Friday, 20 December 2013

2013 Chronicle (Year in review) part 3 - Best of February 2013

February 2 - Attacker (Giants of Canaan)

February 5 - Ancient VVisdom (Deathlike)

February 5 - MOTHER OF GOD (Anthropos) - This album may have first appeared digitally in September 2012, but it was officially released by Small Stone Records in early February.  The Swedish quartet play a good mix of stoner and grunge which really reminds of some of those classic albums from the '90's.  Matter of fact, this album can be downright addictive.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Windows" and "230".  Rating 4.5/5

February 9 - Vestal Claret (Bloodbath)

February 11 - Megachurch (Megachurch 2: Judgment Day)

February 12 - KROWNN (Hyborian Age) - Kröwnn were one of the true success stories of this year.  I know, I know, they are not filling up stadiums around the world and millions of people are not "wearing the Kröwnn", but success is relative and I'd chock up this freshman Italian doom power trio as successful in their first venture.  'Hyborian Age' was on everyone's playlist in Stonerdoomland for months on end (at least that's how it seemed to me) and for a band with no history, no label hype and no deep pedigree, it seemed quite the accomplishment.  What made Kröwnn the "it" band was the only thing that mattered: the quality of the music itself.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "For the Throne of Fire" and "At the Cromlech".  Rating 4/5

February 12 - MOTHERSHIP (ST) - Mothership self-released their self-titled album in mid-2012, but the band was picked up by Ripple Music and the album was issued on CD and vinyl through the label this year (I've got my copy on CD) so I'm counting it as one of the best albums of 2013.  'Mothership' burns through eight tracks of white hot rock n roll and you'd be an idiot to let this one slip past you ... the way that I had done.    Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Lunar Master" and "Cosmic Rain".  Rating 5/5

February 13 - Dead River (ST EP)

February 13 - TENTACLE (Ingot Eye) - Following up on 2012's 'Void Abyss' EP was no easy task and yet 'Ingot Eye' leaves the band's sludgy doom metal debut reduced to a puddle of slag in its wake.  This Ice Dragon off-shoot does to bleak doom what beards do to a man, in short, it brings an element of class and sexiness to the table.    Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Our Serpent Mother's Kiss" and "The Blackness of My Soul Will Be So Great as to Make the Night Weep".  Rating 4.5/5

February 14 - The Machine / Sungrazer split

February 15 - The Flight of Sleipnir (Saga)

February 15 - LOTHORIAN (Welldweller) - Belgian doom announced its noisy presence this year with this quintet's Acid Cosmonaut Records debut.  Six songs, three of them instrumental, explored extremes of sludgy heaviness and stoned bliss, Lothorian came with riffs and purpose.  Needless to say, a full-length is heavily anticipated.    Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Welldweller" and "Doomsday Calling" Rating 4/5

February 17 - ZODIAC (ST) - There hasn't been a time since 'Zodiac' was released, that one of its three songs haven't been caught in my head.  There's just something about this Australian band of hardcore punkers dipping low and slow into doom that brings out the freshness in the genre again, while still remaining respectful to the giants of the past.  Great riffs and amazing vocals, they also released a one-off single on Halloween.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Brother Death" and "Vertigo".  Rating 5/5

February 18 - MOUNT SALEM (Endless) - Recently signed to Metal Blade Records, this doomy Chicago quartet's self-released debut hit all the right buttons of occult rock, throwback Sabbathian riffs, some killer organ and the beautiful vocals of Emily Kopplin.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Lucid" and "Hysteria".  Rating 4/5

February 19 - Electricjezus (Грязь поколений [Mud of Generations])

February 19 - VOID OF SLEEP (Tales Between Reality and Madness) - This album was one of the craziest records of the year, full of ideas, both clipped off and fully realized, Void of Sleep were never truly content to settle into a single mood, instead they explored different styles but always in a progressive and doomy context.  Simply put, this Italian quartet's full-length debut was insane!  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "The Great Escape Of The Giant Stone Man" and "Ghost of Me".  Rating 4/5

February 22 - Jess & the Ancient Ones (Astral Sabbat)

February 25 - WEED PRIEST (ST) - One day the name of Weed Priest will be legend in the world of doom.  Occult drenched and densely heavy, this Irish / Lithuanian trio's full length debut clocks in at six songs and one hour of pure doom.  Following a lengthy demoing process, the band recorded this album in an abandoned church on days of significance to occult practices, well let me tell you, it shows!  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Thy Kingdom Gone" and "Walpurgia".  Rating 4.5/5

February 26 - Dream Death (Somnium Excessum)

February 27 - NIBIRU (Caosgon) - The mindbending hijinx of Italian bands only began to escalate at this point in the year, Nibiru's 'Caosgon' may have been the trippiest, most mindbending and perhaps most challenging of them all.  The music is hypnotizing and the lyrics are in a dead language, what else can I say?  This five track CD arrived in my mailbox and promptly shipped me off to another dimension, a dark dimension full of mindless ones and demons with heads of fire.  The band didn't stop here either, they released three more songs to explode brains with throughout the year.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Invokation IV: Heru-Khentan-Maati" and "Smashanam, The Crematorium Ground Of Kaly".  Rating 4.5/5

Best Album From February 2013:
'Anthropos' by MOTHER OF GOD

Best Song From January 2013:
"Brother Death" by ZODIAC

PARANOID Thoughts:

If there were such a thing as a Doom World Cup, it would have gone to Italy in 2013.  A consistently high quality of output from a variety of bands with a nearly unifying sound of psychedelically laced doom spread across the nation (including even the often ignored and forgotten island of Sardinia [Black Capricorn]) set apart the country shaped like a boot.  Italy has long been a breeding ground for Doom Metal and horror films / music from the incalculably important contributions of Paul Chain and Steve Sylvester of Death SS and horror prog legends Goblin to more recent terrific underground bands like Doomraiser, Black Land and Bretus.  This year however, the bar was raised significantly.

If it's true that rising tides raise all ships, then hopefully this is only the beginning of a continuing glut of excellent psychedelically influenced doom bands from Italy.  The country has long had an important presence within the genre, this year things have only been ramped up by a number of newer bands making their mark.  A number of terrific bands made their full-length album debuts including Kröwnn, Void of Sleep, Ape Skull, Fangs of the Molossus, WoodWall, Throne, Tangerine Stoned, Lizard Queen, Deep and Manthra Dei while Italian labels such as Acid Cosmonaut Records have stepped up to the plate in signing the bands and releasing the albums.  The past year also saw the return of Death SS with their 'Resurrection' album and the re-discovery of early doom gem Run After To by Shadow Kingdom Records and the re-release of their two albums from the late 1980's 'Run After To / Gjinn and Djinn' onto a single disc, making 2013 the year of Italian psychedelic doom.

Top 10 Italian bands / albums from 2013:
1). Abysmal Grief - 'Feretri'
2). Kröwnn - 'Hyborian Age'
3). Void of Sleep - 'Tales Between Reality & Madness'
4). Shinin' Shade - 'Sat-Urn'
5). Ape Skull - ST
6). Blood Red Water - 'All the Ills of Mankind'
7). Black Capricorn - 'Born Under the Capricorn'
8). Fangs of the Molossus - ST
9). Black Rainbows - 'Holy Moon' EP
10). Nibiru - 'Caosgon'
Honorable Mention: WoodWall - 'WoodEmpire'

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