Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Bloody Alteration...

Wykan - Solace (2018)

With their debut EP, this Montreal-based trio kicks things off with a mean groove, leading with “Lahppon Olmmos”, which brandishes a sample of tribal chanting before the guitar, drums, and bass drop into place. Heavy metal noodling on the guitar joins doom-worthy bass and blackened vocal grinds, while the drums bounce heavily without holding too fast to any one of the influences. Though there's plenty of energy all around, the riffs supplied by the guitarist steal the lead focus pretty handily, and despite the aggressive flavoring of the singing, there's a strong current of fun running through it.
“The Gathering” picks up after “Lahppon Olmmos” wraps up its ~7-minute run, moving to a slower pace and gentle melody, drum intensity building up to the bursting point for the metal switch. This is probably the track which most evidences band-leader Jeremy Perkins' background in black metal, with tremulous strumming, sustained passages of tension, and more naked venom than either of its EP-mates. Lastly, there's “Wykan” to serve as the EP's closer and (what with sharing the band's name) offering up something of a mission statement for the group's coming efforts. Like “The Gathering”, it moves from a slow opening to heavy intensity, and the riffs come chugging like a train loaded down with corpses. All told, it's an impressive debut, with enough hooks to catch ears wherever it gets play. So grab yourself a copy, turn it up, and consume some mean doom.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Acid Bath, Jupiterian, The Munsens, Vodun, Yanomamo


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Gilded And Grotesque...

Et Moriemur - Epigrammata (2018)

Coming four years after their last album, Epigrammata shows the Czech group of Et Moriemur performing in high form, with a blend of black, death, and doom metal furnished in elegant presentation and finesse in crafting. Piano melodies thread through bellows and sinister bass drones, choral arrangements mix with razor-ground guitar-work, and moments of tenuous serenity are regularly bashed into pieces. Good handling of tension and momentum give the songs an unnervingly focused honing of their tone, and while a few of the tracks sound a bit too similar for the good of the album, the band's care for letting individual moments have adequate room to breathe helps Epigrammata rise above a pretty large slice of their peers' efforts.
As the majority of the music operates with an ear towards atmosphere as the dominant quality, there's some paucity of memorable riffs. Luckily, the band is deft enough with their juggling of the various elements at play to keep it from growing overbearing, and the production has enough power to it to effectively serve the king-sized sound. A few sections of somber spoken-word glazing are evocative of Ulver's late-'90s material, but by and large, Et Moriemur do a fine job of establishing their own style. Check it out if big and bold doom with emphasis on mood over fuzz fits your tastes.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Gallow God, Lurk, Tons, Ulver, White Darkness


Saturday, March 03, 2018

Wonders and Woes...

Towards Atlantis Lights - Dust of Aeons (2018)

Bringing together members from an assortment of bands, including Void of Silence and Pantheist, the group of Towards Atlantis Lights make their debut with this album and its four tracks, and sound truly colossal in doing so. Hell, the opening track (“The Bunker of Life”) is half an hour long, which makes for a pretty big first impression, you know?
Naturally, the group takes its time building things up over that duration, but it's not long before the gothic guidance comes to the fore, with monastic vocal drones and resonance to put you in mind of a massive pipe organ rising up from the depths of doom. Growls and sprawling guitar riffs join the affair, packing on the heaviness and adding some welcome complexity to the proceedings. Ride along with the slow-moving power, don't spend too much time breaking down the pieces, and you're in for a doom experience to soak through your ears and into your bones.
Once they clear that monster of an opener, it's on to the second half of the album, spread out over three tracks. First of those is “Babylon's Hanging Gardens”, which concentrates the vibes from the first thirty minutes into something with a beat to which you can (slowly) head-bang. “Alexandria's Library” moves from beat to tone studies, spilling out its bass-lines at the speed of tar, coaxing out a mournful vocal treatment to give you goosebumps, and drifting out on a delicate twist of piano. That leads nicely into the final track, “Greeting Mausolus' Tomb”, with its trembling string-pluckings and clear-voiced dedication, before the swarming heat of the deeper textures take over and death holds sway.
It's quite an experience, and while it will probably put off those with a need for speed, the listeners seeking some powerful doom metal should dig it, while the funeral doom fans get chills. Set to drop on March 6th through Transcending Obscurity Records, this is one to get your ears around as soon as you can, as it'll take quite a while to fully digest.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bell Witch, Jesu, Ksyatriya, Thergothon, Ufomammut


Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Luminescence of Stains...

