The SLUDGE Radar (Episode #1/2019)

The most assiduous readers of this blog know that I have a particular passion for sludge metal, I actually believe I hear almost all the new releases for this genre of music. It wasn’t hard therefore to identify a group of albums to propose as the most relevant – and in some cases the most intriguing – publications that we had so far in 2019.

As far as geography is concerned: we have one band from France (Atomic Trip), one from Czech Republic (Opium Warlok), one from Lithuania (Autism), one from England (Mastiff) and one from the United States of America (Hollow Leg).

Now, if you’re ready, put on the proper protections and let’s start this short trip in the most muddy and slimy areas of contemporary metal music.



“Strike #2”, by Atomic Trip

The first blast of sludge of 2019 arrives from Lyon, in France, where a trio of metalheads called Atomic Trip has released a violent charge of pure instrumental heaviness. Active since a few years, Atomic Trip have officially released two discs to date: Strike #1 (2017) and Strike #2 (2019), for a total of four songs (Bomb #1 and Bomb #2 on the first album, Bomb #3 and Bomb #4 on the second). Putting it all together, we total about 80 minutes of music.

The two songs of their new album offer another journey into the rawest and darkest area of sludge: slow and powerful riffs, an impenetrable wall of fuzzy sounds, violent and blasting blows, and a sense of oppression and ineluctability that keeps you down without any hope for recovery. For being an instrumental record, the riffs are not particularly memorable and for this reason I believe that Strike #2 is not destined to gain so much visibility above the underground. In addition to this, the band’s first Strike impressed me more than this second one, especially for the persistent sense of alarm and fear that emerged from their music. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something capable to smack you on the floor and make you feel the suffocating power of the atomic bomb, here there is something you’ll definitely appreciate.



“You’ll Wanna Be High for This” and others, by Opium Warlock

Among the most interesting releases of this period we have a couple of new publications from the band of the Czech Republic called Opium Warlock. This one looks like a fairly mysterious formation since very little information is available on the band. What we know, however, is that starting from last year they have started to publish a good number of singles and EP on Bandcamp, with the EPs that typically contain 2 songs each. Since the beginning of 2019 there have been already two new releases: a new EP (You’ll Wanna Be High for This) and a split album with the band Skullord, for a total of three new songs from the band: a revised version of last year’s piece Buddha’s Dealer, a new song called Voidsmocker Pt.III (based on a rifle “borrowed” from Kyuss) and a third atmospheric, allucinated and noisy track named Nigth Stalker’s Headache.

It’s not easy to stay up-to-date with the erratic publications of Opium Warlock. Their music, however, is extremely interesting. They play abrasive sludge metal mixed with psychedelic doom, but what’s really relevant in ther music is that their songs are plenty of interesting ideas. Will we ever listen to a “proper LP”? Who knows.



“Civilizations”, by Hollow Leg

Metal band Hollow Leg, from Florida, is active since more than ten years and they have already released to dat four studio LPs. Nevertheless, the band has achieved only a marginal role in the wider picture of American sludge metal, and that’s mostly because their albums didn’t ever manage to impress or to leave a significant mark in the history of this genre.

Hollow Leg’s new studio record, Civilizations, at first glance has everything that you would expect from this kind of albums (low-tuned guitars, “thick” riffs, slow tempos, harsh vocals) and we could even ignore some defects in the overall production of the LP. The real problem, in fact, is that in the end the songs of the album don’t impress, they just flow one after the other in way that when the album arrives to its conclusion you don’t find so many reasons to start it once again. Anyway, there are still some elements of interest in their music: the southern and raucous voice of the singer Scott Angelacos, the nice influences from doom and stoner, and the intriguing bass lines that are played by Tom Crowther. The performance of the bass is really one of the things that impressed me the most.

In the end, Civilization is an album that has nothing so wrong or bad which would preclude for it to be mentioned among the most relevant releases of this period, but it still lacks the charisma and the enjoyability which would put it among the best LPs of its genre.



“Have You Found Peace?”, by Autism

From Lithuania comes a band with the questionable name, but which plays a damn interesting music. The kind of metal that these guys propose in their records (they are already at the fourth LP) can be described as a combination of cinematic and atmospheric post metal with strong elements of sludge and doom. The songs are extremely fascinating, both for the deep and powerful sounds created by the quartet, but also for the way each song of the album tells a different piece of a single story, which is generally terrible.

