We're back (again)! There weren't any solid releases on Feb 10, so I took the week off and then the promos and releases snowballed and it took a while to catch up. Thankfully this is another slow release week, so here's what sounded good the past month. First up is the second album from Victoria, BC's Hail the Void - Memento Mori, released 02/17 on the always fantastic Ripple Music. Unless I'm forgetting something, this is my favorite pure doom release since Wheel's Preserved in Time all the way back in 2021. Anguished, haunting vocals wail away over top of tasty, fuzzed-out riffage. Again, it's a pure doom record and while it's sometimes hard to stand out in an overcrowded genre, these guys manage to do so in a way that few bands outside of Monolord have done in the last decade. The hype has been justified for this one and don't be surprised if these guys are household names by the time if their next release.
Next, we roll into the Netherlands for the latest release from death metal stalwarts Bodyfarm. Released 02.24 on Edged Circle Productions, Ultimate Abomination is full of angular, muscular death/thrash riffs a la Jungle Rot (that's high praise, by the way). Dig the insane dive-bomb solos that just come out of nowhere but totally fit the mood. Plenty of stankface riffs, too. I'm ashamed to admit that this is the first I've heard of these guys. I'll definitely have to carve out some time to catch up on the back catalog.
Ice Cold Oblivion, the debut release from Mammoth Caravan was released independently on 02.24. Hailing from the fertile doom lands of Arkansas, these up-and-comers are just oozing with a filthy tone as dense as the mammoths that they sing about in every track. This is a bit sludgier than I usually go for and I'm not 100% on the vocals, but seriously, that tone is enough to land this one on the big board. I was drawn in right away by the sound and kept coming back until the record clicked.
Italian quartet Ontborg released their second album, Following the Steps of Damnation, on 02.24 on Black Lion Records. I initially thought this was just going to serve as a good appetizer for another melodeath release detailed below, but over time it has stood on its own. Due to the glorious HM-2 sound here, I think these guys are leaning more towards Stockholm than Gothenburg, but there is still plenty of melody if not a ton of guitar harmonies. Interesting co-mingling of Swedish death sounds, for sure.
Now I'm all confused. Even though Vittra is actually from Sweden, they are geographically closer to Stockholm than G-burg, but they exhibit more of the classic melodeath twin guitar harmonies, so who knows. And another twist - this is really a thrash album anyway. This is technically a European reissue of a 2022 release (Emrinc Records - they have a Myspace page!), but it's new to me so I'm counting it. Anyway, cool record. Imagine At The Gates covering Rust in Peace.
March finally kicked off with the BIG melodeath release that everyone was waiting for, Vast Reaches Unclaimed by Majesties. This is a supergroup of sorts, most notably featuring members of Obsequiae, and they just released the most authentic Gothenburg-sounding record since maybe 1999 and not a moment too soon since the new In Flames was a giant turd instead of the much-hailed return to form. I'm a huge slut for melodeath and maybe the success of this record hails a return to form for the genre. One can hope.
Speaking of bands that fell off a cliff, remember Skeletonwitch? Fear not, because we finally have a capable replacement in Denver's Necropanther. I remember these guys getting the Twitter hype on their 2019 release, but I was kind of on review hiatus so I didn't check it out for whatever reason, or if I did it didn't make an impact the way Betrayal does. This shit right here absolutely rules, from the wild thrashing to the groovy breakdowns to the evil, unhinged vocals. Don't let the deathcore-ish branding scare you away.
Slowing things down a bit, we arrive at Pale Existence, the second record from Greece's Ocean of Grief. This is kind of your meat-and-potatoes death doom stuff. Plenty of atmosphere, heavy-ass riffs, haunting keys and growled vocals. Not exactly breaking new ground here, but if you're a fan of the genre, you're going to enjoy this one. It's also just a great sounding album, with every instrument getting room to breathe. This is something that would hit a lot harder in Autumn, so I'm making a note to revisit then.
Last but not least, we have France's Witchthroat Serpent checking in with the absurdly named Trove of Oddities at the Devil's Driveway, their 4th full-length, out last week on Heavy Psych Sounds. My first thought before digging into their background was that this would've been huge 10-15 years ago before the Electric Wizard sound/Hammer Horror cover combo got played out. I mean, I still like that combo quite a bit, but I can also understand why it's tired for the rest of you. That's what this is.
One month down already? Time for a 40% uptick in metal releases. Sign me up. We're getting quality along with quantity this month. First up this week, we have the second album from Nashville trio Act of Impalement - Infernal Ordinance. This is the kind of cavernous HM2 Death Metal that I've been eating up lately and I'm shocked that there wasn't more buzz around this release. The absolutely filthy tone is enough to garner a thumbs up, but they back it up with propulsive riffage and reverb-soaked drums with enough tempo shifts to keep you on your toes. This should honestly be celebrated alongside the massive wave of Death Metal releases we're getting during this second golden age we're experiencing at the moment. Album of the week...Ough!
