Black Sabbath

Mountain Witch – Extinct Cults Review

Mountain Witch – Extinct Cults Review

“A band’s swan song can often be a masterpiece, an emotional rollercoaster, or a dud. When a band knows they’re calling it quits for a while, most often they will pour their hearts into that final album. That’s what I hoped for when I grabbed Extinct Cults, the latest (and last, prior to what is described as a long hiatus) from German proto-rockers Mountain Witch.” Went witching.

Sorcerer – Lamenting of the Innocent Review

Sorcerer – Lamenting of the Innocent Review

“Sweden’s Sorcerer has had a bouncy ride through the ages. They released a series of demos I really enjoyed back in the early 90s and then completely vanished from the metal scene for some 20-plus years. They reappeared in 2015 with a comeback album I slept on, then knocked me flat, silly and senseless with 2017s stupendous The Crowning of the Fire King. That album’s expertly crafted blend of traditional and doom metal was impossible to resist and Fire King seized my Record o’ the Year glory easily. Naturally I was quite stoked to receive the followup, Lamenting of the Innocent. With a concept based around the Inquisition and witch trials, all signs and omens pointed to another big dose of classy metal with hooks by the boatload.” No one expects the Swedish Inquisition!

Tyrant – Hereafter Review

Tyrant – Hereafter Review

“Aside from the enigmatic Brocas Helm, Tyrant may be one of the least prolific American metal bands ever. Starting out in 1978, the band dropped their Legions of the Dead debut in 85, followed by their best known, most respected work, 87s Too Late to Pray. After Too Late they went radio silent and I forgot about them in the fullness of time. Apparently they released a comeback album in 96 which I only just found out about because they’re attempting a brand new comeback, the result of which was just hauled out of the promo sump like a waterlogged carcass.” Once and future Tyrant.

Freddy and the Phantoms – A Universe from Nothing Review

Freddy and the Phantoms – A Universe from Nothing Review

“I found myself wondering whether the members of Freddy and the Phantoms who aren’t the eponymous vocalist/keyboardist Frederick (Freddy) Schnoor write down “Phantom at Freddy and the Phantoms” on their resume. The promo material did not answer this pressing question, so I’ll happily assume they do. Also on the resume of any given Phantom is participation in one of 2015’s best rock records: Times of Division.” Rocking the stars.

Goden – Beyond Darkness Review

Goden – Beyond Darkness Review

“We’ve discussed revivals before, and tributes aplenty. Just look at Sweven‘s Morbus Chron tribute–kind of a bit of both, and to mixed reactions. The list goes on: Black Sabbath and Heaven and HellImmortal and Abbath. Musicians looking to revive an old project under a new name must tread lightly, as we don’t want Morbus Chron 2.0, for example, but something that acknowledges the past while taking a fresh step forward. Today’s topic of discussion, New York’s Winter,  a relatively quiet 90’s death metal act that nevertheless influenced the development of the death/doom niche with its murky and sprawling tunes.” Winter is coming back.

Demonic Death Judge – The Trail Review

Demonic Death Judge – The Trail Review

“The fantastically named Demonic Death Judge is a sludge/stoner quartet from Kymenlaakso, Finland, having released two EPs and three full-lengths of plodding and hazy dirges since 2009, The Trail being their fourth. Their first two full-lengths were nearly identical to Louisianan Thou‘s gloomy sludge affairs, pitching molasses-thick riffs, blackened rasps, and decidedly bleak themes.” The path unbakened.

Yer Metal Is Olde: Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Yer Metal Is Olde: Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath‘s eponymous 1970 debut might well be the ultimate Yer Metal is Olde entry. Besides being unquestionably metal, it’s also as Olde as Yer Metal can possibly get. Because, despite what a small minority of Coven and/or Blue Cheer fans might say, the release of Black Sabbath marks the birth of heavy metal itself as both a sound and a fully-formed aesthetic.” No metal is olderER!

Shadow Witch – Under the Shadow of a Witch Review

Shadow Witch – Under the Shadow of a Witch Review

“I often marvel at the diversity of the wondrous art form of metal music. Doom is no exception, flowering beyond the traditional Sabbathian foundations. Along with its various genre affiliates, it continues to impress in genre depth without deviating too far from slow and heavy pathways. New York’s Shadow Witch lean towards a hard-rocking, bluesy, riff-centric stoner doom template on their third album, Under the Shadow of a Witch.” Wicked witches.

Hex A.D. – Astro Tongue in the Electric Garden Review

Hex A.D. – Astro Tongue in the Electric Garden Review

“I’d never heard of the band, but for the next two weeks, I listened to the album at least 25 times. I lived it. I breathed it. The review I produced was no Tolstoyan masterpiece, but the score was correct, and I remain weirdly proud of it. Netherworld Triumphant was a cool, bluesy amalgamation of a whole bunch of 70s and 80s hard rock influences, performed by talented musicians having a lot of fun. It wasn’t original, but it worked. It was also my ticket out of the Skull Pit. Now, a mere 15 months later, the Norwegians return with the ridiculously titled Astro Tongue in the Electric Garden.” Tongue AND groove.