Have You Found Peace? develops around the concept of two friends that one night steal a car and have an accident, which will cause for one of them to sustain severe burns on the face. He will be damaged for the rest of his life, entering depression and losing any kind of social life, until one day he dissapears forever. Each songs of the album represents one of the letter that the other friend, who didn’t receive any damage from the accident, wrote before and after the disappearance. A very sad and gloomy story, which however was translated into music in a truly effective way.



“Plague”, by Mastiff

There are records that seem to be made with the only objective to transmit malice and disgust, and to drag the listener into a virulent mud of distortions, angry screams and blasts of noisy guitars. Plague, which is the second and most recent album by the English band Mastiff, enters decisively in this category of products and does it with an impressive level of brutality and violence.

The experience of listening to Mastiff can be summarized as follows: you are first inundated by a burning tide of pure noise and chaos, until a monolithic, thick and slower rhythmic sequence emerges from the bottom and gives you the final shot. For those who are familiar to this kind of music, or who need at some point some trigger for releasing the tension, the album can be pehenonemal. For all the others, it’s better to stay away.

Stylistically speaking, Mastiff’s music is a chaotic mix of sludge and hardcore, with rhythms that go from grindcore to doom. The sounds are particularly sharp and brutal, also thanks to the choice that was made by the band to record the album entirely live, with all the musicians packed in one single room and no tracking involved.

Plague is that kind of albums that are so brutal and extreme to have some charm. And if at some point of your day you feel to need a sonic shock, this is the record for you.



For staying up-to-date on sludge metal publications you can wait for the future episodes of The Sludge Metal Radar or, alternatively, you can follow the playlist TOTAL SLUDGE, which is now featuring all the brand new songs that are released from all over the world. It has been recently rebooted, but it already features more than 1 hour of music. The playlist is expected to grow rapidly so follow it and check it periodically.

“TOTAL SLUDGE” is where you can find always the best and latest released for sludge metal. It’s continuously updated with new songs

Another more famous and more followed playlist is SLOWLY. It’s dedicated to the slowest and most beautiful songs from sludge, doom and post metal. In this moment the playlist features more than 7 hours with the best and slowest music you can find on Spotify. Listen to it, follow it and spread the word!

“SLOWLY”, a.k.a. YOU DON’T NEED TO BE FAST TO BE STRONG


SLIPPING DOWN INTO THE CORE – Music for Tormented Souls

 

 

Abandon hope all ye who enter here

 

Enjoy this 60 minutes compilation with the most creepy, haunting and abrasive songs released in 2018. All songs were selected and mixed by Guerino. The mixtape features songs by Forming the Void, Ilsa, Sorxe, Sumac, Terror Cosmico, YobYlva, and Windhand.

 


 

THE ORIGIN OF ALL EVIL, a Doom Metal Compilation by Guerino

Cover Photo by Martin Tosterud

 

“We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger. And we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man … far too little. His psyche should be studied — because we are the origin of all coming evil

Carl Jung, 1969, Interview with John Freeman

 


 

Inspired and motivated by the success of the article that was published a few days ago where I reviewed the Best Doom Albums of the Year, I’ve selected the best doom songs of 2018 and mixed them in one of my compilation. When listening to the songs, I found also a common thread among the songs, it seemed to me that all the pieces were telling – in a different way – about the fragility of the human being. This is the story behind the compilation which I present to you today: a desperate and painful journey alongside the demons of the human mind.

The tracklist of the mixtape features most of the bans that were reviewed a few days ago, with the addition of a final track by Chilean sludge duo tallMOTH.

  • “Man Cannot Stand the Meaning of His Life” (Intro) by Guerino
  • Malstrøm by Grajo
  • Tulsi by Messa
  • Atacama by Mistica
  • Petalas by Sinistro
  • Demons Of The Mind by Witchsorrow
  • Sclera by thallMOTH

Enjoy the music, and come back here often to check for future releases.


 

 

 

THE BEST DOOM METAL OF 2018: The Top Albums released in the first half of the Year


 

Update: I’ve published on the blog a mixtape with all the best doom songs of 2018. Two hours of uninterrupted music from ten different bands. Check it out!

 


 

Of all the genres of extreme metal, doom is perhaps the most fascinating. Partly because of the mystical and magical themes that are usually addressed by the songs, partly for the dark and “dense” atmospheres that are created by the music.An in fact, even if I’m not particularly passionate or a purists of this kind of music, there are some particular days in which I enjoy to immerse myself in the trascendent expericence of listening to doom metal. It’s a unique experience, satisfying and engaging, but which however requires calm and time.

