Stoner

deceiver-satan

Doom McNuggets

Battered bits of meaty doomtastic morsels, with some stoner chipotlé, ambient honey hickory and sweet n’ sour sludge sauces for your munching and dipping ecstasy!

Witchtanic HellucinationsAcid Witch, Witchtanic Hellucinations: Rob Zombie as a sludge-metal act; 7 foot spleen as either Fangoria fanatics, or residents where one might say the hills have eyes.

Norska-coverNorska, Norska: Other members of Yob, dooming your ass beyond recognition.

Indesinence, Vessels of Light and Decay (gatefold)Indesinence, Vessels of Light and DecayDeath metal that never goes fast, only threatens to, and so ends up sounding most like extreme doom….

SonanceSonance, Like Ghosts: Sounds like a sonic sister city to Milwaukee’s Northless– high gain, puregrain, high abv psychosis, blended with ice and major depressive disorder. Lurching doom/ambient/blackened sludge… Godfleshy… the soundtrack to the internal monologe of the average decompensating schizophrenic. [Note: I am recommending this.]

Goat BongGoat Bong, Goat Worship & Sodomy: Much like Acid Witch or Dopefight or Bongripper, but, really: LA Guns if Jus Oborn started the band. Fuzzed out, horror lovin’ Hammond B3-break-havin heavy rock.

northless-light-bearerNorthless, Split with Light Bearer: …and it’s Northless with two tracks here, “Tears From Crime,” and “For as Long as You Shall Walk the Earth, Your Will Reek of Failure,” with a combined running time of around 14 minutes; and Light Bearer with one, “Celestium Apocrypha: Book of Watchers,” which clocks in at nearly 22 minutes.

“Tears From Crime” is pretty standard Northless, the Northern version of Eyehategod with some Godflesh influences– rage and throat-bloodyingly-hateful vocals/screams over churning riffs that very rarely but occasionally turn beautifully melodic. They are, indeed as one might full well feel really rather quite confident in declaring, heavy. The slightly-longer-named following track that follows is at once more melodic and noisy than its predecessor– like if… Sonic Young played sludge, right? And they lived in a parallel universe where everything happened at half its normal speed compared to here– and then, they were thrown suddenly and for-no-good-reason-whatsoever into this universe– so now they’re playing what they think is half-time, but to us, in our own universe, it’s actually quarter-time, ya dig…?

These sonic profiles also inspire a tendency to ingest marijuana, if that’s not already clear. It’s mellow, trippy hollow rage.

Light Bearer and “Celestium Apocrypha…” move in with a Roots-long opus… one replete with ambiguous ambient noise interludes and introductions, some white with brown static, and metal upon metal in the background… eventually it upswells into: a death metal cassette in a radio that is old and so plays it too slowly, which makes the tape sound really low and down and loaded with low-end, and then the tape melts a little in the hot desert sun, and then you tried to play the tape again and somehow succeeded in getting it running, only now it’s so slow that only dogs hear it– that’s what Light Bearer sounds like.

Lillie F-65, coverSaint Vitus, Lillie: F-65Meh at first, eventually moving up to thrilled and loving it. The new version of the American blues, lapsteel-playing, deal-with-devil-making howls of despair. Top 10 of the year.

-12inch_gatefold/klaph_outsBlack Shape of Nexus, Negative Black: doom sludge noise that is strange– for a strange reason: it’s like an hour’s worth of tape of Tony Iommi almost writing every one of the classic sab riffs– it’s his “scratch” tape that was thrown away and forgotten.

They very nearly, though never completely, play riffs/songs as good as “Into the Void,” “Cornocopeia,” “Hole in the Sky,” “Snowblind,” “Supernaut,” “Symptom of the Universe.”

It’s routinely almost great. But never is. And is only sometimes good. But in that “sometimes”… it can be pretty awesome. BSoN very well could be great someday. Negative Black is their terrible audition for this greatness. Like when you saw Robert DeNiro, Kurt Russell and Christopher Walken audition for Star Wars.

