Purpura Tenebras is a rather special experience. This is the first demo from this band, it's actually just one guy, that comes from Chile. The sound is reminiscent of Electric Wizard on "Withchult Today" or "Black Masses" but it doesn't ACTUALLY sound like EW, it's more that I get similar vibes? I have a hard time putting my finger on it but I don't know what else to compare it to. I like it a lot though!
The demo has a nice production, not clean but not really dirty either, it has a kind of psychedelic feel thanks to making good use of various effects on vocals and guitar. The vocals are good clean vocals but the use of effects that I mentioned really bring them to life.
The only thing that bothers me are the drums, they are effective and there some unexpected rhythm-patterns and fills here and there but they sound sort of like a drum-machine.
I don't know if this is the case or not but I, personally, dislike the use of drum-machines or even digital drum-sets. That's just a personal preference but it really bothers me quite a bit.
I got this free from bandcamp and I really recommend this demo. Despite the sound of the drums I listen to this demo a lot and it really is a great demo, Purpura Tenebras showcase a sound that is unique in some ways and that is pretty rare. Also, the last time I spoke to they guy he said he was working on an album. Really looking forward to that!
Deep are from Finland and on this EP they deliver four tracks of solid doom. Some nice melodies, a bunch of heavy riffs and strong clean vocals are what you can expect. It's nothing groundbreaking but it's not generic and boring either.
Musically we are talking epic doom with gloomy and bitter rather than mournful lyrics. The tempo is slow but it's not extremely slow and all the songs have a nice flow to them. It´s tempting to compare Deep to Reverend Bizarre but while they do sound alike I don't think it's a fair comparison, Deep play them same kind of epic doom but in a slightly different way. The main difference is that Deep have a lot more tempo in their riffs whereas the Reverend spend more time on making each note as heavy as possible even if they only use 6 of them in one song... I like Reverend Bizarre a lot by the way.
The production and mix is very good and the guitars have a rather dry sound that lets the bass fill out the riffs nicely. Over the riffs and melodies the vocals soar clean and melancholic, they are really very good. On "All Shall Die" there are some back-up vocals that join with the lead singer to form a choir of the damned, it sounds great and makes the track stand out. Another high point is the drumming, the drummer keeps things interesting but without stealing attention from the guitars. I especially like the drumming on "Resurrection".
Like I said this is a really solid slab of doom with lots of strong points. Nothing innovative but who needs that when sticking to your guns works this well? I really like these songs and there are more in the works. This EP is well worth checking out on their bandcamp where you can download it but I recommend you write them and see if there are any more CD's left. I got lucky but they might be running out.
1969 is when the story of Josefus begins. Houston, Texas being the where. The band was formed out of the ashes of the group, United Gas by vocalist Pete Bailey, drummer Doug Tull, guitarist Dave Mitchell, and bassist Ray Turner. They started off playing for free in parks which gained them much popularity. After only a few months producer Jim Musil expressed interest in recording an album with the band; however he demanded they change their name to Come, which they hesitantly did for the recording opportunity. The band travelled to Phoenix and recorded the album in December of 1969 but it was unfortunately shelved for the time being (it was later released as Get Off My Case in the early nineties). This prompted the group to return to Houston and become Josefus once more. As things with Musil failed to go anywhere, the band was forced to look elsewhere for funding and any more recording opportunities. But thanks to the help of family members, Josefus was able to continue. Doug Tull’s father and father-in-law were able to put money up for recording another album, and Ray Turner’s dad created the Hookah label to release it. By March of 1970 they were back in Phoenix for their second attempt at recording. Over the course of eight hours they had recorded Dead Man, which featured most of the songs recorded on the initial album. 3000 copies were pressed by Hookah and were distributed throughout Texas where the LP sold reasonably well. They continued performing many shows following this, still mostly for free, and opened for many big name bands who happened to be playing in the area. Eventually they caught the eye of Mainstream Records, who signed Josefus to record another album. The band went to Miami to record this time with producer Bob Shad. Unfortunately though, thanks to pressure from the label, they were forced to hastily write and record the songs within a two week time frame. Unlike the tracks from Dead Man, which the band had been performing and perfecting constantly before recording the album, these songs were all new and not as rehearsed and were subsequently rushed onto tape. As a result the band was not pleased with the album and it was not as well received. Tensions were also growing within the band.
According to Dave Mitchell, Doug Tull, seemed to care more about the business side of things and less about the music and became somewhat of a dictator amongst the group. Due to this friction, Josefus decided to split in December of 1970. Pete Bailey and Ray Turner began playing with a group called Stone Axe (who only released a lone single, but it is fantastic and absolutely recommended as well) and Doug Tull would join the band Christopher to utilize his percussion skills. However in 1978 the band attempted a reunion with all the original members other than Tull who was replaced by Stone Axe drummer, Jerry Ontiberoz. Unfortunately the reunion only lasted about a year or so as the disco infection had already spread throughout the country and made success for a band like Josefus more than difficult to obtain. The band has reunited several times since though, and has released many live recordings, re-recorded versions of old material, and new material; along with the 1993 archival release of the band’s first album as mentioned earlier. Son Of Dead Man was released in 1990 and features ten newly recorded songs that had originally been written in the 70’s, plus a cover of The Zombies’ She’s Not There. Following this Dead Man Alive was released which contains recordings from the band that would become Josefus, United Gas. It also contains several tracks recorded by the band during their heyday, as well as some songs recorded during the 1978-1979 reunion. Other releases include Not Dead Yet, which is comprised of more live material from ‘78-’79, the self explanatory album Halloween 2004 Live, and an EP (I think) from 2013 entitled Black And White. Currently the only member still regularly playing music is Ray Turner who is involved with a soul band in Houston. Dave Mitchell is currently employed as a computer programmer and Pete Bailey still occasionally plays music when he’s not pursuing his favourite pastime, fishing. He has also written a book called Josefus: The Inside Stories. And sadly Doug Tull reportedly committed suicide in his prison cell after being arrested for speeding in 1990.
Dead Man (1970) - Josefus’ Dead Man is another absolutely essential gem of proto-doom rock that more than keeps up with the bigger acts of the day. Side one contains the majority of the tracks, with the second side being reserved for the band’s magnum opus song, Dead Man; along with a quick, but nice little ditty entitled Situation. And darkness abounds all throughout this record. Crazy Man, a groovy Zeppelin-like rocker, starts us off and from there we’re propelled into the cosmos of a Texas fuzz trip of doomadelic proportions. I don’t even really know what that last sentence means, but I do know that the second and third tracks kick things way into the next gear. I Need A Woman shows that this band isn't planning on playing nicely with it’s aggressive and macho fuzz riffing. They then present to us their version of Gimme Shelter (spelled Gimmie on the sleeve) and give it some far out, new spices to create something to rival the Stones’ classic.
The last two songs on the first side continue the groovy vibe and do many pleasant things to the head as well. However once you flip the record over (or wait several seconds if listening to a CD) you’ll realize it’s soon time to die. You’ll have just under two minutes before the album’s main attraction kicks in. The title track is 17 minutes of pure doom and gloom and a relentless barrage of stoned to high heaven jamming. This song is where this album and this band gets their reputation from and is worth the admission price alone. “Josefus...A strong group...A heavy sound...Emitting from the darkness of obscurity, bursting forth with the drive and impact of a celestial happening...Josefus come alive with “Dead Man” making this album a genesis of sound...One you’ll never forget.” That is what’s written on the back of the record sleeve and it says it all. This record is an absolute must-have for fans of this type of music.....10/10
Josefus (1970) - Dead Man is tough act to follow. And that’s why this album suffers and just does not leave the same lasting impression as its predecessor. However don’t pass this one up because it is still a worthy record....just not compared to their first. The first half is full of nice, bluesy jams and all the songs have that awesome Josefus feel. They just don’t have the same power or energy this time around it seems. And although the quality of the tracks remains consistently high for the entire first side, nothing really stands out or remains extremely memorable after it’s over. Side two shakes things up a bit for better and for worse. Jimmy, Jimmy, starts it off and at first glance seems like a goofy, throwaway song and sounds fairly out of place. But when you pay attention to the lyrics you’ll see that they’re singing about a pretty dark and disturbing subject.
