Sunday, 19 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Domo, "Domonautas Vol. 1"

By: Peter Morsellino

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/12/2019
Label: Independent

“Domonautas Vo1.1” DD//LP track listing:

1). Oximoron
2). AstrĂ³domo
3). Ritual del Sol
4). Planisferio

The Review:

Alright folks, let's get weird. I listen to a lot of music. As such I tend to have to work harder at times to find something that really lights my fire. I found myself at one point not listening to a whole lot of music at all, finding myself dulled to the whole thing from not finding what I was looking for. This particular low point lead me to my discovery of doom and sludge, some of the great musical loves of my life. And yet, every now and again, I still feel the need for a little extra bit of a freaky booster shot to keep my spirits up. If you are currently in need of a little something on the fringes to help bring you back to center, I present you with Domo.

I've always said that I wanted a metal band that could conceivably cover “Ummagumma” era Pink Floyd and neither sound cheesy, nor like a bunch of lunatics set loose upon an unsuspecting recording studio. Domo has granted me this wish.
Riffs crunch hard into the earth when not floating into space, with experimental interludes occurring frequently. Notes of early 70's experimental rock flow throughout the album. My mind keeps returning to the thought of a Black Sabbath/Tool mashup that I didn't know I wanted.

“Oximoron” starts the album off as something off an overture, letting you know what you've given yourself into. With dense atmospheres, psychedelic guitar work and exotic horns creating an incredibly dense tone that prevails throughout the album.

“Astrodomo” starts out strong with doomy riffs reminiscent of an early Electric Wizard track, before dropping into a distinctly Pink Floyd like piece and right back again. “Ritual Del Sol” kicks off with an amazingly mellow jazz jam that puts the bass on center stage before giving us some more of that hard rock power, right when we need it. “Planisferio” opens with another bass heavy Tool type of jam before descending into pure metal mayhem.

This album is expertly put together. No part feels like it clashes with another, with Domo skillfully gliding from one genre to the next.

“Domonautas Vol. 1” was released in late 2019 and was promised to be the beginning of something much larger. I for one will be keeping my ears open for the next installment. I'm hooked.

“Domonautas Vo1. 1” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Saturday, 18 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Elder Druid, "Golgotha"

By: Brandon Noga

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/01/2020
Label: Independent

“Golgotha” CD//DD track listing:

1. Sleeping Giant
2. Golgotha
3. Sentinel 
4. Vincere Vel Mori
5. Dreadnought 
6. Paegan Dawn of Anubis
7. The Archmage

The Review:

Elder Druid are self described “Occult-laced riff dealers" from Belfast; an accurate description indeed. Anyone that plays with Slomatics for an album release is sure to have their own gargantuan heft, and I cannot argue that one bit. “Golgotha” is their second release, and it’s a mature effort. The production is top notch (thanks to the year long journey of going over and over the tracks until the band was satisfied), due to being recorded, produced and mixed by bassist Dale Hughes; and the hard work clearly paid off. All the tones are what a band of this caliber and genre should shoot for, to magnify every riff and beat. Laney, Orange, and Ashdown amps bring the heat and thunder, and the riffs pummel you into ancient soil and monuments contained underneath. The drums are mixed well, while complimenting and pushing the riffs to the forefront similar to Black Sabbath and Zeppelin.

“Sleeping Giant” kicks off the album with a fuzzy stoner riff with slight wah added, and comes crashing down with a titanic weight when the rest of the band kicks in. This giant definitely has a mangy coat covered in moss and has no regard for any insignificant beings when it starts lumbering for the first time in eons. The song rides the line between Stoner and Doom and grabs you by the neck to force your head to bang. The lead section is ethereal and layered in a mature way; very tasty. “Golgotha is a diminished venture, with a monstrous bellow echoing over riffs that leave a footprint in the earth as wide as the eye can see. The breakdown reveals the entity to which these marks belong to, but it’s too late when it blocks out the sun shortly before your life comes to a confusing end.

“Sentinel” is the first single released, and I can see why. A harmonic minor odyssey that’s equally captivating as it is revealing of one’s self; a great example of what this band is capable of. Jake Wallace informed me that a Fender Rhoades and Theremin were employed for increased depth; Its slathered in reverb and ends up in the outer realms of space and time. “Vincere Vel Mori” (to conquer or die) is a more doom-pure track, with prickly fuzz tones bordering on static electricity and riffs that slow and come to a gradual heave.

