DOOMRIDERS VS. BORIS Long Hair And Tights (Daymare) 2lp 49.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. First in a super limited series of lp-only releases from everyone's favorite Japanese doom-drone-psych-rock overachievers Boris! For this limited double lp, they've teamed up with Boston's Doomriders, which just so happens to feature members of Converge, Old Man Gloom, There Were Wires and more... These records capture live shows recorded back in 2006 when the two bands toured together. The Doomriders for those who don't know, are a straight up Motorheady rock and roll band, they even start their set with a bellowing roar: "We are the Doomriders from Boston, and WE PLAY ROCK AND ROLL!!!" And they do, pounding and simple, not thrashing or blasting just riff heavy big drum blasts of kick ass RAWK. The perfect sonic match up for the more rock side of Boris. The first track, though, on one of Boris' two lp sides had us fooled, a massive churning droned out low end sludge, the heaviest thing we've heard from them since Flood (not counting the Altar collab with SUNN) but after that it's back to the full blown, in the red, ultra distorted pedal to the metal blasting Pink-style wild psychedelic garage rock stomp that have become their modern sound. And it sounds great. Super saturated production, amazing sound, loud Loud LOUD!!! Obviously essential for all you Boris freeks... And of course super elaborate packaging as always. Deluxe metallic gold gatefold, super thick stock, killer Screaming For Vengeance Judas Priest homage artwork, clear yellow vinyl... LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES, half red, half yellow, the copies we have are yellow, and this is ALREADY SOLD OUT and selling for crazy $$$ on eBay. We tried to get 100 copies, and got less than half that. Needless to say these will be gone before you know it. ONE PER CUSTOMER.
DOOMSWORD Let the Battle Commence (Dragonheart) cd 21.00
Did you know there were Vikings in Italy? Yep, these guys, who are back with an excellent new disc. They're just as obsessed with swords and glory, axes and honor as Manowar, but with a bit more of a serious historical slant (though that doesn't stop them from taking cool noms de guerre like Deathmaster and The Forger). Let Battle Commence takes up where their last record, Resound The Horn, left off. It's a concept album of sorts, concerning itself with Danish King Ivar The Boneless's conquest of York on November 1st, 866 AD, apparently one of the few pagan triumphs over Christians, according to the band. With lyrics like "We shall fill the air with spears to turn black this Christian sun" and "Odin guide my sword!" you might think you know what side Doomsword is on. But, even then, other songs acknowledge the horror and loss of warfare, showing ambivalence by the victors in lines like "Of this land / Of glory, battle and death / All I recall is the look in the eyes of the dead" and "Woman I never saw / I am sorry if you can believe me / I killed your man in my last fight" (from "Deathbringer - Blood On My Hands"). Still, these are stirring heavy metal anthems that could certainly be used to lead men into battle. I can imagine the helicopter gunships in Apocalypse Now blaring Doomsword instead of Wagner, just as effectively.
"Heathen Assault" MPEG Stream:
"In The Battlefield"
DOOMSWORD My Name Will Live On (Dragonheart) cd 21.00
Cult Cult Cult. Doom Doom Doom. It's thee fourth album of HEAVY and EPIC war metal anthems from this (metaphorical) sword and axe wielding bunch, and maybe their best yet. Italy's pagan doomsters Doomsword (that's doom-sword not dooms-word, just to be clear) are a true metal outfit, with clean, manly vocals. The Viking tales of Bathory are the closest they come in comparison to the black metal realm...but they're NOT a bit like the fruity and fantastical power metal of countrymen Rhapsody either. No, this is for fans of underground olden metal acts like Solstice, Wotan, Candlemass, and former labelmates Slough Feg. Doom done heavy metal style, not sludgy-droney or stoner-Sabbathy, but epic. Sure, with songs like "Days Of High Adventure", "Steel Of My Axe", and "Thundercult" you might expect some kind of D&D metal here. Well sorta, but as we've said before there's a serious slant to Doomsword's stuff, even if you'd be prone to thinking 'em silly. And their hymns to myth and might will stick with you, thanks to their morose melodies and sheer metallic chug. Mostly midtempo, sluggishly so, but with some storming numbers too. There's acoustic intros, catchy choruses, and (most importantly) many massive RIFFS. Stuff to awaken ancestral memories! Listeners will be unconsciously be girding their loins and preparing for battle. The unironic metal of Doomsword is "keeping it real" about stuff that went down over 1000 years ago, and doing so with much passion, intensity and skill. Classy and damn good. Cult Cult Cult. Doom Doom Doom.
"Death Of Ferdia" MPEG Stream:
"Claidheamh Solais (Sword Of Light)"
DOOMSWORD Resound The Horn (Dragonheart) cd 21.00
Dark, epic, doom (duh) metal from Italy. "Our fate is written: Sword and shield, born to die on the battlefield" is their motto, and their songs thus focus on tales of ancient Viking and Celtic warfare. Heavy and atmospheric, with decent clean vocals (a bit like the guy from Blind Guardian) and grand, morose melodies. For fans of the likes of Candlemass, Cirith Ungol, Manowar, Manilla Road, and Solstice. Despite the inherent silliness you might attribute to heavy metal songs of swords and battle, there's something about this just seems very SERIOUS. They've created a vibe quite far from the happy fantasy power metal of countrymen Rhapsody, that's for sure!
"Shores Of Vinland"
DOPETHRONE Demonsmoke (self-released) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Yeah, they're named after an Electric Wizard record, and while they definitely share some Wizardisms with their namesake, groovy Sabbathy riffage, and low slung stoner doom swing, their brand of drug fueled slo-mo sludge seems to owe more to bands like Eyehategod or Bongzilla, although the tempos get cranked well beyond either of those groups' preferred BPM's. The riffs are total stoner rock nirvana, big and thick and groovy and catchy, occasionally getting crunchy and chuggy, the drums muscley and pounding, the most interesting thing are the super processed almost black metal sounding vox, which definitely transform the sound into something else entirely. Which is one of the things that makes these guys tough to pin down. Opener "Demonsmoke" is total downtuned Sabbathy sludge, while "Abraxis" sounds almost like classic rock, and then "Wizard's Sleeve" gets all woozy and wah wah guitared, a wasted druggy lope, and "Power Violence Forever" is just super rocking and hooky, and "Legalize Murder" has some bad ass wailing leads, and gorgeous harmonized guitars, and minus those harsh vox sounds like Nebula or something. Dopethrone lace their songs with plenty of samples, most about drugs of course, and those vocals definitely tie everything together, and help make these guys sound different than the rest of their stoner/sludge brethren, and make this one of our new favorite chunks of slow and low heaviness. If you dig Electric Wizard, Eyehategod, Bongzilla, Grief, Sleep, Green Machine, Buzzov*en, Kyuss, Acrimony, Sourvein and all that downtuned druggy Sabbathy stuff, odds are you're gonna love this...
