неделя, 1 януари 2017 г.

The Munsens - Abbey Rose (2016)

The Munsens are one of the last cool things since doom stopped being cool. Alright now, between me and you, doom has never been cool and that might as well be the best thing about it. No forced fans, no dressed up clowns as the ones you can find in your regular NWBHM festival. But around the end of 2014-2015 it gained quite a lot of attention, even from more mainstream metal magazines and not only. All of this hugely due to Electric Wizard's mainstream success. You start going to your typical classic metal festivals and find people in flares, talking about how great Reverend Bizarre are. What the hell was that, the zombie apocalypse finally unleashing? On one hand, that's good for the music - more fans, more people get inspired to create music and so on. However, this of course brought with itself a thousand female-fronted "retro" bands (now who will be the first to say I am sexist), cheesy vocals, mall chicks into fashion thinking they are super retro and posting more selfies on instagram than I could count. But hey, even that's fine with me, as long as there's a lot of good music out there. But guess what, everything in life is cyclic and the waters of doom got stuck in the swamp of unoriginality. Waiting for maybe a different time to return with full power?

The Munsens have the old breed. They play this slow, super slow, out of their gut wretched doom metal that I happened to treasure dearly. When you say to someone who is not a classic doom fan - this is "slow metal", in their head that usually means 'regular'. No. The Munsens are slower than that. Bad quality of music but good bad. And if you're reading this, you do probably know what I mean. No stupid polishes, everything is served raw. "Abbey rose"'s cover artwork is only black and white and so is the music behind it. The scenery it depicts reminds you of a London street where Jack the Ripper might show from around the corner and great you with his knife. These bleak sceneries somehow perfectly link with the down-tuned guitars and bass induced sound. No positive vibes, just the perfect recipe for a very nihilistic doom. This being in no way old school death, I was thinking that there are some similarities though, in the kind of taste this EP leaves in your mouth. The sound is very simple, in fact, a mediocre amateur musician like me can hear the riffs pretty accurately, masked by some thick delay and reverse. You could record this with your Blackstar and a pedal but that doesn't make it any bit less atmospheric. Would recommend it for fans of Windhand, Graves at Sea.

If you happen to have the first EPs too, I think in comparison Abbey Rose is even better. Already being a huge fan of "Weight of the night" and "Slave", I can easily tell that Abbey is catchy after only the first listen, while it takes some time for the first two EPs to grow on you. One idea less raw and garagy. Hands down, one of my top 3 releases for 2016.


петък, 9 октомври 2015 г.

Shrine - Goat Skin Rite EP (2012)

Nobody likes to read a review the size of a PhD thesis when it comes to reviewing black thrash and I'm not going to be exceptionally funny so I'd keep it short and to the point.

Shrine are a fairly new band (e. metallum says they exist since 2011) and hail from Germany. Unlike the more famous rock'n'roll/hardrock bunch from California (The Shrine), just 'Shrine' have the status of a nobody knows us but we don't care kind of band, which I couldn't even find on the social media; so great, you have the obscurity status - what about the music?

I've heard several hundred new bands, trying to sound evil or exceptionally NWBHM-Enforcer kind of style but a huge part of those fall into the trap of being funny, fake or just trying hard. Here you don't have that. The production of the album is on the level of Euronymous's garage recordings and the abysmal stench is as strong as if you sit in a cemetery and have a cold beer with a fresh corpse.

Personally I really dig the tiny 'intros' of the songs, they sorta set the horror mood in. Carnivore's (ex-Cruel Force) vocals sound like your usual black thrash vocals but perhaps leaning more towards the black side rather than thrash. The riffs run super fast like you'd expect in mid Darkthrone era and pace mid-tempo from time to time. The drums are usually more or less buried under the guitar, which pulls of quite an old school effect.

I'd recommend this as it is fucking archaic and smells like miasmal graves. No panzers, no divisions, no people.

сряда, 5 август 2015 г.

Samsara Blues Experiment - Waiting for the Flood (2013)

Samsara Blues Experiment, the ultimately fitting, possibly the most suitable name anyone could come up with for such a brain-melting belter of a union of a few humans, who may indeed be human but their music is totally out of this space.  Wanna see Buddha dancing to blues rock jams? Tie your belt. The third full length album of the band presents you their most psychedelic mediative form of rock'n'roll to date in their catalogue. Samsara, the cycles of rebirth in Hinduism and the never-ending blues jams have fused here to give birth to a stellar guitar-solos ridden record that I've happened to play so many times this week, it's unhealthy.

