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DOOM * STONER * SLUDGE * DRONE * PSYCHEDELIC ~ HOME OF THE DOOM METAL ALLIANCE REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS FROM THE UNDERGROUND

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    Ice Dragon is here to ruin your day. The Boston, Massachusetts trio has spawned no less than three full-length albums—four if you include the release of their previously recorded self-titled debut—and a couple of split 7”s within the short span of seven months.  Beginning with the self-titled debut and continuing with both ‘Dream Dragon’ and ‘greyblackfalconhawk’, Ice Dragon has evolved from their psych-heavy doom sound into a band willing to indulge their whims without sacrificing their identity or overall essence. There is no mistaking an Ice Dragon release for anything other than an Ice Dragon release.

    Referring to the band’s albums by year is almost an exercise in futility at this point. So, if July’s ‘Dream Dragon’ was the feel good, blissed-out summer album of the year, then September’s ‘greyblackfalconhawk’ is the grim, rainy-day flipside to that coin.  Long gone are the Summer of Love influences that graced tunes like “Dreamliner” or “Stumble Onto Magic” and absent is the baroque-pop homage of “Every Little Star” and “A Dragon’s Dream, Part I” in favor of a darker hypnotic approach that is wrought with an air discontented introspection. ‘greyblackfalconhawk’ isn’t the band’s most immediate or accessible release, but it is probably their most singular and consistent full-length in regards to overall atmosphere. This is meditative doom for the downtrodden, a sentiment best exemplified by the album’s second track “takeitallaway”, a claustrophobic anthem of suffering and release. Down-tuned, electric bass drone, occasional acoustic guitar strums, and wailing vocals march this melancholy dirge toward its conclusion. The second half of the track is accented by a shift in drumming dynamics and the chorus lamentation of “takeitallaway”. The end result is a trance-inducing tune of subtle dynamics.

     Even though the album induces an overall mood of paranoia and desperation through its combination of ambient textures, droning guitars, and discordant tones, there are still moments of poignant tenderness. “everythingisawaste”, one of the shortest tracks on the album, stands out as a sliver of light amidst the shadows for its delicate, heartrending instrumentation and vocal delivery. Despite its subdued simplicity “everythingisawaste” stands as one of Ice Dragon’s most memorable tunes and shines as an album highlight. While the band has slightly strayed from the sound of their first three proper releases, they have not completely abandoned the world of doom, but rather have found new ways to channel and express their shadowy arts. ‘greyblackfalconhawk’ may take some time to fully appreciate, but the elements that make every other Ice Dragon release so memorable are still present, it’s just that these alchemists have adjusted the potency and balance of their ingredients. The album is currently available for purchase on the band’s Bandcamp page. Do yourself a favor: download a copy and listen to it while dwelling on missed opportunities and the wrongs that you have committed…

    Words: Steve Miller


    Ice Dragon | Facebook
    Ice Dragon | Bandcamp

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    DOWN's video for the song "Witchtripper" can be seen below. The clip was filmed at the end of August. "Witchtripper" comes off DOWN's new EP, "Down IV Part I - The Purple EP", which sold 12,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 35 on The Billboard 200 chart. "Down IV Part I - The Purple EP", DOWN's first in a series of four EPs to be released over the next few years (with a year between EPs), each touching on a different aspect of the band's sound, came out on September 18. It will be followed by the second collection of songs early next year, around the time of a planned U.S. tour. EPs three and four are scheduled for later in 2013.

    "Down IV Part I - The Purple EP" heralds the sound of DOWN going back to its roots, with influences from BLACK SABBATH, SAINT VITUS and WITCHFINDER GENERAL.

    The track listing for the effort is as follows:

    01. Levitation
    02. Witchtripper
    03. Open Coffins
    04. The Curse Is A Lie
    05. This Work Is Timeless
    06. Misfortune Teller

    Lyrically, the EP goes beyond just personal experiences, and explores themes that include the faith of mankind, the imperfection of mankind and cultural belief systems.

    "DOWN gives me the platform to be poetic and paint imagery with lyrics," said vocalist Philip Anselmo. "That's the approach I took. They complement the music and create an ominous feeling. Ultimately, when people consume the words, it's always their interpretation that matters. I could be image-conscious though when I wrote. It's not so gut level or street. The darker shit is some of my favorite."


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  • 09/28/12--13:48: Wheelfall - "Interzone" ...
  • Many moons ago, one of the bands that this site introduced me to was Wheelfall. A French stoner doom band that had released the album 'From the Blazing Sky at Dusk' which took everyone by surprise especially me. While the band wasn't doing anything new, there was something fresh and exciting about their brand of crushing riffage. Two years later now and they are back with a full length album that goes way beyond my expectations. 'Interzone' is an album for stoner doom and sludge purists that might not care so much about originality but are looking for heavy riffing that is both memorable and catchy.

    Musically Wheelfall follow the blueprint made by bands such as Goatsnake, The Obsessed, Sleep, and Kyuss but there is grooves happening here that have more in common with bands like early Fu Manchu. Yes the band proudly display their influences but they do it all so well that the lack of original ideas is never a issue. Lyrical concepts are influenced by H.G. Wells and
    John Carpenter novels and the entire album has a great sci-fi feel about it that is totally engaging.

    This new album will seem a bit different from their first release due to more epic nature of its songs. Four out of the six songs are well over the eight minute mark with the title track being extended out well past 22 minutes of sheer electrifying stoner doom and sludge. After a intro piece named here as 'Prelude' the band launch themselves into 'Howling' which begins with a lot of aggression by doom standards while still keeping it down-tuned and slow. Apart from the intro, this is the albums shortest track at 5 minutes but they pack so much into the track with a wide range of heavy styles that the track can seem far more epic than it actually is. 'Howling' is a great track in its own right but the album only gets even better from here on.

    'Howling' is followed by 'Holy Sky' which is over 8 minutes of fuzzed-out pedal to the metal doom grooves that is bursting with a captivating atmosphere. There is the feeling of trepidation and ominous fear with this track that highlights the bands bluesy, stoner influences. The stoner-rock is exchanged for total sludge-metal for the next track 'The Parasite Ravages' but like with 'Howling' it is blended with a smorgasbord of other styles including 70's classic rock but at no time does it get anything less than skull-crushingly heavy. Vocalist Wayne Furter shows he is a singer of the highest quality and has already come a long way since the bands debut release. There are nasty but classy guitar passages that shows that the bands guitar duo are a force to be reckon with and are highly skilled musicians.

    From here on, the album goes up yet another notch with 'It Comes from the Mist' which reminds me of a doom version of Fu Manchu but only with far more musical twists and turns. The grooves come at you thick and fast and this song seems to be over and out in just a few minutes but it is actually a pulverizing 10 minutes. Just when you think you have heard it all, Wheelfall pull out all the stops for the 22 minute onslaught of the title track which is such a mind-bending, neck-snapping listening experience I am a bit loss for words to describe this epic track. All the styles that influence this band are featured during the track that keeps your attention right up to its dying seconds. If there was ever a track so good that it should be able to sell an album by itself, it is this brilliant piece of epic-ness. Great guitar playing, very sleazy bass grooves and one killer riff after killer riff. It has been a long time since I have heard a song so packed to the gills with so many great riffs.

    The production is top-notch, the musicianship is excellent and it is easily a major highlight of 2012. If their last release went under your radar, you would be crazy to miss this one. They are a french band but something about this reminded me of the very best of US desert rock from the 90's but only (dare I say it) with better riffs. All I can say is buy it, it is a awesome album that every doom, stoner and sludge fan should own.....10/10.

    Words: Jack Sabbath ( This review is dedicated to Ed Barnard, may he return to us ASAP. Please speed up this happening by sending him a donation. )



    BandCamp
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    Official Website

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    Strange but true: the first Khthon’s EP "Songs On The Grave Side" which was released in 2009 and consisted only of four songs capitally ingrained in my brain and I listen it so far even after hearing a damned lot of other doom bands. That’s why I still watch British scene with bated breath and wait for full-length doom-feast in Kent, yet as the band works onto their first full-length album let me remind you about their brief (only two songs) EP “Above The Fog” which has seen the light about year ago. Well, you may ask me if it really should to rock the boat because of only two tracks? Yes, I had no chance but to spread a word of Khthon and let that name became for you synonym to a term “Epic English Doom”. And let me to remind you that there’s nothing "chthonic" and "infernal" despite the name in this EP, for gentlemen continue to write melodic heavy doom metal with clean vocals and melancholic lyrics, and I hasten to inform you that they still do it masterfully and from their hearts.

    The first song, "Look Where She Lies" is a kind of continuation of great composition "Asleep On Her Grave" from EP "Songs On The Grave Side”, it reveals new details of that story not only with lyrics but also with more saturated instrumental parts and arrangements. Hats off – new stuff sounds skillfully, intriguingly and very attractive for fans of qualitative traditional doom metal with it’s famous epic and melancholic vibe. And yet it doesn’t have overabundance of pathos, but I would point out the elements of a stoic heroism and restrained grief. Kevin Lawry got a lot of experience while was playing guitar in Silent Winter and Crowned In Earth, so he perfectly copes with assigned duties creating atmosphere of god-forsaken corners of Albion, vocal lines of Adam Robinson didn’t lost their gloomy solemnity and power as he chants and declaim his poetic verses. This composition keeps a perfect spirit of “English doom” as it should be, so I see this track as a good expression of that grim and austere beauty due to ideal teamwork of band’s crew. And so Khthon passes from moderate mourning of first track straight to mid-tempo mystical opus "The Wanderer Above The Sea of ​​Fog" which music and lyrics were written under the impression of the painting by German artist Caspar David Friedrich. Doom metal traditions sound aloud all through entire track, and I couldn’t imagine if something like this may be born outside England, yes, old good England (if it ever existed) is embodied in this song as if it was the birthplace of true doom metal. Guitars have less ponderous, yet more dynamical and quite progressive vibe, and misty sound-scape of Khthon looks haunting and tempting, but here we have one serious problem - that is last song onto album.

    Duration of "Above The Fog" is the only negative aspect of release, but when you take into account the information that band are sitting tight in the studio, modifying the material for their first full-length album, it is hoped that this time they will make out quickly and keep their current mood. Both songs are so damn good, that all I could wish for, it's a real big release from Khthon. Listening Khthon I feel a strong need to get out in a park with book of Samuel Coleridge’s poems and a bottle of St.Peter’s ale. Yet there’s only last bottle of rum in my bar, well, it’s a good option too. Good night!

