Thursday, 30 January 2014

Buzzherd - On Sinking Ships ... Rats Drown (album review)


Buzzherd makes me think of pirates.  Though they’re five landlubbers from Pennsylvania, the combination of their sludge / thrash sound and album title just does it for me.  I suspect that while the rest of us are out “finding ourselves”, these guys are busy swashbuckling from chandeliers.  That’s not say that this is all cute fun and games, there’s hell to pay on this record.  It’s easy to get lost on this sinking ship, the band pulls you down in a quagmire of syncopated song structures as the sludge levels rise past the knees and up to the chest while your arms thrash about looking for a way out, but never find one.  Before you know it … glub, glub, glub … you’ve been drowned and swashbuckled.

I’m not sure what a “typical” sludge album consists of, but I know you won’t find it here.  Buzzherd bulrushes the listener, after a mighty drag ‘em out, knock ‘em down struggle, they crash the gates and storm the altar.  After a short count-in, the band launches immediately into the verse of opening track “Abuse of Despair”, keelhauling the listener through the mud before raising topsail and hitting a 20+ knots pummeling of double time drums and slashing guitars, moving from strength to strength.

Roaring vocals and churning rhythms make the head swim, ‘On Sinking Ships …’ is not an album for those afflicted with motion sickness.  Never relying on atmosphere alone, there’s always something going on in this record, each track is a constant builder and all five of them are excellent.  But through all the busy-ness and twisting tempos, the riffs remain deliberate and the structures remain methodical.  Pure aggression is the guiding light here and tension is built and held up to the breaking point at every turn.

Album centerpiece “The Maloik” has a Slayer feel without going overboard, this is hell on the high seas.  A pandaemonic main riff, a slow build-up of pounding wave crashing atmosphere from the drums and menacing vocals make this a true standout track.  It’s the one I’ve been keying on every time I listen to this album, it’s a moody, dynamic builder and its infernal heat is more than enough to lather the sweat under my mustache.

This is non-hipster metal for those unashamed by their own negative emotions.  This is cathartic music loaded with riffs and moments.  This is a mysterious recording because it’s unclear how one plays guitar and drums with hooks for hands.  Just press play on the player below and let the headbanging commence.

Highlights include: "The Maloik" and "Indrid Cold"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 28:11

From: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Genre: Sludge Metal, Thrash, Doom

Reminds me of: Breathe Fire, Crowlord, Diesel King, Hollow Leg, Vykanthrope

Release Date: December 10, 2013

Buzzherd on facebook

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Doom Chart: Most Paranoid Songs of 01/29/14

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. Blood & Whiskey (Doctor Smoke / Demo 2013)
  2. Robotic Invasion (Fu Manchu / split single w/ Moab)
  3. Shades of Black (Demon Eye / Leave the Light)
  4. Fall Through (Maze of Roots / 2013)
  5. Trinity (Argus / Beyond the Martyrs)
  6. 1901 (The Great Electric Quest / Chapter II E.P.)
  7. Horse Called Doom (Arrowhead / Atomsmasher)
  8. Slave the Hive (High on Fire / digital single)
  9. Gary's Graveyard (Smoke / ST)
  10. Necromance (Goya / 777)
  11. Bottomless Lies (Sandveiss / Scream Queen)
  12. War At The Edge Of The End (Eternal Champion / digital single)***
  13. So You Have Chosen Death (Saturn / Ascending)***
  14. Steel Veins (Ice Dragon / digital single)***
  15. Come Samhain (Zodiac / digital single)
  16. Mrs. Absinthe (Crypt Trip / ST E.P.)
  17. Rise of the Royal Reptiles (Sonic Mass / All Creatures Strange)***
  18. Palm Reader (Castles / Fiction Or Truth?)***
  19. To Let Silver (La Chinga / ST)***
  20. As You Wish (Vista Chino / Peace)
  21. The Dog (Hollow Leg / Abysmal)
  22. Dead Friends (Doomriders / Grand Blood)
  23. Phobia (Mist / Demo 2013)
  24. Ramona Parra (The Myrrors / 7" single)
  25. Ocular Terror (Black Majik Acid / ST)***
*** New Song

Outgoing songs:
Leadersheep (Saturn / Ascending)
Burnout Blues (Sangoma / Diviner)
High Priestess (Black Majik Acid / ST)
Ruler of Dust (Moon Coven / Amanita Kingdom)
Frown Curve (March the Desert / Waves on the Moon EP)
Gunslinger (Valley of the Sun / Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk)
Witch Is Burning (Doublestone / Wingmakers)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Breathe Fire - E.P. (E.P. review)

Cover artwork by Frank Frazetta.
Breathe Fire are one of the more mysterious bands I’ve ever come across.  They have a true, “let the music do the talking” attitude whereby online presence is minimal, info is sparse and hype is nonexistent.  Hell, these guys are so shrouded in secrecy they don’t even have album or song titles.  What I have been able to gleam is that the band is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, they’ve been around since at least 2007 and from all appearances they are two members with fury enough for five.

The four song ‘E.P.’ is a pummeling attack of Metal, hardly defined by subgenre classification, Breathe Fire angrily colors outside the sludge / doom lines, pressing hard, breaking every crayon they come across along the way, or so it seems.  Picking up the gauntlet lain down by High on Fire, Breathe Fire throw heavy handed punches from the get go and only stop between songs.  It’s an intense ride that only lasts for some 19 minutes but feels longer for all the bludgeoning abuse visited upon my sensitive nature.

As touched upon earlier the band has eschewed song titles for its first bandcamp release so the tracks are labelled “Track 1”, “Track 2”, etc.  “Track 1” opens the affair with cruel intentions.  From the word go, an exhilarating ascending guitar run and pausey drum riff spills forth making way for neck vein popping screamed vocals.  I’ve said it many times here but I don’t typically go for vocals that aren’t clean.  Breathe Fire’s guitarist / vocalist doesn’t offend me, his screams are melodic and inject an appropriate amount of energy into the boiling cauldron of music the instruments churn. 

This E.P. has loads going for it, but the melodic guitar runs spread throughout are one of the major distinguishing markers.  It takes the songs up a notch from straight forward sludge metal and injects a touch of class(ic rock).  “Track 2” takes its time building a tense atmosphere for a full two minutes before the pummeling resumes.  Minor chords and a cement boot of crash throw the listener overboard into deep waters where there’s no escape from a fully immersive experience.

The lone instrumental of the bunch, and closing number, “Track 4” is where the band brings it all home.  Far and away the best song on the E.P., Breathe Fire lets loose their inner High on Fire on this one with a firewagon of choppy riffs, bell ride and breakneck syncopation.  It’s a downhill ride on spiked wheels, chewing pavement , disrupting traffic and threatening lives.

This is a killer introduction to a band who, though most likely new to most of us, already knows its chops and is as focused as a tightly closed fist.  From the Frank Frazetta cover art on down Breathe Fire mean business, and their business involves swinging heavy axes.  ‘E.P.’ is available on bandcamp for FREE, 100 per cent, no questions asked FREE download, so follow the link on the player below and bloody your nose.

Highlights include: "Track 4" and "Track 1"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 19:22

From: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Genre: Stoner Metal, Doom, Sludge

Reminds me of: Buzzherd, Crowlord, Hollow Leg, Vykanthrope

Release Date: January 13, 2014

Band photo

Monday, 27 January 2014

Interview with Black Majik Acid

Black Majik Acid was one of the best new bands in the stoner / doom / psychedelic genre to come out of the States in 2013.  Their six song debut has become a staple here in the Paranoid bunker, especially over the course of the last couple months.  Though I never reviewed the album on the blog, I did share my thoughts about it at this link.  The Sacramento trio's sound is raw as a rashy open sore, heavily influenced by Electric Wizard, Sleep and early Black Sabbath, but rawer and more experimental.  The self-titled debut is a MUST-HAVE so I thought I'd treat Paranoid readers to an interview with the main man behind the band rather than a dry review.  He goes by the name of Sun Dawg and he's passionate about what he does.  Thankfully, he gave me one of the best interviews I've done here.  I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did ...

Black Majik Acid has a slightly complicated history.  Can you tell Paranoid readers how the band came to be where it is today?

