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    "Cloak Of Feathers", the new video from Austin, Texas metal luminaries THE SWORD, can be seen below. The clip was directed by Rich Ragsdale.

    "Cloak Of Feathers" comes off THE SWORD's fourth album, "Apocryphon", which sold nearly 17,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 17 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was produced and engineered by J. Robbins (CLUTCH, JAWBOX) at Magpie Cage Studios and features cover art by famed comic book artist J.H. Williams III (Batwoman, Promethea).

    Asked about the band's decision to work with J. Robbins on "Apocryphon" after self-producing two records and then working with Matt Bayles, THE SWORD guitarist Kyle Shutt told, "We're all huge CLUTCH fans, and we know those guys real well. [James] did two of their last three records, and those sound great, so we figured it was a no-brainer. We called him up and he was into it. He saw our live show at a club in Baltimore on the tour before we came here so he could get a feel of the kind of show we put on because we wanted to make an album that sounds like we do live in a club. And it was great. It was a real speedy process."

    On the topic of the musical direction of the new album, Shutt said, "It is a reflection of everything that we [have gone] through and the lessons we learned. We then deal with these situations metaphorically in our lyrics. This record is just 10 banging hard rockers. There's no real 'stick-out' thrash song, or, like, this one is the ballad. I don't think there's going to be any instrumental songs on this record, either, so that'll be a first for us. It's just 10 kick-ass rock songs."

    Regarding the subject matter covered in the new songs' lyrics, Shutt said, "There are lyrical themes that weave in and out of the songs, but there's no story or anything like that. With 'Warp Riders', J.D. [guitarist/vocalist John Cronise] had already written [the story] and now he [doesn't] have the time to sit down and write another book. We had the idea to make a comic book for 'Warp Riders', but we had some really poor management at the time, so nothing really came together with that and it was going to cost so much money that it never saw the light of day. It was just a nice thing we did. Now we're moving on to other things."

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    Compilation no. 8 - "Tears From The Mediterranean": 50 bands, over 6 hours of DOOM, SLUDGE & STONER FOR FREE!!!

    Print edition comes incl. poster of ERIC WAGNER/THE SKULL (ex-TROUBLE)!!!

    Over 100 reviews of slow & low stuff releases!!!

    New series "The Roots of Doom" beams you back to the late 60s, to BLUE CHEER and contemporaries!!!



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    Napalm Records / Spinning Goblin has announced the signing of the Liverpool, England-based "caveman battle doom" act, CONAN.

    CONAN's unique style of doom/drone/stoner metal won over audiences at the Roadburn festival 2012, consequently resulting in the release of the live album "Mount Wrath: Live at Roadburn 2012". Past shows with label mates AHAB and an invitation to play Desertfest London 2013 have further established CONAN as the doom powerhouse to watch out for.

    Says the band: "We are very happy to associated with a label such as Napalm Records / Spinning Goblin and are looking forward to seeing how the new record comes out. We turned down two other record deals, both from labels that we could have quite justifiably agreed terms with, but for several reasons we wanted to move on with Napalm once they showed interest.

    "We have enjoyed excellent relationships with every label we have worked with and it would have taken something extremely special to convince us to move away from Burning World Records, with whom we have enjoyed a particularly happy period. Thanks to JP, Jurgen and Desiree for helping us into this position and supporting us so far.

    "Everything that comes our way is a huge bonus, for we give everything and expect nothing. To be considered worthy of a label such as Napalm Records is a pretty big thing for us so we'll give it our best shot."

    Video footage of CONAN performing the track "Gravity Chasm" during their recent U.K. tour with BONGRIPPER and HUMANFLY can be seen below.

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    All good things come to an end eventually and so with great sadness we have to say goodbye to one of doom metal longest-serving bands.....Cathedral. The band has been one of the most unpredictable and colorful bands since bombarding our eardrums with the doom monolithic monster that was their début album 'Forest of Equilibrium' released way back in 1991. The first thing you will noticed is there is no Dave Patchett artwork this time around which is bizarre given his history with the band but that gripe is soon forgotten once you press play on this beast of an album. This album is Cathedral at their heaviest and most doomy but one word springs to mind very quickly while listening to this...........EVIL! This album is certainly one of the bands darkest offerings, an at times bleak, sinister affair with all the trademarks which made the band great in the first place. There is slow, grinding riffs and it has a nihilistic approach that hasn't been heard from the band since the release of the Endtyme album. Indeed this is a sad album that seems to encapsulates everything this band has ever represented, musically. However there isn't much of the stoner-metal and lava-lamp style they became fixated with during their mid-career period and there is none of the quirky, proggy sounds that offended many a listener on their 'Guessing Game' album. You could say they have taken the easy way out and have given the fans exactly what they want but in this case, a more perfect recipe would be impossible to find. This is the ideal way for Cathedral to bow out of the doom scene and while I struggle to type this, I can't help but feel overcome with emotion.

    From the opening 'Entrance to Hell' which bleeds into the 12 minute 'Pallbearer' it is pretty obvious, this is a serious slab of doom on display. It is only on the very short goof off that is 'The Last Laugh' that there is any lifting of the overwhelming bleak atmosphere. The sound on 'The Last Spire' neatly sits halfway between the slow grind of their album and the crunch of songs like 'Ride' from 'The Eternal Mirror' album. Frontman Lee Dorrian delivers one of his best vocal performances throughout the album too. His voice is pure Dorrian but with an angry sneer this time around and that seems to suit the songs perfectly. The opening 15 minutes of this album should win you over, if it doesn't win you over instantly. The guitar sound is cleaner than a lot of other Cathedral albums but that also suits some of the strange, twisting, mutating riffage that verges on the experimental at times. 'Pallbearer' is a punishing doom dirge with an interlude of female vocals being the only break in this mournful epic of a tune. The following 'Cathedral of the Damned' is much shorter but no less punishing. Fuzzy riffage is unleashed and Lee Dorrian sounds like he is drowning himself in mud with a over-the-top growl, the likes of which he hasn't done much in the past. For the most part, this is a mid-tempo catchy rocker compared with the rest of the devastating doom this album has in its grooves.

    'Tower Of Silence' which most people will already know from the video is another haunting doom track with the energy of an overweight slug with an addiction to Valium. Well it is not that slow really but by Cathedral standards, this is a painfully bleak piece. 'Infestation of Grey Death' introduces keyboards and acoustics for what might be the albums most "70's rock" moment. The band has always given a nod to the obscure heavy-prog acts of the early 70's and this is another one of those moments while remaining in the total doom tradition. The song is kind of awkward, a stumbling demented beast with uncanny riffage and the break in the track about halfway into this 9 minute track is simply orgasmic. If this album does one thing, it has a broader range of doom stylings than the usual Cathedral album. 'Infestation of Grey Death' oddly sounds a little like My Dying Bride in places.

    'An Observation' is another 10, almost 11 minute slow, torture-filled epic. Its long and slow but with everything from prog to psych-rock thrown into the melting pot. Did we mention, this is an evil sounding album. Well this is one of the albums most occult-driven tracks that shows why they are such an influence on so many bands. The comedy relief part of the album 'The Last Laugh' is followed by the albums last cut, 'This Body, Thy Tomb' which couldn't be a better and a more fitting way to bring this album and the band to its demise. This track based around pounding drums and a gruelling, punishing main riff beats the listener into pulp for all of its 9 minutes before tricking you into a false ending before bringing the hammer down with one final blast of apocalyptic doom that brings this album to a very emotional close. When it is all over, it is impossible not to get emotion about this. It is an emotional album anyway but knowing this is where it all ends is just too much to think about. Many doomsters thought Lee and the boys didn't have it in them for another gargantuan doom album but they have proved everyone wrong. A near perfect ending to one of doom metals most important bands. R.I.P .....9/10.

    Words: Ed Barnard & Sally Bethhall

    Official Website

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    "A pagan folkocalypse. SOTD do it incredibly well and with a remarkable flair for balancing the modern and classic sides of their sound" - The Obelisk

    "Spirits Of The Dead have gone out of their way to more than fulfill any high expectations." - Altsounds

    "Spirits of the Dead are giving psychedelic rock a welcome with bold colourful brushstrokes and a genuine sense of wonder" - Classic Rock Prog


    When "Norway’s finest psychedelic-stoner-folk-band" Spirits of the Dead, released their eponymous debut album in 2008, few could have been more surprised than the band of the album's overwhelming reviews. Crowned with a place in Classic Rock Magazine’s "The Best Albums of the Year", their second album ‘The Great God Pan’ somehow evoked a both retrospective and futuristic quality and made it clear that something was in the making. The band claimed they were "mixing the Sound of the Past with the Sound of the Future". Well... Now it’s 2013, and Spirits of the Dead are about to raise the stakes. "Rumours of a Presence" digs deeper and goes to even more profound places than the band has ever been before. Recorded in remote districts of Norway, this grand record lingers on the big questions: Life, Death and the Sea. Well, to be honest...Death and the Sea, really. Dom Lawson gives us an insight to the record in his liner notes, which can be read here

    Having just announced a European tour with Kadavar, the band looks forward to crossing the ocean to embark on a US tour later in the year.

    05.10.2013 - DK Copenhagen - Beta
    05.11.2013 - DE Hamburg - Klubsen
    05.12.2013 - DE Dusseldorf - Stahlwerk
    05.13.2013 - DE Nurnberg - Zentralcafe
    05.14.2013 - DE Munchen - Backstage
    05.15.2013 - DE Frankfurt - Das Bett
    05.16.2013 - DE Koln - Underground
    05.17.2013 - BE Brussels - Magasin 4
    05.18.2013 - NL Rotterdam - Rotown
    05.19.2012 - NL Nijmegen – Doornroosje

    01. Wheels Of The World
    02. Song Of Many Reefs
    03. Golden Sun
    04. Dance Of The Dead
    05. Rumours Of New Presence
    06. Red Death
    07. Seaweed
    08. Oceanus

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    Austria's webzine conducted an interview with vocalist Theo Mindell of San Francisco-based doom rockers ORCHID prior to the band's April 30 concert at Szene in Vienna. You can now watch the chat below.

    ORCHID's new album, "The Mouths Of Madness", was released on April 26 via Nuclear Blast Records.

    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."

    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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  • 05/02/13--12:24: GRIME - "Deteriorate" ...
  • "Vile" and "repulsive" are two words that come immediately to mind after hearing this filthy slab and I'm sure Italy's Grime would be thrilled by that. They obviously set out to make one hateful chunk of sludge/doom here and they succeeded at that.

    This kind of stuff is no longer original but Grime overcomes most of the negative points of the genre by sheer sincerity. The music is brutally groovy, repetitive and of Iron Monkey and Eyehategod can relax and buy this without fear.  Those into Avenged Sevenfold or Lacuna Coil will be knocked stiff by the stench of this rotting beast. The vocals alone are enough to curdle the blood, but with that ripthroat screaming also comes the curse of monotony and there are times here when the shrieking goes in one ear and out the other. But it's sure authentic.

    Grime are hardly technical superstars. They take a dirty doom riff and just pound that fucker into the ground like a tent peg. Whether this succeeds or not depends on the quality of said riff...and on songs like "Restless Man", "Burning Down the Cross" and the monumental "Deep Cut", they've got some good ones. The ones where you just wallow in the mud (and grime). But some other tunes like "Idiot God" and "Down By the River of Dreg" are not quite so sharp and drag a little bit.

    Grime is very aptly named and could never be accused of false advertising on that front. The dirty brown cover of "Deteriorate" also is a harbinger of what's inside. If you're a morose bastard that hates yourself and everybody else, these guys will be your new heroes.

