Posts Tagged ‘Sludge Doom’

The Osedax - Meridians

The third album from Virginians The Osedax is an odyssey through the possibilities of sludge doom majesty. ‘Meridians’ is out in January next year, and plays with shades of heavy in ways that is refreshing and honest. Named for a bone burrowing deep sea worm, this is definitely something crafted at benthic depths.

Opener ‘Offen’ is a truly majestic piece; trawling the greatest moments of Isis and Neurosis and melding that to a sense of scale that is staggering. The ebb and flow of the primordial crush, sodden with glacial weight, is inspiring. Almost as inspiring is the eerie calm of ‘Beacon/Ox Eye’s opening few minutes, when the quiet ambient hum is only broken by an occasional note. As the riff begins to appear, shimmering like a mirage over a salt flat you are suddenly bombarded with dense, raging catharsis. It is almost black metal in places, with the shrieks echoing throughout, but nothing can outplay the crushing deepsea trench riffs that ooze from the cracks in the earth. ‘White Horse/Tempest’ has this same beautiful juxtaposition of haunting ambient noise, almost whale song-like, before thunderous guitar avalanches through, and closer ‘Ratlines’ is bleak and mesmerisingly peaceful.

There will be an almighty fight for this to be beaten as my album of 2020. It speaks to me in such a primordial way, that I pity what will follow. ‘Meridians’ is glorious, and The Osedax are the gods of these ancient, deep waters. Preorder this now

https://www.facebook.com/TheOsedax/

https://theosedax.bandcamp.com/

V - Led into Exile

First published here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/album-ep-reviews/review-v-led-into-exile/

Out earlier in the autumn, Sweden’s sludgey doom lords V’s second record ‘Led Into Exile’ is a forty minute journey over six tracks, and looks to establish them as potential pretenders to the throne currently occupied by fellow Swedes Cult of Luna. This is full of sweeping dynamic shifts and huge riffs, but can they bring anything else to the table?

The opener ‘Broadcast from the Shadows’ begins with a slow-burn build, an almost hypnotic drone accompanied by tribal drumming before some dense riffs crash down. But this doesn’t just become your average ‘riff-shout’ assault that many other bands try for. There are genuine moments of melodic interludes, where the heavier sections are given a chance to breathe and the atmospherics flex themselves. ‘Illviljan’ has a harsher and raw sounding guitar tone, rumbling along with an eye on the grinding early work of Isis or Neurosis. These bands are obviously a great influence on V, and the titanic crush of ‘Hostage of Souls’ that follows just reinforces this. However this isn’t just the glistening weight of ‘Celestial’, nor the primal heft of ‘Through Silver in Blood’.

‘Led Into Exile’ is its own master, be it the ghostly almost silence that creeps through ‘Hostage of Souls’, the swaggering Sabbathian doom riffs that open ‘Phantasmagoria’ or the bleak folk acoustics of ‘None Shall Rise Again’. V are chameleonic; one moment hitting you with visceral heaviness and the next tugging on your emotions with beautiful material. It is this that makes them so appealing. Not every band in this style will risk opening themselves up like that, but V do it with aplomb.

As the monolithic title track thunders us to the close of the record, ‘Led Into Exile’ has left quite an impression on me. Whether crafting massive riffs that loom above like cliffs in the night, wretching vocals echoing around them or allowing us an insight into the quieter moments with acoustics or electronica, V are not just going to play the game the way we expect them too. ‘Led Into Exile’ is a surprisingly poignant work, and the sooner we can get more from V the better.

https://www.facebook.com/vpathogen/

https://suiciderecordsswe.bandcamp.com/album/led-into-exile

Originally published on the Sleeping Shaman: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/album-ep-reviews/review-red-stone-chapel-omega-boombox/

German sludge rockers Red Stone Chapel release their debut record, ‘Omega Boombox‘, on the 25th of October through Argonauta Records and it is eight tracks of southern rock with all the stoner, progressive, sludge and blues influences you could need in your life. The Sleeping Shaman even managed to snag ourselves a premiere for it. But in a world of a thousand bands that claim to do this kind of music, can ‘Omega Boombox‘ stand out from the crowd?

