Articles on this Page
- 12/18/13--18:01: _Surtr - Pulvis et ...
- 12/19/13--10:59: _NEWS: Welsh Stoner ...
- 12/19/13--11:01: _NEWS: Bong have com...
- 12/19/13--11:04: _Katatonia - Discour...
- 12/19/13--11:11: _NEWS: ALUNAH Signs ...
- 12/19/13--13:08: _NEWS: HULL to unlea...
- 12/20/13--13:12: _News: Satellite Bea...
- 12/21/13--13:12: _NEWS: WITCHTHROAT S...
- 12/21/13--13:18: _Sermonia - Ihminen ...
- 12/22/13--07:15: _News: First bands c...
- 12/23/13--19:52: _More Festival News:...
- 12/26/13--12:18: _Aphotic - Stillness...
- 12/26/13--12:20: _Apostate - Trapped ...
- 12/26/13--17:09: _Doomsters At the Dr...
- 12/29/13--12:17: _Rote Mare - "The In...
- 12/30/13--13:11: _Doomsters At the Dr...
- 12/31/13--06:43: _NEWS: Dirty Grave a...
- 12/31/13--06:51: _NEWS: CANDLEMASS Jo...
- 01/03/14--10:33: _NEWS: Indian Set T...
- 01/04/14--19:33: _Space God Ritual - ...
- 12/18/13--18:01: Surtr - Pulvis et Umbra ....
- 12/19/13--10:59: NEWS: Welsh Stoner Doomsters Sigiriya have uploaded a new song ...
- 12/19/13--11:01: NEWS: Bong have completed work on their new album ...
- 12/19/13--11:04: Katatonia - Discouraged Ones ...
- 12/19/13--11:11: NEWS: ALUNAH Signs With NAPALM RECORDS ...
- 12/19/13--13:08: NEWS: HULL to unleash their seminal Viking Funeral EP ...
- 12/21/13--13:12: NEWS: WITCHTHROAT SERPENT: New Song Available For Streaming ...
- 12/21/13--13:18: Sermonia - Ihminen ...
- 12/22/13--07:15: News: First bands confirmed for Days Of The Doomed Fest IV ...
- 12/26/13--12:18: Aphotic - Stillness Grows ...
- 12/26/13--12:20: Apostate - Trapped in a Sleep ...
- 12/29/13--12:17: Rote Mare - "The Invocation" ...
- 12/31/13--06:43: NEWS: Dirty Grave are streaming their debut EP! ...
- 01/04/14--19:33: Space God Ritual - "Eldritich Tales" ...
Many years later, I there was another girl. I liked her very much and we had a longer, more fruitful and stable relationship. Though she wasn’t as funny or sharp or easy on the eyes as her predecessor. Maybe it didn’t matter, because we had fun for a couple of years. But now that’s over and I’m listening to Doom Metal. I treated her better though, at least I hope so.
I’m going off on a tangent here, but I can’t talk about Surtr without talking about Reverend Bizarre and I can’t talk about the famous Finns without at least mentioning my growing relationship to the music we all cherish. There is an analogue between my carnal conquests and these two bands and it might help explain why I enjoy Pulvis et Umbra as much as I do, although it’s an album that, while not really great, is merely good enough.
Listening and enjoying Doom vehemently takes a certain amount of maturity. One should have lived a couple of years (or smoked and equivalent in bowls) before really getting the introspective tones, that many bands of this genre produce. Shure, I discovered Candlemass and Saint Vitus early in my metallic career, but it took me years to really appreciate, what this genre can do. Reverend Bizarre were a band that should have paved the way for me to really dive into the dark recesses of the slow sound, but they came along way too early. Shure, Doom over the World was an instant classic in my ears, but those long, plodding monsters that so many critics seemed to celebrate, just wouldn’t work with me. Eventually, Doom came into my musical focus, but by then, it was too late: The Reverend had left the building. I was saddened and threw myself on their body of work which served as a starting point for a prolonged journey that is still going strong.
Surtr owe a lot to the most revered Reverend. They play in the same, classical, Black Sabbathian with a touch of epic parking lot as RB did. The young, french trio even seasons its songs with a touch of Funeral Doom. Rise Again opens with a plodding melody and introduces us to the somewhat comforting baritone of guitarist Jeff Maurer. His delivery is mostly expressing and befitting the sombre mood of the record but sometimes seems a little flat, especially in later songs. He sticks with this sound most of the time, although he does punctuate the proceedings with the occasional scream and growl. Right away, the clarity of the whole production is apparent. The kick is a bit too voluminous for my taste and demands decent boxes or headphones not to overdrive, but overall it works in the record’s favour insomuch as it manages to add to the slightly ethereal mood. Anyway, Rise Again picks up during the first half and delivers a nice, bangable riff. There’s some organ somewhere in the background for good measure. Off to a good start.
Three Winters of War kicks off with a slow marching rhythm and some crows calling, your typical battlefield atmosphere basically. The song chugs along pretty nicely and manages to change things up with a slightly uptempo chorus before everything gets a little too monotonous. Régis Beck’s drumming punctuates nicely while Julien Kuhn’s base carries the whole shebang with a controlled grumble. I especially like how every instrument is located in the mix. Nobody needs to feel left out.
Sonic Doom is a bit of a stumbling block. It seems to come from a different place, has a different color than its two predecessors and I must say, I don’t like it as much. It’s a song I usually skip when listening to this record. The Call and Rebellion continue the slight slump in the middle of this album. Rebellion is by far the best of these three with it’s nicely chugging verse. But the chorus is a bit forgettable.
But Surtr can do evil to, as I am the Cross handily proves. This song is more Funeral Doom than previous pieces: Slower, darker and with some nice death growls. The screams sound way too forced though. There’s some nice chants, supported by some churchlike organ play. The chorus always demands slow movement of the head in the affirmative. Also, evil laugh. I like.