I played bass for a doom band called Ungoliant in 2011, and put a lot of time and effort into contributing riffs and song ideas to the band. I was coming up with a lot of cool stuff and wanted to nurture this flow of ideas to get what I could of it before the creative well ran dry and writers block set in.

The day soon came though, when Ungoliant would fizzle out before the majority of my song ideas and riffs could be explored and brought to fruition. I was left with all this cool riffage and ideas I’d written that I really liked. So I continued to nurture the flow of doomy riffs that seemed to spill whenever I sat with a guitar for an hour or so.

At the time I was listening to a lot of Electric Wizard’s Dopethrone, Sleep’s Holy Mountain, and drawing a lot of inspiration from my love of early Black Sabbath.

Later, as I continued to develop ideas, i recorded basic rough sketches of these song ideas and emailed them to the former Ungoliant guitarist Hal. Surprisingly, Hal liked them, and encouraged me to continue writing and recording. That was when I decided these may actually be good songs and I began to pursue the idea of forming a band around these song concepts.

I've become somewhat of an elitist when it comes to what bands I allow to heavily influence BMA. Though I listen to a wide variety of different types of music, this band is specific to a particular type of doom that I am most interested in expanding on. Wizard, Sabbath, Witch, and a few others. There aren’t a lot though. In an interview with the band Graveyard, I was told, the singer was asked what bands would he consider to be the best today, and his alleged response was; “I don’t care about other bands.” That resonates with me at an innermost level. I feel the same way. There are bands that are main staples as influential, sure, but Black Majik Acid has taken on a life of its own. That entity that is Black Majik Acid is the driving force of its own success. Us as band members really have become but vessels of its bidding. It's kinda creepy. The songs write themselves. That is how the band has come to be where it is today, if that makes any sense.

And how’s the search for a permanent bassist going?

Well, we still haven’t gotten that figured out yet. The original BMA bassist Cheryl will be filling in for our upcoming show with Lord Dying(!!!), and it appears she may want to stick around. She’s pretty badass so it would be rad. Also, another badass bassist; former bass player for Ghuilhiem messaged us this morning that he is interested. We have 3 other great candidates as well that would like to audition. Its going to be a difficult challenge figuring out how to best handle the dilemma before us.

You have a pretty unusual recording technique.  Tell me about it.

Ha! Yes… When I was hashing out the songwriting details of ‘Charge of the Witch Goddess’, I decided to record the guitar part with a small handheld digital recorder, then play it back through my shitty vocal PA and video myself playing the drums to it using a small Flipshare camera. I put the video into windows moviemaker, and dropped in the guitar mp3 track, synched it up manually and played it back. It sounded decent, so I recorded the bass and vocals with the digital recorder and manually dropped each individual track into windows movie maker as well, synced it up to the video, essentially using windows movie maker to mix the entire recording. It came out much better than the previous demos. It was a total accident and I had no idea it would even work. It’s a poor man’s music studio. I’ve gotten better at it through trial and error, and some songs were a much more complicated process than Charge of the Witch Goddess, but yeah, that’s how I’ve recorded the 7 BMA tracks. 

So, the way I understand it, the self-titled album is all you: guitars, bass, drums, vocals, everything, and it was recorded as a recruiting device.  Is that true?  And did you have any desire once the album was released and the positive reaction started flooding in to continue along that solo path? 

That is true. Once I realized Charge of the Witch Goddess came out good enough to get the basic band idea across to potential band mates, that became the goal. Not having solid song recordings caused a lot of grief turmoil for our previous band line up. I’m not well with articulating the creative process that is happening within my cranial dome, and its difficult to convey the cursed vision I have. That lack of clarity caused division amongst us and broke us apart. The only way I knew to convey the vision effectively for future endeavours was to do the fucking shit myself, then show it to others and say; “this is kinda what I wanna do, are you into that kinda thing, and if so, let's fucking jam!!!!” 

BMA is a live band experience, that can only be done in a group setting. Its actually better live. I don’t know why that is. So for the most part there was never any strong desire to keep it as a solo project. What it did do, was define the sound more, clearing up any false conceptions of where BMA could or couldn’t go. The idea is specific to the doom genre, and the recordings speak that better than I could try to explain it. Also, it became clear that BMA is meant to be a lo-fi sound. That was established as well.

One of my favorite things about the self-titled album is the loose feel to it, especially on guitar.  How will playing with a band affect that loose quality on future releases?

I like this question a lot. Thank you for noticing. Bass is my main instrument. So all this guitar riffing has been strange for me. My riffs spawn from a bass playing perspective, which I think lends to this loose feel. My guitar methods are unconventional, and though bass is my main instrument, the thought of a conventional guitar player coming in and playing these riffs just doesn’t sit well with me. It seems that an unconventional approach to guitar may be what sets us apart from the so many other doom bands, and that is what is important, maybe most important to the success of BMA. I do a lot of weird shit that is likely not attempted much, if at all, with guitar players. I’ve had people complain about my guitar methods, thinking that I am not intentionally going for such a raw, gritty sound, when in fact that is exactly what I want. The people I'm jamming with now are starting to catch on and feel a little more comfortable with it, and there are times I may have to compromise that for the sake of keeping BMA together, but the understanding is there, and preserving those qualities have begun to become the collective goal. Also, the drummer Tyler’s own eccentricities will lend to further developing the overall goal, and whoever plays bass, the same, I believe.

It seems you’ve only just written a new song (“Black Moon Empress”).  How often do you engage in writing sessions and is it a solo or group activity?

Ha, well, Black Moon Empress was inspired by an acquaintance I know who plays violin. We talked about doing a psych jam half way through a set that was designed to feature her violin skills. So I spent an hour coming up with a riff on the bass that I really liked in the key of G as requested. Later at rehearsal I showed it to Cheryl and Tyler and us three figured out all the details, changes etc… I have no life outside of BMA and a select few other interests, so I spend lots of free time hashing out riffs, memorizing and recording them, while my friends are all out partying etc..So I did that with Black Moon Empress. Luckily I got the bandmate’s approval, they gave some input, we all squared up and agreed we liked it.

Ironically, the violin player never showed to rehearse it, and we realized, whether or not she follows through, we just added a killer new song to our list, which is always good. It seems a lot of my stuff spawns from working on something with someone, that person or people flaking or moving on, and me ending up with a badass riff or song that just came from some kind of lame situation.. I don’t know, ha, that’s weird how often that seems to be the case.

When do you consider a song to be written (finished)?

I just saw a quote that hit home with me concerning this question. I’ll have to paraphrase; it said something like-“ a piece of art is never finished”. That makes the most sense to me. Right or wrong, I don’t follow formula, and instead try to listen to my own intuition much of the time. I do try to take constructive input from others. Sometimes though, people are so caught up in formula and rules, and I want to avoid that. I guess if it sounds like a full song than I leave it alone.

You recently played your first show.  I had a question worked out about the Black Majik Acid live experience where I was going to ask about a light show with heated oils projected onto the band.  Then I saw the videos!  Perfect!  How would you say the first gig went?  And what are your future plans for gigs and presentation?

That was BMA’s 3rd show. It was the 1st show with the new drummer Tyler and I. The bass player we thought we had, who had committed to play 2 shows, wasn’t able to follow through on the commitment. Otherwise I wouldn’t have booked to play them, but it was too late. Therefore, we just decided it best to do it as a two piece so as not to flake on BMA’s commitment.

We did pretty decent considering. That crazy light show saved our ass!!! Otherwise it was somewhat of a nightmare. The sound guy really fucked us. We were rushed to set up, had no time to sound check, and had to play our songs fast to avoid getting cut off before we could finish our set. I could not hear any vocals in my monitors, his mic placement caused the drums to bleed into my vocal mic, creating a faint yet constant feedback throughout the set, and  it was pretty insane. One thing with me, if I cant hear my vocals coming through the monitors, the vocals are gonna sound like shit. For what it was we did a decent job, but that is the last time a sound guy rushes me. 