With as much love as Bolt Thrower rightfully gets in metal circles, it's kind of amazing to me that no one really talks about Memoriam, the British Death Metal quartet fronted by Bolt Thrower's Karl Willetts. Yeah, it's not the same, but it's still really good stuff and they're on album #5 now with the release of Rise to Power. I can't say I've spent much time with the back catalogue so I'm not sure where this ranks, but it's something I would listen to regardless of the connection. Just 45 minutes of classic, old-school, war-themed British Death Metal. Nothing wrong with that.
It seems like Ripple Music puts out something excellent on a weekly basis and this week's winner is Thieves and Liars, the fourth album from Oakland Stoner/Doomers Blackwülf. These guys take that NoCal stoner sound, add in a healthy dose of Blue Öyster Cult and a shitload of swagger and the result is as catchy a Stoner Metal release as we've seen in some time. The third track "Killing Time" is verrryy reminiscent of my favorite BÖC song..any guesses?
We had some pretty solid metal shows and tours announced this week, headlined by the return of Milwaukee MetalFest, May 26-28 in...Milwaukee. What a lineup, right? Lamb of God is about the only band there that I would skip and there at least a dozen bands that I would go out of my way to see on tour. Where the hell was this festival 4 years ago when I had time to do stuff like this? Thanks, Jamey Jasta.
We also had incredible tour announcements from Carcass, Municipal Waste, Sacred Reich & Creeping Death and the Decibel 2023 Tour with Dark Funeral & 200 Stab Wounds. Unfortunately, neither is coming anywhere near me but you guys should have some fun.
That's it for this week. Stay tuned next week when I defend a universally reviled In Flames record. That should be fun. As always, until next time...Doom It Up.
We've almost made it through January, doomsters, and that's fantastic for a couple of reasons. First off, there's no real upside to January, right? It's cold, it's dark, the godforsaken NFL is still hanging around. More importantly, though, the end of January means the metal release calendar is finally heating up after a couple of down months. This week we have three new records that I'm recommending. First up we have The Fires of Heaven, the debut full-length from Boston's blackened speed metallers Malleus. This is January metal right here - unrelenting, frigid and punishing. Check out the mid-paced thrash stomp on the title track...chef's kiss. "Into the Flesh" is so catchy that it's almost a singalong and then they drop the tempo for the penultimate track, setting up the eerie nine and half minute closer that delves back into the maelstrom, wrapping things up beautifully. Fans of Bewitcher and Midnight and that old 80's speed vibe can't miss this one.
Next up we slow things way down and head out to sea with Sorrowful Land. Beautiful, brutal and haunting, the latest release from the Ukranian one-man project, Faded Anchors of the Past, is absolutely stunning. From the very first note I got Solitude Productions vibes and guess what? This band used to be on the venerable Russian doom label that somehow churned out masterpiece after masterpiece in this very vein. (Note: This release is on Black Lion Records.) I'm a sucker for crushing doom with epic, emotional solos so I was hooked right away. The vocals shift from death growls to serene cleans (featuring a handful of guest vocalists) and it works on all fronts. This clocks in at just over an hour so be prepared for a deep dive (look...keeping the nautical theme going), but there's enough variety and shifts here that it never really drags or bogs down under its infinite weight. In fact, the layers just keep revealing themselves. Stick with this one; it's that brilliant.
Last but certainly not least, we head over to Greece for the second album from the doom trio Seer of the Void, entitled Mantra Monolith. This more of your meat and potatoes Doom Metal right here, which isn't a bad thing. You could probably generate an AI review for this one - fuzzed out Sabbathian tones, pounding drums, hamfisted riffs, etc. Again, none of that is bad. This is a really good record, almost like a more streamlined Electric Wizard. If you're into Doom, you're going to enjoy this one, simple as that.
That's it for this week. There wasn't any huge news to cover and I don't think I needed to catch up on any releases I may have missed. We'll see you back here in February and let's hope that goddamn groundhog gives us some warm news next week.
We're moving right along; another week down in 2023. We didn't have that one big release that everyone's talking about this week a la Obituary, but it wasn't a bad week for January. I haven't had a chance to listen to the new albums from Katatonia or Faithxtractor yet, but I'll rectify that today and I don't plan on being disappointed. I did really enjoy The Lord Knows, the latest release from Swedish heavy stoner rockers Tidal Wave. It's the kind of meat and potatoes riff rock that we've come to expect from Ripple Music and while it doesn't hit quite as hard in the middle of a cold, gray winter, I'll be bookmarking this one for warmer days ahead when I'm cruising down the highway with the windows down in my Trans-Am, I mean minivan. I also dug the Cosmic Reaper side of the split Doom Sessions Volume VII on Heavy Psych Sounds.