And with that we are nearly done already. But the last one, Fred Kano’s Army, is a doozy! This was actually the hook that drew me to the album. I’d love to tell you more, but my time here is almost over. I have to gather my things now and get out into the cold. A long walk through frozen fields awaits me, the fog licking my hair and creeping up my nostrils until the start to freeze shut. Wish me luck and hopefully, I’ll be able to tell you, why this last song is so damn awesome that it elevates the whole album…
Damn, it’s cold outside. Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, Fred Karno and his army. Turns out, the dude was a comedian during the end of the 19th century and the term was applied to recruits of the British forces, raised during The Great War. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Anyway, the song made me pay close attention with its striking resemblance to Philip Glass’ electronica masterpiece Koyaanisqatsi. Of course it’s not exactly the same but the way the chorus is sung combined with the way the riffs are played immediately summoned slow motion footage of the Challenger take off in front of my eyes. Had somebody finally fulfilled my desire for a Doom cover of this wondrously bleak melody? Alas, no. The band, upon questioned, denied any and all knowledge of the creepiest electro-song of them all. A shame, really, but until somebody finally does it, Fred Karno’s Army will be the closest I’ll ever get. This thing crushes.
In conclusion: Of course, they cannot hold a dripping, black candle to their progenitor, but then again, who can? Their songs are shorter and more to the point. Some of them hit hard and some of them miss the target slightly. Also, the material has a tendency to blend together if one does not pay attention. A couple of additional hooks would not be amiss next time around. Surtr are a good band with good sensibilities but they are not entirely there yet. But go ahead, check them out, they are doing quite well for themselves.
Welsh Stoner Doomsters Sigiriya have uploaded a new song called Tribe of the Old Oak from their upcoming second album titled Darkness Died Today. You can listen to it here: HERE or BELOW
Sigiriya are a band formed by members of the cult stoner doom metal band Acrimony. They have released their debut album Return to Earth on The Church Within Records.
Sigiriya FB page: HERE
Source: Jan Zajc
Bong's label Ritual Productions has recently unveiled that the British Sludge Doomsters Bong have completed work on their new album. The title of the album is still unknown, but it has been revealed that we can expect a new Bong album on March 2014. The new album will be their 6th studio album and a follow-up to their latest studio album Mana- Yood Sushai, which was released this year.
More info will be coming soon and as for the taste of the new album, you can listen (on this link HERE) to Bong new, eight minutes song called Polaris.
Source: Jan Zajc
The bass more or less follows the guitars never really adding anything to special. The drums pick up right where 'BMD' left off, perhaps being a little faster however and have a couple more nuances (arguably).
The vocals are clean and a little awkward as Jonas doesn't really do much aside from musically moaning above the music. It’s apparent that he's not comfortable in his skin; this changes on later releases however. The lyrics are more coherent than they were on 'BMD' as well, and as the albums title would suggest they're very dreary.
Katatonia was never the heaviest band and sadly probably never will be at least from an instrumental point of view. Their weight has been in the emotional intensity and the utter surrender of their attitude. There is a vast amount of atmosphere on every track. As with all doom metal, this isn't background noise; this is meant to be listened too in a dark or dimly lit room by oneself contemplating life and whether or not it’s truly worth living. This is a soul stirring release that, while lacking in a few places (most noticeably towards the end of the album) its still very high quality. This is what true traditional doom metal and a worthy addition to anyone's collection. This gets a 9.5 out of 10.
Words: Grimm Doom
Napalm Records/Spinning Gobin has announced the signing of Birmingham, U.K.-based doom/psychedelia band ALUNAH to a worldwide deal. The group's new album will arrive in 2014.
ALUNAH is not part of any scene; instead, they carve their own path merging elements of doom, psych and classic heavy rock with earthy hypnotic vocal melodies.
Vocalist/guitarist Soph Day states: "ALUNAH are incredibly happy to have signed a worldwide album deal with the world renowned label Napalm Records. We already have a strong working relationship from when they released a vinyl version of our second album, 'White Hoarhound', and we are proud to have been asked to join the Napalm family on a more long-term basis.
"We have a hard-working ethic, are constantly evolving and appreciate everything given to us.
"We are joining a roster which boasts some of the best bands in the industry, and we're confident that this new phase in our relationship is a mutually beneficial one."
Soph Day - Vocals, Guitar
Dave Day - Guitar
Dan Burchmore - Bass
Jake Mason - Drums
Read more at Blabbermouth
Recorded in 2006 by the band and Dave Liles and co-produced with Brett Romnes (I Am The Avalanche), the epic EP features two movements weighing in at almost seventeen-minutes, and is widely considered the band's magnum opus.
Viking Funeral was originally issued on CD by HULL and on vinyl via Science of Silence Records (on ox blood vinyl and black swirl). The vinyl repressing comes via the band's newly launched Iron Orchestra Works imprint with updated artwork. Limited to 250 copies -- 125 purple/silver swirl and 125 black/silver swirl - Viking Funeral 2.0 comes hand numbered and includes a new jacket design, a B-side laser etching with artwork by Jorden Haley (Bird Ov Prey), digital download card, and parchment insert with artwork by David Cook (Bone Thrower).
Order your copy today while supplies last at THIS LOCATION
"...a masterful release." - Hellride
"A thrilling ride." - The Sleeping Shaman
Polish Stoner Rockers Satellite Beaver have decided to continue their musical journey under the diffrent name Sunnata ( an Buddhistic concept, which means Voidness).
According to the band: "Time of Satellite Beaver has come to an end**. Show in Kaliningrad was officially our last one. We decided to make a step further, which wasn't achievable with our old, hairy name. We've been talking about it for long and we got through all pros and cons, but let's make long story short:
WHAT NEXT? We will move on as SUNNATA (JFGI). Move on with same line-up, but with new name and new material. We still love overfuzzed sound and groovy rythms, but we also love psychedelic doomy trips and walls of noise, which doesn't match our former, more stoner-rockish identity anymore. Voices told us to do so."
For now, you can like their new Facebook page HERE and wait for more news.
