Civerous, Decrepit Flesh Relic (Transylvanian Recordings 2021)

The Los Angeles blackened metal band Civerous brings forth its first full-length album, Decrepit Flesh Relic.

Beginning only a couple years ago, Civerous has released two demos and a live set, along with a split pairing them with Stygian Obsession. The steady work has paid off, culminating in one of the strongest records in the blackened death/doom arena this year. The band is Daniel Salinas (guitar), Alonso Santana (guitar), Lord Foul (vocals), Drew Horton (bass), and Matt Valencia (drums).

After the creeps-inducing intro piece “Eidolon,” there are six primary tracks on the album. Having set the mood to dark and tense, “From The Crypt To The Cavern” is a functional nightmare. The riff is a heavy clomp that batters you up front in anticipation of the following tenderizing percussion and growling vocals filled with the wisdom of eldritch blackness. “Herodacy” deepens the lines of inquiry as a well-timed lead-in to “Rot Delineated (Decrepit Flesh Relic),” a quieter and creepier rendering of similar sentiments, evolving slowly into beautifully crushing doom.

“Hubiku” is a trip down the sinkhole into the swirling chasm of hell – once you pass the event horizon, there is no escape. “Bone Wreath” is the song that stuck deepest in my brain. The hopelessness conveyed in the opening moments is monumental, and the reckoning of that promise is unforgettable. The final movement is the epic “Spiral OF Eyes,” a tale older than time; maker of destruction. The darkness evoked is sincere and penetrating.

I appreciate especially the commitment to doom throughout the album, and the willingness to explore in directions that could not be easily predicted by the listener in advance. This recording deserves attention and should make year-end “best of” lists far and wide. Highly recommended.

Decrepit Flesh Relic is out now through Transylvanian Records. Hit the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/civerous-decrepit-flesh-relic

Transylvania Recordings, https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/

Civerous, Decrepit Flesh Relic (Transylvanian Recordings 2021)

Stöner, State Theatre, Portland, Maine, October 3, 2021

Stöner is Brant Bjork, Nick Oliveri, and Ryan Gut, the former two being original members of Kyuss. Their music takes a heavy stoner jam angle – it is the kind of thing you can easily get lost in. They were middling for Clutch on a Fall tour and I caught up with them in Portland, Maine.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://www.stonerband.com/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/2mkGbwg4uYaUlmQDZpga27

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/StonerBandOfficial

Stöner, State Theatre, Portland, Maine, October 3, 2021

Sevendust, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

This was the first time I had seen Sevendust live from the pit and it was quite an experience. Lajon Witherspoon has a commanding presence on the stage and crowd is swept away by the performance. They have made my never-miss list.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://sevendust.com/collections/war-store

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/35Uu85Pq33mK8x1jYqsHY2

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sevendustofficial

Rise Records, https://riserecords.com/collections/artist-sevendust

Sevendust, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

Clutch, Doom Saloon IV Livestream , November 26, 2021

Clutch put together an excellent live streaming event for the Thanksgiving Weekend, Doom Saloon IV.

Clutch was out on the road this fall. Their tour got cut a little short because of the pandemic. They do have more dates coming up around the end of the year, and a tour next year as well. Meanwhile, there is Doom Saloon IV.

During the lockdowns and slowdowns of the past couple of years, Clutch has put on several streaming events, notably three full-length concerts from their rehearsal space. The plan for the fourth livestream was to play one song from every Clutch album and two new songs from the upcoming album. Even better: there were to be no repeats from previous Doom Saloon performances. That’s a good plan.

They played these songs, many not heard live for years: “Wicker,” “Impetus,” “12 Ounce Epilogue,” “7 Jam,” “Wishbone,” “Release the Kraken,” “Immortal,” “Sea of Destruction,” “(Notes from the Trial of) La Curandera,” “10,000 Witnesses,” “Child of the City,” “Struck Down,” “Crucial Velocity,” “Decapitation Blues,” and “Vision Quest.” The two new songs are “Slaughter Beach” and “Strive For Excellence.”

Every Clutch show is great. If you missed this one, don’t worry because you can buy the recording of Doom Saloon IV – get ready for a little bit of wait on the vinyl because of the global supply crunch. Link below. You can watch a replay of the stream for a couple days if you happen to be reading this before the weekend is over. Same link. Can’t wait to see them in person again.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards from State Theatre performance in Portland, Maine earlier this year. Doom Saloon shots are screen grabs from the livestream.

Link.

