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 – 1914 / Where Fear and Weapons Meet (2021)

Ukraine’s own doom infantry is back into the battlefield with another masterpiece, telling the gruesome tales of World War I, its soldiers’ fate, their death, fear and feats to be never forgotten.

Lviv, Ukraine-based Blackened Death/Doom Metal offensive 1914 continues to reflect the gruesome tales of World War I, its soldiers’ fate, their death, fear and feats to be never forgotten, unleashing upon humanity their superb new opus entitled Where Fear and Weapons Meet, comprised of eleven tracks of pure historic harshness following up to the band’s sophomore album The Blind Leading the Blind and their debut effort Eschatology of War. Unlike their previous works, Where Fear and Weapons Meet is not about death, but about life, as most of the heroes and protagonists in the songs survived war, became heroes and finally returned home, with even the album cover emphasizing this by depicting an injured, shell-shocked and bleeding sole survivor of a shield attack holding his hand out to death, praying in agony, but death does not take him away. Furthermore, the album begins in Serbia and continues on the first track from the prospective of Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo and caused the outbreak of World War I, all masterfully embraced by the massive fusion of sludge, death and doom sounds crafted by vocalist Ditmar Kumarberg, guitarists Liam Fessen and Vitalis Winkelhock, bassist Armin von Heinessen and drummer Rusty Potoplacht.

As expected the band kicks things off with their trademark intro War In, this time showcasing the original of the most famous Serbian song of the Great War period, “Tamo Daleko”, setting the stage for 1914 to crush our senses with FN .380 ACP#19074, with Rusty sounding infernal and ruthless on drums while Liam and Vitalis deliver endless electricity and heaviness through their wicked riffage. What a bestial start to the album, I might say, followed by Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal), offering us all another round of their WWI-inspired doomed lyrics growled by Ditmar (“Things didn’t go down as expected / Hill 145, ill-fated Vimy Ridge. / We are entrenched in mud as wild hogs, my 47th Battalion / A small wooded knoll we called “the Pimple” 2 miles in front of us. / We need to capture the machine gun nests, each was heavily defended”) in a demonic display of Ukrainian Sludge, Death and Doom Metal. Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines) describes the terrible events of the Battle of the Messines Ridge during June 7-14, 1917 in Belgium, one of the most insane episodes of the Great War, while musically speaking you better get ready for another multi-layered wall of sounds spearheaded by Rusty’s venomous blast beats and all the symphonic, cinematic background sounds; and continuing their path of doom and devastation we face Don’t Tread on Me (Harlem Hellfighters), where the sound of the guitars by Liam and Vitalis is phenomenal, not to mention the thunderous bass by Armin, whereas featuring Ukrainian country and folk musician, singer and songwriter Sasha Boole, Coward is very unique and distinct form the rest of the album, with the final result being really entertaining.

…And a Cross Now Marks His Place brings forward an amazing and brutal vocal duet between Ditmar and guest Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost), resulting in a lecture in old school Doom Metal that will inspire you to crack your neck headbanging, followed by Corps d’autos-canons-mitrailleuses (A.C.M), where a wicked intro quickly morphs into a Blackened Doom feast showcasing the band’s trademark warlike words (“Hold the line, Minerva will cover us / The Hotchkiss machine gun poured lead in all directions / Send our messages to all boches – We will avenge for the Belgium! / 16 of us were killed in action, / 16 of us in this Galizian sludge / They called home”). In Mit Gott für König und Vaterland we’re treated to five minutes of obscurity, brutality and fear in the form of ass-kicking Doom and Death Metal led by the demented growls by Ditmar; whereas the sound of bagpipes will penetrate deep inside your mind before 1914 come crushing like a war tank in their version for Eric Bogle’s The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land), which original version can be appreciated HERE, an impressive rendition where Liam and Vitalis are on absolute fire with their unstoppable riffs, not to mention the song’s demonic, hellish ending, flowing into War Out, putting a climatic and stylish conclusion to their sonic battle.

It’s time to head into the battlefield together with the unstoppable troopers of 1914, and in order to do so you can enjoy the album in full on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for tour dates and other nice-to-know information about them, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their austere music, and above all that, purchase your favorite version of the stunning Where Fear and Weapons Meet by clicking HERE. This masterpiece is indeed another heavily intense and deep-reaching output that will grant 1914 even higher appreciation than the five-piece is already credited with, and I must say that after such powerful and bold album the band has gone beyond the underground barrier and can now be considered one of the torchbearers of warlike doom worldwide. In other words, the Great War lives on, mainly thanks to the brilliant job done by the best Ukrainian metal band of all time.

