Thūn, II (Eat Lead And Die Music 2022)

The second album from Thūn features Nile’s Karl Sanders on lead guitar.

Thūn is a “Bull Elephant offshoot” that focuses on thunderous and cracking doom metal. The people responsible for it are Jon Higgs (guitar, vocals) and Hugo Wilkinson (bass), with James Knoerl (drums). Returning as guest lead guitarist is Karl Sanders of the legendary band Nile.

As with Bull Elephant, the story that goes along with the music (and/or vice versa) is complex. Here is a brief description. “The narrative concept is Bull Elephant adjacent … drawing from the same loosely Lovecraftian mythos but following the present-day adventures of an eco-witch-terrorist … The enemy is every person or corporation that puts profit before preservation of the natural world. With tentacles.” Uh-huh.

In case you are a little fuzzy on the whole Bull Elephant situation, here is a refresher. “Bull Elephant is the story of a slain African elephant that occultist Ahnenerbe SS attempted to bring back from the dead as a new form of battle asset. However, before re-animation could be completed it was intercepted by a mysterious witch-shaman, pursuing her own agenda and redirecting the undead creature’s purpose.” There have been two Bull Elephant albums so far, with the capping third due out later this year.

So, let’s leave it that there is a lot going on in the realm of Thūn and Bull Elephant. But what about the music?

As with the first Thūn album, there are seven tracks on II. The opening song is “Where All Truths Lie,” a heavy and mysterious affair. There is a very spacey feel to the music, and that could be inner or outer space, for all we know. The music shifts and pauses, turns its focus from mountain to valley to sky, taking in all it surveys. “Look To The Sea” is more directly melancholy, in my ears anyway, and the sorrowful character is enhanced by the variegated tempos and tucks, and of course the brilliant lead guitar work.

“Kiss The Ground” has a raucous, charging movement and a campaign of delights that fulfills the journey. There are two short pieces then, “I Have Failed You,” a sort of punk-like song, and “Completely,” a beautifully light interlude. And then the final push of “Zero Growth” and “Final Cut.” The music, especially the last two tracks, is complex and at times dense. There might be a tendency, too, to get lost in the narrative because it is content-heavy and compelling.

The best approach is to listen the album straight through the first time without thinking about it too much because the music is great. Go back and ponder it all on the second pass. I predict that on both listens you will like what you hear. Recommended.

Thūn’s II is out on Friday, July 1st through Eat Lead And Die Music. Links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://thundoom.bandcamp.com/album/ii

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

Bull Elephant review at FFMB, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2019/11/15/bull-elephant-new-release-review/

Bull Elephant, Part 2 review at FFMB, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/08/13/bull-elephant-created-from-death-review-eat-lead-and-die-music-2020/

Eat Lead And Die Music, http://www.supermetal.net/

© Wayne Edwards

Thūn, II (Eat Lead And Die Music 2022)

Max & Iggor Cavalera, Warbringer, and Healing Magic at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 2022

Heavy metal giants Max & Iggor Cavalera brought their show to Broad Ripple on Monday. The feature act was neo-thrash metallers Warbringer and Healing Magic opened the show.

Healing Magic is a duo from Arizona comprised of Igor Amadeus Cavalera on guitar and vocals and Johnny Valles on drums. It is amazing, truly incredible in fact, that such a full and complete sound can be created live by only two people. Roaring psychedelic riffs and astonishing percussion filled the club and got the crowd whipped up for the evening ahead. I have seen two-man acts before, but none could hold a candle to Healing Magic.

Veteran thrashers Warbringer held the middle slot. Formed in 2004, Warbringer has an impressive catalogue of albums in their canon and a formidable roster of metal musicians who line the stage every night and deliver stunning performances. Front man John Kevill stalked the stage and the pit and the crowd, becoming one with the concert-goers and making the night one they would remember all summer. The hard-driving attack of the guitars along with the steady rhythm section and searing percussion had the house speakers swaying.

