Some bands evolve, some metamorphose. If you look at a butterfly you can still see the remnants of the shriveled caterpillar body still hanging around but for the most part the entirety is changed after a brief cocooning period. Unlike evolution where the change takes place over a huge period of time and many key features are still kept in tact, metamorphosis yields something quite different from its original and the process of change is quite abrupt. You could say a band like Opeth evolved into the prog rock powerhouse they are today slightly changing it up album after album. And Clutch took metamorphosis path when they injected some gospel/blues rock into their sludge metal sound on their self-titled sophomore record (the cocoon phase) and then fully embraced it on their third album, The Elephant Riders, where the metal edge was heavily toned down but still had a glaring presence. With both bands, if you listen to their latest in contrast with their earliest works, they are almost completely different bands but still maintain their cores. Metamorphosis is, however, a much more pronounced change. For their fifth full length album, High Country, The Sword have metamorphosed into something quite different from their sludgy doom metal beginnings.
Feeling the need to zone out and relax these days? Then check out this neat instrumental atmospheric folk metal record The Mist Bearer. Taking cues from the nature themed sections of bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Soar, and Agalloch this one man band from Vólos, Greece writes ethereal compositions that personify they majesty of the rolling mountains and lush land that surrounds his homeland. The lack of vocals, bar some hypnotic chanting, really drive the relaxation factor of this record into zen territories. It also makes me want to finally get around to visiting Greece.
As always, dig in your couch or the back seat of your car and toss this man some change (he’s only asking €0.50), share with your friends, and let us know what you thought. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
For as much as I love doom metal one sect of the genre I’ve never really been able to get into is funeral doom, bar an exception or two. It’s just a style that has to be particularly fresh and engaging for me to be able to sit through at attention as 10 plus minute long songs plod along. So forgive me for remaining ignorant to the thunderous majesty know as Ahab for over a decade. Self-proclaimed as nautical doom metal these Germans stay true to their Melville-ian namesake and produce dirges which require patience and a hearty pair of sea legs to really appreciate the payoff of a gorgeous, well-crafted world. Slow and sludgy Ahab’s new album, The Boats of Glen Carrig, looks to be the bands most accomplished record to date. Going back and checking out their earlier releases as reference points (Holy Shit! The Call of the Wretched Sea is a beast!) it also sounds as if the band is pushing their sound into uncharted territory. That may or may not be a good thing depending on how slow you like your doom metal.
A handful of years back Goya’s album 777 kicked my fuzzy stoner metal loving ass all over the place. Hazy vocals, dissonant guitars, laid back drums, and crunchy grooves man. So you’d be correct if you said I was looking forward to checking out Goya’s follow-up. And here we are with Obelisk and Goya knocks it out of the park again.
This time we get a band that has taken a genre that can very quickly get stale and boring and livened it up with just enough bong rips to entertain us who no longer habitually partake in the inhalation of the sacred herb but still like the dank smell (and the occasional J). Tighter and more varied songwriting hypnotize and captivate and big tripped-out, bluesy guitar solos and punchy drums add a beautiful contrast to the lazy drone of the riffs. This is one hell of a trip into a well-crafted, surreal soundscape and shouldn’t be overlooked by any fan of the stoner rock/metal genre.
You know the drill, give the record a listen, dig in your couch for spare change, give the band money, tell your friends how much Goya kicks ass, drop us a comment or something, go about your busy day. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
I’m not the type of person who often remembers their dreams. However, I do remember a few. One of them was from when I was a teenager or something. Probably after watching The Blob or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I had this dream where I was trapped in a dank sewer trudging through the sludgy sewage while Charon floated in his boat behind me and whacked me with his oars. Listening to Empress/Abscess by Immortal Bird reminds me of that dream. It’s dark, sludgy, and smacks you around. Elements of black metal and thrash round out this roughly 30 minute romp. The artwork is pretty rad too.
Check it out, share with you buddies, toss some couch change at the band, and let us know what you thunk. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
In my free time when I’m not attached to some video game or repeatedly listening to whatever album I’m currently hot on I like to scour through Bandcamp and Metal State’s Haulix promo pile (for those who don’t know, Haulix is a commonly used streaming/downloading platform for giving reviewers access to promo albums) and see if anything catches my ear. With literally hundreds of records to choose from at any given moment I don’t have the time nor the will to listen to everything. So, what do I do to narrow down my selections? Well, first there are certain P.R. reps we have a good rapport with as well as the very rare, well written review request (for another article, but, independent bands, proofread your shit, keep it short, and use Bandcamp or some other super easy streaming service). Otherwise, I break a Golden Rule. I judge a book, errr, album by its cover.
Ever so rarely an album comes by that encapsulates the soul band. From a group’s particular style to even their namesake, these albums showcase all that is and has propelled them into the leaders of their genres. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son from Iron Maiden, Pelagial by The Ocean, and Panopticon by Isis are some examples of records that lay in this very small group with both fan and critical praise being forever lauded upon them. But the big daddy of them all belongs to Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater. It is of my opinion that no other album sums up a band as perfectly as that record does. The music connected to the narrative, the ‘dream’, which is played out through the album, the ‘theater’, is executed so perfectly and passionately I had never thought no other album could ever achieve the multitude of musical accomplishments as deftly as it has done. That is until Between the Buried and Me unleashed their latest record, Coma Ecliptic, unto the masses for me to listen, absorb, and consume ravenously.
Who 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!!!!
Right off the bat, the most striking thing about Vattnet Viskar’s sophomore album would be its bright and happy cover art. If you didn’t know any better you could imagine that an album of cheery electronic music lies within it. However, Vattnet Viskar is a post-metal band and that photo isn’t as cheery as you may think it is. If you are from my generation (the 80s) or earlier you surely remember the Challenger mission. Things didn’t go very well and spaceships exploded and lives were lost. The photo in the cover art is inspired by a photo of Christa McAuliffe while she was on a ‘Vomit Comet’ training simulation about a year prior to being tragically lost in the Challenger launch disaster. It’s a quite a surreal and contrasting pic. So happy and at a peak in life only to have it all soon violently ripped away from her. But, still kind of life-affirming in a way. Now, does that cover art look a bit more metal to you?
As expected, 2015 is shaping up to be yet another stellar year for us metal fans. And with Iron Maiden, BtBaM, The Sword, Deafheaven, Avatarium, and Ghost releasing new material in the coming months, it’s only up from here. Here’s a selection of some albums I’ve enjoyed quite a bit in the past half of the year. Check ’em out and share what you’ve been digging on. Peace Love and Metal!!!!