“Dreadnought” consists of clever riffs as thick as the night is long, and flat-fifth single note lines harkening to the obvious Sabbath influence. The gradual decline is punctuated with bends to further throw your skull around. “Paegan Dawn of Anubis” contains a bass intro located in depths of the ocean not yet explored by man; that warns you of impending Lovecraftian beings, that your kind hasn’t been aware of in its minuscule existence. “The rivers run red” with the blood of ancestors succumbing to Anubis, and his gate to the underworld. 

The album closes with “Archmage”, another fuzz laden track with vocals expelled from a tar filled diaphragm. Its fades out with stops and bends, and one final reverb drenched echo to drown out the senses. Elder Druid has a bright future; they should proud of this album, and I wish them good luck on their upcoming tour and release show!

“Golgotha” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Thursday, 16 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Dead Cosmonauts, "We Sent Fragile Creatures to the Heavens But Not All of Them Perished"

By: Peter Morsellino 

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released:21/01/2020
Label: Independent

“We Sent Fragile Creatures to the Heavens But Not All of Them Perished” DD track listing:

1). We sent fragile creatures to the heavens but not all of them perished.
2). "Is it not worthy of tears," he said, "that, when the number of worlds is infinite, we have not yet become lords of a single one?"
3). I looked and I looked but I didn’t see God.

The Review:

It would be hard to describe this album in any simple terms. A mass of writhing, undulating sound sits before you that changes fluidly and often. The best way would be to describe what the album strives to accomplish. Dead Cosmonauts use this new release to test boundaries. To break down walls. To challenge ideas. This album is idiosyncratic.  This is album is an exercise in dissonant beauty. This is perfection.

"We Sent Fragile Creatures to the Heavens But Not All of Them Perished" is only three songs, of comparatively short length for the Post Metal genre. But Dead Cosmonauts uses their time wisely. No riff stretches beyond comfort, no section overstaying its welcome. The expertly crafted songs flow with the grace of the wind. It is a very natural sounding album. 

The album opens with a very progressive, jazz like collage of dissonance.  The melodies are complex, the beats technical. There is a lot going on, and at times this one can be a bit overwhelming.  Overall though, in a section of metal often maligned for its elitism, it is very easy to keep up with after listening a time or two. 
The second track is where the walls really begin to come down. This is Post Metal for everyone. Gone is the better than thou higher educated barrier keeping the common man out. This is a sludgy romp that maintains its technicality without an ounce of pretentiousness.

The closing number (I'm not using track names for obvious reasons) is a beautifully crafted piece full of emotion. Every instrument shines in its own way, with sections seemingly crafted to highlight each one before they all come together into a fist pumping crescendo. 

Gone are the days of Post Metal being the Intelligent Dance Music of the rock world. Dead Cosmonauts brings together a product that can be consumed with ease, without sacrificing the fundamental high concept of the genre. This is not one to miss. 

“We Sent Fragile Creatures to the Heavens But Not All of Them Perished” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Lotus Thief, "Oresteia"

By: Josh McIntyre

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/01/2020
Label: Prophecy Productions

“Oresteia” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Agamemnon
2). Banishment
3). Libation Bearers
4). Wow
5). The Furies
6). Reverence
7). Sister in Silence
8). The Kindly Ones

The Review:

Lotus Thief bring me back to when I was a teenager and fascinated by the likes of epic and poetic metal bands like Opeth and Agalloch. Their sound is expansive, thick, and layered. The songs ebb and flow together to create a vast, artistic album that truly sounds dramatic. It’s quite appropriate that this, their third LP, retells a classical Greek trilogy using a doomy, blackened soundtrack.

