Chicago’s Deathcult released their debut album on March 31st called The Test of Time (Caligari), and if you heard their album and enjoyed their brand of death metal, you’ll be happy to know that the album can now be purchased as a cassette. Only 100 tapes have been made, and they can be ordered directly from Caligari Records.
The heaviness of this track is mind-blowing, and there’s more to come when Sweden’s SVARTSYN finally release Black Testament (Agonia) next month (U.S. buyers will be able to pick it up on June 11th). “Demoness With Seven Names” is the third song on the album, and you can listen to it by streaming the YouTube player below. (If the player isn’t present, you may click here.)
Boston’s Olde Growth have just released a sweet 4-song EP that is a brief but solid statement of the bold sound they are becoming known for, and Owl is one of those recordings that will make you want to devote your life to Lord Satana.
Owl has a bit of progression from their self-titled album two years ago, but the formula pretty much remains the same: vocals and bass from Stephen LoVerme and drums from Ryan Berry. For Olde Growth, the two-man machine works beautifully as they blend everything from sludgy metal to pop and psych influences. “Tears Of Blood” sounds like a more pop flavored version of Black Sabbath’s “Children Of The Grave”, or at least the vocals are slightly more accessible, while the music plods along like the muddy mugwumps that it demands. Then you have a song like “Edge Of The Sea” that sounds like the heavier moments of Queens Of The Stone Age, and I dig that completely.
On one hand, you can listen to this and imagine what elements may be missing. On the other hand, you can listen to this and imagine this as the ultimate soundtrack to your heaviest dreams. The drum and bass union these guys create doesn’t need anything added, the bass is distorted and grungy while the drums boom with the kind of ambiance that is just right, and playing in a way that makes each song feel like it will be continued someday. I welcome more albums and EP’s from Olde Growth.
The first thing that made me want to hear this was the illustration of a living and breathing being coming out of a plant. What would I be getting myself into if I listened? Botanist is a one-man band operation from San Francisco, and the concept of the album was so interesting, it convinced me to take a serious listen:
Combining lyrical creativity and musical ingenuity, IV: Mandragora is a concept record on the alchemical creation of a mandrake, and how The Botanist is instructed on raising an army of mandrakes to wipe out humanity. The songs of Botanist are told from the perspective of The Botanist, a crazed man of science who lives in self-imposed exile, as far away from Humanity and its crimes against Nature as possible. In his sanctuary of fantasy and wonder, which he calls the Verdant Realm, he surrounds himself with plants and flowers, finding solace in the company of the Natural world, and envisioning the destruction of man. There, seated upon his throne of Veltheimia, The Botanist awaits the day when humans will either die or kill each other off, which will allow plants to make the Earth green once again.
If anything, this takes Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through The Secret Life Of Planets to a muck darker and sinister level, twisting the concept of what plants are or perhaps a look into what they were before they were used and abused by humans. It’s quite unique, and the fact that it is a concept album, a metal one at that, is even more interesting. There are moments of the production where the sound quality seems a bit thin, but it’s nothing that a bit of EQ can’t fix.
IV: Mandragora was released by The Flenser.
Total Drowning is a compilation put together by a net label who release drone and doom metal, and this one focuses on the old and new. It features music by SOL, Wyrm, AM esper, Outer Nothingness, Ainshval, and Omar Garita, and it’s pretty intense. To sample the tracks that are on it, click the Soundcloud player below. For access to the download of Total Drowning, click here.
It’s great when a band comes out with new music out of nowhere, or at least that’s the common phrase to use when someone makes music that blows you away, leading to the question “where did these guys come from?” In this case, Black Goat Of The Woods are from Indianapolis, Indiana and they play the kind of music that makes you want to deny everything good in the world, only to lead you to want to cut your eyes open with a razor blade. Some of it comes off like Venom if they were raised in the 90′s or 00′s, still bringing on that dark heaviness that made them famous in the 1980′s but playing with the kind of precision that lacks toe sloppiness Venom sometimes had in their heyday. With tracks like “Terrorize The Church”, “The Whoring Cunt”, and “Fisting Angels”, they will most likely not be welcome at your holiday get-togethers but outside of the shock tactics of the titles, Black Goat Of The Woods, don’t dwell too much on embellishments for most of the album, keeping things under the two minute mark (sometimes under the one minute mark). But when they do go for demonic anthems, as they do in “Crawling Through Hell”, they show what they’re all about by playing in a number of different speeds and structures, offering a glimpse of what they are capable of. There’s also a track here where the vocalist allows himself to get into David Lee Roth grunt mode, which for me tells me that while they are serious about creating brutality in metal form, they can add a bit of unintended/unexpected humor to throw listeners off. I hope the expected and unexpected will follow in future releases.
