Thursday, November 16, 2017

Forest of Legend - S/T (2017)

Judging by the band's name and their cover art, I wouldn’t of pegged Forrest of Legend as being Stoner Doom. At first glance you might suspect that they could be folk metal or some sort of Black Metal from the Pacific Northwest. Nope, Forrest of Legend are straight up Stoner Doom in the same vein as Sleep, early Cough, and Church of Misery. This shit is real toasty. They have a wall of fuzz that makes you want to kneel at the altar of Iommi and Pike and praise/thank them for paving the way for the many who try to replicate their sound. Forest of Legend is no exception. They may where their influences proudly on their sleeves, but they take their worshiping seriously, and always keep the sabbath unholy. The riffs are simple yet memorable and catchy. Plus the singer totally slays it with the vocals, adding a bit of gravel in his delivery of the melody. The leads on the album are pretty smoking too, and surprisingly enough they didn't remind of Pike or Iommi. While this might be the most original album, nor does it push the envelope for Stoner Doom, it has its charm and you're likely to get hooked. Highly recommended! -Samir

L.o.W - Bones EP (2017)

Hailing from Szczecin, Poland, L.o.W (I have no fucking idea what it means), play filthy sounding Sludge Doom with a slight stoner vibe for the reefer fiends out there. Their sound is indeed low, as well as thick, fat and nasty. Sickening grooves and sinister riffs make "Bones" worth checking out. This is the type of sludge that's thick like molasses and fuzzy like a grizzly. The bass sound on this fucking rules. It has the right amount of distortion to where it just blends in with the fuzz of the guitar, but you can still feel its presence and you know it's there. The vocals go between your typical harsh screamed vocals commonly heard in Sludge, and Death Metal growls which gives the songs their monstrous if not demonic presence. This isn't heavy in a sort of chugging way, but the riffs move like tides of rot and refuse, as it swallows you whole, collapsing your body, and becoming one with the dirt, slime, muck, and of course sludge. That's the kind of heavy this is. It shifts in waves, and its grooves are quite infectious. Anyway, go check out "Bones". Minus the intro it's really only three songs, but this EP rules, and I'm anticipating more from these dudes. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sator - Ordeal (2017)

Genoa, Italy's Sator have clawed their way out of a black cloud of misery in order to unleash their second album, Ordeal. This one strikes with a hammer in both fists, delivering a harsh and heavy sludge/doom combo that's ready to ruin you. Every riff seems to be played through gritted teeth, pushing through pent up aggression but pounded out steadily and without mercy. These run over staggering rhythms that pull the sound together to make a savage groove. The album has a sort of a bare-knuckle bleakness to it. You'll hear songs that brood with anguish as they ring out slow and painful ("Sky Burial") but also tunes that thunder forward, threatening and driven ("Soulride"). A slight psychedelic influence also trickles in through the guitar leads - they're sorrowful, but dabble with the discordant and trippy. The music can be brutal, but listening to the vocals is like standing in a fiery whirlwind - it's a violent howling sound all around you that's fueled by an unquenchable fury. Feedback shrieks throughout the album too, filling the gaps and keeping you on edge. It ends in chants from a choir and a haze of whining amplifiers as though it's attempting to cling to life, but has simply expended itself. Ordeal is doomy, ferocious, and probably exactly what you need in your life so get it in your ears already! -Brandon

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Black Road - S/T EP (2017)

Earlier this year, I had the great fortune of catching Black Road in concert when they opened for Brimstone Coven. I hadn't heard of the band before I saw them that night, but I was immediately enamored with their rockin' doomy vibes. After their set, I wandered over to the merch table and was disappointed to learn that they didn't have any tunes. But today I am vindicated - Black Road's debut EP has arrived and like a witch's cauldron it's bubbling and smoking with all kinds of wicked goodness! This one stands at the crossroads of doom and bluesy rock with warm stoner fuzz churning underneath. It's fronted by spellbinding female vocals that seem to breathe an occult fire into each track. The songs roll at an easy pa itce with fluid riffs that keep each track swinging smooth and sinister the whole way - even through the awesome, blistering guitar solos. Waiting dead in the center of the EP are the companion pieces Morte and Morte (coda) - two eerie instrumentals that take departure from the other songs. Layers of keys and guitar are swimming in a strange darkness that creates a sound fit for a haunted mansion. In either style, this release is chock-full of shadowy magic, so give it a listen and let it cast its spell. -Brandon