    Words: Dr. Mality ( Wormwood Chronicles )

    Grime | Facebook

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    … but, well, what do you expect after four monster days …???
    So, here we are, back again to Tilburg, Holland, and back again to the Roadburn festival. Spring doesn’t seem to be fully burst without coming up there. I have the ticket for the full festival, three days plus the post-festival, known as “Afterburner”. During its long, decennial life the Roadburn festival has been growing in an impressive way. Nowadays it is the object of interest for many on- and off-line communities and it even encompasses a record label run by people with some fine taste. Being involved in the Roadburn entity is a goal for many emerging as well as famous bands, for the massive exposure and probably even just for the amount of merch that will likely be able to sell in the V39 hall! Roadburn visitors are able to show some love to their bands and most of them always go back home with luggage overloaded with vinyls, t-shirts, art posters, etc. Artists are also involved as curators of parts of the event and surely help the organizers in making up probably the most varied and open-minded metal festival around. Nominally Roadburn is considered the reign of doom and stoner, however the interests and the genres covered by the festival are very much wide-angled and sometimes focused on some specific genres. For example, this year the festival has hosted a remarkable selection of artists devoted to krautrock. Moreover the festival has been expanding its range of activities and interests related to cinema and visual/graphic art and even organized seminars and master classes devoted to various aspects of making music.

    So the Roadburn experience is four days full of relentless intensity, if you want to make the most of it. The most of it, not all, unfortunately. The Roadburn 2013 bill was immense. The publication of the “scary” running order is the first impact with the fact that at Roadburn you are going to miss much either due to unavoidable overlaps or due to the striking different capacity of the halls and venues available at the 013 Poppodium center: (a) the huge Main Stage theater, (b) the mid-sized Green Room, (c) the anguishing Stage01, previously and probably more appropriately known as Bat Cave, and, outside, (d) the remarkable deconsecrated chapel of Het Patronaat decorated with stained glasses. Het Patronaat is undoubtedly a magnificent hall but still has one big problem to be solved before getting perfect: air conditioning. Unfortunately logistics is a big issue also for the mighty wizards behind the Roadburn organization. But well, such big numbers of visitors (we are dealing with thousands, eh) and of bands are not at all easy to manage, I guess, and the organizing team surely know how to do miracles!  Therefore, yes, if you go at Roadburn you’ll probably miss a good part of the ultra-rich offer, but the offer itself is amazing, the Roadburn atmosphere is so magic and Holland is so nice and relaxing (with or without ganja) and even sunny (!!!) that coming to Roadburn is well worth the effort and cost. So here is some lengthy ranting of mine about the experience and some photos provided by some non-professional but super-kind friends of mine. I wrote names in capital letters for the bands I could, had the intention or came close to see.

    Thursday, April 18th 2013

    My first day starts with a jump straight into psychedelia with BLACK BOMBAIM. Our friends from Portugal are playing in the Green Room all covered with colourful trippy light effects and they sound to me much heavier, but no less charming, than on album. They will haunt everybody there while knitting their long and braided psychedelic jammings in pure homage to Hawkwind and taken from their beautiful new album Titans and previous cool releases.  After this generous dose of retro trippy mood it is time for moving to the nearby Main Stage where PALLBEARER are going to play. These US doomsters are backed up by a powerful début full-length album Sorrow And Extinction released last year. Their style is very traditional with mammoth heavy riffs and warm melodies drenched with sorrow, while their ballads develop with a plodding, funereal pace as their moniker may suggest. My impression is that these four young doomsters, and especially the singer, are a wee bit, let’s say, shy or hesitant by the place or the situation. Well, easy! In the same day there comes the news that Pallbearer will play a second show for replacing prog rockers Diagonal that had to give up their turn at the Afterburner. People have still to come in this early day so it is not so difficult to enter the limited space in the Stage01 room and listen to a good part of the exhibition of the French sludgers CROWN. As expected from the listening of their early album, they hit the listeners with their sludge-doom style which is atmospheric but also devastatingly crushing! A rush towards the Het Patronaat hall allows me to catch at least the initial part of the gig by THE ATLAS MOTH, from Chicago, Illinois. I am quite curious about this band which is so variably linked to the American black metal scene and whose members have/had something to do even with some of the nastiest acts like Von and Krieg. The Atlas Moth will involve the crowd with their charming atmospheric style which blends intensely melodic passages with heavy blows in both sounds and vocal parts.

    The presence of the legendary PENANCE, historical US traditional heavy doom band from Pennsylvania, urges me to go back to the Main Stage. Members of Penance are in DREAM DEATH, the other historical act that just released a brand new album (Somnium Excessum) and that will open the dances on the second day of the festival. The Penance guys announce that they haven’t played together since the 90’s! A musician friend of mine noted their rigidity on stage due to the long inactivity and possibly great emotion for the event. In spite of this supposed stiffness these doomsters were able to deliver some great great, absolutely pristine doom ballads which were able to evoke an atmosphere like in a squat or bar in deep Maryland back in the time when doom was still totally underground. I particularly enjoyed the intensity of the singer Lee Smith’s performance lead by means of a powerful voice slightly less raucous than Wino’s and by an attitude between anger and alcoholic dizziness. Awesome! Rushing back to the Het Patronaat (you can get fit at Roadburn, eh …) is for catching the start of the gig by ROYAL THUNDER and enjoy the surge of power and melody of this cool band from Georgia (I mean, same scene as Black Tusk, Kylesa, etc., …). It is impossible to remain untouched by lady singer/bassist Mlny Parsonz and her emotional vocal performance which is sustained by a stream of solid blues doom lead by classic but cool riffs. A tough competition with the other doom lady Uta Plotkin of Witch Mountain …

    The eminent gig by GRAVETEMPLE commands a return back to the Main Stage and the drawback of missing the healthy dose of dooooom by PILGRIM. However the exhibition of the trio Attila Csihar + Oren Ambarchi +Stephen O’Malley turns out to be impressive: 50 minutes of deeply hypnotic, sonic nightmare in full SunnO))) mood and characterized by a menacing growth of combinations and elaborations of Attila’s voice. Attila Csihar is the King here, bar none. He doesn’t need to move or make funny things. His monstruous and magic voice is mutating like some deadly virus: the howls and utters and anything coming out of Attila’s throat are continuously recorded and overlapped to what comes next and to the slowly inflating drone and noise produced by Attila’s mates, Oren and Stephen. Oren also takes care of percussions (e.g. a big gong) and some drumming as well in the final part of the performance. Unfortunately a not sufficiently powerful amplification, or maybe the deafening feeedback, end up covering the drum contribution.  When compared to Gravetemple’s black hypnosis, what follows on the main Stage, i.e. HIGH ON FIRE in the first of their two shows, is like pure balm. Matt Pike is a tireless riff-machine, well-known to everybody and especially to the aficionados of the festival. Matt is able to master the stage and the adoring crowds with a minimum effort. He doesn’t need to look fashionable or even handsome: he is there, on the stage, naked to the hips with his substantial beer-belly, with the perfect look of a porn actor (a friend said, lol …), singing with his raucous voice, sweating and erupting riff-fuelled awesomeness while he and his crew deliver their whole debut album The Art Of Self Defense (2000).

    A new migration to Het Patronaat is meant to capture more US sounds but in a completely different ambience. There I can attend the final part of the acoustic psych-folk exhibition involving JOHN BAIZLEY (singer-guitarist of Baroness and fine graphic artist – he is presenting his art as well) and KATIE JONES interpreting crepuscular, achingly melancholic folk ballads  by Townes Van Zandt. Baizley truly resembles a young lad in dungarees on the barnyard dreaming of luck, love and a better life, playing his banjo (here he plays a slightly electrified Gibson guitar) and singing along with Katie Jones and her violin. The presence of John Baizley at the festival is a highly emotional event as it happens after many many months at the hospital ensuing the scary car crash that involved Baroness on tour last year. Melancholic moods, grimness and atmospheres loaded with a sorrowful yearning for some ancient times of gold and wellness, or just a sense of sorrow and loss, will be reprised and somehow reworked in various ways by other bands that still have to play during this first night. In the meantime the crowd has been growing and growing … For example in the Main stage the Irish champions PRIMORDIAL offer a rather, let’s say, unusual show for the festival with their painted faces and their luscious and epic folk black metal and their lyrics inspired by Irish poets and bards from long-gone epochs. Or else MOURNFUL CONGREGATION, Australian paladins of doom-death metal, massively powerful, funereal and doleful: their litanies are unfolded by means of a bass line that makes your gutters vibrate and by their characteristic guitars mournfully howling like a distorted cello, while the deep, nether-worldly growl of singer Damon Good is going to lay a deadly veil onto the listeners filling up the Green Room. Amen …Dead tired (by now it’s deep night) I make an attempt of cheering up my spirits with an injection of boiling hot blues rock by THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN but unfortunately these US rockers are bound to play in the impossible Stage01 room, the worst one (space-wise, not sound-wise, mind you!). The small room gets filled up quickly and there is always a big amount of frustrated people outside who cannot go inside for dipping into some relieving vibes. Eh …

    Sincerely I don’t feel like drowning into more melancholy with MOURNING BELOVETH at Het Patronaat, too much grief all together in the same evening. So the best thing is to get ready for wild HERDER who are going to play in the Green Room. Eh eh, too many people have had my idea and the Green Room is overflowing, with streams of people also coming from the Main Stage where THE PSYCHEDELIC WARLORDS are playing. Catching the distant echoes of the roars and the wild riffs shot by these Dutch outlaws is a meager satisfaction and many people around me are surely envious of the mob into the room shaking as a boiling magma while they practice one of the not so frequent phenomena here at Roadburn: wild moshing! The phenomenon will repeat again a few more times in the next days, with Satan’s Satyrs and Antisect. What did I miss in this first day? Eh, Lântlos, Pilgrim, Castle, Lord Mantis, Maserati, Intronaut… A lot, yes, but I am here and this is a monster festival.

    Friday, April 19th 2013

    One can get easily distracted by the meeting with some friends or by strolling around in the lively V39 merch hall which is often bursting with people browsing among the stalls, so many temptations for record shopping! This is why I get to Het Patronaat a bit too late for the exhibition of Dread Sovereign, the recent heavy doom act involving members of Primordial and which is presenting the debut limited edition vinyl EP in this special occasion of the festival. So I go back to the typical Roadburn sport, the migration from one hall to the other. Therefore I actually start this second day of mine in a serious way with entering the Main Stage hall to see mighty DREAM DEATH, historical act belonging to the US heavy doom-death scene, east Coast, and strictly related to Penance back in the 80s! The recent release of their new album after the 2011 reunion had some enthusiastic coverage on blogs and webzines and, as a matter of fact, Dream Death rule! They inundate the Main Stage hall with powerful heavy doom ballads where the minimal death metal component just increases the impact of their remarkably retro flavoured stream of riffs surely recalling Penance. As expected, the band is rather static on the stage, but the Roadburnian people are warm and cheerful. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, the huge Main Stage hall is not too full. Why? Well, probably because outside people have been building up a huge and eventually immobile queue for trying and entering Het Patronaat for KADAVAR’s show, in spite of the fact that there’s still quite some time before the start.

