неделя, 23 март 2014 г.

Amulet - Cut the Crap (2011)



Amulet have cut all the crap. This is the best demo tape I've listened to in ages. Or aeons. I've listened to it so many times it's a miracle of technology how my player still spins it.

These guys don't sound like anything I've yet listened to or can think of and at the same time they sound like most bands I love. The metal in this tape sounds fucking old school and legit. I have no idea what kind of equipment it is recorded with, but it seems one doesn't need a lot of fancy stuff to record good old school sounding music. If I have to define it, I'd probably go with NWBHM, which by itself doesn't make it really clear, as there are so many different bands within the boundaries of the genre. What is best is that there's nothing cheesy in 'Cut the Crap'. All the possible gayness has fallen sloppy dead. It basically sounds like really badass necro speed.

I think everyone should hype around bands like this one, instead of the limitless amounts of crap that gets covered in popular metal magazines. The solos here are fast and loud, just like in the good old days and you'd probably find yourself air guitaring hopelessly. It's like fucking early Angel Steel emerged from the grave. The bass sound is also very raw and leaves a pinch of good old authentic sound.
 

So what are you waiting for, go check these guys and support them!

четвъртък, 6 март 2014 г.

Drencher - Demo (2014)



Aberdeen’s Drencher might have formed only recently, but they, without any doubt, know how to hit hard. The 4-track bulldozer of a demo presents a bit more than 20 minutes of uncompromising sludge and anguish.

I would allow myself to say that it’s quite an upbeat demo and actually even fast for what you’re used to hear under the sludge tag. I found the vocals quite awesome, as they don’t lean towards metalcore at all. From time to time it gets problematic for me to find decent vocals in sludge, as many bands (especially from the States) sound too metalcore/hardcorish. Ok, so this is not the case here.

The best track in my opinion is the opener, as the riff is just the best and it won’t leave you static, in any way. If it does, you probably don’t like this kind of music anyway. Sea slayer (the name, yass) also has a slower section which, if you like sludge, would know often turns out to be the heaviest part of the song. Plain and simple, this riff makes anything near it crumble. For any two guys, these boys produce a lot of noise. A small minus is the lack of any proper bass section. I am a keen bass guitar lover and think it's especially necessary for any band, not to mention sludge bands, it adds additional wretchedness to the music and always makes the songs appear more varied. 

For the weak hearted of you, or maybe I should say, the weak-eared, I can freely say that the production is good enough and you won't be put through any garage sounding recordings. Go hear Drencher, they are full of anger and dynamics and would hopefully hit hard some underground Scottish club (and beyond) soon.

https://drencher.bandcamp.com/track/sea-slayer

сряда, 19 февруари 2014 г.

Rites - Rites (2011)



I came across Rites quite spontaneously. As far as I can remember it was someone from Headless Kross (Scottish doom metal) who had recommended them and since I quite dig Headless Kross and have been to all of their recent gigs in Glasgow, one could expect that I'd check a band with plausibly similar sound. Rites are rather different from Headless Kross, even though they bear some similar traits and both bands are from the UK. I'd define their music as a low, down tuned, particularly heavy sludge doom. 

I quite dig the fact that the vocalist sounds a bit like Kirk Fisher (Buzzov•en). Well, no one sounds exactly as screwed and greasy as fucking Kirk, but the manner of delivering the vocals is quite similar. Most songs don't vary in pace a lot, all of them being rather slow and grouchy sludge metal. While in their latest album you can find quite a lot of interesting solos, the first Rites LP is rather straightforward. The intro is much more an instrumental song than just a few notes thrown together just for the sake of it, and I find it particularly awesome. I mean, a lot of bands just compose a few notes to make some opening track, but this one here is quite solid. It's also probably the fastest you will get on this record.

Second song, "Vessel" is tuned damn low (as we like it, baby) and has the catchiest riff on the record. The vocalist is damn awesome again. He sounds like spitting acid. The guy also reminds me of Martin Van Drunen. Ok, I hate to make these references all the time, but it's a decent way to make people actually get some links to a particular sound in their head. I'm very often unimpressed with sludge records as most bands tend to repeat themselves, but here you get some actual content. Not to mention that the bass lines are pretty audible most of the time and this is a feature you definitely need for decent sludge. I can't think of any other sub genre of metal which depends on bass so much. Like, you can basically listen to some bands with never realising what the bass guitar does. The case here is not one of these and you only need to play a few minutes of "Plastic Lung" to find out that I am right. Another bloody awesome track, which you most definitely need to check if you like Graves at Sea.


I purchased Rites's EP before even listening to their latest work, which is probably to some extent good for my bank account as I'd have gotten everything they released. In my own opinion, the II Rites is much better than the one i have already been talking for. No confusion, the EP here is pretty sweet, it's just that they have become a lot better at their second attempt. It might also be that I'm a bigger fan of doom metal than sludge and there's clearly more doom on the second Rites and specifically a lot more soloing. So if you like this folk here, I'd definitely suggest that you check the band's other songs.

