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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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    What do you get when you cross 'The Karelian Isthmus' with 'As the Flower Withers'? You get the general idea of Doomed's latest effort. This is perhaps the best way to describe what's presented by this one man band. The production is better than the aforementioned but lacking the raw savagery and intensity of its forefathers. If anything this is more homogenized and perhaps modern. The riffs are decent enough but more accessible than they ought to be; almost sterile in their presentation.

    There are plenty of harmonized guitar parts thrown over heavy riffs. There is a very modern attitude in these songs due not only to playing style but to the equipment used.

    The guitars and amps could easily be in any number of modern death metal bands (hence the sterile vibe). That aside the songs are a blend of dark and imposing mixed with the more morose and somewhat generic. The melodies and leads work very well over the more brutal rhythmic passages. The leads are utilized in familiar patterns and generally always harmonized.

    The vocals are a throwback to Amorphis' heavier days i.e. really deep (especially with the dirtier guitar/bass tones) with some clean spoken/moaned word (ala-MDB) sparsely thrown in. The last song shows him crooning. The drums fit the music but aren't really expressive. The few keyboards are thankfully just background noise.

    The tempo is moderately slow and plodding to the point where it seems like all the songs are the same speed after a while.The artwork is a mix between the first Stolen Babies album cover and perhaps a more sinister Tim Burton design. Unique, amusing, simple and very stylized. Not having heard the first release it's hard to judge if the quality has gotten better or stayed the same. Given that both albums were released the same year it's probably a safe bet they're more or less the same.

    Over all this isn't a bad album. There is a enough variance in the songs to keep the average listener fairly engaged but probably not enough to give this album repeated listens. This gets a 5/10.

    Words: Grimm Doom

    Official Website
    Facebook
    Bandcamp

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    Once again Ea have done it; crafting something new and original within the still fully unexplored realm of funeral doom. From the beginning to the end this album doesn't lack for much.

    With the first track setting the tone for the whole album, the music rises up from silence to melodic swell of sorrow. Taking a few queues from Skepticism as far as approach, they send the listener through places as unknown and forgotten as the dead texts they sing about. The production is great and certainly better than 'Ea Taesse'. The guitars are open chorded and full of slow riffs evoking a variety of feelings, predominantly melancholy. They are behind a determined lead guitar that seems to cut its own path through the dense sadness both alone and periodically in tandem; harmonized and bitter.

    The drums are sparse and of the programmed variety. Not bad by any stretch but very out of place in more than one place. The keyboards throw questioning off key shades before subtly dropping into deep piano passages.The vocals are all growled and there are some chorial passages most likely done with the keyboard.

    This is somewhat mournful but very epic and very exploratory; in the same vein as their other works but upbeat and almost happy, or perhaps understandingly jubilantly reverent. Is this really funeral doom? The answer is mostly. This is doom but it's almost more than doom. The good time vibe isn't the reason for the question but the general speed is, not to mention the programmed "machine gun" double bass work that pops up from time to time.

    The songs are long and require a lot of endurance from the listener. Given their length they're far from repetitive or tedious; rather the songs follow a natural progression that doesn't come across as forced or pretentious. The mainly distorted guitars are complemented by some effects driven clean(er) parts. The pseudo-classical meanderings, musings if you will, bring a picture of solemn woe both terrible and unquestioningly radiant to mind. The droning keyboard ambient rich passages lurk from place to place with the rest forcing the listener to wait in anticipation for what's to come.This isn't their best work but it's still damn good. This gets a 7/10

    Words: Grimm Doom

    Bandcamp

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    The new Doommantia Comp Volume 3 is now available.

    20 bands, 20 tracks with a total playing time of over 2 hours. Bands featured are Abbotoir, Blut, Cardinals Folly, Chronobot, Merrin, Mist, Moonbow, Mortalicum, My Silent Wake, Pektop, Spiral Shades, Swamp Witch, Twin Giant, Void Of Sleep, Bretus, Wicked Inquistion, Myoptic Empire, Ordus, Wiljen Wij, and Nevertanezra. Only $7 will get you this killer compilation.

    Head to the Downloads page or The Doommantia Bandcamp

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    This news just in about the Leeds sludge-doomsters. Their new EP is ready to drop Jan 13th, 2014 0n Superhot Records

    Since their formation in 2011, BongCauldron has developed a reputation on the local Leeds metal scene as a sleeping colossus. A beast that only ever truly awakens from its slumber when called upon to thrash out a cacophonous amalgamation of torturous sludge metal, old school thrash-pit discord and homegrown haze.

    In full flow, the band is relentless. Having shaken gig-goers to the core in support of bands like Sunwølf, Windhand and Trippy Wicked & The Cosmic Children of The Knight this past year their self-titled EP and first outing into the wilderness comes under the watchful eye of the St Albans based Superhot Records. In their quest to, “Bring you the best from all ends of the underground heavy music spectrum” the label is responsible for memorable releases by the aforementioned Trippy Wicked, as well as Groan, Vodun and Stubb.

    BongCaludron packs in dirty, bass-heavy riffs and drums that build a punishing wall of noise around the doom metal and crust punk ingloriousness of bands like Iron Monkey and early Crowbar. Rolling out bluesy shifting slabs of guitar that lay waste to any hope of standing still. Gleaning abrasive sludge and choking fuzz from every note, beat and nod this is a collection of guttural and throat tearing songs that revel in the pleasure of good booze and better bongs.

    BongCauldron is:
    Corky – Bass, Vocals
    Biscuit – Guitar, Vocals
    Jay – Drums

    Track listing:
    1. Tree Wizard
    2. Pissed Up
    3. Vehemence
    4. Gimp Rig
    5. Gauze Rite

    Label: Superhot Records
    Formats: CD, Download
    Superhot Records | HERE
    BongCauldron Facebook | HERE


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    The official video for HIGH ON FIRE's brand new single titled "Slave The Hive" can be seen below. As part of the band's Scion A/V-sponsored headlining tour, HIGH ON FIRE dropped the new single which marks the first new music from the California metal champions since the spring 2012 release of "De Vermis Mysteriis". A limited-edition seven-inch single is available at all tour dates.

    The previously announced Scion A/V-presented HIGH ON FIRE tour is running from November 10 through December 12. Norwegian rock sextet KVELERTAK, who have had one of 2013's buzziest hard rock releases with the Kurt Ballou-produced (CONVERGE) album "Meir", are opening all dates.

    HIGH ON FIRE released the first official live recordings of its career with the two volume set "Spitting Fire Live", which has been hailed as "high-volume intensity" by the Austin Chronicle, "hot as the infernos" by Pitchfork and a "documentation of the band's undiminished ferocity onstage" by the SF Weekly. Recorded over a two-evening New York City headlining stint at both Bowery Ballroom and Brooklyn's Music Hall Of Williamsburg last winter, "Spitting Fire Live" showcases HIGH ON FIRE at its incendiary best, containing songs from each of the band's critically acclaimed studio albums including last year's "De Vermis Mysteriis"


    Read more at Blabbermouth

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    This is the second part of a thirteen part series
    Spain, unlike its ideological brethren in Germany and Italy, managed to leave behind the rubble of World War II with its fascism intact. While Nazism was all about an antiseptic panacea for racial purists and Italian fascism combined a cult of personality with a healthy dose of the avant-garde, Spain’s own brand of reactionary authoritarianism was bound up in one man: General Francisco Franco, aka El Caudillo (The Leader). After his Nationalists won the Civil War, Franco set about eliminating both his Republican enemies on the left and his potential rivals on the Falangist right. Retaliatory violence and political suppression took care of the former, while the Eastern Front swallowed up a huge portion of the latter.
    After the war, El Caudillo cemented his reign and solidified the enforcement of Spanish nationalism, Roman Catholicism, and a European brand of social conservatism. Then a funny thing happened in the 1950s. Pushed forward by liberal-minded technocrats and foreign investors, the so-called “Spanish Miracle” helped a former backwater to become an economic powerhouse on the Continent. Money was in the atmosphere, and the basic standard of living improved for most Spanish classes. Most importantly, a new, more vibrant Spanish middle class came to prominence, and it is was this class that not only raised Amando de Ossorio, but it was also the caste which made de Ossorio’s films possible.

