Book Review: Doom Metal Lexicanum II, by Aleksey Evdokimov (Cult Never Dies 2021)

If you thought you had learned everything there was to know about doom metal from the first volume of Doom Metal Lexicanum, book 2 is going to be an eye-opener.

In 2017, Cult Never Dies published Aleksey Evdokimov’s Doom Metal Lexicanum in a rugged paperback edition. Four years later, they issued a second edition of that book in hardcover. At the same time, to the surprise and delight of everyone, a second volume of Doom Metal Lexicanum was also introduced. The second book is just as long as the first, potentially doubling the readers’ knowledge doom.

The original treatise focused on what is thought of now as traditional doom metal. The second volume shines a light on the death-doom bands, primarily, taking a close look at the harder edge of the genre, along with closely related sub- and adjacent-genres. Think more in the My Dying Bride, Katatonia direction than Candlemass. Every entry has basic information about the band, its history, members, and a select discography. More than enough to start an obsession. The first thing I do when I come across any doom-related band I am not very familiar with is look them up in these books. There are on-line resources, true, but the Doom Metal Lexicanum books have a lot more information.

Besides the entries on the bands, there are several interviews included at the end of the book: Gregor Mackintosh (Paradise Lost), Paul “Hammy” Halmshaw (Peaceville Records), Robert “Mags” Magoolagen (Academy Studios), Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride), and Martin Powell (My Dying Bride). These detailed one-on-ones give you fascinating insight into the art and industry of doom.

These books are both fantastic, and to me they are endlessly entertaining. I have a hard time putting them down, because as soon as I finish one entry, I am on to the next. I can read it straight through, alphabetically, or flip around the book and choose an entry at random. There is a lot here and, for doom fans, it is a genuine treasure trove.

Will there be a volume three? Who knows. While we are waiting to see what happens on that front, there is plenty to spend our time on in the first two. Highly recommended.

Book Details.

Doom Metal Lexicanum II, second edition

By Aleksey Evdokimov

Edited by Alex De Moller, with Simon Ferrie and Dayal Patterson

Published by Crypt Publications and Cult Never Dies in 2021

Hardcover

324 pages

ISBN: 978-1-915148-03-2

Link.

Cult Never Dies, https://cultneverdies.myshopify.com/collections/all-publications/products/doom-metal-lexicanum-2-book-hardback

© Wayne Edwards

Book Review: Doom Metal Lexicanum II, by Aleksey Evdokimov (Cult Never Dies 2021)

Photo Gallery: Drummers, Part 2

Anthrax, Blue Ridge Rock Festival
Armored Saint, Versailles, Ohio
Black Veil Brides, Blue Ridge Rock Festival
Dopethrone, Heavy Montreal
Goatwhore, Higher Ground, Burlington
Halestorm, Blue Ridge Rock Festival
Incantation, Piere’s, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf, Tennessee Metal Devastation
Voivod, Pure Filth Festival

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Drummers, Part 2

Ashen Horde, Antimony (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

Progressive blackened death metal band Ashen Horde summon essences from the beyond for their fourth long-player, Antimony.

Initially, Ashen Horde was a one-man band, but since its beginning the line-up has expanded to Trevor Portz (guitar, clean vocals), Stevie Boiser (harsh vocals), Robin Stone (drums), and Igor Panasewicz (bass). With at least seven EPs and three previous long-players in their catalogue, the band has a lot to offer. The new record expands and deepens the musicians’ legacy, moving them closer to the vanguard of contemporary metal.

After a short intro, “The Throes of Agony” is the ice breaker. At the beginning, the music feels like a battering from a rock hammer – on the pointy end. The weight of the metal accelerated by the swing assists in the deep penetration of the probing end. The lead guitar break is surprisingly lyrical, and the riffs have an underhanded hookiness to them. The vocals are half-hissed. When the elements are brought together this way, the blast beats enter easily and the gruff vocals, when they arrive, are perfectly in place. Excellent. “The Consort” brings its own introduction, which distracts from the cliff you are walking toward. The music reminds me of a dark carnival in many places. But then in the second half, there is a long guitar break that brings on nostalgia for metal from the past. The dueted vocals are a surprise.