    I might be wrong but I can’t remember anything like that during last year edition of the festival, i.e. when the organization had to leave the mammoth Midi Theater, because of restoration, and started using the way charming yet considerably smaller Het Patronaat as an alternative. Probably Het Patronaat was not the perfectly adequate place where to put such a super popular band like Kadavar in concert. These German rockers might have easily filled up the Main Stage hall. The fame and the power of attraction of this young band is huge and is based on various features: the smart use of look with their shamelessly hippy beards and crazy jackets and clothes, a brand new album out and, above all, the exceptionally good quality of their live performances appreciated across the whole of Europe. Yes, Kadavar look awesome and rule hard! And they ruled even harder here at Roadburn as well. If you, like me, didn’t make it,  read the rich description by HP Taskmaster on The Obelisk  and then start kicking yourself …

    So while people is boiling into Het Patronaat for Kadavar’s hot rock vibes and for the too feeble air conditioning system (well, fortunately this year Het Patroonat has a new security exit!), the rest of the Roadburn mob is outside in the queue or else enjoying the Dutch sun which is very pleasant indeed! While waiting for Tombstones to start playing, a visit to the Stage01 room is due as today this space is more conveniently employed for the loop projection of a selection of cult, vintage horror-sexy movies for “The Electric Grindhouse Cinema”. This is part of the activities related to Electric Wizard as curators of the The Electric Acid Orgy.  Yep, today it is the mighty Electric Wizard day and there is a lot going on and some substantial decisions to be made regarding the running order! So eventually I leave Sabbath Assembly (already seen at the Midi theater two years ago) and run to the Green Room for discovering TOMBSTONES, an obscure young Finnish trio able to evoke the raw sound and the retro atmospheres à-la-Witchcraft very spontaneously. Also the singer’s voice has got that slightly dissonant tone recalling a bit Magnum Pelander’s, whereas Tombstoned’s riffs are thick and warm and just slightly reverbered (the right amount). Tombstoned play with a groove-laden powerful style reminding me the stream of energy in Wtchcraft’s latest, awesome album.   After Kadavar the Het Patronaat hall is still steaming hot but there is eventually some space for enjoying a good part of the exhibition by WITCH MOUNTAIN. These guys and gal from Portland, Oregon (i.e., one of the most fertile doom scenes in USA) deliver some mammoth-heavy doom blues burning with passion. Uta Plotkin is a truly luring witch with her exceptional voice and her innocent, girlish look. Uta’s amazing performance is backed up by a way cool, experienced team of doomsters who do honor to the scene they come from and which contributed to create! Well, the Witch Mountain guys may look almost like youngsters, but they have been around since the 90s, you know …

    By the way, drummer and founder Nathan Carson is also owner and manager of one of the most active promotion agencies for the underground doom-sludge-stoner scene in USA, Nanotear Booking Agency. He will give one of the master classes organized by the Roadburn festival on the next day and devoted to giving advices to non-US bands and illustrating strategies and pitfalls for organizing gigs in USA. I am going to attend it!  Back to today’s concerts, let’s change range of doom! After the boiling hot, palpitating, strongly passionate frankly American blues doom vibes by Witch Mountain, it is the time for some creepy, mossy retro horror pedigree British doom done by young (oh, they too look so young!) yet highly talented WITCHSORROW. Their cool second album definitley consecrated them a one of the coolest bands in UK. I had seen them for the first time at the Loud Howls festival in London back in 2010 at The Gaff music club, just after being “discovered” by Rise Above Records and with the old line-up. A subsequent rearrangement of the line-up included the volcanic drummer David Wilbrahammer, who is well-known to all people digging those devastating and nice sludge rockers in XII Boar (one of those kickass bands I would so much like to see live sooner or later …).I would like to attend the whole concert by Witchsorrow but in the Main Stage some other British rockers are about to start, UNCLE ACID AND THE DEADBEATS. Most of you know them already: this is one of those bands that happen to rapidly raise to phenomenal success and popularity, a bit like Kadavar. And, as their German colleagues, also these Brits are totally and shamelessly devoted to retro sounds.
    The huge Main Stage hall is incredibly overflowing. I remember something like that for Sleep last year or when John Garcia came here for playing Kyuss. It seems that almost all the Roadburnians are curious to listen to and see these cool retro-acid psych rockers who like melodies which are equally dreamy and nasty. And they start very well by proposing their hits from their second album Blood Lust plus some new tracks from the brand new album Mind Control. Their setlist swings between intimate and hard rocking moods and rhythms. However there is something that is striking me. In this festival where visual features are becoming more and more important, this band is rather somber as far as light effects are concerned. Many bands devoted to psychedelia, or other genres too, use light effects and background projections or stage movies that contribute in creating the trippy or whatever mood. On the contrary the Uncle Acid set definitely looks “acid” in their bluish ligts but all in all ends up being a bit monotonous. Pity! Anyway, the time comes for leaving the Main Stage hall and try and steal a dose of bone-crushing super sludge-doom by the British band MOSS from outside a fully packed Green Room before moving back to Het Patronaat church for the dreamy gig by LES DISCRETS. Les Discrets are strictly entwined with Alcest and Neige, who is artist-in-residence for this edition of Roadburn festival (so I guess he also involved the other cool French bands that played yesterday, Crown and Lântlos).

    The gig by Les Discrets is very beautiful for the shoegaze melodies, the proggy contruction, the rich yet delicate style, the vocals, everything (but my opinion is biased, I would go on listening to Les Discrets and Alcest for hours …). And probably I like it a lot because the live dimension imparts some slightly “metallic” kick and vigour to the leading dreamy melodies. Therefore the purchase of at least one of their LPs is consequent. At a certain moment I get a text by a friend telling me “rush because THE PRETTY THINGS are doing a killer set!”. Oh, let’s run then! (Lots of sport at Roadburn, eh, you keep fit!) The Pretty Thngs are playing in the Main Stage. I had chosen to devote to Les Discrets instead of the reunion of this legendary UK hard rock band from the 60s because I wanted to avoid some sort of clone of Rolling Stones and one of those often pathetic reunions from the crypt. How wrong I was! The Pretty Things literally set the Main Stage to fire with their flood of genuine, authentic retro rock punch that made all of us travel back in time and in space! We were definitely in London back in the 60s. The line-up still includes original members, founder guitarist Dick Taylor and Phil May on vocals, but the seasoned age of these rockers didn’t prevent us to enjoy some very fresh and shameless rock even during a long and warmly acclaimed encore. You know, seeing nasty-looking metallers as well as Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard (he was right aside!) headbanging to The Pretty Things can be something, eh eh … So, yes, it has been quite a revelation, for me for sure but, as I read, not only for me.

    Some relax, some caffeine and food, one attempt for accessing the super-packed Green Room for some COUGH (impossible). So I have the excuse for … shopping in the V39 merch hall! Dangerous place …In the meantime we get to the time for the monster set of ELECTRIC WIZARD in the Main Stage theater.

    They play several by now classic as well as new songs like “Witchcult Today”, “Drugula”, “Legalise Drugs And Murder”, Black Mass” etc.. Distorted sounds during the extremely dragged and ossessive jammings are booming and vibrating in the vaults and in the darkness of the theater. In the meantime the huge screen behind the scene hosts a stage movie made by a psychedelic patchwork from some Italian cult vintage erotic-horror-satanic movies (I didn’t recognize them in my abyssal ignorance, but many experts there did!). So undoubtedly an impressive show aiming to mass hypnosis and drug-satan worship!  I don’t even try to join the long queue for GOAT playing at Het Patronaat, but I tactically enter the Green Room well ahead the first of the two gigs by SATAN’S SATYRS, the US, Virginia-based lo-fi “scuzz rock” trio which like to blend punk, noise rock, retro acid rock, doom, and loads of nastiness! These guys are devastating. They are like a machine-gun for weird riffs ranging from frankly hendrixian to crust-punk and odd and whirling tempo changes. The blond, thin frontman singer bassist Claythanas looks like a teenager, sings in a sleazy and deranged way and he doesn’t give a f***! And the fully packed mob go crazy, have a huge time, and start moshing wildly. Many many people are left outside the Green Room. This time I’m one of the lucky ones inside, yay!!! After the gig I get hold of my own copy of the debut LP by these crazy folks, duly called “Wild Beyond Belief!”, and I come to know from them that their cool early tapes, rapidly sold out, will be reissued as vinyl soon. Just a quick sneak into the Main Stage is for catching the last part of PSYCHIC TV’s exhibition. I miss AMENRA completely but I’ll see them when I’m back to Italy (they will play a monster gig there, and when they come here in my city as well …). It is time to rush to bed, it has been a loooong day full of cool emotions! And some pleasant Dutch sun …

    Saturday, April 20th 2013

    The third super-intensive day of the festival has come. Definitely Mother Nature brings some nice weather to the festival. Today there is a pleasantly warm sun with fresh air and so more than ever people enjoy the pic-nic benches outside. Luckily in general the new, big, stylish transparent protective canopy outside is only rarely performing its role of shielding people and food stalls from rain. My personal Roadburn Day 3 does not start with a gig but with a seminar! As mentioned above, by now the Roadburn festival is almost acquiring a status like a congress with its multiple activities and interests: parallel sessions for music and events even outside the boundaries of the 013 Poppodium centre, exhibitions of graphic art, movie sessions, conferences, seminars and master classes! It is a bit intimidating, eh, but … why not?  Moreover many Roadburnians are not only listeners but also musicians in underground bands, graphical artists, writers that make much effort to practice their art and passion and spread it around in many ways. On my side I decide to take advantage of some of these opportunities and I follow a seminar in a room of the Hall Of Fame, a venue established in the big complex of nicely restored ex-railway warehouses a few minutes walk from the festival. The theme of the seminar is surely of great interest for the Euro bands especially, but not only for them. The topic is the discussion of several, very practical issues and problems that might be encountered by underground bands while planning a (diy) tour for “conquering” USA. The one hour-long talk is held by NATHAN CARSON, drummer and founder member of Witch Mountain and manager of NANOTEAR BOOKING AGENCY. This very interesting talk ends up being also a way for speaking about a certain type of “philosophy” of touring and for denouncing abuses or macroscopic pitfalls on any side in a very sincere attitude. The added value of this talk is also given by the fact that Nathan has experienced and is experiencing both sides of the business, as underground band touring in USA and Europe and as booking agent for many other bands. So he saw and knows much about logistic aspects in a wide sense about this topic. Pity that the public was quite thin! After the seminar it is time for music.  I am able to catch the second part of BLACK MAGICIAN in concert at the bottom of the hall at Het Patronaat, already boiling hot even if the activity has just started.

    These British doomsters are able to make the ancient stained glasses of Het Patronaat vibrate with their powerful creepy doom. Their style is deeply inspired by Cathedral but it is made precious and more occult by the Hammond organ, a bit like in Italian beloved Abysmal Grief! I had the luck of seeing these lads last year at the Dublin Doom Days festival, just after the release of their début LP “Nature Is The Devil’s Church” in blood-red vinyl! And they are getting better and better. A fat encore of this cool slab of doom evoking moor and mossy graveyards in the fog would have been so great … But Alcest are about to come in the fresher Main Stage hall. The big theater is not fully packed although there are quite a lot of people there to enjoy the intensely melodic and ethereal, shoegaze chansons by Neige and his mates. Useless to say, the concert, one of the several gigs I saw by these guys, is very involving and charming, in a word beautiful. I can recognize some songs by the magic album Les Voyages De L’âme. It seems almost unbelievable that these guys were playing with bleak Peste Noire!  Outside the climate is full spring and the metallers lay down and, goodness gracious, get the suntan!

    I have some curiosity for the German band THE RUIN OF BEVERAST that is playing at Het Patronaat. Nominally this band is tagged as atmospheric doom-black metal band. I had heard a few songs during the full immersion before leaving but I had not been able to get into them, and my short visit to the gig doesn’t help either. Don’t get me wrong, their sound is powerful, but I am actually in the mood for what those monster swamp beasts WO FAT will be going to deliver in a short time. Wo Fat are one of my fave swampy raaawk bands, and I know I’m not the only one. Whenever stuff by Wo Fat is released blogs and forums get crazy. Incredibly here Wo Fat have been assigned to that small Stage01 room. And again and again I hate that room. There are so many people clogging up not only the room but also the corridor outside that one wonder why such a band was confined there and not in a wider place more adequate for this very popular and sincerely kickass US trio. Impossible … So if you want to know how badass they were, again go and read he report on The Obelisk. Being not too crazy about CULT OF LUNA, ready to start in the Main Stage theater, I go back to Het Patronaat and wait for the start of another historical band, ANTISECT.