Best moments of the album: Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal), Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines), …And a Cross Now Marks His Place and The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land, Eric Bogle cover).

Worst moments of the album: Absolutely none.

Released in 2021 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. War In 1:11
2. FN .380 ACP#19074 5:54
3. Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal) 5:11
4. Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines) 7:04
5. Don’t Tread on Me (Harlem Hellfighters) 7:54
6. Coward (ft. Sasha Boole) 2:55
7. …And a Cross Now Marks His Place (ft. Nick Holmes) 7:29
8. Corps d’autos-canons-mitrailleuses (A.C.M) 7:54
9. Mit Gott für König und Vaterland 5:18
10. The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land, Eric Bogle cover) 10:57
11. War Out 1:40

Band members
2.Division, Infanterie-Regiment Nr.147, Oberleutnant – Ditmar Kumarberg – vocals
37.Division, Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr.73, Wachtmiester – Liam Fessen – guitar
5.Division, Ulanen-Regiment Nr.3, Sergeanten – Vitalis Winkelhock – guitar
9.Division, Grenadier-Regiment Nr.7, Unteroffiziere – Armin von Heinessen – bass
33.Division, 7.Thueringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.96, Gefreite – Rusty Potoplacht – drums

Guest musician
Nick Holmes – vocals on “…And a Cross Now Marks His Place”
Sasha Boole – vocals on “Coward”

Album Review – Stone Cadaver / Memento Mori, Motherfucker (2021)

This amazing Danish trio is back in action with a riff-laden Stoner Rock and Metal journey in the form of their crushing new album, reminding us all of the inevitability of death.

3.5rating

stone-cadaver-memento-mori-motherfucker-2021Having stewed for some time in the darkest and most evil of witch cauldrons, Memento Mori, Motherfucker, the brand new album by Aarhus, Denmark-based Stoner Rock/Metal power trio Stone Cadaver is ready to be let loose upon humanity, following up on their highly acclaimed 2017 release Reject Remove Replace. Just like its predecessor, Memento Mori, Motherfucker is a riff-laden journey through a dynamic soundscape that forms an organic whole, showcasing all the talent of Anders Bech Nielsen on vocals and guitar, Andreas Slocinski on bass and Stevie Dalla-Zuanna on drums. Produced, mixed and mastered by legendary Danish producer Tue Madsen and recorded live in his Antfarm Studio north of the band’s hometown, the album is a strong feast of heavy, down-tuned Stoner Metal with elements of 70’s Progressive and Hard Rock, crushing Doom Metal and classic Heavy Metal that will certainly please all fans of the mighty riff.

The low-tuned, menacing bass by Andreas set the tone in the heavy intro The Reckoning, warming up our senses for the visceral Realm Of Darkness, the perfect choice for cracking your neck headbanging to the classic riffs by Anders accompanied by the slow and steady beast by Stevie in a solid and entertaining feast of old school Doom and Sludge Metal. Then dark clouds of pure doom are above us all in the massive Doom Christ, offering the listener a Stygian wall of sounds crafted by the trio, sounding like a hybrid of the original Black Sabbath sound with their own Dio years, and with the guitar lines by Anders sounding truly infuriated and raw. And it’s time for Stoner Cadaver to bring forward their “tribute” to the catholic church in Whip The Sinners, a straightforward creation inspired by 70’s Doom Metal with Anders once again being on fire with his wicked vocals.

After such intense tune, we’re treated to an instrumental, ethereal interlude entitled Paean, soothing our souls and working as “the calm before the storm” as the band comes hammering our damned souls once again with Diseased Deceased, a flammable Stoner Rock and Metal extravaganza led by the pounding drums by Stevie while Andreas continues to extract devilish, metallic sounds from his bass, flowing into another whimsical bridge titled Fare Thee Well before all hell breaks loose one last time to the sound of the nine-minute Doom Metal aria Murder Mountain, starting with the eerie bass lines by Andreas amidst a background storm. It’s an infernal composition by Stoner Cadaver that will put you in a trance without a shadow of a doubt while Stevie keeps smashing his drums nonstop, also presenting tons of breaks and variations, exhaling groove and thunder and, of course, always praising the riff, with its final acoustic passage putting a climatic ending to the album.