This completely changed my opinion of the song and I now consider it a highlight of the album thanks to the lyrical content. Following this they return to some standard, but still highly enjoyable heavy blues jams, which entertain but don’t stick with you once again; except for I Saw A Killin’ which is pretty menacing and fuzzed up. Unfortunately the final track is just not my cup of tea though. I guess if soft country rock is your thing you’ll probably dig it, but it definitely doesn’t float my boat. They’ve certainly mellowed out a bit on this one and the songs aren’t as memorable, but in the end it is still a damn fine listen and shouldn’t be missed......8/10
This is a band that gets mentioned a lot when discussing these proto-doom gems and for good reason. Dead Man is a must-listen and the following album, while not quite as fantastic, is worthwhile as well. This band also thankfully has a lot of unreleased recordings and live material to check out which is a nice change considering all the forgotten, obscure bands out there that only have one or two albums of material to listen to. So waste no more time and see what else Texas has to offer other than huge belt buckles and chainsaw massacres- Dark, heavy, bluesy, doomy, psych going under the moniker Josefus.
-I Need A Woman (Dead Man) -Gimmie Shelter (Dead Man) -Proposition (Dead Man) -Situation (Dead Man) -Dead Man (Dead Man) -Jimmy, Jimmy (Josefus) -I Saw A Killin’ (Josefus)
Well Axis/Orbit are a 3 piece outta beautiful Long Island . These fellas have put forth a three song EP that took me for some unexpected turns while I listened. These gents play spaced out stoner tunes with a sprinkle of prog that any one who regularly loads their bong, vapo, or pipe will ultimately enjoy having these fellas serenade the rituals of getting high.
This EP starts with the track “Hazy”, slowly building up until Billy Fridrich(guitars,vox) kicks distortion into gear. The name “Hazy” definitely fits the vibe of this tune as I instantly had flashbacks to my late teens where i’m in a smoke filled basement/jam room full of people getting into ‘er. Damn those were some great times. As I continued to listen to this EP I noticed that someone seemed to be playing around with the faders and the l/r mixes on the guitars. Things would pan hard then slide back to the center. At first I put I thought it was due to the amount of ol’ Mr. Jim Beam I’d been enjoying.
So I set my glass down. But after rewinding a few dozen times realized it was the mix. Damn, was this fuckin great I thought. My cats who at first had left the room were now sitting in front of the speakers eyes closed enjoying every minute of this EP. I did also notice the snare cut thru just a bit too much sometimes but thats minimal. The fuzzed out bass guits of Lee Greenman keeps Riot Canal rolling along until the guitars scream back in with another lightning solo. Talk about laying it down. Mike “Magoo”Margulis keeps a laid back beat at times but knows when to turn it up and fucking light the lamp. The bottom line here is that Axis/Orbit keep it groovy and mellow yet know when to take the safety off and kick it hard. Enjoy.
Some time ago Crawl had enjoyed themselves while infecting you with their beloved “destructo-sludge/drone” style, for example in their debut demo or in the super-heavy split with Black Tar Prophet back in 2012. Well, Crawl, our three American healthy-looking metallers from the deep South (Atlanta, Georgia), did not waste much time inbetween the intense live activity (still ongoing) with cool bands both from Atlanta and elsewhere, e.g. Sons of Tonatiuh, Order of the Owl, Demonaut, Fistula, US Christmas, Lazer/Wulf and Generation of Vipers, Black Tusk, etc. The trio, i.e. Eric Crowe on guitars and vocals, Tommy Butler on drums and, new entry, Patrick Lowe on bass, came back into action soon with their debut full-length album, Old Wood & Broken Dreams, out during Fall 2014. The album includes 6 tracks for over 40 intensive minutes.
Crawl will again entertain you with loads of thick, corrosive sludge but this time dripping with even more blazing hot groove making you immediately grab an ice-cold beer can first for refreshing your brow and neck and then for joining the party …. So, yes, Crawl built their debut full-length album on a most classic backbone of genuine, filthy, swampy sludge metal badassery. However the band did not slavishly stick to that reference genre but created an original work of great impact by means of some contamination and even experimentation without, however, straying too much from their true love in music.
What this true love is for Crawl is immediately clear as from the shortish instrumental intro Crack Tea, a straightforward, catchy fuzz-laden welcome to the concise but finger-licking juicy Don’t Kid Me. This track is a glorious ode to the most infectious and sweaty southern sludge metal straight from the lagoon in the name of Buzzov*en, Weedeater, Iron Monkey, Eyehategod, Crowbar, Wo-Fat, etc. Here as well in the rest of the album saturated buzzy sounds, coarsely distorted mammoth riffs, pounding rhythms and laid-back yet ferociously sick vocals, all remind of the “southern-fried doom”, of sludge metal seasoned in oak barrels, of the rebellious old-school hardcore spirit which make the musical background of all band members. This is especially true for generously bearded guitarist/vocalist Eric Crowe, whose CV lists bands like Hog Mountin, Molehill, Social Infestation, just to mention some ….
Probably the dilated, almost 12 minutes-long, instrumental piece Pildust is the way for reminding the affection of the band also to drony sounds (like in Fulci, another distinguished affiliation on Eric Crowe’s resumé). Pildust is driven by a slowly evolving desert rock melody developing in a cyclic way for several minutes and thus turning into a pleasantly hypnotic refrain. A sense of void and immensity is evoked as soon as the sounds basically die away into silence and then progressively, and hypnotically, grow back in intensity as a dull, monotonic, if not funereal, thumping sound. How refreshing is, therefore, the rapid escape into the tight riffing of a steaming hot bluesy groove about halfway through the piece! And that brief but memorable, deep guitar howl like in sabbathian Sabbra Cadabra! Then, like a dense slimy brine the funereal psychedelic rhythm will swallow the groove till the end. But maximum groove and sickness are going to reign back again thanks to a killer cover of Buzzov*en’s track Useless. There Eric’s vocals will vomit nihilism and devastation and will rip your gutter while guitars and drums grow to explode in majestic ultra-dense flow of roars and feedback.
Nigredo is another piece exceeding 12 minutes length where the Crawl guys will blend different moods radically. The very first notes of Nigredo are pure vitamines for fuzz-lovers. The trio like to enrich their sludgey sound with a high-tension, dynamic, when not convoluted lead. In Nigredo the extremely coarse sound of the mid-tempo churning riffs and Eric Crowe’s raucous barking are remarkably contrasting with the rather clean, booming sound of Tommy Butler’s agile drumming. The leading melody is quite simple and aggressive, and duly sinister in its mild dissonance. The sticky, toxic viscosity of this relentless music is claustrophobic and quickly burning out your oxygen, and Crowe’s guttural roars become like your suffocated seek for air. So the evolution of the rhythm in the second half of this long track comes almost as a surprise, and a mouthful of fresh air. Almost … The sudden interruption of the galloping rhythm is like a precipitous pressure drop into a dark, numb emptiness where slow vibrations of the chords and Eric’s clean vocals (oh, how cool!) combine into a mournful, minimalistic chant of meditative charm in the vein of the latest Om. Sequences of delicate, almost acoustic touches over the fret board are actually the trick for revitalizing the initial beat and gradually bringing back the tight and coarsely fuzzy riffing, this time contaminated by spacey psychedelic effects.
The album is closed by the gloomy track 3 AM and a Loaded Gun, rather short (less than 6 minutes) but a hymn to total desperation of rare intensity. This track is probably the most grievous one of the whole album, and drenched with great, distilled destructo-sludge introduced by bleak mixture of drony, industrial-like noise with warped vocal samples. Eric’s voice too is deformed into tortured gurgles and moans that seem to emerge with extreme effort from the leading, mammoth-paced death march, the last, slow, dull, implacable beat you’ll hear …
Crawl’s album Old Wood & Broken Dreams is available via Bandcamp, together with the rest of the band’s production, in multiple high-quality formats and on i-Tunes. There is cool merch also available via the Stone Groove Records store.