Layout 1Windhand, Windhand: much like St Vitus’s latest, above– grows on you. Initially its simplicity makes it seem simplistic, when it’s actually deep and vibrant, living stoner metal that is played simply. No. 4 of the year.

Kadaver, coverKadaver, Kadaver–sounds like the band who does “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress,” The Hollies– if they wrote their songs by throwing runes, and lived in the frostbitten north. With big fuck-off beards.

scared_rainbow_dash_vector_by_saturtron-d4o54s4

Top 20 Heavy Albums of 2012

1609110009-1Honorable Mention: Eyehategod, New Orleans is the New Vietnam 7″

Haarp, Husks cover20    haarp, Husks

No appreciable evolution over last time, but still ugly trudge-laden aural misanthropy.

blood for the master, cover19    Goatwhore, Blood for the Master

They refined Carving Out the Eyes of God‘s formula by just a hair of a blade– but they’re  still an evil death metal Motörhead.

Hour of 13, 333 cover18    Hour of 13, 333

Ho13 always make the bottom of the year-end lists for me. Well written, unambitious traditional doom rock.

Witchsorrow - God Curse Us17    Witchsorrow, God Curse Us

Oozing stoner-y doom with a bit of Celtic Frost worship.

Dead Roots Stirring, cover16    Elder, Dead Roots Stirring

Witchsorrow if they drank hard liquor and beer and smoked less weed.

dragged-into-sunlight-Widowmaker-album-art-cover-2012-1500x150015    Dragged Into Sunlight, Widowmaker

Blackened Sludge; the only thing outright uglier than this record is no. 13 below.

meshuggah, koloss, cover14    Meshuggah, Koloss

Again, a hairline refinement (in this case simplicity) for the kings of polymeter/ polyrhythm thinking (wo)man’s extreme music.

Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas13    Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas

UGLY. Worse than last time. The industrial grindcore of black metal.

ETwinCover300dpiCMYK12    Eagle Twin, The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale

Southern Lord (the label) blues; Tom Waits jams with Greg Anderson.

effigies of evil (high res)11    Hooded Menace, Effigies of Evil

Ripped-out Fangoria pages strewn across fresh asphalt, being pressed into the muck by a steamroller: The band.

ufomammut-oro-opus-alter-cover10    Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Alter

Hated it at first, went to Colorado and then Washington and learned exactly what this album is for, and why it is the perfect Dalí plays Dark Side of the Moon-esque material for those states.

Nachtmystium-Silencing-Machine9      Nachtmystium, Silencing Machine

As catchy as black metal gets; nearly psychedelic in its sonic randomness and anarchy.

Serpentine Path, self-titled cover (hi-res)8      Serpentine Path, Serpentine Path

Members of Ramesses and Unearthly Trance make the nuclear ice-breaker of glacial paces.

The-Sword_Apocryphon7      The Sword, Apocryphon

They got heavier while still keeping the psychedelic stoner mood of Warp Riders. The concepts running lyrically through this concept album are fascinating.

Lillie F-65, cover6      Saint Vitus, Lillie:  F-65

Pharmaceutical grade stoner metal.

Sylosis, original cover (hi-res)5      Sylosis, Monolith

The first muscular, melodic mature-yet-furious thrash metal record I’ve heard in years.

Layout 14      Windhand, Windhand

Hour of 13 + Witchsorrow + Elder = Windhand. Occult traditional stoner doom metal. Psychedelic yet sinister. Evil hippies. Evil hippies who are “just into the religion of love, man… love of Satan….”

Book Burner, cover3      Pig Destroyer, Book Burner

High gain mid-range turn on a dime deathgrind fury. Just as good as their classic last LP, but very different.

Witchcraft-Legend2      Witchcraft, Legend

Beautifully-written, gracefully arranged 70s-ish occult rock, with a vocalist who can go from cold, crystal-clear, taunting malice to roaring disdain– and still stay have melody running all up in this motherfucker.

