Khemmis – Desolation (Review)

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

Well, this is one that’s been quite hotly anticipated. Due to how ridiculously strong both Absolution and Hunted were, I had very high hopes for Desolation. Obviously, due to this intro blurb, I have not been disappointed. Desolation is a monster. Continue reading

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Messa – Belfry (Review)

MessaThis is the début album from Messa, a doom/drone metal band from Italy.

Messa provide the listener with almost an hour of occult retro doom and dark ambience.

This is akin to a strange-yet-effective mix of Sunn O))) and Pentagram, with deliciously seductive female vocals included. Some tracks are dark ambient/drone, full of mysterious atmospheres and distorted malice, while others take Continue reading

Wolf Blood – Wolf Blood (Review)

Wolf BloodThis is the début album from US Doom Metal band Wolf Blood.

Wolf Blood play Doom Metal – a cross between Traditional Doom and Stoner Doom.

The tunes here are memorable and kicked out with obvious passion and no shortage of charisma. It’s a testament to the band’s talent that the melodies and riffs that the band perform sound both familiar and fresh; ancient yet vibrant.

A mix of Traditional Doom and Stoner Doom could theoretically have descended into the mediocre quite quickly but Wolf Blood manage to side step this pitfall by taking the best aspects of each. This has resulted in a collection of songs that have the power and majesty of Doom with the energy and drive of Stoner.

The band have a really warm, welcoming sound that embraces the listener with good feelings and Doomy vibes. It’s not too polished and keeps an underground feel but it does the band justice and the songs sound authentic and engaging.

There’s a lot to like here. Wolf Blood clearly know what they want to achieve and I think their début album succeeds in this.

Listen up Doomsters, there’s a new power in town.

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.

John Gallow – Violet Dreams (Review)

John GallowJohn Gallow is from the US and this is an album of Doom Metal.

This is a Doom Metal album that’s full of Doom and has lots of Doom Metal in it. The Doom is strong and the Doom is heavy, with lots of Doom Metal making an appearance and a liberal Doom sprinkling of Doom on the Doom side.

This Doom album is of the Traditional Doom variety with Classic Doom and Old-School Doom also being represented. Black Doom Sabbath are a good Doom starting point as well as other Doom members of the Doom pantheon used as Doom influences.

Doom. Doom. Doom.

Okay, enough of that. You get the idea.

There is just over an hour of music on this album and it’s a pleasure to listen to. The man has a powerful voice and the music has a good amount of variation and interest to it.

The riffs are good, the melodies bold and memorable and the production punchy and crisp. The songs are well-written and there are plenty of interludes, solos, leads, keys, effects and even bass shenanigans to keep the listener enthralled.

John Gallow has produced an album that manages to encapsulate all of what it means to be Traditional Doom Metal whilst managing to actually sound current and relevant at the same time. It may be resolutely Old-School in source material but this is an album that can stand proud in the 21st century as a exemplar of how this kind of music should sound.

Hail!

Wo Fat – The Conjuring (Review)

Wo FatWo Fat are from the US and this is their fifth album of Doom Metal.

They have a warm sound that’s very welcoming and makes the listener immediately feel at ease; familiar but not overly so. This is Stoner/Psychedelic Doom in the traditional and spaced out way.

The singer has a good voice that seeps like honey over the rolling drums and infectious riffs. Speaking of, there are some glorious riffs to be had on The Conjuring.

And this is heavy. Joyously heavy. The guitars revel in themselves. Occasional solos snake their way in a lazily serpentine fashion across mountainous riffs that should get even the most jaded Metal fan moving.

The band seem to play these songs without any apparent effort, as if it is the easiest thing in the world to peel off colossal riffs with a beat that won’t quit. They give the feeling of being involved in one big jam, but one that’s coherent and focused enough to not sound a mess at all.

A real exploratory album full of trips to the heavy, fuzzy, scuzzy world of Wo Fat; the songs entice and captivate, culminating in the 17:00 monster that is Dreamwalker.

