Ghold – Judas Ghoat (Review)

gholdGhold play some super sludgy Doom with emphasis on the sluuudge. It’s heavy on the bass and nicely percussive.

I enjoy albums like this as generally speaking they are easy to become absorbed into. The bass simply expanding to consume everything else until it is the only thing left. Almost anyway, as Ghold are more than just the bass.

This is quite a distinctive brand of sludge and the vocals in particular mark it as out of the ordinary, almost like a one-man gang vocal. These heavy, deep vocals prowl the deep sludgy seas adding menacing and ritualistic tones to the music. Meanwhile the drums hammer out relentless rhythms and beats that supply the backbone to whatever the bass is doing.

A very primal feeling to this release, like something struggling to be born. A worthy addition to the genre.

Eye of Solitude – Canto III (Review)

Eye of SolitudeAnd it begins – the start of the apocalypse is soft and gentle; slowly building and eventually giving way to a torrent of Doom so monolithic it’s almost overbearing. The sheer oppressiveness of the deep, deep vocals washing away all resistance to the new world that this depressive, bleak, yet wonderful music heralds.

First comes the Doom, and then comes the blast, but Eye of Solitude even manage to infuse blastbeats with a sense of hopelessness and despair. It may not sound like it, but for this kind of music that’s a compliment. 15 minutes in and the first song has finished. The second starts with no intro; it goes from silence to destruction in the space of a heartbeat. The sense of majesty is terrible to behold.

The nature of Eye of Solitude songs is one of a constant oppressive misery, spiked with the occasional uplifting, hopeful moment, only to have this hope removed and crushed without comment. The songs are long, the emotions deep. There is also a sense of frustration at play here; as if there is a railing and thrashing against the inevitable, before final acceptance takes place.

One of the clever aspects of this album is the simultaneous appearance of uniformity and linearity while at the same time having dynamics that are merely disguised by the highly emotive atmosphere that Eye of Solitude foster. This is a masterful stroke as it adds a layer of depth and complexity to the songs that is not always apparent on first listen – the very definition of discovering something new every time.

Based on the strength of their previous releases this is an album that I have been looking forward to, and I am very pleased to say I am not disappointed. Essential.

Funeral Circle – Funeral Circle (Review)

Funeral CircleFuneral Circle play Epic Doom Metal. This album is all about the songs, the feeling of Doom, and the weighty guitars.

At 51 minutes it is a decent length and every track is really enjoyable. Harking back to an older time of more traditional song structures and Doom inspired themes and feeling, yet with a powerful production and sound that makes it sound contemporary, without ever sounding too polished or stale. Funeral Circle have a sound which is alive and warm, wrapping their arms around you like a comfy blanket. Only it’s a comfy Doom Metal blanket, of course.

The songs are well-crafted and perfectly judged, never outstaying their welcome or straying into pedestrian areas. The musicianship is first-rate and does justice to the songwriting, bringing each track alive. With vocals that are powerful and inspiring, the singer perfectly fits the music with a great range and depth to his voice.

This is traditional-style Doom Metal played with conviction and power. Along with bands like Pallbearer and 40 Watt Sun this is exactly what this genre should sound like in 2013. Strong harmonies, excellent vocals and everything focused on the song. A win.

Abbotoir – MCMXV (Review)

AbbotoirSometimes music can seem more than just music – sometimes it seems like a force of nature. MCMXV is like that. Only two tracks, but over 50 minutes of music. Heavy, colossal, doom. This is the début album by this Irish doom band. Their first release was an EP (XLI) which whet the appetite nicely and this album follows hot on the heels of that.

Their style of doom is a filthy, dirgy, primal one. Primarily slow, (obviously), but not afraid to mix it up now and again in true sludge fashion. Indeed; both songs have their faster moments, but even these are covered in grime and filth, and the atmosphere steadfastly remains one of decay and neglect, further enhanced by the effects in the background of the primary instruments.

This is an album that will only improve with time. The repetitive nature of some of the dirgy riffs burrows into your subconscious and refuses to leave. A most welcome, if rotten, earworm; loudly insisting that you return for more foetid delights in the dank recesses of the Abbotoir.

With this release Abbotoir have proved that they are not one-(bong)-hit wonders and instead are capable of carving a niche for themselves in the doom scene. And I, for one, hope they continue to do so far some time to come.

Bismuth – The Eternal Marshes (Review)

BismuthThis is a little something for all those who worship at the altar of sloooooow. Almost a UK version of Burning Witch/Khanate; the basic template should be familiar to anyone into this kind of doom, although Bismuth inject enough of  their own personal brand of misery and woe into the music to differentiate it from their peers.

This is a one-track release lasting 16 minutes and every single minute is a hymn to distortion and doom. Bass, drums and tortured screeching.

Slow and agonised; the music drags itself into the darkest corner of your forgotten fears and festers, waiting patiently and growing all of the time. Occasional screams of growing pains punctuate this hidden time bomb of malignancy like something trying to escape, but ultimately realising the futility.

This is doom. This is slow, bass-heavy, doom. There is nothing else.