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.
At the beginning of 2016, Wakefield’s Climbing Alice sounded like a force to be reckoned with on their ‘Melt Yourself Up‘ EP. Mixing alt-rock, goth and shoegaze noises, the four piece band created a great listen via a wealth of influences. There wasn’t so much in the way of immediate hooks or catchy melodies, but if it were a riff or six you craved, the EP – and band – came up winning pretty much every time.
There have been some great stoner and doom bands surface over the first part of the twenty first century. Whether recycling straight up Sabbath-isms, or channelling Fu Manchu-esque dusty grooves that sound like they’ve been borne from a sweaty, clapped out van, this unashamedly retro sub genre of metal rarely disappoints. It’s so often predictable, but that doesn’t diminish from it’s overall power.
Every once in a while, a band appears on the scene that – although still treading a very familiar path – also seems to raise the bar. Such is the case with Devil Electric, a four piece stoner metal outfit from Melbourne whose riffs are so big, they could cause a tremor somewhere in the outback. Their 2016 EP, was hugely enjoyable, but their first full length exceeds expectations.
Belgium’s Missiles of October have been cranking out their own brand of post-hardcore/noise rock since 2012. Approximately five years on from that time, the self-proclaimed “three old guys” are still very much an underground act, gleefully making listeners’ ears bleed whilst recycling various familiar influences. Their 2017 release ‘Better Days’ really drives home their love of retro hardcore, Jesus Lizard-esque angular art rock and more, in a package that some will find hard to swallow and yet others will lap up with twisted merriment.
In an age of digital music and at a time when so many listeners seem to be cherry picking bits of albums from streaming sites as opposed to viewing a piece of work as an artistic whole, the long player format sometimes seems to be floundering. This fact hasn’t escaped Seattle’s Devils Hunt Me Down, who’ve chosen to release their 2017 album ‘In Medias Res’ as three four track EPs as opposed to saving it up and putting it out as a whole. Sometimes this approach can be interesting (see Joshua Ketchmark’s trilogy of releases in 2012, where the singer songwriter used each one to explore a different style), but sometimes, it just leaves the listener wanting more with works that seem fractured.