    Although he shared El Caudillo’s Galician background, de Ossorio would make his name by gleefully eviscerating much of what the Francoists held dear. Though his father wanted his son to pursue a career in banking, de Ossorio would eventually move to Madrid in the late 1940s in order to make films. His first film - “La Bandera Negra” (“The Black Flag”) - was an independent art film that criticized the institution of capital punishment. Because of this, it was heavily censored by the government. De Ossorio did not begin his career in moviemaking well, and this sense of bad luck would follow throughout him his whole career, especially when it came to budgets and time constraints.

    After his inauspicious debut, de Ossorio refocused his energies on the horror genre. As General Franco’s health declined in the 1960s, a new wave of liberalization washed over the country. This was most apparent in the films that were made in Spain after 1965. Sex was for sale, along with other taboo topics, and many Spanish auteurs jumped at the chance of making salacious films for a mostly middle class and male audience. De Ossorio, along with other directors such as Paul Naschy, helped the socio-political process along by making sometimes gory, sometimes sleazy horror films during the late 1960s and early 1970s. And while Naschy relied on such well-known figures as werewolves and vampires, de Ossorio made the radical decision to create a new breed of monster - the blind, shambling dead.

    Not just any dead, either. De Ossorio’s legendary “Blind Dead” series revolves around the Knights Templars - a real-life organization of warrior monks from the Middle Ages. While the historical Templars protected Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land and acted as some of the first international bankers, de Ossorio’s creations are pagan ghouls who do nothing but bring terror to the countryside with their blood rituals and their sadistic impulses. This is bluntly exposed in all four of de Ossorio’s “Blind Dead” films with varying degrees of success.

    The first film in the series - 1971’s “Tombs of the Blind Dead” (“La Noche Del Terror Ciego”) - is an undisputed classic. That said, it is far from a “good” film. The acting is unprofessional, the plot is slipshod, and the whole thing reeks of being made fast and on the cheap. Still, despite these deep flaws, the story of the Templar-haunted village of Berzano is engrossing not only because of its relative originality, but also because of the ingenious depiction of the blind dead riders. Helped by the creepy music of Antón García Abril, the Blind Dead eerily ride across the Portuguese landscape almost as if they are out of time. This slow horsemanship and time/space displacement is part one of de Ossorio’s own synopsis of his creations, while the others are: “2) The Templars come out of their tombs every night to search for victims and blood, which makes them closely related to the vampires of myth. 3) The Templars have studied occult sciences and continue to sacrifice human victims to the cruel and bloodlusting beings that keep them alive. 4) The Templars are blind and guided by sound alone.”

    De Ossorio’s outline of the undead Templars would lead one to believe that there is some sort of overarching narrative to all four films. Well, there’s is not. While the second film - 1973’s “Return of the Evil Dead” (“El Returno Del Terror Ciego”) - also takes place in Berzano, the background story of the Templars has been changed since “Tombs of the Blind Dead.” In the first film, Professor Cantal (played by Francisco Sanz) explains that the Templars were convicted of blasphemy and murder, and as such were punished by being hung from trees so that crows ate out their eyes. In “Return of the Evil Dead,” the film opens with a flashback in which enraged villagers burn out the eyes of the demonic knights. The head of the order swears that he and his men will have their revenge, and thus the plot of the film is set in motion.

    After “Return of the Evil Dead,” which is probably the best film in the entire series, de Ossorio hit a real snag with his third film - “Horror of the Zombies” (El Buque Maldito, 1974). In this film, a whole cast of unlikable people get stranded on a ghost ship that is full of the blinded Templars. The film’s obvious connections to “The Flying Dutchmen” are further deepened when another one of de Ossorio’s eccentric professors (Carlos Lemos’ Professor Grüber) finds out the origins of the ship’s unearthly passengers. In “Horror of the Zombies,” the Militants, a sect of the Templars, were excommunicated for Devil worship, and thus they were forced to leave their homeland in a ship piloted by a mad Dutchman. This ship, which houses a treasure horde, just so happens to be the ship that the Professor and an unsavory group of fashion models and photographers stumble upon.

    “Horror of the Zombies” is not only a stinker, but it is so cheap that it looks like it was filmed in de Ossorio’s bathtub. “Horror of the Zombies” is the type of film that would have ruined a lesser man’s career, but de Ossorio soldiered on and even managed to make one more Templar film.

    1975’s “Night of the Seagulls” (“La Noche De Las Gaviotas”) is not only one of the best films in the entire series, but it is also the oddest. In this, the final installment of the entire “Blind Dead” run, the Templars must share their evil with a whole village, for “Night of the Seagulls” is more or less an updated version of the Perseus and Andromeda tale from Ancient Greece. In the Greek version, Andromeda, the daughter of the Aethiopian king, is chained to a rock by the ocean in order to stop the wrath of Cetus, a sea monster sent by Poseidon. The frightened villagers believe that if Cetus devours Andromeda and accepts her as a sacrifice, then both it and Poseidon would refrain from destroying their land. Luckily for Andromeda, Perseus, the Danaan hero who famously decapitated the Gorgon Medusa, kills Cetus and takes her to be his bride.
    1. Nigel J. Burrell. “Knights of Terror: The Blind Dead Films of Amando de Ossorio.” Midnight Media: Huntingdon, U.K., 2005.

    In de Ossorio’s version of the story, the cowering, ignorant villagers, who live in the shadow of a former Templar castle, must sacrifice one of their daughters to the Blind Dead for seven consecutive nights every seven years. Why? These Templars aren’t just mere Devil worshippers; they happen to worship a strange, toad-like god which demands human hearts and blood for occasional sustenance. This ritual is captured in film’s opening flashback, wherein two stranded travelers - one man and one woman - come across the silent faces of the white-robbed Knights Templar. The man is killed outright, while the woman is abducted, stripped (a necessary action in all of de Ossorio’s films), and then stabbed to death. Her heart is then fed to the weird idol, while the ankh-wearing Templars drink her blood.

    After this synopsis of Templar evil, “Night of the Seagulls” puts forth a basic, almost rudimentary plot. A new couple - Dr. Henry Stein (played by Victor Petit) and Joan Stein (played by Mari Kosti) - have moved into the strange village. They are greeted coldly, with furtive looks and outright hostility. Before long they begin to notice odd occurrences, which inevitably leads them to finding out about the Templar ritual. Along the way, the de Ossorio staples come into play: the barricaded house motif, the shunned village idiot (José Antonio Calvo’s Teddy), the music-laden and slow chase scenes, and the requisite blood and guts.

    While on the surface “Night of the Seagulls” sounds like your basic potboiler, it contains numerous eccentricities that make it standout from the rest of the series. First of all, instead of Satan, these Templars worship a statue that bears a striking resemblance to H.P. Lovecraft’s squat god Tsathoggua. Beyond that, the poetic title of “Night of the Seagulls” (which seems to not know that seagulls don’t fly at night) hints at Lovecraft’s depictions of the soul-stealing whippoorwills in “The Dunwich Horror.” Finally, the plot of the film also bears some resemblance to Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” which deals with a Massachusetts seafaring community which has sold its proverbial soul malevolent sea gods.


    Coupled with these Lovecraftian allusions and references, “Night of the Seagulls” also strives to accomplish some artistic flourishes, with intricate shots, soft lenses, and a color scheme that mostly uses green and dark blue palette. The film looks murky and foreboding, and it is certainly a testament to low-budget done right. And while it is interesting to note that de Ossorio decided to end his series with a film that bears little to no resemblance to the chronology of its predecessors, “Night of the Seagulls,” despite its awkward position within the de Ossorio mythology, might just be the most influential film out of the bunch.