Max and Iggor Cavalera are luminaries in the heavy music world. Remembered first as stalwart members of Sepulchura, they continued to create new and compelling music without pause after their departure from that iconic band. As Cavalera Conspiracy, they released four riff-filled albums in ten years. Operating now as Max & Iggor Cavalera, they continue to answer the call from the legion of their fans.

On Monday at The Vogue they played Beneath The Remains and Arise straight through, and a couple of bonus tunes at the end. This tour is a celebration of the early days of Sepultura. Being there to hear it live again was an amazing experience. The influence and lasting impact of that band cannot be overstated. This tour will help keep the music alive.

The links below will connect you to more information on the bands and to photo galleries of Healing Magic and Warbringer for more snaps from the show. There are many dates remaining on the tour. Grab a ticket and go.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Max & Iggor Cavalera, https://cavaleraconspiracy.bandcamp.com/

Warbringer, https://warbringer.bandcamp.com/

Warbringer photo gallery at FFMB, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/06/11/photo-gallery-warbringer-at-the-vogue-indianapolis-june-6th-2022/

Healing Magic, https://www.facebook.com/healingmagicaz

Healing Magic photo gallery at FFMB, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/06/12/photo-gallery-healing-magic-at-the-vogue-indianapolis-june-6th-2022/

The Vogue, https://thevogue.com/calendar/

© Wayne Edwards

Max & Iggor Cavalera, Warbringer, and Healing Magic at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 2022

Photo Gallery: Healing Magic at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 2022

Healing Magic is on tour opening for Max & Iggor Cavalera and Warbringer. These photos are from their appearance in Indianapolis at The Vogue. Hit the link below for the full review and photos of the other bands.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Main FFMB article on the show, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/06/12/max-iggor-cavalera-warbringer-and-healing-magic-at-the-vogue-indianapolis-june-6th-2022/

Healing Magic, https://www.facebook.com/healingmagicaz

The Vogue, https://thevogue.com/calendar/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Healing Magic at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 2022

Witchfinder, Endless Garden (Mrs Red Sound 2022)

Hazy stoner doom band Witchfinder cast out their new EP into the world, Endless Garden.

Just a few years ago in France, Witchfinder began creating music with hallmarks of doom, sludge, and heavy psych. Leaning toward the stoner end of the room, they released two full-length albums, a self-titled one in 2017 followed by Hazy Rites in 2019. There is a new long-player on the horizon, and meanwhile they offer Endless Garden. Witchfinder is Clément Mostefai (vocals and bass), Stanislas Franczak (guitar), Thomas Dupuy (drums), and Kevyn Raecke (keys).

There are two long tracks on the new EP beginning with “Eternal Sunset.” Any song that runs nearly eleven minutes will have some change-ups, or an arc, or both. Here we have a quiet opening, reflective music establishing space to expand into. Guitars and keys arrive in due course. There are moments that seem like self-contain songs themselves, and other, longer stretches that feel like a movie soundtrack. The vocals are spacey, almost cavernous at times, adding depth and mystery. The hallmarks of riff-driven stoner rock never stray too far from focus.

“The Maze” starts with a wandering bass, paired with a guitar that looks in a different direction. The mood here is darker than on the first song, instilling trepidation in the listener. The vocals offer what seems like a warning, or at least a sinister tale to put you on your guard. Decisive plodding appears, and is like a marching force on a mission; they will not be swayed. There is a sudden, violent shift at the end, an abrupt black metal moment that signals the conclusion of the conflict.

The band has planned a full-length album for later in the year. These two songs will hold us over until then. It is also a rewarding enterprise to listen to Witchfinder’s earlier albums in the interim. Recommended.

Mrs Red Sound will release Endless Garden on Friday, June 3rd. Bandcamp is a good stop when you are looking for this music.

Links.

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

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

Mrs Red Sound Records, http://mrsredsound.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Witchfinder, Endless Garden (Mrs Red Sound 2022)

Druids, Shadow Work (Pelagic 2022)

A new cauldron full of conjuring boils forth with Shadow Work, the next Druids album.

