Cortez’s third full-length album shows a certain spark that was merely hinted at the Boston group”s previous releases. This is immediately established with the opening”No Escape,” which comes crashing in with a template more in line with Classic Metal than their usual Stoner Rock. I find myself reminded of Cauldron or Castle as the driving tempo sustains a reverb-friendly production job with a slew of flamboyant guitar leads, gritty bass, and chanted vocals to go around.
This year has been as chaotic as anyone has ever seen. And for chaotic times we need good, solid, tight riffs, and Junior Bruce provides them on their album Pray For Death (Sludgelord Records). The Florida quintet brings an album with absolute bangers for fans of Stoner/Sludge Metal. Having a clash of different styles, Pray for Death is an album that reflects the collective anger society has against whatever anyone they choose to be mad about, still combining a certain melancholy that grows some of the most interesting aspects of Junior Bruce.
While All Is Lost (Grimoire Records) is the second album that Yatra has released in 2020, it is hardly a retread of its predecessor. The extreme elements that were merely blooming on Blood Of The Night are pushed to even further extents this time around. The drums have a much more aggressive presence with several busy fills on display while the fuzzy guitar and bass tones are much fuller. It never goes into full Blackened territory, but the more active Stoner-Sludge approach makes their High On Fire influence even more apparent. Continue reading
After a few out-of-genre collaborations with Lume and Catchechism, REZN’s third proper album returns to their signature Electric Wizard meets Elder on Quaaludes style. Chaotic Divine (Off The Record Label) is right in line with its predecessors, for the most part, pairing the sprawling length of 2017’s Let It Burn with the broadened atmospherics and instrumentation of 2018’s Calm Black Water. However, the heightened Ambient and Post Rock influences have resulted in what is easily their most ambitious effort so far.
Having been acquainted with vocalist Brenna Leath through her work with Lightning Born, her new project Crystal Spiders has a comparable grittier approach to Stoner Doom. Their first album, Molt (Ripple Music), is primarily driven by bass-heavy fuzz with songs that range from Psychedelic excursions to borderline Punk numbers. The style is most comparable to Year Of The Cobra, especially with the bass-drum duo setup, but the darker aspects also trigger associations with Windhand and Ruby The Hatchet. Continue reading
Splits are a pretty great tool for cross-promotion with the power to introduce different bands to each other’s audiences, but they can also foster a competitive spirit. While such intentions are normally limited to fans debating which band is better, Ripple Music intentionally fans the flames with the second chapter in their Turned To Stone series. This particular split sees two rising stars Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof putting their Stoner Prog Metal skills to the test on Turn To Stone Chapter 2, as they depict a battle of wits between two legendary Japanese swordsmen. It’s certainly one of the more intriguing ideas for a split I’ve seen in a good while, reminding me of a similar treatment that Thorr-Axe and Archarus gave The Hobbit in 2017.
Black Spirit Crown’s first proper album sits right on the line between Doom and Stoner Metal with hints of Prog seeping through. The fuzzy riff work is rooted in Sleep and Electric Wizard tradition, the hustling tempos remind me of Orange Goblin, and the tripped-out atmospherics and vocal filters echo Howling Giant or Mastodon. These traits were already distinct on the Red Sky EP released in 2017 and the Cleveland group takes them to even further extents with Gravity (Self-Released).
North Carolinian Psychedelic rock group Bask will release their third studio album, dubbed III, on November 8 via Season of Mist, their debut label debut. The band only recently announced their signing. The album was recorded and mixed by Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Mastodon, Minus The Bear, etc.). The album art and complete track-listing can be found below. Watch the video for the first single ‘New Dominion’ now! Continue reading
Spread across the three adjoining Academy venues in deepest, darkest Birmingham, the third annual HRH Metal indoor fest is well into its second day when I finally arrive (a long story involving illness and unforeseen hospitals), and gathering pace on the main stage with Nottingham stoner trio Witch Tripper. The band’s beer-fuelled, Black Sabbath inspired riffery capturing the attention of a respectably sized early evening audience.
Simon Glacken has a distinguished, primarily progressively focused roster, that ticks all the Ghost Cult boxes in style. From Post-Rock, to Progressive Metal, to old school Death Metal, representing some of the big-hitting labels (Kscope, Peaceville amongst many others) as well as several interesting, independent acts (Telepathy and Jo Quail, for example) if an album comes in from For The Lost, it is guaranteed quality… Continue reading