    This is especially true in the music world. From death metal to punk rock, “Night of the Seagulls” has been referenced and sampled by numerous bands in the musical underground. Obviously, most of these bands fall on the harder and heavier end of the spectrum. Considering that this movie ends with an elaborate and bloody melting of the Templars (which was undoubtably stolen from “Blacula,” which ends with Blacula [played by the Shakespearean actor William Marshall] slowing rotting in the sun on a Los Angeles rooftop), then it is no wonder that heavy metal bands have found inspiration in the film. The most obvious of them all is Finland’s Hooded Menace, who have built their entire identity and image around de Ossorio’s series. On their 2010 album “Never Cross the Dead,” the men of Hooded Menace pay tribute to “Night of the Seagulls” with a death/doom funeral march called “Night of the Deathcult” (which is one of the film’s alternative titles). “Night of the Deathcult” sounds like Eyehategod commingling with Thorr’s Hammer, and one would be hard pressed to find a better tribute to the memory of the Blind Dead.

    The tributes don’t stop there either. Earlier, in 1995, British doom legends Cathedral included a track called “Night of the Seagulls” on their highly-praised “The Carnival Bizarre” LP. The song explicitly references the film, plus it includes moments that sound ripped from the pages of Abril’s original compositions. Not to be outdone, the New York oi band The Templars cut an entire E.P. called “La Noche De Los Gaviotas” in 1997. On the second and final track, beach and seagull noises initiate a folk-inspired punk rock song that details the exploits of the hooded and undead riders. The song just so happens to be called “Night of the Seagulls.”

    As a standalone film, “Night of the Seagulls” is only slightly above average. But, when it is considered alongside the three other films in the “Blind Dead” series, it shines as one of de Ossorio’s most unique films. It is easy to see why musicians are captivated by “Night of the Seagulls,” what with its Lovecraft- and Greek-inspired storyline and its bloody take at making an exploitative art. No doomhead should miss this film, nor should any hessian bypass de Ossorio’s entire series. These are great popcorn flicks, and their decidedly Gothic character make them an easy pairing with mournful and melancholic tunes.

    Words: Benjamin Welton

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    It is great to have the opportunity of announcing that some new, cool tunes are about to come from a Ukrainan band that Doommantia appreciated a lot and supported in their debut effort (read HERE  and HERE).

    I am speaking about mighty Ethereal Riffian. We all, and many of you too, enjoyed Shamans Visions, the stunning debut album that these psychedelic doomsters from Kiel released back in 2011.  The band involves four talented musicians among whom you surely remember Stonezilla, fine graphic artist, music connaisseur and blogger of Sludgeswamp and Robust Fellow fame.  Much happened after the successful release of album Shamans Visions.  For example, Stonezilla and his mates have been working hard for establishing the pillars of the cool stoner-sludge-doom metal Robust Festival which has by now become one of the most stimulating festivals in Europe.  Moreover, during 2012 the dudes in Ethereal Riffians started a collaboration with guys from other cool bands, like Wounded, Bluesbreaker and Stoned Jesus. Wolverine Blues  is the name of this juicy psych bluesy alliance, and Convict is the title of the debut album (mixed and mastered by none less than Billy Anderson) which was released during 2013 and which I urge you to check out, e.g., via Bandcamp

    Now the Ethereal Riffian bunch is almost ready for unleashing a new surge of their charming and original music made of dreamy and often sophisticated atmospheres smartly blended with solid and infectious doom/stoner metal.
    The new video produced for promoting the second new album, called "Aeonian", again shows how smart these guys are. They know how to write cool music as well as how to work with visual arts for creating intriguing atmospheres with simple things. Look at the video below and you’ll get immediately captured by the Ethereal Riffian’s spell.

    You won’t have to wait too long, though, for getting the full dose.
    Album Aeonian will be out soon according to the following scheme:
    - via Nasoni Records - January/February 2014 (for Vinyl)
    - via Mulligore Production - January 2014 (for CDs)
    - via Tartarus Records - February/March 2014 (for Tapes)

    Limited edition CDs and "Aeonian" books (yep, there will also be a book!) will be available directly through the band.
    You better keep the band’s pages under your radar.

    Official Website
    Facebook
    Bandcamp

    Words: Marilena Moroni


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    Swedish doom metal legends CANDLEMASS to perform their "Ancients Dreams" album in its entirety at Mikael Åkerfeldt's (OPETH) 2014 curated Roadburn event on Friday, April 11 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
    "Wow, just wow!" says Åkerfeldt. "I am friends with the entire band, and especially boss/bassplayer Leif Edling. He is just a text message away and we meet up frequently to talk music and eat spicy food. Under the influence of… beer. And fine Italian wine.
    "When OPETH started, myself and founder David Isberg agreed that our sounds should be a mix of MERCYFUL FATE, BATHORY, MEFISTO and CANDLEMASS.
    "It's such an amazing honour for me to share stage with one of my primal influences since the dawn of OPETH.
    "Leif has always had a chip on his shoulder when it comes to their timeless masterpiece, 'Ancient Dreams'. I don't know what it is, since I've always held that record in such high regard. At Roadburn we'll get a rare chance to witness it performed in its entirety. Maybe Leif has changed his mind, I don't know, but I won't fucking complain, though, that's for sure."
    "It will be a total joy to perform 'Ancient Dreams' at Roadburn," says Leif Edling, "It's a classic record that has been a bit overlooked through the years, and quite truthfully, I haven't been in total love with it since the production doesn't reach 'Nightfall' standards. But nevertheless, the music is good. Songs like 'Mirror Mirror', 'Darkness in Paradise', 'Bearer of Pain' and the title track are really cool pieces that we'll love to play once again. Slow, heavy and majestic... they're my own key words to describe this album, and to play 'Incarnation Of Evil' and 'The Epistle' live for the first time will be interesting... hehe!
    "I could never imagine that I would still be playing this weird doom metal that we started over 25 years ago, and to have a special performance doing 'Ancient Dreams' is totally surreal if you ask me... but FUN AS HELL!!
    "Maybe I can persuade Mikael Å to grab the microphone and join us on stage… I'll work on it."
    Also scheduled to appear at Roadburn is Edling's new band, AVATARIUM, which features Marcus Jidell (ROYAL HUNT, EVERGREY) on guitar, Lars Sköld (TIAMAT) on drums, Carl Westholm on keyboards and Jennie-Ann Smith on vocals.
    "Roadburn 2014 will be the first time ever I do gigs with two different bands in the same weekend," says Edling, "But playing with AVATARIUM at the Roadburn Afterburner show will be exciting as it will be one of our first gigs outside Sweden, and a rendezvous with the international press and fans. I hope we can pull it off!
    "The [AVATARIUM] album has received great reviews.
    "It feels like I'm 20 and about to make my live debut again.
    "What's cool is that many of the songs from the first album are written for a live situation, specially arranged to grow and become something more than the recorded versions, and now we have the opportunity to play them as we thought they could be played... or fail completely doing it, hehe. Well, guess we'll find out at Roadburn!
    "Anyway, I'm thrilled, stoked and honoured about the whole thing. 'Moonhorse', 'Boneflower' and 'Lady In The Lamp' are songs that have the potential to capture an audience and it will be a thrill to present Jennie-Ann's voice to the Roadburn crowd as well!"
    Adds Åkerfeldt: "At another metal talk/wine session, Leif once suggested we should write music together. I said 'of course,' not really aware that I had little time for anything apart from my current business. Leif is a workaholic and all of a sudden he texted me saying, 'I've got two songs ready! Come on!' I got somewhat stressed out and gradually it was understood between the both of us that I would not be able to find the time to participate. However, Leif soldiered on, found an amazing lineup, fronted by the charismatic genius vocalist-ess Jennie-Ann Smith and has now released a 12-inch single as well as their debut album. Hearing some of the early demos made me go, 'What the fuck?!' wishing I'd shuffled my priorities around. It was/is so good. So fucking good! Is it doomy? Goddamn right it is! AVATARIUM got a sound that is both traditional metal and something 'new' that I can't put my finger on what it is. I think it might be the elusive 'magic!' They've got it."

