Let’s think of 2021 as the year that will reveal the ultimate artistic expression of all creators out there and, personally I am very excited with what the year promises pertaining to music releases especially in Metal. The year starts with the right foot with this release by Portugal’s Stoner Metal band Miss Lava and their fourth effort Doom Machine (Small Stone). This album explores how psychedelic and experimental sounds mix so well with Stoner Rock/Metal, with passages that go straight from heavy riffs into spacious soundscapes that will transport you somewhere else in the cosmos.
The second full-length album from Denver’s Green Druid promises broader influences compared to its predecessor, 2018’s Ashen Blood. It’s certainly true to an extent as the harsher vocals pop up more frequently and a couple of segments go-between post-Rock and Death Metal, but At The Maw Of Ruin (Earache Records) ultimately keeps to a steady Stoner Doom template. Comparisons could be made to their fellow Coloradans in Khemmis as the album utilizes a similar combination of monolithic riffs, drawn-out structures, and a desolate atmosphere.
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