If you’re not versed in Greek tragedy you can skim the Wikipedia article for Aeschylus' Oresteia (like I did) to get an understanding of the lyrics. It follows Agamemnon as he returns home from the Trojan War and involves a cycle of murderous revenge. The music is naturally as dark and forceful as is necessary to do the narrative justice. What I really want to point out, though, is how melodic and accessible this record really is. Yes, it is heavy music but the focus here is completely on the songs themselves as parts of the overarching story. We don’t, as listeners, feel an urge to focus on any particular riffs, instead we lean into the progression of each musical piece as it pushes forward like the chapter in a book. Even the more ambient interludes dive us deeper in, brilliantly flowing the longer songs together in a cohesive manner. 
“Oresteia” just sounds good. The production is relatively clean as each musical layer is quite apparent, nicely sitting in the mist together. At no real moment do any instruments distract from the purpose of each song, even during the more aggressive black metal styled sections, and I mean this as a salute to the band’s commitment to driving the narrative to the listener. Sometimes it is best to just stay back and let the song simply exist. The vocals here are absolutely wonderful.  Bezaelith’s melodic and powerful performance across the LP, particularly in “Libation Bearers” and “The Furies,” is what really sells it. Vocal lines are about as confident as one would think is needed to call upon Greek deities to engage in very human affairs of vengeance. 

Lotus Thief deserve to be appreciated by both the underground and more mainstream metal worlds. It would make perfect sense for them to tour alongside larger names such as King Woman or even Alcest. They really hit the mark on creating melodic dark music that, though it doesn’t necessarily have many hooks, could be appreciated by any fan of alt rock that can tolerate a little bit of growling vocals. What I most commend here is the ability to write an album that feels this way while still offering a sense of genuinity. It really feels like Lotus Thief are doing exactly what they want to do. 

“Oresteia” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Timeworn, "Leave the Soul for Now"

By: Peter Morsellino

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 06/12/2020
Label: Loyal Blood Records

“Leave the Soul for Now” track listing:

1). Sky Castles
2). Count the Crosses
3). Oblivion Seekers
4). Hellwater
5). Paradise Crown
6). Visceral Reality
7). The Fallen King
8). Vagrant Heart

The Review:

Norway's Timeworn return with a banger of a third album. “Leave the Soul for Now” is the culmination of the five year journey that Timeworm has taken us on since their first effort.  This is an emotional, visceral work; leaving very little to be desired. Whatever your favorite albums of 2019 may have been, I hope you wrote your list in pencil, because this one will be squeezing its way in.

Timeworn's sound is an interesting blend of influences. Mixing the aggression of Trivium's earlier works with the melodies of modern In Flames, and the briefest of hints of their homeland's black metal heritage shining through at times. “Leave the Soul for Now” is an auditory delight, with a complex, layered, yet very easily accessible sound. Seriously, these guys should he getting play on every modern rock station the world over.

The standout for me is midpoint “Hellwater”. An out of nowhere Alice in Chains style romp. Complete with acoustic guitars, haunting vocal harmonies and a blazing solo to tie the bow together with some sludgy riffing sneaking its way in there just to keep you on your toes. This one will bury itself deep within you, and you'll be humming it for days to come. . It is truly an incredible specimen.

Vocals shine particularly on “Leave the Soul for Now”, delivering sharp barks, melodic singing, and moaning wails over the album's fifty five minutes plus.  Guitars crunch and grind the way they are supposed to, while singing and weeping when needed. The rhythm section is tight as can be, but not settling to service the songs alone.  Together all parts form a cohesive, aggressive while beautiful attack. The emotion conveyed by this band seeps into your soul. When it’s finished, prepare to need a second play pretty quick, because you will miss it desperately.

Timeworn deliver the goods here expertly. With an album full of surprises, the biggest one must be that I've never heard of these guys before.  This thing crushes. It should be everywhere. Spread the word. Scream it from the windows.

“Leave the Soul for Now” by Timeworn.  Don't forget it. You will hear it again. 

“Leave the Soul for Now” is available HERE

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Lowrider, "Refractions"

By: Jeff Anderson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 21/02/2020
Label: Blues Funeral Recordings

“Refractions” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Red River
2). Ode to Ganymede
3). Sernanders Krog
4). Ol’ Mule Pepe
5). Sun Devil / M87*
6). Pipe Rider

The Review:

Finally. Finally the legendary Lowrider have returned. Not only have they returned, but they have returned with what absolutely will be a staple for them and their genre in their new album “Refractions” (out February 21st, 2020 via Blues Funeral Recordings). If the band ever says they weren't trying to make a statement that they are absolutely the kings of desert rock then I would call them liars. This record is on a mission to remind you what real desert/stoner/fuzz rock is. If for some reason you doubt that or you don't know who these Swedish giants are, let me put it to you this way: Lowrider have been the kings of desert rock since Kyuss dropped it on the floor in 1996. If you somehow missed out, I feel bad for you. However I can't entirely blame you since it's been a long, long time since Lowrider has released anything. But when they do, man is it the best and you remember why they're so loved.

