Planet of the Dead, Pilgrims (2021)

The sophomore release from New Zealand space stoner doom band Planet of the Dead should definitely be on your radar.

Four musicians from Wellington make up Planet of the Dead, Mark Mundell (vocals), Malcolm McKenzie (guitar), Kees Hengst (bass), and Josh Hussey (drums). Their debut album came out last year, Fear of a Dead Planet. The new release is a fresh adventure with a familiar crew.

It is hard to think of a better summary of the band’s music than this, from the press release: Hurtling towards the forever yawning void within their busted-up space freighter, they draw inspiration from classic science fiction and horror, and push supermassive and megalithic riffs to the outer limits.

There are eight tracks on the album, and I starred every one of them on my media player as I listened, one by one. The music is heavy fuzzy doom set in the limitless expanse of the collective mind (space, that is). Utterly irresistible.

“Escape from Smith’s Grove” stood out for me with the shifts it takes from heavy doom to a more urgent agenda. “Pilgrim” is a set-stone artifact as well, and you cannot set aside the leviathan that is the closer, “The Great Wave.” This album will be on heavy rotation for the summer desert road trip ahead. Highly recommended.

Pilgrims is out on Friday, July 23rd – get more info at the band’s website and pick up the music and Bandcamp.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://planetofthedead.bandcamp.com/album/pilgrims

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

Website, https://planetofthedead.band/

Planet of the Dead, Pilgrims (2021)

71TonMan, War Is Peace // Peace Is Slavery (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

If you like your Doom slow, massive, and pulverizing, 71TonMan is the band for you.

71TonMan has been shaking the earth for ten years. Their first album, 71TonMan, came out in 2013 and Earthwreck followed four years later. The new one is a three-track EP, and each song is very different.

“War Is Peace” is that slow, massive, and pulverizing music I was talking about. The riffs are so heavy your headphones will threaten to collapse under the pressure. It is hammering Doom Metal. “Peace Is Slavery” is more actively aggressive, more like Death Metal – faster, with more vocals and ravaging percussion – in the first half of the song. In the second half, the weight of the world pushes down hard.

“Ignorance Is Strength” finds an ethereal plane to enter on. It is spacey, with a creepy intermittent voiceover. A little over halfway through a beeping beacon disturbs the journey, and the voice is back, even creepier. This continues to the end and the voice becomes more compelling, convincing, hypnotizing. By the time you realize you are being talked into something it is too late.

I recommend this EP particularly for the first two killer tracks. The third is best absorbed as part of a meditation in an altered state. How you get to that altered state is up to you, but once you are there “Ignorance Is Strength” will start to speak to you on a whole different level.

War Is Peace // Peace Is Slavery is out now from Transcending Obscurity. You can order through Bandcamp or at the label’s US store.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://71tonmanband.bandcamp.com/

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

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

71TonMan, War Is Peace // Peace Is Slavery (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Desert Druid and the Acid Caravan, The Witch (Dopesmoke Heavy Music Productions 2021)

Doom ridden incantations from Brazil surround and overtake you on the new EP from Desert Druid and the Acid Caravan, The Witch.

F. Klinger (bass, vocals), E. Lisboa (drums), and Nass (guitar) have been playing in the heavy music scene for ten years or more, and have now come together to form a trio of doom-makers. Their take is classic metal and straight-forward heavy bluesy doom that is a rich nectar for your ears.

The Witch, or written as it is on the cover of the album like it would have been in medieval typesetting, The VVitch, has four tracks, all of them designed to have an immediately effect and a big punch.

“The Witch” opens with a voiceover and a thick, fuzzy riff, showing off the clear disposition of the music. Influences of Black Sabbath are noticeable, and, really, the 1970s harder rock bands generally. “Total Madness” plods in surety and exceeds in dire expression with its distorted primary riff and mildly echoing vocal. There is a purposefulness to the formidable darkness the music generates that rises up and consumes you as you listen.

“Mistress of Black Heart” and especially the outro closer, “Witching Hour,” are focused on the atmosphere. The latter is a short instrumental piece with a prominent church bell and a great lead guitar line while “Mistress” is the longest song of the set – it rambles with a steady, relentless pressure and is capped with its own memorable guitar work.

The music is lyrically occult, doom in structure, and stoner in vibe. It is a combination that cannot miss. Recommended.