    Antisect are a legendary British band that was blending anarcho-hardcore punk/crust and some metal back in the 80s. The gig is explosive, political and libertarian slogans flow on the screen between the stage while these seasoned but energetic punks vomit their rage over the adoring audience. For the occasion some guys among the public boast their t-shirts praising the “departure” of the hated Iron Lady Thatcher and jump into the mob busy in some lively moshing. We get back from the gig of Antisect covered with sweat and some bruises as well, probably, but really charged, in the best mood for chatting with some friends in the nice climate outside.
    The classic and balming re-fuelling with caffeine and fresh drinks are due before starting again in “assaulting” the smaller rooms where something quite cool is going on (VICTOR GRIFFIN’S IN-GRAVED and LO! From Australia), but it is hard.  In the Main Stage HIGH ON FIRE are back and start drawing streams of wildly adoring people from all the other rooms for a second, devastating gig and for the definitive appointment of Matt Pike as Roadburn’s absolute god ... So I am able to enter the Green Room for catching a good part of the exhibition of the Finnish JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES. This band belongs to the stream of female-fronted occult retro-rock bands which are very much appreciated in these days. So this is a somewhat “fashionable” band, yet Jess & The Ancient Ones rule! Jess has a beautiful voice and their songs are catchy and involving and make you dance after. It is nice to enter the room just when your fave song, Astral Sabbath, from the new Ep, is starting … At a certain moment it is time to slice through the thick mass of people and migrate back to the main Stage because DIE KREUZEN, the other legendary hardcore-punk band of the festival, are about to start playing.

     Die Kreuzen are from Milwaukee, IL, USA and are well-known for their being so much influential for grunge as well as Voivod, and more. It had been written that “Die Kreuzen is an influence on all things Roadburn”. Their presence is almost an automatic consequence of the blitz of frontman Dan Kubinski singing, with his amazing voice, together with Voivod at Roadburn last year and the tribute album to Die Kreuzen in 2005. Today they play the first of two gigs in the Main Stage theater which is probably too big, lacking of the squat-like ambience and is not as filled up as this band would deserve. Pity because Dan and his mates are nicely going through the repertory of the band which is quite varied. Songs exploring the rageful hardcore-punk stage of Die Kreuzen alternate with more “experimental”songs where the band was steering towards post-punk territories or else incorporating groove-laden funk metal elements in their multifaceted style. But many people are outside for food, for the merch as well as for hopelessly queueing up outside Het Patronaat for the other great and much expected band, ELDER, that is going to play in partial overlap with Die Kreuzen. Pity! The access to the Elder gig is impossible and many people will miss another gig which will be then described as “memorable”! A taste of blackest pessimism via ASH BORER in a fully packed Green Room is due while waiting for steaming hot Het Patronaat to be emptied. I’m bound to attend the second gig by SATAN’S SATYRS. I enter the hot and humid hall for installing somewhere: the hall is almost full of people sitting down on the floor for a rest and sweating like fountains. Many people come in this oven after seeing GODFLESH in the fresh air at the Main Stage. Many of those who had not been able to see Satan’s Satyrs in their first gig yesterday are hoping the band will play a twin gig. Actually the US “retro doom punk” trio is going to play a tribute Blue Cheer and in hommage to the recent death of frontman Dickie Peterson. Some people who had missed the announcement on the Roadburn website are a bit disappointed. Nevertheless the concert is super as Satan’s Satyrs outlaws possess the same freshness and the same raw and shameless sound and attitude of Blue Cheer in their time.

     The tropical heat at Het Patronaat is such that we just make a quick blitz to the Green Room for catching some improvised jamming by MY BROTHER THE WIND (cool Swedish psych band related to the mythical Transubstans Records) and forget the even higher cramming at the Stage01 for THE COSMIC DEAD. Sob … The Main Stage offers some fresh air and some space where to sit down a bit as there is not much crowd while ENDLESS BOOGIE get ready to start. Their retro bluesy rock is soothing and relaxing, so after a while it is time for yielding to the curiosity for the local death doom metal legends, ASPHYX, that have already started playing at Het Patronaat. The hall is full of Roadburnians back to their nasty metal roots, and so it gets quickly sickening hot both for the hellish ambience and for the lack of fresh air. Not easy to resist, sorry, old age or long day, but it is far too much heat for today.

    Sunday, April 21st 2013 (Afterburner)
    This is the last day of the Roadburn Festival, or actually the post-festival, also known as Afterburner. It is normally a very pleasant and relaxing day. Many people have already left, and also the city center is sleepy and quiet. In the many coffee bars and restaurants in the centre you can still see the boards advertising foods and dishes like “Roadburn Hamburger”, “The Endless Boogie Burger”, “High On Fire Tofu”, “Satan’s Satyrs Spareribs”!

    Maybe in town and near the Poppodium you won’t meet the guys of Dark Tranquillity and Enslaved as in the previous days, but you can spot (again) Matt Pike somewhere while eating (no, it didn’t seem tofu …) or else John Baizley and family strolling around. This is also the best day for quietly enjoying the exhibition of Baizley’s graphic art in the gallery near the Poppodium. Today there are less people than the previous days yet there is a substantial amount of people as this day as well has got a juicy program band-wise. I start my Afterburner with ASTRA, coming from the Californian heavy psych scene but proudly linked to the British Rise Above Records. Astra’s style of psychedelic prog rock is classic and easily reminds of King Crimson, early Genesis, Yes, but the flow of jammings produced by these guys is amazing and very much involving.

     The concert will go through songs from the new and old album. I was particularly struck by Richard Vaughn in charge of vocals, keyboards and occasionally also guitars (!), as well as guitarist Brian Ellis, who is wearing a hippy shirt with some luscious yellow flowers stitched on the front!  The other amazing prog band in the roster of Rise Above Records, i.e., Diagonal, didn’t manage to come to the festival, so PALLBEARER are going to play instead, in the Green Room, saluted by the many people who missed them in the first day. In the meantime there are workers on the Main Stage busy with setting up something “weird”, like a sort of altar covered with some items good for wizardries (skull, candleholder, etc.), that will be part of the no less than flamboyant show coming soon: SIGH in concert. These bizarre, “maniacal power-prog-thrashers/black metallers” from Japan had been announced with some intriguing words on the Roadburn website: “… perfect band for the Afterburner show because no matter how strange the bands are in the first three days of the festival, Sigh will offer up something unseen and unheard before!” … Well, all true!

    Sigh like to play a variety of odd, hybrid, avantgarde black metal style contaminated by basically anything, including psychedelic rock and Japanese pop music! The band offers a flashy show, maybe a bit excessive or gaudy, but quite entertaining. Skulls and occult demonic masks will emanate or be set to fire, occult- or sacred-looking books will be eaten by fire while frontman  Mirai Kawashima, singer, keyboard player and founder of Sigh, and the attractive lady singer and saxophone player Dr. Mikannibal are busy in wild duets. Dr. Mikannibal surely catches a substantial dose of attention. She enters the stage dressed up first as a sexy geisha in a mini red satin kimono and then in a black lace petticoat and angel wings. But, hey, she growls like a demonic beast and, at a certain moment, she grabs a sort of tabernacle or sacred-looking chalice and pours quite a lot of some dark red sticky liquid resembling blood all over her face and body. Yuuuuk! A real nasty banshee looking like a sexy doll! Very dangerous! Lol … Aside from theatrical aspects that may or may not be appreciated (but hey, we are not at church or at a congress!), the concert unfolds with a frenzied and lively pace and is duly closed in a rather “classic” way by Sigh’s cover of Venom's “Black Metal” as it was done in the band’s recent tribute EP devoted to the British masters. Maybe also just a way to remember that this band started playing nasty metal not too long after the birth of that song …

    What will follow in the Main Stage will have a completely different attitude and definitely minimalistic look: Michael Rother is playing the pristine krautrock of his legendary band NEU!! with his other band HARMONIA. This is a further, charming jump back into the past, into the roots of the music we like. However I feel a bit perplexed and uneasy while seeing the drummer standing near a tiny drum set and hitting it with some touches while the sound is actually booming in the hall. Obviously it is a sort of electronic drumkit, and sincerely I don’t like it. Sorry, I’m old age and old school if not primitive, I like to see drummers sweating over their skins, so this rather aseptic exhibition is not able to catch me emotionally … On the contrary the GOLDEN VOID guys grab my attention and my soul much more.

    You all know them by now, for sure, such  a cool band from California lead by Isaiah Mitchell. Friendly Isaiah looks like a car-mechanic from deep rural America. You would never imagine him to be the man behind one of the top coolest present-day heavy psych bands on earth, Earthless. In the Golden Void ballads Isaiah plays guitar and sings alone or in occasional duets with keyboard player Camilla Saufley-Mitchell. I would like to enjoy the full stream of raaawk, passion, groove and intimacy emanating from this overly cool band in the Green Room but SPIRITUAL BEGGARS are about to start in the Main Stage. It is the first time I see them and I don’t know when I’ll have another chance like this in the future. One of my friends says that it is like seeing Deep Purple, “too classic”, “too rpedictable” or so. Probably some people didn’t cope with the changes involving the frontman. Anyway I long to see them at least once. So I’m there, right under the stage, in front of the keyboard wizard Per Wiber.

     The “new” singer Apollo Papathanasio, previously in the Greek power metal band Firewind, is imposing and lively. I must say I like his warm voice. Obviously there are substantial stylistic and tonal differences between Apollo and the previous singers, legendary Spice e dark lord JB Christoffersson, however I enjoy Apollo’s warm way of interpreting new songs and old classics. The Roadburn public is cheerful but Apollo makes efforts for involving people more and more. At a certain moment some people will move to the Green Room where DIE KREUZEN will give their second gig. This time Die Kreuzen crew will deliver a blasting, super charged gig in the perfect intimacy of the Green Room in front of a big, adoring and enthusiastic crowd.

    Next on the Main Stage is IHSAHN together with band LEPROUS for a very long show, one hour and 45 minutes. I miss the start of the show, but as soon as I find a place where to sit down a bit I get immediately the feeling that this is going to be one of the most powerful ever concerts that I happened to see here at Roadburn.

    It is impossible not to be caught by the immense stream of sounds and by the emotionally powerful background stage movie made by artistic reworking of black and white images somehow evoking glacial and gigantic natural phenomena. The prog metal style built up by Inhsahn and his mates in Leprous (a band that I didn’t know, guiltily) is monumental. Often Ihsahn  recalls his black metal roots especially in the chanting style (I know you know, but let’s remember he was in mighty Emperor), but this feature does not hamper the magic of these cyclopic ballads. I was liking Ihsahn’s style on disk, but seeing and listening to this music live is stunning at the utmost and deeply haunting.  The spell cast on me by Ihsahn will make me miss almost completely the exhibition of ELECTRIC MOON in the Green Room. I can just catch the final part of the last heavy and trippy acid psych jamming so typical for this cool German band involving Sula Bassana.

    So I get ready for my last gig at Roadburn, the Swedish sludge-drone duo SWITCHBLADE with Per Wiber on keyboards as guest. Maybe it is a gloomy way to close my Roadburn experience this time, eh eh … As expected, Switchblade are able to intoxicate the crowd with their funereal sludge-doom/drone style à-la-Khanate, although the contribution of Per Wiber’s hammond sound imparts a unique character to the sounds and creates particularly haunting atmospheres.  Halfway through the concert there are a few technical problems: a signal to my old bones. It is time to go to sleep as tomorrow there is an early train to the airport.  Roadburn 2013 is finished. Back to reality. I missed a lot of bands I would have liked to see, but on the other side I saw some shows that are probably unique, if not just for the magic atmosphere permeating this mythical festival. What else can I say if not “hopefully I’ll be back next year” … ?

