Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bandcamp Picks: Sea Bastard/Keeper, Weedeater, Shape of Despair, Freedom Hawk

Somehow the best doom/sludge metal band around right now released a new song months ago and it slipped past me; on their latest split EP, mighty Sea Bastard offer the 20 minute dirge "Astral Rebirth", which feels like having your head smashed into the pavement over and over again in slow motion. Meanwhile, California's Keeper hold up their end with "777" recalling Khanate at their filthy, hateful best. I'm looking forward to their upcoming split with Old Witch. 777/Astral Rebirth is available as a "name your price" download.

Weedeater are back in all their moonshine-drenched, misanthropic glory. Goliathan contains the hook-driven sludge and puckish humour that fans have come to know and love, including the appearance of a banjo and harmonica. It's sometimes hard to tell if Dixie Dave likes playing up regrettable stereotypes or merely inhabits them, but songs like "Battered and Fried" make the case that it's the former. [$9.99]

Finnish doom titans Shape of Despair don't flinch when it comes to maintaining their glacial pace. Monotony Fields is as funereal as funeral doom comes: Oppressive chords smothered in icy keyboards and haunting vocals (plus the typically guttural Finnish death growls). But somewhere in the despair is something beautiful and uplifting. This is the best introduction to this band/genre that anyone could hope for. Just clear your schedule beforehand. [$9.99]

Virginia Beach's Freedom Hawk probably would play some Skynyrd if you asked nicely. Into Your Mind is upbeat stoner/doom a la the Obsessed topped with T.R. Morton's fantastic Ozzy-ish singing (if Ozzy could actually sing, that is). Need tunes for a road trip this summer? This may be the album you're looking for. [$10]

Sunday, June 21, 2015

By (sort of) Request: Doom Metal 101

A close friend of mine is working on a comic book set in the world of metal; in the course of bouncing ideas off of me he asked if I had any recommendations of bands he should check out.

This is what an aneurysm feels like.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bandcamp Picks: Abrahma, Akem Manah, Seedna, Monolord

French band Abrahma feel like a relic of the Nineties, when Soundgarden and Kyuss attempted to disinfect heavy rock from the vapid, brainless excess of glam. Likewise, Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird adds psychedelia to the usual fuzzed out stoner sound, for a well-rounded if not entirely original album. [€6]

Oregon has a vast scene of slow and heavy bands, but Akem Manah are metal in a way most of their peers aren't. Terrible artwork aside, Demons Of The Sabbat is an enjoyable doom/death album reminiscent of early Paradise Lost and Crematory. The album is available as a "name your price" download - throw them some money so they can afford Dan Seagrave for the next one.

Seedna may have a predilection for corpsepaint and posing in the snow, but other than that have surprisingly little in common with other bands that wear corpsepaint and pose in the snow; Sulphur is atmospheric doom that verges on drone, and is both deceptively simple and surprisingly affecting. With Cult of Luna being cryptic about new releases, this is an able-bodied substitute. [20 SEK]

Right now Gothenberg's Monolord seem more like a smorgasbord of hip doom influences than a fully realized sound; like Yob, Vænir is chock full of heavily reverbed, sung from underwater vocals over slower-than-Sabbath riffs; they also took the time to write a "Planet Caravan" of their own in "The Cosmic Silence". Amidst the emulation is the potential for something better. [$7.55]

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sarjan Hassan release show with ESRARR, Speedwitches, and Tinnitux @Rumah Api

Shortly after returning from New York, I got a message asking if I was back in Malaysia and would be going to Sarjan Hassan's release show at Rumah Api. [In reality, few people actually noticed I was gone until pictures from MDF started popping up on Facebook.] Rumah Api is a mixed bag in the middle of the year; with Ramadan coming up, there are few shows to look forward to, leaving a scene that's content to wait out the fasting month. But even when there are regular shows I don't often feel like I'm missing out. I mean, how many more times do I need to see the same 5 or 6 bands playing the same 5 or 6 songs? I'm better off staying home and working on my own music.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mixtape 25 - The Road to MDF XIII, Part One

Here's the 25th installment of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring a conversation from my ride down to Maryland Deathfest with Josh Landes (Limbs Bin/Infinite Distortion Radio), Jesse Bagels (Spite/Stygian Black Hand Records) and Henry Yuan (Electric Assault Records).