ALBUM REVIEW: Lord Mantis – Universal Death Church

It’s no secret that Charlie Fell has issues. Anyone reading the few interviews he gave to promote Death Mask (Profound Lore Records), his last outing with Chicago’s Lord Mantis prior to his acrimonious departure from the band, won’t fail to be staggered by some of the personal revelations feeding his lyrical contribution to that album. Coupled with the tragic loss of revered drummer Bill Bumgardner in 2016, it was hard to see a way for the soul of this truly disturbing entity to continue forward: yet here we are with Universal Death Church (Profound Lore Records), Fell back behind both bass and microphone and re-absorbed by the nucleus of Andrew Markuszewski, fellow returnee Ken Sorceron and honorary fifth member, vocalist Dylan O’Toole. Continue reading

Witchfinder – Hazy Rites

Satan rules!” states the bio of French Doom/Stoner trio Witchfinder. Dear, oh dear…more expected is the apparent devotion to hedonism and, on the band’s second album Hazy Rites (Black Bow Records), both are seemingly hallowed in equal measure. Continue reading

Blind Monarch – What Is Imposed Must Be Endured

From the first recording session through to the present day, it’s taken almost eighteen months for What Is Imposed Must Be Endured (Black Bow Records), the debut album from Sheffield-based quartet Blind Monarch, to see the light of day. In that time the band has shared stages with leading lights of the UK Death-Doom scene so it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to suggest that this album is eagerly awaited. Continue reading

Endless Floods – Circle The Gold

When the words ‘experimental’ and ‘French’ precede the word ‘Doom’ in a preamble, surely it’s impossible to ignore. Bordeaux trio Endless Floods, formed by members of cult outfits Monarch and Bombardement, are such a band and third album Circle The Gold (Fvtvrecordings / Bigôut Records) sees them test their expansive minds to new, sometimes more melodic limits. Continue reading

Un / Coltsblood – Un / Coltsblood

When I heard about this particular collaboration, I swear a little bit of wee came out. Seattle’s Un is still reveling in the success of last year’s coruscating, moving Sentiment (Translation Loss Records), while Scouse / Scottish hybrid Coltsblood have laid waste to the UK Underground for the last five years. This split, therefore, promises to be a leveller on both sides of the Atlantic. Continue reading

Conan – Conjurer – Ba’al: Live at Rebellion, Manchester (UK)

“It’s Pink Floyd turned up to fifty”, my mate said. I’d never heard Waters or Gilmour roar with the same ferocity as Steff, lead vocalist of Sheffield quartet Ba’al, but the band do display a level of progression and turn of pace that would fit in with the Prog legends’ template. The phenomenal power and blackened hostility of the music, however, leaves any such comparisons in the shade. Continue reading