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Tales from Bandcamp: Absolution by Khemmis


a1903371115_10Who needs more doom metal in their life?  Everybody!  That’s who!  Doom is awesome.  Especially when there are so many bands doing cool and interesting spins on the genre.  My latest peruse of Bandcamp has let me to check out Khemmis (clicked on it mainly because that cover art is freaking awesome.  Do you hear that bands?  Even in the digital age, kick ass cover art still sells.)  A crusty layer of fuzzy stoner doom touched with spatterings of old-school hard-core, NWOBHM, and death metal will hammer your eardrums with some wonderfully chunky grooves.  At times you get a tune that is like Pallbearer’s tone crossed with Iron Maiden’s bombastic leads and solos other are a Candlemass’ stomping grooves meets Madball’s beatdown vocals affair.  As crazy as those cocktails sound Khemmis pull them off with ease, gusto, and panache.  Regardless of the stylistic mix they are jamming with Absolution simply rocks hard front to back and is a must listen for any discerning doom fan.  Listen, buy, support, share, doomstomp!!!!!  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Tales From Bandcamp: Primitive and Deady by Earth


a2338655344_10Slow, plodding, methodical, droning doom is rarely associated with adjectives like relaxing, uplifting, and beautiful, yet long time trio Earth pull it off again and again as they push the boundaries of the doom genre on each album.  While their last pair of releases were a tad lackluster compared to the monumental slab of instrumental drone/doom that is known as The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull, they have just released one hell of a shattering record that soars the band to new heights.

Now with the inclusion of vocals in their still very instrumental affairs, Earth have really created their most engaging record to date.  For music this thick and viscous, I shouldn’t be so sucked in, yet I am.  I get this heavy White Album-era Beatles vibe throughout the whole thing, especially on the song ‘From the Zodiacal Light’, which really adds a unique flavor to the music.

If you are looking for some great zone-out/meditation metal this record should be right up your alley.  Give it a listen and let us know what you think.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

Tales from Bandcamp: VI: Flora by Botanist


a3582904927_10While it’s been quite a long time since black metal has evolved from its anarchistic, church burning beginnings, it still amazes me how far the genre has come.  Bands like Deafheaven, Agalloch, Moonsorrow, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Septicflesh have taken the genre in such wildly different directions and opened up what was a very closed community to many more fans.  And to be completely honest, I would have never learned to appreciate tr00 kvlt black metal if it weren’t for those bands (and Emperor) easing me into the insane harshness of the genre.

Now taking the genre down a different path is Botanist.  Utilizing major keys, a love of Sonic Youth, and a dulcimer (it’s an instrument in case you’re wondering) Botonist have crafted ‘happy black metal’.  Flowers, plants, love for nature, all that lovely stuff personified in the music really make their new record, VI: Flora, pop.  Thematically, the record is very black metal. It recounts a tale of a man becoming a hermit to escape all the hate and pain of the world and to surround himself with the beauty of nature and await the day when humanity eradicates its self and Mother Earth can reclaim and begin to regrow.  Anyhoo, environmentalist warnings aside, this is a beautiful record filled with sounds and themes yet to be explored in black metal.

This is one of the more unique records I’ve heard this year and it’s well worth your time, if only to hear how far black metal has come since the days of Mayhem and Darkthrone.  Give a listen and let us know what you think.  And as always, if you like what you hear, toss the artist a few bucks and grab a download of the record.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Tales From Bandcamp: Gastronomicon by Slugdge


a0911148520_10A concept band that plays proggy sludge metal about slugs.  How novel.  And like most novel things, I’m all about checking stuff like that out.  What else I’m all about, when a record/band with a novel concept turns out to be freaking great and flat-out kicks some metal ass.  Packed with elephantine riffs, slimy solos, viscous rhythms, and pissed off vocals this record is turning out to be one of the more interesting, varied, and engaging records I’ve heard this year.  At times it sounds like Revocation played through a pool of sludge, at others kind of a blackened Mastodon; always kicking ass.  Oh, and those song names and lyrics, genius!

If you’re hankering for something cool to listen to, do yourself a favor and give Gastronomicon a spin, I promise you won’t be dissappointed.  The record is also ‘pay what you want’ if you happen to be on a budget (though, even if you’re poor as dirt, you’ll be cool enough to toss the band a few bucks instead of nothing, right? Right!?).  Enjoy some Slugdge :)  Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

Streams of the Week: Metazoa and Dwellings by Cormorant


band_logoI know I haven’t held back my love for the Californian prog metal band Cormorant ’round these parts.  So it should also be no surprise that I’m well-hyped for the release of their 3rd full length album, Earth Diver, next week.  In preparation for the new album, I decided to give their past material a good listen to better hear how they evolve into the new record.  I popped them in last week and pretty much nothing else has found its way into my ears since, especially the album Metazoa.

When I first heard Cormorant it was right around the time the hype machine was promoing their 2nd full length Dwellings and I instantly fell in love with the album.  From the heady lyrics to endlessly engaging musical compositions it has become an album I listen to more than regularly and has been aging more than well, getting better with each listen.  Unfortunately, while I still owned Metazoa, I never gave it the attention I gave Dwellings and therefore was never really firmly grasped by just how freaking outstanding it is.  Revisiting it in a more lucid state has allowed me appreciate how terrific and unique it is.