    Words: Aleks Evdokimov

    Khthon Official
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    So listen to me now, hear what I say, Please give me time and maybe love, If there's a God up there, well I hope he helps me, I need him now to set me free, Cos it may be that it's over for me, If you don't hear the things that I say, today. Nobody will change me anyway, no no way
    (Black Sabbath - You Wont Change Me)

    A couple of years I stayed in what is the worst motel I have ever stayed in. I wrote a review for the place which read.....

    "Attempted to call Vineyard Inn (now called Loyalty Inn, don't let the new name fool you) and get directions after being led astray by my gps only to find that their phone was disconnected. Seriously. Should have been our first clue. Upon arrival the desk attendant could not find my reservation because "our fax machine hasn't been working and we don't get any reservations that way". Clue #2. The attendant also informed me that the room was at first actually not so bad and I went about my business that day and came back that night only to find that someone had very obviously been in my room. Food wrappers on the floor, a pack of gum that I had not purchased found on the bed, a wad of bloody toilet paper in the corner and perhaps most unsettling, a "crack baggy" on the floor. It was quite late so my partner and I tried to make the best of a bad situation but finally found ourselves unable to sleep and jumping awake at the slightest sound. We went to sleep with our clothes on due to a vile order that was coming from the mattress and sheets that had odd stains on them that look liked they might have been blood stains. Do yourselves a favor and don't stay there and spread the word to anyone who is even remotely considering it. Sleep in your car, you'll probably be more comfortable (not to mention safer)."

    Well I never thought it would happen but I am going to be staying there again for a week or two. On the plus side, donations have made this possible but on the bad side, it will be money down the pooper and $240 a week to stay in this rats nest is a disgrace. I won't mention the location or the name of the motel as they already have one of my Doommantia business cards and the last thing I need is for them to read this. They are just as likely to spike my complimentary breakfast which was the last time I stayed here nothing more than stale, cold toast and dollar store strawberry jelly and peanut butter and I won't mention the quality of the coffee. So that is where I am at right now. It is better than sleeping in a car and certainly a little better than freezing my balls off inside a tent. Thanks again to everyone who has donated but it is upsetting that donations have almost stopped from coming in just when I needed them the most. Please help my homeless ass if you can. We are still giving away Wizardrone CD's for donations of $20 or more for US folks while stocks last. Doommantia.Com is still just a part-time operation and the store is still closed for the time-being. Whether the site will ever fully get back to the way it was is hard to say.

    Thanks again to everyone who has helped. It hasn't been nowhere near enough but it has been the only thing that has kept me fed and up to date with medical expenses over the last month. In other news the asshole landlord who heartlessly booted us out of the apartment we were in is suing us now for $2,695 because he is claiming damages (stained carpets etc). Most of those stains were already there in this apartment which hasn't had new carpet or paint in over 10 years. This has been confirmed by long-term tenants that live in the complex. It has rubbed salt into the already cancerous wounds that I now have to live with daily. Life has stabbed me in the back, twisted the knife and pissed in my face but I am trying to stay strong. I can't thank you all for all your support, hard-earned cash and kind words. Hopefully this will all over by the end of next month but who knows.

    Respect and Love ........Ed

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    For anyone who knows me very well or at least takes notice of what has been posted on this site over the years, they will know I am no big My Dying Bride fan. Reason being is I have found the last 22 years of their existence to be a very up and down one. Some of their albums I find to be very impressive while others I consider a total snooze-fest so I started listening to this album with mixed expectations. However I am glad to say that 'A Map Of All Our Failures' might just be their most consistent piece of work so far in their career. This is remarkable considering this is full length album number 12 and their 37th release overall if you include singles, demos, video releases and compilations.

    The obvious point to be made is this is a very diverse album by My Dying Bride standards and perhaps the very best album they have made to showcase their versatility as musicians. At no point in the album does it get stuck in a rut. Songs offer twists and turns with each track and even the vocals change regularly which gives this album a lot of variety. From the point of view of doom metal, this  album is not the bleakest album they have ever done but it is certainly a mournful listening experience. Opening track 'Kneel Till Doomsday' shows that the band mean business and are not ready to release just another exercise in depressive doom metal. The track has powerful warm riffing, clean but very dramatic vocals and atmospheric touches like violin parts that add to the gloomy vibe of the piece. As an opening piece there is no other track on the album that would work as well as this one does. It sets the mood but creates a buzz for the rest of the album which makes sure you are not about to hit "open" on the CD player till this album is well and truly done with.

    'Kneel Till Doomsday' is a bit meandering and that is the story with this album as a whole but it works in the albums favor. The album is basically a trip that takes the listener on a journey of tormented sorrowful thoughts. Nearly everything that is on this album is around the 8 minute mark but track two is the odd one out. At just over 5 minutes, 'The Poorest Waltz' is the albums most infectious tune. Melodic and surprisingly commercial for a song that is still total doom, this ponderous track is the most unique track the album has to offer because in many respects it doesn't sound like My Dying Bride at all and so really stands out on its own merits. One element this track has is melodic, hypnotic solos but it is not just a one-off trick designed for this song alone. The wonderful lead work comes back at you time and time again and track three 'A Tapestry Scorned' is a major highlight because of it. Guitarists Andrew Craighan and Hamish Glencros are really in top form supplying some breathtaking leads, some of which are the best they have ever recorded in my humble opinion.

    'A Tapestry Scorned' started out as a poem but it is not only poetic lyrically, musically it is also pure majestic poetic beauty - the kind of track to raise goosebumps and send a chill up the spine. 'Like a Perpetual Funeral' marks the halfway point in the album and after a somewhat ordinary opening section, blasts away into one of the most exciting ever My Dying Bride tunes. If it possible to be depressed and happy at the same time, this track does it. It is pure gloom but it also has a positive angle to it that makes this a joy to listen to. Captivating solos are again on display along with a nice blend of clean and gruff vocals and while it is another highlight, it is also the last mind-blowing track the album has to offer. 'A Map Of All Our Failures' from here on in, turns into a predictable but still very good My Dying Bride album. The title track that follows has huge riffs and a spoken word vocal but doesn't offer anything different that a fan of the band wouldn't have heard dozens of times before throughout the last 22 years of the bands existence.

    'Hail Odysseus' is more huge riffs and vocals that vary from growls to whispers to spoken words and this keeps it all interesting for this heavy but emotive track. 'Within the Presence of Absence' is one of the albums most atmospheric moments but seems to drag at almost 9 minutes but it still in the classic MDB mold and I doubt if fans of the band would want it any other way. The band picked the perfect opener for the album but they have also picked the perfect closer with the bitter atmospheric doom of 'Abandoned as Christ.' 'A Map Of All Our Failures' WILL end up album of the year for many people and WILL get rated as the best My Dying Bride album ever by some fans of the band. However some might see it another above-average MDB release in the vein of 1995's 'The Angel and the Dark River' and that is how I hear it too. It doesn't offer anything new but it does supply some of the best material the band have ever come up with. The albums second half does seem a bit weak compared with the first half but it is still one of the more solid and consistent My Dying Bride albums to ever be released. Fans will no doubt lap it up and as an introduction to the band (if you have never heard them) you could do a lot worse. Take it from someone who is only a medium-sized fan of the band at best, this is pretty damn good.....8.5/10.

    Official Website
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    Guitarist Victor Griffin has announced that he will leave the legendary cult rock act PENTAGRAM after the completion of the band's upcoming European in October/November. He says, "Of course, the future is always uncertain… but for now, it's time to move on with my new band's album and tour plans for 2013." PENTAGRAM's European tour will see the band perform its Decibel magazine "Hall Of Fame" album, "Relentless", in its entirety for the first time since the early 1980s. PENTAGRAM will also play other beloved songs spanning the group's career, including tracks from their most recent album, "Last Rites".

    Fans can finally get their hands on the PENTAGRAM documentary "Last Days Here", winner of the "Best Music Documentary" at the International Documentary Film Festival. The film is available from Amazon.com, iTunes, Best Buy, and other online and physical retailers. "Last Days Here" is also available for viewing via Netflix (DVD and streaming). PENTAGRAM's classic "Death Row"-era line-up and the band's debut album, "Relentless" (1984), was inducted into Decibel magazine's Hall of Fame in 2010. Guitarist Victor Griffin's invention of the "Drop B" tuning is first heard here. This heavy-handed hallmark went on to influence handfuls of players and defined a subgenre.

    Source: Blabbermouth

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    Thanks to The Sleeping Shaman and of course Roadburn.Com for these updates.


    Roadburn jubilantly announces that Pallbearer will bring their classic doom sound to our 2013 Festival on Thursday, April 18th at the Het Patronaat in Tilburg, Holland. Pallbearer‘s epic, timeless riffs and modern production have been taking the music world by storm with their recently released debut album Sorrow and Extinction, no small feat for a doom band. With soaring vocals and fat riffs, one might be tempted to compare them to doom stalwarts like Candlemass, Trouble, and Solitude Aeturnus, but their guitar sound has a thickness and drive that instantly sets them apart. On closer listens, their sweeping, sorrowful metal reveals masterfully executed songwriting that is truly their own creation. They weave in proggy complexity, power metal soloing sensibilities, clean vocal harmonies, tender acoustic interludes and stunning dynamic variation to create multi-faceted and utterly engrossing pure doom.

    We are very much looking forward to experiencing the majesty and power of Pallbearer at Roadburn 2013, and invite fans of the band to come celebrate with us, and encourage those who don’t know them to come discover why they are so buzzworthy. Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Pre-sales start Thursday, 4 October at 20:30 CET.

    Cult of Luna is a Swedish post-metal band from Umeå. After 5 years away, they will return to play Roadburn Festival on April 20th 2013 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. On October 5th 2012, they will announce some more news about what they have been doing, and what they have planned. Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Pre-sales start Thursday, 4 October at 20:30 CET.



    Walter & Co are elated to announce that Ireland’s epic, pagan metallers Primordial will headline the Thursday Roadburn date, Thursday, April 18th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Primordial are truly a band unlike no other; over the last two decades, they have passionately carved a niche of their own, without compromise! We at Roadburn would like to pay tribute to Primordial‘s massive and melancholic art by inviting them as our Thursday headliners, the band is simply stunning, from their powerful songwriting to the amazing performances. Please mark our words: Primoridal will take Roadburn by storm with an unmatched and unbridled epic grandeur. Are you ready?

