Quick Review: “New Moon” by Superlynx

Sometimes it’s surprising to see how we can obtain something new and intriguing by just altering a few proportions within a recipe that’s so well consolidated and standardised like the psychedelic stoner doom. In the case of the Norwegian band called Superlynx, it was sufficient to insert a singsong female voice and to increase slightly the amount of the stoner component, to get a result that’s as delicate as it’s dreamy and fascinating.

New Moon is the second full-length from the band, and it arrives three years after their debut LP LVX. Considering that this trio was formed in 2013, we understand that this band likes taking enough time to write, refine, and improve their songs before going into the recording studio. With very good results.


I really liked this album, and I’m actually getting more and more into this music as I keep on listening to it. New Moon manages to tell about darkness and our everyday difficulties but always with a light and poetic touch. From a musical point of view, in fact, the slowness and the heaviness of doom are softened by the introduction of angelic voice and also by the psychedelic and stoner inserts.

Thematically, “New Moon” is mainly dealing with processing challenging times. But as much as the album is about darkness it is also about conquering the difficulties, and a new beginning. Getting through the darkness and holding on to what is good in this world.

From Superlynx’s Bandcamp page

This music is brilliant, and I belieive that there is still a lot of growth potential in this trio. My overall rating for the LP is 7.5/10. My favourite songs of New Moon are Breath, Hex and The Groove.



New Moon is available on Bandcamp and it can be streamed also from Spotify. Songs from the LP are now featured in the playlist The PSYCHEDELIC AND STONER DOOM Radar, which collects the best song released since the beginning of the year.


Quick Review: “Yn Ol I Annwyn” by Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard

Sometimes the most intriguing and beautiful things arrive completely unexpected. This was for me the case of the new LP released by Welsh metal band Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, named Yn Ol I Annwyn. This album is the third full-length record of their career and it arrives after their debut in 2015 (Noeth ac Anoeth) and a second LP in 2016 (Y Proffwyd Dwyll). Certainly, the name of the band is a bit extreme, and I can understand if someone should approach them with a good dose of scepticism. But their music, believe me, is absolutely enjoyable and valid, and it’s also full of many different elements of interest.

If you search for them on the web you’ll see that the band is typically tagged as sludge/doom. Their new record, however, basically offers a good selection of psychedelic doom songs, with very few elements of sludge. In fact, in the eight tracks of Yn Ol I Annwyn the band has softened the abrasiveness of sludge through the introduction of poetical melodies, huge doses of psychedelia, epic riffs, and the beautiful female voice of the singer Jessica Biel.

The eight songs that comprise thes album, sees the band delve deeper into their collective influences, embracing full on space rock, atmospheric film soundtracks, melancholic acoustic interludes, psychedelia, cosmic moogs and percussion, moments of introspection and light … and of course, large helpings of doom.

From the album’s Bandcamp page

The music played by Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard is heavy and slow, but thanks to the skilful balance of distorted guitars with many other different sounds it has the effect of an obsessive and hypnotizing stream of sounds rather than that of a rough and violent blow of energy. The combination of psychedelic sounds and catchy riffs that are repeated over and over until the exhaustion has really the capacity of dragging you down into hallucinated and colourful worlds: the unpronounceable Yn Ol I Annwyn becomes, in the end, a psychedelic heavy trip that eventually leaves you drained, and exhausted.

One thing which is really good of this album is the nice variety among the different tracks: we have atmospheric pieces with only voices, synths and arpeggios (no distortions, no drums), alongside with powerful and psychedelic songs, and also very long doomish tracks based on the obsessive repetition of a single epic motif.

My overall rating for the album is 7/10. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard play a very nice version of doom which is fascinating and powerful at the same time. This is a band that shall be followed with attention and curiosity because we can expect even greater things from them.

My favourite songs of the LP are Katyusha (a 13 minutes epic doom song), Fata Morgana (a delicate and soft atmospheric ballad), and The Spaceship of Ezekiel (one of the most psychedelic tracks of the album).


