BandcampBiweekly (‘August 16’) feat. nightwitches; Accelerator

Quick-fire round-up of the last couple weeks’ best bandcamp investments…

nightwitches – Nachthexen
Self-released, 2015

If you just can’t get enough of that falling-in-your-dreamswitches
feeling then nightwitches‘ debut is the E.P. for you.  Hypnotic fuzz, swathed in soporific, ghostly vocals characterise this Québécois doom two-piece.  First song Claws & Teeth undulates over seven trace-inducing minutes before the heavyweight Pale Grey jolts the senses back to bleak reality.  A heady and abstruse coupling of debut tracks (8/10).

Highlight: Claws & Teeth, Pale Grey
Available at: https://nightwitches.bandcamp.com/album/nachthexen
(name your price).

Accelerator – When The World Turns Black E.P.
Self-released, 2015

You want your thrash fast, ferocious and square in the face?  Well here it is.  A accelittle bitta Kreator with a whole lotta Slayer, this debut EP from Long Island, NY’s Accelerator may not be paving any new ground but it certainly rams the rest off the beaten track.
Opening with a title track that’s straight down to business, the accusatory chorus imprints itself on the brain, as does the self-explanatory Thrash ‘Til Death and the, comparatively, mid-paced riffing of Killing Machine.  Neck-damaging thrash with the pedal to the floor (7/10).

Highlight: When The World Turns Black
Available at: https://acceleratorny.bandcamp.com/album/when-the-world-turns-black-e-p (name your price).

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M.I.A

Well, well, well look whose come crawling over their keyboard back to the blog, eh?

Yep, I have been very naughty indeed.  Cursed reflektions could more accurately be described as ceased reflektions and apparently the biweeklies have abandoned the Gregorian calendar completely.

But if ever there was a good excuse for neglecting a metal blog here it is: I’ve been a bit busy upping-sticks and moving to Trondheim, Norway.

I mean really, does it get any more tr00, kvlt or altogether cool as that?  Nei, the answer is nei.

So, bear with me while I stop running around in the dead of night trying to find and convince Abbath to form Immortal 2.0 with me and check back for some long overdue nuggets of bandcamp gold and the increasing belated, and only slightly blurry, Bloodstock 2015 review.

Best wishes and happy, heavy listening from your pilgrimaging correspondent…

bilde 1                                      The new commute view.  Yes, really.

BandcampBiweekly feat. Lord 13; Mist

Quick-fire round-up of the last couple weeks’ best bandcamp investments…

Lord 13 – 2013
Faster-louder (self-released), 2011

To say Lord 13 are one of Greece’s best assets doesn’t really say much for them at the moment.  To say they are one of the shiniest diamonds in the seemingly unending stoner desert scrub says a lot more.  Formed in 1999, Lord 13 have lordclearly spent plenty of time baking in the Mediterranean sun and perfecting that warm, fuzzy stoner sound complete with grooving, Southern-fried vocals hooks.  What second full-length, 2013 lacks in tantalising denomination, it makes up for in tasty riffs and the satisfying stability of quality throughout – bar the ‘jazz-flute’ closer.  As good as any stoner rock comes, with a few tracks pushing at great (Fire, Get You High, Keep on Riding), and with Orange Goblin’s Ben Ward adding his endorsement with guest vocals on Wicked Thing, 2013 may not be mind-blowing but is certainly recommended for stoner rock fans (7/10).

Highlight: Get You High
Available at: https://lord13.bandcamp.com/ (name your price).

Mist – Demo
Self-released, 2013

Intricate, atmospheric, ethereal: Slovenia’s Mist are the spectral-personification of occult doom.  Heavy in terms of riffs and ambience but bestrewn with guitar leads mistcrisp enough to avoid disappearing into overly dark and suffocatingly dense doom.  Nina Spruk’s serpentine vocals add further wisps of light against the classic doom backdrop and while others may have criticised the percussion and production, the raw, sparse quality of both, arguably, add an authenticity which is often lacking in the rapidly expanding retro-occult domain.  Headbang to keep your blood from curdling (8.5/10).

NB: Mist’s debut EP Inan’ is now available from http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/mailorder/ on CD and vinyl.

Highlight: Phobia
Available at: https://mistdoom.bandcamp.com/releases (name your price).

BandcampBiweekly feat. Stone Cadaver

Quick-fire round-up of the last couple weeks’ best bandcamp investments…

Stone Cadaver – Stone Cadaver
Self-released, 2014

It may be the case that anything with the hint of a groove is getting slapped with the stoner tag at the moment, but Danish trio Stone Cadaver are dealing in something a bit different.  The pulsating riffs may evoke stoner, but their heavy crunch, mixed with a mounting sense of the malevolent, unabashedly throws the doom influence to the fore.   It’s stoner but colder – and as the name suggests – less desert…a lot more graveyard.

cadaverOpener Black Magick may be a slow burner but is portent to the undulating riffage that spills out the speakers for the duration of Stone Cadaver, and through second track Blasted Earth, before detouring into the fast lane for Straightwheeler, which provides a rollicking, Motörhead moment.  Final track, the wickedly entitled Blasphemous Revelry, Lechery & Sorcery veers back into heavier, doom territory, combining crushing menace with an inescapable compulsion to get the neck muscles moving.

For a debut release, Stone Cadaver have cultivated a sound that has a lot more to give.  Between the heavyweight, curvilinear riffs, the upfront, rowdy bass lines and undeniable devilish touch, Stone Cadaver is a both a satiating entity of itself, and also a tantalising suggesting of what the band will achieve over the space of a full length (7.5/10).

Highlight: Blasphemous Revelry, Lechery & Sorcery
Available at: https://stonecadaver.bandcamp.com/album/stone-cadaver (name your price).

Seven Witches – Passage to the Other Side [album review]

Seven Witches – Passage To The Other Side
2003, Noise Records

Pounding power metal in need of a little more magic…

seven

Passage to the Other Side came as Seven Witches fourth full-length back in 2003.  Since then they’ve churned out another five albums all while keeping the conveyor belt of members in motion.  Despite this, Passage… is my first taste of Seven Witches: the flavours are familiar, and that’s no bad thing; but the thought of chewing over their considerable discography and ex-member register is about as appealing as a side-salad, so for now let’s focus on digesting the album at hand.

Power metal is the order of the day here, no keyboards, extra crunch and a healthy dash of classic, heavy metal.  Opener Dance with the Dead’s slow build-up and the unexpected double bass drumming on Mental Messiah assert the album’s position on the powerful end of power metal, while tracks like Fever in the City appeal to fast, classic metal sensibilities.  Moreover, the tracks are expertly executed, and the solid, albeit formulaic, writing is testament to the veteran status of original member, guitarist Jack Frost, combined with Joey Vera (Armoured Saint) on bass and the vocal talents of James Rivera.

In spite of this though, the majority of the tracks may be satisfying cuts of pure metallic goodness, but ultimately the record passes without commanding much attention.  Along with the vocal cord stretching chorus of Mental Messiah, Johnny has one of the more memorable refrains, but as a whole the album is sparse on durable hooks, leaving the latter half passably average.  Likewise, the inclusion of a cover of Def Leppard’s Wasted and the becoming-predictable, unnecessary long, ‘epic’ concluding track, not only add the cheese-factor, but render the last ten minutes even more superfluous.

The heavy, power metal sound is there, and if the song-writing could have supported an entire album as good as the metal celebration that is Mental Messiah, then Passage… could have been a classic; but unfortunately the progressively forgettable tracks relegate the album to the average zone (7/10).

BandcampBiweekly feat. Mountain Witch

Quick-fire round-up of the last couple weeks’ best bandcamp investments…

Mountain Witch – Cold River
This Charming Man Records, 2013

Now, if my theorem is correct the Cold River equation goes something like this: (doom x grooves) + (retro vibes x riffs) x Sabbath; and my stonerific calculator tells me, therefore, that I should be all over this…so why doesn’t it add up?
mountain It’s true, those grooving riffs are there, the Black Sabbath influence is obvious – Ancient Light almost being Iron Man isn’t even a problem – and the addition of vocals to this once instrumental band lace it with that sinister doom edge; but, somehow, the sum of these parts just doesn’t compute like it should.

Granted, maths has never been my strong point, so maybe I’ve got Mountain Witch all wrong.  The reception this German trio’s second full length received back in 2013 was acclaiming: production and musicianship compliments alongside Kadavar comparisons a plenty; but despite the pace changes (The Covey) and psyche-suggestions (Once I Am King), the songs just don’t take you anywhere memorable, the tempting riffs are tasty but don’t satiate, the vocal hooks escapable…

It’s a good listen.  Perhaps if it wasn’t for all the other retro-inspired, occult-tinged, Sabbath-worshipping stoner/doom bands out there it would be excellent.  Good, comparatively, but not essential (6.5/10).

Highlight: The Covey
Available at: https://mountainwitch.bandcamp.com/album/mountain-witch-cold-river-lp (€10/£7.08)