Frozen Soul, Crypt Of Ice (Century Media 2021)

The debut LP from Fort Worth metal band Frozen Soul is the merciless application of Old School Death Metal in the creation of a soundtrack for demise.

The band has only been releasing music for a couple years, with two splits, an EP, and a single leading up to Crypt Of Ice. They are OSDM in orientation, and for some reason they remind me a little of Tomb Mold, one of my favorite new(er) bands, except less frenetic and more deliberate. Expect blast beats and heavy rhythm circling the wagons around haunting growls. The band is Chad Green (vocals), Samantha Mobley (bass), Michael Munday (guitar), Matt Dennard (drums), and Chris Bonner (guitar).

The music has a grinding, heavy power to it. There is not a focus of lead breaks and whirling speed. Rather, Doom elements live in the metal here, bringing down the tempo and pushing the relentless riffs into focus. One of my favorite songs on the album is “Merciless,” and it is the perfect example of this, with a plundering, crushing weight towards the end that was set up by fierce first half. The song then leads into “Encased In Ice,” which very much feels like being surrounded by the thick walls of a glacial tomb for almost two minutes before the tempo picks up and stabs an ice pick in your brain. There is a flowing wave here. The wandering musical variegation is not random or haphazard – it is a compositional deliberation on the dark themes brought out in the album. The result is exceptional metal delivered on a frozen silver platter. Recommended.

The new album is out now and available widely from any place that carries Century Media Records products. Also, link below. Lots of versions and merch are out there if you are so inclined. Bandcamp has the earlier EP Encased In Ice if you are interested in that – it is also really good.

Links.

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

Bandcamp, https://frozensoultx.bandcamp.com/releases

Century Media, https://www.centurymedia.com/release.aspx?IdRelease=2323

Frozen Soul, Crypt Of Ice (Century Media 2021)

Dread Sovereign, Alchemical Warfare (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Dublin Doom trio Dread Sovereign sets a raging fire with their third album, Alchemical Warfare.

The driving force in the band is Nemtheanga, known otherwise as the vocalist for the band Primordial. He started Dread Sovereign some time back, releasing an EP in 2013 followed by two LPs, All Hell’s Martyrs (2014) and For Doom The Bell Tolls (2017). Joined by JK (Johnny King) on drums and Bones on guitar, there is an urgency to the music on the new album, unmistakably circling the chasm of Doom. The vocals are mostly clear, and the themes walk the Black Metal road. The band’s motto is “the world is doomed,” and the theme is a through-line explained this way: “The subject matter and aesthetic are particular to the three characters on the front cover of each release, the time travelling trio who appear on the debut flaying Saint Bartholemew, on the second album hanging Sarah Wildes Averill in Salem and now as lab assistants to Isaac Newton as he tries to discover the secret of Alchemy.” The songs are sinister odes from dark moments in history.

There are seven tracks (four of them over eight minutes long) with an intro piece and an intermission segue. That intro sounds a little like swirling bells and whispering dark witches casting spells. “She Wolves of the Savage Season” then picks up the doom and slams it back down. The frenzy gets really whipped up on “Nature Is The Devil’s Church” with its pressing riffs and pleading vocals. There are also extended guitar passages here, in this song and well distributed throughout where the narrative concepts are given musical form. “Her Master’s Tomb” is almost a Doom ballad while “Devil’s Bane” rips and roars and finishes with a raging shred. The album wraps on a single-length banger, “You Don’t Move Me (I Don’t Give A Fuck)” – they decided to go out swinging with a heavy punk punch. This is an great album, front to back. Highly recommended.

The full album drops on Friday, January 15th and preorders at Bandcamp will get you two tracks now while you wait for the week to end. Metal Blade Records has CDs and vinyl if you want to go that way.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://dreadsovereign.bandcamp.com/

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

Metal Blade Records, https://metalblade.com/dreadsovereign/

Dread Sovereign, Alchemical Warfare (Metal Blade Records 2021)

John The Baptist, self-titled (2021)

From Jyväskylä, Finland, John The Baptist forge forth into the masses of heavy music listeners with their first full-length release.