However I hope some solidly material version, i.e., in good ol’ thick, pitch black, heavyweight vinyl, of this first powerful full-length album will hopefully be available soon as well.
Words: Marilena Moroni
1. Crack Tea (01:36)
2. Don't Kid Me (04:44)
3. Pildust (11:33)
4. Useless [Buzzov*en cover] (04:45)
5. Nigredo (12:35)
6. 3 AM and a Loaded Gun (05:57)
Here is a news which will please the addicts of slow, dark sounds and, of course, the fans of Italian-styled, creepy and gothic-flavoured doom/dark music. The kings of cemeterial keyboard-driven retro horror/dark doom Abysmal Grief will soon be back from their baroque graves for entertaining you with a brand new album, a 12" split with Runes Order. Abysmal Grief are well known to Doommantia readers (see all reviews and interviews here).
As to the other half of the split, Runes Order is a long-lived Italian act started by Claudio Dondo back in 1988 and involving different guest musicians in each release. Music-wise the Runes Order project devoted to a decadent and contaminated dark ambient genre which started from neofolk, industrial sounds and progressively drifted towards retro electronics, acid and cosmic psychedelia or krautrock à-la-Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze, horror film soundtracks, prog, metal, etc.
The Abysmal Grief/Runes Order split LP is due out via label Italian Doom Metal Records on April 13th 2015. The bleak and decadent mood of the release is masterfully expressed by the haunting, unsettling vintage photos of the cover art. On the split LP the two bands will express their own macabre hommage to darkness, esoterism, pessimism and death cult (piece Hymn Of The Afterlife by Abysmal Grief) or else blasphemy and lust (piece Snuff The Nun by Runes Order). The LP will be released in 500 copies, 200 in grey vinyl and 300 in black vinyl. A strictly limited number of copies will come with a numbered certificate handsigned by both bands.
You can read more details and get further updates about the release by visiting the bands’ webpages and especially via the Italian Doom Metal webzine.
Some good news from the British Midland and much deserved revived attention for Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom, a cool and deeply underground band keeping the flag of British Doom flying in their peculiar and original way in spite of some life issues. Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom are part of King Penda Productions, underground label specialized in spreading “heathen escapism” since 2003 via folk, doom, ambient and pagan metal bands “from the heart of England”. The label recently announced that a deal was struck with label Caligari Records to release the last, sold-out Bretwaldas’ 2010 album Seven Bloodied Ramparts in the “hardworking label's exclusive format - cassette!”
In the photo you can admire the coolness of the blood-red cassette shell “cased in hillfort green”. The tape cassette is also endowed with the necessary three panel fold out J-card with all lyrics. The reissue is done as limited edition. Did you miss Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom before? Well, that’s the moment for checking them out!
In case you want to refresh memory, you can read a few words about Bretwaldas’ discography here and a long, pleasant interview with the two doom warriors behind the band here.
Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom play in a particular, unorthodox style self-defined as “English Heathen Blackened-Doom-Crust-Metal”. Years ago legendary blogger Renrats had chiselled a perfect description of this band: “ They play a really dirty kind of doom that sounds like Motörhead and Venom mixed with Saint Vitus and a touch of Hellhammer thrown in for good measure. It is truly unlike anything I've ever heard before or since.” Some reviewers had compared Breatwaldas to a “blend of Sabbathian tunes and Joy Division from the Unknown Pleasures debut LP”.
So check out the webpages of King Penda Productions and Caligari Records for the cool limited edition tape reissue of Seven Bloodied Ramparts (see links below). But you may also check out the label pages for the all the other Bretwaldas’ albums which may be either still available or sold out in their solid versions but are accessible in full via Bandcamp. And, of course you can also appreciate the other bands of the King Penda’s roster.
Words: Marilena Moroni
Find the blood-red tape - via King Penda Productions HERE and via Caligari Records HERE
Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom @ Bandcamp: HERE Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom @ official webpage: HERE Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom @ Facebook: HERE
OK, the time has come. Heavy rock addicts, be ready because your upcoming, chilly early spring nights and weeks till the end of March 2015 will get boiling hot thanks to invaders from Germany and Russia! Yep, this is the kind of invasion we dig most: an alliance of heavy stoner and fuzz psych rockers, and specifically those belonging to Samavayo and The Grand Astoria! After heating up the engine during the short but successful compact Euro tour last late December-early January, The Grand Astoria are ready for giving gas and starting the bigger tour across Europe that had been announced some time ago. Kamille Sharapodinov and his mates will be “comrades-at-arms” with the long-lived Berlin-based heavy kraut/stoner rock band Samavayo for a long tour in central/southern Europe.
As reported in the bands’ pages, the two bands will hit the road together on 27th of February 2015: “2 bands, 4 countries and 22 gigs of hard rocking and dizzy stoner blitzkrieg”.
The tour will end on the 28th of March 2015. You can check the dates, locations in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria and any update (including local bands for support) in the tour poster as well as on the bands’ webpages.
There are always good “excuses” to cool bands for touring around and spreading their balming rock vibes. The Grand Astoria are a tireless forge of eclectic psych rock vibes (see HERE).
Samavayo have been crafting an attractive blend of heavy stoner, krautrock and warm retro hard rock vibes since year 2000 and in recent times they released three albums in a row, between 2010 and 2012: One Million Things, Cosmic Knockout and Soul Invictus. This time the “excuse” for the tour is the release of the split 10” LP of Samavayo and The Grand Astoria. The new, split LP is ready for purchase right now via the German label Setalight Records and will, of course, be available at the merch stalls of the bands during the tour. So you can get the stuff, this new LP and the other albums too, directly from the rockers’ hands.
“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome”............Isaac Asimov
Just a quick but very important reminder that the Ed Barnard Fund-raiser will be coming to a close soon. Thanks from the bottom of our hearts to everyone that donated. It hasn't been the success that we hoped for, falling way short of our goals but it has made life just that little bit easier for Ed and that is good enough for us at Doommantia.
Please be aware that Ed is still very much homeless but now clothing and food has been coming in through kind donations. However please NO MORE gift baskets, clothing and food packages. As much as it is appreciated, there is no longer anywhere to store the items. What is really needed now is money for accommodation. Even though Ed currently spends 3 to 4 days a week in hospitals, the in-between times are spent looking for somewhere to stay. Please follow the red arrow to the sidebar if you could be so kind as to make a donation.
If you required any-more information, please contact me (Savannah) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
is a man of many talents. From music to artwork he's all over the place with his seemingly endless creativity. His numerous projects (both as a solo artist and band member) are both extensive and impressive: Until Death Overtakes Me, Beyond Black Void, The Ethereal, The NULLL Collective, In Somnis, The Sad Sun, Fall of the Grey-Winged One, Solicide, Wijlen Wij, Cold Aeon, Dance Nihil, Dreams of Dying Stars, Forbidden Fields, I Dream No More, In the Mist, Organiu, & Tear Your Soul Apart. Be it funeral, drone or ambient Stijn is no novice in the realm of the slow.. He was kind enough to answer some questions for us:
Michael Ventura - Thank you for doing this interview with us. Would you mind tell us little about yourself?
Stijn van Cauter - I’m mid-30s, from Belgium, and being creative has always been my primary, often sole, pastime. I’ve been drawing things and writing stories since childhood, but it’s only since I started playing guitar that being creative became a full-time thing. This resulted in a number of album releases over a period of 12 years, but I’ve also done a fair bit of game programming and I’m still writing stories.
MV - You have created and played with several bands, what are you currently up too now?
SVC - Music-wise, almost nothing has happened over the past few years. I’ve done a few short things that were intended as game soundtracks. Instead, most of my time has been spent on programming computer games, except for last year, where I started writing more, alongside the programming.
MV - How did you get your start playing doom metal? When did you officially start/join your first band, and who are your biggest influences?
