Trial – Vessel (Review)

TrialTrial are a Swedish Heavy Metal band and this is their second album.

Trial play Classic Heavy Metal full of songs and steel.

The vocals are melodically clean and employ some very nice harmonies. The singer belts out the tunes with power and class. I really like his voice.

The songs on Vessel are very well written and performed. Trial are a clearly a professional band with a high quality threshold. These tracks are memorable even on their first spin and subsequent listens really allow them to get under your skin.

Trial have elements of Epic Heavy Metal, which comes out in the longer length of some of their tracks, as well as a slight Traditional Doom Metal feel to some parts of the songs.

There’s a good amount of variety on this album and the band show they have what it takes to produce enjoyable songs no matter what tempo they play.

Each song has a lot of content and there’s no filler to be found at all. They save the best track for last with the 13 minute epic Restless Blood. Quality.

The production is modern enough to be crisp and punchy but warm enough to not rob the band of any of their heart.

Trial are at that perfect sweet spot between old and new, giving them a timeless air. This is Heavy Metal as it should be played in 2015.

Vessel is a really enjoyable Metal album and I definitely recommend getting your hands on it.

Apostle of Solitude – Of Woe and Wounds (Review)

Apostle of SolitudeThis is the third album from US Doom Metal band Apostle of Solitude.

With a quality album cover I was looking forward to hearing this band and they didn’t disappoint.

This is Doom Metal with an eye on the past and ambitions on the future. Of Woe and Wounds may have an Old-School core but it has a thoroughly up-to-date production that’s warm and organic whilst simultaneously being punchy and in-your-face. It may be Traditional Doom Metal but the recording leaves no-one in any doubt; Apostle of Solitude are a band that are of the here and now and they mean business.

The sound is crisp and crunchy, with the guitars sounding full of vitality and bone-crushing heaviness. Gargantuan riffs rise and fall with the drums sounding immense and the bass being a much more audible rumble than the norm.

Of Woe and Wounds combines the classic artefacts of Traditional Doom with elements of the more modern exemplars of the style such as Down and Orange Goblin to result in a truly wonderful album that combines the best of old and new. I even hear strains of Alice in Chains on occasion and it sounds just great, (Lamentations of a Broken Man, for instance).

The singer has a powerful voice that rings out strong and clear. He effortlessly becomes the focal centrepiece whenever he’s around.

Each song is a first-rate example of Doom Metal and of the depth that it can have. The tracks have a longevity about them that most bands would kill for. Carefully constructed Doomscapes and crawling riffs dominate the proceedings and I couldn’t be happier listening to this.

Apostle of Solitude have produced something special here. Make sure you get in on the action.

Cardinals Folly – Our Cult Continues! (Review)

Cardinals FollyCardinals Folly are from Finland and this is their second album of Traditional Doom Metal.

Trading in the type of Traditional Doom from the likes of Reverend Bizarre and 40 Watt Sun, they mix this blueprint with a bit of character and personality, Cathedral-style.

Cardinals Folly start the album off with a nice slow burner of a song Chant of Shadows before moving into Morbid Glory which introduces us proper to the band’s fuzzy, Old-School style.

Laid back vocals soar over the top of groovy drums and melodic guitar before settling into a nice riff; the theme may be familiar to Traditional Doom fans but the important thing is that Cardinals Folly know their stuff and the songs are enjoyable.

Sometimes the band hit upon a particularly hypnotic piece of dirge and I find myself staring into nothingness, just losing myself in the song and forgetting what I was doing.

Wait, what was I saying?

There is also somewhat of a Black Metal tinge to some of this. It’s probably not intentional, but the slightly scuzzy sound combined with some particular riffs…it’s just a shade of Black but it adds a nice feeling to the tracks when it shows.

This is an album to absorb as a whole; to let it seep and wash over you in waves of Doom.

The Wounded Kings – Consolamentum (Review)

The Wounded KingsThis is the fourth album of Doom Metal from UK band The Wounded Kings.

The Wounded Kings specialise in slow, meandering Traditional Doom Metal with towering guitars and backing sounds. The album cover sets the mood; blackness, smoke and obscure symbols. When the vocals kick in they sound like they are coming from somewhere behind this protective layer of fog, tempting the listener into the blackness beyond. But don’t go. Oh no. You don’t want to step into their world. Her vocals entice and chill, echo and fade. Drawing you in and leading you away.

The album has the feeling of the occult, and the music has a ritualistic, droning quality to it that’s entirely disarming. You could listen to the thick, weighty guitars for an age, until it’s entirely too late. For everything.

It’s with feelings of oppression, foreboding and mystical expectations that the songs develop. They do this naturally; unhurried and unforced. There is, after all, no rush. No rush at all. What else do you possibly have in your miserable, worthless life that’s worth doing? No-one is waiting for you, no-one wants anything from you; simply surrender to the siren calls and give in. You want to see what’s in the dark, behind the smoke, right?

Music to be afraid to, and to be afraid of.

Hear The Silence here.

Demon Lung – The Hundredth Name (Review)

Demon LungThis is US Doom Metal band Demon Lung with their début album The Hundredth Name.

The band play Traditional Doom with good harmonies, inventive riffing and strong songs.

The first song Binding of the Witch eases us in slowly with gradually-building waves of towering guitars, while Hellish noises play in the background picking at your sanity with needle-like claws. Once the song starts to begin “properly” it’s with a monolithic winding, driving riff that instantly makes me like what’s happening. Indeed there are a plethora of quality Doom riffs on this album.

Showcasing good musicianship and recording; the backbone of the album is in place and then the emphasis is on the songs and the powerful vocals, both of which are no disappointment.

The singer has a generally deep, powerful voice that has both a dreamy and gritty quality, almost like she’s not quite here and instead exists in two worlds – the real and the unreal, where the monsters and witches roam. She shows good range across these songs though and doesn’t suffer from getting stuck in a vocal rut. Her vocals bring the songs to (un)life and add a flicker of unholy fire to the proceedings that elevate this album above a lot of their peers.

The album flows and caresses with its dark touches and is the Doom Metal equivalent of easy listening in some ways; tracks feel natural and unforced, all the while channelling that special black magic that lovers of this genre always want more of.

A very strong first release. If they can keep this up there is a bright future ahead of them. Purely looking at The Hundredth Name however, they have already put out a record to be proud of.

Relentless – Souls of Charon (Review)

relentlessRelentless are from the US and rather than playing Death Metal or Grind as one might imagine from their name, they actually play a very satisfying brand of Traditional Heavy/Doom Metal.

A well-rounded, organic sound greets you as you start the record. Theirs is the sound of a band playing naturally, rather than being overly sanitised and copy-and-pasted. To put it simply; it sounds good.

The vocals are a relaxed, laid-back female croon that does the job nicely and is a great match with the music. The singer has the kind of voice perfect for telling old Metal stories and sagas. The songs wrap their arms around the vocals and nurture them while nourishing them with hard language and harder liquor.

Sounding as if they would be perfectly at home in a smoky back-room in the back of some far-distant obscure speak-easy; this is a great antidote for the more modern, soulless, clinical music out there. This music has soul and wears it proudly on its leather jacket.