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)

Soothsayer, Echoes of the Earth (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

The first full-length album from the Irish band Soothsayer is a mystical slab of doom rendered in gargantuan proportion.

As early as 2013 Soothsayer was coming together and forming its identity. They released an EP in 2015, The Soothsayer, and another the following year, At This Great Depth, then a live set last year, Live In Malta. Echoes of the Earth is the first full-length studio album, and while its formation could be seen in the distance and its arrival was predicted, the size and impact of it could not have been fully imagined nor accurately reckoned in advance. The music is doom metal played heavy with attentive disquietude and depth. The musicians are Líam Hughes(vocals and soundscapes), Con Doyle (guitars and vocals), Marc O’Grady (guitar), Pavol Rosa (bass), and Sean Breen (drums).

“Fringe” is a think piece comprised mainly of eerie voices and what sounds like someone swinging an eight-pound hammer in chains. “Outer Fringe” is a continuation of the former and it is where we get the first massive barrage of Doom Metal. “War of the Doves” turns up the direct aggression with a resounding thunderclap. The driving, pounding guitars are relentless, as is the overwhelming vocal assault.

“Cities of Smoke” pries open side 2 with a succinct and nuanced all-in engagement. The quiet moments are surrounded by distant howls of suffering and in the end the calamity has to come. “Six of Nothing” paired at the end with “True North” offer more than twenty minutes of unrivaled imagination. In this space is the heavy doom we have been hearing in other songs beside and between episodes of blistering pace and passages of strange narration accompanied by upsetting collateral drones. The elements are too numerous to delineate and the experience is diminished in description – you must put it to your own ears.

The music is inescapable – while you are listening you cannot tear yourself away. From the subtle effects and captured sounds to huge guitar riffs and the imminently compelling rhythm to the narrative and emotion conveyed by the unique and unforgettable vocals, this album demands your attention and gets it. Highly recommended.

Echoes of the Earth is out now in many forms from Transcending Obscurity.

Links.

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

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://tometal.com/

Soothsayer, Echoes of the Earth (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Eyehategod, A History Of Nomadic Behavior (Century Media 2021)

The first full-length album in seven years from New Orleans legends Eyehategod is a mindbender and an earsmasher.

The last time I saw Eyehategod was at the Earthrocker Festival in 2018. What a lineup. It was Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity, and Black Label Society all setting the stage for Clutch in the steaming West Virginia sun at Shiley Acres. This was several years after their self-titled album and I hadn’t seen them since the Take As Needed For Pain era. It was a roar, and no mistake. I have been aching for new music from then since then in a bad way, and now here it is.

The band is Jimmy Bower (guitar), Gary Mader (bass), Mike Williams (vocals), and Aaron Hill (drums). The album is on the sludgy side, and that is a good thing. There are elements and instances of chaos that are sharp stabs, as well as grinding doom lodestone passages pointing you in the right direction.

“High Risk Trigger,” “The Outer Banks,” and “Every Thing, Every Day” are the show stoppers for me, but I can see how any of the tracks could be a favorite. If you are a fan you have probably already heard this album because, at this writing, it has already been out for two days. If you are new to Eyehategod, ideally you would see them live first. The world as it is today, though, you are going to want to grab this new album and start there. Then work your way backwards and listen to it all. You’ll be ready for the real thing that way when the live comes back. Highly recommended.

A History Of Nomadic Behavior is out now. Gather up the vinyl, CD, or digital at the links below.

Links.

Website, https://eyehategod.ee/

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

Century Media, https://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=188

Eyehategod, A History Of Nomadic Behavior (Century Media 2021)

Melvins, Working With God (Ipecac Recordings 2021)

The new album from the Melvins features the lineup from the early days and thirteen tracks of rarified rock weirdness/goodness.

When you speak aloud the name Melvins the response you get is either instant radical awareness or confusion. There isn’t a lot of middle ground. I saw them at the Louder Than Life festival a couple years ago. They got slotted on the far-flung stage (you know the one I am talking about if you’ve ever been to that festival) fairly early in the day and they tore it up on a short sharp set. Their performance was a highlight for me, clearly surpassing bands that came later in the bill. They play an indie, fuzzy grunge that comes at you from peculiar angles and hits you in unexpected places. There is no other band like them.

The line-up for Working With God is Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and Mike Dillard, taking the band back to its event horizon. The creative energy in the music is the whirlwind we have come to expect on Melvins releases, which now number in the uncountable range. The opening song is “I Fuck Around,” a Beach Boys parody. Nice. “Negative No No” comes next, and it is a fuzzy grunge fest. “Bouncing Rick” picks up the pace and franticness, handing the baton off to “Caddy Daddy” for a little drone. The first dose of absolute weirdness is “Brian, The Horse-Faced Goon.” And that is weird as in Mothers of Invention weird. Time for a smoke.

