post punk / new wave / goth rock
Heading from Bristol, Naut decided to ignore all current trends and to look back to the dark eighties. Now, this five-piece comes with a baffling debut EP, containing five pitch black goth rock tunes. Influences from bands like Sisters Of Mercy and Killing Joke run rampant and come with the overwhelming energy of post punk acts like The Jesus and Mary Chain. Song like opener 'Disintegration' and 'I'm Here' are destined to fill dark dancefloors everywhere. My personal favorite here is closer 'XVI'. It makes me curious and hungry for more, but for now I'm sure that this EP will be an excellent addition to every post punk / goth rock collection.
doom / sludge
Sheffield doom mongers Kurokuma return with a two track EP, based on the Dope Rider strip from High Times in the 70s. The artwork comes from Paul Kirchner, the creator of the strip. The music is another slab of severe psychotic sludge doom, five and eight minutes long. Part 1 also showcases something industrial, reflected by repetitive, almost methodical drums. Part 2 simply continues to slow but brutal pummeling. Fans of bands like Conan, Dopethrone and Yob can easily trust Kurokuma to deliver the monolithic riffs and fierce vocals they crave so much. So if you want your sludge metal as destructive as a wrecking ball, this EP should do.
post-metal / doom / alternative rock
Several months after the release of 'Serrated', Dutch heavy rockers An Evening With Knives unleash three songs that did not make the album because of the limited space on the vinyl. Yet, these songs were to important for the band to be ignored. Opener and title track 'Fade Out' deals with the death of Marco’s father due to Alzheimer disease. It's a long, heavy and cathartic lamentation, showcasing the darkest side of this band. The other two songs follow that example, be it a bit shorter. They all walk a similar path as the songs on 'Serrated', and thus would also fit perfectly into every sludge, doom and grunge collection. These guys are growing steadily, that's for sure.
electronic / ambient / experimental
An alienating two track EP that will leave you confused and entangled, that is what Soho Rezanejad delivers. Subtle electronics, minimalist drones, gloomy soundscapes and her vocals come together in two lengthy modern day folk songs. I can't help but think about a mix between Zola Jesus and Diamanda Galas, be it a bit less creepy than the latter. Yet, there is emotion, there is fear, mourning, wonder and hope in these two tracks. There is a mystifying atmosphere, one that borrows elements from dark ambient. Yet, above all perhaps, this is a unique piece of work, reminding me of an act like Dark Ensemble. Recommended only for eternally wandering souls.
post rock / post metal / stoner / sludge
In today's post rock scene, new bands pop up like mushrooms. Würzburg residents The Man Within are one of those newcomers. Mostly, that first effort comes with a low production and a careful introduction in what the band really is capable of. Yet, here that results in a full-blown post metal album with seven outstanding tracks. Most of them, including 'Mount Santo', my favorite 'Institution' (that rolling bass is hot!!!) and the massive 'Limitless' can easily entertain audiences far and wide. Although firmly rooted in the post-scene, elements from sludge metal, psychedelic rock and stoner rock are never far away. A great introduction, now let's hope they can confirm this in the near future.
The new brainchild of Nachtzeit, the man behind ambient dark metal project Lustre, comes up with an interesting dark ambient album. Although playful at time, this album takes us back to the mysterious and dark age of the Norse gods. Early in 'Drömmarna' acts like Mortiis (on Cold Meat Industry) and Wongraven come to mind. Synths, soundscapes and dreamy melodies guide the listening on a musical tour of medieval Europe, so it seems, highlighting in 'Löftet' and 'Tårarn'. Strangely, the title track 'Hädanfärden' has an X-Files OST feeling about it, which isn't bad, on the contrary. Fans of old school medieval dark ambient can easily appreciate this album.
alternative rock / hard rock / grunge
Belgian hard rock duo Breakfast At Midnight proves that two is enough to create heaps of noise. On this debut EP they blast seven tracks through our speakers, beginning with the heavy rocking 'Kidi Coke'. From then on, the rock doesn't seem to stop. Inspired by anything between Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age and Stone Temple Pilots, these two feed an everlasting fire. Most tracks drive on sheer energy but in 'What I'm To Say' and in '1813', the band delves deeply into the Pearl Jam version of grunge rock. Here, the vocals are excellent and clean while the other tunes contain heaps of aggressive screams. Not that I mind, this is pure rock 'n roll: raw, rough and heavy.