Monolith of Inhumanity, cover1      Cattle Mutilation, Monolith of Inhumanity

What death/grind is supposed to be: musically complex yet logically arranged extreme music that can change from blisteringly-fast to Inception-the-third-dream-deep slow– that is also lyrically both literate and surprisingly shocking. Kudos especially to vocalist Travis Ryan for being streets ahead of every other extreme metal singer: there were so many different variations in the vocals it sounded like all of Milton’s “thousand demi-gods on golden seats” got a shot at roaring.

Void, cover

Segment of the day: Intronaut, Gleamer (2:27 to 2:45)

In my mind “Doom Jazz” may be the single coolest hybrid genre title. Intronaut definitely embodies this.

It’s not a riff that I wanted to highlight here, but a particular section: and one in, off all things, 7/8 time.

It starts at nearly two and a half minutes, and only continues for a quarter minute, but man… it is fun stuff.

AND, perhaps more importantly, it’s also fun METAL stuff– it seems like most times, when music gets into weird/unusual time signatures, there is a definite intellectual reaction to this, accompanied with some delight, but the headbanging, “Did it swing/rock?” ethos is inevitably left behind.

This is psychedelic, doomy, jazzish, vaguely-grindcorey intellectually swinging metal.

For what more could you ask?

[To go to beginning of the segment click here.]
Dopesmoker, cover

A jazz guy listens to Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” in one sitting

[Cough, coughcoughcough....]

No drums for nearly 3 minutes! Nice….

Cecil Taylor-ish; one note, and that one more about percussion than melody; recurring bass drum over snare is awesome. Funny that they’re only detuned to C (cello tuning); not really that far by doom metal standards… their use of, and confidence in, the musical idea of resonance, is wicked cool. They know the power of a open chord on a stringed instrument, especially if detuned, and they’re not afraid to beat you in the face with it….

First vocals at nearly 9 minutes… funny that they’re playing in C, the easiest key to play in… it’s like they opening their hearts up musically, to allow anyone to improvise over their riffing… a very generous sonic gesture… first solo at nearly 15 minutes… continues the generous idea, as they’re clearly not concerned with impressing you with music chops… of course, now we got a guitar solo that would make Kerry King wince at the simplicity….

“Proceeds the Weedian…” first lyric I could understand… these are like, lyrically, scary Dune-type nerds who also rock out… holy shit….

[Burning really thick, dense sage smoke...]

Holy God, I actually feel connected to you….! Matt Pike, you fuckin’ shaman…! Show me the netherworld…! The shadow world, that beyond the glimmering world… the other…!

[Now a restrained, subtle nag champa...]

Man, I fucking FEEL that low chord [C]…!

[From 39:00:]

Almost Clapton-y, just sitting way back behind the beat… fingering whatever comes along (hah)….

At about 42:00 everything goes away except the guitars, and once they re-enter, the Riff has changed… the phantasmigoric stoner….

[From 45:00:]

The Vedder-like vocals again…!

At over an hour now… that Riff has promised me more in its sheer power than any of the testaments… and in the end, it just stops. It just fucking quits.

Well done, man… well done.

[Amazon.com link to the reissue]

Eye_Candy_II_by_Extac33

All Hail the New Eye Candy

It was time for a change. We recently moved past 400 posts, we finally got our boobs and pubic hair, we were declared a Man at our Bar Mitzvah, we passed the rites of the Ugandan Shaman and were made to commune with the Earth Spirits beyond the Sacred Smoke….

It was time.

Time for a zeitgeber, time for an indicator, a delineator, nay, a delineanator of flux…!

And so,

You see before you,

The newest incarnation…

of Sawtoothwave.com.

[Apathetic, relutant applause, awkward stage bow.]

And… SCENE.

Anyhoo, I dig it. I find it airy, yet clean… clear, yet mysterious… streamlined– yet flashy.

And so, to celebrate, here, in nano-review form (i.e., a few sentences, so you can scan them quickly and get what you want from them, like the little whoring eye candy that they are), are all the latest things I’ve been blasting and/or listening to patiently in a quiet room with a glass of sherry.

Also a smoking jacket.

Here, for the first time on this site, are not one…

not ten…

not twenty…

not even twenty-one….

…but twenty-five– reviews for you, the lover of the metal and/or the jazz.