The themes are can be pretty accurately assessed from the song titles, and the sensibility is blowing off steam and not a lot of deep thought. It is pulsing hard-edged rock whipped up in endless variety and with boundless creativity. The back half doesn’t slow down at all, kicking off with “Boy Mike” and clipping into the delightful sentiment of “Fuck You.” There is the spacey “The Great Good Place” and “Hot Fish,” the longest song of the set that can be understood as a litany of frustration or as something else entirely. “Hund” is a B-12 shot to get you ready for the send-off, “Goodnight Sweet Heart,” which is either really funny or a total mindfuck, depending on where you are in your evening. Working With God is another raucous affair, and no mistake. Highly recommended.

The album is out now, so go scoop it up. Limited edition vinyl has sold out (at Bandcamp) but the regular is still available, and so are CDs and downloads.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://melvinsofficial.bandcamp.com/album/working-with-god

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

Website, https://melvins.veeps.com/

Label, http://ipecac.com/

Melvins, Working With God (Ipecac Recordings 2021)

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)

Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns (Cursed Tongue Records 2020)

Switchblade Jesus lets the aggression run rampant on Death Hymns.

My frame of reference for the Corpus Christi trio Switchblade Jesus is their 2013 self-titled album (later released by Ripple Music in 2015). That music leans heavy into the Stoner and Doom tracks, with an often bluesy and desert lilt. Great album. Death Hymns is much faster in overall pace, and harsher, having a noisier, Death Metal feel to it. The band is Eric Calvert (guitar and vocals), Chris Black (bass), and Jonathon Elizondo (drums, percussion, and synth).

First two tracks leap out at you with open antagonism, breaching any sense of security you might have had going in. “Scorched” has an ambient hum that is threatening enough at its start and, a minute in, the power kicks up. Paired with “Red Plains,” we are served a continuous front of sharp punches and heavy pushes. The next two songs draw from the Doom well, even with “Behind The Monolith” opening on a tear and riding it for the first half of the track. “Death Hymns” is introspective and infused with echoes.

The last three songs find the fuel to keep the rage going. “Forgotten” is heavy and doomy in the riffs, filled with harsh vocals, and mined by narrative captures. “Behemoth” is a roaring banger that holds a dark and sinister whirring lead break for the end. “The Blackened Sun” closes the show, and here the vocalizations reach farther than seems reasonable. This album is very different from the band’s earlier long-player, and all the shifts and moves land perfectly. Highly recommended.

The digital version of Death Hymns is available now, as is the CD. Vinyl starts to flow late in January and can be preordered now from Cursed Tongue Records directly or through Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://switchbladejesus.bandcamp.com/album/death-hymns

Website, https://switchbladejesus.net/

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

Cursed Tongue Records, https://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/

Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns (Cursed Tongue Records 2020)

Cell Press review (No Funeral Records 2020)

Montreal [*]core band Cell Press venture out with their first EP.

The band Cell Press is only about a year old, but the musicians it is comprised of have been plying their trade for some time. The band is Sean Arsenian, Joey Cormier, Mark McGee, and PQ. If I had to label the music on the self-titled EP, I would call it Punk, but the band does not embrace a particular label and writers are calling them everything from Grindcore to Metalcore to Sludge to Noise so I am going to go with [*]core. Fast, loud, guitar-driven music, sometimes discordant.

There are four songs and a longer track that is referred to as a “noise” piece in the press materials. “Piss Police” is up first and it begins tentatively with thrilling drumming and progressively coagulating guitar riffing, joined later by shouting. “Desert Breath” is like a person running down the street in a flaming halter top who seems to be more concerned about being late than being on fire. “Blacked Out in Verdun” – more great drumming and pensive guitar riffs to twist up the personal cataclysm. “Dead at OACI.” I assume this refers to the Metro Station (but it might not), and it goes from linear, certain riffs to pure mayhem, especially as the end nears. The long track is “My Son Will No the Truth,” clocking in at 11:40 and appearing at the end of the set. It is almost as long as the other for pieces combined. It is the sort of thing you have to just listen to and let happen. Describing it wouldn’t really get us anywhere.

Noisy and enjoyable, I give this Cell Press effort high marks. I am a Punk fan from the beginning, and I hear those roots here, certainly in the attitude, even if the category is technically off. The disenfranchisement is very appealing. Recommended.

You can buy the digital at Bandcamp, No Funeral Records has a cassette and T-shirt, and Ancient Temple Recordings will also be carrying products. Links below. The official release date is this Friday, November 27.

Links.

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

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

Ancient Temple Recordings, https://ancienttemplerecordings.bigcartel.com/

No Funeral Shop, https://store.nofuneral.ca/product/cell-press-t-shirt-t-shirt-cassette-bundle

Cell Press review (No Funeral Records 2020)

Jupiterian, Protosapien review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Jupiterian brings another round of atmospheric doom into the world straight from the heart of South America.

The four-piece metal band from São Paulo has been building its reputation in the heavy scene brick by brick over the last five years. Their first album, Aphotic (2015), is an impressive entry into the musical world. It oscillates between a traditional Doom Metal approach and Funeral Doom, pressing forth with a gargantuan heaviness. Terraforming (2017) begins like an ayahuasca chant with “Matriarch” and pushes on to turn and rise like a lumbering, impossibly tall giant tilling the planet for its on purpose and design. These two albums were early signs of things to come – the first two steps.

