Archive for doom

Review: Monolord

Posted in Reviews with tags , on September 14, 2015 by Magadh

monolord1Monolord, Vænir (RidingEasy Records)

I have to admit that I have a relatively short tolerance when it comes to doom as a musical style. This might have been different back in the days when I was sparked all the time, but the new more sober version of myself more often than not doesn’t have the time and/or tolerance to listen to one down tuned note played over and over for five minutes. Admittedly this is kind of a caricature, or it would be but for Sunn O))) and the bands that imitate them. There is still some life left in the genre, and Vænir, released by Gothenburg’s Monolord in April makes this point in crushing fashion.

monolord2On the doom gamut running from Sabbath (or Sleep) to Habsyll, Monolord plod down ancient pathways closer to the former end. Their recorded sound is satisfyingly chunky, their licks simple but evincing a range of pleasing and subtle variations that hold one’s interest nicely. In other respects they tick a lot of the boxes in terms of what you want from your doom band: judicious use of the wah wah, atmosphere that’s dark to the point of obscurity, and vocals that sound like someone singing a lament for lost souls from a ruined battlement.

Their six songs clock in at just over 50 minutes, which is respectable, and they have only two songs that run over ten minutes (“Died A Million Times” only just makes the cut), so you get a reasonable amount of variety. I was listening to this on my car stereo on the way to work. This usually isn’t a very promising format, in the first place because the speakers don’t provide the optimum low end response, and in the second because doom is really meant to be something in which one loses oneself (usually after about half a dozen bong tokes). But I took an extra detour on my way just to hear a bit more of this, which is a pretty good sign.

Review: Morne Asylum

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on November 26, 2012 by Magadh

Morne Asylum Profound Lore/Armageddon Records

I saw Neurosis at the tender age of 16 in a  Billings, Montana VFW. It was 1990 and they were on the road supporting The Word as Law. They represented something so primal and terrifying, the whole experience was burned into by adolescent brain. I can still see Scott Kelly’s Big Mountain Defense shirt depicting Native Americans staring out behind an American flag with the stripes made of barbed wire. The band appeared as an ominous wall of spectres in the dim light as they struck the first few chords. They blew the PA almost immediately, this occurred with unfortunate regularity on that tour, and were forced to play the majority of their set instrumentally. The tension bled into the performance. They were a maelstrom, pulling the audience deeper into their rage. I was hooked.

Souls at Zero and Through Silver in Blood would become two of my favorites from their catalog. They wed the best of bands like Amebix with crushing heaviness and apocalyptic soundscapes. The addition of potent, flowing, visual elements would further enhance the live experience. In fact, the power of the Through Silver in Blood era live set was such that my wife had a panic attack and has sworn off Neurosis ever since. What does any of this have to do with Morne? I’m coming to that.

Morne’s Asylum taps into the same primal power as those early Neurosis records. The album begins with the ominous majesty of the title track. Clocking in a 17 minutes, Milosz’s vocals bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Scott Kells and the track neatly fuses doomy crust with sparse piano. The listener is lulled ,via an excellent interlude, before they are finished off by more furious doom. “Edge of the Sky” and “My Return” invoke the the naked rage of Through Silver in Blood’s “Purify” as waves of metallic sludge build and then spill over the listener.

References to Neurosis aside, Morne is still very much their own band. Tracks like “Nothing to Remain” and “Killing Fields” evidence the band’s artful composition. They effectively fuse their brand of sludgy crust with the darker elements of a band like Isis to create brutal, soaring compositions. The final track, “Volition”, marries sparse piano and violin with whispered female vocals and muted guitar before building to a sonic expression of rage.

Asylum was released in 2011 but remains a criminally under recognized record. Do yourself a favor and pop over to their Bandcamp site here.  One hopes 2013 sees new material from this Boston juggernaut.

– Captain of Games

Heavy Metal Book Club

Posted in Dispatches with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by Magadh

Image

Once a month, we sally forth from the bunker and commune with a group of like-minded souls. Our order of the day is sharing songs of the resistance, hymns to the dark powers, and droned invocations of a dark apocalypse.

The playlist from last night’s Heavy Metal Book Club is below. We encourage you to organize one in your town.

Azaghal “Hail the Whore”

Hail Spirit Noir “Pneuma”

1349 “Strike of the Beast (Exodus cover)”

Conan “Satsumo”

Mares of Thrace “The Gallwasp”

Early Graves “Wraiths”

Urgehal “The Necessity of Total Genocide”

Ghost “Ritual”

Pallbearer “An Offering of Grief”

Black Breath “Feast of the Damned”

Misantropic “Man Into Beast”

Nile “Utterances of the Crawling Dead”

Big Business “Easter Romantic”

Anhedonist “Carne liberatus”

High on Fire “How Dark We Pray”

Candlemass “Destroyer”

– Captain of Games