Photo Gallery: Singers, Part 2

Obituary, Andrew J Brady Music Center, Cincinnati
Rivers of Nihil, Old National Centre, Indianapolis
The Casualty, Muddy Roots Festival
Mercyful Fate, Andrew J Brady Music Center, Cincinnati
Ancient Days, Black Circle, Indianapolis
Heartsick, Michigan Metal Festival
Dark Funeral, The Vogue Theatre, Indianapolis
Cannibal Corpse, Blue Ridge Rock Festival

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Singers, Part 2

Kruelty, Untopia (Profound Lore 2023)

Kruelty brings its message of metallic hardcore to the masses once again on Untopia.

Coming together in Japan six years ago, Kruelty took the path of many hardcore acts before it, choosing to release a large number of demos, EPs, and splits. It is a lot of fun for collectors as it creates a kind of treasure hunt that becomes increasingly more difficult the later you get on board. Their first long-player came out in 2019, A Dying Truth. Their latest might only be their second full-length album, but the band has done a lot of groundwork prior to this new one and you can tell when you hear it.

A chime starts the set in motion. Chants, as in Gregorian, follow. “Unknown Nightmare” is quite creepy. The guitars land with a massive doom slap, and in the next stanza have begun their rampage. The croaking vocals hover over the rumbling riffs and the clip slows and accelerates at unpredictable turns. “Harder Than Before” sounds like a tagline for a new ED treatment and, given the vibrant energy that the song opens with, it could be used in an ad for a new blue pill. This one is a flesh ripper, speeding and slowing and grating its way to your bones. The shrieking ending is startling. Excellent metal. “Burn The System” is a high-tension mission ender. The killer percussion and rhythm will give you a well-earned rash. “Reincarnation” is surprisingly peppy. I wouldn’t call it a happy song, with all the screaming and what not, but its early attitude is less dense than the previous songs. It does turn less than a minute in, though, and the savage, chewing metal is at you again.

“Maze Of Suffering” made me feel like I was drowning in its crushing doom and ominous death summoning. “Manufactured Insanity” goes the other way, starting out as a rollicking cracker and laying in the heavy later on. The record finishes on the title track, and this one will eat you alive. I haven’t followed Kruelty very closely over the years, but this new album has inspired me to go back and listen to everything they have done before. Recommended.

Untopia is out on Friday, March 17th through Profound Lore Records. Have a closer look at the links below.

Band photo by Seijiro Nishimi.

Links.

Kruelty website, https://www.kruelty666.com/

Bandcamp, https://kruelty666.bandcamp.com/album/untopia

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

Profound Lore Records, https://profoundlorerecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Kruelty, Untopia (Profound Lore 2023)

Astriferous, Pulsations From The Black Orb (Me Saco Un Ojo 2023)

Costa Rican death metal band Astriferous offer their debut album, Pulsations From The Black Orb.

Formed in San José, Costa Rica five years ago, heavy metallers Astriferous have been building toward their first long-player with an EP, a split, and a couple of demos. You could say the new record is the logical progression of the music that has come before. Filled with dark magic and cosmic dread, Pulsations From The Black Orb is a big step up. According to the Metal Archives, the band is José María Arrea (drums), Federico Gutiérrez (guitar, vocals), Felipe Tencio (guitar, vocals), José Pablo Phillips (bass, vocals).

There are eight tracks on the new album, beginning appropriately with “Intro (The Black Orb).” The music builds slowly with a distant echo that grows to become an ominous presence. Doom takes over, with slow heavy footsteps. “Blinding the Seven Eyes of God” is a broad death metal presentation, with whirling guitars and growling, croaking vocals. The construction is such that a caustic attack is followed by a heavy melt or a groove to break up the rampage in your ears. It is a very effective approach, especially combined with the forlorn lead guitar. “Teleport Haze” is another crusher while “Metasymbiosis” opts for a more measured assault.

