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  • 10/09/14--07:34: Troglodyte Dawn - S/T ...
  • We're all in it for the inspiration. Writers, painters, musicians, songwriters, anyone working in an artistic medium lives for those moments when everything falls together in their work. The heart speeds up, sweat pops out of the forehead, and even the hands slightly jitter. In that moment, we feel connected to some reservoir deep within where we hide the truth about ourselves, experiences, and what we love. Even rarer still are those moments when we sustain that same flush of inspiration over the course of an entire work. Troglodyte Dawn's self-titled release from Stone Groove Records manages that impressive feat.

    The band describes itself as "doom with ambient tendencies", an amusing way to phrase it, as if those ambient tendencies are bad habits needing curtailed. The album opens with an expression of those ambient tendencies, "667", an introductory instrumental establishing the general tone for what's to come. "Fallen World" is a model of tight songwriting. The crushing, uncluttered opening riff pile drives its way into memory like a piston, the percussion dodges self-indulgence, and the tempo shifts contrast with each other in a compelling way. The lyrical content never lapses into clichés or tropes. The lyrics are tailored to serve the musical content rather than standing on their own, but full of brief flashes of observant detail. 

    "Redeemed" is imaginative, idiosyncratic, and yet wholly accessible. The song startled me on first listen. I've heard nothing in my thirty-nine years alive like its serious unblinking delivery of religious subject matter over an orchestrated march. Orchestrated, in this sense, means structured by melody and the stellar vocal pulls it off. This is someone testifying about the faith for redemption and the melodic sweetening surroundings the chorus with a grand air. The sparkling guitar work on "Longing" has, thanks to its "circular" feel, a romantic air, but is never maudlin. "Forever After" is a brilliant rewrite of Black Sabbath's classic "After Forever". The lyrics have a completely different slant - rather than succumbing to the cynicism and despair strewn through the Sabbath lyric, Troglodyte Dawn stresses the seriousness of its subject while offering hope for a better life. A loose, informal-sounding performance approximating the original benefits from raw and inspired guitar playing - it sounds full of joy, proud that it has successfully co-opted a resonant aspect of a great band's vision and turned it into something uniquely its own. Pouring old wine into new bottles doesn't always work, but it does here. The tacked on excepts including Tommy Chong emphasize another element of this performance - tribute, not just to the track and band, but to an earlier era in their personal lives.

    Troglodyte Dawn shows their scope with "Flower", a tuneful track driven by an artfully expressed metaphor. The song's vocals and nylon-string acoustic guitar sound recall Jimmy Page's mid-80's collaboration with Roy Harper, Whatever Happened To Jugula? The clear, resonant timber of the singing cuts through the music in an authoritative way and impressively mines palpable emotive highlights from the lyrics. The blurred chanting and skeletal backbeat of the brief instrumental "Dood" is the album's oddest moment, perhaps, but its traditional strengths, like a beautifully simple hook, aren't easily forgotten.

    We're dropped back in doom territory for "Lust", the album's longest piece thus far, and it's worth the wait. Troglodyte Dawn blast through a melting pot of tempos, but each section flows into the next and the band never fails to cover their tracks and hide any stitching. Another impressive aspect of the song is how the composition invokes its influences, predominantly Black Sabbath, without ever immersing itself in full-on imitation. "Look On The Cross" is another spiritually themed song and has a hazy, hallucinatory edge. The fuzzed out rhythm guitar and languid tempos work well with the theatrical vocal delivery. The effect is almost hymnal and contrasts sharply with the song's vague psychedelic stylings. The album concludes with another ambient piece, "Dawn", that is an evocative bookend to the first track.

    Inspiration and structure. If you have one without the other, you've met half of the potential in anything. Troglodyte Dawn's songs are full of passion and skill, cross genres with admirable confidence, and never waste the listener's time. Highly recommended.

    Words: J. Hillenburg


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    Ides of Gemini's second album from the Neurot label, Old World New Wave, is an important release in recent metal history. No genre or sub-genre can evolve or keep even a tenuous grip on relevance if it exists largely as an extended tribute to its primary influence. Countless megabytes of press materials invoke Black Sabbath and throw their name around like a catch-all for metal excellence, but it isn't the Birmingham Four's fault that, nearly half a century later, record labels and public relations hacks indiscriminately promote new acts as Sabbath's second coming. It's understandable that young bands and their support team hope to glean at least a sliver of reflected glory.

    Fortunately, Ides of Gemini makes no such attempt. The unfortunate fact, however, is many others bands often sound like they seized upon one aspect of the band they loved and stopped there. They share little of the same ambitions held by their heroes. A well-written and played homage or an entertaining, imaginative metal song about the supernatural will always have its place. I believe it scarcely touches doom metal's potential and have long believed that, as a style, doom metal must mature and evolve or else face irrelevance. We are entering uncharted waters where posterity will test the merits of pop culture's icons and many, including Black Sabbath, might be found wanting or buried and blurred by an avalanche of years.

    Ides of Gemini serves notice, from the first song, that they will be among the vanguard in any effort to redefine the genre. What initially begins with a strutting, staccato metal riff quickly reveals a band subtly plundering a wider range of reference. "Black Door" certainly isn't the first metal song I've heard with a female vocalist, but the slightly sleepy drone of Sera Timms' voice maintains an impressive balance between power and delicacy. I hear notice of the band's talent in their astonishing and fluid synthesis of doom metal's bedrock elements and a condensed, melodic sensibility. "Black Door" doesn't carry the listener so much as sweep them along with satisfying focus that makes its brief length, a little over three minutes, seem half that.

    "The Chalice & The Blade" crawls from the speakers, but the atmosphere is far from funereal. It plays like an anthemic march, but never feels celebratory. Instead, the song has a determined, dogged sort of spirit influenced in no small ways by another fine Sera Timms vocal. Her exultant power strikes a compelling contrast with the music and lyrics alike. One disappointment I will note is how the mix and quasi-ambient vocal production sometimes obscures too many of the band's fine lyrics. I admire any approach that utilizes the musical possibilities of the voice in the same way as a man-made instrument, including strengthening the theatrics of a piece like it does here for Ides of Gemini and other cutting edge doom bands like Pallbearer and Yob, but this particular habit comes with a trade-off.

    A bit of catchy rock drumming opens "Seer of Circassia" before Jason Bennett's guitar crashes in with a strong riff. I found myself wanting to hear the interplay between the drumming and bass in a clearer way. Kelly Johnson-Gibson's fleet and steady timekeeping reminded me, in a small way, of Velvet Underground great Maureen Tucker's exuberant, but unobtrusive, pulse. It is no small feat of skill to provide such a superb rhythmic structure while providing sympatric accompaniment to the surrounding players. The layered drone kicking off "White Hart" is a master class in building tension. The processional drums give Bennett firm musical footing to orchestrate the intro with such exquisite timing that the seamless shift into the verses jolted me. One of the album's definite highlights.

    The band's theatrical flair sparks again on "May 22, 1453", a reference to a lunar phenomena witnessed in the Constantinople area days before the city's fall. It represents a new development in metal music, particularly doom, that younger musicians have upturned the understanding of what constitutes "heavy" and the limitations of thinking only a distorted guitar ran through a hundred stacks can provide the needed crunch and authenticity. Other reviews have compared Timms' vocal talent to Stevie Nicks, among others, but if she has a clear antecedent in delivery and phrasing, poet and performer Patti Smith is probably closer. In the end, however, all comparisons should hang. Her voice conspires with the music to imbue this track with weighty poetic power and musical muscle.

    "The Adversary" has the band again combining their doom grind with melodic vocals. There is a hoary line of thinking on power trios that the sound is too thin without a good bass player high in the mix capable of duping as a quasi-rhythm guitar. A song like this dispels the notion because of structure. I hear a tightly woven axis of "voices" here and the near-note perfect placement of sound and space coalesce into an authoritative whole. I never get the feeling of an undersized boxer punching above their weight. "Fememorde" moves with a confident stride and uses harmonies to strengthen refrains in tasteful ways. This is another gem shaped by the same deceptively minimalist pressure discussed earlier. Timms' is at her emotive best here while Bennett and Johnson-Gibson thrash out a tight, steady backing.

    "Valediction" is another of the album's finest moments. The poetry in its lyrics, Bennett's buzz saw guitar attack and gate-pounding fury propelling Johnson-Gibson's percussion are impressive enough, but the song's sturdy construction is another key to success. As in "The Adversary" and some earlier songs, one of this band's important achievements is subsuming strong melodic strains into doom metal's sonic identity. This sort of synthesis needs the sort of structure that metal music often lacks. The regimented structure of metal music doesn't readily support the sort of melodic turns liberally sprinkled through this music. Not every band need apply for this approach. It works for Ides of Gemini for a number of reasons, among them the range of singer Sera Timms. The finale song, "Scimitar", is an appropriately chaotic piece musically, given its subject matter, and the feel of clattering dissonance I feel off the track suggests a battle. It doesn't just stop here though. This feeling runs through me with every song, a sense that the fission produced by the band's performances pours out from the invigorating movement and tension between instruments and words.

