Posts Tagged ‘Blackened Doom’

The grimness of England’s east coast is nothing to underappreciated. Battered by the fearsome power of the North Sea, it cannot always provide sunshine and sand. And a prominent place along that coast is Scarborough, inspiration to Swiss duo Diablerets on their new album. ‘II: Scarborough’ is 47 mins of blackened ambient drone doom that will seep into your very core.

It was delivered to me in a bespoke cardboard case with post-it size maps as part of the package, and each track is a location on said weatherworn map. The opener ‘Scarborough’ has a low intensity hum lurking within, with occasional quiet squeals of feedback and an oppressive weighty atmosphere on top. It is truly sinister, as if some ancient being is hiding in the depths waiting for a time to return to our world. ‘Ravenscar’ increases the intensity, like a stiff breeze battering cold silent cliffs. A hint of vocals tries to wrench through the claustrophobic wall of drone and barely succeeds. A droning organ floats amidst us, really reinforcing the eerieness. ‘Devil’s Dyke’ features plenty of foreboding samples, but succeeds in not losing bleak, terrifying focus.

‘Coffinswell’ is a tortured piece of miserable dark ambient horror, with a wretched rasp snarling whispers of evil over a low hypnotic hum. Odd noises fade in and out in the background, like the soundscape of an ancient abandoned hospital or mortuary. The kind of evocative silence that conjures up all types of twisted visions. Closing with the equally menacing ‘Leatherhead’, whose sinister tale is woven by a calm, unfeeling voice, ‘II: Scarborough’ is an album designed to unsettle.

‘II: Scarborough’ is the kind of album you don’t listen to on a whim. It is an album that needs to be played in a certain time in a certain frame of mind. It is creepy, dark and haunting to a point of being spellbinding. I couldn’t listen to this all the time, but if I felt in the mood for a disturbing, mind rending journey into the dark and twisted hellscapes beyond this dimension, this would be the album I’d choose to simulate it just right.

Faustcoven - In the Shadow of Doom

Last year’s ‘In the Shadow of Doom’ saw Norway’s Faustcoven give us the followup to ‘Hellfire and Funeral Bells’ we’ve been waiting for for 6 long years. It is of course, out now through Nuclear War Now Productions and continues the band’s run of great records exploring the links between black metal and doom. It may be a year late, but the Killchain only works through the best releases!

The odd tones of ‘The Wicked Dead’ lead off with a growling rasp and a chunky, midpaced riff that has a nice buzzsaw feel about it. The fuzzy productions gives it a nice raw feeling to it, and the whole atmosphere just feels very old school black metal. There is also a pronounced doomy feel to much of the riffing pace, with the rumbling groove of ‘The Devil’s Share’ or the monolithic ‘Marching in the Shadow’. In fact, ‘In the Shadow of Doom’ is a great example of how you can wield two genres simultaneously without losing anything of either of them. Doom strides stronger here but there is something unmistakably visceral about the blackened croak of ‘Lair of Rats’.

‘In the Shadow of Doom’ does tend to lean more towards the doom than the black, but this is nothing to compain about. Every groaning riff is laced with a blackened edge, adding just the right about of malice. Faustcoven feel like Darkthrone covering some ancient 70s doom band, where the atmosphere reeks of cold forests but the riffing has a satisfying rumble, particularly the uber-memorable swagger of ‘As White As She Was Pale’. This is a fucking great record


‘Phlogiston Cartharsis’ is the much anticipated new full length from imperious French individual P.H.O.B.O.S, ready to unleash their suffocating blackened industrial doom upon the world after their much acclaimed split with fellow Gallic black metal gods Blut Aus Nord and 2015’s ‘श्मशान काली’ EP. Transcending Obscurity will be dropping this bomb in September.

‘Biomorphorror’ begins with clashing industrial sounds before a hellish riffs drags us to deep recesses of our earth. Submerging us in a Godfleshian nightmare, P.H.O.B.O.S. pour blackened tar over each riff and the almost whispered rasps are deeply unsettling. Imagine Godflesh, Aborym and Sunn0))) all fighting in a tarpit, and you’re approaching the sonic dread reached on tracks like ‘Igneous Tephrapotheosis’. Even the song titles are impenetrable; unknown horrors writhing in galaxial abysses.

‘Phlogiston Cartharsis’ is probably one of, if not THE, most terrifying pieces of music you’ll hear this year. You think you are ready for heavy, or dread but the subtle industrial tinges adds even more to the sonic terrorism on show. P.H.O.B.O.S. are the Mariana Trench of metal; deep, dark, suffocating and unexplored. Join them, they have such sights to show you.–997291130295639/

Obed Marsh - Innsmouth

Feeding on from the Lovecraft inspired dread of Swampcult, I’ve found myself in ‘Innsmouth’, the debut Obed Marsh record that is crafted from cyclopean doom and morbid blackness. This Australian duo look to drag you off towards another space and time, a place where madness is as commonplace as water and Elder things crawl and creep.

From the watery ‘Prologue’ into the deep and dark ‘Innsmouth Ritual’, it is clear straight away that this is a listening experience designed to test your mettle. A dirging black cloud that envelops you and a rasping vocal that could be a follower of Dagon himself, belching unholy incantations that both invigorate and terrify. The undead crawl of ‘The Esoteric Order’ almost drips with malicious intent, while the glorious closing sequence to ‘Usurpers’ allows Obed Marsh to flex its creative muscle without stepping too far away from the core sound.