The band has been around since 2015 and has released a demo, a split, and a single. This current self-titled effort is their biggest album so far, and it is loaded to the top edge with loud, heavy doom.

The musicians use stage names, and apart from Facebook do not have a large social media presence. That leaves us without an enormous amount of information to pass on. On their Facebook page, they say this: “Our music is slow and heavy like the rumblings of the earth. Our message is grand and grim.” OK, that does narrow it down some.

There are six massive tracks on the new album, and heavy they are indeed. The short one is nine minutes long, and the long one runs fifteen so there is a lot of listening to be had. The style is straight-forward doom, without any muddling. There is no pretension in the music and they seem to play what  they feel, offloading their interests in patient, thundering riffs. The first track, “Deluge,” is a perfect example. It opens with a solo guitar, laying down the fuzz in slow and deliberate sheets for a minute and a half before being joined with even more heaviness. The vocals are earnest and not distorted. There are tempo shifts and sonic variations; theme turns and compositional confluences and diversions are plentiful. Nevertheless, on every track, there is no mistaking the doom, culminating in the most comprehensive statement with the anchor piece, “John The Baptist.”

John The Baptist is available now on Bandcamp (link below). No word yet on whether there will be a CD or vinyl release, so don’t wait for that. Hear them now. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://jtbdoom.bandcamp.com/album/john-the-baptist

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

Soundcloud, https://soundcloud.com/johnthebaptist-doom

John The Baptist, self-titled (2021)

Torn Fabriks, Mind Consumption (Firecum Records 2021)

Thrash trio Torn Fabriks breaks through with a fresh EP clocking music for mass consumption.

From Lisbon, Portugal, the band is Jorge Matos (guitar), Ricardo Santos (bass, vocals), and Paulo Soares (drums). They appear to have sprung out of the ether, coming together from the bands Sindicato da Terra, Morbid Death, and Rageful. They play a familiar brand of traditional thrash, in many ways on the edge of what we used to call speed metal. Fast and straight-forward, it is music for the masses.

The EP has six songs and it runs a bit over twenty minutes. There is noticeable filler throughout but there are also healthy portions of tasty shreds which are worth the wait. You can hear social and political commentary in the lyrics, but the bigger draw is the catchy music and that is what fans will be drawn to and remember, I think.

Mind Consumption is out now. The record label has a CD version, and there are a few single tracks available at Bandcamp – the entire EP will probably be up there soon. It is worth a little bit of searching.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://tornfabriks.bandcamp.com/

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

Firecum Records, https://www.firecum.com/product-page/cum-039-torn-fabriks-torn-fabriks-cd

Torn Fabriks, Mind Consumption (Firecum Records 2021)

Clouds Taste Satanic, The Satanic Singles Vol. 3 (Kinda Like Music 2020)

Clouds Taste Satanic releases Volume 3 in The Satanic Singles project.

To recap…This New York instrumental metal band is peopled by these fine persons: Steve Scavuzzo (guitar), Rob Halstead (bass), Greg Acampora (drums), and Brian Bauhs (guitar). For years on end they have been producing their unique brand of vocal-free doom (and doom-adjacent) heavy music, typically in long form. Recently they decided to shift gears a bit a put out a series of shorter cover pieces as singles, leading to a collection early in Spring. The latest installment has just appeared.

Volume 3 has two tracks. On Side A we find the Pixies music “Cecilia Ann / Rock Music” from Bossonova and Side B is “Blew” by Nirvana, from the Bleach album. This sourcing is from 1990/1989 and that was a crazy time, huh? I remember what I was up to then, but you don’t have to in order to get down with the CTS covers. If you have never heard the original songs before then this is just some great new music to you. I do know these songs well and still, just like with the tracks from Volume 2 of The Satanic Singles, I like these new instrumental doom versions better.

I am still very much loving this series. Highly recommended.

Bandcamp has Volume 3 right now so jump on it if you want the physicals.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://cloudstastesatanic.bandcamp.com/

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

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/5QidF8yXlvTyGkDy24JImY

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvVu8mcXrE2eVjq_ApcGBmw

Overview Article on Clouds Taste Satanic, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/04/07/a-quick-look-at-clouds-taste-satanic/

Clouds Taste Satanic, The Satanic Singles Vol. 3 (Kinda Like Music 2020)

Mother Of Graves, In Somber Dreams (Wise Blood Records 2021)

The new EP from Indianapolis metal band Mother Of Graves is a melancholy shovelful of crossover Doom.