“Refractions” is no different in hype as expected. Simply undeniable right out of the gate. This band knows exactly what you want in a record like this and they delivered again in a brilliant package. The whole record takes you back to the mid 90's when this was done so perfectly. Sure there are amazing bands pulling it off well today but it's very few and far between for who can make it sound like 1995. If you're a fan of this style then you know that isn't a bad thing by any means. The record is so smooth front to back. Nothing drags, nothing doesn't fit right, nothing that is not meant to be. Vocals of honey and silk, iconic fuzzed out guitars, screaming leads for days and days, some of the grooviest bass to ever be laid down, and drums that shake your soul. The record makes you feel nostalgic but hopeful for the future of the style at the same time. If this is the content others have to compete with then I cannot wait to see what others will start pulling out. Lowrider have definitely raised the bar for everyone. What a time to be a fan of this genre. All these new, young killers that have graced us within the past 10-15 years who will be greats in their own right and that I am thankful for but Lowrider are back to let you know those bands are here because of them. They almost remind me of an old lion; They'll lay dormant sometimes and not cause a stir but when they get up and make the walk again, everyone steps aside and knows who the king is.

The whole record is amazing. It's so hard to even try to pick some stand-out tracks.Red River is such a perfect track to open the record. It instantly puts you right back in the glory days and you can't help but smile if you love this genre like I do. It's the classic sound you love done by those who do it the best. “Ol' Mule Pepe” is so unbelievably groovy that I couldn't stop moving my head and foot from moving along with the beat. And the closing track “Pipe Rider” what a way to end this chapter. The tail end of this song is a final reminder that you've just been gifted something very, very special.

This record is an instant classic. Lowrider always have, and I believe will always deliver. I don't care if it takes 20 years for another one, I will be here waiting and I'm sure it'll be another monster. This record gives you everything you want and more. Its 41 minutes of absolute mastery of the craft. Complete beauty wrapped up in 6 songs. I don't know what else to say except thank you to Lowrider for the wall of fuzz that just split my face open.

“Refractions” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

REVIEW: Voidlurker, "Industrial Nightmare"

By: Peter Morsellino

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 31/01/2020
Label: APF Records

“Industrial Nightmare” CD//DD track listing:

1). Industrial Nightmare
2). Jeffrey Doomer
3). Rotten Seed
4). Bitchcraft And Misery

The Review:

Looking for some low tuned, slowed down, heavy as hell riffs that you can still dance too? Voidlurker have you covered.

With their first EP on APF Records, this three piece from Birmingham, England come ready to rock, with groove laden hooks to sink the doom into you.

At just twenty six and a half minutes, “Industrial Nightmare” grabs hold of you and drags you through the muck, keeping you dancing the whole way. From old school Crowbar like riffs to ultra intense funeral dirges, this band can stick a groove into just about anything. Vocalist Brad Thomas has a nice fry to his voice lending a hand to some of the more decipherable lyrics in the genre. All things considered, Voidlurker avoid the pitfalls of the slow jam game, creating an album that remains a good time from start to finish.

These tunes tend to lean a bit on the longer side, but the grooves and hooks do well to remove notice from this. This album, though slow as molasses at times, does not drag one bit. I've heard a lot of bands, big and small, grind through an eight minute song when they've clearly run out of ideas around minute three and a half. This is not the case with “Industrial Nightmare”. These songs are well crafted; put together with the utmost care. Time changes are well placed throughout and transition seamlessly. One word to describe this album keeps coming back to the forefront of my mind, and that is: deliberate.

Standout, “Bitchcraft and Misery”, kicks off with a tasty lead lick that would feel very well at home on any Sabbath album. It grinds slowly into a doomy riff-fest, without losing intensity, and with a breakdown that will have you fighting your friends in no time. At just four minutes-forty, this is the quickest track on the album, but it is in no way short on creativity.

“Industrial Nightmare” is heavy. It is slow and it is loud. Most importantly, it is a very good time.

Voidlurker have a good thing going here, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

“Industrial Nightmare” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook