with this new album, however I wasn't expecting it to sound like this.

    It seems this two-piece band have spent a lot of time brushing up on 70's heavy prog sounds as well as delving pretty deep into the waters of 70's occult rock music. Without even listening to this album you immediately know something is up. The album art with its 70's vibe and Roger Dean-esque fonts automatically makes you think of the 70's but musically, there are even bigger surprises in store.

    Now this is still doomy but apart from some obvious Sabbath-isms, this album sounds more like a mix of Cream, Van Der Graaf Generator, Camel and even early Yes. So where is the doom connection? Well this has Cathedral written all over it but make no mistake, this is groovy retro-doom and it even includes a Mellotron player!

    The album with only 5 tracks and 3 that run well over the 11 minute mark are psychedelic doom adventures that are meticulously well-crafted. Songs have equal amounts heavy riffing, dreamy psychedelic and prog-rock passages and it never gets bogged down in any one direction. There are also many tempo changes and some of the most infectious melody lines released in the past year.

    Main-man Kevin Lawry (vocals, guitars, bass & keyboards) is obviously gifted as a musician but he also has to get some serious pats on the back for his songwriting chops and finesse. These songs are wonderfully constructed, beautifully balanced and while the influences ring loud and clear, it certainly doesn't sound like a direct rip-off of anyone but it does get close at times. Opening track 'Ride The Storm' is pure mid-era Cathedral right down to some very Dorrian-esque vocals while the closing track 'Given Time' sounds very much like a 'heavy' take on bands like Camel and Atomic Rooster. However nothing is too similar and the songs are so good that any similarities are largely irrelevant anyway.

    It seems after some searching for a direction to go in, Lawry and Crowned In Earth have found their niche. It might be a clichéd, well-used approach these days and you may be thinking, 'oh no not another retro-doom album' but this one stands head and shoulders above most other albums in this vein. The production is perfect - just the right balance of old-school and modern. Weak points - well there isn't any really but the vocals could be better if you want to nit-pick but I wont be doing that anytime soon to this killer release. Some folks might be turned off by this release with its retro flavour et al but I urge you to give it a chance. You won't hear too many albums as good as this one in 2013. Load your bong and drown yourself in the psychedelic sabbathism that is 'A Vortex Of Earthly Chimes,' - this band has arrived and deserve your attention....9.5/10.

    Words: Ed & Sally


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    "Wise As A Serpent", the new video from SPIRITUAL BEGGARS — the Swedish band featuring ARCH ENEMY guitarist Michael Amott and bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, along with vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (ex-FIREWIND) — can be seen below. The song comes off the group's eighth studio album, "Earth Blues", which will be released on April 16 (one day earlier internationally) via InsideOut Music.

    Commented Amott: "We chose this particular song as the first video off 'Earth Blues' 'cause it's an explosive track and also the shortest song on the album! I filmed and directed the video myself and Anders Björler (AT THE GATES) did a great job on the edit. We're more than pleased with the end result; it's done in true DIY spirit...raw and authentic."

    "Earth Blues" track listing

    01. Wise As A Serpent
    02. Turn The Tide
    03. Sweet Magic Pain
    04. Hello Sorrow
    05. One Man's Curse
    06. Dreamer
    07. Too Old To Die Young
    08. Kingmaker
    09. Road To Madness
    10. Dead End Town
    11. Freedom Song
    12. Legends Collapse

    Amott previously stated about the upcoming CD: "I had the idea for this artwork from my time as a child, seeing posters of two young lovers watching a romantic sunset on the beach — just your typical tacky bedroom art in the '70s, really... Also, growing up in what is now referred to with some nostalgia as the Atomic Age — the threat of nuclear war was always looming over our heads it seemed. I wanted to combine these two images of my youth in one paradoxical image and Per Wiberg of Hippograffix (and SPIRITUAL BEGGARS keyboardist) really managed to capture the melancholic feeling perfectly. Earth Blues, indeed."

    Regarding the making of "Earth Blues", Amott said: "We started the recording process of 'Earth Blues' with an eight-day-long session at Fat Guitar Studios (Sweden) with knob-twiddler Roberth Ekholm, a truly great dude who really knows how to capture a band jamming live, sadly a rare quality in recording engineers nowadays! We continued with some overdubs at various studios in Sweden, and it's all come together super easy this time. Sonically, I think this might be our finest hour yet. It's a raw, heavy and honest record."

    In order to promote this upcoming release as well as the band's anniversary, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS have confirmed a European tour for April with support by German rockers ZODIAC, as well as some European summer festivals.

