Album Review – Konvent / Call Down the Sun (2022)

Denmark’s own Doom Metal institution returns with a masterful sophomore offering, doubling down on the band’s songwriting talent and brutal, heavy sound.

Two years after taking the entire Doom and Heavy Metal scene by storm with the release of their boisterous debut full-length album Puritan Masochism, Copenhagen, Denmark’s own Death/Doom Metal institution Konvent returns with a sophomore offering entitled Call Down the Sun that doubles down on the band’s songwriting talent and brutal, heavy sound. Recorded and mixed by Lasse Ballade at Ballade Studios, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Studio, displaying a Stygian artwork by Mads Berg, and undoubtedly inspired by recent dark times, the ongoing pandemic and cancellation of live performances, the new album’s thunderous apocalyptic sound is impossible to escape, with the four-piece entity formed of Rikke Emilie List on vocals, Sara Helena Nørregaard on the guitars, Heidi Withington Brink on bass, and Julie Simonsen on drums unleashing hurricanes of Blackened Death and Doom Metal upon us all, sounding even more pissed-off, fast-paced and pitch-black than ever.

The cryptic words barked by Rikke (“Climb into the distance / Aiming for the price / Seeking a device / Climb into the distance / High”) are the main ingredient in the sluggish and atmospheric Into the Distance, darkening the skies to the slow and steady beats by the talented Julie, whereas Sara and Heidi hammer their stringed weapons mercilessly in Sand is King, sounding utterly perfect for breaking your neck headbanging in the name of doom, not to mention Rikke’s roars get even more demonic and obscure. Julie continues to deliver her trademark tribal beats in In the Soot, another solid fusion of Death and Doom Metal where Sara’s Black Sabbath-inspired riffs will penetrate deep inside your lost soul; and Stygian clouds keep blocking all sunlight in Grains, with Heidi providing those low-tuned bass lines we darkly love so much while Sara keeps slashing her axe in great fashion for our total delight.

And the reverberating bass by Heidi kicks off the superb Fatamorgana, with its somber, poetic lyrics being powerfully vociferated by Rikke (“Time to venture out again through the sand to Neverend / Every step is poorly cast / Leave them in the past / Forever, the orb is a guide / Endeavour from morning till night”) while the music flows flawlessly in a lecture in contemporary Doom Metal, all spiced up by its cult-like backing vocals, morphing into a massive, sinister instrumental Interlude for the also venomous Never Rest, bringing forward the quartet’s undisputed heaviness spearheaded by another brutal work done by Julie on drums, with Rikke once again haunting us all with her inhumane, deep gutturals. Then adding hints of Stoner and Sludge Metal to their core sonority, it’s time for the thunderous Pipe Dreams, where the synchronicity between Sara and Heidi is superb form start to finish as usual. Lastly, we’re treated to Harena, perhaps the band’s deepest and most detailed composition of all time. The melodic but extremely sharp riffs by Sara are a thing of beauty, supported as always by the demolishing kitchen by Heidi and Julie while Rikke roars from the bottom of her blackened heart, resulting in a stunning, dense and climatic ending to the album.

Such delicious masterpiece of Death and Doom Metal can be fully appreciated on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course I highly recommend you purchase your favorite copy of the album by clicking HERE, adding an amazing touch of darkness to your private collection. Also, don’t forget to follow the girls from Konvent on Facebook and on Instagram, staying up to date with news, their plans for the future and their tour dates, and I’m more than sure that watching Konvent playing live might be a fantastic experience. Who knows, maybe one days they’ll tour across Canada? Anyway, having said all that, let’s all call down the sun to the undisputed doom played by those four Danish metallers, and enjoy their beyond sweet companionship in darkness for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Sand is King, Fatamorgana and Harena.

Worst moments of the album: In the Soot.

Released in 2022 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Into the Distance 5:23
2. Sand is King 4:12
3. In the Soot 4:52
4. Grains 6:05
5. Fatamorgana 5:54
6. Interlude 2:00
7. Never Rest 5:39
8. Pipe Dreams 4:05
9. Harena 7:13

Band members
Rikke Emilie List – vocals
Sara Helena Nørregaard – guitars
Heidi Withington Brink – bass
Julie Simonsen – drums

Album Review – Lord Almighty / Wither (2020)

Transcending genre norms, the new opus by this amazing Progressive Black Metal band from Boston showcases an epic world that will surely be loved by all types of metalheads.