    It had to happen and I'm glad it did. All bands like Ides of Gemini owe a debt to the pioneers of doom metal, but the total is long since paid. Bands such as this and others mentioned previously are redefining the artistic limits of an important style. Doom metal deserves this constant redefinition and expansion while remaining true to its essential vision. This music resonates most deeply with its devotees when the songs are honest depictions of lives in distress. It speaks clearest to us when it pulls us face to face with our fears, dives headlong into mysteries of life and the heart, and never flinches. Old World New Wave is doom metal at its finest and much, much more.

    Words: J.Hillenburg


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  • 10/18/14--07:37: Iron Void - "Iron Void" ...
  • Having influences, these days, is a decidedly mixed bag. Writing unique new music within the well-established confines of the metal genre is difficult and becoming harder by the year. Popularization of anything helps entrench formula.

    For a young band like Iron Void, their music proudly influenced by pioneers like Black Sabbath and Pentagram, formula is not a dirty word. Slavish imitation will stunt any band's artistic potential and, even if they are powerful in a live setting, bands like this rarely inspire the sort of commercial devotion from fans that build long-lasting careers.

    They dodge the pitfalls of such influence by virtue of talent, conscientious songwriting while, nevertheless, benefiting from the association and gratified by playing in a style they love.

    Low-fi or not, I loved the album's sound from the first few notes of "Tyrant's Crown" on. The thick, even slightly muffled, production fills the music with added density. Iron Void builds the song around a guttural, galloping riff that rides the back of nimble percussion. Naturally, this guitar part is key to the song's appeal, but the song exhibits a number of underrated strengths enriching the overall whole. The vocals are very solid and, despite having learned long ago that looking for literary merit in metal lyrics is usually a fool's errand, Iron Void's lyrical strength surprised me here.

    Iron Void proves their skill for creating sturdy, interesting arrangements with "I Am War". An appealing inevitability heard in the best metal defines the music; seamless transitions assure the various riffs never sound shoehorned together and each section resolves itself in a satisfying way. The drummer peppers the song with subtle rhythmic touches highlighting the band's penchant for leaving understated, distinctive signatures in each song. "The Mad Monk" opens as a mid-tempo drag, but the band explores a handful of tempos throughout the song. This is the album's first "look" at Iron Void in full power mode and the riff largely abandons the melodic flair heard in earlier songs. This isn't a weakness. The grinding crunch works well with the song's restless movement between tempos and, in tandem with the strong lyrics, creates a gray, claustrophobic atmosphere.

    "Those Who Went Before" is plodding, minor key joy from the start. There is an obvious debt to Black Sabbath here, but again, Iron Void distinguishes themselves from their influences. The lyrics are tighter than a clinched fist - not a single word is wasted. Their clarity and poetic suggestiveness are, likewise, key elements in why this relatively short song plays, nevertheless, like a quasi-epic. "Own Worst Enemy" has a sleek musical attack that wastes no time getting its point across. We've certainly heard songs with similar sentiments since the era of the Delta bluesman, but Iron Void work within this well-established tradition with fresh energy and a refreshing lack of irony.

    The muscular and melodic riff opening the apocalyptic "Black Mirror" promises a lot and the band delivers. It's one of the album's high points and I found myself fascinated by how such a young, guitar driven band plays with such calm confidence. The lyrics are never overwrought, avoid cliché, and benefit from a cool, dispassionate vocal. The guitar break blazing in a little after the halfway point is worth the price of admission alone. The bass riff bubbling from the black in the first seconds of "Outlaw" gives way to a massive guitar riff flattening everything in its path. I hear this song as an uniquely Iron Void "blues", rugged and street tough. The band specializes in a relatively straightforward sort of music but demonstrates their chops in other ways - for example, the abrupt turns and stops in tempo. "Necropolis (C.O.T.D.)" superbly marries two familiar elements, metal and horror, into a strongly cinematic song. While some might complain a zombie song is, perhaps, a little trendy at this cultural moment, Iron Void is dealing out some musical rehash of a Waking Dead episode and their smart songwriting gives this the quality of an individual take on the subject matter. Another well-constructed melodic guitar solo is the song's highlight.

    "The Burden of Regret" is another of the album's peaks. A song that, perhaps, that best illustrates how a listener cannot listen to the first fifteen to thirty seconds of an Iron Void song and make anything like an informed judgment about its quality. This is a band seemingly overflowing with ideas and their songs demand a complete hearing. The lyrics once again tread into some familiar territory for popular song but avoid the trite by containing a strong narrative thrust and control of the language verging on the poetic. However, the singing for this set of lyrics needed a stronger emotive edge than it gets here. If a band has a complete package of skills, like Iron Void does, it behooves them to explore each skill to its limits. The closer, "Xylanthia", is a beautifully evocative instrumental that suggested images of mist-bound rivers and oddly colored skies to me as I first listened. Any group capable of covering the long distance between this and the opener, "Tyrant's Crown", is a musical outfit with substantial depth.

    The subtitle for this review should be "Or How Jason Learned To Stop Worrying And Listen To Iron Void". This outstanding debut will lead to more and better.

    Words: J. Hillenburg


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  • 10/19/14--15:37: Sangria - Agnosis ...
  • Sangria: in many of you/us such a word may evoke some happy alcoholic fiestas during a sun-baked holiday roaming around in Spain ...All wrong!

    Our Sangria speaks the language of the continental masses of Earth's crust clashing against one another. Such is the sonic power of Sangria's way of building up colossal doom-sludge metal since its inception back in 2003.
    The Sangria trio hails from Santiago, from the great heavy and super-heavy underground scene of Chile. The trio involves Osvaldo Oss Frías on bass and vocals, Carlos Seitan Frías on guitar and vocals and Pablo Benavides on drums. Sangria is one of the great bands related to the cool underground production label Proyecto Sepulcro (Electrozombies, Hielo Negro, Bicefalo, Circulo de Barabbas, Budasses, etc.), which stands out for the care and the impressive quality of its limited-edition releases both for the sound and graphical aspects.  One of the earlier releases of Proyecto Sepulcro was the debut album by Sangria, Renaces de la Miseria (2009), which was rapidly sold out. The new album by Sangria, Agnosis, was finished already late last year. There were quite a few of us outside Chile who bombed band members and folks at Proyecto Sepulcro for being sure, this time, of grabbing a solid copy of the release. But some bad luck and mishappenings with labels for distribution hampered the release. Hopefully the band can finalize an agreement with labels soon for worldwide spreading, and get this new amazing album out as soon as possible.

    Agnosis, or better “agnosia”, is indicated as a pathological state characterized by loss of the ability to recognize objects or interpret sensorial stimulation by sounds or images. But you will never find random clicks or casual minimalistic noise when Sangria are involved! The title of the album is obviously provocative. It is probably to relate to the highly critical attitude towards society and especially towards some disturbing aspects of politics and dominant religion(s) adopted by the band and revealed in Sangria’s lyrics. Like and probably even more than in Renaces de la Miseria, album Agnosis is a treatise on catastrophic and funereal sludge/doom-death built up via slow-paced, crushingly downtuned and distorted riffs, bleak atmospheres and abyssal vocals. Something appealing for those who are into bands like Corrupted, Thou, Moloch, Yob, Conan, Fuoco Fatuo, Disembowelment, Shadow of the Torturer, Whitehorse or Funeral Moth. Differently from what often seen/heard in doom-sludge bands, the tracks in Agnosis are rather short, with lengths almost never exceeding 6 minutes. There is no over repetition of refrains in these tracks even if I personally would love to be overwhelmed by these sounds even more. However the relative brevity of the tracks have the effect of turning them into a relentless charge of blows in your gutter. 

    The opener Ritualista is lead by a majestic, plodding rhythm of authentic funeral doom in the vein of Tyranny where Osvaldo’s raw and torn vocals roar their occult chant and fight to emerge over the slow, colossal riffs.  Funeral doom features also dominate long tracks like Agnosis and, where, however, the band employs some minor but effective tempo changes for pumping further energy to the war-like march. In various tracks, like for example Cegados, Catarsis, Pestilencia, Culto Al Odio etc., the band often speeds up and destroys everything with the pulverizing effects of the rolling mammoth riffs.  Catarsis and Pestilencia in particular are small jewels where the band is able to merge funeral doom, filthy sludge groove as well as death metal aggression  in barely 3 minutes. These killer tracks occupy the central part of the album, together with the super-tight aggression of Culto Al Odio and Seminal Inhumacion, where the minor tempo changes do not enlighten the relentless pressure induced by extremely heavy, magmatic riffs. This is pure South American version of Conan’s “caveman battle doom”! But in this “fast” and overly aggressive core of the album there are also “pills” of funeral doom (like Averno) of crushing impact but able to restore the somehow dark ethereal atmospheres of the occult, ritualistic onset of the album.