In the future, to avoid that insanity, we will keep a set shorter to give us more time to set up and avoid anxiety caused by being rushed, for sure. More new songs definitely!! Playing the newer songs like CЯEATURA and Black Moon Empress. The liquid light thing would be really awesome to incorporate into shows, the thing is that that  is SO much work, and nobody wants to compensate for that. The dude voluntarily came out for free to do it, but needed BMA to help set up and tear down, so it was twice as much work than the work it takes to perform as a band. I don’t believe in overachieving, so we wont be overexerting ourselves either, haha. If the liquid lights happen, fuck yeah!! Otherwise, we’ll just stick to the music.
When was the song “CЯEATURA” for the split with Merlin recorded?  It has a more experimental feel to it.  Do you plan on more releases like this one?

That was recorded in mid September, to be released on Halloween day. I had a lot of fun throwing that one together. I personally was really pleased with it and would love to delve more into that style. It is heavily influenced by the Electric Wizard song ‘Flower of Evil’, but much more influenced by the movie; Beyond the Black Rainbow (!!! That's exactly what it reminds me of!!! Nailed it! - LK). I literally picked up the guitar immediately after being blown away by that movie with the intent of creating a riff that was an audible representation capturing the essence of the movie’s entirety. That main riff came instantaneous, and I fell in love with it on the spot. It embodied to me, the whole of what I had just experienced visually. I definitely plan to put out a lot more of that kind of sound, yes. It took the BMA idea in a different direction, but I felt it stayed true to the BMA signature sound, and just let it happen.

Though the self-titled album is very much a “current” release, and without making any promises, when might the world hear more from Black Majik Acid?

Haha..I did an interview with that crazy rad dude Tony Maim (Hi Tony! - LK), and talked about how we’d be putting more out soon, and lately realized that was a pretty unrealistic statement, so am reluctant to attempt to accurately predict anything, I'm only hopeful it will be soon. I have 5-6 almost full song ideas ready to go. It's just with live shows coming up, recruiting new members, along with all the other band shit that comes up, who knows when we’ll take that needed action. I’d say within the year these other songs will be out. To be fair, that new song Black Moon Empress, written unexpectedly, is done. We keep track of most  new riffs that morph from out of the cosmos into our band creative space too, and have tons of ideas backed up. But, to guess, I’d say, expect something substantial before 2015 !!!

You guys that do these blogs are fucking awesome and don’t get half the credit you deserve! It keeps bands like us stoked to push forward!! You guys fucking rock!!! Thank you!!!

Hey, thanks for taking the time to talk with me, whatever the future holds for Black Majik Acid, I’ll be watching and listening eagerly.

Check out the incredible Black Majik Acid on the player below and follow through on these links:

Black Majik Acid on facebook
Black Majik Acid interview on Black Insect Laughter
Black Majik Acid on youtube
Black Majik Acid on
Black Majik Acid on Soundcloud
Black Majik Acid on Grooveshark

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Doom Chart: Most Paranoid Albums of 01/25/14

Top 30 Albums
#). artist - album title
Cover artwork by John Hitselberger.
  1. Demon Eye - Leave the Light
  2. Satan's Satyrs - Wild Beyond Belief
  3. Blackwitch Pudding - Taste the Pudding
  4. The Great Electric Quest - Chapter II EP
  5. Moosataur - ST
  6. Earth Witch - Earthbound EP
  7. Doctor Cyclops - Oscuropasso
  8. Blizaro - Strange Doorways
  9. Sangoma - Diviner
  10. Ancient Warlocks - ST
  11. Breathe Fire - EP
  12. Sonic Mass - All Creatures Strange
  13. Black Majik Acid - ST
  14. Doctor Smoke - ST EP
  15. Dirt Wizard - No Son of Mine
  16. Buzzherd - On Sinking Ships ... Rats Drown
  17. Vykanthrope - The Devil's Waiting
  18. Stone Dagger - The Siege of Jerusalem
  19. Birch Crown - ST
  20. Arrowhead - Atomsmasher
  21. Cave of Swimmers - ST***
  22. Nigromante - Black Magic Night***
  23. *The Electric Revival - Pirate Radio***
  24. Space Mushroom Fuzz - Burning the Almanac
  25. Asomvel - Knuckle Duster
  26. Ordos - ST***
  27. Wizard Union - Smoking Coffins
  28. Slown - Cosmic Hellrock Deluxe***
  29. Lizardia - ST***
  30. Funeral Horse - Savage Audio Demon***
*Album available on itunes but is to be re-released by Cruzar Media on Feb. 14.
*** New Listing

PARANOID Spotlight on:
SLOWN – ‘Cosmic Hellrock Deluxe’
'Cosmic Hellrock Deluxe' (subtitled 'The Lost Tapes') is a 7 track collection of Desert / Stoner jams, performed with a sleepy eyed enthusiasm which makes up for the album's shortcomings in recording fidelity.  Apart from the factoid on their bandcamp page that the band is from Hamburg, Germany, it's hard to find any information on Slown, due to their name.  A google search assumes you've made a typo and searches for "Slow - Hamburg" or "Clown - Hamburg", etc. instead.  The best I could do is find Ascii Disko an electronic artist who is "guitarist Kat D.D. Rokk, former guitarist of the band Slown and current guitarist/keyboardist of the sci-fi indie-rock band Venus Vegas."  I have a feeling that this band is no longer around.

The bandcamp page doesn't help much either with a release date of June 6, 1966 (06 / 06 / 66), I don't even know when this thing was put up on bandcamp, let alone when it was recorded.  It might have been recorded in 1966 for all I know, but if I had to take a guess I'd say it was recorded sometime between 2003-2007 or later.  Of course, it might have been recorded a week before it was released, which I assume was sometime around January 10, but I don't think so.  By the way, I would love to be stood corrected on any of this.

But getting back to the only stuff that really matters, 'Cosmic Hellrock Deluxe' offers some meaty stoner grooves with some tasty tones, you just have to be able to look, or rather listen past the poor recordings.  I'm not an audiophile so I'm fine with it.  The most memorable track here has got to be "Mr. Flametongue" which has an excellent desert rock sound where you close your eyes and it's just you, a campfire and a case of beer surrounded by the canyon cliffs, the indigo mantle of the milky way the only roof over your head.  You can track the album down by clicking the link on the #28 listing.

Hour of Power 01/24/14

  1. Thundersnow in Venice (Blood Red Water / All the Ills of Mankind)
  2. Empty Sky (The Devil Rides Out / Ugly Creatures)*
  3. Tango Decadence (Kamchatka / The Search Goes On) PRE
  4. Stuck (Occult Wisdom / TBAPRE
  5. Charge of the Witch Goddess [live] (Black Majik Acid / ST)
  6. Ocular Terror [live] (Black Majik Acid / ST)
  7. Judgement - Final Rites (Fosforus / Annihilation of the AbsolutePRE
  8. Wake Me (Sungod / STPRE
  9. Super Sluts from Outer Space (Blackwitch Pudding / Taste the Pudding)
  10. The Endless Void (Moosataur / ST)
*This is the culmination of a long project in which The Devil Rides Out released a unique film clip for all 5 songs from their 'Ugly Creatures' EP.  Find the other videos on the links below:
2). Empty Sky (see above)

 PRE = Pre-Release / Not yet available

Friday, 24 January 2014

Paranoid / Sludeglord Tag Team Interview with Mos Generator's Tony Reed, Part 1

Tony Reed, from Port Orchard, Washington (across Puget Sound from Seattle), is the guitarist / vocalist / keyboardist for Mos Generator (he also plays in Stone Axe, Treepeople, Goodbye Harry & Twelve Thirty Dreamtime). The band is about to release their new album 'Electric Mountain Majesty' on Listenable Records. This is the third tag team interview between Steve The Sludgelord and I and who better to talk to than the legendary musician / producer?  Let's dive right in, shall we ... - LK

SL - Hi Tony, Can you tell our readers how you became involved with music. Any life-changing event or album that inspired you to become a musician?

Hey guys, thank you for taking the time to come up with these great questions. I would have to say that my parents were a big influence on my love of music. Music around the house ranged from Motown to Sabbath and god bless those K-Tel records :). The first album I heard that had a major impact on me was KISS Alive!  I heard a cassette of from my older cousin. It had no cover so I didn't even see what the band looked like at first. Then when I saw pics of the band I was completely hooked. They looked really cool to a 9 year old.

Artwork by Adam Burke.
PH - You had 12 songs recorded for ‘Electric Mountain Majesty’ and decided to go with 10 on the album.  What happens to the other two now?