A few things make this band and in our case, record, very special for me, different from most bands mixing blues and stoner rock. To start with, the vocals are unique, and when I use this adjective I really mean it, you can't hear another dude to sound even remotely similar to Christian Peters. He has this empowering intensity in his voice that can throw you five miles away when he uses his voice to recite something loud like in Shringara, track one. Okay, maybe he's not reciting it in the most literal sense of the verb, but he sounds so powerful like the preaching of some high Hindu god. The guy makes the words sound like they come from the centre of the universe and they have the power to hit you hard even if you're not five miles high, resonating to the Earth and back to the black hole Scorpio where they come from. Peters's voice on "Waiting for the flood" is ranging from this slow-paced intense reciting to mellower and even slower to fit the guitar tone in the best way possible. At moments when he asks what if doom is here to stay, you really sit on your darn ass and think about it.

Another big highlight is the use of sitar and harp. Fuck knows sitar's use in stoner rock is the best instrument to make the gap between the listener and nirvana smaller. Samsara are one of the few bands that, being by the use of such instruments or whatnot, manage to invoke mountainous landscapes and the never-melting snow of Himalaya in your head, even if you just sit on your bed and stare at the ceiling. The quiet continuos presence of the sitar drone, layered with Behren's bass vibe and Eiselt's warm guitar sound create a wave that you can sleep on, waiting to be carried and awoken on some Eastern shore. Blues harmonics, double chorus, this album doesn't come short of fantastic at any point, both sides having it's more hard hitting and mellower points alike.

Just when I listened to this album ten times or more, I happened to notice that actually there is no song shorter than ten minutes. Take that, four tracks, overall length is around 45 minutes and you never notice because it all flows perfectly. But words are only harm and I can do this much to describe, check out "Waiting for the flood" for more accurate information.

събота, 6 юни 2015 г.

Obsidian Sea - Dreams, Illusions, Obsessions (2015)

As you probably have noticed, or perhaps you don’t really care, until very recently there weren’t too many acts in the Bulgarian underground scene that revolved around doom metal. However, in the last few years there’s been a glimpse of light in the cave and a few bands have awoken the field to some extent. And as you can imagine, sometimes the best music comes from the places where you expected to find it the least.

Obsidian Sea released their first demo in 2010 and I remember someone telling me about a tape by a doom metal band from Sofia, Bulgaria that I was “going to enjoy”, because it was very oldschool or something like that. I remember this sparkled my interest a lot, as I thought no more than two people liked doom in Bulgaria and I was one of them. I was surprised a lot because the tape consisted of some really purist traditional doom metal. It was good, it was rough and of course there was a lot to be desired, but I want to highlight what impressed me the most - that was the presence of a good taste in music. Once you have the right approach, I believe you can achieve a lot. Of course, what is right and wrong approach could be debated forever, but let’s face it - if you like Edguy and try to create traditional doom, you might as well fall in your own trap like a ballerina with a broken toe.

The debut album that followed two years later was good, I remember particularly liking some of the ending solos. What was in the tape was in the album – roughness of sound, traditional doom, harsh atmosphere, but there was something lacking for it to appeal to people largely, I guess. I remember the songwriting in two songs was really neat, it did hold a promise for something better, but it was somewhat stale in some other tracks, which kinda prevents the album from flowing. Now, at least for me, ‘Dreams, Illusions, Obsessions’ has what the previous album lacked in many aspects.