So what did we miss last week? I think I'm covered there. I had a couple more releases trickle onto my radar, but nothing that made me take notice. There were a few big tour announcements this week. Mastodon is heading out with Gojira. That's a pretty huge tour right there and it's coming to Cincinnati, which is notable due to the fact that metal bands forgot the city existed for like 20 years. I can't say I'll be checking that one out. I could never get into Mastodon despite repeated tries. What am I missing? I did see them live once. Did they open for Slayer or am I imagining that? I think that's the one where I went last minute after work and caught a Slayer/Mastodon/Bodom show in business casual. The Black Dahlia Murder is going out with Terror and Frozen Soul. And then there's Elder hitting the road with Ruby the Hatchet. That one's not coming to Cincy, but I do need to see Ruby again, and not just because I already outgrew my t-shirt from the last time. So good stuff there. Catch them all if you can.
Let's see...what else? Metallica released another underwhelming single from their forthcoming album. I just don't understand how you guys do the 21st century James Hetfield voice. It's nails on the chalkboard for me. If it was just some rando Joe Schmo Rock n' Roll Band and didn't say "Metallica" on the front of that record, that shit would be openly mocked, right? Didn't even make it past the first verse. I give one-man black metal projects more time. Just turrible.
I want to start a new feature here where I highlight an older album that revisit each week. This week we're listening to Sheavy - The Electric Sleep. Released in 1998 on Rise Above Records, this is the only Sheavy record I own and I think the only one I ever listened to. I probably hadn't listened to this in nearly 20 years before I popped it on this week and I instantly remebered nearly every riff and lyric. Either I listened to this way more than I remembered or it's just that catchy. Either way, it's kind of strange that I never pursued them further. That probably has a lot to do with the availability of stoner and doom in the pre-streaming age. I have no idea where I even picked this one up; maybe mail order or something. Anyway, it's fantastic Sabbath worship from back when that wasn't so ubiquitous. I always loved the dreamy ballad "Savannah" and it's still a banger. Do you have a favorite Sheavy album or track? Every caught them live?
Okay, looking ahead to next week we have some promising stuff coming out from Malleus, the blackened death unit out of Boston. I also like what I've heard so far out of Seer of the Void and Sorrowful Land so we'll probably talking about those in more detail next week. Until then, have a great weekend and remember to keep doomin'.
Wow. It has been a while, huh? Almost 5 years, I guess. So what happened to your favorite blog? Let's just say I got kind of busy. I really don't have an excuse for 2018, but in 2019 I spent most of the year on the road for work before Cult of Sorrow released our record Invocation of the Lucifer (look at that - a shameless plug three years after release!) on Black Doomba Records in September and did a little regional touring. Hot off the heels of that release, we ended up opening for Doom Metal legends The Obsessed right before COVID hit and shut everything down, so that was awesome. Also right before COVID, my wife and I welcomed our first child and then I took a transfer to a role that had me working 60-70 hour weeks for the remainder of the year, so doom blogging wasn't really in the cards. Having spent the past 8 years driving 8 hours back and forth to Canada or flying all over the country, I had plenty of time to check out and absorb new releases, but the move to a demanding desk job for the next two years cut that time almost completely out. Then at the tail end of 2021 we had triplets, so that effectively put an end to all of my free time for the next 20 years. So that brings us to today. Why now? I don't really know. It's not a New Years resolution or anything. I'm just feeling recharged and excited about Heavy Metal again. I'm holed up in a basement office most of the day with ample time to listen to music and I have 15 minutes a week to publish something for the first time in 5 years. Cool? Cool.
So enough about me, let's get into the music. January is typically a slower month for releases and 2023 is no exception. Where I used to track up to 200 new releases per month, I'm looking at 25 this month. Easing back in at opportune time, right? Nothing really caught my ear last week, but this week we have the return of the legendary Obituary, as the Florida stalwarts release their 11th album and first in 6 years. To say that Dying of Everything is already a contender for many 2023 year-end lists isn't hyperbole, but it'll be interesting to see how such an early release impacts that end. I'm not incredibly familiar with Obituary's back catalog so I can't say exactly where this one ranks, but I can say that it's the only thing I've listened to for a week and it just gets better every time. The razor-sharp riffs fluctuate from 16th note blitzkrieg to mid-paced stomp with groove to spare. I really like the vocals coming through with clarity and force at the same time. Then you have the dive bomb solos and plenty of high hat and it's pretty much everything I need in a Death Metal album. So there it is, your Album of the Week. I'm sure those guys will be thrilled.