Yn OI I Annwyn is available on Bandcamp and it can be streamed also from Spotify.



Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard are now featured in SLOWLY, the famous playlist with the best of new sludge, doom and post-metal, but also in The PSYCHEDELIC AND STONER DOOM Radar, the playlist that’s totally dedicated to the best songs of 2019.


The PSYCHEDELIC AND STONER DOOM Radar (Episode #1/2019)

The history of music of the recent decades teaches us that the musical style referred to as stoner doom was born as an interesting derivation of the classic doom genre. This version of doom metal, however, over time has assumed the characteristics of a well-defined sub-genre and we have today many excellent formations that are grouped into this category of music.

In this new series of articles, I’m selecting and presenting to your attention the most interesting records that are published in the context of this style of music, including also those bands that have added a strong dose of psychedelia in the recipe of music.

This is the first episode for 2019, and it includes five different albums that were published in the first two months of the year.

As far as geography is concerned, we have two bands from Sweden (Ordos and Witchers Creed), two from U.S.A. (Yatra and Palace in Thunderland), and one from Estonia (Mang Ont).

Enjoy the ride, and don’t forget to come back periodically to check the future updates of the PSYCHEDELIC AND STONER DOOM Radar.



“The End”, by Ordos

Expectations were very high for the new LP by Swedish band Ordos, if only because their previous album (2017’s House of The Dead) received so many appreciations from both critics and fans. Here in this blog, it was included in the list of the best albums of the year, taking into account all genres of music.

The band’s new LP, The End, basically confirms the same style of stoner doom that was already offered in their previous record, with the addition of higher doses of psychedelic and occult rock. Also, the melodic component, which was already a key point in House of The Dead, has acquired fairly greater importance, making the songs of The End gain remarkable ease of assimilation.

In more general terms, maybe I was expecting something more innovative from Ordos’s new record, but, on the other hand, their music remains so exciting and fascinating than just the fact of having new songs to listen from the band is something that can change your day for the better.

I have dedicated a specific review to the LP, you can read it from here.



“Death Ritual”, by Yatra

If The End, by Ordos, was a sort of confirmation of what we’ve heard so far from the band, one of the most interesting surprises we had in the first months of the year was definitely the debut album by Maryland-based trio Yatra, and I’m not referring only to the perimeter of stoner doom.

Death Ritual is the first LP from this promising formation, and it’s one of those records that have the capacity to take you away from the physical world, projecting your mind into a magical dimension full of pagan rituals, dangerous spells, ancient legends and dark visions.

I wrote a dedicated review of the album, you can read it for a few more details about the LP.



“Awakened From the Tomb…”, by Witchers Creed

Witchers Creed is one of those bands that I discovered almost by chance thanks to a recommendation that I’ve read on a social media, and which became an instant favourite.

This is a formation of young musicians from Sweden, who grew up influenced by the music of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, and then eventually released their first (impressive) LP: Awakened From The Tomb…

Their sound is characterized by a few but effective features: a warm and powerful stoner-like bass, which perhaps the element which impressed me the most in the LP, a guitar that churns out endless sequences of catchy and sticky riffs, a simple yet effective rhythmic session and, last but not least, a powerful and fascinating voice.

I have published a short review of the LP, you can find there additional details about this excellent debut album.



“The King of the Empty Aeon”, by Palace in Thunderland

Just a quick mention for the new LP by Palace in Thunderland, a psychedelic stoner band from Springfield, Massachusetts, in the U.S.A. The band is formally active since 1998 but, after a period of standby, it was basically re-activated only in 2011. Since then they have released three LPs.

Their newest record is named The King of the Empty Aeon and it features nine enjoyable and intriguing songs alternating between heavy moments, and other fuzzier and definitely more psychedelic pieces. This second category of tracks is the one that I liked the most in their LP, especially the 11-minutes long song This Illusion’s Come Alive, which is right in the middle of the album.