On the whole, very impressive and very enjoyable; a great listen.

Wicked Inquisition – Silence Thereafter (Review)

Wicked InquisitionWicked Inquisition are from the US and play Traditional Heavy Metal.

Here we have some good old-fashioned worship of all things 70’s style Doom, with Black Sabbath, Trouble and Saint Vitus all being good reference points.

This is a short EP, with 4 songs in just under 16 minutes, one of which is an interlude-style track.

This kind of music is instantly familiar as soon as you press play; within the first couple of seconds they’ve already established what they’re all about and what you should expect.

The songs are good and the production warm. The singer fits with the vibe of the band and everything gels nicely into place.

They do what they do well and make for a perfectly enjoyable 16 minutes. You know what to expect with this style, and Wicked Inquisition do it as well as any.

Pilgrim – II: Void Worship (Review)

PilgrimPilgrim play Doom Metal and come from the US. As the name suggests, this is their second album.

The band play a classic form of Black Sabbath-inspired Doom Metal that has a vaguely retro feel, but not overly so like some bands of this ilk.

Pilgrim have an epic feeling to their songs, but not in the same way that Power Metal can be epic, or Black Metal can be; this is more in the form of a terrible majesty and awesome horror, frightening but enlightening to behold. The tracks definitely have that otherworldly feeling.

The vocals are highly accomplished and are stronger than the average for this kind of band; the singer has range, depth and nuance.

The second song Master’s Chamber is the longest and my favourite of the 8 tracks on offer. It is slow and steady; a winding collection of gargantuan riffage that could move mountains with its heaviosity and burn heavens with its occult aura. This isn’t merely Doom, but DOOOOOOOM!

It’s important enough to say again.

DOOOOOOOM!

That’s better.

This album’s a bit of a belter really, the kind of album where the riffs suck you in, slooowly chew you up and slooowly spit you out. Slow isn’t their only speed and they know when to raise the tempo and rock out a bit when the mood is right. And you’d better get out of their way because when they do they mean business.

Pilgrim rule.

Dread Sovereign – All Hell’s Martyrs (Review)

Dread SovereignThis is the début album from Ireland’s Dread Sovereign and they play Traditional Doom Metal.

At 67 minutes this is an epic album full of True Doom that is executed to perfection by people with an obvious mastery and love for the genre.

The singer is none other than the singer of Primordial, so you know the vocals are not going to be a let down. As usual his very characterful voice is on fine form and it adds a singular amount of personality and drama to the tracks.

The songs themselves are exceptionally well composed, with lots of stand-out moments. They have a real strength about them and feelings of grandeur and Doom majesty abound.

The album is chock full of prime riffage and they utilise both overtly catchy riffs and more subtle, insidious ones. On occasion they also use extra effects to highlight certain sections increasing the overall effect of the songs.

All Hell’s Martyrs is both a slow burner and an instant win; the best combination. It’s strong enough that it comes across straight away as an obviously special record, but it has enough depth and longevity so that it won’t simply be forgotten in a month or two. Part of this is down to the striking, expressive vocals, but it’s in large part to the master-crafted songs that are expertly put together.

Doom Metal has a new great and terrible leader. Lower your heads in reverence.

Ogre – The Last Neanderthal (Review)

OgreThis is the fourth album by US Doom/Heavy Metal group Ogre.

This is 70’s inspired Metal combining Hard Rock and Traditional Doom into a retro package with a healthy, organic sound.

The songs have a heady atmosphere and personality by the bucketful. The singer wails and croons over the top of unrestrained guitars and drums that sound very natural.

The band as a whole generally try their best to capture the essence of early Black Sabbath and the songs match accordingly. This is not simply some copycat band however as the album makes sense on its own and has more than enough merits to warrant its existence.

Alongside the hefty guitars the songs have a Blues Rock vibe to them that lets them dig into a comfortable slow groove until they spend themselves in a state of blissful satiety.

When the riffs are pumping and solos are blazing this is life affirming music. Feel the Metal and use it to club your enemies, Ogre-style.