SVC - I didn’t start out with the idea that the music I was going to make had to be doom metal. At that time I was mostly listening to dark metal, gothic and some ambient and experimental stuff. The first songs I made were a bit of a mix of those genres, but as I enjoyed the dark, slow and melodic music the most, my work gradually moved in that direction. I wasn’t really into doom metal at the time, since it was a genre I simply didn’t know all that much about, it’s – in part – thanks to releasing my music and getting in touch with people that listened to stuff similar to what I was making, that I learned about things like funeral doom.
The official date is hard to say. I started playing guitar mid 1997, and I definitely had some songs already mid 1999, recorded on tape. Then, I didn’t have a name yet, nor the intention to release this early music. Over the course of about 2 years that followed, I came up with more music, and a number of names, to finally settle on ‘Until Death Overtakes Me’.
The name of my project is a phrase taken from the song ‘Black God’, by My Dying Bride. I remember hearing that song for the first time well before I was into metal of any kind. I knew its name, but not the band that had written it. The first time I did hear MDB was a bit of a revelation, and kickstarted my interest in doom & dark metal. This was around 1999 I believe. When I got my hands on some of their older material, I discovered the song ‘Black God’ again. As for actual influences on my music, that’s hard to say. I’ve always tried to be original, and didn’t want to be a copy of a band or sound that already existed. But over the years I’ve listened to a wide variety of music, ranging from 60s rock to classical music. There’s one musician that I’ve always seen as an inspiration, though, and that is Mike Oldfield. It’s not just the fact that he makes fantastic music, but he also plays many different instruments. I think his work definitely played a role in me wanting to learn various instruments and doing as much as possible by myself.
MV - Most of your work is with solo projects, are you anti band or do you just prefer to work alone? And where do the ideas for each band come from? They all share some obvious similarities but ultimately they're all different. Can you elaborate?
SVC - I’m not anti band, things just worked out that way. I was able to put out so much material because I worked alone. In the early days, I did find a few people that were interested in forming a band, but getting together to work on music wasn’t always possible, and as such this cooperation didn’t last very long. I also easily worked 10 to 14 hours a day on my music in those days, and as such there was very little room for input from others due to the pace I was creating new material at. Not having to asks other’s opinions on every few notes I’d write saves time.
I also simply prefer to work alone. I knew what kind of music I wanted to make, if others had different opinions on that matter, I wasn’t going to end up creating what I really wanted to. The biggest reason is perhaps the fact that I made all of this music primarily for myself. My works don’t exist so others can enjoy them, or so that they can be sold for money, they exist because I have need of them. There’s a lot of myself in these works, and having input or material from others, makes these songs less pure in a way. But that differes from project to project, as I’m not that equally ‘close’ with all my projects.
Most of my other projects were the result of experiments that I felt didn’t fit in Until Death Overtakes Me. Some of these are indeed close musically, but in a few cases I seperated music based on its topic and motivation, and the differences there are huge.
MV - How did you get involved in the Nulll Collective and when can we expect another album from them?
SVC - Eibon M. Hearst (Torture Wheel) and myself were already working on some material together under the name of ‘The Sad Sun’. After a hiatus, we decided start this project up again, but didn’t want to go the traditional album route. We invited S.P. White (Uncertainty Principle), and for the course of little over a year we released one track each month as a free download. Alongside this we worked on an album. TNC was to be more than a band. The plan wasn’t to force the three of us to be present in each song we’d write, but TNC would be the name for us to release both solo and non-solo works under. In that year where we did both the album and these various singles, we obviously got a lot of work done, and wanted to continue at that pace working on a second album. It turned out that doing both the monthly singles and the album wasn’t sustainable, and things fell apart. This second album was never finished, but one or two tracks were released (in a non-final form) as a monthly single.
It’s hard to say if this album will ever make it. After stopping doing music myself, I also told EMH and SPW that I wasn’t going to take part in TNC for at least a while. Being gravely anti-social by default, I haven’t kept in touch with either of them, so I don’t know if they are still planning on finishing the album between the two of them.
MV - Have any of your solo projects played live, and if so how did you do it?
SVC - Over the course of 2 years, I first played as session musician for Pantheist, and then immediately afterwards joined In Somnis. Both these bands did plenty of live shows, and (primarily in the case of Pantheist) since I had to be part of this, I got the opportunity to play several UDOM live shows at the same, on several occasions. Kostas (from Pantheist) always helped out with keyboards, and Frédéric (ex-Pantheist) and later on Mark (Esoteric) played bass, while I took care of vocals and guitars. This worked out really well and was a lot of fun. I never actively tried to get live performances sorted out for UDOM, it was a matter of circumstances that simply made this feasible. During the small tour with Pantheist and Skepticism, there was no need for additional musicians or gear for instance, since all the members of UDOM-live, also played in Pantheist. That said, if I had to do it truly solo, I doubt it would have worked out.
MV - What made you decide to end 'Until Death Overtakes Me'?
SVC - Hiatus is perhaps a better word, I might start UDOM up again. It was a matter of harassment and threats getting out of hand. I’ve always done all promotion around my music via the internet, something I had no experience with when I started doing so (somewhere around 2000-2001 I believe). It became apparent rather quickly that having even the tinyest amount of success or following also brings with it people who’d like to challenge everything you do or say. On the internet you’re always a bit anonymous, and certain people like to use that fact to do things they couldn’t get away with in real life. On occasions I had to deal with some unsavory types, and I generally ignored them. Some of these people were just malicious, others acted spiteful or even jealous, which I always regarded as strange as I wasn’t doing anything special.
These kind of people didn’t mind threatening me, and again I ignored this as best as I could. At one point though, they managed to sabotage my site and something (unrelated to music) I was working on was set back a couple months. This led me to realize that there was something fundamentally wrong with how I was working.
For most of the time that I made music, I always wanted to share that stuff, because I both enjoyed the process of writing music, and hearing the result once recorded. And beyond that simple fact, nothing mattered to me. I placed my music on various websites, and people could download it for free. I believe that helped the popularity of UDOM from the start. The next logical step was to release demos and albums, but I still wasn’t interested in money, so those things were sold almost at cost, and the music was still free to download alongside those releases. I didn’t want anything in return for my music, because I never wrote it for that purpose. The music existed because I needed it, because it helped me in many ways. Sharing it, and learning how there are people who not only enjoy it, but claim that it helped them as well, was a small part of the joy I got out of doing this (and yes, I’m well aware that this is doom metal, but I find my own music to be uplifting).
There was quite some work involved in maintaining websites, uploading music, talking with fans, running the label, etc. There were also costs involved in some of that. The realization was that I was basically wasting time and money, only to get attacked in return and actually see myself getting set back in the work I was doing. Not only that, but the attack was basically a result of me releasing music, yet targeted at something completely unrelated. I didn’t like the idea that, whatever else I’do in any creative field, would be targeted by certain idiots who couldn’t stand me or my music. I had some success in such a field, and was building upon that, only to see that get attacked.
I can still write music and enjoy it, without the need to release it. As I said, it’s great to learn that others feel similar about the stuff I’ve created, but that’s balanced out quickly by the negatives of being attacked, being forced to defend myself increasingly more often against people who willingly spread false information to try and ruin the reputation I had build up over the years. So why should I spend time and effort releasing music, when that step doesn’t help me in any way and in fact ends up damaging my work? Wouldn’t it be more interesting and efficient to skip the recording/releasing step, and just write more music? That’s the question I asked myself.
If I had known, somewhere in 2000, when I put the first UDOM stuff online, that things would end up like they did, I probably wouldn’t have bothered, despite all the fantastic experiences along the road. Even though I could have continued writing music after deciding to end UDOM, I never ended up doing that. I haven’t picked up my guitar in years. It’s only recently that I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s all gone and not coming back, and that in turn has made me consider to start again. It’s definitely been a huge loss to me, after all, I worked on music nearly every day, full-time for something like 14 years. I gave up a lot to be able to do that. Having to throw all that away wasn’t painless.