For what concerns the heavier and quicker kind of songs, the single Vicarious is definitely a good hit.



“Maa Sarv”, by Mang Ont

I’m concluding this list of albums with Maa Sarv, which is the new LP from Mang Ont, a stoner doom metal trio which arrives from Estonia. The band is active since 2011 and their brand new release is the third entry in a discography which includes also the EP Neli Aastat (2015) and the debut LP Võhk (2017). The style of their music is characterized by slow, powerful and epic songs. Their sound is thick, heavy and impregnated with psychedelic and stoner atmospheres. In some sections of the band’s songs, we can also appreciate the inclusion of fuzzy drones that introduce a further element of restlessness to their sound.

Maa Sarv is an impressive record because in the short span of only three long tracks the band has managed to develop a journey into a hallucinated and psychedelic world: at first we are greeted by inviting and intriguing sounds, but soon we realize that we ended up in a universe of obsessive riffs and hypnotic rhythms from which it is almost impossible to go out.

Drawing inspiration from the album cover, some have described Mang Ont’s sound as “prehistoric riffs echo from the Mammoth’s cave”. This is actually another good way to transfer the idea of their special and intriguing sound of the band, for which I foresee a very promising future.



I’m starting to collect the best songs for this exciting category of albums in a dedicated playlist, called THE PSYCHEDELIC AND STONER DOOM RADAR. Check it out and follow it, it’s going to grow with time.

Another place where you can enjoy some good stoner doom is the famous playlist SLOWLY. It features more than 8 hours of the best doom, sludge and post-metal that was released in the last three years. If you weren’t already following it, you should do it.


Quick Review: “The End” by Ordos

Back in 2017, the impressive second LP from Ordos (House of the Dead) was included here in this blog within the list of the Best Albums of the Year, across all genres of music. As I wrote at that time, I felt in love with the band and in particular with House of the Dead since the moment I started listening to the initial guitar riffs that are in that record, and the positive impression remained unchanged after many and many other listens of the entire work. This could justify the great expectations that I had for their new record, The End, which is the third LP of their career.

If their second LP was reminiscent of the ’70s and fitted with many elements from heavy rock and doom, The End further amplifies this aspect and introduces additional elements of psychedelic and occult rock. From this point of view, while it still maintains an extremely dark and gloomy sound, the music played by the Swedish band seems to have settled on the less abrasive side of stoner-doom. The melodic component, which was already a key point in their music, has acquired even greater importance, making the songs of the album gain remarkable ease of assimilation. In this regard, even the riffs seem to adopt almost all the same pattern throughout the entire record, where a chord, or a single note, is repeated obsessively, with the addition of small intervals of semi-tones in order to increase the sense of restlessness and gloom.


To give an example, the sixth track of the LP, Upsala (S:t Erik), which I presume is a cover from the first demo of the psychedelic Swedish band S:t Erik, begins with a blues and southern motif that seems to break the atmosphere of darkness and despair that characterized the earlier songs. But it takes only a minute and even this song returns to embrace the same style of the other songs, except for the sporadic return of the bluesy sounds during the chorus and the guitar solo.

Based on these stylistic choices, and because of how homogeneous and similar are the various songs of the album, The End seems to be like a single story told through one haunting introduction, 6 gloomy chapters, and one instrumental conclusion. This aspect obviously has tangible positive effects in terms of the obsessive and emotional impact of the record, but it also carries with it the limits of making the LP definitely linear, and fairly monochord. This phenomenon is further amplified by the fact that the rhythms are constantly settled on an average mid-paced beat count, and in this respect there aren’t significant variations from one song to another.

On the other hand, the sounds, the melodies and the atmospheres that these guys from Uppsala can generate with their instruments are absolutely unique, beautiful and engaging, and the fact of finding yourself entangled in a continuous and uninterrupted flow of obsessive and repetitive music is something that can be definitely rewarding. Probably the longevity of the album will be compromised by the similarity that there is between all the songs, but, at least in the short term, the effect is absolutely impressive and overwhelming.