Leechfeast - Neon Crosses (2018)

Aiming big with their sophomore album, the Slovenian group of Leechfeast have put together four tracks, each one at least eight minutes long. It's their first album release since 2012, though they've put together material for splits in that time, and the atmosphere they build over the course of the new LP's two sides is one of smothering dread, making the lengthy wait for the follow-up something quickly forgiven as it plays.
The album leads with “Sacrosanct”, which quickly establishes the nasty tone and gritty textures which persist from there 'til the end, a lo-fi spoken sample providing a nicely disorienting blare of detached reference before the bass and drums come in to set a pace like a stoned sloth with razors in its paws. “Halogen” follows, bringing a more concentrated throbbing to the bass-beam swinging, plus a tasty melodic nod to a classic piece of heaviness (cast your mind back about half a century when you hear it yourself), and “Tar” leads the way into the second half by diving head-first into a morass of grime you can practically feel on your skin. “Tar” is also the longest track of the LP, and its time is well-spent by the band as they grimly take hold of the riffs and twist them into lethal configurations.
By the time “Razor Nest” comes about to usher in the end, the album's already taken a compelling journey through its soundscape of pits and pains, but the band doesn't let up with the final track. Instead, they push on into even more massive sound ranges, lending a grandeur to the suffering that's almost symphonic in the way it stretches up and out, though the music stays well-grounded with its instrumentation. As the last of it rattles to a close, the band takes a minute to linger on some stripped-down echoing, providing a care to it that neatly captures the effort taken to make the album as a whole fit together in sludgy glory. And they succeeded, pretty damn well at that.
Sludgers who want it truly dirty and despairing, don't let this one slip by you. It's out March 30th, dually released by Dry Cough Records and Rope Or Guillotine, with a later cassette version from Hellas Records, and a string of European live dates through April in various countries. Damn, I envy those of you who get to catch those shows.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Dead Existence, Meth Drinker, Mudbath, O.D.R.A., Zeppheroin


Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Fleshless Abode...

Evil Spirit - The Imageless Mirror (2018)

Performed by just two members (Marcelo Aguirre on vocals and percussion, Ari Almeida on guitars and bass), this mini-album bridges the gap between the German group's first album, Cauldron Messiah, and their second LP, which is still cooking. Over the course of this release's five songs, the duo brew a mean atmosphere of low tones, strained strings, fierce wailings, and malefic attitude, bringing slow doom slogs and sludgy burners together with panache and a startlingly large-scale vibe. Heavy slams and gnarly riffs are in plentiful supply, there's a hefty Death SS cover which Evil Spirit does a great job of making into their own thing, and the music includes several creative surprises that are rather neatly worked into the flow. If you're like me, and haven't yet heard the group's first LP, this is a great introduction to the band's style and capabilities, and should leave you wanting to check out more of their catalog. Of course, that'll mean you'll end up hungering for that second album to show up, but that's an acceptable price to pay for music this stimulating.
~ Gabriel
For Fans Of; Brume, Heavydeath, Narcosatanicos, Sunken, Uroboros


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Nations Of Corpses...

Gnaw Their Tongues - Genocidal Majesty (2018)

Gnaw Their Tongues are pretty damn prolific for a one-man group, having put out a dozen albums (not including splits and side-projects) since self-releasing his first LP back in 2006. Keeping up that pace, GTT's first album for 2018 launches out from its start with howls, monstrous bass, and an enveloping sense of doom, compressing the massive-feeling music into just a little over half an hour of material. Electronics augment the nasty vibes, generating unstable fields of disturbance and high-speed percussion that ramp upwards into harder and harsher power. Industrial strength solvent for the nerves, high-pressure doom, nightmare factory recordings, and a big dose of unhinged, unrestrained maddened outpouring come together with fantastic results, while titles like “The Doctrine of Paranoid Seraphims” lure in unsuspecting listeners expecting something symphonic.
Not something which will appeal to everyone (thank goodness), Genocidal Majesty finds GTT continuing to experiment, but doing so with the confidence and dependable underlying technique that comes from having been at this for over a decade, with no signs of compromising the effort or earnestness of the various approaches he's taken in that time. The demonic passion which consumes GM at times (during “Cold Oven”, for instance) puts a long list of extreme metal groups to shame with how fiercely it comes at the listener, and the coatings of programming do nothing to get in the way of that assault. High-grade audio pain, intense and superb.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Boyd Rice, Iron Justice, Skin Chamber, Sunken, White Darkness