Friday, January 12, 2018

Your End - Le Sombre Triomphe + Deathcamp (2017)

2017 saw two releases from Your End (one in long form, and the other shorter), a Blackened Grind/Sludge Doom band hailing from both MI/NC. This shit straight up sounds disgusting and I love it. Although theses dudes reek of Black Metal filth, especially where the vocals and blasts are concerned, there is nothing cold about this band's sound or tone. I personally am a fan of the HM-2 pedal sound, that was made popular by Swedish Death Metal bands like Entombed and Dismember. It has been rediscovered countless times. and while some may think it's an overplayed gimmick, I Think there are some bands out there that are putting it to good use, and Your End is one of them. Their sound is fat and full, like a bloated corpse hosting a banquet for a families of maggots and flies. Not to mention these dudes are fucking detuned, and with that bass coming through in the mix, it really hits you fucking hard. They will bludgeon you like a beast with their slow and sludgy guitar riffs, and then pulverize you with their frenzied blasts. "Le Sombre Triomphe" has all the right elements, in all the right places. Like a demon taking possession of your body during an ancient ritual, once it grabs hold of your soul, it's grip is clenched tight, and it's hard to let go. This is what this music does for me.

The second release "Deathcamp" should be noted for its more Doom Metal anthems, while still retaining their penchant for blazing blast beat aggression. You will probably realize on this follow up they seem to not be using the HM-2 pedal, but the sound is very similar, and yet still very heavy. While there are subtle differences between the two releases, I see "Deathcamp" as being just a continuation of the previous release, hoping that this indicates the band might be releasing more in 2018. I'm actually not sure why this was split up like this, as this could have been release as one full album without even being that long. I don't have a favorite between the two, as they are both good, and I would just recommend listening to them back to back on heavy rotation. This shit is really good. Highly Recommended! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Humanity Is A Curse - Raging For A Lighthouse (2018)

Germany has their answer to His Hero Is Gone, and it's Humanity Is A Curse. Their brand of Blackened Crust/Sludge is the type of dark shit I need right now to get me in the right mindset, to experience the inevitable shit show of world events that will likely unfold in 2018.  These dudes d-beat their way through 8 tracks with a fervent wrath, and deliver a walloping blow like a fist with brass knuckles pounding on an already bloodied and bruised faced. With raw animosity, and grimy sounding riffs, HIAC have crafted a metallic rage filled release that will definitely have you banging your head in a euphoric fury to their miserable gaze.
The songs are definitely catchy and memorable, without seeming too repetitive. Each song has its main hook, that makes it distinct from the others, which also adds to the reasons at least for me, why this album is worth remembering. These riffs are pretty fucking sick. The mix on this is pretty solid, as all instruments come through clear. The guitars have a nasty tone, and the bass is super distorted which is par for the course. The sludge aspect really kicks in when these dudes slow down, but it can also be heard during the flurries of black metal-esque blasts that are speckled here and there throughout this release. I'm really digging the vocals. It has the right amount of gravel and anguish, that pushes the intensity on this. Everyone is doing a great job sounding pissed as fuck while playing their instruments.
So while these dudes worship at the alter of you know who, don't hold it against them. These guys are definitely well suited to carry the torch, and they do so burning everything in their way. Highly recommended for sure! Check it out! Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Afgrund - The Dystopian (2018)

Opening up with Robert Oppenheimer saying "..Vishnu takes on his multi-armed form and says now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds", Afgrund begins to devastate your ears with an onslaught of blasts, buzz saw guitars, and harsh guttural screams that threaten to lay waste to everything in its path. The aptly titled "The Dystopian", the new release from the band, is definitely appropriate listening material for the end times, as the four horsemen of the apocalypse come riding in. When societies collapse, and disease and famine take their stranglehold choking their life out of the remainders of the human race, expect Afgrund's "The Dystopian" to be the soundtrack to that. These dudes have a nice fat sound, that is both grimy and full. Most of which comes from the detuned string section. The guitar player sure loves his HM-2 pedal as that's where they're getting that nasty classic tone from. Fortunately enough this doesn't drown out the distorted bass, which is deep fills void that is likely to pound you into the earth until you're nothing but a plume of dust raining dirt down. The vocals are spot on, especially for this sort of grind/crust sound. It's the right balance and harshness of growls, shrieks, and shouts. Then it's finally rounded out by the drums, who's sheer brutality alone will summon any sort of beast for war. The blasts are fucking blistering, and the tunes themselves can shred away your face like a belt sander would, but when these dudes settle into a slow to mid paced groove, that shit is sweet too. What a way to start out the new year with a release like this. Nothing says welcome to 2018 like a grind release as pissed and heavy as this. Afgrund has set the bar high for whatever I review next. They're definitely going to be a hard act to follow. I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up on my end of the year list, as this is a serious contender that can't be fucked with. Highly recommended. Cheers! -Samir

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Dirt Wizard - Vol. 1 EP (2017)