Source: Jan Zajc
French doom fiends WITCHTHROAT SERPENT have inked a deal with French label Deadlight Entertainment for the release of their eponymous debut album, tentatively due out in spring 2014. The trio was formed at the end of 2011 by Fredrik Bolzann, leader of the avant garde black metal band DAVULIA and the former bassist of FORNICATION and MALHKEBRE, who recruited bassist Lo Klav and drummer Niklas Moonkouet to help him realize his doom-laden dreams. Mining a very similar territory to WITCHSORROW, or the first ELECTRIC WIZARD album, WITCHTHROAT SERPENT sound at once refreshingly distinct and instantly familiar.
A brand new WITCHTHROAT SERPENT song, in the form of the ominous "Serpenta Ritual", can be streamed below.
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/
You know, I kinda love the Finns, and not only since Lordi took the Eurovision crown with the highest score ever, proving once and for all that Metal (even if it’s tacky, cheesy and awesome) is a cultural force to be reckoned with. Even with the chanson crowd. Seriously, this is a country, where one of the most popular children’s entertainment acts is a bunch of dinosaurs playing, sometimes really brash, Powermetal. A dude once told me, many years ago: “See, it’s like this. We’ve got long stretches of cold nothing, beautiful nature, cheap and fast internet and long, long nights. Of course there’s going to be some weird shit.” Damn if he wasn’t right, and the world is a better place for it.
Seremonia is a case of this essential Suomi weirdness taking a established (some may call it rote) sub genre and making it their own. It’s not a case of: “Bro (in this case, the voice in my head is played by your stereotypical fratdude), I like listened to this Blood Ceremony chick and while it’s nice and all (drinks beer, crushes can on forehead), these bands all sound the same.” Well, first of all - BRO - Jess and the Ancient Ones are waaaaaay better than Blood Ceremony and second: Seremonia. Don’t tell me they sound like your prototypical Femcult-Dommrockers. Because they don’t. They’re from the European north, where strange and wondrous things happen between Helsinki and Oulu.
So, upon looking at this record, I’m firstly taken by this wonderful, stylish cover artwork. I mean, just look at it? Wouldn’t you want this as a decal covering the side of your house, thus scaring the neighbours? Fuck yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. And while you’re still in this state of mind, Noitamestari opens the record with a little over two minutes of overdriven, fuzzy, hard rocking goodness. Right away, one might notice the slightly lo-fi and yet well defined production. It sounds so warm and organic, I myself get a warm feeling in my nether regions just thinking about it (might be the Whiskey though, I can’t be sure a this time of day). But you might not notice it right away, because you just heard the wonderful Noora Federley going all James Dean on your ears (your ears, in this case, are the prom queen). She has a way of singing that some scandinavian women seem to possess, in that you can basically hear a mischievous grin through every tone. She also mixes a lot of Fuck You attitude into her performance, which suits her very, very well. She’s also really cute, but that’s incidential.
Anyway, Itsemurhaaja I is more of a showcase for drummer Erno Taipale. This very slow and psychedelic number (brave, sticking this after an opener like Noitamestari) lives by his erratic fills. The only word I understand is schizophrenia and damn if that isn’t apt. The song tranports the feeling of losing your mind perfectly, even without understanding two words. But fret not, Ovi gets back to rockin’ right away. This is, what I thought Ghost B.C. would sound like, before I found out that they came across like a bunch of candle dripping britpop dickwads. Finns, show ‘em how it’s done!
Suuri Valkeus takes out the speed once again. In this number, the synths become a little more prominent. This is, where the 70s open the bag they got stashed in the back of the party, take out one big ass plastic tub and spread some sweet’n’sticky. Maybe, Deep Purple stick their head through the door for a minute, but only to wink at the party folk and be on their merry way again.
Painajaisten Maa spreads doom and gloom all over the place. The first half of this beast is perfect ceremony fodder with acid trip vocals and some flutes. Then, at halftime, Seremonia really step on the gas, consequences be damned. There’s some serious Iron Butterfly lovin’ going on but with more grit and a twinkle in the eyes. And then, when the song completely falls apart (all deliberate, I must stress) and gets back to the aftermath of the ceremony, Tenhi come to mind. It’s those flutes I guess. And the cold, dark, neverending nights up there.
Luonto Kostaa: Shorty, party, scream along with them, even if you don’t understand, before everything stops and the world tumbles and breaks down around you. Naked chicks and bearded dudes with flowers in their flaxen hair, holding hands and singing merry go ‘round in the hollowed out shell that once was a thriving city while ashes rain down. They are biding their time until Ihminen arrives, a horrific giant on frail limbs, that will take them away to a land of drugs and destruction. Get the soundtrack now, on glorious eight track!
Itsemurhaaja II, finally a breather. Reminiscence of The Doors. For a while, then pure, unadulterated Stoner riffs barge in and mosh Morrison right through the wall. The dude even likes it, better than the dessert I bet. Hippy manes fly in approval. The smoke gets very thick with this one, my lads.
By this time, I usually beg for mercy, but none will be had. Vastaus Rukouksiisi puts the boot on my neck again and stomps me to oblivion, where Tähtien Takaa awaits. It takes me away on ethereal weirdness before everything ends with Hallava Hevonen. And with everything, I mean everything. I can watch from above as the Four ride and Seremonia deliver the soundtrack to oblivion. Nice.
So, if you thought Femcult-Doomrock has given you all it could, think again. Take Ihminen, because it’s dangerous out there.
The Milwaukee's doom metal festival, Days Of The Doomed Fest (DOTD), has confirmed the first bands that will play on the festival . So far, they have confirmed Eric Wagner (ex. Trouble) fronted band Blackfinger, Sludge band from Maine Statis, Stoner/Doom metal band from Delawere Wasted Theory, Traditional Doomsters Las Cruces, Sludgers The Mighty Nimbus (who will play live for the first time in 10 years), Retro doomsters from West Virginia Brimstone Coven and Traditional doomsters from San Antonio Sanctus Bellum.
The festival forth instalment will be held on 20.6.2014 and 21.2013. The tickets for the festival will be avaliable on Days Of The Doomed.Com from 1.1.2014 onwards. More confirmations will be coming soon!
