Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore Records, 10 October 2017)
Today we’re going to talk — again — about Bell Witch. Since the release of their demo recording back in 2011, this bass+drums+vocals duo of doom has been delighting our auditory cortices with a combination of immense gravitas and lofty, haunting melodies. With the departure of drummer/vocalist Adrian Guerra following sophomore album Four Phantoms, bassist/vocalist Dylan Desmond soldiered on with a new partner in Jesse Shreibman.
As observed in our 2016 review of that 2015 double-LP, the tragic passing of friend and former bandmate Guerra devastated the members of Bell Witch — who, as it turns out, had just started working together on the first new material with their current line-up. As you might expect, this event would certainly have a strong effect on the writing process, the result of which became Mirror Reaper, revealed to the world last fall.
With these guys hitting the road TONIGHT for a month-long expedition all over North America (including stops at two different festivals this weekend), alongside fellow Pacific Northwesterners Yob, we’ll spend some time with Mirror Reaper, and then share that list of tour dates down below.
Ommadon – V (Domestic Genocide Records, 05 August 2014)
Ommadon – Empathy for the Wicked (Golden Mantra, 15 July 2015)
Ommadon – Ommadon (Medusa Crush Recordings/Dry Cough Records/Burning World Records, 08 April 2016)
Ommadon – End Times (Dry Cough Records/At War with False Noise/DGRecords/Medusa Crush Recordings, 01 May 2018)
Today is going to be Ommadon day. All day long. And that’s really not an exaggeration: you’re going to need all day to plow through the massive heap of noise this Glaswegian duo (featuring David Tobin, guitars, and Ewan Mackenzie, drums/keyboards) has forged together over the past four years!
Fans of the two-minute pop ditty should probably just quit reading right here. But if you’ve ever listened to Ufomammut or Kongh and thought to yourself, “Wow this is great but I really wish all of the songs were way longer and way slower,” well… this just may be your lucky day!
High Fighter – The Goat Ritual (self-released, 28 October 2014)
High Fighter – Scars & Crosses (Svart Records, 10 June 2016)
Zirakzigil – World Builder (Prosthetic Records, 10 June 2016)
Hey folks, how are you? Thanks for stopping by. Are you ready for another dose of good stuff to listen to? I hope so, because once again I’ve got some here to share with you today.
Both of the bands we’ll be discussing today will have an album released on Friday: High Fighter from Hamburg, Germany, will see their first full-length put out by Svart Records, which we’ll talk about in addition to that band’s debut EP that was self-released a while back; Zirakzigil from Portland, Oregon, also have their first LP forthcoming, one which was originally released by the band last year but is now being repackaged (and etched onto vinyl for the first time) by Prosthetic Records.
Graves at Sea / Sourvein – Split EP (Seventh Rule Recordings, 13 May 2014)
Sourvein – Aquatic Occult (Metal Blade, 08 April 2016)
Hello and good afternoon, longtime friends and first-time visitors. I hope your Monday has been, at minimum, tolerable. From this side, “Today I didn’t even have to strangle anyone with their own phone cord or throw my computer through the cubicle wall out of frustration / I got to say it was a good day.”
Anyway, whatever kind of day you’re having, get ready for some positive, uplifting vibes to be coming your way from the music I have here to share with you. Now, that music is going to start with Graves at Sea, and for those who’ve heard the full-length they put out earlier this month (reviewed here), you’ll be able to tell right away that last statement was at least partly sarcastic. (For those who haven’t heard it, what the hell are you waiting for? Go read that review, or even better, check them out in person during their tour that starts tonight in Atlanta!)
The remainder of this article will be about material — some of it a couple years old, some from just a few days ago — by the southern sludgery cesspit Sourvein; although it may not seem that way, this is (supposedly) where the positivity comes into the equation. Or at least truthfulness and realism. Off we go …
In the VIP balcony at Mr. Small’s Theatre (Pittsburgh), February 2013
EDITOR’S NOTE: for nearly two years, the Arkansas melodic doom quartet Pallbearer has been among my wife’s absolute favorite bands. I know she’d been eagerly snapping up every available bit of information leading up to the release of their second album; now that it’s been released, we listened to it together, and she had some strong reactions and opinions — so I asked whether she wanted to write something about it. So here is her review of Foundations of Burden.
Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore Records, 19 August 2014)
reviewed by Mrs. Valley of Steel
I first heard Pallbearer in December of 2012 on accident. I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a video that someone had posted, which I thought was something else. I clicked on it, I listened and I had no idea what I was in for ultimately. I have to admit, I felt an immediate kinship to this music. For much of my life, I have felt an attachment to a darker side of my personality; I often embrace being melancholy and don’t always see it as the burden that some people do with those types of emotions. Pallbearer definitely tapped into that for me. I felt instantaneously connected to each riff and sludgy chord. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, this band is mainly responsible for so much of the music I have discovered in this journey with my husband over the past three years. It’s clearly felt personal to me and I am sure, with all the recent hype, that I am not the only one who enjoys dwelling in the despair.
Agalloch – The Serpent & the Sphere (Profound Lore Records, 13 May 2014)
So tomorrow is the day when we’ll be making the trek west to Ohio, because Agalloch‘s tour will be hitting Cleveland. (Read all the details of that tour right here. I’ve been pretty excited about this for a while — I may only have discovered the band within the past few years, but quickly I found their style of vast, atmosphere-infused black/folk metal to be right up my alley. I enjoyed all the songs I’d heard (on Pandora or wherever) from their earlier albums like The Mantle and Ashes Against the Grain, so I thought I had a general idea of what this band was about, and I thought I knew basically what to expect from the upcoming show.
But no, honestly I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what happened when — partly out of curiosity, partly to get familiar with some of their newer stuff — I headed over to the Agalloch Bandcamp page and hit PLAY on their recently-released album The Serpent & the Sphere. I found myself instantly blown away by what I was hearing, a reaction that continued throughout the next fifty-nine minutes or so, through the conclusion of all nine tracks. I decided right then, even though this year isn’t even halfway over yet, that I find it unlikely I’ll hear anything better than this in 2014.
I hadn’t even really planned on writing this, but this was just one of those rare occasions where something caught my attention and spoke to me so much, I felt like I had to make sure other people knew about this record too.
Well, would you look at that. It’s early Monday morning, it’s cold and rainy outside, and I have to go to work. What a miserable way to start the day. Just when I was thinking I could really use something dark and dismal to match my bleak mood, so that I could feel a little better, check out this treasure trove of incredible news I just found on Facebook!
I’ve been bubbling with excitement about a new Undersmile album ever since it was announced, as I mentioned when I wrote about that announcement back in November. (Check out that earlier post if you need a brief introduction to the band and some of their earlier work.) Well as it turns out, Future Noise has just announced a ton of brand new details about that album, Narwhal, which is now scheduled to emerge on 28 May 2012.
At the top of this post you can admire the artwork that will be adorning the new record (by artist Tony Roberts, who has done work in the past for bands such as Conan and Electric Wizard), and further down will be the full tracklist, as well as information on where you can hear a couple of these tracks now — plus how you can preorder a copy of the album!