DAXMA – Ruins Upon Ruins EP

Two years on from their devastating ‘The Head Which Becomes The Skull’ Californian doomsters Daxma (pronounced Dahk-ma) unleash a career best with the ‘Ruins Upon Ruins’ EP. Their first release for Blues Funeral Records, it might look like a stop-gap since it features just two songs but the reality is somewhat different. Each of the featured pieces stretches beyond ten minutes (one even fills a full quarter of an hour), meaning that, combined, the two riff laden offerings actually have a running time that’s almost as long as various rock LPs from the late 60s.

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PLAGUE OF CARCOSA – Ocean Is More Ancient Than The Mountains EP

Having previously released material mastered by Dennis Pleckham of Bongripper and taken musical cues from Sunn O))), Chicago’s Plague of Carcosa are no strangers to a heavy riff. Their 2018 release ‘Rats In The Walls’ required no more than just one track to make its point, but since that number was often delivered at a crawling speed and dragged out to almost fifteen minutes, the effect was like experiencing a full four song EP from most doom/sludge bands.

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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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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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