The side two lede is the short piece “Forlorn and Immemorial,” a windswept ethereal notion. “Ominous and Malevolent” shows its doom cards first and brings the death metal in later. This altering progression is not unique to the incumbent, and it works well for many metal bands. In the case of Astriferous, it is a defining characteristic. The death metal passages are often chaotic, while the doom brings a kind of resolute order. “Lunomancy” lays down the moon magic and the closer, “Symmetries that Should Not Be,” is the stuff of waking nightmares, guaranteed to make you second guess ever leaving the house again. Taken together, this is a solid set of crushing metal. Recommended.

Pulsations From The Black Orb is out on Friday, March 10th through Me Saco Un Ojo Records (vinyl) and Pulverised Records (CD). Check out the details at links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/album/pulsations-from-the-black-orb

Pulverised Records, http://pulverised.net/

Me Saco Un Ojo Records, https://www.mesacounojo.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Astriferous, Pulsations From The Black Orb (Me Saco Un Ojo 2023)

God Disease, Apocalyptic Doom (Gruesome 2023)

The sophomore long-player from Helsinki’s God Disease is a gloomy prognostication: Apocalyptic Doom.

The band found a solid reformation in 2013, heading out with a sequence of three EPs, one each year from 2014. The earlier work lay more in the death metal direction than the sound you will hear on the new record, which exists primarily in the land of doom. All for the better as far as I am concerned. God Disease is Ilkka Laaksonen (vocals), Henry Randström (bass), and Mika Elola (drums).

There are six tracks on the new record, the first being “Ashes.” It presents a beautifully stark doom setting, as if in the distant, frozen north. The vocals could very well be from an ice troll sifting through the ashes of some transient interloper. The massive guitar riffs (performed on Apocalyptic Doom by Are Kangus and Samantha Schuldiner) shudder the ground beneath you and render you incapable of other attention. “Built by Dead Hands” rolls out in a similar tempo but is more active in its construction and execution. You can hear it in the percussion most notably, but it also beams through the other instruments. “Remembrance” is the longest song at eight and a half minutes, and it is discordant at its threshold. The music resolves in due course outside the parameters of noise and moves into a grooving riff and mid-tempo, and then back again. The sourness is gone and we are left at the end with heavy tones dissolving in the distance.

Side two opens with the mystical “Leper by the Grace of God.” The tread is fast and the path dangerous. It feels like a calamity, especially the lead guitar break, but sometimes there is solace after the irretrievable bad thing has happened. “Futile Effort to Breathe” is aptly titled as the music could be a heavy stone pressing down on your chest, one too big to shift. Slowly, slowly you lose consciousness as the band plays on. The final step is “Serenity Abandoned,” and it is heavy doom as we have been hearing, but this time it feels more like funeral doom. Whether you chose the path yourself or you were put on it, you know now there is no escape and the only thing you can do is press on. This is a beautifully dark and hopeless album. Highly recommended.

Apocalyptic Doom is out on Friday, March 10th through Gruesome Records. Have a look at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://gruesomerecords.bandcamp.com/album/apocalyptic-doom-2023

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

Gruesome Records, https://gruesomerecords.wordpress.com/

© Wayne Edwards

God Disease, Apocalyptic Doom (Gruesome 2023)

Primitive Man & Full Of Hell, Suffocating Hallucination (Closed Casket 2023)

The first studio collaboration between Primitive Man and Full Of Hell is Suffocating Hallucination.

Denver’s Primitive Man is Jonathan Campos (bass), Ethan Lee McCarthy (guitar, vocals), and Joe Linden (drums), and I have always positioned them in my head as a doom band. Full Of Hell, on the other hand, who is peopled by Dave Bland (drums), Spencer Hazard (guitar), Dylan Walker (vocals, electronics), and Sam DiGristine (bass, vocals), comes to the my consciousness as a noisier band. That’s just what is in my head. Both have been around for more than ten years and both have been quite prolific, publishing a large number of releases, including many splits with other bands. This one, though, Suffocating Hallucination, is not a split where each band contributes their separate tracks. No, this one is a collaboration between the bands where the music was created jointly by them both.

