ALBUM REVIEW: MWWB – The Harvest


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


REVIEWS ROUNDUP: Kurokuma, Sleepwulf, Fostermother, Hazemaze, and Obsidian Sea


Kurokuma Born Of Obsidian

Having released multiple EPs and splits since their 2014 formation, Born Of Obsidian is the first proper full-length from Kurokuma. The UK group plays a style that could be best described as ritualistic Sludge Metal, incorporating tribal percussion somewhere between Sepultura circa Roots and Gojira overseen by a hypnotic aura not unlike Oranssi Pazuzu. The former influences are most immediately apparent on the one-two punch of ‘Smoking Mirror’ and ‘Sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli,’ which are largely driven by downright bouncy rhythmic chugs punctuated with extra fuzz.

 

However, the band’s atmospheric side gets time to shine as the album goes on. ‘Jaguar’ saves the harsher guitar crashes for its climax, allowing the percussion to provide a more subtle buildup that is given even greater precedence on ‘Ololiuqui’ and the closing ‘Under The Fifth Sun.’ It’s an accessible listen as far as this sort of freakout sludge goes; the less than forty-minute runtime isn’t too tough to digest, and the rhythmic focus gives it a more pulsating presence than most. A strong journey suited well to the balance of brutal and trancelike.

8 / 10

 

SleepwulfSunbeams Curl

Sleepwulf’s second album, Sunbeams Curl (Heavy Psych Sounds) continues down the path of Doomy Occult Rock set up by their 2020 self-titled debut. The mood is a tinge more ominous with a slightly heavier push in the guitars and tighter drumming, but the vocals retain that jovial warble with enough of that rustic aesthetic to trigger comparisons to Witchcraft, Kadaver, and Graveyard.


‘Stoned Ape’ and ‘Toad Licker Mushroom Picker’ are the biggest highlights, adding some extra Psychedelia as suggested by their righteous titles, while ‘Man Under The Mountain’ dares to stomp into full-on Doom territory. It’s a simple package perhaps better done these days by groups like Green Lung and Magic Circle, but enjoyable enough to satisfy fans of those bands looking for more of the same.

7 / 10

 

FostermotherThe Ocean

Fostermother’s sophomore album sees some considerable expansions to their Shoegaze-informed brand of Heavy Psych. In addition to a move to Ripple Music giving The Ocean a larger platform than before, the songs noticeably run longer and play heavier than those on their 2020 self-titled debut. The album isn’t too drastically different from its predecessor but upgrading to a trio lineup certainly gives the proceedings some appropriate power.


Putting more emphasis on the Doom portion of Stoner Doom admittedly makes for less varied songwriting, but this methodical approach works well in its own ways. The guitar and bass fuzz are as thick as ever with the vocal effects providing an ethereal contrast without getting too overwhelmed. Things really pick up in the second half as ‘Unholiest Of Days’ and ‘Redeemer’ put in more upbeat hustles, the former seeming to channel classic The Sword, that are strongly counteracted by the title track’s particularly oppressive riff set. It may not have the same quirky appeal for me as the debut, but The Ocean is a worthy step forward.

8 / 10

 

HazemazeBlinded By The Wicked

Hazemaze plays the sort of Doom Metal that’s somewhere between Cathedral and Electric Wizard, driven by fuzzy mid-tempo riffs and an occult aesthetic without getting too zoned out. Their third album, Blinded By The Wicked (Heavy Psych Sounds), offers more of the same albeit with a somewhat darker tinge than their previous efforts. While the execution is admittedly vanilla at times, there are some strong songs that come out of it.

 

‘Divine Harlotry’ is my pick of the litter for its winning riff and equally catchy chorus with ‘Malevolent Inveigler’ coming close with its thicker riff set. There’s also promise in the atmospheric keys on ‘Ceremonial Aspersion’ and ‘Luciferian Rite.’ Another album that’s simple in design with a style arguably done better elsewhere, but enjoyable enough to warrant a listen.

