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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Hell’s Heroes III – Houston TX, April 2020

 

 


 

 

Hell’s Heroes III

 

Saturday 19 April 2020 (doors 2:00 pm)

at White Oak Music Hall – 2915 N Main Street, Houston TX 77009

All Ages | $40 in advance, or $40 plus box office fees at door

 

The third annual Hell’s Heroes all-day festival had already been scheduled for next spring and was already slated to bring an outstanding lineup of performers both domestic and international to H-Town (see below for more details)… but this week some breaking news just came out, pronouncing the headliners for the show will be the Grammy-nominated Candlemass!

This performance will mark the very first opportunity for U.S. fans to see Candlemass with the singer of their debut album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Johan Längquist, since his recent addition to the band as an official member.

 

Tickets | Facebook page | Facebook event | Instagram

 

 
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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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Molasses Barge – S/T + Covered in Molasses (2017)

Molasses BargeMolasses Barge + Covered in Molasses (Blackseed Records, 28 July 2017)

 

So I’ve been writing about Molasses Barge basically as long as I’ve been writing about music in general. It all started way back in late 2011 when they had a few shows scheduled, and I threw together a little synopsis of my first experience seeing them perform live (earlier that year when they opened for Pentagram). This was followed by an interview with drummer Wayne Massey in 2012 (as they were about to open for Tombs and 16), and then guitarist Justin Gizzi also answered a few questions as part of our coverage leading up to the Winter’s Wake festival in 2013.

In all, these Pittsburgh-based doom-metal workhorses have appeared (at least mentioned in passing) on this website a few dozen times. And yet, as active as they are (and despite having been in existence for close to a decade now!), the band’s official recorded output thus far has consisted of one EP six years ago, plus a three-song demo a few months later. (Both of them are available to stream or download FREE at Bandcamp.) But that all changes now: this Friday they will be unleashing their stunning debut self-titled LP, and as a special added bonus (perhaps as a thank-you to all the fans who’ve been patiently waiting so long), it’ll come bundled with a second disc filled with cover songs.

 

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Argus – Beyond the Martyrs (2013), From Fields of Fire (2017); Arduini/Balich – Dawn of Ages (2017)

ArgusBeyond the Martyrs (Cruz del Sur Music, 01 October 2013)

 

Arduini / BalichDawn of Ages (Cruz del Sur Music, 24 February 2017)

 

ArgusFrom Fields of Fire (Cruz del Sur Music, 08 September 2017)

 

I can still remember the first time I heard Argus — in the burgeoning days of the early 2010s, the song was “The Damnation of John Faustus” from their self-titled album. I can’t say for certain, but it was probably on Foundry of Doom radio, since that’s what I spent most of my time listening to back then. And here, among epic tracks by the likes of Solstice, Atlantean Kodex, Solitude Aeturnus, etc., this song’s dark themes and powerful vocals really caught my ear.

This was still months, maybe even up to a year, before the genesis of my career as a writer, but I’ve always been inquisitive and wanted to research and learn more about everything I heard. In this instance, I was struck by how new the band was (their first demo dates back ten years, now, but at the time of this story the debut full-length was about a year or two old), but even more surprised to see that these guys were local (originating in Franklin, PA, just about an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh)!

I also discovered that the vocalist, Brian “Butch” Balich (formerly of Penance), is also a member of Molasses Barge, another local doom band that would greatly impress me when I saw them for the first time just months later. Eventually I’d manage to catch Argus live, as well, and they definitely managed to live up to the high expectations set by their incredible recorded output. I believe this was just before the 2013 release of their third album Beyond the Martyrs — one that immediately made its way onto my writing “to do list” but inexplicably has stayed there for these past years.

But now there’s a ferment of activity surrounding the band once more: they recently announced that their fourth album will be coming later this year — and I’ll be discussing both of those today, with an added bonus that was released a few months back by a side project involving Balich. And to top it all off, Argus will also be performing in Pittsburgh THIS FRIDAY (14 July) at an event that doubles as a preview of September’s Brewtal Beer Fest as well as featuring the world premiere of the new beer produced through a collaborative effort between the band and Big Rail Brewing! So after you’re done reading about the music, pop on down to the comments section for more information about that.

 

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Pilgrim – II: Void Worship (2014); Blizaro – Cornucopia della Morte (2016)

Pilgrim - Void Worship

PilgrimII: Void Worship (Metal Blade Records, 01 April 2014)

 

IVR056 - BLIZARO - Cornucopia della Morte

BlizaroCornucopia della Morte (I, Voidhanger Records, 15 April 2016)

 

Hey! Did you enjoy Monday’s post about old-school occult/doom metal? I hope you did, because [[SPOILER ALERT]] there’s plenty more where that came from. Today we’ll be taking a look at another pair of bands who fit that description: Pilgrim and Blizaro.

As it turns out, each of these bands will be joining together with Castle on a handful of their upcoming tour dates (which we had discussed yesterday); one of the shows Blizaro is scheduled to play (July 31st in Pittsburgh) also will feature Brimstone Coven; a few lucky people will get the chance to see both Blizaro AND Pilgrim together. Further details about all this will be tucked into the comment section below, so be sure to check that out. But first, let’s talk about some music …

 

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The Order of Israfel – Wisdom (2014), Red Robes (2016); Candlemass – Death Thy Lover (2016)

The-Order-Of-Israfel_Wisdom1

The Order of IsrafelWisdom (Napalm Records, 09 September 2014)

 

the-order-of-israfel-red-robes

The Order of IsrafelRed Robes (Napalm Records, 27 May 2016)

 

dtl

CandlemassDeath thy Lover (Napalm Records, 03 June 2016)

 

Good afternoon. Today, let’s talk about Swedish doom. First I’d like to call your attention to a band from Gothenburg, whom some of you may not know yet, since they’ve only been around about four years now. In that time, they’ve released two albums — the first almost two years ago, and the second last Friday — both through Napalm Records. We’ll be discussing both of those.

The other band we’re going to cover today, from Stockholm, is likely to already be familiar to every single person reading this: their debut album was released thirty years ago this month, and it literally defined the “Epic Doom Metal” genre. Celebrating that milestone, the band will be releasing a brand-new EP this Friday — which we’ll also talk about today.

 

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