Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
It seems rather apparent that I don't review a lot of doom and sludge metal bands. It's not due a distaste for the genre, moresob just not looking hard enough. There are plenty of great albums/bands in the genre, but I find myself gravitating towards other sub-sects of the overarching metal genre. But here we have Of Wolves--a "newcomer" to the scene and already making a name for themselves due to the fact that they combine everything great with punk and metal. If you want crushing slow songs, you'll get them. If you want hardcore headbanging songs, you'll get them too.
Of Wolves have something to prove with their second album Balance. As for the quality of the songs... let's find out.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The fourth in this (increasingly popular, apparently!) series of guest reviews is Forest Bohrer of Adzes--who, incidentally, just put out a very good album that you can read about here. Read on!
Written by: Forest Bohrer
Time brings them all home
To the eye of every storm
Upon the landscape of heavy music, Neurosis looms. The Oakland-based collective has produced a slew of landmark records through the decades, influencing multiple generations of musicians and spawning entire genres of like-minded bands. Their most well-known record is the apocalyptic machine that is Through Silver In Blood, a sprawling seventy minutes of oppressive darkness. And yet, when I think of Neurosis records that had the profoundest influence on my life, 2004’s The Eye of Every Storm is the record I return to.
At the turn of the 21st century, the band had just delivered Times of Grace, a masterpiece perhaps even surpassing Through Silver In Blood in emotional weight and crushing sludge. And rather trying to reach the great heights of Times, or the depths of companion EP Sovereign, the band turned to a more contemplative, organic approach. A Sun That Never Sets and its successor The Eye of Every Storm featured gravelly singing, acoustic guitars, cellos, complex harmonies, and matured songwriting, but are no less weighty than other Neurosis albums for that.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Being born into a bible bashing religious cult/family is a traumatizing experience for a curious child. Something I've only started to fully grasp after countless hours and thousands of dollars in therapy. So when I saw the press release for a Bible Basher record featuring Tich of Temple of Coke, Joe E. Allen of Kurokuma and the doom doc featuring the UK underground, plus members of Archelon and Spaztik Munke, I knew I had to have it. I purchased a cassette copy instantly, I don't even own a tape player but I guess I'm on the lookout for one now.
Scathing, sacrilegious, supergroup sludge from Sheffield, UK, is exactly what the doctor ordered for this 2020 hellscape. “Words from the bible, riffs from hell.”
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
Forest Boher, the single member of Adzes, is rather angry on No One Speaks About It. In this case, “it” represents the broad threats that existentially threaten our societies as we know them, from unaddressed climate change to rampant poverty, and his anger is directed exclusively at the elusive 1% that maintain an inescapable influence over all of our lives. Accompanying his ominous message is a thick soundscape of sludgy, shoegaze-influenced metal.
The project opens with "Divide," a sludgy, downtuned track that’s driven by a melancholic, undulating bassline. Swirling vocals haunt the instrumentation, insistently questioning the world’s borders and the lack of compassion that is required to uphold them. As an introduction it’s stellar, for it showcases the sonic and political tone candidly; if you dislike this track, for whatever reason, there’s no need to go any further. "Jesus Built My Death Squads" follows suit, although sonically, it’s a little brighter with a needling guitar riff that reoccurs. This track is perhaps the closest that Boher strays into the mainstream, and is one of many highlights that are littered throughout the project’s tracklist.
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.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Winnipeg, Manitoba: a misunderstood and often unknown entity on the global stage. Easy to overlook, easy to make the butt of a joke--but those who have spent time here know there is a veritable treasure trove of historical or natural beauty to stumble upon. There is of course a dark history (and present) of racial injustice and a growing class divide, but this observation isn’t meant to politicize the intro--just a quick backdrop for sources of inspiration that manifest themselves in a sometimes devastatingly beautiful art scene. One such iteration of that specific art is the burgeoning sludge metal scene, an umbrella I'm willing to stretch a bit just to shine a deserving light on some local artists who know how to bring the heavy.
Now: on to some music, shall we?
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: Carlos
Lesser Glow is a five piece heavy band out of Boston. They hit on everything low and slow--and they hit it hard. You’ll get everything from the nastiest sludge to the most vibrant interludes, all without releasing the gas. Lesser Glow is also comprised of some very accomplished industry professionals, one being a producer for Chelsea Wolfe. But we're not here to talk personnel; we’re here to talk about their upcoming album, Nullity.
Nullity is a follow up to their 2018 debut, Ruined. If you haven’t taken Ruined for a spin I suggest you close this and do just that.
...All right, welcome back. Nullity is built around the idea that mankind is a parasite in this world. Weaving themes of internal conflict, creation myths, and interpersonal relations, this album features a big finish (spoiler alert) in which mankind is wiped from existence. Yes please, void daddy.
Written by: The Administrator
Like many of our music-blogging contemporaries, this particular scribe does, indeed, fuck with Soundgarden. As luck would have it, I also fuck with Vancouver's ever-evolving Seer, whose latest effort, Vol. 6, caught eyes of several Villagers with its dark and delicate take on doom. Thus, finding out that the two have been combined by way of glorious tribute was enough to elicit a (rare) grin on this three year anniversary of Chris Cornell's death. Seer's cover of "Room A Thousand Years Wide" is a heartfelt homage to one of their most beloved heroes--and, beyond that, it's a damn good track.
Let's get to it, shall we?
Written by: Volt Thrower
Let's just get this out of the way first: that artwork. Lordy it's stunning, and sets the bar high without a single note even being played. I own this record on vinyl and like 80% of the decision to buy it was based on the artwork alone. Designed by Toronto based tattoo artist Arthur Mills, it perfectly captures the haunting, war-torn, cosmic yet industrial landscape the band lays to waste on their second EP now, Pale Mare II. Pale Mare instantly get compared to High on Fire, which is lofty and can be a bit unfair, but the band themselves don't seem to shy away from the comparison on their bandcamp page.
So, lets dig into some High on Fire worship, shall we?
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!