Candlemass

Carcolh – The Life and Works of Death Review

Carcolh – The Life and Works of Death Review

“Doom can be rather dull. We all know it. Even the most ardent doom aficionado will concede the point if pressed hard enough. It takes imagination, guile, and tradecraft to make a slow moving depressive style both interesting and exciting. The best bands skillfully craft riffs and vocal lines that shake the brain stem and excite the neurons regardless of relative speed, and songs must find that elusive balance between pacing and engagement. French baguette doomsters Carcolh worship the genre’s traditional ways and on sophomore album The Life and Works of Death, they attempt that oh so delicate tightrope walk.” Do the walk of life (and death).

Asphyx – Necroceros Review

Asphyx – Necroceros Review

“I warned you all this would be a year of Steel on a mean death bender and here we are. Let’s kick it off in grand fashion with the brand new offering from death metal royalty, Asphyx. After shamefully overlooking 2016 release Incoming Death, I found myself needing to get my phyx of new material from a band I’ve enjoyed since my college days. Necroceros is the Dutch devils’ tenth album and the first written and recorded during a global pandemic.” Necro-Destructo.

Ecclesia – De Ecclesiæ Universalis Review

Ecclesia – De Ecclesiæ Universalis Review

“The good old Inquisition was not humanity’s finest hour. I guess it’s all well and good to take religion seriously, if that’s one’s thing but it’s a bit presumptuous, I would suggest – perhaps with the benefit of hindsight – to go about torturing and burning thousands of people at the stake for either being insufficiently religious, not the right kind of religious or, in many cases, simply a woman. Still, putting the very real horrors of this extended folly to one side, the Inquisition does make for bloody good source material for a metal concept album. And so say French six-piece Ecclesia.” No one expects the Doom Inquisition.

Harmonize – Warrior in the Night Review

Harmonize – Warrior in the Night Review

“There is a fine line between cringe and cheese. The latter is a savory substance that has embalmed many a God of Metal throughout the ages, and while the former can be bewitching in some of its shapes, it’s all the same loathed by most of us. Cheese is a crucial ingredient to all metal that I love, and of late I find that my desire for that silky, golden mass has become more and more difficult to satiate. Just as my craving was reaching peak levels and I hurried to spin Manowar’s “Sons of Odin” for the 666th time, the rattle of the promo bin beg I pay heed.” Sing for your steel!

Bell Witch/Aerial Ruin – Stygian Bough Volume I Review

Bell Witch/Aerial Ruin – Stygian Bough Volume I Review

“Dylan Desmond and Jesse Shreibman’s decision to make official their partnership with Erik Moggridge, the man in Aerial Ruin‘s one-man dark folk band, made sense. Moggridge’s guest vocals on Mirror Reaper conveyed grief and loss on a frequency that Bell Witch couldn’t have reached alone. Stygian Bough Volume I pries those mournful dimensions wide in a symbiotic give-and-take quite unlike anything either act has produced before.” Witch in flight.

Stygian Crown – Stygian Crown Review

Stygian Crown – Stygian Crown Review

“I love me some traditional doom and have since I was a wee metal laddie. I’m also a major fan of Bolt Thrower. Naturally then, when an unknown act described their style as “Candlethrower” and promised a union of Candlemass and Bolt Thrower, the brass knuckles and electro-whip came out and the Steel One made damn sure that promo ended up in his hairy clutches.” Back waxed.

Curse the Son – Excruciation Review

Curse the Son – Excruciation Review

“Character, they say, is forged in adversity. Or at least that’s what management tells me every time I see myself rostered for yet another shift in the AMG Skull Pit™. Curse the Son know all about adversity, having had a constantly rotating line-up since the band formed in 2008. In addition, bassist Brendan O’Keefe suffered extensive injuries after a motorcycle accident in November 2018, necessitating a long road back to recovery. Basically, a lot of shit has happened to the band since the release of 2017’s Isolator, and Curse the Son is ready to tell you all about it.” Tough truckin’.

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.

Lord Vigo – Danse De Noir Review

Lord Vigo – Danse De Noir Review

“I went for a walk on a beautiful day – fifteen degrees Celsius or so – and gave Danse de Noir, the fourth record from German metallers Lord Vigo, its maiden voyage through my ears and mind. Within five minutes, I was reminded why I love this outstanding little genre called metal. Lord Vigo plays trad metal in the vein of Ram but stirs some Candlemass and Angel Witch into the mix for good measure.” Metal appreciation.