There are three categories, listed in order of slightly decreasing awesomeness, as perhaps you will notice. Please… do enjoy.

Awesome: Acquire Soon

Pig Destroyer, Book Burner: Their …And Justice For All. No low end, weirdly boxy production that somehow contributes to the overall pure dexterity and fury of this band. This and Monolith of Inhumanity fucking tower over ever other grind/ death grind release this year. Prolly in my top 3 of the year.

Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas: No appreciable evolution over their previous Passion… but this English black/industrial outfit still show you how pure, literal, psychotic rage sounds. Top 10 of the year.

[Vanitas is released 11/6/ 2012 on Candlelight Records.]

Christian Scott, Christian aTunde Adjuah: Miraculously, a spin on Miles Davis’ hollow, beseeching sound without kowtowing to him. A somehow New Orleans-warm yet icy-terrified trumpet bleat over doomy lyric song titles. Highlights: “New New Orleans (King Adjuah Stomp),” “Who They Wish I Was,” and “Kiel.” To me the best new jazz album of 2012.

Ramesses, Possessed by the Rise of Magik: From former members of Electric Wizard who found Dopethrone too pussy– disgusting, gritty blackened doom riffs if they were played in a garage and/or torture chamber. Production value zero, and somehow perfect.

The Sword, Apocryphon: The detuned perfect heaviness of Age of Winters, but with a tiny splash of that Texas blues that was probably too obvious on Warp Riders. They can do better, but still pretty great. Top 10 of the year.

mind over four, The Goddess/ Halfway Down: Two-decade-old alterna-progressive-metal that is still disgustingly/ criminally underrated. Either album should be in your top 50 of all time.

Law & Order, Guilty of Innocence: Cock rock with a southern flair (from LA) from the late 80s that still is awesome and not embarrassing in any way. One of the only bands to make me wish I was playing in a rock, not metal, band. Not a bad song on this one. Classic– top 50 of all time.

Dragged Into Sunlight, Widowmaker: Amazingly, these utterly-decrepit sludgy, stonery black metal anonymous weirdos evolved on this record, noticeably so from their previous release, Hatred For Mankind. Neurosis if they were Satanic black metallers.

[Widowmaker is released 11/6/12 on Prosthetic Records.]

Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65: Meh at first, eventually moving up to thrilled and loving it. The new version of the American blues, lapsteel-playing, deal-with-devil-making howls of despair. Top 10 of the year.

Nachtmystium, Silencing Machine: Perfect stoned black metal. The Cure or The Church if they loved Darkthrone.

Chet Baker Quartet, Jazz in Paris, Vol. 53: Chet Baker Quartet Plays Standards: Baker gets some shit from critics, like the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff, for not giving a shit about evolving as an artist– and truth be told, he never really did. But he’s the only soloist, to this day, who loses energy and slowly dies as he solos, rather than building up to a crescendo. Easily my favorite trumpet player of all time, over Miles Davis and Christian Scott. Makes me wanna take up trumpet, to this day. Buddy Bolden reincarnated as a white junkie matinee idol.

Quite Good: Worth Your While

Menace Ruine, Alight in Ashes: Black metal so weird it practically becomes spectral classical music. I dare you to listen to this on acid.

Incantation, Vanquish in Vengeance: Like Asphyx, generic but truly great (American) Brutal Death Metal. You know if this is for you or not.

[Vanquish in Vengeance is released 11/27/12 on Listenable Records.]

Havok, Point of No Return: “Re-thrash” as powerful and energetic (though generic) as it gets. There’s two covers on this EP, “Raining Blood,” and Sepultura’s “Arise.” They should not have included them. Havok’s originals are great, but not that great, and they’re just asking for unfavorable comparisons.

Down, Down IV, Pt. I– The Purple EP: Down is never as good as they should be, as you think they’ll be. “Bury Me in Smoke,” “There’s Something on My Side,” and “On March the Saints,” are truly great stoner metal tunes, as are Purple’s “The Curse,” and “This Work is Timeless.” But from these guys? There should be more immortality.