stone-cadaver-2021If you want to know more about Stoner Cadaver, their music, tour dates and so on, you can find those Danish rockers on Facebook, on Instagram, on Spotify and on YouTube, but of course if you want to show your love for underground doom you should definitely purchase Memento Mori, Motherfucker sooner than you can say “motherfucker” by clicking HERE, as well as from imusic.dk in CD or LP format, or from gatewaymusicshop.dk. As you all know, memento mori is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death, which makes me wonder if Stone Cadaver’s goal with their new album was to actually remind us that we’re all going to die one day. If that’s the case, let’s say that not only they did it in great fashion with Memento Mori, Motherfucker, but they also provided us a great option for enjoying our last moments on earth before our inevitable end.

Best moments of the album: Doom Christ and Murder Mountain.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Yog-Sothoth Records/Gateway Music

Track listing 
1. The Reckoning 1:26
2. Realm Of Darkness 6:50
3. Doom Christ 6:00
4. Whip The Sinners 3:36
5. Paean 1:13
6. Diseased Deceased 6:26
7. Fare Thee Well 1:08
8. Murder Mountain 9:11

Band members
Anders Bech Nielsen – vocals, guitar
Andreas Slocinski – bass
Stevie Dalla-Zuanna – drums

Album Review – Gasoline Guns / Motor Cult (2021)

Time to join this Ukrainian cult of gasoline, guns, rum, whiskey, bourbon and badass Rock N’ Roll.

3.5rating

gasoline-guns-motor-cult-2021Bringing to our avid ears another round of their high-octane fusion of Heavy Metal, Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock spiced up by ass-kicking harsh vocals, a combination the band itself likes to call “Metal N’ Roll”, the flammable Motor Cult, the brand new opus by Chernihiv, Ukraine-based metal drunkards Gasoline Guns, is a fun and vibrant collection of nine songs about a post-apocalypse and explosive world, blazing whiskey, fate, dusty roads and, of course, our good old, infernal Rock N’ Roll. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Higain Records and displaying a gasoline and coal-fueled artwork by Ian Guy the Motoring Artist, Motor Cult continues to pave the rockin’ path created by vocalist Dmytro “Talladega”, guitarists Danylo Sobolev and Volodymyr Zvol, bassist Andrew Moyseenko and drummer Volodymyr back in 2013, not only being the perfect follow-up to their 2015 demo and their 2016 full-length album Rust’n’Dust, but also a must-have for admirers of the fusion of burning fuel and badass riffs by bands such as Chrome Division and Motörhead.

Rev up your engines and join Gasoline Guns’ rockin’ feast in the alcohol-infused opening track Bourbon Burns, where Dmytro fires his trademark raspy vocals while Volodymyr crushes his drums in the best Motörhead style, whereas in Under Wicked Sky the raw and dirty lyrics barked by Dmytro (“There is no going back / And hope is a mistake / One more race, one more chase / One more lovely day / Riding road of fury / Riding road of pain / You live, you die / But you will live again”) bring even more thunder to the visceral riffs and solos blasted by Danylo and Volodymyr Zvol, resulting in a fast-paced ode to pure, unfiltered Rock N’ Roll. Their acid hybrid of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll strikes again in the form of Hell Thunder, where the Lemmy-inspired bass by Andrew will make your head tremble mercilessly; and reminding us of the early days of Chrome Division, those Ukrainian rockers deliver a frantic tune entitled Gasoline and Guns, inviting us all to scream and shout the song’s catchy chorus together with them while Volodymyr dictates the pace with his pounding beats, not to mention Danylo’s sick guitar solo.

It’s not a true Rock N’ Roll album without a song with a Spanish name inspired by Mexican gunslingers, and that’s exactly what Gasoline Guns offer us all with tons of alcohol, bullets flying everywhere and the breathtaking sound of their guitars in El Pistolero, and the skies will get darker and the air heavier in the Stoner, Southern and Sludge Metal tune This Road Is a Snake, where Dmytro continues to tell tales of the life on the road with his inebriate vocals. Those five Ukrainian rockers keep hammering our heads with their vicious sounds in Nothing to Prove, where the riffage by Danylo and Volodymyr Zvol will penetrate deep inside your skin and invite you for a bloody pub brawl, and the band’s guitar duo, together with Andrew, will put you to bang your head like a metal maniac in the awesome Wheels of Rust, a classic Rock N’ Roll extravaganza with no shenanigans that will please all fans of the genre. Finally, we’re treated to And That’s Why We Drink, urging us metalheads to grab our glasses and bottles and join Gasoline Guns in their metallic tribute to all things alcohol, led by the always heavy and unfriendly voice of Mr. Dmytro “Talladega”.

