Estrangement, Disfigurementality (Aesthetic Death 2022)

Baroque funeral doom band Estrangement present their first full-length offering, Disfigurementality.

Estrangement is the creation of Australian musician JS, a multidisciplinary metal master. He incorporates baroque music with his metal premises, engaging the talents of other artists for the additional (non-metal) instruments such as double bass, violin, cello, piano, flute, and classical guitar. Add in guttural vocalizations and throat singing, and you have something new under the sun. This musical project has been active since 2010, releasing a demo and a split along the way. Disfigurementality is the first long-player by Estrangement.

“Destitution Stench” brings melancholy strings and a sorrowful, warning voice. It seems introductory at first, but really I think the song is better described as an invocation. “Detritivore” is the first track that gives you a clear view of what to expect for the rest of the album. Told at a funeral doom pace, the integration of grating, tortured vocals with strings, massive guitar riffs, percussion, and a flute is off in a direction you have never heard before, unless you have heard Estrangement.

There are slower, melodic movements throughout the set, like “Belong Beneath,” that have a soothing effect. Still, while you are hearing them, listening, you know that any moment the music will take a darker turn. Massive songs like “Womb of Worlds” and, especially, “Doppelganger,” are extensive journeys with rich, divergent constructions living together in both turmoil and harmony. I can hear this record as a funeral doom album, and I can also hear it as death metal. It is best just to admit that it isn’t any one thing, and take the trip for all it is worth. Recommended.

Disfigurementality is out on Friday, November 25th through Aesthetic Death. Find out more at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://estrangement.bandcamp.com/album/disfigurementality

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

Aesthetic Death, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Estrangement, Disfigurementality (Aesthetic Death 2022)

Photo Gallery: Candlebox, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Candlebox website, https://www.candleboxrocks.com/

Blue Ridge Rock Festival, https://blueridgerockfest.com/

FFMB article on Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/06/blue-ridge-rock-festival-alton-virginia-september-8-11-2022/

Ryze-Up Magazine feature, https://www.ryze-up.com/ryze-up-magazine-current-issue/ryze-up-magazine-october-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Candlebox, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022

Beyond The Void, The Machinist (Great Dane 2022)

Death metal disrupters Beyond The Void release their first full-length album, The Machinist.

Beyond The Void is a death metal band from France. They have been around for less than a lustrum, releasing their inaugural EP Ex Nihilo Nihil in 2020. Their truculent brand of metal is even better expressed in the long form of the new album. The band is Antoine Grasser (guitar), Maxime le Corre (drums), Cyril Cozza (vocals), Antoine Bieber (guitar), and Laurent Schmitt (bass).

After an eerie prelude of disturbing angular strings, the album gets going with a signature titular song. The vocals are gruff, with occasional pairings for depth and hiss. The guitars are aggressive, stabbing, with hooks appearing and going off at unpredictable intervals. There is a detectable 1980s injection that is nice to hear, and a number of other elements that are difficult to characterize. Swimming and fighting together, these musical pieces somehow achieve synergy. “From The Sky” follows, the longest track and a departure into a more measured, but no less peculiar, landscape. The slow pace dissolves into frenzy before much time passes, spinning you around and showing you a different view. The effect is exhilarating while also being disequilibrating.

The album is one fired canon after another. Their music has been described as brutal death metal, and it is, some of the time. That is not all, though, as there is a mad collaboration with less caustic musical enterprises that smashes together in a sonic particle collider yielding spectacular results. Look for “Hymns Of Annihilation” especially as the perfect example of this creation in action. “The Shadow In My Mind” is a wild one that will make you dizzy, and the title track is an urgent closer. After listening to this record, I consider myself shook up. Recommended.