    Read more at Blabbermouth

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    Chicago's favorite blackened doom nihilists INDIAN will release their long-awaited fifth full-length album, "From All Purity", via Relapse Records on CD/LP/digital in North America on January 21, 2014, Germany/Benelux/Finland on January 17, and in the rest of the world on January 20. The effort was recorded at Electrical Audio and Soma Studios in Chicago with engineer/co-producer Sanford Parker (MINSK, NACHTMYSTIUM, YOB, SAMOTHRACE).
    "From All Purity" track listing:
    01. Rape
    02. The Impetus Bleeds
    03. Directional
    04. Rhetoric Of No
    05. Clarify
    06. Disambiguation
    The song "Rhetoric Of No" can be streamed using the SoundCloud widget below.

    On "From All Purity", INDIAN takes its infamously hateful aggression to new levels of despair. Now augmented with an even keener sense of harsh noise, all the trademark elements of INDIAN's sound have been refined to reach new lows of powerful and punishing anguish. This is truly the antithesis of easy listening.
    Forged in 2003, INDIAN's debut EP, "God Slave", was a self-released mission statement, welcoming the band into the world like young, kicking, screaming giants. INDIAN's first three full-lengths — "The Unquiet Sky", "Slights And Abuse" and "The Sycophant"— were all issued through Portland, Oregon-based metal imprint Seventh Rule Recordings. Each of these releases found the band gaining momentum and attracting followers, as well as performing shows with scene heavyweights such as WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, LOCRIAN, and AGALLOCH.

    After signing to Relapse Records in 2010, INDIAN began to diligently craft its fourth full-length, knowing all eyes were on them. Not only did the band live up to fans' lofty expectations, they also achieved a massive critical breakthrough. "Guiltless" was released in 2011 to rave reviews. The Chicagoist described the album as, "a musical journey into the mouth of teeth-rattling metal madness," while Metal Hammer simply called it, "pretty much an essential album." Fans were also impressed, gathering to soak up the band's feverish rays of doom on tour across the country. INDIAN performed shows with HIGH ON FIRE, BATILLUS, and YOB, translating their recorded sounds into a murky, devilish live spectacle. Such performances confirmed INDIAN as one of the most exciting metal acts making music today, recalling an era in which the genre felt truly new, bursting with energy and untapped potential. Or, as Revolver puts it, "nothing has sounded more genuinely evil and distressing in a long time."


    Read more at Blabbermouth

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    Insider, the long-lived “cosmic doom psych prog” rock band coming from Pescara (Central Italy), is back with a new work called Event Horizon. The new album had been announced already during the release of their previous opus in 2012, “Vibrations from the Tapes”, the well over 70 minutes-long, monumental collection of sessions of psychedelic improvisation (read more here). The line-up for the new album is the stable and inspired trio involving Marco Ranalli on electric and acoustic guitars, effects and synths, his brother Piero Ranalli on bass and Stefano di Rito on drums. Like the previous CD, the new album is totally instrumental and includes 8 tracks summing up to slightly less than an hour.

    Insider made us enjoy and, yes, get used to their own way to deeply riff-based heavy, and often remarkably heavy psychedelia and reminding us of several monsters of the old school space prog, kraut- and psych blues rock and of heavy doom as well. Probably the 2012 Vibrations from the Tapes CD might be seen or experienced like the celebration of such sources of inspiration via a personal and spontaneous reworking crafted by experienced musicians after several years from the previous album (the 2005 album Simple Water Drops). This impression of mine got further reinforced after listening to the new album Event Horizon which sounds much structured and complex, a bit different from what heard before and, above all, often drenched with darkness. Or at least these are, let’s say, the synthetic effects, feelings and images, Insider’s music is evoking in my mind with their new, deeply inspired tunes! And, I must say, finding new and unexpected atmospheres and, well, yes, sound constructions was a cool surprise for me.

    If you head to the new interview to Marco and Piero Ranalli (HERE) you’ll see that actually nothing in particular changed in the band’s attitude to their music, in the sense that their approach keeps on being the one of full, almost cathartic immersion into the pleasure of inventing and playing music together. (link to the interview) But whenever I listen to Event Horizon I get struck by the much darker and gloomier atmospheres and often harsher sounds employed in the eight chapters of this new adventure. This is definitely an adventure starting from the titles of the album and of the tracks. The titles are evocative of the physics of the black holes and of the mysterious fate of energy waves in all their forms when they are deviated and eventually swallowed by the extreme gravitational field related to black holes (the so-called “event horizon” or “else point of no return”). Tracks are labeled with sharp, synthetic titles, and sub-titles, that strike harsh like equations and/or sound majestic like chapters of a book of astrophysics. As with previous releases by Insider, all this may be intended as reflecting spiritual issues.

    Event Horizon is a hauntingly grim voyage described by a hybrid style variably blending Insider’s spacey heavy psych rock constructions with radical tempo changes, with tense, martial, abrasive to sometimes asphyxiating or even funereal “industrial” and doomy sounds. The glue linking and combining all these components is, more than ever, technics which imparts a strong “progressive” and almost jazz-like character to this album.  The “core” of some tracks, or, as the band indicated them, “mini-suites”, in Event Horizon may be lead by “normal” psych melody. However while the track unfolds the leading melody may be enthropically transformed and eventually almost annihilated by frenetic tempo changes and by the onset of deviating or else circular to coiled riff patterns involving guitars and a deeply pulsating, jazzy bass. For example, this is my feeling while listening to the first two tracks Escape Velocity and Magnetic Field Lines, and, sincerely the titles fit well with the fate of the sound!
    Magnetic Field Lines, in particular, is one of the tracks where contrasts rule: the band sharply shifts between breathless, almost syncopated martial heaviness and deeply melodic airy lead by Marco’s synth or else proggy/stoner metal groove.

    Gravitational Mass is probably the most doomy track of the whole album. The slow, plodding development of this charming dark ballad sounds like a dirge, the perfect refrain for a “trve” funeral doom metal suite. But don’t give anything for granted with Insider, as they will turn the funeral into a party by smoothly inserting an amazing series of groove-laden prog psych rock riffs. I am in love with this amazing, gloomy track …Jet is the track that the band used for promoting the new album. This is another doomy ballad where synths and effects help in creating a vintage sci-fi vibe. Here as well the band likes to play with contrasts between the levity of the groove-laden guitar solos and the mammoth progression of the dominant doomy parts where raw distortion and continuous tonal changes will make your breath painfully slow down. Tiny surprises may come up as well via a short acoustic ballad like the title track, a melancholic song lead by a rather simple melody. But here the cool invention is to couple the touches on the acoustic guitar with delicate but weird, drony, wavy psychedelic effects that sometimes sound like distant seagulls in a lonely, icy-cold atmosphere …

    Expansion of the Universe is a 9 minutes-long suite which has been ideally divided into six parts by the band: Inertia, Quantum Fluctuations Development of Galaxies, Dark Energy, Synthesis of Elements, and The Present Universe. All in all this is a complex and multifaceted prog suite telling a long story via a wealth of sounds and ambience. There are no marked separations between the different parts of the suite. The suite develops via effective variations between tempos, smooth and “mechanical” melodies, dark and light atmospheres, riffs and/or the way instruments and, especially, guitars plus synths, on one side, and bass plus drums interact often along independent melodic lines. In spite of the title, the 9 minutes-long suite Black Hole is a delightfully slow, trippy song, almost a heavy lullaby lead by sequences of circular psychedelic riffs plus synth and by a weird but intriguing heavy refrain. The overall leading melody is simple and catchy, but what is fascinating here is to discover and appreciate the coupling with retro synth and guitar possessing many voices.  The album is closed by White Hole, a triumphant space psych doom prog ballad. Sorry for the many adjectives but this is a universe of citations and states of minds or moods. You may shift from the initial electronic cosmic vibes in the vein of Hawkwind and 35007 into Sabbathian groove and then into some grim abrasive noise or post-metal dissonance. You may catch quick glimpses of retro prog fusion à-la-Soft Machine here and there, and eventually jump straight into pure juicy stoner/bluesy riff rock. And all this mental gym is taking place in about 6 minutes.
    So, here is my experience with Insider’s new album Event Horizon, a complex, dark and charming album revealing different faces or else potentially touching different chords in the listener.