For more information, check out the following links:
Facebook page for the event: HERE
Offical DOTD Facebook page: HERE
Source: Jan Zajc
The team behind Heavy Days In Doomtown (HDID) is confirming new bands already! Today, they have announced that two more bands will be playing at the third edition for HDID. Those two bands are Norwegian doomsters Purple Hill Witch and a Sludge duo from Portland, USA The Body.
ABYSMAL GRIEF (it)
BABY WOODROSE (dk)
DREAD SOVEREIGN (irl)
“DWELLERS IN TWILIGHT” performed in its entirety by members of ALDEBARAN and SHADOW OF THE TORTURER (us)
GLITTER WIZARD (us)
GRAVES AT SEA (us)
OF THE WAND & THE MOON (dk)
PURPLE HILL WITCH (n)
THE BODY (us)
THE GRAVIATORS (swe)
YURI GAGARIN (swe)
More bands will be confirmed soon!
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.
Source: Jan Zajc
Aphotic sounds very mechanical and cold; something that only enhances the listening experience. The music is simplistic, dark and oddly soothing. Their sound is reminiscent of 'Dance of December Souls' era Katatonia combined with the first two October Tide releases.
Strummed open chorded guitars fill each passage while lush keyboards fill the spaces between usually synthesized but times in odd noises. The organic and mechanical sounds blend very nicely never one over powering the other. The vocals are 99% growled/shrieked with some pseudo clean moaning sparsely thrown in.
Despite the fact that this band arose from the ashes of Dusk it sounds nothing like it. Dusk was very aggressive and hateful in their approach whereas Aphotic is very melodic and somber. The deathly riffs of before have been replaced by moodier doom riffs. Both bands are enjoyable on their own merits but Aphotic somehow have more to offer in their repetitive one dimensional presentation. The songs are somewhat epic which is impressive given their short running times. They get their point across in a very direct way.
Each grouping of songs is slightly faster than those before. Though doomy by nature there is an energy and attitude that wasn't there in Dusk. This isn't everyone's cup of tea as again they do come from Katatonia's vast family tree, but this is/was something different and should surely appeal to any fan of atmospheric doom/death.
Words: Grimm Doom
Myspace (NOTE: Band split in 2005 as far as I am aware - Ed )
Apostate start the album off with a song that sounds like it belongs on a early era Trouble album. This is the only nod to Trouble however. Musically this is sort of all over the place as there are hints of a few different bands strewn throughout. The two biggest influences are My Dying Bride, 'The Light at the End of the World' era, mostly in the keyboard work but also in some of the riffs. The second being Substance for God in song structure, phrasing and the general vibe.
The vocals are the weakest link in an otherwise strong chain. The vocals have a lot in common with Strong Bad and it can be hard to take Apostate seriously especially when you're waiting to hear something about 'Trogdor the Burninator' or 'Thatched roof cottages". The clean vocals sound like a (poor) cross between Primordial's Alan and Emperor's Ihsahn (circa Anthems). They don't fit the music at all, coming off about equally as cheesy as Strong Bad.
Comedy aside the music is pretty good. Treading familiar ground the dark and brooding aspects come off as a bit forced but ultimately genuine. One of the good things about this is incredibly random and very welcome Substance for God influence. Though not as laid back as their influence would suggest they instead opt for a more uptempo and aggressive approach.
Thankfully this isn't pure cookie cutter crap like 90% of the current power metal bands or the 100% of ALL black metal bands. The fact that the band either by accident or design tried to combine the aforementioned influences into their own sound is pretty impressive. This isn't a bad little album all things considered but you could do better. This get's a 6.5-7/10.
Words: Grimm Doom
The interesting thing about Great Britain after World War II is that it promoted itself as being more important than it really was. Yes, it’s undeniable that the liberal democracy of today has its origins in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and it is also true that the British Empire, as brutal as it could be towards colonial populations, was responsible for a unprecedented era of (relative) international peace and prosperous commerce.
That all changed with the world wars. World War I, which was caused by poor diplomacy and ended with even worse diplomacy, nearly wiped out an entire generation of young British lions. The next war - the really big one, as they say - still ended in British victory, but the cost in human lives forced the British to admit that their imperial days had come to an end. America and the Soviet Union were the new superpowers, and the former colonial nations in Asia and Africa were no longer willing to wait until Britain’s gradual withdrawal. Decolonization had begun, and it was a crimson affair to say the least.
It is precisely around this time that Great Britain, a former naval and land-based empire, was starting to become a cultural empire. At first it was James Bond and the spy novels of the 1950s, then it was the British Invasion and “Swinging London” of the 1960s. The horror films of Hammer Studios jumped on these bandwagons sometime around 1957, and by 1973 - right before the explosion of the American independent underground - the British horror film was the apex of fright film moviemaking.
“The Satanic Rites of Dracula,” which was released in that fateful year, shows the superiority of the British while at the same time it displays the clear signs of Hammer’s imminent decline. “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” was the last hurrah for Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. In the film, they reprised their classic roles as the arch vampire and the supreme vampire hunter for the last time. “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is Lee’s last appearance as the Count, and his barely there performance in the film truly marks the end of a cinematic era.
Directed by Alan Gibson and scripted by Dan Houghton, “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is an explicit follow-up to the more famous and beloved “Dracula A.D. 1972,” and like its predecessor, “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is set in contemporary London. Gibson and Houghton, the team responsible for both of these films, also decided to keep the cast the same for both films. Well, that is except for Stephanie Beacham. In “Dracula A.D. 1972,” the voluptuous Beacham had played Lorrimer Van Helsing’s daughter. In “The Satanic Rites of Dracula,” the role of Jessica Van Helsing went to the redhead Joanna Lumley, an actress best known to modern audiences for her performance as Patsy Stone on the television show “Absolutely Fabulous.”