Formed in the grimy artist spaces of Rugg Road in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States in 2013 by vocalist and guitarist Keenan Carroll and guitarist Samuel “Goose” Willgoose, later enlisting bassist Phill Gelinas and drummer Christopher Narainen to complete the line up and hit the road, the unrelenting Progressive Black Metal unity Lord Almighty continues to play a crushing mix of Black Metal blasts and Rock N’ Roll melodics in their newborn opus entitled Wither, the follow-up to their 2015 full-length album Paths. Recorded by Goose himself at Murder Box Studios, mixed by Phillip Cope at Jam Room, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, and featuring a Stygian cover Art by Adam O’Day, Wither transcends genre norms, showcasing an epic world that will surely be loved by all types of metalheads. “Wither is an album that really was written over a few years. There were plenty of experiences along the way that continued our descent into madness. It was a hazy time looking through smoke and double vision. Conceptually we had a lot of different emotions and life experiences that culminated to what you hear. If you listen hard enough, you might even hear the crackle of the fire in our building where we lived or the cops pounding on the doors. Or maybe even the dreams in which we envisioned when we found ourselves without homes,” commented the band about their new album.

Their sonic onrush of sounds begins in full force with the opening track Cry of the Earth, where Christopher already presents his heavy artillery while the guitars by both Keenan and Goose bring a thrilling fusion of Black Metal and Punk Rock to the music, building an instant connection with the also progressive, multi-layered Sundown, with their strident guitars and intricate beats providing Keenan all he needs to vociferate with tons of anger, alternating between more rhythmic moments and sheer brutality. After such exciting start to the album, the quartet invests into a classic Black Metal sonority, offering our ears Mercy, with Phill and his Marduk-inspired bass punches adding an extra touch of evil to the overall result, sounding imposing and grim from start to finish and suddenly morphing into a incendiary tune titled Rise, where the Jazz-ish guitars by Keenan and Goose grow in intensity until exploding in a bestial Progressive Black Metal feast led by the crushing beats by Christopher. Then we have V, an instrumental intermission spearheaded by Christopher’s tribalistic beats, setting the tone for the neck-breaking and utterly progressive Despite, showcasing devilish riffs and solos, low-tuned bass lines and the always hellish growls and snarls by Keenan, also bringing forward hints of classic Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll, therefore demonstrating all the band’s versatility and range.

Stifled is another one of their cryptic instrumental creations, this time offering our ears a somber atmosphere and background voices, keeping everything as dark and heavy as possible before they come crushing our spinal cords with the Doom Metal-infused aria titled Adrift, also adding a touch of Atmospheric Black Metal to the song’s already pulverizing sound. Moreover, all band members are on fire throughout the entire song, exhaling obscurity and hopelessness; and after some inspired jamming the quartet fires the demonic Black Metal extravaganza entitled Hour By Hour, where Keenan and Goose sound beyond infernal with their razor-edged riffs, not to mention Goose’s blazin’ guitar solo. Their second to last blast of malignancy comes in the form of the title-track Wither, bringing forward their core progressiveness with Phill’s bass jabs hammering our heads mercilessly in a vicious display of contemporary Melodic Black Metal, whereas closing the album the band brings forth the also strident and piercing Hooded Three. The song actually takes longer than expected to take off, but when it does it’s another display of brutality by Lord Almighty with the thrashing riffs by the band’s guitar duo inspiring us all to slam into the pit.

The beyond progressive and demolishing creations found in Wither can be better appreciated in full on YouTube, but of course as usual if you want to truly demonstrate your support to the guys from Lord Almighty and keep the fires of underground extreme music burning bright forever and ever, go check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream more of their music on Spotify, and above all that, grab your copy of their sulfurous new album from their own BandCamp page or webstore. As already mentioned, Wither is not only a very cohesive and vibrant album of extreme music, but it also translates into Black Metal all obscure experiences from each band member in their own descend into madness, which means you should definitely use the entire album as the soundtrack to your own downward spiral into the pits of the underworld. I’m sure the band would love to be part of that unique experience in your damned life.

Best moments of the album: Sundown, Rise and Hour By Hour.

Worst moments of the album: Hooded Three.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Cry of the Earth 3:51
2. Sundown 4:05
3. Mercy 2:31
4. Rise 4:20
5. V 0:51
6. Despite 3:43
7. Stifled 1:34
8. Adrift 3:55
9. Hour By Hour 3:57
10. Wither 4:49
11. Hooded Three 5:11

Band members
Keenan Carroll – vocals, guitars
Samuel “Goose” Willgoose – lead guitars
Phill Gelinas – bass
Christopher Narainen – drums

Album Review – Crystal Spiders / Molt (2020)

Bang your heads to the debut album by this amazing American duo of doom, dripping with fuzzed out riffs, thundering drums and dynamic, smoky vocals.