To start with, it does sound more mature – like a fucking fruit you finally waited to become ripe. The sun, the wind and the rain finally settled in to give it a taste. The sound is thicker, richer; probably one idea less rough (everyone is sorry that this is not Burzum) but still could mislead you that it was recorded in the 80s. I believe the bass section is a very prominent ingredient that was previously missing. It's not greasy and too audible like you'd expect in some typical sludge and stoner albums, but it does add for the overall depth of sound. The atmosphere is more haunting, more prominent; the album feels like it has a spirit of its own, it is searching, looking to reach for somewhere. It does remind me in some ways of the better Italian doom bands. The music itself sounds like it is the ghost of someone mentally tortured that has returned to haunt where it belonged first. I am not really sure what the lyrics are about, but if most songs had one main character, it would be that of someone confused and continuously crashing in his own consciousness. The opener track is more upbeat, angry, with a riff that promises to burn what it catches on the way and then slows down to tell its story. What stands out in the very beginning is that a lot of the songs could be cut to fit in an Italian olschool horror film in the suspense moments.  I can see a blooded pale hand holding a knife above Edwige Fenech’s throat to the sounds of ‘The Fatalist’. The guitar tone is really thick and warm and the mixing is quite good, but what makes this album greater than its predecessor is the songwriting, with some songs like “Child in the tower” being particularly catchy and memorable. I would put down as my own favourites – ‘The Trial of Herostratus’, ‘Mulkurul’ and ‘The Fatalist”. Check out those delicious riffs:


неделя, 5 април 2015 г.

Inner Altar - Vol I (2015)

Oh well, well. I've not published anything on here for ages. Partly because I've lived in a laboratory, partly because I wasn't very inspired. The smoke and shades of the grey buildings I've been surrounded by in the recent months have killed the poet.

But here I am again, listening to this stunner of a traditional doom metal album/EP by a band who just released it and is freshly brewed in Kansas City. So I thought this is a good day (night!) to praise some boys who know their trade. The hour of the witch just stroke and I have the perfect soundtrack for it.

Inter Altar sound a bit like all (almost all) bands you can find among my reviews and better than some of them. They have this pinch of southern breeze that can take you anywhere, any of the summer islands and it can change to a hard wind and take you to any ruined fortress of the North. Fantasy doom, anyone? It is proper old school traditional doom with dreamy vocals, the kind of vocals you would expect your olde favourite vocalist to do but instead he is taking his kids to kindergarden and posting on facebook. The vocalist of Inner Alter brings something old to the table, but with new blood.

This Vol. I is absolutely flawless - it is a mixture of nice, slow, medieval court yard songs and it is the sound of crashing blades at the same time. The riffs are strong, catchy and rich. Most songs sound a lot like Reverend Bizarre, althought, considerably lighter and shorter. I like my doom to sound like I own a castle and live in a forest. So here you go.

Vol.I would be released officially on tape by Ritual Knife Records. You can check this beauty and lend a hand to these folks by purchasing the music for a reasonable price from the band's bandcamp page.

Originally written for: http://sixthfromthesun.blogspot.co.uk/

неделя, 28 декември 2014 г.

Blood Farmers - Headless Eyes (2014)

It's a late night, I'm tired from a prolonged period filled with indecent bands in the doom 'scene' and as hardly something these days captures my attention enough so that I'd be bothered to write a review, I'll stop myself on a band that really deserves your and my time - Blood Farmers.

You thought correctly (or you were from the bigger amount of people who didn't), they are very likely named after one of the pinnacles of low budget crappy horror cinema – “The Invasion of the Blood Farmers” (1972) and that suits them quite well I'd say; with the only exception in the quality of material. Because low budget or not, “Headless eyes” is a damn stellar example of doom.

Being quite a big doom metal fan and whatnot, I'd say that Blood Farmers are the best thing out there that this kind of music has to offer these days. No exceptions. No wizards, no bongs, this is the real deal. While many of the titans, for example Electric wizard, (since already mentioned) have lost their grip and other veterans chose to drink tea on their English porches and take care of business matters, the band present here still has this kicking guts atmosphere that all of us traditional doom lovers cherish. If you like oldschool Hammer films and old comics to go with your music, you might enjoy this even more. 

The tunes present possess all these bits and pieces that would make them perfect to be the soundtrack of a suspension moment in films like "Susperia" and *put the name of your favourite Argento movie here*. These men have really made it hard for new Italian composers to top the tunes present on "Headless eyes". If any director of a cheap horror wants to use the best soundtrack possible, just spin something like "The Creeper" or "Night of the Sorcerers" and they'd be bought and sold. While this album might not be extremely heavy in the common way heavy is understood, it is truly exceptional and may I add, a level up the class of the bands' previous albums. My personal favourite is the self-titled track, with its atmosphere that screams 'an old Victorian house with creaking staircase' and absolutely amazing solo guitar. Generally, there is not that much psychedelia on this track as on the rest, but it is still fucking perfect. The two ending ones are also 10/10, absolute classics of psychedelic rock/doom. 