I considered releasing stuff in a different way, completely anonymous, but there I realized that I might as well not bother, if I have to go out of my way to make sure nothing can be traced back to me as a person. I still like that idea, though, because it allows people to experience that music without knowing who made it, or how many people were involved in creating it. I have plenty of unreleased material, and a bunch of stuff in various stages of completion on top of that, as well as a couple of new things. Perhaps one day I might put it online, but for the time being I’m doing other things.
MV - What are you interests outside of music?
SVC - I’ve always read a lot, mostly science fiction and fantasy, though over the past couple years I’ve barely found the time for that. Next to that, I’ve been interested in science and technology, mainly theoretical astrophysics, but again, lately I have less and less time to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in this field. Computer games are a big interest of mine as well, not just as pure entertainment, but also the programming and mechanics behind them.
MV - If you could see any concert in the world what would your ideal line up be?
SVC - That’s really hard to say. My favorite live material is all old stuff (Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, Deep Purple), that, if performed today, wouldn’t sound anything like it did 30-40 years ago. I’m really out of touch with today’s music, even metal and doom, but generally I felt that such music is best experienced by myself. One thing that would be quite an experience to see live, would be some of Arvo Part’s works, especially those involving choirs.
MV - Thank you for letting me interview you. Do you have any parting words?
SVC - A pleasure, it’s been a while since I’ve done this. Some advice perhaps for anyone trying to be creative, no matter their goals or how serious they take it : keep at it. I feel that genuine creativity is underrated. Art these days is made up of building blocks that are known to sell well, and if it doesn’t sell, it apparently has no value. I think the opposite is true. Mankind’s mental evolution needs creativity.
Who are some of your favorite artists, and favorite surf guitar legends?
Visually, I stick up for Raymond Pettibon. And on the subject of Rays, Link Wray was marketed as a surf guitarist but that type of label was severely short-sighted. No one likes to be pigeon-holed or painted into a corner by others- unless, of course, that corner is painted by Raymond Pettibon. Pettibon's surfing imagery is hypnotic. Link Wray's hypnotically repetitive use of the power chord is meditative.
Brooklyn stoner rock/doom unit KINGS DESTROY will unleash a brand new studio offering on May 5th. The self-titled monster and follow-up to last year's critically-lauded A Time Of Hunting full-length was produced and mixed by Sanford Parker (Twilight, Voivod, Eyehategod, Yob etc.) at Studio G in Brooklyn, mastered by Collin Jordan (Eyehategod, Indian, Wovenhand, Voivod etc.) at The Boiler Room in Chicago and delivers seven, lead-footed doom rock hymns.
With their third album in four years, KINGS DESTROY leave their hardcore-born stamp on noise rock and doom. After sharing stages with Pentagram, Winter, Saint Vitus, Church of Misery, Yob, Pallbearer, Vista Chino, Orange Goblin, Trouble, Acid King, Corrosion Of Conformity and so many others, the five-piece stand tall with their defining statement. Championed Yob guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, "It's a great album. Heavy, yes. Doom? Yes, with a dose of the best of the '90s. I'm a fan of the '90s," he further elaborates, "so that is meant as a compliment. But what is best about KINGS DESTROY is that they write good songs. Helmet meets early Queens Of The Stone Age meets Kyuss/Unida, roughly. [Steve] Murphy's vocals are strong and really steps up what is already killer. Great production, tones, performances." Adds Pentagram's Bobby Liebling, "KINGS DESTROY is some heavy shit. I can feel the emotion. I can tell Murphy has got some serious pain; he's singing from his balls."
Kings Destroy Track Listing:
1. Smokey Robinson
2. Mr. O
6. Green Diamonds
7. Time for War
KINGS DESTROY is the name of an infamous graffiti gang from the Bronx circa late '70s/early '80s. The band members met in this vicinity and were heavily involved in the New York Hardcore scene of the late '80s that merged hardcore music, metal, graffiti and hip hop. The band unites musicians from many of the genres' most prolific bands. Hailing from the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, KINGS DESTROY features guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski from legendary, 100K album selling Killing Time, vocalist Steve Murphy from Uppercut, drummer Rob Sefcik formerly of The Begotten, Uppercut, Fur and Electric Frankenstein and bassist Aaron Bumpus. Applauded for channeling "...Sabbath's grooves, Sleep's foggy haze, and Yob's oppressive thunder," by The Village Voice, KING DESTROY's distinct sonic brew is at once crushing and cathartic.
Kings Destroy will be released on LP, CD and digitally on May 5th, 2015 via War Crime Recordings. CD preorders are currently available HERE. For vinyl preorders go HERE.
"...a literal who's-who of the New York underground stoner doom scene." - Decibel
For review links and interview requests contact email@example.com.
War Iron, the crushing sludge-doom metal quartet from Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK) are releasing their third full-length album. The new album is called Precession of the Equinoxes and will be out as CD version, to start with, on March 27th 2015. The CD will be on sale first at Dragon Records Belfast and then, hopefully, it will spread around like ebola!
War Iron have always been a twin bass sludge-doom metal act devoted to a distinctive mountain-crumbling, pulverizing sound, where heavy, slow and raw vibrations and ferocious vocals coexist with dark and eerie atmospheres. Back in 2006 War Iron raised from the ashes of The Naut, which was the cradle for their mates in Slomatics too. War Iron’s warriors, i.e. Baggy on vocals, Ross and Dave on bass and Marty on drums, unleashed their imposing debut album The Faceless Sea back in 2010. Since then they have been releasing their music regularly, with the second full-length album The Fifth and Final Sun and, soon after, their split with Glaswegian doomsters in Headless Kross in 2012, and a demo and the EP Of Prophecy and Alchemy during 2013.
Last year the band spent time in live activity and in writing new music for the new album, Precession of the Equinoxes, graced by a dark, spellbinding and utmost doomy cover art. Rarely an album title was chosen with more smart reference to planetary slow, heavy sound! In the same way as a planet changes the orientation of its rotation axis slowly and continuously by wobbling under gravity effects, so War Iron have been moulding their style within the doom realm. One of the changes has been the adoption of guitar replacing one of the two basses (Ross’). But don’t worry: gravity is still there, in full! Hence in the new album you will find old as well new elements of War Iron’s music. Precession of the Equinoxes: over 36 minutes for four pieces. And then you’ll have to multiply for the effect of addiction ….
It’s almost time for Lychgate to release their second full-length album, "An Antidote for the Glass Pill". Lychgate is not your “normal” Doommantia-hosted doom metal band. Actually Lychgate is not a doom metal band at all. The band’s own definition points towards “avantgarde, with a conspicuous black metal influence”.
However the sounds crafted by this British-based band have much for attracting doomsters and all those charmed by haunting, dark sounds with a special, unique flavour. Not by chance, probably if considering that Greg Chandler from mighty Esoteric is one of the great musicians involved in Lychgate, in good company with Vortigern (a.k.a. V of The One) and his mates.
These were some of the good reasons why Lychgate were featured here on Doommantia as soon as their self-titled debut album was out back in 2012, a manifesto for this band’s particular music, epic, sophisticated, extremely dark and dominated by keyboard and organ sounds.
The debut album was derived from elaboration of old material. The upcoming album has got reasons for the band being proud, not only because it stems from brand new writing, but also because it involved a true, professional church organist, Kevin Bowyer, famous for his extensive career and skill in interpreting extremely complex compositions.
I am sure you will feel strong emotions as I did while experiencing the blood-chilling, hieratic atmopheres and crescendo in the stunning track première "Letter XIX", which is the 5th track from "An Antidote for the Glass Pill". However be aware that this new album should be a great surprise and probably not much comparable to the band’s impressive debut release. As a matter of fact, the band announced an extensive work of research and inspiration especially from a wide repertoire of different musical currents and movements across the 20th century.
Lychgate’s sophomore album "An Antidote for the Glass Pill" will be out soon through label Blood Music (Finland/USA) and will be made available in a deluxe vinyl and CD release and digitally through iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, X-Box Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, “and every other digital service imaginable”.