gasoline-guns-2021After all is said and done, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and hit the road together with Gasoline Guns to the sound of Motor Cult, and in order to do so you can stream their awesome new album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and above all that, purchase Motor Cult from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music, showing all your support to the underground. In the end, who doesn’t want to join a Ukrainian cult of gasoline, guns, rum, whiskey, bourbon and badass Rock N’ Roll, right? That’s all we need to find our inner strength to endure this dangerous highway we all like to call life.

Best moments of the album: Under Wicked Sky, Gasoline and Guns and Wheels of Rust.

Worst moments of the album: None, you bastards!

Released in 2021 Mythrone Promotion / Defense Records

Track listing   
1. Bourbon Burns 3:02
2. Under Wicked Sky 2:32
3. Hell Thunder 3:08
4. Gasoline and Guns 4:08
5. El Pistolero 3:54
6. This Road Is a Snake 5:07
7. Nothing to Prove 3:58
8. Wheels of Rust 4:25
9. And That’s Why We Drink 4:42

Band members
Dmytro “Talladega” – vocals
Danylo Sobolev – lead guitars
Volodymyr Zvol – rhythm guitars
Andrew Moyseenko – bass
Volodymyr – drums

Album Review – Discarded Self / Discarded Self (2021)

Created during a time of personal isolation, the debut solo album by this Canadian metaller ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation.

3.5rating

discarded-self-discarded-self-2021Flooding forth with misery and hate comes the first (and self-titled) album from Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada-based Blackened Doom/Sludge Metal act Discarded Self, the solo project from Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach, who’s also a member of the bands Destroy My Brains and Ashes of Yggdrasil. Created during a time of personal isolation, the album ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation that dredge up terrible memories of the past to drown in personal regret. In other words, there is no hope for the future in the debut opus by Discarded Self, only darkness and hatred in the form of raw, unfiltered extreme music recorded at Doom Tomb Studios, featuring an array of local Canadian drummers as special guests, and displaying a beyond demonic artwork by Thahir M (The Black Catalogue) and Angel Carvallo (Avenged Creations).

Featuring B.J. Gingell (of Dahlmers Realm) on drums, the opening tune I Smell Pipes brings forward a cryptic intro accompanied by the low-tuned, damned bass by Jarret, evolving into a sluggish, sinister Doom Metal feast that will put you to bang your head until your neck breaks in half; and it’s time for drummer Jadan Paluck (of Destroy My Brains and Wrought) to crush our heads in Orbitoclast, with Jarret roaring like a rabid beast while he slashes his axe in great fashion at the same time in an awesome display of modern-day Sludge and Stoner Metal. Then get ready for 10 minutes of suffocating Blackened Doom Metal masterfully brought into being by Jarret in Push The Knife, with guest Brett Stewart (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) on drums and backing vocals, with Jarret sounding utterly demonic on vocals and also firing melodious, grim riffs for our total delight. And Jadan returns with his darkened and sluggish beats in the full-bodied aria entitled On The Unlevel, supporting Jarret in his quest for doom. Jarret’s bass punches sound even more menacing than before, not to mention how the aggressiveness and malignancy grow in intensity as the music progresses, therefore resulting in a disturbing Doom Metal feast.

Robert Hayman (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) is the guest drummer in I’m Weak, blasting his drums fiercely while Jarrett is infuriated with both his raspy screams and venomous riffage, or in other words, this is another fantastic option to headbang like a true metal maniac, whereas B.J. is back in action in Cultist Of The Pentagram in total sync with Jarrett’s devilish gnarls, riffs and bass jabs, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline, rage and darkness. Then rumbling bass sounds will punch you in the head in Abused (e)Motionless, with Jarret once again adding his share of evil to the overall result through his wicked growls in a solid display of Blackened Sludge Metal. Jarret comes ripping one last time with his somber guitar lines in Dance Upon The Dead, while Jadan returns with his slow and steady beats; it lacks a little of the punch from its predecessors, though, but it’s still a damn good song. And if you go for the limited edition of the album you’ll be treated to Discarded Self’s cover version for Upside Down as a bonus, just as demented and heavy as the original version from the almighty Fistula’s 2006 EP For a Better Tomorrow.

discarded-self-2021Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach and his Discarded Self are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, but of course in order to show your true support to underground Sludge and Doom Metal you should definitely purchase a copy of the album from the project’s own BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music or Amazon. As already mentioned, Discarded Self was brought into being during a time of personal isolation for Jarret, which proves once again extreme music is the perfect channel for all hatred, frustrations and fear we’ve been experiencing worldwide since the beginning of this endless pandemic. In other words, let’s all succumb to the dark side and join Jarret in his world of insanity and hopelessness, with his solo effort representing the perfect soundtrack to our damnation.

