Wolvhammer, Clawing Into Black Sun

For the lazy: Clawing Into Black Sun is a “covers-type” album by a doom/black metal band. Think Graveyard Classics-type records done by Nachtmystium, except… Wolvhammer are good enough songwriters to make this seemingly-“covers” album an original work. This is a covers album done by a band from an extreme metal genre who are actually great songwriters.

Opener, “The Silver Key,” nice intro, and nice dynamics– gives the blast beats time to work and time for the listener to heal.

“Lethe,” track two, ambient sounds effects, not unlike Salome’s only record, brief, then “Death Division,” the most straightforward, “rock”-ish track here, a bit like something off Wolverine Blues. Borderline catchy, like Sisters of Mercy on Quaaludes. Sounds like a less-indulgent Nachtmystium. Played acoustically, you’d probably never notice this was metal. It might come off as more morbid alt-country, something like Sturgill Simpson.

Arvo Pärt‘s doomy black metal. Doom rock? Death and roll?

“Slaves to the grime,” “The Desanctification,” are, to put it mildly, quite rocking tunes….

“In Reverence” rageful, ends hauntingly

This is not black metal, it’s too crude and slow: black stone, not black rock– black monolith?

All the songs are fairly long; “Death rock” works as a descriptor; almost like an emo, 120 minutes-type of band that’s too angry and despairing to write music that won’t scare off their intended audience. They’re too intense to pull off emo. Heehee. Nachtmystium-like. Jeff Wilson, guitarist, is ex-Nachtmystium. So, figures.

“A light that doesn’t yield.” Thin, abstract, flatted-third type chords that sound like Jack Johnson warped through a Absinthe-stained glass. Builds and builds and seems to progress, but inevitable doesn’t. A good thing: highlights the despair of the underlying emotions. Trapped. Claustrophobic. Gregorian blackened death rock. Listen with earphones, and your skull will resound with these hymns like a mausoleum echoing with the hymns of mourners long departed the overgrown sepulcher. Jesus Christ that was poetic.

The building chants at the end of the song should be awesome live.

“When the edge of the razor is what you need.” The adaptable, ever-evolving dirge.

“Clawing into black sun.” Simple, stone chords (not metal) over a r-tard-played primal beat. For when you wake up in a new place and realize it’s hell. And there’s been no mistake; you’re supposed to be there. Sounds like something off Assassins.

“Black! Black! Black! Black!” nice. Like the 1954 Richard Matheson short story, “Dance of the dead,” e.g., “To flesh insensate!” etc. Like that generation’s plaints of despair, of agony, of redemption. Prayers.

Black, ashen prayers. And Clawing Into Black Sun knows how to end. It just stops. No ambiance, no echoes, just… done.

It’s a consistent sound: the baleful cries of your very tissues when they’re infected, or burning, or cancerous; when, if you’re being honest with yourself, you realize that you were poorly designed for life.

Music that teaches you how to die.

Jesus Christ. I’m gonna go watch Good Luck Charlie on Netflix now for some ear bleach.

Stream Clawing Into Black Sun


Primitive Man, Scorn

Primitive Man, Scorn, coverHere’s the first line regarding Denver “blackened doom nihilists,” Primitive Man and their debut, Scorned. My internet homeboy brother-from-another-mother, The Ripple Effect’s Racer, kept on me to review these guys, saying I’d like them.

Yannow what, Racer? Screw you. Being right all the time doesn’t make you smart.

Don’t think too closely about this statement.

Anyway, Primitive Man, amirite?!?! What’s up with those guys…?! Wildly, boldly misanthropic blackened sludge doom.

The last type of music the average human would want to listen to.

If that’s not an endorsement….

Nutshelled: black metal in slo-mo, on bath salts– detuned.

order/listen from their label

Listen to the whole thing:

Age of Taurus, Desperate Souls of Tortured Times

Age of Taurus, album coverOkay, so… here’s what happened:

In some alternate universe, one very similar to our own, Candlemass lost their one and only singer, Messiah Marcolin. He died in a fire or a train wreck or something. And they were totally sad– so sad they couldn’t record a new album under the Candlemass name. So they went to the States to hang out with their buddies Corrosion of Conformity (Blind-era lineup). But they were still depressed. So Reed Mullin or Karl Agell or whoever said, “Hey, what band gets you going? You should listen to them, like, a ton.” And Leif Edling was all, “Yanno what? He’s right. We should listen to fucking Trouble. Except, like, we should totally just jam out their songs to make us feel better.” And Karl or Woody or whoever was all, “Dude! You can totally use our gear to rock out with that Trouble tunage!” But then Candlemass was all, “But dude… we have no singer….” And someone in COC was like, “Hey! We know the singer from Pallbearer, and he’d be perfect for you! I’ll call him!” And that dude came over and ROCKED OUT with with Candlemass doing Trouble covers with COC’s gear.

But Leif was still all like, “We should still have the same type of album cover.”

And on Desperate Souls of Tortured Timesthat is what Age of Taurus sound like*.

*Top 3 of the year, easy.

Orchid, The Mouths of Madness

Orchid, The Mouths Of Madness, coverAllow me to address the nagging, unspoken eternal question:

How does one begin to review Orchid?

Reference this article? Or this one?

Review with irony, or without?

No. I will take my cue from this scene from some movie whose title I don’t want to write out, and riff on this question, one very very similar to the one on which they did riff….

You know how I know Orchid are metal?

They’re Electric Wizard if they worshiped a slightly lighter dark God….

Because they are so close to being a Black Sabbath cover band without actually being one, yet a band wildly-ecstatically inspired by one, that their performances and recorded material verge on performance art… on shamanistic pagan ritual*….

Because Ozzy Osbourne’s hair is not greasy enough for them: they go on Ebay and buy locks of his hair from the early 70s, wring out the oil and brush their teeth with it, because that’s soap to them, man… they’re that funky, in both the George Clinton and the CDC sense….

“Mouths of Madness,” a generic if rousing rockish opener, “Marching Dogs of War,” boring filler (even great albums like Vol. 4 had filler, now though, come on…), but “Silent One,” is another Orchid gem here… “Mountains of Steel,” very COC-circa-Pepper-Keenan… “Leaving It All Behind,” just no, you fucking hippies… “Loving Hand of God,” (great title) sounds like the Doors, of all stoner metal bands. At first? Annoying. After a few listens, though, it’s pretty DamnedGod awesome.

“See You on the Other Side,” sounds like, really really Sabotage, dude: you totally know that they know that, man… it’s like Megadeth’s “502” flavored by Trouble’s 1989 masterpiece….

*You know how I know I’m gay? Because I used the phrase “Shamanistic Pagan Ritual.”

Kadavar, Abra Kadavar

abra kadavarImagine Hans Gruber as a Pixar character in the Despicable Me world IF it came out in 1969 (and was played alternate Sat mornings with Scooby-Doo, obviously) AND the thing was scored by Cream BUT some suits just in from corporate gave Clapton and Co. the note “They should sound more like Black Sabbath, because that’s what the kids dig these days…” EXCEPT Cream didn’t really pull it off that well.*

This is what Abra Kadavar sounds like.


*This thought brought to you by the chorus,”Let the terror rise, I’m in my doomsday machine!”

Lair of the Minotaur’s Godslayer EP, nutshelled


Two tracks here: “The Black Heart of the Stygian Darkness,” (which gets really weird at 3:11) and opener “Godslayer.”


Bolt Thrower, very drunk, covering all their childhood NWOBHM favorites.

By any means, not in the least unawesome.

[Godslayer is released on 4/20 —heehee— and you can read about it here.]