We are ready for the surprise …
Last night was damned near spot on, man. Firstly, cheers to Gabe and Brody, and the Satan's Satyrs dudes for chatting into the night with me. Lovely meeting all of you and I hope to see you again.
This show started too early for only two bands, since it ended at 10:45. I didn't even know what to do with myself kinds of early. Odd.
Satan's Satyrs, sole opener, brought a killer surprise to feed my need for riffs. A power trio if there ever was one, the drummer especially is a monster. I had to save some banging for the Wizard, but these guys know their way around riffs. Somewhere between Cream...and...Slayer, Satan's Satyrs sit. And they own that throne. Real, old school chugga chugga riffs brought out the neck pain for the real heads, but a psychedelic edge added some experimentation, feedback, and smiles.
Their singer/bassist is great, he held down the chug while the solos flew and squealed. They're tapped right into that evil tone, like if Iommi played garage rock in a band influenced by Venom. They were a pleasure to watch, and I'm so glad I picked up Die Screaming, their newest slab. It sounded great on the drive home. So glad to have finally seen this band live, and I look forward to hopefully seeing them again, sooner than later, in more of a headlining position. I could have banged through that whole set and been happy, but as I said, had to save some for Wizard.
Didn't take too bong for the Wizard to take the stage (just one), but what an evening they put on. From what my horribly short term memory is recalling, they went through Black Mass, Return Trip, Funeralopolis, Dopethrone, The Chosen Few, Witchcult Today, and Time To Die. I feel as if I'm missing a song, but that was basically it with the early end time. I mean, they're not exactly short songs, but 7 of them takes some time. My big smiles went to Return Trip (Still my favorite of theirs all these years later), The Chosen Few, and Funeralopolis.
They sounded huge, and a hell of a lot louder in Union Transfer's sweet spot than the only other time I've seen them, Maryland Deathfest in 2012. At deathfest, I stayed through the end of Vitus' set, turned around to walk to Wizard and there was nowhere to walk. Way too far away to get it proper.
Union Transfer's big sound corrected the decibel level, and my ears hurt every bit as much as my neck right now. Ah, the sweet morning afterglow of a righteous gig.
Liz was holding down the riff, and whoever Jus had drumming last night was nice and methodical, and fills where necessary too. There were a few "we're so baked I forgot where this note goes" moments, but the songs sounded about right. The soloing was fun; nice and trippy. Return Trip was stupid heavy, the bass just wrecked havoc on that one. At 10:50 they turned off the amps, dashing my hopes for a Wizard In Black or Supercoven encore.
The Wizard only had shirts, a bag, and blacklight posters up for sale. I really wanted Come My Fanatics or Doperthrone on vinyl, but alas, 'twas not to be. Mayhap next time.
I suppose that's about it for two bands who brought that vol. 4 tone last night. Next up, Ufomammut in May unless I find something else prior. Thank you as always for reading, enjoy the day. It was a satanic drug rock thing, and I understand fully.
U.S. doom metal legends PENTAGRAM recently released an extensive double-disc DVD collection, titled "All Your Sins", via Peaceville.
The set features over six hours of numerous electrifying concerts
spanning three decades — all straight from the band's collection.
A performance clip of the songs "Relentless" and "Broken Vows" from "All Your Sins"— filmed on October 30, 1987 at the Hung Jury Pub — can be seen below.
PENTAGRAM, the highly influential American heavy metal/doom act fronted by mastermind Bobby Liebling, formed in the early 1970s, though their debut album — now known as "Relentless"— didn't see a release until 1985. Through four decades of adversity and triumph, PENTAGRAM has become a legendary international act and have firmly stamped their name in the heavy metal history books.
This first-ever official PENTAGRAM video collection, "All Your Sins"
recovers, repairs and resurrects the earliest known footage of these
doomed metal pioneers and more. It contains two DVDs packed with
priceless archive footage, as well as recent shows, "All Your Sins -
Video Vault". This definitive collection features numerous historical
shows, including a charged performance in 1985 at the legendary CBGB
club in New York City, with a mass of classic renditions from the band's
catalogue finally gathered together for a live journey spanning over 30
Although always a cult act with a strong and dedicated worldwide fanbase, PENTAGRAM has enjoyed a recent surge in interest due in part to the fly-on-the-wall 2011 documentary "Last Days Here" following the life, trials & tribulations of Bobby Liebling.
The film gained international recognition; travelling the worldwide
film festival circuit where it won several awards including "Best Music
Documentary" at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam.
In a recent interview with Esquire magazine, BLACK SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne said that he saw the "Last Days Here" documentary, calling it a "very, very sad story, because [Bobby
is] a guy... He's the only child of his elderly mom and dad and he
lives in a crack-smoking, heroin-using world. And why that guy is still
alive is beyond me. I mean, I've been there, done it, and by the grace
of God, I got out of it. But, you know, I hope the guy doesn't die."
Ozzy added: "I hope he has [cleaned up] because that video was
like a good reason not to get stoned. And you know, for what it's
worth: That could have been me. That could have been any number of
people. That's why I say to myself every day, 'God, you're fucking
In the last few years the international underground heavy scene has been seeing many many doom-sludge-stoner bands popping up like “magic” mushrooms, and, I must say, it’s nice. Many bands are really really heavy, and, well, this is also nice. I dig heavy and sick-sounding music. However doom is not just wild distortion and rough sluggish sounds luring you with black magic and hash or beer paradise. Doom has something to do also with root heavy metal as well as with clever, prog to epic melodies able conquer your mind by sincere intimacy and introspection or else by just contemplating, struggling or coping with life straightaway. Several doom bands from the British scene have been masterfully embodying this approach to doom in the past years, or, I shoud say, decades, and a few of them still bravely stick to the style. One of them is Unsilence, a long-lived band active since the early 90s and, it’s no secret, one of my (Mari’s) favourite melodic heavy doom bands.
I had had the opportunity of interacting with members of Unsilence over three years ago (here), in a rather long interview some time after the full-length album Under A Thorn Sky had been released (here). That was also the occasion for outlining the long history of the band and the variable connections of Unsilence’s members with other cool bands of the British scene, like The Human Condition, The River and Misericorde (among others).
In the last years Unsilence have been transferring and made their whole, or almost whole, early production (from the 90s) available on Bandcamp. I am proud and jealous of those old-looking CDs of mine bought from the band years ago, but I must say it’s cool to have an easier access to those doom gems! Moreover last year Unsilence released their new, intense, beautiful full-length album, A Fire on the Sea (here) and so a new, second interview was due!
That was also, and again, the opportunity for listening to musicians who practice music fully as diy activity, and to people who fight, literally, with life’s ups and downs for keeping their passion for music and for doom alive. Surely not the only case of musicians and/or people fighting with life issues, but still it’s good to listen to/read what these musicians and guys have to say. This time too there came the additional excuse for questioning Unsilence’s members about their other involvement with band The Human Condition. Their debut EP back in 2011 was greatly promising (here), so it’s good to see that things are back into action there as well, with new music and gigs coming up!
So thanks to Kieron Tuohey, guitarist and founding member of Unsilence, to James Kilmurray, intense vocalist and guitarist, and James Moffatt, bassist, for taking part to this new interview. And also thanks to Kieron and James for telling about their experience and the things to come, soon, in the other band where they militate, The Human Condition.
MARI - Here I am, back again asking for questions to you, after exactly three years since our previous interview. Three years and the new, second full-length album, A Fire on The Sea, out a few months ago. How do you feel about your new album? What inspired you in making this new album involving the sea?