    Words: Marilena Moroni (exchanging opinions and impressions with Fabrizio Garau and my  hardcore-punk guru Adriano Di Gaspero)

    Credits for some of the photos go to my friends Adriano Di Gaspero and Alessandro Mattonai

    Check out all the updates, awesome photos, videos and “highlights” at the official website of the Roadburn Festival

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    Two people making quite a lot of cool noise … Ghold are a “weight & grunt power duo” from England (South London) whose weapons are bass & drums. Paul Anthony is in relentlessly charge of the drums whereas Alex Wilson is in charge of vocals and bass, likely equipped with thick thick thick chords …Ghold are a young act as they started playing during early 2012. They released a demo halfway through last year, did much live activity locally, i.e. London area and beyond, but sharing the stage with some substantial bands like Iron Witch, Bast and Meadows, to name a few. They have a new record out duly called Judas Ghoat, that came out  as limited edition of 100 cool tape cassettes on April 8th 2013 via label Gnostic/Mystic Records. If you approach Ghold via their sludge rock cover of ZZ-Top’s Bad Girl from Bandcamp, you get instantly conquered by this lo-fi heavy duo. However in that song and in their 2012 demo you may taste a particularly groove-laden and punkish side of this band, that reminds me a wee bit of Satan’s Satyrs, at least for the attitude and not for the vocals, which are dull and raucous in Ghold. In the demo these guys play a raw, no-frills, barebone sludge metal style which is relentless and abrasive but quite groovy. In the 2013 Jesus Ghoat tape, things get even heavier and, above all, much darker. In the four long tracks of this new, almost 40 minutes-long album, distortion and downtuning seem to get even deeper and tempo changes radical, as neatly shown in the stunning 15 minutes-long ballad Our Sciolist’s Ritual. Pace may get unbearably slow, painfully dragged after wild fury has been unleashed. Post-metal dissonance and odd tempo changes are occasionally adopted in the minimalistic but unusual or chaotic riff patterns, so that the leading “melodies” possess a degree of impredictability which is quite intriguing. Try, for example, the vortex-like evolution of the plodding melodies in the mindblowing suite Breathe in Beast.

    Sounds may get more dilated or else extremely contorted and furious (like, for example in the fast track That Woebegone), but they are always filthy and gruesome so that groove is just a poisoning illusion. Last but not least, vocals tend to be probably more tortured and angry, when they are able to emerge from the noise. The extremely downtuned, thundering bass is the real voice of the Ghold duo as it is probably the loudest sound you can hear when those chords as thick as ropes are allowed to vibrate in the construction of these sometimes funereal, sometimes sickly relentless, hypnotic ballads. The first thing I thought when I first approached Ghold in Jesus Ghoat was that to me they sounded like a hybrid between early Mastodon, Melvins, Black Cobra and a Canadian band whose debut album back in 2010, Hometown Heroine, had struck me a lot. I am speaking about the sludge grind band Greber, bass & drum duo related to Fuck The Facts and The Great Sabatini. So the very first impression of Ghold’s sound may be of primitive, brutal, raw simplicity just because Paul and Anthony employ a minimal equipment and their melodies seem to be stripped-down. Yes, brutal and “stripped-down” is the first impression. However when you enter Ghold’s pitch-black ballads you get intoxicated but, at the same time, you start seeing an amazing amount of shades in their dark world.  So, folks, if you like to have your skin peeled and scarred, Ghold drum & bass sludge-doom duo, from South London, is definitely a band, no sorry, a two-headed beast to keep under your radar! Get hold of this solid, abrasive, monster tape Jesus Ghoat via Ghold’s Bandcamp page, where you can also find Ghold’s demo for free download. Or else go to the merch page where you can find a cool bundle including the “doom-died” t-shirt with the smart diamond-shaped logo of the band. And find out where these guys play live!!

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Ghold | Facebook
    Ghold | Bandcamp
    Ghold | Official Website
    Ghold | Merch Page

    Video - GHOLD @ Hole In The Wall

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    “Spiral is chosen along with others by the inhabitants of the planet Metaluna to do research that will help save their dying planet. However, an evil scheme is uncovered by the suspecting Spiral when They discover the Metalunan's plan to take over Earth. Spiral then escapes an exploding Metalunan built Earth lab along with Dr. Adams only to be kidnapped while flying away in a small plane”. As you see that story of creating this strange and doomy space desert rock duet is pretty clear for those who deal with acid. Spiral is a real desert-based band consists of Aaron Frale (guitar, vocals) and Chris Boat (bass, keyboard, vocal). I did want to contact with some of them and wait… it seems I’m receiving a telepathic signal! You couldn’t believe, but it’s a bloody truth! It always starts with vertigo and colorful spirals behind my eyes…

    Hail Chris! As the past of Spiral is blurred for me and the present of this project has it’s secrets let us start from very beginning. What is Spiral project about? But please – without that story of Metaluna… even if it’s true.

    Chris Boat here. Aaron and I like to take turns with interviews and it is my turn. First off let me thank you for taking the time to interview us. I’ve had these questions for a few days and I’ve been putting off answering them until the mood was right. Today the wind was blowing strongly and the air was filled with sand. Sand makes the strangest kind of fog. I was looking out my car window at the sand drenched landscape, my mouth full of grit and I decided it was the perfect day to write about Matijevic Hill. Spiral came about because Aaron and I had to quit playing live. We were both in different bands enjoying a small amount of local success but circumstances made it impossible to continue playing live. My wife had just given birth to our child and Aaron was starting a family of his own, so practicing three times a week and playing in bars over the weekend was impossible. We were both sad to leave the scene, so one day we got to talking and decided it would be fun to start a “studio only” project. Since we didn’t intend to perform live, we could layer the pieces, expand and morph them into whatever we wanted them to be. When playing live we had to keep the audience in mind, so I always tried to reign in my desire to create long trance like ambient sections within the songs. However, with this project I could really let myself go. To this day, we only preform live in studio.

    “Live on Matijevic Hill”, your last official release, was recorded when Spiral did wear the name of Snail project, it was in 2009, right? So after all how did Snail became Spiral? How much did you change in your vision and sound?

    Snail was a strange and ugly creature. Aaron and I were both in different bands, but we would sometimes get together and play at parties. This always included quite a few people joining in with whatever instruments they had, or could play. The shows included everything from kettle drums to laptops. The shows were completely sporadic and most of the things performed are unlistenable. We had to keep everything simple (especially considering the fact that we were usually on some substance or another) so the music never got complicated. It is repetitive and slow. We were all obsessed with the “No-wave” movement at the time so it is all a little derivative, but man we had fun. The music was simple, loud, emotional, and it transported us to a new plain of existence. Matijevic Hill is a mixture of tons of different recordings. I took the best stuff from the old tapes and left it at that. Spiral comes from a completely different perspective. Where Snail was sporadic and simple, Spiral is calculated and complex. I think both projects focus primarily on creating a mood, but they use different tactics to do so. You can still hear traces of Snail in Spiral. The song Machine off of the album “Machine” is an old Snail song with rewritten words. Jenny Hurts Her Little Brother” off of the album “Your Kindness Let a Monster In” is another one.

    It’s said that you and Chris are desert born, you started with single “In the Desert”, well and art-work of “Live on Matijevic Hill” pictures Martian desert… How does an image of desert connect to your music? How does it connect to your life?

    The desert is a living breathing place. Everything is scorched by the sun and fighting for existence. Plants that would be beautiful in kinder environments are thorny and brown. When the sun sets the sky burns like wildfire. Everyday feels like the apocalypse. I want to capture the emotion, spirit, and heart of the desert and force it into our music.

    Well, do you have any fun living there? Didn’t you ever think to leave that place?

    I absolutely love the desert. I’ve traveled all over the world, from Japan to Rome, and I’ve seen some beautiful places, but the spirit of the desert always calls me back.

    You have a damned lot of full-length and singles, what does feed your creativity? And are all of your works important for you in the same way? You know… when band makes one album for about a year or two, we could suppose that it’ll be detailed work, it’ll be thoughtful work maybe… Well, and it could turn to absolutely shit in the same way too! So, what will you say?

    We have two different types of records. First are the ones we work on for years. We’ve been working on “Anomaly” for about two years and it still isn’t finished. After working on these monster albums for a year or so we usually hit a slump where we get kind of bored. Most musicians would go out and tour during these times in order to make the music fresh, but we don’t do that with Spiral, instead we make in-between records. The in-between records usually happen fast and we allow ourselves to be creative in ways that wouldn’t really work on some of our more epic records. To go through the list: “The Death of Billy Jensen”, our first full length is actually an in-between record. It took a month from start to finish and we worked on it during a break in our recording of the album “Citizen”, which took us a year to make. “Machine” is an in-between record that took us a month and a half. “The Capital in Ruins” took us over a year, whereas “Your Kindness Let a Monster In” started as an in-between record that eventually forced in six more months of work. “The Traveler” took us a long time and “Mindtrip in A Minor” started out as an in-between, but took us a very long time to make. A lot of people are amazed at how prolific we are, but the truth is we spend all the time we would be out playing live making more songs.
    But the work should be solid in the end…How do you keep album’s conception if you work over it for years? Can it be obsolete to the moment of it’s final release?

    Some albums do go obsolete. We working on an album called “Beast” for quite a few years, but we both got bored and decided it just wasn’t worth it. I have a hard time deciding when an album is done. If I had my way we would still be working on the “Death of Billy Jensen”! Luckily, Aaron stops me once I get too obsessive. Most bands get to develop their songs by playing them live. Since we can’t do that I have a tendency to consider every song I make as a demo. I work them, change them, and rerecord them, until they sound absolutely nothing like the original song.

    And don’t you think that producing so many releases you confuse listeners? It’s really difficult to concentrate onto each record and their potential value could be simply lost in such quantities.

    This is a valid point, and it is one Aaron and I discuss quite often. If I had my way we would leave a lot of stuff unreleased, but Aaron makes a valid point. When we decided not to release “the Red Giant Stirs” and “Caves of Anamnesis” extended versions our local fans kept asking for them, so Aaron finally convinced me to give them what they wanted. For hardcore fans, all of our releases make them happy. For the general public it might seem extreme, but most people will get into one or two of our records and move on. Also, we advertise records differently. For instance, we put a ton of money into advertising “The Traveler”, but we only mentioned “Your Kindness Let a Monster In” on our face book page. Kindness is for our hardcore fans, Traveler is a release for everyone.

    Your music is pretty versatile, I hate to ask such things but how would you describe it to those who did never hear it before?

    I would explain it like this: If Pink Floyd (from the year 1970) were to have a love child with early Tangerine Dream, and that child met and fell in love with the love child between the bands Ween and Metallica, and they proceeded to have a love child, that would be Spiral.

    Spiral is working on two new albums, as bandcamp says, one of it (“Anomaly”) is “the third and final installment of the Ruins trilogy”. What is this trilogy? Which albums are included into it?

    The first album in the trilogy is “The Capital in Ruins”. The second is “The Traveler” and “Anomaly” will be the third.

    Okay, and how are these works connected?

    Both records are centered on a character named Rip and his daughter Anomaly.

    Bloody informative… Your second new work supposed to be “quite heavy”, and as you somehow keep “doom” approach, what kind of sound do you forge for this release?

    Our second new work is called “Our Final Days on Bellicus Prime” and it will have heavy moments, but it also includes a lot of mellow stuff as well. Do to our love of metal and no-wave I think it would be impossible to separate Spiral from Doom.

    Do you play gigs with Spiral? Besides open-air amidst night-clad deserts of course…

    We would both like to start playing live. We have rehearsed a few times, but due to the layered sound of Spiral we would need a lot of people to reproduce the sound we achieve on record. One thing I can guarantee, the minute we start making enough to make Spiral our full time job you can bet your ass we will be out touring like crazy.

