Horseburner – The Thief; Howling Giant – The Space Between Worlds (2019)

HorseburnerThe Thief (Ripple Music, 09 August 2019)

 

Howling GiantThe Space Between Worlds (Blues Funeral Recordings, 27 September 2019)

 

Good afternoon! Another week almost over, are you excited? Probably not so much, huh? It hardly makes a difference, since the days all just run together anymore. Hard to believe we’re coming up on three whole months of this quarantine, shelter-in-place, work-from-home, whatever you want to call it.

But on the other hand, it’s starting to feel like this is the way life has been forever — it’s getting hard to remember a time when things used to be different. Remember going out to restaurants, bars, wineries? Remember live entertainment? Sometimes there would even be entire events dedicated to bands performing music for large crowds of people, entire festivals. Remember those? Remember crowds of people?

It was exactly two months ago today that Ripplefest was supposed to happen in Germany, what would have been an all-day raging affair hosted by Ripple Music. I wrote up a thing announcing the event just a few weeks before the entire world flipped completely upside-down.

That event is tentatively being rescheduled for August, with a line-up yet to be announced. I hope, for the sake of everyone involved, that it works out this time. I hope, for ALL our sakes, that things are back to normal by then.

Originally scheduled to play at the festival in March were two American bands, Horseburner and Howling Giant. I’ve written about each of them before (here and here), but in February’s Ripplefest post I also mentioned that both bands had released excellent albums last year, and that reviews of both would be coming up soon.

The festival might not have taken place as planned, but at least I can fulfill that one small promise. And at least you can treat your ears to these bands in pre-recorded form…

 

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Kirk Windstein – Dream in Motion (2020)

Kirk WindsteinDream in Motion (eOne Heavy / Entertainment One, 24 January 2020)

 

Exactly twenty-five years and eleven months ago, on the 24th of March 1994, the sixth episode of the fourth season of Beavis and Butthead aired on MTV. That was the first exposure — for myself, and I suspect for many others who were teenagers at that time — to the music of Crowbar, as that episode included a portion of the New Orleanian sludge innovators’ “All I Had (I Gave)” video. (For the record, yes I do have a fairly good memory, but no I did not know all of those details off the top of my head; thank you to Wikipedia.)

Anyway, that day marked a pivotal moment in my music fandom. What I heard on that show prompted me to pick up a copy of the band’s self-titled 1993 album, and their blending of sheer heaviness with absolute raw emotion had me hooked for life. That combination is what has set the band apart from most of their peers and imitators over the years. And now after nearly a dozen albums with Crowbar (in addition to participating in a handful of other people’s projects over the past three decades) the founder, vocalist and guitarist Kirk Windstein, has released a solo record — eschewing some of the heaviness this time around, but retaining every bit of the passion and intensity.

 

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Suum – Cryptomass (2020)

SuumCryptomass (Seeing Red Records, 14 February 2020)

 

Have you ever been tricked by an album cover? Like, you got totally drawn in by this mesmerizing artwork that so perfectly encapsulates a particular mood — but then you listen to it and the music sucks, or at least it completely fails to match up with your expectations based on its exterior?

Or looking at it from the opposite side: how often has poorly-designed and/or conceptually uninteresting imagery caused you to bypass listening to something, which for all you know could have ended up being your new favorite record if you had actually given it a chance?

Well, today we’ve got the rare treat of an album whose outward appearance exactly lines up with its internal contents, Cryptomass — the sophomore release from Roman doomsters Suum, which emerged mere days ago from the decaying catacombs illustrated above (and credited to the band’s guitarist, “Antonio Painkiller“), by way of Ohio’s Seeing Red Records.

 

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Congratulations to GRAMMY Nominees Candlemass! [The Door to Doom (2019)]

CandlemassThe Door to Doom (Napalm Records, 22 February 2019)

 

Doom metal may have been invented when Tony Iommi hammered out those very first notes of Black Sabbath‘s 1970 debut, but the genre really started to take shape during the 1980s, and unquestionably one of the principal players behind that defining moment was Sweden’s Candlemass — particularly, their own debut record which officially coined the phrase “Epic Doom Metal.”

The U.S. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences may have a somewhat shaky track record when it comes to recognizing achievements by metal bands — or even properly distinguishing between metal and hard rock, or deciding whether there even should be such a distinction — but for the first time in their 35-year history, the innovation of Candlemass has been honored with a Grammy award nomination for “Best Metal Performance.”

Taken from their latest album The Door to Doom, the song that earned this recognition for the band is “Astorolus – The Great Octopus,” which fittingly features a guest appearance on lead guitar by none other than Mr. Iommi himself.

 

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Talsur / Doomcult – Nameless (2019)

Talsur / DoomcultNameless (self-released, 05 April 2019)

 

Good afternoon! Taking a break from our recent excursion into the wide world of sports, to bring you this recommendation of some music for you to check out!

Released back in April of this year — and brought to my attention by one of the bands involved right around that same time — Nameless is a six-track split album. There are two new compositions apiece by Talsur (a single-member doom band from Penza, sort of near the Russian-Kazakh border) and Doomcult (a single-member doom band from southern Netherlands); and then the remaining two tracks feature each band covering a previously-released song by the other. Dig it!

 

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Venom Prison – Animus (2016-18)

Venom PrisonAnimus (Prosthetic Records, 14 October 2016 / deluxe edition 23 February 2018)

 

British death metal horde Venom Prison, who exploded into international consciousness with their Prosthetic-released debut album in late 2016, are currently touring North America with a whole bunch of other heavy hitters in the genre.

In fact, the month-long tour is a little more than halfway over, so we don’t want to waste any more time — here’s our write-up of Animus, and later you can see the full list of dates, plus a handful of European cities the band will be visiting in August with Dying Fetus!

 

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Yob – Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014), Our Raw Heart (2018)

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YobClearing the Path to Ascend (Neurot Recordings, 02 September 2014)

 

YobOur Raw Heart (Relapse Records, 08 June 2018)

 

Oregonian doom trio Yob vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt has always had a distinctive voice. Whether it’s as a member of Lumbar or making a guest appearance with Red Fang or a whole plethora of others, there’s just no mistaking who is singing. Piercing and powerful, like Conan‘s Jon Davis, expressive and emotional like Argus/Molasses Barge‘s Butch Balich, and always just a bit grizzled and weathered like Wino or Lemmy.

But since the last time we heard from these guys (Clearing the Path to Ascend, which in a year filled with tough competition, still came out as our clear #1 album of 2014), some serious health complications cast some doubt as to whether we might ever hear that voice again. You can read all about that journey in this Rolling Stone interview, where the band’s sole remaining founding member (over twenty years ago!) describes his harrowing experiences while also discussing the creation of Our Raw Heart.

The album was “largely penned from what he worried would be his deathbed,” said the magazine, quoting Scheidt as saying, “there was no guarantee that I was going to live long enough to record the album.” Fortunately for himself, his family and friends, and also for everyone on planet earth who has ears, he did survive and he did record the album, which undoubtably will be contending for the same spot in this year’s list. In this post we’ll touch upon that record from four years ago, as well as the follow-up which hits stores TODAY. Furthermore, keep on scrolling to see a list of opportunities North American readers will have to experience Yob live: for one month (starting next Thursday, 14th June) with Bell Witch or again during September with Acid King and CHRCH.

 

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