Primitive Man
Primitive Man

Side A starts with “Trepanation for Future Joys.” This song leaves no doubt about what the album will be like. It is not misleading. It is a head-on confrontation at the confluence doom, sludge, and noise. I had to look up what trepanation means. It’s drilling a surgical hole in your skull. Yes indeed. The sounds you hear are overwhelming. “Rubble Home” is the place where mystery dwells. It is uncertain in what direction the narrative will run at any given point. There are rough and ready riffs at times and chaos elsewhere. It is a perilous journey. “Bludgeon” is less than half a minute long. It is like a painful, sudden emission.

Full Of Hell

On the flip side we have “Dwindling Will.” The music begins cautiously, or so it seems at first. As you listen, you start to become uneasy, and you realize it is not caution so much as evidence of the aftermath of something awful, something that cannot be remedied. This track overall is quieter than the others, and that somehow intensifies it in the context of the rest of the music. The last twitch is “Tunnels to God,” the longest piece of the set. It appears to begin in space, or possibly an adjacent dimension. As we approach the center of actionableness, the clangs increase in number and volume, as do the sounds of the vortex. Discernable string instrument sounds enter about four minutes in with massively distorted riffs, followed by steadying percussion. In due course vocalizations and even wider guitar work joins and pushes the music forward in a seemingly endless crescendo that ultimately breaks into noise for the final two minutes. It all makes sense. Recommended.

Suffocating Hallucination is out now through Closed Casket Activities. You can pick it up at the many links below.

Primitive Man photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://primitivemandoom.bandcamp.com/album/suffocating-hallucination

Primitive Man website, https://www.primitivemandoom.com/

Full Of Hell webstore, https://fullofhell.bigcartel.com/

Closed Casket Activities, https://closedcasketactivities.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Primitive Man & Full Of Hell, Suffocating Hallucination (Closed Casket 2023)

Witch Ripper, The Flight After The Fall (Magnetic Eye 2023)

Seattle sludgers Witch Ripper let loose with their second long-player, The Flight After The Fall.

Witch Ripper is a metal band from the Pacific Northwest, formed in 2012. They have released an EP, a split, and a full-length album prior to the new one. They are typical called a sludge band, I’ve noticed, but when you hear The Flight After The Fall, you might think of them as progressive metalers.

The narrative content of the new record is described in the prerelease material as containing “ a mad professor, his dying wife, cryogenic chambers, a black hole as well as themes of love, failure, loss, and acceptance.” That is pretty exciting – fertile ground indeed. The band is Chad Fox (guitar, vocals), Brian Kim (bass, vocals), Curtis Parker (guitar, vocals), and Joe Eck (drums).

“Enter the Loop” is the first of six tracks on the record. The quiet dissolve is a slow build that pushes into a proggy arrangement. Hooking melody follows, surprisingly, cracking off in a gruff direction afterward. I am getting a little dizzy listening to the music. This is a fascinating choice for an opener. “Madness and Ritual Solitude” is next, breaking out in percussion to set up a big guitar riff. This one lays on the doom side of the field, with additional activation from the drumming. The composition does turn more technical, but the tone remains serious, the instrumentations are more muscular. Very good. “The Obsidian Forge” is ponderous, drawn more in an intellectual, or at least contemplative, space. Meditate on this one and see if you can find deeper meaning.

“Icarus Equation” is my favorite track outside of the gigantic closer. It offers beautiful, bewitching frontmatter before laying out heavy tones and celestial ideations. But the big story is “Everlasting in Retrograde Parts I and II.” Running almost seventeen minutes, it fits right in as a two-parter since the other songs average about half that mark. What especially appeals to me is the periodic heaviness that exceeds earlier levels, placed in contrast to melodic outpourings. Truly, you could listen only to this final piece and be satisfied, although it does have a greater impact after the rest of the music has been ingested. This is not what I thought I was going to hear, but I thoroughly enjoyed the album. Recommended.

