[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Astrakhan - A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin (War On Music)
The Vancouver Sludge/Doom/Stoner quartet unleashes a 4 track album featuring two new songs and two songs from their previous EP. If you want riffs, you got riffs. Killer, fuzzy riffs that take on a progressive feel throughout much of the record. I imagine these guys get a lot of Mastodon comparisons and that’s fair. There’s definitely a Southeastern US sludge element to the sound, but this feels fresh, not just a rehash of the mid-2000’s scene. Kind of a bummer that it’s only 4 songs.
Oktor - Another Dimension of Pain (Solitude Productions)
You know you’re getting a quality doom record from Solitude Productions, and this Polish trio delivers and then some. After plying their trade for 11 years, Oktor has finally issued their debut album. Featuring four main tracks interspersed with reflective piano interludes, the debut is a strong slab of doom/death with crushing riffs and stunning, emotional lead work. Also, that album cover is pretty fantastic. Another dimension of pain, indeed.
Solitvdo - Immerso in un Bosco di Querce (Naturmacht)
The debut album from this Italian one-man project is difficult to classify, but let’s go with atmospheric black metal with doom and folk tendencies. It pretty much covers all the bases. The title translates to “Surrounded by a forest of oaks”, which is pretty apt. You don’t hear classic metal solos in black metal very often, so that was a cool surprise. Meanwhile, the main riffage is pretty crushing and the vocals are a bit sparse. It’s pretty easy to get lost in this album.