While Beacham played Jessica Van Helsing as an innocent London teenager out for big kicks in “Dracula A.D. 1972,” Lumley’s portrayal of the youngest Van Helsing in “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is more mature and promotes Jessica as an intellectual protege of Cushing’s elder occult professor. This is not the only change from “Dracula A.D. 1972,” for “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” not only broke away from the earlier form of the Hammer golden era (which ran approximately from 1957 until 1968), but it also successfully blended diverse genres in order to make one of the most unique vampire films of the entire decade.
Borrowing liberally from the spy novels of Frederick Forsyth and the supernatural adventure yarns of Dennis Wheatley, “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” deals with a secretive circle of four highly influential people who meet nightly at Pelham House, a Georgian mansion right outside of London. Since the film is named “The Satanic Rites of Dracula,” the viewer knows immediately that this is no ordinary shindig. The four men robbed in white with bloody crosses on their foreheads are John Porter (played by Richard Matthews), an MP and a minister in charge of the security services, Lord Carradine (played by Patrick Barr), a wealthy noblemen who owns half of London, General Sir Arthur Freeborne (played by Lockwood West), and Dr. Julian Keeley (played by Freddie Jones), a Nobel Prize-winning expert on germ warfare and biochemical engineering.
As the film opens, these four men are being lead in a blood ritual ceremony by a mysterious Chinese woman named Chin Yang (played by Barbara Yu Ling). The black-robbed figure of Chin Yang not only alludes to the Occidental tradition of making the perverse Eastern in origin, but it also presages Hammer’s next big vampire film - 1974’s horror-meets-kung fu flick “The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires,” which was also written by Houghton. The ritual performed by Yang involves the slicing of a cockerel's throat and the stabbing of a nude female who looks young enough to be a virgin (but hardly acts like one). This is all par for the course for the Satanism-themed films of the 1970s, and the mixture of sex, violence, and ritual in “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is in keeping with square society’s countercultural fascinations. Sex sells after all, and “The Satanic Rites of Dracula,” while not being as sleek or sexy as “Dracula A.D. 1972,” is certainly chock full of plasma, breasts, and cool cars.
“The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is also full of intrigue, and where this film deviates from the norm is in its major plot line which turns this film into a horror-themed political thriller. While the members of the well-to-do coven are busy drinking blood and starring at boobies, a thoroughly beaten hostage is shown escaping from the mansion’s sheepskin vest-wearing bodyguards. The man (played by Maurice O’Connell) turns out to be an MI6 agent who had been captured whilst working undercover. After he is rescued from the manor house by a sharpshooting colleague, he divulges to his superiors that the house’s front as a meeting place for those interested in psychic research is all hokum. These superiors - Agent Torrence (played by William Franklyn) and Colonel Mathews (played by Richard Vernon) - decide that since one of the cultists is in charge of their agency, a member of Scotland Yard should be called in to work on the case as an independent agent. The man they bring in is Inspector Murray - one of the detectives from “Dracula A.D. 1972.” Murray, who is again played by Michael Coles, immediately recognizes that something stinks of the supernatural in the case, so he again consults Dr. Van Helsing, a lecturer in Anthropology and the history of Eastern Europe.
After reviewing the captured photographs taken by the now deceased undercover agent, Van Helsing draws parallels between the Pelham House group and the Hellfire Club of the eighteenth century. Like the previous, real-life entity, the men of Pelham House are all highly influential members of polite society, and their interests, which run from domestic security to private finance, could very easily make or break the welfare of Great Britain. There is a whiff of the Cold War in this film, and its critique of both government and private wealth speaks to the then slowly dying anti-Communist and liberal majority.
As Van Helsing continues on with his theories (which also articulate that rather than Satanism, the members of Pelham House are actually blood worshippers dedicated to a pre-Christian mythology), it is suggested that he make contact with Dr. Keeley - a former colleague at Oxford. Van Helsing agrees, and when he confronts the obviously deranged Keeley, the goal of the Pelham House group is revealed.
It’s a plague!
Not just any plague, but the bubonic plague that helped to nearly kill off all of Europe in the fourteenth century. At the behest of the financial backer of Pelham House, Dr. Keeley has created a new, more virulent strand of the Black Death, and while espousing a misanthropic worldview, he claims that the plague would destroy humanity and only leave those followers of the blood ritual alive.
What kind of monster would seek such a goal, you ask? Well, after the MI6 secretary Jane (played by Valerie Van Ost) is captured by Pelham House’s motorized guards, it is revealed that Count Dracula, who has somehow arisen since his destruction at St. Bartolph’s, is behind it all. In an elaborate attempt at suicide, Dracula has decided to destroy his food supply and claim his bride (Jessica) with the help of his own Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (the members of Pelham House, who just want power). After piecing this together, Van Helsing once again confronts Dracula, who has backed the entire Pelham House project under the name of D.D. Denham. As with the other Hammer films, Van Helsing gets the better of the Count, and even though his first attempt at killing the vampire fails (his silver bullet misses wide), he eventually traps Lee’s bloodsucker in a hawthorne bush - an overt Christian symbol because of Christ’s own hawthorne crown.
As a film, “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is both hit and miss. The screenplay is downright genius, and “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is arguably Hammer’s most original concept. The film’s combination of political potboiler and supernatural horror is well executed, and certain scenes in the film are reminiscent of classic cinema. For instance, when Van Helsing finally meets D.D. Denham at his high-rise office building, the viewers are treated to a wonderfully ugly site - the Labour-brought deformity of postwar London. Comparable to Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange,” the architectural background of “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” showcases a drab conformity to a post-Bauhaus modernism that allows for little more than the basest minimalism. Similarly, when Van Helsing finally meets Denham/Dracula in is his private suite, “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” gives a subtle nod to Fritz Lang’s 1933 masterpiece “The Testament of Dr. Mabuse.” In that film, the Hitler-esque master criminal, who headquarters himself in the barest of rooms, uses a recording and his silhouette to anonymously communicate with his servants. Denham/Dracula, using a fake, heavily accented voice and a bright lamp, obscures his identity for a brief time as he riddles Van Helsing with pseudo-Fascist garbage about the need for occult-based political regimes.
