(Comrade Aleks stepped forward for round-up duty today, bringing us videos and interview excerpts from four excellent bands.)
Yes, I already covered the mighty Kings Destroy and Pohjoinen in interviews with the bands’ members (here and here) at NCS, but these two bands are still in my player, so I want to say just a few more words about them, because amongst other things they have new official videos. As for Misty Morning and Plöw – it’s two very good bands with catchy tunes, proper riffs, paranoid atmosphere… and cool videos! Yes, it’s about videos and it’s about doom with balls.
Kings Destroy arose in Bronx, New York, on 2010. Being urban and graffiti fans, these five men decided to name their band after a local graffiti crew. Some of the band’s members gained experience in hardcore bands Breakdown and Killing Time, and both bands are still active despite the fact that Kings Destroy have three strong full-length albums for this period and a lot of shows and big tours.
Their first release And The Rest Will Surely Perish was released by Maple Forum in 2010, and A Time For Hunting (2013) and Kings Destroy (2015) were published by War Crime Recordings. The new album shows the band at its peak form – Kings Destroy have truly catchy stoner doom riffs and some hard, bloody hard, rock hooks, and they keep a forthright hardcore approach that is bloody clean, emphasized with Steve Murphy’s manner of singing. One of the most expressive songs and the opener of the third album Kings Destroy is dedicated to American singer Smokey Robinson.
“Smokey Robinson” is actually a song about the struggle our country has with racism and oppression. This has been a problem in our society since our country was formed, but recently with the murders in Ferguson, Baltimore, etc., of unarmed African-American men, it’s hopefully going to have a much-needed dialogue on how to resolve these problems.
The story of Italian experimental doom stoner outfit Misty Morning started in 1995 when Luca Moretti (guitars, vocals) and MaxBax (bass) worked over some songs, fixing, arranging, and playing them at home. But such idylls didn’t last too long, as Luca went to Japan acting in the classical theatre for more than five years. The band returned to life in 2007 with Frankie Insulina (drums) and Rejetto (keyboards) joining the crew.
Misty Morning formed its shape and unique conception during recording sessions for two EPs, Martian Pope and Saint Shroom, and since then their shtick has been driving and diverse stoner doom music with fantastic and sometimes humorous lyrics.
The conceptual album GA.GA.R.IN – Galactic Gateways for Reborn Intellects appeared in 2014, totally with DIY efforts. Named after the Russian cosmonaut, the first human to journey into outer space, this release tells a very specific and entangled story that can be deciphered in the CD’s booklet.
There are catchy doom stoner songs like “GA.GA.R.IN” and “Doomzilla” in this album alongside massive doom songs “Mourn O’Whales” and “Black Monk Lives”. There are a few interludes and the operatic track “Ballo In Fa # Min” based on a traditional folk song with lyrics taken from an inscription on a Danse Macabre depiction and melody inspired by a medieval Italian theme which accompanied exorcism rites. At the same time “Doomzilla” is a song about “kaiju eiga”, monster movies, and B-movie culture in general; the song was recorded for this album in two versions – with English and Japanese lyrics.
Misty Morning are a good example of a band with a sense of taste, strong imagination, and all the necessary skills to perform outstanding music.
From an interview with Luca Moretti (guitars, vocals):
“Since I was a boy, Gagarin’s had a great impact on my imagination. I remember my father talking about Laika or Gagarin in his tin can orbiting the Earth. When I had the idea to write a song about cosmos, unity and human will, Gagarin was the first choice. Finally I had the chance to pay tribute to this iconic figure. The first man out in space, the extreme conditions he had to get over and his amazing quotes really moved me: ‘The main human strength is willpower.’ or ‘Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!’. Amazing!”
Plöw was a really powerful quartet from Denmark. Mads (bass), Rune (vocals, guitars), and Sören (drums) met in a music High School in South Denmark in early 2008, while James Becker (guitars) came from Iceland. The band finished their first EP Plöw in 2010 and with the same line-up recorded a second EP Bicentennial Picnic with the super killer track “High Tide” that really opened listeners’ hearts to this furious, uncompromising, and angry stoner music.
Plöw showed that they would choose their own way and finally proved it with their first and only full-length release, No Highness Below The Crown (2013). This album demonstrates the same fearsome energy, high-quality songwriting and performance, and the throaty and hoarse vocals of Rune who sings as if the band played a brutal form of sludge doom. This strong and promising album became the last one for Plöw, as the guys made a hard decision and the outfit was disbanded.
Three years ago James clarified for me the main motive of the band:
“All Plöw songs are part of one concept. If you check the cover of our first EP you can see a skeleton ploughing a brain with a skeleton horse and a rusty plough. That skeleton is the all mighty plough man. Apparently he is immortal and can’t be slayed by any man/god/creature. So he goes around pissing off random people/gods/creatures trying to see if someone beholds the power of killing him. Basically our songs are about his journey of death and self-destruction. He meets some crazy creatures along the way and gets into some wars. If you have all this in mind you should try and look at the “High Tide” video again and try read between the lines. It is more than just 4 dudes killing each other in exciting ways. It actually beholds a message”.
Pohjoinen (“North” in Finnish) was born as a trio in Helsinki during 2011. At that moment it consisted of Kimmo (bass, vocals), Tumppi (guitars, vocals), and R (drums). After a few years of rehearsal, in April 2015 Pohjoinen’s first self-titled album was released by Inverse Records. Pay attention to the album’s artwork — it’s deadly cold, calm, and expressive. As Tumppi says:
“The first inspiration came from the old post-mortem photographs, which were taken after the person had passed away. Mainly because photos were so expensive and they didn’t have any before the person had died. Our bass player was just moving by the time we had to take those pictures, so we had a nice empty apartment to light up and take all the pictures. Our drummer, R took all those pictures”.
One of the most distinctive Pohjoinen features is clean melodic vocal lines and lyrics written in the Finnish language, which is a rare situation for the doom metal scene in general. Low-tuned stoner chords and groovy riffs build the carcass of Pohjoinen songs, yet the sound is varied from heavy, sludgy, and slimy to aerie and psychedelic. Mid-tempo stoner riffs are thick and recognizable but soothed with brilliant guitar solos and clean choruses. And yes – there’s a bit of Finnish frost in some songs, but the overall impressions are multicolored, as Pohjoinen is a live artistic work.
Kimmo says about the band’s new video “RJD”:
“I thought the name would be stupid and everyone would get it, but it seems that no one does. ‘RJD’ of course means ‘Ronnie James Dio’. The inspiration for the lyrics came from his death and his legacy, but there is more to that song, it’s also about your life choices and how you have to live with them, for better or worse”.