The musicians are Thomas Hunt (bass), Don Curtis (drums), Ben Sandman (guitar), Chris Morrison (guitar), and Brandon Howe (vocals). They are a new band with a lot of experience and a couple of singles under their belt. In Somber Dreams is their first EP. According to their Bandcamp entry, the band is “[n]amed after a mythological Latvian protector of cemeteries (Kapu māte)[.]” Their style is along the Melodic Death metal range, and the vocalizations bring classic Swedish bands to my mind. The music is heavy and serious in tone, relying on rhythm and synchronous constituents to mold a finished product.

There are four tracks on this inaugural release. “In Somber Dreams” is an introduction to the general bleak perspective of the music you are about to hear. It sets the stage and dresses it in funeral attire. “Nameless Burial” adds a voiceover to further the narrative depth of the incantation, ultimately devolving into disorder with a tinkling off-center piano and destabilized sonic surges at the end. “The Urn” is a mood piece with undulating utterances, doleful exertions, and an undeniable gothic tailwind. Finally there is “Deliverance,” lodged into my head as a soft and twinkling, with an insisting bass line and a tempo that picks up nicely three and a half minutes in.

The band says they are working on a full-length album and I am really looking forward to that. I have listened to these four songs a couple times and they are hanging with me, telling stories and making promises. I want to see where this all goes.

In Somber Dreams is out tomorrow in digital, cassette, and CD forms. Grab one for your very own at the Wise Blood Bandcamp page. Recommended.

Photo of the band snagged from their Facebook page.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://wisebloodrecords.bandcamp.com/album/in-somber-dreams

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

Mother Of Graves, In Somber Dreams (Wise Blood Records 2021)

Stellar Death, Fragments Of Light (2021)

Stellar Death’s debut album is an adventure in instrumental space prog that winds through disparate corners of the universe to coalesce in a fascinating unified semblance.

Matt Kozar and Scott Loose are the duo Stellar Death, playing instrumental music that lands a heavy blow. They have worked together for many years in the band Brave, and decided to branch out with this new project in order to shed any constraints on form. Both are guitarist and play keys, with Loose minding the percussion. There are eight pieces on the album, most in a fairly long design.

The opening song is a seven minute outline titled “The Astronomer.” Throughout its course, many of the elements and atoms that combine in the musical creation of the set are first introduced, including mesmerizing ambient sequences and forceful guitar movements. “Endless” is filled with sadness the way that Frank Zappa’s “Watermelon In Easter Hay” is, and that is meant to be a high compliment. Its companion piece, “Betelgeuse,” moves on from trauma and morning, turning a corner and picking up power. Heavier guitars and more rambunctious percussion returns in “Binary Collapse” to close side one.

On the back four, solitude is a reinforcing theme and a channel for momentous contemplation. “Everywhere and Nowhere” has quite dramatic moments, while “Critical Mass” presents the most tense passages in the eight minute leg. Stellar Death winds it down with “Afterglow,” offering up a spell of reflection and meditation. While this album will appeal perhaps most to the ambient crowd as it is on the less technical side of prog, anyone who likes instrumental rock will find a confrère here. Recommended.

The street date for Fragments Of Light is January 8th. Direct business is at Bandcamp for the download. Three songs are available now and you can listen to them instantly if you preorder the album.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://stellardeath.bandcamp.com/album/fragments-of-light

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

Stellar Death, Fragments Of Light (2021)

Transilvania, Of Sleep And Death (Invictus Productions 2021)

The second full-length album from Transilvania is an epic world shaker, filled with monstrous ideas and otherworldly conclusions.

From Innsbruck, Austria, the Black Metal band Transilvania has been around since 2015. The Metal Archives lists the members as P. Čachtice (bass and vocals), H. Paole Grando (drums), O. von Schwarzenberg (guitar), and D. D. Stumpp (guitar). There is not an enormous amount of free floating information out there about them, apart from their discography that shows The Night Of Nights LP from 2018, and before that an EP and a split. The musical style is fast-paced Black Metal, bearing on the speed and even the thrash side.