JAMES KILMURRAY - That's a good question. In my case I can remember a specific day which really set the ball rolling. It was on a road trip holiday along the west coast of Ireland. I've always loved the atmosphere of the coast and the sea so for me the whole trip was amazing. On one of the days we caught a boat to one of the Aran islands out in the Atlantic. The island itself is covered in a patchwork of ancient stone walls and the atmosphere of the place was just mind blowing. It may sound clichéd but it was on the island that the song "A Fire on the Sea" started coming together. We already had some of the riffs for that song and in my mind the whole raw elemental atmosphere of the island completely resonated with the atmosphere of the guitar sound. For me personally that was the start, where something inspiring took shape. A lot of my contributions to the album came from that mood and it definitely influenced the sound and atmosphere.
MARI - And how has the response from the fans been so far?
KIERON TUOHEY - Mainly positive from our fanbase. This album has had some of the best reviews we've ever had. But a few of reviews have been the worst we've ever received. There was also one review from someone who preferred us on "A Walk Through Oceans" and was very negative about Kil's vocals and the general direction. That was a new but inevitable phenomenon for us. We'll say similar things about bands we like and hear others doing the same. But I was a bit unprepared for us to be scrutinised in a similar way.
MARI - I personally appreciated the album very much and I found it more “metallic” and slightly less, let’s say, mourning than what I was expecting. Is it just my impression or did you actually “hit” heavier?
KIERON TUOHEY - Absolutely! This is a point which I think has been a little overlooked. Many will mention the melancholic beauty in our music, which is an important feature. But also important is the heaviness, power and aggression. With the latest album, we felt a need to consolidate the different elements better than before. With the previous album, the two tracks which we wrote, "Winds Of Enlightenment" and "The Burning Midnight" saw us moving towards this approach. The last album was written over a long period of time and with two major line-up changes. So we had to take on some of the roles of the guys who had left as they were also involved in the writing. In particular when the old singer left, there were a number of new options as to where we could take the songwriting. So maybe we got a bit too excited with the possibilities. The writing personnel for the latest album, namely me and Kil, was more settled and those new possibilities had become a regular fixture.
MARI - Album A Fire on The Sea came after a while following the debut full-length album Under a Torn Sky (2009) and with side projects (e.g. The Human Condition) plus demanding life/work issues in between. However in our previous interview, back in December 2011, Kieron had announced that the songs for the upcoming album had already been largely written. So, did these last plus two years change anything in the attitude, execution/performance etc. of the first drafts/versions of the songs? Was there anything “musical”, “inspirational”, technical/line-up-related, etc. that acted decisive for influencing the final results of this long process?
KIERON TUOHEY - I think it was only finding the time to do it around other commitments. We had hoped to record it in the summer of 2012 but we weren't rehearsed in time. But it worked out better for us to do it the following year. The album was recorded and mixed in stages over five months which was quite a good pace for us. Once the album was complete, we shopped it round to labels. Nine Records had already made us an offer but we kept our options open. It was quite a positive response although most had other releases planned. Along with the Nine offer, another one made an offer, which was a first for us. We decided to go with Nine Records as we felt they were more focused towards our style. When the album was released in June, it wasn't too long a wait.
MARI - On the other side, which features/facilities did you appreciate most for the making of the new album? For example, how was the experience at the Full Stack Studio?
KIERON TUOHEY - I first met Matt from Full Stack when we did a gig with Bastard Of The Skies back in '06. And they sounded really heavy, so when Matt told us afterwards that he had a studio, we were interested. But our paths didn't cross after that and we'd forgotten about him when we were looking for a studio to record the first album a few years later. I heard about his place again when looking for a studio to record the first Human Condition demo, as there was no way we'd again use the studio we did the Unsilence debut at. The Human Condition demos managed to capture the sound of the band so I knew that Unsilence just had to record there. Everything just effortlessly fell into place when recording this album. Matt used a lot of outboard gear, preamps and a real desk rather than just doing everything on the computer as these have a more natural sound. Whereas the previous studio did it all on the computer, probably out of convenience. And they had a Behringer desk. We were also able to turn up the guitar amps when recording them, as the studio was better soundproofed and away from disturbing anyone. On the last album there was a limit to how loud we could turn up as the engineer was worried about disturbing other businesses in his unit. Which makes you wonder why he chose them premises? But then your average ten-pence sound engineer doesn't appreciate that you have to crank up a valve amp to get a quality sound from it. But Matt is into guitars and understands that. But whilst the heavy guitars were obviously taken care of, the clean guitars also sounded really lush.
MARI – Well, it's cool to see how the experience with another band is addressing towards resolution or better management of important technical issues such as those about sound quality! And actually you are giving me a further excuse for asking about that other band, that parallel project, The Human Condition, which is involving a good part of the Unsilence crew. We had already discussed about this project in the previous interview but right now the "further excuse", a sound one, is the recent official post of 22 years, the teaser track from Pathways, the upcoming album by The Human Condition! So, you guys are back into action, isn't it?
KIERON TUOHEY - Yes. We have been inactive over the past six months as our drummer Phil has had a hernia. But we've started practicing again this week and we have a gig in Liverpool at the end of March with Coltsblood, Mael Mordha and Ninkharsag.
MARI – Cool! When did The Human Condition crew start working on the new music? And, most important, when will the new album come out?
KIERON TUOHEY - The music on the forthcoming album of The Human Condition features one of the demo songs (The Gifts I Gave), the first song we ever recorded which was released on our Myspace page (The Tempest) and another song we had early on but didn't record (My Will Has Gone). The rest of the material continued on from the demo in the intervening years. We're presently looking for a label to release our debut album. Hopefully soon …
JAMES MOFFATT – The Human Condition has had a few false starts over the past few years. After the demo EP came out things seemed to happen in fits and starts. I was in and out of work for about 18 months and over the past 10 months or so I haven’t had a job. Money has been really hard to come by. I haven’t had any transport and there’ve been times where I haven’t been able to eat very well or afford gas and electricity, so doing anything with the band has been out of the question. With us all living a fair distance apart it’s hard to do anything without at least some money to travel. I’m back in work now and I’ve got transport again. I’m still struggling for money for the time being, but I really wanted to get back into things as soon as I could.
MARI – Eh, I must say that reading about the economic crisis on newspapers everyday while comfortably sitting in one’s office does not give the actual sense of how hard life can turn until “real” people tell about their struggles for survival that sound like something belonging to a distant past or to a distant place … I’m so glad to hear that things started getting a bit better for you, James! Well, let’s go back to music and to your bands which share a few features in style. I'm curious ... Did somehow the work on Unsilence's album also influence the contribution in terms of composition, or at least mood, to the new music of The Human Condition, at least for those of you involved in both bands? What are you putting into The Human Condition in addition or in alternative to Unsilence?
KIERON TUOHEY - Both Human and Unsilence operate as separate entities. And those who are involved in both generally have different roles. In Human, Jonathon plays guitar and writes most of the music, although Jay has made some contributions. I haven't written anything yet as I had been working on the last Unsilence album. But I have contributed a riff for a new song and I think Jonathon is using something I wrote but didn't use when he was a full-time member of Unsilence. I would like to write more for Human but it's a case of the riff just sounding right for the band. In Unsilence, it's now Kil and I who do the writing. Jonathon just plays the drums but has made a few suggestions for arrangements. We asked Jay if he's do bass on the last album when we knew the old bassist wasn't coming back at the end of 2012. It's possible that he might write for us in the future. The only thing I have contributed to The Human Condition is the guitar solos. And it's been asked to do a guitar solo for every song in the classic metal/rock tradition. Whereas in Unsilence there would be songs where I don't play solos. We would see how the song develops before deciding to put a solo in. But on our latest album there are solos in all but one song (or two if you count the clean guitar track "Old Tides"). This might have been influenced by what I've done in Human. If you look at legacy of guitar solos in metal, there must be some pre-conceived idea of having a guitar solo in every song. And they sound great. So this time round I was thinking of accommodating solos more. After all, the idea of going against a pre-conceived approach can become formulaic in itself.
JAMES MOFFATT – As far as writing goes, I’d like to do a lot more. I want to get more out there. I’ve been in bands for a while now but the only song I’ve really had a writing contribution with has been Misericorde’s Sub Rosa on the last demo. That song was built around a bassline and riff I came up with, and I wrote the lyrics for that. We got that song pretty much finished in one jam session. I’ve got one riff on the new Human Condition album, right in the middle of Chrysalis and I’m quite proud of that one. I seem to find writing stuff pretty difficult, for some reason.
