Kabbalah, The Omen (Rebel Waves Records 2021)

Kabbalah are brewing a psychedelic elixir in their cauldron of dreams and it is called The Omen.

The trio from Pamplona, Spain creates music that is a fascinating amalgam of contemporary fuzzy doom matched to a seventies-era rock passed through a grungy sifting machine where unexpected elements latch on, including beautiful melodic vocals and eerie themes and harmonies. The band has released a few EPs, as well as the full-length album Spectral Ascent (2017), leading up to the new one, The Omen.

The album is described in the band’s press release in part as an “occult rock grimoire where sticky melodies, funerary riffs and haunting vocals come together.” All of these things are true. I can think of a couple of bands from the past that appear to be clear influences on Kabbalah, but I have never heard anything quite like the music they make so let’s set those other names aside.

Some of the songs have a sharper edge, like the opener “Stigmatized” with its gravelly guitars, and “The Ritual,” which comes across more directly serious and dramatic. Much of the music is very laid back and hypnotic, with clearer seventies-inspired guitar tones and lovely, lilting vocals, as in “The Night Comes Near.” The echoing whispers and urging rhythms in “Labyrinth” come back to you at night when you are falling asleep, and the closer, “Liturgy,” is convincingly summative. You can feel the living desert infused in the notes of this music, and you when you close your eyes as the album plays you come to know the spirit of the ceremony.

If you rotate this album into your listening queue your life will be better. Recommended.

The digital for The Omen is at Bandcamp, Rebel Waves Records (an imprint of Ripple Music) has the CD and vinyl, and you can get a cassette from Stoner Witch Records.

Links.

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

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

Ripple Store, https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products

Stoner Witch Store, https://stonerwitchrecords.bigcartel.com/products

Kabbalah, The Omen (Rebel Waves Records 2021)

Bloody Hammers, Songs Of Unspeakable Terror (Napalm Records 2021)

Horror shines bright on the sixth album from the North Carolina duo Bloody Hammers.

I have been listening to Bloody Hammers since the initial self-titled album in 2012. The very first track, “Witch of Endor,” is fuzzy and trippy and it sinks it talons in your neck. Spiritual Relics came out the very next year and it was just as clever and fresh. The occult themes and consistent horror underpinnings dress the reliable and forthright metal that has lead me to keep an eye open for new releases from band ever since.

The catchy musical sensibility of “A Night To Dismember” combined with the obvious tongue-in-cheek lyrics and melodic pop-punk execution makes the song an irresistible fuzzy cotton candy horror treat. What a way to kick off the album. The theatrical influences verily drip from the sleeves of these songs, titled as they are after cult movie classics like “Hands of the Ripper,” “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, and “Witchfinder General.” Samples dropped in (as in White/Rob Zombie) are delightful little familiar punches: witness “Not Of This Earth.” The music is all about the riffs, percussion, and the voice, cast in a throwback robe that resurrects the most memorable elements of bands like The Cramps and more obscure gems like The Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black [Aside: deep-dive this band some time, and especially seek out the album “A National Healthcare.”]. There is even one creepy pseudo-ballad, “Lucifer’s Light.” This album has everything.

Any fan of Bloody Hammers is going to love this record, I say with confidence. It does not sound exactly like the others, but it is not a wild departure, either. It is an homage that simultaneously remains true to form, and you will definitely want to hit the repeat button. Recommended.

Songs Of Unspeakable Terror is out today from Napalm Records. Grab it with both hands.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://bloodyhammers.bandcamp.com/album/songs-of-unspeakable-terror

Website, http://www.bloodyhammers.com/

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

Napalm Records, https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/bloodyhammers

Bloody Hammers, Songs Of Unspeakable Terror (Napalm Records 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)

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)

Spaceslug, Leftovers (2020)

This lockdown music from Spaceslug is a dose of acoustic Doom.

From Wrocław, Poland, Spaceslug is a band whose name should live in your brain. Since 2016, they have released three LPs, three EPs, and a split. With that kind of work ethic it is no surprise they were intent on creating new music during the pandemic. The band members are Bartosz Janik (guitars and synths), Jan Rutka (bass and vocals), and Kamil Ziółkowski (drums, guitar, and vocals).

