Archive for Doom

Ghost – Meliora

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


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.


“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:




Metal Eurovision 2013 – Part One

Posted in Black Metal, Death Metal, Sludge, Thrash with tags , , , on June 9, 2013 by Badass and Grim

It’s been that time of year again, when countless screaming wannabes and several metric tonnes of glitter and sequin have been poured into a studio and left to simmer for two weeks in a bid to show everyone how lovely Europe can be when we’re singing and not kicking the shit out of each other or hunting cats for food. However, despite the best efforts of strange falsetto-singing Romanians and Thor in a dinner suit, it turns out that several people around the globe quite like kicking the shit out of each other and hunting for, if not cats, then at least the nearest bar. This is the B&G metal version of Eurovision, with enough grind, death, thrash, stoner, doom and black metal to drown out the sound of next door and their skinny-gin-and-tonic caterwauling. There’s a band for each country that entered this year’s spandex-fest, some of which you may have heard of. Some are resurrected, some no longer around, but in the fashion of the original show, hopefully most will be new to you.


Gverr – Sprained Instinct (prog-death)

First up are Albanian band Gverr, purveyors of prog-death and tasty basslines. Formerly known as Trout (?!), they blend an intriguing mix of old-school death and thrashiness with compelling guitar solos. Taken from their 2010 album, nothing has been heard from the band since 2011. Shame really!


Bokrag – Mental Sickness (death/melodic death)

Armenian metallers Bokrag bring at first a slightly more brutal flavour of death metal, with ample technicality and catchy riffs. Rasping vocals courtesy of Alex Amiryan lend a more sinister edge to it than conventional death growling, but the melodic section is quite surprising after the initial fast pace of the first few minutes.


Ellende – Von Vergänglichkeit und Trost (black metal)

Translated as ‘Of Transience And Comforting’, this track clocks in at almost nine minutes long, and while mostly instrumental paints a satisfyingly bleak landscape in native German and haunting cries. Taken from Rückzug in die Innerlichkeit, the four-track album is available on Bandcamp.

A close second was ‘Todesschrei’ (Death-Cry) by Dunstzorn. Taken from their 2011 Mein Inner Kampf, it has an appealing lo-fi dustbin-lid feel to the drums, and keeping things simple riff wise ensures that they lodge in your head all day long. The militaristic vocal style is a nice touch, too.


Fatal Nation – Lord Of Another World (crossover thrash)

Though spoken in broken Englishes, it’s certainly better than my Azerbaijani and is ten times more relatable than most Rihanna songs. A commendable effort mixing thrash with Eastern music influences makes for something quite unique.


Infestum – Void Of Nebulae (black metal)

Think Space Black Metal didn’t exist? Think again! These Belarusian black metallers use the gaping galactic maw as inspiration for fast-paced riffery, with synth and industrial tones to boot it into more suitably futuristic realms. Taken from the 2012 album of the same name.


Saille – Fhtagn (symphonic black metal)

This Flanders band have based their most recent album, Ritu, around the writings of H.P. Lovecraft with suitably epic songwriting to boot. Indeed, the name of the track is part of a phrase in the Cthulhu mythos, roughly translating as ‘Dreams’. The haunting guitar tones are backed by well-executed and menacing vocals, and orchestral parts are tastefully restricted to eerie choirs rather than listening to Moonspell drive off a cliff with a full orchestra in tow.


Enthrallment – Cane The Messiah With The Crook (death metal/grindcore)

Cookie Monster vocals and rapid-fire blast beats abound in this track taken from their 2008 album Immerse Into Bloody Bliss. Fronted by Ross Kemp’s Bulgarian twin, Enthrallment have been happily chugging away with Suffocation-style death metal since 1998.


Nekrist – Slava Satan (blackened death metal)

Unfortunately no longer with us, this track was taken from their final 2010 album Dux Deus, which is also their only full length album. It’s a shame, as their satisfyingly blasty approach to black metal (complete with key changes) would be a fine addition to playlists everywhere.