While Dracula is far from sincere in his politics, there are moments of sharp political honesty in “The Satanic Rites of Dracula.” In a film that has all the seemingly mandatory bits of schlock (buxom female vampires, shootouts, and death scenes shot with negative film in order to appeal to acid-taking youth), these moments of political commentary are genuinely shocking. While the critique of monopolistic power grabs is done in a somewhat predictable way, the film’s constant portrayal of CCTV cameras and other tools of surveillance seems to point to an unease with the deployment of modern technology. Right before Van Helsing goes to Denham’s private suite, he asks the nightwatchman if the abundance of CCTV cameras bothers him, and the man’s blasé response shows why free societies so often forsake their privacy for lesser gods.
While these side discussions make the film more interesting, the cinematography and the acting almost sink “The Satanic Rites of Dracula.” Besides the always charismatic and genteel Cushing, the majority of the cast just seem to be going through the motions. Since Lee is hardly in the film at all, the action falls on the shoulders of lesser talents. Coles is as uncharming as ever, and even though Lumley’s attempt at depicting Jessica as a modern and bright young woman is commendable, her performance is noticeably inferior to Beacham’s (who, to be fair, is not as good of an actor as Lumley). Franklyn’s take as the tough secret agent works fairly well, but much of his success in the film is based on the fact that everyone else in the film speaks little and does even less.
Making matters worse is the fact that the film looks like a made-for-TV production. Unlike most of Hammer’s other films, the cinematography in “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is neither lush nor colorful. It can be argued that grittiness was what the producers were going for, but even then the film fails at being artistically grimy. “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” looks like a soap opera at times, with soft lenses and a faded-out look that often makes the film seem sleepy. This is a shame, for “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” could have easily started a Hammer revival, but instead it heralded the end of a great franchise. After 1973, Hammer went downhill fast and it became only a matter of time before the public put their stakes into the heart of a once-proud brand.
Still, despite how Hammer ended, the legacy of their films lives on. The Dracula films of Hammer have eclipsed all others, and the argument can made that the team of Lee and Cushing is the greatest on-screen pairing in the history of horror cinema. “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is a good example of their chemistry, and one does not have to look any further than Electric Wizard for confirmation. On their 2007 release “Witchcult Today,” Electric Wizard penned a song called “Satanic Rites of Drugula,” which re-imagines Lee’s misanthropic vampire as a drug-crazy night fiend on the lookout for drug-laced blood. Since Electric Wizard are keen on promoting an image of themselves as world-hating witches from a different era, a film like “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” is a perfect foil for their sonic carnage.
Words: Benjamin Welton
Case in point: Rote Mare. Out of Adeleide, mastermind Phil Howlett has been griming it up since 2005. And he’s the prolific sort. Nine demos, a split with Dire Fate, an EP and now he throws out full length albums two and three in one monolithic double whammy. The Invocation and The Kingdom are two pretties of decay, with beautifully matching woodcut artworks. I’ll concentrate on the former this time around and give you the lowdown on its sibling a little later.
The Invocation is the rowdier record of the pair. Song numero uno, The Kingdom (The Kingdom opens with The Invocation. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, PHIL!), opens quite aggressive with a fast beat, a riff that cuts and a scream that makes me wince thinking of the groinal torture a man must go through to produce something this eardrum shatteringly high. Kiske would be proud. From then on, it’s Doom all the way. The sound is smooth, analogue and well defined with a slight whiff of 70s (which gets stronger later on). For now, Phil seems to be content to either languish in a crooning, soft voice, wavering when appropriate. Or he spits his rage about the decay of our world with passion and sharp gravel in his voice. It’s rough and uncut but it fits the tone and atmosphere well. This man knows what he does. Over time, he has built a reliable backing band for his antics: Sean Wiskin on second guitar, Jess Erceg on Base and Ben Dodunski on drums ground his flitting leads and vocal contortions with steady beats (man, what am I going to write about the next time?).
Anyway, The Kingdom does its thing very well for about 12 minutes before giving way to The Furthest Shore, a very short (less than four minutes) interlude but nonetheless one very cool customer. This one skips the Doom for more of a bluesy, grimy barroom appeal and it works very well. The baseline alone is worth it. It is best consumed with a fifth of Jack in one hand (no rocks, thank you very much) and a smoking pill in the other. There’s some beautiful noodling going on there. I seriously wouldn’t have expected something like this after the 10 ton gorilla that came before but whaddayakno? FYI, I’m shrugging.
It’s back to old stomping grounds with The Stones of Blood. It faints a left jab with some NWoBHM beginnings before sinking a right hook right into the kidneys with the Doom that came before. It’s as if the song takes up a thread that was left dangling from The Kingdom. But the riffs have a little more majesty to them. Phil screams the words “I love you” like a maniac whose hands are still dripping with the blood of his beloved whom he just gutted with a ceremonial knife (which is actually, what he sings about but even if you wouldn’t know that, it would sound like it). The song ends in a spasm of ecstasy and misery.
Nothing is just that: 14 minutes of bleak. This one takes it slow and low with a lightly plucked melody that keeps its pace over most of the runtime. If you want a confirmation of your depression, be it seasonal or from an even deeper, darker place, this is your jam. Halfway through, the song takes a turn for the grim and it really weighs down on you with slow, deliberate riffing and drumming. No god to save your soul, eternal emptiness indeed. “Why waste time, why waste away until the end? It’s easier to do it now.” It might not be Poe in technique but it gets the point across just as well.
The Serpent officially (there’s a bonus track but I won’t touch on it since it’s not canon) ends the album with menacing drums and feedback before going all out on us with some relatively uptempo, grimy riffs. At this point, I’m enamored with Phil’s gruffer vocals. He’s got the power, so to speak. This little ditty even takes a well aimed swing at the stoner crowd. It swings and grooves along nicely below these angry wails. Again, world ending scenarios, apocalypses and ignored warnings about the same are the themes. Thulsa Doom must be proud.
