Dungeon Serpent, World of Sorrows (Nameless Grave Records 2021)

Generated in a singularity, Dungeon Serpent’s new album World Of Sorrows is executed with aplomb.

The soul member of the band is Arawn, and he has to do it all from vocals to guitars to drum programming. That is a lot to ask and there are many examples of one-man-bands out there. Arawn, and Dungeon Serpent, is the exception, operating at the high end of the spectrum in composition and performance. World of Sorrows is the first album from the solo act, following an earlier two-song demo.

“Necroscope” starts the set off with a straight up death metal attack. Heavy and driving, this song should be the single. Fittingly, there is a YouTube video to go along with it and that makes sense because it is an excellent introduction to the album. “Decay” is next and it starts aggressively, too, but by the end the first melodic elements appear, and the ending is light and ethereal.

There is not much of a break as “Immortal Incubation” is a wild ride, while “Cosmic Sorcery,” my favorite track, offers moments of respite as part of the broader heavy. The closer is the longest song, the title track, “World of Sorrows.” It has an epic metal feel to it, big in its ideas and full in its production. The progression runs through the edge of doom to straight-up death metal to those gentler and spare melodic elements. In many ways it is like a suite, as we might expect in a long piece. It is just the right finale and nightcap.

World of Sorrows is out on Friday, July 16th through the ever-reliable Bandcamp as well as the Nameless Grave Records store. Recommended.


Bandcamp, https://dungeonserpentmdm.bandcamp.com/album/world-of-sorrows

Nameless Grave Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/NamelessGraveRecords

Nameless Grave Records, https://namelessgraverecords.com/

Dungeon Serpent YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChdc80haQRpzS_T4RXL92Rg

Dungeon Serpent, World of Sorrows (Nameless Grave Records 2021)

Musk Ox, Inheritance (2021)

The new album from Musk Ox offers beautiful, haunting Acoustic Doom.

Musk Ox is Nathanael Larochette (guitar), Raphael Weinroth-Browne (cello), and Evan Runge (violin). This is exactly what it appears to be: a classical music trio. I know this is not the wheelhouse for many heavy music fans, but it will hit the right note for some because this music is an excellent example of Acoustic Doom – all of the sorrow, hopelessness, strife, and emotion without the electricity.

Side one is the title song in two tracks. The opening minutes are ethereal and cautionary; low and intense. The introduction of the guitar as a rhythm element allows the bow instruments to present melody, alternately, and harmony. Slow-paced and mournful, there is meaning here for everyone that will manifest individually as you listen.

Side two has three tracks, “Memoriam,” “Ritual,” and “Weightless.” These songs are a little more active and lighter, technically, with a different kind of intensity and depth. Moments of urgency, especially in “Weightless,” drive home the emotion and ideas. While these three pieces do stand clearly apart from the other music, they all fit well together. There is doom here if you will have it.

It is also worth knowing that, if you like Musk Ox, the new solo album from Raphael Weinroth-Browne will also appeal to you. It is a live performance of the long cello piece Worlds Within Live. There is a link for this one below as well. In some ways this music is more intense and personal than the trio. It is a vast, rich tapestry that traverses a range of concepts, spending a considerable amount of time in the land of prog.

Inheritance is available on Friday, July 9th and Worlds Within Live is out now. I recommend both for Acoustic Doom fans and for other heavy music enthusiasts who want to hear something very different that has déjà vu familiarity to it.

Musk Ox Photo by Jonathan Lorange.


Bandcamp, https://muskoxofficial.bandcamp.com/album/inheritance

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

Raphael Weinroth-Browne, Worlds Within Live, https://raphaelweinroth-browne.bandcamp.com/album/worlds-within-live

Musk Ox, Inheritance (2021)

Heavy Trip, Heavy Trip (Burning World Records 2021)

Instrumental heavy psych trio Heavy Trip re-release a full-length album of succulent guitar delights.

That’s a mushroom on the cover, not weed. Make the appropriate adjustments.

The band is from British Columbia, I hear. Information about them is thin on the ground. A trio, according to the Bandcamp page, and there is photographic evidence of this. The music is amazing instrumental heavy psych guitar-based transcendence. The album is out in a new edition from Burning World Records following the success of its original release last year.

There are four tracks on the album, all of them absorbing, each one chewing at the edge of the infinite. If you think of the music of Earthless as a point of reference, that is not a bad place to start. Heavy Trip have their own unique ways, of course, their own path to the majesty of what is. It is Desert Doom Stoner Heavy Psych Mountain Metal music for the mind expanding crowd.