"Demonsmoke" MPEG Stream:
"Wizard's Sleeve" MPEG Stream:
DORDEDUH Dar De Duh (Lupus Lounge / Prophecy) 2cd 26.00
Recently Romanian black metal horde Negura Bunget, big time aQ faves for years now, found two of their three members leaving to form a new group, which left just the drummer to continue on as NB, with the other two forming the oddly named Dordeduh, a name that in English might be a tad bit goofy, but in Romanian, actually means 'longing for spirit', and as you might imagine, with 2/3 of Negura Bunget making up the core of Dordeduh, the sound is not that far removed from Negura Bunget, a sort of black metal / folk hybrid, as was Negura Bunget, but there seems to be even more folk here, and certainly more clean vocals than there ever were in NB. The first thing we noticed was the fact that there were THREE people playing hammered dulcimer on this record! There's also flute, panpipe, and a handful of other distinctly non metal instruments, al put to great use here, the opening few minutes sets the scene, all rumbling drones, mysterious percussion, chanted monklike vocals, ethereal swirls of female background vox, bells and chimes, haunting spoken word, we briefly considered the possibility that perhaps Dordeduh would be all ambient/folk, and not metal at all. But at about 2:40, we were shown otherwise, the band launching into a serious blast of dense, gnarled black buzz, the sound blurry, and echo drenched, noisy and washed out, a gorgeous heaving avalanche of sound, underpinned by thick sonic swells, the folk element seeming to run through the heaviness as well, super tranced out and hypnotic, so much so that we wish it had locked into this woozy buzz and never let up. The sound shifts again, and displays more of the groups folk/BM hybrid, with the churning blackened riffage, peppered with some sort of woodblock percussion, which changes the vibe completely, even more so as the song shifts into a weird folky prog, all swirling synths, classic metal chug, before slipping back into more black buzz, before transforming again, lacing some serious black riffage with soaring flute melodies, only to blossom into some clean vocal driven metal epicry, sounding almost liturgical, that is if a black metal band blasted away beneath the hymns. The rest of the song breaks down as a dreamy, softly psychedelic folk dirge, tribal and ritualistic, but lush and lovely, finally leaving some sort of campfire folk hoedown, all strummed acoustic guitar, simple hand drums, panpipe and call and response vox. Woah. A seriously epic and ultra varied 16+ minute opener, and over the next hour, the rest of the record unfolds in a similarly idiosyncratic fashion, soaring synths over folky percussion, chugging guitars over impossibly catchy melodies, soaring clean vocals that give much of this a sort of Alcest vibe, haunting expanses of folky psychedelic drift, loping stripped down low end almost post rock, furious black metal blowouts, rife with impossibly fast blast beats, but then clean vocals and spiraling melodies and even some piano, the record gets into some serious progginess, getting almost fusion-y at points, but for every twisted chunk of folky prog, there's an epic blast of majestic buzz drenched blackness, more often than not, those two sides of Dordeduh's sonic personality bleeding gloriously into each other. There's a definite Enslaved vibe as well, after all Negura Bunget and Enslaved were always sort of sonically linked, there's even an Enslaved cover on the bonus disc here, alongside two earlier, much rawer sounding demos. Fans of Negura Bunget, Enslaved and other folk flecked, nature obsessed black metal outfits, will find much to love here, the balance pretty evenly split between black buzz and folky flutter, so metalheads looking for something relentlessly black might be disappointed, but the rest of us can happily revel in Dordeduh's gloriously blackened foresty folky soundworld. Packaged in a swank full color six panel digipak, with a big booklet. While they last we have the double disc version, not sure how long those will last.
"Jind De Tronuri" MPEG Stream:
"Flacararii" MPEG Stream:
"E-An-Na" MPEG Stream:
"Calea Rotilor De Foc"
DORMANT Beneath The Mighty Oak (God Is Myth) cd 10.98
From the man who runs the amazing God Is Myth label, responsible for recent AQ faves like Godheadscope, Caina and Procer Veneficus, and who used to record as Uvall, comes the new 'group' Dormant, which takes the more traditional black metal sound of Uvall and abandons it almost entirely, focusing more on mood and melancholia, texture and timbre, songs as much as sonics, a sort of orchestral dark doom pop sound, run through with streaks of buzzing blackness, and plenty of dark dark ambience. With some help from folks like Caina and Celestiial, Dormant weaves an unlikely blackened sonic brew, gloomy and dark, but strangely pretty and poppy, epic and almost orchestral at points, there are brief moments of grim buzz and blasting black fury, but they are relatively few and far between, instead most of the record drifts delicately, mournful strummed steel string guitars, moaning drones off in the distance, deep baritone, near spoken vocals. Sounding very much like Swans or Angels of Light. Even the heavier songs spend much of their time moping mournfully, shimmery clean guitar twang, reverbed soft focus riffage, sometimes eventually transforming into midtempo black metal, but still suffused with that distinctly pop element, occasionally even turning pitchblack and offering up some buzzing riffs and harsh vocals, but only briefly, usually slipping back into a lilting dreamy dark folk, or a strange loping industrial dirge, or a haunting expanse of barely there drone. Definitely for the super adventurous blackmetalheads out there, or for darkfolk freaks who don't mind bits of buzz and blast peppering their spacey jangle, moody gothic miserablism and abstract late night drift. The first 200 copies of this cd come housed in a hand screened digipak with an insert and a sticker. We have about a dozen of those. Once we run out, we'll have copies from the rest of the pressing, a version that comes in a DVD case instead.
"Black Ashes" MPEG Stream:
"I Am The Wind On The Horizon" MPEG Stream:
DOT [.] s/t (Blind Date) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We managed to get the last 40 or so copies of the third and (supposedly) final pressing of only 175 copies of this massive slab of Japanese heaviness. So act fast. BORIS! CORRUPTED! EYEHATEGOD! JAPANESE DOOM SLUDGE! If those words mean anything to you, drop everything you're doing RIGHT NOW and order yourself up one of these massive slabs of earth flattening, face melting downtuned dirge. Slow slow slow like their sludgy countrymen Boris and Corrupted, Dot [.] focus less on the drone, and more on the riff, sounding much more raw and aggressive, aligning themselves a bit more with Eyehategod, Bongzilla, Grief and the rest of the US slow motion doom contingent. Huge riffs, pounding relentless drumming, hellish shrieking vocals, amps until forever, everything (even the drums?) tuned as low as they will go, a soul sucking metallic black hole of sound. Four lengthy tracks, only one of which even comes close to almost breaking the midtempo mark. AGAIN, SUPER LIMITED!!!!! To only 175 copies, and we got about 40, most likely never to get more again. You have been warned.
DOT [.] Stay Smoke, Stay Stone (Kult Ov Nihilow) 10" 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Do these bands mean anything to you: Boris, Corrupted, Harvey Milk, The Melvins, Sunn 0))), Earth? Well, if they do, you are definitely gonna need this. One of two new releases from the amazing Kult Of Nihilow label from Finland. Dot [.] are most certainly the best Japanese doom band you've probably never heard. We even listend to one whole side of this 10" at 45 thinking that it sounded too slow at 33! Yes, they are that slow and sludgy and downtuned and fucking amazing. Impossibly heavy and relentlessly glacial. Unfortunately, this is limited to 332 copies and we managed to get our hands on a mere 12 of those, never to get more. So you'll have to move a lot faster than these fellas if you want one of these to end up stuck to your turntable. Super thick colored vinyl, gorgeously packaged in transparent, screened sleeve!
DOVE s/t (self-released) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We raved about Floor's Dove album last list, so it only makes sense that we would move on to the new album from Dove, the band that followed Floor and just happens to also feature a fellow from another AQ favorite, Cavity! Equal parts the Melvins, High On Fire and Sleep, which means huge, thundering riffs, planet splitting percussion, and black hole bass, but with the unlikely addition of sweet acoustic parts, weird almost-folky clean guitar and occasional minor key post rock breakdowns. This is much more 'punk' than the Floor record. Where Floor was channelling the Beatles via Nirvana via Eyehategod, Dove takes that end result, roughs it up a bit, rolls it in broken glass and barbed wire and sends it careening down a punk rock mountain with no brakes. Occasionally Dove slow down into Floor / Cavity dirge territory, but more often than not, things quickly pick up or take some weird unpredictable turn before resuming their thrashingly hooky onsalught. Awesome.
"On A Mission" MPEG Stream:
"Goes Without Saying" MPEG Stream:
DOWN EP1 (ILG / Down) cd ep 10.98
The first in a new series of eps from stoner/sludge super group Down, which for the uninitiated, includes members of Pantera, Crowbar, Corrosion Of Conformity and Eyehategod. No doubt fans of all those bands are already hip to these guys, their sound heavy and stonery more than sludgey, but recent converts to Electric Wizard would do well to dabble in some Down as well. Down are a strange bunch, not sure if it's the music, or their musical pedigree or both, but seems like EVERYone we know, metalhead, nonmetalhead, stoner rockers, death metallers, they all seem to love Down. But then it's easy to see why, the sound is pure psychedelic stoner sludge Sabbath worship, massive riffs, Phil Anselmo's killer vox, some wicked leads and classic guitar harmonies, hooks galore, bombastic drumming. Doesn't get more headbangable than these guys. All the tracks here slay. Groovy, riffy, slithery, Sabathy heaviness to be sure, but the best jam here is most definitely "Witchtripper", immediately catchy, heavy as fuck, with an insane main riff, a crazy catchy chorus, and and a hilarious (and hilariously literal) video, with Anselmo dressed up as Aleister Crowley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fCoz5P3foY
"Witchtripper" MPEG Stream:
DOWN II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow (Elektra) cd 17.98
The first song on the last Down record is easily one of the best (if not THE BEST) stoner-metal/New Orleans sludge rock song ever. EVER. The rest of the record didn't stand up to the opening track, but it was still a pretty solid record of ultra heavy stoner rock groove (how could it not be with Phil "I'm In Pantera But I Have Other Interests So Don't Hold That Against Me" Anselmo's brutally melodic rasp and guys from Corrosion Of Conformity, Eyehategod, and Crowbar laying down the riffs/beats). Oddly enough, with the new Down record, although not all that sonically similar to the first, the first track knocks you flat on your ass while the rest of the record struggles to reach the same intensity. Hmm, I'm beginning to see a pattern. Again, not to say this record doesn't rock, because it does. I think we were just hoping for a whole record of 'first songs'. That said, Anselmo has such an unbelievable voice, from growly, bluesy rasp to demonic howl to melodic almost eighties metal screech that every song bristles with anger and emotion. And the production is HUGE, warm and fuzzy guitars, pounding drums and thunderous low end, like a hyper-charged Molly Hatchet or Lynyrd Skynyrd on angel dust. But unlike the first Down record, this one seems to be much more varied, with slowly droning acoustic ballads (a la Agents of Oblivion/Acid Bath) shredding blues jams, straight up stoner metal, punky work outs and even a song that sounds like something off of Nirvana's "Bleach". If you loved the last Down record you've been dreaming about this new record for years, and if you're a fan of Acid Bath, Eyehategod, Corrosion Of Conformity, Crowbar, and all that Southern doomy stoner sludge, odds are this will be blasting from your pick-up in no time, 12 pack on the seat next to you, gun rack rattling against the rear window, dead buck in back, stars and bars trailing in the wind...