The Flight After The Fall is out on Friday, March 3rd through Magnetic Eye Records. Listen and buy at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://witchripper.bandcamp.com/album/the-flight-after-the-fall-2

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

Magnetic Eye Records, https://us.spkr.media/us/Artists/Witch-Ripper/Witch-Ripper-The-Flight-After-The-Fall.html

© Wayne Edwards

Witch Ripper, The Flight After The Fall (Magnetic Eye 2023)

71TonMan, Of End Times (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

The title of 71TonMan’s new album is no exaggeration: Of End Times.

I got on board with 71TonMan late, with their EP from 2021, War Is Peace // Peace Is Slavery. Hearing it, I quickly went back and consumed everything else they had released – two full-length albums, 71TonMan (2013) and Earthwreck (2017), and a split. Doom is heavy by nature, of course, but this doom will sink you. The band is from Poland and its members are Daniel Jakub Kida (vocals), Tomasz Gardecki (guitar), Michał Zieleniewski (guitar), Jędrzej Wroński (bass), and Jakub Jankowski (drums).

There are four long tracks on the new record, each running about ten minutes. “Conquest” starts off with a sour squeal, leading into clanking percussion. Crushing funeral doom-paced riffs smash down and take over, withering any hope of escape. “Plague” takes a more rolling thunder kind of approach, a crashing waves sort of manifestation. It is a marching menace that brings the plague with it and spreads it to every corner of the land surveyed. This music cannot me negotiated with – it is going to do what it does.

Side two brings “War” and “Famine.” These two clearly go together, musically and in reality. Because you won’t have one without the other, which comes first is a matter of happenstance or intention … it doesn’t really matter. The vocals are like a choir that does not soothe, opting instead for grim truth. The final ten minutes of the set are the darkest and most dangerous, clawing away any comfort that somehow still remained. The music that came before sat on the event horizon and these final minutes are when you fall into the black hole where there is no escape. Highly recommended.

End Of Times is out on Friday, March 3rd through Transcending Obscurity Records. Touch the links below to explore the options.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://71tonmanband.bandcamp.com/album/of-end-times-sludge-doom-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/71TonMan

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

FFMB review of previous 71TonMan EP, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2021/07/09/71tonman-war-is-peace-peace-is-slavery-transcending-obscurity-2021/

© Wayne Edwards

71TonMan, Of End Times (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

Mammoth Caravan, Ice Cold Oblivion (2023)

The new record from Mammoth Caravan has the weight and pace of an ancient glacier of doom: Ice Cold Oblivion.

Mammoth Caravan is from Little Rock, Arkansas. They are a doom band, and they don’t sound like anything I heard when I was last in Little Rock. Huge riffs and inventive constructions surround variegated vocals and flaring guitar to produce fantastic results. The band is Brandon Ringo (bass, vocals), Evan Swift (guitar vocals), and Robert Warner (drums).

The odd tinkling sounds that open the set on “Ice Cold Oblivion” give no clue that titanic riffs will follow. Neither do they hint at the gravely vocals which align perfectly with the other instruments. Mystical, freezing doom is what this is. “Nomad” is a clomping continuation, a revving up of the premise established in the opener. With a tighter pace and steady drive, much ground is covered, and a tasty lead guitar break is introduced, opening the way for huffing vocals that might have come from an actual mammoth. “Petroglyphs” is a melancholic spellcaster, a cratered celestial body of ancient wisdom. The beautiful wind-down is haunting.

Side two offers first “Megafauna,” a temperamental tune that rattles you and brings on an itch. “Periglacial” is a fascinating piece, with unexpected drumming and vocals, that latter being clean and clear at the front, creating an epic metal expectation and delivering something off to the side of that. It is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The set closes on “Frostbite,” an eleven-minute creeper that is so entrancing you might forget to breathe. I love this song. The entire album has impressed me, clocking doom as it does and ploughing a course all its own. Recommended.

Ice Cold Oblivion is out on Saturday, February 25th. Listen and buy at Bandcamp through the link below.