Not counting the intro bit and the short “bonus” track at the end, there are eight longish songs on the album. Each is a combination of different genre lanes, assembled carefully for impact and consistency. Listening to the entire album is an unusual experience because, despite the angular differences in the pieces – both within and between – it all fits and flows so nicely together. “The Barrister” is an excellent example of this by itself. There is not much dissonance, although you will find it in places, like on “The Neophyte.” Overall, this is a great metal album that will have a broader appeal than I at first imagined. Recommended.

Antimony is out on Friday, January 27th through Transcending Obscurity Records. Tons of great merch and format variants are available for this release through the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ashenhordeband.bandcamp.com/album/antimony-black-death-metal

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Ashen Horde, Antimony (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

Dead Will Walk, A New Day Of Dawning (Dawnbreed 2023)

European death metallers Dead Will Walk brand the pages of history with their latest music, A New Day Of Dawning.

It has been six years since Dutch death metal band Dead Will Walk released new music. Their first published work was a split with Entrapment in 2017 followed in that same year by their debut EP Unleash The Dead. Fans have been on tenterhooks ever since. The good news is A New Day Of Dawning will certainly sate their musical thirst. The band is Patrick de Vaal (guitar), Sander Vos (vocals, drums), and Rick Schonewille (bass).

There are six tracks on the new EP. “Raise the Horde” leads the way. It has a military feel to it, and, while the music fits firmly in the ranks of death metal, I enjoyed a nice flush of black metal rippling beneath the skin. “Nightscreams” is a paint peeler, with surging punk energy and a raking vocal delivery that matches perfectly the lyrics. The horror vibe is real and pulsing, saturated in the dark music. I anticipated a heavy dooming vault for “Concrete Wombs,” but the song turns out to be very active and it has a smashing nature to go along with the doom vibery and massive heaviness. The shifts are regular and sometimes sharp. It is like walking through a dungeon and discovering new terrors around each corner.

“From Moving Grounds” continues the contemplative slugging from the end of side one and takes it even deeper. There is a long heavy chop at center stage, contained by the established undulating moat. “Day of Dawning” is positively aerobic for long patches, accepting tinge and tint from other regards to complete the picture. The set finishes with “Headstone Tales.” My favorite track on the album, this anchor piece is a massacre at midnight, incorporating all the best elements the band has showed off so far and seamlessly integrating them into a dark anthem. Once you reach the end, your first thought will be that you must hear it again. Recommended.

A New Day Of Dawning is out on Friday, January 27th through Dawnbreed Records. Check it out at the links below.

Band photo by Ronald van de Baan.

Links.

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

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

Dawnbreed Records, https://www.dawnbreed.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Dead Will Walk, A New Day Of Dawning (Dawnbreed 2023)

Obituary, Dying Of Everything (Relapse 2023)

The new Obituary album sums up the state of the world: Dying Of Everything.

Legendary death metal band Obituary started out in Florida in the 1980s as Executioner (Xecutioner), releasing a few demos and a split in the middle of that decade. With the name change to Obituary in 1988, the band really started to take off and garnered increasing attention. Their first few albums are classics, particularly Cause Of Death (1990). Other great records followed, and in the past few years, Obituary is better than ever. Their recent albums have been embraced by fans and critics alike. Dying Of Everything is the eleventh Obituary album, and the first new studio album in six years. Founders John Tardy (vocals), Donald Tardy (drums), and Trevor Peres (guitar) are joined by long-time members Terry Butler (bass) and Ken Andrews Jr. (guitar) on the new record.

There are ten blistering tracks on Dying Of Everything. The door is kicked open with “Barely Alive,” and it is a ripper. It starts with a roar and has riffs like canon blasts. John Tardy is setting a high vocal standard at the jump, and he keeps it up throughout. “The Wrong Time” has a longer build, raising tension until the guitars hit hard with a charging menace. Two songs in and you already feel the weight and magnitude of this album.

The title track has a special allure, and its reckless speed is a dangerous attractor. The lead guitar work is bewildering. “My Will To Live” is another one to look out for. There is an insidious gruesomeness to the layers of the song, and the delivery of the vocals has a permanent impact. “Torn Apart” is another favorite track of mine. The persistence of the music, the insistence of it. It is exceptional, and that is saying a lot about a single song from set that is overall of such high caliber. Don’t miss out. Recommended.