    The Electric Wizard is proud to present the 1st confirmed ‘Heavy Friends’ for The Electric Acid Orgy at Roadburn 2013 on Friday, April 19th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland.

    “Ladies and Gentlemen, hack your resin filled lungs for our very good friends and Britain’s No1 Super Slo-Mo Doom Kings Moss ,who will perform selections from their eagerly awaited new LP plus all their classic tombstone(d) liturgies”, says Jus Oborn. “Also raise your bongs for these awesome new highs. We have our fellow witchfinders and medieval throwbacks Witchsorrow upholding traditional values with solid Fuckin DOOM!! Finnish Occultists Seremonia promise to deliver an acid-fried heavy metal ride and we have the hotly tipped horrorock phenomenon Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats!!! Alrite !!” “Now if this doesn’t burst your stoned skulls we also have the ELECTRIC GRINDHOUSE CINEMA inside the 013 showing demented, sick, weird and grotesque exploitation films from our own collection”, says Jus. “Never seen on DVD, the very darkest creations of the Sick Sick Sixties and Seventies projected for one nite only with special guests performing live soudtracks that will burn your retinas and destroy your minds!!

    More Very, Very Special Guests will be announced soon!

    PREPARE TO MEET YOUR MAKERS!!!”




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    One of the most underrated doom bands on the planet are back with new album 'The Harrowing of Hell.' I believe this is a "vinyl only" release which is going to suck if you don't own a record player so I hope they make this available in download form if it hasn't been done so already. This album is perfect for the vinyl format. It is 40 minutes long but it is not only the length of the album that works for vinyl, this album has a warm 70's vibe in the tradition of Black Sabbath, Count Raven, Pagan Altar and Witchfinder General while still sounding like a progression over earlier works from the band. As a band, they have always received mixed reactions from those that either love the band or think they are a sub-par second rate doom act. This album is unlikely to change that attitude and the (almost) pointless cover of Sabbath's "Paranoid" isn't going to help that situation either.

    The band are still steadfast in their Christian metal direction but just like their other releases, you will never give it much thought unless you dig into the lyrics. Starting with 'Gethsemani' and 'Psalm 139 Part A' it is obvious that the band did set out to write concise, easily listenable doom pieces and these two tracks are among the most infectious tunes the band has ever recorded. Melodic keys, catchy traditional doom riffing and a style that I want to call "power-doom" but I hope this doesn't catch on, the last thing we need is another sub-genre. The power and passion behind the performance is unquestionably here in all its glory but sadly, the production is not. Something about this album sounds awfully flat and it really starts to show during the third track 'The Stream Of Forgetfulness.' These songs lack a bit of spark anyway so one thing they need is strong production but the sound here seems a bit lifeless with the vocals being the most affected by this less than dynamic sound.

    'The Stream Of Forgetfulness' however is still a very solid Pylon track in the classic Candlemass mold. You know what you are getting with this band so don't expect any dramatic surprises because you wont find any and that maybe is the albums greatest downfall. The way these songs are structured are overwhelmingly obvious to the point where I found myself wondering if some of these songs are even originals.....maybe they are covers from a obscure doom metal band. Of course they are indeed all originals except 'Paranoid' of course and while I don't place huge importance on being original, this album does suffer from being awfully predictable at times. Part B of 'Psalm 139' is one of the worst offenders but it does have some killer riffing that has a real bite to it and the vocal lines are at least very memorable.

    Turn the vinyl over and you get three songs starting off with the albums epic piece but the albums weakest original track 'Returnal Etern.' At almost 11 minutes, this track seems to wander aimlessly with changes that frustrate more than entertain. Driven mostly by keys, the song has a lot of changes but it seems to go around in circles and ends up being a long, tedious listening experience. 'You Have Been Warned' puts the album back on track with a total doom track that is high on concise guitar work and melodies and it comes as relief in light of the boring track that precedes it. Then comes the unique but rather pointless cover version of 'Paranoid.' They slow down the tempo and add keys but is it any good, I don't think so. Also it has to be said, if you are going to cover a Black Sabbath tune, why would you want to do this one ?

    'Paranoid' brings 'The Harrowing Of Hell' to a rather disappointing end. Pylon reached a songwriting peak with the 77 minute 2009 album 'Doom' and that promised great things for the future. Since then the band have seem to have gone slightly backwards. The band are progressing as you can hear what they are trying to do and it is easy to spot how they have improved as musicians but song-wise, there is a lot missing from this new album. Whenever you listen to an album for the first time, you always wait for that blowout moment, that killer riff, that chorus that gets stuck in your head and so on. 'The Harrowing Of Hell' has only (perhaps) one of those moments and it is a short-lived one so there is not much to make me want to re-visit this album anytime soon. I will stick with albums like 'Doom' and 'Th' Eternal Wedding Band' and think of this one as a minor hiccup in a otherwise great catalog of doom metal releases.....6/10.

    Official Website

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    I’ve found this great Italian band in last compilation of Doom Metal Front (thanks, Sven!). The band was represented with a real killer hit “Lize”, and if you like famous Italian progressive rock, if you search for nontrivial stoner and doom rock then Midryasi will be a good choice. Do not just seat and wait – try their second full-length “Corridors” and watch for their third album coming in the end of 2012. Senior Convulsion (voice and bass) and Paul Paganhate are here to start their seance of hypnosis and mesmerism.


    Hail to Midryasi! Who’s on-line today comrades?

    Hi Aleksey! Here are Convulsion (voice and bass) and Paul (guitars).

    Okay, we know about the band’s history – thanks to Midryasi’s Facebook profile, yet what would you like to add to the official bio? For example, how long did you and your band’s mates play in the heavy scene of Italy?

    Convulsion: It's about 18 years we know each other, and we know each other just because of the music. In the early '90s we were kids playing black, death or thrash metal. We lived the very first screams of a scene that here in Italy was VERY underground!
    Paul: Yeah, at those times there were many great extreme bands in our region, a really fertile metal scene. Some of us used to play together, for example Sappah (drums) and I played in a Death Metal band called Hatred. Then Midryasi formed (10 years ago!) and I joined the band 5 years ago and Udz came lately and that's it.

    Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Celtic Frost and Pentagram are main bands which influence you, it’s original yet not the strangest mix so please can you tell us how each of these bands reflects in your songs?

    Convulsion: The reason is in the previous answer. We've been playing extreme music for years, and we just always kept the attitude. I never had the problem to think one riff was too heavy, I don't mind about genres, it's only a matter of whether I like what I'm listening or not. I like tripping with music, I like madness, excitement and darkness and in our music comes out everything we've been and listened to. We just follow the feeling.
    Paul: All the bands you mention inspire us in a way or another. Personally I'm more into doom metal so music of bands like Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Cathedral and the mighty Black Sabbath is a deep source for me, something strong you can't ignore in any way when composing! Anyway the weight of our inspirations changes during the years and in the fore-coming album you will listen to different influences than the ones in Corridors and the first album. It simply depends on what bands we are listening while composing, I think it's a very natural process.

    Of course I must mention one of most unique Italian brands which has embodied in Midryasi and it’s progressive rock. How do you contrive to combine it with heavier parts of your songs? And do you need any compromises to make your songs sound as you wish?

    Convulsion: For me a song is an effective tool to bring to reality a feeling or an atmosphere in my mind.
    We can use words, music, sound, effects or rhythm to express it, everything that leads to the point. We just ask ourselves: "Is this solution in tune with what we want?". This is the only compromise we do! 
    Paul: Our songs take shape quite naturally from rehearsing. I mean, as we said before we have so many influences and it's quite natural for us to put many ideas into our music.
    What we are doing lately, more than in the past, is just trying to get the best from all the ideas in order to make more effective, more focused songs.

    Italy has another famous tradition besides prog rock and it’s horror movies culture, don’t you know why was this part of cinema industry such popular and developed? I’m asking because of these scenes from black-and-white movies in Midryasi official video "Lize".

    Convulsion: I think because of religion. Christianity is so strong in Italian culture, but while constantly warning you from evil, they always put its image in front of your eyes, and it takes its place in common imaginary. Many people are simply more fascinated by this dark side. We chose the old horror movie because the song is about sin and we wanted something giving a consumed and perverse atmosphere. That fitted very good!  

    By the way did this video really help the band to spread the word about your art?

    Convulsion: I don't think the video added much in terms of popularity, but I think it helped enforcing the idea of an inspired and creative act. For Midryasi, image as always been as important as sound and a video was a great chance to test us and express, I'm really happy of the result, it really is a nice picture of the song!
    Paul: Yeah we all are satisfied with our first video, made by Stefano Visintin. He simply catched the point of what we wanted to communicate with the song and he did so effectively.

    Midryasi “Lize”




    I’ve got your point; I think that it has real sense. So there’s a question for Convulsion – I see that you hold a good physical form, so do you go in for sport? Do you do any regular trainings or something?

    Convulsion: For a long time I wanted to feel some "animal" energy and I need a healthy body to do it; moreover I work in a fitness centre and that means having the chance to train and swim for free.

    Hah, that’s a really good option! Correct me if I’m wrong for I think that "Lize" video and lyrics perform an image of woman as a witch but not for her supernatural powers yet for some of her weaknesses… Well, I just want to ask you about lyrical conception of your songs – bring it on!

    Convulsion: Maybe it would be more correct to say that the woman incarnate my weaknesses. Women for me are a big source of inspiration, desire and struggle. On one side imaginary, visions, spirit; on the other side women - feelings and flesh. Until now I've not found a way to conciliate this, and some lyrics as "Woman of Doom" and "Lize" reflect this point. 

    Well, I see that you have quiet intriguing themes for your lyrics, it’s not too straight-line as we could meet in the usual situations. Do you care so much about lyrics? What is a basement for your songs themes?

    Convulsion: Wow somebody reading lyrics!!! For me lyrics have an enormous importance.
    I mean, Motorhead or AC/DC wouldn't be what they are if they didn't say WHAT they actually said in the WAY they did. The most of times our lyrics describe some visions of mine or a personal situation.
    Many words are simply used to emphasize the music they are inspired by and then I only care to stick some reflection over the feeling expressed.
    I really wonder how people can miss so easily the importance of lyrics, I mean "it's a band you like, how can you be uninterested in what they say??". Many songs are twice good when you know what they speak about, 'cause you can be really INTO the song, and that's true for a raw song with raw lyrics as well!

    What’s about art-works for your both full-length albums? It seems that first one “Midryasi” and second one “Corridors” have very similar pictures, is it such important for you? And what are you going to prepare for new album?