It didn’t take long for Raleigh, North Carolina’s own Hard Rock/Doom Metal unity Crystal Spiders to draw attention to their crushing fusion of heavy and groovy styles after their inception in 2018. Comprised of Brenna Leath (of Lightning Born) on vocals and bass and drummer Tradd Yancey, with the support of session guitarist Mike Deloatch and guest guitarist Mike Dean (of Corrosion of Conformity), who also produced the album, the band returns in full force in 2020 with their debut album Molt, following up on their highly acclaimed 2019 demo. Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Mastering Studio and featuring a stylish artwork by American tattoo artist Tyler Pennington, Molt showcases their deep devotion to riff-worship, dripping with fuzzed out riffs, thundering drums and dynamic, smoky vocals and, therefore, being highly recommended to fuzz-addicted legions from all four corner of the earth.

The low-tuned, creepy bass by Brenna kicks off the Stoner Rock and Metal feast titled Trapped, with Tradd smashing his drums powerfully while the song’s  obscure lyrics are darkly declaimed by Brenna (“There’s no one out here, just wild dogs and dust / Fill up the empty space with unholy sound and deathly grace / There’s something slithering away on a greasy belly / We’re trapped here in this place, drying up like old blood”), whereas the title-track Molt is a faster and more dynamic Rock N’ Roll party led by Tradd’s classic beats while Mike and Brenna slash their stringed weapons in great fashion, being perfect for banging your head nonstop while the band kicks ass on stage at a rock pub anywhere in the world. After such breathtaking tune we have Tigerlilly, one of the three songs from their 2019 demo, getting back to an old school, Black Sabbat-inspired Doom Metal mode, with Tradd being once again unstoppable on drums, providing Brenna all she needs to shine with her piercing vocals and dirty bass jabs. And eerie, minimalist sounds permeate the air in the grim Chronic Sick, where the sluggish beats by Tradd together with the acid riffage by Mike generate a neck-breaking ambience, with Brenna once again mesmerizing us all with her potent voice.

It’s time to speed things up once again and ride with Crystal Spiders on a highway to hell in C.U.N. Hell, where it’s impressive how devilish and sexy Brenna’s voice can sound at the same time, while Tradd dictates the pace with his wicked beats, followed by Gutter, another lecture in Stoner Rock and Doom Metal by the duo, with Brenna being on fire with both her high-pitched screams and metallic, fuzzy bass, taking us all on a journey back to the glory of the 70’s. Then let’s embark on another thunder-driven Rock N’ Roll journey together with Crystal Spiders in The Call, where Brenna, Tradd and Mike are on absolute sync, consequently making our blood boil in the name of the riff, not to mention the song’s addictive guitar solos. In the tribalistic, hypnotic tune entitled Headhunters the talented Brenna steals the spotlight with her witch-like vocal lines, setting the tone for Fog, featuring the aforementioned Mike Dean and his visceral riffs, a bestial, dark and delicious way to end such powerful album of doom. It’s slow and atmospheric from start to finish, with Brenna, Mike and Tradd building a damned wall of sounds with their respective sonic weapons, dragging us all into their foggy and somber lair before all is said and done.

If you want to experience Molt in its entirety you can enjoy the full album on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show Brenna and Tradd your honest support and admiration you should definitely purchase the album from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Ripple Music’s BandCamp page or Big Cartel (in digipak CD or deluxe vinyl format), or simply click HERE to have access to all locations where you can buy or stream the excellent Molt. Hence, don’t forget to follow Crystal Spiders on Facebook and on Instagram, keeping the fires of underground doom burning bright for many years to come. The name of the album itself is already very suggestive and points to an amazing future for Crystal Spiders, as if the duo has just shed their old feathers, making their way to a new growth stage in their career, and based on the high quality of the music found in Molt it looks like not even the sky is the limit for their doomed wings.

Best moments of the album: Molt and C.U.N. Hell and The Call.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Ripple Music

Track listing
1. Trapped 5:09
2. Molt 3:37
3. Tigerlilly 5:38
4. Chronic Sick 6:49
5. C.U.N. Hell 4:09
6. Gutter 3:58
7. The Call 5:47
8. Headhunters 2:26
9. Fog 6:14

Band members
Brenna Leath – vocals, bass
Tradd Yancey – drums, vocals

Guest musician
Mike Deloatch – guitars (session)
Mike Dean – guitars on “Fog”