    In tracks Agnosis and Pestilencia the double vocals create a confused echo that makes the chanting even more painful and suffocating, but in Pestilencia the second singer, Carlos, is overlapping some extremely low growling thereby turning the chanting into frankly sepulchral.  Trance Mortuorio, the longest track of the album (6:29), cannot but close album Agnosis by means of a reprise of the funereal lithany that started the rituals. This dark ballad is majestic and highly atmospheric not only for the slowness of the reverbered riffs but also for the echoing double vocals which vary from Yob-like to ultra-funeral until everything dies out into pure silence.
    Stunning …

    Track list:
    2. Cegados
    3. Agnosis
    4. Catarsis
    5. Pestilencia
    6. Averno
    7. Culto al Odio
    8. Seminal Inhumación
    9. Trance Mortuorio

    You can listen to a track from Agnosis on the Bandcamp page devoted to the album HERE.
    Track Culto Al Odio and a raw live version of Ritualista can be appreciated on Youtube.
    HERE and HERE.

    Keep the Facebook page of the band and of Proyecto Sepulcro checked for updates.
    While waiting for getting hold of the new album via a solid agreement with a label, you can get hold of the previous, crushing album by Sangria, Renaces de la Miseria, which has been generously shared by the band for free download on Bandcamp HERE.

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Sangria @ Facebook
    Proyecto Sepulcro @ Facebook
    Proyecto Sepulcro @ Official Website

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    Thanks to guitarist Christer Cuñat Candela from Swedish doom/stoner band Doomdogs, who have previously been reviewed here on Doommantia, we get some news and their latest tunes! According to Christer, Doomdogs “crashed” last summer leaving him as the sole remaining member needing to rebuild the band.

    He has done so with a completely new outfit with the names of the new bassist, drummer and vocalist to be announced via the band’s website (HERE) in the next couple of weeks as Doomdogs are busy preparing a new full length as a reinvigorated doom crew.

    In the meantime the band has stayed busy recording a cover of the Black Sabbath’s classic N.I.B. for No More Tears: A Millennium Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne released July ’12 via Versailles Records which you can listen to below. A fitting and well done tribute from Doomdogs to a more than obvious influence on the band’s sound.

    Watch below:

    N.I.B. by Doomdogs

    Doomdogs also released Oceans of Despair for a split 7” with Maryland’s War Injun via Svart Records in 2013 and are now ready to wade further into the fuzzy world of doom and sludge with new members and a new album.

    Oceans of Despair is a doomy Sabbath-esque track (complete with Children of the Sea like riffage) which is never really bad thing though personally I’m looking forward to Doomdogs with a new vocalist as now former vocalist, Tomas “GG” Eriksson’s vocals don’t really quite do it for me drifting from near death metal growls which he does well to attempts at Dio-esque falsetto which I don’t think he does very well.

    With that said take a listen to Oceans of Despair below and click the bandcamp link to see the first two full lengths from Doomdogs as well.

    Oceans of Despair

    We should all look forward to new Doomdogs tracks in the coming days. I’m interested to see how they will sound in their new form but I think we can all rest assured it will be a doom, sludge and stoner rock fun filled experience. Thanks to Christer Cuñat Candela for sharing this with us and here are a couple of live performances of the above songs when Doomdogs opened for Candlemass in their bitter cold homeland of Sweden.

    NIB Live

    Oceans of Despair Live

    As well as the band’s website you can also look for news via their Facebook page (LINK BELOW)

    Words: Feind Gottes (editor - Thy Demons Be Scribblin)

    Doomdogs Website: HERE
    Doomdogs Facebook: Facebook
    Doomdogs Bandcamp: HERE
    Thy Demons Home: HERE

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    Yes it is true. Detroit’s psychedelic doomsters Acid Witch will bring their metal movie marijuana massacre meltdown to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival on Saturday, April 11 at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

    Roadburn Festival 2015 will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Get your tickets HERE.

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    Well I’ve put this one off for a little bit but I will do what I can to do this band justice. When I received the press release for Chilean band Demonauta as with any press release you never know if you’re about to hear something great or a real stinker so I was cautiously optimistic as I try to be. Then I hit play on the first tune that accompanied the release. Demonauta play fuzzed out stoner doom rock reminiscent of early Sabbath. This really isn’t a surprise as we all love innumerable bands doing the same thing no different than legendary Sleep.

    Then the vocals kick in. Lead vocalist/guitarist David Veliz Molina has an excellent voice complimenting the excellent fuzzy doom wonderfully. But I had to threaten to smack someone since as much as I really enjoyed Demonauta, David Veliz Molina is singing in Chilean Spanish, his native tongue but a language of which I don’t speak fluently only knowing a little Spanish which isn’t the quite the same. I kid but as someone who loves vocals & lyrics this is a big drawback for me.

    However, this doesn’t deter from the fact that Demonauta most definitely sound awesome like a Chilean Sleep or Sabbath and by the second or third track I didn’t even care that I had no idea what the songs were about because yes, they sound that good.

    The band’s newest release, their 2nd album, Caminado en la Luna (Walk on the Moon) along with their first, the aptly titled Vol 1, are available now on Demonauta’s bandcamp page HERE. The music is so good it will get you through even if you don’t speak Chilean Spanish like myself. Take a look at a performance/interview on Chilean television from earlier this year, the music should win you over as it did me.

    Follow the band on either of their Facebook pages, Demonauta Fuzz Rock HERE  or Demonauta - band HERE, to stay up to date with all their latest.

    Words: Feind Gottes (editor, Thy Demons Be Scribblin)

    Bandcamp: HERE
    Demonauta Fuzz FB page: HERE
    Demonauta FB page: HERE

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    Doomsters! Watch out because Bretus, the Italian sabbathian doom quartet from the deep south of Italy (Catanzaro), are about to release their new second, full-length album, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth".

    Back in 2013 their superb debut full-length album, In Onirica(HERE) consecrated Bretus among the best doom bands around.

    If you, doom fanatics, listen to the youtube teaser posted by the band on their page, you’ll realize that the Bretus lads are true sadists! Those shards of pure distilled creepy and pummeling doom are just mouthwatering ...

    BRETUS: "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" (trailer)

    As clearly stated by the title, the new album is a concept album based on H.P. Lovecraft. The album will be out in both vinyl and CD formats via BloodRock Records (Black Widow exclusive distributor). Check the band’s and the label’s pages for updates. The fine artwork adorning Bretus’ new album is by Iceland-based Irish artist in Sgraffito Art Illustrations (Ocean Chief, Procession, Lord Vicar and many more).

    Video: Bretus – The Curse of Innsmouth

    Article By Marilena Moroni

    Bretus @ Facebook
    Bloodrock Records Facebook
    Bloodrock Records | Official Website

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    If the funereal raw sounds heard in Sangria (here) exceed your limits, but you are one of those doom lovers who enjoy heaviness coupled with some atmospheres and you are also driven by curiosity about “exotic” scenes, like, for example, South American underground panorama, well, A Sad Bada is for you!

    Band A Sad Bada is part of the outstanding underground doom scene in Chile. Differently from Sangria, Bicefalo, Abismo (HERE), Infame, and the latest releases by Electrozombies, A Sad Bada succeed very well in conjugating the slow paced rhythms of doom and funeral doom with the dilated, ethereal and eerie atmospheres of post-metal with a smart touch of progressive metal technique.

    A Sad Bada band has been forging their style since 2008. After several changes, the present-day line-up of the band includes founders Gastón Cariola on guitars and Fernando Figueroa (from Ocultum) on guitars/vocals plus Roberto Toledo on bass and Alejandro Ossandon (previously in Abismo) very recently involved for the drums for replacing Raul Valenzuela. The present and past musicians are all experienced in consequence of their long militancy in various doom, black and avantgarde/post-black metal bands in the Chile underground scene. Experience in crafting heavy downtuned music and some fine taste may well explain the majesty and the elegance of the tracks making up the debut full-length album by A Sad Bada. The album and was released as cool digipack version during early 2014 via the Chilean label Australis Records and carries the pictorial title of White Rivers and Coldest Chains.