Sabbah Navahthani – Pions And Prutend To Omit (sludge/doom)

This track, taken from their self-titled album of 2007, is a veritable bowel-rumbling doom effort from Nicosia. Catchy riffs and rolling basslines are great to bang your head along to, and feature members from Great Coven and Eight Hands For Kali. The drummer, Tas, also played bass for Electric Wizard from 2008-2012.


Essence – Lost In Violence (thrash)

These Danish brutes have been dishing out Big Four-worthy thrash metal since 2005, and their new album, Last Night Of Solace, came out in March. This track, taken from the previous album of the same name, is pretty lengthy at nearly eight minutes, winding seamlessly through balls-out thrash and slower but beautifully intricate bass parts.


Talbot – Cayenne (stoner/doom)

Wonderfully crushing, Talbot also have a new album this year that came out in April. From their previous album Eos comes this little beauty, full of lead-laden tones and lashings of cymbal bashing.


Garden of Worm – Hollow (doom)

And for Finland…Lordi! Only joking. Instead come Garden Of Worm, named after a King Crimson song. This track from their 2010 self-titled album initially sounds pretty much like old-school heavy metal slowed down with a couple of tonnes of lead thrown in for good measure. Clean vocals have a fairly monotonous and dirge-like tone to them (which sounds better than it reads), which can make an interesting change to other similar-sounding bands.


Benighted – Slut (death metal with grind influences)

A genre not often seen, but you can really see it work at around thirty seconds in as precise blast beats marry perfectly with death metal manic shredding and growling vocals. Taken from the 2008 album Icon, this track shows influences of Dying Fetus and Aborted but still manages to sound somewhat original.


Bohema – Eternal Slaves (brutal death metal)

Another death metal band, this time a more brutal mix incorporating Sumerian mythology and mysticism, and some fairly intricate bass lines. Their new album came out around Christmas, but this track off their first album of the same name slows slightly more ferocity and inventiveness, and some bloody nippy double-pedal to boot.


Obelyskkh – Horned God (stoner/psych/doom)

Delivering a wonderfully rich and crushing tone reminiscent of Monolithian, this song is one of many delights found on their 2012 album Mount Nysa. Describing their band interests as ‘weed, acid, space, Captain Future’ etc. is certainly a good start for such a genre, but the all important wall of sound has certainly been perfected here.


Convicted – Merciless (thrash)

With a distinctly Rob Dukes Exodus-like tone to the vocals, ‘Convicted’ is perfect headbang induction material. Chugging riffs, war-cry lyrics and solid drumming make this and the rest of the self-titled album worth a good listen.


Grizzly – Dagon (stoner/sludge)

Free album downloads are always good, particularly when the music you’re getting is as well-written as this. These Budapest-based stoners mix crunching riffs with Orange Goblin-esque stoner, with the addition of extra sludginess. Taken from their 2012 album Fear My Wrath, available from Bandcamp.


Svartidauði – Flesh Cathedral (black)

Meaning ‘Black Death’ in Icelandic, Svartidauði use urban decay and more modern themes to bring about sonic destruction. Looming and oppressive, the sound they have created in this behemoth 11-minute track, and throughout the album of the same name, is a must-hear for lovers of ingenuity and the art of crushing terror.

B and G Podcast – Episode 3

Posted in Badass and Grimness Podcast with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2013 by Murderdeth

B and G Podcast – Episode 3

Greetings to you all. Here’s you fill for this month so deal with it!

Featuring… Iron Monkey by Iron Monkey and In the Chapel Of The Black Hand by The Wounded Kings and Rumple’s appearance leaves much to be desired.

Please remember to subscribe on iTunes and follow on Twitter. Other social networks are available, links can be found below!