I would not necessarily have thought to look toward Des Moines, Iowa for ritual doom metal, but that is where you will find it with Druids. Drew Rauch (bass, vocals), Luke Rauch (guitar, vocals), and Keith Rich (drums) are purveyors of more than simply doom. For almost fifteen years, intense, spellbinding sounds have been emanating from the continental middle ground, and later, the mountain west. After three previous long-players, including 2019’s Monument, they have now laid down their most impressive tracks to date with Shadow Work.

Comprised of six long songs and two shortish tracks, the ruminating starts on “Aether.” I get the ritual feel here, from the very beginning. It is not an ayahuasca situation, at least not in my head. There is a meditation and there is also an offering. As the music continues on “Path To R,” “Ide’s Koan,” and especially “Hide,” the mantra is there if you will only hear it; the sentience is present if only you will avail yourself of it. The percussion, driving bass, and illustrious guitar work channel the mainsource and the vocals are guiding calls, relatively rare in the scheme of things but absolutely necessary.

The second half is every bit as pulverizing. “Dance of Skulls” is perhaps my favorite track on the album because of the way it opens your mind, opens into your mind. It is transportative in its declarations and repetitions, imploring you simultaneously to let go and to embrace. “Othenian Blood” is the scariest track, and “Traveller” is an excellent transition to the final movement, “Cloak-Nior Bloom.” It would be bestial to listen to only part of this record. There is meaning in each individual bit, and, while that meaning is preserved within the fullness of the complete experience, it is also enhanced. If you miss this album, you will be diminished. Highly recommended.

Pelagic Records releases Shadow Work today, Friday, June 3rd. Investigate at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://druidsiowa.bandcamp.com/album/shadow-work

Website, https://druidsiowa.com/

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

Pelagic Records, https://pelagic-records.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Druids, Shadow Work (Pelagic 2022)

Sergeant Thunderhoof, This Sceptred Veil (Pale Wizard 2022)

British stoner metal band Sergeant Thunderhoof stomp the terra again with This Sceptred Veil.

Sergeant Thunderhoof has been around for nearly ten years, and in that time they have released three previous full-length albums, an EP, and a split. It was that split I heard first, actually, Ripple Music’s Turned to Stone, Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa where they shared a side with Howling Giant. I was captivated by the more-than-twenty-minute song and since have sought out more at every opportunity. This Sceptred Veil is the best music they have produced to date, as far as I am concerned.

There are nine tracks on the new album. “You’ve Stolen The Words” is a wakening. The heavy fuzz arrives almost immediately, conveying the distant mercurial voice, ever melodic and punctuated now and then with exceptional exertion. This is desert stoner music but high plains, I must insist, with mountains near enough by to have an influence. I can feel melancholia in the song.

“Devil’s Daughter” comes next, and it is a little more actively probative, and, additionally, oracle-like. The riffs conceal the solemn thunder leeching from the dark grey clouds edging nearer, largely unnoticed atop the foothills in advance of the spiritual lead guitar line. Fantastic. And then with not a moment to gather yourself, “Absolute Blue” surrounds you with its silken folds. The first three songs establish the necessity that the next six songs be heard.

The album is marvelous – a wondrous, heavy fuzz presence that pulses and undulates and lifts you away. “Foreigner” is filled with power and “Woman Call” is extra bluesy. Every song makes important and impressive use of guitar, and still “Show Don’t Tell” stands a bit apart on that front. The final passages are “Avon & Avalon Parts I & II,” together running over eighteen minutes – could be a full album side. These two deserve a separate review unto themselves (but sadly will not receive it here). Coming where they do in the set, the impact is significant as the story emerges and the mysticism unfolds. This album is amazing, and I hope it reaches the ears of all the people of the earth. Highly recommended.

This Sceptred Veil is out on Friday, June 3rd through Pale Wizard Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://sergeantthunderhoof.bandcamp.com/album/this-sceptred-veil

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

Pale Wizard Records, https://palewizard.bigcartel.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Sergeant Thunderhoof, This Sceptred Veil (Pale Wizard 2022)

Peth, Merchant Of Death (Electric Valley 2022)

The debut album from Texas heavy psych band Peth is an alternate history of the past today.

