Honorable Mentions: Unearthly Trance 'V' Daughters 'S/T' Revolting 'The Terror Threshold' Acid Witch 'Stoned' Lair of The Minotaur 'Evil Power' Mandatory 'Adrift Beyond' Knut 'Wonder' Immolation 'Majesty and Decay' Father Befouled 'Morbid Destitution of Covenant' Druid Lord 'Hymns For The Wicked' Bison BC 'Dark Ages' Cough 'Ritual Abuse' Coheed and Cambria 'Year of the Black Rainbow' Coffinworm 'When All Became None' Cephalic Carnage 'Misled by Certainty' Gorillaz 'Plastic Beach' Blood of Kingu 'Sun in the House of the Scorpion'
Overhyped!: Kvelertak 'S/T' The Ocean 'Anthropocentric/Heliocentric' Veil of Maya '[id]' Cynic 'Re-Traced' Circa Survive 'Blue Sky Noise'
Soul Devour's brand of Singapore-born thrashing death is a throat-burning blend of fast riffs, catchy song structures and wraith-like vocals. These dudes know how to write an album that'll have you blasting it over your stereo and air-drumming along in no time. The album is pretty straightforward so instead of hearing me over-zealously slobber all over it why don't you just give it a listen.
For fans of: Incantation, Beyond Hell, Morbid Angel and Deceased
Tombs' brand of hard-hitting blackened hardcore (which is still a shitty way of describing them since it's a great injustice to box this band up like that) is as potent as ever on this compilation of unreleased tracks that Relapse has put out for those of us rabidly waiting another offering. While Winter Hours was a very dark and morbid album, it still had a strangely 'glimmering' tone to it that almost made it seem bright. 'Fear is The Weapon' has a much darker feel to it. The bass still throbs like a beating heart underneath the walls of sound created by the guitar and drums. If you enjoyed their previous efforts you DEFINITELY need to get this.
Back to business. As you may or may not know my opinion on the state of today's post-rock scene I would just like to say that Gifts From Enola have gone above and beyond my expectations. Combining heavy riffs with climbing structures that evolve and devolve throughout the course of a song (instead of relying on a simple 'quiet, crescendo, quiet, SUDDEN EXPLOSION OF GUITARS AND REVERB, fade out' pattern that seems to prevail in this type of music) much like the likes of Isis and Mogwai without falling into the doldrums that line the path tread by followers of both bands. If you want something akin to Capricorns, Caspian and Pelican then this is for you!
Now you know me, I fucking hate Israel but I love sludge. Well as always, I never let anything get in the way of my hunger for low-end skull-rattling riffs. 'Saved By Fear' has been made available stateside through the witchcraft weaving bastards at Relapse Records after its initial release back in 2009. Well the record starts off with a swell of noise and feedback and then quickly rolls into riffs that bulldoze through your head like a rhinoceros on coke. The vocals are low in the mix and add more aggression rather being upfront and in your face. The band plays with High On Fire/EyeHateGod style guitar-work while the drums bang along rather competently. The solos however sound eerily similar(and I mean damn near plagiarism) to Matt Pike's. This ain't a bad thing but here in the sludge world, we don't need more imitators. With all of that aside this record is an absolutely mammoth collection of sick riffs and the fact that it came from the middle east is an added bonus.
Malevolent Creation seems to be one of those bands that has albums that either you love or absolutely hate. Well, when it comes to newer MC I'm not that big of a fan but after digging around I found this album and after a bit of research I've found out that a lot of people hate it for some reason. Well, it's not my favorite but it definitely has some really cool elements to it. Malevolent shows off a lot of their technical skill and produces some genuinely catchy and entertaining riffs. The faster passages are very tight and energetic while the slower bits are where this album shines. Let's not forget the awesome vocals on this record (like the amazing scream at the end of 'Dominion of Terror). The production on this album is killer (minus the fact that the kick drums lack a lot of 'oomph'). Other than that it's solid as a mother fucker and deserves a listen.
Growing is a band that has been able to whittle something very unique in drone. With a mixture of beautifully soothing textures and foreboding ambiance this band can dance around the 'dark/light' aesthetic with the champs. As for their material; some songs are short, some songs are long. They're not the type to drag things out for the sake of being a drone band but for the sake of the song (as we know a lot of younger acts are guilty of).