Band Photo by Kurt Lunsford.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://mammothcaravan.bandcamp.com/album/ice-cold-oblivion

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

© Wayne Edwards

Mammoth Caravan, Ice Cold Oblivion (2023)

Tithe, Inverse Rapture (Profound Lore 2023)

Tithe’s second album is an earthshaker: Inverse Rapture.

Created in the Pacific Northwest enclave of Portland, Oregon, Tithe has been forging dooming grindcore for the past six years. Infusing elements that could be described in a number of ways, Kevin Swartz (drums), Matt Eiseman (guitar, vocals), and Alex Huddleston (bass) are a trio that wakes the primordial and fashions it into their own dark designs.

“Anthropogenic Annihilation” is a swirling grind up front – perhaps the perfect opening for an album with this title and content. Doom is minced and mixed by the dominating weight of the riff and rhythm. Eiseman’s vocals are a threatening promise presenting an accusation. The hammering percussion is the tie that binds. Excellent. The title track follows, digging deeper into the gloom. It is a wailing of detached souls, lost for so long they no longer search but merely exist in a gyre agony. “Demon” is a short, ravaging piece that flays your exposed flesh. The tempo is blistering and unrepentant, leading into the funereal “Parasite.” These first four tracks are an enmeshing perfection of metal that squanders reason.

The longest song on the record is “Killing Tree.” It is ponderous at first, opening eventually into adjacent lands of dark wonder in the black metal wilderness then moves on to canyons of doom. “Luciferian Pathways Of The Forked Tongue,” coming where it does, is a kind of dismantling meditation that shucks the crust that has accumulated with it dervishly ways. The final notes are uttered in “Pseudologia Fantastica,” recalling “Demon” to some extent, but living its own crushing existence. The album has a relatively short running time yet packs a lethal punch at every turn. Recommended.

Inverse Rapture drops on Friday, February 17th through Profound Lore Records. Listen and buy at the links below.

Band photo by Taylor Robinson.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://tithepdx.bandcamp.com/album/inverse-rapture

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

Profound Lore Records, https://profoundlorerecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Tithe, Inverse Rapture (Profound Lore 2023)

Cancervo, II (Electric Valley 2023)

Psychedelic stoner doom metal band Cancervo release their second full-length album, the humbly titled II.

Named after a mountain, Cancervo began in Lombardy, Italy in 2020. They have one previous long-player to their account, the equally unassuming I. This doom trio creates understated and darkly insinuating doom that is heavy by doom standards. There is not a ton of background info floating around about the band, so let’s get right into the music.

“Arera” is minimalistic doom metal with steady percussion and rhythm, haunting vocals, and deliberate lead guitar work in the second half. The musicians are putting it out there and letting the sonic vibrations mow you over. “Herdsman of Grem” has a funeral doom intonation to it. Thinking back, so did the opening song. Indeed, funeral doom is not a bad way to conceptualize the slow, titanic riff construction. The repetition of the primary bars sets the feeling in your bones so that you are better prepared for the forlorn guitar departure in the back half. “The Cult of Armentarga” continues the dirge, while “Devil’s Coffin” is almost speed metal by comparison, with its hop-along bass line. You cannot ignore the ritual elements to this music – it works on you in that chant-like way, a characteristic that sets this music apart from otherwise similar contemporary doom.

Side two has a pair of long songs, “Zambla” and “Zambel’s Goat.” The question of whether they are more closely related to each other than to the other songs in the set is perhaps moot. It is amazing how different an eight- or nine-minute songs can be compared to a five- or six-minute song – the extra couple minutes have a dramatic impact on compositional pacing. Even more than side one, the ritual nature of this music finds its way into more than your ears. The music soaks into you and, particularly on the closing track, entrances. After you hear this second album, listen to the first one … then come back and hear the new one again. You will be hooked. Recommended.

Cancervo’s second album is out now through Electric Valley Records. Check it out at the Bandcamp link below.

Band photo by Beatrice V. Gotti.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://cancervo.bandcamp.com/album/ii

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

Electric Valley Records, https://www.electricvalleyrecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Cancervo, II (Electric Valley 2023)