Best moments of the album: Orbitoclast, Push The Knife and I’m Weak.

Worst moments of the album: Dance Upon The Dead.

Released in 2021 Sarcophagus Recordings

Track listing   
1. I Smell Pipes 7:26
2. Orbitoclast 6:35
3. Push The Knife 10:51
4. On The Unlevel 10:04
5. I’m Weak 5:30
6. Cultist Of The Pentagram 5:55
7. Abused (e)Motionless 7:52
8. Dance Upon The Dead 8:27

Limited Edition bonus track
9. Upside Down (Fistula cover) 8:05

Band members
Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
B.J. Gingell – drums on  “I Smell Pipes” and “Cultist Of The Pentagram”
Jadan Paluck – drums on “Orbitoclast”, “On The Unlevel”, “Dance Upon The Dead” and “Upside Down”
Brett Stewart – drums and backing vocals on “Push The Knife”
Robert Hayman – drums on “I’m Weak” and “Abused (e)Motionless”

Album Review – Grale / AGITACIÓN EP (2021)

Comprised of four Canadian musicians who share the same passion for heavy music, this newborn and fully virtual Sludge Metal entity is ready to show us all the power of the riff with their debut EP.

3.5rating

grale-agitación-ep-2021Formed during the first pandemic lockdown, Canadian Sludge Metal project Grale is comprised of musicians who share a friendship with artist and producer Greg Dawson (guitarist for Canadian Doom Metal beast Olde) and a love of heavy music. Already an all-star unit featuring the aforementioned Greg Dawson on the guitars, Daniel Allen (of Indian Handcrafts) on vocals and guitars, Mark Rand (of Cross Dog) on bass and Kevin Farmer (of The Compound) on drums, Grale also enlisted contributions from members of metal heavyweights Sacrifice, Revocation and Gargoyl to elevate their “pandemic project” into a fully-fleshed and ferocious five-song assault, their debut EP entitled AGITACIÓN. Recorded at BWC Studios by Greg (who was also responsible for all mixing and mastering), Bandage A/V by Mark, Farmer Sound by Kevin and The Bethlab by Daniel, each song from the EP evolved from one good riff, with the band creating and collaborating remotely, focused on forging an organic new sound that would have followers of High on Fire, Motörhead or Judas Priest banging their heads in approval.

And guest vocalist Rob Urbinati (of Sacrifice) lends his enraged roars to Grale in the opening tune Meth Aggressor, making a dynamic duo with Daniel while the music showcases a visceral fusion of Death and Sludge Metal led by the massive riffs by Daniel and Greg, and with Kevin pounding his drums in great fashion. Then in No Justice For All the quartet brings forward a Mastodon-inspired sound (which means a more Progressive Metal vein, of course) where Daniel keeps vociferating nonstop accompanied by the low-tuned, rumbling bass by Mark and the always hammering beats by Kevin; whereas Grale slow things down considerably, investing in an old school Doom Metal sonority in The Blade, featuring guest guitar solos by Luke Roberts (of Gargoyl and Battlebear) and David Davidson (of Gargoyl and Revocation), with Daniel and Greg being once again merciless, worshipping the power of the riff with their guitars. The Emptiness Project is another dense and aggressive Sludge and Stoner Metal tune blasted by the quartet where all instruments are in absolute sync in the name of madness, with the piercing sound of the guitars walking hand in hand with the groovy bass jabs by Mark, and lastly, back to a more Progressive Sludge Metal sound, Grale offers us all the heavy and thrilling Terror Control, presenting visceral, raspy vocal lines, slashing riffs and crushing drums, therefore putting an awesome ending to the EP and leaving us eager for more of their sick music.

