Saturday, November 17, 2018

Symptoms Of Indulgence...

WUZI - Severed Head (2018)

Coming at us from England, the four-piece of WUZI are deploying their sophomore EP roughly half a year after their first, and with its four tracks of friendly fuzz rock, Severed Head asserts itself as a well-cooked bit of gristle. Meshing garage rock vibes with some psychedelic polish, a jigger of poppy hooks, and some sneering attitude to the vocals, the band grooves right along, sounding quite comfortable in the odd lane they've carved out for themselves. At just over a quarter of an hour, the EP moves along quickly, but there's enough care given to deepening the tracks' flavor that the brevity isn't too much to bear. Some of the tangents, like the instrumental slide of “Compromised Host”, do make me more than slightly curious to hear what the band would do with some really long track durations, or even just to hear how a bit of live jamming would turn out. In any event, the EP is one which should perk up the ears of those looking for a bit of glitter in their fuzz.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Acid Kola Turbo, Flum, The Hissy Fits, Supersnazz, Vanilla Trainwreck


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Rolling Up Shrouds...

Tombtoker - Coffin Texts (2018)

Coming at us out of Baltimore, Maryland, the five-piece band of Tombtoker bring their debut EP out on the heels of their demo, which released about half a year ago. Infusing the standard stoner doom metal with a sludgy bit of punk energy and antagonism, the group merges crunchy riffs with sharp beats while keeping a swampy vibe active underneath. Over the course of the EP's ~20-minute run, Tombtoker capably demonstrate their facility with cranking out hard beaters alongside more withdrawn doom indulgences, and the band operates with such tightness to their playing that it's hard at times to pick out the individual guitars from their twining grooves. A solid first full release, and those who've been looking for stoner metal with a harder edge would do well to check these guys out.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Acid Witch, Attalla, Bitchcraft, Wizard Smoke, Wolf Blood


Saturday, November 03, 2018

Passing Through Pain...

Hesperian Death Horse - Živ (2018)

When we last heard from the Croatian group of Hesperian Death Horse, the year was 2014, and they'd not only done a concept split with fellow Croats Hazarder (on the theme of Nikola Tesla), but also released their first full-length album. Now that they've returned, they've revealed that said first album (Mrtav) was actually the first part of a concept album trilogy, starting with death and ending with birth. Živ is the step between those extremes, with the title translating to 'life,' and featuring (like Mrtav) four songs, each bearing a subtitle. Živ is also a bit shorter than that first album, but considering that relative durations of life and death, that seems appropriate.
With a deep and brooding atmosphere combining doom's weight with blackened virulence, the music grows in creeping fashion, moving through passages of slow-moving heaviness and faster aggression (kind of like life, you may be thinking). The synthesis of the two produces some great tension and stirring melodic developments, and the sections which cycle a riff while gradually escalating the harshness really bring the emotional thrust to bear with finesse. HDH find an impressive amount of range and material to be drawn from the interaction of the two styles, and while the length of the album makes it prime for vinyl issuing (fingers crossed), it's also likely to leave you hungry for more. Of course, that's much preferable to having too much piled on, so cheers to the Croatian crew for the excellent album, and here's hoping it's not quite so long until the last piece of the trilogy is set upon the world.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Heavydeath, Mamaleek, Open Tomb, Ulver, WarHorse


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Free Flow Doom...

ӨПƧΣƬ - Unstructured Dissemination (2018)

Making their debut with this two-track, ~30-minute EP, the Singaporean duo of ӨПƧΣƬ (which I'm just going to call Onset for the rest of this write-up, for simplicity's sake) bring a deep emphasis on atmosphere to their music, threading in each development and additional element with careful deliberation. The basis is one of doom, leaning towards funereal emotionality but bringing enough hard edge in its twists to keep from sinking into navel-gazing introversion. There's some death metal flavoring at times, some post-metal, traces of symphonic majesty, and other flavors besides, all managed by the band with exceptional form in light of the EP's allegedly live recording (don't ask how one guy plays both drums and bass in that situation).
The 'live' performance also makes it easier to forgive the groove rut into which the second song settles and has a hard time getting itself back out of, but on the whole, it's a very stylish and impressive debut. Though originally self-released on BandCamp back in April, the EP's been picked up for a CD release on November 28th by the Japanese label of Weird Truth Productions. Check it out if you dig exploratory doom journeys, and definitely keep your ears up for more from this group.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bell Witch, Clouds Taste Satanic, Headless Kross, Heavydeath, Wyatt E.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Lunar Exposure...

Erasy - Under the Moonlight (2018)

With the two tracks of this EP, the Brazilian group of Erasy provides a quarter-hour of doom metal with a sludgy edge. Opening with the title tune, the band gives the thrumming bass-lines a grinding roughness, letting the riffs seep along and riding the musical changes with heavy grace. Though it's kept fairly low in the mix, the action of the guitar gives the song a trilling undertow, and the drums take their bursts out of the measured backing beat with excellent selectivity. The second song, “The Deal”, turns up the sludge ratio, with the yelling of the vocals matched by an increase in the drum-bashing, and harder squeals from the guitar, while the bass keeps up its firm grooving. Quite a solid pair, and by making the two songs almost exactly the same length, Erasy show how much variety they can put into the same basic framework.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bitchcraft, Bongzilla, Hypnochron, Tons, Wounded Giant


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Perdurant Suffering...

Rigor Sardonicous - Ridenti Mortuus (2018)

Though it's been six years since their last album, the long-running Rigor Sardonicous are back with a new EP as they approach the quarter-century mark for their first release. Ridenti Mortuus features half an hour of seeping funeral doom, divided between four tracks. Leading with “The Smiling Dead”, a chilly atmosphere of ragged guitar, booming drums, and voluminous bass presence is established with low-key flair, and the instrumental dread creeps on with heavy pressure for its full ~9-minute run. Some vocals are present, but as a low-pitched growl, wedged deep in the mix, they come off as extra atmospherics, instead of trying to overwhelm the slabby circling doom riff.
“The Hound” picks up after the first song fades into silence, bringing the vocals to higher prominence while also introducing some slow-ring cymbal action. Some shifts in other specifics are used, but for the most part, it's more of the heavy doom grind, keeping the slow flow going while the bass thrums out of your speakers. “The Unsepulchred Dead”, at five minutes, is the EP's shortest track, and it steps up the tempo slightly, while keeping the weight and gloom firmly in place while brandishing the guitar buzz a bit more.
Lastly, “Intereo Parum Infantia” comes along to close things out with twelve minutes of further crushing, and with the expanded time, the band finds more room for bridges and incidental touches, letting the sprawling song take on more personality. The way the guitar springs to life for the lead-out riff is a particularly nice touch, serving to break the spell of slow pressure built by the rest of the EP. Something to keep you grim through those long winter nights, this will be releasing on November 11th, though you can go ahead and pre-order your copy through Rigor Sardonicous' BandCamp. Since it's digital-only so far, that's probably your best option, unless you've got a thing for being real punctual with your purchases.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Heavydeath, Jupiterian, Ommadon, Thergothon, Wizard Cult