The Machinist is out now through Great Dane Records. In the US, Bandcamp is a good place to pick the digital or CD.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://greatdanerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-machinist

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

Great Dane Records, https://www.greatdanerecs.com/eshop/web/

© Wayne Edwards

Beyond The Void, The Machinist (Great Dane 2022)

Photo Gallery: Bad Wolves, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Bad Wolves website, https://badwolvesnation.com/

Blue Ridge Rock Festival, https://blueridgerockfest.com/

FFMB article on Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/06/blue-ridge-rock-festival-alton-virginia-september-8-11-2022/

Ryze-Up Magazine feature, https://www.ryze-up.com/ryze-up-magazine-current-issue/ryze-up-magazine-october-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Bad Wolves, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022

Candlemass, Sweet Evil Sun (Napalm 2022)

Legendary doom metal band Candlemass release their thirteenth studio album, Sweet Evil Sun.

One of the earliest and most influential doom bands to ever rise, Candlemass formed in Sweden in the early 1980s. Few question the significance of the band’s first full-length album, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986), and, for me, it is a record I can return to time and again with no loss of awe. I greet each new Candlemass release with a sort of luxurious expectancy, and I have never been disappointed. The most recent long-player, The Door To Doom (2019), continues to get regular spins in the den, and there is no doubt Sweet Evil Sun will receive the same treatment. Candlemass is Johan Lanquist (vocals), Lars Johansson (guitar), Mappe Björkman (guitar), Leif Edling (bass), Janne Lind (drums).

The characterizing elements of the music are massive guitar riffs, sweeping melodic vocals, and mesmerizing lead guitar work. The choruses tend to be memorable, even catchy, and the reliable structure of the songs creates anticipation in a state of recurring temporal existence that is unswervingly rewarded.

The first of nine songs is “Wizard of the Vortex.” It opens with a clobbering riff that is tense and foreboding. When Johan Lanquist begins to sing, the trepidation grows. An early guitar flourish sinks the hooks in deep enough for measurable permanence so that when the instrument returns halfway through you are ready for the bigger presentation. The opening thunder returns, and the music moves toward its resolution. It is clear we are on the path. The next track is the title piece, and I have heard it before because it was released earlier as a single. This song shows clearly what the album, in its completely unfurling, will reveal.

“Angel Battle” is one of the heaviest pieces on the record, and that gives it high starting marks. After the intriguing dirge-like opening, the guitars turn more active, pressing the advance. “Black Butterfly” similarly inspires dread, calling forth some of the vibes I remember from the first time I heard Rainbow’s “Gates Of Babylon,” but with the signature Candlemass guitar sound and expression. “Goddess” is the final song, appropriately mournful. The last word is the short yet formidable outro piece “A Cup of Coffin.” The album is excellent. It is exactly what I was expecting and hoping to hear. Highly recommended.

Sweet Evil Sun is out now through Napalm Records. Investigate the possibilities at the links below.

Band photo by Linda Akerberg.

Links.

Candlemass website, https://candlemass.se/

Bandcamp, https://candlemass.bandcamp.com/album/sweet-evil-sun

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

Napalm Records, https://napalmrecords.com/english/candlemass

© Wayne Edwards

Candlemass, Sweet Evil Sun (Napalm 2022)

Photo Gallery: Apocalyptica, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Apocalyptica website, https://www.apocalyptica.com/

Blue Ridge Rock Festival, https://blueridgerockfest.com/

FFMB article on Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/06/blue-ridge-rock-festival-alton-virginia-september-8-11-2022/

Ryze-Up Magazine feature, https://www.ryze-up.com/ryze-up-magazine-current-issue/ryze-up-magazine-october-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Apocalyptica, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022

Photo Gallery: Spillage, Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Spillage website, https://spillage-online.com/

Tennessee Metal Devastation, https://metaldevastationradio.com/Metal-Devastation-Music-Fest

FFMB article on Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/11/tennessee-metal-devastation-lexington-tennessee-october-8-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Spillage, Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022

Photo Gallery: Deocculted, Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Deocculted website, https://deocculted.net/home

Tennessee Metal Devastation, https://metaldevastationradio.com/Metal-Devastation-Music-Fest

FFMB article on Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/11/tennessee-metal-devastation-lexington-tennessee-october-8-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Deocculted, Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022

Witchfinder, Forgotten Mansion (Mrs Red Sound 2022)

Witchfinder brings out another great record with their third full-length album, Forgotten Mansion.