So where do we go from here? I can't say for sure. I'd like to get back to weekly recommendations. I'd also like to add a feature for upcoming records to keep an eye on. (In that vein, if you like Stoner Metal, keep an eye on Tidal Wave - The Lord Knows coming out next week on Ripple.) I do kind of like this freeform stream of consciousness format, too, so maybe I'll keep that going. The only thing I know for sure is that I'm back and I want to keep doing this as long as I have time. Thanks for reading and we'll talk soon!
Friday, November 13
Saturday, November 14
There have been a few changes to the upcoming and highly anticipated Shadow Woods Metal Fest since my interview with festival organizer Mary Spiro a few months ago. Most importantly, the SWMF has moved from its original location in Pennsylvania to Camp Hidden Valley in White Hall, Maryland. The new camp contains all of the amenities featured in the interview and should provide a fantastic setting for a weekend of camping and Heavy Metal. In addition, the lineup has slightly changed. Refer to the photo below for the updated lineup. Tickets still remain and this WILL BE the one and only year for the festival if the even doesn't sell out. I know I'm really stoked for the festival and I hope it can become a yearly pilgrimage, so please do your part for the metal community and spread the word (or buy a ticket!)
For the first time in over a decade, England's doom behemoths Electric Wizard will be invading North American soil. With support from Virginia's Satan's Satyrs, the mighty Wizard will be spreading misery and woe across the continent for three weeks beginning March 31 in Philly. Unfortunately, the closest show to Blog of Doom Headquarters is a Tuesday nighter in Chicago, but I'm going to figure out a way to see this tour. Electric Wizard remains the final band on my tour bucket list and I'm not too keen on waiting around another decade. Doom on. Destroy those who love God.
The fifth installment of Ironfest, Cincinnati's premier 2-day rock festival, takes place this Friday and Saturday, 11/14 & 11/15, at The Southgate House Revival in Newport, KY. Ironfest was created to pay tribute to the late "Iron" Mike Davidson, a former local musician and supporter of local music, and is intended to help raise money for his family. As I intend to cover both nights of the festival here on The Blog of Doom, I've put together a handy reference guide to all of (most of) the weekend's featured bands. Tickets are only $5 for each night, which is an absolute steal for all of this fantatstic music. Doors open both nights at 6:30 and the music starts at 7:00. Tickets are available at the venue or can be purchased in advance here:
IRONFEST V (NIGHT 1) - Click on band names for details.
IRONFEST V (NIGHT 2) - Click on band names for details.
Editor's Notes: I had a hard time finding info and/or links for a handful of the bands listed above. If anyone has any information on these bands or if I've misclassified any bands, feel free to send me a message or post the info in the comments section. I'll update this post with set times and stage assignments as that information becomes available. - JO
In advance of their upcoming album, Colossus (10/07/14), Columbus stoner metal giants Lo-Pan will hit the road with Black Cobra for several weeks across America this Fall. If you're anywhere near one of these shows, do yourself a favor and check out these bands. I can't vouch for Black Cobra, but Lo-Pan puts on one hell of a live show and their albums are killer, as well.
Lo-Pan w/ Black Cobra:
8/28/2014 Club Red - Phoenix, AZ
8/29/2014 Sister - Albuquerque, NM
8/30/2014 Conservatory - Oklahoma City, OK
8/31/2014 Doublewide - Dallas, TX
9/02/2014 Red 7 - Austin, TX
9/03/2014 Fitzgeralds - Houston, TX
9/04/2014 Siberia - New Orleans, LA
9/05/2014 Handlebar - Pensacola, FL
9/06/2014 Orpheum - Tampa, FL
9/07/2014 Gramps - Miami, FL
9/08/2014 Back Booth - Orlando, FL
9/09/2014 529 - Atlanta, GA
9/10/2014 The Mothlight - Asheville, NC
9/11/2014 Chop Shop - Charlotte, NC
9/12/2014 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA
9/13/2014 The Pinch - Washington, DC
9/14/2014 Dusk - Providence, RI
9/15/2014 Nectars - Burlington, VT
9/16/2014 TT The Bears - Boston, MA
9/17/2014 Kung Fu Necktie - Philadelphia, PA
9/18/2014 Saint Vitus - New York, NY
9/19/2014 Lost Horizon - Syracuse, NY
9/20/2014 Bug Jar - Rochester, NY
9/22/2014 Howlers - Pittsburgh, PA
9/23/2014 Reggie's - Chicago, IL
9/24/2014 7th St Entry - Minneapolis, MN
9/26/2014 Replay - Lawrence, KS
9/27/2014 Lost Lake Lounge - Denver, CO
9/28/2014 Burt's Tiki Bar - Salt Lake City, UT
9/29/2014 Dive Bar - Las Vegas, NV
10/01/2014 The Garage - Ventura, CA
10/02/2014 New Parish - Oakland, CA