    Convulsion: Yeah you're right, the subject is taken from the song "Hypnopriest" from our 1st album. It really incarnates the spirit of the band and we like to keep it. The changes in the covers reflect those of the music in the album; it's cool, gives personality and helps identifying the band!
    Paul: Convulsion is the author of the covers and Sappah makes pictures and drawings as well; their works reflect a sort of surreal imaginary around the band and we are exploiting it in the new album as well.

    Men, as you’ve said Midryasi already is working on the finishing of the mixing and the mastering of third album. Where and when do you plan to release it? How many songs it’ll be consist of?

    Convulsion: Yeah, we're so excited for that!! The album is mixed and mastered, we're just defining some details with the label concerning releasing date, etc. Anyway I can tell you there will be 7 tracks and we hope it will be released by the fall of the year. Stay tuned!!!

    It seems to me that you were working out your own sound when you did record “Corridors”, can you say that you finished your experiments and your new stuff embodies the best you have for this moment?

    Convulsion: The answer to the first is NEVER! I think we'll never stop experimenting, I think we'll always be in search of the sound reflecting what we are in the very moment! But I'm sure that the new stuff embodies the best of the band both for the sound and the compositions!
    Paul: I agree with Convulsion, if you listen to the first and the second album you realise they sound so differently, and when you will listen to the third it sounds different as well. This is because we change over the years and our sound does as well.

    Well, but you can say how new stuff sounds, do you? I think that’s right time to share few more words about new release, about it’s stuff, about label and so on.

    Convulsion: Well I can say the new one is darker, heavier and colder.  The image that mostly comes to my mind is putting a lucid black brick in your hands, then leaving you alone with it confronting with your impressions about it. It's a shorter, yet more intense 40 minutes trip.
    We're considering to release different covers for vinyl and CD, but we'll speak about that with the label which likely will be an Italian one.
    At the moment I prefer not to mention the title, but will be at one with the feeling of the album!
    I don't want to be mysterious but as we say in Italy "nothing is done until it is actually done", so I'll tell you everything when I'll be sure of it!

    Thank you very much for your patience, well and to Sven of Doom Metal Front too :-) Because I’ve known about Midryasi only because of him. Best regards mates! What do you have to say to our readers?

    Convulsion: This interview was a real pleasure 'cause of intelligent and interesting questions; we thank you for the chance and visibility you give us, keep on spreading the word and keep high ATTITUDE!!!

    Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

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    Need we say anything about this. Directed by Justin Oakey the new Hooded Menace video is a hoot !!!


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    I’m proud to announce this interview with guitarist of almighty Celestial Season – today Pim Van Zanen is our honoured guest! Celestial Season was one of the first death doom in Netherlands starting in far 1991, they played classic stuff in “Forever Scarlet Passion” LP (1993), they’ve recorded astonishing experiment “Solar Lovers” (1995) and since then the band started to release very heavy and very solid stoner albums. They disbanded in 2001 yet reborn ten years later, and nowadays you can see them playing Roadburn-2012 and Dutch Doom Days Festival (20th of October!). Old fans may wonder – if the band writes new songs… It’s better to ask Pim himself.


    Hail to Celestial Season! Who is on-line today?

    Thanks Aleks! It’s Pim answering your questions.

    Okay, hi Pim! Man, you’re all grown people, how do you deal with such band’s necessary aspects as rehearsals, gigs and song-writing deeds? How is intensive band’s life?

    You are absolutely right there are a lot of activities to combine: family, work, parties, other bands and Celestial Season. Mix this with the fact we are living in different places in Holland, you can imagine it’s hard to meet and work together intensively. That’s way we chose to do a selective amount of gigs. We wanted a couple of nice, quality gigs instead of as much as possible.

    What kind of feeling did you missed when you decide to gather Celestial Season once again?

    We didn’t really miss a feeling, but felt like playing doom metal again. We also had the idea we played the music quite sloppy when we were about 18 years old. For example with Rob as a drummer, Solar Lovers could sound so much tighter. So we decided to focus on Solar Lovers first and play it with partly different members (all friends).

    When the band re-united in 2011 it seemed that you only wanted to play few gigs, yet I guess that you started to write new material. What direction did you choose for this time? Is it old school doom death, more original stuff in vein of “Solar Lovers” or something that’s closer to stoner doom stuff as you played in the end of 90s?

    I’m afraid we didn’t find the time yet to start writing new material. But the moment we have, it will be in the Solar Lovers style, of course a bit more 2012 / 2013.

    Didn’t you try to mix both death doom and stoner as it was in “Solar Child” song for example? Power and distortion of death doom could be combined vey effective with stoner tempo and groove.

    We didn’t do this on purpose, but yes there is a mixture of those styles when you listen to Solar Lovers. We have always played the music we loved and came up to us. In those days we listened to for instance both Cathedral and Kyuss and you can here the different influences.

     Which song of Celestial Season is most important personally for you? Which one was most difficult to compose or perform live?

    I have to admit for me the most important song comes from the stoner period and is called Millenarian Drive (on the Chrome album). This song reflects how Cyril (the singer of that album) and I musically fitted very well. In my opinion his vocals and my guitar tunes mixe very nice on this song.

    The song that’s the hardest to play live is Vienna. We never played it because we didn’t have a piano player and samples were less easy in that period. We did play it in our latest gigs, with Elianne on piano, but it didn’t seem to work out as well as we’ve hoped.

    What is a current line-up of the band? How did it change since 1991?

    It’s a mixed line up, with Olly, Jiska and me as the members from Solar Lovers, Jacques and Rob from the stoner period and George and Elianne as new members. There are to many changes to fully describe. It’s like a soap opera J.

    I don’t like soap operas and the soap in itself ‘cause hygiene is only for a weak ;-) But I must ask this: where’s Stefan? Pim, didn’t you try to call him? He has such amazing growl!

    I hope for your girlfriend that you do use soap once in a while J. I can imagine the question. The idea to play Solar Lovers came up from the idea to play doom metal again with the friends who are now in the band. Being busy our priority was to have fun and not to be as authentic as possible. We weren’t in touch with Stefan that much anymore (didn’t leave each other in great harmony when Cyril entered the band).

     First of all you re-recorded “Decamerone”, one of your main hits. I still remember how I’ve watched VHS “Beauty In Darkness” with that video 15 years ago again and again – so my personal thanks :-). What do you remember about that period of band’s life?

    Although the music doesn’t show, we have always been a band having lots of fun with close friendships. In those days we were all young without responsibilities, so you can imagine it was all about drinking, partying and enjoying great concerts and music. A great period.

    And can you mention some of your most funny or crazy accidents bound to band’s activity? You know all still expected tales about insane gigs, which end in crushed hotel apartments and similar stuff. True to say I’m not exception!

    It’s good to hear you like to party as well, that’s one of the great things in life I suppose. I’m afraid those stories are fun when you were part of them. Of course a lot happened with nice girls. And a lot of crazy stuff with some of us being drunk. But to really explain how it was and what happened, you should have been there with us, I’m sorry J.

     Can you name cardinal events in years of Celestial Season existence?

    There are a lot. Studio time recording our albums, a European tour with Sadness and Nightfall, Dynamo festival in the Czech Republic, Lowlands festival in Holland, our European tour with the Mushroom River band and Hoek, et cetera.

    It seems that stoner scene rises to the top nowadays as death doom holds same position as in the end of 90s. Do you watch for last trends of metal scene and what kind of music do you prefer nowadays?

    I have to speak for myself, since I’m sure about the others. I do know there are many many new bands I don’t know about. And I still enjoy the cd’s from the 90s, like from Paradise Lost, Slayer, Sepultura, Cathedral, Kyuss, Goatsnake. Some newer bands I really like are Mastodon, Deftones, ASIWYFA, the Twilight Sad, Mogwai, Agalloch.

     Pim, Celestial Season is a famous band in itself, but what do you feel sharing a stage with such bands as you mentioned? I guess that you had a very good company at Roadburn.

    It’s not that important if a band is famous or not, it’s much more important if the members are nice and open to contact. We have had great fun and became friends with members of the Gathering, Anathema, Cathedral, Kyuss, Beaver, 7Zuma7, Suimasen. It’s amazing when you play together on a tour and a friendship develops. And great things come out of that, for example Rob is now married to Anneke van Giersbergen, Olly played guitar in Hermano during a European tour and Rob and Jacques have been playing with John Garcia at the Garcia plays Kyuss tour.

    How did you get offer to re-release “Forever Scarlet Passion” on vinyl? What are your plans for future releases? If you have such plans of course.

    Olly knows this guy and got contacted. We are happy with these kind of initiatives, although we have never earned anything from it. It’s a way to keep the music alive.

     You gathered again to play in Roadburn 2012, what are your main impressions of festival? How did you feel to perform Celestial Season once again on the stage? What was reaction of public?

    It was an absolute honour to play there again. We are very proud of Walter who we know from the old days and managed to build a very professional and attractive festival. It’s was great to play there. I do believe we were a bit of a strange band compared to most of the others, using the violin and all, but there were many people who enjoyed it and knew every song from Solar Lovers.

    The band will take a part in Dutch Doom Days XI, what program do you plan to perform there? Will you play songs from “Forever Scarlet Passion” and “Solar Lovers” or something of later period?

    We will play a mixture of Solar Lovers and some Forever Scarlet Passion songs, so no stoner rock. Especially at the Dutch Doom Days we should stick to doom J.

     Oh, I wish I could be there too! :-) But, Pim, that’s all for today – thank you for your time and answers, I wish to you and Celestial Season all the best. And it would be great to end the interview with promises of brand new songs from the band. What will you say?

    We’d be happy to come to Rusland. I can’t make any promises, but I do like to thank you and everything who reads this for your support!

    Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

    Celestial Season | Official Page






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  • 10/03/12--17:00: Sons Of Otis - "Seismic" ...
  • There are few bands in this world that you can 100% count on for delivering a great album every time they release something. It is an exclusive club that only the very best of bands can belong to and one of its most celebrated members has to be Sons Of Otis. Ever since the 1996 album 'Spacejumbofudge' the band have been on a roll. Sure you can argue some albums have been better than others but they have always delivered a top-shelf product with each recording. Their new album 'Seismic' has arrived three years since their last but it is hard to believe it has been that long.

