(In this post DGR reviews the 2014 EP by Ireland’s Weed Priest.)
Let’s sit down for a moment and have a quick heart to heart chat. I’m not the most worldly when it comes to heavy metal, but if you name your band Weed Priest, you can really only be one genre right? A name like that has to point to the stoner doom spectrum of things. Especially when it comes paired with artwork and a logo like what you see above (my goodness I like that artwork). So, while Galway, Ireland-based band Weed Priest may never be accused of burying the lead, you could definitely say that the group have the image side of things pinned down to a T.
Their newest release, the EP Worship, released August 1st, has a lot to live up to then — because a group who have so finely honed their image, down to the point where each member now refers to himself as “Brother _____” in their line-up listings, had better be good on the music side of things. Otherwise, it’s all wasted potential. Fortunately, Weed Priest do live up to their outward appearances and public personae about the best that anyone could have hoped for.
Worship is a retro-as-hell sounding disc, as if it were crafted as a worship ritual for the early seeds of doom, the occult, and stoner rock that were planted in the early 70′s. It sounds like it was recorded after a massive Sabbath binge, and it stands as an all-too-brief preview of what could be a really good run from a band with only two other releases to their name, if they stay on the course where Worship is pointing.
Minutes ago the organizers of Maryland Deathfest XIII announced the third and final round of confirmed bands for next year’s event (whose names have now been added to the flyer you see above). Without further ado, here’s the list, as copied from MDF’s Facebook page:
AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED – First ever live performance!
AMORPHIS (Finland) – Playing the ‘Tales from the Thousand Lakes’ album in its entirety. Exclusive US appearance!
BEVAR SEA (India)
BLOODBATH (Sweden) – First time in the US and first live performance in 5 years! Exclusive US appearance!
CEPHALIC CARNAGE – Playing songs from the first 3 albums!
CHAINSAW TO THE FACE
CONAN (UK) – Exclusive US appearance!
Last spring I discovered the existence of a Montréal death metal cult named Phobocosm, who had just recently signed with Dark Descent for the release of their debut album, Deprived. In the spring, one song had been posted for streaming. Its name is “Solipsist”, and it’s a monster. The dreadful chiming chords that begin the song are like the bells that herald the final doom, and the rest of the song provides a reasonable approximation of that world-ending event. Today we’re lucky to bring you the premiere of a second track from Deprived. This new one is named “Knives In the Senate House”. It, too, is a monster.
The music creates an atmosphere of choking, poisonous miasma with bleak, ripping riffs that grind and vibrate as if emulating the super-heated process of radioactive decay. Huge bass and drum hammers punctuate the storming onslaught with concrete-splitting force, and a sinuous melody slithers through the toxic storm, giving the music character as well as a potent aura of dread and imminent destruction. The drum performance throughout the song is both acrobatic and brutally effective, and the deep, gargantuan vocals enhance the music’s message of utter catastrophe.
Phobocosm are practicing a very dark art, one that displays mastery in the creation of both oppressive atmospherics and sensations of physically compulsive power. Like “Solipsist”, “Knives In the Senate House” heralds the advent of an album that will be a must-listen experience by all true acolytes of lethal death rituals.
Not long ago we posted Part 2 of Ty Lowery’s list of personal favorite album covers for 2014 to date. And then about 5 minutes later, I saw THIS ^^^^!!!
It’s the cover art for Citadel, the new album by Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris. The artist goes by the name Xen, (aka Xenoyr) who is the band’s lead vocalist and lyricist, and whose Facebook page is here:
And wow, isn’t that a fantastic cover?
We have very high hopes for the music on this album, too. It’s set for release through Season of Mist on November 7 (November 11 in the U.S.).
And since Ne Obliviscaris is on my mind, I think I’ll just put this music stream of their debut album right here:
(Guest writer Ty Lowery has assembled a personal list of favorite metal album covers for 2014 to date, divided into two parts. Part 1 appeared here. Once again, Ty asked his wife Heather (who he says isn’t very big on metal music as a whole) and his friend Adam (who is) to look at the album art and provide guesses about the music. Once again, please feel free to add your own favorites in the Comments.)
Alright, so the first round went pretty well for my two assistants. Where we left off, they were neck-and-neck in our little guessing game. So, time to finish this thing up and see if the trend continues. Lets get right to it, shall we?
Schammasch – Contradiction
There’s just something about the color red with me, for some reason. I really like how while the majority of this artwork is solid red, yet there’s enough variation that you can divine the angel, the demon, the symbols, and the serpents. With that knowledge, Heather was able to correctly suggest that this album was steeped in religious undertones, probably in the vein of black metal, as did Adam. He suggested that it might have something to do with atheism, but changed his mind after seeing the symbols along the bottom.