Our new label, Listenable Records, has licensed a few of their releases to a Japanese label. Hopefully that will happen with Electric Mountain Majesty. The Japanese releases always have bonus tracks so we are ready if it happens. 

SL - You have just finished recording your new album. Can you tell us what people can expect from it?

As with most bands, we are always trying to expand our sound. On Electric Mountain Majesty we actually went back to a more raw and live sound. A few of the songs are actually demos that we thought turned out good enough to use on the album. After the positive feedback we got from the "In Concert" album last year we wanted to try and harness the live energy on a studio record. On some songs I think it really worked. There are a few songs that were studio creations and probably won't be played live. It's weird to try and explain this but I think it's our most uptempo and our most downtempo album at the same time. "Nomads" was a very mid-tempo album. Electric Mountain Majesty moves to each side of that a bit more.

PH - I hear you actually went over to Denmark to record the ‘Wingmakers’ album with the guys in Doublestone.  Is that something you do often, travelling far and wide to record bands?  And what was the experience like?

Actually I am on a flight back from Australia right now where I worked on the new SEEDY JEEZUS album. We recorded in a legendary Melbourne club called The Tote. I set them up just like they were on stage and let em blast out their brand of high energy hard rock. I like to make the bands as comfortable as possible. Setting up like they are on stage and just cranking up with using headphones seems to be very effective. I have been to Denmark twice to work with Doublestone and the band and me were both very happy with the results of that technic. I have done other traveling as well but I also do a lot of mixing for bands that have recorded at a studio that is close to them and then they send me the files to mix.  

SL - Can you tell our readers how Mos Generator became about? No doubt, you have been asked this question a million times before ...

The three of us have been playing music together since 1990. We had a band together through the first half of the 90s then we all joined other bands that were touring and making records. After those bands faded, we found our way back to each other and formed Mos Generator in the fall of 2000. We are certainly musical brothers and because all of the music we have made, crap we have been through and time we have spent together we might as well be blood brothers too.

PH -Last I heard Mos Generator was planning to head over to Europe to tour around their Freak Valley Festival appearance.  Is there anything to report on that front?

Right now the details are being worked out. We will probably do May 15th - 30th through Europe. No UK gigs on this tour.

PH - And just to continue along tour lines, is there anything developing stateside?

We have limited time to be able to tour so we generally stay pretty regional in the states and then use what touring time we have to go overseas.

SL - 2013 was a great year for Mos Generator. Though I seen you live in action with Mos Generator supporting Saint Vitus on their European Tour. That tour was a great success for the band. Some people said you were better than Vitus themselves. Were you surprised the reaction you got you played on tour as you received a load of rave reviews including from myself as well?

It was an honor to be able to tour with Vitus and it was so good to play for a larger audience than we would be if we were out on our own. We definitely had a challenge every night but I feel like we would usually win the crowd after a few songs (and a few shots of jäger). It was a challenge we were happy to accept.  


Part 2 of the tag team interview continues on The Sludgelord blog right here.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Moosataur - ST (album review)

Cover artwork by Adam Burke.
What happens when you cross psych and doom with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons?  Long story short, you get Moosataur.

From the back woods of North Maine and parts of Canada stalks a fabled and unholy creature.  Spoken of only in whispers by lumberjacks between sips of moonshine, the Moosataur has given many a burly man the night terrors.  It is said, he makes the forest his labyrinth.  It should come as no surprise then that the journey to find this ungodly beast should reflect that labyrinthine character, not in terms of winding, complicated routes but in variety of approach.  No two trips into the Moosataur's forest will ever turn out quite the same, but the documenting of these adventures are consistently spellbinding.  This is the story of three intrepid explorers on the hunt for this magnificent, misunderstood, and some say, deadly beast.

The expedition begins.  The sun goes down, the northern lights ripple.  Wistful, melancholic strains of accordion greet the ears to set the mood in a Hollies's "Dear Eloise" kind of way.  Wait ... accordion?  Yeah, it's going to be one of those journeys.  Before things break out in a ferocious polka, a guitar with a raunch-factor of 12 wipes the board clean.  It's all the heavier and raunchier for coming on the heels of the bucolic intro.  The effect is then doubled halfway through when the accordion re-appears and is quickly followed-up with a punkish blast.  This is "Fuzzy Belly", welcoming you into the madcap world of Moosataur, where songs flow into one another, linked by feedback, but no two sound alike.  You listen to "Fuzzy Belly" and think you've found yourself a nice little shoegaze album, then "Blood of the Hunted" blasts into being with shredding guitars and hardcore drums and vocals.  Two songs in and it's a lot to digest already.  We're now in the woods, sifting through droppings, examining tracks.

"We Bare the Mark" is a grungy song, a sound you'd never expect to hear from New England.  At this point it's safe to say a single unifying theme or identity for the band is elusive, much like the creature from which the band takes it's name.  Elusive, but not mythical.  There is a certain something that binds it all together, and there's more to it than simply weirdness for weirdness's sake.  It's the Moosataur.  It's the hunt for the elusive mythical beast that may or may not actually exist.  You have no proof that it does exist, but you have no proof that it doesn't, so what's to stop you from getting out there and looking for it?  Nothing but the limits of your own imagination.  Moosataur the band has no such limits or if they do it hardly matters because they're always pushing and expanding them outwardly, creating their own reality.  Tracking the elusive Moosataur (the creature), the band finds footprints and droppings directly in the path they've been travelling.  It's almost as if ... as if ... no, but that's crazy.  But it could be, that perhaps the creature wants to be found.  And that it only shows itself to those who bare the mark, those who are ready.

And so we reach the end of the expedition, the center of the labyrinth to find ... "Moosataur", a Dio-inspired epic of psychedelic metal.  And it's such a beautiful sight, it almost brings a tear to the eye.  He's the last of his kind, seeking revenge against the loggers of the north.  The Moosataur.  He appeals to the misfit in all of us, as does the band which bears his name and bares the mark.  It all makes so little sense that in the end, it begins to.  The labyrinth, the strangeness, the misfitting all stand for the music itself.  A hearty spirit of exploration and experimentation prevails throughout, the willingness to try different things to see which shoe fits.  Fortunately they all do, and the shoe closet of Moosataur is well stocked, leaving tracks across a vast territory of different fashions.  I look forward to watching for Moosataur tracks in the future, I imagine they will leave hoof prints in a highly irregular pattern.  For now, there's this first outing, which shows more than just promise, it stands on its own.

Highlights include: "Moosataur" and "Fuzzy Belly"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 25:45

From: Ayer, Massachusetts

Genre: Psychedelic, Doom, Stoner, Metal

Reminds me of: Advanced D&D, Ice Dragon

Release Date: December 12, 2013

Moosataur on facebook

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Doom Chart: Most Paranoid Songs of 01/22/14

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. Leadersheep (Saturn / Ascending)
  2. Blood & Whiskey (Doctor Smoke / Demo 2013)
  3. Burnout Blues (Sangoma / Diviner)
  4. Robotic Invasion (Fu Manchu / split single w/ Moab)
  5. High Priestess (Black Majik Acid / ST)
  6. Horse Called Doom (Arrowhead / Atomsmasher)
  7. Ruler of Dust (Moon Coven / Amanita Kingdom)
  8. 1901 (The Great Electric Quest / Chapter II E.P.)
  9. Frown Curve (March the Desert / Waves on the Moon EP)
  10. Fall Through (Maze of Roots / 2013)
  11. Slave the Hive (High on Fire / digital single)
  12. Shades of Black (Demon Eye / Leave the Light)***
  13. Trinity (Argus / Beyond the Martyrs)***
  14. Gary's Graveyard (Smoke / ST)
  15. Necromance (Goya / 777)***
  16. Come Samhain (Zodiac / digital single)
  17. Gunslinger (Valley of the Sun / Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk)
  18. Bottomless Lies (Sandveiss / Scream Queen)
  19. Witch Is Burning (Doublestone / Wingmakers)
  20. Mrs. Absinthe (Crypt Trip / ST E.P.)
  21. As You Wish (Vista Chino / Peace)
  22. The Dog (Hollow Leg / Abysmal)
  23. Dead Friends (Doomriders / Grand Blood)
  24. Phobia (Mist / Demo 2013)***
  25. Ramona Parra (The Myrrors / 7" single)
*** New Song

Outgoing songs:
Sinistra (Wounded Giant / Lightning Medicine)
Queen of the Black Harvest (Ice Dragon / Steel Veins single)
Battalion of Zero (Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals / Walk Through Exits Only)
Oblivion (Switchblade Jesus / Myelin Constellation)
PARANOID Spotlight on:
DEMON EYE – “Shades of Black”
Debuting at #12 this week is Demon Eye's "Shades of Black", a song that was originally released on the Raleigh, NC quartet's debut six-song E.P. nearly a year ago.  Why is a song that's nearly a year old debuting at the #12 spot?  Because it's being released on the band's full-length album 'Leave the Light' this Friday.  The album features all six E.P. tracks and a clutch of all-new tunes.  I'm glad the band and their label, Soulseller Records went this way with it because it gives me a chance to re-acquaint myself with this tune, a song that was originally somewhat overshadowed by songs like "Hecate", "Silent One" and "Fires of Abalam" (yup, they're all on the new LP).