black metal / death metal
Grab onto something now because Ukrainian trio Goatsperm is about to unload a hellish, chaotic and vulgar EP, loaded with orthodox black/death metal. 'Voice In The Womb' contains three tracks, each one being a pummeling piece of extreme metal, as dark as Satan's butthole but with an ambient breather here and there. Somehow, this trio manages to combine atmospheric passages with sheer metallic terror, something that might indeed make a lot of banging heads turn their way in the near future. Besides, 'Into The Deep Waters Of Catacombs' is one of the fiercest black metal tunes I've heard this year. If you're a self-respecting extremist, you need this.
krautrock / shoegaze / punk
What would have happened if Ramones used My Bloody Valentine's guitar effects? What would a punk rock cover album of Neu! songs sound like? Well, Finnish six piece Teksti-TV 666 might have a decent answer for you. 'Aidattu Tulevaisuus' delivers six high-octane krautrock tunes with the raw energy of punk and the immersive nature of shoegaze. I admit, it is something different from the usual slabs of rock 'n roll that appear here but 'Turbo-Mondeo' and 'Aidattu tulevaisuus' can easily get your behind shaking. My favorite here is the somewhat slower 'Rauhankone', which might be described as a down-to-earth space rock track. Recommended? Hell yeah!
ambient / electronic / experimental
Hailing from Porto, Vitor Joaquim is a sound sculptor and visual artist, active around the strange borders between soothing ambient and otherworldly noise. This new album, 'Impermanence' contains seven tracks, revolving around repetitive soundscapes, almost subconscious loops and immersive musical textures. Here and there vocals samples have been added to increase the narrative nature of the music. That, along with the minimal soundscapes, makes the title track my favorite here but I'm sure that every fan of decent ambient music can appreciate these sounds. Obviously, this comes highly recommended.
ambient / drone / experimental / noise
An even more noisy and experimental variation on ambient sounds comes from Han, a project by Vitor Joaquim and Emidio Buchinho. This album revolves around live improvisation and real time processing, which results in something severely unusual and highly experimental. Yet, behind the gritty freestyle on the guitar, beautiful ambient loops lurk. These seven tracks are weird, immersive in one way, yet restrained and peculiar. Somehow this album feels like the early days of drone experimentation, when artists were exploring the other possibilities of their instruments. In all, this is an interesting release to dive into, but only for experienced avant gardists...
drone / sludge / doom / noise
Outside of your musical comfort zone there is so much awe inspiring music to be found. When you leave the easy-listening surface behind you, you can discover sounds unheard and unimagined. Few people seem to realize that but then again, few people are open to new musical experiences.
Those people usually say "that is just noise" and they're absolutely right. It's delightful noise, piercing your consciousness and ripping your self esteem apart. I do think some people need to be forced to listen to a decent dose of noise music and I got just the album for that.
UK based trio Bodies On Everest does some good noise. Initially coined a sludge/doom act, these guys go way further than that. The album contains six tracks with opener 'unreleaseddeathvideo.flac' being a massive noise tune, nudging towards the Harsh Noise Wall scene. With eerie samples and gritty soundscapes, this track sets the tone for unholy and blatantly dissonant things to come.
'Tally Of Sevens' then comes up with the elements that usually result in sludge metal: intense riffs, pounding drums and screams. However, this is not sludge metal, this is repetitive noise rock that will slowly gnaw on your feeling of wellbeing. There is a tremendous lo-fi atmosphere, resulting in something very uneasy-listening. By now, not even halfway through the album it becomes clear that this is definitely not something for the average (doom) metal fan.
The band members themselves call their sound "dungeon wave" and yeah, if you imagine the cries and supplications of countless of forlorn prisoners in ancient dungeon, that term is quite correct. Besides, the eerie 'Gold Fangs In Enemy Territory' contains elements from the genre I refer to as "dungeon synth". This is haunting music, barely melodic and with an overwhelming feeling of despair and solitude.
I have absolutely no band to compare this stuff with, apart from the many underground noise acts that often intrude my facebook profile. I mean, this is more Prurient than Sunn O))), more Genocidal Organ than Swans. 'Shotgun Or Sidearm' for instance has absolutely nothing to do with metal anymore. Not that this is a bad thing, on the contrary. It's interesting to hear this slab of sheer noise aggression.