With a name like Dirt Wizard I was expecting the band's first EP to sound like a total fucking bucket of gritty fuzz, but to my surprise it wasn't like that at all - in fact "Vol. 1" constantly defies your expectations to blindside you with new and interesting tunes at every turn. It kicks off with "Sacred Flame" a deceptively smooth stoner-doom track whose clean vocal melody will give you goose bumps with the evil that it evokes. About 6 minutes in the organ starts up and you're taken to a dark cathedral as a choir of voices sings "holy holy holy" in a way that will make your hair stand on end. The song had me hooked and as it ended I thought I had a good idea of what I was in for next - I was wrong again. The second track "Summoning Sickness" maintains the instrumental tone of the first song, but this is more of a moody alternative rock song than the occult inspired doom showcased originally. Some light synth work and guitar strains also add to the song to give it a vaguely post-rock feel. So there's only two tracks listed on Bandcamp - that's the end, right? Nope! Dirt Wizard keeps the surprise train rolling and if you download Vol. 1 you get the bonus track "Arch-vile". It's labeled as "a demo of a demo" but presumably that's just to lower your expectations and keep you guessing because it certainly doesn't feel like an early demo. It starts out with some heavy metal urgency and is faster than either of the songs that came before it. Stylistically it mixes all of the elements from the previous songs as stoner-doom, alternative rock, post-rock wisps, and a touch of fresh new metal mingle to form one nefarious anthem before ending on a dramatic cinematic score. Dirt Wizard definitely keeps you on your toes and I mean that in a good way - always throwing something new at you to keep things interesting. Vol. 1 has some good tunes for sure. I recommend the experience! -Brandon

Monday, January 8, 2018

Circadian Ritual - Befallen (2017)

After the sun sets, men and women wearing hooded robes gather in secret before an ancient, unholy altar. They've come to worship an evil god whose name has long been forgotten, but whose obscene will still works its way through this world and through the cult formed in its image. Eventually, with enough blood sacrifice and litany the god will manifest itself and eviscerate the members of its own cult as it is wont to do, but for now the soundtrack to this macabre scene is captured by "Befallen" the newest release from Circadian Ritual. Hailing from what is evidently the grimmest city in North America - Minneapolis, Minnesota - the band's second album features five blackened doom dirges exhumed from the catacombs. These songs layer slow atmospheric doom melancholy (complete with chanting and bell chimes from the temple) with crushing extreme metal to make an oppressively heavy sound. Titanic doom riffs meld with melodies that are played in a distinctively black metal style while synthesized touches add extra depth to make a miserable but mesmerizing soundscape. The bass grumbles with these far-reaching, earthshaking low tones that make up a deep, dreary foundation for the rest of the music to play on. There are a few different vocalists on this and I have to assume that they have lungs made of tar to produce such wretched shouts while calling out their dark invocations. With the spiritual motifs and amazing execution from the band, Befallen is a transcendent force of bleak and scathing doom metal - this is an album that needs to be heard! -Brandon

Friday, January 5, 2018

Deltastealth - Metagun (2017)

So I kinda stumbled upon this one, just browsing shit on YouTube, and I saw that it had Stoner, Doom, Sludge in the title so I was like wow, not sure how I missed this one, because never seen it before. So two things stood out to me before I even started playing this. First the description read "So it IS possible to create an album from scratch in 6 hours when you can't even play guitar... lol", and then second there is the comment left by the uploader "it was made in 6 hours as a joke dude :p". So I thought to myself "LOL, oh boy, I'm not sure what I'm getting into here". I was actually pleasantly surprised. 
Deltastealth (whose name could've been easily made using the Stoner Rock Band Name Generator on, definitely fucking rule! Now while it does have the characteristics of something that may or may not have been churned out in 6 hours (mainly the meandering train of thought riffs, continuous droning, and the above comments made on the YouTube page), this is still a massive slab of thick ass Sludge Doom. Granted there are times in which the guitars sound like a muffled mess due to a lot of the drones, it is by no means sloppy in any respect. The guitar, bass, and drums are definitely a solid sludge/doom rock formation. The guitar tone on this release is gnarly as fuck. It's thick like molasses but has the hiss of a thousand bees. The drums are pretty tight as well. As far as the bass goes, I know it's there in the mix at times, but the guitar is so fucking detuned I'm not sure if really matters. There's loads of feedback on this fucker as well. 
So while this appears to be a joke, mocking the complexity (or lack of) within the genre, maybe the people behind this have a good point,but at the same time I'm not here to point fingers. I will say that I did enjoy this, while others may find this a challenge, and question its very existence. The people behind may have downplayed their sincerity, but I still think it's more than just a joke. Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Asound - Commanding The Sword 7 Inch (2017)

Here's a fun fact for you - according to the Metal Archives, in their 8+ years as a band North Carolina natives The Asound have put out 4 completely separate releases named "The Asound", all of which have different artwork and track listings. Thankfully with their latest output the band chose a different name! "Commanding the Sword" is a very limited 7" (25 copies only! ... and an endless supply of digital downloads) with two tracks of stoner-doom goodness. The title track begins with some bright, stoner guitar picking before the whole band kicks in and floods the sound with doomy darkness. The drums here ring out loud and clear, almost creating their own melody through devilish riffs and rough wails. After a little over 2 minutes the guitar solo kicks in sounding vivid and colorful over the rest of the band's deathlike march. The second song (which you can't call a b-side - it's on the same side of the record!) is a cover of Loanin' by the band Floor. Starting with an agonized shout that echoes through your mind, this is a sludgey assault on the senses with a riff that grunts and whines. It pays great homage to the original with a noisy, rhythmic fervor. Put both of these tracks together and you're still at under 6 minutes! I'd call it short and sweet, but "sweet" doesn't describe the gnarly sound. Instead, let's say it's short and just the right kind of nasty that you'll want to hear. -Brandon