Goya – Harvester of Bongloads (Review)

GoyaGoya are a doom metal band from the US and this is their third album.

Here we have 40 minutes of blissfully hypnotic stoner doom metal, replete with grand fuzzy riffs, psychedelic noodling and more dark, hazy atmosphere than you can shake a bong at. Continue reading

Mindkult – Witch’s Oath (Review)

MindkultThis is the debut EP from Mindcult, a one-man doom metal band from the US.

This is fuzzy doom rock with an addictive edge that lures the listener in, seductively, with wily allure.

A large part of this is down to the singer’s voice, which Continue reading

Druids – Cycles of Mobeum (Review)

DruidsDruids are a doom/sludge metal band from the US and this is their latest album.

Druids take elements of modern bands like Mastodon and Behold! The Monolith and infuse them with an earlier style of doom and blues, as produced by bands like Earth and Black Sabbath.

There’s a quality level of musicianship on Cycles of Mobeum, and this Continue reading

Sourvein – Aquatic Occult (Review)

SourveinThis is the fourth album from these US Sludge/Doom veterans.

Sourvein return with an aquatic-themed album, it seems.

The band play their sludge with a raw energy that seems to tap into something primeval and old, probably something lurking in the deepest waters in the darkest ocean.

With a heavy sound that’s warmly analogue, these songs have a kind of retro vibe to them that manages to eschew any of the normal bullshit trappings that such a term usually involves. Rather, what we have here is music that’s honest, visceral and not afraid to get dirty, (wet?).

The songs have groove and melody, both of which are used well throughout the playing time. It’s an endearing mix of influences that combine on this release, with everything from Electric Wizard, Eyehategod, Black Sabbath, Acid Bath and Mastodon making it into the melting pot.

Short tracks don’t outstay their welcome, and Sourvein know how to flourish a song with a relatively short playing time for maximum effect.

There are some quality and earthy, (aquatic?), guitar solos included, alongside a bass that just sounds really, really good.

The singer reveals himself to be quite versatile, with clean and rough singing, as well as throaty shouts used where necessary. He has a lot of presence and charisma, which can also be said of the songs as a whole. Taken together the music and the vocal performance make for a very strong collection of tracks that are both catchy and memorable.

Well, this is very, very enjoyable. Sourvein stick out from the crowd as having something a bit special and being a bit different from the norm.

You gotta get this, or Poseidon will be pissed.

Brimstone Coven – Black Magic (Review)

Brimstone CovenBrimstone Coven are a Hard Rock band from the US. This is their second album.

Brimstone Coven worship at the smoky altar of all things 60s and 70s. Black Sabbath, Pentagram and Led Zeppelin may be obvious reference points, but there’s more going on here than you might expect and Black Magic is a well-rounded release that is greater than the sum of its influences.

This album has a pleasingly authentic sound, both in the recording and the vibes that seem to come off the music in heady waves.

The main vocalist’s voice suits the music well and there’s lots of catchy singing going on here, which works well with the equally catchy music. The band also employ multi-singer harmonies and put these to good use.

The music is instantly familiar and it’s easy to get into this and feel a pleasant buzz emanating from it. The songs contain so many good riffs and warm melodies that every song has something pretty damn special to offer.

Black Magic gives us 55 minutes of music to entrance and captivate. If you’re in the mood for this kind of thing then it really is up there with the best of them. With top-drawer songwriting and a decent amount of variety and moods to explore, this is a very enjoyable release.

I’m not always a huge fan of music that takes its inspiration from this era, (although bands such as Witchcraft, Agusa, Ecstatic Vision and Greenleaf have been known to frequent my playlist from time to time…), but when it’s done well and with enthusiasm and passion as it clearly is on Black Magic, the result is infectious and hard to ignore.

Highly recommended.

Hellhookah – Endless Serpents (Review)

HellhookahHellhookah are a Traditional Doom Metal band from Lithuania. This is their début album.

This is Traditional Doom Metal for fans of bands like Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram and Trouble. The album is 35 minutes long and has 7 tracks, one of which is a Saint Vitus cover.

With both eyes firmly on the past, Hellhookah peel off the riffs that mark the style and these songs are easily digested.

I find that these songs are at their best the slower and more moody that the band play, such as on tracks like Endless Serpents.

The singer has a decent voice that does the job required. There’s no complaints in this department.

This entire album has a very authentic sound; it could have been recorded decades ago and just recently unearthed.

A not-unpleasant way to spend half an hour – have a listen and see what you think.

Flesh of the Stars – Hide (Review)

Flesh of the StarsFlesh of the Stars are from the US and play Doom Metal. This is their début album.

Taking their cues from bands such as Sleep and Black Sabbath, Flesh of the Stars play Traditional Doom Metal with an occult, sinister vibe and 70s accoutrements. Throw in a few elements of bands like Electric Wizard and Ice Dragon and you have a hugely impressive début that is head-and-shoulders above most who attempt this style.