So yeah, these Australians can Doom it with the best. There’s some nice craftsmanship going on there, from composition, through play, production and up to design, this is (one half of) the full package. Tune in next time when I subject myself to its sister, The Kingdom.
Words: Stefan Eder
This is part five of a thirteen part series.
Rock and roll made horror movies. More importantly, rock and roll made horror movies the brash, classless, and underground entities that we know them as today. Sure, there were plenty of crude and exploitative horror films before the 1950s (Dwain Esper’s “Maniac” immediately springs to mind), but it took the transgressive and loud art form of rock and roll to make horror flicks terrifyingly hip.
And why is that? Well, before Elvis the Pelvis gyrated in front of American television screens and before Chuck Berry’s duck’s ass pompadour did the duck walk across American stages, horror films were mostly cozy entities that burrowed more than a little from their brother genre - the mystery film. Indeed, if one were to peruse through most of the horror films from the 1930s and 1940s, then one could easily discern the simple fact that they were primarily Gothic mysteries that only lacked the pure mystery’s requisite detective. Before that, during the silent era, horror films were even more mixed, with some being semi-comic and others being darkened art films (Roland West’s “The Monster” versus F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu”).
All of this changed during with the coming of the postwar generation. With easy access to automobiles and disposable income, the teenagers of the Eisenhower administration made horror movies into the voices of their open rebellion. While big bug sci-fi flicks spoke to the collective unease over the international nuclear arms race, films such as “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” (1957) and “I Was a Teenage Frankenstein” (1957) chronicled the horrific stress that comes with puberty and living in the Petri dish known as high school. Couple this with the rebel-worshipping at the heart of “The Wild One” (1953), then you have a hazy outline of how and why the young ‘uns of the 1950s injected a little bit of danger into the otherwise muted world of the fright film.
While the first generation of rock and roll gave horror films a new level of cool viciousness, it was the acid-taking ‘60s and the heavy metal ‘70s that increased the volume in terms of gore, sex, and outright ridiculousness. In some ways, this all gathered together for one big laugh. Today, the more outlandish horror films of the Vietnam era come across as silly, if not downright buffoonish. On the other hand, given the fact that an unprecedented American crime wave began in the early part of the 1960s and that the originally harmless explorations of the hippies lead to such things as the Manson Family, the Weather Underground, and earnest interests in Luciferianism, then the Satanic and sex-obsessed films of this era take on a darker hue.
1973’s “Psychomania,” which was also released as “The Death Wheelers,” sits in a position which connects both the teenage horror films of the 1950s and the darker, more occult-themed films of the 1960s and early 1970s. Directed by horror veteran Don Sharp, “Psychomania” is an undeniably British film that exudes all the gloomy, fog-shrouded, and earth-toned character of that fine country. Swimming in a pool of blue and green colors, “Psychomania” has the cinematography of a family movie shot underneath a pond. Frankly, this low-fi quality gives this horror film its charm, for besides its wacky plot and unrealistic characters, nothing else does.
In a nutshell, “Psychomania” deals with a motorcycle gang called The Living Dead. Besides riding around a stone circle called “The Seven Witches” (which exists because, according to legend, some ye old witches were guilty of a magical misdemeanor, and thus were turned into gray slabs), The Living Dead are also fond of black magic and terrifying the locals in the nearby town. Their leader is the cocksure Tom Latham (played by Nicky Henson), a sociopath in a black leather jacket. The meanness of the group is displayed early on in the film, when, after an unwitting motorists drives through the gang in formation, Latham and his gal pal Abby (played by Mary Larkin) decide to put their customized skull helmets to good use as they once again frighten the beejeezus out of the same driver, who this time winds up sleeping outside of his own broken windshield.
Like a lot of couples, Tom and Abby celebrate their victory by trying to shag in a graveyard. Tom pulls out of the make-out session early on in order to capture a rare graveyard frog. Obviously miffed, Abby tells Tom that she sometimes questions his humanity. Tom, after successfully corralling his “little green friend,” suggests to Abby a suicide pact with the expressed purpose of “crossing over” to the other side of existence. Abby brushes his requests aside, even though Tom promises that they would come back to the world as even better entities. This throwaway line is essentially the “So What?” of “Psychomania:” Tom, using the powers of supernatural darkness and pure will, returns to life after driving his motorcycle off a bridge.
Tom’s awesome return (which involves him driving his motorcycle out of his own grave), along with his assurances that nothing can harm the already dead, convince the other members of The Living Dead to off themselves as well. This decision sends “Psychomania” plummeting into one gratuitous scene of one self-inflicted death after another. First, Jane (played by Ann Michelle), the wickedly childish second-in-command, drives her motorcycle into the side of a moving van. Then, one by the one the rest of The Living Dead get more inventive with their suicides. One member dons a black speedo and some heavy chains and throws himself into the river. Another gang member leaps out of his apartment to the awaiting pavement below. Not to be outdone, yet another member jumps to his death, but this time around its a plane instead of an apartment complex. Finally, the ginger tough guy Hatchet (played by Denis Gilmore) takes off from a bridge into oncoming traffic.
These suicide scenes take up a sizable portion of the film, with another chunk belonging to the scenes in which the The Living Dead, now firmly living up to their nickname, rack up a large body count after causing accidents, rampaging through jails and supermarkets, and, in one cringeworthy scene, ride their motorcycles through a baby carriage with a little body inside. Beyond these scenes, a convoluted plot involving Abby’s unwillingness to die, a police investigation, and a Satanic duo permeate the periphery. The Satanic duo, which is made of up of Tom’s mother (played by Beryl Reid) and her menacing butler Shadwell (played by George Sanders, who committed suicide not long after shooting of the film was completed), are the ones who at first facilitate Tom’s quest for immortality, then terminate it during an uncomfortably long suicide scene of their own.
