Hello out there! In the immortal words of the Barenaked Ladies, it’s been…
Seven days since we got together here, at which time I had shared two albums with you by bands who coincidentally had similar-sounding names, but otherwise had little in common.
Today I’ve got another pair of albums by similarly-named artists, which happened to be released in close proximity to each other — just over and just under a year ago. In this case, while both are still fairly disparate, at least they would both be found somewhere on the doom spectrum… or if nothing else, maybe doom-adjacent? Enjoy!
Sunyata – The Great Beyond (self-released, 11 November 2020)
Sunnata – Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth (self-released, 26 February 2021)
These albums, one nearly three years old and the other reaching its first birthday later this month, have practically nothing in common with each other besides the fact that both bands’ names are lengthy phrases about owls. But sometimes little things like that can randomly grab your attention, and then you accidentally discover that there’s some great music inside, too. I think you just might find this to be the case with either or both of these releases…
The Owls Are Not What They Seem – Feral Blood (Eleventh Key, 19 March 2019)
And Now the Owls Are Smiling – Dirges (Clobber Records, 29 January 2021)
Body Void / Keeper – Split (Tridroid Records [cassette] / Roman Numeral Records [vinyl], 15 January 2020)
Keeper / Sea Bastard – Split (Medusa Crush Recordings [N.A.] / Dry Cough Records [U.K.], 03 February 2015)
Hello there! Today we’re going to take a look at a split record that’s been generating a little bit of buzz since it came out last month, but not nearly as much as it should — considering the caliber of the two bands who released it (Californians Body Void and Keeper).
But I realize at this point that we have never mentioned Keeper previously, which is really a shame because they were involved with another fantastic split LP that came out about five years ago, along with Brightonian band Sea Bastard. Somehow we just never got around to covering it, so to rectify that error, let’s revisit that one today as well. So you can have a little “bonus review” as a treat.
This is also the first 2020 release from one of our favorite Canadian labels, Hypnotic Dirge. Those familiar with the record company will recall that many of their releases originate in or around the same frozen northern tundra of their homeland, and often (fittingly) fall within the umbrella of frostbitten atmospheric blackness — but today we’ll be focusing on something that strays ever-so-slightly outside of those stereotypes…
The abode of Kassad, as name-checked in their sophomore album’s title, is the capital of England (rather than the somewhat smaller city located on the Thames River in the province of Ontario); and while the record does still operate within the black metal milieu, the band has described its style as “urban” black metal.
Conan / Slomatics – Split (original release 2011 / to be RE-re-released by Black Bow Records, 01 June 2018)
Almost two years ago, the 2011 split record between these two bands, each of whom has been discussed multiple times on this website (Conan | Slomatics), got the re-release treatment on a really cool picture disc by Black Bow Records. We discussed that right here.
But in case you missed it (or if you DID manage to snag one of those copies, but you wish you had a second one to listen to!), Black Bow is doing it again! This time on 180g heavyweight vinyl (for the first time ever) in a peculiar shade of “ogre green” (also for the first time ever). Keep reading to revisit our review of these songs from the 2016 release, and then find where you can buy a copy of the new edition.
Boss Keloid – Melted on the Inch (Holy Roar Records, 27 April 2018)
Ok folks, let’s talk new music. Here’s one that just came out last Friday that you’ll surely want to acquaint yourself with. Two years ago, when north west England’s Boss Keloid released their second album Herb Your Enthusiasm, we described them by borrowing from a press release: “an eclectic mash of riffery, dirge, groove and sway that will leave you feeling heavy, warm and slightly damp in places.”
All of that remains true on this newer release Melted on the Inch, only more so. Very much more so…
Employed to Serve – The Warmth of a Dying Sun (Holy Roar Records, 19 May 2017)
The last time I wrote about this ‘post-hardcore/powerviolence’ band from Woking, England (in Surrey County, just outside London), I explained how I had first discovered them when they emailed me about their 2012 EP Long Time Dead. I was absolutely infatuated by that release (and still am!) but for a variety of reasons never quite managed to write anything about it until just last year.
When I heard Holy Roar was releasing a brand-new EtS album (and some of the early press seemed to be hinting at an AOTY contender) I knew I needed to get my hands on it — and also that I wouldn’t let another four years pass before writing about it! So here, I present you with The Warmth of a Dying Sun. Enjoy!
Conan – Blood Eagle (Napalm Records, 28 February 2014)
Conan – Revengeance (Napalm Records, 29 January 2016)
Following our last article that covered a few of North‘s more recent releases, it only makes sense to talk about their current tour-mates Conan as well. The Merseysider trio has been around for over ten years — although the line-up has changed a few times: from 2011 (when their split record with Slomatics came out, which was the last release we discussed here) until the 2014 emergence of their second full-length Blood Eagle, Paul O’Neill had remained behind the drums, but Phil Coumbe had taken on bass/vocal duties; then by 2016 new drummer Rich Lewis had joined, and Chris Fielding (a prolific producer and engineer who had worked on all of Conan‘s previous releases) was added as bassist/vocalist. The only constant throughout the band’s career has been guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis, who also runs Black Bow Records in his spare time — oh and by the way, you may remember from when last year when we covered Boss Keloid‘s Herb Your Enthusiasm, which was a Black Bow release, Davis and Fielding both had guest spots on that record.
Well, it wouldn’t be accurate to say that Mr. Davis being part of the band continuously has been the only constant over the past decade-plus. The sound produced by this trio has perpetually been as savage and barbaric as the literary character from which their name was derived. To be specific, they identify themselves as “caveman battle doom” — and you’ll find, as we make our way through Blood Eagle and last year’s follow-up Revengeance, there really couldn’t be a more apt description …