Soothsayer – At This Great Depth (Transcending Obscurity Records, 30 December 2016)
Soothsayer – Echoes of the Earth (Transcending Obscurity Records, 09 April 2021)
Good afternoon, friends! I’m going to start today with a brief bit of explanation/clarification: the band we’ll be discussing and listening to is one who’ve never been featured on this website before. Long-time readers with unnaturally exceptional memories may note that approximately five years ago I wrote about a split record, half of which was attributed to a band called Soothsayer, who were primarily of the neocrust persuasion (with some blackened and ambient-doom influences thrown in). That band was from Pittsburgh — roughly 30 miles from where I lived.
Well later that same year, I happened to hear about an upcoming release from a band called Soothsayer, essentially an ambient-doom group (with some blackened and crusty influences thrown in). This “other” Soothsayer resides approximately 3300 miles further away in Cork, but their material was equally successful at catching my attention and interest. Unfortunately, I never managed to find a chance to write about it — until now, on the eve of “Irish Soothsayer” releasing their debut full-length.
Sarin – You Can’t Go Back (Prosthetic Records, 05 February 2021)
Sort of like a response to this article from earlier in the week where we covered an album entitled A Way Back, today we’re featuring You Can’t Go Back — the latest from Canadian post-metal group Sarin, named for the chemical compound that has historically been used (and sometimes rumored to have been used) as a nerve gas weapon due to its extreme toxicity.
Comatose – A Way Back (Transcending Records, 22 January 2021)
Good afternoon! Presented for your listening enjoyment is this album, released earlier this year, which is the first official output of Comatose. This is an assemblage of musicians who have all worked together in some capacity in various other Minnesotan bands such as Chrome Waves and Fail to Decay, among others; a little over a year ago they decided to come together in this new project. They soon found themselves writing and recording a bunch of material representative of how empty they’ve felt over the past year without the ability to tour or perform anywhere — and by extension, how empty we’ve all felt over the past year about everything.
Coldun – Grand Sun Ritual (self-released, 15 January 2021)
For its first ten years (during which it released two albums were released), Saxony (Germany)’s Coldun existed as a solo project for its founding member, also named Coldun. But then, about five years ago, Coldun (the band) expanded with the addition of a drummer and two guitarists, while Coldun (the musician) maintained responsibility for vocals as well as the bass and organ parts. In January the project’s third album overall, and the first with this new full-band lineup, finally emerged — and here it is for your enjoyment!
Sepulcros – Vazio (Transcending Obscurity Records, 12 March 2021)
Happy Friday! For your enjoyment: this monster of a debut from Portugal’s Sepulcros, released today by Transcending Obscurity.
Just look at that gorgeous Mariusz Lewandowski cover art. And then search for the band’s name on Google Translate (“sepulcros” is the plural form of “sepulcro” which means “tomb or sepulchre”). Feel free to look up the album’s title while you’re there (“vazio” means “empty or devoid,” from the same Latin root as “vacant” or “vacuous”).
You probably already have a fairly good idea of what to expect now, don’t you? And you’re probably right!
Úzkost – Blood Debt (self-released, 21 August 2020)
Hello out there, friends and faithful readers who have been bearing with us as we have been going through a bit of a slow period in terms of writing output! For those who don’t watch television or read newspapers or spend all day doomscrolling Twitter (that last one has been my personal sickness lately), sorry to have to be the one to break it to you, but the entire world is crumbling to shit.
In entirely unrelated news, earlier this week I got a notification that this website’s domain registration was renewing (marking the eighth anniversary as an official “dot net” site, and putting us a few mere weeks away from our ninth anniversary operating under the Valley of Steel name), which reminded me that I have a self-assigned duty to share my musical discoveries with the good people of the internet.
Frankly, it’s been pretty difficult lately to get excited about anything or to focus attention on anything that isn’t the constant stream of negativity and hatred that surrounds us all. But I’ve managed to drag myself away from the harsh misery of 2020 America just long enough to write up some words about this new single and video that was released two weeks ago by local (Pittsburgh) band Úzkost. And as a bonus, both song and video happen to be a strikingly apt reaction to all that negativity and hatred!
