ALBUM REVIEW: Frayle – Skin and Sorrow


 

Skin & Sorrow (Aqualamb) is the second full-length release from Cleveland, Ohio’s “heavy, low and witchy” duo Frayle. The band consists of multi-instrumentalist Sean Bilovecky and singer Gwyn Strang, who between them cite the influence both doom metal (Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Sleep) and avant-garde pop (Björk, Portishead). Frayle’s stated aim is to create “music for the night sky”.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Crippled Black Pheonix – Benefyre


 

Banefyre (Season of Mist) is the twelfth album from Crippled Black Phoenix, the category-defying collective centred around Justin Greaves, a former doom metal drummer (for bands such as Electric Wizard and Iron Monkey) turned multi-instrumentalist songwriter. The current studio lineup of the band has Greaves joined by longstanding vocalist Belinda Kordic, plus more recent recruits Helen Stanley (keys, synths, trumpet), Andy Taylor (guitars), and new second vocalist and third guitarist Joel Segerstedt.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Seventh Storm – Maledictus


 

Seventh Storm are a new band formed by Mike Gaspar, formerly the drummer for Portuguese gothic metal legends Moonspell. As well as handling drum duties for Seventh Storm, Gaspar has also written and and arranged all of the music for their debut album, Maledictus (Atomic Fire). The album cover and promo photos convey a piratical theme that befits the band name and reflects Gaspar’s intention to depict the Portuguese tradition of “discovering the world, travelling far from home, exploring the seas.”Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Ed Wynne – Tumbling Through The Floativerse


Ed Wynne is best known as the founder and only consistent member of Ozric Tentacles. An emblematic group within the nineties hippy revival scene who have continued to endure, the Ozrics fuse instrumental prog rock with psychedelic dance music. I discovered them in the early 2000s at a time when I was starting to seek out a more diverse listening experience encompassing more than just the seventies hard rock I had, by then, already grown somewhat tired of, and they served as a bridge into the multifaceted world of electronic music.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Blood Command – Praise Armageddonism


People growing up in the internet age have access to a wider range of musical styles than ever before. As a result of that, at least in part, music scenes have become less tribal — artists and fans don’t cling on so doggedly to one style and are often comfortable to extol, say, Napalm Death and Billie Eilish in the same breath.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Porcupine Tree – Closure – Continuation


“Progressive rock” is a term that can encompass a wide variety of sounds. At one point or another in their 35-year history, Porcupine Tree — the brainchild of Steven Wilson — have probably touched upon most of these. Having put out several albums of electronica-infused psychedelic space rock since their formation in 1987, the band reached a peak of critical and commercial success in the 2000s with the metal-influenced experimental songcraft exemplified by In Absentia and Fear of a Blank Planet. By the start of 2011, however, Porcupine Tree appeared to be no more, with Wilson announcing a hiatus to focus on his solo career; he stated as recently as 2018 that getting the band back together “would seem like a terribly backward step”.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Wardruna – Kvitravn – First Flight of the White Raven


Kvitravn — First Flight of the White Raven (ByNorse / Sony / Columbia Germany) is a special release for Norwegian dark folk outfit Wardruna; it follows in the footsteps of 2021’s studio release Kvitravn (“white raven”) and documents a live-streamed lockdown concert that took place in the same year. The live album’s setlist contains only four tracks from Kvitravn itself, with the remainder of the 74-minute record comprising pieces from Wardruna’s earlier output.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses


Blut Aus Nord is not available for interviews” proclaims the press release accompanying Disharmonium — Undreamable Abysses (Debemur Morti), the band’s fourteenth full album since their inception in the mid-nineties. That Blut Aus Nord are conspicuous about being enigmatic says a lot about their attitude.

 

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: DesertFest London 2022 – Various Venues


Desertfest, GloomyLightsPhotography

2022 is a special year for desert rock / stoner rock / doom metal extravaganza Desertfest London. The event, which takes place across multiple venues in and around Camden and has become a mainstay of the UK heavy music scene, was cancelled in 2020 for obvious reasons and then rescheduled as a special 10-year anniversary event for 2021. Inevitably, the 2021 festival was again cancelled, so the 2022 edition is not only the first Desertfest London for three years, but also a chance to celebrate in earnest a “Decade in the Desert”.

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EP REVIEW: De Arma – Nightcall


De Arma’s new three-track EP Nightcall marks something of a turning point for the Swedish gothic rock band. Following their 2021 album Strayed in Shadows, the band have now signed a multi-album deal with Silent Future Recordings, for whom Nightcall is the first offering.

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