grale-2021I’ve already seen countless bands and artists releasing awesome material during this never-ending pandemic, but I must admit what the guys from Grale did together is beyond impressive taking into account they never even met in person to create their songs, rehearse or record them. If you’re curious to know how four guys from four different locations sound together in this virtual world we’ve been living in, simply go check the full EP on YouTube and on Spotify, and if you like what you see don’t forget to show them your support by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course by purchasing AGITACIÓN from their own BandCamp page (or click HERE for all places where you can get to know more about the band and purchase their music). In such difficult times, heavy music once again conquers all, uniting not only us fans but also talented musicians from all over the world (or in the case of Grale, from here in Canada) and keeping us sane until the pandemic is finally over. And I it takes even longer for this madness to finally end, at least we can rest assured the guys from Grale are among us to prove once and for all there’s nothing more comforting than the power of the riff.

Best moments of the album: Meth Aggressor and The Emptiness Project.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Meth Aggressor 4:31
2. No Justice For All 3:24
3. The Blade 4:04
4. The Emptiness Project 4:13
5. Terror Control 5:25

Band members
Daniel Allen – vocals, guitar
Greg Dawson – guitar
Mark Rand – bass
Kevin Farmer – drums

Guest musicians
Rob Urbinati – vocals on “Meth Aggressor”
Luke Roberts – guitar solo on “The Blade”
David Davidson – guitar solo on “The Blade”

Album Review – Olde / Pilgrimage (2021)

Arising from the underworld like a demonic beast, one of the most hardworking bands of the Canadian scene returns with another round of their acid Doom Metal in their third full-length album.

Patiently awaiting for their next victim on the darkest corners of Malton, a neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, located to the northwest of Toronto, the unrelenting Doom Metal entity known as Olde is back in action after four long years with their third full-length opus, entitled Pilgrimage, following up on the heaviness, aggression and madness of their 2017 album Temple. Written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by Olde, with all production and mastering being done by the band’s own guitarist Greg Dawson at BWC Studios in Kingston, Ontario, displaying an apocalyptic artwork by Alexandre Goulet, and featuring guests Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain (of Voivod) and Nichol S. Robertson on the guitars and Nick Teehan on saxophone, Pilgrimage will smash your cranial skull mercilessly, showcasing all the passion for doom by vocalist Doug McLarty, guitarists Chris Hughes and Greg Dawson, bassist Cory McCallum and drummer Ryan Aubin.

Arising from the underworld like a demonic beast, the sluggish beats by Ryan dictate the pace in the massive title-track Pilgrimage, with Chris and Greg extracting sheer obscurity from their axes while Doug delivers his usual roars for our total delight, whereas accelerating their pace like a behemoth of doom, Cory’s rumbling, low-tuned bass will pierce your soul in A New King, while the guitars by Chris and Greg exhale dementia and darkness from start to finish in a great display of Sludge and Doom Metal. Then we have Medico Della Peste, an awesome creation by those five talented Canadians bringing to our ears everything we love in Doom and Stoner Metal, including slow and steady beats, dirty riffs, soulful solos and the trademark raspy vocals by Doug; and the sharp but very delicate sound of their guitars is a thing of beauty in the atmospheric In Defiance, with Cory and Ryan generating a sinister wall of sounds with their bass jabs and classic drums, sounding perfect for breaking your neck headbanging.

More of the band’s classic Doom Metal is offered to our avid ears in The Dead Hand, once again dragging us down to the underworld, showcasing wicked lyrics barked by Doug while his bandmates make sure every single space in the air is filled with insanity, not to mention the sick sax solo by guest Nick Teehan. Then the tribal drums by Ryan ignite the damned feast entitled Depth Charge, tailored for admirers of the genre, bringing forward a violent yet melodic guitar solo to enhance our senses and with Doug once again leading his demented horde with his deep voice. In Under Threatening Skies we’re treated to over six minutes of first-class Canadian doom spearheaded by the visceral riffage by Chris and Greg together with the thunderous bass by Cory, resulting in an awesome composition that lives up to the legacy of old school Doom Metal; whereas raw riffs and slow, primeval beats kick off the closing tune Wastelands, where a menacing sonority flows slowly and majestically until the very end with Doug once again screaming in anger and pain, putting a vintage ending to the album.