    Do you support contact with other bands of your kind? I just can’t get out that stereotype of hermits who live in real desert! Hah, by the way what kind of stereotypes about desert-dwellers are true?

    I am in contact with other musicians, for instance, we often bring Senda Shallow in as a quest vocalist, and she lives 800 miles away! As far as bands like us, we really don’t know any. I’m intrigued by the concept of desert stereotypes. I’ve traveled quite a bit, so I know all of the American tourist stereotypes (and I try to avoid them!) but I can’t think of any desert stereotypes. I’ll tell you what, you tell me the stereotypes and I’ll tell you if they are true or not.

    You did release “The Red Giant Stirs” single in July of 2012, it consists of two tracks 40 and 30 minutes long. What is the story besides this record? What kind of conceptual and musical ideas did you put into it?

    The songs for the album “The Traveler” took shape during the recording sessions for “The Capital in Ruins”. Casey Mraz had agreed to join Spiral full time and our original intention was to create an album with three tracks, one written by each of us and then arranged and produced by the band as a whole. The first song we worked on was “The Caves of Anamnesis”, which was mine, followed by “The Red Giant Stirs” which was Aaron’s. We sent Casey home to write his song and Aaron and I focused all of our attention on promoting “The Capital in Ruins”. After a while it became clear that Casey was too busy to join Spiral full time so Aaron and I sat down to figure out what to do with “The Traveler”. We came up with the brilliant plan of increasing both of our songs to somewhere over the 40 minute mark and releasing it as a double album. We set to work on both songs. Aaron’s hit the 40 minute mark and mine hit 30. About this time in the recording process we both realized that we were being completely self-indulgent and decided on a different tactic. We added two more songs and cut the epics way down. We were going to leave it at that but people were constantly curious about the long versions of the songs, so we caved to pressure and released the full length pieces as a single. I think it is the first time that the single is longer than the album it came from!

    Full-length “Mind Trip in Minor” which was released a month before “The Red Giant Stirs” somehow sounds different, and it’s not only because quantity and quality of compositions. Yet this album can’t be considered as straightforward too, as Spiral continues to perform it’s twisted psychedelic touch in it, what is your psychedelic experience besides music?

    I’m very proud of Mindtrip. I think it is the record that most represents what Aaron and I can do as a team. As to psychedelics, Aaron and I were both acid eaters when we were teenagers. What we do now… well those are band secrets! All I can say is: if you get the chance to try DMT, do it.

    Ha-ha, I bet that our readers could keep this secret safe! :-) Yet, well, why not… Anyway it was my last question for today, so good luck mate! Wish you all the best on your way through  great cosmic spirals!

    Interview By Aleks


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    Rhode Island's PILGRIM has joined forces with Metal Blade Records. The band's debut album, "Misery Wizard", was released in early 2012 through Poison Tongue Records, the label of vocalist Alan "Nemtheanga" Averill of Irish pagan metal masters PRIMORDIAL.

    PILGRIM managed to spend the majority of 2012 rattling the foundation of the underground doom scene. The band toured with SAMOTHRACE, MARES OF THRACE, PRIMITIVE WEAPONS, headlined the Stoner Hands Of Doom festival, and more. At the end of 2012, PILGRIM had the honor of performing at Metal Blade's 30th-anniversary Scion AV label showcase. Most recently, PILGRIM performed as part of the Roadburn festival 2013 in the Netherlands.

    As the "Misery Wizard" chapter of PILGRIM's budding career draws to a close, the band has begun efforts to craft the follow-up to what became a critically-acclaimed debut. The new album will be recorded in May of 2013 at Emandee Studios, which is the same location utilized for "Misery Wizard".

    "The stars have aligned and our dreams have come true," said PILGRIM guitarist/vocalist The Wizard. "It's a fucking honor to have joined the ranks of the legendary Metal Blade army. The time has come for our world domination through sonic amplification. Hail Astaroth, Hail Slagel."

    A high-quality live bootleg of a new PILGRIM track, "Void Worship", from the band's March 1 show at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, New York can be seen below:

    PILGRIM is:

    Krolg, Slayer of Men - Drums
    Count Elric the Soothsayer - Bass
    The Wizard - Guitar and Vocals

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    Necrotroopers is unique and twisted funeral / drone project from Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia). It was started as solo-project of Algeroth but know his sister contributes vocals and piano in this tortured and abnormal soundscapes. Necrotroopers released three full-length albums in 2012 and their last album “The Cult of the Darned” was shared as a digital download in February of 2013. Why only digital download? - someone could ask. Okay, it’s pretty qualitative work but it’s full length is more than three (3:32) hours… Damned long – you see. If you’re interesting how did it all happened then this interview with Necrotroopers is for you.

    Let’s start with the following question: what our readers and the target audience of Necrotroopers should know about this project, except for it being “filled with depressing atmosphere of decay, malice and despair” as you say?

    Greetings.  Regarding the passage “filled with depressing atmosphere of decay, malice and despair”, it is simply a brief description of the emotions that describe this project. Generally, Necrotroopers is not planned to be something profitable or aimed to become demanded by the masses. This project was created mainly for myself, it was a mean to express my own visions and “hallucinations” that were incomprehensible to me. I also had no plans to share this on the net.

    This answer raises the question of how all recorded materials happen to get on the net?

    One of the participants of the project took the initiative to post the project materials, so that people who seek something new or interesting to hear could try it out. We, ourselves , are constantly seeking out outlandish music.

    In addition to that definition, in the internets there is a mention of the “harrowing vocals, akin to rat squeals, bone grinding and the smell of putridity”. Why you want to focus the attention to that, while the main feature of this band are, perhaps, lengthy funeral/drone compositions that may be up to forty minutes long?

    Again, it is a brief description of the project’s components. No one was trying to draw the attention to that, we just had to describe the project somehow. The duration of the tracks is only a technical feature, I don’t think it is all that important; music should not have any bounds, neither emotional nor temporal. Especially because this genre implies cyclic and slowpaced sound.

    As far as I can tell, project remains in a studio-only format, and I suppose that someone would hardly publish a release of such length as Necrotroopers do. How the project came to that format? What was the initial concept for it and how it is corresponds to it today?

    What a record label can give you? What is the point of all that? Let the critics treat this project as if it does not exist if it is not published by a record label. Some people pursue recording quality, some people pursue a chance of being published by recording labels, well it doesn’t matter for us, what matter is atmosphere and energy of the music. There is a bunch of projects, that are not worthy any attention at all, but you can only get to know them by purchasing their published release. There are no rigidly set elements in Necrotroopers, everything is done lightly and without any strong limitations.

    Necrotroopers “Laboratories of the Black Sun”

    By that logic, you can consider any garage band as true leaders in their genre, because they’re “true and evil” while mediocre recording quality being considered a plus for recorded materials. How you valuate the quality of your work yourself? For example, your latest release, “The Cult of the Darned”?

    I disagree with you here. Making interesting and quality music is a big job, this is not for everyone (so you can easily call Necrotroopers a dross, yet even this dross is interesting to some people). But there are some exceptions, when albums are being recorded at home, without any suitable conditions for recording, amidst the trash heaps, maybe even in a bathroom, with all the participants being hunched and crumpled, just like the legendary “Bathory”, which made a great contribution into the development and establishment of several musical genres. As for “true and evil”, this word combination really amuses me, great joke. Recording quality of the album “The Cult of the Darned”, and the other albums before it, is definitely leaves much to be desired, but you can’t say that tracks are completely unsuitable for listening.

    In that Necrotroopers album, I noticed an interesting element of ambient. What style are you planning to steer your project into in the future, do you see the scope for the development of this project?

    Ambient is one of the core ways to express the atmosphere, it will stay a part of Necrotrooper’s compositions. We are planning to keep the same genre but now with some elements of Death and Black Metal.

    According to “metal-archives”, Necrotroopers made three albums in 2012. Considering their length, it’s hard to imagine how such amount of materials could be recorded in such a short time. Can you tell me about that?

    This is simply a huge piece of inspiration and energy, which felt on our heads out of nowhere. =) At that time, we earned to record day and night. First album was recorded in a week. The following ones included some tracks that were recorded a couple of years ago, those ones were additionally post-processed.

    Where do you do recording?  Is everything recorded at home?

    Unfortunately, we have no means to do in-studio recordings and frankly, we have no desire to do so. Everything is recorded at home.

     The length of Necrotroopers’ albums had increased from an hour and a half (for a Necrotroopers’ debut  album) to three hours and a half (for the last album, “Cult Of The Darned”). I will be blunt with you – I haven’t listened to all of them. But here’s the question: do you listen to your albums yourself? What’s the point of all this?

    There’s nothing unusual in you not being able to listen through all the albums, it would’ve been a violation of your own brains, yet still I think there are some characters that will be able to endlessly listen to something super-lengthy. As for listening to our albums ourselves, of course we do. After all, we need to criticize ourselves somehow, listen to our tracks over and over again until we become convinced that it wasn’t what we wanted to hear or maybe it was only 20% worthy. Regarding points, everything has one, but some points are more pointy for some people, than the others.

    So after listening to your latest album, what did you saw in it?

    The album The Cult Of The Damned is a mix of something original with things that “were already shown in the Simpsons”. Overly, it is too cyclic.

    Vocals means lyrics, but I couldn’t find those anywhere. What are Necrotroopers’ lyrics all about? Satan? Cthulhu? Death?

    Vocals are simply an additional instrument, which complements the composition with it’s expressiveness. In general, we have here a devil-may-care attitude towards human thoughts and narration. Our project is not adorned with medals of satan, death and other similar entities. It’s something different, something evil, putrescent, vomiting and incomprehensible to itself.

    You work without associating yourself with a recording label, but your music is definitely reaching the audience somehow. How do you promote your project, and what reviews it gets?

    Our albums are only distributed by our audience, all we do is upload our materials on to web site. There aren’t many reviews, but at times people express their opinions. Usually, it’s admiration and astonishment. Astonishment mostly regarding the place of origin of our project. “Kazakhstan?  Are you kidding me… how is that possible?”, “Great job, Kazakh dudes! Go, Kazakhstan!”. It’s quite funny actually, there are a people of various nationalities in Kazakhstan, including Russians. Once I found a German review of Necrotroopers on the internet, I was quite surprised. That person made a decent and detailed article about his impression of our project. Actually, you can see the review HERE!

    It’s hard to nail that down, but do you yourself feel any changes in Necrotroopers with each new album? Can we speak about some sort of advancement?

    Currently, I can only emphasize an increased length of tracks in our last album and experimenting with female vocals (usually in a Funeral style). Advancement is a loose concept, you can’t award a final mark for your own musical activity. Each album is a completely different story, with a delicately connected to each other.

    What goals do you set for Necrotroopers’ future?

    There are no specific goals, everything is up to our inspiration and a search for something new for ourselves. A change of style is possible, perhaps it would even be a mix of Funeral Drone Doom and Black Death Metal.

    Ok, roger that. There are no more questions for today. Do you want to say something our your readers?

    Thank you for being interested in Necrotroopers, see you everyone.