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Gig Review: Grand Magus (Bogiez Rock Bar, Cardiff, 28/02/13)

Posted in Doom, Gig, Heavy Metal, Stoner with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2013 by Badass and Grim

All the way from Sweden, The Mighty ʻMagus Metal Machine rolls into town to distract the locals from futile slate mining or whatever it is they do.

We are eased into the eveningʼs festivities by Thorun, who offer instrumental stoner-doom laden with groove and infused with occasional hints of jazz. Theyʼre heavy, self-deprecating and crucially, understand song structure: their slow jams are a succession of peaks and troughs, making best use of contrast to achieve outstanding heaviness exactly where they mean to. Itʼs extremely palatable, and Iʼd genuinely like to see them play outside of Wales. You could probably book them in return for a crate of Brains, depending on the current exchange rate.


As Primitai launch into their opening song, it becomes apparent that they suck more balls than a hoover at a a bearing factory. Itʼs the singer trying to be a hairy Bruce Dickinson, itʼs the two twelve-year-old guitarists and itʼs the extended tapping/sweep-picking solos they insist on trading between them. As the kickdrumming adds some pace to proceedings it becomes a little more appealing, but why do they have 5 microphones onstage? The result is presumably a nightmare for the sound guy and comes across as trebly power soup. Thereʼs no point banging on about it, because theyʼre trying hard and they believe in what they do, but thereʼs just too much going on for the constraints of tonightʼs tiny gigging environment. Songs like ʻScream When You See Usʼ donʼt inspire much empathy either, but thatʼs because Iʼm an arsehole. Big things are clearly expected of them on account of them being picked to tour with ʻMagus, but a thousand times I would rather Thorun were the higher support act, where their brand of head-nodding, groove-offering instrumentalism would have sat nicely on the bill before the headliners put the crowd in frenzy mode, but fuckadiddums. If you like shredding new-school opera metal go check em out. If not, get another beer.


Grand Magus
Anticipation grows steadily as the instrumental intro rings out, and for a brief moment it seems as if everything has gone horribly wrong when they abort their opener on account of guitar problems. JB kicks his amp a few times, thereʼs a round of head-scratching, then the bad feedback (if such a thing exists) ceases and they crack on: ʻRight, letʼs try that again.ʼ From there, they never look back – Grand Magus proceed to demonstrate exactly why theyʼre a top-line touring band. Their stage presence is confident & assured without ever being pretentious, the sound is mixed to perfection and the crowd go apeshit which in itself is worrying considering 30% of the crowd are wearing matching ʻDaveʼs Gymʼ T- shirts. In contrast to Primitai trying to do everything all at once sonically, the Magus formula of 3 instruments is perfectly balanced and musically tight, a class act. Set wise, it drew heavily from last yearʼs The Hunt, blended with older stuff to satisfy the die-hards down the front. A thundering drum solo from Mr. Ludde breaks up the performance, allowing JB & Fox to nip off and drag another crate of beer onstage before resuming the high quality metal barrage. Testament to ʻMagus itʼs the only gig Iʼve been to where the band acknowledges the inevitable encore before theyʼve even finished, and they barely even bother to down tools following closer ʻIron Willʼ before theyʼre on again to deliver the now obligatory crowd-pleaser ʻHammer of the North.ʼ The crowd keeps singing it even after the song finishes and they walk offstage, the drunken fools.



Heavy Metal History – The Big Bang

Posted in Black Metal, Classic Metal, Doom, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, School, Stoner with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2013 by Murderdeth


Some time ago I found myself in a conversation defending Sharon Osbourne against a claim that she “knows fuck all about Metal!”. Now, being as she married one of the men who is credited with inventing the entire genre and having had the likes of Gary Moore, Motorhead and Coal Chamber under her management. I found this statement somewhat confusing.

This being said I have taken it upon myself to give a series of history lessons on the subject. You may not agree with some of it but I don’t really care!