I wrote a fairly extensive review of 'Leave the Light' for The Sludgelord blog which you can read right here, so I won't rehash all of that wonderful stuff I said about it only to say that I love it and I bet you will too, even if, like me, you already have the original E.P. [see the Paranoid review right here]  Again, five new songs make it well worth picking up with "Adversary" and "Secret Sect" being the strongest of the bunch.

But "Shades of Black" has also been a true standout for me.  Matter of fact, it's been a go-to song to sing and whistle at work over the past few weeks.  It's one of the band's more iconic tracks, featuring the band's trademark guitar sound and curly riffs with a strong whiff of Deep Purple on top.  Don't be surprised if this song goes pretty far up this chart in the coming weeks.  You can pre-order the album by emailing the address found at this link and inquiring about shipping rates.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Blood Red Water - Thundersnow in Venice (Official Music Video)

Venice, Italy's sludge doom masters Blood Red Water have released the brand new video for "Thundersnow in Venice", the closing track from their recent 'All the Ills of Mankind' E.P [see review].  It's not the catchiest or hookiest song from the release, but it is perfectly representative of the overall Blood Red Water sound from their first two E.P.'s, including 2012's 'Tales of Addiction & Despair'.  As you may tell from the video thumbnail, it's not a happy sound.  The video is set in Venice and was directed by the band's drummer Fiorica Gasparini.  Like the song itself, the video captures the essence of the band's distinctively despairing sludge.

Directed & Edited by
Fiorica Gasparini

Carlotta Mazzoni, Lorenzo Petri, Michele Sabbadin, Eric Danzo, Marco Salvatici, Francesco Voltan

Written by
Blood Red Water

Music performed & composed by
Blood Red Water

Recorded by
Gianluca Zanin
Studio Beat2

Blood Red Water

Special thanks:
Marco Salvatici, Giulia Simionato, Lorenzo Petri, Emanuele Zago, Carlotta Mazzoni, Luca Ferrarese

Thanks to Mick for providing the video!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Blackwitch Pudding - Taste the Pudding (album review)

Cover artwork by Liesl Meissner.
The three cloaked and hooded ingredients that make up Blackwitch Pudding seem like a bunch of perverts. Everything is panties and (super)sluts. But even if I were in a position to judge these deviants harshly for their peculiar appetites, I wouldn’t because these guys are from out of town.  I mean way out of town. I understand that what may offend prudish sensibility on this planet, may just be common decency and politeness where the Pudding comes from. It’s called different cultures, and we should learn to embrace them. Embrace the sluts and taste the pudding, that’s what I say, and how the hell could you pass judgment on a thing like that anyway? *sniff, sniff* Ah, love is in the air!

Blackwitch Pudding serves up seven swarthy tracks of ‘banging wizardry on ‘Taste the Pudding’, their debut full-length. While it would be easy to look at the song titles and listen to the lyrics and label the music as ‘filthy’, that’s not quite the tone here. Oily, might be a better descriptor. The production and the music here is sleek and slick with a rainbow sheen and can also be used as a lubricant.

What else can be said about this swarthy, oily mixture we call Blackwitch Pudding? Silliness, charisma, personality and antics make them stateside cousins to UK schlock rockers Groan and that’s the comparison I make when listening. But sonically, it’s not a great match as Groan has a touch of Steel Panther in them while BP take their cues from the local (Portland) sound, which is spear-headed by Red Fang. Either way, it would be amazing to see a Groan / Blackwitch Pudding tour as that’s a match made in some kind of slutty heaven. I’m sure the panties would fly at those shows, which would make it the equivalent of a black tie affair where these stoner metallers come from. Both bands are represented by Southern Cross PR so there is a tiny link there. This probably needs to happen, that’s all I’m saying.

So it’s a swarthy, oily mixture of Stump(town)y proportions. But it’s so much more than that. This isn’t your average record by any standard. Red Fang-like stoner metal is only one listing under this Pudding's “nutritional information”. The band breathes fire during some of the sexiest moments of doom you’re likely to be comfortable encountering, any sexier than this and it would be quite uncomfortable indeed. Oh, and did I mention outer space?  There's more than a hint of dark matter in Blackwitch Pudding's recipe, I'm sure that's where the color in the name comes from.  'Taste the Pudding' is a tight recording that would provide little clue to the band's silly nature to non-English speakers.  The band can sound downright foreboding at times, but never so far over the line as this is always undercut by their penchant for cutting loose by navigating the celestial sound waves like a gang of Silver Surfers.

Swarthy, oily, stumpy, doomy, spacey, chugging, grinding, spellbinding Blackwitch Pudding. Delicious. And frightening. Clearly, ‘Taste the Pudding’ is a hostile takeover of the planet earth by three wizards from outer space. I’m not sure what it is they want, but I have an idea. To turn the entire world into a giant, formal black tie party, Pudding style. I for one would like to welcome our new overlords …

Highlights include: "Super Sluts from Outer Space" and "Gathering Panties"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 44:22

From: Portland, Oregon

Genre: Stoner Metal, Doom, Space, Wizard

Reminds me of: Ancient Warlocks, Black Wizard, Dirt Wizard, Groan, Red Fang, Wounded Giant

Release Date: August 30, 2013

Blackwitch Pudding on facebook

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Super Doom Chart - Best of 2013

Artwork by Tony Maim [Black Insect Laughter]
Welcome to the Best of 2013 edition of the Super Doom Charts.  Some thirty plus contributors submitted hundreds of albums, many of which received multiple votes.  The minimum needed to cross the finish line was six votes, twice as many as normal, even though we had nearly the same number of voters.  All in all the albums that made it onto this list were fairly unanimous, but the strangest wrinkle here is that there was a tie for first place!  The two albums at the top of this list had the exact same number of votes AND points.  They're both terrific albums.  Next SDC will be a regular, best of the month chart, but we're going to try a little bit of a different format here, so I hope to see you then.  Huge shout out again to the folks who submitted lists and a mega-galactic shout out to those who did the write-ups here.  I`d tell you you are my sunshine, but this is a doom chart so I'll just say, you are my gray cloud.  Thanks again, and thank you readers.  Dig in ...

T-1). UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS – Mind Control (Rise Above)
Highest Finish: 1, Months on chart: 5
Words by Katharina Pfeiffer (Psychorizon)
Slowly crawling uphill towards the mind-controlling factories of Cambridgeshire, the 2013 brainchild of UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS insidiously takes hold of them synapses if you're willing to give yourself to their Fuzz Fantasma. Even though much of the mystery that laid upon this sonic UK outlet in the early days of their sudden underground stardom has finally been lifted and this veil reveals an actual band, none of their appeal has left with the foursome finally stepping onto stages all over the islands and mainland. Direct comparison with its predecessor "Blood Lust" might have "Mind Control" slightly weakened, but as part of the band's development this might just be the natural step to take. The climatic tracklist on this record delivers a most enchanting encouter. Truely sttiking and sticking out though, partly due to the visual accompany of a video, is the quasi title track "Mind Crawler", coming in second on the record and if you're a Rocker at heart, you will just love "Evil Love" - either way this record is built for the long haul.  Find the album here.

