Saint Vitus

Pilgrim – Misery Wizard Review

Pilgrim – Misery Wizard Review

Is lumbering, elephantine doom your thing? Well, it had better be if you plan on spending quality time with Rhode Island doom-sayers, Pilgrim. That’s because their Misery Wizard debut serves up six ginomous slices of crawling, droning, monolithic doom with all the subtlety of a steel cage wrestling match. Do you think Saint Vitus and Reverend Bizarre are slow? Pilgrim is slower. Think Cathedral has some huge sounding riffs? Pilgrim has bigger ones. In a doom pissing contest, these chaps are mellow yellow. To help explain their sound, I’ve compiled a short list of things that move faster than Pilgrim. These include: octogenarians with bad knees, glaciers, evolution and innovation in black metal. Yep, Pilgrim is mighty slow. For a power trio, they make a lot of racket and stay true to the old school style of Sabbath-infused dirgery. They aren’t innovative or particularly dynamic and at times, they can get rather tiresome and tedious, even for a doom fanboy like Steel Druhm. Because of that last factoid, Misery Wizard is an album intended only for tried-and-true doom-hounds who don’t suffer from the slightest trace of ADD [I’ll be over here, looking at moss. – AMG]. If your mind tends to wander, or drone makes you snooze, skip this release, or patience you’ll lose (HA! I waxed poetic).

Vallenfyre – A Fragile King Review

Vallenfyre – A Fragile King Review

2011 might as well be dubbed the year of Swedish Retro Death. Band after loathsome band has burst from the underground to pay rancid homage to genre legends like Entombed, Dismember and Grave. Despite the sheer volume of the stuff, Steel Druhm has remained supportive and for the most part, the trend hasn’t worn out its welcome. Now we get Vallenfyre’s debut full length from a veritable death metal super group featuring members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Cradle of Filth. With such a pedigree, it shouldn’t be too surprising when A Fragile King has everything you would reasonably expect from a Swedish death album. It’s chunky, thick, nasty and vile. It’s an ode to all things Entombed with a sizeable injection of Celtic Frosty goodness as well. At times, its so much like the immortal Left Hand Path it’s uncanny, yet it also brings in plenty of dire dirges to shake things up. This MOFO was conceived in unholy sin, birthed in ungodly filth and raised on bloody carnage. There’s a guitar sound heavy enough to fracture your vertebrae and vocals so grisly they’ll disturb the deranged. But, you rightly ask, is it actually good? Oh yes, it’s really good! This is unapologetically retro and doesn’t strive for innovation but it nails home the tried-and-true Swedish sound with the subtlety of a Panzer division. How this will sit with you depends entirely on your tolerance for more Swedish death. If 2011 has fed you all the old-time death you can stomach, move along and I won’t think less of you. If not, belly up to the death buffet and chow down on this meatloaf of the damned.

Pentagram – Last Rites Review

Pentagram – Last Rites Review

Pentagram has been around almost as long as actual pentagrams have. They’re seriously grizzled, wiley vets of the doom scene and the fact they’re still churning out material is amazing to me. This band has been together in one form or another since 1971 and now they’re back again in 2011. In case you somehow missed the boat on these doom titans, Pentagram plays 70’s styled doom metal similar to early Black Sabbath or old Saint Vitus and they’ve created some of the best moments in the style over their long life. For those already familiar with the Penta-brand, what makes this album a Big Fucking Deal (thank you, Joe Biden) is the return of founding guitarist and doom demigod Victor Griffin (Place of Skulls) who hasn’t graced a Pentagram platter since their last great effort, Be Forewarned way back in 1994. With one of the true masters of doom guitar reunited with one of the founding fathers of doom vocals Bobby Liebling, can things end up as anything other than unnaturally bad ass? No, no they can’t and Last Rites is the strongest and most consistently killer album since Be Forewarned and may even be better. From start to finish, this sounds like a fully recharged and hungry Pentagram and what makes it even better, it sounds WAY heavier and more battle ready than the recent string of releases with Joe Hasselvander playing all the instruments. This is Grade A doom with some serious attitude and it delivers a major kick to the arse. Not what you would expect from a bunch of old codgers eh?

Steel Druhm’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 50-41

Steel Druhm’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 50-41

Much like Angry Metal Guy, I took issue with Gibson’s Top 50 Metal Songs of All Time. While AMG was primarily offended by the paucity of post-1980s selections and the Anglocentric focus, my biggest gripe was the inclusion of bands that weren’t/aren’t metal (that also pissed me off, I’m just not eloquent when I’m pissed. – AMG). As good as bands like KISS, Van Halen and AC/DC may be, they just aren’t heavy metal bands (Don’t even get me started on Korn). Even when Gibson managed to stick to the correct genre, some of their choices were quite baffling to me. Of course, if you put fifty metal fans in a room and told them to do their own lists, each would be unique and vastly different. That’s the wonderful subjectivity of music, it means something different to each of us and who are we to judge what others like? That being said, Gibson’s list blows moose cock, so here’s mine.

Acid Witch – Stoned Review

Acid Witch – Stoned Review

Toward the back of the Big Book of Metal Ingredients there is a little known concoction. It calls for one part Saint Vitus, one part Cathedral and one part Necrophagia. To that mix, add creepy church organs, horror movie samples and trippy/psychedelic flourishes. Finish by generously seasoning with magic weed, baking heavily and voila! You get Acid Witch and Stoned is an apt title indeed since this will give you a sore neck and a serious case of the munchies. This is the second album by these death/doom/stoner weirdos from Michigan and they stay true to the odd sound pioneered on their 2008’s debut Witchtanic Hallucinations and provide another wack0, tongue-in-cheek trip through metal and reefer madness. While I highly doubt this will find a very big audience, it’s a pretty entertaining, heavy yet silly slab o death/doom and unlike anything else out there.

Helrunar – Sol Review

Helrunar – Sol Review

Well, we’re certainly off to a great start for black metal in this shiny new year. First we get a righteously good release from Belphegor and now the unheralded German unit Helrunar erupts from relative obscurity with a double album of masterfully grim, bleak blackness. Yep, you read that right, a DOUBLE ALBUM of massive black metal clocking in at ninety minutes! So, you might be asking, who do they think they are? How dare they release a double album? Well, the short answer is, they’re Helrunar and a whole lot more people are going to know them REAL soon because Sol is going to stamp them firmly on the black metal map.

Circle of Dead Children – Psalms of the Grand Destroyer Review

Circle of Dead Children – Psalms of the Grand Destroyer Review

Here at Angry Metal Guy Industries ©®, staff is small [by which he means “little people” – Ed.], deadlines are many and mercy is neither asked for nor granted. Therefore, we of the reviewer caste don’t always get to cherry pick bands or genres we love. Because of this ugly truth, sometimes a review must be done for something outside our musical wheelhouse. That is the very dilemma facing yours truly with a review of Psalms of the Grand Destroyer by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s own Circle of Dead Children. Album number four by these purveyors of inhuman deathgrind is sick, twisted, chaotic and brutal for brutality’s sake, but is it good? That is a mighty tricky question.