    SPIRITUAL BEGGARS in 2011 released a live CD entitled "Return To Live: Loud Park 2010" in Japan via Trooper Entertainment. The disc features eight songs, capturing the bands high-energy performance at Loud Park 10 at Saitama Super Arena, Japan on October 17, 2010. The live recording was mixed in Sweden by Staffan Karlsson and Rickard Bengtsson at Studio Landgren 5.3 and The Sweet Spot Studio in December 2010. The artwork and design was handled by Hippograffix.

    The new lineup of SPIRITUAL BEGGARS made its live debut on October 1, 2010 at Kyttaro club in Athens, Greece.

    SPIRITUAL BEGGARS's seventh studio album, "Return To Zero", was released in Japan on August 25, 2010 via Trooper Entertainment Inc. — the label founded by legendary Japanese heavy metal music industry guru Tetsu Miyamoto. The Japanese special edition comes in a glossy paper box with a poster and a sticker of the CD front cover. The Japanese edition also features a bonus track, a thunderous cover of URIAH HEEP's "Time To Live" off the legendary U.K. band's 1971 "Salisbury" record.

    "Return To Zero" was released in North America on October 12, 2010 via InsideOut Music. The follow-up to 2005's "Demons" was recorded at Sweetspot Studio with producer Rickard Bengtsson.


    Michael Amott (ARCH ENEMY, CARCASS) - Guitar
    Ludwig Witt (FIREBIRD) - Drums
    Per Wiberg (OPETH) - Keyboards
    Sharlee D'Angelo (ARCH ENEMY, MERCYFUL FATE) - Bass
    Apollo Papathanasio (FIREWIND) – Vocals

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    You’ll find here a few thoughts of mine about the new album by Vassafor, from New Zealand, one of the most impressive, heavy and uncompromisingly evil bands around. I had already written about this band  a few months ago  for the blog of my metal mate Vonfrost. It happened during last autumn when the band sent in their link to the digital release of  their new album, Obsidian Codex, while waiting for the solid version to come out and for the imminent visit to Europe in connection with a satellite gig to the Nuclear War Now! Festival in Berlin. When you hear extreme metal and New Zealand quoted together, you are almost sure that it is something at least interesting and almost always big indeed.  Well, Vassafor is huge!  Last year was a busy one for this band which has been active for almost 20 years by now and has become a reference for the black-death metal scene in that part of the world and beyond.  As a matter of fact, past and present members of Vassafor are related and/or have (had) something to do with bands like Diocletian, Ulcerate, Weregoat, Skuldom, Nazxul, Anhedonist, also the fine doom band The House of Capricorn as well as Knelt Rote and the mighty Blasphemy. So, why Vassafor, a band officially tagged as black-death metal band, on Doommantia and why now? Because actually tags don’t work well with Vassafor, as this band’s style is anything but easy to categorize.  And because Vassafor’s new album is eventually available as solid majestic double LP, via label Parasitic Records.

    Year 2012 saw the release of Obsidian Codex, the first, monumental full-length album of the band after years of minor yet terrific releases worshipped by the many faithful fans from all around the world. This debut album was coupled with a massive compilation, Elegy of the Archeonaut, including probably some among the most impressive tracks from previous releases plus a few unreleased rehearsal and studio recordings. Obsidian Codex is nothing less than overwhelming, but it is not just pure quantity. Rarely yearly expectances have been better rewarded, and rarely long time and dedication to the refinement of art brought to the materialization of such fine quality.  After several EPs and demos, amazing for quality but constrained as to space/volume, this band eventually approached the best form for unfolding the full narrative power of their music that can be loosely and poorly described as crushing, bestial blackened doom-death metal. I was about to write “destructive power”, but the sound Vassafor create is enormously multifaceted.  Hence sonic destruction brought about by relentless bestial riffs, pulsating bass and hammering drumming is just one of the band’s aspects, albeit essential, reminding of the historical connections with total warmongers Diocletian and their other  mates in New Zealand’s wildest black metal scene. After months and after several full immersions in this sonic experience of Obsidian Codex I still can say that I have rarely heard a more stunningly complex yet primitive album.