In summary: maybe I was expecting something more remarkable from Ordos. The End is basically a new collection of songs that confirm and consolidate the style that was already introduced in their previous work, except for a certain softening of the most abrasive parts in favor of the melody. On the other hand, their music remains absolutely exciting and fascinating, and the fact of having new songs to listen to is, by itself, something that can change your day for the better. My overall rating for the LP is 7/10.

Favourite songs: The Hunter of Hades, III, and the beautiful haunting intro Exordium.


The End is available on Bandcamp and it can be streamed also from Spotify.



Songs from The End have been included in some of the playlist that I’m curating on Spotify, such as SLOWLY (dedicated to stoner/doom and sludge), and THE DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER (dedicated to the softer side of stoner music). Check these out!




Quick Review: “Death Ritual” by Yatra

I always feel a particular emotion when I start to listen to a new album: the brief moment that passes from when I push the play button to the moment in which the first notes are heard is always full of great expectations. And this kind of excitement is absolutely amplified when I’m in front of a debut album, as there are absolutely no references to predict what kind of music will be coming from the stereo. These feelings and all the associated expectations typically have a short duration, except for those rare cases when I come across something really special, as it was the case with Death Ritual, the debut album from a new promising formation called Yatra.

The press notes say that Yatra is a Maryland-based doom trio consisting of guitarist and singer Dana Helmuth, bassist Maria Geisbert, and drummer Mike Tull. I learned that “Yatra” is a native word of Nepal which means “journey”, or “pilgrimage”. And it’s really a sort of journey the one that you experience through the eight slow, oppressive but mystic songs that compose the album Death Ritual. The style of music style developed by Dana Helmut and his traveling companions has is in fact the capacity to take you away from the physical world an to project your mind into a magical dimension full of pagan rituals, dangerous spells, ancient legends and dark visions. But as it often happens with music, venturing into these obscure lands can be so thrilling and exciting that you want to repeat the experience as soon as the journey is over.

Musically speaking, Yatra offers a particular interpretation of the stoner doom genre. Just from the first minutes of the album you recognize that despite there are some clear references to bands like Ordos, Sleep and Electric Wizard, the album features so many original elements that their music, in the end, is something unique and also intriguing to hear. The songs of Death Ritual blend together the charm of ethnic sounds with the warmth of the American desert, and the recipe is further seasoned with southern influences and abrasive vocals. It seems complicated to explain with words, but the result on the contrary is a style of stoner doom that proceeds slowly and smoothly from the beginning to the end of the record, also because in effect there are no disappointing tracks in Death Ritual. The average level is absolutely high, with a couple of particulary good tracks.

In summary: the debut LP from Yatra was for me an absolutely happy surprise, and one of those encounters that renew the love I have for this genre of music. That’s a band which debuted with a very solid and interesting record, and we shall follow with attention their future steps. My rating is a solid 7/10.

Death Ritual is available on Bandcamp and it can be also streamed from Spotify.

My favorite songs of the LP are Smoke is Rising and Mighty Arrows.



If you liked this album, you can’t miss the playlist SLOWLY, where I’m collecting all the best and latest songs in doom, sludge and stoner doom. Listen to it, follow it and spread the word!



Quick Review: “Eternal Return” by Windhand

Windhand, from Virginina in the U.S., have already distinguished themselves as one of the most promising and intriguing bands of contemporary doom metal. Formed in 2008, at the important stage of 10 years of activity the band has released this year what may be potentially their breakthrough record. Their new LP, called Eternal Return, is the fourth of their discography but, differently from their previous releases, it’s deeply marked by the ambition of the band to expand their musical horizons and, at the same time, to consolidate what could be considered their special and unique style.