Long-time Drone-juggernauts Earth are planning to release another piece of amazing music sometime next year. 'Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light' will be released in two seperate parts and I can tell you from the cover art alone that this. will. be. epic.
Me and hardcore have never been good friends. Sure we wave to each other at parties and sometimes we'll reminisce about being kids together but to be honest, we've grown apart and I can mainly blame that on my local Hardcore scene (along with the ENTIRE Midwest's Hardcore scene) being dominated by limp-dicked kids that just strap on a guitar and churn out some generic crap so they can be in a crew. That left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. But every once in a while Hardcore and I really hit it off and this is one of those times. Sabertooth Zombie are an extremely unique act combining bits of metal, punk and stoner rock into one big ugly creature. The vocals are as in your face as humanly possible and the riffs are energetic and inventive. The rhythm section creates a very gnarly backdrop with plenty of slammin' low-end. One hell of a surprise. The first time I heard this record I could HEAR what this band was about and I could FEEL it and to be honest, that's something that too many bands lack these days.
For fans of: Akimbo, Tragedy, Young Widows, Swamp Thing and Rotting Out
Once again Southern Lord manages to put out another great release, this time in the form of Eagle Twin's debut (YES this record is a tad bit on the old side. BUUUT after seeing these guys with Sunn I kind of...slacked on checking them out until recently). The Unkindness of Crows is a sonic journey through a very, very dark plane of existence were the only thing you can hear is the cruel jesting of crows and a low rumble constantly off in the distance. This record is as expansive as the guitar-tone herein. The baritone guitar work meanders from droning horror to elegantly executed sludginess. The drums are simultaneously spares and completely overwhelming in every sense. The vocals are very, VERY good with their blend of meditative throat-singing and seemingly ritualistic manner of storytelling. For a two piece these guys make one hell of racket.
For fans of: Halo, Sunn, Earth and Black Cobra (to some extent)
Catacombs manages to produce a haunting obelisk of funeral doom the likes of which we surface dwellers have never seen. While yes, this record is a few years old it's also one of the most ambitious pieces of doom metal to date. Many artists try to use Lovecraftian themes in their music and VERY (and I mean VERY, VERY few) can actually pull off anything that would hold a candle to the original subject matter. This however is a shining example of how metal bands should approach the subject. Not only does Catacombs produce some sub-atomic low-end for this record, there's also the presence of simultaneously eerie leads floating through this record like interstellar dust in the cosmic sea. The vocals are so mind-bogglingly low that the only way I can fully try to understand how they're produced is that the dude found a way to use his intestines as false vocal chords. The songs create a very heavy-handed atmosphere that pulls you in with their suffocating gravity, very reminiscent of being dragged to the briny deep. Did I mention the lyrics are just as beautiful as they are bone-chilling? That's write, the songwriting here is top notch right down to the flawless execution of the vocals, their delivery and their message.
This record is so damn expansive that you have to download it in two parts. Enjoy.
When I picked up this album I was expecting something more akin to Electric Wizard or Bongripper but after exploring the rich textured landscapes that this two-piece constructs I would have to put them with bands more akin to Isis and Omega Massif. Each song lurches forward like a giant sloth towards the treeline when there are predators about; keeping its pace, slow and purposeful. Nothing stops this record once it's out of the gate. Riff after riff hurdles through the air with fiery intensity, landing like napalm on a sea of reverb drenched low-end and meditative drums. Sparse vocals weave through the tracks with great intent. This was a huge surprise and another must-listen.
I just popped this ABSOLUTE MOTHER FUCKER of an album in and I swear on all that is doomy and crushing, that this IS the best Drone Doom record of ALL time or better yet the best doom record PERIOD. Absolutely insane across every spectrum. Massive guitar tone combined with some of the heaviest riffs I have ever heard all wrapped in mastodon fur and smilodon-tooth necklaces. The caveman subject matter along with the vocal delivery make this a unique and amazing experience. I've literally been unable to pry myself away from it and it's all-consuming sonic gravity. My headphones feel like their made of lead when these guys are blaring. Listen to this; seriously, turn off whatever you've got on and put on this record.