Doom Saloon IV merch, https://www.clutchmerch.com/

Clutch, Doom Saloon IV Livestream , November 26, 2021

Corrosion of Conformity, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 11, 2021

This band stretches way back in my memory and all my thoughts about them are good. Pepper Keenan and crew never disappoint.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://www.corrosionofconformity.com/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/1BBIIH0h76KN8gYeXFcPjR

Bandcamp, https://corrosion-of-conformity.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity/

Nuclear Blast, https://media.nuclearblast.de/shoplanding/2018/CorrosionOfConformity/no-cross-no-crown.html

Corrosion of Conformity, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 11, 2021

Black Label Society, Doom Crew, Inc. (MNRK Heavy, 2021)

The eleventh studio album from metal enterprise Black Label Society shakes all the bolts loose and ravages your brain with some of the best heavy music around.

I first heard Zakk Wylde when he was playing guitar for Ozzy Osbourne in the late 1980s. I couldn’t believe my ears. He was incredible. And he still is today. I have seen him perform many times since over the years, at Clutch’s Earth Rocker festival with Black Label Society to Rock on the Range in Zakk Sabbath to this year’s Blue Ridge Rock Festival heading BLS, and every time his precision and energy are overwhelming.

Black Label Society came together in the late 1990s, releasing their first album, Sonic Brew, at the close of the century. An astonishing number of albums followed: live recordings, compilations, EPs, and ten more long-players, including the latest, Doom Crew, Inc. The driving force behind it all is guitarist and vocalist (and pianist) Zakk Wylde. The work he has done is even more impressive when you realize he also played for Ozzy on and off during this time, released solo albums under his own name, played guitar for Generation Axe, and fronted his Black Sabbath cover band, Zack Sabbath, which released an album in 2020. It is hard to simply document all he has done. Zakk is amazing.

The new album has twelve tracks and runs just over an hour. The first song is “Set You Free,” and it has a determined mid-tempo riff to go along with Wylde’s distinctive vocals and welcome us all back into the fold. “Destroy & Conquer” picks up the pace a notch and keeps all the other elements firmly in place, including the roaring lead breaks. “You Made Me Want To Live” rounds out the first triplet. It is a song soaking with emotion and dark in its ambience, like a white cloak at a funeral.

As we have come to expect, there is variety and depth on this album. “Forever And A Day” is a heavy ballad, told in a way that only Black Label Society does. “End Of Days” is very serious in its lyrics and music. To wit: Blind your eyes / One’s chosen fate / Wander in the desert / You’ll find your end of days. When you watch the video the band made, the song sinks in with a different tint. That happens on Black Label Society music a lot. I hear it differently when I re-listen to it over and over. It is not that I heard it wrong the first time. It is more like I didn’t get it all on the first and second passes.

There are so many great songs on Doom Crew, Inc. “Gospel Of Lies” is delightfully doomy while “Gather All My Sins” is a tooth-rattling headbanger. Around every corner is a new wonder so there is no way to announce a favorite. Hear it all. I think Black Label Society is getting better with each new album. I do truly like each and every one of them, and the newest is at the top of the stack. Highly recommended.

Doom Crew, Inc. is out now through MNRK Heavy in many different forms. If you like the special editions and variants, snap them up while you can.

Band photo by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, http://blacklabelsociety.net/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/blsnet

MNRK Heavy, https://mnrkheavy.com/collections/black-label-society

Black Label Society, Doom Crew, Inc. (MNRK Heavy, 2021)

Clutch, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

Clutch never disappoints. This was the first time I had seen them since the international slow-down, and it was a fantastic show. I can’t recommend them enough.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, http://www.pro-rock.com/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/6tqGMedAtDADU5mJulYhSj

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialClutch

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Clutchband

Clutch, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

Apostle Of Solitude, Until The Darkness Goes (Cruz Del Sur Music 2021)

The sixth studio album from Indianapolis doom band Apostle Of Solitude is the their best yet, Until The Darkness Goes.

Since 2004, Apostle Of Solitude has been producing doom in a melodic vein. Clear vocals and heavy, guiding guitar riffs characterize the unmistakable sound they have zeroed in on over the years. The new album is a fitting follow-up to the well-received From Gold To Ash (2018), going even further down the road of solitude. The band is Chuck Brown (vocals, guitar), Steve Janiak (guitar, vocals), Mike Naish (bass), and Corey Webb (drums).

There are six tracks on Until The Darkness Goes, together totaling old school album length. There are many different lanes for doom metal, as any connoisseur knows. In the melodic doom space, Apostle Of Solitude has few rivals. Listening to the first triplet of songs – “When The Darkness Comes,” “The Union,” and “Apathy In Isolation” – there is no way to overlook the soaking despair and loneliness in the beautifully dark and heavy music. The honesty and integrity of the sentiment is infused in every note, and calls out clearly in the vocals. The regularity and reliability of the rhythm is essential in driving home the story and the feeling and message of the music.