Here’s the deal: I like this album almost too much to comment on it. There are big riffs and heavy grooves, and the music is so lush it provides sustenance. My advice is drop everything and go listen to it right now. Highly recommended.

Heavy Trip is out already. Check out the band’s website, Burning World Records, or Bandcamp for the goods.


Website, https://heavytripdudes.com/

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

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

Label, https://www.burningworldrecords.com/

Heavy Trip, Heavy Trip (Burning World Records 2021)

Wreck-Defy, Powers That Be (Punishment 18 Records 2020)

Canadian Thrash super crushers unload their third album on the unsuspecting cosmos with devastating effect.

If you don’t know about Wreck-Defy, it is time to catch up. Peopled by Aaron Randall (vocals), Matt Hanchuck (guitars), Greg Christian (bass), and Dave O’Neal (drums), this band is a juggernaut. There are a lot of great heavy music created in Canada that flies under the radar in the US – don’t let that happen here.

Fragments Of Anger was the opening volley in 2017, followed by Remnants of Pain two years later. This music laid the groundwork for the new album, which is my favorite so far. Loaded with inventive riffs and lashing lead breaks, Powers That Be has staying power.

There are nine songs and an outro piece, all starting with the ripper, “Beyond H8.” A catchy guitar flips the switch and then the roiling speed kicks in. An innuendo here, an homage there, and blistering guitars all around. The title track follows up on the opening aggression, settling in for the long haul with steady determination. Every track is a demonstration and a display of technical acumen and creative resourcefulness. Choosing favorites isn’t easy, but I am going with “Space Urchin” for its blatant disregard of the seen world and “Scumlord” for exactly the opposite reason. The themes and stories are different from one song to the next, but the Thrash lives in every corner (except for the last track, which is a melancholy wave goodbye). No beats are missed here – high marks all around.

The digital is out, and there is vinyl to be had as well. Links below. If you are making a 2020 Thrash list, this album better be on it. Highly recommended.


Bandcamp, https://wreck-defy.bandcamp.com/album/powers-that-be

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Underground4560/

Punishment 18 Records, http://www.punishment18records.com/

SubLevel Records, https://sublevelrecords.bandcamp.com/

Doc Gator Records, https://www.docgator.com/

Wreck-Defy, Powers That Be (Punishment 18 Records 2020)

Kataklysm, Unconquered review (Nuclear Blast Records 2020)

The 14th album from Canadian Death Metallers Kataklysm is Unconquered, a massive earth shaker that will pin your ears back and squeeze your brain.

Kataklysm is a band that has been creating music since 1991, and they are mainstays in the heavy scene. Their catalogue is huge, with not only more than a dozen studio albums but also numerous splits, compilations, and live releases as well. Fans have always had something new to look forward to with this band. The musical style has evolved over the years but they have stayed in the heavy lane.

Founders Maurizio Iacono (vocals) and Jean-François Dagenais (guitar) are joined by longtime bass player Stéphane Barbe and Olivier Beaudoin on drums (according to The Metal Archives, James Payne has since taken over on drums). The new album has similarities to the earlier work of the band, and in that way might seem like an homage to the past. The renewed sound has a sustainability to my ear, a strong tint of permanence, pointing more toward a new direction than a nostalgic episode.

A hazy photo of Kataklysm at Heavy Montréal 2019 (photo by Wayne Edwards)

“The Killshot” opens the set, beginning ominously with a quietude we know cannot last. Sure enough. Aggressive drumming blasts ravage even as guitar rhythms offer a stabilizing reassurance that is itself shaken by rare discordant clangs. The vocals are strong and coarse, easily understood, thereby becoming a narrative instrument as well as a musical one. It is a savage start, and rolls right into “Cut Me Down” for more hostility. There is a quiet melody to this song that is lurking in the background, and that makes it even more disturbing.

There is no letting up in this album. Any airy component is accompanied by a frenzied partner that keeps you on edge throughout. This characteristic is exemplified explicitly by “Focused To Destroy You” and more implicitly with songs like “The Way Back Home,” which have plainer lyrical elements living with musical gunfire and lyrics like this: “I’ll dig your grave on my way back home / I’ll gut you out like the pig that you are.” There is no waffling there, or anywhere else throughout. I will renew my prediction that this ferocity is here to stay. Recommended.

Unconquered is out now. Nuclear Blast is offering many versions and bundles – there has to be something there for every fan.


The band’s site, https://www.kataklysm.ca/

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

Ordering from Nuclear Blast, https://www.nuclearblast.com/en/music/band/discography/overview/70940.kataklysm.html

Kataklysm, Unconquered review (Nuclear Blast Records 2020)