Monday, November 13, 2017

Skaarv - S/T (2017)

There's a restless chimera that's on a rampage and they're calling it Skaarv - it's a real beast of an album put out by the Norwegian band of the same name. This is one big stew of heavy metal styles in which the band dumped in stoner, sludge, southern, and even groove to produce a flavorful combination of sound. Depending on which track you're listening to, you'll hear chunks of each genre in different amounts - sometimes you'll get a heavy dose of southern metal with some sludgy flair, other times it's stoner with a mid-tempo groove. But no matter what kind of earful you're getting at the moment, it's going to be backed by a heavy rhythm that will get you moving and overlaid with some solid riffing and guitar leads. The album has a few calm moments like on "Culling in the Mist" or the last track "Horizon" in order to showcase some cleaner guitar work, but aside from that it's a ton of hard hitting music meant to drive you. There's no shortage of grooves here - they're going to grab you and throw you around continuously until you forget who you are. This isn't the type of sound I'd expect to find out in Norway at all, but it doesn't matter - Skaarv is a melting pot of good shit, so dig in because you're going to find something you like! - Brandon

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Bloodmoon / Trapped Within Burning Machinery - Split EP (2017)

Here's one I've been meaning to get to for a while. This split with Bloodmoon and Trapped Within Burning Machinery is killer. It's only two songs, but nothing on here is less than 10 minutes. Bloodmoon (who features Peter Tomis from Disgusted Geist, another great Sludge band who we reviewed earlier this year) combine Doom and Sludge with Atmospheric and Gothic elements as well, creating something that is both monstrous yet haunting at the same time. "Nothing is Special, Nobody Cares", comes in swinging with a vengeance , but then unravels into a reflective moment of clarity. The band's more progressive tendencies emerge about halfway through, as the song gets a second breath, ending the song with an impressive finish that seems almost completely different than where they started, but still fucking awesome. Trapped Within Burning Machinery's contribution "Abysswalker" is a slow burn that starts off brooding, with a rumbling bass line, and spectral ambiance, before it unleashes a fiery flame, churning along with amassed hatred, in a repetitive and almost meditative fury. TWBM weave a Blackened Doom web, that's modern but more traditional than they let on in the beginning. Filthy vocals ravage beastly riffs as they lumber along in an abysmal state (much like the song title suggests). It's sorrowful and gloomy, and it paints a dark picture of a world covered in ash, grey skies, dead trees, and nothing human in sight. Both songs complement each other while both having something different to bring to this release, making it both devastating and unique. Spend 30 minutes in hell, with these dudes. You won't regret it. Cheers! -Samir

71TONMAN - Earthwreck (2017)

Listening to 71TONMAN is like getting hit with a 71 ton sledge hammer, or even being toppled and then buried with 71 tons of brick. These guys are fucking heavy, and their brand of primal concrete sludge does not disappoint. The riffs are devastatingly memorable and come swinging in like a wrecking ball, leaving destruction and ruin in its path. There is a thick layer of filth these tunes are slathered in as well. Everything from the strings to the sickening vocals are strewn with impure grime and nastiness. Each song is a like a rotten blackened dirge, oozing forth a scummy muck of sludge metal viciousness. Just like the band's bandcamp describes them, they are definitely "fat, low, and slow". I'm sold. Of course there are other adjectives to describe them. Bleak is definitely a word that comes to mind. Their album art and song titles paint a picture of a world drained of its color, and that's what you get here as well. It's cold and harsh, but this is where a lot of the good Sludge Doom comes from. A place that is grief stricken with zero hope for humanity. Like I said, I'm sold and I think you'll be too. Cheers! -Samir