Archive for Psychedelic

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:




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”


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.