“Deeper Than The Oceans” is the most compelling track for me because it includes not only the standard-bearing vocals and rhythm set up but it also houses memorable lead guitar passages. Following it is the instrumental bridge “Beautifully Dark” and then the closer, an epically-framed song of sorrow, “Relive The Day.” It is a downer, this final song, but then this is a doom album and it is exactly the right way to end. Recommended.

Until The Darkness Goes is out now. Gather it up at Bandcamp or through one of the other links below.

Links.

Website, http://apostleofsolitude.com/

Bandcamp, https://apostleofsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/until-the-darkness-goes

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/apostleofsolitude

Cruz Del Sur Music, https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/store/

Apostle Of Solitude, Until The Darkness Goes (Cruz Del Sur Music 2021)

Death Angel, The Bastard Tracks (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Iconic thrash band Death Angel releases a live set of rarely performed songs aptly titled The Bastard Tracks.

The Bay Area thrash scene is the stuff of legends. If you have never heard about it then I am not sure we’re going to be close friends. So many huge acts came from that place and time, including the bands on the current Bay Strikes Back tour: Testament, Exodus, and my personal favorite, Death Angel. I have a deep and abiding love for thrash and I admire these three bands (and so many more) for the music they have created. Death Angel has always been special to me, though, and so I was excited to see this album cross my path.

The songs on The Bastard Tracks were recorded live at The Great American Music Hall in the band’s hometown of San Francisco on May 22nd this year. The set list was chosen specifically to highlight songs that had rarely been played live, including some that had never been performed on stage before. That is what sets this album apart.

You don’t hear any crowd noise on this set, but the live feel is there in all its energy and vibrancy. The track list is: “Lord of Hate,” “Where They Lay,” “Why You Do This,” “Fallen,” “Absence of Light,” “The Organization,” “Execution/Don’t Save Me,” “Succubus,” “It Can’t Be This,” “Let the Pieces Fall,” “Faded Remains,” “Volcanic,” “Falling Off the Edge of the World,” “Guilty of Innocence,” and “Alive and Screaming.” There are some real jaw-droppers in there for Death Angel fans; songs we have always wanted to hear live. Finally, here is the chance. Recommended.

The Bastard Tracks is out on Friday November 26th through Nuclear Blast Records in digital, CD/Blu-ray, vinyl, and cassette. This is a great item to pick up to hold you over until the Bay Strikes Back tour starts again next Spring.

Links.

Website, https://www.deathangel.us/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/deathangel

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/item/groups/51000.1.html?article_group_sort_type_handle=rank&custom_keywords=death%20angel

Death Angel, The Bastard Tracks (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Imperialist, Zenith (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Sci-Fi Black Metal band Imperialist have crafted an amazing new album, Zenith.

From Monrovia, California, the band is Sergio Soto (guitar, vocals), Bryant Quinones (guitar), Joshua Alvarez (bass), and Rodney Quinones (drums). In 2015 they released an EP, Quantum Annexation, and followed that up with the well-received long-player Cipher (2018). The new album is a big next step, embracing science fiction narratives and infusing them with diabolical Black Metal. The amazing dark chemistry of the creation cannot be denied.

The album begins with extremely creepy tones and murky, ominous music on the intro piece. Talk about setting the stage. The trepidation builds leading into “The Maw,” a savage, hammering track. The howling continues with “Parallax Descends,” a confoundingly catchy track. And that is something about this music that sets it apart – it is hard driving, technical Black Metal that somehow also has enough groove in it to transport you on the surface as well as trigger your deeper menacing central dread with the harsher metal. That is so difficult to do that you almost never hear it, but here it is on Zenith.

The back half of the album delivers just as strongly as the front. “Majesty of the Void” first reminds you of the sinister mystical nature of the creature you face then tramples you with beating rhythm and weight-of-the-universe guitars. The story continues in the galactic perspective and so has an infinite space to mine ideas. “Terminal Odyssey” soars in its sounds and sights and revelations, and the final track, “Beyond the Celestial Veil,” spares no emotion or action. By the time the cooldown comes you know you have been through it – you also know you are ready to go again. Highly recommended.

Zenith will be directly overhead on Friday, November 26th through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Links.

Website, https://www.imperialistofficial.com/

Bandcamp, https://imperialistus.bandcamp.com/album/zenith-sci-fi-black-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Imperialistofficial

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Imperialist, Zenith (Transcending Obscurity 2021)