And that’s the thing in many ways; this kind of music has been absolutely done to death, but Flesh of the Stars play it so damn well it’s hard to care. The level of songwriting and dark atmosphere on this album is downright freaky in itself. Surely they’ve sold their souls for these songs?

Out of these seven tracks only four of them are actual songs, so Hide leaves you hungry for more. It’s an addictive release as it’s so very easy just to start playing it again once you’ve listened to it; the hallmark of a great album.

The band create an impressive atmosphere with their music and there are some genuinely creepy/eerie moments on Hide. The interplay between the, (largely), restrained, introspective vocals and the fuzzy guitar is perfectly judged and everything fits into place where it should.

Well, I can’t say enough nice things about this. It’s always great when you discover a band who seem so perfectly attuned to what they’re doing that it’s a genuine pleasure to listen to. This is especially true when the band isn’t actually doing anything different or ground-breaking; Flesh of the Stars are just so massively good at what they do that it’s probably immoral.

Essential.

Favourite Track: Grim Baptist. Well, what a stunning song!

Phased – Aeon (Review)

PhasedPhased are from Switzerland and play Psychedelic Doom Metal. This is their fifth album.

Phased are a familiar proposition in many ways. Taking the blueprint of a band like Electric Wizard, they proceed to play 44 minutes of music that’s similar enough to what we’re used to so that it’s instantly welcome, but with enough individuality to ensure that they’re not written off as a mere copy.

As with most things to do with music, this is subjective of course. For me, although this release has enough familiar markers from bands like Electric Wizard, Warhorse and, (to a lesser extent), Black Sabbath that it feels like an old friend, it also retains its own identity enough to be a worthy listen. In fact, if you cross Electric Wizard and Warhorse, you have a good idea of where Phased are coming from.

Understated, strangely-inhuman vocals act as just another instrument and can almost be overlooked as you get caught up in the riffs and confident melodies. Having said that, the overall impact of the songs would be lessened without them though.

The laid back, confident swagger of the Doom riffs and the general vibe of easy-going Space Rock is a beguiling combination. It’s hard not to like a band like this when they lock into a hypnotic groove.

So, will Phased do it for you, or have they missed their mark? Have a listen and see what you think.

Witchsorrow – No Light, Only Fire (Review)

WitchsorrowThis is the third album from UK Doom Metal band Witchsorrow.

Witchsorrow are a Traditional Doom Metal band and No Light, Only Fire has all of the requisite ingredients that you would expect from this particular sub-genre. What sets it apart is a feeling of real darkness that infuses the songs, and the fact that the songs themselves are pretty damn good.

It’s well-recorded and packs a punch; none of this retro-worship, fake-authentic throwback sound for Witchsorrow. That’s not to say that No Light, Only Fire is over-produced or hyper-polished; it isn’t, it just has a very strong sound that allows the band to land with a thump.

The songs are, (largely), slow-to-mid-paced affairs that play the long game and really go in for some atmospheric occult misery, as well they should. The main exception to this rule is the first track There Is No Light Only Fire, which is more upbeat and traditionally Heavy Metal in its approach, before the more crushing Doom of the next song The Martyr kicks in.

The songs have character and charisma, and come across as prime Black Sabbath-esque songs, unearthed from a secret stash and recorded fresh in the present day. Witchsorrow appear to have gone to the Doom Metal source and made secret pacts with the same dark figures that gave Black Sabbath their powers.

So what if you’ve heard it all before? This is a damn good way to spend 64 minutes and Witchsorrow have made a firm fan out of me. What say you?

Magister Templi – Into Duat (Review)

Magister TempliThis is the second album from Norwegian Heavy Metallers Magister Templi.

A strong sound heralds an album that’s an enjoyable mix of Heavy Metal with a pinch of Traditional Doom Metal thrown in for spice.

Good riffs and strong melodies abound on Into Duat. The songs are well-developed slabs of Metal that have enough dynamics, energy and thought put into them to stand up to close scrutiny.

The singer’s voice is like a siren, soaring above the rest of the music. His voice is piercing and has a definite presence among the energetic guitars and earthy drums. A band like this would flounder with bland, uninspiring vocals, but thankfully we don’t have to worry about that as their singer is quite accomplished at what he does.

A theatrical element raises its head on occasion, but not in an overly ostentatious way. It’s an added string to their bow that gives them a well-rounded feel.

The recording is professional and tight; it’s a strong production with a warm, analogue sound that is like fine, aged whiskey. This, coupled with the songs themselves, results in Into Duat being a very satisfying listen indeed.

Overall this is a very interesting cross between Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Jon Oliva’s Pain. It’s a really entertaining listen and one that has enough longevity and depth to it that I’ll definitely be coming back for more in the future.

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