    Complexity stands for multiple musical components and wealth in shades to be caught each time one approaches, or better, drowns into this giantic album.  In Obsidian Codex the blasts of pure war metal chaos or bestial violence nucleate from a slowly boiling magma of imposing doom death metal by means of extreme tempo changes. Doom death metal has probably never been so varied in shades and atmospheres as in this album. You may experience doom death style reminding of Father Befouled, Cultes of Ghoules and alike, or else you may plunge into long, epic and funereal drift where Evoken-styled majestic doom reigns. But also some dark, ethereal and mindwarping sounds and atmospheres will surprise you and make you wonder whether bestial black-death metallers Vassafor are jamming with OM … Evil space psychedelic noise will throw you deeply into an annihilating cosmos right via the very long intro, and that freezing cosmos will swallow everything at the end. The other side of this staggering album, primitiveness, is for the archaic inner chords that this otherworldly sound is able to touch, for the detachment from any concept of time and space, for the total darkness pervading your mind during the sonic experience, and, not least, for much inspiration in the song-writing (as explained by frontmanVK in some interviews). All this and more cannot be stuffed into the normal size of an album: it has to overflow to almost 100 minutes. And, in spite of such long time, an evil miracle will occur: time will be eaten away while Vassafor’s plague will spread around …

    The production of the sound in this album is amazing as it is able to enhance both the black metal chaos and the atmospheric doom sounds without sacrifying any  contribution from guitars, bass, drumming and the unearthly suffocating vocals. No surprise, probably, as frontman VK is an experienced sound engineer.  But pure, cold technical skills do not explain everything. Also the sensitivity towards finding the right chemistry and eventually successfully blending different genres, and sometimes even strikingly apart, is a skill belonging to Vassafor since ever. As a matter of fact it is impossible to forget the stunning suite Dreadnaught. There an awesome performance of an opera lady singer plus the insertion of piano were masterfully nested into Vassafor’s total darkness …. Dreadnaught was originally in the 2007 self-titled EP but it can be found now in Vassafor’s new 2012 compilation. So the new album is not really a break from previous Vassafor’s releases, as probably also suggested by the combined release of the massive Elegy of the Archeonaut compilation. It is as if the sonic deflagration in this new album had acted like an avalanche blowing time and space away. As a matter of fact, the band sampled some emblematic tracks from basically all their past releases (eg., Rites of Ascension, Craft of Dissolution, Archeonaut’s Return, …) and nested them into the new creature together with the impressive new material, thereby creating a sense of continuity with the past as well as overcoming the cage-like limits of the short release.  The very title of the album, Obsidian Codex, and of the third track Obsidian King, may be an echo of Vassafor’s very first release, i.e. 1997 Demo I and its “Obsidian Prince”.
    Apart from these petty details, what counts is that Vassafor’s music is something unique and overwhelming. And after Obsidian Codex doom death metal will never be the same.

    The solid, massive Obsidian Codex Double LP is out now on Parasitic Records, whereas the Elegy of the Archeonaut CD compilation is out via Dark Descent Records (see links below).

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Vassafor | Parasitic Records
    Vassafor | Dark Descent Records

    Vassafor - Makutu (Condemned To Deepest Depths)

    Vassafor - Sunya (Void Paradox)

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    British doom legends CATHEDRAL will release their final studio album, "The Last Spire", on April 30 via Rise Above Records. Recorded at Orgone Studios in London, produced by Lee Dorrian and Garry Jennings with assistance, mixing by Jamie Gomez Arellano, and art by Dave Patchett and Arik Roper, "The Last Spire" will stand as the band's final effort.

    "The Last Spire" track listing:

    01. Entrance To Hell
    02. Pallbearer
    03. Cathedral Of The Damned
    04. Tower Of Silence
    05. Infestation Of Grey Death
    06. An Observation
    07. The Last Laugh
    08. This Body, Thy Tomb

    The first single to be released, "Tower Of Silence", can be heard now below.

    And lo, Lee Dorrian, mouthpiece of CATHEDRAL for 23 years, doth solemnly intone the death rites of this mighty British metal titan. Born in the dying days of Thatcher's Britain, bonding over then-unfashionable, obscure names like SAINT VITUS, PENTAGRAM, TROUBLE and DREAM DEATH, CATHEDRAL's sole ambition was to record a demo tape. In fact they revolutionized doom metal, first pushing their influences into new avenues of grinding extremity, then pioneering groovier forms of '70s-indebted stoner doom.

    Lee Dorrian says: "When the last mix was finally done, there was a massive sense of relief. I think this was partly due to the fact that it meant CATHEDRAL could finally be put to rest but also because we felt we'd done something that we were all very pleased with. I feel comfortable leaving 'The Last Spire' as our legacy." Dorrian continues, "The funeral of CATHEDRAL has been a long but gratifying process. Deciding to end the band wasn't an easy decision to make but we knew deep down in our hearts that it was the right thing to do."