неделя, 16 февруари 2014 г.

Dread Sovereign - Pray to the devil in man (2013)



What is this? For a starter, some records should have a label mentioning with small but clear letters "danger of overexcitement". When I first heard that Primordial’s main man, Alan Averill is releasing a doom metal thing, it interested me but I let it somehow pass by my ears. Then “Pray to the devil in man” was released and it buried me six feet below sea level. There’s something cursed in the Irish extreme metal scene and I don’t know exactly what it is, but they manage to pull off some brilliant wretched metal. No generic crap. However, here I am not even touching the matter of mediocrity, this EP is really fucking good.

Consisting of 3 tracks, with an overall length a bit more than 20 minutes, it’s got no note that’s not at its place. I wish it were at least twice its duration and hope for a full-blooded release sometime soon. Musically, the EP is a mixture of the classiest parts of Primordial’s latter albums and mind crushing doom with a fairly good modern production, which fails at no time. In my opinion, the most impressive track is the third one; I feel they’ve left it for last to completely finish you. It’s basically 9-minute vocal cursing, which bursts at the end just to throw you a mile from where you were just sitting before the song began. Typical structure for a doom metal song, but I’m still excited like I hear something of that sort for a first time. And maybe in some ways I do, because how often do you hear ‘Primordial goes doom.’ The songs don’t vary greatly, speed being always mid slow. Personally, it reminds me of another favourite band from England, Gallow God. There’s something similar in the manner of tranquil and bleak delivery.

Don’t worry if Twilight of the God wasn’t your thing, this piece here is quite different. While Twilight of the God were okay, generic at best, “Pray to the devil in man” is class. Maybe it has something to do with my personal taste, but I think it’s among the best EPs I’ve heard in the recent months and damn, I listen to a lot of bands.


събота, 1 февруари 2014 г.

Doom's finest

 


This is not a review. Only a reminder that Cathedral's first released work is the equivalent of the sweetest heavens in a musical form. Honey and milk and silk and all that tastes good and feels good. Literally, if I was about to die tomorrow and knew it, I'd probably just listen for a few hours some of Cathedral's earliest songs. Oh wait, if there is heaven it is probably a place where everyone sounds and looks like early Cathedral so why bother spend my last hours listening to them if I am going to do it in all eternity.

Dear Lord, sometimes I feel so much love for this band that I'd probably just burst and die.


събота, 2 ноември 2013 г.

Sadhak - Sadhak (demo 2013)



Sadhak is purely fucking amazing. I listen to vast amounts of music every month, trying to catch up with the doom metal scene throughout the world and its derivatives and rarely ever stumble on something so incredibly good. The band name probably does not ring any bell for you - this is to be expected since there is hardly any information for the band anywhere. Therefore, here come I to enlighten you on the matter.

One does not need to spend long hours listening to this demo tape to come to the realisation that it is created by members of High Priest of Saturn. In fact, you can't find information about Sadhak's band members - not even in the booklet of their cassette; however, listening to the music it is more than obvious who created it. Maybe my opinion about this band is a little (or not so little) subjective, because I'm already a huge fan of High Priest and Resonaut. Oh wait, huge fan is not the proper description. I'll shoot straight - the High Priest and Resonaut releases were the best pieces of music to come out in the recent year. So, if you dig the already mentioned - there's no fucking way you are not buying Sadhak's demo tape. It is essential.

For anyone else who is unfamiliar - Sadhak's demo presents this very Lovecraftian, void-bound, out of the world music. I know that there are a lot of bands who put Cthulhu references in their songs and band names, but hardly someone ever reaches the goal of sounding like their hometown is the one of the ancient gods. Very slow-paced, the guitar riff is building slowly towards perfection and always accompanied by a distant drum - the perfect music to listen to white the rain is pouring and you're watching into blank space. "On the arrival of Man" creates this atmosphere from beyond everything material. When I first heard the music and the name of the song, it instantly created that association in my mind of something outwordly and devoid of matter. Not to mention the guitar at the end of the song. Are you fucking kidding me? I don't know how old this Andreas Hagen is or which planet he comes from, but he creates the best solos ever. Alright, I'm a naturally high person, but hey, there's no way you remain untouched by that solo.

The second track quite resembles the first one. The lyrics make it clear that I was right with my associations the first time:

"The Form does not differ from the Void
The Void does not differ from Form
There is no realm of consciousness
Form is Void and Void is Form" 

I'm not trying to be an expert but as long as I know the origin of "Sadhaka" comes from Sanskrit and means "one has to reach the goal" or something like that, to put it into simple words. When I think about it, the idea that there's nothing after death makes me rather calm. Like, the simple idea that I should go to heaven, have contact with other people and simply use my brain again is very, very disturbing. Let's not get carried away. I just wanted to say that the conceptual idea behind Sadhak is as awesome as their music. If you like long, melancholic doom with a definite character, you need to check these guys. Heavy in a different way.

http://sadhak.bandcamp.com/

четвъртък, 17 октомври 2013 г.

