Written by: Beaston Lane
The term “gothic metal” has been loosely applied to uniquely dramatic and dark bands over the past few decades, but its existence as a genre has always remained unclear. In 2021, however, there’s one band that immediately comes to mind when gothic metal is mentioned: Tribulation.
Drawing from anthemic, melodic hard rock as well as melodeath, black metal, and doom, the band has charted an intoxicating course during the 2010's, seemingly improving with each release. The questions that have surrounded Where the Gloom Becomes Sound since its announcement weren’t regarding its quality, rather whether or not it would meet the astronomical bar set by its beloved predecessors. Hot streaks are bound to end, but as WTGBS proves, Tribulation’s is far from over.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Considering Dread Sovereign’s semi-decent following, it’s amazing that I’ve only stumbled upon them this year, as well as the closely-tied Primordial. Dropping their third album titled Alchemical Warfare, they’ve awoken an inner beast that wasn’t realized earlier. This doom outfit treads far darker waters, dealing in satanic lyrical themes and medieval tamperings, wrapped in storming fury. Given what we know, it fits with the black metal-painted history of the frontman.
With six tracks, an intro, an interlude, and a Bathory cover, Dread Sovereign stretches their writing boundaries to great lengths. Nemtheanga and Co. primarily focus on epic build-up, pummeling drum/rhythm guitar blowouts, and galloping leads. Almost every song crawls in with some kind of noise or anticipation, but what breaks them up is how they proceed to the heavy clashing. “Nature Is The Devil’s Church” sneaks in and wreaks havoc with blitzing intensity and raging riffs that don’t cool down for its entire run-time. Others like the opening “She Wolves Of The Savage Season” stick around for a while to really build that momentum. It then focuses on a steadier trudge once it picks up.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Hello everyone! So we are finally in the homestretch of 2020. This has been an absolutely insane year, no denying that. Even with all of the struggle and division, we still had new music to get us through it. Let's just hope that next year will be better.
Having said that, it's time for Album of the Year lists, and I'm excited to see many of my reviewing friends lists. But for now, I suppose it's my time. This was a difficult list to order. There were SO many stellar albums, so many in fact that I've had to leave off of the list.
First I will give my honorable mentions list. Then: onward to the Top 10!
If ye haven't heard, we slumbering scribes put out a compilation album on Oct. 2nd! Green Hog Band contributed a killer track to the affair--hence the republication of this review.
Sleeping Village Caravan Of Doom (Vol. 1) is an exhibition of like-minded tracks that balance sludgy heft with an earthy stoner atmosphere. These are songs that would feel at home in the midst of a bog or mire, and we’ve brought them together, drenched in murk and algae, for your gloomy enjoyment. Purchase here for the measly price of...name your own price! That, dear reader, is a bargain.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Hailing from Brooklyn, with a bluesy sludge sound straight out of NOLA, all topped off with gurgling Russian vocals, Green Hog Band smash any preconceived notion of a stoner doom band. The typical tropes do still apply: see the motorcycle samples, as any good hog-affiliated music makers would utilize, fuzzy riffs, and lyrics about swamp monsters. But the way this 3-piece manage to package it up into a unique beast on this EP is what keeps me coming back for more.
The opening one-two punch of "Eclipse" and "Machine" is so damn good they could’ve made up their own 7” EP. Green Hog Band displays an absolutely suffocating low end throughout, contrasted nicely by bluesy leads seemingly trying to escape from the murky swamp. A spine chilling cattle shriek about 3 and a half minutes into the opener sets the unsettling scene well. The music alone is memorable, but the Russian lyrics sound and feel absolutely poetic. The vocal inflections capping off each line are a story themselves, without even translating. Following along with the English lyric sheet is a completely unique listening experience. We are treated to a haunting tale of a swamp beast in "Eclipse" --beautifully written, but it just wouldn’t have the same rhythmic flow if it were sung in English. Same goes for "Machine," an eloquent takedown of the system grinding us down (if you’re reading in English,) or simply a kickass desert bike riding song if you’re just jamming along with the vibes.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
When it comes to doom and sludge metal, I’m beginning to notice that a lot of the bands I tend to enjoy have very few members; often no more than three. I mean, think about it, bands like Sleep, Conan, BlackLab, and Bell Witch all have only two or three members. There are very few exceptions to this rule, and with their latest release, Norwegian duo Hymn stands to reinforce it even further.
Yes, while their logo and album artwork might lead you to believe that they are a black metal band, Hymn is, indeed, a sludge metal band. Breach Us is their second full-length album and their first with Norwegian underground label Fysisk Format. It’s a relatively tight album for the genre with only four tracks clocking in at 38 minutes. But it becomes quickly apparent that this is a case of quality over quantity. And since there are only a few tracks, I think it’s best to break this album down by going over them one-by-one.
If ye haven't heard, we slumbering scribes are putting out a compilation album on Oct. 2nd! Bog Wizard provide the closing track--hence the republication of this review.
Sleeping Village Caravan Of Doom (Vol. 1) is an exhibition of like-minded tracks that balance sludgy heft with an earthy stoner atmosphere. These are songs that would feel at home in the midst of a bog or mire, and we’ve brought them together, drenched in murk and algae, for your gloomy enjoyment. Pre-order here for the measly price of $1! That, dear reader, is a bargain.
Written by: Shane Thirteen
When I was in school in the mid to late 80's, Dungeons and Dragons was the Friday night pizza-fueled, soda pop-buzzin, eye-buggin fantasy fodder for me and all my friends. Friday night we would meet at Rex's house to play 'till late into the night.
When I saw the name Bog Wizard I was instantly traversed back to the campaigns of war and adventure of my youth. Now my band of merry warriors has a soundtrack: Bog Wizard! This power doom sludge trio from Michigan is thickness incarnate, so much so that the tracks laid down in From The Mire, in my opinion, should spark its own sub category in the stoner/doom/ sludge scene. This new sub-genre could be called, say: Northern Tundra Thickness Doom.
Hey! We're a record label now!
SLEEPING VILLAGE RECORD’s inaugural release is a compilation of 10 previously released underground stoner doom tracks, curated--as always--by a highfalutin peasantry. Sleeping Village Caravan of Doom (Vol. 1) is an exhibition of like-minded tracks that balance sludgy heft with an earthy stoner atmosphere. These are songs that would feel at home in the midst of a bog or mire, and we’ve brought them together, drenched in murk and algae, for your gloomy enjoyment.
Rather than simply throwing as many artists as possible into the doomy stew, this compilation seeks to bring together and showcase 10 uniquely stellar bands that compliment each other sonically and aesthetically. While the runtime clocks in at a hefty hour and a half, the roster remains slim so that each band has appropriate time to shine.
Sleeping Village Caravan of Doom (Vol. 1) will be released digitally and available for NYOP on October 2nd, with a preorder going live TODAY for the measly sum of $1. All proceeds from this project will be split evenly between the bands and the label, with any of the Sleeping Village’s cut going to fund further compilations (or a possible physical release!)
TRACKLIST as follows:
Fostermother - Destroyers
Dizygote - Children of Talos
Doomfall - Why Fear the Godless
earthdiver - Blood Moon
Green Hog Band - Machine
Old Horn Tooth - Old Horn Tooth
Stonus - Mania
Jointhugger - I Am No One
Black Road - Radiation
Bog Wizard - Swamp Golem
Huge thanks to the Sleeping Village’s resident Volt Thrower for the assistance and much-needed wisdom in putting this together! Thank you also to the bands, who all deserve your love and affection, and lastly to you, who made the launch of this endeavor from the Sleeping Village’s fertile ground a possibility. Enjoy!
Check out our bandcamp!
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Barbarity, menace, misanthropy. These three words alone could very well describe the sound of Primitive Man, a noisy and fucking terrifying 3-piece band from Denver, Colorado--but you probably already know who they are. These guys are really rising in the underground, and for good reason. They make excruciatingly slow, noisy, and painful death/sludge. So with Immersion being their third album, and second with Relapse Records, do they finally give in and start making more accessible songs? The answer is absolutely fucking not: they increased the barbarity ten-fold and created an even noisier, more punishing, and twisted album, and it's great!
Immediately you are greeted to feedback in opening track "The Lifer." Just like that, Primitive Man begin this journey. First I have to point out the unhinged, tortured, and agonizing vocals of Ethan McCarthy. His vocals are so fucking visceral and hateful. He really sounds like he is using all of the energy he has to do these vocals. A vicious way to begin this new opus.
Written by: Shane Thirteen
First things first: Seven Swords comes out August 21st, and I highly recommend you track down and reserve your copy now from bandcamp. This group from Savona, Italy has laid down a classic. Black Elephant has been around about a decade and as they grow they leap closer to being one of the world's best stoner/heavy psych bands. They describe their sounds as 70's fuzz stacked with Blues Psych Space Rock. All that is true.
What I gather from this album is Black Elephant is deep black warmth. The kind of warmth you feel on the first cold day in fall as you clinch into your bed and curl into the softness of your lover. It is sensual and the music wafts me away like smoke dangling on the rim of a bong. I tend not to think of albums as single tracks I like. But how do all the tracks fit into the feel of the album? What is this piece of music trying to tell me? Where does it want me to go?
Written by: Volt Thrower
Context and expectations are important when listening to an album. Similar to going to a cheap ticket Tuesday movie, (remember those?) and being blown away and thoroughly entertained. A self released debut desert psych rock LP doesn't exactly tip the scales of excitement for one such as myself, but I was looking for a nice palate cleanser after listening to theBible Basher EP on repeat for two hours, and...spoiler alert! German psychonauts Hammada immediately caught my ear, and didn't let go for the entirety of the record.
Right from the get-go on "Occasus," they have a captivating balance, finely teetering between the spacey elements of psych and the heavy push of desert rock, almost doom at times. A huge plus for the band is the standout vocal performance, particularly on "Nox"--which, when combined with an organ laced riff, makes for a terrific single.
Airy, whispery vocals can sometimes lose themselves amongst the music, not a concern here where the leads are absolutely commanding for the most part, while being able to pull back when best suited. There's an impressive symmetry at play as well, which should've been a little bit more obvious perhaps, judging by the artwork. The way the record is broken into four 15 minute sections across the 7 tracks is satisfying, but the way they connect each section with a synthy zip-tie builds a cohesive story from start to finish.
One of the highlights on the album is "Heliokratia," a song that actually comes from their 2017 EP Sfaira, albeit with a little modern polish. Low and slow to start, flourishes of synth buoy an intoxicating bass tone that I would swim in if I could. Some of the softer vocals on the record to start, but they work well to aid the buildup before the full band kicks into gear into a roaring wall of fuzz. They mention desert vibes and atmospheric riffs in their bio, and they are delivered in spades throughout middle tracks "Ether" and "Helios." They bring it back down to earth for the transition into ‘Azimut’. Another solid track, with an organ laced furious finish that would’ve worked well to wrap up the LP in a nice 45 minute bow. Instead, ATMOS gives way to one last final 15 minute epic in "Domizil," a mostly grooving instrumental, until some final transcending chants bring things to a close.
I generally prefer an LP in the 40-45 minute range, but Hammada have no issues providing a captivating listen for a full hour. The initial listen as a palate cleanser did exactly as it should, but the subsequent listens have solidified this as a must listen if you’re a fan of anything psych rock related. A solid debut has them firmly on the radar for future releases. Check it out!
Hammada - ATMOS was independently released June 26th, 2020
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!