"Lysergik Funeral Procession" RealAudio clip:
"There's Something On My Side" RealAudio clip:
DOWN III: Over The Under (Down Records) cd 17.98
"Three Suns And One Star" MPEG Stream:
"The Path" MPEG Stream:
DOZER Beyond Colossal (Small Stone) cd 15.98
DOZER In the Tail of a Comet (Man's Ruin) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Swedes who sound EXACTLY like the late and undoubtedly much-missed Kyuss. Somebody should hold a festival of all the Kyuss-clone bands, with Natas, Fireball Ministry, Unida, etc. They could compete to crown the new Kyuss II. Anyway, you know what this sounds like (that is, if you're a Kyuss fan--and otherwise, you won't care): lots of heavy bass, rockin' vox, psychedelic sunburn guitar. Pretty darn good, but this trend has to come to an end. I mean, originality isn't the number one virtue in rock n' roll (and certainly not in the "metal" and "stoner rock" realms and not at all in the Kyuss-o-centric "desert rock" subgenre) but this is getting ridiculous. Still, better to copy Kyuss than Korn, I suppose.
DOZER In the Tail Of A Comet / Madre De Dios (MeteorCity) 2cd 14.98
Stoner rock really gets a bum rap, not sure what it is, but there's really nothing not to like, it's heavy, groovy, the guitars are thick and distorted and blown out, the drums pounding, the vocals wailing, the riffs are epic, it's one of those sounds that even still we can't seem to stop digging. C'mon, Kyuss, Orange Goblin, Roachpowder, Acrimony, Solarized, Los Natas, Spiritual Beggars, Freedom Hawk... Plus there are plenty of bands that aren't technically stoner rock, but essentially are, Sleep, Monster Magnet, Soundgarden. Maybe tastes changed, or the scene got saturated, or there were just too many shitty stoner rock bands, but as far as we can tell, groups like Sleep really aren't that far removed from groups like Kyuss, the Sabbath worship, the drugs, the groove. But fuck it, we're not here to mount a defense of stoner rock (or are we?), we're here to extol the virtues of one of our favorite stoner rock outfits ever, Sweden's Dozer, whose kick ass first two records have just been reissued as a double disc, with a bunch of bonus demo tracks to boot. So what's the big deal about Dozer? Well after Kyuss, they're probably the band that most embodies that classic stoner rock sound, in fact, in some ways they're a dead ringer for Kyuss, the sun baked guitars, the wailing vox, the killer riffs, needless to say if you LOVE Kyuss, and have never heard Dozer, man are you in for a treat, and Every single person who bought either or both of the Freedom Hawk records a while back or either of the Acrimony records (and we know that's a LOT of you!), you're almost definitely gonna want this too. Mesmerizing, hypnotic, the grooves locked in tight, killer psychedelic leads, hooks galore, and riffs, we mean RIFFS, massive super rocking RIFFS. For all the blasting black metal and creepy crawling ultra doom, neither evoke the same sort of visceral headbanging response as this stuff, how could it, like all classic stoner rock, this is Sabbath, sped up and supercharged, totally heavy, and totally rocking, and few do it or have done it better than Dozer. This collects their first two long out of print Man's Ruin records, In The Tail Of A Comet from 2000 and Madre De Dios from 2001, both now augmented by extra demo tracks, that sound just as good as the records proper. We were actually a little surprised how goddamn good this stuff sounds still 10 years later, but man, it sure does. Any one into groovy heaviness, or Sabbathy headbanging riffage, this shit will definitely hit the spot! Comes packaged in a super swank full color six panel digipak.
"Supersoul" MPEG Stream:
"Lightyears Ahead" MPEG Stream:
"Cupola" MPEG Stream:
DOZER Madre de Dios (Man's Ruin) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. More unabashed Kyuss worship. And no one does it better than Sweden's Dozer. And I do mean no one. Dozer sound exactly like Kyuss; groovy low end, wailing vocals, warm, desert-baked guitar. So don't look here for anything original, but if you're still missing Kyuss, then this should do the trick.
DOZER Through The Eyes Of Heathens (Small Stone) cd 14.98
Stoner rock, that's this.
DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT Hatred For Mankind (Prosthetic) cd 14.98
We had never heard of these UK metalheads, but the gruesome Justin Bartlett art of course caught our eye, and if anything, the sounds inside live up to the grim warning of the strange ritual depicted on the cover, hooded figures surround a woman, whose baby is dragged from her by a strange goat creature, her mouth open, emitting instead of a scream a strange column of either feathers or crystals. The soundtrack to this demonic ceremony is some sort of super intense, ultra aggro, sludgey blackened downtuned death metal dirge doom pummel, the sound shifting from frenzied blasting Swedish style melodic death metal to lurching, lumbering noise drenched doom, the recording so hot and in-the-red, that the drums buzz and sizzle, the guitars so distorted they crumble from the speakers, the vocals a harsh hateful shriek, plenty of Eyehategod style feedback, long stretches of layered skree, tense and intense, the sound so impossibly heavy, not sure we've ever heard guitar SO buzz drenched and blown out, the sound brutal and intense and harrowing, but probably the coolest/weirdest aspect of this band's sound are the samples, all over the place, snippets of conversations, bits from films, sometimes draped over minimal bits of droney ambience, other times set amidst roiling churning heaviness and thus barely audible, but it definitely gives the record a strange vibe, reminding us of nineties industrial rock, but only in that one aspect, in every other way, this is some of the fiercest, most fucked up and intensely heavy death/sludge we've ever heard, the vocals sometimes slipping into an inhuman ear shredding shriek, the buzzing so intense and furious that it sometimes almost blurs into total blackdronenoise, usually slipping right back into something more riffy or dirgey, but always suffocatingly black hole heavy, and then there are those samples, which change everything. And stick around for the final track a supremely creepy outro of crumbling distorted buzz, keening feedback, layered industrial noise, and one final creepy sample. Awesome stuff. Definitely one of the most brutal records we've heard, and while too many samples definitely plague many an otherwise awesome record, somehow, this wouldn't be the same without 'em.