MARI - On Facebook I saw that The Human Condition took part to a gig during last January. Cool! So maybe it won't be too long before Unsilence too will go back onto the stage...
KIERON TUOHEY - The last Human Condition gig was actually last May. Then there was a lull in our activity due to reasons mentioned earlier. We had looked into doing some Unsilence gigs last summer when Kil was on holiday from college. But we didn't get anything organised. Kil has now become a father for the first time so there won't be any gigs this year. But we're hoping we can organise something from summer next year onwards.
JAMES MOFFATT – Despite some gear problems, the last Human Condition gig went pretty well I thought. I’d love to play some gigs with Unsilence. The new stuff deserves to be heard live. And I’m really looking forward to the next Human Condition gig. It’s in Liverpool, which is where I’m from and where I still live. It’ll be the first time I’ve ever played here.
MARI – Oh, James, that’s great! I’m sure it will be a blast! [And by the time this interview got posted I saw from the band’s FB page that the gig was indeed a great success!] OK, I have a final question: are you guys already planning or working on new music for Unsilence? And, if so, are there any specific sources of inspiration, at least music/style-wise?
KIERON TUOHEY - We have started working on new material. There isn't too much written yet. So far, it's difficult to summarise the nature of the material. But I think it will be something moodier without forsaking the heaviness gained with our last album. That's something we want to achieve.
MARI – Heavy, moody, doomy … That’s sounding cool enough! So here we are, ready for new doses of “trve British Doom”, via The Human Condition first and then via Unsilence in due time … In the meantime we have your previous, beautiful albums to plunge into, again and again … Thanks, guys!
KIERON TUOHEY - Thanks for the interview and continued support for Unsilence.
Bodkin were another group I couldn’t find a whole lotta info on, but I would consider them a very worthy addition to Doomology and definitely needing some light shed on their great music. They were a quintet from Scotland who recorded a single album in 1972. Leading the charge with his dominating Hammond organ, which really characterizes the sound of this band, was Doug Rome (age 21). And behind him were bassist Bill Anderson (age 28), Mick Riddle (age 25) on guitar, Dick Sneddon (age 34) on drums, and Zeik Hume (age 21) taking care of the vocals. These five lads, all from different villages, came together in 1970 to play music that agreed with them (heavy progressive rock) and with this Bodkin was formed. The band played many shows, mainly at universities, rock clubs, and halls, with standard blues songs as their staple. But as time progressed, they began to play longer and more complicated music. The band were also constantly acquiring and experimenting with bigger and better equipment to try and find the sound they desired. One notable appearance found them playing in the finals for The National Rock Band Contest of Great Britain. The band had used their own equipment for the previous heats, but they were unfortunately forced to settle for playing with standard instruments provided to them during the last round.
Because of this, plus very likely due to the fact that their stage show was just plain outrageous, the judges denied them the opportunity to be labeled “The Best New Rock Band in the UK.” Following the contest they were given an opportunity to record and signed a contract with West Records. The album that came from this deal pressed 100 copies and was only available to fans that attended Bodkin shows. One copy also supposedly managed to find its way to the legendary disc jockey, John Peel. The band continued to play following the album’s recording, but personal and family obligations, as they often do, began to get in the way and led to the group’s eventual disbanding. Some of the members continued playing with other groups in the area, but Bodkin was unfortunately no more. Supposedly guitarist Mick Riddle is currently a gardener in Scotland while bassist Bill Anderson has been enjoying a career as a professional musician. And bandleader Doug Rome reportedly works as a miner in South Africa. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find much more out about these guys and it’s hard to determine what info is actually concrete or not, but one way or another, the album they’ve left behind definitely invites curiosity into the band’s history.
It seems like all these lost, proto-doom bands can be compared or related back to one of the big three- Zeppelin, Purple, or Sabbath. And Bodkin clearly sit in the Deep Purple camp thanks to the absolutely fantastic Hammond organ throughout. The other instruments don’t lag behind at all though. The heavy guitars and drumming and the wonderful vocals and poetic lyrics all hold their own nicely alongside the organ. But Hammond is definitely the start of this show. The album contains five long, jammy tracks and not a moment is wasted. Like many Scottish groups of the day (Iron Claw, Writing On The Wall, Soho Orange, Tentacle, etc), this band creates a dark, hazy, and overall mysterious atmosphere with the music they present us. The album opens up with a two-parter entitled Three Days After Death. Both of these extended jams are emotionally powerful and devastating affairs with guitars and organ that try to nullify your speakers. I don’t know if it’s the lyrics or the music, or both, but these first two tracks always hit a note of sadness within me. The music is definitely of the downer variety.
Next up we have Aunty Mary’s Trashcan (some reissues, including mine, have their track order messed up so Plastic Man, the final track of the album, appears instead). This is the longest cut of the album, but the band knows how to keep things interesting throughout. After some heavy thudding, some fantastic organ playing, and some interesting lyrics about the contents of Aunty Mary’s Trashcan, the band erupts into more jamming. They lock you into the energetic groove right away while the organ blares and the lengthy running time of the song is quickly lost. After Your Lumber seems to be the most upbeat song here with it’s vocal harmonies and almost “cruisin’ down the highway” vibe. But it still retains the heaviness and energy in spades and all the instruments are once again fantastic; especially Doug Rome’s organ playing. If you happen to be listening to the version of the album I have and want to hear the proper track order, you’ll need to rewind back to track three for the album’s final piece. But trust me, the effort to go back a couple tracks will be more than worth it. Plastic Man is yet another fantastically gloomy piece of downer prog that seals up this bleak package quite nicely. There you go, five amazing and powerful tracks that do all sorts of pummelling throughout. This is a personal favourite of mine so I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. But if the Hammond organ is your bag than you should definitely not be passing this one by.....10/10
These guys are slightly lesser known than some of the bands I’ve talked about before and there is not much out there for info on them, but they definitely have the chops; especially Doug Rome and his Hammond playing. Deep Purple fans should especially be taking note and giving this one a go.
Recommended tracks (all of them are fantastic really): -Three Days After Death Pt. 1 -Plastic Man
California heavy rockers HIGH ON FIRE will release their new album, "Luminiferous", on June 23 via eOne Music. Recorded at Salem, Massachusetts'GodCity Studios with producer Kurt Ballou, the CD is the follow-up to the group's 2012 release, "De Vermis Mysteriis", an album hailed as "not for the faint of heart " by The New Yorker and "a fantastically constructed bloodbath" by Entertainment Weekly.
Universally recognized as one of the most potent acts in music today, HIGH ON FIRE
creates molten heavy metal that merges primal fury and aggression,
blackened bombast and hall of fame heaviness. The group's seventh studio
album, "Luminiferous" is a supersonic exercise in conquest by
volume, delivering calculated catharsis as a volcano of revolving riffs
and hailstorm of thundering drums combine to beam a blazing spotlight
towards the future of modern metal music.
"We're doing our part to expose The Elite and the fingers they have
in religion, media, governments and financial world downfall and their
relationship to all of our extraterrestrial connections in the race to
control this world," comments HIGH ON FIRE vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike.
"Wake up, it's happening. All while we stare at a socially engineered
lie we think of as normalcy. Unless we wake from the dream, there will
come true doom."
"I'm really happy HIGH ON FIRE decided to come back to GodCity to do another album," states producer and CONVERGE guitarist Kurt Ballou.
"Having been a fan of theirs since 'The Art Of Self Defense', the
opportunity to collaborate with one of my favorite bands has truly been
an honor." "Luminiferous" track listing:
01. The Black Plot
03. The Sunless Years
04. Slave the Hive
05. The Falconist
06. Dark Side of the Compass
07. The Cave
09. The Lethal Chamber HIGH ON FIRE is Matt Pike (guitar, vocals), Des Kensel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass).