Sabbath Assembly

Dool – Summerland Review

Dool – Summerland Review

“Poor Summerland. Dool’s latest album has been picked up and dropped in the promo bin more times than I’ve had hot meals, and it looks like it’s finally found a home with me. First El Cuervo toyed with it, but after remembering how bored he was with their first album, he tossed it aside with disdain. Who else but GardensTale was there, drooling like a starving puppy, ready to take his shot at it. But it was not to be. Then along came poor old Huckles , late to the party, with nothing but Dool and a dozen black metal albums to choose from. Well, the only black metal I like is the Venom album, so the choice was clear. Who says beggars can’t be choosers?” Dooldrums.

Howling Sycamore – Seven Pathways to Annihilation Review

Howling Sycamore – Seven Pathways to Annihilation Review

“Last year’s self-titled debut from prog “supergroup” Howling Sycamore was one of my more positive surprises. On paper it shouldn’t have really worked: extreme drumming married to down-tuned guitars, then mashed in with over the top old-school vocals and the occasional crazed baritone sax. Yet the whole thing gelled in some weird, freakish way, and I was left hoping it wasn’t a one-off project. Well, here we are less than a year and a half later, with Seven Pathways to Annihilation, the band’s follow-up.” Screaming trees.

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?

Juniper Grave – Of Hellions and Harridans Review

Juniper Grave – Of Hellions and Harridans Review

“Listen, by the time December rolls around we don’t want to review new albums. We’re too busy listening to our favorites of the year to bother with new releases. But I’m a sucker for female-fronted blues-rock and occult bands–I love Blues Pills and Sabbath Assembly, and last year I had Pristine’s album high on my list–so when Juniper Grave’s debut landed in our promo pit, I had to grab it.” Hellions, Harridans, Huckster.

Pristine – Ninja [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

Pristine – Ninja [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

“It might not have been the best year for male vocalists, but the women in metal more than made up for it. Stellar performances from bands as varied as Royal Thunder, Sabbath Assembly, Chelsea Wolfe, Myrkur, and Diablo Swing Orchestra showed us that the women can bring it. But the best performance of the year came from a band whose album flew under our radar back in June, Pristine, and their fourth album, Ninja.” Women to the front!

Laser Flames on the Great Big News – Laser Flames on the Great Big News [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

Laser Flames on the Great Big News – Laser Flames on the Great Big News [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

“The term retro metal/rock gets bandied around a lot, due to the over-saturation of bands mining the freewheeling creativity of ’70s rock to varying degrees of success and very little originality. Lumping Laser Flames under the retro label would be a great disservice to the creativity and inventiveness the band conjures throughout the epic stoner odyssey of this self-titled release.” Retro rock with freakin laser beams!

Venomous Maximus – No Warning Review

Venomous Maximus – No Warning Review

Venomous Maximus try their darndest to move past the “occult” label and appeal more generally to the metal masses. Like their records before it, No Warning is an attempt to appease fans of both the sinister and the catchy. In other words, they seem to be striving for ownership of the same plot of land Ghost lay claim to. Stealing the ghost.

Sabbath Assembly – Rites of Passage Review

Sabbath Assembly – Rites of Passage Review

Sabbath Assembly have been gifting us with music firmly entrenched in eerie discomfort since 2009. In the early years, their releases centered upon the teachings of the Process Church of the Final Judgement, which made them disturbing to the point of near-inaccessibility. In what was a positive career move, the band decided not to regale us with further hippy cult weirdness on 2015’s self-titled release, instead focusing on pure occult songs, resulting in an excellent album that catapulted the band (in our eyes at least) to the top of the occult rock food chain.” Self-cleaning coven.

Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust Review

Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust Review

“With two and a half decades under their belt and a generation of bands aping their sound, one wouldn’t be surprised to see Gorguts rest on their laurels for a while. But Gorguts‘ time of rest is over, and Luc Lemay has made it abundantly clear that his pioneering death metal vision didn’t stop with From Wisdom to Hate.” No rest for the gutted.

Dead to a Dying World – Litany Review

Dead to a Dying World – Litany Review

“I’m not sure if it’s “fitting” or “ironic” that I received a promo from a band called Dead to a Dying World. After a week of some unfortunate shit hitting way too close to home, I’m further convinced that “the world is going to hell in a hand basket” (as a close friend would say). The thought of being a voiceless observer watching the world kill itself is a heavy burden to carry into Dead to a Dying World‘s sophomore outing, Litany.” When real life is depressing, doomy music like this can actually make things seem a little less bleak.