VARIOUS ARTISTS – 4Ways To Die

Featuring previously unreleased material from four Chilean bands, the bulk of the material on ‘4Ways To Die’ would possibly seem fairly ordinary if approached individually. However, by taking bands that each approach a doom and blackened doom riffs in a different ways and placing their DIY works together, for doom metal buffs, this compilation could be the mother of all split releases.

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Listen: I Am The Law unveil new single ‘Dance of The Southern Witch’

After the release of I Am The Law’s second EP. 2018’s ‘Hymn of The Vulture’, the band saw their fan base grow and they confirmed their place as one of the best metal bands to break out of the US in recent years. Seemingly primed to hit listeners with a full forty minute riff fest on a follow up, in some ways it comes as a disappointment that ‘Dance of The Southern Witch’ is just a two track, digital only release. However, the songs are far better than mere place-holders or stopgap material – both are fantastic, heavy as hell affairs that really build upon the skills I Am The Law have shown on their past EPs.

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FALSE GODS – The Serpent And The Ladder EP

It took New York’s sludge metal heroes False Gods a full two years to release a follow up for their ‘Reports From Oblivion’ EP. In that time, fans probably suspected the band to re-emerge, all guns blazing with a devastatingly heavy full length album…but it wasn’t to be. It may still verge upon being devastatingly heavy in a few places, but their 2019 EP ‘The Serpent & The Ladder’ presents just two new songs.

Whether this is an EP – as advertised – or a single that unleashes two lengthy workouts is something very much up for debate. The band’s commitment to a riff, on the other hand goes without question. A concept piece, of sorts, the two numbers concern both of the titular objects, but a gruff vocal and very intense sound means that the finer points of the narrative are lost behind some weighty riffs. Let’s be fair, though, if you’re drawn to a band like False Gods for anything other than those riffs, you’ve sort of missed the point.

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EWIGKEIT – Declassified EP

Ewigkeit’s eighth album ‘DISclose’ drew heavily on themes of other worlds and UF-ology. Quite removed from their black metal origins, its seven songs straddled a wide range of heavy influences, taking in some old school rock and a fair amount of melodic and symphonic black metal, as well as a touch of drone and a little alternative along the way. It was a hugely accessible record considering multi-instrumentalist James Fogarty had first come to prominence as a member of In The Woods and provided you could make it past a semi-abrasive vocal, it was an album with a lot to give.

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DOOMSTRESS – Sleep Among The Dead

After releasing a pair of 7”s in 2016 and ’17 respectively and then honing their talents with a seemingly endless string of live dates, it seemed only natural that Texan doom/stoner metal band Doomstress would eventually get around to recording a long-awaited full length album. It’s every stoner band’s dream to create something that pays homage to either a Rodger Bain production of the early 70s or recycle that warm and fuzzy goodness as per the early Fu Manchu records and this debut from Doomstress does a fine job of capturing both aspects. Despite the studio often dulling the power in a performance, this album shows off a very natural sound, throughout, which of course is just perfect for the style in hand.

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