    "The Last Spire" was recorded by:

    Lead Vocals - Lee Dorrian
    Guitars - Garry Jennings
    Bass - Scott Carlson
    Drums - Brian Dixon
    Hammond, Mellotron, Moog & Synths - David Moore
    Guest Vocals on 'Cathedral Of The Damned' - Chris Reifert
    Backing Vocals - Rosalie Cunningham

    CATHEDRAL recently released its first new recorded material in three years exclusively via Decibel magazine's subscriber-only Decibel Flexi Series. The song, "Vengeance Of The Blind Dead", can be heard in the flexi included in the February 2013 issue. The track is also streaming on Decibel's SoundCloud page. Limited quantities of the issue with the flexi can be ordered on

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    It’s cool when bands make the first step if you know that I’m meaning. When some band somehow finds me and asks about promos then I’ll really try to do it… yeah, really - if it’s a doom band of course. I’ve found message from Nonsun in my mailbox a month or two ago so let me introduce you this drone / sludge band from Ukraine. Bogdan Goatooth plays guitars, bass and sings in Nonsun, today he also answers my questions. I would like to thank him for his patience – much appreciated. And wait a moment, go and check their bandcamp, “Rain Have Mercy” is bloody great song.

    Hi Bogdan! How are you? Wouldn't mind if we start with a question about the forming of Nonsun?

    Hi Alex, thank you for the interest in Nonsun!
    It all started in the summer of 2011 with the jam-sessions in a pretty spacious basement rehearsal hall. We loved the acoustics of the hall. The sound seemed to tell us what and how to play. We with Alpha (drummer) got eager to try to create something in these inspiringly damp gloomy conditions and then record a few tracks for the demo. We immediately agreed to that in the first place the creative process should be interesting and "heady" for both of us. Today I can say that we really enjoyed it.

    How you came to understanding of what musical form Nonsun will function in?

    From the beginning we were planning to do something experimental, limited only by boundaries "heavy" and "slow." We tried to feel what a certain song was requiring, and to develop its own atmosphere, "story." At first we didn’t clearly imagine the form which our music will finally take, and came to it kinda naturally, empirically, I’d say.

     Your music borders spread between the pretty confident sludge and noisy-distorted drone, and while the first rocks well, the latter due to the prevalence of dissonance is a tough listen. Don’t you have a desire to do one thing?

    It’s interesting that many point out sludge or drone, while I, for example, see our music primarily as doom. This is doom, which has come a long way from Sabbath through the development of traditional doom and to death-doom, funeral, sludge, stoner, drone, touching a bit of post-metal, collecting along the way and taking in all these influences. I think, on our album one can find the traces of all these branches. But that’s another question – to make this extract more digestible, or, shall we say, to give more individual features to the form... We have to work on that. Honestly, there is no desire to play “pure” sludge or stoner etc.

    Let's take the first song on your release – "Jesus' Age", it belongs to that category of songs about which they speak "for a genre-freak"; the track is long, heavy, ugly, again, thanks to noise-effects. At the same time, the second song "Rain Have Mercy" sounds cleaner (though it isn't less heavy), is melodic, catchy, and it really has an accurate structure. In my opinion, this breaks the integrity of the album. What do you think?

    First, let’s not forget that it’s only a demo. Secondly, the integrity of an album is a bit relative thing.  I, for example, love Melvins, Boris with their experimental and eclectic works.  But I agree that, after all, as for being EP, the album turned out too "motley", or so. Although, I’d like to note, that spiritually it is one whole. With all those mood changes, but it has that “unifying” atmosphere. In one of the reviews it’s been well described as an "emotional journey".

    Besides Melvins and Boris, what else has influenced Nonsun? And how difficult is to record a noise stuff? You mentioned about the "jam in the basement", and I’d like to find out from you, as directly from the author, how much consciously are being written noise elements and how realistic is it then to reproduce them live?

