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)

Serpents of Secrecy, Ave Vindicta review (Moving The Earth Records 2020)

The Baltimore Doom Metal scene gets another big dose of darkness from the debut album of Serpents of Secrecy.

The band had started this album in 2017, but the work was put aside after the shocking death of bassist Rev. Jim Forrester. Some of the music had already been recorded, and Serpents of Secrecy came together to finish all the work up and make sure it was not lost to history. The band for the album is Rev. Jim Forrester (bass), Todd Ingram (guitar), Chuck Dukehart III (drums), Mark Lorenzo (vocals), and Steve Fisher (guitar).

The underlying sound and vibe is classic metal in many ways and there are some songs that might have been played on the radio back when there was radio. There is a pervasive grungy feel, including the vocals which have a 1990s Seattle flavor to them in their cleaner incarnations. There is a plaintive emotion hovering around the music even when it crosses into a light literalness – that is one of the elements that makes this feel like a Doom album in the face of more straight-forward Metal.

“Ave Vindicta” opens the set and establishes that Doom tone I was talking about with throbbing feedback and slow, heavy riffs. “Heel Turn” is a more mainstream Metal song, and “The Cheat” is almost a ballad up front, with a melancholy lead guitar in the middle and a heavy finish. Bass lines are prominent on many of the songs, and well-placed sharp guitar remembrances glide in and out like ghosts. There are up-tempo crushers in here too, like “Warbird’s Song” and “Broke The Key” (one of my favorites on the album). It all comes to a close with a raucous sermon, “In The Lock.” This is an excellent album filled with variety and imbued with a style not often present in new music these days. Recommended.

Ave Vindicta is available on Halloween. Bandcamp is a good place to pick it up, and check out the band’s Big Cartel store for other merch. Links below.

Links.

Band Bandcamp, https://serpentsofsecrecy.bandcamp.com/releases

Band Big Cartel Store, https://serpentsofsecrecy.bigcartel.com/

Band website, http://www.serpentsofsecrecy.net

Band Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/Serpents-of-Secrecy

Serpents of Secrecy, Ave Vindicta review (Moving The Earth Records 2020)