Lesson 1 – Diabolous in musica

On 13 February 1970 four blokes, John, Anthony, Terence and William, from Birmingham, UK, changed their heavy blues rock bands name from ‘Earth’ and released the self titled album ‘Black Sabbath’ after the Mario Bava film of the same name.

The first 3 notes 37 seconds into the opening song on the album is the “Big Bang” point in the metal universe where the Heavy Metal Genre was born.

This 3 note interval, known as a tritone, the Devils chord or ‘diabolous in musica’ (which was later used to title a Slayer album, but more on them in the future) bought fear upon people in the middle ages who believed that it would summon the devil due to its dissonance. Now, at this point I should say that the tritone was widely used way way before Tony Iommi cranked it out, most notably in Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite “Mars, the Bringer of War” but I don’t want to go back too far!

Recorded over two days in November of 1969 the rest of the song follows standard building blocks of almost all metal nowadays. Heavy, overdriven guitars with amps set to 11, bass and drums pounding along underneath everything, screaming guitar solos and then lyrics about a “Figure in black”, Satan, Fire and Death… Sound familiar? While Im on the subject of lyrics I should mention that Deej would be happy to report that the track “Behind the Wall of Sleep” on the album was written in reference to the H.P. Lovecraft story of the “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” and we have already showed that there is a myriad of Lovecraft metal out there!

Moving on to the album artwork we find a long haired figure in black stood in front of trees and a ‘spooky’ building which is a staple especially amongst most Scandinavian metal album covers…. Darkthrone’s ‘Panzerfaust’, Burzum’s ‘Aske’ anyone? This is not to mention the inner sleeve of the album on which was an upturned crucifix which did nothing to quell the allegations that they were a ‘Satanic’ band. A small factlet regarding the band member’s names on the inner sleeve is that Ozzy’s name was misspelled as ‘Ossie’ on the original print.

Metal has been written which may sound heavier or be scarier or faster or louder than the previous bands release but all can be taken apart and have its origins found right back at Black Sabbath. Replicated time and time again and probably will be many many more times!

Although this is not an album review as such Ill leave you in anticipation of Black Sabbath’s 21st album due later in 2013 by raising 10 mead horns and giving you this quote from Lamb of God’s Chris Adler:

“If anybody who plays heavy metal says that they weren’t influenced by Black Sabbath’s music, then I think that they’re lying to you. I think all heavy metal music was, in some way, influenced by what Black Sabbath did.”



Cura Cochino – Cura Cochino (2010 Demo)

Posted in Doom with tags , , , on February 2, 2013 by Badass and Grim

Cura Cochino

Cura Cochino hail from Sacramento, California, and translates from Spanish as ‘Dirty Priest’ (not from Italian with something about curing pigs as Google Translate haphazardly guessed). A previous storm through Bandcamp had delivered record label BuriedInHell’s 29-song compilation beastie, where the first song off Cura’s self-titled 2010 demo sat quite happily in the midst of other Californian chaos. Among other gems in an album of angry-wangry Americans, the riffs catch the ear like a fishhook, dredging up more bits of torso wrapped in chicken wire and binbags, and like the ensuing smell they are almost impossible to shift for the rest of the day.

Another hurtle through the record label’s Bandcamp site reveals the three-track, 18 minute demo album on sale for a mere $2 (about £1.25), though it is also available as a free download from the band’s main website. I was intrigued by the tags of ‘black death metal grind punk thrash Sacramento’ and by one of the two existing comments on their website that proclaimed ‘yeah! cura cochino and tacos 4eva!!’ like the rallying call of Latino superhero Captain Obesity. The site also reveals the band’s line-up, consisting of ‘El Kenny’ on guitar and cries (perhaps an estranged Mexican version of the Brummy original), ‘El Dan’ on bass, ‘El Micah’ on guitar and interestingly ‘La Kristie’ on drums and ‘La P’ on what is affectionately referred to as ‘screams and cries’. Reading this without hearing the band seems strange, but becomes more apparent as soon as the vocals kick in on the first track, El Castigo, after 40 seconds of slow and deliberate baritone plodding.