This year seems to have started really well for doom. In the very first weeks of 2018 we had the opportunity to listen to a few of albums (including Grajo’s and Sinistro’s) which still remain to this day among the most interesting publications of the year, across all genres. And also the following months have been fairly positive. It wasn’t difficult to assemble a list of “best albums”, and we have still more than half of the year for other good LPs.

As usual, this article is not aimed at providing an extensive report of all the doom albums that have been released in the last six months, rather it’s a selection of those few works that in my opinion stand out from the mass because of something particular and unique, that “something” which drives you to listen and listen again to the songs.

And if you arrived here through a search engine, don’t forget to have a look to the section of the blog dedicated to metal, you could find other interesting charts or even updates of the current one.


 

 

#1) “SANGUE CASSIA” by SINISTRO

 

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Portuguese band Sinistro features an actress, a music producer, and an instrumentalists. Their latest album, “Sangue Cassia”, is absolutely one of the best doom metal releases of the year.

 

Sinistro, from Portugal, entered the doom metal scene in 2012 with their self-titled debut album and they eventually released in 2018 the third LP of their discography, named Sangue Cassia. From a musical point of view, it’s not easy to tag and characterize this album into a single genre of music. Sangue Cassia may be defined as a variant of the classic doom-metal style which incorporates heavy influences from post metal and some slight elements from sludge.

One of the main features of Sinistro, and perhaps the most brilliant element of their music, is undoubtedly the splendid voice of Patrícia Andrade. Her vocal lines are basically an additional instrument through which the songs of this album manage rise from the status of “regular” metal tracks to something deeper, and special. At times it seems that all the music composed and played by the group was made exclusively to be the soundscape over which the singer could release her charismatic charge and free her splendid voice.

Sangue Cassia is an album for those who have time. Time for long songs, time for repeated listens, time to get rid of all the distractions and be carried away by the incredible music composed by the band. And because of the above, this album is absolutely out of context compared to our days, when most people want simple and short songs to be heard in the background while chatting or driving.

The album is available for streaming on Spotify and Bandcamp.


 

 

#2) “SLOWGOD II” by GRAJO

 

Grajo Band 1300
Spanish band Grajo have published in the recent years a couple of split records and a succesful self-titled EP. They eventually released in 2018 their first LP, “Slowgod II”

 

Grajo is a psychedelic doom band from Cordoba, in Spain, which is active since a few years and that have published in 2018 their first full lenght record, Slowgod II. Comparing the new album with the previous works from the band it’s possible to recognize how they’re trying to make their music relatively more accessible and, as such, potentially capable to hit a wider audience. The debut LP, however, shows that this has been achieved without compromises in quality and inspiration.

Grajo plays a version of doom metal that manages to move with great ease between trippy moments and more abrasive sections. The LP consists of 6 tracks, all of them interesting and deep, with a couple of peaks which elevate the album among the best things we heard so far in 2018. One of the most interesting characteristic of the music from Grajo is the capacity of these musicians to build up breathtaking atmospheres and to insert so many interesting and varied elements in their songs that, in the end, the experience of listening to the album becomes a very pleasant journey with many stages. It’s easy to recognized the great effort that these guys from Córdoba have put into the realization of this work: the songs are never imprecise or approximate, and the band really managed to balance the multiple influences from which they draw, without ever losing the direction they have given to their music.

The album is available for streaming on Spotify and Bandcamp.


 

 

#3) “HEXENHAMMER” by Witchsorrow

 

Witchsorrow 1300
Witchsorrow, from Farnborough in England, are active since 2005 and have released four LPs. The band describes their music as a mix of the atmospheres of early Cathedral, the heaviness of Electric Wizard, and the heavy metal heart of Candlemass and Solitude Aeternus.

 

For many years I’ve been visiting the area of Farnborough, in England, which is home to one of the most important events in the aerospace and defense sector (where I work). I’ve thus become quite familiar with the green hills of Hampshire, where you can still breathe and feel the atmospheres of the Saxon times. These lands so rich in history have guided and inspired the first steps of the British doom metal band Witchsorrow, which  released this year the fourth album of a notable and excellent discography.