    Interview By Aleks

    Official Website

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    Live albums can be so intense and rewarding … For those who took part to an event or for those who missed it, live albums are a way to “be there” for another time or else indirectly experiencing the pathos deriving from that magic, “electric” interaction between musician and their public. Bootleg albums in both bad and good quality are into anyone’s collection and most often are endowed of a special “flavor” which may definitely strike some chords into the soul of a die-hard fan than to someone who is approaching a band for the first time. On the other hand official live albums have (or should have) the advantage of coupling the freshness of the live exhibition with an excellent quality of sound. Also often bands plan their live albums in coincidence with events that possess an emotional charge or significance for them, for their career and/or for the warmth of the support from their fans. So the selection of the setlist, the particular emotional status and the particular care in the recording may turn these official live albums into outstanding releases as well as a cool way to approach a band for the first time, I guess. No surprise, therefore, that the latest release by Samsara Blues Experiment, Live at Rockpalast,  is so great …

    You all know about this cool German heavy psychedelic jam space/stoner band, from Berlin. Let’s just refresh the names of these heavy rockers: founder Christian Peters on lead guitar (electric and acoustic), vocals plus sitar and synthesizer,  Hans Eiselt on electric and acoustic guitars and percussion, Thomas Vedder on drums and percussion and Richard Behrens on bass.  Last album by Samsara Blues Experiment, Revelation Mystery, dates back to 2011. So it is due time for hearing back from this cool band. But these guys have not been lazy in the meantime.  First of all year 2012 saw the bloom of the new act Heat involving bassist Richard Behrens and delivering some excellent retro rock via their kickass debut album Heat. In addition Christian Peters has been and is very busy with label Electric Magic Records which released Heat’s debut and has been scouting for new bands as well as digging around for discovering and refreshing memory about some heavy gems of the past, like album “The World Through Bloodred Eyes" by the Swedish doom rock band House of Aquarius.

    So, quite busy …So Samsara Blues Experiment’s live album includes a show recorded for the Crossorads Festival at Harmonie Bonn for WDR Rockpalast on October 24, 2012. The recording was mixed by Richard Behrens and mates in February 2013 and is released by Electric Magic Records as limited edition CD (500 copies only). Don’t be mislead by the minimalistic front cover of the CD. This live album is mammoth, about 1 hour 20 minutes of heavy psychedelic bliss and magic chemistry conveyed by a selection of ballads alternatively coming from the 2010 debut album Long Distance Trip (Singata, Army of Ignorance, For the lost souls, Double Freedom) and the 2011 album Revelation & Mystery (Hangin’ On the Wire, Into the black, Outside Insight Blues).  You can see the full concert in the video posted on the website of WDR Rockpalast at the following web address:
    Beside a top-notch quality sound and cool live photos by Thomas Lang, the CD includes a yummi bonus, though, i.e. the charming and intimate acoustic reworked version of “Singata Mystic Queen” recorded by Richard Behrens at Big Snuff Studio in Berlin.

    The selection for the concert beautifully depicts the style of this quartet able to reinforce the dreamy meandering of retro acid, space and even some oriental psychedelia with the groove-dripping solid, rambling heaviness of fuzzy stoner rock and generous pinches of Sabbathian doom. These guys are able to blend influences from old and contemporary bands (vintage heavy psych blues rock, Jimi Hendrix, Hawkwind, krautrock, Desert Sessions, Nebula, Colour Haze, Pink Floyd, etc.) in fascinating distorted hybrids where melodies develop in almost unpredictable patterns but keep you tightly hooked by the energy of the riffs, the amazing guitar solos and duets, the impact of the drumming and an element that further adds loads of atmosphere, i.e., vocals. Psych bands often go instrumental, and it is fine. But one of the things that made dig Samsara Blues Experiment particularly since the first time I heard them (when Long Distance Trip came out) was the powerful, rough yet hot, hard rocking vocals  by Chris. Vocal additions are not frequent in these long ballads but their presence is like spices. Moreover in this live album Chris is sometimes singing like a hybrid between Jimi Hendrix and Danzig, and this means much shivering along the spine and goosebumps on the skin: mmmm …. when the music is really good!

    A live album is sometimes like a way for refreshing the fans’ memories and make them aware that they may expect something cool and new from their band. And this is actually what will happen with Samsara Blues Experiment. A few days ago the guys announced on Facebook that they are working on their new studio album, called Waiting for the Flood, and possibly due out during mid Autumn 2013. The release of the new album will be connected with a three weeks-long promotional tour across Europe! Don’t expect fancy coloured vinyls any more from Samsara Blues Experiment in the future as they prefer to duly “concentrate on what really matters, the music”. But your mind will be invaded by colours, as soon as you’ll switch your stereo on! Hence, while waiting for a hot Autumn with Samsara Blues Experiment, get hold of Live at Rockpalast CD and further explore the fine selection of music and discovers at Chris’ label Electric Magic Records.

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Official Website
    Electric Magic Records

    Samsara Blues Experiment at Rockpalast – full video on the website of WDR Rockpalast. HERE

    Samsara Blues Experiment - Into the Black (official video)

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    Leif Edling, founding bassist and main songwriter of Swedish doom metal legends CANDLEMASS, is currently recording a full-length album with his new project AVATARIUM.

    "I have been writing songs for some time now and together with the guitar player Marcus Jidell (ROYAL HUNT, EVERGREY), I have been recording some demos during the winter that we are shopping now," Edling tells BLABBERMOUTH.NET.

    "The AVATARIUM songs are heavy, dark and poetic and we have interest from several labels around the world. Nothing is signed just yet, so we carry on with the recording of the album.

    "Last week drummer Lasse Sköld (TIAMAT) recorded his drums in a Stockholm studio. Soon we'll do the guitars and the bass, before singer Jennie-Ann Smith adds her vocals."

    CANDLEMASS played its first show with singer Mats Levén on June 5, 2012 at Debaser Slussen in Stockholm, Sweden.

    Levén is a former member of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, THERION and TREAT, who also plays with Edling in KRUX.

    Also joining the group for CANDLEMASS' recent live performances was keyboard player Per Wiberg (OPETH, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS).

    CANDLEMASS in June 2012 parted ways singer Robert Lowe. The band stated at the time that this was "a very difficult decision" to make and had "mainly to do with the quality of the live performances."

    Lowe— who is still a member of SOLITUDE AETERNUS— joined CANDLEMASS in January 2007 and sang on the band's last three studio albums: "King Of The Grey Islands" (2007), "Death Magic Doom" (2009) and "Psalms For The Dead" (2012).

    CANDLEMASS released its 11th and final album, "Psalms For The Dead", on June 8, 2012 via Napalm Records. A limited-edition seven-inch vinyl single contaning two album tracks —"Dancing In The Temple Of The Mad Queen Bee" and "The Killing Of The Sun"— preceded the full-length effort on April 13, 2012.

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    The Sun Through A Telescope, the blackened drone-doom metal project by the Canadian multi-instrumentalist Lee Neutron (a.k.a. Leigh Newton), is back with a brand new album bearing a rather disquieting and contrasting title, “I Die Smiling”.  Lee says about this title: “ambiguous by design, possibly referring to a feeling of morbid self-satisfaction” …But contrasts are common in the style of this polyedric musician who is able to make you plunge in the bleakest abysses or to cuddle you with the most ethereal, soothing sounds and atmospheres, as shown in his previous works ( HERE and HERE ).

    The new album “I Die Smiling”will be a new tormented exploration across black metal, doom metal, grindcore, sludge, drone/doom, ambient and psychedelia. It should be out during late spring/early summer and available in three formats: digital download available via Bandcamp, digipack CD available via Mutants of Monsters Records, and cassette available via Dwyer Records.

    In the meantime you can have a mouthful of what will come by listening and, above all, looking at this awesome and, well, shocking music video that was produced by Phil Osborne for track Mr.Yawning Infinity Chasm/SuperInfinity. The sounds develop like a hurricane of evil and grimness and are paired with the sequences of striking images made of childish drawings depicting horrible sides of the human nature (war, bombing, killings, cruelty towards animals, etc.) and the worst nightmares. The only possible escape seems to make off towards a world devoid of humans …  rerally impressive! Definitely for fans of: Jesu, SunnO))), Khanate, Thou, Horseback ….

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Official Website

    The Sun Through A Telescope - Mr.Yawning Infinity Chasm/SuperInfinity (official video)

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    They say they play “asshole metal” and the title of their debut EP is rather crude. However the guys in Infectonator, emerging US band from Lansing, Michigan, know very well how to draw some brilliant tunes from their axes and skins! And I am sure that those of you who appreciated the unusual power doom in band Ghost Tower  ( HERE and HERE) will recognize the “magic touch” in the riffs …! Infectonator are one of the bands in the present-day Michigan scene religiously devoted to pure fukkin’, nasty, old school heavy metal. This is one of the bands involving Matt Preston, the wizard behind the awesome, technical but soulful riffs in doom band Ghost Tower (presently on hold), and highly endowed axeman in band Borrowed Time. Another project involving Matt, and recently brought back to life, is Dungeon Beast. All of Matt’s different projects/bands/ acts have in common his deep passion for exploring old metal, old rock and retro cinema: Mercyful Fate, Abattoir, thrash and speed metal from the 1980s, little-known NWOBHM singles, 1970s Camel and other good progressive ’70s rock, Nasty Savage, Dyoxen, Crimson Glory, Iron Maiden, Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Goblin, obscure ’70s and ’80s horror films …

    So this has nothing to do strictly with Doom, apart from the connection with Ghost Tower, featured here on Doommantia, but some cool peculiar features we appreciated in that band can also be found in these projects. Both Infectonator and Dungeon Beast conjugate thrash metal in different ways.  Infectonator is more on the blackened edge, whereas Dungeon beast is slightly more on the power thrash edge.  Infectonator trio involves Matt "Two Soups" Preston on guitars, Doomy G. "the Talent" Blackthrash on vocals and bass and Justin "the Natural" Henry aka Bellitheist on drums.  If you want to know more especially about the reasons for the asshole tag, go and read on the Facebook page of the band! Doomy G. Blackthrash and Bellitheist are live musicians in Borrowed Time. Moreover Doomy G. Blackthrash is also playing in black-thrash metal band Sauron, whereas Bellitheist is in black metal band Dark Psychosis (related to Wastelander) and in black-thrash metal act Mysophyllia as well. Brainfuckers is Infectonator’s debut EP is six slabs of nasty, “face-ripping asshole metal at ludicrous speed”, and inspired by “thrash, death, and black metal as well as everything else that is awesome in life”. The EP also includes a cool cover of Darkthrone’s In the Shadow of the Horns (from A Blaze in the Northern Sky). Songs are definitely fast and furious, lead by a harsh, demonic black metal chanting which often incorporates acute screams. However the wild aggression is coupled with the richness in Matt’s genuinely heavy metal riffs which are just awesome, especially when Matt gets lost in one of his killer solos (like for example, in Watching You Bleed) or when he knits some complex base where Doomy G.’s sick vocals nest (e.g., in Spreading The Plague). In track Fevered Dreams the band even enters into doom territories and just slays. The contrast deriving from the blend of such different attitudes is what makes these tracks so kickass and intriguing.

    Features in this band’s style lead to comparisons to various old school technical power thrash bands, like Sadus, Hellwitch, Coroner etc. I would add that these guys remind me of some bands that I saw, and enjoyed very much, at Fenriz’s Live Evil festival, i.e. Antichrist from Sweden and Black Magic from Norway. Brainfuckers EP should be out as CD by label Arcane Metal Arts, however you can stream five of the six tracks on Bandcamp. At the moment I can’t find any link for the CD so you’d better write to the band for the CD and/or get it during one of the Infectonator gigs. As to the Dungeon Beast act, it first began as an on-the-fly recording project in 2005 short before Matt Preston would move away from his home town in Washington state. A demo called “Skeletal Assailants” was recorded back in time. At the end of 2012 Matt released three more songs as Demo 2012 via Bandcamp.  Dungeon Beast is more devoted to explore power/speed thrash metal territories. Therefore the ballads are driven by some technical yet intensely emotional, old school heavy metal riffage done at variable speed. The style, the “touch” and the “voice” of Matt’s guitar are unmistakable and remind me of Dyoxen, a killer old band that I discovered right thanks to Matt Preston.
    Tracks are mostly instrumental apart from the killer song Noxious Consecration where vocals are rough and aggressive.