The short answer is yes. ‘Omega Boombox’ may not reinvent the wheel but that wheel is beautifully looked after. Opener ‘Squid Limbo‘ hits you with a big ol’ riff that just hits that sweet spot with bluesy groove. The gruff vocals of frontman Dimi suit the whiskey-soaked attitude perfectly, and the swagger is retained throughout. Red Stone Chapel are a band that aren’t short on confidence, and the Orange Goblin-esque thrust of ‘Dead Man’s Chime‘ and ‘Praise the Fool‘ are things of beauty. The great, looming shadow of Clutch also is very noticeable, and the opening to ‘Panta Rhei’ would make Neil Fallon and crew proud! Red Stone Chapel are no tribute however. They’ve got a sound of their own.

I’m a metal fan that appreciates all the brutality, ethereal blackness or suffocating death that I can get, but we all must admit to a weakness for massive bluesy grooves. I mean, this is where all hard rock and metal grew from; a style that if nurtured properly can still electrify even after decades of being overdone. Red Stone Chapel add a nice, rough and gruff edge to their stuff, giving it a real authentic feel. Like some rough old mountain lads kicking back some Zeppelin and filtering it through a little early Mastodon. I’ve been listening to the psychedelic doom rock of ‘The Paper King‘ on repeat for days, and I’ll never get sick of it.

Omega Boombox‘ has most of everything you’re going to want in an album like this; hefty blues, swaggering RAWK grooves, gravelly vocals that aren’t missing an ounce of soul and some absolute killer riffs. Red Stone Chapel’s debut is packed full of potential hits, and enough subtle touches to make it all their own. This is a band to keep an eye on for the future, as if they can build on their foundation here and maybe go even a little weirder next time, it’ll be special indeed.

https://redstonechapel.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/redstonechapelband/

https://argonautarecords.bandcamp.com/

Blind Monarch - What Is Imposed Must Be Endured

The titanic sludge doom of British misery artists Blind Monarch has finally seen the light of day earlier this year through Black Bow Records, and ‘What is Imposed Must Be Endured’ is four tracks and almost an hour of crumbling, ruinous music.

Opener ‘Suffering Breathes My Name’ seeps, drips, crawls into view; a mesmerising magma flow of earth wrenching riffs and tar gargling roars. A funereal pace lurches the song forward, with huge Winter style riffs being accompanied by the kind of nihilistic scream you’d find in NOLA’s finest. The quiet moments of ‘My Mother, My Cradle, My Tomb’ are almost as terrifying as the rest, the band’s eponymous track drags us to the cold edge of cosmic oblivion where closer ‘Living Altar’, gently prepares us what is to be endured. Which happens around the four minute mark and your sacrificial casting into the void marks the beginning of the end of this mammoth paean to darkness.

Blind Monarch’s vast, crushing doom would be a fitting epitaph to the end of this world. ‘What is Imposed Must Be Endured’ is the kind of record that comes along rarely; one that plays with emotional heft as well as the weight of its riffs. Blind Monarch are superb, and if this world doesn’t collapse under its own self destruction, please may we have more of this?!

https://www.facebook.com/blindmonarchband/

https://blindmonarch.bandcamp.com/releases

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If there’s one thing that challenges you as a music reviewer, it is seriously long tracks. How do you explain why a thirty minute track is great, or it isn’t, without waffling on for literally half an hour. Well, German sludge doom lords Eremit have challenged me here, with ‘Carrier of Weight’, three tracks of massive atmospheric doom clocking in at over an hour. It is out through Transcending Obscurity in February.

The best way to approach this for me is to imagine it as a soundtrack to a film I can’t see. Opener ‘Dry Land’ is 22 minutes, building from quiet contemplative notes and whispered vocals into vast, groaning riffs of doom. Funereal in its atmosphere, an oppressive heft pushes down upon you, while abyssal growls summon you to the depths. When the riffs vanish, the quiet is almost as weighty. Whatever film I’m imagining is suffocatingly dark, miserable and nihilistic. The shortest track is the second, ‘Froth is Beckoning’, and it has a much more traditional chug to it; almost fast paced compared with the glacial crush of closer ‘Cocoon of Soul’.