Hexenhammer, the new LP from the band, generates from the passion and the hard work of three doom metal fanatics, and I like to think that they have been somehow guided by the mystic and creative influence of Lee Dorrian, who’s one of the most important figures of British doom scene. As a matter of fact, Hexenhammer owes a lot to the sounds and style of Lee Dorrian’s band Cathedral, especially for what concerns the perfeect balance between the sung parts and the thick walls of sound that are generated by the guitars. There are of course many other influences in their music, from sludge to stoner, and everything is mixed to perfection.

This is an album that has the potential to become itself a classic and a reference for the future generation of doomers. The quality of this work is absolutely top-notch, both in terms of sound and atmospheres. Of course this music is not easily accessible outside the ranks of the fans of doom and sludge; nevertheless, I believe that  everyone should try the experience of listening to a piece of this record, at high volumes, even for just a few minutes, ideally with the night breeze of Farnborough blowing on your shoulders.

The album is available for streaming on Spotify.


 

 

#4) “FEAST FOR WATER” by MESSA

 

Messa 1300
The “ambient doom” band Messa is one of the most interesting and emerging formations of the Italian metal scene. They have published in 2018 the second LP of their discography, named “Feast for Water”.

 

Thanks to one of those fortuitous circumstances through which we sometimes discover small niche groups, a few weeks ago I came across the new work of the Italian group Messa, which has released an extremely interesting album called Feast for Water. The band plays an intriguing blend of genres that they define “Scarlet Doom” and which merges basically the sounds of stoner metal with the style and themes of doom. The recipe is further enriched with nice inserts of avant-garde and sonorities of the 70’s, and the final product is then completed with the beautiful voice of the female singer Sara.

What is really fascinating about this album is the global sense of elegance that permeates the entire work: nothing is trivial, exaggerated or rough. Every sound is cured and studied in a meticulous manner and especially when there are the slower and atmospheric pieces it seems to be listening to the sound of a jazz enemble rather than your typical doom metal band. One thing that maybe is lacking in the album is the presence of solid and memorable melodies, something that could stay impressed in our memory for a little longer than just the duration of the song. In some parts of the LP, in particular, it seems that the exterior aspect of the songs take all the attention of the musicians. The band, however, is still young and therefore we can for sure expect many improvements from the point where they are today, which is already well above the average level of the doom music that we can hear around.

The album can be streamed on Bandcamp and Spotify.


 

 

#5) “EMBRIO II” by MISTICA

 

mistica 1300.jpg
Mistica, from Barcelona in Spain, is a relatively new doom / post-metal duo. They published in 2018 their debut LP, “Embrio II”, which follows the EP “Embrio I”, released in 2017.

 

 

Mística is a doom experimental instrumental duet from Barcelona, in Spain. They began to play in 2016 and recorded their first demo Embrió I in 2017. One year after the duo released their debut LP,  Embrió II, which highlights a further improvement over the already interesting material that was published in the EP. 

As the band confirms in the release notes of the album, their music draws from the legacy of cult bands such as Celtic Frost and Electric Wizard. They managed however to develop a relatively original style of doom which is characterized by dirty and scratchy sounds, obsessive repetitions and dark atmospheres. The songs are often enriched with excerpts of poems recited in Spanish, and the final result is certainly interesting.

To be a debut album the level of quality is quite good and within the 27 minutes of the LP we have a couple of songs that are engaging to hear and also emotionally impressive. The opening song of the album, in particular, is one of the best doom songs of the year.

Embrio II is availalbe for streaming on Spotify and Bandcamp, where at this moment the disk can also be downloaded for free.


 

 

 

#6) WITCH MOUNTAIN (self-titled album)

 

 

 

Witch Mountain 1300.jpg
Witch Mountain, from Oregon in the United States of America, were formed in 1997 but after their debut LP in 2001 entered into a turbolent phase which caused their second full-lenght albumn to be released only in 2011. This year they published their fifth LP, named as the band, which features the new singer Kayla Dixon and the new bassist Justin Brown playing together with founding members Nathan Carson and Rob Wrong.

 

 

Witch Mountain is a doom metal band from Oregon, in the U.S.A., whose career has been characterized by moments of stasis, changes in line-up and side projects, with the collateral effect that both the qualitative growth and also the increase in popularity have been relatively slow for a band that is basically active since twenty years.