'Suspicious Canoe' brings back the basic elements and even raises the tempo but do not expect anything less destructive as the previous tracks. I think I can describe this best as something that resembles and old basement tape from Winter. Suffocating noise punk, so to speak. It just adds to the uncompromising nature of this whole album. This thing must be bad for your health, undoubtedly, but then again, what isn't these days. So check it out, you might find some new favorite noises in here.
progressive / doom / sludge
A Crypt in the Stars is an album released on July 6th, by British progressive doom metal trio Lowen. A relatively concise album – only about thirty five minutes long – the record has five more or less extensive tracks: Ashurbanipal's Request, Krenko's Command, The Fortress of Blood, A Crypt in the Stars and In Perpetual Bloom.
An interesting record, indeed, a very beautiful one, whose musical echoes dance over a fearless and genuine style, a little experimental, for sure, the proverbial, intense and calm melodic reverberations present on the harmonies are ostensibly captivating, and the serene, but at the same time exceedingly consistent and heavy pace of their mainly slow rhythmic lines, is also a major stylish feature.
Possibly, the serenity present in their music is their most outstanding quality. But they are very skilled in the dilapidation of more peripheral areas of their music as well, like their conscious abilities to display the honest beauty of their dramatic sensibilities. The female vocals proves to be a formidable and very splendid virtue, and their lengthy appeal gives a sense of solitary displacement to the heart, that seems to be the perfect place of exile for the soul. The deliberate lethargy engraves a tranquility into the sonorous atmosphere, that functions like a major sedative for the senses, propitiating a peaceful quietness that seems to take over the universe by assault.
Since A Crypt in the Stars isn’t a heavy album – on the contrary, it is quite melodic, simple and completely destitute of empty ambitions –, it has a more “easy listening” vibe, that certainly can attract and appeal to a wider audience. The musical competence of the group is beyond any question, and the length of the album is also a major intelligent intuitive artistic fact check. Given the nature of their style, exceptionally frozen, atmospheric and slow, it certainly would have been monotonous and tedious, if they had made it considerably longer.
Certainly one of the most beautiful, moderate and dense that I had the pleasure of listening in the style, I highlight A Crypt in the Stars, by Lowen, as an excellent work, of the highest quality. The sound is astonishing, the atmosphere is profound and consecrating, and the honest nature of their style clearly exhibits their exponential, latent and natural talent, throughout a very organic, expansive, direct and plausible sound.
Federico Dal Pozzo - Untitled_VNZ
ambient / experimental / noise
Deadsmoke - Forest Of The Damned
doom / sludge metal
Antoine Panaché - Pleasures
experimental / avant garde
Misantronics - Zührpruym
drone / electronic / ambient
Woes - The Coldest Place Is Within Myself
hardcore / crust / black metal
Brass Owl - Brass Owl
psychedelic rock / stoner rock
Dead Man's Eyes - Words of Prey
indie / alternative rock / psychedelic rock
Jübl - Thinking Sweet
dream pop / trip hop
Autger - Eucharistia, Praedestinatio Gemina
dark ambient / neoclassical / dark jazz
Dr Space - Dr Space's Alien Planet Trip Vol 1
krautrock / psychedelic rock
A Scar For The Wicked - The Unholy
death metal / deathcore
Stelios Ventas - Faded Flower
Feelament - Hate Delivery
Founded in 2005, Indian company Transcending Obscurity has grown from a small pr-business to a worldwide acclaimed metal label. Their output is hugely impressive and many of their albums are unique masterpieces. The hardworking people behind the label do everything in their power to spread the word of extreme metal to the audience in a convenient and friendly way. We get heaps of mails from them, promoting new albums, but we don't always get the chance to pull them from beneath the massive pile of albums to be reviewed. So, to show our respect and support, we thought a big ass Brieviews Special would be a great idea. Here is a selection of fine tunes from Transcending Obscurity but feel free to browse their bandcamp and find whatever suits you. I'm damn sure you will...
