Friday, September 22, 2017

Shadowmaster - S/T (2017)

Three years ago, a massive crack split the earth just outside the city of Sundsvall, Sweden. From this fissure, a vile miasma poured forth and out crawled three wretched beasts. The trio formed a band called Desert Crone and recorded a filthy three track demo of sludgy stoner-doom (as subterranean creatures are known to do). Fast-forward to today and the monsters have renamed their band Shadowmaster and put out a self-titled full length album featuring the same vein of nasty sludged-up doom that they debuted several years ago. This shit is gritty like sandpaper that will wear down your soul - you didn't need that anyway, right? It's super distorted and hard-hitting with sharp tones to cut you deep so you can feel this at your core. There's a ton riffage and pounding rhythms that slam into you over and over again. The album ends with "Under His Black Skies", a nearly 20 minute song that builds up at a glacier's pace before making you dizzy with a series of far-wandering guitar leads that descend into noise. However, make no mistake: Shadowmaster is seeking to daze you with otherworldly music and drag you back to the foul hole that they crawled out of... But you should probably just let them do it. It's a really cool place.-Brandon

Thursday, September 21, 2017

SHC - S/T (2017)

Most of the time psychedelic doom is a slow exploration of sound, with trippy guitar solos over colossal riffs, ambient space noise, and bottomless pits of reverb. SHC's self-titled album is happy to give you some of that heavy psyched-out goodness, but then when they're done with that they're kicking shit into overdrive. Typically, these songs start slow, building up delicious, vibrant riffs, but then devolve into a frenzied mess of unhinged guitar leads backed by punk rock fury. It's a bright, chaotic burst of wicked sound that will draw you into an beautiful sea of disorder, all without abandoning the malevolent doom at its core. There's very little in the way of vocals, but the pieces you do hear are black metal styled rasp floating around zoned out. I just can't get enough of the way this hazy doom spins out of control. It's like there's just too much destructive energy built up for the sound to stay stable, so it just implodes on itself over and over again. I can't think of anything else that combines slow, depraved doom and fast, hectic intensity so well - highly recommended! -Brandon

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hell- S/T (2017)

Emerging from the doom laden landscapes of the Pacific Northwest comes the band Hell, who's music seems pretty fitting to the band's moniker. Hell (not to be confused with the NWOBHM band) plays some dank ass filthy Sludge/Doom with hints of reefer madness thrown here and there. Right off the bat you'll notice Hell's big fat sound. The strings come together to form this monstrous tone that sounds like it came from the rotten bowels of Godzilla. The band moves like a monster too, as it heftily meanders through murky swamps and dilapidated surroundings. By band, I also mean just one dude, since the music was all done by one man (MSW according to the bandcamp page). The dude's vocals are shrill and grating as fuck, which adds to the nastiness of the sound. At times it almost seems like he's caught in some kind of storm, or even like a locust swarm, and his agonizing cries become almost faint but just as ghastly and haunting. Of course not everything on here is just for the follower of the low and the slow. Especially when it comes to the drums. Granted the drums do end up playing your typical stoner doom beats, but there are the moments like when the drums start doing blast beats or starts doing straight double kicks throughout an entire riff that really set this apart from the rest. The end of the album also ends eliminating the distortion and going for a more clean yet somber sound, that kind of gives you a moment to take a breather, collect your thoughts, and think "What the fuck did I just listen to? That fucking ruled!". When you die and go to hell, hopefully the red man downstairs is blasting this shit while smoking a big fat doobie. I really liked it that's for sure! -Samir

Magnatar - Tar EP / Vulgar (2017)

I've decided to do a double review of this band since these releases were not that far apart (about a year), and I feel like it's worth looking at both, especially after the name change. It's not all the time you run into this unique kind of situation where you get two awesome releases back to back like this.

So with the original Tar EP, you get nothing but crushing and debilitating sludge. Probably some of the best sludge from the past year or so. Just nothing but heavy duty straight from the tar pit sludge. It's got everything anyone could want. Ultra-detuned strings, loads of feedback to bask in the filth, serpentine like winding rhythms, and agonizingly harsh vocals. The wall of sound from the guitars is just pulverizing, deep, and unforgiving. These guys got some catchy riffs as well. The main riff from "Executioner of Time" is memorable and pretty fucking unique. Unfortunately it's only two songs and it's over before you know it. It was a little taste of what was to come from this band, after listening to "Vulgar" this was only a small sampling of what these dudes are about and/or what they are capable of doing.