The Witch is out now and available through Bandcamp for US fans. There is a cassette available from Ruidoteka Records and the vinyl is out through DHU Records.

Links.

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

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

Label, https://www.facebook.com/dopesmokeprod/

Desert Druid and the Acid Caravan, The Witch (Dopesmoke Heavy Music Productions 2021)

Darkthrone, Eternal Hails… (Peaceville Records 2021)

Fenriz and Nocturno Culto are back with another bubbling cauldron of metal: Eternal Hails…

Darkthrone has been throwing its weight around the heavy music scene since the mid-1980s. Cracking in with Death Metal at first, they became well known for the seminal Black Metal albums they released in the 1990s – 1993’s Under A Funeral Moon, for example, and its immediate successor the following year, Transylvanian Hunger. New albums came over the years, laying down the history of the band and establishing its legacy.

The new record leans into the Doom Metal side of the Darkthrone universe with five long crushing tracks. When I say doom, I mean heavy doom. “His Master’s Voice” is slow and pulverizing with a tempo change or two but clearly focused on pressing you down with its mass. “Hate Cloak,” my personal favorite of this set, stays in the same lane, with straight-forward riffs that have an overwhelming simplicity that is hypnotizing.

“Wake of the Awakened” breaks the gate with an up-tempo rate and the pace is maintained throughout, like a charging cavalry. “Voyage to a Northpole Adrift” offers a riff of despair in its establishing moments, but turns to a purposefulness later on that gives you a feeling of exploration in a barren place. The anchor song is “Lost Arcane City of Uppåkra.” This song more than any of the others fits perfectly the description Fenriz gave the album, “Five heavy dinosaurs looking in wonder and bewilderment at the stars.” Heavy, monstrous, unstoppable.

I have always liked the music Darkthrone creates no matter what direction they go in. I’d put this new album high on the list of their accomplishments, even given all the great work they have done in the past. Recommended.

Eternal Hails… is out on Friday, June 25th from Peaceville Records in CD, vinyl, and digital formats.

Band photo by Jørn Steen.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://peaceville.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-hails

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Darkthrone-101075189934422

Peaceville Records, https://peaceville.com/bands/darkthrone/

Darkthrone, Eternal Hails… (Peaceville Records 2021)

Eremit, Bearer Of Many Names (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

German Doom Metal trio Eremit offer their second full-length album, Bearer Of Many Names, to the multitudes.

Eremit’s first album, Carrier of Weight, came out in 2018 and it started something big. It had three songs, the short one being eleven minutes long and the long one covering thirty three minutes. Even for a doom band, this is epic-length work and in conveys a commitment to concept and idea that would become a hallmark of the band’s approach. The line-up is Marco Baecker (drums), Pascal Sommer (guitar), and Moritz Fabian (vocals and guitar).

Desert Of Ghouls is an EP that was released last year – two songs, twenty minutes – and it was a welcome transitional release for the new album. It is not necessary to listen to the earlier releases to become immersed in the latest one, but I do recommended it because there is an arc here from the beginning to the now and beyond. Like Carrier Of Weight, there are three tracks on Bearer Of Many Names.

“Enshrined in Indissoluble Chains and Enlightened Darkness” (29:22) opens with six quiet minutes of uneasiness then explodes suddenly with a Black-Metal-esque eruption to show you the trepidation was in order. The doom approach is slow and fatally heavy, punctuated by the tectonic shifts in the percussion, guitar, and voice.

“Secret Powers Entrenched in an Ancient Artefact” (18:36) is a bit more funereal to my ear than the first track and “Unmapped Territories of Clans without Names” (18:27) is the eeriest, pressing against the edges of ethereal and ritual music. Everything about the music on this album is absolutely mesmerizing. Listening to any track by itself is a welcome a welcome journey. Even so, listening to all three in order is worthwhile enhancement.

I have been following Eremit through its brief career and I have enjoyed the first two releases. The new one is the best so far and it sets a higher standard for Doom Metal in this vein. Highly recommended.

Bearer Of Many Names is out now from Transcending Obscurity, one of the very best heavy labels around – if you are into variants, bundles, and merch, they always deliver. Look over the links below and dive in.

Links.

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

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

Eremit store, http://eremit.limitedrun.com/

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

Eremit, Bearer Of Many Names (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Void Tripper, Dopefiend (Abraxas Records 2021)

Brazilian Doom Metal band Void Tripper release their first full-length album, Dopefiend.