    This is an interesting question, because if there was something "difficult", it related with doing those more traditional pieces. All the experimental parts went kinda naturally, without a pressure, they were recorded almost without preliminary "trainings", it was quite simple to enter into the necessary state of "a conscious trance". This is in view of the fact that we made this kind of music for the first time. This experience has brought a lot of fun and a real creative high. How realistic is to reproduce this kind of improvisation live? I think they shouldn’t be performed exactly "as is" on the record, the main thing is to convey the same mood, the spirit, the atmosphere. You need to enter in the same mental state, “feel” the song when you’re playing it. Of course, this is applicable and desirable for all kinds of music, but in this case, a "deeper dive" is required. It’s always a creative challenge, and it's exciting. But again, this was only our first practice of this kind, and we don’t overestimate the result of these our experiments and improvisations. As for musical influences, I won’t stand out if I say that they’re plenty and they go beyond a particular style or genre, blah-blah. But if we talk about the time before and during the writing and recording of the album, we were listening mostly to drone doom, post-metal, stoner, sludge and similar stuff. To name a few: Earth, Isis, Kodiak, Black Shape Of Nexus, Omega Massif, Pelican, Horseback, Eyehategod, Grief, Triptykon, Electric Wizard, Ufomammut, Sons Of Otis, Nadja...

    The third track "Message Of Nihil Carried By The Waves Of The Big Bang". It's not as much ‘drone’, as it is ‘noise’. I know drone bands that really know how to experiment and do their experiments interesting for the listener, but, okay, let's say – do you often listen to this song? Are you proud of this track?

    Initially, three tracks were to be included in the album. However, there was more stuff remained out of the recording sessions, particularly some drone-feedback improvisations. When the three main songs were mixed, the transition between “Rain Have Mercy” and “Forgotten Is What Never Was” seemed too sharp, abrupt. The third track “Message Of Nihil...” made this transition smoother and logical. But I have to emphasize that this track itself isn't “meaningless”. Yeah, it’s a "tough listen" and demands a certain attitude at perception. Of course, with no claims to being a drone-masterpiece, but it belongs here and is self-sufficient. By the way, I’ve only once or twice (and not fully) listened to the album after completion of work on it. Still can’t recover from all that mixing process))

     Haha, and do you like it? What do you find for yourself in this music?

    Well, I always have a problem with listening to my own music, you know… At first I was satisfied with the demo for about 50%, now about 70%. That's a lot)) Perhaps, the positive feedback from other people somehow raised my rating. I think, I can be more or less objective later, when the "dust settles". However, I dare to agree with those who say that we’ve managed to create a truly «heavy as fuck» sound, and that our approach to the "heavy" is, at least, interesting.

    "Forgotten Is What Never Was", the last song, is performed in the key close to the funeral doom, and like the previous tracks creates an atmosphere of hopelessness and gloom, the end. What's it about? What are your songs about? Lyrics have value for you or are they just... so that there was something to roar?

    Lyrics definitely have a great value for me; I always put very important subjects in them. On “Good Old Evil” there aren’t a lot of lyrics, they’re quite simple, but deep.
    “Forgotten Is What Never Was” tells that the memories (as well as expectations) often have the illusive nature, they cheat, embellish past events, filling them with a meaning which they didn’t have in fact. If you realize this, you lose the past. But also the present won't get added. Deception serves as a support. "Sun, blind me and lead me". Before I go all too melodramatic, I’ll tell that the working title of the song was “The Ritual Post-Apocalyptic March of the Living Dead”.

    I recently asked one newcomer band this question, but in your case it is just as relevant. What distinguishes Nonsun from other bands? What do you have to attract the listener’s attention?

    Too early to say, so far we’re just trying to build our own sound. But I’d like to say, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the attention which the demo already drew. Probably, here there's some merit of that "diversity", "integrity" of the album, haha. People praise and criticize, some like one side of the material, others love other side, and so on. But the demo attracts attention, and it is important for the beginning project, which Nonsun is.

    What are your plans for the near future?

    We gradually compose a new stuff. There are many ideas, what we need to do now is to select those that are "facing the same direction". We have a desire to make the next release more monolithic, but at the same time without sacrificing an experimental approach.

    Well, the answer is accepted! Good luck in Nonsun’s future work – make the right choice!

    Thanks, Alex, for your kind words and for the interesting questions. We thank everyone who took some time and read this interview, and perhaps even listened to our music. Hope that we could have something to intrigue you, and we’ll try to keep doing so in the future. Good luck to everyone!

    Interview By Aleks


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    The Grand Astoria can no longer be classified as a local Russian psychedelic stoner oddity. These guys deserve to be recognized as a full fledged phenomenon and that’s that. They earned it! While the genre seems to see many faces come and leave the stage in a continuous turnover The Grand Astoria is notable for their tenacity, stubbornness, professionalism and deep love for the music they write. Truth be told, the band rose to be what it is now thanks to Kamille Shrapodinov – the founder and the only permanent member of the band. To back up the praise of The Grand Astoria I got some pretty impressive statistics that can’t be ignored even by the worst of snobs: the band exists for 4 years, during that time they released 3 LPs, a split with none other than U.S. Christmas themselves, a vinyl EP and went on several European tours, which is uncommon for any band from Russia. On top of these enough impressive stats you can add 2 of Kamille’s side projects The Legendary Flower Punk and astonishing psychedelic Organic is Orgasmic as well as an upcoming 7-inch EP titled Then You Win which will be followed by a new album later this year.