    But instead of showing pictures of imposing landscapes (like those gracing that amazing part of the southern hemisphere), the front cover of the album consists of a crude image of a (young) person on the verge of injecting a dose of heroine in his/her arm wrapped in chains. The tragic message of the photocopes well with the intensity and the despair seeping through the music contained in this powerful, beautiful album: five mournful heavy ballads (Rocio de Mayo, Hide and Grieve, The March of the Saddest Martyr, Quiet Rain and Silence Segregation, and Frustration in the Grey Streets of Resentment) which will make your mind plunge into a suffering darkness for over 48 minutes.

    In general A Sad Bada shape their dark ballads over a backbone made of solid, raw, slow and sludgy funeral doom riffage where Fernando’s harsh, hissing growls act either as scary death rattles or else as the sick whispers of a drug-addict lost into his poisonous chemical vortex. Fernando’s singing style may sometimes remind of bands like Weedeater, but the music behind has no trace of swampy groove. Yet A Sad Bada’s music is intensely melodic especially thanks to the highly atmospheric insertions alternating with the slow, painful funeral doomy base and imparting an overall doleful, desperate aura as well as a touch of epic feeling to the whole album. This is ideal for narrating something like a grievous story of struggle against depression, dependence and various sorrows of life, like those suggested by cover art and track titles.
    In spite of the rather consistent style characterizing the album, the ballads are not redundantly repetitive and exhibit a variable dynamics. These tracks are long, always exceeding 8 minutes and even over 10 minutes, but the leading melodies are smartly constructed by mixing styles and calibrating tempo changes, and never diluted into excessive drony feedback.

    Tracks may sometimes briefly start with the intense swish of falling rain (e.g. Quiet Rain and Silence Segregation) or the noises of a busy city (e.g. in the closing suite Frustration in the Grey Streets of Resentment) but soon guitars, bass, harsh vocals (sometimes doubled) and booming drums will take over for flooring the listener with loads of crushing, strongly downtuned doom tempered by the lamented chant of the lead guitar. The atmospheric, melodic addition in A Sad Bada’s style is sometimes typical post-metal, especially when the band adopts dissonance. However often the combination of styles and the technical ability of the musicians create a charming sound entering proggy territories. Slow, and occasionally ultra-slow, pace dominates but the band knows how to calibrate moderate accelerations thereby adding further hammering power to their sound. The third, central suite, The March of the Saddest Martyr, is slightly different from the rest. It is lead by a dynamic melody developing in a spiraled progression like an ouroboros and turning into a surge of slow, obsessive heaviness.

    The band’s sources of inspiration are clearly declared: Neurosis, Agalloch, Anathema, Mar de Grises and Dan Swäno. In general the rumbling sounds, the atmospheres and the solemnity of the composition often make A Sad Bada’s  music sound “oceanic”. So, beside the undoubtful funeral doom-death imprint reminding me of bands like Esoteric, Evoken or Mournful Congregation, I also hear some “echoes” of Ahab HERE.)........Well, you may try the experience A Sad Bada and make your own comparisons!

    Album White Rivers and Coldest Chains is available by the label Australis Records or else by contacting the friendly guys of the band directly via Facebook or the official webpage. There (as well as on youtube) you can also find links for listening to some of the tracks of the album in both studio and live versions. For the moment there is no Bandcamp page available. Keep the band’s FB page checked out for updates.
    Hopefully the band will also find soon a hook for further distributing the album more easily across Europe, North America and elsewhere. The band is currently doing much live activity in Chile as well as quite busy working on new music for upcoming releases, including a split. To be out soon for prolonging your pain ...

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Video: A Sad Bada – Rocío de Mayo

    Official Website
    Australis Records

    White Rivers and Coldest Chains - Track list:

    1. Rocio de Mayo (8:56)       
    2. Hide and Grieve  (11:13)       
    3. The March of the Saddest Martyr  (9:40)       
    4. Quiet Rain and Silence Segregation     (10:05)   
    5.  Frustration in the Grey Streets of Resentment (8:52)

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    Straight of London comes Mother Corona to make you bob your head in time with some sludge filled stoner jams. I came across this band out of the blue and knew within the first few seconds I was going to have to share it. They rock and as luck would have it they have a new album, Reburn, out that was only released earlier this month on October 6th via their label When Planets Collide. I haven’t even finished listening to the full album yet but it will rock and rip you to shreds until it ends so that you can start it all over again from what I can tell so far.

    A quick listen to their earlier work shows that any dabbling they had into psychedelia have been dropped as Reburn seems to be filled to the brim with downtuned sludgey stoner jams. They are well worth spending some time with and the full album is available via their bandcamp page.

    Here’s a sample of the awesome it contains with a studio video for Black Acid Morning. Don’t be fooled by the title this is one rockin’ stoner jam.

    Be sure to keep up with this London trio I’d say they’re going to be one to watch hopefully for a long time to come.

    Words: Feind Gottes (editor, Thy Demons Be Scribblin)


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    Please welcome Brian and a new feature for Doommantia called Doomology where we dig for those long-lost proto-doom gems. Hope you enjoy....

    The story of this band begins in a town called Edinburgh, in a little country named Scotland, in the year of 1965. The band, going by the name The Jury at this time, consisted of Jake Scott on the bass guitar, Bill Scott playing the keyboards, Jimmy Hush on drums, and Willie Finlayson handling the lead guitar and vocal duties. Vocalist Linnie Patterson, a well connected musician in the underground music scene at the time, would also board the train and share vocal duties with Finlayson. In the beginning they focused more on soul music and did mainly covers. But this would soon change when the band's manager showed them the music of The Doors, Love, and other such west coast groups. The band soon began writing their own material and building up quite a reputation as an aggressive live act; complete with the wild 60's psychedelic light shows typical of the day. A name change for the band was also in order and they officially became The Writing On The Wall. The band had built up enough of a reputation by 1968 and decided to relocate to London, where the music business was centred and where all the recording contracts were. The venue known as Middle Earth was the band's main stomping grounds. In fact they even lived underneath the stage where they'd frequently play and often slept in their van. It was these hardships which fueled the energy and intensity that went into their stage shows. John Peel was impressed enough with their set one night and he managed to get them into the BBC's recording studio for a live session.

    However the BBC audition panel were not as enthusiastic about the band and this unfortunately went nowhere. The band pressed on, continuing their impressive live performances and recording more live sessions and demos. In '69 original singer and guitarist, Willie Finlayson, had decided to call it quits and return to Scotland. Robert 'Smiggy' Smith was brought on as the new lead guitarist and Linnie would handle the vocals exclusively. With no recording contract still, the band's manager decided to form the Middle Earth record label and the Wall would be the first signing. With this the band was able to record their debut album and a single consisting of Child On A Crossing and Lucifer Corpus. The album, entitled The Power Of The Picts, was derived from the band being perceived as savage Celts (they were also frequently referred to as "the hicks from the sticks"). It managed to sell reasonably well in their native locale, but made little impact anywhere else. Although it received positive reviews and acclaim, it failed to capture the band's intensity and energy they brought with them on stage. However the underground press called them 'one really heavy very evil band' and Melody Maker commented that the band had "the reputation of being violent to frightening extremes." During one show they were billed to open for the band Wishbone Ash, but were reported to have bullied them out of a headlining slot and forced them to be the opener. This aggressive reputation seemed to have scared off many A&R men and did little to help the band progress further.

    Brian Waldman, the band's manager, was eventually approached by an American promoter who wanted to take the band to the States, but would only agree to this if the other bands on the Middle Earth label would be invited as well. Naturally the promoter refused which signalled the end of that prospect. This led to the band ousting Waldman and Jake Scott, the bassist, would take over as manager. The Wall would continue their excellent live set over the next couple of years but thanks to the threat of legal action by their former manager, were unable to secure any more recording deals. Finally sometime around '71/'72 the band found themselves signed to the Chrysalis Agency. Unfortunately though due to a shift in personnel, the label soon lost interest. At this point vocalist Linnie Patterson and guitarist Robert 'Smiggy' Smith decided to leave the group. Following this original vocalist and guitarist Willie Finlayson returned and the very first incarnation of the band had been reunited. The excellent live shows continued and a new spark of creativity found the band as they began to write and rehearse new material. They caught a break in 1972 when they were invited to play a large rock festival in Brazil. The band was very well received with one newspaper headline proclaiming them as "heroes of the people!" However by 1973 the band had still not advanced beyond a popular live act and were beginning to tire of their situation. At this time original keyboardist Bill Scott had decided to part ways and move to Australia. But the Wall decided to tough it out a bit longer and were given a chance to record another single and possibly a second album with Seven Sun Records. Unfortunately the recordings were severely sodomized by poor production and these sessions did next to nothing to boost any interest in the band. The coffin's final nail had been hammered in with the theft of some recording equipment during a power outage. By this time pub rock and glam were dominating and people were no longer interested in complex arrangements and songs over three minutes in length. Jimmy Hush and Jake Scott had decided to return to Edinburgh, while Finlayson joined the band Bees Make Honey. Although The Writing On The Wall never achieved the success they deserved, The Power Of The Picts album, as well as the handful of singles and demos recorded by the group, shows the promise they had.

