Archive for the Psychedelic Category

Ghost – Meliora

Posted in Classic Metal, Doom, Hard Rock, Prog, Psychedelic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2015 by Badass and Grim

Ghost-Meliora

If you’re not familiar with the nameless ghouls by now, Ghost are an act who’s members perform in complete anonymity with the exception of their anti-papal frontman Papa Emeritus. Drawing musical inspiration from the diverse strands of rock and metal’s history and delivering the result through enigmatic and theatrical stage performances:

To put my cards firmly on the table: I’ve always found Ghost a difficult act to get on-board with. A synthesis of Classic Rock, Doom and Satanism looks on paper like something I couldn’t help but love, but I always found exposure to the reality wanting and overly cheesy. With the exception of “Elizabeth” and “Secular Haze” the first two albums amounted to so much “meh”. So with low expectations I hit play, and to my surprise was completely blown away by the following 42 minutes of perfectly executed rock heaven.

The album opens with “Spirit”, queue classic horror choir and theremin, before the guitars drop in and we’re away. In a lot of ways “Spirit” is a microcosm of the album as a whole, moving seamlessly between its psychedelic, proggy, and hard rock elements. We’re treated to a synchronised solo in the best of the classic rock tradition and firmly within Thin Lizzy territory.

“From the Pinnacle To the Pit” lays down the filthiest bass riff before the rest of the crew join in, with much more emphasis on the heavy metal hue of Ghost’s music. The songs middle eight demonstrates the band’s seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of catchy vocal hooks.

“Cirice” is the point where I went from surprised interest to hero worship. The verse is heavy as hell, the chorus is solid gold 80’s rock , and the solo is going to melt your face and pull your heart-strings at the same time.

After the transition of “Spoksonat”, “He Is” opens like a something from the Amelie soundtrack, before morphing into a hymn to Satan. A frankly beautiful hymn to Satan; had it been composed by Simon and Garfunkel. The chorus rings out: “He is, he’s the shining and the light without whom I cannot see; he is insurrection, he is spite, he’s the force that made me be.” These are irresistible vocal harmonies, and feels like flower-power just got svart-dyed. Again, slamming guitar solos that wouldn’t be out of place from Gary Moore.

Of all the tracks on the album “Mummy Dust” is the only one where I found my old objections rise again, with the title and chorus a little over-baked for my taste. That said, I’m a miserable bastard and don’t understand fun, so I’m sure most of you won’t be able to gobble down enough “mummy dust” if you know what I mean…on reflection maybe that was an instruction for it’s successful enjoyment rather than a title track.

“Krieg”

“Majesty” chugs away like a Sabbath or Maiden track, but you can tell we’re building to something here, and sure enough we hit a chorus that wouldn’t be out of place on Headspace’s “Anonymous”. This is all progressive melody and uplifting guitar/organ duty.

“Devil Church” is a lengthier abridging track continuing into prog territory, very much in the vein of Focus or Rush. After this the album opens out into “Absolution”, all brooding vocals until the 3 min point when Ghost awaken the synth-lords of old, descending from on-high riding stellar space arpeggiation.

“Deus In Absentia”, the album’s closing track, is a suitable anthem to close with which I’m sure will become a staple of Ghost’s live show and a favourite sing along for the crowd.

This is the perfect execution of what Ghost seems to have been striving towards since their inception, bringing together the best elements of the root genres they draw from and presenting a synthesis which is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Meliora is a hugely positive step change in the quality of Ghost’s song writing, and it’s hard to find anything to fault with this superb album.

I can’t believe I’m about to do this:

Deej

9/10

9/10

Metal Eurovision 2013 – Part Two

Posted in Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom, Goregrind, Hardcore, Psychedelic, Sludge, Stoner, Thrash on June 18, 2013 by Badass and Grim

Ireland

Tricifix – Monothist (death metal)

As with Eurovision tradition, some golden oldies are brought out when there’s no hope left to relive their wonder years. This bunch from Donegal formed in the late eighties, and the track is taken from their 1991 album Diurnal Decay. Mixing smoothly flowing bass lines with an intricate and thrashy approach to death metal, Tricifix are worthy additions to any early death collection.

Israel

Betzefer – Doomsday (groove metal)

From their 2011 album Freedom To The Slave Makers, this track nods to Betzefer’s influences of Pantera and late Sepultura while still maintaining an original sound. Proof that keeping it simple can be as effective as any uberwiddly solo, the chorus chant has a tendency to lodge in your head all day.

Italy

Murk – In The Kingdom Of The Dead (black metal)

From Florence in Tuscany, Murk bring a dissonant and haunting breed of BM. Vocals are a little too reminiscent of a comical Strepsils advert for my taste, though these improve as the song progresses. Guitar tone and tempo however are spot on. Taken from the 2007 album Unholy Presences.

Latvia

Grondh – Bads (black metal)

Taken from their only album Necilvēks, not much has been heard of the band since 2011. The track hurtles in at a gallop rather than creating atmosphere, but the vocal style is commendable.

Lithuania

Dinozauras – Įpareigotas Maitoti (sludge/goregrind)

While seeming an unlikely genre, it’s certainly proof that in metal anything is possible if you hit things hard enough. Meaning ‘Obliged To Defile’ in Lithuanian, crushing drums and staggering riffs create a disgustingly brutal tone reminiscent of an explosion in an abattoir, and while the grind part is seemingly absent, the gore is definitely there. From their album Ecce Cruor!, released in 2012.

Macedonia (FYROM)

Furion – Queen Of Thieves (thrash)

Released in February of this year on their first full-length album Thrashing Folks, Furion have a solid style of thash that brings in elements of their native music with great effectiveness, seen best in the way the track boots back from an instrumental break into full headbanging glory. Even before this album release, Furion won a Battle Of The Bands contest and played at Wacken in 2009. Certainly one to get heads nodding.

Malta

Thy Legion – Sadism Through Holy Intervention (blackened death)

Playing at Chains’R’Us is certainly a good formula for a music video, but it helps if the music is good as well. These Maltese metallers certainly deliver, with machine-gun blast beats, effective vocals and catchy guitar riffs. Taken from Venerato Diaboli, released in 2010.

Moldova

Caligo – Behold Ragnarok (one-man black metal)

Immortal-like vocals reside in tin-can style production quality, adding to the grimness of this great track from solo black metaller Caligo. Released in February of this year, it’s the second track off his demo album Residing In The Black Void, which also features a cover of Darkthrone’s ‘Skald Av Satans Sol’.

Montenegro

Zaimus – Under The Unholy Spells Of Night (black metal)

More black metal, this time with two members, Khamul and Asmodai. While relying quite heavily on just a few riffs throughout the majority of the track, the track has a pretty nice tempo to it, lyrics are pretty good, and programming adds something new, particularly at around five minutes in. Taken from their self-released EP of the same name.

Netherlands

Acid Deathtrip – The Aftermath (sludge/doom)

Wonderfully crushing sonic dystopia, complete with ’60s moustaches and boobs. A relatively new band, they released their first EP on the 18th of March this year. Describing themselves as ‘blasphemous boogie’ and ‘getting face-banged by nudist midgets under a pagan moon’ should give you some idea. One to watch!

Norway

Summon The Crows – Menneske (crust/death)

Renowned for its prowess at most other kinds of metal, it was hard to find something a bit different for Norway’s entry. Translating as ‘Human’, this track from crusty riff-jugglers Summon The Crows is short-lived but amazingly intricate. It is the penultimate track on their EP; since then they have made two more full length albums and a split with Deviated Instinct.

A close second came Dødfødt with ‘Krigen’.

Romania

The :Egocentrics – Mystic Initiation (psych/stoner)

A truly commendable effort, this song just builds and builds with some truly amazing tone. This stoner-psych behemoth is from their demo, and checking out their other releases is highly recommended for lovers of the overweight chub riff.

Russia

Камни (Kamni) – Bong of Satan (stoner/doom)

Taken from their 2010 EP, crushing riffs and some pretty awesome wah-pedalling make Kamni’s ‘Bong Of Satan’ a pretty damn good track. Vocals sound oddly like Ramesses pretending to be Phil Anselmo, but it fits the style they’ve created nicely.

San Marino

Nothing Inside Eyes – The Day Skies Fall On Earth (thrash/hardcore)

The ever-valued Encyclopaedia Metallum is often vital in searching for new bands, but unfortunately San Marino, a country of just over twenty-four square miles, turns up two results, both of whom had split up. One of those, Alchimia 2012, went on to create this band after departing, and the result is a pretty modern-sounding ‘core affair. Released in July of last year.

Serbia

Putrid Blood – Kontraudar (thrash)

Meaning ‘Counterattack’ in Serbian, ‘Kontraudar’ has that rare quality of native-tongue songs that means once the words (or at least their approximate sounds) are learnt, it’s just as fun to chant along to as any other song. Even with Google Translates’ erratic guessing, the lyrical themes are pretty key to many other thrash tracks, and the riffs hammer them home well. Taken from their 2012 album Absolute Profit.

Slovenia

Somrak – Howls From The Devil (black metal)

Slovenian for ‘Twilight’ (though luckily no relation to a franchise of the same name), Somrak focus on Satanism and the occult as their inspiration, and between the four of the they’ve created some pretty good stuff, even if the vocals falter at times. Taken from the 2007 album The Abhorred Blessings.

Spain

Monkeypriest – Hanuman’s Dance (sludge/doom)

Breaking straight out with some Phurpa-style throat singing, ‘Hanuman’s Dance’ soon settles into a distinctly crushing plod, almost impossible to resist nodding along to. The opening track from their 2011 album, The Psalm, it sets both the pace and tone for the remaining six tracks brilliantly. It’s well worth listening to the album in one hit to get the full effect of it.