By the film’s end, a sensible viewer will be left with numerous questions. After all, what do frogs, an empty room in the Latham mansion that provides flashbacks, and stone circles have to do with a devilish gang of bikers? While some of these questions are answered in the film, “Psychomania” is mostly a head-scratcher that provides only the most minimal context at any given time. From the very beginning, Tom wants to die and come back, while his mother and Shadwell want to both keep practicing their black magic while at the same time limit Tom’s exposure to said arts. Sounds confusing? Well, it is. The truth is that “Psychomania” is a cult classic because of its campy inconsequentialism. Since it doesn’t logically make much sense, “Psychomania” must rely on its fuzz rock soundtrack and its aura of counter-cultural cool. Some could label it as a scheme to cash in on post-Summer of Love bitterness, but Tom’s frequent anti-authority comments somehow feel genuine rather than stereotypical. Beyond that, the film’s cheap quality and low-fi ambiance lends it an air of underground cool that cannot be easily recreated today.
This view of the film is of course a recent phenomenon. When it was released, it was widely scorned as yet another piece of trash that paid lip service to the era’s Satanic panic.
Worse still, a film critic for the London Times declared “Psychomania” only fit to be shown at an “S.S. reunion party.” Still, despite these negative opinions (or maybe because of them), today’s horror movie heads have a lot of good things to say about “Psychomania,” a film that manages to tie together criminal motorcycle gangs, rock and roll, rebellion, black magic, and a Thelema-influenced view of human will. While many horror film fans may not listen to or even like rock and roll, the boisterous quality of that music has unquestionably influenced most post-1950s horror films. In this history, “Psychomania” sits pretty as an uncouth and disorientating piece of garage rock horror gold.
Words: Benjamin Welton
You can listen to their EP HERE . Dirty Grave are offering you a free listening on their bandcamp page and you can download the whole EP for 7$.
From the band Facebook page: "Dirty Grave appeared in mid-2013 in Orlândia SP, Brazil, with Mark Rainbow and Victor Bergy. They started the compositions for the first EP, even without a drummer, they have recorded (at home) the EP Dirty Grave. The band performs his first rehearsals with Arthur Assisi occupying the position of drummer and follows for the release of their first album."
Links: Bandcamp: HERE
Offical Facebook page: HERE
Source: Jan Zajc
The band's setlist was as follows:
01. Dark Reflections
02. Under The Oak
05. Psalms For The Dead
"Ancient Dreams" set
06. Mirror Mirror
07. A Cry From The Crypt
08. Darkness In Paradise
09. Incarnation Of Evil
10. Bearer Of Pain
11. Ancient Dreams
12. The Bells Of Acheron
13. Epistle No. 81
14. Black Sabbath Medley
15. Black As Time
Fan-filmed video footage of the "Epistle No. 81" performance, featuring a guest appearance by Swedish actor, director and musician Thorsten Flinck, can be seen below. CANDLEMASS' current touring lineup includes four members of its classic formation: Leif Edling on bass, Mats "Mappe" Björkman on rhythm guitar, Lars Johansson on lead guitar and Janne Lindh on drums.
CANDLEMASS played its first show with singer Mats Levén on June 5, 2012 at Debaser Slussen in Stockholm, Sweden.
Levén is a former member of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, THERION and TREAT, who also plays with CANDLEMASS bassist/mainman Leif Edling in KRUX. Also joining the group for CANDLEMASS' recent live performances was keyboard player Per Wiberg (OPETH, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS). CANDLEMASS in June 2012 parted ways singer Robert Lowe. The band stated at the time that this was "a very difficult decision" to make and had "mainly to do with the quality of the live performances."Lowe— who is still a member of SOLITUDE AETERNUS— joined CANDLEMASS in January 2007 and sang on the band's last three studio albums: "King Of The Grey Islands" (2007), "Death Magic Doom" (2009) and "Psalms For The Dead" (2012). CANDLEMASS released its 11th and final album, "Psalms For The Dead", on June 8, 2012 via Napalm Records. A limited-edition seven-inch vinyl single contaning two album tracks —"Dancing In The Temple Of The Mad Queen Bee" and "The Killing Of The Sun"— preceded the full-length effort on April 13, 2012.
Read more at Blabbermouth
Indian. The band have been purveyors of the finest blackened doom for over a decade, and this month will see the release of their latest opus, From All Purity, via Relapse Records.
‘Directional’, a brand new track taken from From All Purity, has just been released which can be listened to below and you can also read Pete’s review of the album HERE.
Roadburn will be playing host to Indian on Saturday12th of April, at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, when the crushing four piece will bring their sonic offerings to life.
Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Tickets for the traditional Afterburner event on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands are still available. Get in on the actionHERE!
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While many of the tracks found in Eldritch Tales are lyrically based off the Lovecratian theme, Space God Ritual beautifully sets the doomy mood in each track. The heavy fuzzed out guitar found in almost every song creates a scene that fills the mind with thoughts of low and behold despair. The drums war-like beats complement the overall sound making it come out all the more sinister. Yes their sound will easily tune in any lover of the Doom/Stoner genre. Any finally the powerful stricken lyrics blend the sound together. To any listener with a keen musical ear, Space God Ritual would probably be at least a four or five piece band. That is surprisingly not the case. No the Portland based Doom/Stoner rock group is only a two-piece with some guest leads. The mastery of the recordings is far from in experienced. The sound definitely sounds like an early vintage 70s studio, but that is on purpose. Each track is mastered in such a way that every instrument is heard as clear as day. This is not an easy feat in the Doom metal genre, but Space God Ritual has achieved this.
The aspect that causes and will cause a person’s ears to hunger for more of the Ritual is the almost dramatic sound found in every song. When listening to the whole album first song to last, the feeling of watching live play arises. A play where actors would dance the dance of death and the lights would have an insidious light shining from above while a man with an octopus head played a church organ. I picture that seeing the Ritual live would closely compare to watching an old school Black Sabbath concert mixed with an Alice Cooper show. I look forward to seeing and hearing the critical acclaim of Space God Ritual’s sound. If their next work is anything close to Doom epic, one should be very anxious to see what they create next.
Words: Stephan Boissonneault
Space God Ritual | Bandcamp