Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cambrian- Mobular (2017)


I'll admit that I was skeptical about this one at first. The Bandcamp page for Mobular, the debut album from Cambrian, describes it as "Relaxing Hawaiian Doom". Now I don't like my music to be relaxing and I'm not a big fan of pineapple either, so I wasn't sure if I would be into it. However, once I started listening, my apprehension was absolutely obliterated. It kicks off with some feedback, then a big, booming doom sound - slow and heavy - nothing to dislike there! But it isn't until the second track that you really understand what makes this music different: the lap steel guitar. While occasionally you'll hear it playing some "standard" Hawaiian fare, it integrates with the with the massive blasts of doom just fine. The idea may seem strange at first, but the tracks on this album prove that it's more than just a gimmick. The instrument manages to fill more than one role and you'll hear it creating an ambiance, aiding in heavy riffage, and dealing out some wild leads. On top of the interesting instrumentation, everything else on this release is solid. There's a ton of power in the riffs, and when they hit you full force it's like a bag of bricks to the face. The songs feel dynamic and the band knows when to bellow with a deep sorrow or pull back and let a more tranquil melody shine through. The doom metal foundations behind this are colossal, but you can also hear a lot of Pink Floyd creep in, especially on the solos. All of these elements come together to create a full, rich sound and an original approach to doom. If you feel like things are getting stale and you're looking for a new twist, this is it! -Brandon


Monday, July 24, 2017

Weird Tales- S/T EP (2017)


Slinking out of a graveyard in Warsaw, looking both weary and satisfied, comes Weird Tales. Their recently released self-titled EP takes the band's macabre flavor and condenses it into three tracks of slow, foreboding doom. Weird Tales definitely builds a gloomy atmosphere, but at the same time the songs are all played with a certain saunter that allows the music to come face-to-face with melancholy but remain detached from the sense of devastation that it normally brings. It's the sound of being beaten down by despair again and again to the point of no longer caring - instead you live side-by-side with that misery, and make your home in the dread. As that casual anguish rumbles beneath each song, it eventually fosters some eerie, psyched out moments featuring trippy guitar work and spacey effects. These passages are dreary payoff for the quiet distress that runs through the music, as if the fears hiding in the back of your mind have been realized. All of this can really make the EP a trip, so if you can bear the weight of this doom it's totally worth it. -Brandon



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kabbalah - Spectral Ascent (2017)


A black sun must hang in the sky over Pamplona, Spain in order for Kabbalah to generate such gloriously dark tunes. "Spectral Ascent" is their latest release and it is an awe-inspiring force of doom-drenched rock. The whole album is driven with a sinister swagger and revels in the occult - there's so much wicked flavor here, it may overwhelm your every sense. Riffs are all played with a magnificently bewitching groove that will immediately grab hold of you and pull you along on a shadowy journey. Every moment and every song flows exquisitely into the next creating a cohesive masterpiece. Vocals are layered to produce incredible, haunting harmonies that will mesmerize you and when you combine these with the psychedelic pieces that creep in, the result will leave you reeling in the darkness. But one of the best parts about this album is that with all the wretchedness that the music brings, it still manages to feel upbeat without succumbing to its own overarching sense of sorrow. If you had to make a comparison, Uncle Acid might be your best bet - not because the bands sound identical - but because they have a similar sense of the occult with an infectious groove. If you're not already on this, you're wasting your time - this album a must-listen! -Brandon

Monday, July 17, 2017

Gravy Jones- Funeral Pyre (2017)


Gravy Jones. Goddamn, I love that name. Band name of the year. Fortunately, in addition to having that tasty name, the band also plays some pretty savory tunes! Their first album "Funeral Pyre" is an magnificent sack of psychedelic doom that's ready to turn your brain into slop. Between the massive, soaring organ and the wandering bass lines, it gives off a heavy 70s rock vibe, so if you have a proper appreciation for the classics, you'll definitely be into this. However, the album takes on a much darker tone than its forefathers by forcing that sound into a twisted union with doom metal, frequently diving into malevolent riffs and wallowing in its own evil atmosphere. Hatred and terror intertwine when the vocalist comes unhinged and shouts and wails without restraint. It's got a shade of horror that you won't find on most classic rock albums - but it's not all gloom. The band definitely found the sweet spot balancing out the bleak, foreboding moments with wild organ-heavy rock and the transitions between the two feel perfectly natural. The combination will have you dancing mad into the night unsure whether you want to be swallowed by darkness or explode in a frenzy of psychedelic colors. If you love a good Hammond organ you've got to hear this. -Brandon