    The band might have gone through almost a dozen drummers since they first formed 20 years ago but even that never seems to slow them down. This new album arrives with a very Fu Manchu-ish looking album cover and there is more of a nod to the big riffing days of the early stoner/desert rock scene compared with some of their earlier releases but make no mistake about it, this is a pure Sons Of Otis album that remains loyal to the template they created on albums like 'Templeball.'

    There is a lot to be said for how bands place their songs in the playing order on albums and this release is a classic example of a band getting it right. This album flows so wonderfully well from start to finish that it often ends up sounding like a short and concise EP, and not a 50+ minute full length album. Kicking off with 'Far From Fine' and 'Lessons,'  the band do indeed give the listener a lesson in how fuzzed out, amp-destroying stoner, psychedelic doom should be handled. These two songs are the most simple out of the albums 7 tracks and the shortest even though they both catapult the senses into the cosmos for around 6 minutes each. The psychedelic, spaced-out sound that the band are famous for (at least in the underground) is still here but these two tracks are very catchy by Sons Of Otis standards and dare I say, might just be the two most commercially driven songs the band have ever recorded (I use that term loosely of course). The songs are made so infectious by memorable vocal hooks and captivating riffage, the like of which reminded me of Matt Pike and High On Fire at their very best.

    However with all albums that this great band releases, there are detours in sound, style and in sheer experimental noise and approach and that first happens in the third track 'Alone' which is a psychedelic freak-out jam. Sons Of Otis have always had a bluesy backbone and that is evident in this track and also in the closing track 'Cosmic Jam' that has one foot in 70's hard rock with the other foot in solid, crushing psychedelic doom that is loaded with feeling. 'Cosmic Jam' seems to built around a variation on the main riff from Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and then building that into another freak-out jam. The band is a near flawless example of what "downer-rock" is and that depression and pain is truly felt in a track called 'Guilt.' Although I think this is the albums only less than mind-blowing track, it can still wipe the floor with most other bands that are messing with downer-rock themes, musically and otherwise.

    The almost totally instrumental mind-fuck that is 'PK' highlights the bands ability at creating disturbing but insanely catchy grooves and is a major high-point in the album. The bass and guitar swirls around the room and the overwhelming echo effect that is used only makes this an even more dizzying experience for the listener. As I mentioned earlier, the album art hints that this might be more of a 70's influenced album compared with other Sons Of Otis releases and it is made even more that way with an excellent take on the Mountain classic track 'Never In My Life.' Covering Mountain is nothing new for the band, they recorded 'Mississippi Queen' for the 'Templeball' album. In many respects, Sons Of Otis are the modern-day stonerized, doomified version of the Leslie West trio so covering them seems almost essential.

    'Seismic' is the sound of seasoned professionals doing what they do best, sheer stonerized psychedelic doom jams. To quote Wikipedia - "Seismic waves are waves of energy that travel through the Earth, and are a result of an earthquake, explosion, or a volcano that imparts low-frequency acoustic energy." That almost sums up this album, buy it....9.5/10.

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  • 10/04/12--10:20: Freitod – "Regenjahre" ...
  • Depressive black metal from Germany with a doomy twist! The doom is in the slow riffs basically, with nice black metal vocals. Don’t be put off by the black metal moniker since Freitod’s music is also characterized by nice, almost sing-along new wave singing parts. The biography sheet says: “founded in 2005, Freitod still follows with this second album the path of melancholic and sad Dark Metal rooted in Black Metal but with influences far beyond”. That is certainly true. So far, they released the demo “Hoffnungslo” in 2007 and the demo “Einst Tiefe Wunden” in 2008. In 2010, their first full length, called, “Nebel der Erinnerungen” was released on CD (digipack) and 2 LP by Ván Records.

     Influenced by the mighty Katatonia, Freitod beautifully embodies all the loss & sorrow that you can wish for. Freitod means suicide, while Regenjahre translates into something like year of rain. Not the happiest music to accompany us in the beginning autumn here in Europe, but all the more so suitable for this kind of weather and season.  The track Regenjahre begins with a quite up-tempo guitar riff, followed by nice clean black metal vocals. After less than ninety seconds, a more sophisticated set of vocals kick in, adding a nice counterpoint to the BM vokills. The riffs open up a beautiful landscape of pain & sorrow. Der Traumsturm is a lot faster than the opening track, with very strong drum parts. This record gives me a black metal emo feeling, which is a good thing of course. Third track Neue Wege reminds me of early Wolves In The Throne Room. During the singing part, you can actually hear the German lyrics. Letztes Wort is pretty early black metal in its approach.

     Sterbenswert is more symphonic again, with a softer, almost ballad like approach. Beautiful song! Nichtssagend picks up the tempo again, and mixes the bm vocals and the ‘normal’ vocals quite well. Closing track WennAllesZerbricht lasts almost twelve minutes, and is the proverbial icing on the cake. Long, slow and depressing, what more could you want?

    You can listen to the all the tracks on the album HERE..

    Regenjahre is released early September via Ván Records and mid September via Soulfood Distribution and comes as a limited digipack and / or limited vinyl LP.

    Words: Sandrijn van den Oever

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    Another band from the Ukraine, another album on the Solitude Productions label and another band with a strange name. Actually Narrow House is a slang term for a coffin so it is actually a very fitting moniker for a doom band. Narrow House are obscure so there is not much I can say about where they came from. I do know that all the original members came from other band called Funestum but that is where my info ends. You also don't want to confused this band with another Narrow House from the USA, if you do you will get a very weak thrash-metal band. The band has given themselves many tags including, "apocalyptic doom," "funeral doom," and "ambient doom" so you may be a little confused over where they fit into the doom scene and after listening to this I too am a bit confused on where to place this band. This is death doom, funeral, traditional, ambient but funeral doom is the best tag for this band. The recurring element though is a bleak atmosphere and crushing ambiance and while there is nothing unique about the band really, they thankfully don't sound too much like anyone else which gives 'A Key To Panngrieb' some staying power.

    The main gear the band get stuck in is funeralized doom metal and a very dark and gloomy one at that. Make no mistake about it, there are no light hearted moments on this album, this is a heavily atmospheric album that WILL bring you down emotionally if you let it. As I already mentioned the band is on the Solitude Productions label and that should be your first clue. This fits in with most of what else the label has on its books so it comes as no surprise when you hear this is generic slab of funeral doom but as predictable as it is, it is still a excellent dose of funeral doom that is actually memorable which for the funeral doom sub-genre is quite the achievement. Sounding a bit like label-mates Abstract Spirit, the band take the listener through four (mostly) very long funeral doom dirges, the longest being almost 15 minutes and it is certainly not the most straight to the point doom album going around. Song titles are in their native language so I won't try to remember them here and have no idea what these pieces are all about but the growl is very much in the mold of bands like Shape of Despair - so much so that I did think I was listening to that band at one stage during my first spin of this album.

    It is not exactly ground-breaking stuff nor does it need to be, if it is good enough and thankfully Narrow House have more going for them than the average funeral doom band. Oddly enough, the band are not real big on riffs. Songs are built around simple chords and a rumbling, guttural resonance coming from the vocals. Songs for the most part are lifeless, depressive excursions and I say that in a good way. The album starts off surprisingly peaceful but soon explodes into loud, crushing waves of apocalyptic doom so you have been warned, be careful with the volume as this beast gets incredibly loud once it gets going. The album starts with 'The Last Refuge' if you want the English-translated version and it is a kind of apocalyptic slice of moody doom that never seems to get to where it wants to go. It is a slow building dirge that blends the horrific and ugly with the beautiful and the melancholic but just as you think the band is going to lighten up the depressive load, it drags you under once again with suffocating bleakness. Depressing doom albums are a dime-a-dozen these days but this surely stands out as one of the most depressive albums released in some-time.

    As the album progresses, there are no big surprises, this is funeral doom, generic but interesting and never so slow and uneventful you get the urge to turn it off after one song (the problem with a lot of other funeral doom acts). The album is big, open and spacious like the musicians are not even playing in the same country, let alone the same studio. There are huge gaps in every guitar strike, cymbal and drum hit which makes this seem much slower than what is actually is. They bleed out their music so listening to this is like being strangled to death very very slowly which is a killer hook and perfect for a funeral doom exercise. The first three tracks on the album all follow a similar path and don't offer a hell of a lot of variance so you can be forgiven in thinking this is just one long funeral doom epic. Narrow House blend in keys and cello but they are used very sparingly and you may not even notice this instrumentation at first.

    The album closer is a cover of Esoteric's "Beneath This Face" which is translated into Russian for the album (the other tracks are all in Ukrainian) but it still works in the bands favor. This version is very good but if you are like me, you might wonder why they bothered as the bands originals are just as good. When it is all said and done 'A Key To Panngrieb' is a very solid but unoriginal funeral doom album, nothing remarkable but very listenable. The playing, production, and songwriting is great despite the feeling you have heard it all before and after all, how can any band be totally original in such a limited genre anyway. If you are seeking out something totally original in this bleakest of sub-genres, you are probably looking in the wrong place with this album. As it is Narrow House have produced a "surprise release" that is far more captivating than anyone could have possibly expected. This is for fans of Shape of Despair, Ea, Abstract Spirit and Colosseum. You guys and girls have another foreboding chunk of funeral doom to soak up.........perfect with the winter months approaching, check it out.....8.5/10.


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    Venomous Maximus (VM) hail from Texas and they play occult rock, blending the chugging swagger of stoner rock with the darker, more atmospheric elements of doom.  The genre is gaining steam and Venomous Maximus are poised to lead the American hordes.
    They previously released a 7 inch and an EP, and have finally delivered a full length. Upon us they’ve bestowed Beg Upon the Light, and I love it, but depending on your familiarity with their other works, you might be a bit confused. They’ve changed a bit, but isn’t some Cold Lake transformation, fans of their previous work shouldn’t be turned off by the new sounds. VM have simply matured and gotten a bit more interesting; they’ve added light instrumentals which offer a nice contrast to the heavier tracks on the album.

    The first track “Funeral Queen” is one of those instrumentals, a tune dominated by organ and accompanied by synths.  It conjures the work of John Carpenter (Prince of Darkness comes to mind) and sets the tone for the light/dark contrasts of the album. “Moonchild” is what could be called a single, it was released to YouTube a few months back, and this track is more representative of their earlier work. It is heavy, the vocals are clear but tormented. They claim to be influenced by High on Fire, and it shows, but not in a derivative way.

