Wicked Inquisition: S/T

Wicked Inquisition - S/T album coverTridroid Records does it again with the new Wicked Inquisition album! I was recommended to try them by King Curtis, and I loved their ‘Silence Thereafter’ ep. And the album cover entices us with five impish ladies bathing in a lake. So you know what to expect, a laid back stoner-riff-ic slab of 70s hedonism, with goblins, and maybe a wizard or two.

Opening track ‘Black Magik Nacht’ kicks off from the get go, with delicious Troublesome chugging riffs, with some beautifully simple plectrum work. And ‘Crimson Odyssey’ has some lead guitars worthy of Sabbath, Vitus and the like with a dab, or a tab of psychedelia.

The 4 piece from Minnesota formed in 2008, and still look annoyingly young (I still haven’t been able to find the elixir of youth), yet this sounds such a rounded and mature album. Nate Towle the guitarist/vocalist wanted to fuse his love of Sabbath, Budgie and Blue Oyster Cult, and I can really hear the Budgie influence in the teasing guitar scales.

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Call of the Void: Ageless

Call Of The Void - Ageless album coverWhen it comes to talking about a band whose sound is a mix up of too many genres, it is a bit hard to not separate their music into pieces, defining what exactly their music sounds like. But when a band is not trying to make their music sounds so messy and weird, it allows the listener to enjoy the music, as it should be. Boulder, Colorado’s five-piece Call of the Void completely has proven this theory!

Formed in 2010, Call of the Void plays quite an interesting mixture of Hardcore Punk with Sludge Metal and Grindcore. And when it comes to be a Grindcore, for Call of the Void that doesn’t mean the music has to be under a minute long. The band perfectly has merged their Grindcore sound to Hardcore Punk basis, putting it to the songs’ undertones while they are having fun with some chunky sludgy riffs, Hardcore Punk style. Ah! Yes that sounds a bit complicated, in spite of everything I said in the beginning of the review. But let’s see what Call of the Void have done in their sophomore album, a great follow-up to their bone-wrenching debut Dragged Down A Dead End Path, back in 2013.

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Fister/Norska: Split

Fister/Norska - Equinoctial Split album coverFister is a three piece doom metal band from St. Louis, Missouri. The band incorporates heavy influences from the black and death metal genres into a depressing sludge spewing heaviness that many have attempted, but few have mastered. Fister’s latest full length ‘Gemini’ is a testament to this, as the band captured the aural equivalence to watching a Cronenberg film on barbiturates.

Norska, made up of Jim Lowder, Aaron Rieseberg (Yob), Dustin Rieseberg and Jason Oswald, are a sludge/mountain-man doom outfit from Portland, Oregon, and thereabouts who have managed to find a home for their diverse musical disciplines in a project that is both sonically and cerebrally heavy. Norska’s unique brand of metal displays the extremes of human emotion in musical form.

I’ve been a fan of Fister since 2011’s ‘Bronsonic’ record, so I was thrilled when I heard they were releasing a new song. And when I found out it was a 7″ vinyl split with Norska, I thought this is going to be insane. And it is.

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El Drugstore: Plague Ship

El Drugstore - Plague Ship album coverEvery time I hear the words “plague ship,” I’m reminded of the Public Enemy song “Can’t Truss It,” even though they are saying “slave ship.” Anyway, I’m finally getting around to giving El Drugstore some due respect. I mean, it’s only been almost 15 months since they dropped their debut full-length ‘Plague Ship’ back on December 31st, 2013. The fact that I’ve waited this long is a sin, in fact it’s a crime.

My first taste of New Jersey’s El Drugstore came back in 2011 when I came across their split EP with label mates A Fucking Elephant. I knew then that they were something special. The band consists of three guys, guitarist Kevin Conway (ex-East of the Wall), drummer Seth Rheam (East of the Wall) and bassist Rolando Alvarado. Together this trio creates a freakishly hyper blend of sonic instrumental goodness.

From the opening chords of “Tell Them I Said Something,” to the closing seconds of “Steakback,” there is an immediate underlying sense of urgency to El Drugstore’s music. Even when things slow down a bit, as heard on “Hipster Tits,” that same sense of urgency can still be felt. But it is not a sense of urgency accompanied by panic, it’s more like “my heart is pounding really fast, but I’m ok. It’s all good.”

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Towers: II

Towers - II album coverI never knew that Towers had a first album, or let alone existed for that matter, until I was fortunate enough to stumble upon them via Eolian Empire’s Bandcamp page. They are most definitely flying under the radar, and it’s a damn shame too because their latest offering, the smartly titled ‘II’, is a fucking brilliant slab of chaos and devastation.