    Even if you consider a wide range of influences noticeable on the band’s LPs, The Grand Astoria’s minor works never fail to surprise. Between the records Kamille who in addition to playing the guitar also writes and sings all the lyrics spent a lot of time with a vocals instructor. As the fans of the band will no-doubt notice this time is well paid off on Then You Win. The main genres The Grand Astoria operates with remain stoner, psychedelic rock, heavy metal and punk with a newly added taste of progressive rock. How much of all these juicy mix you will hear on the title track of Then You win is hard to predict. The song starts off with tough intro as if written for the die-hard Iron Maiden fans, but is quickly and organically transformed into a furious and loud stoner punk. Naturally this isn’t the end of the hellish mix of genres because with The Grand Astoria it’s never easy. The style of the track shifts again in order to prepare the listeners to the songs heavy conclusion with the art-rock guitar riffs. The structure of the song is in line with The Grand Astoria’s resent works, but the quality of the record is on a whole new level. The second track on this EP is called With Meaning. The song is a more vocal-oriented ballad with space-rock accents here and there, which makes it atypical for the expected sound of the band. This doesn’t mean that the musicians are uncomfortable in this relatively new for them musical space. The level of quality is persistent: the acoustic riffs with prog touches and emotional chorus sound complete, interesting and fresh. Both songs share common characteristics. First of all their compositions are complicated which at the same time luckily doesn’t mean that they are overloaded with bloody smart-ass guitar solos. Second, thanks to a reasonable level of cleverness the drive of Then You Win and the expression of With Meaning are there to be comprehended without unnecessary barriers. Third, the songs don’t sound stiff but on the contrary natural and lively.

    I don’t feel comfortable pouring praise to the band but such a release is a really great present for open-minded fans of any unusual and clever rock and metal music. The content, the format, the stylish art by Sofia Miroedova gives a sense of a complex vision of their music by the members of the band. Just for example – previous vinyl Ep of The Grand Astoria - Caesar Enters the Palace of Doom I kept on my desk just for the pure esthetically pleasure. Seems like I know what record will take its place there this spring because Then You Win will be released April 18th.

    Words: Aleks

    Russian version: Metal Library
    Translated by Alexander Druzhinin

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    For Immediate Release

    ROADBURN Festival is proud to announce the very first 2013 "ROADBURN Master Class and Performance Clinic." The master class and clinic will be taught by doom-metal legends Victor Griffin (PENTAGRAM, PLACE OF SKULLS, IN~GRAVED) and Jeff "Oly" Olson (TROUBLE, RETRO GRAVE, IN~GRAVED). Walter Hoeijmakers, Artistic Director and Promoter of ROADBURN Festival comments. "We're organizing a few clinics at this year's ROADBURN, as we think that some of the attendees and other musicians would like to learn from their peers. Victor (Griffin) and Oly (Olson) have played a seminal role in all things doom for over the last twenty years and I think that their musical endeavors (as well as playing at the festival) are the embodiment of the spirit of ROADBURN."

    "I'm extremely proud to have Victor and Oly as our guests."

    Griffin and Olson will answer questions from both spectators and seasoned musicians alike,
    discuss various techniques, music theory, and more. The clinic and master class is available for ROADBURN ticket holders (no additional fee) and will be held between 4:30 PM and 6:30 PM on Friday, April 19 located at the HALL OF FAME venue in Tilburg, Netherlands. Doors at 3:30 PM. 
    Guitarist Victor Griffin's invention of the "Drop B" tuning was introduced with PENTAGRAM's
    debut album, "Relentless" (1984). This heavy-handed hallmark went on to influence handfuls of players and defined a sub-genre. On October 2012, Griffin announced his departure from the legendary cult rock act PENTAGRAM stating, "Of course, the future is always uncertain… but for now, it's time to move on with my new band's album and tour plans for 2013."

