As a present, a sacrifice, an offering, a supplication… for you, the doom hound, the stoner freak, the sludge lord… here’s new doom scheiße– reviews of Evoken’s upcoming Atra Mors, the new EP The Tickler from Wizard Smoke (holy shit!), and a “Have you forgotten about…?” sesh with Witchsorrow, Stoned Jesus and Ramesses.
1) Chemicals introduced into subject (aka reviewer’s) bloodstream, mangoes consumed approximately one hour prior (look it up);
2) Albums played, at random, through substantial speakers at bowel-rumbling volume– subject unaware of each album artist initially.
Album1 [Evoken's Atra Mors]: death vocals, unearthly chants, like Sunn O))) with tribal drums from the prehistoric amazon, drums plod but like they love to plod, simple riffs over and over and over; long songs usually over 10 minutes– so much bass it is relaxing and numbing, very mantra-ish, makes me wanna light incense and meditate… an otherworldly power here….
Album 2 [Ramesses' Take the Curse]: mighty massive riffs, stiff drums that somehow work, black metal rasp as vocals that become Crowbar-ish during the more-melodic chorus, with maybe a bit of Orange Goblin– this is weed-by-way-of-Jack-Daniel’s-riffs: almost biker-ish but somehow too stoner… the flatted-fifth riffs sway and slosh like the tide on a distant planet with three moons and pervasive ocean coverage, sucking you in, making you sway with them to infinity but somehow you love them for it, like an infernal Stockholm syndrome….
More blast beats and black metal rasp, which quickly turns into an ugly, gaping wound of a diabolus in musica riff that wouldn’ve gotten you burned at the stake 400 years ago… speaking of which, wouldn’t “Torquemada” be a great stoner/ doom band name…? Anyhoo… many samples from old horror movies, ones generally religious/ satanic in nature… the riffs here, though with more treble than the previous album, are somehow more threatening and hard and real and present and dangerous…plaintive vocals with many layers seem to bemoan, bleatingly, their lot in life, or herein, more probably their death.. like the Wood of the Suicides, as they wail “Burn…! Burn! Burn!” at one point….
Album 3 [Stoned Jesus' Seven Thunders Roar]: sounds like Witchcraft, or less like Graveyard, stoner rock that wants to be from the 70s… memorable riffs that could be from a lost Kansas recording session, one that got only a bit out of hand… very good stoner rock, but nothing beyond the high (bong)water marks of the genre….
AAAAAAAND… shit just got real: this fucker has decided to simply play out the utility of their lowest string (here what I think is drop C tuning), to the stoner metal/rock version of the end of Pantera’s “Domination,” and, though much slower, just as ferocious and intense… (the end of “Electric Mistress”).
Album 4: [ Witchsorrow's Witchsorrow] More of a NWOBHM intro here, but catchy and intense, not unlike Devil’s recent offering… a bit like Mercyful Fate, were they more doomy… almost 70s cock rock that just didn’t care quite enough to make the radio… anger without enthusiasm, i.e., depression….
Album 5: [Wizard Smoke's The Tickler]: very brief, for doom metal, psychedelic intro, then with a charging, you should listen to this driving through the desert type riff, almost like Ministry’s “Jesus built my hotrod…” Then that oh so familiar, vocal-chord-shredding vocal from Wizard Smoke’s singer James Halcrow… next track intros with the first line “Oh, stop your crying, it doesn’t taste that bad…” which is a fucking awesome way to start a song… said song continues to swagger and sway its cocksure blend of stoner metal and rock with a bit of doom in the background… if The Tickler isn’t a fave of the denizens of this site upon its release, I’ll be amazed.
Dude– they’re all awesome or I wouldn’t be writing about them. Check any of them out (and The Tickler when it’s released) and you, my friend, will do well.