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mortiferum- Altar of Decay (2017)


Here's a nice meaty festering maggot infested slab of death/doom for you. Mortiferum play low and slow, and sound nasty and rotten as fuck. There's definitely some old school rumblings going on here. Pointing the finger at Autopsy would be too easy and kinda lazy on my part. So I'll break it down like this. Take all of the grossest and putrid heavy old school death riffs you can think of, and only play them either slow or at a slow to mid-pace. That's Mortiferum. There's definitely some blasts here and there and the double kick is pretty relentless throughout, but the slow riffs definitely give you time to digest the putrescent cacophony of morbid delights. These dudes are from Olympia WA, as well, which surprises me because it definitely doesn't sound like it belongs to the type of Doom that's coming out of that area. I would've guessed this came from Europe or South America. Either way, these dudes represent everything I love about death metal and mix it with the slow maniacal pacing of Doom Metal. Enjoy the intoxicating miasma of grave rot fuming from these dudes! Cheers! -Samir



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Eric Crowe (Crawl, Doomsayer Records) Interview


Eric Crowe wears many different hats. When he's not spending time with his family and co-raising his daughter, he's jamming in Sludge/Doom heathens Crawl (as well as other various projects) and running his own label Doomsayer Records. I interviewed Eric through email to get an idea of what it's like to be in his shoes.



Super Dank Metal Jams: How the hell do you manage being in three bands and run your own record label?
Eric Crowe: It’s not impossible; especially since a couple projects are pretty loose, like Marax. I’m able to do that project (Harsh Noise / Dark Noise Ambient) when I have time, so it’s easy to pick it up and put it down, no pressure at all. FULCI (Amplified Drone) is something I have recently started to revamp and piecing together ideas for after lying dormant for like 12 years really, outside of the occasional live setting. I’m still in loose contact with original co-conspirator, Adam Wright (Crucial Blast) but I have been starting the early collaborations with Clifton Carr (Dead Hand) and throwing around ideas for the next full length and a split that is in the works. Clifton and I have already started a side project, KNAVYSSH, which is a 2 piece, guitar and drum, and have a handful of songs already. We are gearing for an EP later this year. Now Crawl is something that takes up a lot of my focus and is my baby. With writing, booking, networking, promoting, I spend most of my days doing all these things, but it’s all worth it to me and something I need to do.
At times it can be taxing with schedules and deadlines, but all doable and worthwhile. Doomsayer is taking its time and not trying to spread itself too thin or get lost amongst everything else going on. We have a few releases lined up at the moment, just getting everything in order to do them justice.

SDMJ: When you're writing for your various projects how do you go about writing them?
EC: It’s usually centered around a riff and just building from there. Working out vocal patterns, then creating lyrics based off those patterns. While building everything as the full band, we work on dynamics and flow. With the noise stuff, it’s easier cause it’s just me and I usually just have a theme in mind and go in that direction, whether it is Harsh Noise or Dark Ambient.

SDMJ: Do mind me asking what your day job is?
EC: At the moment kitchen work at a local staple in town.

SDMJ: Do you have any long term goals if making the label a full-time job?
EC: We have tons of ideas, but it’s getting to a place to fulfill them. We want to grow and start our own PR as well as printing merch for our bands. We would like to finally move towards vinyl releases, full length and 7”s. We would also like to start a better platform for selling merch than having to deal with Bandcamp. It’s all in the works set in yearly plans and 5 year plans and so forth.

SDMJ: Tell me what a typical day is for that involves both the music and the home life?
EC: I wear many hats with Doomsayer, Crawl, father and husband. During the week it’s work and time with my wife, who is also co owner of Doomsayer, so we plan and make goals and have cast a vision for what Doomsayer will look like within the year and in 5 years. I focus a lot during the week on writing for Crawl, the upcoming album we are finishing up writing for, networking and booking.

SDMJ: How do you balance your time?
EC: I balance my time very carefully. My family time is important, so I connect with my wife daily and we have my daughter every other weekend. Time is limited with her, so it’s important to stay grounded with her and what’s going on in her life.

SDMJ: When did you realize you wanted to play music and be in bands?
EC: I joke and say it was when I saw Corrosion of Conformity’s “Dance of the Dead” video and Pepper just hitting that chug in the middle of the song, and in a lot of ways, it’s true. I grew up around the music my mom would play, a lot of Elvis and oldies. But around the time of the COC video I was really exploring my own realms for music. And something inside started wanting to do this. I had friends in high school that were always in bands. Starting new bands, members being incestuous in other bands, but I was never part that circle. My guitar playing wasn’t up to par with what all those guys were doing, plus I was never really big on learning covers all the time either. I think I was around 17 when I tried out for vocals in my first band, I think I showed up and I was in. I was almost kicked out cause I wanted to try and be more like Mike Patton and Joey Belladonna, but I couldn’t even come close to that. So I switched and tried a different approach, a heavier gruff route like Max Cavalera, that seemed to work and I didn’t get booted, haha.



After a few years of doing Necroflesh which later changed our name to Puaka Balava, I helped start a Grindcore project, Social Infestation with Chris Freeman (who was later in Withered). It was his dream and vision but asked Mike (Withered) and I to join and help him out. Mike played guitar in Necroflesh and Puaka, but started playing drums in Social Infestation and picked up quick! The bass player dropped out a few years later and then we recruited Troy from the band across the hall from our practice space, Four Hour Fogger, who later would be in Mastodon. After SI went on a hiatus, the guys all had projects that kept them occupied and moved into needed directions. I knew that I had to keep playing as an outlet, so I started to play guitar in various projects like Molehill, Hog Mountin, FULCI, Big Yellow Mama and Sons of God. After a deep 2 year depression and not playing music and having that outlet, I began getting the desire to play again and slowly started writing and building what has become Crawl.

SDMJ: Holy Shit you played with Troy from Mastodon? How was that?
EC: I get that reaction a lot, so that’s why I typically don’t voice it too much. But it cuts myself short in a way, because it is a part of my musical history that I’m really proud of. I’m not nor have I ever flaunted that fact to be “that guy” ever. But the fact is, yeah we played together in Social Infestation and he was and still is an amazing guy. He was fun to work and write with, and definitely an absolute joy to be around and tour with. He brought so much energy to something as simple as practice, where after the first few practices with him, I was leaving practice exhausted. I learned a lot of things from him when playing together, aspects that I still keep in mind today and live out when writing and playing shows. He’s a quiet, yet mischievous and immensely hilarious individual, whom I haven’t been able to see in a number of years. Love that guy.



SDMJ: What helped you get out of your deep depression?
EC: Music.
I still slip into periods of depression, much like the one I’m in right now. But music has been the constant in my life, and a creative outlet that I MUST have. Without it, I’m dead inside. I have said that once a dream within a man dies, so does he. And I still find this to be ultimately true. I’ve been in a place in my life where I had absolutely no hope to go on and felt as if I was dying more and more everyday. I wish I could say that there is an answer to what really brings a person out, but for me it’s my faith, music and the support of my wife that helps me through when these days return. She is amazing, my best friend, and really sees me for me and sees what I am trying to achieve. I also have support and help from my other best friends Billy of Hexxus and Clifton of Dead Hand. I will always appreciate their input into my life and for them really just actually taking the time to care. Lately I have been more vocal about the challenges I face with anxiety and depression; as well as where I come from and the hells I endured to get here today. Maybe the trials and difficulties I made it through can encourage someone else that is struggling with the same things. I don’t know, but that’s my hope.