"Boiled Angel" MPEG Stream:
"Buried With Leeches" MPEG Stream:
DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT Widowmaker (Prosthetic) cd 14.98
The first sonic onslaught from these UK black/death/doomlords, 2009's Hatred For Mankind, boasted some twisted Justin Bartlett cover art, which perfectly reflected the sort of sick sounds that lurked within, sludgey, downtuned blackened death metal dirges, blasting black ritualistic heaviness, abject anguished vokills, feedback drenched crumbling psychedelia, and samples galore. While all of that stuff is still present on Widowmaker, it's presented in a much different context, a sprawling three part, 40 minute, single song, concept record, the sort of thing that just might frustrate extreme metal fans who reveled in the first record's face melting immediacy and skull crushing pummel, but the sort of thing that most of us dig big time. The first part is a slow building brood, all layered clean guitar, minimal samples, the mood haunting and harrowing, lots of softly swirling drones in the background, a sort of blackened Godspeed is definitely the vibe, it's not until seven minutes in that the song shifts, the clean guitars growing darker and more minimal, droned out and sinister, underpinned by metallic reverberations (cymbals? gongs?), and what sounds like a piano, a creepy, bleary soundscape, with some definite twang, there's even some fiddle (which we initially mistook for harmonica) adding a bit of a gypsy folk vibe to the proceedings, all very unexpected considering the last Dragged Into Sunlight record, in fact, the whole of the first track is essentially an intro, the metal not kicking in until the second part, a grinding blackened riffscape, loping and roiling, a black downtuned swirl, that quickly transforms into a lurching dynamic stop/start, wreathed in feedback, and laced with samples, finally launching into a strange midtempo death metal churn, all grunted vokills, and droned out riffage, the sound weirdly proggy, and super epic, constantly shifting, laced with melodies here and there, eventually, after nearly ten minutes locking into a surprisingly catchy hypno-rock jam, that could seem out of place, but somehow doesn't, which is even more surprising as it leads directly into the third part, which begins all slo-mo tarpit doom sludge creep, but even then, the arrangement is super dynamic, the riffs fading out, leaving just some muted, distorted bass rumbles, over which more samples surface, and from there on out, we imagine the final part to be especially confounding for some metalheads, as it constantly switches between epic, downtuned riff heavy crush, and weird squiggly psychedelic drift, pounding metallic pummel, and dreamy, hushed melodic shimmer, grinding almost black metal blasts, and mathy post rocky groove, before finally seeming to collapse all of those disparate elements into one final, furious, heavy as fuck, blackened sonic blowout. We've seen lots of negative reviews of this record, but we're guessing it's mostly from metalheads who wanted Hatred For Mankind part 2, as far as we're concerned, for folks into twisted, avant, experimental heaviness, Widowmaker might be tough to beat.
"Part I" MPEG Stream:
DRAGONAUTA Cabra Macabra (Dias De Garage) cd 12.98
Whoa. Argentina's most "weird-ass" Sabbath stylers seem to have gone totally black coffee, forget the decaf. Grinding growling galloping METAL here, folks. Sure there's still proggy changes and acoustic guitars and mad laughter and all sorts of whatnot, but the main focus of these eleven tracks is pretty much kicking your ass with crunchy guitar riffage!! And then barking savagely in gruff Spanish at your crumpled form. Sabbathy doom is still an aspect of their sound, but we'd never mistake this for Cathedral, let alone Kyuss. It's way too fierce and thrashy. If you've heard their previously reviewed (and highlighted) Luciferatu album, or their split with Abdullah, just imagine that but with less crazy "clowning around" we guess you could say. Less eccentric / more EVIL. Or less '70s / more '80s. Perhaps they've been listening to a lot of old Slayer and Celtic Frost lately?! In any event, they're still pretty much our favorite metal band from Argentina, no doubt (we're counting Los Natas as more of a stoner/psych outfit). By the way, we imported these directly from South America and when/if we run out, it'll probably be a while before we get more, just so you know.
"Dioses del Submundo" MPEG Stream:
DRAGONAUTA Luciferatu (Dias De Garage) cd 12.98
Doom metal bands by their very nature are solitary, backwards-looking, miserable creatures. It's not the most popular of rock (or metal) genres, nor does it always attract the most normal or ordinary musicians. Often, doom bands conform to the established Black Sabbath blueprint for the genre, but sometimes in their isolation they wind up going in weirder and weirder directions, influenced by the progressive rock of the '70s that Sabbath themselves began to dabble in circa Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage... Argentina's Dragonauta are one of these weirdo doom bands. When we first heard them (on a split cd with fellow Argentinans and AQ-faves Los Natas some years back) they were your basic Sabbathy/Kyussy stoner doom outfit, but now their debut full-length, Luciferatu, shows them to belong to what might be considered the most eccentric, deviant strain of 'doom metal' alongside the obscure, cult likes of Paul Chain, Northwinds, and Dirty Lust... It's a like progged-out, jazz-flecked mixture of Los Natas and Cathedral at their most ridiculous. Heavy riffage, maniac growling Lemmy/phlegmy vox (in a Spanish accent), and much psychedelic strangeness of songwriting and instrumental coloration abound on this album. Definitely one where it's hard to predict where each song will go next! Creative and chaotic yet crushing. Definitely if you like the proggier, bizarro elements of the last couple of Los Natas albums, you'll want to check out Dragonauta!! Includes a video track for your computer by the way with almost twenty minutes of live footage and interview.
"Bruta-Vu (Nijo del Diablo)" MPEG Stream:
DRAIN THE SKY s/t (Life Is Abuse) cd ep 7.98
DRAIN THE SKY s/t (Life Is Abuse) lp 9.98
DRAINLAND And So Our Troubles Began (Southern Lord) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This is the first we've heard from these Irish heavies, who specialize in a face melting brand of pulverizing metallic crust, liberally dosed with heaping of good old noise rock, and Southern style sludge. The label cites Eyehategod and His Hero Is Gone, which is definitely pretty spot on, but there's plenty more happening here, for us the noise rock thing seems to dominate, a sort of Black Flag meets Unsane or something, but then just as soon as we're feeling that, the sound switches gears, and the band is pounding out a punkish blast, but then it's right back into the warped stuttery noise rock, which is maybe why we dig this stuff so much. They sort of take all our favorite things and jam them together. That same song we were just describing, well, there's some seriously sludge-y Eyehategodisms going on there too. But somehow, all of those disparate parts fit together pretty perfectly. The guitars are crunchy, distorted, super noisy, droned out too, with riffs blurred and smeared and stretched way out into super tense high end sprawls, which only makes it that much more dramatic when the song collapses back into some roiling noisy convoluted churn. There's plenty of melody going on too, but these guys definitely don't flaunt it, instead just occasionally slipping into a little drift before the next avalanche of downtuned crush or explosion of frenzied pound. But for all of their influences, these guys definitely have their own thing, they're masters of dynamics, and tension and release, with weirdly structured arrangements, and ever shifting tempos and parts, mixing in long stretches of processed noise, weirdly distorted FX, letting chords ring out and crumble, turning sludgey doom into something weirdly groovy, and taking punked out metal and making it almost proggy, a sort of super heavy math metal sludge, that as if you couldn't tell by now, RULES. And So Our Troubles Began is actually a compilation, gathering up two out of print vinyl eps, but somehow it plays pretty well as a single album proper, although we're primed now to hear what they come up with for a proper full length. LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES, each one machine numbered.
"Jellyfish" MPEG Stream:
DRAKAR Let Draka / The Flight of The Dragon (I Hate Records) 2cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. So, maybe you're like us, we get curious when we learn about a reissue of some obscure metal band we'd never heard of before, especially if they're from, say, Eastern Europe, and have a cool album cover/motto like this one does ("Dragon music of Prague / Mystic metal" it says on the cover, below a painting of a bug-eyed Oriental dragon). But, even then, we don't expect it to be anything THAT great, just, well, a curiosity. But, turns out that late '80s/early '90s Czechoslovakian band Drakar are more than a mere Iron Curtain metal novelty, they're actually pretty good, this is a legit contender, on par with much better-known Western metal classics, seriously. Ask anyone (who has heard it). And yeah it's a bit weird, too! This release is a reissue of their debut album from 1990, two versions of it actually (hence the two discs), one in Czech, the other an English-language version. Despite the year, this isn't generic thrash or speed metal, though it is often speedy - and it's certainly not death metal or black metal, either, though fans of Root and Master's Hammer might well enjoy it. Drakar have obviously got '80s (and '70s) classic, melodic heavy metal roots, sounding even a bit like Thin Lizzy at times, but also incorporate unexpected usage of sampling; collages of commercial radio broadcasts and snatches of classical music and the like are woven in here and there. Also especially of note are the whining, wailing guitars. The guitar work is awesome, though they don't let the shred get in the way of the songs, it's just one element, likewise with the chunky riffs and gruff, sneering, sometimes soaring, vocals. Speaking of vocals, the stand out song might be the one where they seem the silliest, on "Crazy Boy", the title/chorus being in English, in both versions. Can't get the way he sings "crazeee boohoy" out of our heads. It's a bit funny, yes, of course we like it 'cause of that, and even the mostly-non-metal-inclined among us here at AQ found this interesting/amusing as well. But that song, and the rest of the record, are also worthy 'cause the melodies are strong, and the harmonies are plentiful and lovely. Ok, probably that's enough, we've made it clear this is quite recommended, and also it's limited to 500 copies, and our suppliers are all out already... when we contacted the label in Sweden to get some to list, they were down to their last 25! We got a bunch of those from them, but this handful will be gone soon, and then it doesn't look like we'll be able to get any more, so be warned. Lovingly packaged by I Hate Records, the thick cd booklet including lyrics, liner notes about the band, and old photos. Also the cd contains a video clip for one of the songs, that you can watch on your komputoor.