So transitioning over to "Vulgar" we see the band has opened up a little more and is moving in different directions, including more post-metal influences, ambiance, and atmosphere, while still retaining that wooly mammoth sound, and its stock pile of heavy sludge riffage. We end up getting a wide range of dynamics here. There are moments on "Vulgar" that are quiet and clean, with riffs that sound both melancholic and bittersweet. Definitely some more proggy groove moments on this one as well. This doesn't take away from their large massive sound, which seems even more vibrant on this released compared to the first one. Both songs from the Tar EP are included on "Vulgar", both rerecorded and heavy as fuck. However, they're probably the heaviest songs on this album, as it seems the band wanted to make the most of the other songs to kind of explore other pathways for reaching how they want to express themselves more fully as a band. But holy fuck, when these dudes get heavy, they fucking annihilate. The heavy riff from the song "5" could clear a forest. Other notable difference include a lot of little drones and synth noises here and there, that may have been on the original Tar EP, but there are more spaces for the sounds to fill the void on this release. Overall, "Vulgar" is devastatingly beautiful and surprisingly original. "Vulgar" definitely stands out from the rest of the pack, and their progression from being beefy sludge merchants to post metal ponderers is pretty fucking cool. Awesome fucking album dudes, I can't wait to hear what you're working on next! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Lucid Furs - This Ain't No Mating Dance (2017)

The Lucid Furs are a musical whirlwind based out of Detroit playing unhinged rock 'n' roll that's ready to crash through your window and shake your spirit. Their first album "This Ain't No Mating Dance" is born out of classic hard rock, but has so much more built on top of it. Depending on the track, you're going to get flashes of blues, jazz, and psychedelic sweetness injected straight into the sound, taking it in whatever direction feels best at the time. Everyone in this band is a master of their chosen instrument and there isn't a single thing here that seems generic or phoned-in. They're each outstanding on their own, but when they come together on this album it's enough to make you dizzy. Every time you listen to a song you'll probably hear another little detail to appreciate because it's hard to take in all this greatness at once! However, the thing that will probably draw people in most is the vocals - they're deeply soulful and have enough power to knock you over, definitely a stand out feature. The guitar leads are going to snag some people too, sounding like they stepped straight out of 1974 just to bring that forgotten sound to a new era. This one definitely has "awesome" covered from all kinds of angles, so let it warm your ears and start a fire inside you. -Brandon

Talsur - Offertorium (2017)

Tucked away in a shadowy, forlorn corner of Russia is a one-man doom band by the name of Talsur. Since the project's inception in late 2015, Talsur has put out several albums exploring different subgenres of doom metal and every single one of them is absolutely killer. The most recent release is an EP entitled "Offertorium", a magnificent EP that delves into gothic death-doom in the style of Paradise Lost. You can think of this one as beauty and the beast. There's an air of sophistication in everything that you hear, but beneath that veneer is a snarling monster that could snap your neck and drain your blood if it chose to. The songs on this album are slow and elegant, featuring acoustic guitars, strings, and keyboards that intertwine with melancholic metal. The first two tracks build gradually before bursting with rage and lamentations, where as the last two seem to stew in a dark romanticism. Vocally, it's a mix of low, gothic style singing and vicious death growls, both of which fit perfectly with the sound. Even in its violent moments, there's a deep sorrow that runs through this release and that sorrow produces some painfully haunting, beautiful melodies. Fans of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, or anything in that vein have got to hear this. Allegedly, Talsur's next album is due to come out soon and I can't wait! -Brandon

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Monte Luna- S/T (2017)

Monte Luna play southern tinged Stoner/Sludge/Doom that is both heavy as fuck and soulful at the same time. These two dudes have some pretty toasty riffs here that are thick as molasses with vocal melodies that are so good and catchy as fuck, they prompt you to sing along with them. If I could put a finger on their sound I would say they sound like a cross between Goatsnake and early Torche with some Joe Preston era Melvins worship in there for good measure. While this self-titled release from the band runs at about 70 mins, there's plenty of riffs to keep you occupied, and they don't get stale. So you know, maybe roll a few joints instead of just one, when listening to this. The sludgy goodness on this one is gooey and syrupy. The guitar tone on this kind of reminds me of Tom G Warrior's tone from Celtic Frost's "Monotheist" album, and I think it's great sound. It's totally mean and rough, but when paired with the that southern fried stoner blues and it just seems like the right combination. The bass on this is really good in the mix. When it hits those low sludgy detuned notes, those are the moments I look forward to the most on this album. The drummer is really hard hitter for sure, and I don't mean from off of the bong. Every beat seems to add that extra punch that when these dude plays together just creates this very large and massive sound that tips the scales. I'm willing to bet this will be on my year end list. I mean it's for sure one of my favorite Stoner Doom albums of the year. You just can't beat the stoner riffage on this one. It's the kind of shit that gets your head bobbing as you feel that stoner groove the band is slanging at you. With every listen, this one kept growing on me. Well done dudes! -Samir