Bass-and-drum duo Rick Duncan and Darryl Swan, aka Towers, hail from Portland, Oregon. Portland has been a veritable hotbed of outstanding heavy music lately. Eight Bells, Stoneburner, Lumbar and Lord Dying are just a few of its recent, noteworthy exports that you should not miss out on. Graves at Sea are also from Portland.

“Hell” gets things going with a distorted bass line which evolves into a churning ball of echoing destruction. Blending elements of sludge and doom and even sounding a little psychedelic in the vocals at times, hell finally does come around the seven-minute and forty-second mark. “The Door at the End of the Hall” has a unique and abrasive swing to it. It reminds me of the theme song to a locally hosted Saturday night horror show that I watched as a kid called ‘Creature Feature’.

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King Dead: S/T

King Dead - S/T album coverHey, you got your spaghetti sludge in my western. No, you got your western in my doom spaghetti. Come again now?

King Dead is a three-piece bass/synth/drum unit that call Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania home. They refer to their brand of unique, instrumental noise as “spaghetti western doom sludge.” “Spaghetti Western” refers to a specific genre of Italian produced films that started emerging in the mid 1960s. Imagine Clint Eastwood’s movie ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ meets the apocalypse. This is King Dead’s music.

While not always heavy in tone, the songs are most heavy in their gazing, heavy-eyed bleakness. Opener “Ghosts along the Riverbank” crawls along at a snail’s pace, putting the listener in a trance. You are instantly hooked. “As One Plows and Breaks up the Earth…” is a perfect example of the bands ability to tell an instrumental story. King Dead take the listener on an incredible, doomtastic journey filled with moments of hope… and despair.

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Terra: Untitled

Terra - Untitled album coverIt always amuses me how towns get ‘twinned’ with other towns all over the world. Most times I am befuddled as to why they have made the link – no obvious similarities spring to mind.

But here we have natural synchronicity, Dewar PR based in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada are promoting Terra, a three-piece from Cambridge, UK. This is how twinning should work!

Terra are a relatively new band, only a year or so old, but their sound does not demonstrate nerves or anxieties, quite the opposite, it is a competent, confident black metal album along the lines of Wolves in the Throne room. It’s a simple three-piece of drum, bass, guitar and twin vocals that create some very exciting sounds, the soaring buzzing BM guitar with some little lifts out of the barrage, along with the type of vocals that remind me of Golem being tortured in the Lord of the Rings movies….’Ssshhiiirrreee!!!….Baaggiiinnnsssss’

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Lamentations of the Ashen: Libertine Cyst

Lamentations Of The Ashen - Libertine Cyst album coverWidely tagged as Black Metal, Lamentations of the Ashen from New Mexico have broadened the palette with ‘Libertine Cyst’ to include a doomier feel.

Introducing us with a slack, slow waves of guitar and slow drums. But don’t you get that incense cone out just yet, the slow crashing riffs may think you are entering sludge territory, but as the vocals start, we’re in to goblin-like growls and traditional BM speed.

The opening track, ‘A Profane Illvmination’ clocks in at 12 minutes, so this enables them to include different paces and styles. There is the slower doom angle, faster fiercer black mental plus a shoegaze element, ending on a white noise barrage.

‘II’ and the subsequent two tracks on this album, are all 12 – 18 minute expanses. ‘II’ opens with the lackadaisical, listless guitar and drums like Monarch, and then develops in to Bathory-like triumphant exclamations. There is something monumental about this album.

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Dhampyr: Oceanclots

Dhampyr - Oceanclots album coverOpening with some finger plucking guitar and discordant background noises this is the new release from two piece lo-fi depressive black metal band Dhampyr.

It is mostly a two piece with a couple of add-on session vocalists. Not long and we are introduced to the crashing cymbals, buzzing guitar and harsh vocals. The breakdowns into psychedelic guitar give it some balance creating the intended atmosphere, and the barrage of guitar, cymbals and screams put up an impenetrable wall of sound.

There are some incredible track titles here; ‘This Nirvana of Tangled Bullets’, ‘A Cholera Meditation for Scylla’ ‘Waltz of the Salivating Avalanche’ but this is more than a standard black metal album, it is a coming together of depressive, downer low-key, lo-fi sounds, with psychedelic undertones and spectral nuances. There’s not too much vocal here, which suits this release, and the rise and fall of ‘Dissipate, My Beloved’ keeps the track moving along and includes some psyche out guitar that would feel at home in any Small Stone Records album!

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