    Drummer Jeff "Oly" Olson left TROUBLE in 1986, after the release of PSALM 9 (1984) and THE SKULL (1985), to teach music while also writing musical scores and later receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Film Scoring (cum laude) from Berklee College of Music. Olson returned to the band for the albums "Run To The Light" (Hammond organ), "Trouble" (pre-pro for drums, keys), "Plastic Green Head" (drums), "Simple Mind Condition" (drums, French Horn),
    "Unplugged" and "Live in L.A."                                                

    In July 2008, Olson announced his departure from TROUBLE. His last show with them took place at The End in Nashville, Tennessee on July 19, 2008. However, on February 16, 2013 Olson announced that he will appear on TROUBLE's next, as-yet-untitled album, due for release later in the year. Olson stated: "[I've] been working on some [keyboard] intros [for the CD]."

    As previously reported, IN~GRAVED, the new band led by Griffin, recruited Olson to play Hammond organ on the band's debut self-titled album set for release in Europe on Friday, March 22 via Finnish label Svart Records and in North America on Tuesday, March 26 via Veritas Vinyl. The band and touring line up features Griffin, Olson, drummer Pete Campbell (60 WATT SHAMAN, PLACE OF SKULLS), and bassist Guy Pinhas (THE OBSESSED, ACID KING, GOATSNAKE).

    Confirmed tour dates are as follows:

    April 18 - Osnabrück, Germany - Bastard Club
    April 19 - Tilburg, Netherlands - Master Class and Performance Clinic with Victor Griffin and Jeff "Oly" Olson - Hall of Fame
    April 20 - Tilburg, Netherlands - O13, Roadburn Festival
    April 21 – Barcelona, Spain – BeGood Club
    April 22 - Nürnberg, Germany - K4
    April 24 - Vienna, Austria - Viper Room
    April 25 - Berlin, Germany - Astra Kulturhaus, Desertfest
    April 26 - Göppingen, Germany - Chappel, Doom Shall Rise Festival
    April 27 - Terneuzen, Netherlands - De Pit - Terneuzen Is On Fire Festival
    April 28 - London, U.K. - Electric Ballroom, Desertfest
    June 22 - Milwaukee, WI - The Blue Pig - Days Of The Doomed Festival


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    My first approach to Weed Priest had been at the end of the monster second day of the mighty Dublin Doom Days Festival back in late September 2012.  This Irish doom band had been located in the most unfortunate position for a festival bill, that is as the last band after ten full hours of doom bombing and after the headliners, notably Hour of 13. In spite of a few technical problems, this brave trio from Galway was able to grab the attention of those of us who had resisted until the very end. We were totally exhausted, albeit very happy about the day and the awesome festival.  But Weed Priest’s further dose of doped, nasty doom, conveyed by the “priests” Adrian Elatha, Ragas Walpurgis and Adam De Monlung, was cool enough to hook us there in front of the stage instead of letting us crawl towards the bar or, even, towards something flat like a bed. After bands like War Iron, Slomatics, Tome, Electric Taurus, Brigantia, The Naut, etc.,Weed Priest are a further evidence of the fact that the Irish heavy /doom music scene is well worth exploring in its past and present-day expressions. If you listen to Weed Priest’s self-titled debut full-length album you’ll understand why it was worth while resisting … And, if you don’t know the band as I did when I saw them that first time, you’ll understand that these guys are no doom sucklings at all!

    The band was born in 2008 and released a demo back in 2011. This new, debut self-titled full album by Weed Priest arose after much work of inspiration, rielaboration and composition especially performed during “recording sessions on occult dates in locations of spiritual significance”, like for example deconsecrated churches or so.  Album Weed Priest is one full hour of slow, dirty, occult, fuzzy and doped heaviness celebrating all those nasty and sinful things that doomsters like: six slabs of mossy doom and dark, esoteric atmospheres in the name and in the vein of Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Saint Vitus, Sleep, Cathedral, with escapes into epic funeral doom and retro occult psychedelia.  There is a feeling of ancient and sinister predictions and rituals exhaling from the very first, suffocatingly slow ballad opening the album, Final Spell, where actions and emotions seem to develop unnaturally slow, like in a drowsy mind made numb by drugs or haunted by a spell. But these Irish “Priests” like to preach and practice their evil and occult wizardry through charming the lost souls with loads of groove and with great riffs as weapons. The tricky, double nature of this band, its hard rocking face, becomes apparent as soon as the second, dynamic track Erichtho starts. The whole album is built up around this alluring and winning merging of absolutely classic, sabbathian/wizardesque doom riffs with irresistible stoner rock and metal riffs. Listen, for example, also to the track Thy Kingdom Gone, where the guitar howls out a great, passionate riff sequence with an almost epic feeling. But here as elsewhere the raw, evil- more than tortured-sounding, barking vocals fight against the luring, melodic charge of the riffs and create a cool contrast.
    Also the band can easily steer to almost unexpected atmospheres and moods by rapid tempo changes even when playing slowly. For example it is the case for the final part of the beautiful ballad Walpurgia, where the trio suddenly leave the sinister yet catchy, plodding stoner-doom rhythm and cast a darkening spell via the adoption of moody, epic funeral doom melodies reminiscent of Evoken or Esoteric.