Apart from the fact that the band has formed recently, there is not a ton of information freely floating about in the ether. There are four of them in the photos, band members. Mmmhmm. You can hear vocals, guitar, bass, and drums in the music. That adds up. If you want to sift through the band’s Facebook page for clues, there is a link below. Let’s have a listen to the album and see what it reveals.

On “Dwarvanaught,” the straight-forward rhythm sets you up for musical imbibement no matter how altered your state. The vocals and general presence in the song put me in mind a little of the band Ancient Days that I saw recently at Black Circle Brewing in Indianapolis – echoey; Eldritch. The lead guitar work is a thing of beauty. “Amok” sneaks up on you like an Amboy Duke, heralding a somewhat older origin than the first song. The guitar is big on this track, too, and it is a bit more questing than before. “Abolish the Overseer” channels Iommi for the opening riff. The otherworldly voice has a different impact in this setting, and still again is an exceptional complement.

“Let Evil In” is a barn burner, and no mistake. The thrusting guitar cracks open the primordial egg and, when you step inside, what you find is a surprise. “Stoned Wizard” is swirling fuzzy darkness filled with muscular riffs. The title track is notable for its execution of Sabbathan classicism. It is a delight. The big closer is the ten-minute epic “Karmic Debt.” It is a patient piece with a couple of killer sequences and a worthy payoff for seekers.

I had a lot of fun listening to this album. It is haunted by the past, heavily. Peth takes this and transforms what might be a curse into a mythic blessing. I will be listening to this album again and looking forward to the next one. Recommended.

Merchant Of Death is out on Friday, May 27th through Electric Valley Records on digital and vinyl.

Links.

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

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Peth.usa

Electric Valley Records, https://www.electricvalleyrecords.com/

The Cosmic Peddler, https://thecosmicpeddler.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Peth, Merchant Of Death (Electric Valley 2022)

Cities Of Mars, Cities Of Mars (Ripple 2022)

Heavy fuzz doom trio Cities Of Mars self-title their third long-player.

Sweden’s stoner doom band Cities Of Mars began in 2014, releasing an EP, Celestial Mistress, a couple year later. The music falls squarely in the land of doom, but the subjects and trajectories of the compositions align with the stars. Joining their first two full-length albums, Temporal Rifts (2017) and The Horologist (2019), the new record continues the sure-footed journey. The band is Danne Palm (bass, vocals), Johan Kuchler (drums, vocals), and Christoffer Norén (guitar, vocals).

“Before The Storm” is a beautiful spacey opening for the album. Patient, building slowly, the song introduces an ethereal voice signaling the beginning of the journey and, importantly, the need for it. Gentleness gives way to heavy doom guitar riffs on “Towering Graves.” The vocals are still mysterious but much more menacing now. The massive riffs continue on “The Prophet,” growing tall enough to block out the dim setting sun on the red planet.

“Song of a Distant Earth” is an acoustic piece; a mood shift before the devastating “A Dawn of No Light.” The tempo picks up and the rhythm is more assertive, and the lead guitar freer in its explorations. “The Dreaming Sky” has a forlorn quality to it. Harmonizing vocals and melancholy guitar lines waken suppressed feelings. “Reflected Skyline” is an airy piece, and sad, too, in my hearing.

“The Black Shard” is the twelve-minute final word on the album. In some ways you could see it as a reinterpretation of the ideas earlier expressed. You could also see it as a furthering of those notions. It is an exceptional piece and, if nothing else, you should listen to this one. It has many powerful moments, and regular returns to altered pace, attitude, and sentiment throughout. Much like the album in its totality. Recommended.

Cities Of Mars is out now through Ripple Music. Bandcamp is always a good place to pick up the goods.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/cities-of-mars

Website, http://www.citiesofmars.se/

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

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCavaUFPTEDKYjAxJ8Qapbeg

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Cities Of Mars, Cities Of Mars (Ripple 2022)

Wo Fat, The Singularity (Ripple Music 2022)

The seventh album from Texas stoner doom band Wo Fat is a world of its own, The Singularity.

