Formed in South Carolina in 2018, MNRVA brings together the talents of Arcane vocalist/guitarist Byron Hawk and Iron Fist’s Gina Ercoli and Kevin Jennings (drums and bass, respectively) to create an uncompromising sludge metal power trio. Often showing an unhealthy early Melvins and Electric Wizard obsession, their main concern on this debut EP is taking some really heavy riffs and slowly bludgeoning their audience. As heavy as a very heavy thing, of course, that results in a timeless doomy, sludgy and sometimes uncompromising sound that fans of the style will love.
Between the doom metal riffs and darkwave synths, The White Swan gave the world two potential classics with their respective 2016 and 2017 EPs, ‘Anubis’ and ‘The White’. Lovers of heavy riffs were given plenty to mull over with the band’s self-penned material while the heaviest ever version of Wings’ ‘Jet’ proved the Ontario-based doomers also had a sense of fun. Their eagerly awaited 2018 release ‘Touch Taste Destroy’ doesn’t necessarily think much further outside of the box – but then, it doesn’t need to; The White Swan’s gift of riffs combined with an ultimate heaviness sees the three numbers off in particularly great style.
Metal oriented split releases are great, especially when they feature a couple of cult bands that share a similar musical root. The 2015 split between Cult of Luna and the lesser known Old Wind was interesting, and especially so considering Old Wind absolutely trounced the band most people would have bought the release to hear. Better yet, the 2018 split between Slomatics and Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard achieved the same fate: after years of championing sludge and doom riffs, Ireland’s finest were outshone at almost every turn by the amusingly named Welsh upstarts. It was a release that no doom lovers should be without and one that proved that Mammoth Weed’s moment of glory had truly come.
A split between Into The Storm and Smooth Sailing is a natural phenomenon. Both bands have a similar approach to heaviness yet have their own style, so it’s easy to favour one over the other. Also – and perhaps this is the deal clincher here – Like Melvins and Fantomas, there’s some crossover with regard to band members. This EP is also a good way to get some previously unheard material out to both long standing fans and new listeners alike.
Formed in 2014, Allfather came together over a shared interest of “vikings, anti-fascism and crisps”. It’s good to know the band have a sense of humour, because their 2016 release ‘Bless The Earth With Fire’ is not one to be taken lightly. Its six songs – if, indeed, they can be called songs, rather than an extended collection of devastating riffs – are heavy, dense and sludgy in equal measure. In short, if you’re a total riff junkie and value the weight and presence of a riff over almost everything else, you’ve come to the right place.
What happens when you take two doom bands whom have a mutual respect for each other and give them one side of an LP each? Possibly one of the heaviest records ever! ‘Totems’, from Black Bow Records, combines five previously unreleased tracks – three from Slomatics and two from Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – and presents the ultimate in doom, though somehow without things ever feeling as if they’re verging on a pointless macho pissing contest.