It's quite exciting for me that music like that is still made in 2014. Maybe the times are not as dark as they seem when you watch the local store's music magazine covers. What are you waiting for? Go check it out, scare yourself!


неделя, 30 ноември 2014 г.

Horseskull - Horseskull (2014)

In the valley of absolutely soul-drained, uninspired modern stoner/sludge bands, Horseskull shine like a corundum in a bowl of mud. There are three kinds of bands in my opinion. The first type, you hear them and at the time of the third second you know that the music is going to be complete piss. The second type - you listen to several songs and feel like they have something, maybe some potential to develop; and the third type of band just grabs you by the balls and you really don't need to hear much to know they will get you going. Horseskull were that king of band for me, from song number one I knew I was going to dig them, dig them hard.

Their style of metal can be described as greasy, low-tuned, angry badass solo-infused sludge, if you might like. The pace of the majority of the album is too fast to fit in your regular sludge metal description, but the vocal style and general delivery sound as pissed as the baby of Disrupt and Crowbar. The solo guitar won't get tired for a minute and you'd just be buried under a wave of awesomeness of soloing.  I am not kidding, the fuzz wizard is strong here. There are tiny acoustic bits here and there, but not too much and I'd say, exactly the appropriate amount to never make the record in general cheesy. I mean, cheese is as far from this band as your cat is from graduating from Harvard. The final punch is the last song that would delude you to be a desert trip and then bring you with a bang to reality. Class. The only problem with this album is that it is too short.

Alrightie, to sum this up, if you like your doom, sludge or whatever distorted heavy music low and cool and unstained from posers and retro dressed chicks and falcettos, here you go.

четвъртък, 28 август 2014 г.

Autopsy - Macabre Eternal (2011)

I've been buried under the glistering summer heat, enjoying the calm spiritual death of my burning summer break of a chemistry student, being turned into a human craving for silence and sleep as a means of enjoying myself (that's also why university is not always the best idea). Then one day I woke up and passed around my Autopsy Severed Survival vinyl and thought 'maybe I should give it a spin'. Which proved a successful means of waking the beast from her eternal summer slumber. Then it lead to me listening to 'Macabre Eternal' as I remember how much I loved and praised it when it first came out. Oh, hooray, down-tuned guitars, ravaging soloing - a glimpse of clear air, finally!

What bums me most about death metal bands created in the new millennia is the way in which they decide to produce their records, absolutely minimalizing the human effort by using machines to do all their work. Don't get me wrong, I don't care whether you work more or less in the studio, I care about the final product, which is the music I am listening to and I definitely don't like my drumming crystal clear and my bass clean and shaved. Autopsy have definitely 'improved' a lot sound quality-wise from their early days. However, what is great sound and production in their case, does not ruin the spirit and smell of this package in the very least. You get straight, non cheesy and always as balled, down trodden death metal. Or maybe I should say 'doom death' if we're speaking about some of the songs. What's particularly enjoyable about this album is that is has everything your ears'd need - it has the fast, bludgeoning guitar solos, it has the doomier, slow-paced grim songs, it has everything and done in the finest way possible.

The songs themselves feel complete and actually contain some real meat - such diversity of riffs, astonishingly rude bass; when you have almost forgotten that bands used to record something in such a raw way - you get it - the bass is fucking there, it is audible! The most important ingredient in cooking your death metal. Then in the next song you get an acoustic guitar, a plethora of surprises and all of them are good. Just when you think you're hearing the beats of the dead in a slow and grim manner, the next songs throws you at a completely different situation - suddenly you'd be floating in the rives of the underworld hearing a serene chorus. God, I love this album, in its longest and shortest tracks, just the same.

When I am listening to this album I feel like I hold a diamond that I could put in a secret vault and get it out when I really need it. There are very few bands in the world that would produce something with such a high quality these days. It's as if I am listening to the Repulsion demos again but with a much more enjoyable sound and it's not a hundred years ago. There are some albums - whatever you say, you won't to them justice until you finally hear the material and this is one of them.