After a couple of LPs released between 2012 and 2014, the formation went through another reshuffle with Justin Brown and Kayla Dixon taking the roles of bass guitar and vocalist, respectively. With this brand new line-up Witch Mountain released in 2018 their new album, named as the band, which, despite the unfavorable premises, contains however an interesting and solid collection of doom songs, some of them showing also nice influences from stoner and southern rock. The style and skills of the new singer, in particular, has brought a really positive contribution to the sound of the band: we enjoy in many pieces of the album a fascinating contrast between the warm and charming voice of Kayla Dixon and the scratchy sound of the guitars.

In addition to that we have of course all the other typical characteristics of doom, including the slow, obsessive and hypnotic rhythms – in this case with intriguing bluesy flavours.  In some parts of the album, however, the riffs would have benefited by some fairly catchier melody to support the dilated temporal extension of the songs, and this is somehow the weak point of the disk.

The new album by Witch Mountain may be streamed from Spotify and Bandcamp.


 

If you enjoyed reading this article and you liked the music from the selected albums, I recommend to listen to “SLOWLY”, the playlist I created on Spotify with the best of sludge, doom and post-rock. It features most of the bands that were introduced in this article and, most important, it’s updated regularly with new songs. Enjoy!


 

 

 

Best New Music: SLOWGOD II by Grajo

We’re receiving really great gratifications from the Iberian Peninsula in this beginning of the year. First the great album by Sinistro, now this little masterpiece by Grajo. Both the two albums draw extensively from the slow and heavy elements of doom, and both groups see the presence of a beautiful female voices. Will it be just a coincidence?

Grajo is a relatively new psychedelic doom band from Andalusia, in Spain, which entered the scene a couple of years ago with an interesting and self-titled EP, and that now released their debut full-lenght album, named SLOWGOD II.

 

From a musical point of view, the band plays a doomish-version of stoner rock that manages to move with great ease between songs with dominated by psychedelic and trippy sounds, and tracks characterized by a more abrasive approach and with elements from sludge metal. But, at the end, the most important feature of the music from Grajo is the capacity to build up breathtaking atmospheres and to insert so many interesting and varied elements in their songs that at the end the experience of listening to the album becomes a very pleasant journey with many stages. It’s easy to recognized the great effort that these guys from Córdoba have put into the realization of this work: the songs are never imprecise or approximate, and the band really managed  to balance the multiple influences from which they draw, without ever losing the direction they have given to their music.

The LP consists of 6 tracks, all of them interesting and deep, with a couple of peaks which elevate the album among the best things we heard so far in 2018. I’ve been particularly impressed by Malstrøm, the epic sludge song which close the album and that features 8 minutes of pure atmospheric beauty.

 

Comparing SLOWGOD II with the previous works that were released in the recent pastby the band (we have a handful of publications like EPs, singles and split albums) it’s possible to recognize the will from Grajo to make their music a little more accessible and, as such, potentially hitting a wider audience. The debut LP however shows that this has been achieved without compromises in quality and inspiration.

It is not easy to predict if this interesting band from Spain succeed in reaching the level of the masters of their genre, but certainly the path they have taken seems to be the right one.

SLOWGOD II was released on January 15, 2018 and the LP is availalbe for streaming and purchase (5€) on bandcamp.


 

PSYCHOROCK: The Mixtape with the Best Psychedelic Rock of the year! Volume 1: January 2018

 

The new year has just started and we have already collected enough material and inspiration to prepare the first mixtape of 2018! The reality is that in these first ten days of the year there have been a few very good release for psychedelic rock and it was relatively easy to assemble an exciting collection with the best songs from these new albums. The bands that contributed to this mixtape are King Buffalo, Weedpecker and Akula, and you can find more information about their albums in the following.

Enjoy this mix and check out for new releases in the forthcoming months. Some of these songs will be also included in the playlists that are available on Spotify, and my recommendation in this respect is to follow me on Twitter to stay informed of all the updates.

If 2017 ended with a party, 2018 starts with the psycho rock!!


 

King-Buffalo-1300

King Buffalo is a trio of extremely talended psychedelic rockers from New York, in the U.S. Three years after their formation in 2013 the band released their first full-lenght work, Orion, which gained in short time a relevant consideration, initially limited to the underground scene but which rapidly expanded to an international audience. These guys play in fact a beautiful kind of psychedelic rock with many elements from blues, stoner and sludge. Early in 2018 the band published a short EP with three tracks, named Repeater, that in some way may be seen as an extension of the previous album. The title track, in particular, is an hypnotic and psychic anthem which grows along 13 minutes of pure musical beauty.