In the first five years the band has released a couple of singles, a demo, an EP, and a full-length live album, all setting the stage for Dopefiend, their first studio long-player. The music is straight-up stoner doom with heavy and crushing riffs to go along with the narrative delirium. According to the Metal Archives, the line-up is Gabriel Mota (drums), Mário Fonteles (guitar and vocals), Anastácio Júnior (guitar and vocals), and Jonatas Monte (bass).

There are five tracks on the album, four of which run over seven minutes long. The influence of Black Sabbath runs deep and rich in this earth-rattling music. “Devil’s Reject” opens the set with splashy percussion, weighty bass, and a rolling guitar riff. The vocals are gruff enough to push the dark ideas and clear enough to be understandable. The lead break toward the end of the song is a howling wolf filled with warning and sorrow. An auspicious beginning.

“Burning Woods” conveys surety in its confident deployment. The music is a dark warming syrup too thick to escape. Once you are captured the guitars rage around you. “Hollow” leads with a distorted audio capture then veers off at a harrowing pace on a rollicking, sinister riff. By the end the music slows to a grinding stone-on-stone eminence.

“Satan and Drugs” is the shortest piece and it shakes you up with its warbling threats, setting the stage for the closer, “Comatose.” A massively distorted bass line joins the clipping drums to usher in an intoxicatingly inviting guitar and insinuating vocal enticement. The second half of the song slows to a tense almost funeral doom level over which a mystical guitar lead hypnotizes you to an inevitable and thoroughly satisfying end. The album is an excellent set of doom that beguiles you from start to finish. Recommended.

Dopefiend is out on Friday, June 11th, and you can find it at the Bandcamp link below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://voidtripperdoom.bandcamp.com/album/dopefiend

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

Void Tripper, Dopefiend (Abraxas Records 2021)

Wytch, Exordium (Ripple Music 2021)

The debut album from Sweden’s Wytch is a rugged and dynamic statement of intent burgeoning with both straight-forward and clandestine perambulations.

Formed in 2017 as Aska, the band released an EP under that name and then switched to Wytch for their first long-player, Exordium. The musicians have performed with numerous other bands over the years, including Vintersorg. The roster is Simon Lundström (bass), Fredrik Nilsson (drums), Niklas Viklund (guitars), Mattias Marklund (guitars), and Johanna Lundberg (vocals).

There are eight tracks on the album. Each song is set up with a clever and catchy hook that the song develops around. It is a bluesy heavy psych sound defined by those rummaging guitar parts and Johanna Lundberg’s unforgettable, haunting voice. The zippy lead breaks are sometimes pepperpot shots and at other times are languid and insinuating. Sturdy bass and drum lines free the voice and guitars to crossover each other while simultaneously self-actualizing therewith, engendering a synergistic construct. It all sounds effortless but of course it couldn’t be. Music like this is rare.

Stand-out tracks for me are the pairings of expansive “Blood” with “Evil Heart” and doomy “Break You Down” with “You.” That’s half the set, isn’t it – I’m not really narrowing it down much. The thing is when you first hear any song on the album it immediately draws you in and holds onto you with a mystical spell that may or may not be sinister. It is not like a Siren song but instead it is more like the snowfall that awakens the intrepid journeyers in The Wizard Of Oz. It just doesn’t make any sense to stop listening. Recommended.

You can get Exordium right now. Look over the options at Ripple Music’s store or on Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/exordium

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/people/Wytch-Band/100063579726744/

Ripple Music, https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/product/wytch-exordium-limited-digipak-cd

Wytch, Exordium (Ripple Music 2021)

Moon Coven, Slumber Wood (Ripple Music 2021)

The return to full-length form for Moon Coven brings more thoughtful melodic doom into the world.

The band is from Sweden and has been around for nearly ten years. They released a series of EPs leading up to the self-titled long-player in 2016. Slumber Wood is their second full album. The music has changed a little over time and now the sound produced has a very clear doom intent, the way I hear it, no matter what narrative element might be running at any given time.

The opener, “Further,” and its spiritual companion, “Ceremony,” establish a slow and deliberate pace of heavy stoner psych highlighted by and with the vocals which hover on the light side, and the ethereal. Then suddenly “Potbelly Hill” quiets the rumble down but keeps the doom going with softened sounds for the first minute before taking a turn by introducing a surprisingly turbulent riff that changes the tone of the song entirely. It is a bit dizzying. By the end of third track you don’t know what to think.

