Owlcrusher – Owlcrusher (Review)

OwlcrusherOwlcrusher are a blackened doom/sludge band from the UK and this is their debut album.

Here we have some truly ugly, colossally heavy music, the likes of which you don’t stumble upon too often. Which, for the listener’s sanity and well-being, is probably a good thing. Continue reading

Tchornobog – Tchornobog (Review)

TchornobogThis is the debut album from Tchornobog, a black/death/doom metal one-man project from the US.

Although this is ostensibly a solo project, (from the man that brought us the mighty Aureole), it also features several session musicians and guests, (most notably from Esoteric and Svartidauði), which help to flesh out the release. Continue reading

Black Cloud All Dayer – Preview

Black Cloud All Dayer Header

There’s a very special day approaching soon – May 6th 2017. Why is this date so important? Well, if you’re in the UK on that Saturday, it means you can get on down to the Black Cloud All Dayer in Manchester.

Sign up for the Facebook event and get your tickets here – it’s going to be a good one.

The lineup for the day is ridiculously strong. Below we’ll have a look at each of the bands playing in turn. With such a wealth of talent on the bill, it would be foolish to miss this. Continue reading

Hooded Menace – Darkness Drips Forth (Review)

Hooded MenaceThis is the fourth album from Finnish Doom-laden Death Metallers Hooded Menace.

Hooded Menace are well-known for playing Death Metal that’s heavy on the Doom influence, and just heavy in general. On this latest release this is taken to its logical conclusion, and the four songs on Darkness Drips Forth really blur the line between Death and Doom Metal, so much so that this is equally for fans of Incantation as it is for Esoteric.

The shortest song here is just under 10 minutes in length, with all tracks being stretched out to their maximum capacity for crawling, sinister, evil Metal.

Dark melodies creep into the thick, crushing music so that the band really foster the ancient Death/Doom influences that sit at the core of music like this. It’s not as overpowering or centralised as some who play similar styles though, allowing the heaviness and pure dirt of a band like this to remain at the fore. Old-school Anathema/Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride fans will be proud.

The singer’s cavernous growls are slow and drawn out, keeping pace with the unhurried music and reminding everyone that ultimately this isn’t pretty music; this wants to drag you down into the murk and consume your soul.

When they’re not playing at a snail’s pace the band have a rhythmic quality to them that’s almost Rocking, albeit one that’s coated in filth and grim intent.

These songs are veritable slabs of monolithic Metal, seemingly passed down through the ages in sealed tomes of forbidden lore, only to be discovered and unleashed by Hooded Menace. Each one is an impressive foray into Doom/Death, only much more malignant and nasty than a lot of the style normally is.

Highly recommended for both Doom and Death Metal fans alike.

Eye of Solitude/Faal – Split

Eye of Solitude FaalEye of Solitude are from the UK and Faal are from the Netherlands. They have teamed up to produce this dark, malevolent split where each band contributes one track.

Eye of Solitude are a particular favourite of mine, with a slew of quality releases, (Sui Caedere, Canto III, Dear Insanity), to their name. Here they contribute a 12 minute song – Obsequies.

The track starts off with an exotic flavour; Middle Eastern-inspired music that shortly is replaced with heavy guitars in the mournful, Doom/Death style. Eye of Solitude are very good at combining the stark heaviness of Doom with the rich melodic streaks of Doom/Death.

The vocals continue to be the pitch-black growls that we know and love so much. If anything the singer’s voice seems to be getting deeper as time passes, and his performance on Obsequies is quite monolithic. Combined with the slow pace of the accompanying funeral dirge each growl becomes akin to the passing of aeons.

The middle section of the song is comprised of a piano and violin section, amiably breaking up the crushing misery of the main composition with a textured, emotive exploration of grief.

After this, the song crawls to a natural close, all emotion spent, all energy drained.

After Eye of Solitude comes the contribution from Faal. This is a track called Shattered Hope that lasts over 13 minutes. I have not heard Faal before this, but they quickly draw me in with their atmospheric Funeral Doom.

Accompanied by subtle synths, their music is bleak and suicidal, reminding of some of the older, slower material from Forgotten Tomb, only with less Black Metal and more Doom/Death; maybe kind of Forgotten Tomb mixed with Esoteric?