"Dvojnik" MPEG Stream:
"Crazy Boy" MPEG Stream:
"Posledni Krizova Vyprava"
DRAUGAR From Which Hatred Grows (tUMULt) cd 11.98
It's been ages since we've heard from Hildolf and his weirdo black metal project Draugar. An absence made even more pronounced by the fact that Draugar's debut, From Which Hatred Grows, has been out of print for a while now. Word is there is yet another brand new full length brewing (finally!), but until then, to tide us over, Draugar's first, and maybe best set of songs is available again. Black, brutal, buzzy, and so bizarre... Who knew so much pure evil lurked deep in the depths of (supposedly) sunny California, especially right here in San Francisco. The legendary Weakling (R.I.P.), the ungodly blackened evil of Leviathan, the blazing, bleak torment of Crebain, and this here bit of blackness, the grim, funereal, majestic savagery of Draugar's From Which Hatred Grows. Haunting and atmospheric, brutal and buzzing, blighted and black. Fingerpicked acoustic guitars explode into roaring, soul-shearing riffs, pounding drums demarcate hazy blackened soundscapes of misanthropic brutality and gorgeously melodic impurity, damaged and demented arrangements underpin hellish profane howls of utter anguish. Yeah, black metal at its best with nary a glacier or fjord in sight. Yet, as Burzumically brutal as it all is, you could be listening to this and suddenly forget and mistakenly think you've got some fucked up experiment in lo-fi ambient drone psychedelia on your stereo instead. Keyboards warble WAY above the mix, drums and vocals and guitars are whipped into Merzbow-ic blasts of white noise, blast beats are obliterated into gentle expanses of delicate acoustic guitars and droning ambient hum, the whole thing a gorgeously perplexing blast of bizarre blackened sonic experimentation. Much like the infamous Benighted Leams confused and astounded us once upon a time with its outsider genius, Draugar transcends black metal musical norms, making truly abnormal, artistic sound with unknown boundaries. Like Leviathan and our other favorite California black metal act Xasthur, it's the one-man-alone, far from the "scene" aspect that seems to foster a creativity beyond that of many ordinary black metal bands. From Which Hatred Grows is one of those rare metal records that manages to be true and grim, buzzing and black, but also a truly unique sonic vision that should find its way into the collection of every adventurous music lover.
"Intro / Uncontrollable Despair" MPEG Stream:
"Born" MPEG Stream:
"Dust Chains Idiots"
DRAUGAR Weathering The Curse (Moribund) cd 14.98
The black ice continues to spread, a grim black metal glacier slowly enveloping all with ears to hear. The West Coast black metal contingent's influence grows steadily, until one day hell walks the earth. Sorry, getting carried away. If the above scene had some sort of hierarchy, Leviathan would undoubtedly be the king. Xasthur would be a prince, or perhaps another king vying for supreme power. Crebain would be a knight, sent to slay all who shall dare oppose, and then Draugar, well Draugar would be the kings ex-vizier, locked in a dark dank dungeon, insane and murderous and demented, from years of no light, eating bugs, lack of sleep, and staring endlessly into blackness. Draugar is definitely the black sheep of this already black family, imbuing his home recorded evil, with the grim buzz of classic black metal, but with a healthy dollop of damged brilliance a la Benighted Leams, Lurker Of Chalice, or Striborg. Buzzy and black, droning and depressive, Draugar more than holds his own amidst the blackened elite, but somehow, everything he touches turns to what-the-fuck? Gentle clean arpeggiated clean guitar melodies are way up in the mix, layed atop a sluggish stream of indistinct guitar fuzz and Whitehouse-ish vocals. Sounding a little like somebody taped Darkthrone over a Slint record on an old C90 that had been in their back pocket for a month. Loping midtempo buzz over buried angelic choruses, like Morricone's The Mission performed by Graveland. Occasional ambient breaks, where guitar melodies wander aimlessly across barren soundscapes of distant rumble and creepy shimmer. Sometimes the riff seems to just splinter apart and what was moments earlier a galloping black metal juggernaut, has become a seasick drone. contructed from fuzzy almost melodies and vocals so distorted and so affected they sound like bursts of radio static. As always, heavy and grim and completely fucked!
"Warrior Without War" MPEG Stream:
"Infernal Existence / Grey Horizons"
DRAUGAR Weathering The Curse (Moribund) picture disc 14.98
Back in stock for a very limited time! We managed to get a few more copies of this ultra black picture disc. Limited to 500 copies, pretty much gone after this... The black ice continues to spread, a grim black metal glacier slowly enveloping all with ears to hear. The West Coast black metal contingent's influence grows steadily, until one day hell walks the earth. Sorry, getting carried away. If the above scene had some sort of hierarchy, Leviathan would undoubtedly be the king. Xasthur would be a prince, or perhaps another king vying for supreme power. Crebain would be a knight, sent to slay all who shall dare oppose, and then Draugar, well Draugar would be the kings ex-vizier, locked in a dark dank dungeon, insane and murderous and demented, from years of no light, eating bugs, lack of sleep, and staring endlessly into blackness. Draugar is definitely the black sheep of this already black family, imbuing his home recorded evil, with the grim buzz of classic black metal, but with a healthy dollop of damged brilliance a la Benighted Leams, Lurker Of Chalice, or Striborg. Buzzy and black, droning and depressive, Draugar more than holds his own amidst the blackened elite, but somehow, everything he touches turns to what-the-fuck? Gentle clean arpeggiated clean guitar melodies are way up in the mix, layed atop a sluggish stream of indistinct guitar fuzz and Whitehouse-ish vocals. Sounding a little like somebody taped Darkthrone over a Slint record on an old C90 that had been in their back pocket for a month. Loping midtempo buzz over buried angelic choruses, like Morricone's The Mission performed by Graveland. Occasional ambient breaks, where guitar melodies wander aimlessly across barren soundscapes of distant rumble and creepy shimmer. Sometimes the riff seems to just splinter apart and what was moments earlier a galloping black metal juggernaut, has become a seasick drone. contructed from fuzzy almost melodies and vocals so distorted and so affected they sound like bursts of radio static. As always, heavy and grim and completely fucked!
"Warrior Without War" MPEG Stream:
"Infernal Existence / Grey Horizons"
DRAUGSANG / MORKER Seil Pa Skyggans Hav / Den Sista Utfarden (Northern Silence) lp 9.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE** Never reviewed this, just have a couple copies. Draugsang are Norwegian, Morker are Swedish, they did this split record of Black Metal fury back in 2006. Limited to 500 copies then, likely out of print now. Calling all Vikings!
DRAUGURZ A Yell From The Past (Dark Hidden Productions) cd 10.98
Of all the crazy and amazing black metal cassettes we've gotten over the last year or so, this has to be one of our favorites. And while we did just manage to get the tape back in stock (see elsewhere on this list) we also finally got A Yell From The Past ON CD, so we can finally highlight it, and lavish it with all the blackened praise it so rightfully deserves. A Yell From The Past is a brilliant blast of demented blackness from a mysterious Brazilian black metal horde called Draugurz, who in the past have shared a split with AQ faves Marblebog. Draugurz are of the ultra anguished midtempo doom drenched black metal persuasion, with a super buzzy and brittle guitar sound, stumbling drums way up in the mix, fuzzed out murky minor key keyboards and EXTREMELY tortured vocals, the kind that howl and scream and caterwaul... A Yell From The Past (awesome title!) is a collection, a sort of greatest hits, drawn from two demos and the split with Marblebog, and the whole thing is a gorgeously lo-fi, dark and torturous journey through a black musical wasteland. Slow trudging doom gives way to lurching midtempo buzz gives way to a furious blast that is so blown out it threatens to transform into a smear of Merzbowian white noise. Heavy and weird and mysterious, haunting and heavy and so very dementedly black. Killer cover too, some sort of cartoonish ghost drifting above the forest.
"Die Traumburg" MPEG Stream:
"Hatestorm" MPEG Stream:
"A Yell From The Past"
DRAUGURZ A Yell From The Past (Gungnir Productions) cassette 4.50
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Of all the crazy and amazing black metal cassettes we've gotten over the last year or so, this has to be one of our favorites. And while it is now available on cd (see elsewhere on this list) , it somehow seems more appropriate to the tape format, all buzzy and lo-fi and completely damaged. But however you swing, digital or analog, it's time to again lavish A Yell From The Past with all the blackened praise it so rightfully deserves. A Yell From The Past is a brilliant blast of demented blackness from a mysterious Brazilian black metal horde called Draugurz, who in the past have shared a split with AQ faves Marblebog. Draugurz are of the ultra anguished midtempo doom drenched black metal persuasion, with a super buzzy and brittle guitar sound, stumbling drums way up in the mix, fuzzed out murky minor key keyboards and EXTREMELY tortured vocals, the kind that howl and scream and caterwaul... A Yell From The Past (awesome title!) is a collection, a sort of greatest hits, drawn from two demos and the split with Marblebog, and the whole thing is a gorgeously lo-fi, dark and torturous journey through a black musical wasteland. Slow trudging doom gives way to lurching midtempo buzz gives way to a furious blast that is so blown out it threatens to transform into a smear of Merzbowian white noise. Heavy and weird and mysterious, haunting and heavy and so very dementedly black. Killer cover too, some sort of cartoonish ghost drifting above the forest. Warning: the tape has some drop outs and some serious sonic inconsistencies, but just consider that another element of Draugurz's weird world and they sound almost like they belong...
"Die Traumburg" MPEG Stream:
"Hatestorm" MPEG Stream:
"A Yell From The Past"
DRCARLSONALBION La Strega And The Cunning Man In The Smoke (Latitudes) cd 15.98
The third installment, and the first full length recording, in a newly launched series of recordings from Dylan Carlson, he of the mighty Earth, once dirge-y sludgelords, now twangflecked dronefolk drifters, here performing as Drcarlsonalbion. Originally envisioned as a solo project, now expanded to a trio, which finds Carlson and Co. indulging their love/obsession with British music and occultic folklore, in the form of a sound not really that far removed from modern Earth in fact, the tracks here unfurling in hazy swaths of gauzy, dreamlike ambience, spidery guitar melodies, loose shimmery chords, spread out over a lush expanses of long layered tones, and blurred field recordings, sans vocals it sounds like a drumless Earth, it's easy to imagine these tracks tethered to a simple, spare, skeletal beat, but freed from any sort of rhythm, the sounds here billow and buzz, thick blackened clouds of rumbling, crumbling distortion, wash over delicate, crystalline arrangements of measured melancholy, over which vocalist Teresa Colamonaco delivers her haunting recitations, at least on the first track. But those spoken word vocals appear mostly on the first track, she's got a lovely powerful croon as well, and most of the tracks are either instrumental, or strident folk songs featuring Colamonaco's voice prominently, especially on tracks like "Reynardine", which pairs reverby chords with keening distant feedback, and heaving
"La Strega And The Cunning Man In The Smoke" MPEG Stream:
"The Faery Round" MPEG Stream:
"Reynardine" MPEG Stream:
"Last Living Rose"
DRCARLSONALBION La Strega And The Cunning Man In The Smoke (Latitudes) lp 21.00
The third installment, and the first full length recording, in a newly launched series of recordings from Dylan Carlson, he of the mighty Earth, once dirge-y sludgelords, now twangflecked dronefolk drifters, here performing as Drcarlsonalbion. Originally envisioned as a solo project, now expanded to a trio, which finds Carlson and Co. indulging their love/obsession with British music and occultic folklore, in the form of a sound not really that far removed from modern Earth in fact, the tracks here unfurling in hazy swaths of gauzy, dreamlike ambience, spidery guitar melodies, loose shimmery chords, spread out over a lush expanses of long layered tones, and blurred field recordings, sans vocals it sounds like a drumless Earth, it's easy to imagine these tracks tethered to a simple, spare, skeletal beat, but freed from any sort of rhythm, the sounds here billow and buzz, thick blackened clouds of rumbling, crumbling distortion, wash over delicate, crystalline arrangements of measured melancholy, over which vocalist Teresa Colamonaco delivers her haunting recitations, at least on the first track. But those spoken word vocals appear mostly on the first track, she's got a lovely powerful croon as well, and most of the tracks are either instrumental, or strident folk songs featuring Colamonaco's voice prominently, especially on tracks like "Reynardine", which pairs reverby chords with keening distant feedback, and heaving chordal swells, or the brief but swaggery "Wicked Annabella". All the tracks here but one are actually covers, or at least reintepretations of standards and old favorites, all culminating in a killer version of PJ Harvey's "Last Living Rose", which somehow manages to capture the feral energy of the original, while still managing to make it fit into Drcarlsonalbion's more tranquil and darkly psychedelic songsuite. LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES (of both the cd and lp versions), both come in the immediately recognizable white on brown Latitudes sleeves, and include a full color printed insert, both with green metallic foil printing, the cd in the usual origami style packaging, the lp sleeve elaborately die cut, the vinyl pressed on green wax.
"La Strega And The Cunning Man In The Smoke" MPEG Stream:
"The Faery Round" MPEG Stream:
"Reynardine" MPEG Stream:
"Last Living Rose"
DREADNAUGHT Down To Zero (The Music Cartel) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
DREAM DEATH Back From The Dead (Penance Music) cd 14.98
Reissue of this obscure doom-death classic, the precursors to Penance. Definitely a hefty footnote in the history of heavy.
DREAR / GREAT AMERICAN DESERT Warring Against The Sun / Solipsis (Autumn Wind Productions) cd 13.98
Massive slow motion funereal doom metal matchup between two relative unknowns, Drear and Great American Desert. Both traffic in that sort of slow motion doom drenched sludge we can never seem to get enough of. Huge downtuned riffs, simple spaced out drum pound and thick swaths of black fuzz. Doomlords into the usual suspects, Moss, Esoteric, Corrupted, Noothgrush, Catacombs, Eyehategod, Monarch, Stumm, Dot [.], Winter, Disembowelment, Skepticism, Thergothon, will pretty much HAVE to own this. Drear are up first, and just happen to feature one member from AQ faves Contra Ignem Fatuum (aka Circumscriber), their brand of UK black doom definitely falls somewhere right between Esoteric and Moss, three massive lengthy epics, dense and fuzzed out, but sort of dreamy and melancholic at the same time. The vocals are harsh and hellish, but they are draped over fuzzy soft focus buzzscapes, dreary, dreamlike and shimmery, the whole thing anchored by a simple Godflesh at 16rpm drum machine plod. Drear are teamed up with Oklahoma based Great American Desert, who have a whole different take on funeral doom. The sound is less massive and more minimal. Distorted guitars spin a murky muddy web in the background, the drums a simple spare framework, but the vocals, holy shit the vocals, some sort of super processed, demonic alien mechanical growl, metallic and distorted, like dragging huge pieces of metal across sharp rocks, recording them onto a metal cylinder and playing them back through a wall of tweeters run through a pitchshifter and a battery of distortion pedals. Occasionally the background is a weird lo-fi clean guitar tangled up with some low end rumble for some minimal doom metal Low action. But always with those vocals! Both bands are amazing and fucked in their own unique way, so needless to say this is some essential low end for the doom obsessed among you...
DREAR "Let The Sun Collapse" MPEG Stream:
GREAT AMERICAN DESERT "Dervish Shaitan"
DRESSED IN STREAMS Azad Hind (Colloquial Sound Recordings) cassette 5.50
This is one of two new releases on the Colloquial Sound label, a Michigan tape label we had somehow totally overlooked, but are making it our mission to get caught up with, cuz everything we've heard so far has been sorta mind blowing. Including this, the latest from this US black metal band who play "atmospheric Indian black metal", which when we first read about it, we actually thought it was in fact a band from India, but instead, this American outfit mixes murky soaring majestic buzzing blackness with actual Indian music, the A side here starts off with a sample of some traditional Indian music, all buzzing sitars, skittery tablas, intense emotional vocals, then all of a sudden, furious riffing swoops in, the sound exploding into some echo drenched buzzing blackness, the vocals a deep raspy demonic bellow, the drums not blasting so much as pounding, while the guitars are sharp and jagged, and doused in effects, the whole thing noisy, and reverby and sorta psychedelic. The sound gets even more psychedelic as the track progresses, slipping into long stretches of tranced out drone metal and even erupting into something near symphonic at one point, the sound laced with synths (?), giving the track a seriously tripped out vibe, and then near the end, it gets super melodic, and crazy catchy, before finally fading out in a cloud of blackened swirl and atmospheric synth shimmer. The second track/side is more of the same, a dense dizzying swirl of sound, frantic and frenzied, tons of echo and reverb, the sound bordering on utter chaos, but constantly slipping into something more structured, with some cool chugging almost math metal parts, not to mention more epic synth swells, and as if to bookend the two tracks, the blackness fades out leaving just tablas, that mesmerizing Indian rhythm this time wreathed in strange demonic hiss and softly shimmery synths. Super cool. These are the VERY LAST copies we'll be able to get. And apparently Handmade Birds will be doing a Dressed In Streams compilation cd eventually, but get an earful of this now, and grab one before they're gone, you won't be sorry!!