Crawl - Rituals
Lurk - Fringe
doom / sludge metal
Sathanas - Necrohymns
black metal / thrash
Gaerea - Unsettling Whispers
Down Among The Dead Men - ...And You Will Obey Me
death metal / crust
Sadistik Forest - Morbid Majesties
Nigredo - Flesh Torn - Spirit Pierced
Arkheth - 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew
(*) Apparently, flat earthers now claim that Australia is an elaborate hoax. (read)
De Profundis - The Blinding Light Of Faith
Depravity - Evil Upheaval
Greytomb - Monumental Microcosm
Jupiterian - Terraforming
doom / sludge metal
Warcrab - Scars of Aeons
sludge / death metal
Norse - The Divine Light Of A New Sun
Somnium Nox - Terra Inanis
While the heatwave in Belgium continues, I'm constantly reminded of this year's edition of Dunk! festival. I'm walking around in my apartment, doing the usual household shores. There is music playing, all kinds of different styles, flowing on in a constantly varying shuffle. Quite often a post rock, post metal or doom band appears and most of the times that album teleports me back to Zottegem. Then I wonder how awesome that band would have been on one of these stages. Since I'm a doom and post rock fan, in my imagination all of them are pretty impressive but I know, for now I'll have to do with the recorded versions of the music.
Good thing that I have big ass Magnat speakers to blast the volume to festival levels.
Two and a half years after their highly acclaimed split with Belgian sludge mongers All We Expected, Dublin based Raum Kingdom returns with a full-length. Still sailing on the oceans of post metal and sludge doom, this quartet brings a pulsating and immersive version of their preferred genre. With seven songs, Raum Kingdom attempts to make their mark on the hungry and demanding scene. And, in the same effort, they simply steamroll that scene to shreds, aided by a monolithic sound, the intensity of a rhino stampede and riffs as effective as a guillotine.
But, it's not all heavy and brutal. For starters, loyal to the style, pretty much everything here is slow. Then, in between the punishing sludge metal assaults, you can find elaborate post rock passages. What I personally like the most, is the wide variety of vocals. From clean, melodic verses to harsh and uncompromising screams, they all add the necessary level of variation to the whole thing. 'Winter', featuring Mia Govoni, is my favorite track in that aspect. Possibly also because it's one of those brilliant and huge post-whatever journeys.
I also dig the fact that there are a few shorter tracks on the album, perfect for a five or six minutes headbanging workout session before going back to the daily tasks. Obviously, tracks like 'Dig' and 'Hidden Pain' can easily become live favorites. Most audience members will go wild on these tunes while I prefer the Tool inspired 'Rebuilding the Page' or the eleven minuter 'Struggle'. Oh well, that's the thing with preferences, they differ. However, after listening to this gem, I'm confident that Raum Kingdom are aiming for the thrones of Amenra, Cult Of Luna and Neurosis. Time will tell if that will ever happen but I predict an overwhelming Dunk! festival appearance in the near future.
doom / dark jazz / sludge metal
Goddammit, I hate it when people steal my ideas. First there was Alice Cooper who stole some of my vocal lines for 'Poison', then Tina Turner did something similar and now Soldat Hans is stealing my ideas for a new live project. I got to find a lawyer or something, and sue the hell out of these people.
I'm kidding, I'm not going to sue anybody but the rest of the previous paragraph is true. As a young boy I wrote songs, only to hear other people perform then a year later or so. I also want to form a doom jazz band in the near future. I'd like to perform again.
In a way, Soldat Hans beat me to that. This Swiss band does something interesting with dark jazz, doom metal, sludge metal, ambient and post rock. The music is slow, obviously, but immersive, like a mix of A Silver Mount Zion, Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, Amenra and Sigur Ros. That results in two long tracks, with 'Schoner Zerbirst' divided into two parts. Opener 'Story Of The Flood' is a twenty six minutes lasting doom jazz sloth combining all of the aforementioned elements. Of course, that brings a lot of variation to the whole thing, something I can only applaud, especially in dark, slow and atmospheric music.
Once, Soldat Hans was an experimental noise acts, improvising their way through gigs. You can still hear that in the music on this album. Instruments alternate often, from the usual post rock equipment to violins, sax and trumpets. The only sound I'm not so fond of is the sludge metal vocals, but that's just me. Everything else on this album is nothing less than inspiring. I am damn sure that I will listen to these tracks quite a lot from now on. I suggest you do the same. If you are a fan of slow and atmospheric you definitely not want to miss out on this one.