    An “external” label, Phonosphera Records, had been involved in the release of the “Vibrations from the Tapes ” CD. But with Even Horizon the band did everything at home, not only recording and mastering but also the physical release of the album via the establishment of the band-owned label called Andruid Records. The label also involves the professional recording studio that the band members have always employed for their music activity. You may get some first-hand info about the making of this album and about the band and what may come from these guys in a near future via the interview to Marco and Piero Ranalli here. (link to the interview)Get this new, haunting opus by Insider by contacting the band, via Andruid Records or else via international resellers like Kozmik Artifactz (Europe) and Clearspot (worldwide).

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Insider | Facebook
    Official Website
    Reverbnation
    Audruid Records



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    The release of a new album by a long-lived band, especially when coming after the publication of a  slab of over 79 minutes of music, is a way juicy excuse for getting hold of the guys in said band and bombing them with questions. Well, the band involved in this exercise of mine is Insider, powerful and eclectic “cosmic doom prog” metal band from the Italian underground scene. The “excuse” is the release of their totally self-produced new album Event Horizon plus the launch of the band’s own label. And there’s nothing like interacting with a band about their tunes and what’s behind them to realize how many ways exist for enjoying as well as for personally interpreting the sensations created/inspired by music! Of course, this in case the music is able to evoke sensations worth experiencing … No problem, Insider’s music is very much inspirational!

    So here I am, Marilena, with a rich interview to the backbone of band Insider, the brothers Marco and Piero Ranalli, freely speaking about the present, the past and the future …


    Marilena - Hi Marco, hi Piero! I am glad you are taking part to this interview, especially for the fact that I am a fan of yours and I particularly appreciated your brand new album “Event Horizon”. So let’s start with it immediately. You guys had announced your new album already while releasing the “… Vibrations of The Tapes…” CD, during 2012. Hence it seems you have been working on it for long time. Now Event Horizon is finally out. And, as far as I could perceive while listening to it (READ HERE), the new album in a concentrate of surprises and a substantial change in your style, especially towards darkness. Or at least this was my impression. So, why did you decide to write such a dark album?

    Marco & Piero - Hello Marilena! Yes, it si true, we announced the new album during the release of “…Vibrations from the tapes…” simply because it was already completed and we were looking for a label for releasing it. Some time had passed by, replies were late and so we decided to start Andruid Records, that is our own label as well as “alchemic laboratory” endowed with recording studio. In the new album there has actually been no change in style. We decided to make a completely instrumental album, so it is obvious that the structure of the tracks can’t compare with a song with refrains and so on. The tracks in Event Horizon are like mini-suites, music in them has got its own path to follow. It may sound strange to you but these mini.suites were born from jam sessions we made in the rehearsal room. Obviously we then reorganized this material in a better way and it came out as a thoroughly collective work. We feel we have never had a particular style that identified our work, we never felt slaves of any style. For example, you found this album sounding dark, but we can assure you that this album bloomed out of the intense joy we experience when we can play together.

    Marilena -  I see your point. Well, darkness was the impression I got from the new album but, of course, this doesn’t imply, for me, that musicians were not having pleasure and satisfaction in composing that dark music. While listening to Event Horizon I had the impression that your style conjugated psych prog à-la Hawkwind with doom hinting to definitely funereal atmospheres and martial tension as well as additions of “industrial” sounds or moods. Are there any particular sources of inspiration for what I feel as a new approach to psychedelia? Is it for exploring new paths or is it, somehow, part of your past musical experience rising up back to surface?

    Marco & Piero - Event Horizon is not the result of planning, nobody decided in advance what we had or wanted to do, or better nobody didn’t plan it before playing. It has been a “work in progress” and the music acquired its shape and grew progressively. We had no idea of whereabout music was leading us. We just abandoned our minds to improvisations which we subsequently rehearsed and reorganized. That’s probably why some unconscious fantasies of ours came out.  If we had any sources of inspiration we don’t know. This is what you, the listeners, might feel and find. What we can say is that we just eviscerate our experience. It has been a truly psychedelic experience, in the strict sense: three souls communicating to each other via their musical instruments!

    Marilena– Let’s deal a bit with themes. Cosmos seems to be something you always liked, both as graphic imagery as well as a way for dealing with spirituality and  torments of everyday life. My own feeling in listening to Event Horizon was that you went back to deal with cosmos but in a very solid and, probably, painfully way, actually more painfully than before. While making this interview, though, I realize that your attitude while composing was quite different. But I’ll try to explain my point: you mention the physics of the black holes in the album/track titles and you paired this with a cover graphics that seems to hint to the “light at the bottom of the tunnel”, basically one of the visions mentioned by the people who experienced semi-death …

    Marco & Piero- Cosmos is something belonging to everybody, it is not possible to behave as if it doesn’t exist. It is always there. You can keep your head as low as you like but sooner or later you’ll have to raise your eyes to the sky and cope with its immensity … and this is not always pleasant. The “Event Horizon”, or else the horizon of the events, is a part of a black hole where modern science can’t yet understand what happens, or where anything may happen. Hence this musical experience was conceived and developed as if we were in a “horizon of the events”. And from this we drew the name of the album. As far as the cover image is concerned, we wanted something that would not be directly connected to the structure of a black hole but that would rather suggest it. We particularly liked the picture we eventually selected (which was reworked by the skilfull hand of our graphic artist, Bianca Carestia). But that picture has nothing to do with the light at the bottom of the tunnel and with the semi-death experiences. Nobody of us knows what is wating for us after death. And what is the pleasure of living if you know right from the start what will be of you??




    Marilena– Eh eh, you are right … Speaking a bit more about art and graphics, you are musicians but you seem to be rather concerned about graphics too. Judging from how the cover arts of your albums varied thorough the years one may perceive that you try to convey your messages somehow also via the graphical expression, which never seems to be pure decoration. Is it correct?

    Marco & Piero - As stated above, we were in the need of graphic art that would reflect the way in which our music had been conceived. The sound is pure abstraction and has no graphical expression apart from the images induced in our minds by the experience of listening to music. And so after repeated listening and working on the music this is the cover art we came up to. It is obvious that graphic art should not be simple and meaningless decoration, otherwise what is the meaning of it? Whenever it is possible, there must be a tight, insoluble bonding between music and imagery. In the past albums maybe also the lyrics contributed in inspiring the cover arts. This time we decided the vibrations of the music would have ruled.

    Marilena - With “…Vibrations from the Tapes…”, very long album (over 79 minutes) you guys shared with us and made us experiment and enjoy your own pleasure in building up long jam sessions lead by complex as well as airy improvisations almost unrelated from the concept of time. With album Even Horizon you seem to have gone back to an album which appears to be built over a more rigid structure and relatively short tracks (rarely over 9 minutes). Just my impression? And, by the way, which is your favourite way or method for writing music? And how do you interact among each other normally for song writing?

    Marco & Piero - The mode of song writing is not depending on us but on the music itself, it depends on the direction that it happens to take. Album “…Vibrations from the tapes…” is simply the instant photo of a moment. Our way of writing music is basically always the same: everything is generated during jam sessions performed in the rehearsal room. Also album “Event Horizon” had been conceived in this manner, with the difference that in this case the raw musical “material” was subsequently reorganized because the music that was composed suggested it. Improvisation is our writing method and so everything is born out of the empathy created every time among us. We have so much material recorded in the rehearsal room … Who knows, maybe there will be a “…Vibrations from the tapes… vol.2”! But this time we are not going to say anything in advance, we don’t want to spoil the surprise …

    Marilena– Eh eh, … cool! Your band Insider is quite long-lived. You actively contributed to the development and establishment of the Italian doom, prog and psychedelic scene. As a matter of fact you have links with seminal bands like Requiem and Mario Di Donato’s The Black, and you also worked with Paul Chain. Could you please tell something about your history? And could you also, please, tell something about the evolution you experienced right during the early days of your activity and until when you defined your own “cosmic doom prog” style?

    Marco & Piero - Our first album dates back to 1996: 17 years have passed since then! The relationships we had with the bands you mention are simply due to the fact that our mates Giuseppe Miccoli (one of the drummers in Requiem and in The Black) and Eugenio Mucci (vocalist in Requiem) were playing in those bands. But apart from this we actually had nothing to do with those bands and we never felt ourselves as part of that scene. Mind you, the folks in those bands are good friends whom we have been knowing for a long time indeed. Time ago we even had a rehearsal room in the same old farm-house where Mario The Black had his own! But we never happened to share anything like gigs or musical experiences or collaborations. Our approach has always been different. The other bands and guys always identified themselves into a well defined style, let’s call it Heavy Metal. As far as we are concerned, we did employ somewhat extreme sounds but we did it in our own way … This is probably why we always happened to confuse journalists! Paul Chain mixed our first two albums. In that case it was Paul’s way of working on music that made us interact one another. We needed a person who was totally external to the band and who was able to duly manipulate our material by taking the best out of it. And thanks to his experience he succeeded. As far as our history and our style are concerned and how style changed in time, we can just say that it has all been just a natural evolution and everyone contributed with his own experience.

    Marilena -  Insider started as a band where vocal parts were rather, let’s say, “solid”, even when strained as to make them more affine to the psychedelic genre. What made you decide to become a completely instrumental band? Have you ever happened to think about bringing some vocal parts back into your music?

    Marco & Piero - Well, there is no particular or strict decision behind this. Fate decided. We are not close to a possible re-introduction of vocal parts sometimes in the future … if music will require it! It’s always MUSIC ruling, not the musician.

    Marilena -  In your past releases you relied onto various Italian labels. The last one, Phonosphera (the cool label which released Vibrations from the Tapes) is fortunately alive and kicking and I sincerely hope it will be going on for long time. The other labels are unfortunately all extinct. For the new album Even Horizon you guys started your own label, Andruid Records, related to your own professional recording studio. So, would you like to tell us something about this new experience of music production? Are you thinking about releasing your new album also as vinyl version? And are you maybe going to reissue your old albums via Andruid Records? And are you going to extend the activity of the label also via the production of other bands?

    Marco & Piero - We had thought about stepping into this kind of activity since a while. Hence, as soon as the ideal conditions were established we did it. The recording studio is basically long-lived. We have always recorded everything by ourselves. Back in time the studio was named “Stellar Madhouse studios”. Therefore this part of the activity is purely the full establishment of something already on-going. In addition to it we started the label. Yes, there are a few projects for the future, although we prefer not to anticipate anything. For the moment the label has been started for publishing the albums by Insider and by the band’s members. Right now we are not ready for satisfying any requests coming from other bands, however we’ll spread the news whenever this will be viable in the future.

    Marilena -  What is your attitude towards the live activity? Is there any chance of seeing you guys on tour around Italy and, why not, also Europe?

    Marco & Piero - Well, you know very well that touring is often a direct consequence of a new album and it is the best way for a band to promote their own work. We do hope we’ll be able to play live as much as possible around Italy and in Europe. In the past we did it and we know what this means and the intensity of the feelings coming from playing live. The organization of a tour is not always and not completely depending on the band solely. Therefore if there will be possibilities and adequate situations this will surely happen.

    Marilena -  OK, Marco & Piero, thanks for taking part to the interview! Glad to know that many more surprises and cool music is going to come from you after Even Horizon. And hopefully I’ll see you guys on stage soon!

    Marco & Piero - Thanks and cheers!

    Interview by Marilena Moroni

    Insider | Facebook
    Official Website
    Reverbnation
    Audruid Records


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    From Earsplit PR

    Candlelight Records today confirms February 25th as the North American release date of Consolamentum, the label debut from English doom metallers, THE WOUNDED KINGS. Produced by Chris Fielding (Electric Wizard), the album will be available for preorders via iTunes and other digital platforms beginning January 14th.

    Discussing the album earlier this year, guitarist and band founder Steve Mills revealed, "this album will be our most expansive and heaviest." Indeed it is. Consolamentum's opening song, "Gnosis," clocks in at a mammoth thirteen minutes. From there it latches on to your soul as it travels a dark and desolate sonic terrain. "The entire album was recorded and mixed in six days during the hottest week of the year in a studio miles from anything in the Cornish countryside," shares producer Chris Fielding. "Recorded completely live, it captures the natural feel of the band. I find it to be a real step forward musically and very rewarding."

    Overcoming numerous lineup shifts since their formation in 2005, Mills and the KINGS have amazed audiences with their powerful stage personae. "THE WOUNDED KINGS have a mystical and mythical quality which makes them an enormously appealing prospect," said Terrorizer Magazine of the band's summertime London performance. "THE WOUNDED KINGS sound is so organic that the room actually starts to feel damp and musty," adds Blabbermouth. The two-time Roadburn alumni are cherished by attendees and the popular festival promoters, who call the band, "British doom of staggering power that is made all the more distinct by the unsettling presence of singer Sharie Neyland, who stands on stage almost trance-like, invoking her lyrics in a chanted voice that holds the entire venue in thrall."

    To date the Dartmoor-based five piece has released three full-length studio albums and a well-received split album with Richmond, Virginia's Cough. The band has been finding a growing American audience since the release of their 2011 album, In The Chapel Of The Black Hand. It is the first to feature Neyland. On review, MetalSucks crowns her "a post-apocalypse metal Grace Jones or Eartha Kitt."

    Consolamentum Track Listing:

    1. Gnosis
    2. Lost Bride
    3. Elige Magistrum
    4. Consolamentum
    5. Space Conqueror
    6. The Silence
    7. Sacrifice


    THE WOUNDED KINGS is guitarist/keyboardist Steve Mills, vocalist Sharie Neyland, guitarist Alex Kearney, bassist Al Eliadis, and drummer Myke Heath.

    For more information contact Liz Ciavarella-Brenner (liz@earsplitcompound.com) or Paula Hogan (paula@candlelightrecordsusa.com). European media contact Darren Toms (d.toms@plastichead.com).

    The Wounded Kings | Facebook
    Candlelight Records

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    First bands confirmed for The Malta Doom Metal Festival!

    Organisers of The Malta Doom Metal Festival (MDM VI) have recently confirmed their first 6 bands that will play on MDM VI. Those are: the Netherland melodic death doom giants OFFICIUM TRISTE, Italian epic/power doom band IN AEVUM AGERE, slovenian all female doom metal band MIST, italian epic doomsters CRIMSON DAWN, stoner doomsters (also from Italy) FIRELORD and Maltese sludge/desert rockers IT CAME FROM THE DESERT. Eight bands will be confirmed in the future.

    In the words of the MDM VI: " Now established as one of Europe's leading doom metal festivals, MDM returns in 2014 with another blistering edition of doom metal worship. Work is presently underway on the first band announcements....all you doomheads out there will not be disappointed..expect another crushing installment of the finest doom metal in all its diverse shades and hues! Doom Has Risen!

    Facebook link of the event: HERE

    Source: Jan Zajc

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    This is shaping up to be one hell of a fest, check out the latest info....

    Bands so far confirmed are Windhand, Baby Woodrose, Abysmal Grief, Switchblade, Yuri Gagarin, Dopelord, Doublestone, Vidunder, Whitehorse and finally Goatess!

    Heavy Days In Doomtown takes place between the 2nd – 4th May 2014 at Ungdomshuset, Dortheavej 61, 2450 Copenhagen NV while a warm-up show will take place on Thursday 1st May 2014, (venue TBC).

    Ticket sales will start January 1st 2014 at 12pm and are limited. Check the links for more details.

    Official Website
    Facebook

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  • 12/16/13--17:30: Writers Wanted ...
  • Here is the deal, we need dedicated writers/bloggers to join the Doommantia team before we pull the pin for good. This site, despite still gaining an impressive amount of hits to the website has been on free-fall for months now. Now it is crunch time. If you wish to be part of the team and help push this site past a staggering 7 million page views and help in promoting the doom metal, stoner, sludge, psychedelic and drone genres, shoot us a email. We have no deadlines, and writers are free to express themselves in any way they feel like, within reason of course. We need album reviews, live reviews, interviews and even movie reviews if it is related to the music we promote. General articles on doom, stoner related music are also welcome. PLEASE no time wasters and no false promises. Only contact us if you are serious and you have the spare time as this can be time consuming.

    If interested, send a email to contact@doommantia.com.

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    This is part three of a thirteen part series.

    “Based on a true story.” This phrase has become laughable due to its very ubiquitousness. Making matters worse, it’s generally true that “Based on a true story” is rarely true - it’s usually one big lie created to draw the suckers in. In the case of “Dracula A.D. 1972,” the horror behind it all has some bearing in weird history, and even though “Dracula A.D. 1972” didn’t sell itself as being “Based on a true story,” this Hammer romp has its origins in a spooky London graveyard.

    Beginning in the late 1960s, a group of “Swinging London” youth began roaming the Highgate Cemetery in North London in search of occult activity. By 1969, New Age fads, mysticism, tarot readings, drugs, and rock and roll were all the rage among the fast-living counterculture crowd. As a result, people like David Farrant and Sean Manchester became cult leaders in their own right, with small armies of loyal followers ready and willing to turn on, tune in, and drop out.  These two men, who were part of what Farrant called the British Occult Society, claimed in 1970 that a large grey figure was roaming around Highgate at night. Farrant and Manchester soon found their claims being repeated in such fine publications as the Daily Mail and the London Evening News (one such article, entitled “Mr. Blood in Cemetery Hunt for Vampire,” appeared on Saturday, March 14, 1970). This touched off a media frenzy, and soon hundreds of people, including the Essex schoolteacher Mr. Alan Blood, were spending their nights in Highgate in the hopes of finding a real vampire.

    For the remainder of 1970, Blood, Manchester, and Farrant continued to hold speeches and ghost hunts in and around Highgate and journalists continued to document their doings. On Wednesday, September 30, Farrant told the Daily Mail that, even though he had been charged with entering enclosed premises for an unlawful purpose, he was not going to rest until the vampire of the cemetery had been caught. The former occult scientist Farrant had by then recast himself in the mold of Abraham Van Helsing - Count Dracula’s nemesis in both Bram Stoker’s original novel and in the many Hammer films starring Christopher Lee as the Count and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing.

    Farrant seemed to take the Van Helsing role a little too seriously, for in certain interviews (such as the one he gave the Hampstead and Highgate Express in February of 1970) his description of the Highgate vampire seemed ripped from the silver screen. A “King Vampire of the Undead” was what Farrant called his adversary, and he believed that the Wallachian vampire had not only been brought to England in the eighteenth century by black magicians, but that he had been revivified by local Satanists. As such, Farrant publicly vowed to destroy the evil creature.

    This of course never happened. No vampire was ever caught, and by the mid ‘70s, the Highgate case ceased to be news. The Satanic panic of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s was starting to taper off by 1972, but plenty of film producers and directors were still ready and willing to cash in on tabloid tales about young hippies cavorting around with the undead. “Dracula A.D. 1972” is one such movie, and reading its synopsis is like reliving the days when the British Occult Society were leading camera crews on fruitless chases through the very same cemetery that houses the final resting place of Karl Marx - a wholly different kind of vampire.

    Like many Hammer films, “Dracula A.D. 1972” opens with a prologue. This one takes place in the Victorian year of 1872. Dracula and Van Helsing are once again battling, and this time the scene of their confrontation is London’s Hyde Park. According to the voice-over narration, this is the final confrontation between the two enemies, which means that things don’t look so good for old Dracula. In fact, in keeping with the Hammer tradition of offing the Count with inventive and ingenious methods, the opening scene of “Dracula A.D. 1972” has Van Helsing (once again played by Cushing) using a broken carriage wheel as a heart-piercing stake against Lee’s blood-eyed vampire. In a blatant bit of foreshadowing, after Dracula has been rendered to dust, a stranger wearing muttonchops and a black top hat is seen collecting up the Count’s ashes and placing them into a thin vial, which is then tucked neatly inside of his coat.

    In the very next scene, Van Helsing (whose first name in the film is Lawrence) is buried with several mourners in attendance. But all is not tranquil, for just as the names of the cast begin to appear on screen, the man with the muttonchops returns and dumps his collection of ashes near the cemetery’s gate. Thus the prologue ends and the film begins.

    It is at this point that “Dracula A.D. 1972” makes a radical departure from its ancestors. Previously, Hammer’s Dracula films had been set exclusively in the Victorian age and had typically Central European backdrops. In “Dracula A.D. 1972,” not only is the backdrop London, but it is modern London, and the opening montage’s use of jets, highways, and storefront windows makes this abundantly clear. In several interviews, director Tim Burton, who often lists “Dracula A.D. 1972” as one of his favorite films, has stated that the appeal of “Dracula A.D. 1972” is its combination of Hammer’s trademark brand of horror with the highly stylized trappings of “Swinging London.” Any viewer with a decent set of eyes can understand the attraction that Burton sees, and in truth “Dracula A.D. 1972” is one of the very best time capsules that Hammer ever released

    While “Dracula A.D. 1972” may be one of the studio’s most visually appealing films, it is certainly not one of its most clever. Borrowing liberally both from the Highgate case and a previous Hammer film called “Taste the Blood of Dracula” (1970), “Dracula A.D. 1972” revolves around Cushing’s Lorrimer Van Helsing (a direct descendent of Lawrence and yet another one of Hammer’s benevolent occult scholars), his granddaughter Jessica Van Helsing (played by the beautiful and buxom Stephanie Beacham), and a group of young decadents who are lead by Johnny Alucard (played by Christopher Neame). Alucard, who looks like the descendant of the mysterious man with muttonchops, is hip on the idea of performing a black mass, and before long he convinces the others in the group to go along with him. Of course “Alucard” is just “Dracula” spelled backwards, and Neame plays his character like a little dictator - a mini Mussolini waiting for final approval from Lee’s Hitlerian Dracula. 

    Alucard doesn’t have to wait long, for his planned resurrection of Dracula in the abandoned churchyard of St. Bartolph’s goes according to plan. The ceremony is a bloody one, and the most willing participant of the group - Laura Bellows (played by the ridiculously sexy Caroline Munro) - winds up dying because of her enthusiasm. Even though the newly reborn Dracula feasts upon Bellows, he makes it clear that Jessica Van Helsing is the woman he really wants.

    From here, “Dracula A.D. 1972” becomes the usual, albeit a slightly more groovy 1970s horror film. There are the requisite bumbling cops (played by Michael Coles and David Andrews), a few vampiric transformations (Alucard himself and Bob Tepper, Jessica’s boyfriend, who is played by Philip Miller), and of course the seduction of Jessica by Dracula. In the end, Dracula and Van Helsing once again fight it out to the death, and as always Dracula gets the sharp end of the stake. This time around he falls into a stake pit prepared in advance by Van Helsing, and as his body turns to dust, the screen reads: “Rest In Final Peace.”

    While not one of the more critically acclaimed Hammer films, “Dracula A.D. 1972” has had a surprising influence on popular culture. From Tim Burton to the British heavy metal band Warfare (who released an entire album dedicated to the horror films of Hammer Studios in 1990), “Dracula A.D. 1972” holds some pop culture weight and this is mostly due to its place as the hippest of the Hammer films. With a rock and roll soundtrack and a script that relies on snappy, psuedo-cool dialogue, “Dracula A.D. 1972” presents the early 1970s at their most alluring. And even though it was made by somewhat conservative men well over thirty (director Alan Gibson and screenwriter Don Houghton among them), “Dracula A.D. 1972” feels like one of the first horror films to be created by and for the hard rock and heavy metal generation. This alone ensures its popularity with the doom metal crowd, plus, as Andrew Roberts says: “you just can’t beat a really bad British film.”

    Words: Benjamin Welton

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    Hi folks, I’m the (a, depending on the influx of new keyboard monkeys on this here site) new guy. I will tell you what to like and what not to like and you’re going to like it whether you like it or not. Got me? Good. Beehoover then.

    Until a couple of weeks ago, I had never heard of Beehoover. Somebody told me, they were teh shitz so I went and checked them out. Then I checked out. After about an hour of listening to their recently released, fourth full length album called “The Devil and his Footmen”, I came back to earth. I have seen the power cosmic and I loved it. Beehoover are the unholy spawn of a copulation between Tool, Soilent Green, Rage Against the Machine and NoMeansNo. If this sounds slightly insane… well, it is. In a good way. And that’s just the beginning: As I was swaying, bopping and grooving along to the triumvirate of complex grooves that introduces the album, I started to realize something. There is no guitar. Yeah, chalk it up to the mood I was in but I seriously didn’t realize that I was listening to a duo. Claus-Peter Hamish drums up a storm on his basic kit. The fills he summons to plug any lull in the wall of sound these two guys produce (not that there are many, shit be toight) are worthy of the greats. And then there’s Ingmar Peterson with his bionic spider paws on base and main vocals. This dude is the real deal. The sounds he teases out of his phat strings are off the charts. I mean, complex rhythms, meandering loops, precious melodies and a fierce groove. All done by one man and one instrument. He’s got a battle-fleet of pedals, true, but still. There’s no doubling going on. If you don’t believe me, check out some of the live videos out there. I was flabberghasted and after 21 years of living the metal, that’s not an easy thing to do.

    So, the technical proficiency is well established, but what about the songs? Well, they manage to be frail and heavy at the same time. Monolith starts off with a complex rhythm before it takes a breather for some well placed groove, just to segway into Peterson’s hypnotic vocals. His sometimes counter-intuitive vocal lines supplement the goings on perfectly. There’s so much going on in just these few minutes of music, I’d need several pages to unfurl it all. So let’s move on to Egoknights and Firehawks: This one crashes out of the gate with a vengeance before settling to an offbeat rhythm that’s bound go give any headbanger whiplash. This song lives by it’s awesome, powerful chorus. Rooftop takes the viciousness down a notch in favour of some really dark mood. Yet still it manages to pack some sizzling grooves somewhere in between smoothly stroking base lines and abjuratory chants.

    Boy vs. Tree lives and dies by Hamisch’s rock solid tribal beats. It’s a slow burner, but an interesting one. It take’s its time to unfold in your brain. Perfect for some chilling. Mourning Sun carries a mischievous grin into battle. Admittedly, it seems to be one of the weaker songs on the album, certainly the one I’ve listened to the least. But maybe it needs a little more time to get its hooks into me. Same goes for Dear Mammoth. Not my favorite on the record.

    On to the rather brutal (for this band) and excellently titled My Mixtapes Suck Big Time: Again with these grooves in between complex melodies and Petersen’s voice to guide you alongside the madness. There’s a sort of perfect precision going on that only a duo as well suited for each other as these guys can provide. Honeyhole is the largest beast of this record. It basically sums up everything you’ve heard before in new and exciting ways before throwing you back out into reality, naked and shivering. A perfect end to one hell of an interesting record. “The Devil and his Footmen” is certainly not for everyone. The heady mix of meandering melodies and grooves takes some work to get into, but once it clicks for you, it will never leave. Some might miss the additional heft that one or two guitars would provide but as it stands, two insanely talented dudes is all this band needs. Check it out.

    Words: Stefan

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    Things seem to be going right for these somewhat prodigal sons and standard bearers of doom. Since the early part of the last decade they've been releasing high quality metal with a renewed sense of purpose and with each successive release there have been a variety of requisite B sides and singles. For those of us who either don't have the time or money to hunt down the singles or special editions PL have finally made life a little simpler and put out a comp of said tracks. Over all this is a fairly diverse offering.

    The opening track (Loneliness Remains) is full on old school doom. Groovy riffs, heavy guitars and an almost sexy rhythm. It's dark and dreary and something no one would expect from these guys. It's almost reminiscent of their cover of 'Death Walks Behind You' from the As I Die EP. Continuing on the following track 'Never Take Me Alive' and (even further down the track list) 'Missing' are two cover tracks that are very well done. Especially the latter. How they took a dance/pop song and made it into sprawling metal song is pretty neat considering they took all the pop and dance out of it. It's possibly one of the best covers you could ever hope to hear.

    All the tracks are from In Requiem to Tragic Idol and pretty tasteful with the exception of the Prague Orchestra's versions of 'Last Regret'& Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us'. To quote rhythm guitarist Aaron Aedy "They're like James Bond versions of our songs" and that's pretty accurate. Big symphonic songs chock full of classical pomp and grandeur, these versions start off good but go to crap when the horn sections start in. Cheese doesn't begin to cover the slaughter.

    Also in the mix was a single only instrumental called Godless. It doesn't sound like a Paradise Lost song. It's cool and heavy and it rocks but it doesn't fit their body of work, good as it is. Other than that the remaining tracks are mostly good. 'Ending Through Changes' would've been an excellent addition to Tragic Idol where as 'The Last Fallen Savior' sounds like it could've been on Cathedral's the VIIth Coming.

    The coolest songs on here however are the re-recordings of 'Gothic'& 'Our Savior'. Nick has finally found a way to growl again, though not as low as he once did. The production is solid and all the instruments come through loud and clear. If they wanted to re-record the albums said songs are from with today's production it would rule. That's how good these re-recordings are (a rare thing really). They make you want to hear the classics anew.

    This comp is good for a few reasons with the most obvious being it's a great way for the collector to catch up on tracks once missed. But ultimately it's just a fun comp of random stuff from a very diversified band. This get's a 7/10

    Words: Grimm Doom

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    Today, blackened doomsmiths, CULTED, drop new track "Illuminati" upon the holiday-addled masses. A menacingly haunting composition, the tune comes by way of the band's Oblique To All Paths long player, slated for release via Relapse Records early next year. Their second full-length album and first release in more than four years, Oblique To All Paths is a evocatively grim piece of sprawling doom metal and the perfect soundtrack to a cold, isolated Winter.

    Elaborates the band's Michael Klassen (guitar/bass/percussion/noise) of the record: "Oblique to All Paths is the culmination of Culted's collective experience over the past five years. As artists and musicians, we're acting as interpreters of our environment, if you will. We've all been subjected to mythmakers and storytellers, shamans and charlatans in life. 'Illuminati' strives to skeptically dissect these deceptive belief systems and explore them using sound."

    "The Illuminati" is currently available for all your streaming needs at the official Relapse Soundcloud page HERE  or YouTube HERE

    Spawned in 2007, CULTED's background is a unique one: Four band members spread out over Sweden and Canada, having never performed music in the same room as an entire band, instead joining forces through the marvels of modern technology to compose wholly compelling, finely executed doom. Although the CULTED cooperative -- Klassen, Matthew Friesen (guitar/bass/percussion/noise), Kevin Stevenson (drums) and Daniel Jansson (vocals/ambience) -- have yet to speak to each other in real time, they unite in mind and spirit through their musical manifestations. A truly collaborative effort across international lines, CULTED's bleak and epic masterworks of dystopian doom serve as a true testament to their long-distance accomplishments.

    Oblique To All Paths will see official unveiling on CD, 2xLP and digital formats via Relapse Records on January 21st in North America, January 20th in the UK/World, and January 17th in Germany/Benelux/Finland. For preorders, point your browser to THIS LOCATION iTunes purchasers should go HERE



    Source: EARSPLIT PR

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