Witchsorrow, God Curse Us: Title track, with the refrain of “God curse us, every one…” a cheeky Dickensian nod, or seriously-depressed Shawn-Spencerian perveyoring of dispairitude? Ha! Anyway: doom-worshipping, Hellhammer-loving greatness. Sounds like modern mixing/mastering, but also sounds like a NWOBHM album, where the band was rushing, in 1982, in the studio to record their ideas, when they were sucked into a time vortex and got their asses wormholed into a 2012 studio….

Bedemon, Symphony of Shadows: The other half of Pentagram– Interestingly, sounds like Witchsorrow, but was actually recorded nearly two decades ago. Astoundingly prophetic. Could’ve been recorded yesterday.

Bison BC, Lovelessness: Vaguely NWOBHM-ish sludge that loves to eventually gallop and whorl, to take off from its slower stoner metal tropes… not better than Dark Ages, but just as good.

Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay: “We All Rage in Gold,” opens with third/fourth dyads, played as clean/ crystalline as humanly, as Scott Kelly-ishly as possible; at around 1:00 we gets the GEE-tars… sounding a bit Sisters of Mercy-ish, if we’re being truthful… at @ 1:35 there’s a human throat sounding off over the crystal… 3:28, and there’s a lonely bass and a Hammond-ish synth effect…. “At the Well” begins with the dying emanations of a suicidal homeless man, or something to that effect… at 4:20 a bitter and romantically-mournful sitar riff (are they called riffs?) that seems perfectly appropriate and perfect… at around 7:00 we get a combination of meditation music/ Zen sounds and heavy fucking metal, as the entire album continues this now very familiar Neurosis blueprint….

[Honor in Decay is released 10/30/12 on Neurot Records.]

Nails, Obscene Humanity: A 3-song ep to tide you over until their new one. Pretty much just like Unsilent Death, for better or worse. Ripping hardcore punks worshiping Entombed….

[Obscene Humanity is released 1/1/13 on Southern Lord Records.]

Intriguing, Though Not Essential

Weapon, Embers and Revelations: The thrash metal band that wants to be as mysterious and eeeeevil as black metal bands.

Acid Witch, Witchtanic Hellucinations: Rob Zombie as a sludge-metal act.

Dysrhymia, Test of Submission: Instrumental sludge/ prog that will fuck your stoned ass up. Pelican on benzedrine.

Norska, Norska: Other members of Yob, dooming your ass beyond recognition.

Indesinence, Vessels of Light and Decay: Death metal that never goes fast, only threatens to, and so ends up sounding most like extreme doom….

So! There you are:

a full quarter of a hundred albums to check out.

Don’t say I don’t love you.

Y’all come back now… hear?

Witchcraft-Legend

Witchcraft, Legend

If this isn’t on Bill’s (thesodashop.us) end-of-year list, I’m maxing out my credit cards for strippers, because the world’s about to end…

Like Graveyard, their nearest common ancestor (?), in the same way that two twins are alike–

One is slutty, and obvious, and ready to party (Graveyard), while the other is a bit weird, obsessed with the occult, and much frostier than her sister (Witchcraft)….

How is Legend like Hisingen Blues? Witchcraft is the same band as Graveyard:

Whereas Graveyard is rowdy teenagers at a kegger in the middle of a sweltering summer, Witchcraft are the same members, years later, in late Autumn/ early winter– chillier production, more sober lyrics, a bit more involved with the occult….

Legend is as hard as hard rock gets without actually being metal (not a bad thing at all)… you forget that hard rock done right (and this so rarely) is quite an awesome thing…. It’s AOR rock, if that still existed; very hooky and heavy at the same time….

There are great, actual songs, here– and these, easy to play (learned two while tuning a guitar in a common tuning, Eb) while still being awesome… singer (and no longer guitarist) Magnus’ voice is rippingly distinct, his lyrics even more so.

In all honesty, it surprised me how much I liked this one; my year-end list was almost exclusively grind and doom metal, but this one hits the top 5 of the year, easy; probably top 3 or 2….

amazon.com

effigies of evil (high res)

Hooded Menace/ Serpentine Path

As my BlogBrotherFromAnotherMother Racer said: when reality conforms to your expectations, “Sometimes Life just works.”

