[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Blackwülf - Oblivion Cycle (Ripple)
The second album from this Oakland quartet features rollicking Stoner/Doom Metal with Classic Metal influences and Sabbathian riffs galore. When you’re one of a bazillian bands aping the Sabbath sound, it’s a smart move to stay away from the apocalyptic wails and these guys hone in on the skater/stoner sound vocal-wise, making for a much more contemporary sound. Regardless, these dudes know how to write a goddamn riff. This is definitely one of the more enjoyable and re-playable releases in the latter half of the year.
Monolithe - Epsilon Aurigae (Debemur Morti)
This 5th album from this Parisian 6-piece contains three tracks of bone-crushing Funeral Doom Metal, each clocking in at exactly 15 minutes. Despite the growled vocals, this is an incredibly melodic album for the Funeral Doom genre, with keyboards right up in the mix with the majestic guitars that blaze above the doomy maelstrom. However, this isn’t a feel-good album by any means. Monolithe are masters at mining the deepest recesses of your misery and woe and pounding you into submission with despair. So it’s basically perfect.
Yidhra - Cult of Bathory EP (Black Voodoo)
While I enjoy the occasional EP, I don’t really spend much time reviewing them because there are so many great full-lengths coming out every week. That being said, the second EP (sandwiched around a 2013 full-length) from these Los Angeles doomsters is one of the rare short players that demands attention from the opening riff. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, but they have the classic Doom sound down to a tee. Slow, massive riffs, pounding drums and gruff vocals combine here to create a headbanger’s dream.