    The production has improved on this release. The vocals are cleaner and some effects have been added to give the tracks more texture. The song “Venomous Maximus” adds some siren effects in the beginning, and “Moonchild” has a female voice saying something.  I can’t understand her and perhaps need better headphones.
    “Mothers Milk” is the strangest track on the album. Where those other light songs I mentioned are short and used for contrast, this is a full song with cello as the main instrument with a bit of acoustic guitar joining after a minute or two. They play it with heart and pull it off.

    I applaud them for trying something new and I think they succeed. If I had to publish one gripe it’s that I preferred the original “Give Up the Witch”. They include a reworked version on this release that lacks some of the punch the original had. But if you haven’t heard the original you might like this one just fine.  But who cares what I think.  Give ‘em a listen and make up your own mind.

    Words: Justin Gish

    Venomous Maximus | Big Cartel

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    Our regular readers already enjoyed sophisticated and ingenious answers of Simon Iff? As we did an interview with him about two years ago speaking about his occult and ruffian doom project The Lamp of Thoth. Now the time has come to tell the story of Arkham Witch. This band was born in Keighley, England in 2008, it’s well-known with glorious full-length album “On Crom’s Mountain” which represents solid and catchy tunes in vein of heavy doom metal.  Nowadays the band is finishing their second release and it promises to be an interesting one, Simon is here again to tell us about it. He who stared straight into eyes of Ancient Ones and keep his mind sane (at least most of it) has some knowledge to share with you.


    Good day sir Simon! It’s not a secret that Arkham Witch has signed the pact with Metal On Metal records and you’re ready to unleash full-length album “Legions of the Deep” in October 2012 – congratulations! Do all things go smooth enough with release?

    Hi Alex! Yes all things are going smooth with the release. We are on schedule for a November release - the album has been recorded and just needs to be edited, mixed and mastered. We feel very honoured to be releasing this with such a respected label as Metal on Metal. The contract was signed in Malta after a hearty banquet of snails, steak and whiskey, and after spending a few days in the sun with Simone and Jowita of the label I can confirm that not only are they very dedicated to the cause heavy metal, but they are very cool people as well! We are hoping that our new album will do them and the label justice!

    I’m asking because it’s said that you and a crew of Arkham Witch spent in studio 8 days having only “312 lagers, 82 whiskey, 2 cigars, 4 babychams and a packet of Haribos”. There’s no word about amps, guitars and drum-set. Do you remember what you do there besides that binge?

    Dodo Doom recorded his guitar through a Marshall JCM and a Matamp, Saxondale Demaine recorded on a Treburn active bass through an Ampeg, and Emily's drum kit is a Pearl Export I believe! We spent a couple of days recording the drums, only to find we had too many songs and had to whittle them down to a more manageable number! We are hoping to release an ep also this year that will feature the remaining songs that did not make it on to the album.


    Arkham Witch recorded a special song for “Compendium of Metal” and its name is “For Metal”. Don’t you fear to step on true metal road singing about “Metal Swords of Metal Warriors”?

    Not really! There is no mention of metal warriors or swords in that song. It is more a diatribe against the posers that you meet not just in the heavy metal scene but also in life in general. The song ascertains that the poser should not be sliced with a sword but should be punched or kicked to death! I hope that our listeners are not too literal minded to undertake such a suggestion, but to take the lyrics in a metaphorical sense - to kill the poser within, to treat people with respect and to realise that one person's elixir is another's poison. It's a frustration with people who act like cocks moulded into musical form - some people take things far too seriously - some don't take things seriously enough!

    Your album has a name which refers to a brilliant song from your previous work “The Lord of R’lyeh”, so we can conclude that “Legions of the Deep” leitmotiv refers to Lovecraftian mythology. Which other subjects will you disclose in new songs?

    On the new album, we have the title track Legions of the Deep, which some will remember from our first demo. This is, of course, inspired by Lovecraft's brilliant tale The Shadow over Innsmouth. Other songs included are 'Iron Shadows in the Moon' which is based on the Conan story of the same name. 'Infernal Machine', which is about a homicidal cyborg laying waste to a far off planet! 'On a Horse called Vengeance' is the tale of a resurrected zombie cowboy out for revenge and is inspired by Robert E. Howard's ghostly Western stories. 'The Cloven Sea' is inspired by Poul Anderson's amazing book The Broken Sword, 'Gods of Storm and Thunder' is about a warrior who loves his job, 'David Lund' is about quarreling magickal orders - We're From Keighley speaks for itself! The song The Lord of Rl'yeh is a riff on Brian Lumley's novels of Titus Crow, which is kind of 'English science fiction type heroes versus the Cthulhu Mythos'. It's real pulpy b-movie type stuff but good. I think Brian Lumley gets a bad rap from S.T. Joshi - a lot of his Mythos stories are entertaining. Dagon's Bell is named after one of his tales too, although the lyrics are more Shadow over Innsmouth inspired.

     What kind of version of Lovecraftian myths will you represent in “Legions of the Deep”? Will it be something canonical? Or do you have a kind of variations on themes?

    Our other Lovecraft inspired songs on the album are 'At the Mountains of Madness', which is a take on the tale of the same name. It concerns a fellow who has just returned from the Stark Merryweather expedition to the Mountains, and the effect the mind-blowing knowledge has had on his relationship with his woman! We also have a song called 'Kult of Kutulu which is inspired by Alan Moore's brilliant take on the Lovecraft mythos, The Courtyard and Neonomicon. These two comicbooks need to be read to be believed and are certainly not for the squeamish or faint-hearted. He takes alot of what is relegated to the background of Lovecraft’s tales - especially the repressed sexuality and overt racism (the stories are based on The Horror at Red Hook I believe) and brings them to the fore. Our song does not deal with these issues, but is inspired by the setting of the Club Zothique that features in the story.

    Yes, Simon, I remember that you’re fan of comicbooks. What do you read now?

    At the moment I am once again reading the Dark Horse Conan book. I had not read it for a while – it had become stale and just as clichéd as the bad issues of the old seventies Marvels, but the combination of the awesome talent of artist Becky Cloonan and the writing of Brian Wood has just reinvigorated it – you have got to see the way Belit is drawn – it’s awesome stuff! Having Belit meeting Conan’s mother in a later issue is also a stroke of genius! - I think this is a must read for any Conan fan – it pays faithful tribute to Howard’s original Queen of the Black Coast, whilst making the character seem fresh and alive. It’s just the little touches that make Brian Wood’s writing and Becky Cloonan’s art so great, and make Conan seem like a fully rounded man rather than just the one-dimensional superman in a loincloth the comic version has a danger of straying into.
    Unfortunately, Becky Cloonan does not draw the whole tale, but James Harren is a great artist too. I am hoping that Dark Horse keep up the quality of the title and do justice to Howard’s creation in the future, but right now it kicks arse! I am also reading Scott Snyder on Batman (which incidentally, in the latest issue features Miss Cloonan again!) and the continuing saga of Grant Morrison’s awe-inspiring run on Batman that is Batman Incorporated!

     Simon, you’re true patriot of England – songs like “Let England Prevail” and “The Phantom Bowmen” show it even better than participant of The Lamp Of Thoth in split-album “Hail Britannia”. For me England isn’t only Victorian style or Jack The Reaper and Dr. Jekyll, or Robin Hood, it’s not only Dickens and Dickinson… There were colonial and opium wars, real legal piracy (not that deals with mp3) and a damned lot of dirty political tricks as each respected civilized country may proud. What make you proud of your land, good sir?

    It's not really a patriotism for England as it is now, but I think but a patriotism for the England of the past, most probably it is a patriotism for the England of the imagination! The historical stuff is all conjecture - history is written by the victorious as they say, and all my life it seems has been written by those who decided that nothing good has come of our colonial past.  I think we have a lot to be ashamed of but also a lot to be proud -Shakespeare, Tennyson, Football, Industrial Revolution and Heavy Metal ain't bad for a little island.
    Dickinson? - Do you mean Emily Dickinson? Think she was American. If you mean David Dickinson - that's a bobby dazzler!



    No, man! I was talking about Bruce Dickinson, you may be heard about him.. he is a good swordsman and pilot, and I believe that he also sings in a band. Don’t you heard it?

    Oh yeah! That’s his son – done well for himself in some pop group hasn’t he?! Have not heard them myself, but I am told they are frightfully good!




    Do you demark for yourself English folk and English government? English past and present?

    You get stupid people in all countries and all walks of life – unfortunately sometimes they also get into government!
    I think as a society, here in England we are steadily becoming more intolerant, impolite, stupid and materialistic. I don’t know whether this is the logical conclusion of the kind of individualism the western way of life encourages or whether I am just getting old and cranky, but the decline of morals and decent behaviour is ever more noticeable, even in the so called middle classes who were once the bastions and champions of such things. I think it is a case of desensitization. We are so used to hearing swearing, witnessing countless acts of sex and violence, pornography seeps its lustful tentacles Kutulu-like into every area of life, that life has become cheap, unspiritual and centered on the flesh. It is hard now to shock. We are weary and apathetic. We used to know how to queue for things; we never used to complain as much as we do now, and we didn’t demand things as our right – we asked for them. Television has conquered every area of life – first it ate cinema, then it devoured rock and roll, and now it has its sights on books. Aside from the Kindle – television is present in public libraries in the country in the form of the Internet. Soon new books will only be available on a TV screen. People now, will go and watch a live band and instead of soaking up the experience, will stand, phone aloft and watch it through a 3 inch screen. Life is being compacted into two dimensions. You can’t enjoy yourself in public anymore without ending up on Facebook! We have lost the will to use our imaginations and memories, and are becoming slaves to technology, trading in the mundane through social networks, selling our memories and experiences for the validation of our peers – the whole world is being uploaded to the Internet – including you and your personality, and soon countries will exist only as long as the server upon which they are stored. The only thing that can save us is heavy metal!

     I’m sure the same thing could be said about each modern “civilized” country or even about Russia… But look – comics lead people to more simple way too, most of them are quiet primitive and readers do not need to make their imagination work as in a case with books. By the way I wonder how much of dirt in this industry – a damned lot of primitivism, of violence, of sex, of sex and violence. Though there was a great examples of such art as “Lone Wolf and Cub” by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima… What do you think about destructive aspect of that problem?

    I think I would have to disagree there! As there are good and bad books, there are good and bad comic books, but a good comic book would make your imagination work overtime. The things you level at comics have also been said about Heavy Metal! It’s better to judge something by the best that it can be, than the worst it has to offer, so I shall retract my ill thought out and mean comments about English society and technology  - we are doing our best!

    As I’ve mentioned before colonial ambitions of England… well, I can’t miss a questions about literary image of Ctulhu in your songs which of course represents metaphorically a monster of colonial and capitalistic world which spreads it’s tentacles all over the modern world. How does this image develop in Arkham Witch songs?

    Well - you have something there! I have never thought of Cthulhu as representing capitalism before! We have always used him as a symbol of the subconscious mind, but of course that does tap into the unthinking way we all consume in the modern world. Maybe when the stars are right and the old one rises again that's how he will conquer the earth. Cthulhu brand televisions, toothpaste, confectionary, and condoms! ‘Got Cthulhu?’ Tom Cruise asks, as he looks straight into the camera, his perfect white teeth shining in the sunlight and his newly acquired tentacles glistening against the spray of the rumbling ocean.




    How often do you play gigs now with Arkham Witch and The Lamp of Thoth? I don’t watch your tour-list so I only know that you and Arkham Witch played at Malta Doom Fest in 2011. Were there any other big venues?

    We don't play as often as we should, but here in England the scene for our music is quite small. If we play locally it is usually to apathetic audiences. We are actually playing our first hometown gig next week after three years of being formed! The Lamp of Thoth only played there twice, and the last time we had two people watching us - one of them was the sound guy! We are usually more successful abroad - our gigs in Malta and Germany were both great! I hope we get to return to both places! I myself would rather record than play live  - it's not that I don't enjoy playing live - it's just I am keen to crack on and get the albums recorded!

    Well, would you like to play in Russia? We have spices, rum, caviar, furs and elephants tusks for trade. A good offer for shining CDs indeed!

    We would love to play in Russia!

    Why do you keep on hold The Lamp of Thoth? Did Randy Reaper return to Iron Void or Solstice? Or does he start another doom-cult growing seeds of heresy and witchcraft somewhere in remote places of Albion?

    The Lamp is unfortunately a victim of the worldwide recession that has engulfed us! I am now a homeowner and can’t afford to play in two bands at the moment unless I give up my comic book and beer addictions! That’s not going to happen! Randy is doing well in Solstice – one of his favourite bands. I always meant to pick up on the Thoth stuff – just haven’t gotten around to it yet.



    Both Arkham Witch and The Lamp of Thoth perform a great examples of true English metal, can you name few more bands of that kind?

    I think there are a lot of great True English metal bands out there, but the thing I like in a band is evidence of the good old English character – one of my favourites at the moment is a guy called Paul Roland – who, while not heavy metal, comes close to it on a few tracks. But it is his subject matter and delivery that may interest fans of the above two bands – he is a true English eccentric, obsessed with the weird and the occult, who has some brilliant songs, with quirky lyrics, great sounds and strange vocals, such as Walter the Occultist, Come to the Sabbat (not the Black Widow song, but just as good!), Witchfinder General, and Nosferatu. I would recommend his brilliant HP Lovecraft inspired album Reanimator.

    Thank you for your time Simon! I believe that this information will help for our readers to stay tuned as both of your bands work with new releases. Best regards man!

    Thanks Alex.
    Don’t take drugs!!!!
    It’s more polite to pay for them.

    Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

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    VIA: Earsplit PR

    Following a short run of live dates at the close of the Summer, SONS OF TONATIUH will again bring their slow-roasted sludge sorcery to the stage as the Parade Of Sorrow Tour 2012 lives on! Set to commence October 11, 2012 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the band will drag their audio ruckus through 15 cities including a stop on the Southwest Terror Fest, a two-day auditory assault organized by Arizona sludge terrorists Godhunter.

    SONS OF TONATIUH unearthed their Parade Of Sorrow full-length through Hydro-Phonic Records this Summer. Recorded in Athens, Georgia by Kyle Spence of Harvey Milk, the record continues to harvest praise from fans and critics alike for its raw, angst-stricken method of dirge. Skulls N Bones commended the record for having “a heaviness of its own,” Exclaim likened the songs to “sinking in quicksand, but they evoke panicked thrashing rather than resigned, churning misery,” Broken Beard notes that Parade Of Sorrow “is every bit the Eyehategod worship as their self-titled debut, and yet they’ve squeezed this throbbing new pustule so hard there is pus and blood bursting out all over the place,” while Metal Maniacs called it “infectious — plain and simple.” Sea Of Tranquility agreed comparing Parade of Sorrow to “…a head-on-collision between early Black Sabbath and Eyehategod,” and This Is Not A Scene dubbed it “…a savagely aggressive, sonically belligerent album that is among the rawest to emerge from the southern USA in the last decade…”

    SONS OF TONATIUH Tour 2012:

    10/11/2012 Frankie Avalon Place (house show) – Murfreesboro, TN w/ Sovereign
    10/12/2012 Cusammanos – St. Louis, MO w/ Jack Buck, Everything Went Black, Rowsdower
    10/13/2012 The Lightbulb Club – Fayetteville, AR w/ Dirtmother, Dying, Crankbait
    10/14/2012 Jackpot Muisc Hall – Lawrence, KS
    10/15/2012 Aqualungs – Denver, CO w/ In the Company of Serpents, Western Ritual
    10/16/2012 Burt’s Tiki Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT w/ Nevertanezra, Athena Score
    10/17/2012 Yayo Taco – Las Vegas, NV
    10/18/2012 The Shakedown – San Diego, CA w/ Pigeonwing, Hull
    10/19/2012 Blue Cafe Underground – Long Beach, CA w/ Spilth*!%, Hull, Pigeonwing
    10/20/2012 Southwest Terror Fest @ The Rock Club – Tucson, AZ w/ Pigeonwing, 16, Hull
    10/21/2012 The Lovesprout – El Paso, TX w/ Communion of Thieves, Resin Cum
    10/22/2012 Headhunter’s – Austin, TX w/ VBT, Bearded Ox, Prison Moon
    10/23/2012 Toppers - Watauga, TX w/ Enormicon, Diseased
    10/24/2012 Bucaneer - Memphis, TN
    10/28/2012 5 Spot – Atlanta, GA w/ Hull, Mortals, Order of the Owl

    SOT | Official Website
    SOT | Facebook
    SOT | Bandcamp
    Hydro-Phonic Records
    South West Terror Fest | Facebook

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    Even now when doom scene is on it’s top and there’re too much bands around, it’s pretty hard to find a band which is really worth of attention. Sometimes bands break through and climb to the top in DIY style, sometimes fair guys from some label grants a good deal and sometimes some promo from fans or e-zines help to gain a good result. I guess that Vinum Sabbatum has all chances to keep their good positions for a succesful combination of all these factors. Famous label Eyes Like Snow released first full length of Vinum Sabbatum – “Bacchanale Premiere”, it’s full of retro doom rock songs with a vibe of progressive and hard rock of 70s, bluesy guitars and hammond organ are included. Yet we need to learn more about this band, right? Janne Salo (vocals) and Mika Pajula (bass) are ready to help.

    Hi mates! Not all of us still know about Vinum Sabbatum therefore I would like to ask you about some basic info – what do our readers need to know about the band firstly?

    Janne: We are just a bunch of dudes from Finland delivering  you some groove and vibes from the stone age of rock...
    Mika: It was those very last days of 2008  that we started this band and by the end of 2009 we had a complete line-up; myself on bass, Janne on vocals, Juha Köykkä on guitar and Tomi Korpela on organ and keys. Our original drummer didn’t fit in so well and now we have a guy named Jarno Jaakkola on board. He's been around about a year now.

    You released your first album not so long ago, “Songs From The Convent” was recorded in 2010, right? How long did you go to this record? What was your expectations from it?

    Mika: Right, it was basically recorded just over two days in October 2009 and we pressed few hundred copies by ourselves few months later. Initially it was just a five-song demo-CD, we wanted to get some songs out and hopefully gain some sort of distribution or recording deal at the end. When we got signed with German label called Eyes Like Snow, they wanted to release it officially albeit different mixing and with two more songs which we did for a split-EP with brilliant british band called Groan. The final product became a bit mixed bag but we can live with that.

    Did you realize all of your intentions onto ”Songs From The Convent”? Art-work, songs, production – does it suit band’s ideals?

    Mika: There's always something you would like to go back and do over again. But those songs were best ones that we could wrote and band was relatively young at the time, so considering the situations it came out well, I think. I had just one thing in mind when we did the post-production and that was to lo-fi pretty much everything, so there was whole lot of  EQing with all the high-ends dropping. I wanted everything to sound dated and dirty and it was important to leave air between the instruments. Artwork on the official release was done by amazing artist named David Csicsely and it was provocative with candy wrap colours and all, which gave  psychedelic vibe for the whole thing. For the full-length I did some suggestions as soon as the title came up and David took it from there. Hopefully we can continue to do work together.

    Do you and other band’s members have another musical experience besides Vinum Sabbatum?

    Janne: There’s a long history of playing rock or some sort of metal behind all of us. Well, I’ve sang all sorts of stuff just to keep my voice versatile. In couple of bands I have done some bass playing also while doing vocals. I have never played guitar in a live band, maybe I should venture that someday.
    Mika: Yeah, everyone’s been doing something over the years. Our guitarist and I used to play in same band before this one. If anyone out there remembers band called God Forsaken, we both played in that one too. Our guitarist Juha was the original bass player and few years later I did the same slot. It was more stoner-kind of stuff but it went nowhere and rightfully so.

    What are the reasons for the rising of retro rock and metal scene? Look – there’re more than ever of bands which follow old methods and teachings of their musical forefathers, how sudden did it happen from your point of view?

    Janne: Mainstream rock is just so bad and dull nowadays so it’s no wonder alternatives must come forward.  Still I think metal scene is somehow suffering at the moment while retro side is gaining popularity. Thinking of myself, I must admit that in Vinum Sabbatum I am not specifically aiming at some sort of style. I just make the vocal lines that feel good and appropriate to each individual song. It may be that modern sounds and over-the-top mastering of everything are starting to tire people’s ears. We just try to sound natural, cost is that all the flaws are audible as well, heh.
    Mika: I think music fans are going back to basic stuff and music that breaths life. I used to categorize everything in the past, now I just make a difference if something is good or bad for my taste. We as a band don't have a just one point to follow, a certain style that we must emulate blindly. This retro boom has been on over ten years now, which is pretty long time and probably it's fading out even. But everything must go in circles and I don't mind that. There's always a danger when fads are coming and going and if you're connected too tightly into one specific movement, you become yesterdays news pretty soon.