    The Power Of The Picts is one of the darkest and heaviest pre Sabbath albums you're gonna find out there. I have a theory that any album cover with a human skull on it, is going to rock. And rock this one does. They waste no time in getting the ball rolling with the opener It Came On A Sunday. With it's dark and gloomy guitar and organ blaring they set the mood of things to come right away. You may love or hate the singing. For me it works and this band really benefits from the guy's voice. But I've heard others comment on it being too soulful for this type of music. It's perfectly fine for my ears so you be the judge. The organ also gives the album a very strong Doors flavor throughout, but not to the point of ripping them off. For me this is the what a love child between Black Sabbath and The Doors would sound like. The doomy and gloomy vibe continues as we progress onto Mrs. Cooper's Pie and Ladybird. The former transitions into the latter beautifully and this is for me where things really pick up. It only gets better from here though. The fourth track, Aries is straight out of a psych ward. Some may be turned off by the preachy, "I believe in God, do you believe in God!?!" lyrics in the song, but I see it more as a jittering psychopath sitting in his padded white cell trying to come to terms with a horrifying truth in the back of his mind, that we are all truly alone and no one is watching over us. Interpret it how you will though; it is still one of the heaviest songs on the album and one of the most demented things I've ever heard. This is an example of where the singer's voice really works in the album's favour. The band is kind enough to give us a short break from the darkness with the beginning of Bogeyman. It starts out as a weird upbeat, fun polka tune or something but this is only temporary. Soon the darkness has returned and we are being stalked by the Bogeyman to be taken away into the night. Pretty damn dark and doomy for 1969 if you ask me. And the foreboding terror only continues on. The sixth track signals the return of the same lunatic from Aries (he makes several appearances on this album) and the organ brings more full on gloom.

    There's also some nice bluesy, but still dark guitar to entertain our ears on this track. The next song is another highlight and one of my favourites. The dark vibe is again full force (it never seems to leave during the course of  listening to this). And the lyrics wring true; you will never see white horses again. Things definitely slow down a bit for song number 7, but they keep up the momentum. It's still got plenty of heavy guitar and depressing organ, plus some totally off the wall circus music in certain parts. And now we reach the grand finale, Virginia Waters. Our lunatic returns once more and rambles on about his lovely Virginia while evil guitar and organ notes blare in the background. This track really brings things to a close and finishes up a fantastic listening experience. The underground press called this band really heavy and very evil and after listening to their album you'll see why. The release that I have also features the single recorded with the album, as well as a second disc full of demos and unreleased tracks; mostly recorded 1972-1973. Now the second disc has a few good tunes on it, but there are also quite a few clunkers; as is to be expected on bonus tracks. Buffalo, Diane's Big Daddy, and a few others are pretty decent, but watch out for the bland pub rock tunes like Bellyful Of Rock and Man Of Renown, along with the annoying, overly Christian song Fishers Of Men. Now on the other hand though, the two songs from the single the band recorded with the album are fantastic and would be right at home with the other songs from the LP. They have the same dark, heavy feel and are exactly what bonus tracks should be. Bonus fun. Lucifer Corpus is especially good with the vocalist screaming at you that you're gonna die, along with everyone around you. If that's not doom I don't know what is.

    All in all this is fantastic find if you're looking for dark, heavy, proto-doom from this period of time. There are countless forgotten bands from the era to choose from, but these guys are one of the very best and certainly among the darkest and gloomiest. What's even more amazing is the fact that they came before the mighty Black Sabbath. Few bands from the 60's can contend with the heaviness these guys had. Download or YouTube the music if you have to, but if you dig what you hear then buy the album!

    Recommended tracks:

    -Tasker's Successor
    -Child On A Crossing (from their single)
    -Lucifer Corpus (from their single)

    Words: Brian

    Writing On The Wall Official Website

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  • 10/31/14--07:39: Godchilla – Cosmatos ...
  • Why is it when I hear some new good doom it never fails to come from a band that lives in some icy tundra isolated from the world where it’s damn freezing cold? I find it odd that when I hear doom I want to lay in the sun letting the rays beat down on me as the riffs beat my brain into submission when the people making the music seem to be somewhere the sun rarely shines.

    Such is the case with Godchilla who are one rare breed of band, not only do they hail from frigid Iceland where not even exploding volcanoes bring warmth but they also combine something with their doom I don’t think anyone has done before, surf music. Yes, that isn’t a misspelling Godchilla combine surf tunes with their doom leaving the listener to bang their head screaming WHY!?! and wondering how guys from Iceland got into surf music.

    As odd as that coupling seems to be don’t fret because somehow they make it work beautifully. One of my favorite metal writer’s “Grim” Kim Kelly described them as “gonzo surf sludge” which I can’t really argue with only being able to add that it is “awesome gonzo surf sludge”.

    I think I’ve already made it clear that I thoroughly enjoy Godchilla’s debut album Cosmatos so let me step you through it with a few quick thoughts. Cosmatos starts off with an instrumental track that sounds like it was plucked straight out of the bayou of Louisiana with the appropriate title of Back Home (In My Hut In The Swamp). I’ve heard less of a southern sound come from southern bands so already Godchilla had me intrigued.

    The southern swagger ends with a voice booming from your speakers, “Concentrate”, and I don’t mind if I do! Track two, Montag the Magnificent, takes the southern flair of the opener breaking it into a blistering sludge track that again sounds like it could have made by any of the best NOLA bands doing it today. Its downtuned and fuzzy and all around just rocks. I’m hooked and we’ve barely begun.

    The title track, Cosmatos, begins and you know you’re in for a fun filled ride into doom. The Sabbath-esque riff that begins the track blends one of those surfer tune like riffs in without overdoing it. It’s actually very subtle drifting back to the heavier Sabbath riff and back and forth as if warning you of what may lie ahead without beating you over the head with it which the sole lyric spells out for you very simply, “Out in the desert alone/not prepared for what’s to come.” Well played sirs, well played!

    Track four, Kickin’ It To The Curb, begins (you’re half way through) with a riff reminding me of Suicidal Tendencies as it adds a little funk, again hinting at some of the that surf influence they foretold of in Cosmatos. It’s still pretty subtle bordering on the funk side of things but it’s there mixed in perfectly. The upbeat tune leads into the doomy bleakness of Millheimafasi (roughly translated by Google translate as Between Home Phase). The lyrics follow the mood of the music beginning with the verse, “Now it’s time for us to go/descend into the moss and snow/you are me and I am you/when we join the earth anew” that’s right we’ll all be together in death becoming the dirt others walk on. As a writer I’m impressed with the expression of so much yet said so simply.
    The next track, Sörfað Fyrir Satan (Surfing For Satan), is described by the band as a surf song written by Satan himself. They begin it with an excerpt of the classic Mickey Rourke/Robert DeNiro film Angel Heart which happens to be one of my all time favorites. This is a full on surf song with some elements of doom and sludge added in but you should be picturing Satan hanging ten looking completely out of place on a surf board in the bright sunshine riding a giant wave. If you’re not into surf music you won’t like this instrumental track but I have to admit it’s so damn different that it’s fun to listen to.

    The second to last track, Hovering Castle, Purple Sky, starts with a trippy surfer-esque riff with almost an oriental feel. The surfer riff is slowed down so that it isn’t overbearing as the full on surfer assault of the previous track. Like previous doomier track, Cosmatos, the lyrics are brief and poignant closer to psychedelia than doom but no less awesome for that fact. Then we come to the epic eleven and a half minute closer, Close To The Beyond/Hypnopolis, Again this track like Cosmatos has very sparse lyrics though they are sung hauntingly as if coming from beyond the grave or at the very least beyond this world. Three short lines and the rest is just a trippy doom laden ride to the end. “Az Amal Hum/I am your son/desert sun” are the entirety of the lyrics repeated complimenting the epic doom track perfectly.

    I’ve listened to the entire album a few times now and I’m absolutely loving it. Admittedly I’m a sucker for good doom that isn’t the average fair. My favorite track is probably the album closer but there really isn’t a bad song in the mix on Cosmatos. On the ol’ 1-5 scale this one is a solid 4 for me. You should definitely check it out and I look forward to what the youngsters from Iceland do going forward. They could end up being something very special indeed.

