State of the Art: Pennsylvania – BLACK URN

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State* 

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

 For those that have missed it for one reason or another, Monday marks the day that the staff here at Metal Nexus aims to shine a light on a previously unknown/undiscovered band from a certain state. Currently on Pennsylvania, I, your beloved Mstr, have got one hell of a find for YOU, our precious readers.  Hold on to your horses, my friends, because the boys in Black Urn are raring to have you drawn and quartered in the public square.  Hailing from the City of Brotherly Love, Black Urn are artists painting on a complementary canvas to counter that idealistic nickname (even though the nickname is just the literal Greek translation, and not a reference to the abundance of eros in Philly).  There’s a number of (insert sub genre category) metal to have emerged from the Keystone State, although sadly, in my eyes, the best of what it has to offer is often getting overlooked. 

Cover Art for 2017’s split album with Moros

Along with Black Crown Initiate and the as-of-the-first-of-this-month disbanded Brontide (if you’re reading this, I beg y’all to reconsider), Black Urn are mastering manipulating the depths of darkness into songs that feel as heavy on the listener as a death shroud made of concrete, albeit in different ways. Black Urn dives through the swampy thick throes of sludge and doom, and rather than having a flat, straight genre approach, they pepper in influences from a variety of metal styles that manages to lift them above your run of the mill, just doing it for the bills feel of those that stay safely within the confines of the genre. Founded rather recently in 2014, this quintet sounds like they’ve known and played together for years.  There’s a nicely creative yet cohesive touch to their songs, often spotlighting thrash, grind, and black metal in a way that is owed to the band’s je ne sais quoi.

Vox: John Jones Photo Credit: SoundShooter

 

Black Urn’s Alex Ouderdonk slappin’ da bass at the Doomed and Stoned Festival. Photo Credit: SoundShooter

When vocalist John Jones gets busy ripping his vocal cords to tatters, one can FEEL it, much like the ever present and nicely fuzzed out bass provided by Alex Ouderdon k. With the backbeat fleshed out by drummer Tim Lewis and sometimes dueling guitar work by Jordan Pierce and Ryan Manley (who also provides some backing vocal duty), I am genuinely surprised that these guys remain independent and unsigned. Since forming, they’ve released recorded material every year, and after getting a chance to listen to their entire discography, I absolutely must formulate a plan to go see these guys live, and SO SHOULD YOU.  Their next show is June 11th at the Barbary in Philadelphia.  If you’re even a casual fan of sludgeoned doom, I’m willing to wager a buck or five that it’s worth the trip.  They have a split with Portland’s Shrine of the Serpent that is scheduled for release this summer (cd, cassette, and vinyl) to sate you thirsty bastards until the release of their 2nd full length sometime later this year.

Photo Credit: SoundShooter

Photo by SoundShooter

Curious yet? Still haven’t checked out their Bandcamp?  Here.  Because I love you, I’ll make this easy.  Just click here to experience the track that I’m obsessing over, or maybe even here for “Empty Handed Lord”, another personal favorite, one that demonstrates their skill in burying thrash in amongst sorrowful layers of sludgeoned doom, with a passage that would get even the most stubborn circle pit going.  Even better? Grab your headphones (not your earbuds or that crappy set of desktop speakers, either) and listen to every.thing.they.have. (check out the media player below) and in the process,  getcherself a new, favorite sludge band to follow obsessively.  We’ll be keeping up with Black Urn as their career develops, and we’ll keep you up to date as well as we receive the news!  Give ’em a follow on the book of Face here and on Instagram as well to help spread the word!

BLACK URN – “Spindle of Spines” (Live from Doomed and Stoned Fest)

Take A Chance On This Chalice of Suffering Contest!

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Hailing from twin-city-to-St.Paul Minneapolis, Chalice of Doom have thus far shared one solo album of exemplary funeral doom with the world so far, with plans for their sophomoric release sometime SOON.  While we anxiously await for that album to drop (and if you haven’t already, check what my duderus Fist had to say about their debut here), these pallbearers of funeral doom purveyors are giving away some sweet swag to TWO lucky winners via their Facebook page!  Continue reading

Review: CUSTOM BLACK – ‘Smoke Shall Rise’ [Album Stream]

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Custom Black is a heavy doom rock trio from the plains of Kansas City. One thing that instantly let’s you know a band is good is when artist David Paul Seymour is involved. The renowned artist created the bands logo. He has done album art or logos for various bands like Wofat, Bastard Lord, Clouds Taste Satanic, and Stone Machine Electric. This of course puts their artwork in competition with some well known bands in the realm of stoner and doom music. Although often times the artwork is enough to entice you to purchase the album, Custom Black have something much greater inside the packaging. On February 21st the band released their debut album ‘Smoke Shall Rise’. The album which was self-released was recorded and mixed by Justin Mantooth at Westend Recording Studios and mastered by Mike Nolte at Eureka Mastering. Their style is full of mouth watering riffs, copiousness amounts of groove and classic breathtaking doom vocal tones.  Continue reading

EARTH WITCH – Out Of The Shallow LP Review (+Stream!)