This is a collection of new (or newish) songs I heard yesterday that I wanted to recommend. The music is quite diverse, yet each song contains elements of black metal — hence the “Shade of Black” title. Lots of creativity on display in what you’re about to hear — and a few things that will hit you like a semi-truck with the pedal all the way down.
San Antonio’s HOD will release their new album Book of the Worm, on September 9 via Arctic Music. The cover art, which I like a lot, was created by Jon Zig. Earlier this week Revolver (Revolver???) premiered a song from the album, and I finally caught up with it — or more accurately, it caught up with me and rode me down into the mud.
The song is “Where Are the Demons”, and the answer is — right here, in this song. It’s one of the best things I believe I’ve ever heard from HOD — a slashing, galloping, ravaging powerhouse assault, loaded with writhing, head-whipping riffs, frenzied chord progressions, and blistering percussion. It’s a hellish inferno with tremendous surging power, but a very interesting and technically impressive song at the same time. And the vocals will bring the grizzlies down from the hills.
(Here we have yet another review by DGR, and this time the subject is the new album by an Irish band named Vile Regression.)
Even though it’s probably a bit formulaic at this point, I still love to introduce reviews by explaining how I found the band. So, let’s take a walk down memory lane for a little bit, as I tell a truncated version of my history with Dublin, Ireland-based Vile Regression and of websites gone by.
On the previous website that I worked for, one of our writers made it a routine during our two-year history that around St. Patrick’s Day he would try to share as much Irish metal as he could — stuff people hadn’t heard of, not the usual listing of bands. He really wanted to dig, find smaller groups, even go into local scenes if he could, to really try and put the country at the forefront at about the most stereotypical time possible.
Even though I jokingly poke fun at the reason for these bands getting listed on our site — and we returned to them numerous times throughout the following year — I still found a couple of really good groups, and that feature was instrumental in my discovery of some amazing stuff.
(Guest writer Ty Lowery brings us this review of the 2014 debut album by Israel’s Ferium, which features cover art by Eliran Kantor.)
2014 has been a great year for technical death metal. Inanimate Existence, Hour of Pennance, Artifical Brain, and Archspire have all released albums this year, and that doesn’t even begin to touch the tip of the iceberg. There’s enough heads getting cut off on a daily basis to make Vlad the Impaler turn in his sword and adopt a more subtle life of knitting and macramé. What I’m trying to say is, sometimes you just need a break from all the ridiculously fast shred.
Enter Israel’s Ferium. These guys couldn’t be pinned down by Bullseye on his best day. One moment they’re thrashing their way through a flame-tongued lead accompanied by a mid-tempo blast beat and the next they’re flaunting a swagger not often seen in metal this heavy. It’s an intricate mix of groove and technicality that lends Reflections both approachability and sustainability. There’s enough beef there to keep the thrill-seekers satiated, with plenty of rolling technicality to intrigue even the most seasoned of death metal’s veterans, and then there’s just the nicest little sprinkling of groove (that swagger I was talking about) to make the prog kids raise an eyebrow over their thick framed glasses.
(Continuing with our week-long series of daily reviews by DGR, here’s a write-up on the 2014 album by Aeon of Horus.)
On occasion, it seems like we’ll randomly take the site through bursts of music that are coming out of Australia. Australia has a hell of a metal scene and it is one that always seems to have a couple of really good acts just off of the periphery and hidden from view. No idea why, whether it be travel expenses or those huge bodies of water that separate it from the nations where most of the media that cover metal seem to be based. Whatever the reason, we can use the power of the internet for some good, because it really has allowed us to stumble into and search out all sorts of amazing bands.
Aeon Of Horus are a Canberra, Australia-based progressive metal band. I hesitate to call them death metal, because outside of a chosen grunted vocal style the band are much more in favor of using different angular riffs, start-and-stop heavy dynamics, and various ways of interweaving a keyboard into the music.
They’ve received some critical notice before, yet 2014 brings forth only their second new album. They released an EP in 2011, but the gap between full albums is much larger, with a six-year space between the group’s new album Existence and their 2008 release, The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light.
(Our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks interviews guitarist Björn Anderssen of Sweden’s Ocean Chief.)
Björn Anderssen is a skilled channeler who transforms chthonic energies of primordial forces into massive and distorted guitar vibes. He is one of the founders of Swedish doom/sludge/stoner act Ocean Chief, who released their new album Universums härd through the well-known I Hate Records.
As the sea of sound spreads its black waves and consumes us, to become one with the cosmic ocean and find ourselves as tiny sparks of light amidst its senseless vastness… just try to relax and find the joy of primitive and wild delight.
Hail Björn! How are you? How goes the promotion of Ocean Chief’s new album Universums härd?
Hey! So far it’s all been good. The reviews has been overly positive, and most people seem to embrace the change since the previous albums. This one is much more dynamic in tempos and songs, hence easier to digest for the listener. Obviously not everyone has been as happy as others, but what can you do?!