ALBUM REVIEW: Yatra – Blood of the Night

Yatra‘s 2018 début album Death Ritual (Grimoire Records), rather than being a “grower”, receded in appeal due to the unflinching harshness of their slow, Doom-laden sound and the voice of Dana Helmuth, which sounds as if Gaahl had been gargling on hop-bombs. There were flickers of invention in the Maryland trio’s sound, however, and these are further explored in follow-up Blood of the Night (STB Records). Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Black Royal – Firebride

 

After five years honing their craft with live shows and a trail of EPs, Finnish Stoner/Sludge quartet Black Royal garnered decent praise for 2018’s debut album Lightbringer (Suicide Records). Follow-up Firebride (also Suicide Records) delivers more of the same but with a certain refinement and increased maturity to that Death-flavoured, filthy anger. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Exploring Birdsong – The Thing With Feathers

Much like fellow English act Sleep Token, the buzz surrounding Liverpudlian trio Exploring Birdsong has been protracted and fed by the odd single release to whet the appetite of those who like their Prog quirky and melodic. Finally, the wait is over with new EP The Thing With Feathers (Long Branch Records), inspired by iconic poets Emily Dickinson and Seamus Heaney and the first elongated effort from the band. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Dukatalon – Involuntary Action

Ridiculously it’s a decade since Israeli juggernaut Dukatalon released debut album Saved By Fear (Relapse Records): a bruising yet incredibly inventive slice of Sludge that at times called to mind Led Zeppelin as much as it did the likes of Iron Monkey. Aside from a brief tour of the UK three years ago, little has been heard of the band outside of their native Tel Aviv, so what a beginning to 2020 with long-awaited new album Involuntary Action (Self-Release) hitting the hard drive. if only the band’s mouthpiece in the UK – Manchester’s ‘King of Nasty’, Eytan Wineapple – could’ve stuck around long enough to hear it. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Blackwater Holylight – Veils Of Winter

Blackwater Holylight (RidingEasy Records), the début album from the Portland, Oregon-based doomstresses of the same name, delivered not merely an enlivening quality but also realised founder member Alison ‘Sunny’ Faris‘ intent of giving heavier rock a new lease of life by incorporating more tuneful, lighter music into that sound. With second album Veils Of Winter (RidingEasy Records) the band, now a quintet with the addition of guitarist Mikayla Mayhew, aim to expand on that formula and the buzz created by that first release.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Bodies on Everest / Lump Hammer -Whelmed

If ever two bands were put together in order to aurally depict the turgid, depressing slog that is Life In Northern England Under An Elitist Bunch Of Fascists, it’s Liverpool’s Bodies on Everest and their Newcastle-based touring chums Lump Hammer. As joint release Whelmed (Inverted Grim-Mill Recordings) is a “split”, one would expect around half-an-hour of bile and Sludgy hostility: but as if to ram home the belief that There Is No Hope, this thing grinds along morbidly, relentlessly, for a full hour and forty minutes. Continue reading

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