Wo Fat hit the ground running with their first album The Gathering Dark (2006). It is legendary now, and it set the stage for a blistering run of records including Psychedelonaut (2009), Noche del Chupacabra (2011), and The Black Code (2012). The band plays psychedelic stoner doom rock that sounds like it was anointed by the cosmos. The new album is another chapter of astonishing guitar-based music that beguiles the listener and holds them in its sway.

The new album has seven big tracks, with a run time averaging over ten minutes each. You can hear “Orphans of the Singe” in the distance. As the music gets closer, you bend toward it and fall in. Down the rabbit hole. This is desert groove jam music; sounds that way to me. There is magic here, the kind that coalesces from nowhere just as the sun is disappearing beyond the horizon. Incredible jams over inspired rhythm. And then some.

I don’t know how it is possible to be so engaging over such a range with this level of endurance. It just keeps getting better as you listen. Skipping ahead a couple of tracks (about twenty minutes or so), “The Unraveling” claps its sinewy hands on you and gives you a good shaking. It is an up-tempo, high energy push. “The Witching Chamber” follows and you feel enchanted but not inveigled. Riffs bigger than the Mississippi is wide form an encampment where you could live for the rest of your days if you wanted.

How could there be more? Then the title track queues up and you know that you are still in it and the journey is not over yet. “The Oracle” ends the set on a sixteen-minute parable of psychedelic swamp doom that has no peer and faces no rival. The musicians have a breathtaking command of composition, improvisation, instrumentation, and elevation. I feel bad for anyone who has not heard this album yet. Highly recommended.

The Singularity is out now through Ripple Music. Check them out on Bandcamp or the Ripple site. What you should really do is subscribe to Ripple Music on Bandcamp – if you had done that, you would have The Singularity already.

Links.

Website, https://wofat.net/

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

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

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Wo Fat, The Singularity (Ripple Music 2022)

Slowtorch, The Machine Has Failed (Electric Valley Records 2022)

Italian stoner metal band Slowtorch have a new record out this week, The Machine Has Failed.

Slowtorch came together around 2005. They rolled out at a measured pace, releasing a series of EPs leading up to their debut long-player, Serpente (2014). The new album is their first since then, so fans have been waiting awhile. The style of music they play is a kind of heavy stoner, groove-driven affair that has a lot of crossover appeal. The band is Fabio Sforza (drums), Matteo Meloni (vocals), Bruno Bassi (guitars), and Karl Sandner (bass).

The album starts out on a heavy groove with “Hammerhead.” The hook alternates with a bob while Meloni’s voice floats around it all. The shifts sometimes have a GZR feel to them, and I do see where the Clutch comparison might come in. It is a high-energy pop with a heavy riff. “Book Of The Dead” has a darker, slower, heavier weight to sling around, and that makes a lot of sense given the title. Singable repeaters predict this one will be a fan favorite. “Man Vs. Man” comes on and I am thinking this party might never slow down. This track has the first dedicated lead guitar work, too.

“Behold” has melodic moments and the most concentrated doom delivery on the album. “Kraken” brings the big monster energy, and “Sever The Hand” takes the tone toward noir with a hectic chop. “Charger,” then, is a big power push and a relentless riff that will grind you right off the cliff. The title track raises the tension to set up the closer, “World Behind My Eyes.” This final song has an attractive clomp to it – the kind of thing that has enormous jam potential and could be expanded live to go on for ten minutes it the band wanted it to. This is great outdoor festival music. Recommended.

Electric Valley Records has the vinyl, along with digital, out on Friday, April 29th. Pick up your favorite variant while you still can.

Links.

Website, https://www.slowtorch.com/

Bandcamp, https://slowtorch.bandcamp.com/album/the-machine-has-failed

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

Electric Valley Records, https://www.electricvalleyrecords.com/products

© Wayne Edwards

Slowtorch, The Machine Has Failed (Electric Valley Records 2022)