I’m not used to that– to life just… working. I’m used to life just working against me. Or seemingly to, at any rate. I’m a bit freaked out when it actually works in my favor.

I’m… suspicious.

And yet, here– it seemingly has.

[Sidenote: I just bought a new computer, after six years... and via these downloads from Racer, it's very weird to me to have only 16 tracks on iTunes (normally it's over 10K)... I took this as Somehow Important, Somehow Monumental....]

Herein follows two fucking awesome releases from Relapse records– Hooded Menace’s “Effigies of Evil,” and Serpentine Path’s (featuring members of Unearthly Trance, Ramesses and Electric Wizard) self-titled debut.

Both are doom metal. Both are doom metal so obsessed with unholy/infernal vocals that they border on death metal, but are also too obsessed with the riff to truly be death– the sludge, the stoner riffage, the tempo, the sheer DOOM is too obvious to be anything other than than death metal-influenced doom/sludge/ stoner metal….

First, Serpentine Path’s debut:

We open with “Arrows,” with its approximation of the intro to Maiden’s “Number of the Beast,” but this not as cool: too wordy, too long, too high in pitch, not nearly as evil/ metal…. The overall vibe here is of Ramesses meets Unearthly Trance (perhaps not surprisingly– I love it when life is actually logical)… next there’s “Crotalus Horridus Horridus” (apparently the Latin genus and species name fo the timber rattlesnake)… which makes me think: how awesome would it be if every song from Serpentine Path’s record was named somehow for a snake…? It would be the doom metal equivalent of Marvel comics’ Serpent Society!

Of course, then Captain America would show up and kick its ass, but still…! Cool, right…?

Both these bands, particularly SP, are what I’ll call… I dunno… “Lovers of the Detuned Octave.”

Even more so than a doom act like Bongripper, these songs are written around the essentially-ceremonial concept of Detuning a Guitar and then Playing the Lowest Note There, and then: The Next Octave Up on the Scale… and all this, whilst growling over this chord “selection.”

And it’s worth stating explicitly: I’m not hating– this is rather awesome.

“Bats Amongst Heathens,” and its opener, is the best riff on here, but the beginning of “Obsoletion,” with its spirally, “Am I Evil?”-ish trudging is also Rather Quite Awesome, as is the entire tune. “Aphelion” bangs out of the gate with a nice forebeat-bashing riff… “Compendium of Suffering” comes pretty close to Candlemass (were they a death metal band)… and closer “Only a Monolith Remains,” with its minor-third harmonies, chillingly ends the record.

NEXT?

Hooded Menace and their Effigies of Evil are just as detuned as Serpentine Path (in B standard, it seems), and it lets you know this immediately on “Vortex Macabre,” once the infernal winds of the intro pass away… this is a Hallowe’en record, and it’s no less metal and/or great for this… it almost sounds like something Serpentine Path might record as a covers album… each song somehow seems familiar, whilst also being seemingly new, as well as being detuned badassed-ness….

Hooded Menace are much like Serpentine Path in terms of execution and intent (if I may be so bold as to assume I can accurately posit and understand their intent), if only very slightly more (NC-17-ly) cartoonish: larger-than-life, more obviously-yet-obliquely Robert Crumb-ishly evil, and at the same time metal: they’re not mocking metal at all– they’re trying to sweet-talk it and ass-fuck it in the same night….

Bottom line: Serpentine Path and Effigies of Evil will both make my year-end top 10 list. Assess this statement accordingly.

Serpentine Path on Amazon.com

Hooded Menace on Amazon.com

The Sword Age of Winters Wallpaper__yvt2

The Sword, Age of Winters

So, some marginally-irrelevant preamble: I’m tuning new strings on the guitar (Monster heavy series– the dude from Exhumed told me about them in Decibel!) tuned down two steps to C standard. I try to break in strings gradually by half-assed playing with records I know are in that key. A recent post by Monkey Defies Gravity thrust Age of Winters back onto my sonic radar, and since it’s also in C standard, I tried rocking out with it.