    The Links:
    Bandcamp: HERE
    Facebook: HERE

    Words: Feind Gottes (editor, Thy Demons Be Scribblin)

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    I’ve had the opportunity to listen to Oakland, CA trio Sludgebucket’s latest release Cockroach Season a few times now as I’ve been working and writing away the last several afternoons and finally I find myself with a little bit of time to tell you about it.

    Don’t be fooled by the band’s name as the trio led by Kelly Ross Waldrip has much more to offer than sludge mixing numerous styles into their sound from folk to doom to psychedelic making their brand of sludge a little different than what you normally think of when seeing that word.

    When I see the word sludge I generally think of two things NOLA and a fuzzed out, down tuned sound, however, Sludgebucket doesn’t not hail from the south and puts their sludgy mix together a little differently. Cockroach Season begins with the instrumental title track which has some elements of folk to it making it a nice warm up for what is to come. Sludgebucket’s latest release Cockroach Season a few times now as I’ve been working and writing away the last several afternoons and finally I find myself with a little bit of time to tell you about it.

    Don’t be fooled by the band’s name as the trio led by Kelly Ross Waldrip has much more to offer than sludge mixing numerous styles into their sound from folk to doom to psychedelic making their brand of sludge a little different than what you normally think of when seeing that word.

    When I see the word sludge I generally think of two things NOLA and a fuzzed out, down tuned sound, however, Sludgebucket doesn’t not hail from the south and puts their sludgy mix together a little differently. Cockroach Season begins with the instrumental title track which has some elements of folk to it making it a nice warm up for what is to come.

    The second track, Vulture’s Feast, is a plodding number showing off some of the doom roots of the band. Waldrip’s voice starts off like a demon crying out from down below before breaking into a little cleaner style later in the track. It has the fuzziness that sludge is known for but is definitely different than anything you’ll hear coming out of classic NOLA sludge bands or sludge bands in general.
    Red Underneath keeps your ears interested with alternating blistering downtuned sludge with a simple plucked guitar chord.

    The contrast makes it an interesting listen also showing some of the band’s psychedelic influence as the keyboards kick in about half way through the track. An interesting listen for sure. The track fades out bringing in a spoken word type opening to East Wind Locust. The keyboard work is provided by Jim Juhn who also acted as engineer for the album. Dueling guitar and bass lines from guitarist Brad Reisinger and vocalist/bassist Waldrip keep the song interesting and fun to listen to.

    Penniless Blues contrary to its name isn’t really a blues song to my ear but is a nice interlude instrumental seguing into the final third of the album. 110 Degrees is a stoner type psychedelic song that makes you want to drop a tab or roll one up to bask in the sun with though hopefully it isn’t a 110 degrees when you do. I couldn’t help bobbing my head and smiling to this track, it just makes you feel good all over. I would say Unwind is the sludgiest tune on the album but it mixes in a psychedelia feel as well as a little stoner rock so that it isn’t a typical sludge song either. The track doesn’t set a blistering pace but methodically gets you shaking your head with a heavy feel though it isn’t the heaviest track in the world. That brings us to the album closer, Introspection, which is a quick bass solo by the backbone of Sludgebucket, Kelly Ross Waldrip. To be honest I’ve always been partial to good bass solos so all I can really say about the closer, Introspection, is Mr. Waldrip it was too short! Its excellent then it ends just leaving me hanging man!

    In the end the best thing I can say about Cockroach Season is that it could have used a couple more tracks but that really isn’t a bad thing. On a scale of 1-5 I’d put Cockroach Season in at a comfortable 3 to 3.5 and that isn’t bad at all. The band seems to have a solid lineup now with guitarist Brad Reisinger, drummer Marc Kaufman and vocalist/bassist/founder Kelly Waldrip who are currently working on new material as Cockroach Season is a bit of a mash up with the current band lineup and previous lineups. I have no doubt that what Sludgebucket puts out next, if nothing else, will be interesting to listen to. This isn’t typical sludge and that is a good thing.

    The Links:
    Sludgebucket Official Website : HERE
    Bandcamp : HERE
    Facebook : HERE
    Twitter: HERE

    Words: Feind Gottes (editor, Thy Demons Be Scribblin)

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    You know it's a beautiful Halloween day when you wake up with a slight buzzing in between your ears from a Pentagram gig the night before.  A stellar lineup saw all four bands at an engaging point in their careers, and though I've seen each of these bands before; twice in Pentagram and Kings Destroys' case, it was well worth it to have caught them this round.

    Kings Destroy opened, and having just caught them in August opening for Blackfinger, I had a basic idea of what to expect.  A right good doomy thrashing was enjoyed by all.  The vocalist has that demented Bobby Liebling thing going on in his voice, where Bobby breaks it out occasionally, Kings Destroy use it to their full advantage.  I am definitely waiting on the next record.

    Next, Bang! came back to JB's, albeit minus the back up singer and the old drummer.  This did quite a few things to their sound.  They concentrated a lot more on riffy material, possibly due to their odd opening slot.  The back up singer proved wholly unnecessary, Frank hitting all those notes just by himself.  The sound was rawer, more streamlined, and had a new energry.  The drummer in April had this terrible dry 80's sound to his kit for my money, but last night the guy was deep, 70's groove, tom tom tom tomming all over the place, fills galore, and frankly making me wish my CD's sounded like that.  He's brought an entire new sound to this band, and they sound great as this trio.  There were glorious, ancient coiled guitar cords everywhere, and damn did they sound perfect.

    Radio Moscow were my highlight for the evening.  I've only seen them once, a couple years ago opening for Graveyard somewhere in NYC.  Graveyard slayed their set, and Radio Moscow, with a VERY fresh rhythm section, didn't seem to gel.  Last night though, with a new drummer and bassist, they were shit hot white boy blues for what felt like 3 minutes after it ended.  I loved the inclusion of vocals, and the songs were catchy as all get out.  Very fast, blues rock riffs gave way to emotive, piercing, lightning quick solo sections, where the bassist really shone, keeping the riff together under all that extremely pleasurably as far as I'm concerned.  I'll have to pick up an album.  Can't believe I slept on this band!  Learn from this mistake.

     Ah, Bobby fucking Liebling and Pentagram.  There's nothing in this world quite like it.  From what I recall, a setlist out of order looked like this: review your choices, be forewarned, forever my queen, all your sins, relentless, evil seed, broken vows, vampyre love, the new track, a couple off Last Rites, and the Animals' cover of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood. 

    Something like that.  Bobby sounded alive and undead all at once.  These guys are firing on all cylinders.  The new drummer is perfect, and Victor and his nephew on bass are locked in.  The 70's stuff sounded better than the first Griffin reunion dates, though Matt Goldsborough still has that edge for me. 

    The 80's material was where it was proverbially at, unholy and catchy all at the same time, those are strong, American doom metal classics.  All Your Sins especially had me headbanging like a schoolgirl.

    Extra special thanks to Bobby for signing an autograph for me.  Wicked!  Great to shake his hand again.  Cheers as well to Paul Rote and friend, Pellet (again! thank you!), JJ over at the The Obelisk, and Frank/Bang! for the sage advice at the end of the night.  It was most useful.

    Treat or trick, play a lick, make it sick....

    Words: SabbathJeff

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    A Fire On The Sea. The evocative title and the glowing colour in the mysterious, ancient-looking cover art emanate an irresistible appeal and set the proper mood for enjoying the new album by the long-lived British doom act Unsilence. Over the many years of its existence, since 1993, Unsilence’s doom has always proven to be a powerful blend of heavy metal where riffs and chanting are allied for narrating the visionary, intimate and emotional poetry contained in the lyrics.

    In the imagery and in the themes of the band, there is no space for anything devilish or creepy, no pale drug-addicts dressed in black and violet cloaks rolling over mossy tombstones and no dragons or clanging swords populate the doom ballads of this band from Lancashire.

    Unsilence’s own doom is a unique blend of traditional doom à-la-Candlemass and epic, proggy heavy metal with a particular mood often bearing the dark or emotional flavor of traditional, (Celtic?) folk ballads.  Album A Fire On The Sea comes about five years after Unsilence’s long awaited debut ful-length album, Under A Torn Sky.

    That album was the fruit of the tormented, and often unlucky, story of the band and of a substantial sequence of fine Eps and demos (dating back from the early 90s to early 2000s) that the band started sharing via Bandcamp recently.