Maelstrom – Of Gods and Men (self-released, 22 May 2020)
Hey, folks. Better make sure you’ve got yourselves strapped in, because we’re taking a trip in the “Way Back Machine.” Although Of Gods and Men, the debut full-length album of Long Beach (Nassau County NY)’s Maelstrom, was released mere days ago, this is a story that starts off much, much earlier than that.
Here at Valley of Steel I first became aware of this trio back in October 2012, when I checked outThrashHead Magazine‘s second A Gallery of Rogues compilation. (As an aside, the magazine doesn’t appear to exist anymore but that 45-song collection is still free to download.)
At that time, one of the tracks that I pointed out as a highlight was “Arise” — which also appeared on the band’s EP It was Predestined, which was being re-released that same month by IME.
I hadn’t been aware of it at the time, but the mini-album had initially been released independently several years earlier (in 2008), by a newly-reformed Maelstrom. The group had called it quits fifteen years prior to that, after having produced a pair of demo tapes (in 1989 and 1991) that collectively featured the original recordings of the three songs that would later become It was Predestined.
The EP, out of print by now, had grabbed my attention back in 2012 just as much as that first song had done — and so when I recently learned that there would finally be a full-length record (32 years after the band was founded), well, that was certainly some exciting news I just had to share with you lucky readers.
Close the Hatch – Modern Witchcraft (Red Moth Records, 22 May 2020)
Mountaineer – Bloodletting (Lifeforce Records, 22 May 2020)
Good afternoon and happy Friday to all you wonderful people out there!
Day job insanity has really caught up with me this week; my apologies, but that’s why I missed out on writing anything here yesterday. Today isn’t much better — so I’ll have to make this quick — but I didn’t want another day to pass without sharing new music with you folks.
For your Memorial Day weekend perusal, here are a pair of albums that just came out today, from two bands residing on opposite ends of the country, but which are both at least somewhat doom-metal-adjacent. Hope you enjoy them!
Hello, friends and casual acquaintences! Nice to see you all once again. And at this point we’ve successfully navigated our way through half of another week, which almost feels like cause for celebration, doesn’t it? These days, we kind of have to take what we can get.
Anyway. Obviously the reason you are here is because you are looking for more new music, and the reason I’m here is to share some with you. Several years ago in a larger article about several other albums, we had taken a quick glance at a split record between Grizzlor (from Connecticut) and Barren Womb (from Norway).
Right after that article was published, I became aware of a full-length album by the latter of those two, which had been released several months after the split. I enjoyed that record quite a bit, but as seems to happen far too often, somehow I never got around to writing about it and sort of lost track of the band.
But now — they’ve got another new record due out just two days from now, so it seems like a great opportunity to kill two birds off my to-do list with one stone, so to speak. Here we go!
Talking Book – Talking Book II (Koolarrow Records, 24 April 2020)
Good day, loyal readers. Hope you all are still doing well, trying your best to stay safe and sane.
Today I’ll be sharing something that very much falls outside the standard delineation of purpose for this website: not “metal,” nor “other heavy music,” and debatable whether this would even exactly qualify (under some of the more conservative definitions) as “music.”
Talking Book began nearly ten years ago when the owners of two record labels known for their diverse and eclectic international line-ups (Koolarrow Records‘ Billy Gould and Gigante Sound‘s Jared Blum) came together to collaborate on the album The Talking Book.
Somehow, that one must have escaped my attention when it was released back in 2011 — which is somewhat surprising, considering the fact that I literally signed up for Twitter in order to follow Mr. Gould back in like 2009 when rumors were running rampant about another of his musical projects possibly reuniting, and it was said that a certain bassist and founding member’s Twitter feed would be a reliable source of information about that.
Anyway, since at time the duo were joined by Gigante Sound co-conspirator Dominic Cramp, and many years later they finally got around to recording a follow-up — which Koolarrow released nearly three weeks ago.