Dying Of Everything is out on Friday, January 13th through Relapse Records. Hit up the links below to listen and buy.

Band photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Obituary website, https://www.obituary.cc/

Bandcamp, https://obituary.bandcamp.com/album/dying-of-everything

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

Relapse Records, https://store.relapse.com/b/obituary

© Wayne Edwards

Obituary, Dying Of Everything (Relapse 2023)

Leper Colony, Leper Colony (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

New music for the death metal legions: Leper Colony.

Leper Colony is a new vehicle for Rogga Johansson, best known for … what is he best known for? I mean, after all, he is in a bewildering number of bands. Here is a list of acts he is associated with, according to the Metal Archives: Battle Axis, Bloodgut, Carve, Catacomb, Dead Sun, Disruptor, Down Among the Dead Men, Echelon, Eye of Purgatory, Fondlecorpse, Formaldehydist, Furnace, Gauntlet Rule, Ghoulhouse, God Cries, Grisly, Heir Corpse One, House by the Cemetery, Humanity Delete, Johansson & Speckmann, Lobotomy Dept, Massacre, Megascavenger, Metal Against Coronavirus, Monstrous, Necrogod, Never the Dead, Paganizer, PermaDeath, Pile of Skulls, Putrevore, Reek, Revolting, Ribspreader, Rogga Johansson (solo), Severed Limbs, Stass, Stygian Dark, Svitjod, The Cleaner and Mr. Filth’s Van Murders, The Dead Cold, The Skeletal, Those Who Bring the Torture, To Descend, To the Gallows, Troikadon, and War Magic. Presumably, this is a partial list. I am most familiar with him being in Paganizer. Oh yes, and of course, Leper Colony, a new band that seeks to ensure “that the music has all the undiluted appeal of the classic albums of Death, Massacre, Morgoth and the like.” If experience counts for anything, Leper colony has a leg up. Johansson is joined by Marc Grewe (vocals) and Jon Skäre (drums).

There are nine boisterous tracks on the new record. The egg is cracked with “The Human Paradox,” an up-tempo death-thrasher with an excellent push and angry, gruff vocals. The lead guitar break is hectic and satisfying. So far so good, and, as it turns out, a sign of things to come. “Perdition’s End” keeps the ball rolling and offers an alternate take on the established premise. Like the other tracks on the album, there is a great riff here setting up thoroughly enjoyable metal. I like the speed and agility of the compositions, and the eclectic down- and side-shifts, as on “Tar and Feathers,” especially. “Leper Colony” is perhaps the oddest song in structure, and still it delivers the goods. The is an excellent set.

If you like what you have heard before from these fellows, then chances are you will like Leper Colony as well. I certainly do. It is catchy death metal, solid as granite all the way through. Recommended.

Leper Colony is out on Friday, January 13th through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://lepercolonydm.bandcamp.com/album/leper-colony-death-metal

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Leper Colony, Leper Colony (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

Slog, Divination (Morbid and Miserable 2023)

Los Angeles doom duo Slog render dark rituals and bring forth a bleak harvest on their second album, Divination.

Slog is Nicholas Turner (strings) and Jared Moran (drums, vocals). These two prolific musicians created the Graves album in 2021 as the first instantiation of Slog. Grim tidings that one was, and no mistake. They return now with disturbing music to menace your waking moments and trouble your dreams.

“Illuminated Expansion” begins like a dark lullaby, quiet and creepy. The music twists increasingly as the bars pass, souring, metastasizing. Two minutes in the doom droops like a cloudburst. The creepy tones continue, and the vocals are a grating groan from the pits of the netherworld. The song continues, and transforms – it speeds up, infuses a lead break, and takes new ground, ultimately ending on a screaming crescendo. Next, we hear “Synthesis Sequencer,” and it starts off completely differently, choosing an all-guns-blazing entrance and flesh-raking riffs. Doom does hit in this track, but the tempo never slows to the level of the opener. “Creeping Flora” takes us down a different path, offering black metal at the doorstep and a heavy press thereafter, underpinned by a knowing clomp. The way heavy styles are mixed and integrated in these songs accentuate a delightful musical wickedness.

