The rubric that plays a major role in determining whether I will consider an album “good” is, as with everything around these parts, a little flexible and open to interpretation. That said, some criteria are fairly stalwart and unmoving. A good metal album must, in my eyes, have proficient instrumentation. It must display cohesion. The vocals need to be enjoyable--or, at the very least, they must spark some synapses other than those indicating that the vocalist in question can’t sing. It needs to elicit some sort of emotion response. Lastly, if it’s steeped in a genre that lives and dies by the axe, its gotta have riffs. Full stop. In the case of today’s artist in question, I’m happy to report that all of the criteria are present and accounted for...no, wait. We’re missing one. But y’know what? Let’s just roll with it.
As a pseudo-medieval Village inhabited by a motley crew of slumbering (albeit highfalutin) peasants, we've dealt with a lot of absurd challenges. And, to our credit, we've survived ‘em all--quite handily, I might add. Feudal serfdom? A non-issue: we deposed that sucker years ago. Blatantly nonexistent sewer system? At this point we can't smell, and we're certifiably immune to any plague these rats have to offer. Loot-thirsty marauders from the north? They leave us alone now; last time they attempted an assault, we armored up, threw on some Sabaton, and slaughtered their strongest warriors with ease.
But here’s something we have yet to deal with: Orcs. Y’know, the brutish and (typically) malevolent beasts of lore. Two be-tusked specimens have emerged from their slime-ridden dens, and, much to our amused curiosity, are currently sniffing around our hastily constructed barricade. They’ve killed some chickens, but beyond that, they seem...uncharacteristically friendly. This may be a terrible mistake, but let’s let them in, shall we? If we perish this fateful day, so be it.
Written by: Carlos Balmaceda
Orphans of Doom is a Kansas City based metal band that offers a refreshing mix of familiar genres. Combining elements of thrash, sludge, and a decent coating of crossover, has helped them out a stamp on their local and regional scene. The band formed in the summer of 2016 and consist of Jeremy Isaacson (Bass/Vocals), Bryan Sedey (Guitar), Greg Koelling (Drums) and has since released released two full length albums. Their first album, Strange Worlds/Fierce Gods, came out of the gate hot and made for a strong debut. Strange Worlds/Fierce Gods was an intense ripper that kept your head banging through the entirety of its run time, and is a great foundation for what could be a very strong career in heavy music. The question is, “Does this new album keep that fire rolling?”
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.
In the expansive metalverse, doom is my first love. When a band delivers a fat Iommi riff drenched in the fog of genre convention, I am content to sit, passively, in the palm of their momentarily almighty hand.
What ye may not know about this particular scribe is that, in addition to the doom, I also encountered a pretty sizable grunge period in my late teens. Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, et. al. were the name of the game, and the tropes associated with those melancholic wells still run deep in my musical preferences. Thus, when the two combine in unholy matrimony, my cold heart inevitably warms and weeps. This sentiment, of course, leads us to the track before us now--CELLARDOOR’s excellent debut single, released today.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.