Hissing, Hypervirulence Architecture (Profound Lore 2022)

Hypervirulence Architecture is the new album from Hissing.

With three EPs and a long-player under their belt, Seattle’s Hissing brings out a new full-length album, Hypervirulence Architecture. Having begun only in 2015, this is a notable record of musical creation from the highly respected death and black metal band. The musicians are Zach Wise (bass, vocals), Joe O’Malley (guitar), and Sam Pickel (drums).

This new record is noticeably different from their debut album, Permanent Destitution (2018). The press release gets it right when it notes that, on Hypervirulence Architecture, “the trio take their sound into more nightmarish, trance-inducing, mercurial, and mind-altering sonic dominions.” They achieve a delicate balance between what we might think of as death metal and black metal, while making concerted use of ambient/noise moments constructed sometimes almost ritualistically. It is a sinister blend.

“Cells of Nonbeing” is the first of seven tracks. It sounds for all the world like a frantic casting about in a dark cave that might very well be an abyss. The farther in you go, the more mysterious it becomes. The guitars lean toward dissonance part of the time, and the vocals are not meant to be reassuring. “Hostile Absurdity” further loosens the moorings you thought were secure, leaving you to drift into dangerous regions. “Operant Extinction” is then unleashed, and it is the most impressive track on the album. An epic piece, running over ten minutes, it is fascinatingly doomy and filled in every space with dark and frightening looks.

The second half of the album starts with a transition piece, “Hypervirulence,” then kicks in the door with “Intrusion,” a song that builds tension to the bursting point. “Identical To Hunger” and “Meltdown” are reflected images – visions distorted by a warped onyx glass. Listening to these last two tracks, I began to feel appropriated by some existential object that could not be clearly discerned. This album will affect you. Recommended.

Hypervirulence Architecture is out now through Profound Lore Records. Have a look at the label’s website and/or pick the album up at Bandcamp.

Band photo by Marena Shear.


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

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Hissing, Hypervirulence Architecture (Profound Lore 2022)

Stricken, From A Well Of Emptiness, A Stygian Serpent Born (HPGD 2022)

Heavy doomers Stricken shake the Seattle mist off to throw out a new long-player, From A Well Of Emptiness, A Stygian Serpent Born.

Stricken materialized in the Pacific Northwest around 2017, releasing a three-song demo the following year. Sometimes described as blackened doom metal, their music sounds more like a death metal / doom metal crossover to me – but what’s in a title anyway? The songs are heavy and grim in the best possible way. The Metal Archives tells us the musicians are Rob Ropkins (bass and vocals), Chris Wozniak (drums), and Nick Charlton (guitar).

Over the course of seven big tracks, Stricken puts suffering, misery, and hopelessness to music. To wit, the aptly titled opener “Consuming Misery” is an avalanche of mourning. Surprisingly peppy percussion channels the heavy riffs into a primordial swirl. “Divine Appointment” follows with shuddering drama. Ropkins’ vocals are strong, and project a soaring quality. You have to admire the consistency and enthusiasm of the pummeling rhythm.

“Sacrifice” is the heaviest song of the first side, and that gives it an elevated position in my mind. I can’t get enough doom, and this one lays down three strong merciless minutes of it then picks up the pace a bit and steamrolls on.

Every track has something particularly notable about it from the great buried hook in “Eon” to echoing tragedy of “Dishonored In Death” to penetrating inevitability of “Sudden Fall.” The closer is the epic “Beyond The Void,” hoisting metal heavy enough to smother any remaining resistance from you. This new Stricken album needs to be in heavy rotation. Recommended.

From A Well Of Emptiness, A Stygian Serpent Born is out on Friday, March 25th through Horror Pain Gore Death Productions on digital and limited-run CD. You can also grab a shirt if the spirit moves you.


Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/from-a-well-of-emptiness-a-stygian-serpent-born

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/stricken.seattle

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, https://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Stricken, From A Well Of Emptiness, A Stygian Serpent Born (HPGD 2022)

Sun Crow, Quest For Oblivion (Ripple Music 2021)

When I think of Doom Metal this is what I hear in my head: Sun Crow’s debut album.

Quest For Oblivion was released late last year by the band, and now it is getting broader distribution through Ripple Music. The musicians are Ben Nechanicky (guitar), Brian Steel (bass), Keith Hastreiter (drums), and Charles Wilson (vocals). The band as it is might be fairly new, but the members have a solid history of honing their talents and together they are pure metal lava.

There are eight tracks on Quest For Oblivion, four of them over ten minutes long. The album starts with “Collapse,” a slow-opening heavy doom statement with planetary-scale riffs and soul-freeing power. The music is unhurried. Sure of itself, the composition moves in its own natural direction. “Black It Out” is next with a quicker build and a sound just as big. “End Over End” hits next, and it might be my favorite track on the album, although picking one among this pack is a fool’s errand because every song has so much to admire. Here I am enthralled by the lead guitar work and voice, the rollicking drums and muscular bass which together compartmentalized my mind and gave me a feeling like I was existing in a distinct cranial collective rather than a single source of thought.

There are two shorter songs, six and five minutes each, and they have a generally quicker tempo – “Fear” and “Nothing Behind.” The shift is a shove that rattles you around to secure your attention for the final two, “Hypersonic” and “Titans.” The penultimate song is a trip to the stars the final one brings the celestial to the terrestrial and shakes the prehistoric structure of the earth. Taken together as a full set or one song at a time, Sun Crow has set a standard with Quest For Oblivion to which other doom music will be compared. Highly recommended.

The digital download is available now at Bandcamp through the band directly or through Ripple Music. Physicals ship in July from Ripple.


Sun Crow Bandcamp, https://suncrow.bandcamp.com/

Ripple Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/quest-for-oblivion

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

Sun Crow, Quest For Oblivion (Ripple Music 2021)