The French psychedelic doom quartet Witchfinder is Clément Mostefai (vocals, bass), Stanislas Franczak (guitar), Thomas Dupuy (drums), and Kevyn Raecke (keyboard). Since their first album dropped just five years ago, they have been on a winning streak with Hazy Rites two years later, and the well-received Endless Garden earlier EP this year. Their newest album is some of the best music they have made so far.

“Approaching” has a trippy, psychedelic ramp that pushes into a classic doom guitar drop. The vocals are cast from the distance in an echoey framing which pulses perfectly inside a mind that has achieved an altered state. The lead guitar segment that first appears is laid back and effective, setting up a tempo shift and that offers a mid-song lift, providing fertile ground for the following Iommi-inspired riff. The construction of the song is a credible integration of psychedelic entreaties in a doom architecture. “Marijuana,” which features Haldor Grunberg adding vocal depth, puts the lead guitar near the front, placing it as a signpost for the changes that follow. Here again we have the beautifully heavy, fuzzy riff and rhythm that carries the water for the ethereal vocals. Excellent. And then “Lucid Forest,” the shortest song so far at a mere five and a half minutes, slides in trippingly and lightens things up a little. It is still heavy, of course. It seems more reflective to me than its predecessors, changing the mood a might. The keys are more prominent in my ears, too, and the lead guitar break stands out.

“Ghosts Happen To Fade” is my favorite track. I like the entire album, but this one lands just right in my ears and brain, touching a place with the guitar that hadn’t been activated yet. The vocals are more sinister here, and that has an appeal as well. “The Old Days” wraps things up and brings back the straightforward doom at the front of the track. The music turns up the psych knob halfway through and reminds us of the range of the band. The album is solid psych-doom through and through. Recommended.

Forgotten Mansion is out now through Mrs Red Sound Records. Bandcamp is the place to go in the US to pick this one up.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://witchfinder.bandcamp.com/album/forgotten-mansion

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

Mrs Red Sound Records, https://mrsredsound.com/

FFMB review of the Endless Garden EP, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/06/06/witchfinder-endless-garden-mrs-red-sound-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Witchfinder, Forgotten Mansion (Mrs Red Sound 2022)

Floating, The Waves Have Teeth (Spirit Coffin 2022)

Sweden’s Floating debuts with a remarkably layered progressive death metal album, The Waves Have Teeth.

Floating is the duo Arvid Sjödin and Andreas Hörmark, both known for their work in the band Morbid Illusion. They decided to branch off with this new project after the former band split in order to “explore the possibilities of merging deformed and dissonant death metal the old-school way with their newly bolstered post-punk sensibilities.” The result is impressive and innovative.

There are six collateral songs on the new album. “The Seep” begins as a doom metal rumination then transforms smoothly into death metal that courses back and forth between melodic, traditional, somber, and groove. It is an intriguing combination in all of the instruments. You notice the shifts in the percussion, sure, but also in the guitars, rhythm, and vocals. It is captivating and entangling. “Gag” is a bit more linear, straight-forward horror metal song with a nice, twisted riff and periodic screeching and blast beats. “Pile of Birds” is practically a rambler, generating a great rolling guitar alongside sensational growling vocals. Feisty.

“No Eyes” lays down a prominent bass line and follows it through. The movement toward the middle is quiet almost to silence, and its reflective depth is the strength of the song. The gentle ending leads directly into “The Hill Will Know Him” where the music turns toward the esoteric and peculiarly frightening. There is no mistaking the unease that is introduced in advance of the harsher passages. It is a diabolical precursor for the final nine-minute movement, “The Floating Horror.” One song bleeds into the next throughout the album, and that transitional technique is most effective here. There are short and extended builds, as well as vast plateaus. The final flourish is muted and eccentric, delivering a final touch of uncertainty and one last shiver. Recommended.

The Waves Have Teeth is out now through Spirit Coffin Publishing on CD and digital. A tape version will follow in December.

Links.

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

Spirit Coffin Publishing, https://spiritcoffinpublishing.bigcartel.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Floating, The Waves Have Teeth (Spirit Coffin 2022)