DRIFT OF A CURSE The Wrong Witness (self-released) cd 13.98
A new somber rock trio has emerged from the Bay Area's shadowy fog featuring three SF metal vets! Though their other musical endeavors are decidedly metal leaning, Old Grandad's Max Barnett and Erik Moggridge along with Chewy Marzolo of Hammers Of Misfortune take Drift Of A Curse in a post rock direction on their debut album. Throughout the album's eight songs, the band smoothly weaves in and out of ominous overcast atmospheres and more fervent tempos. The Wrong Witness commences with "Blink" a number that creeps along at a brooding funereal pace, and things proceed along as such. Very heavy in tone and mood, but by the fourth song "Straits And Narrows" they get far more propulsive - almost poppy even! - with cool multi-part vocals and high sinewy guitars. This comparatively 'up' mood doesn't linger too long though. The very next song is the album's title track and with its subtle spacey effects and gentle gruff vocals it draws everything back down into a forbodingly solemn contemplation. If you dug the dark weathered beauty of Erik's other side project Aerial Ruin, definitely check this out!
"Blink" MPEG Stream:
"Straits And Narrows"
DRINK THE BLEACH s/t (self-released) cd ep 5.98
This came out a while ago, and for some reason we never reviewed it, but we were listening to it recently, and realized how fucking kick ass these guys were, and figured there were probably some other folks out there who would dig this as well. SF heavies kicking out some serious skull crushing jams, falling somewhere between the punkish metal bombast of Northwestern groups like Karp and the Melvins, godheadSilo, and any of the heavier hitters from the classic Amphetamine Reptile stable, so you know what that means, relentlessly rocking churning chugging noise rock / punk metal blowouts, huge downtuned riffage, bad ass drumming, howled vox, the band locking into full on burly grooves, about as fierce and furious as it gets, not sure why these guys didn't blow up, never saw them live, but it sounds like they must have slayed, this stuff is dense and dark, loud and intense, frenzied but also right as fuck, with plenty of melodies, and lots of hooks hidden amidst the pound and pummel, fans of any of the above mentioned bands should grab these while they last, got a handful left, and as the band is dead and gone, we might not be able to get more.
"Freeway" MPEG Stream:
DRIVER, TOBY In the L..L..Library Loft (Tzadik) cd 16.98
Working in a record store I've learned that records released with merely someone's given name attached -- unless they're very famous -- often tend not to receive as much attention as something released under a more fanciful, made up "group" moniker. Maybe it's that a plain ol' person's name just doesn't fire the imagination. It seems wise that Jeff Mangum was Neutral Milk Hotel, that Chan Marshall calls herself Cat Power, that Campbell Kneale makes music as Birchville Cat Motel (and Black Boned Angel, etc.), and that Tara Burke is Fursaxa, amongst many other examples -- though we're not sure how Malefic recording as Xasthur, where you've got two made up names, fits into this. So, to anyone contemplating a solo project, we'd suggest making up a "band" name for it... Which is our way of saying, don't ignore this cd, just 'cause it's being presented under the name of Toby Driver. He's actually the main guy from the avant-metal outfit Kayo Dot, whose debut album on John Zorn's Tzadik label has been quite a favorite 'round these parts since it was released in 2003. Heavy and weird and droney and strangely poppy too, all sorts of things we like. In the L..L..Library Loft is a solo project from Toby, with some help from his friends -- there's eight other musicians credited, a remarkable number of 'em playing the lowly tuning fork, along with other things! Another unusual instrument credit is "remote snare drum". Plus there's a more conventional array of instruments like guitar, bass, piano, violin, cello, drums, trumpet, trombone, etc. That should give you the idea that this shares with Kayo Dot an interesting style of proggy chamber rock experimentation -- indeed, the four, fairly lengthy tracks here are kinda like Kayo Dot with most of the metal removed. Though, the rumbling waves of percussion, guitar distortion, and buried screams on the track "Kandu Vs. Corky (Horrorca)" still hint at Neurosis. But there's also many non-metallic elements here as well -- fragile singing and dark, quietly moody ambience. Definitely a disc worth exploring, especially if you're already a fan of Kayo Dot (or Kayo Dot's earlier formation as Maudlin Of The Well). And look out for Kayo Dot's new album, just released on Crucial Blast, to be reviewed here next time, hopefully!
"Kandu Vs. Corky (Horrorca)" MPEG Stream:
DROHTNUNG s/t (Misanthropic Art Productions) cd 13.98
DROMMER Black Moon Float (E.E.E. Recordings) cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another blast of un-blackness from the E.E.E. camp, the home to some of the most amazing un-black metal we've ever heard. What the heck is unblack metal you ask? In a nutshell, well, it's Christian black metal. And any avid readers of the AQ list will remember us raving about pretty much everything we've heard: Light Shall Previal, Agathothodion, Glaciial and this here band, Drommer. Unlike the buzzing black hordes these guys call labelmates, Drommer is A. not buzzy, and B. not religious. So what we have is some serious secular black ambience. Or maybe still un-black ambience. Drommer unfurl two epic slabs of spaced out shimmer. The first is a gorgeously layered drone, lots of high end draped over deep resonant whirs, the sounds beating against each other like all the best minimal drone music, creating all manner of subtle tonal variations and gorgeous abstract overtones. Sixteen minutes, simple tones stretched all the way out, all the action and the color and the musical movement comes from the interaction between the various tones, subtle, but utterly hypnotic. The second track, is more in the dark ambient vein, a nearly 30 minute trawl through some haunting mysterious landscapes. There's some definite Lustmord action going on, which is always a good thing, but where Lustmord is abject and utterly desolate, Drommer lace their dour drones with shimmers of glistening melody and stray beams of sunlight. But even with these brief glimpses of blue sky, for the most part, it's a gorgeous black cloud of sound, chimes are muted and spread into dreamy blurs and laid over a sluggishly flowing stream of mumbled murk and dark dolorous glimmer. As with all E.E.E. stuff, this is ultra limited, usually only 50 copies, so once these are gone, that may very well be it.
"Den Lovet Fremtidig Aeons Av Evig Sporsmal" MPEG Stream:
"For Evig Er Enna Mournful For Det Noensinne Begynt"
DROMMER Channeling Natural Forces (E.E.E. Recordings) cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. More from the unblack camp!! E.E.E. Recordings, the Christian black metal label that brought us some of the best (un)black metal of the last few years, Light Shall Prevail, Glaciial, Agathothodion, strike again, but this time displaying a whole new side and sound. This latest release is from a band called Drommer, who the label describe as "non-religious dark ambient", and their debut Channeling Natural Forces is a "soundtrack to nature", and indeed, there is plenty of rain, thunder and found sounds, all woven into thick, reverby soundscapes, slow burning, glimmering murky crawls, stretched out melodies, some huge grinding almost industrial drones, crumbling distortion, soaring keyboards, very dramatic and super epic, but fuzzy and buzzy and lo-fi at the same time. Makes it sound very intimate and organic. The opening track sets the tone, a slowly growing ambience bathed in strange digital distortion and reverb, making what might otherwise be simply a dreamy drone, more a bizarre textured buzzy pulse, a haunting swell, that is constantly shifting and shimmering, the various overtones creating minimal murky rhythms amidst the static buzz. These effects surface throughout the record, giving those tracks a very alien vibe, but managing to remain true to their purpose, reflecting the sounds around us, and creating dramatic sounds to accompany natural events. Most of the tracks sound like the music we hear in our heads when the sun finally breaks through the clouds after weeks of rain and black skies. Not happy so much as glowing and subtly effulgent. Other tracks let nature do the talking offering a simple minimal counterpoint to the sound of the surf, or dripping water, deep dramatic rumbles, raga like buzz, way in the background, while nature performs her particular brand of music making over the top. A few of the tracks get downright heavy, one when Drommers drones are all tangled up in the sounds of a torrential downpour, which ends up sounding like a natural Sunn 0))), the other, where the tones become sharp and intense, a buzzing high end skree wrapped in hiss and static that eventually crackles and flares wildly before blinking out. Pretty amazing. Definitely a unique angle on ambient music and a cool way of incorporating field recordings, almost like a black metal Jewelled Antler!!! As with everything E.E.E., way recommended. LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!