T-1). VISTA CHINO – Peace (Napalm)
Highest Finish: 1, Months on chart: 4
Words by LK Ultra
As with any highly anticipated album from a legendary band, Vista Chino's 'Peace' was initially met by a mixed response so the album's tie for first place comes as something of a surprise.  But for those of us who listened to it (addictively) and voted it into the top spot, it's no great shock.  I've read all sorts of criticisms of this band and this album, but the final verdict here is that the fuzz lives on.  Find the album here.

3). CLUTCH – Earth Rocker (Weathermaker Music)
Highest Finish: 4, Months on chart: 2
Words by Soda Bill (The Ripple Effect)
'Earth Rocker' is Clutch's 10 studio album. At this point in their careers, most bands lose their appeal and enter the stage where they're now a "Greatest Hits" band. Not Clutch. 'Earth Rocker' contains so much energy you would think that they're all still young 20 year olds. 'Earth Rocker' just rocks. Even the slower and acoustic driven "Gone Cold" had a sense of fierceness to it. The album shows why the band is still on top of the mountain after over 20 years. Buy it.

4). WINDHAND – Soma (Relapse)
Highest Finish: 1, Months on chart: 3
Words by Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter)
Windhand have crawled from the depths of some alien landscape to deliver an album dripping in doom, menace and heaviness.  “Soma” delivers 75 minutes of sonic hymns weighed down with atmosphere and foreboding. Low-end and fuzzed guitars carry the wall of sonics into epic soundscapes which riff as if the world is ending.  Dorithia Cottrell sounds as if she is reciting from an unknown Book of Macabre, buried deep in the mix, making if feel like as if the vocals are half curse, half prayer.  Making every note count, the solos are a masterclass in why less is more. Why induldge in fretboard pyrotechnics when mantra like riffs can pull you under with their spell.  The last track is 30 minutes long and has split the listening community in half - pointless, aimless and a waste of time or one almighty circular riff that ends the album perfectly?

This is Doom.  Here it is.

5). BLOOD CEREMONY – The Eldritch Dark (Rise Above)
Highest Finish: 5, Months on chart: 5
Words by Gruesome Greg [Gruesome Views]
I’ve been a fan of this band for almost seven years now, pretty much since the beginning. Not only do I have all their albums—I was at the release party for each of them. And while I’ll always have a soft spot for the self-titled debut, I admire the progression they’ve made from one record to the next, even if they’re progressively moving away from metal towards more, erm, progressive rock. The Eldritch Dark certainly won’t blow your speakers (unless you’ve got some pretty shitty speakers), but it’s not intended to. It’s more of a hearkening back to the horror soundtrack, in the days when Italian prog-rock bands composed entire soundtracks themselves.

Hey, did I tell you about the time I saw Blood Ceremony play an underground theatre, ate roast corn and watched The Wicker Man afterwards?  Find the album here.

6). KADAVAR – Abra Kadavar (Nuclear Blast)
Highest Finish: 2, Months on chart: 5
Words by Katharina Pfeiffer (Psychorizon)
Desert-dry, straight forward yet laid back Classic Rock with a touch of Fuzz-O-Matic - leaving out all the crappy hipster hype talk going on, KADAVAR are but a brilliantly delivering band. The Berlin-based trio from a national subcultural phenomenon into a globally successful act, relentlessly touring, facing an endless run of Interviews, Signing Sessions and what not. Their second full-length release – and Nuclear Blast debut – saw the light of day on April 12, 2013. Hardly a year and one line-up chance later their peak is still lasting, far from slowing down and the first few shows for the upcoming live circle have already been announced, including KADAVARs appearance at German Freak Valley Festival. While their previous eponymous record offers a comprehensible number of potential hits, "Abra Kadavar" is a well-rounded circle of overwhelmingly catchy tunes, such as "Come Back Life", "Doomsday Machine", "Liquid Dream" or the instrumental Outro title track "Abra Kadavar". Now all there's left to do is wait and see, what 2014 will bring and if there's gonna be a new KADAVAR record, I'd gladly be promoting!  Find the album here.

7). IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS – Of the Flock (Self-Released)
Highest Finish: 3, Months on chart: 1
Words by Cam Crichton (Motherslug)
When one member of a two-piece band leaves you could probably expect a shift in direction, not so with these Denver sludgers. Joseph Weller Myer (Royal Talons) replaces JJ Anselmi on the skins for In the Company of Serpents second release, Of The Flock.

Billy Anderson behind the desk (albeit remotely) steps up the production, adding a broader dynamic range with touches of subtlety and ambience (read twangy, buzzy acoustic guitar and strange background noises) but their sledgehammer to the head onlsaught of riffage and rasping vocals remain the consistent theme from the first album.

Ash Swamp opens the album and conjures a lonely radiola playing in a rundown barn before unleashing the pummelling riffs of Craven. Blood From Stone and Of the Flock are both slow burners with plenty of groove. The highlight of the album, Untied/Culling Essence from the Void, carries on thematically from Ash Swamp and is reminiscent of Seasons in the Abyss - luring us in with a haunting dissonant melody and snagging us with its relentlessly catchy hook.  Find the album here.

8). MONSTER MAGNET – Last Patrol (Napalm)
Highest Finish: 1, Months on chart: 3
Words by LK Ultra
There had always been two major components of the Monster Magnet sound.  First, huge pounding rock n roll sleaze and second, Kirby-esque psychedelia.  The combination of these two forces helped create and define the stoner rock genre.  After their first three albums, Monster Magnet seemed to gravitate more toward the hard rock side of things, losing that careful balance by ever-increasing degrees.  Though the band never truly lost it's identifiable sound altogether, a return to psychedelic prominence becomes a welcome change, although there's still no balance!  'Last Patrol' is arguably the band's best record in about 18 years.  Here it is.

9). MAGIC CIRCLE – Magic Circle (Self-Released)
Highest Finish: 20, Months on chart: 5
Words by Soggy Bob [Soggy Bog of Doom]
The first time I heard of Magic Circle was sometime in 2011. If I remember correctly they were opening up for Pilgrim somewhere in NYC. I dug the name (also that they were playing with Pilgrim) and looked them up on youtube. This is what I found!  MAGIC CIRCLE! EPIC song released before the record. I hastily ripped it from youtube and played it on my dopey show. Then I found out the self titled record was released via I swiftly ordered the CD and then the LP. God damn is this traditional doom/metal in the purest and finest form! This is six tracks of the best doom ive heard all year. While this is a new band, these fellas have been cranking out tunes in many other projects that would consider polar opposites of doom. However, they have the chemistry to write and man does it show. This isnt a plodding lurching slow moving record. Its got a few upbeat parts and songs. Definitely some nice contrast going on. Rapture and Scream Evil are prime examples. Brendan Radigans performance on these tracks are holy. There is so much passion in his voice its gives me goose bumps (I just gave you douche chills didn't I?). One of my favorite parts of the record is approx 1:48 of Scream Evil when the slow dirge picks up a bit of speed and Chris Corry Lays down a dramatic and powerful riff. Also during Rapture at the 2:00 mark theres a nice combination of Radigan laying down some vocals over a brief but effective lead by Corry. This is also done on the opening track Winter Light. Its sounds fucking awesome and a nice touch to both tunes.The lyrics on this record are magical and occult in their vibe. While the occult/magical/fantasy thing is being beaten to death in the doom world some bands can do it right. Magic Circle is one of them. Along with Alia O'brien (Blood Ceremony) and Dee Calhoun (Iron Man) Brendan Radigan put on one the best performances on a record in 2013. Its the main reason why Magic Circle's debut album is my favorite record of 2013.  Find it here.

10). IRON MAN – South of the Earth (Rise Above)
Highest Finish: 7, Months on chart: 2
Words by LK Ultra
A quarter of a century.  Finding the complimentary pieces, practicing, jamming, writing, gigging.  A quarter century's work has come down to this.  Guitarist Alfred Morris III has been a part of Iron Man for over 25 years, carrying the flag for what started as a Black Sabbath cover band and has evolved into its own diesel-chugging entity.  After all this time the pieces have come together brilliantly, perhaps perfectly.  Louis Strachan is the perfect complimentary bassist, rattling and thumping out wah-bent counterpoint to Morris's blues-drenched doom.  Dee Calhoun is the literate, articulate, rough-hewn voice of the band whose 'Screaming Mad' persona finds expression in righteous indignation as opposed to amp-jumping stage antics while drummer Mot Waldmann is the eye of the hurricane, providing that steady pulse the band needs.  A quarter century of work: finding the right pieces, practicing, jamming, gigging, has paid off on 'South of the Earth', the snapshot of a band in perfect form finding full expression in a wide-range of styles.  Find the album here.

