*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*
This month’s State is Colorado!
Named after an ancient, Egyptian city comes Khemmis from Denver, CO. Doom, while admittedly not my usual cup of tea, this band had me hooked from my first listen. So much more than just slow, ominous, sludge that I normally find boring after about two or three songs. Hell, Khemmis has a number of songs that are over six minutes each that never approach being monotonous and demand to be listened to again and again. I have literally worn out their debut album “Absolution” trying to codify their sound and musical direction in my head. *Please note that I am not “bashing” Doom and am attempting to broaden my Metal horizons here. Music is purely subjective and I have just never found a Doom band that has spoken to me like Khemmis has.
Ape Cave are a talented band from the musically rich city of Portland, Oregon. This month makes a year the band has been together and unlike other bands who take their sweet ass time releasing material Ape Cave doesn’t waste any time. Back in May the band released their debut which was a 3 song EP entitled ‘Primordium’. The moment I heard the EP I became obsessed with their sound. Just a little over 6 months the band is now releasing their full length album ‘Pillars of Evolution’.
It’s not often I get to write about some fellow Kentuckians. Not only do these guys hail from the Bluegrass state but they are putting us on the map for their brilliant musicianship. Stonecutters have successfully released 3 albums including their last kick ass release titled “Creatio Ex Nihil” that was unleashed in 2013. I was fortunate enough to see them back in 2006 with Eye Hate God and Nachtmystium in support of their debut album. Time has done nothing but make this band better and better. The brand new album “Blood Moon” is some of their best work to date and was recorded with David Barrick in Glasgow, Kentucky. Continue reading →
Buffalo, New York is home to some iconic things. Wings, the neighboring city to Niagara Falls and the loveable losers the Buffalo Bills. Well soon enough the great Northern city will be put on the map yet again. The unbelievably kick ass doomsters Bastard Lord have released their debut EP via Twin Earth Records. The band has their own signature branded doom sound. The incredible riffs created by Mike Hermann are something of legendary status. On songs like “Wormwood” the guitar riffs teleport you toward the doom filled psychedelic vocals by singer and bassist David Braymiller. The song even lets the feedback shine through adding that raw edge to their music. The vocals aren’t all up front and in your face but slightly retreated from the instruments and it works beautifully. The bands overall sound is something fresh and fierce in the world of sludge and doom. They have taken inspiration from modern metal added their own twist and vibe and it has birthed what we now know as Bastard Lord. The first track on the album “Cimmerian” has an eerie riff that slowly trickles into full blown doom. The song is a 13 minute tour of what the band is all about. We only get 4 tracks on this EP, but it is a perfect example of what to expect with a full length. The three peice has really carved out a sound that is unmatched currently, especially in the North East. They are like a Frankenstein of Crowbar and Pallbearer with other little tid bits of kick ass thrown in here and there. If you are a fan of sludge, doom or anything psychedelic we fully recommend this album. I refer to Bastard Lord’s riffs as a sweet sweet nectar that is overwhelmingly addictive. We look very forward to catching these guys live and in the flesh.
Creedsmen Arise are a relatively new band, and they hail from Boras, Sweden. They haven’t even been together a year yet, that anniversary isn’t until November. Guitarist Simon admitted to me that the band didn’t really find their sound until March. In a span of several months the band was able to not only find their sound but also perfect it. They went a certain direction and didn’t slow down. Unfortunately, shortly after the release of their debut EP “Temples” the lead singer Gustaf has split from the band. They are now a 3 piece for the time being but are seeking a new singer and will hold auditions soon. They again may have to find their sound, or adapt to whomever they choose to fill void in the band. Continue reading →
Dark Buddha Rising are a Finland based band that has been creating music since 2007. They are preparing to release their fifth studio album titled “Inversum”. The album is the follow up to their 2013 release “Dakhmandal”. The new album will be hitting shelves on September 25th and marks the band’s first release on their new label Neurot Recordings. Dark Buddha Rising is comprised of six members and have a very unique sound that really puts them outside the box when compared to other bands in the metal world. Continue reading →
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the state of the month*
This month’s state is Michigan!
In 2014 one of Michigan’s best up and coming bands was formed. Blind Haven was formed a year ago, by four guys who swore an oath to creating and maintaining a sound that holds no boundaries by simply obeying the riff. Just by that sentiment alone it should make most anyone a fan. They released their debut “Obey.Worship.Decay” in January at Lakebotttom Recording House. The same place State Of The Art alums Wizard Union also recorded theirs. Blind Haven is Dustin Bourns – Vocals, Heath LaTour – Guitar, Drew Rogers – Bass, Andrew Owen – Drums. If you are a fan of slow drawn out riffs with thick bass lines this is what you have been searching for your whole life. The riffs ring out like a sloth creeping up a tree. Slow doomy doom is what you are in store for. It may be as slow as moss growing on a grave, and let me tell you right now, when it slows down to this pace it kicks more ass than an 8 legged billy goat. I’m not exactly sure if we should thank the drinking water in Michigan or if I should personally thank the mothers who spawned these four guys for bringing them into this shit hole we call earth.