Compared to Dwellings, Metazoa has a folkier, more aquatic feel compared to the raw and earthen sensation I get from the former.  Tracks like ‘Uneasy Lie the Head’ bleed that battle feeling I get while listening to bands like Moonsorrow and strong melodies heard on tracks like ‘Blood on the Cornfields’ have an almost Iron Maiden goes death metal touch to them.  Seriously every track on the record is diverse and filled with power and passion.  And the same could be said about Dwellings from the horror it weaves with the retelling of a genocide (based on a true story) in ‘Junta’ or the terror of being lost in outerspace on the tune ‘Unearthly Dreamings’ (which at the same time paints a picture of beauty and wonder).

Pretty much, if you dig on prog metal bands like Opeth and want something in the same vein that is wholly original I behoove you to dig into Cormorant.  If you find yourself digging on these albums, you should totally get them (they are ‘pay what you want’ so free if you are really strapped for cash, but I highly recommend the physical CDs as the art and packaging are outstanding and well above par for your average CD release) and pre-order the new one so it’s ready to go next Tuesday.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Roundtable Review: Karhide – Remember Remember


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Release Date: 2 December 2013

Songs: 7

Length: 31 minutes

Genre: Alternative/post-rock/electronic/instrumental

Studio Albums: Rough Sleep EP 2013, two splits

Location:  Southampton, UK

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Roundtable Review: Abyssal – Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius


abyssal coverLabel: Iron Bonehead Productions

Release Date: 1 January 201331 January 2014 (DLP)

Tracks: 11

Length: 59:22

Genre: The blackest and darkest death/doom

Studio Albums: Denouement, 2012

Location: UK

 

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Album Review: Cult Of Fire – मृत्यु_का_तापसी_अनुध्यान (Ascetic Meditation of Death)


a1998107562_10Label: Iron Bonehead Productions

Release Date:  November 5, 2013

Songs:  8

Length: 48 minutes

Genre:  Epic Black Metal

Studio Albums:  Triumvirát, 2012

Location:  Prague, Czech Republic

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Mik’s Best Albums of 2013, part 2


soilworkthelivinginfinitecoverlarge#10 Soilwork – The Living Infinite     Review

Soilwork is back, better and more inspired than ever before. With their speedy guitars, brutal drums and blasting choruses this double album is an uplifting and energizing and most of all a VERY FUN listening experience.  Listen here.

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a1111012061_10#9 Boysetsfire – While A Nation Sleeps…

Straightforward, heartfelt post-hardcore. The songs are very powerful, much thanks to the strong, captivating melodies and the vocalist with his charismatic attitude and emotional voice. Listening to this album gives me energy and strength and it’s perfect for a good, loud, headbanging sing-along. Listen here.

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karnivool-asymmetry#8 Karnivool – Asymmetry 

I know this is not the most accessible album. But once I took the time to understand it, it was very rewarding. I love the dark, murky atmosphere and the underlying, unsettling mood. The eeriness of the bass lines and the unconventional, complex drumming. I’m a big fan of their previous albums too, but this one gave me even more of a challenge and really hit the spot for me. Listen here.

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Benea-Reach-Possession#7 Benea Reach – Possession 

I loved their previous album and was very happy to find that ‘Possession’ is just as good and many times even better. The songs are unexpected and unique in their nature, the songwriting is creative and organic and the singer is definitely an important piece in this; he performs a wide range of styles with confidence and power. Listen here.

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a0934133983_10 #6 White Moth Black Butterfly – One Thousand Wings
       Review

Yay, I get to include my favourite singer on another best of the year-list, third year in a row now! Even though it’s far from metal, this album is very special to me in many ways. It’s dark, personal, honest and incredibly beautiful and not only because of the outstanding vocals. The lyrics are thought-provoking and ‘Ties Of Grace’ might be the best song ever created.  Listen here.

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OceanPelCV#5 The Ocean – Pelagial             Review

This is not a band that has interested me much before. But the effort of a concept album with meaningful, philosophical lyrics where every song is named after the different layers of the ocean, the much more proggy sound made me want to check it out. The massive, constantly changing and flowing sound grew on me, slowly. Very slowly. Until the whole album finally ended up in my top 5 of the year. Listen here.

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a3585520410_10#4 Earthtone9 – IV 

There are many bands that were new to me this year on my list, Earthtone9 is one of them. It didn’t take long for me to start to love their progressive, almost sludgy feeling, the effortlessly executed melodic hooks and the huge attitude. They have an intelligent, bass-y sound and together with the confident, edgy singing they have given me many unforgettable tunes this year. Listen here.

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a0976646613_10#3 Altar Of Plagues – Teethed Glory And Injury              Review 

Thrilling. Challenging. Intense. And extremely rewarding. This is an album packed with depth, darkness and tortured pain executed in the most beautiful way. Primitive and intimate music with a forceful and disturbing atmosphere. ‘Teethed Glory and Injury’ is very addictive and has been my number one choice all year when it comes to really dark, heavy music. Listen here.

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tesseract-alteredstate#2 TesseracT – Altered State             Review

‘Altered State’ is my most played album this year and I love it to bits, both the instrumental version and the original one. This is TesseracT forging their own unique path; this is a confirmation of their remarkable talent when it comes to creating strong, layered musical structures combined with an intense, emotional atmosphere. These songs are magical. Listen here.

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a2186825124_10#1 Caligula’s Horse – The Tide, The Thief & River’s End           Review

To place higher than TesseracT on my list, that’s quite the achievement! Caligula’s Horse managed to craft and put together a collection of songs that meets all my requirements for The Perfect Album. I have never heard songs that feel so honest and alive, amazing guitar solos with so much emotion and incredible vocals with equal amounts of mighty power and fragile beauty. I have never before owned an album that touched me so deeply. This was my big mindblowing surprise of the year. Listen here.

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