11). GOATESS – Self-Titled (Svart)
Highest Finish: 1, Months on chart: 3
Words by LK Ultra
Psychedelic, stoner, doom, call it what you will, Goatess rattle the teeth, and blow minds in the process.  If there's such a subgenre as "hopeful doom", then Goatess have created it with this album, 'Goatess' always leaves me feeling uplifted, and I'm somehow better off for having listened to it.  It's the kind of album that lets you know, "yes there is doom, yes there is death, but there is still life beyond."  It's an impersonal survival, one where natural processes recycle the body and perhaps even the mind (the way the earth will absorb a body's nutrients once buried) like an enormous, psychedelic bureaucracy, cold and baffling.  Yet there is a kind of hope there and maybe, just maybe, some of that "life stuff" slips off into another dimension or universe.  That is where you will find Goatess, it's the stuff of doom that has slipped off from the life/death conveyor belt to create a universe all it's own.  Find the album here.

12). BEELZEFUZZ – Self-Titled (Church Within)
Highest Finish: 5, Months on chart: 3
Words by LK Ultra
It's easy to forget that this is a debut album.  Like Goatess (see entry #11 above), Beelzefuzz took their time crafting the best, most complete album they could to introduce themselves to the world.  The band name is a play on words taken from the demon Beelzebub, associated with flying insects like flies and perhaps, bees.  As the name suggests, Beelzefuzz's sound is built around dark, doomy riffs, buzzing in a hive of ideas, dripping with honied melody but retaining a mischievous edge.  The song "Lotus Jam" is the perfect encapsulation of what this band is all about, their self-titled debut is a categorical triumph.  Link.

13). GOZU – The Fury of a Patient Man (Small Stone)
Highest Finish: 30, Months on chart: 1
Words by Pat Harrington (Electric Beard of Doom)
When it comes to Gozu, expect the unexpected...

I got The Fury Of A Patient Man the day Small Stone Records released it on Bandcamp. A huge fan of their SS debut, Locust Season, I was expecting more of them heavy, booty shaking grooves and sweet soulful serenades by the incomparable Marc Gaffney.

Then I heard Bald Bull...

Heavy as fuck, more in line with High On Fire than QOTSA, Gozu proved right away that they are more than a one trick pony. We quickly get back to those great grooves with Signed, Epstein’s Mom, but the speed comes back with a vengeance with Charles Bronson Pinchot. On and on it goes...

This album has it all, this band has it all. I’ve seen them live, they are heavier than you could ever imagine. Now with the addition of a third guitar, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us. This album came out in April, I still go back to it on the regular and eagerly await the release on vinyl, which will include 2 bonus tracks!

Whether it’s the irreverent song titles, the incredibly diverse musical elements that formulate their sound, the surprisingly insightful lyrics of Marc Gaffney or the fretboard mastery of Doug Sherman, when it comes to Gozu, expect the unexpected. In fact, only one thing is certain, Gozu kicks ass... everytime!  Find the album here.

14). SASQUATCH – IV (Small Stone)
Highest Finish: 3, Months on chart: 3
Words by LK Ultra
The first time I heard this album I thought it was vanilla.  Not too bad, but nothing special.  The second time I heard it I thought, this is actually pretty good!  The third time I heard it I was singing and grooving along with the record.  By the sixth or seventh listen I was ready to certify it as a classic and that's the mystique of Sasquatch, veteran savvy that eschews flashiness for tone, groove, melody and an overall satisfying and consistent aesthetic.  Find the album here.

15). SUBROSA – More Constant Than the Gods (Profound Lore)
Highest Finish: 10, Months on chart: 3
Words by LK Ultra
SubRosa is currently in the midst of a lineup change, so 'More Constant ...' ended up being bassist Christian Creek's swan song with the band.  Taking his place is Huldra's Levi Hanna.  It remains to be seen how the band intends to introduce their newest member to the record buying public or if the band plans to quickly follow up on this epic, occult-y, doomy, ethereal, spectral, haunting and inspiring record to indeed become more constant than the gods.  They have hinted that that just may be the case.  Until then, there's 'More Constant' to continue to familiarize ourselves with, it's a nearly endlessly rewarding listen which always reveals a deeper truth, a different facet and a hidden meaning on each successive spin.  Find the album here.

16). UZALA – Tales of Blood & Fire (King of the Monsters)
Highest Finish: 7, Months on chart: 2
Words by LK Ultra
My Uzala shirt came in the mail this past week.  But whose shirt exactly am I wearing?  For one thing, this is the band with arguably the strangest name on this or any other chart.  They're a three piece band featuring the husband and wife duo of Chad Remains and Darcy Nutt from noted doom metal hot bed Boise, Idaho, and are joined in a long distance relationship by drummer Chuck Watkins from Portland, OR.  Clean, melodic and often haunting vocals meet a raggedy cacophony of deep toned noise.  'Tales of Blood and Fire' (the cover of which graces the t-shirt) is an excellent five-song collection of epic, sludgy doom.  Find the album here.

17). ORCHID – The Mouths of Madness (Nuclear Blast)
Highest Finish: 2, Months on chart: 5
Words by Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter)
Heading the retro 70’s doom brigade, Orchid pulled on their best Sabbath boots and stomped over the opposition with help from Nuclear Blast.  All the stops are pulled out - a massive sounding and modern production bring a crystal clear clarity to the songs which sound big and expansive. Bells, harmonica breaks and atmospheric effects show that the band having a ball flying the “Occult Rock” tag.  Melodic riffs give the tracks bounce and groove whilst there is some great soloing that brings in a stoner edge to drive things along. Vocals are clear and precise which suit the music perfectly.

The big sticking point with this album will be how much you want to hear “Technical Ecstasy” or “Never Say Die” played by a different band.  That, dear reader, will decide how much you like this album.  Find the album here.

18). BLACK SABBATH – 13 (Vertigo)
Highest Finish: 4, Months on chart: 3
Words by LK Ultra
Like our (tied for) #1 album from Vista Chino, Sabbath's first album with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals in 34 years was initially met with mixed reactions.  The difference is, Vista Chino finally seemed to have found its footing and acceptance among the stoner crowd while Sabbath pundits remain largely skeptical.  Okay, that's putting it mildly.  Questionable personnel decisions, album title, artistic direction, production, song writing, performance: it seemed nobody involved with the creation of this album was spared the rod (with the exception of Geezer Butler).  Some listeners however, took it for what it's worth.  It's only appropriate that '13' should sit right next to Orchid on this year end chart as some of the liveliest discussions to be had all year revolved around the inherent merits (or lack thereof) of those two divisive bands and their latest albums.  Find it here.

19). CHURCH OF MISERY – Thy Kingdom Scum (Rise Above)
Highest Finish: 4, Months on chart: 6
Words by Gruesome Greg [Gruesome Views]
This is actually the third-time I’ve written about this record for a year-end top albums list. You could say I like it a lot. There’s just something about the combination of bass-heavy grooves and serial-killer lyrics—even if they’re mostly unintelligible—that gets me every time. Sure, they take the foundation first laid by Black Sabbath, but they put their own twisted spin with some down-and-dirty sounds that will blow even a decent pair of speakers. In fact, I’d go as far as to say Thy Kingdom Scum is 13 times better than 13. No wonder Sharon Osbourne wouldn’t pick up the phone to get them their U.S. touring visas in time.
  Find it here.