It’s hard at first to comprehend the sudden switch between rich, deep tone and the almost refreshingly crisp and somewhat high gain, tinny sound that follows, like the strange sounds you get when your ears pop on an aeroplane as you attempt to leave the country at speed until everything quietens down again and the police call off the man-hunt. It’s a rare sound to hear from a female vocalist; not the manly gruffness of Gallhammer nor any attempt at a rougher version of clean-singing, but simply the screams of a very angry lady. Against the richness of bass and guitar, the ensuing stream of distant venom-laden Spanish stamps along to the plods of the melody, kicking dustbins over and telling small children Santa doesn’t exist. It’s something that initially sounds quite alien and takes some getting used to, but after a few listens it’s hard to imagine it being any other way. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find lyrics for any of the songs in Spanish or English, but even with the language barrier that seemingly can’t be solved with Google Translate’s miracle pig curing you can feel the anger and frustration behind every word spat towards the microphone.

El Castigo slows and breaks down to a satisfying level of feedback that lulls you towards the next track, La Revancha, which emerges from fuzz with an utterly satisfying riff that is prone to lodging in your mind all day long. Listening to it is akin to resuscitation; no matter how easy it is to drift along towards soothing bass-filled oblivion, surely enough there are still the scraping, raucous tones of Angry Spanish Lady to drag you back to reality. Seeing their intentions failing, the soothing riffs soon join forces with her and hand you a big stick with a nail in it, gathering pace and stopping only for growling breakdowns and to kick cats. The chorus (possibly about shoes or pony stickers) ends in a single word that is sustained in a scream, the guitars breaking into a desolate note that re-introduces the opening riff somewhat cheekily but with a more deliberate sound. Each repeat adds another layer of depth, and the clatter of La Kristie on drums using every cymbal she can lay her mitts on brings a crisper edge back to the deeper guitars as Angry Spanish Lady chews the top off a bottle of tequila and downs it. Once again, the riffs end with leaden sustain that rumbles into the start of the third track, El Aventon.

The start is just as slow and deliberate as before, with a single guitar padding out the riff on the back of sustain still chiming from the amps. It feels more like a continuation of the previous track, separated only to allow Angry Spanish Lady time to hurl the empty bottle at the audience and stampede back to stage. She continues to bellow forth hatred supported by the riffs of the guitars, at times seeming almost breathless and distant, but returning after a frightfully simple guitar break to curse Asda and all dolphins in such a deriding tone as to be even more unsettling that the demonic growls backing her. The song slows slightly towards the end of its steady stampede around the neighbourhood, losing none of its menacing tone or strength. Wailing guitars and cries punctuate the solid riff like bits of Lego in the sole of the foot, until the behemoth sound slows to a halt like a tranquilised rhino skidding to a stop at the feet of a terrified ranger.

Even with the plodding ending, the sudden absence of such a wide and deep sound is horribly noticeable, and makes you wish the album was twice as long. Cura Cochino have managed to create an amazing sound mixed out of opposite ends of the spectrum – tone and the lack of it – and deserves a listen, even if it takes a little getting used to. For a free album, there’s no excuse not to give them a go.

Venus in Binbags


B and G Podcast – Episode 1

Posted in Badass and Grimness Podcast, Black Metal, Doom, Hard Rock, Interview, News, Sludge, Stoner with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2013 by Murderdeth

Ahoy to you all,

It’s finally here. The event you’ve all been waiting for. The Badass & Grimness Podcast – Episode 1.

In this episode we discuss whats new and recommend ‘Witch’ by Witch and ‘Likferd’ by Windir. As well as joining Mr. Clungeberry in a round of ‘What Rumple Sees’.

Please remember to subscribe on iTunes and follow on Twitter and all that other social crap!




Photo on 2013-01-20 at 19.11

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