Persefone’smetanoia(Napalm Records) opens and it feels as if I’m watching an Andrew Lloyd Weber Broadway musical. Metanoia is atmospheric and grandiose; one would expect nothing less from Persefone. ‘Katabasis’ explodes onto the listener with a bombastic array of seventies progressive rock and psychedelia feel. Marc Martins Pia has shades of Yaz and Freddy Mercury on the opening track juxtaposed with the guttural vocalizations of death metal. The guitar work of Carlos Lozano Quintanilla and Filipe Baldaia are a wild mixture of mathematical genius, LSD, and a plethora of thirty-second note runs. ‘Katabasis’ can be an intense listen.
Five albums into a career as one of the top bands in the modern Stoner Doom scene, Monolord offers their mellow, tripped-out effort to date with Your Time To Shine (Relapse Records). While there’s still plenty of dank fuzziness to go around, it feels almost like a backdrop at times as the cleaner guitar textures are given near equal priority and the vocals are at their most prominent. Fortunately, it feels like more of a culmination of a gradual trajectory rather than a radical shift in direction; after all, these elements started gaining traction on 2019’s No Comfort and it’s easy to imagine guitarist/vocalist Thomas V. Jager’s 2020 solo album rubbing off on the process.
With Blackwater Holylight’s unique brand of Doomgaze getting gradually heavier with each passing album, it makes sense that their third full-length, Silence/Motion (RidingEasy Records), pushes that heaviness to its furthest extents yet.
Japan’s Sonic Flower began in the early 2000s as an offshoot of Church of Misery. They released one self-titled album in 2003 and then broke up in 2005 following some aborted recording sessions. Reforming briefly in 2007, only to break up again the same year, Sonic Flower lay dormant for 14 years until they finally reformed again in 2019. A full-length album with a new lineup including a vocalist is scheduled for later in 2021. To whet their fans’ appetite in the meantime, the band are first releasing Rides Again (Heavy Psych Sounds Records), which consists entirely of tracks recorded in 2005 from the aforementioned aborted sessions.
Those who deserted Pisa-based riff kings, Mr. Bison, after their 2012 debut album We’ll Be Brief (Dracma Records) will recognise neither the physical nor the sonic entity that exists today. Only guitarist/vocalist Matteo Barsacchi remains from that initial incarnation, now replenished by two more Matteos – vocalist/guitarist Sciocchetto and drummer D’Ignazi – and the dry, ZZTop-influenced sound of that first effort has been gradually replaced by an oft euphoric leaning towards a form of Desert Psychedelia as progressive as it is retrospective. Their fourth album Seaward (Subsound Records / Ripple Music) is the band’s biggest step forward yet, displaying a level of invention and confidence that is both profound and joyous.Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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.
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 →
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 →