More enchantments await as the set continues. Each song breeds new interest and engages a broad range of ideas demonstrating over and again the immediacy and pliancy these compositions embrace. The journey is inveigling in a way, as it always finds an avenue that is irresistible. “Theurgy Equinox” stands out for its ethereal guitar and haunting vocals while “Labyrinth Amulet” is a straight-up terrorizer. “Eucharistic Purification” is the final word and the longest track on the album. It might also be the most schizophrenic. The extended quiet closing moments work an hypnotic effect. Recommended.

Divination is out on Friday, January 13th through Morbid and Miserable Records and Transylvanian Recordings. Have a look for yourself at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://morbidandmiserable.bandcamp.com/album/divination

Morbid and Miserable Records, https://morbidandmiserable.storenvy.com/

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

© Wayne Edwards

Slog, Divination (Morbid and Miserable 2023)

Photo Gallery: Cannibal Corpse, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Cannibal Corpse, http://www.cannibalcorpse.net/

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: Cannibal Corpse, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, 2022

Congealed Putrescence, Within The Ceaseless Murk (Caligari 2022)

New Orleans death metal band Congealed Putrescence offer their second EP, Within The Ceaseless Murk.

Congealed Putrescence is a mystery quartet in that little is given as background for the band. I guess you have to be in New Orleans to know much about them. We do know there was an earlier EP, Dissolved in Hyphae, but that is about it. The Metal Archives tells us the band members are Steven Hendricks (bass, vocals), Ian Hennessey (guitar), Matthew Moorin (guitar), and Alex Babineaux (drums).

There are four tracks on the new EP, each hovering around the three-minute mark. First, we hear “Advection,” and it is a murky rampage. Turn it up and you can better discern the complexities. There are elements on the surface that are easily digestible – memorable bits that have their own hook and groove. Beneath, vile legions wage war not for conquest but for the sake of the struggle. A similar construction exists in the framework of “Gelid Fathomless Suffering,” although the song itself is quite different. There are several layers at play, is the main point. You can hear them all at once, but you really have to pay attention.

“Suffocating Brain” is a stomping giant, wasting whatever lay before it. Big riffs and catastrophic percussion rule the day. The vocals are a howling wind, and the lead guitar break will twist you until you snap. “Burning Off” has whirling speed and carnivorous singing. Pockmarked with eager clandestine desires, the music seethes with a vile purpose. These four songs are great, and I want to hear more. Recommended.

Within The Ceaseless Murk is out now through Caligari Records on cassette and digital. You can have it at the links below. Also look up the band’s earlier EP, Dissolved in Hyphae, which is on Bandcamp, too, and is a fascinating entity of its own.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://congealedputrescence.bandcamp.com/album/within-the-ceaseless-murk

Caligari Records, http://www.caligarirecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Congealed Putrescence, Within The Ceaseless Murk (Caligari 2022)

New Year’s Day, 2023

Here we go.

It’s a new year, and a new set of opportunities. More important than anything: more heavy music.

This year we are stepping it up at Shardik Media. The plan is for five new release reviews every week, expanded coverage of live music including music festivals we have not covered before, and a couple surprise features that will be new to Flying Fiddlesticks Music Blog. Stay tuned.

Speaking of something new, we are looking for an intern to do some of the writing and posting for the blog. It is unpaid, so it is not a good deal, but if you like heavy music and you want to get involved, pop us an email at shardik@flyingfiddlesticks.com.

I am going to put up a couple of random photos that haven’t been on the website before as a little celebration of the year to come. Let’s make 2023 count.

Wayne Edwards

King Diamond, Mercyful Fate
Blackie Lawless, W.A.S.P.
Amon Amarth
Primitive Man
Moru
Dying Wish
Spirit Adrift

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links and info.

Contact email address: shardik@flyingfiddlesticks.com

I also write for Ghost Cult Magazine: https://www.ghostcultmag.com/

Social Media accounts used regularly…

Instagram, @wayneedwardsffmb

Twitter, @we21011

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100082879764669

Mastodon, @ShardikMedia@universeodon.com

© Wayne Edwards

New Year’s Day, 2023