‘Deficient’ feels like a mournful cry for help, while the miserable ‘Desquamate’ amplifies that feeling even more. There is a dread murk that seeps within every riff, every rasp, that encompasses the mind with eldritch fear. This music is dark, sinister and, at points, harrowing. Obed Marsh have dragged up the foul beasts of the abyss, and their haunting gloom will drag you back down with them to cold, watery depths.

Vow of Thorns - Farewell to the Sun

The fusion of black metal and doom is a task that can only be achieved successfully by bands who understand the subtleties, the nuances of both. The unbridled darkness and rage of black metal, meeting the gloomy melancholic introspection of doom is something only a few bands have managed to pull off. Mid 2000s Agalloch is a good reference point for Canadians Vow of Thorns, whose ‘Farewell to the Sun’ is a masterpiece.

The gloomy magnificence of ‘Meeting on the Astral Plane’ is obvious for all to see. It soars with blackened glory, and other sections trickle past with melancholic acoustics. ‘Great Abomination’ is a more traditional black metal piece, with scything riffs cutting through the cold misty atmosphere, and a frostbitten aesthetic that rears its bleak head again in the three part title track.

‘Part 1’ is the scene setter; a lonely melody weaving its wintry way towards an icy peak, where ‘Part 2’ takes us upon that journey, high above any of those mere human concerns, to where ancient spirits shriek and the snow falls. This is an excellent, evocative record that brings to mind the naturalist strength of Drudkh, but the weeping melancholy of Agalloch. ‘Part 3’ is the most “doom” section, with a dirging riff crushing those trapped beneath.

Closing with the grey epic ‘Doomed Woods’, Vow of Thorns have crafted one of my favourite record this year. ‘Farewell to the Sun’ is an album that sits perfectly on a rainy day, and with each listen unlocks new levels and subtleties. I love this record, and you should too.

Italian masters of melancholy (EchO) have dropped the monstrous, miserable ‘Head First into Shadows’ on the awesome subsidiary of Solitude Productions (BadMoonMusic), and it is 50 plus minutes of glorious doom with elements of black and even death/doom thrown into the mix as well.

It begins with the soaring ‘Blood and Skin’, evoking Paradise Lost with grey melodies and looming riffs. Gloomy clean vocals mesh croon while a harsh rasp takes over in parts, providing brutality within the beauty. Soulful melodies lie upon the riffs like snow on frozen ground, and (EchO) aren’t afraid of a lighter touch to make their point. ‘This Place We Call Home’ could be a more doomy Porcupine Tree, with progressive acoustics blending with an almost atmospheric black metal feel. It brings to mind Panopticon, Chiral and the like, and there’s also a strong Opeth influence on the powerful ‘Beneath This Lake’.

I love the icy melodies that weave in and out of these songs, peeking out from the enveloping misery that sinks upon you as you listen to it. The monolithic ‘Gone’ is a perfect centrepiece; a dense death/doom masterwork that progresses through soft melodies and dark atmospheres. The triumphantly catchy ‘A New Maze’ leads into closer ‘Order of the Nightshade’, homje of the darkest and most insidious melodies.

‘Head First Into Shadows’ is a monument to misery, a powerful statement of intent and a stunning album. One of 2016’s best doom records, and an example to anyone who wants to know how to make metal records properly atmospheric and emotional!

Akatechism - Dripping Flames

Germany’s Akatechism have laid their devastatingly bleak, black/doom/death hybrid demo ‘Dripping Flames’ upon the medium of cassette via Invictus Productions. It is time to begin that inexorable slide into the void.

‘Asymmetry of Man’ begins with a crawling, fuzzing riff, accompanied by an eerie church organ. From this gloomy, eldritch dirge comes a dense growling and eventually a rattling, deathly slab of Hellhammer worship. I like the contrast between the slower, morbid crawl and the battering of the black metal influence. ‘Hymn in Hunger’ has a ghastly, fetid vibe to it, with ancient riffs lurching out of the abyss. Akatechism have really embraced the darkness on ‘Dripping Flames’, conjuring up a Blut Aus Nord-esque canvas from which to paint their tapestry of evil.

Closing with the macabre epic ‘Omega’, where any glimpses of light are crushed beneath an iron riff and a morbid atmosphere. Akatechism’s slow burn blackened sound really saps your energy, leaving you a broken husk. Atonal melody clashes with howling vocals to create something truly of the dakr void. Love it.

Texas blackened doom titans Canyon of the Skull have released their debut record earlier this year, a self titled two track, thirty six minute trawl through the deepest recesses of the riff void. It’s out now via their Bandcamp page.

Opener ‘The Path (of Bear and Wolf)’ is a sprawling piece of instrumental doom bliss. An album that envisages a journey across a barren rocky desert. The lumbering doom that underpins it is the solid, unyielding rock on which you walk. The shimmering guitar melodies that thrum incessantly on top is the stifling heat and blazing sun. The rhythm of the drums is your step, unending and constant. That’s the great thing about instrumental music; you can build your own story to it. I have no idea if this is what the band think it represents, but its what I feel. When riff patterns change to a leading bass, its almost like a cloud gives you a brief respite. The slowing of the riffing is like the slowing of your stride as you are drained, physically and mentally. The crashing crescendo is the worry that when night falls, you will be in the mind of wolves and bears as you sleep.

The sun rises on the ‘Canyon of the Skull’; riffs cascading like beams of light down upon you. Forever building to that moment, that beautiful moment of release, Canyon of the Skull’s craft is honed perfectly. Your journey continues, relentlessly, searching for that place where the riff was born. There is uplifting melody upon ancient riffs, like the sun on weathered stone. ‘Canyon of the Skull’ represents everything that is good about instrumental music; evocative, emotional, transcendant. This is art carved from the riff. The endless, titan riff that inspires us all