[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Demon Lung - A Dracula (Candlelight)
The Las Vegas quartet returns with their second album, a very solid slab of female-fronted Doom. I like the fact that these folks aren’t afraid to pick up the tempo at times, proving that Doom can be effective over 72 bpm. The vocals are a nice touch, but the guitars steal the show on this record; massive riffs and solid lead parts. The bass is almost nonexistent in the mix, though. There’s also a bit of a Ghost influence at times, for whatever that’s worth.
High On Fire - Luminiferous (eOne)
The venerable lords of Stoner/Doom finally return with their 7th album and first in 3 years. I probably don’t need to waste any time describing the HoF sound because we’re all familiar by now and they never really deviate from the plan. Let’s just say that this one is a very worthy addition to the band’s prolific catalog and producer Kurt Ballou continues to get more out of the band than Albini and Endino ever managed to do. I don’t know how Matt Pike and Company continue to pull off gems like this while working within a very narrow framework, but they just get better with age. And we’re still waiting for that next Sleep record, by the way.
Lucifer - Lucifer I (Rise Above)
More 70’s-inspired, female-fronted Doom this week, this one courtesy of a German quartet formed from the ashes of the short-lived The Oath. It’s a pretty standard Stoner/Doom record, but it doesn’t really approach tired or derivative. There’s plenty to enjoy here, but let’s take a minute to recognize that this might be the laziest band name and album art in metal history. It’s okay to have 70’s influences, but when you try to pretend that you’re actually living in the 70’s, you’ve crossed the line. Don’t let that scare you off, though. It really is a good album.
Tempel - The Moon Lit Our Path (Prosthetic)
This Phoenix duo is identified as a Progressive Metal band, but I’m not really buying that. With all five tracks coming in at 8 minutes or longer, there is certainly a progressive element to the album, but when I think of Prog, I think of pansy bands with keyboard melodies, passionate vocals and ridiculous album concepts (I’m looking at you, Symphony X). This record is way too heavy to be bogged down with that genre label. To me, it sounds more like instrumental Black/Death Metal. The riffs are absolutely fantastic and the songs have a certain flow that I’m having trouble describing. Everything just works seamlessly. In fact, this is one of my favorite releases so far this year.