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Normally, I don’t cover music that is local to my region of central Illinois. BUT now is a very necessary exception, as Champaign’s Earth Witch (finally!) dropped their debut LP last month, entitled Out Of The Shallow. The trio of Ivan Catron (vocals, guitars), Derrin Coad (bass), and Nathan Landolt (drums) do more than harness the heavy on the album, delivering an untainted showcase of raw doom rock in all its riffing glory. Featuring percussive, bass grooves and powerful, gritty vocals – Out Of The Shallow is a must-listen for the blues rock enthusiast in 2017! Continue reading

Review: SPARROWMILK – ‘Articles of Separation’ [Album Stream]

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Clevelanders Sparrowmilk are a three piece atmospheric instrumental doom rock band with ample amounts of sludge a la carte. Founded in 2014 the band features members of Venomin James, Doomstress and Ancient VVisdom. They have quickly gelled and captivated listeners both near and far with their instrumental stylings. Though the band has no vocalist they certainly aren’t speechless. Their music speaks to you in ways that traditional lyrics could never do. Their influences range from fellow instrumentalists Pelican and Karma To Burn, then to Celtic Frost, Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath and even noting The Cure as well. While this seems like a broad range of influences the band’s sound isn’t scattered or all over the place, their music is refined and maintains cohesiveness. Sparrowmilk has recently released ‘Articles of Separation’ on February 15th 2017 via Kultland Recordings. This marks the bands debut, and has previously only released demo material. Their dominance of the instrumental metal genre begins now! Continue reading

State Of The Art: Virginia – WINDHAND

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*

This month’s State is Virginia!

Flashback to Fall 2015: I’m beginning to expand my musical horizons as a listener, discovering the real power behind Bandcamp… I stumble upon this album called, Grief’s Infernal Flower, a, then, bestseller on the website by a quintet from Richmond, Virginia dubbed Windhand. I saw Windhand’s third album sported some beautiful cover artwork, but it was the sound that I found within Grief’s Infernal Flower that made me admire this band the most. Featuring bludgeoning, thick guitar tones and soaring, ethereal vocals – Windhand has comprised some of the best elements of stoner and doom since their inception in 2008, to produce something so gracefully heavy.

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Review: THE LAND OF THE SNOW – ‘Paths of Chaos’ [Album Stream]

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Cover Art by Petulia Mattioli

The Land of the Snow is a new doom/experimental solo project from Switzerland mastermind Joel Gilardini. He has released several 4-6 song records including ‘Blizzards From The Edge Of A Stage’ (2013). They have played shows with bands like Dysrhythmia, Signorina ?Alos, and Bruital Orgasme.The new record ‘Paths of Chaos was released last week via Taxi Driver Records on February 28th. Cover art was created by Petulia Mattioli. The album was mixed by Eraldo Bernocchi  (Sigillum S, Obake, Metallic Taste Of Blood) and featured Jacopo Pierazzuoli on drums. Gilardini does all the guitars, drum programming, and electronics. The album takes you on a journey through music that makes the mind ascend to a higher state. You can buy the new album here or stream it below. Continue reading

PHLEFONYAAR Set To Release ‘Septic, Bitter and Hardbitten’ This Spring [Song Stream]

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The doom partners from Britain of Phlefonyaar have just announced the details of their upcoming release, ‘Septic, Bitter and Hardbitten’. The album will be released on Cavernous Records on April 14th. It will be the band’s follow up to their 2016 release ‘Kissing Carrion’. There will be 7 songs on the record that are expected to leave you shaken, frightened, and with your mind blown. Phlefonyaar is Paul March and Jim Males. You can check out artwork, the track list, and the new song “Temple Bells After Midnight” in a stream below. Vocalist Paul March had this to say about the upcoming release: Continue reading

Review of The Blue Sunshine Family Band’s Dazzling, Self-Titled Debut

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The band’s name is The Blue Sunshine Family Band. They are from Santa Rosa, California. Now, go ahead and check out the beautiful and cool artwork by David Paul Seymour (also of various Wo Fat albums, Hendrix: Electric Ladyland (Redux), The Vintage Caravan, Ironaut, Doomstress and many others). Don’t listen to it yet though. Get a sound in your head that you think is going to fit. Thinking it is some sanctimonious, rehashed peace, love, rainbows and unicorns, hippie, acoustic crap? Maybe some weird, ethereal, atmospheric stuff with annoying, Far Eastern dissonance and sitars? A Pink Floyd tribute band maybe? No, no and, uh no. Said to have the “Heart of Metal. Mind of Jazz. Soul of Blues.”, The Blue Sunshine Family Band is a very heavy, fuzzy guitar based instrumental band that will simply blow your f’in mind!

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Review of Arcade Messiah’s “III”: The Status Quo Defied

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arcade-messiah-iii-album-cover

Artwork by Michael Kerbow (michaelkerbow.com)

Arcade Messiah is a solo project spearheaded by cult Hasting band, Kingbathmat frontman John Bassett who currently resides in Sligo, Ireland. Born in Walthamstow, London, Bassett was raised by his ex-convent nun mother and meter reading father, who fed and looked after him as long as they could. By sixteen, he quit school and left home with little more than the clothes on his back. This left his employment opportunities limited to dull and mundane tasks; guitar and songwriting being his primary source of solstice. His love of music developed at a young age after picking up an acoustic guitar in the family home. Once able to figure out and play along with a number of songs, he found a guitar teacher in Tottenham to assist with chording. What John discovered was that he was playing a right handed guitar left handed, even though he was, in fact, right handed. Playing backwards was simply more comfortable. With this straightened out and a proper, left handed guitar was purchased, chords became natural and progressed directly into songwriting that has evolved into a life long passion.

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