“Opus Morbi” leads us down the haunting path with a reassuring (although clearly sinister) opening gambit of distant tones that grow into a fierce attack by the three minute mark. Throughout the album there are plenty of riffs that hang a tight groove, as in the title track, to go along with the eerier elements. Clever syncopation and unusual tempo shifting like we hear on “Lycanthropic Chant” enriches the Black Metal environment and fills in the dark world developing around your ears.

The inventiveness and ingenuity of composition knows no bounds on this album. The music relies on rhythm and a well-paced, expertly situated harmony of the instruments to propel the concepts forward in support of the lyrical narrative. Lead breaks in the traditional sense are used sparingly, like a flashing scene of violence or depravity. More often we hear companion components from the guitars bolstering the vocals and other instruments in the overall experience. The album is powerful – a premier exemplar of the form. Highly recommended.

Of Sleep And Death is out now. Invictus has all manner of formats for this album, plus a variety of merch. Bandcamp offers a digital download at your fingertips. And you can also hear a lot of Transilvania’s music on Spotify.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://transilvania.bandcamp.com/album/of-sleep-and-death

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

Invictus Productions, https://invictusproductions.net/

Transilvania, Of Sleep And Death (Invictus Productions 2021)

Blessed By Perversion, Remnants Of Existence (2020)

Remnants Of Existence is the newest album from Blessed By Perversion, following up on their 2016 debut long-player Between Roots And Darkness.

The band entered the vibrant Greek metal scene in 2012 with their Destroy The Image Of God EP. Since then they have been working their way through the caverns of heavy music, making consistent progress and expanding their fan base. The basic style is a crowd-pleasing Death Metal crossover that will appeal to listeners of many different metal subgenres. The musicians are Manolis Kouelo (guitar), Kostas Foutris (guitar), Andreas Moschopoulos (vocals), Vaggelis Nanos (bass), and Vasilis Nanos (drums).

There are five songs on the EP plus a quiet, tense intro piece. “Gallery of Bones” sets the pace with steady rhythm and percussion alongside the gruff, intelligible vocals. The composition is very approachable, being neither dense nor highly complex, and the song includes a tasty lead break. “Atonement Refused” picks up the pace, moving toward the high end of mid-tempo, and including a couple of 80’s metal guitar warble homage moments. “Among The Tombs of Absent Gods” and “Caverns of Torture” establish viable bridges to the closer, “Within Monumental Chaos.” This song is my favorite of the set, and has perhaps the darkest tone and excellent rhythm and percussion elements. The bass line and the lead guitar are the most challenging here too, showing the breadth of expression the band is willing and able to display.

Remnants Of Existence is out now, and the quickest pick-up is at Bandcamp. Get some more metal in your 2021. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://blessedbyperversion.bandcamp.com/album/remnants-of-existence

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

Blessed By Perversion, Remnants Of Existence (2020)

Happy New Year’s Eve 2020

I don’t have to tell you about 2020 – you were there, too. Usually, at the end of the year, I spend December choosing some photos to repost for good vibes and great memories, but this year I didn’t take a single photograph of a live show. Yeah. So, I am going to post a few photos from 2019 that did not see that light of day then, just for fun. I am keeping the cameras warm for 2021 because hope springs eternal.

There was a lot of excellent music released this year. We published 188 reviews in 2020, a lot more than we thought we would. There are so many “Best of 2020” lists out there that I decided not to do one for FFMB. Instead, I am throwing up a couple of covers from albums we didn’t review this year that were really good – just couldn’t get to everything. We’ll try to do better in 2021.

Thanks to everybody involved with Flying Fiddlesticks Music Blog and the Shardik Media Cabal. Deep gratitude and thanks to all the bands, record labels, venues, publicists, and promoters keeping music alive for all of us.

We’re still here and we are carrying on in 2021. See you out there.

All live performance photos by Wayne Edwards.

Aftershock

Heavy Montreal

Clubs

Albums

Happy New Year’s Eve 2020