Marc Urselli’s SteppenDoom, SteppenDoom (Magnetic Eye 2022)

Marc Urselli brings together doom metal and an international cast of throat singers to create SteppenDoom.

SteppenDoom is the new project from Marc Urselli, the well-known audio engineer, sound designer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with a broad array of top bands. The idea is to invite and unite “eminent musicians from the doom metal genre and legendary indigenous singers employing ancient throat signing traditions from around the globe.” That’s right. Doom and throat singing. It is the perfect combination. The artists involved include heavy metal veterans Matt Pike (Sleep, High On Fire), Aaron Aedy (Paradise Lost), Steve Von Till (Neurosis), Christopher Juul (Heilung), Dave Chandler (Saint Vitus), and Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed), as well as renowned throat signers Alash Ensemble, Batzorig Vaanchig “Zorigoo”, Huun-Huur-Tu, Tanya Tagaq, Albert Kuvezin (Yat-Kha), and Alexey Tegin.

The main release has six tracks. Here are the full details so you can see who is involved. 1. “Etugen Eke and Od Ana” featuring Matt Pike and Batzorig Vaanchig “Zorigoo”; 2. “Garuda Khuresh” featuring Aaron Aedy and Huun-Huur-Tu; 3. “Agloolik Igaluk” featuring Johannes Persson and Tanya Tagaq; 4. “Tamag and Ocmah” featuring Steve Von Till and Albert Kuvezin; 5. “Imdugud in Shambhala” featuring Massimo Pupillo (Zu) and Alash Ensemble; and 6. “Peri to Ela Guren” featuring Trey Spruance (Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle) and Erdenebat Baatar (Erka). If you buy the artbook or boxed version, you also get the bonus tracks 7. “Sedna and Eliduc” featuring Lori S. (Acid King), Utelo, Karen Panigoniak and Maria Illungiayok, and 8. “A-dkar Theg Pa” featuring Dave Chandler, Anders Møller (Ulver), Norman Westberg (Swans), Scott “Wino” Weinrich and Alexey Tegin (Phurpa).

What does this sound like? If you have heard throat singing before, then you can put this together in your head. When you actually hear it, though, it is more amazing than anything your imagination can conjur. I would put this music in the folk doom category, but whatever anyone might call it, these exceptional musicians working together produce synergistic results. Some of the music is haunting, some of it frightening. To me, all of it is moving, and, since doom is my favorite metal lane, I was enthralled the entire time.

SteppenDoom is out on Friday, November 18th through Magnetic Eye Records. Check out the label link below to see all the varieties. If do recommend getting a version that includes the bonus tracks because the final one is a 33-minute-long life-changer. Highly recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://steppendoom.bandcamp.com/album/steppendoom

Marc Urselli website, http://www.marcurselli.com/

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

Magnetic Eye Records, https://en.merhq.net/en/Artists/Marc-Urselli-s-SteppenDoom-spkr/Marc-Urselli-s-SteppenDoom-SteppenDoom.html

© Wayne Edwards

Marc Urselli’s SteppenDoom, SteppenDoom (Magnetic Eye 2022)

Matt Pike, Pike Vs. The Automaton (MNRK Heavy 2022)

The newest music from Matt Pike takes the form of Pike Vs. The Automaton.

Matt Pike is an icon of heavy music. I we are all familiar with his work in High On Fire – one of my all-time favorite bands – and Sleep. I saw him perform with Sleep at Heavy Montreal in 2018 and with High On Fire at Psycho Las Vegas a couple years ago. Damn. He is an amazing talent. Now, in addition to Sleep and High On Fire, Matt Pike has a new project, Pike Vs. The Automaton. The reference in the title is to Talos, a giant bronze robot of Greek mythology that was established as a protector of Crete, patrolling the island and chucking enormous boulders at any invaders. This music fights against the protectors of the establishment, then? Sounds right.

The new album is a little more on the psychedelic side, according to Pike, than his other work. It does sound a bit different, but in the best possible way. There are all manner of divergent moments sprinkled throughout, including the thoughtful and quiet “Land.” This is a heavy album, though, and make no mistake. The vocals are forceful overall, and the unforgettable guitar work goes straight for your spine and sets it alight.

There are ten songs on the album running over an hour altogether. My favorite tracks are the longest ones, but that is a peccadillo of mine that runs deep. Still, “Trapped In A Midcave,” “Apollyon,” and “Leaving The Wars Of Woe” are all truly inspired compositions that clock over eight, nine, and ten minutes, respectively. Look, I know what I am doing, here – when I hear these long songs, I imagine seeing the live performance, and longer pieces where Matt Pike is leaning into it and wailing on the guitar are my favorite concert memories.

To be clear, you don’t want sleep on the short ones. “Acid Test Zone” is a savage little rager, and the opening song, “Abusive,” is a mood-setter if there ever was one. So, yeah, this album does sound a little different from the others we’ve heard so far yet still it fits right in. Fans of High On Fire and Sleep are going to love it. Highly recommended.

Pike Vs. The Automaton is out now and available everywhere. Check out a stream then pick up a physical product from MNRK Heavy while they are still available.

Links.

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

MNRK Heavy Records, https://mnrkheavy.com/collections/pike-vs-the-automaton

Matt Pike, Pike Vs. The Automaton (MNRK Heavy 2022)