There’s no other way of putting it, but this album from Coffin Torture is absolutely brutal. By blending sludge metal production values with doom laden riffs, a swathe of death metal and several retching vocals that convey an almost demonic presence, the South Carolina noise makers have reached an early peak on this set of songs. Following a string of self-released EP’s, this longer workout really allows them to wield their sledgehammer sound with a much greater power, but it’s entirely likely that a lot of people won’t actually make it past the third track…
Last week, Swedish noisemakers Industrial Puke released their debut EP. Its mix of sludgy riffs and extreme hardcore created an uncompromising sound, and yet, deep within its four tracks, a concession to doomier sounds gave the material an unexpectedly accessible edge.
When it comes to mining classic influences, Polish stoner rockers Volt Ritual dig deeply on their debut release. Their self titled disc from 2022 takes the mighty Black Sabbath as its root inspiration and takes a very 70s approach to a heavy riff, but the material could just as easily have been recorded in the 90s at a time when Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Roadsaw were at their height. Its seven numbers are crammed with heavy riffs and fuzzy grooves; the production values call back to Rodger Bain’s early no-frills approach, and the band’s overall sound is one that a vast proportion of stoner and doom fans will take to in a heartbeat.
Blacklab’s debut album ‘Under The Strawberry Moons’ was – and remains – a brilliantly intense listen. By taking classic stoner and doom riffs and layering them with distortion, the noise making duo hit upon a sound that fused elements of Acid King and Boris with the ugly sonic textures of Melvins. By then layering that with extra distortion and adding a semi-detached, distinctly Japanese vocal, the album became bigger than the sum of its parts; a sludgy yet strangely alluring listen that really raised the bar for massive, dark – and sometimes ugly – riffs.
Their follow up, 2020’s ‘Abyss’, flaunted a slightly different guitar tone in places, but didn’t skim on the intensity. In toning down the bass in more than a few places, it actually made Blacklab seem even more uncompromising as they continued to wheel out their massive slabs of distortion. Also by cranking the speed in a couple of places (as with ‘Forked Road’, one of the record’s stand out tracks), it showed the band as being capable of tackling some seriously intense garage punk, which provided a superb counterpart to their doom laden core.
Essentially a vehicle for multi-instrumentalist Greg Schwan, this EP from Witnesses takes goth and doom metal traits and applies them to a cohesive narrative based around the lives of characters found within the text of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. An obvious subject matter for a gothic metal band, yes, but the way Schwan and his assorted friends present their material very much shows that the tried and tested – whether musically or lyrically – need not feel too stale.