    In a track like Weed Priest the trio adopt a stripped down and sickly hypnotic, coarse, abrasive sludge-doom style reminding me of the suffocating ballads in War Iron or Slomatics. More extreme, ritualistic, plodding slowness and dilated to spacey atmospheres dominate the progression in the dark ballad Day Of Reckoning that closes this powerful album. The production of this album is remarkable, as it is able to pair crystal clear sounds with coarse fuzzy buzz, foggy occult atmospheres and sensations of ancient sickness. A bit like the effect of the sick, black and green, old-fashioned engravings in the cool, minimalistic album artwork.  The album was released on  February 25th 2013 through label HexenHaus (!) Promotions and is available for purchase as CD in a cool 4 panel card wallet as well as digital version via Bandcamp.   So, doomsters, get hold of Weed Priest’s mammoth debut album and add this Irish bunch of sinners to your list of the bands to keep under your radar for more occult doped heaviness and for cool gigs, possibly in an unholy, deconsecrated music hall …

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Weed Priest @ Facebook
    Weed Priest @ Bandcamp


    Weed Priest - Final Spell [official video]

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    San Francisco-based doom rockers ORCHID have released the first trailer for their upcoming album, "The Mouths Of Madness". Check out footage of singer Theo Mindell talking the album's artwork below.

    "The Mouths Of Madness" will be released on April 26 via Nuclear Blast Records.

    Comments Mindell: "I wanted the cover of the album to be really classic and strong, like one of the records from my childhood where when you'd see the colors and shapes on it from across the room, you'd immediately recognize it. A classic 'icon' it's very simple, really. But then I did a really elaborate painting for the inside that is totally ornate. I wanted people to open this kind of sparse, plain thing and be drawn into another world that kind of visually told the story of some of the emotions of the record. Kind of like peeling a weird fruit open... the inner painting was really inspired by some of the Latino psychedelic murals that were done around San Francisco in the late '60s-early '70s... like the cover of 'Abraxas' by SANTANA, which is a record I grew up on and always loved. So, it's the 'ORCHID version' of those murals."

    Guitarist Mark Thomas Baker stated about the extensive "The Mouths Of Madness" production process: "Most of the tracks on 'The Mouths Of Madness' were cut in early June 2012. We were pretty fresh off of our European tour and full of confidence. The basics done at that time were the best recording experience that we've had so far. Everybody got along great and did great work.

    "We did this album with a completely different guitar sound than 'Capricorn'. I think it sounds much heavier in that regard. We take a lot of time to get things right. I hope people enjoy it and let it sink in. I think it's miles above our past efforts."

    Mastering engineer Richard Whittaker, who also took care of the latest BLACK SABBATH and THIN LIZZY rereleases/analogue transfers, comments: "I've been a huge fan of ORCHID since I first heard their debut EP back in 2009, and they've certainly come a long way since then. So, as you can imagine, to be asked to work with ORCHID on their records was an honour and a pleasure. They're a great bunch of guys and a stellar band to be involved with.

    "'The Mouths Of Madness' is such a well-crafted and awe-inspiring album. Sonically, its 1974 meets 2013 which, for me, takes the SABBATH/PENTAGRAM vibe to whole new level."

    As an appetizer for "The Mouths Of Madness", ORCHID recently released the exclusive 10-inch vinyl EP "Wizard Of War", containing a brand new track, a rare bonus track as well as one song off the band's stunning debut album, "Capricorn".

    ORCHID was named "the best and most important doom band of the past five years" by Rock Hard Germany's editor-in-chief Götz Kühnemund. In addition, BEHEMOTH mainman Adam "Nergal" Darski stated: "BLACK SABBATH should do an album like 'The Mouths Of Madness'!"

    Since its inception in 2006, ORCHID — which features in its ranks well-known tattoo artist Theo Mindell on vocals — has achieved massive global awareness with their stunning releases "Through The Devil's Doorway" (EP, 2009) and "Capricorn" (full-length, 2011).

    ORCHID is:

    Theo Mindell: Vocals
    Carter Kennedy: Drums
    Mark Thomas Baker: Guitar
    Keith Nickel: Bass

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