Written by: Volt Thrower
“In the novel, Frankenstein's creation is identified by words such as 'creature,' 'monster,' 'daemon,' 'wretch,' 'fiend' and 'it.'” Thanks, Wikipedia, for describing this album cover so that I don't have to. I know these guys don't take themselves too seriously, and I mean no disrespect to the artist, who upon a cursory search has some really nice artwork, but this is just too cheesy. Maybe I'm just a lame grouch, taking it too seriously. And I get that they're going for the old school sci-fi horror covers look, which are usually cheesy, but just slapping the antagonist of each song onto the cover, feels like a bit of a blunder. Let’s hope that the tunes are out of this world.
The album itself is a bit of a mishmash of songs, a new tune in the album opener and title track, two reworked songs from their 2017 demo For God Snakes, and a couple other tracks that the band has had in their back pocket for a while, giving them a little modern touch.
Written by: Volt Thrower
As a kid the countless hours spent driving under starlit prairie highways in the 90’s, on the way to various campgrounds and theme parks, laid the foundation for desert rock being able to bring a wash of fuzz driven comfort later in life. There’s something incredibly soothing about being able to lose yourself in a locked in groove, essentially time traveling through the hundreds of km’s of nothingness. Heavy rockers Heavy Hands from Boston, take a stab at a classic style with some modern flair with their latest self-released offering “Through the Night.”
A rolling drum groove, with some fuzz drenched bass open things up on “Devil Nets”, sure to make Brant Bjork blush. Kicking things off with a nostalgic blast is a great hook, but they build upon that opening, with a really unique sound that the band feels out across the dozen fleeting minutes. The soulful delivery of the vocals on “Villain” really compliment the underlying bass and drum groove, but the guitar is the real scene setter for most of the album. Ranging from bluesy psychedelic washes, to straightforward riffage, to a near black metal tremolo picking style, giving it another layer with a sense of urgency and despair. Lyrical themes starting with, of course a desert highway cruise with your girl, to a poetic exploration of the plight of the never good-enough, ending in a mental “Breakdown.” Clean production wraps it all up into a nice, tight little package.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Unabashed stoner doom has always been one of my favorite things ever since I first heard Tony Iommi hacking up a lung on "Sweet Leaf," circa grade 9 out back behind the auto shops. But by now, the book on stoner doom has long been written and published. Through the annals of history, an innumerable amount of bands have knelt at the altar to pay homage with their Sabbathian smoke fueled riffage. Cliches, puns and cheesy lyric runs, all a staple of a genre intended for mind bending fun. Hailing from Kiel, Germany, Earthbong bring us their second full length Bong Rites. Will it bring us towards the crimson light, or will it fail to ignite?
First impressions are everything in a genre overflowing with copycats, and I was instantly pulled in by the album artwork. It reminds me of Slaves BC cover art, but just splashed with enough purple to remind you that you’re “Goddamn High” while being pummeled to death. The aforementioned album opener starts off with a thunderous intro that seems absolutely blistering in pace after it pulls the rug from beneath you, and you're left trudging through knee deep molasses. A hazy atmosphere built on swirling layers of guitar lulls you into a sense of zen before that too is swallowed whole by the demonic vocals rising from the crust of the earth. Two vocal styles, a Dixie Dave Collins like harsh bark and a barbaric cave-echoing howl, work together to deliver some of the finest dope doom riff worship of the new decade.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
One of the things that initially drew me to doom metal and stoner rock was the way that the music complemented the aesthetics of one of my favorite sci-fi subgenres: the post-apocalypse. Something about the dark tone of the lyrics and sludgy riffs calls to mind images of blighted landscapes, lone wanderers, lawless lands, and road warriors. It’s especially gratifying when the artists recognize this correlation themselves, look no further than Truckfighters’ “Desert Cruiser” or Wo Fat’s “Lost Highway.” The UK’s Desert Storm also recognize this correlation and lean into it. The music video for “Drifter” off their 2018 release Sentinels is comprised entirely of clips from Mad Max 2. This fascination with the end of days is still present on Omens, their newest release, but this time it’s through the lens of mystical medieval fantasy.
Like any good pseudo-medieval village of our size and prosperity, we highfalutin peasants abide by a certain standard of hospitality. For those bands that pass through our palisade time and time again, we gladly offer up a spot at our roughly hewn and ovular-if-not-round table.
earthdiver are, without a doubt, such a band within the context of Sleeping Village lore. I personally have been a fan since hearing their rambunctious three-track EP, and was subsequently thrilled to have interviewed 'em. Hell, I'm wearing my earthdiver t-shirt as I scribble away--a pure coincidence born of the reality that I wear this shirt, like, at least once a week. Needless to say, this particular scribe has been very excited for the advent of their all-important debut album, both because I've been itching for new tracks, and because I'm excited for the stoner/doom community to witness the set of chops on this talented trio. The wait is over. Lord of the Cosmos is (almost!) here. Time for that hospitality.