(Their EP is a CD-only release, which can be ordered by clicking here.)
Sea Bastard are a doom metal band from Brighton, England who come from, as their bio states, “the ashes of” bands like Jovian and Funeral Hag. Their brand of doom is on the sludge and death side of things, heavy like Black Sabbath, Melvins, and Sleep, but claustrophobic like Buzzov•en and Eyehategod. The vocals are brutal, the guitar riffs are a slash into the abdomen, and the low-end may make you nauseous. Not bad for a band who will be celebrating their second year as a band, and quite good for a group who had only released one demo before deciding to record an album proper. Like their demos, they explore dark themes and sounds in durations that are ten minutes or more, with the closing track (”
Masters of Unreality”) clocking in at a little over 16 1/2 minutes. For fans of doom and especially metal guitar, what I like is that it’s not just throbbing and slimy guitar riffs going on because that is a generic description of the genre, there’s a bit going on with each stage of each song. Sea Bastard are not for the timid.
Ancient Woods. Drunken Hags is an album from Hunter’s Pub, a duo consisting of Danny Kreutzfeldt and Lars (Dennis) Hansen, former members of the band Noisejihad known for their heavy mixture of drone & noise. They continue on with their creativity but show how things are in their world. To sample their style of “drone folk”, play the Soundcloud player below. Like what you hear? You can download the album in full for free, courtesy of Drowning.cc.
The album consists of one big 26 minute track, which was recorded and assembled in 2007, but not released until now.
Talk about a trip. Ahab is a name for a band that may bring a wide range of thoughts, and if I were to tell you that they were a rock band who mix up indie and progressive rock, you might go “oh, this might be something I could really enjoy.” Now let me add that within that, they’ll spew out various types of metal, including death and black metal. Now what?
The Giant is an album that will keep you guessing throughout, for when there are moments where it’ll enter a Danzig or Voi Vod vibe, but then two minutes later it becomes so disgusting and raw, it may make you open the bandage just to smell the wound so you know it’s real. It’s a 6-song album where the shortest track is just under eight minutes, and when they want to bring the listener into the aura of what they’re doing, they’ll play it out at a grinding and sludgy pace while decorating the soundscape with a lot of color and depth. It’s not heaviness for the sake of sounding this way, but when it’s done this way (and done very well, I may add), you want to be captured by the sonics and turn it up loud. Some of it even sounds like it could be extreme folk, if there was ever such a genre, or at least some of the melodies within are things some may not expect to hear in a style of music that at times sounds vulgar. Then again, a good amount of metal roots have origins in certain types of folk and classical, and Ahab graces itself in a number of different styles but still comes out sounding like eating mud.
On the surface, you may hear some very brutal and disgusting sounding heavy metal. For me, I hear that too but it’s done in a manner that is very well structured and organized. It’s not just heavy plodding just to sound evil, there’s some thought into it and that makes listening to Great Bringer Of Night a delight to hear. That not might be the first word one thinks of when hearing sludgy and doomy black metal that grinds and grinds until there’s nothing left, this word “delight”, but if you’re a metal fan that takes your music seriously with a bit of sensibility and clarity, you’ll understand what I speak of.
I speak of a band out of Indianapolis named Coffinworm, and if you’re familiar with them, you may have heard of most of these songs, as three of the tracks were originally released as an EP in 2009. This 5-song version was newly remastered by James Plotkin, and while it is indeed songs from their demo, a lot of people liked it enough to want to hear it again, so this new version adds two songs not on the original EP, and you’re able to buy it on vinyl as well. Maybe the best song on here is “Start Saving For Your Funeral“, and as there is a wicked scream, the band creates a metal gallop that sounds incredible and makes me want to head into a pit and celebrate the power I hear with others who may feel the same way. Then the song changes style and tempo a few times in its close-to-six minute duration, and I would have loved to have heard them explore some of these sections even more. Perhaps they do this in a live setting. They can get into a mean funeral dirge like “Spitting In Infinity’s Asshole”, only to wrap the song up in an epileptic fit and make you wish someone was eating your face in order for you to survive the terror you’re hearing. It’s beautiful and again, a “delight”, but don’t think those words are code for “soft and delicate”, for Coffinworm sounds like the inevitable disease making its way up your spine and into your mind in a 34-minute duration.