As far as most people will be concerned, Pyreship first appeared on the sludge metal scene in 2017 when their ‘Liars Bend Low’ album appeared on Bandcamp. Its five murky sounding tracks immediately signified the band as masters of some of the dirtiest riffs, but for those paying closer attention, the material also suggested a keen interest in wandering, dark atmospherics which – in the hands of talented musicians – might just take their uncompromising noise into more interesting places in the future.
At the beginning of 2022, the world found itself in complete turmoil. Humanity was still battling against the coronavirus pandemic – something that’d threatened to kill everyone – and an escalating war between Russians and Ukraine led to a worldwide tension, fuelled by a power hungry dictator with his finger hovering over the metaphorical self-destruct button. With everyone effectively amid a new cold war, there didn’t seem many reasons to remain positive. Adding to this palate of complete dread and fear, environmental issues were still of a massive concern. The world was now a ticking time bomb in more ways than one.
Drawing attention to those environmental issues that appeared to have taken something of a backseat during the year’s first quarter, US one man band Breaths and Sweden’s Dimwind teamed up for a split release featuring material specifically focusing on the vitally important issue. Amid the two lengthy workouts on their ‘Seasons’ EP, the message of eco-preservation is sometimes telegraphed almost as clearly as the massive riffs themselves, and the results are both harrowing and intensely brilliant in equal measure.
Heavy duo Coma Hole are gearing up to unleash their debut EP, which promises to be a moody, sludgy and gothic affair, heavy on riffs. In the meantime, they’ve just shared a second single, ‘Wind & Bone’, which is a genuine treat for lovers of material with a doom metal heart.
After spending a couple of years perfecting their riffs and honing a heavy, retro sound, Norwegian stoner rockers White Tundra unveiled their debut EP ‘Graveyard Blues’ in the middle of the 2020 global pandemic. Their weighty Monster Magnet/COC influenced sounds were a perfect compliment to a troubled time, and proved yet again that a tried and tested heavy psych/stoner sound could still impress when delivered with a lot of confidence and a few massive hooks. The title cut, in particular, with its chugging riff, gravelly vocals and rattling bassline – at times sounding as if a direct descendant of ‘Children of The Grave’ – set White Tundra on the road to stoner greatness, but ‘Freedom Fighter’ with its heavy and lurching anger suggested they’d have more to give than your bog standard stoner copyists.
Ever since the release of their self-financed ‘Advorsus’ in 2016, Sheffield’s Kurokuma have marked themselves out as one of the UK’s heaviest bands. Across a series of EP releases over the next few years, their uncompromising blend of sludge, doom and hardcore has gained them a very loyal cult following.