That is the pièce de résistance; a vast world of rain, earth quaking riffs and foreboding dark atmospheres. The fact that this is a debut record is absolutely brain melting, and as for my complaint at the top of this review, well frankly I could write a thesis on the majesty of this track. From the creaking wood at the start and the gentle ominousness of the acoustics it takes a full eight minutes before the heaviness appears and then wow. The roiling riffs are mesmerising, crashing off you the way waves crash against cliffs. This is enhanced even further by a droning, humming background swell that increases the scope even further. By the time it fades away to nothing, there’s not much of you left to enjoy it.

Wrapped in a stunning piece of artwork from artist Mariusz Lewandowski, Eremit’s work is a staggering paean to gloom. Misery engulfs you like pitiless rain, leaving you sodden with sadness and doom. Bands that have been doing this years can’t come up with stuff this good, and Eremit are just debuting their primordial crush here. ‘Carrier of Weight’ is glorious.

https://eremitdoom.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/EremitDoom

https://tometal.com/

British sludge doom band Kurokuma are dropping a new EP called ‘Dope Rider’, based on a 1970s strip called Dope Rider in High Times magazine. That, sadly meant nothing to me, but after listening to this, I’m definitely going to check it out. I reviewed their last EP, ‘Advorsus’ here, and this is a good follow up.

Part 1 is a rumbling slab of sludgey doom, with more than a touch of classic Godflesh nihilism. The vocals switch from a throaty roar to a raspy scream, while a massive Crowbar riff groans and grinds through the middle. It has the same dense, smothering feeling that ‘Advorsus’ had in spades, but there is an addition of an almost hypnotic, psychedelic drone to it as well. Relaying the tales of a skeletal stoner cowboy through the medium of hazy, riff powered doom is probably the most apt meeting of minds in history. Part 2 is based on one of the original tales, and is a great slab of sonic assault, lumbering through smoke filled canyons.

‘Dope Rider’ is a great two track EP, and while I’d love to see this expanded into a full concept record, Kurokuma continue to build their reputation on the live circuit and give us just a taste of what is to come through these shorter releases. Get this now!

https://kurokumauk.bandcamp.com/album/dope-rider

https://www.facebook.com/kurokumauk

http://thedoperider.blogspot.com/

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Finland’s Lurk are due to release their new record, ‘Fringe’, at the start of August and it is a multifaceted, layered sludge doom record that incorporates elements of death metal and black metal into a churning whole. Transcending Obscurity is dropping yet another modern classic here, as Lurk take us to strange and alluring vistas of pain.

The baleful opening tones of ‘Ostrakismos’ feel very black metal; cold and gloomy. It has a perfect balance of innate heaviness and a glacial bleakness about it, with whispered growls lurking underneath. Dense and murky, ‘Tale Blade’ lurches forward with tar thick groove and a deathly roar powering it. Imagine coating this powerful beast in the gleaming blackness of Panopticon, or Wolves in the Throne Room and witnessing the soaring black metal presence. The grinding fury of ‘Offshoot’ is brutal, and the unsettling notes at the start of the stunning ‘Elan’ mixes well with the an almost soulful vocal. Both of those, of course, disappear into a void of trudging, suffocating nihilistic rage, crawling from a black filth. ‘Fringe’ is a record that encapsulates much of mankind’s darkest moments, but leaves enough spaces for the odd ray of ethereal hope to shine through.

Mysterious, ghostly but very much rooted in the soul of our blackened earth, Lurk’s magnificent carvings into the walls of sludge doom are a sight to behold. Cavernous yet fragile, visceral and yet soaring, ‘Fringe’ is an album unlike many others. It is capable of touching you in ways you didn’t expect, never losing that primal heft. A unique addition to 2018’s canon of excellent records.

https://tometal.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lurkdoom/

https://lurkdoom.bandcamp.com/