    As reported in my interview to band’s founder Kieron Tuohey (HERE), after starting as a doom-death band with growled vocals (like in the 1994 demo), Unsilence rapidly adopted clean and intensely melodic vocal style with the first singer Andrew Hodson (already in their 1996 demo). Hence back in the 90s Unsilence actively contributed to building up that intensely “introspective” stream of the British heavy doom scene together with like-minded Warning (then into doom/slow-core band 40 Watt Sun). Both bands were interconnected as members of both Unsilence and Warning also entered the melodic doom band The River. The line-up of Unsilence’s new album saw the core members Kieron Tuohey (guitar) and James Kilmurray (vocals/guitar) plus the periodical involvement of former drummer Jonathon Gibbs (also in The River) and the addition of bassist James Moffatt (also in The Human Condition).

    A Fire On The Sea was released by the independent Polish label Nine Records during July 2014. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Full Stack Studio, Great Harwood, Lancashire by Matt Richardson fronting the sludge metal band Bastard Of The Skies. The recording studio is popular among many UK doom bands and was an excellent choice for getting the desired levels of heaviness and depth of sound. The new album comprises seven tracks for over 45 minutes. Six out of seven songs last over 6 minutes but these numbers won’t mean much while you’ll find yourself spinning the album in a loop, captured by the strength of the riffs, the unique passionate melody and the haunting atmospheres in these incredibly rich and well-crafted ballads. The whole album relies on a smart dynamic songwriting where slower and faster, mid-tempo-paced parts continuously and smoothly alternate, and well-trained musicianship is combined with great inspiration.

     While promoting the upcoming album the band had chosen imposing A Thousand Seasons as a teaser track. This one is probably the most mournful song of the album, the only one dominated by a slow-paced rhythm and a markedly funereal mood. In the other long tracks the pace is generally faster. Frequent insertion of tight riff charges and the consequent periodical excursions into pure “f***ing” heavy epic metal to headbang to would probably relieve the tragic tension created by the leading doom tunes and James Kilmurray’s achingly passionate vocals. For example, the opening track The Doorway is no less than a killer slab of flamboyant heavy metal driven by a surprising combination of riffs and masterful interaction between the two guitar players. Breaking Away is another spectacular heavy doom ballad lead by a galloping rhythm and by a melody often reminding of traditional popular chants. Here and elsewhere in the album James’ particular voice, more powerful than ever before, is occasionally backed by Kieron’s in some short, charming choirs.

    The soft noise of the sea waves and the slowly growing sound of downtuned guitars introduce the title track, an emotional yet martial folkish doom ballad, where the contrast between the aggressive sound of guitars and drums and the searing melody in James’ chanting is quite sharp and haunting.  After the funeral mood of A Thousand Seasons, the track On Wild Fields (the longest one) is probably the most difficult one to pigeonhole for me as to the style. It’s a mid-tempo, highly melodic, epic metal ballad yet quite melancholic where vocals are varied: distant, reverbered choirs often interact with James’ singing. The shortest track, Old Tides (2:47) is a magnificent, delicate acoustic dark folk gem, an intimate interval before the final wave of solemn epic doomy riffs in Unchained.

    You may love their style or hate it, but Unsilence are unique and they are original. They crafted and moulded their style over almost two decades but they remained faithful to their “old school” roots, as their consistent production can testify.  Album A Fire On The Sea is surely the result of such development but, for me, it is primarily a magnificent slab of metal, one of the best and most original albums of this year.

    You can stream Unsilence’s new album on the band’s own Bandcamp page, where you can also get basically hold of all the previous releases.  But for supporting this great band and buying the digital or CD versions of the album you have to go to the label’s Bandcamp page.

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Official Website

    1. The Doorway (06:25)
    2. Breaking Away (06:55)
    3. A Fire on the Sea (07:02)
    4. A Thousand Seasons (06:49)
    5. On Wild Fields (08:26)
    6. Old Tides (02:50)
    7. Unchained (06:56)

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    The legendary Skepticism are preparing to record their new album, Ordeal. Instead of usual working methods, the band has chosen a different approach. The recording will happen in front of a live audience on January 24th at Klubi in Turku, Finland, and the event will also be captured on film.

    The concert is the first time any of the songs on Ordeal will be heard in public. According to Skepticism, the new songs are emotion-laden, crushing, and yet beautiful, more than ever before. Visitors to the historical recording event will also receive a repro of the band’s first 7” EP, originally released in 1992. This 7” will not be available to the public. Tickets for the concert can be purchased HERE.

    Ordeal will be released in May 2015. The album will be available as a CD/DVD bundle and also as a LP/DVD set. The album will be released by the Finnish label Svart Records, known for their championing of the local metal underground and high-quality vinyl reissues.

    Skepticism was formed in 1991. The band has been often stated as one of the pioneers and founding fathers of the funeral doom metal genre.Ordeal is their fifth full-length album.

    Official Website

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    Another new name surges forth from Arizona's flourishing sludge/doom scene in the form of GALE, as the outfit self-releases their debut recordings, Vol. 1.

    The moniker references the massive desert winds, a trait which the band attempts to exemplify with similarly devastating results through their exceptionally loud craft, the band even playing at full live volume at practice where the drums are amplified, as they also do live. Formed in the sunbaked soil of Phoenix, the very new quartet, GALE razes all in their path with a very promising, killer brew of modernized, organic sludge/doom metal. As per the band: "We play loud as fuck. This is rock n roll; it should be loud and dangerous."

    Burning with twenty-six minutes of material, GALE's debut recordings have been independently released by the band in recent days as Vol. 1, the record recorded in nearly one take by Jalipaz Nelson at Audioconfusion in Mesa, Arizona. While not a concept record, the album and its lyrical basis primarily deals with existentialism and the darkness that can be revealed upon self-analysis. With a brutalizing tone sure to intoxicate fans of statemates Godhunter, Sorxe, Methra and the like, the ultra-amplified output of GALE here alludes to the works of Yob, Melvins, Crowbar, Neurosis and Sleep, yet only in theory and not simply regurgitated. The band performs their engulfing craft with each member of the four-piece lineup contributing a different style of vocals in addition to their respective instruments.

    With the hopes all reaching as many diehard fans of doom, sludge and all open-minded forms of extreme music, GALE has self-released Vol 1. as a name-your-price digital download. Stream, purchase and spread the destruction from THIS LOCATION.

    GALE will forge a physical version of Vol. 1 in the pending months, and the band has already begun the planning stages on additional new material which will see release through several new works throughout 2015. Additionally, GALE will perform their next live set this Saturday, November 8th in Mesa, joining the massive lineup including Column III, Funerary, Godhunter, Today Is The Day and Eyehategod. Additional live incursions will be continually announced through the coming months.

    GALE Live:
    11/08/2014 Club Red Theaters - Mesa AZ w/ Eyehategod, Today Is The Day, Godhunter, Funerary, Column III

    For review copies of Vol.1I and coverage of GALE contact

    Official Website

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    Every now and again I search for new music just for the chance of hearing something I haven’t heard before. Sometimes this experiment is awful ending with a hurried press of the stop button (icon usually these days) but I can’t help it when I have a thirst for something new I have to try and quench it. In an attempt to play it safe I went straight to the bandcamp page of Profound Lore Records. They seem to always have impeccable taste when it comes to doom or doom-ish bands so I was fairly confident I could easily find something to appease my nagging need for something new, something doomy yet something unlike every other band out there. This is how I discovered Occultation.

    Silence In The Ancestral House was released by Profound Lore Records on October 14th and I find myself hard pressed to describe their sound adequately. The comparisons on their bandcamp page itself while accurate to a degree really tell you nothing of how they actually sound as I can’t think of a single band I can point to and say, “Occultation sounds like insert band name here.” The description from Profound Lore of “a wicked mix of classic Mercyful Fate, Death SS, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Cure.” tells you what? Yeah, basically nothing. What I can tell you is that Occultation play hauntingly creepy, eerie music that would fit perfectly into some John Carpenter horror film setting the mood for terrible things to unfold before your eyes. Silence In The Ancestral House is one you truly need to hear and judge for yourself as it mixes elements of black and doom metal into an end product that is as progressive as it is experimental. Also of note, it was produced, mixed and recorded by Converge’s Kurt Ballou who has come to be one of the premiere producers in all of metal. I’ve never been a fan of Converge, they’re just not my flavor, but I am a huge fan of Kurt Ballou in the production booth. Some producers have a way of bringing out the best sound a band has to offer and Ballou has proven to be one of those and this album is no exception.

    Aptly titled Intro begins with bells chiming in a mockery of a children’s nursery rhyme setting the eerie mood that Occultation maintains through the following eight tracks. The haunting vocals break in with “The Ancestral House is quiet…” and the foreboding eerie tone is set for all that is to come. Intro breaks right into a faster yet still haunting The First of the Last with the metal quotient turned up while maintaining the haunting tone started on the first track. I can’t help thinking of my favorite King Diamond album, Them, as Silence in the Ancestral House seems to weave its own horror story minus King Diamond’s high-shrieking falsetto. The vocals blend perfectly with the music as if being sung from beyond the grave beckoning you in further like sirens luring you onto the rocks. In this case you happily crash on the rocks begging only to be able to do it again.