Acolytes of Moros - Illusions of Progress (2013)



I hope you're not really expecting me to tell you what kind of genre of metal this is. With Swedish Acolytes of Moros you have stepped into the extremes of traditional doom. "Illusions of Progress" sounds like a lost demo version of not so unexperienced Reverend Bizarre. And for such a young band this is quite an immense achievement.

I guess a lot of people would find this album kind of boring, because really - it does not discover the dark side of the moon. It's more or less something you have heard in one form or another. However, if you're an oldschool lover you'd probably be really pleased to hear the release. Even these days when doom metal has reached its biggest popularity you don't meet stuff like Acolytes of Moros around the corner. The music here is really pushed to the extremes of slowness and nihilism. 

"Illusions of progress" consists of 4 tracks, one being a very short intro, so let's say three full-blooded tracks. As every proper doom metal recording should - you receive a banging awesomeness with song length no less than ten minutes. Yes right, ten minutes long is the shortest track. So if you're some confused person waiting for a happy fast metal song, pack your suitcase quicker and leave the hall. The production of this baby here is top notch for a small budget. Actually, I would prefer that kind of stuff over overproduced modern crap anyday. So really, even if it's a little low production "Illusions of progress" is completely listenable and in no way sounds like a garage recorded doom (even if it is).

I will proceed with the singing, because the vocals are my favourite part in this EP. You can easily imagine the singer chanting from a high mountain. Damn, he sounds like leading a funeral procession. Finnish and Swedish singers know their doom. As honest as I always am, no one does these types of chants better than Scandinavian people, there must be some spell behind it. Take Horse Latitudes as an example, damn fine stuff. The singing goes from this high as fuck type of epic way of pronunciating the words to angrier gutteral almost black metalish type of singing. Don't really think of black metal shrieking or something, it's just an association. 

Bass guitar is quite audible and this gets and instant plus. Real long guitar solos are not present, the guys have sticked to more straightforward stuff which is one reason I can't seem to fully dig this release. The last track is really atmospheric and does sound to me like a low tuned bassy atmospheric black metal. As lucky as I am to have read some of the lyrics, I got to say I am impressed with them as well. As cold as the music is, the ideas that stand behind the lyrics are so as well. As the name of the EP suggests itself, don't hope to find any rays of sunlight here. But since lyrics are kind of something you should interpret for yourself, let's leave that here.

To sum up my overall impressions, "Illusions of Progress" is a very successful effort, though still lacking some elements. It's more or less an introvert kind of album, sad but not really angry. It doesn't get you for the balls and throw you to the other corner of the room. I think there is a lot of potential to be developed here and will surely check what goes on with these folks. Doom on.

събота, 12 октомври 2013 г.

Bloody Hammers - Spiritual Relics (2013)




I was a little dead these recent months.. partly because of university work, partly other shit but here we go again.

Bloody Hammers is one of the bands that has the ability to make a few really really good songs, but then their overall work kind of sucks at some point. This variation in quality can be very tricky for the listener. You say to yourself "wow, this stuff is really good, how come I don't know these guys" but then you hear the whole album and disappointment knocks on the door. And I can honestly say that it's pretty difficult for me to rate their second album "Spiritual Relics".

The sophomore release of the quartet from North Carolina is hard to define. It doesn't really fall between the boundaries of classic traditional doom. There is a lot of leaning towards gothic rock, specifically in "Science fiction", "Shiver" and "The Transit begins". There are a lot of elements that remind me of famous gothic bands, maybe mostly because of the vocals. Illogically, after a few strong doom riffed songs and powerful choruses follows a mellow cheesy gothic song. No idea why, I can only guess that the musicians wanted to produce a varied album. It surely works for a lot of people, but my "cheesiness" tolerance is not that big. There are some good moments when the bass enters in to introduce some variety to the songs. Also the keyboard part is quite awesome, but you can hear it too rarely.

Here comes again the duality of this album. The vocals are really cool in some of the songs, but then again the ones that suck the most do so exactly because of the vocals. Maybe one of the reasons I'm really hooked to some of the songs - "The Well of Nazareth" is one such example, is because the singer so reminds me of Dax Riggs's singing in Acid Bath. In the faster and in the slower songs likewise. "Night of the long knives" is mediocre. It would have been a fine song if it wasn't for the stupid chorus which makes it sound like some modern idiocy.

Something really good about this album it that it has this darker, almost "horror movie"-like feeling to it. Doom or not, gothic or not, it has this weird dark feel to most of the tracks. Unfortunately, the mellowness of the bigger part of the tracks will repel the hardcore doomsters as it did repel me. I am writing this review because this band deserves to be checked out. Even if you're gonna skip some songs, there are a bunch that are good. If you haven't listened something that would remind you to the Southern stale, sick feeling of Acid Bath, there is a grain of music on this record that could remind you of it.