"Winds Of The Mountain Deep" MPEG Stream:
"Returning To Liquid Form"
DROMMER Oceans (E.E.E. Recordings) cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Still more bizarre and amazing unblackness from one of our favorite new record labels, E.E.E. Recordings. The home of the cream of the UNblack metal crop. For those of you who have yet to discover unblackness, well, quite simply, it's christian black metal, which we know, seems like it would not compute, and for lots of folks it doesn't, since black metal is predicated on the message more than the music, but fuck it, some of the best black metal we've heard in the last few years has been from un-black bands. However, we almost don't need to have this discussion here since Drommer are not Christian, and are not really black metal. They are, according to the label 'non-religious dark ambient', but the music of Drommer is way to weird and varied to be summed up that simply. It most certainyl is dark, and ambient, at least sort of, hard to gauge the religious part as they are instrumental and ambient. But dark ambient gives the impression of swooshiness and dreaminess and drifty droniness, but this, the third disc we've reviewed from Drommer is so much more. Our favorite track might be "Shallow Water Residence", a swirling squall of crumbling white noise chopped and layered over moody mournful piano, the two elements constantly battling, it's quite intense and dramatic. But the rest of the record is just as unexpectedly amazing. The opener, "Oceans", is a long stretch of decayed drones, wavering and beating against one another, emitting sporadic rhythms, and coalescing occasionally into fragmented melodies, all very buzzed out and fuzzy, and with a constant tense minor key quality to it, almost like a Niblock piece recorded onto some old tape in William Basinski's attic. A lot of the record sounds like the sort of ambience one might expect to find on a Wold record. All damaged and corrupted, the sound quality so degraded that the imperfections are like another part of the composition. But then all of a sudden, the band will whip out some crazy majestic slab of moody instrumentalism like on "Ashen Sea Of Grey", the beginning of which sounds like it came straight off a Daniel Higgs record, before halfway through it splinters into shortwave interference, and becomes some murky childlike lullabye. Then there's the final track, all simple percussion and dramatic acoustic strum, like the rough mix of some lost Woven Hand song or a Nick Cave outtake, albeit peppered with strange digital glitchery and buzzy reverb... This record is just so gorgeously demented, and unpredictably intense. Imagine if you can, Tim Hecker making (un)black ambient music, and you'd get a rough idea, but Drommer is way more schizophrenic, somehow without losing cohesiveness, every bizarre twist, or jarring shift, sounds completely natural, it's almost like Oceans is the soundtrack for the strangest film you've never seen. One of our new favorite records for sure... black, unblack or otherwise.
"Oceans" MPEG Stream:
"Black Moon Float" MPEG Stream:
"Alive In Tears"
DROMMER The Saddest Of Days (E.E.E Recordings) cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"The Quest To Find Utter Nothingness" MPEG Stream:
"Vanished From This Place" MPEG Stream:
"Night Terror: Another Entrence Into"
DROWNINGMAN Still Loves You (Equal Vision) cd ep 8.98
The metalcore onslaught just won't let up. Drowningman traffic in the same sort of howling and chugging as Coalesce, Converge, etc. However instead of hyper-virtuosity (that's not to say they aren't dynamic and complex, because they are) they temper their metal with some melodic pop punk. And the harsh screeched vocals are balanced by some emo style broken-harted-boy vocals. But Drowningman are heavy and chaotic and can get the pit churning with the best of 'em, it's just cool to hear a band like this stretch out a little and not shy away from the pop.
"The More I Get To Know You, The Less I Like You"
DRUDKH Autumn Aurora (Supernal) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
DRUDKH Blood In Our Wells (Supernal) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Quite possibly our favorite Ukrainian black metal band. And before you scoff, there's plenty of competition, Hate Forest, Nokturnal Mortum, Astrofaes, Lucifugum (and about 200 more according to the Encyclopaedia Metallum), but Drudkh somehow manage to prevail. Drudkh's particular brand of black grimness, is of the midtempo Burzumic variety, but they infuse their buzz with a surprising amount of epic majesty, mournful melody and strange chords and phrasings that lend all their riffs a strangely haunting gravity. It's kind of hard to explain actually, but every Drudkh song is just so intense, so emotional and so full of mystery. A few things have changed on Blood In Our Wells though, the first is all the Ukrainian folk music and random dialogue purloined from some Ukrainian film, that really adds another strange layer to Drudkh's already dense sonic world, the other thing that's different, is the surprising amount of guitar leads, not the squiggly lightning fast black leads you might expect, but some super melodic strangely glam rock leads. Really! Sounds strange, but it totally works. And just manages to make Drudkh even weirder and cooler. There's plenty of buzzing blackness for the true and grim and black hearted, but folks who dig Godspeed and Isis, and that whole slow build, explosive climax, quiet-loud-quiet thing might find this Drudkh to be their gateway drug. The perfect moody blackness to drag all those indie rockers to the dark side. TOTALLY RECOMMENDED!!!
"Furrows Of Gods" MPEG Stream:
"When The Flame Turns To Ashes"
DRUDKH Estrangement (Supernal) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. After the gorgeous dark folk of Songs Of Grief And Solitude, Ukrainian black metallers Drudkh return to their roots, offering up a 5 song ep, with four looooong tracks of sprawling, epic, depressive, nature obsessed, foresty blackness. Definitely the best sounding Drudkh yet, the drums are awesome, way up in the mix, the guitars soar and ring out, so mournful and majestic, the vocals too are much more intense than in the past, a raw feral roar, passionate and emotional and surprisingly musical for BM vocals. And then there's the bass, a whole new addition to Drudkh's sound, not that there wasn't bass before, but now the basslines are as crucial to the sound as the guitar parts, not just a simple thump thump thump, the bass is slippery and intricate, unfurling dense webs of complex low end, creating a thick black backdrop, so the guitars can buzz and howl, and the drums can blast wildly. The core of the record are the first three songs, each 10+ minutes, and each a stirring sonic journey. This is the sound of dark forests, and windswept peaks, of rushing rivers and snow cloaked mountaintops, full moons and firelight. The tracks vary greatly, often in the same song, the tempos shifting effortlessly from doomy plod, to midtempo lope to furious blast, but the riffs this time, wow, so totally catchy and melodic, without losing any of the grim fury, powerful and hauntingly heartbreaking, soaring in long drawn out melodies as often as buzzing maniacally. In fact more often. The drums are way different too, sort of sloppy and chaotic, but it suits the sound, no clinical super tight blasting, but instead, the rhythms have feeling, some swing to them, letting them lurch and stumble, and work in perfect concert with the ever shifting riffage. The sound is definitely reminiscent of classic Drudkh discs like Forgotten Legends and Autumn Aurora, but revamped, and recharged, imbued with a surprising amount of drama and moodiness and emotional intensity. No more so than in the last track, the briefest of the bunch, but what a grandiose blast of epic black beauty. Beginning with acoustic guitar, it soon launches into a glorious blissy midtempo blow out, that would sound pretty good right next to some Alcest. It even has a super intense guitar lead, that wails wildly over the roiling black bliss beneath. Woah. So fucking awesome, and so recommended. And of course, a review of Drudkh is never complete without a mention of the bands problematic politics. While they do seem somewhat removed from all that, at least musically and lyrically, focusing instead more on nature, it is worth mentioning as it is a distinct part of what they're about. We talked about it in a past review, and since we don't think we could write about it again as eloquently, here it is again. We've been through this before with Burzum and Graveland and umpteen others, we love the music, but abhor the message. In some cases, like with Drudkh, it's easy to just enjoy the music and ignore the problematic politics, there are no printed lyrics, no fucked up song titles, just images of forests and sky and rain and darkness, a mysterious booklet with more images of trees and forests and the sky and rivers, all very mysterious and evocative. For some though, there is no ignoring the message, no matter how subtle or indirect, and the thought of giving any sort of support is unacceptable. That's perfectly fine. But for us, the music -can- transcend the message, and does at least in this case.
"Solitary Endless Path" MPEG Stream:
"Skies At Our Feet"