Forged in Black – Descent of the Serpent (Review)

Forged in Black - Descent of the SerpentForged in Black are a UK heavy metal band and this is their second album.

Featuring 48 minutes of material, Descent of the Serpent is well-crafted heavy metal with wide scope. Some elements of thrash are mixed in, for example. Also, occasionally the songs veer into classic doom metal territories in their more atmospheric moments, or sometimes adopt a power metal stance of epic force. Whatever they do this is pure heavy metal goodness all the way. Continue reading

Wolf Counsel – Destination Void (Review)

wolf counsel - destination voidThis is the fourth album from Swiss doom metal band Wolf Counsel.

The promo blurb states that this album is for fans of Cathedral, Candlemass, Trouble, and Solitude Aeturnus, and that’s a fair assessment. Continue reading

Epitaph – Claws (Review)

EpitaphThis is the second album from Italian doom metallers Epitaph.

2014’s Crawling out of the Crypt was one of my favourite release from that year, and if I had to do that best of list over again the album would have definitely made it into the top 20 or so. As much as I enjoyed it at the time, it’s been a firm grower, and is an exceptional example of doom metal done right in an authentic, honest, and traditional way. Continue reading

Temptation’s Wings – Skulthor Ebonblade (Review)

Temptation's WingsThis is the debut album from Temptation’s Wings, a doom/heavy metal band from the US.

Think of a Southern metal flavoured mix between Grand Magus, Candlemass, Down and Orange Goblin. Temptation’s Wings have produced an album worthy to be spoken of in the same sentence as these bands, as Skulthor Ebonblade is very enjoyable indeed. Continue reading

Cough – Still They Pray (Review)

CoughThis is the third album from Cough, a doom metal band from the US.

Cough. It’s a funny name for a band. Still, I’ve heard worse, a lot worse.

If you’re a fan of bands like Yob, Electric Wizard, Sleep, Candlemass and the like, then you’ll probably already know that Cough create the kind of repetitive, hypnotic doomscapes that you’re gonna love. Continue reading

Desolate Pathway – Valley of the King (Review)

Desolate PathwayThis is the début album from UK Doom Metallers Desolate Pathway.

This is Traditional/Classic Doom Metal in the tradition of Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, etc.

Desolate Pathway sound authentic and have the recording to match. This infuses the music with authority and power, not that the songs themselves are lacking in this department, mind.

The singer has a good voice and carries the tunes with ease. He has the requisite presence for this kind of music and he manages to remain the main focal point for the music without detracting from the rest of the band at all.

There’s an Iron Maiden-esque Heavy Metal influence which rears its head here and there too, which is no bad thing. The riffs, solos, melodies and harmonies are forlorn, but not overly so.

It’s an engaging listen as the band clearly know their chosen sub-genre. However, as with any classic style such as this, your tolerance for it will dictate your reaction to them. If you’re sated on this kind of thing you’ll probably not be too interested. If you’re still open to it though, Desolate Pathway play their tunes better than most and Valley of the King is a worthwhile listen.

So sit back, turn up the volume and press play. It’s time to visit the Valley of the King.

Aeonsgate – Pentalpha (Review)

AeonsgateAeonsgate are from Sweden and this is their début album.

This is a very ambitious release – one track, almost an hour in length, documenting the last few minutes of someone’s life.

This is a supergroup of sorts, with various musical contributions coming from people who have played in bands such as Candlemass, Therion, Ephel Duath and Necrophagist.

Doom Metal/Funeral Doom lends itself well to a release of this nature. The fact that the vocals are handled by Mats Leven, (Candlemass), means that it instantly has a very authoritative sheen to it. His vocals are on top form as always, and he seems to enjoy himself in the vaguely theatrical Doom atmospheres that are evoked here.

The song goes through many permutations/phases and takes in 70’s-style Doom, Funeral Doom, Doom Metal, synth/keyboard highlights and Progressive Rock elements. While a song of this length by its very nature won’t be for everyone it works well and slowly builds and grows throughout the playing time.

The winding, repetitive nature of the song is hypnotic and slowly develops the theme and narrative of the piece.

This is not without its flaws of course; any hour-long song would have to be pretty perfect to be flawless, but for the most part this is an involving and enjoyable Doom-opera that’s worth the time that needs to be invested in it.

Northern Crown – In the Hands of the Betrayer (Review)

Northern CrownNorthern Crown are from the US and this is their debut EP, although at 31 minutes in length it’s the same length as some albums.

The band play Heavy/Doom Metal in its original guise and with added organ accompaniment. Although the band play slow on occasion, this is more on the Heavy Metal side of things than Doom, although there’s a fair amount of crossover in the genres anyway.

Played well and with obvious enthusiasm; Northern Crown are a very likeable and personable band. Choruses ring out and juicy melodies are used. Guitars unleash sonic hell with evocative leads and molten solos. The rhythm guitars are nicely chunky and tasty, emotive riffs are the bedrock of the songs.

These tracks span varying speeds from the up-tempo to mid-paced to straight Doom Metal. All the while the organs add that extra layer to proceedings.

If you like the heavier works of Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio then Northern Crown should be right up your street. The inclusion of a Candlemass cover should seal the deal and rounds out the influences.

This is Metal through and through and a very promising start to what will hopefully be a long and productive career.

Recommended.