 

Weedpecker 1 - 1300

Weedpecker are a relatively new psychedelic stoner band from Poland. In the relatively short timespan of six years since their formation the band has already released three full-lenght LPs, all of them of absolute value. The last one, named III as the position that the album has in the discography of the band, is a joyful ride through desert soundscapes burned by the sun. There are many different influences in their sound but these guys from Warsav still managed to maintain a unique style and direction in their music, which may be summarized as a dirty and fuzzed version of stoner rock. A couple of songs of the album (Embrace and Liquid Sky) may be considered real masterpieces of this particular style of music


 

Akula - 1300

It’s not easy to find many details about Akula, this new band from Ohio, in the U.S., which dropped an intriguing album of psychedelic rock mixed with sludge and post-metal. The material included in this homonymous debut LP is extremely interesting and provide the listener with an absolutely innovative approach to this kind of music. Some elements of their songs, such as the clean vocal sections, are absolutely brilliant and in some moments create a very special contrast with the hardness of the guitars. The album consists of only 4 tracks – very long – and it’s basically divided in two sections: a radio-friendly first half with the most accessible music, and a more experimental second part where the band plays with more articulated rhythms and more dissonant and atmospheric sounds.


 

Brand New Songs: A Perfect Circle, Sinistro, Harakiri for the Sky

Here are some of the most interesting videos published on Youtube as an anticipation of upcoming albums. 


Disillusioned, by A Perfect Circle. This is the second single shared by the American rock supergroup which features Tool’s singer Maynard James Keenan, in view of the forthcoming LP, expected for March 2018.


 

Pétalas, by Sinistro. Taken from the forthcoming album “Sangue Cassia”. Release Date: Jan 5th, 2018. Sinistro is a sludge/doom/post-metal band from Portugal, active since 2011 and with two albums released so far.


 

You Are The Scars, by Harakiri for the Sky. Taken from the upcoming album “Arson” To be released on 16th of February, 2018. Harakiri for the Sky is a post-Black Metal band from Austria. The band is active since 2011 and they have already realeased three albums so far.


 

KING OF RUST, the mixtape with the Heaviest and Slowest SLUDGE Music

KING OF RUST is the new entry in Guerino’s collection of mixtapes. This series of mixtapes explores the fascinating world of Sludge, a musical genre that here in this blog we appreciate a lot. Sludge is abrasive doom metal music, often with hardcore punk and sometimes also noise rock influences.

The first volume of the mixtape series starts with a song extracted from the recent release by Electric Wizard, the British doom veterans, and then continues with other beautiful songs by Ufomammut, Amenra, Monolord, Fallow, Dopelord and Ordos, the latter already reported here as the best sludge band of the year.

The hunters now
Become the hunted
Here’s the darkness
That you always wanted

(from Mourning of the Magicians, Electric Wizard)


 

The Sound of the Desert: The Best Sludge & Stoner Compilations of the Year

Here in this blog, stoner and sludge are not just two musical genres, they are the expression of a cult and I’m the faithful practitioner.

I’m collecting in this post the best mixtapes that I’ve published so far in 2017. In case you share the same passion for this kind of music, you’ll find here plenty of material to be enjoyed; selected, mixed and ready to be fired from the amplifiers of your stereo.

And don’t forget to visit the stoner ection of the blog for more material, charts and other nice stuff.


 

WRITTEN IN STONE

 

An healty dose of pure stoner rock, with the best artists of the year and a few gems from the past. One hour of uninterrupted energy and passion, featuring Mammoth, Mastodon, Mammoth, Sasquatch, Cortez, All Them Witches, Royal Thunder and many others.


 

SLOW FOREVER

 

You don’t always need to be fast to be strong. This is the heaviest and strongest mix of metal you will hear in a while. A compilation with the best stoner doom and psychedelic sludge released between 2016 and 2017, featuring Conan, Cobalt, Fistula, Paradise Lost and many others.


 

THE VOICE OF THE DESERT

 

A selection of songs performed by John Garcia. Includes tracks from his solo works as well as from Vista Chino and Kyuss.


 

SLOWLY WE RUST – The Top 5 Sludge Metal Albums of 2017 (so far!)

Sludge metal is an extreme style of music that originated through combining elements of doom metal, stoner and hardcore metal. It generally features slow tempos, heavy rhythms, dark atmospheres and abrasive sounds. Some sludge metal bands – in particular those from the United States – often incorporate Southern rock influences. This is a kind of music that I really adore, and fortunately there are a number of relatively new and promising bands which are specializing in such type of sounds and producing excellent works. The year 2017, in particular, has been definitely important for this genre of metal and we have in fact some important albums that will leave a clear mark for a long time.