Our motley township owes an obvious debt to Black Sabbath…but Sleeping Village, today’s group in question, also lifted their moniker from Sabbath's plunder-worthy supply of deepcuts. And so, despite being prompted to do so by our friends at Crypt Guard, it was inevitable that after reviewing Sleeping Village’s promising EP here at the Sleeping Village, we would end up writing about their future endeavors. On a #SabbathSunday, no less! Thus, on the docket today: Sleeping Village’s latest 5-track release, entitled Holy Water.
We all know what we’re getting into, from the logo, to the borderline occult atmosphere, to the riffage, to the Geezer-esque low end and the Ward-ish percussion. No question ‘bout it: these guys live, breath, and die by the monolithic template established by (Ozzy-era) Black Sabbath. Indeed, their bio indicates an unabashed acknowledgement of their particular station: Sleeping Village is “unashamed Sabbath worship.” With that in mind, is it worth listening to Holy Water instead of just throwing on Master of Reality for the umpteenth time?
Written by: Vattghern
I’m a critic at heart. Chance is, if you spend just a little bit of time with me, you’ll roll your eyes at me constantly being nitpicky about everything that decides to fall into my hands, so to speak. Naturally my nitpickiness is ever so present when new music awaits judgement, which results in few things really blowing my socks off. Yet one song that sparked my interest when browsing Bandcamp pretty early in 2020--when toilet paper was still available en masse and doing one’s groceries didn’t feel like Russian roulette--did just that: blow my socks off. “Sails” by Elephant Tree was neither from a genre I was fond off nor was it from a band I previously knew. Despite that, I fell in love, excessively hitting the play button.
So, when the promo sheet was updated and I spotted Elephant Tree’s new studio album Habits, my eyes lit up and I instantly messaged the Village Overlord, begging for a promo copy. As you’ve already guessed, my request was heard and here I am, reviewing Habits, the new album by stoner rock aficionados Elephant Tree.
Here I am, quill clenched betwixt my inksplatttered teeth as I clamber into the tub. Advent Varic's Tumulus tumbles, rapidly and raucously, into my earholes. Perfectly on cue, blood pours from my nostrils as the sky burns. In other words: all is not well. Sorry, I mean: all is well. Fuck.
Why the tub? Two reasons. Firstly, as a clear Side A/Side B concept album, this beast offers a duo of twenty minute tracks, constructed and delivered as a single blackened stoner symphony. My attention span lasts about as long as this fragile soap bubble before me, so I'm admittedly out of my comfort zone. Secondly, it's damn comfortable, and if I'm going to witness the world collapse into inferno, I might as well do so from here, where the fires of civilization's demise will prevent this bathwater from going lukewarm. For those of you not privy to the expanded universe of Advent Varic lore, here's the gist: these extraterrestrial marauders were birthed from the muck of the titular far-flung world of Tumulus, and have since wrecked havoc across the universe on a cosmic mission of destruction at the bidding of the Godlike entity known as Varic. Our beloved homeworld is, alas, the next link in their chain of brutalistic annihilation. Concept albums live and die by the strength and flexibility of their narrative, and here, Advent Varic have given themselves ample room to experiment. Let's see where that takes us.
As of late, we slumbering Villagers have been drinking deep of the genres that tend to fall on the more extreme end of the spectrum. And, while there is certainly ample time and place for extremity, it's high time for this particular scribe to slip into something a little more comfortable. I crave the sweet embrace of dusty wind-swept fuzz, and, when I’m in this sultry mood, nothing does me right quite like top-shelf legends of the (then-emergent) scene.
I speak...not of Kyuss. But hear me out. Maybe I’m off my rocker, but I don’t think there are many longtime fans of stoner rock willing to state that Lowrider’s seminal Ode To Io isn’t, in fact, one of the greatest albums the genre has produced. A particularly notable designation, given the Swedish (rather than Californian) origin. While Kyuss may have opened the door, Lowrider swaggered over the threshold, shouldering a massive groove and a cut-to-the-chase approach to composition. In many ways, Ode To Io felt like it boiled stoner rock down to its basic essence: big attitude, bigger riffs. Every track on this classic feels essential in its own right, a massive step into fuzz-ridden stardom for the young band. But rather than providing Lowrider a launchpad, Ode To Io served as a trailblazer, allowing a bevy of other bands to come into their own. Lowrider have been around in the 20 years between then and now--a split or a remaster here, concert appearances there. But a proper followup effort was missing from the picture. And so here we are, history lesson complete, Refractions held tight in our white-knuckled grasp.
After long last, we slumbering peasantry arise from Rip Van Winkle-hood, back with another edition of our neglected Sleeping Village Sampler.
For those of you not in the know, this is our (regrettably infrequent) column wherein we review, in brief, two of the bands that have escaped the clutches of a full length writeup. Usually there is an underlying current, a theme connecting the two. In other words, a method behind the madness. This time, however, all I’ve got is this: both bands featured here today have the word “Serpent” in their name, and they both requested a review on the same damn day. That’s simply too coincidental to neglect, and so here we are. Pull off your boots, pull up a chair, and stay awhile. You may want to check your boots for snakes later on, but that's life.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!