Occult Rock

Molassess – Through the Hollow Review

Molassess – Through the Hollow Review

“In 2006, siblings Selim and Farida Lemouchi started a psychedelic occult rock band called The Devil’s Blood. In 2013, it collapsed. During its existence, the band drew a loyal following in underground music. Its music balanced retro occult and innovative psych rock. Selim, guitar player and spiritual heart of the band, was uncompromising in his vision, resulting in shows that were as much Satanic rituals as they were concerts, including buckets of pig blood and candles all over the place. In 2014, after struggling with depression for much of his existence, Selim requested permission to die from his mother and sister shortly before taking his own life. 5 years later, Roadburn overlord Walter Hoeijmakers asked the former members of The Devil’s Blood whether they would be interested in creating a commissioned piece of music. Molassess was born.” Blood and life travel strange pathways.

Valkyrie – Fear Review

Valkyrie – Fear Review

“Summertime is when I’m most susceptible to the bleary-eyed charms of jammy, fuzzed out retro/occult doom. That kind of music just seems to go with warmer days and brighter skies. Virginia’s Valkyrie play their cards right by dropping their 4th album in the middle of a New York heat wave, as my brain is already hot-wired to embrace what they’re doing on Fear.” Fear is the riff dealer.

Avatarium – The Fire I Long For Review

Avatarium – The Fire I Long For Review

“Just as with their last outing, Avatarium‘s latest opus snuck up on me, having only learned of its imminent release a week ago. I’m not sure why this band escapes my metal detector/radar so effectively, but this 70s doom rock project founded by Leif Edling of Candlemass fame always makes for a pleasant surprise, as they’ve been quite impressive over their relatively brief life cycle. Health concerns have caused Leif to step away from the band more and more over the last few years, and on fourth album The Fire I Long For, he’s he’s been relegated to helping write a few songs.” Feel this fire.

Saint Karloff – Interstellar Voodoo Review

Saint Karloff – Interstellar Voodoo Review

“When I saw the name Saint Karloff bobbing in the promo cesspool, I was intrigued. Growing up with Saturday morning horror movies in the 70s and 80s, Boris Karloff was like my unauthorized babysitter and creepy uncle, so I felt compelled to hear the band that dared to hijack his name. Upon closer inspection I learned this Norwegian psychedelic occult/stoner act’s sophomore outing, coming hot on the heels of a 2018 debut, is one 40:23 minute song. I was dismayed by this, and immediately considered weaponizing it and dropping it on some unsuspecting staffer like a concrete piano from a fourth floor window. Then I pressed play.” Do that voodoo, that you doo doo, so well.

Kadavar – For the Dead Travel Fast Review

Kadavar – For the Dead Travel Fast Review

“When Ghost popped out of the ground/Vatican and started spinning their poppy, Satanic throwback rock for the masses, they inadvertently birthed a whole new wave of acts seeking to merge the same 70s rock influences with occult imagery and demonic subject matter. One of the earliest adapters of this “new” style was Germany’s Kadavar, who fused psychedelic rock with horror and occult themes in ways that were as good and sometimes better than anything Ghost had done before.” Now THIS is dead racing!

Lightning Born – Lightning Born Review

Lightning Born – Lightning Born Review

“Indeed, my indirect memories of the 70s feature objects and trends grown shabby from age and eventually replaced by neon colors, Reaganomics and synth pop. Raleigh, North Carolina’s Lightning Born, on the other hand, remember the 70’s in living detail and have preserved them in pristine amber on their full-length eponymous debut.” Lightning born, time frozen.

Sabbath Assembly – A Letter of Red Review

Sabbath Assembly – A Letter of Red Review

“In what should be considered a minor achievement, Sabbath Assembly are dropping their seventh album, A Letter of Red, with the identical lineup as 2017’s excellent Rites of Passage. This is the first time these strange occult-rockers have kept a static lineup, and that means we hope for an album of equal or better quality than the previous (which was a favorite of mine that year). However, the band makes it clear in their lead-up to the album that they are throwing a few change-ups our way: shorter songs, tight production, and a leaning towards 70s hard rock rather than the prog rock they treated us to on Rites of Passage. With the pedigree present, I’m sure they can pull off anything they attempt–can’t they?” Come back to the Sabbath?

Magic Circle – Departed Souls Review

Magic Circle – Departed Souls Review

“There’s no shortage of bands tunneling their way back to the past for inspiration. Magic Circle is among the pit crew delving deep into the 70s for influences, with their sound straddling the line between early Black Sabbath and rock royalty like Deep Purple. Featuring members of ,b>Sumerlands, Pagan Altar, and Doomriders, this is a bit of a super project, and on third album Departed Souls they do their best to defile all the right crypts of doom lore to arrive at something that smells fresh enough to wear about town without shame.”

Superlynx – New Moon Review

Superlynx – New Moon Review

“Stoner doom can frequently be heard in the House of Cherd. I enjoy it in my rotation, being, as I am, of Doom. Mrs. Cherd, however, takes particular delight in it. Whenever we’re doing housework to one of her playlists, it’s not uncommon for three Windhand songs from different albums to be followed by Bongzilla, then Electric Wizard, all while she promises that there are other genres in there and the next song probably won’t be stoner doom.” Family friendly doom.

New Light Choir – Torchlight Review

New Light Choir – Torchlight Review

“The occult/psychedelic movement has been quiet this year, and when it has made noise, that noise has been like bathwater: tepid and lukewarm. Aside from a small handful of notable exceptions, when you search the site for occult rock or psychedelic rock, you find a ton of 2.5s and 3.0s. Not the most fun in the world. But North Carolina duo New Light Choir aim to change that here with their third album, Torchlight. While their first two albums showed promise, there was obvious room for growth, both in production and songwriting. But as is the case with pretty much every genre, it is easy to take things into parody range. Worshiping too hard at the retro altar usually doesn’t work out.” Worship the olden riffs.