I’m presenting in this list the five best sludge metal albums that have been released this year. You could find within the list a few bands that you don’t know, the recommendation in this case is to listen to the available songs because these are very good albums and they are for sure worth a try.


 

#1) House of the Dead by Ordos

 

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Ordos is an incredible Swedish stoner-doom band which released early this year their second album, House of the Dead. The LP follows their 2013’s debut. As the band says in their bandcamp page, the album is evidently inspired by the underground stoner genre and the songs are typically characterized by a trashy stoner-doom with elements from black metal and bluesy psychedelia.

I’ve fallen in love with this work since the first guitar riff of the first song the album (The Infernal God), and the positive impression remained unchanged after many and many other listens of the entire work.

 

The songs of this LP feature a lot of elements that are reminiscent of ’70 rock and ’90 metal (the final part of the title track borrowed the riff from Faith No More), but what’s really impressive of the disc is the enjoyable heaviness of all the melodies that are fitted into the 6 tracks of the album. It’s a wall of sounds that wraps you up but without tearing you down, energy and dark riffs.

 

That’s slowly becoming one of the favourite albums of the year, well beyond the musical genre where it belongs. Definitely recommended.

 

The group manages to develop a style of their own, and an intelligent sense of originality is inserted within the wider cosmic sense of musicality that follows their genuine melodic intuition, predisposed over a bright sonorous sensibility, that represents everything the genre has, at its wilder considerations.  (Merchants of Air)


 

#2) Prologue by Poseidon

 

POSEIDON - Prologue - 800x800

Poseidon are a new doom & sludge band from London, in the UK. This quartet of Londoners have recently released their debut album, named Prologue, which is an excellent sign of what can become their future career.

This album consists of four long, hypnotic and immersive tracks. The first five minutes of the opening track (The Beginning, The End, The Colony) basically display everything you’re going to listen throughout the entire LP: prolonged notes, heavy rythms, and a total sense of oppression.

 

Despite being the first work of this new formation, these guys have a clear idea on their roadmap. Prologue, as the name suggests, is declared in fact as a first chapter of a larger musical saga, of which this album constitutes just the initial piece. If these are the premises, we really look forward to the sequel to the story! This is in fact an impressive start of a very promising band.

 

Varied, ambitious, absorbing, and engaging; Prologue is an impressive and compelling listen. Poseidon have done themselves proud with this album. Prologue is sure to win the band a lot of admirers from fans of the style, as well as jealousy from lesser bands who are undoubtedly wondering how they make this look so easy. (Wonderbox Metal)


 

#3) Emperor of Sand by Mastodon

 

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Emperor of Sand, the most recent album released by American stoner veterans Mastodon, has been already mentioned here as one of the best metal publications of the year. And this is basically the reason for which – despite being more oriented to the stoner and hard rock parts of the sludge world – this album is strongly keeping its position among the top three sludge metal releases of the year.

One of the last  video that they shared (Steambreather) is in my opinion a very good example of their sludge & southern roots, much more than the catchy and funny Show Yourself, which was the first single extracted from the album.

 

Im more general terms, Emperor of Sand looks like two albums in one single disc. The work starts with the most aggressive, direct and live-oriented songs, and then proceeds with the more complex, slow and sludgy tracks. The overall quality of the album, in any case, it’s very high. With their unique and strong mix of progressive and stoner rock, Mastodon has become today one of the preeminent metal acts of the early 21st century, gaining also a sort of mainstream success with some of their most accessible songs.

Metal needed this album. It needed a record that’s doomy, heavy and magnificently multilayered, and Mastodon’s seventh album is exactly that. (NME)


 

#4) Children of the Haze by Dopelord

 

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Children of the Haze is the new studio effort by Polish stoner doom quarted Dopelord, and it’s the third entry of their discography since they were formed in 2010. The music of Dopelord is an oppressively slow and psychedelic trip into heavyness. As they say on their bandcamp page, their music is inspired by “old movies, 70s music and magical herbs“. And indeed this is probably the most hallucinated album on the list.

