Eritherium – If You Feel It’s Presence

This is absolutely a masterpiece that never was. The album itself is just fantastic early Opeth worship, done better than Opeth themselves. It’s not a riff cereal, every song is constructed beautifully, the length isn’t overbearing because of how enjoyable every song is, the math rocky guitars are a superb add on, everything about this is absolutely wonderful and in most circumstances would be an AOTY contender. The problem is the production is an absolutely disaster that is hard to overlook. It’s just a simple matter of the equipment used to record this was utter trash, so everything is muddled and the music has 1/3rd of the impact it should have. Prog death like this NEEDS to be clean in order to work, and these guys simply weren’t able to deliver on that front. This could be a fucking amazing band if they just get good equipment, because that is actually all they need to be one of the top notch prog death bands around. They have all the tools to be great, except the ones needed to record the music.


Denominate – Those who Beheld the End

Some surprisingly really awesome techy Death Metal. The one thing I think it lacks is that extra bit of catchiness to the riffs. Nothing really tops Torments of Silence, and I feel like while the rest of the album is composed of some very decent material, it’s more like stuff that you listen to and acknowledge is decent, but nothing really sends any shivers down your spine. The tracks just don’t match that progressive edge that Torments has, leading the rest of the album to feel more like a strange kind of filler in the sense that the tracks sound similar and are just space holders for the main course. Very good, but not quite top tier.



No Man’s Valley – Time Travel

Two first’s here; first psych rock album I’ve reviewed, and first non metal album I’ve reviewed this year. And as it turns out, both of those factors breed success. No Man’s Valley’s Time Travel is an exquisite, psychedelic rock record that doesn’t let on to the band’s current amateur and unknown status. The production is absolutely fantastic, sounding like a majorly influential psych rock album from the 80s-90s, rather than some random bumfuck’s record in 2016. Almost every track is a hit, but I especially have to point out Killer The Bees as my favorite. That sarod (?) line is going to be stuck in my head for a while now.

The trouble is for as much as I like this, it’s hard to come up with shit to say about it, for various reasons. For one, you do have complete stinkers like The Wovles are Coming, which is the only track on here that doesn’t tack advantage of the psychedelic atmosphere that tinges the record, giving it the sound of someone warping through the time continuum. It’s generic stoner rock and isn’t memorable in any way, which would’ve be too bad if the album gave us more chances to have memorable moments. Time Travel is just around as short as this review is going to be, not even clocking in at 35 minutes. It feels more like an extended EP than a proper album, and that doesn’t really fit what is apparently a concept album. It’s like giving us the abridged version of a much longer story. You know those classics abridged books that were popular back in the late 90s? They looked just as thick as the original books, but that’s because the font was huge and every other page had a picture? And I mean I loved them when I was like 11, and at that age I’m like “wow these are great, I’m so good at reading for getting through these hard books!”, even though they’re like 200 pages and have 40 pages worth of words. I sort of feel like that here. Obviously with tracks such as Love or Axe Murder, this album isn’t kids friendly, but it feels like a shortened version of a much greater story that we’re all missing out on. Perhaps this album is just a feeler album that the band is putting out before doing something greater. This is their debut album, so who knows what they will do in the future. However it would’ve been nice to get at least 10 more minutes of the time travel blues.

But who am I kidding, this is still great. I’d much rather albums be too short than too long, every single time, and even if there are two stinkers (the finale, Goon, is massively disappointing for it’s length and has awful piano sections), 6 out of 8 is good, especially when 5 of those are fantastic. I’m don’t have a massive amount of experience in this kind of music, so my perspective is quite limited, I’ll be the first to admit that. But for what it’s worth, I enjoyed the fuck out of this, and would recommend this to anyone who wants a trip from a relatively underground source.


Ill Omen – Æ.Thy.Rift

Insanely atmospheric and murky blackened funeral doom. It’s like you here the intro to the album, and you’re like “yeah this is gonna be really awesome”, and then you realize the intro IS the album, but that’s actually not a bad thing for once. You could argue either way if this is primarily black metal or funeral doom metal, and it would push the boundaries of both. Really unique and great stuff, just wish it had just a bit more of those juicy dark ambient synths instead of guitars.


Nightkin – Oath of Elucidation

Where are the people who are underrating this, and where can I find their families to tell them that they have a wonderful child, but needed to raise them to have better taste in music? This is the second best tech deaths of the first 3 months of 2016 honestly. Good combination of both standard death metal and technical passages.


Myrath – Legacy

You know you’re in a special kind of hell when you want to like an album ironically and can’t because it’s actually good. This is the greatest arabic sporkcore album ever made. How is Believer not every person on the planet’s jam? And yes, I saw the music video, fuck you it’s amazing in a “so bad it’s good but no really it’s actually kinda good in a bad way” way. I just wish the album wasn’t one track long.


