[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Centipede - Sarnath (Inverse)
This is finally the debut full-length from a Finnish trio who have been active since 2011. Combining thrashing rhythms with slower, pounding Doom riffs and Matt Pike-esque vocals, the sound falls squarely into that whole Barbarian Metal thing perfected by High on Fire and Conan, only with a bit more melody at times. I particularly enjoy the fuzzy bass tone throbbing behind the buzz-saw guitars and amply filling the void during the lead sections. The songs are also short for the genre, so you won't get bogged down or bored. Top notch work from a solid, up and coming band. The Doom that Came to Sarnath, indeed.
Church of Misery - And Then There Were None (Rise Above)
The 6th album from the Doom veterans is the first since the departure of all but one member of the legendary Japanese band. Filling the lineup out with American dudes, bassist Tatsu Mikami continues on with the long-standing tradition of only writing sounds about serial killers. I actually enjoy this iteration of the band more, as I never cared much for the vocals on the past releases. Soundwise, it’s a prototype Doom album – slow, bluesy riffs and vocals straight from Lee Dorrian’s playbook. No complaints there. It’s also nice to see Rise Above releasing Doom records again instead of 70’s throwback schlock.
Mesarthim - Isolate (Avantgarde)
The Australian duo’s debut album is a tough one to review because I don’t even know what I’m listening to, but I know I really dig it. It’s supposed to be Atmospheric Black Metal and I think that’s fair, except it also sounds like a Doom record and has a ridiculous amount of melody. The drums are pounding constantly and you have your standard BM tremolo riffing and tortured shouts, but the bass is audible, the guitar leads are subdued and emotional and the star of the show is the piano. Yes, the piano. There are plenty of weirdo synths involved that I could live without, but when the piano/keys kick in atop the metal maelstrom, these dudes reach the pinnacle. Just take a chance on this one and give it a listen all the way through.
Soon - Vol. 1 (Temple Of Tortuous)
This is what happens when two indie rock dudes get together with two veterans of the Chapel Hill, NC Doom scene and make a record. It’s a neat experiment and for the most part it works very well. It’s not a straight-up Doom record, as there are elements of Folk music spread heavily throughout and it gets a little spaced-out at times, but there’s plenty to enjoy here. The heavy moments are very enjoyable and I really like the dichotomy with the mellow parts. It’s probably not something I’ll go back to time and again, but I’m glad I got the chance to hear it and I don’t think you’ll regret it either. And that's coming from a staunch anti-indie rock guy. Maybe if they make another album, they'll learn that not every Doom record has to be called Vol. (insert number).