 

One of he main characteristics of this group – and which is also one of the main elements of the sludge genre – is their capability to be heavy and beautiful at the same time. In the special case of Dopelord, this element is further enhanced by the dreamy clean vocals and the slow and the incredible atmospheres they manage to create with guitars and some light touches of keyboards and synthesizers.

 

To remain indifferent at the powerful riffs of the songs of this album is really difficult, that’s another masterpiece of sludge that  hook you with its memorable, slow and hypnotic melodies.

Dopelord’s third album airs its aspirations without hesitation and shows enough confidence and chemistry in their riff craft to blow most of their competitors out of the water. The riffs are heavy, but the care taken in the songwriting is what makes this an album worth coming back to, even if you know exactly what it’s doing. (Sputnik Music)

 


 

#5) Trelu by Fallow

 

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Fallow is a metal band from Southern France formed in 2010. Trelu (which means “Full Moon” in the old language of Southern France) is their second album and it’s basically a live session that the quartet recorded at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory of Music of Aix en Provence, France. This work follows their previuous LP, Werra (“Controversy”), published a couple of years ago.

The music played by Fallow is an interesting version of post metal with many elements of sludge and psychedelic metal. There are in fact a number of moments in Fallow‘s songs where the walls of heavyness and the poderous guitar riffs leave room for more rarefied and dreamy atmospheres; but it’s usually a short breath, a small parenthesis of delicacy before the powerful headline notes of the song return.

 

As the band writes on their social media pages, the songs in Trelu are about witchcraft and legends in Southern France.

 

In this moment, the album may be purchased for only 1€ in their bandcamp page.


 

Here They Come: 3 legendary bands and their forthcoming new releases

What unites Mogwai, Paradise Lost and Prong? It’s simple, they’re considered among the reference groups in their respective musical genre. But today they have a further element in common: all of these legendary groups are going to release a new album in the short term. And we expect really big things: applauses and fireworks. Let’s review together the situation, there are in fact a few new songs available as an anticipation of their new albums.

 

Scottish post-rock legends Mogwai are active in different forms since 1995 and they have published so far 8 studio full-lenght albums and 5 complete movie soundtracks. Some of their works have become real milestones in the history of modern music, and they have lso managed to evolve their sound towards different directions (not always with the same results, however). Their last works, as for example their 2014’s Rave Tapes, show an evident softening of the more industrial and complex elements of their original sound and this new stylistic direction seems confirmed from the singles that they already shared from the new forthcoming album Every Country’s Sun, which will be out on September 1st, 2017.

 

Paradise Lost is another band which doesn’t need particular introductions. The British gothic metal masters are about to release the album no.15 of a long and articulated career, a musical roadmap which has seen the band changing directions more than one time, exploring territories in some cases quite distant from their original domain and sometime with controversial results. In every work they produced, however, they always maintained a sort of musical and ethical integrity (I mean: they never copied anybody) and even if they changed style from album to album you could always say: this is a Paradise Lost’s disc. The band has just put out a new song, called The Longest Winter, which is taken from their new forthcoming album, Medusa, that will be out on September 1st, 2017. The new song is definitely close to their original style than most of their newest albums, pointing out that perhaps their long journey is coming to the starting point, which could of course be the origin of a new exploration.

 

Last, but not least, we have the expected release of Zero Days, the last album by the groove metal & crossover champions Prong. The band has been quite prolific in the last few years, not always with the same results. Since the band’s reformation in 2007, they have already published 5 albums (Zero Days will be thus the 6th in 10 years, and the 4th in the last four years!). We don’t have yet any early song to listen from the new work, so we can just review the words from band’s leader Tommy Victor (who contributed also to the last Danzig’s LP) : It’s a solid outing. We have the anthems, the bangers, the thrashers, the grooves, everything that makes up a PRONG record. It’s definitely a record to listen to start to finish!! We’ll see if these statements will be confirmed, apparently is a matter of only a few weeks.

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Gift to Give Yourself: “Aava Tuulen Maa” by Kauan

You can download for free and at high-quality one of the masterpieces of ambient metal: the beautiful album Aava tuulen maa by Kauan. Released in 2009, this was the third LP from the Russian band. This album is particularly important in their career since it signed the definitive evolution of their sound from doom metal into a melancholic mixture of atmospheric neofolk and post-rock.

Aava tuulen maa is a brilliant, beautiful album that is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in post-rock or emotional music as a whole. The album’s atmosphere evokes feelings of hope and affinity with nature, and stands as the quintessential springtime album. (Sputnikmusic)

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