The latest release begins with heavy brass horns blaring threatening blasts and what sounds the distance metallic pounding of an enormous hammer against the hull of an ancient, derelict spaceship. Dripping water, buzzing insects, and then “Mere Humans” takes off. The sound has a sharp edge along with the weight of the vocal, guitar, and rhythm space. “Voidborn” thrums your sensibilities into raw strips with its insistent, insidious probing, turning almost frantic in the second half. “Capricorn” brings a stormfront of distortion that resolves in a blistering lightning storm, and “Starless” feels like an incarnation of hopelessness. The final song is “Earthling Bloodline.” It is the essence of “Protosapien” and the plain expression of album’s theme. Drawn out, deep growls (as if from the depths of the earth) surrounded and infused by thundering bass and guitar motions, kept on track by relentless, inexorable percussion.

Doom Metal is the organic center of the music from Jupiterian, enhanced by related genres at the command of the composers. Across their three albums there is a movement in the music’s complexity and presence. With the latest release, having heard the first two, you can detect a clairvoyance in the entity that is the music the band has created. Highly recommended.

Protosapien is out now. Transcending Obscurity has some amazing format variants and merch – the vinyl is a genuine showcase for the cover art by Mariusz Lewandowski. The download is available through Bandcamp and other fine vendors.

Band photo by William van der Voort.

Links.

https://www.facebook.com/jupiteriansect/

https://jupiterian.bandcamp.com/

https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Jupiterian, Protosapien review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Hymn, Breach Us review (Fysisk Format 2020)

Hymn is back with Breach Us, a further exploration of the chaos that exists in the sludge.

There are only two members in the Norwegian band Hymn, Ole Ulvik Rokseth on guitars and vocals, and Markus Støle handling drums. The Spartan simplicity of the membership is not obvious in the music, which has a robust and full sound. We might have to categorize the music as doom or sludge, but it is more of a duopoly of heavy inspiration, really, writ large.

Perish was the first album by Hymn, released in 2017. It is a dramatic piece of adventure, like scaling a mountain in a free climb. Breach Us is more polished and refined in all aspects, ranging from the vocals to the compositions themselves, even in the parts that seem improvisational in their rawness.

There are four songs on the new album, and it definitely has a Side 1 and Side 2 feel. “Breach Us” and “Exit Through Fire” are the first couplet, and these songs bear the greatest resemblance to the first album both in the singing and the presentation of the drums and pulsing riffs. Guest appearances by David Johansson and Guro Moe add greater depth and broader reach to the second two entries, “Crimson” and “Can I Carry You.” This is especially noticeable on the latter, which has distinct movements in the fourteen and a half minutes of the song that demonstrates shifts in feeling and style. The biggest single presence throughout is the strumming guitar that generates heavy riffs, occasionally perpendicular to each other. There is a pliant verisimilitude that permeates these musical creations, and it gives me the feeling that Breach Us portends ascent.

CD, vinyl, and download formats are ready to go at Bandcamp, and of course you can stream it all at Spotify and the other usual places.

Cover art by Danny Larsen.

Links.

https://urskoghymn.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/hymnoslo

https://www.fysiskformat.no

https://www.facebook.com/fysiskformat

Hymn, Breach Us review (Fysisk Format 2020)

Serpent Omega, II review (Icons Creating Evil Art 2020)

The drought is over – Serpent Omega returns after seven years with the sequel to their praised debut.

Centered in Stockholm, Serpent Omega describe themselves as a “sludge/doom/black/death/war metal” band. That covers a lot of ground, but then so do their compositions. Doom, certainly, and between Death and Black, I would say they lean toward Black Metal. There is enough crossover here to catch fans lingering along many edges. The guitars land heavy riffs, the bass is on overdrive, and the vocals are earnest and aggressive. Thematically, the message is despair and darkening, hopelessness even. There are moments of more active assessment and description sprinkled among the scenes of ruin and in general there is always an air of menace, sometimes understated and sometimes not. The darkness is always – it hangs in every corner of this album.

There are a couple of pieces that stood out on my first listen among the seven included in II. In “Rivers of Reversed” a warbling, distorted bass line takes over in the middle and is joined by melodic vocals. As the song progresses toward the end, the vocals become strained, increasingly agitated like a deteriorating mental state. “Through The Gates” is a radio-length up tempo howler about moving past a landmark with focused intentions. The last track is “Av Aska,” which means “of ashes” in English if Google is correct. It is a solemn whispering song, a kind of funereal meditation in a way, and an excellent choice to wrap up the many threads of this eclectic album.

Available Friday, September 4, Bandcamp is perhaps the best bet now. There are rumors that physical versions will be available soon. “Land of Darkness” and “Orog Nuur” are available as singles on Spotify right now if you want to get a listen in before the full set drops.

Band photo by Jonas Husbom.

Links.

http://www.facebook.com/serpentomega

http://serpentomega.bandcamp.com

http://icea.se

https://www.facebook.com/iceaofficial/

Serpent Omega, II review (Icons Creating Evil Art 2020)