Mixtaped Monk - Northern Eye
Onhou - Onhou
doom / sludge / psychedelic
My Secret Safe - Storytelling
Alaska Gold Rush - And The Sky Dives Again
folk / alternative rock
Things That Aren't There - Slow Down
post rock / shoegaze
Circus worlD - The Deceiver
The Divided Line - Paramnesia
Adonai Atrophia - Metahistory
Barrel Blood - Midwinter live improvisation
experimental / avant garde / classical
Black Strike - 132
stoner rock / alternative / metal
Funeris - Baleful Astral Elements
Without Dreams - Funeral In The Infinity Of Cosmos
funeral doom / ambient
doom / sludge metal
"Sludge doom from Belgium", those words should be more than enough to make people interested in this album. I mean, we have Amenra, we have Charnia, we have Eleanora, Deuil, The Black Heart Rebellion, Steak Number Eight, Hemelbestormer , Briqueville and many many more.
So let me introduce Lethvm, Belgian sludge doom band number Idunno. Slow riffs, harsh screams, a suffocating atmosphere and another massive statement of pure catharsis. Formed in 2015, these youngsters follow a similar path as the aforementioned bands and add their own touch.
The album opens with the drony intro 'Impetus' before 'Wandering At Dawn' blasts off with the intensity of a horde of wild buffalos. At this point, this reminds me of the latest Amenra album as it showcases many similarities. Both acts have similar riffs, similar vocals and a similar atmosphere. That's probably why they play the same genre. However, gradually, Lethvm start showing that they are not an Amenra rip-off or copycat. Soon they take the listener on a brutal and harsh journey along their own sorrows. Clean, almost shamanic vocals come in, and so do these long, exercising doom passages.
In 'Winter's Journey' they even manage to surpass many of their colleagues as far as intensity and fearfulness are concerned. Here, the vocalist really starts screaming his lungs out. Then he puts them back in and starts all over again. I don't like this but I'm an old man who isn't too fond of these kind of vocals. Yet, I do know that tonnes of young people out there are really obsessed by this kind of music, and that is a good thing. It's like my obsession with melodic doom metal, something Lethvm also knows a thing or two about. In 'The Shades Of Minerva' they showcase some brilliant doom passages and that I do like.
These guys will be playing Dunk! festival in a few months. They'll probably play the smaller of the two stages, which will be perfect for them. I'm already certain that this gig will be an explosive one, one of those Dunk gigs that hundreds of people will remember for the rest of their lives. For that gig, I'm mostly looking forward to hearing closer 'Ejla' while most audience members will undoubtedly go berzerk on 'An Encounter With The Sun'. So yes, this album comes highly recommended for every fan of sludge doom. It's simply one of those gems from young talent that you can't miss out on. Yes, I see a bright future for Lethvm.
"Relaxing Hawaiian Doom Sludge", there you go. That is what you will get when you purchase this album. Well, according to the band it is. I had no idea what "Relaxing Hawaiian Doom Sludge" really is but now it's one of my favorite things in the world. So buckle up and get ready to listen to one of the most surprising doom metal releases ever.
Cambrian is a band from Honolulu, a place which isn't really know for its rock and metal scene. In fact, when you think about Hawaii you'll probably imagine that lingering lap-steel guitar, right? Now imagine Sleep and Black Sabbath getting it on with that thing.
The result is something utterly fascinating. The album opens like pretty much every modern day doom metal album: with earth splitting riffs. Yet, then that steel guitar comes in and transforms the whole thing into an immersive piece of melodic doom. Right after opener 'Melt', the long track 'Seaweed Shaman' rapidly becomes on of my favorite doom tracks of the year. That steel guitar is still very present, as it pretty much always is on this record.
Yet, besides that typical Hawaiian instrument, this band also manages to create epic sludge doom metal. I already mentioned acts like Sleep and Black Sabbath but you can just as well add Earth and even Pink Floyd to their list of influences. Both acts inspired Cambrian to add these slow but psychedelic guitar solos that just make you float on a lava stream of dreams, or something like that.
I happen to know that there are two types of lava flow in Hawaii, "aʻā" and "pāhoehoe". This music is best to be compared with the latter. Much like pāhoehoe Cambrian's doom metal slowly drags itself through the speakers and across the room, rather gently and smooth, unlike the sharp and pointy aʻā. So yes, "Relaxing Hawaiian Doom Sludge", because even through the heavy riffing and the intense nature of doom metal, this music is friendly.
Besides, let's not ignore the fact that these are great musicians. I have been enjoying the hell out of the Pink Floydian blues track "Mobular" which leads the way for "The Lethargic Hours", a vast and stunningly beautiful piece of music. To be honest, I'm shocked and surprised, in a very good way. I can only recommend this album to all my doom, ambient-rock, post rock and sludge metal friends. This is a once in a lifetime thing...