     As i think Finland has concentrated doom metal scene, and there’re few unique and really strong bands with great atmosphere and mood. The Wandering Midget for example which album is released via Eyes Like Snow records too. Is doom music realy so popular in your land or is it just a kind of dillusion?

    Mika: With bands like Reverend Bizarre, Spiritus Mortis, Fall of the Idols and Garden of Worm it became noticed more. It's been around a long time and does seem to attract listerners year after year. In recent years, bands have evolved a bit and it's either gone to sludgier or a bit lighter with influeces from kraut- and psychedelic rock. 
    Janne: Heavy Metal is one of Finland’s main culture exports, so it’s no wonder that also doom flourishes as another variant of it. As Mika mentions, doom seems in some occasions strayed out of metal categorization into another rock music genres. We are somewhere in between as well.

    And, men, how old are you? I’m asking because it’s interesting to know why do you like that epoch – only because of music or because of something more?

    Janne: I think I’m still too young to play this stuff with credibility enough, though I’m in my forties. I’m eagerly waiting for greyer beard, meaner stare and rougher tone. Thinking of seventies, it’s not only the music that moves you when it’s a decade of your childhood. All the culture and how everything was more secure, fresh and innocent comparing to today has an effect to the music you play. It grows to be more than just pathetic nostalgia.

    Was it naturally to you to work out that specific sounding? I guess that you have strictly limited approach to songs arrangements because of that, but it’s obvious that there’s nothing unnecessary in your music.

    Mika: Well, obviously we had to lay down some sort of a plan at the beginning. But even then we already knew what we wanted to do. I was just a case to find five guys that thinks alike and everybody in this band is adamant about the sound and approach we want to pursue. I'm sure that our basic foundation will always be in heavy blues and doom but we also want to add some other influences and hopefully make a mix of our own. Therefore, songwriting is a natural process and doesn't limit us to just one thing.

    The band has expressive title yet how often do you plunge yourself in bacchanalias and sabbatical orgies? Though you know… it sounds like stereotype as if band play brutal death then they must eat dead meat in the graveyard.

    Mika: Thankfully it doesn't say "We the Sabbatum" or something like that... At least I'm not aware of any orgies around, hah. The name was intended to represent a theological event and more imaginary type of thing to be honest. Somehow it suits us well what we are about musically, so that what it is.

    So, you do not crush bars and pubs after few portions of alchohol?! Man, look you play songs about evil, demons, graveyards and so on – there must be a part of it in you or you’re not bloody true and bloody evil.

    Mika: Not evil for sure, just melancholic at times which creates good atmosphere for creating and writing. I should be depressed more as I think of it now... I haven't come up with any great ideas for a while, hah. 
    Janne: In the artwork of ”Songs from the convent” ELS-release there is this sexy nude nun giving oral pleasure to a crucifix. As a picture it kind of still stops me in it’s evil decadence and feminine beauty at the same time. I still haven’t showed the record to my mother who is a devoted christian. There is one rule: You know you are on the right track in making rock’n roll if you have to ask yourself ”am I going to hell for this and this”.

     Eyes Like Snow Records released first full-length album of Vinum Sabbatum “Bacchanale Premiere” in CD and LP editions, and I see that it was really successful deal for your music deserves vinyl format absolutely. What would you like to tell about process of record and production of this release?

    Janne: We spent too much time creating it, I would say now. There was quite much hassle getting all the bits and pieces together. Luckily the end result turned out to be firm package of 70’s hard rock with doom and prog influences.
    Mika: Album was done pretty much the same way we did "Songs from the Convent". To keep the cost down we recorded basic tracks in our own studio. It gave us freedom to do whatever we wanted to do but some of the focus got lost in process and I'll take the blame for that. Other thing that bothered me was that after we cut basic instruments down, I became aware that our original drummer was not a right one to do the job. Jarno came in but we didn’t want to start things all over, which we should have done, and it did restricted overall feel of the album. But it was a good learning exprience and now we really know what to expect whenever we start to do next one.

    I see that Vinum Sabbatum plays gigs time to time – how often do you play? And what kind of people visit your gigs? I wonder if they’re those old rockers from 70’s.

    Janne: We play here and there once and awhile. Playing gigs is fun but the amount must be reasonable and it’s important to keep up some quality in where you play and in what occasion. On this level you get no money from playing live but that’s not important. I don’t understand underground bands that refuse offered gigs just because they are not paid enough. If you want some money go play in a cover band, though it doesnt come easy there as well. About the people.. I think it’s those younger-than-us metalheads who have interest also for this kind of stuff. One old jazz guy in his sixties was checking out us just by coincidence on our latest gig. His praises where overwhelming after the show. But I just think it maybe was because of Tomi’s 60’s built Hammond organ on center of the stage that night and couple of drinks too much..



    Will you (or would you like) play a breif tour in support of ”Bacchanale Premiere”?

    Mika: We will do some gigs but those will take place just here in Finland. We will do at least second album before we can seriously think about playing somewhere else.

    What are main differences between “Bacchanale Premiere” and “Songs From The Convent”?

    Janne: Composing of the songs was done totally differently on "Songs from the Convent" comparing to "Bacchanale Premiere". There was no keyboards along when we wrote our first songs that are on "SFTC". More thought was given to the new songs.
    Mika: Yeah, I think we had a bit more field to work with arrangements, that’s for sure. And writing itself went up a notch on the second release. The EP was a good starting point for us and after that we wanted spread out a bit, so the album presents quite well where we want to go with our music.

    What do you want to put in songs’ lyrics? Is it important for you?

    Mika: I’m more about the rhyme and look of it than what I’m actually trying to say. Topics are whatever we may come up with - sometimes it’s a tale or a story, some others are more about real life experiences and stuff like that. I used to write more lyrics in the beginning but now Janne has done most of them. And I must say he’s pretty good twisting out words and themes.   
    Janne: Lyrics are important in a sense that I need to feel confident to sing them live without thinking; “Oh my God, how shit this is”. I have blocking issues at times with my lyrics writing. It might take months before I get every word in place in worst cases. In the new album there is not any specific theme, each song tells a different story. “In and Out of Faith” for example is about three women letting themselves to be badly abused because of severe emotional disorders. So, all our lyrics are not about drinking Sabbath wine in a witch convent. Song “Vinum Sabbatum” is the occult blast of the record. Lyrics of it were actually quite tricky to put together, but that’s always the case with songs with length.

     Thank you for your time comrades! That’s all for this time, so if you have few words to our doom-congregation then bring it on! Good night.

    Mika: Thanks for the interview and hello to all who have read it this far. Visit Northern Silence website to find more about our releases and sleep tight!

    Interview By Aleks Evdokimov.

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    The latest in doom metal super-groups, Serpentine Path are made up of  the recently retired Unearthly Trance members Jay Newman, Darren Verni and Ryan Lipynsky and former Electric Wizard bassist and current Ramesses guitarist Tim Bagshaw. This band leaves the experimentation of Unearthly Trance behind in favor of a more straight-forward approach into the grey area that sometimes exists between slow black metal, doom metal and drone. The black metal edge that this super-group of sorts possess should come as no surprise given Ryan Lipynsky's work in black-metal projects such as Thralldom and the Howling Wind. However the black metal elements are not quite as obvious as those projects. Serpentine Path make filthy dirges, bleak and foreboding but with a deathly metal edge in the vein of early Celtic Frost.

    In many respects, looking at the band members previous bands tells the story with this album so not many words are needed to explain this self-titled album. It is a cross between Unearthy Trance and Ramesses but with more of a emphasis on a sludge and death-doom mix. Given the pedigree of its members, this album is kind of predictable but always in a good way. While the former bands that these guys were a part of delivered some very long songs built around doomy excesses, this band are fairly straight-forward by comparison. There is nothing over 6:40 and what you are left with is a very concise sludge metal laced death-doom album designed to crush though the use of big torturous riffs in songs that never meander so don't expect any 15 minute doom-scapes in the vein of Bagshaw's Electric Wizard - "Dopethrone" days. However this ends up being a good thing given that, those former styles are an acquired taste. This album is an album that can and will please death doom and traditional doom fans but it also has more than enough extreme sludge moments to satisfy those people after something more intense.

    Opening track 'Arrows' begins with a recitation from the Book of Revelation before heading off into a no-bullshit death-doom chug-a-thon which is surprisingly catchy given the musical extremities that these guys are well-known for delivering in the past. Incredible production backs up the wonderful bass-heavy riffage but it is the spot-on delivery of the vocals that perhaps impressed us the most with this killer album, they are cold and basic but perfectly executed so those wanting the vocal diversity of the Unearthly Trance variety may see this as a bit of a let-down but to us, it is ideal for this project. Second track up 'Crotalus Horridus Horridus' is part lumbering beast and part slithering demon which is fitting seeing as the track is named after a medical term for a species of venomous pit-viper. The launch into a monstrous groove from time to time on this album but this gem of a track has one of the very best of grooves this album has to offer.

    'Bats Amongst Heathens' makes the most out of what is a fairly simple deathly doom track that is under four minutes long. 'Beyond the Dawn of Time' gives a slight nod to Bagshaw's Electric Wizard past at first starting with a sample from the horror movie classic 'The Last House on the Left'. As the song builds however it heads into the murky depths of funeral doom. This song comes at a point in the album where this slothful change of pace is welcome but the band has obviously taken some care over song placement for this release and it works wonders in keeping this album captivating all the way through. 'Obsoletion' is the albums most psychedelic moment while 'Aphelion' is the fastest and most direct moment of psych meets doom rock so by default sounds like the obvious choice for a opening tune for a Serpentine Path live show (although they said in one interview that this is a recording project only).

    'Compendium of Suffering' and 'Only a Monolith Remains' close the album wallowing in death-doom waters and while normally it would be easy to say this is generic, predictable stuff, in the case of Serpentine Path they make it sound fresh and very potent. Given the experience of its line-up Serpentine Path have recorded a piece of work you would expect from seasoned professionals but it is also a welcome step away from the experimentation of Unearthly Trance and the sonic excesses of Ramesses and Bagshaw's early Electric Wizard days. The band are not trying to show off or going out of their way to be extreme just for the sake of being "heavy" but rather they have set out to make a captivating death-doom release, pure, simple and above all else......monolithic and in that light, they have nailed it. The sound on this is massive but most important, the songs are all memorable with not a second wasted throughout its 41 minutes. On the one hand, this album is a bit stock-standard but it is also a perfect document on how to make death-doom immensely enjoyable without being pretentious......9/10.

    Words: Sally Bethhall & Ed Barnard

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