As cool as it’s been to see some of doom’s most iconic figures go acoustic lately, sometimes it’s even more exciting when fresher faces try their hands at the style. Thomas V. Jäger is one such example, stepping beyond his duties as Monolord’s vocalist/guitarist to release a full-length solo album. It’s an especially interesting transition when you consider that band’s heightened melodicism on 2019’s No Comfort, and this album pushes the idea to even more introspective ends. Continue reading
Stygian Crown’s full-length debut sits comfortably within the Epic Doom Metal niche, but their particular style comes from a more aggressive mindset than many of their peers. This is especially apparent with the guitar work, which exhibits a grainy tone and bulldozing riff patterns that are chunkier than the Classic Metal-derived fare of more conventional outfits. It never goes full-on Death/Doom but the band’s declaration of a Candlemass meets Bolt Thrower sound certainly makes sense when viewed through this lens.
Coming off a self-titled demo in 2019, Midnight Dice’s first EP, Hypnotized (Underground Power Records/Hoove Child Records), sees the Chicagoans continuing to build their momentum. Comparisons to the musicians’ previous band Satan’s Hallow remain inevitable as Hypnotized rides on a similarly anthemic Classic Metal style. However, there are also developments that show the band beginning to carve out a more distinct identity. Continue reading
While a self-titled album often serves as a summary of an artist’s particular style, Vestal Claret’s third full-length is unlike anything else they’ve done before. The Doom Metal that defined the occult collective’s past efforts has been completely phased out in favor of a subdued presentation that is somewhere between Folk and introspective Psych Rock. An esoteric aura still wafts with vocalist Phil Swanson (Hour of 13, Sumerlands) offering his signature mournful, nasally wail, but the vibe has more in common with Hexvessel or Sabbath Assembly than Pagan Altar. Continue reading
As much as Wino deserves his doom godfather status for fronting groups like The Obsessed and Saint Vitus, there’s something to be said for his more recent singer/songwriter excursions. Whether going it alone or with such collaborators as Conny Ochs, the acoustic style suits him surprisingly well and the volume contrast brings a fuller perspective to his haggard lifer persona. This is especially true for his third album, Forever Gone (Ripple Music), which may be his most low-key effort to date. Continue reading
The first full-length album from Seattle’s Greyhawk is a particularly interesting iteration of the NWOTHM scene. A focus on hooky songwriting with an epic tone makes for easy comparisons to such contemporaries as Visigoth and Traveler as the production carries a polished sheen similar to the likes of Haunt or Idle Hands. While these factors would initially suggest that the band is just another notch in a long line of derivatives, they find a lot of ways to set themselves apart on Keepers Of The Flame (Fighter Records).
Looking past the rather gaudy artwork, the third album from Mike Lepond’s Silent Assassins sees the group continuing to thrive on an over the top presentation. As with previous albums, Lepond’s bass playing leads the charge with intense flurries accompanied by surging power metal rhythms and Alan Tecchio’s flamboyant wails detailing history and legend. However, Whore of Babylon sets itself as the group’s most eclectic effort so far.
While The Path to the Deathless (Desert Records) continues down the psychedelic stoner journey that Red Mesa put forth with 2018’s The Devil and the Desert, its execution is grittier. The atmosphere carries hints of desolation within its imagery of open desert plains and the grainy guitar tone has a certain nastiness even when it isn’t overtly aggressive. There’s also not much emphasis on acoustic playing this time around, and even the tracks that do feature it come with a more noticeably somber air.
Tyrant’s long-awaited fourth album, Hereafter (ShadowKingdom Records), has come out under some rather interesting circumstances. In addition to serving as the Pasadena veterans’ first full-length since 1996’s King of Kings, Hereafter sees journeyman vocalist Robert Lowe at the helm in place of Glen May. The prospects of this collaboration are certainly intriguing, especially as a fan of Lowe’s work with Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass. I wouldn’t go so far as to think of it as Tyrant gone doom, but it approaches their established sound from a noticeably different angle.
Chris Latta is one of the main contributors of Indy Metal Vault, and he is a font of knowledge about music journalism, writing reviews of metal albums, and toeing the line between working musician and journalism. Dumb and Dumbest Podcast number #129 is streaming now and it’s an Interview with Chris Latta of Indy Metal Vault. Hosted by Matt Bacon (Dropout Media, Ripple Music, Prophecy Productions) and Publicist Curtis Dewar (Dewar PR), they also offer The Music Marketing Challenge, a low cost, super high-value private training for bands and artists. Get hands-on practical experience to market your band like a pro today! Message them at the links below. Continue reading