Gorazde – The Catechism ALBUM REVIEW

This shit is weird man. And it doesn’t really hit you until the vocalists starts calmly singing about how he’s going to cut up your body. The Catechism is essentially a soft hitting, stoner doom record that combines both tonal and completely atonal riffs that for the most part, softly chug along to vocals that I can only describe as a man who is just on the brink of insanity but not quite there yet. It’s honestly really hard to pin point exactly what I find so damn creepy about this album, because it isn’t just one thing.

I think though what gives it off that vibe the most is that i personally imagine this was made by a serial killer. Specifically, a hippie turned serial killer. Parts of it sound like it’s recorded in some remote dungeon. The soft atonal riffs combined with the perfectly tonal ones make me think that the killer legitimately can’t tell that one of them is off. Obviously the lyrics are also quite jarring at times. But never really over the top jarring. And that’s the scariest thing about this. It’s not over the top, gore busting, demon praising, satan, 666, black magic scary. It’s not doom metal that’s so loud you can’t hear anything. No, it’s actually quite tame in terms of heaviness, forcing you to hear every note and lyric. I hear an album that’s founded in the theoretical thoughts of a real person. It’s really hard to describe. I guess earthly would be the best way to put it.

Is this the greatest doom album ever? No. But god damn if it didn’t give me the hebe-geebies.


Serpents Lair – Circumambulating the Stillborn ALBUM REVIEW

A towering and dark album. There was a bit of hype in certain circles for this record, and I say it absolutely delivers. There isn’t any one particular thing I love about this, but I was hooked the moment the archaic choir opened this album. The atmosphere is tense and doesn’t let up, throwing in some dissonant chords to build tension, and very guttural black metal vocals that border on death metal at times, just to keep things more sinister. Sinister would probably be the best way to describe this work, as aside from the almost calming intro, there is never a moment where the listener feels like they’re in a safe place. There is a constant sense of dread through almost every second of this. I’d describe this album as violent in nature, constantly on the attack, relentless pounding the listener with blast beats that don’t let up.

If anything, I wish this album would’ve actually utilized more of what I saw in the intro. I’m not saying they should’ve gone full on Deathspell Omega, but I think just a bit more of some extracurricular would’ve helped bring a little bit of variety into here. As a whole I feel like the album is a bit samey, which made it a bit hard to fully evaluate exactly what I liked about it. I came to realize that the fact that I can’t point to anything specific is a bit of a problem, as there really isn’t much to distinguish each track from one another. It made it so that I tended to tune out the album a bit, and there were times where I lost track of where I was in the album, having to back track and re-listen just to get oriented.

Circumambulating the Stillborn is still a great album with a fantastic atmosphere, but I feel like it avoids a higher score because of its one dimensional nature.


Cave of Swimmers – Reflection ALBUM REVIEW

Earlier this year I reviewed an album that was a mixture of tech death and latin jazz which ended up being one of my highlights of the year so far. I feel appropriately adding ethnic influences in metal is a great way to spice things up a bit. That is, if you don’t completely fuck it up and instead put in midi synths of flutes calling it nordic folk music. Fortunately, Cave of Swimmers uses actual instruments and, hailing from Miami Florida, decided to mix in some cuban music in doom metal of all things.

Surprisingly enough, it actually works. The two never fully mix with each other, it’s always very much one or the other, as they use the cuban music more as interludes mid song than as a fusion with the doom. Normally I’m all for bands mixing sounds together, but I think in this case the separation is for the best. I’m not really sure how good a depressing fiesta would sound to anyone. In this case, it helps that this is very much more on the traditional doom/heavy metal aspect of the doom heaviness scale, making the upbeat cuban rhythms not seem to clash as much. However that being said, I will note that while this isn’t exactly Indian levels of heavy, it does not at all trade any of it’s doominess for more heavy metal riffage, which is why I see it more as a trad doom album rather than a heavy metal album like rym tags. I really feel that’s a plus, too much doom that mixes with heavy metal goes light on the doom part. I need to feel something crush me when I listen doom metal, taking that away just ruins the experience.

One thing that did annoy me was the repetitive nature of the lyrics. I don’t mean in terms of lyrical themes, I mean as in repeating the same phrases over and over again. It only annoyed me a little bit at first, but it got to be quite a bother as the album went on. I’d even say it seems to be the main lyrical schtick of this album, to my disappointment. It doesn’t even feel like they’re adding emphasis each time. I mean they try to, but it doesn’t actually have the effect I think they desire it to have. I also feel like the last track is completely phoned in and tacked on. It’s one thing to make an album that’s only 32 minutes long and has 4 tracks on it, it’s another for one of the tracks to also be completely useless while making that album. Fortunately it’s the shortest track on the album, but that still clocks in at about 5 minutes. Still Running, the third track, doesn’t really feel like as much of an epic as the first two are either, although clearly more effort was put towards it. I really feel like this would’ve been a better album if they combined the lengths of the last two tracks and put them into one, making an actual epic. Reflection’s strong point is making great doom epics with lots of flavors, twists and turns, all brought together by latin beats and guitars. While I do think this is quite a good album, and quite unique at that, it feels not fully fulfilled to it’s potential, which I think would’ve been solved by either having a longer album, or doing more with how long it is.