After all is said and done, you’ll be more than tempted to succumb to the most doomed side of music together with Olde, with Pilgrimage representing another awesome step in their already solid career. Hence, don’t forget to follow those Canadian metallers on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream their damned catalogue on Spotify, and to put your dirty hands on a copy of Pilgrimage by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from the Sludgelord Records’ BandCamp page or from the Seeing Red Records’ webstore. Let’s all walk together with Olde on their journey of doom to the sound of their newborn spawn, showing the entire world that whenever their music sounds as heavy, grim, unfriendly and sluggish as it can be, that means it’s mission accomplished for such hardworking band of doom from the Great White North .

Best moments of the album: A New King, Medico Della Peste and Under Threatening Skies.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Sludgelord Records/Seeing Red Records

Track listing
1. Pilgrimage 5:03
2. A New King 5:20
3. Medico Della Peste 4:05
4. In Defiance 6:44
5. The Dead Hand 5:11
6. Depth Charge 3:47
7. Under Threatening Skies 6:08
8. Wastelands 5:44

Band members
Doug McLarty – vocals
Chris Hughes – guitars
Greg Dawson – guitars
Cory McCallum – bass
Ryan Aubin – drums, guitar solos

Guest musicians
Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain – guitars
Nichol S. Robertson – guitars
Nick Teehan – saxophone

Album Review – Wojtek / Does This Dream Slow Down, Until It Stops? EP (2021)

Bang your heads in total isolation to the sound of the new EP by this Italian Sludge Metal entity, offering us all four austere songs born from the boredom and frustration of two lockdowns.

Wojtek is a basic, Polish male name. Wojtek is also a Syrian bear who fought in the Battle of Cassino, during World War II, carrying crates of ammunition and roaring at enemies. And Wojtek is also a Padua, Italy-based band born in May 2019, playing a heavy and raw fusion of Sludge and Doom Metal, and who have just released their third EP curiously titled Does This Dream Slow Down, Until It Stops?, offering fans of heavy music four austere songs born from the boredom and frustration of two lockdowns. Comprised of vocalist Mattia Zambon, guitarists Morgan Zambon and Riccardo Zulato, bassist Simone Carraro and drummer Enrico Babolin (who was also the producer of the album), Wojtek dig deeper into their favorite topic, that being human misery, in each of the four tracks of the EP, with the mixing and mastering by Mattia Bonafini, the cryptic artwork by the band’s own guitarist Riccardo Zulato and the logo by View From The Coffin adding an extra touch of darkness, rage and despair to the band’s venomous metal music, therefore living up to the legacy of the most primeval form of Sludge Metal.

In the opening track Catacomb we’re treated to wicked lyrics growled by Mattia (“Grow my fears / Is this town real? / Drill my ears / Endless pain I feel / Whenever you whisper I break / Every inch of my muscles will shake”) while his bandmates blast their instruments with tons of rage and aggressiveness from the very first second in an infernal display of contemporary Sludge Metal, and Enrico continues to add his share of animosity to their rebellious music through his Thrash and Death Metal beats in Desensitized, with Morgan and Riccardo slashing their strings mercilessly. Put differently, this is a neck-breaking, violent tune that reeks of progressiveness and obscurity. Then an instrumental and absolutely atmospheric horror movie-inspired interlude entitled Rednetrab (or “bartender” backwards) will send shivers down your spine before those Italian metallers come crushing one last time with their dirty and Stygian sounds in XX Years, a beyond disturbing creation where the bass punches by Simone will hit you right in the face while Mattia vociferates rabidly à la Mike Patton, bringing to our ears a flawless hybrid of Hardcore and modern-day Stoner and Sludge Metal tailored for admirers of the genre.

If you’re curious to know more about Wojtek and their wicked creations, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram right away, and grab your copy of Does This Dream Slow Down, Until It Stops?, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, from several locations including the band’s own BandCamp page, the Ripcord Records’ BandCamp page, the Teschio Dischi’s BandCamp page, the Violence In The Veins’ BandCamp page, and Apple Music. In the end, it looks like this never-ending pandemic has been extremely fruitful for the guys from Wojtek, inspiring them to turn their inner darkness and frustrations into first-class doom and, consequently, offering us all another good reason to keep banging our heads while in total isolation from society.

Best moments of the album: Desensitized and XX Years.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Ripcord Records/Shove Records/Teschio Dischi/Fresh Outbreak Records/Violence In The Veins

Track listing
1. Catacomb 4:37
2. Desensitized 5:02
3. Rednetrab 4:08
4. XX Years 5:31

Band members
Mattia Zambon – vocals
Morgan Zambon – guitars
Riccardo Zulato – guitars
Simone Carraro – bass
Enrico Babolin – drums