Spaceslug is a Doom band, but the music they create is definitely not what most people would first think of as Doom. I have started to read more frequently the observation that Spaceslug has a Pink Floyd atmosphere in their music, and I am beginning to agree, never more so than with Leftovers. It is largely acoustic music (actual, and acoustic-style, if you know what I mean) that carries a pervasive tone of Doom, composed in complex and thoughtful arrangements.

There are five songs on the new EP, starting with “Wasted Illusion.” It is a trippy and ethereal beginning, with mellow tones and a lot of synth infusion. Next is “Behind The Glass,” which sounds like music for an arid desert if that desert was actually floating in outer space. “The Birds Are Loudest In May” raises melancholy to a mission critical level. “Place To Turn” is positively peppy in the context of the previous songs, but the underlying sense of dread is there, strong enough to make you uneasy. The title track is last, and it is the most ponderous of the set. It is a real whiskey and razor blade situation. If you want a helping of Doom with no fuzz or feedback, this Spaceslug EP is the ticket for you. Recommended.

Leftovers is out now as a download or CD. Go to Bandcamp for the quick pick up. You can also get a t-shirt there, and more of the band’s music.

Band photo grabbed from their Facebook page.

Links.

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

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

Spaceslug, Leftovers (2020)

The Day Of Doom (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)

The tenth anniversary celebration of Magnetic Eye Records was captured live and is available now in a deluxe package.

In November 2019, Magnetic Eye Records held a concert to honor ten years of music with nine of their roster artists performing. The four headliners – Elephant Tree, Summoner, Horsehunter, and Domkraft – were recorded for posterity and that music has now been released. You can get the full sets separately, but I recommend the big hardcover art book version that includes four CDs, one for each set. Here are some tech specs: Elephant Tree, seven songs, 40 minutes; Summoner, seven songs, 38 minutes; Domkraft, six songs, 45 minutes; Horsehunter, four songs, 45 minutes.

It is a colossal amount of Doom and all four performances are exceptional. I have not seen any of these bands live, but I am a big Elephant Tree fan from their studio work so that is what drew me to this set initially. I have listened to all of them twice now and they are going to be spinning again in the office here before too long. Highly recommended.

Bandcamp links are below for each separate band. The art book version is available directly from Magnetic Eye. Some versions might be out of stock or sold out, but you can always get the digital. And these sets are also on streaming services (I know Spotify has them for sure) so you can listen there first if you want to get a better idea of what it is all about before dropping some coin.

Links.

Magnetic Eye, https://us.merhq.spkr.media/artists/various-artists/various-artists-day-of-doom-live-book-4-cd.html

Horsehunter, https://magneticeyerecords.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-day-of-doom

Summoner, https://summonerboston.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-day-of-doom

Domkraft, https://domkraft.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-day-of-doom

Elephant Tree, https://elephanttreeband.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-day-of-doom

The Day Of Doom (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)

Three Eyes Left, Legione (Delomelanicon Records 2020)

Italian Doom veterans offer Legione here at year’s end, the fifth longplayer in their catalogue.

While they might not be as well known in the US as they are in Europe, Three Eyes Left have been on the scene for more than ten years. Want to know a little more about them, like where the band name comes from? Here is a bit from their Facebook page that explains it. “Three dancing eyes chasing the night idol, a sound bending at the magical sphinxes of times ready to explode in millions of vivid and dying butterflies. A needles storm enveloping more distant minds’ sleep to fecundate the first handmaid’s ancient womb. A psychic and interrupted rock, a multitude of words weaved together with a string made of stones and gems. Three eyes left is the dance before the word and the word before del colour, and now waits for the harvest refulgence to gather and offer the livid germ of its roots.” OK?

The music is Doom, certainly. Three Eyes Left do a lot of the same things you see with other bands, but the end result is very different. The vocals alternate between coarse and clean, which is not uncommon, but the gruff singing here is toward the Death Metal end while the more melodic work has a very heavy blues feeling to it. The guitar parts are loaded with heavy riffs, sure, but there are surprising layers cooked in there and the music takes unpredictable directions. It is a different experience from the run-of-the-mill heavy we often encounter.