    Laughter in the Halls of Madness sets out another deceivingly fast pace with VB’s haunting voice continuing to, all pun intended, drive you mad (all three band members use only their initials rather than names). Occultation sound familiar though it is impossible to pinpoint from exactly where as the entire thing is one creepy delight after another. They sound like a creepy metal soundtrack to a Munsters movie which is meant as a giant compliment. ‘Madness fades to All Hallows Fire which continues this multi-layered trip through the labyrinth of the apparently haunted Ancestral House. You can only smile that the “Silence” part of the title doesn’t come into play because this is just a pleasure to hear. Through the first four tracks it is deceptively heavy with so much going on musically that you not only want but need several listens to attempt taking it all in.

    The halfway point of the album, The Place Behind The Sky, comes in with a marching riff overlaid with a trippy guitar part that keeps your ears fully enthralled for more. The vocals fit perfectly in their dreamy “called out from beyond” style smartly set slightly back in the mix by producer guru Ballou to make them sound even more haunting which is reminiscent of what Tool does in mixing their albums. The vocals seem to flow out of the music rather than being front and center with the music merely a backdrop to them. It doesn’t fit every bands’ style but is absolutely perfect for Occultation as it is for Tool.

    The Dream Tide begins making you think it’s going to be a scorching rocker which it is in its way. The rhythm section marches on with the vocal cadence following suit. This may just be the highlight song of the album serving its purpose well as it only makes you want to hear more. It has a sing along feel and I can’t help but bob my head to the rhythm as I’m totally sold on the album’s awesomeness at this point and just enjoying myself. The Dream Tide breaks on the shore of the short interlude of Intermission which connects back to Intro, feeling like a creepy yet beautiful version of a children’s nursery rhyme.

    The final two tracks bring the album to a close in epic doom style. Forever Hereafter mixes some familiar Black Sabbath riffage in without ripping off the heavy metal forefathers. The vocals are pushed a little forward in the mix for a slightly more powerful edge though still sounding like a spirit calling out to you from the back of the graveyard or “to the great beyond” as the lyrics so nicely suggest. Forever Hereafter takes you on a sonic journey that you don’t want to end though it eventually fades to the closing epic title track, Silence In The Ancestral House. A soft guitar riff accompanies an almost acapella vocal line serving as the intro before the drums pound in and the guitars burst forth with fervor. The song speeds up and slows down at will keeping it interesting to the bitter end.

     Silence In The Ancestral House seems like a slow burn on the first listen but with repeated spins you start to understand just how heavy it is similar to the aforementioned Tool. Occultation may sound nothing like Tool but with Ballou behind the boards he definitely mixed it like a Tool album. Every instrument sounds crisp and sharp and the vocals hang back just enough in the mix to compliment and give the impression they are truly being called out from the back of the graveyard. My first impression of the album was a subtle 3.5 out of five but repeated listens crank it up to easily a 4 and perhaps higher after yet a few more spins. It is definitely one you can say has no equal out there. Occultation don’t sound like any other band I can think of so on the originality front Silence in the Ancestral House screams out a pure 5.

    Words: Feind Gottes (editor, Thy Demons Be Scribblin)

    Bandcamp: HERE
    Facebook: HERE
    ReverbNation: HERE

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  • 11/06/14--07:40: Doomology Vol. 2 - Pax ...
  • Pax (which is the Latin word for peace and was apparently chosen because it was easy to remember and phonetically simple) was formed in 1970 by guitarist Enrique “Pico” Ego Aguirre. Enrique’s previous band, Los Shain’s, had just released their final album, Los Nuevos Shain’s. It featured covers by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Blind Faith, Cream, and even a very early cover of Black Sabbath’s Wicked World.

    Influenced by many of the heavy hitting guitarists of the day such as Blackmore, Beck, Page, Hendrix, Clapton, Iommi, and Carlos Santana, Enrique wanted to explore much heavier musical directions than he had been doing with Los Shain’s. He recruited the charismatic Miguel Fiores to handle the percussion side of things, Mark Aguilar, a multi-instrumentalist originally from the US, for bass and acoustic guitar playing and a bit of the piano, and Jaime “Pacho” Orue Moreno, brother of the famous Peruvian pop singer Gustavo “Hit” Moreno, as the group’s lead vocalist.

    Aguirre himself would perform rhythm, lead, and additional acoustic guitar playing for the group. Gerardo Manuel Rojas, who sang in Los Shains, would also make a guest appearance on the song Mr. Skin, which was recorded as a single with the track Exorcism. This line-up of the band performed between 1970 and 1972 and released only one album; as well as three 45’s. Their sole LP, May God And Your Will Land You And Your Soul Miles Away From Evil, was released in October of 1970 and contained eight tracks ranging from Sabbath inspired doom to Jimi Hendrix styled psych to mellow Zeppelin-like acoustic tunes. The band also recorded a handful singles to accompany the LP. These can be found as bonus tracks if you purchase the CD reissue of MGAYWLYAYSMAFE (lol). They all also appear on the compilation album, Dark Rose. However the compilation CD is missing three of the tracks from the original record so you’d be better off trying to track down the release containing the full album with the seven bonus tracks included.

    After Peru experienced a military coup in 1968, Pax and other Peruvian rock bands found it very difficult to record or perform as the new dictatorship had basically abolished rock music in the country. The cover for their record was in fact made to contain a subliminal message against this corrupt government. But thanks to the difficulties this caused for the band, Pax decided to disband in 1975. However this was only temporary as Enrique would revive the band with different members in the 1980’s and once again in the 00’s. The focus remained the same however; to keep heavy metal alive and flowing in Peru.

    Although not quite a masterpiece, Pax’s one and only album is still an entertaining slice of 70’s stoner rock fun. The opener is one of the highlights from the album and gets things started very nicely. It’s also one the heaviest tunes found on the disc. Following this things start to mellow out for a while; a bit too much for me in all honesty. As fun and as catchy as Rock An’ Ball and Green Paper are, they just don’t hit hard enough. Especially when paired against such a strong first track. Things pick up again for Sittin’ On My Head though. It has some fun Hendrix-y guitar and is a good jam overall. But it still doesn't quite pack the same punch the first song has. Next up we have Deep Death. Starts out as a pretty mellow, psychedelic jam, but soon unfolds into another one of the heavier songs on the album (with a title like Deep Death there’d be no excuse not to go all out with the heaviness for this one). It isn't overly destructive the entire time, but there are parts that are pure doom all the way. For Cecilia slows things down once again unfortunately. And once again the song isn't a total train-wreck but there is a definite longing for the Iommi worship found on A Storyless Junkie (the first track) or Deep Death.

    Thankfully it returns with a god damn vengeance for song number 7. Don’t be turned off by the title, Pig Pen Boogie is easily the heaviest and most memorable song found on this record. For this track turning the volume up past 11 is a must and it alone makes the album worth your hard earned cash. It even has some cowbell in it and that’s fucking metal and a half. Finally to close the album we have a short, goofy, joke-type song thrown in just for good measure. It starts out fun and upbeat, but ends with some unsettling, totally off the wall, maniacal doll cackling. Interesting to say the least. Overall this album is quite a good listen and although fairly mellow at times (not necessarily a bad thing) there are enough moments of heaviness sprinkled throughout to keep the momentum going. Now if you’re fortunate enough to get your hands on the bonus tracks they’re also quite worthwhile. Firefly will probably have the most appeal, but all seven have merits. There are a couple good covers of Smoke On The Water and Radar Love and Exorcism is definitely very fun and groovy. Another interesting tidbit is apparently Dark Rose was the first recorded funk song to come from Peru.

    Along with the Tarkus, these guys were easily among the heaviest groups Peru had to offer in the 70’s. No they didn't choose to demolish everything in sight with each song, but when they wanted to they sure as shit did. They’re influence is still felt in Peru and if you’re a fan of stoned out, heavy rock from the 70’s then do not pass this band by.

    Recommended tracks:
    -A Storyless Junkie
    -Deep Death
    -Pig Pen Boogie
    -Firefly (bonus track)

    Words: Brian

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    DOOMRAISER are proud to announce that, over with the recordings and finishing on the new album, mixing & mastering will be handled by his Majesty of the Low Frequencies BILLY ANDERSON (Neurosis, Cathedral, Orange Goblin, Sleep, Mr. Bungle, Melvins, Brutal Truth, among others).

    More news on the album will be announced soon.

    Follow the DOOM:
    Official Website

    Posted By Ed and Savannah

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