Slough Feg

Adrenechrome – Tales from Adrenechrome Review

Adrenechrome – Tales from Adrenechrome Review

“When I hear ‘sludge,’ I have a very specific sound in mind. I want wretched vocals, whiskey-soaked guitar riffs, and lyrics about living at the absolute nadir of human existence. I want it to live up to its name, flooding the sonic landscape with riffs that sound like they were written in an abandoned warehouse during an opium binge. Thus, I was a bit disappointed when first researching Ontario’s Adrenechrome and finding that the ‘sludge’ tag often used to describe them is, alas, very loosely applied.” What’s wrong with happy-go-lucky sludge?

Vhöl – Deeper Than Sky Review

Vhöl – Deeper Than Sky Review

“Bay area supergroup Vhöl seemed to come out of nowhere with their self-titled 2013 debut. Led by Hammers of Misfortune/Ludicra guitarist John Cobbett, Vhöl contains members from both bands but proved to be a different beast entirely, combining disparate elements and metal subgenres into something truly original. Two years later, the follow-up Deeper Than Sky arrives, and given the band’s pedigree and the quality of the debut, my expectations are high.” The Doctor has a man crush.

Aktor – Paranoia Review

Aktor – Paranoia Review

“I’m getting rather tired of raving about Chris Black and his many musical endeavors (Pharaoh, Dawnbringer, High Spirits, etc.). Not because they don’t deserve the praise, mind you. I’m just reaching the point where I feel and sound like a shameless fanboy, and Steel Druhm doesn’t like that. Not. One. Bit. Apparently, Mr. Black cares little for my critical dilemmas, as he’s now released another winning musical project where he’s joined by Jussi Lehtisalo and Tomi Leppanen of the strange Finnish act Circle.” Black + Circle = Spin this black circle!

Darkest Era – Severance Review

Darkest Era – Severance Review

“Sometimes an album hits you just right and the only words that really seem to fit are “convincing, authentic and WOW.” That’s exactly what happened to me upon spinning Darkest Era‘s latest opus Severance. Though this Irish epic metal act was hitherto unknown to me, their cunning mixture of Primordial, doom and black metal instantly knocked me for a loop and now I’m a loyal convert to the cause (read as fanboy). ” Looks like the normally cranky Steel Druhm is over the Gaelic moon for this one.

Castle – Under Siege Review

Castle – Under Siege Review

“At the crossroads of retro/occult metal, doom and throwback vest metal, sits Castle like some sort of big…castle. These San Francisco rockers exploded onto the doom scene with their punchy In Witch Order début and immediately carved a niche for themselves among contemporaries like Jex Thoth and Occultation. Blacklands took things to the next level by incorporating strains of epic metal and black metal riffery and the result was quite heady, unpredictable and fun. Now we get Under Siege, which once again rejiggers the Castle sound as the band evolves and matures with grace and dignity.” Have you heard these guys yet? If not, Steel Druhm thinks less of you.

Slough Feg – Digital Resistance Review

Slough Feg – Digital Resistance Review

“For the uninitiated, San Francisco’s Slough Feg has been producing high quality old-school rock since the dark ages known as the mid-1990’s. Their signature sound combines elements of early metal and Celtic-inspired hard rock topped off by the bizarre lyrics and unique vocals of Mike Scalzi. Think Thin Lizzy with Professor X on vocals, and you’re in the ballpark. Digital Resistance is the band’s 9th album, and according to their bio, it’s a semi-concept record about “the digital age not only in terms of music, but how technology affects life itself.” Old school metal bands doing concept albums about the horrors of technology? That makes me feel cranky and old.

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Vhöl – Vhöl

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Vhöl – Vhöl

“Being the jaded old fuck that I am, there are very few musicians that I go into straight-up fanboy mode for these days. One of those individuals is guitarist John Cobbett. Who, you ask? Cobbett is a member of prog sextet Hammers of Misfortune, and has done time in both Slough Feg and Ludicra, which puts him at the center of San Francisco’s present-day metal scene. When Ludicra abruptly folded after touring for 2010’s brilliant prog-black-metal opus The Tenant, I was genuinely bummed out. Lucky for me, Cobbett quickly assembled a new outlet for his heavier material, dubbed Vhöl.” Are you worried you might have missed some precious metal this year? We worry too, so we’ll start bombarding you with our selections of quality albums we didn’t get to review, but would hate to see you miss. Here, Mr. Fisting brings you the new project from the ever interesting John Cobbett. You’re welcome!

Hellwell – Beyond the Boundaries of Sin

Hellwell – Beyond the Boundaries of Sin

Manilla Road is an institution in the metal world and deserve many accolades. However, their last album bummed Steel Druhm out bigtime. Now, Hellwell, the Manilla-fueled side project of Mark Shelton is here to right the wrongs and kill with songs. Steel Druhm is happy again and back in the Cthulhu cult where he belongs. Join him…

Hammers of Misfortune – 17th Street Review

Hammers of Misfortune – 17th Street Review

Few obscure, under-ground bands find the level of respect and reverence that San Francisco’s Hammers of Misfortune has. These avaunt-garde weirdos have been doing things their way since 2001 and slowly building appreciation and acclaim along the way. Deftly defying genre tags and easy (lazy) categorization by reviewers like myself, they’ve churned out a uniquely progressive amalgam of NWOBHM, folk, doom and ’70s rock. So unusual is their sound, the only truly comparable band is sister/brother act Slough Feg, with which they’ve swapped influences and members over the years. It’s a pretty safe bet if you like the Feg, you’ll dig what the Hammers are cooking too. Of the two, the Hammers were and are the weirder, more experimental outfit and under the leadership of guitarist/vocalist John Cobbett (ex-Slough Feg, ex-Ludicra), they’ve traveled some strange roads but always packed truckloads of melody and quirky charm. After an overly long wait since 2008’s Fields/Church of Broken Glass, we’re finally treated to their fifth album 17th Street and its a reassuring blast of sonic strangeness, musical eccentricity and refreshing innovation. Although not crushingly heavy or shockingly aggressive, its plenty metal, hugely melodic, catchy and most importantly, original! If that doesn’t sound good to you, go read my diatribe about black metal.