20). CARCASS – Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)
Highest Finish: 28, Months on chart: 1
Words by Katharina Pfeiffer (Psychorizon)
Growing up on Death Metal on a large part and my early memories including certain timeless riffs created in the shifting years between the 80s and 90s, the majority of records I do listen to from that particular genre have been spawned onto the face of the earth somewhen between 1988 and 1996. For many years to come there would have been somewhat of a gap concerning "big asskicking" albums, forcing disciples to a recurring rotation of maybe a handfull of releases and an inevitable state of boredom or even resentment...the long-awaited return of one of the most defining bands for both Death AND Grind finally come upon us in 2013 and CARCASS's latest outlet “Surgical Steel” is the since missing gem, that conveys the most brutal face of Metal into the present and most likely the future. Returning to his anatomy studies, Jeff Walker presents some of the most demanding lyrics and songtitles since. Along with the ever so youthful and abrasively vivid riffs of his fellow legend Bill Steer, it seems as though CARCASS have never been away. Aside from their studio shenanigans, CARCASS re-entered the touring department, so far only support-wise, but the four shows I was able to witness, displayed their mere genius and a playful precision many a young band would gladly be presenting. And just in case, you haven't got your hands on a copy of “Surgical Steel” yet, I strongly recommend the standard jewelcase version – even though a digi-pack is always more desirable – as the final track on this one being “Mount Of Execution”, which to me is the perfect ending to this masterpiece.  Find it here.

21). CURSE THE SON – Psychache (Self-Released)
Highest Finish: 4, Months on chart: 3
Words by Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter)
This had been reviewed on blogs for a good 5 months before I actually got into this. Straight away I put on my pair of horse hair-pants to make up for my stupid oversight.  Thick riffs set the backbone up for a surprisingly melodic mix of doom/stoner with lashing of extra fuzz being thrown into the mix.  Warm thick tones wash over you as heavy, hypnotic mantras are played out. There are no real solos on show, just solid, nod-making riffs which do not lift straight from Sleep or Sabbath but forge their own path into the swampy world we like listening to.  Clean vocals nicely balanced in the mix remain quite serene throughout, giving a stark contrast to the solid wall of sound being churned out by the other instruments.  Controlled power with a warm human touch, what’s not to like?  Find the album here.

22). BEASTWARS  – Blood Becomes Fire (Self-Released / Destroy)
Highest Finish: 6, Months on chart: 2
Words by LK Ultra
No surprise finding this album on this list, the roster of the doom chart list contributors was crafted with this album in mind in regard to style/taste and potential for exposure.  In a way, this is like fulfilling a prophecy.  But why the prophecy, why the emphasis?  Beastwars cuts across the various subgenres associated with doom in a balanced way, it's the perfect album in so many ways.  Beastwars take the unbridled chaotic ferocity of a High on Fire and controls it beautifully, framing the tempest within a pop song structure while leaving the listener stunned and blessed with a crazy storyline that's one part '2001: A Space Odyssey' and one part 'Xenozoic Tales'.  Buy it.

23). RED FANG – Whales & Leeches (Reprise)
Highest Finish: 3, Months on chart: 2
Words by Gruesome Greg [Gruesome Views]
Duuuuude, did I just see Red Fang on Letterman last night!? Sure enough, there they were at 12:30 am, playing “Blood Like Cream” with Paul Shaffer on keys. There’s no question that Whales and Leeches is meant to be the record that breaks these guys big, what with its catchy, radio-friendly singles…but then it takes a Beatles-on-acid detour with some seven-minute tracks that show these guys can still doom out with their tomb out. And really, is there a better cultural ambassador for Portland than Red Fang? Hey, if these guys do to the Rose City what Nirvana did for Seattle, well, I could live with a buncha Red Fang clone bands running around…although they’d probably drink all the beer.  Find the album here.

24). BLACK CAPRICORN – Born Under the Capricorn (Stone Stallion Rex / Voice of Azram)
Highest Finish: 19, Months on chart: 1
Words by Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter)
Another find from the sprawling Italian doom scene and Black Capricorn come at you with a fist full of 70’s fuzzed, warm and deep sounds with riffs that make sure your attention never strays.  Guitars are to the max and with wah-wahs on overdrive - solos are flying around but with taste and meaning - no empty theatrics here ..... simple but oh, so effective and spine-tingling.  Synths, sound effects and haunting harmonica are skillfully used to create atmospherics but without going down the Hammer films route.  Lyrics are delivered with cleanish, strong vocals and are able to convey a sense of unearthly delights in this mortal existence.  Song structures are simple but strong - always paying attention to the mighty riff.  Oh yeah, it also rocks like a bastard.  Find the album here.

25). KYLESA – Ultraviolet (Season of Mist)
Highest Finish: 11, Months on chart: 3
Words by Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter)
After “Spiral Shadow” came out in 2010, I thought that Kylesa were in danger of just churning out the same album again and again.  Ultraviolet proved me wrong - big time baby! This is a band that have delivered the album they always had the potential to produce.  The double drum kits have been captured with a dense sound that gives a dynamic barrage of motion that the rest of the band can play on. These tracks are lean and mean, no sprawling epics but short burst of power and fury that have the full range of punk/sludge/hardcore and old fashioned rock that makes this band so appealing.  Cope and Pleasants share vocal duties but with Laura Pleasants delivering screams, croons and throaty singing to counter point Copes bellowing, they have truly meshed into a juggernaut of song writing.  As always the guitars are to the front to bring the savage tunes to their conclusion and with flourishes of little riffs, fills and economic solos, finish off what should be a huge stepping stone in the career of Kylesa.  Find it here.

26). TOMBSTONES – Red Skies & Dead Eyes (Soulseller)
Highest Finish: 12, Months on chart: 1 / Link
27). KRÖWNN – Hyborian Age (Self-Released)
Highest Finish: 12, Months on chart: 2 / Link
28). DEVIL – Gather the Sinners (Soulseller)
Highest Finish: 8, Months on chart: 4 / Link
29). MOUNTAIN WITCH – Cold River (This Charming Man)
Highest Finish: 5, Months on chart: 2 / Link
30). CULT OF OCCULT – Hic Est Domus Diaboli (Self-Released)
Highest Finish: 5, Months on chart: 3 / Link
31). JEX THOTH – Blood Moon Rise (I Hate)
Highest Finish: 13, Months on chart: 2 / Link
32). LUMBAR – The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (Southern Lord)
Highest Finish: 2, Months on chart: 1 / Link
33). EARTHLESS – From the Ages (Tee Pee)
Highest Finish: 4, Months on chart: 2 / Link
34). ATLANTEAN KODEX – The White Goddess (Cruz Del Sur)
Highest Finish: 24, Months on chart: 1 / Link
35). HOLLOW LEG – Abysmal (Last Anthem)
Highest Finish: 8, Months on chart: 3 / Link
36). PURSON – The Circle and the Blue Door (Rise Above)
Highest Finish: 24, Months on chart: 1 / Link
37). HIGH PRIEST OF SATURN  – Self-Titled (Svart)
Highest Finish: 10, Months on chart: 1 / Link
38). MOTHERSHIP – Self-Titled (Ripple Music)
Highest Finish: 19, Months on chart: 1 / Link
39). BLOOD RED WATER – All the Ills of Mankind (Self-Released)
Highest Finish: 12, Months on chart: 2 / Link
40). BORRACHO – Oculus (Self-Released)
Highest Finish: 5, Months on chart: 3 / Link

A rousing ovation for the Doom Charts contributors:
Dr. Abner Mality [Wormwood Chronicles], Arttu Savy, A.S. Van Dorston [Fast n' Bulbous], Bill Goodman [The Soda Shop], Blasting D [Blasting Days], Cameron Crichton [Motherslug], Cheryl Prime [Cvlt Nation], Clint [Hand of Doom Radio], Craig Hayes [Six Noises], Dennis [Blasting Days], The Grime [Ripple Effect], Gruesome Greg [Hellbound], Joop Konraad [Stoner Hive], Justin Gish [Forte], Katharina Pfeiffer [Psychorizon], LK Ultra, Mats Florstam [Ozium Records], Nuclear Dog [Heavy Planet], Pat Harrington [Electric Beard of Doom], Phil Howlett [Rote Mare], Racer [The Ripple Effect], Richard Maw [Sludgelord], Robin [Stonerobixxx], Rod Reinhart [Captain Beyond Zen], Scott aka Dr. Space [Scott's Music Reviews], Soggy Bob [Soggy Bog of Doom], Steph LS [Temple of Perdition], Steve Howe [Sludgelord], Steve Miller [Temple of Perdition], Stonerhead [Stonerhead Let Groove Your Brains Tonight], Tony Maim [Black Insect Laughter], Ulla Roschat [The Wicked Lady Show]

Thank you all!!!!!

See last month's Super Doom Chart
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