[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Aeonsgate - Pentalpha (The Church Within)
Another week, another single track doom album, this time a 59-minute affair from this Swedish quartet featuring former Candlemass vocalist Mats Leven. There's crushing riffs, killer leads and fantastic vocals throughout the band's debut opus. I didn't detect any recurring themes throughout the one track, but it flows nicely and it never gets dull. It seems like a lot of doom bands are pushing the boundaries with these one-track records, but if you can pull it off, I take my hat off to you. This is really well done.
At The Gates - At War With Reality (Century Media)
Comeback albums are always a risky proposition, especially when you're talking about one of the all-time greats within a specific genre. At The Gates, one of the progenitors of the Gothenburg sound, return with their 5th album and first since 1995's Slaughter of the Soul, and the classic lineup is in classic form. The new album features Slaughter's catchiness as well as the chaotic song structures from ATG's early releases. Incredible return from an incredible band. Good to have these guys back.
Dawnbringer - Night of the Hammer (Profound Lore)
The Chicago quartet returns with their 6th full-length release, a killer affair that adds some doom and blackened elements to the band's traditional heavy metal sound. Underground legend Chris Black's vocals lend a classy touch to the pulverizing Sabbathian riffs. This is a strong contender for the fast-approaching year end best-of lists. Highly recommended.