SDMJ: When and how did you start Doomsayer? When did you realize this is something you wanted to do?
EC: Two reasons at first: 1) A way to release Crawl material since we were new and were having no luck with responses from labels. 2) I was seeing over the years how labels were mistreating and using up bands they were signing and didn’t want to be that kind of label. I wanted to be a label that treated the bands we worked closely with respect. Something I wasn’t seeing that much of at the time.
The idea is the same and would like to eventually move Doomsayer into the direction that all that we do is in house as much as we can. Production, printing, pressing, PR, design. It’s a slow process, but we think it’s going to pan out.

SDMJ: If you could go back in time, what advice would you tell your past self as far as your dealings in the music world, and starting your own label?
EC: Honestly, to not care so much what others think. It’ll trip you up and knock you out of focus on the right things, and aspects that are necessary. It’s good to have feedback, but in the end, it’s what you already know in your gut.

SDMJ: What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to start a record label?
EC: Quality over quantity always.
I see a lot of labels pumping out good stuff on a constant basis, but more times than not turns out to be hit or miss. We would rather be a label that is consistent with quality releases than putting out the flavor of the week.

SDMJ: How do you go about deciding what music you would like to put out?
EC: It has to have a certain feel. Is it bringing something new to the table? Or is it just rehashing what Electric Wizard or Sleep has already been doing. There’s ways to create music that is influenced by bands without being a carbon copy of them. It just sounds generic, flat and generally uninteresting. Take HEXXUS and EMBER for instance. They are both etching their own way through the saturated mass of bands and sticking out on their own. I just feel that if Ember did what they did with male vocals it wouldn’t hit like it does with Crystals vocals. She has found her niche and nails it. Hexxus ups the ante to what many “post metal” (sorry for the genre tagging) are willing to do. There’s heart in what each band is doing, and that shines through the most.



SDMJ: How do you go about making sure your music is not a carbon copy or just a rehashing of someone else's stuff?
EC: That can be a fun trip. I’ve unintentionally written a riff and realized it’s a riff from another band, haha. But it’s cool, I just take a different direction. Mainly, I just write what comes out. Sure I have influences, but that’s all they are. We aren’t trying to be anything other than us, so we let other bands be themselves and other bands can be carbon copies and blatant rip-offs of other bands to score familiarity and popularity points without really showing any originality. It happens all over the place, but whatever, we’re just over here doing our thing trying to make it work and write music we are proud of.

SDMJ: What are you currently listening to right now?
EC: Currently I’m listening to a lot of Aseethe, Destroyer of Light, Cowardice, Weltesser and always Grief.



SDMJ: Any future projects we should be on the lookout​ for at Doomsayers Records?
EC: Yeah, there’s always something in the works over here. We have a release with The Asound coming out later this year, as well as Ember, who should have “271” ready by early Fall. We were also in discussions with No Funeral for releasing “Misanthrope” on CD.
 

Check out Doomsayer Record's Facebook here and Crawl's Facebook here. Cheers!-Samir

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Evil- S/T (2017)


Denizens of darkness - rejoice! The Evil is a wholesome bunch playing Christian contemporary... Okay, that's not true. Really, they're an unholy alliance from Brazil playing an especially ghastly strain of doom metal, fraught with haunting chants and chilling melodies. They just put out their self-titled debut and it is the perfect soundtrack for any occult ceremonies or rituals you might be hosting this summer. Seriously, the name "The Evil" was NOT chosen lightly, as the sound itself seems to be infused with the wicked souls of the damned. And for all the dark atmosphere this album brings, it does not skip out on the heavy! The bass absolutely bellows through the songs and the guitar tone has a satisfying crunch that could snap your ribs off. As the music churns and groans the vocals sing out with a certain Rob Halford-esque quality, especially when hitting the high notes. There's a touch of synth that seems to draw out the most ominous moments and bring everything together in a way that will make you break out in a cold sweat. So get your cultist robes ready, draw a pentagram in blood, and let this one rip!