Late 2020, the somber Seattle slayers of Sun Crow released their debut album, Quest For Oblivion. Though Ghost Cult missed the initial release, we’re happily taking advantage of the album’s re-release on Ripple Music. It’s no surprise the record topped doom charts, as it’s a perfect showcase of doom and gloom mastery.
Monster Magnet probably needs no introduction to anyone who has paid any degree of attention to the alternative rock scene over the last 25 years or more. The band has always been unashamedly and unapologetically rockist in their approach. Largely ignoring scenes such as grunge as they have come and gone, Monster Magnet have managed to pump out album after album of classic heavy rock, and they continue to play to huge audiences. Somehow they have always stood out from the crowd of rock revivalists and “stoner” bands. Whilst the music of many of these retro bands so often feels tired and trite when compared to the 60s or 70s bands they try to copy, they always exuded a special kind of conviction, authenticity and raw power that sets them apart. Maybe this has something to do with (singer, guitar player and only original member) Dave Wyndorf having been born in 1956 and so having actually lived through the 60s and 70s. Either way, the music has always felt just as legitimate and classy as records by Motörhead or Deep Purple.
The first proper album from Heavy Temple sees the Philadelphia power trio in a rather interesting position. Aside from featuring a new lineup of players behind bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk, Lupi Amoris (Magnetic Eye Records) doesn’t seem too different from the two EPs released before it. It isn’t that much longer than those EPs, consisting of five tracks totaling thirty-three minutes long, and is executed in a similarly free-flowing Heavy Psych style. Continue reading →
While Red Fang’s fourth album immediately stands out as their first full-length since 2016’s Only Ghosts, it seems to hearken back to the Sludgy aspects of their earliest ventures. Tracks like ‘Unreal Estate’ and the title track reflect strong Melvins circa (A) Senile Animal vibes with their trudging riff patterns and eccentrically howled vocal lines. ‘Fonzi Scheme’ and ‘Days Collide’ elaborate further the former putting in a particularly potent stomp and the latter benefitting the most from the disorienting atmosphere.
For the most part, the fourth album from Jess And The Ancient Ones continues down the low-key approach to Occult Rock that was established on 2017’s The Horse And Other Weird Tales. Just about every song on Vertigo (Svart Records) is driven by a short length, an upbeat structure, and extensive layers of psychedelic instrumentation. Aside from the eleven minutes of the closing ‘Strange Earth Illusion,’ the first two albums’ more drawn-out runtimes seem to be a thing of the past.
Sad news to report as according to MetalSucks and Brooklyn Vegan, frontman Will Mecum of legendary instrumental Stoner Rock band Karma To Burn (sometimes stylized by their fans as K2B) has died. Mecum died April 29th, 2021 as a result of a traumatic head injury from an accidental fall. Initially, there was some confusion as to when he actually passed away, but he officially passed on April 30th. The band confirmed the news with a message on Facebook. Will formed Karma to Burn with bassist Rich Mullins and drummer Nathan Limbaugh in 1994 in Morgantown WV, and signed with Roadrunner for their self-titled debut album which was their only album to feature a dedicated vocalist. Following two more albums (1999’s Wild Wonderful Purgatory and 2001’s Almost Heathen), Karma to Burn disbanded but they reformed in 2009 and went on to make three more albums (including 2014’s Arch Station), and released the Mountain Czar EP in 2016. Earlier this year K2B released Thee Rabbit Hole, an album of demos.
As indicated by the title, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard’s seventeenth full-length essentially serves as the second half of 2020’s K.G. and picks up where it left off stylistically. L.W. (Flightless Records) sees the completion of the microtone trilogy that started with 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana, emphasizing a similar mix of Middle Eastern scales, rhythmic percussion, and loosely flowing song structures. ‘Static Electricity’ and ‘See Me’ do the best job of dialing that vibe with their upbeat pacing while the grandiose chugs and life-affirming chants make the closing ‘K.G.L.W.’ one of the band’s most over the top Doom Metal dives to date.Continue reading →
Cave of Swimmers’ first album isn’t much longer than the two EPs they’ve previously released, just barely hitting thirty-two minutes long. However, Aurora (BroomTune Records) serves as a dramatic leap forward for the Miami duo. The songs are rooted in the same hyperactive Heavy Psych last seen with 2015’s Reflection but there is more time devoted to exploring their more in-your-face influences. The resulting hodgepodge of Stoner Rock, Prog, and Classic Metal ends up being somewhere between Hammers Of Misfortune and Galactic Cowboys with a bit of King Gizzard for flavor.
Working With God (Ipecac Records/Liberator Music)is the 24th release by the Melvins and features their 1983 lineup of Buzz Osbourne, Dale Crover on bass, and original drummer Mike Dillard (although they have been doing a ton of regular Melvins lineup activities with Steven Shane McDonald of Redd Kross). The record encapsulates the Hardcore and Sludge style Melvins have delivered since their genesis. The result is a fresh album that is thrilling and cathartic.
At first, Jakethehawk’s second album closely adheres to the relentless wave of Stoner Doom. But while Hinterlands (Ripple Music) is rife with the heavy riffs and spaced-out psychedelia typical in the genre, it reveals a deep pool of influences that include Prog Rock, Shoegaze, Alternative, Folk, and a bit of Southern Rock among other tastes. The results are similar to the eclectic blend seen on Fostermother’s 2020 debut, though with a dramatic scope more in line with the likes of Howling Giant or Sergeant Thunderhoof.