Ritual’s Enigma (Self-Released) is an insanely tight EP that boats some of the best names in the music business; all of whom are renowned composers and songwriters. Joining Mike Lewin, Terry Knight, Franco Necros, and James Marinos are Devin Townsend, soprano Dianne van Giersbergen, and jazz harpist Amanda Whiting. The result is a strong release is Enigma that puts a smile on the face of the listener.
Something isn’t quite right here.
A Rammstein record a mere three years after the last one and preceded by no rumbling stories of friction between bandmates or nebulous warnings of permanent disbandment? The last time the Neue Deutsche Härte/industrial act had such a swift turnaround was when Reise Reise was followed by fun leftovers album Rosenrot a year later, so could this quick release (by their standards anyway) mean Rammstein are actually happy or could it be hinting at something more ominous?
Tenebra – Moongazer (New Heavy Sounds / Seeing Red)
There is something evocative about the retro / occult rock of Italian quartet Tenebra that is encapsulated in a most vigorous way on the third track of Moongazer, ‘Black Lace’. A steady, spacious build from jangled, careful chords that takes its time gives room for the powerful smoke-and-whiskey vocals of Silvia to take centre stage, before a Zeppelin-esque vocal-led coda closes things out. It is not the only, nor possibly even the best, song to do this, but as a drawing together of the best elements of the Tenebra sound perhaps serves as their best showpiece. Continue reading
The UK doom scene continues to pump out solid releases and the latest from Alunah is no different. Strange Machine (Heavy Psych Sounds) kicks right off with the album track and does not let up on the psychedelic rock/doom metal mixture. A lot of fans of the scene tend to just say things like “Oh it’s just more Sabbath worship”, but rest assure, these Birmingham natives are not here to hit copy and paste.Continue reading
Work on Greenbeard’s third album started four years ago, but numerous line up changes and the dreaded C word delayed things slightly. The wait is over as the Texan Stoner Rock groups third album, aptly titled Variant (Sailor Records/Kozmik Artifactz), is finally with us – it sees them mix fuzzy stoner rock with psychedelic, blues, soul and heavy metal influences.Continue reading
Originally planned for release last year, the fourth album from Welsh progressive doomsters MWWB (formerly known as Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard) had to be delayed after guitarist Paul Michael ‘Dave’ Davies suffered an almost life-ending Covid-related stroke from which he is still recovering. Recorded before his illness, The Harvest (New Heavy Sounds) finally sees the light of day but due to lockdown restrictions in place at the time, the Wrexham five-piece was reduced in size for the recording, the band losing guitarist Wes Leon, and bringing in Black Moth drummer Dom McReady to fill in for regular sticksman James ‘Carrat’ Carrington.Continue reading
From the swamps of Louisiana, legendary New Orleans sludgelords Crowbar return with another collection of songs so uncompromisingly heavy that each one arrives with its own gravitational pull. As entirely expected, Zero and Below (MNRK Heavy), the band’s twelfth full-length studio release pulls absolutely no punches, delivering even more high-quality riffage with the same single-minded determination that saw them smash their way onto the scene over thirty years ago.
There’s a fine line between “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “there’s always room for improvement”, and more often than not the re-recording of old albums usually falls snugly into the former category. No matter how much more accomplished the revised version might sound from a technical standpoint, the overall results rarely change. Lightning in a bottle cannot be captured twice.
Tony Martin has kept his name out there with some guest performances in recent years but full-lengths have been unfortunately rare to come by. Thorns (Dark Star) the singer’s third solo album, has been a long time coming, being his first full appearance since Giuntini Project‘s IV in 2013 as well as his first proper solo outing since 2005’s Scream (MTM). While this effort could’ve just been a stopgap for Martin to reassert his brand of doomy AOR, it ends up being an opportunity for him to explore some different aspects of his style.
Thrash. Post-Thrash. Punk. Speed. Sci-Fi. Industrial. Proto-Industrial. Avant Garde. Space. Alternative. Progressive. Nuclear. Some quite frankly preposterously named musical genres and subgenres, but into all of which Canadian act Voivod has been unwillingly pigeon-holed over the years. Having firmly refused to be anchored to any one particular style, the band has actually become a little more settled of late, their current approach now reined all the way back to just including all of the above and a small handful of others.