ALBUM REVIEW: Hail Spirit Noir – Eden in Reverse

When Greek innovators Hail Spirit Noir spewed forth in recorded anger eight years ago it was with tones of the Aegean gracing a strange brew of Blackened Prog Metal. Fourth long-player Eden in Reverse (Agonia Records) sees the completion of a gradual metamorphosis into total Prog, with the absorption of the band’s live musicians transforming the unit into a sextet. 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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Sacri Monti – Waiting Room For The Magic Hour

Another outfit from the lysergic dreamlands of San Diego, Sacri Monti left a sizeable impression with their self-titled 2015 debut album (Tee Pee Records) which was a psychedelic trip through heavy vibes. The quintet’s sophomore effort, Waiting Room For The Magic Hour (Tee Pee Records), is another faithful journey through drifting sands and heady atmospheres but shows a pleasing maturity and willingness to experiment. Continue reading

Slomatics – Canyons 

Highly-respected Ulster Sludge/Doom outfit Slomatics is as well known for its countless splits, most prominently with fellow Doom yellers Conan, as it is for its own produce. So it’s something of a surprise to discover that Canyons (Black Bow Records) is the band’s sixth album in its fifteen-year existence, but as expected it shows a soupçon of originality in the unrelenting, slothlike heaviness. Continue reading

Druids – Monument

When Iowan trio Druids‘ EP Spirit Compass (Self-release) hit my ears sixteen months ago, I was staggered by the apparent ease with which the bandmelded the darkness of Sabbath and the violence of Mastodon with the joyous, Summery Grunge of Blind Melon. It made for a heady mix and new offering Monument (The Company) promises the same excitement amid a paradoxically heavy flexibility. Continue reading

Pharlee – Pharlee

There’s somethin’ incestuous a-brewin’ in San Diego: a fluid drift from band to band and back again, like the returning wisps of smoke from that latest joint exhalation. This is Zach Oakley’s second journey through my cans in as many months, while more of his friends in Psych outfits JOY and Harsh Toke make yet another union in the form of the drenched riffage of Pharlee. Continue reading

Deafkids – Metaprogramação

There’s often an unholy alliance of unbridled passion and near insanity in Latin American Metal: the eccentric, electric performance from California-based Punks At The Drive-In on Later… in 2000 being a prime example. This is a quality evident in the chaotic maelstrom of Brazilian trio Deafkids, whose third album Metaprogramação (Neurot Recordings) is a typically warped episode of barely controlled, electronic ferocity. Continue reading

11PARANOIAS – Asterismal

Drone, much like Djent, is a wonderfully onomatopoeic genre. Say “droooone” out loud and you get somewhere close to the guitar tone that makes up this subset of noise music. It’s also a rather impenetrable genre, taking vast amounts of time to learn the ins and outs of a band’s oeuvre. Drone isn’t music for casual listeners, it requires dedication. When combined with swirling psychedelia and a deluge of Doom you get Asterismal, the latest album from experimental merchants, 11PARANOIAS. Continue reading