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.
"Does the world really need another doom band? Probably not, but that might be why Blessed Black should be the next band on your radar." So begins Blessed Black's bio, and, immediately, prior to hearing a single note, my ho-hum radar is activated. Not sure if that's the one they were referring to, per se. But such are the risks one runs.
It's a valid point: does the world, indeed, really need another doom band? "Need" is a strong word, but there's certainly an audience afoot for this commonplace brand of doom-by-way-of-stoner-rock-by-way-of-grunge-by-way-of-heavy-metal. Provided they are good enough at their craft to merit a listen or two, I certainly won't turn them away, and so here we are, spinning this Cincinnatian(?) outfit's worthy debut, for what must be the tenth time today.
While the Good Captain has, as of late, been all too happy to make himself at home in the Sleeping Village's humble confines, it's been a while since he graced us with a demonstration of his prowess with the ol' pen. Maybe...maybe the (self-described) Destroyer of Worlds is getting a tad too comfortable? Only time will tell. - Ed.
Written by: Capt. Graves
Hails from the Village, I have stepped foot among this filthy place again. For me the putrid smells, and humid air really make me feel at home. As we all got stoned around the fire last night, I decided to hunker down and listen to the new Opium Warlock album, and man did it send me spiraling into the abyss. This is some heavy shit, boys and girls. Opium Warlock is a band out of Prague and they deliver some of the best doom The Swamp has to offer.
The leading track, "Signals from Uranus," is layered in synths and bells. I may have just had a signal from my anus, and it's quite tingly. "Meth Desert" has some guest vocals from Ganja Mutt, and this man really knows how to make me tingle too. I think this song should have been called..."Signals from Uranus."
The more eagle-eyed amongst ye lurkers may recall that, earlier this year, this particular Villager took a bit of a break from the more hefty, crushing, and otherwise violent end of the musical spectrum. During this time of relative quietude, one of my close companions was The Dwarf Star Sessions, a solo instrumental avant-garde cosmic exploration. Which should, in retrospect, tell you all you need to know.
One Dr. Greenthumb excels at creating languid improvisational spaces--the kind of musical environ that invites you to nod your head and rest your eyes in a half-aware stupor. This is, in other words, the perfect soundtrack to your half-conscious daydreams. While The Dwarf Star Sessions impressed with it’s uncanny ability to draw me back into the fold of undulating psychedelia, the followup--Celestial Sounds From the Cosmic Ocean--feels like a gradual climb into the astral womb. And this, in the best possible sense.
Take even a cursory glance at the gloriously garish cover art before ye, and this much is exceedingly clear: Long Island's own Gorilla Wizard know how to have a good time. Their debut album, Tales From the Cauldron, is a bombastic and rip-roaring piece o' work, through and through. If you're not in the mood for high-energy fun, this wasn't made with you in mind. Don't really know what else to say.
Chunky grooves and contiguously crunchy riffs rule the roost. You know what I'm talkin' about--the kind of sasquatchian chest-beating riffs that lumber into the swamp and then back out again, dripping and covered in gunk, without a goddamn care in the world.
As much of the album operates according to this simple but effective guitar-driven approach, any tracks I would consider standouts simply apply the formula most egregiously. "Smashosaurus," "Maple Crunch," and "Black and Blue" are perhaps the most memorable moments, and the best introduction to Gorilla Wizard's jubilant brand in general.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.