Dark growling vocals appear to swim in and out of the music, adding highlights to it rather than being the main focal point. Although the band have a heavy side, Shattered Hope is more about mood and substance than heaviness for the sake of it. It’s slow, miserable and easy to become absorbed in. Before you know it, the long running time is over with and you’re left with an unsubstantiated feeling of having lost something important.

A quality split of slow, mournful Doom. Press play and lose all track of time.

Funerary – Starless Aeon (Review)

FuneraryThis is the début album from US Doom band Funerary.

This is dark, misery-drenched Doom that has a harsh Sludge edge, giving the band a nasty bite.

One of the first things that strikes me about Funerary are the jaw-dropping, ultra-intense vocals. They’re mainly high pitched screams or deep growls, although that description doesn’t do them justice. The screams sound rabid and the growls sound inhuman. Either way, they make a big impression.

This is 34 minutes of mind-numbing despair and utter misery. The songs are heavy, slow and full of depressed fury. This last point is an important one; for all of the Doom and gloom on this record, Funerary have a very angry side that lends their songs an aggressive dominance over all they survey.

Funerary also know how to do subtle though. It’s a downtrodden, malicious subtle and their version of light and shade is multiple shades of black, but subtlety is still within their arsenal. As such, there’s also a side of Atmospheric Sludge to their assault, which is always a welcome addition to any band and further enhances Funerary’s sound, giving them an added depth.

Throughout the release the feeling is one of a filthy, worthless existence, one that has no merits or positive sides just different types of pain and anguish. In itself this obviously doesn’t sound very appealing at all, however, when translated into Funerary’s scorn-filled hate-sludge, it suddenly becomes very appealing indeed.

It’s a relatively varied release, taking in aspects of the main sub-genres mentioned previously, as well as elements of Drone, Post-Black Metal and Experimental Doom. Largely though, it’s an impressive mixture of Doom, Atmospheric Sludge and feedback-laden nihilism, like a cross between Primitive Man, Esoteric and Khanate.

I strongly suggest you get a dose of Starless Aeon.

Sempiternal Dusk – Sempiternal Dusk (Review)

Sempiternal DuskSempiternal Dusk are from the US and this is their début album of Doom/Death Metal.

If you take the Doom-laden riffs of Incantation as your base of reference and then mix this with a band like Esoteric then you’ll have an idea of where Sempiternal Dusk are coming from.

Huge, miserable riffs crash down on the listener and the band seem compelled to create atmospheres of pure horror and neglect. The production is one of filth and decay, with the music seemingly being played beneath a shroud of despair.

The vocals are very deep and low. They’re used as an additional instrument and seem to bleed from the guitars like a disease.

Lumbering, slow Doom shares space with mid-paced Death Metal to create dark moods and a heavy sense of oppression. Occasionally the speed picks up with faster drumming and guitar work, but thanks to the glacial nature of the growling and the overall feel of the songs even these parts are infused with a sense of something colossal slowly unwinding.

If you like music that’s punishing, unforgiving and unrelentingly bleak then Sempiternal Dusk are the band for you.

Class.

Necropoli – I (Review)

NecropoliNecropoli are from Italy and play Funeral Doom. This is their début album.

This is heavy Funeral Doom Metal with a strong Death Metal foundation underpinning everything.

There is background orchestration, keyboards and effects; these are not flowery or ostentations but rather eerie and aura-enhancing.

The long songs slowly unfold with the heavy barrage of slowed down brutality mixing with Dark Ambient sounds and faint glimpses Industrial Electronica.

The colossally deep vocals drive everything forwards like a relentless taskmaster.

Akin to recent releases from the likes of Eye of Solitude, Doom:VS and Decembre Noir, this is just as bleakly emotive and atmospheric but with longer songs and a lot more brutality and harshness on display.

This album reminds of the constant onslaught of a band like Esoteric if they had more Funeral Doom influences and keyboards.

Rich, layered and with a definite gloomy texture, this is an evocative release that mixes the best of the crawling slowness of Doom and the heavy crushing nature of Death Metal.

Nearly an hour of demolishing desolation for your consideration.