Don’t get me wrong– I really liked Warp Riders, and loved Gods of the Earth– but apparently I’d forgotten how awesome Age of Winters is.

AND, while playing with the tunes, I realized something: in interviews the members of The Sword have mentioned their love of ZZ Top (I guess not surprising, since they’re both Texans), and while this influence is fairly obvious on Warp Riders, I didn’t realize how indebted Age of Winters was to Billy Gibbons and Co– until I played the riffs myself.

Normally, I try not to learn doom metal riffs– maybe that sounds weird, but most good and great doom riffs are ridiculously easy to play– so much so, learning that whatever my current favorite riff is is actually comically simple somehow makes me like the riff less. Stupid, I know, but there it is.

So it was tuning the new strings to both the electronic tuner and Age of Winters that I realized the riffs therein are just as simple as those on Warp Riders, and, more interestingly, just as indebted to ZZ Top.

They’re almost all I-IV-V licks (i.e., blues licks), yet somehow are played with such… moxie… that I didn’t notice at all before.

Highlights: “Freya,” “Winter’s Wolves,” and “Iron Swan.” Nearly pure doom metal, with just a hint of Texas blues.

Don’t tell me that doesn’t sound great. Go on. Go back. Revisit Age of Winters. Thank me later.

Haarp, Husks cover

haarp, Husks

So, as you may know, I enjoy me some haarp. I’ve written about them multiple times and they were well within my top 10 in 2010.

Here, we have their newest full length, Husks.

There’s three songs total: “Deadman/Rabbit,” “Bear,” and “Fox.” I didn’t Google the lyrics, and you generally can’t understand them. I didn’t pursue clarification. Somehow this anonymity seemed more respectful.

They’re in the same tuning as before: C standard– well below standard tuning, and, in my mind, the perfect doom/sludge/stoner tuning. Low enough to be badass, not so low as to be muddy noise that suggests one trying too hard.

Front line: frankly, these could be outtakes from The Filth.

They’re long, and although sludge is the best overall descriptor of the sound, “slowed down death metal” still works the best. These are songs with very slow riffs and vocal lines– not single-note melody lines like sludge generally uses….

haarp, to me, is this:

a guitarist who loves death metal riffs, coupled with a drummer who worships John Bonham –particularly “When the Levee Breaks”– using a vocalist who loves hardcore but finds it isn’t intense enough for him….

“Sludge” is the best descriptor for this (i.e., if you like sludge metal, you’ll like this), but it’s really somewhere inconveniently-situated between death metal and sludge/doom.

“Deadman/rabbit” is the first track, nearly 18 minutes long, a detuned, raspy-vocalled, minor-chorded lament of… something…?

“Bear” continues this unadulterated intensity, over its 9-minute length (the “single” of the album…?)… and closer “Fox,” at 12:06, finishes this C standard death-metally trudge from the Crescent city… and at nearly four and a half minutes we get an ugly, wicked-slow trudge of a riff, like an outtake from an Asphyx album, one where Martin van Drunen rejected the “movement” for being too slow and relegated the piece to the “bonus” section of some Asphyx/ Pestilence DVD….

Bottom line on Husks:

did you like The Filth?

You’ll like Husks.

There’s no appreciable evolution over that album… it’s almost like the concept album version (though I frankly missed the overall concept) of The Filth. It’s the burning fury of great death metal (like, say, early Cryptopsy or Asphyx), but burning as slowly as it can, without actually igniting– with the resultant tension adding to the overall experience in an (ironic?) way like tenor sax great Lester Young, who reportedly routinely defeated reigning tenor sax great Coleman Hawkins in head cutting contests by simply suggesting an adequate key resolution, rather than actually sounding the note your whorish ear needs to feed back up to your cerebellum….

Jazz in the new century sounds nothing like I thought it would….

[Husks is released Sept. 18, 2012 via Housecore Records.]
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New Doom– The Upcoming Evoken’s Atra Mors & Wizard Smoke’s The Tickler EP… and three more you may’ve missed

Been gone for a minute, now I’m back with a doom-off….

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.

Method

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.

Participants/ Results

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.

Conclusions

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.