    In the early days Dungeon Beast had involved Johan “Skuldronus” (ex-Funeral Dirge) on vocals and Dave Benson  (in Acephalix, Lawless, ex-Depressor, etc.) on drums. In the new demo Matt is accompanied by some other nasty metallers, i.e. Matt Watrous (also in Harbinger, ex-Wastelander) on those harsh vocals plus bass, and Sam Reverend Ceckowski (also in Demon Bitch) in charge of drumming. The cover art of this demo is appropriate and is a good wish, a scary black beast emerging from an ancient-looking dungeon. Let’s hope the beast will not flee back to its dark cove …The new Dungeon Beast tracks in Demo 2012 can be downloaded for free on Bandcamp (click on each track). In case you enjoyed these kickass tunes, you better check out also some other bands devoted to “Pure Michigan Asshole Metal”, like, for example, Demon Bitch and Wülfhook ….

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Infectonator | Facebook
    Infectonator | Bandcamp

    Dungeon Beast | Facebook
    Dungeon Beast | Metal Archives
    Dungeon Beast Deom 2012 | Bandcamp

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    U.K. doom metal veterans MY DYING BRIDE will release a new EP, "The Manuscript", on May 13 via Peaceville Records on CD and vinyl.

    The EP's title track is now available for streaming using the SoundCloud widget below (courtesy of Terrorizer magazine).

    "The Manuscript" contains four new and exclusive songs; a dark voyage spanning over 27 minutes of supreme doom in the unmistakable MY DYING BRIDE style of heaviness mixed with dark tales of foreboding. It was recorded and mixed at Futureworks Studios in Manchester, U.K. with the band's long-time producer, Rob "Mags" Magoolagan.

    Comments the band: "'The Manuscript' features four monstrous tracks of brilliantly crafted metal that only MY DYING BRIDE can do, with swathes of doom laden melancholy, harmonic beauty and thundering death metal all combined in their trademark sound. Four tales of tragedy, loss and bitter vengeance greet the listener with an added assault on the emotions too, leaving the soul grey and limp. There is beauty here, but it's carrying a dark blade."

    In a recent interview with Metal Forces, MY DYING BRIDE vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe stated about the songs that will appear on "The Manuscript": "They're very similar to 'A Map Of All Our Failures', because they were written and recorded at the same time, except for one song. That really stands out… [laughs] It's full-on sort of epic death metal; it's swords and axes, a proper warrior battle kind of track that's almost medieval in flavor. You can almost picture the scene; it's set in a snowy kind of mountainous landscape. There are sound effects and all sorts of mayhem going on in it, and death metal vocals not quite all the way through it, but near enough. It even has a Swedish title which because my Swedish isn't great, I'm not gonna repeat here. [laughs] I need to get the pronunciation right before I do that."

    MY DYING BRIDE's latest album, "A Map Of All Our Failures", was released on October 15, 2012 in Europe and October 16, 2012 in the U.S. via Peaceville Records on CD, double vinyl and special-edition CD+DVD.

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    With “Blood Lust” being one of the most defining records of 2011 (and most probably the entire decade that will come) UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS became “underground” stars in less than a night and judging from the price of their “long gone” releases, they have turned into the ultimate collector’s band. “Mind Control” UNCLE ACID’s (yeah, the “& THE DEADBEATS” part is cut from now on) third album is fairly regarded as one of the most anticipated records of the year.

    From the very notes of “Mt. Abraxas” it is clear that the band walks the same path as “Blood Lust”: Horror movie themes, occultism, drugs, 70’s psych, BLACK SABBATH and co. To be fair “Mind Control” shows a wider variety of influences, none of which falls outside the “retro” scope of course. So, you might come across some BEATLES or even early IRON MAIDEN influences but all blended artistically well.

    Although, most of the tracks have simpler song structures the new album requires more careful listening. It can be said that the record is divided in two parts, with the first containing all the “Pop” tracks and the second focusing on the psychedelic side of things.

    The difference here is that UNCLE ACID have lost the advantage of surprise and with it they seem to have abolished the inspirational driving force that made “Blood Lust” a big hit. From that perspective “Mind Control” doesn’t seem enough to repeat the blast of its predecessor. On the other hand the true retro vide that every UNCLE ACID release supplies to the fans is somewhat phenomenal, So the final question is: can you resist this overdose of 70’s horror? I doubt it…

    Words: Dr Doom Metal ( Dr Dooms Lair )

    Uncle Acid | Facebook

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  • 05/10/13--07:31: Kadavar - "Abra Kadavar" ...
  • The Berliners KADAVAR, have established the reputation of the next best thing in this retro-Rock wave. And let me tell you, that’s so damn true. From image, to cover art, to production, to content and so on, this power-trio is as close as it gets to the spirit of the long gone but never forgotten era of Rock. Of course, it pleases me that musicians are still able to live up to the task but what is actually more impressive is the people’s demand for pure Rock.

    “Abra Kadavar”, the band’s second album, follows the same successful yet deeply honest recipe of the debut. Well, perhaps this time the bass is not so profoundly dominant (still it’s quite loud) but generally you could say that the trademark sound of KADAVAR remains intact. So, you better be prepared for the ultimate vintage fest. This is one helluva trip back to the best era of Rock.

    During the first half of the record the listener is exposed to (mostly) fast paced, proto-Doom Metal in the vein of KING CRIMSON and BLACK SABBATH while in the second half we are dealing with more space oriented compositions a la early HAWKWIND. Apart from the unique sound and the great musicianship Lindemann’s performance on the vocals really stands out. The man’s voice combines the razor sharp lines with the warmth of the classic late 60’s. I wouldn’t say that Lindemann has improved as a singer cause he was already great in last year’s debut but the songs of “Abra Kadavar” seem more fitting.

    “Abra Kadavar” is perhaps not the most original material you can find out there but it’s still great for what it is. There are many bands right now that claim to have achieved that kind of fidelity to the retro sound (both in principles and execution) but KADAVAR are by far the best in that! With names like ORCHID, GRAVEYARD and WITCHCRAFT, people at Nuclear Blast are starting to get the message…

    Words: Dr Doom Metal ( Dr Doom Lair )

    Kadavar | Facebook

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    There had been already strong signs that the folks out at Gogmagogical Records have some fine taste. The fact is further unmistakably assessed by the latest release by this cool US underground label, i.e., the vinyl version of the self-titled debut album by the emerging California-based sludge-doom band Cold Blue Mountain. The album had been released last year as digital format via Bandcamp. Gogmagogical Records decided to support this emerging band and craft one of their super-cool super-solid vinyl editions either in smart black or else in crystalline fresh white and blue resins, and adorned by the delicate yet powerful drawing of the gazelle or long-horned ibex on black background. This (bearded) gazelle or rock goat and the feelings that seeing, or thinking about, such an animal in nature can cause, seems almost to depict the essence of this band, or better of their sound, i.e., a sense of benign strength, of positive natural power, wilderness, toughness, surprise, curiosity, …Having one’s own debut album crafted into such a cool version must be filling the hearts of the Cold Blue Mountain guys of due pride and satisfaction. But their album is much worth of such luscious treatment, because, as far as I am concerned, this is one of the best surprises and most involving heavy albums heard since a while.

    And, I say it as a premise, I’m not that crazy about post-metal … (Yes, there is some post-metal involved here, and even some kind of “sludgecore”, that I normally try to avoid, but, hey, these guys cast a spell on me!!!)
    The five earnest-looking bearded “cowboys” in the photo are the present-day line-up of Chico-based Cold Blue Mountain band, i.e., from left to right, Daniel Taylor (drums; keyboards), Adrian Hammons (bass), Brandon Squyres (vocals), Will McGahan (guitars) and Sesar Sanchez (guitars). Bassist Adrian Hammons and singer Brandon Squyres are both in (… difficult to pinpoint … epic, blackened thrash/doomcore) band The Makai and Brandon Squyres also sings in sludge-doom monster Amarok (read something here and here, and soon about the new split with Hell!)

    So Cold Blue Mountain act may be new to the scene, but the guys have their feet righteously deep into it, for sure. Cold Blue Mountain are tagged as playing “sludge/stoner” on the mighty Metal Archives, although the band’s style is so hybrid that encompasses sludge, doom, macho fuzzy grungy desert-stoner/hard rock, post-metal, hardcore, and let’s add the experimental/prog/avantgarde tag for good measure. This is likely reflecting what the band’s members are and have been into in terms of interests and experience in music. This might also sound the foreword of a mess, if referred to an album. However Cold Blue Mountain were able to blend all this vortex of components into a perfectly smooth synthesis in the comparably short, 30 minutes-long debut album which conjugates badassery side by side with emotional strength and charm in a totally natural and easily flowing way: a “crushing, pretense-free sound”, according to the definition given by the band. The album comprises 9 tracks, i.e. eight songs (Branch Dividian Compound, Time Flies like an Arrow, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, White North, MK Ultra, Dark Secret, Lone Pine, Comatose) plus a short outro (MK Outro).

    The synthetic skill of these musicians is such that the transition across the array of styles mentioned above, and especially the frequent escapes into post-metal or the adoption of other experimental solutions, get unfolded into incredibly short time spans. No song on the Cold Blue Mountain album is over 4 minutes long! But this temporal shortness does not mean that these songs are unbalanced, done hasty or things like that. Tracks may change in tempos, moods and styles from one another and actually often within each of them in a sometimes bizarre way, although each song possesses a distinctive character that will never fail in attracting attention.
    For example the opener Branch Dividian Compound stands out for the dynamic, almost shamelessly joyful impact of its uptempo development that immediately slaps the listeners in their faces with the manly energy of the rambling, distorted riff charge and war-like drumming. It is a sudden push to headbang, and it is not the only one you’ll experience this urge. Some other tracks (like in Time Flies like an Arrow, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Comatose) may variably explore tormented inner states and/or intimate and mournful atmospheres by using post-metal dissonant, glacial or dilated sounds, by means of the emotional impact of hardcore, by slowing down, or else brutally messing up, tempos.

    Intense feelings are sometimes evoked by introduction of keyboards and delicate acoustic passages, like, for example in White North or in the tender piano notes in the MK Outro. But the tormented inner states are not permanent. The band’s riff-heavy heart beats hard for raaawk, so any occasion will be good for steering from torment to groove within the same track. Or else songs like Dark Secret and Lone Pine will come forth with their massive loads of groove. Dark Secret is a high-energy ballad blending the heaviness of doom with some boiling hot desert fuzz rock, whereas Lone Pine is driven by a curious but killer grungy/stoner swinging mood.
    Also Brandon’s vocals contribute to this sonic adventure by shifting from scarring, insanely sick,  blackened sludge growls and hisses to tortured screams and laments and to wild and dangerously alcoholic choirs. Awesome performance, but this holds also for the rest of the crew. This band rips hard.  The remarkable compactness, and completeness, of the tracks in the Cold Blue Mountain album indicates that it is possible to blend styles successfully, and employ genres, like post-metal, for creating emotionally intense atmospheres by using music like the colour-dense strokes of a painter. These guys are able to grip your attention and instinct, give you the effective hint in the short but intense time span of their ballads, and then it is your imagination that goes on and on by working on sensations, and having a great time.  Earlier I mentioned the release of Cold Blue Mountain’s debut S/T album out as 12" vinyl LP, plus poster and download code, via Gogmagogical Records (since April 19th 2013).  But be aware that there is a tape cassette version as well available on Vulture Print, beside, of course, the digital version via i-Tunes and Bandcamp.  The beautiful, stylish black or double-coloured LP or the totally old-school tape cassette of this clever, charming, insanely addictive, heavy (yes) metal (yes yes) album will easily spin or be in loop many many times on your record/tape deck, while waiting for new, killer stuff coming from this bunch of bearded California metalheads. Like busy wizards they are already at work, recording …

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Cold Blue Mountain | Facebook
    Cold Blue Mountain | Bandcamp
    Gogmagogical Records
    Get Hold Of The LP
    Get Hold Of The Tape

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