Sweden

Soliloquium – Crossroads (doom/death)

From Sweden hail Soliloquium, a two-piece band from Stockholm. The band mixes atmospheric clean-sung passages with more brutal sections, similar to the style of Katatonia and October Tide, but still manages to remain unique and intriguing, using switches between both vocal styles and tempo to keep the listener’s interest peaked. Taken from their new album The Concept Of Escape.

Switzerland

Moonfrost – Cleanse (black metal)

With their name winning triple points in Black Metal Scrabble, Moonfrost bring this fantastically desolate track forth from the land of snowy peaks and traffic incursions. It has some brilliant instrumental parts at the beginning that lead back nicely to well-paced BM, but the piano sections at the end may lead some to turn it off early. From the album Starfall, released in December 2011.

Ukraine

Marauder – Atrophied King (thrash)

With a vocal sound akin to Australian thrashers Mortal Sin, this Kiev bunch throw themselves headlong into a superspeed thrash assault for just over two minutes. Short, but sweet. Taken from the single of the same name, which was released in February of this year.

Venus in Binbags

B and G Podcast – Post Damnation

Posted in Badass and Grimness Podcast, Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom, Gig, Grindcore, Psychedelic, Sludge, Stoner, Thrash with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2012 by Badass and Grim

In this Post Damnation episode we discuss last months Damnation Festival in Leeds.

Featuring: Electric Wizard, Winterfylleth, Wodens Throne, Witch Sorrow, Vried and more.

Apologies for the audio quality at points.

Cheers

Murderdeth

High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis

Posted in Doom, Psychedelic, Sludge, Stoner with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2012 by Badass and Grim

De Vermis Mysteriis is Latin for “The Mysteries of the Worm”, and is the title of a fictional grimoire created by Robert Bloch while he was writing his lovecraftian fiction (the same Bloch would later go on to write Psycho). The concept of the album itself is frankly bizarre, described by front-man Matt Pike: Jesus Christ’s twin brother who died at birth travels forward through time until he finds a magic potion, then starts to travel backwards seeing history through his ancestors eyes, but his enemies can kill him if they kill that ancestor. Groovy.

De Vermis Mysteriis is a great slab of heavy metal, each song overflowing with chunky riffs  in the sludge/stoner vein. It actually reminded me a lot of Mastodon’s “Leviathan” in the crushing heaviness of the guitar tone and the quality of the song writing. After the first three tracks of fast and furious guitar work the guys take their foot of the pedal a bit for “Madness of an Architect”, a much more doom influenced track, and “Samsara” a four minute instrumental with a kick-ass bluesy solo. These two tracks add some welcome variety with a change of pace and style at the centre of the record. Don’t get too comfortable, as “Spiritual Rights” kicks you in the teeth and gets the train rolling again.

My favourite track is “King of Days” another slow burner, with such an awesome riff (just go listen to it), as Pike howls a Crowbaresque lament ‘They sail a burning sun, A war they never won, They toss the fear aside, Never to ask for Pride!’ Again, the solo is top notch. A great  album which packs a punch.

Highly recommended for any heavy metal/rock fans, if you like this check out:

Mastodon – “Leviathan”

Crowbar – “Severe the Wicked Hand”

Howl – “Full of Hell”

Deej

Ufomammut – Eve

Posted in Doom, Psychedelic, Sludge with tags , , , , on October 22, 2012 by Badass and Grim

First and foremost I’ll own up that I was pretty late to the Ufomammut party having only discovered their 2005 release ‘Lucifer Songs’ late last year but in that brief time the experimental Italian trio have grown on me immensely. Marrying psychedelic, sludge and doom isn’t genre defining but Ufomammut manage to stitch it all together in a pretty unique way, seemlessly blending heavy usage of samples and electronics without ever losing that sheer weight of the riff.

So ‘Eve’, just one track measuring an epic 45 minutes in length that takes us through a psychedilic journey about the first woman of Earth and her rebellion against her creator after he gave knowledge to Mankind, as far as concept albums go its pretty out there. The track is divided up into 5 distinct movements, moving between crushing crescendos of sheer volume to sample driven soundscapes, some of which wouldn’t be out of place in arthouse films.

Personal highlights include 22:00, where Poia’s riff begins relentlessly punching forth after the previous 5 minutes of rhythmic build up and 38:15 where the entire band begin to weave a maddening sludgy walts bringing this opus to a conclusion and leaving us with beautiful feedback and a rather insidious sample.

I’d stress though this isnt something you’d pop on for a quick listen, this is a piece of music that deserves the full 45 minutes, a comfy chair, maybe a beer or whatever else you enjoy and most importantly attention. This journey and whether you buy into concept or not you will always be getting an experience and beyond that slabs and slabs of riffs just like Mama used to make.

Necrowulf