[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Crimson Shadows - Kings Among Men (Napalm)
I don't generally get into Power Metal, but this Toronto quintet adds a dose of Melodic Death to the stew and that makes a huge difference. on their second album, Crimson Shadows use sparse clean vocals in tandem with raspy, blackened shrieks and gruff death growls that combine with the outstanding musicianship to create something fresh and exciting. This is what Dragonforce would sound like if its members were men. Swords and sorcery never sounded so brutal.
Lonely Kamel - Shit City (Napalm)
The Norwegian stoner rockers return with their fourth album, a scorching affair full of top notch material, switching seam- lessly between blazing stoner punk and laid back bluesy numbers. I haven't heard a lot of stoner stuff out of Norway, but they seem to be on par with their Swedish brethren. I honestly would have guessed that this came out of SoCal if I hadn’t known better.
Megaton Leviathan - Past 21: Beyond The Arctic Cell (Seventh Rule)
It takes some serious talent to be able to stretch a riff for over 4 minutes without losing steam and this Portland trio has mastered the art on their second album. This is drone doom at it's finest. I had the added bonus of cranking this album while driving through intense fog across the foothills of southern Ohio. I love it when music matches atmosphere so perfectly.
The Order of Israfel - Wisdom (Napalm)
It appears that there's a new Gothenburg sound these days. Actually, I wouldn't go that far, but if the debut album from these Swedes is any indication, that may not be far off. Wisdom is full of classic/epic doom in the vein of Candlemass, with some additional thrashy parts for good measure. Plus, they drag out the classic "cursed Nazarene" speech from Omen III: The Final Conflict on Track 8. Gets me everytime.
The Sabbathian - Ritual Rites EP (Svart)
Here's another solid classic doom release this week, this time courtesy of two dudes in North Carolina and a haunting female vocalist who hails from Norway. I don't know what kind of rehearsal/ recording arrangements this trio endures, but the result is pretty damn killer. Slow doom jams combined with pummeling riffage and those creepy vocals. Already looking forward to a full-length release from this outfit.
Steak - Slab City (Napalm)
Following two highly acclaimed EPs, this London foursome has finally released their debut full-length. This album would make the cut based on its unbelievably thick fuzz tones alone, but luckily the songs have merit as well. This is pure stoner metal, as lean and bloody (good) as the choice cuts at your local butchery. Oh, and John Garcia makes a guest appearance.