 

 

Whilst keeping intact the founding elements of their style, including the slowness and the obsessiveness of their guitar riffs, Windhand have now injected into their sound many other elements taken from other genres, first of all grunge and stoner. Such new  influences were incorporated in a way that feels absolutely brilliant and natural, and they had also the side effect of further enhancing the performance of all the band members, starting from the fascinating Dorthia Cottrell whose voice reaches in this Eternal Return peaks of pure class and intensity. In the song Diablerie, just to mention one notable case, she seems absolutely at ease at singing over grunge melodies; in other tracks she also shows a timbric variety that was sincerely unsuspected for what we could appreciate until today.

 

 

Another aspect that can be definitely highlighted is that Eternal Return makes grater recourse to variations in rhythms and atmospheres between the different songs. This makes the album much more enjoyable to listen as a single uninterrupted flow, from the beginning to the end, or even in repeat mode (as I actually did the first day I came across to the LP, when it run in background for about three hours). Some of the band’s previous works where more focused on the obsessive repetition of the same sound and basically the same rhythm, a stylistic choice that we had appreciated and that, from a certain point of view, allowed them to convey particular feelings of anxiety and obscurity.

Today we can enjoy a new chapter in Windhand’s evolotion, where the band is experimenting a different vision of music, brighter and more varied. In this sense Eternal Return stands as a turning point in their career. We will see in the years to come if this LP will sign the point of origin of a new stylistic roadmap or rather this will remain in the annals of Windhand’s history as a unique, appreciated, episode.

Eternal Return is available on Bandcamp and can be streamed also from Spotify.

Highlights: Diablerie, Grey Garden, the opening song Halcyon and Eyeshine.

 


 

Selected music from Eternal Return is featured in SLOWLY, the playlist with the best of doom and sludge. You don’t need to be fast to be strong!

 

 


 

Quick Review: “Dayburner” by Haunted

Catania is a beautiful town of Sicily, in Italy, which always brings to my mind images of sun, hot beaches, blue sea, wine and food. All the opposite of the dark, cold and mystical atmospheres that are aroused by the music of Haunted, a relatively young band from Catania which has released in 2018 their last and second LP, Dayburner, which follows their 2016’s self-titled debut.

I must be honest and admit that initially I gave to these musicians a particular attention because of their Italian origin. But in the end this wasn’t really necessary because their music proved to be extremely evocative and engaging, and as the album moved from one song to the next I was more and more entangled in the thick and dense crepuscular fog emanated by their music.

 

 

The style played by Haunted is a fairly old-style version of doom metal: obsessive and simple riffs that are repeated again and again up to the point that you are left with no other option than to be the taken down by the heavy and wet embrace of their music. The fate that expects you at the end of this album is a defeat for exhaustion, certainly not a knockout for violence and brutality. But even this experience, in the end, may result pleasant and exciting to feel, especially if you’re accompanyed along this journey into darkness by the fantastic voice of Cristina Chimirri, the talented singer of the group.

 

 

As a last note, Dayburner is a record that requires repeated listening to be appreciated in its entirety. The initial impact is good, but most of the charmof the songs is released after you gain more confidence with the sound of the band.

Dayburner is available on Bandcamp and it can be streamed also from Spotify.

Highlights: the title track Dayburner and Lunar Grave, the closing song of the LP.

 

 

 


 

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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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)

 

 

 

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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!


 

 

 

THE DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER: The Softer Side of Stoner Music

Stoner music is typically associated with heavily distorted guitars and mighty bass sounds. There are some rare moments, however, in which our favorite artists abandon the heavy and scratchy sounds to give us glimpses of desolate landscapes and delicate moments of poignant poetry.

I’ve collected in a Spotify playlist some of the most contemplative and intimate songs that were produced in recent years by the most famous artists of stoner music. You’ll find here musicians of the caliber of John Garcia, Brant Bjork, Truckfighters, All Them Witches, and many others.

Enjoy this collection of songs and follow the playlist because this is expected to grow with time as soon as new gems are discovered. And don’t forget to recommend new songs if you feel that I missed some major contribution to the playlist. Enjoy!