7 / 10

Obsidian SeaPathos

Obsidian Sea has seen some neat evolution since they formed in 2009, rooted in Saint Vitus-esque Traditional Doom and gradually picking up a more laid back, Psychedelic disposition ala Orodruin, Pale Divine, and Kings Destroy. Their fourth album, Pathos (Ripple Music), pushes the trajectory forward even further with the hazy overtones threatening to completely overtake the Doom riffage. Fortunately, it’s a natural transition as the guitars keep an organic vibe, the vocals are pleasantly workmanlike, and the structures allow for plenty of jammed out instrumental segments.


In a fun twist, the more mellow tracks may be where the album shines the most. ‘The Long Drowning’ is a pretty smooth Blues track complete with climactic speedup, ‘I Love The Woods’ has an almost Folky touch appropriate for its pastoral theme. Elsewhere, ‘Sisters’ has an almost Grungy swagger and ‘The Meaning of Shadows’ closes the album with its most disorienting, Prog-oriented structure. It’s great to see the evolution that came about with 2019’s Strangers followed-up with even bolder confidence.

 

8 / 10

CHRIS LATTA


Green Lung – Woodland Rites


Green Lung sounds like something a toad sexer or Brussels sprout merchant might catch; a chronic illness that makes you snot everywhere while your pubes fall out. In truth, though, it’s a quintet of Doomed Hard Rockers from South London, who are about to release their debut album, Woodland Rites (Kozmik Artifactz).Continue reading


Entombed A.D. – Vader: Live at The Empire, Coventry (UK)


With a musical heritage steeped in Indie, Alternative and Ska, Coventry has never really enjoyed a thriving metal scene. The birthplace of Cathedral and Bolt Thrower, the city has certainly contributed to the cause, but without a decent live venue for years, and with Birmingham just twenty miles down the road, most bands end up playing elsewhere. Even The Empire, the recently opened venue chosen for tonight’s darkest metal rumblings, boasts a “Ska Bar”.Continue reading


Witchsorrow – Hexenhammer


Ever since Cathedral decided to hang up their Doom-encrusted boots, the UK has been dying for someone to fill the void with the same level of otherworldly mysticism and crushing heaviness. Obviously, we do have Conan making waves if you’re a fan of the weight of the world pounding you into the dust, but if you like your Doom with a touch more class and Sabbath flair, Witchsorrow should already be on your radar. Four albums in and the trio are still able to conjure some of the most infectious riffs and choruses, laden with vivid imagery and nihilistic sensibilities.Continue reading


Beneath The Silt – Sludge/Doom/post-Metal Roundup: feat Godthrymm, Mournful Congregation, Vile Creature


A début EP can be a very worthwhile investment for a new band, indeed. A chance to introduce the world to their sound and style, without having to commit to (or wait until you’ve written) a full albums worth of material; a chance to not just test the water, but begin to feel out what really works and what doesn’t within a band’s prospective oeuvre. And in the case of Godthrymm, boasting a cast of talented beasts a-plenty, they’ve more than made the most of the opportunity to plant their dark and melancholic flag. Continue reading


Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun


Following a few excessively raw and highly abrasive EPs, the UK’s Employed To Serve turned a few heads in 2015 with the release of their hungry—nay, starving and salivating—debut full-length Greyer Than You Remember. Now, with The Warmth Of A Dying Sun (both Holy Roar), they are poised to turn quite a few more.Continue reading


Earth Electric – Vol 1 : Solar


The latest project of former Mayhem guitarist Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen, Earth Electric finds the Norwegian musician in typically progressive and diverse form. Forming the band in 2014, and working alongside soprano vocalist Carmen Susana Simões, from Eriksen’s Gothic/Doom act Ava Inferi, the pair hired DragonForce drummer Luigi “Gee” Anzalone, and Doro‘s Luca Princiotta, and recorded a three track demo entitled 2014 the same year.Continue reading


Novembers Doom – Hamartia


A band like Novembers Doom could only come from a cold place, where nights are long and bleak and depression stalks you like some winged, fork-tongued creature straight from a Clive Barker novel. And if you’ve ever felt the wind blowing off of Lake Michigan in winter, you’ll know the cold, bleak Chicago from which Novembers Doom hails.Continue reading