With the exception of “Burning Ritual” the majority of the songs on the album are 9 minutes long. Songs of this length can usually get boring after a while, this is not the case here. “Stagnant Memories” creeps into my speakers and what comes out should be pleasant to any ear. Vocalist Dustin Bourns has that great median where he doesn’t over do anything, and doesn’t under do it either. It’s simple in the most perfect way. The same really goes for everything with the sound they create. Guitarist Heath LaTour brings simplicity back with his riffing. He does it in a way that helps showcase everything else going on in each song. The simplicity in everything makes each member shine even more. What these guys have is some of the best chemistry in a band I have seen in a long time. I’m hopeful I will be able to see them tour the south soon. After listening to this on repeat for a few days I’m anxious to hear what they will bring to the table next. Give these guys a chance, especially if you are a fan of doom. If you even remotely like Crowbar you will love these guys. Buy “Obey.Worship.Decay”, you will not be disappointed.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the state of the month*
This month’s state is Michigan!
Get ready to have a 3 piece doom groove band fill the void in your soul with spectacular riffs and hooks. Wizard Union are from the Great Lakes state of Michigan (Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti). If you haven’t heard of these guys you aren’t trying hard enough to find good music. Their release Smoking Coffins is a kick ass groove filled escapade. Listen to the track “Into the Wizard’s Sleeve” and you will forever be a fan of these guys. Sometimes a three piece leaves room for improvement in the sound where something is lacking, this is not the case here. They showcase how a trio can bring you everything you want and need in a bands sound and more. Vocalist and guitarist Samir pulls double duty with his howls on the mic and riffing on his six string. The bass throughout the song sets this low vibrating tone that makes every vein in your body shake. The groove is created by bassist Aaron and the skin slaying drummer Larry who is also in another awesome band called Lizerrd. The songs aren’t overwhelming you with vocals, it’s the perfect amount. The vocals shriek through rattle through your head and linger throughout the day. The melodies created are so catchy you find yourself rhythmically humming and headbanging. The band was founded in 2012 and comprising this type of sound in such a short time. Normal bands spend years and years honing their sound, but Wizard Union is anything but normal. The album has been out over a year, it was released in January 2014. The album was recorded at Lakebottom Recording House where some other great bands have recorded like Lord Centipede, Serpent Speech, Blind Haven, Cloud Rat.
The band just wrapped up a performance at Back To The Field 3 festival in Ypsilanti where they were heralded as one of the tops bands to grace the stage. We certainly hope these goes can slow things down enough to make it down south to play some shows. Think of them as a slower groovier grunge version of Electric Wizard. In all honestly though, they create this sound that become all their own. Once you hear these guys you will be wanting to add a new patch to your denim vest, so make some room. Check out “Smoking Coffins” on their bandcamp and show these guys some love for making some amazing metal.
Doom and sludge music usually has ties to the South. Something about our lifestyle and relaxed slow paced lives always churned out some of the slowest sludge around. There is a new destination in sludge. Pateros, Philippines is the home of sludge masters Hateure. The band actually started out as a progressive style metal band in 2007. They Released two albums in that vein of music (Makabagong Anyo ng Galit, 2010 and A Lustrous Danseur, 2013). It wasn’t long after that the band started to morph and change their sound. Eventually evolving into a doom/sludge/post metal band. They have released their new EP on July 13th, 2015 called “Body and Soil” and are in the process of finishing a full length album to release by the end of the year or early 2016. The EP currently out is 3 tracks, but it is more than enough music to let you know the direction this band is headed. Let me go ahead and tell you now that these guys aren’t playing around, they have found their true sound with sludge/doom and they will soon be climbing to the top of every metalheads favorite bands. The EP was mixed and mastered by guitarist Ronnel Vivo. The first track of the EP is an instrumental. I may be a little impatient but I couldn’t wait for the vocals to chime in even though the instrumental song and title track “Body & Soil” really is true to the sludge sound we all know. Track 2 “Reptilian Blues” is where we really get to business. The song spanning almost 12 glorious minutes is like music from a demented song bird to my ears. (That is a compliment by the way). The guitar work starts the song and these deep chords bellow out so low I can feel the vibrations in my chest. Suddenly we hear the might roar of singer Earl Palma and it was well worth the wait. He holds his own when it comes to comparing him to other sludge vocal legends. The guitar work is a perfect example of sludge, but it also has these groove based tones in it as well giving the track a feel that is truly the Hateure sound. One thing that is surprising is the sound they are able to get with just the one guitarist. The bassist Genesis Trinidad helps set pace in tandem with the solid rhythmic drum beats by Ronaldo Vivo Jr. The band as a whole is a group of musicians that have an amazing chemistry together. The EP is a great teaser for what we can expect in a full length. Anyone that even remotely likes Sludge or doom needs to give these guys a listen because you will become a fan instantly.
Artwork by Ronaldo S. Vivo Jr.
Body & Soil Tracklisting:
1 – Body & Soil
2 – Reptilian Blues
3 – Koleoptera
*This is part of our State Of The Arts series, showcasing bands every Monday from the state of the month*
This month’s state is Ohio.
Beneath Oblivion are based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. They have been together since 2003 and self released their first full length in 2006 titled “Existence Without Purpose”. The album they released in 2011 “From Man to Dust” is an incredible piece of doom from start to finish. The band defines funeral doom. The symphony of darkness on tracks like “Atomic Mother” capture you and have you listening and out of nowhere the vocals take hold of your throat keeping your attention. Each song seems to capture a darkness in its own way. The only way to convey the sound is like feeling each stage of death then hitchhiking your way back from hell. They are expecting another release soon. This band should not slip by anyone the vocals Scott T. Simpson brings to this album are flawlessly combined with the guitar work by himself and Allen L. Scott II. Nothing in the music is overdone, it’s the correct amount of everything. Bassist Keith Messerle and drummer Nate Bidwell play off each other like dirt beating down on a casket. When everything seems unbearably dark they let just a little light in, only so they can again bring you into the darkness again.