Next up is “Eye of the Night” and it sounds like a crime story. The short piece “A Tower of Silence” is a transitional passage to “Bahgsu Nag,” which starts off with a strum. The song has a very different sound, something all its own and apart from the others on the album. Bringing us ultimately to the last two songs, “Seagull” and “My Melting Mind,” which are more in line with the early tracks. The anchor song has a special resonance – maybe it is the phase shift – that ties a knot around you and hangs on. Truly, I can’t get it out of my head.

You can take this album in a number of different ways. The steady ardent doom with surprising bulges and flares is the way I took it and it settled in well with me. Recommended.

Slumber Wood is out now. Vinyl and CD versions are available, as well as the digital download.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/slumber-wood

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

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

Moon Coven, Slumber Wood (Ripple Music 2021)

Domkraft, Seeds (Magnetic Eye Records 2021)

The third full-length album from Sweden’s Domkraft is an inflexion point for Doom Metal music.

I first heard (a recording of) Domkraft play live as part of the Day of Doom event put on by Magnetic Eye Records at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, November of 2019. It was a killer bill and Domkraft gave an amazing performance. Since then I have been eagerly awaiting any new music from them. The band is Martin Wegeland (bass and vocals), Anders Dahlgren (drums), and Martin Widholm (guitar). They play heavy, measured doom metal that can shake the rivets lose in a seismograph.

There are seven tracks on Seeds: three long, three medium, and one transition piece. I usually look out for the longer songs because I like the way you can feel transformed in the drawn out expansive space so the first two tracks, “Seeds” and “Perpetrator,” running as they do about eighteen minutes together looked like the perfect launch pad. And they definitely are, both having gigantic, crushing riffs and relentless rolling rhythm. I was immediately taken back to the live recordings and the contemporaneous experience mixed together with my memories of what I had heard before, generating something bigger.

The three tracks in the middle are shorter, but they hit me just as hard, especially “Into Orbit” which I came back to a couple times after the first run through. The anchor song is “Audiodome” and it starts out at full blast, arguing that turning the power down is not an option. The arch toward the vanishing point is subtle and deliberate. There is nothing to do but hold on. When it is over, you are right where you want to be. Every time I listen to Domkraft I like them even more. Highly recommended.

Seeds is out on Friday, April 30th, and is available through finer discerning retailers.

Links.

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

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

Magnetic Eye Records, https://us.merhq.spkr.media/magnetic-eye-records/domkraft-seeds.html

Domkraft, Seeds (Magnetic Eye Records 2021)

Yellowtooth, The Burning Illusion (Orchestrated Misery Recordings 2021)

The Indiana metal band Yellowtooth lay down a fresh slab of heavy music to menace your listening hours.

The band has been around for more than ten years, releasing a handful of demos, an EP, and two previous albums, most recently Crushed By The Wheels Of Progress in 2015. It is good to have some new music to get the summer started. The band is Peter Clemens (bass, vocals), Henry McGinnis (guitar, vocals), and Dave Dalton (drums).

The album has eight songs and one transitional piece. The first track, “From Faith To Flames,” has a solemn beginning that quickly flips into a more threatening tone. The use of two disparate vocals is very effective and unusual. Combining this with the slow heavy rhythm and the lead guitar that has a Woody Weatherman quality to it at times is very effective and compelling. “Atrocity” is up next, a more up-tempo piece that has a flickering, stabbing urgency. There is an eerie intro segment for the next track that brings us into heavy doom territory, “Astronaut’s Journey.” A surprisingly light touch with the guitar eases the music along and stands in direct contrast to the vocal style.

The ideas and intimations established at the front of the record are carried on throughout. The trio makes the most of every instrument and puts forth new ideas combined with fundamentals to generate heavy music with a broad appeal. I will definitely be looking for Yellowtooth on festival rosters and venue flyers from now on. The band’s Bandcamp note reads in part, “We are not out to reinvent the wheel but to jam and drink.” They definitely have the jamming part down and I will trust them on the drink. Recommended.

You can get the digital version of The Burning Illusion now and the CDs start shipping on Friday, April 30th.

Links.

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

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

Yellowtooth, The Burning Illusion (Orchestrated Misery Recordings 2021)