The album is nine tracks, running more than an hour. There is a Black Metal attitude in there, and a desert wanderlust. This new album rounds out a trilogy – I suggest listening to it backwards, starting here. See how that goes down.

Legione is out now on digital platforms, with hardcopies to follow in due course. Expand your horizons if you have not heard Three Eyes Left before and lend them your ear. Recommended.

Links.

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

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/3eyesleft

Delomelanicon Records, https://www.facebook.com/delorec/

Three Eyes Left, Legione (Delomelanicon Records 2020)

Clouds Taste Satanic, The Satanic Singles Vol. 2, review (Kinda Like Music 2020)

Clouds Taste Satanic releases Volume 2 in The Satanic Singles project.

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 in the New Year. The latest installment has just appeared.

Volume 2 has two tracks. Side A is the Black Sabbath classic “Behind the Wall of Sleep” and Side B is the Chicago ballad “If You Leave Me Now,” with a minor title change. The Black Sabbath cover is a delight. It is the song we know by heart abstracted from Tony Iommi’s guitar and with the lead strings singing Ozzy’s part – plus a little extra razzle. Fantastic. “If You Doom Me Now” is a clear improvement over the original. I am a big Chicago fan, preferring the “25 Or 6 To 4” and “Sing A Mean Tune Kid” lanes. Dooming up the quiet, lilting vocal of the second-phase Chicago chart topper is the exact distinction that makes me like the song better.

I am loving this series. Highly recommended.

Bandcamp has Volume 2 waiting for you. There are vinyl versions as well, but know that V1 sold pretty fast so you want to get on it if you are interested in the physicals. Volume 3 drops on New Year’s Day so make a plan for that.

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. 2, review (Kinda Like Music 2020)

Green Druid, At The Maw Of Ruin review (Earache Records, 2020)

Heavy doom flows out of the Mile High City as Green Druid releases At The Maw Of Ruin.

Fairly new to the music scene, Denver’s Green Druid drew a lot of attention with their first album Ashen Blood in 2018. That album had a patient darkness to it and a kind of melancholy bitterness salved by eldritch metal choirs. An impressive start, and the new album continues the message of that emergent force, traveling deeper into the bleak hereabouts.

The Metal Archives reports the band is Ryan Skates (bass), Mikey Honiotes (drums), Graham Zander (guitar), and Chris McLaughlin (vocal and guitar). Together the music they create is a sinister weaving of laid back stoner doom and threatening assault. Cold melodic vocals transform into the hissing of orc mages then into the howl of a raging berserker and back again. The locality of intent moves from the immediate to the cosmic, and the focus of the attack switches from bludgeon to knife’s edge between your labored breaths.

The new album has six tracks, the shortest of which is eight minutes. The road begins with “The Forest Dark” and a thumping, tree felling riff. Something is in that forest and it is after you – the dread and menace is thick in the music. “End Of Men” is a ride upon a gentle river that quickens into a threat, one that does not seem survivable because as the water roughens it leads into the black unknown. “Haunted Memories” is a murky dream that does not go away when you wake. There is an amazing extended bass solo in “A Throne Abandoned” and salubrious lead guitar in “Desert Of Fury / Ocean Of Despair.” The final track is a cover of the Portishead song “Threads,” and it engenders a pleading hopelessness far beyond the original. Taken together, these songs form a set of music expertly matched to the promise of the title. Highly recommended.

At The Maw Of Ruin is out now and available for instantaneous purchases at Bandcamp and other digital distributors. You can order CDs and vinyl as well. There is even a signed CD available at Earache’s US store (link below).

Band photo from the Metal Archives.

Links.

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

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

Soundcloud, https://soundcloud.com/green-druid

Earache store, https://webstore.earache.com/green-druid

Earache US store, https://uswebstore.earache.com/green-druid-at-the-maw-of-ruin-signed-cd

Green Druid, At The Maw Of Ruin review (Earache Records, 2020)