The Writhing Squares – In the Void Above

Just a bit too much space on the space rock part of things. The album gets stale after the first few tracks, and not even the saxophones can help. The production is terrible, even for a space rock album. Only Balloon to the Moon did anything for me. I feel like there’s just too much emphasis on texture, and not nearly enough on actual content. I mean yeah, it’s cool to hear all of the weird guitar noises, but 46 minutes of that with relatively little else interesting going on just doesn’t do it for me. The jazz parts are really basic and seem to be there more just for superficial flavor, rather than being an integral part of the music. Call me unconvinced.


5.5/10

https://thewrithingsquares.bandcamp.com/

Cough – Still They Pray

You know it dawned on me while listening to this that it’s actually been around 5 months since I’ve reviewed a proper stoner doom album. Sure I reviewed Church of Misery’s new record in March, but that was much more stoner than doom. You really have to go back to Conan’s record Revengeance that I reviewed in mid February to find a proper heavy as fuck stoner doom album. And even then I didn’t like it at all. Even in general I’ve had a massive lack of doom metal reviews compared to last year, where I reviewed almost 50 I’m pretty sure. This year has been around 15 past the halfway mark. It’s just funny because doom metal (stoner doom in particular) was really the first metal genre that got me into the whole scene. Literally this whole episode of my life was started because one morning before school I decided to listen to Dopethrone. Last year I even commented while trashing some no name band from Russia’s stoner doom album that I didn’t think it was possible for me to hate a stoner doom album until now. A year later I barely listen to doom metal at all. Funny how things change.

I really do think if I had reviewed this last year I would probably be giving it a damn high score. I’m talking maybe high 8 range. This is in part due to the fact that the first half of Still They Pray is Cough’s shameful Electric Wizard worship. I mean worship that’s so hard they’re sucking that wizard’s cock like his cum is bong juice. I guess they can claim that it’s more atmospheric and less riff-centric than E-Wiz, but you’re splitting hairs at that point. Even right down to the exact guitar tone and vocal mannerisms, this is some shameful riff-off shit. Now that sounds like I’m shit talking them, and I am, but only for being uncreative. Musically, if you need to rip-off a band, Electric Wizard is a pretty damn good band to rip off in my opinion (as if that wasn’t obvious by this site’s name). And again, due to this, a year ago I would’ve praised the fuck out of this. But I have some more miles on me now. I’ve seen a fair amount of shit, and that shit’s told me there’s better shit than this shit right here. My pants no longer get soaked by anything ridiculously heavy, I am a more refined man, who would rather listen to poorly played guitars screech randomly while some Norwegian guy yells about how much he wants to kill black people and Christians, than a few British dudes playing extremely heavy blues rock and singing about weed. Artistic merit and whatnot.

But man, thank god albums come in two halves, right? Yeah, the first half is just copying the kings of their genre in a pretty correct but overdone way (I mean fuck, not even the band literally named Dopethrone copies this hard). But the second half is where the album really starts. Let it Bleed is the top track on this album, featuring a MUCH more subdued, almost heart aching, mostly instrumental doom experience that doesn’t let up at all until the end of the album. The final four tracks are like almost an album by themselves, a weed induced journey through your mind and soul. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt sad listening to a stoner doom album. They have this reflective quality in them that’s almost meditative in a way. I mean fuck me, those strained vocals on The Wounding Hours get to me man. Those don’t sound like far out stoned vocals, those sound like cries for help. And the organ to end the track just… fuck man. Since when does music for cheech and chong make me soft in the dong? I will say that the closer, the title track Still They Pray is a bit weak. Yes, it’s nice to have that cooldown with the clean vocals and acoustic guitar, but I really wanted that held organ chord to end the whole thing. Would’ve bee much more powerful, and brought the album time down slightly (which would be good, this shit’s 68 minutes long).

When Cough isn’t being a copycat, they make some great shit. I get it, this produced by one of the dudes from Electric Wizard, so they’re going to leave their mark somewhere. But it would’ve been nice if I hadn’t had to wait through around 35 minutes of ok music to get to the good part. But when the good part hits, it’s hits it harder than a junkie going through a breakup, delivering a uniquely somber, psychedelic, and satisfying experience that I had only wished I could have experienced a bit longer.


7.25/10

Wo Fat – Midnight Cometh

You know what the worst part about reviewing is? Contrary to what most people think, it’s not listening to bad albums. Bad albums are actually part of the fun of reviewing. I mean sure, it’s a painful listen, but you get a story out of it, and more importantly, you got a lot of shit to write about. I’d say it’s actually easier to write a review of an album you hate than an album you love, at least for me. Some of my best reviews in my opinion are just me taking a giant Cleveland Steamer on an album in some interesting ways. Great albums are fun to review to, but it’s hard to actually get fun with the review itself. The fun is in finding great albums, but the review seems more like a formality, and there’s always this notion that you have to write something grand and amazing for some of the top albums of the year. Plus it’s just more fun shit talking something that praising something, I’ll admit that right here.

No, the worst part about reviewing is having to listen to boring albums. Soulless albums, lifeless albums, albums that you have nothing to say about but still have to crank a few hundred words anyway. You can get creative with how you do that, but it’s always a struggle, and you can’t even take solace in knowing you destroyed something with your words. I mean yeah, theoretically you can just not review them, but then you’re basically missing an entire section of your (or at least, my) rating scale. Plus if they’re popular enough, sometimes you literally just can’t ignore them. Wo Fat’s Midnight Cometh falls somewhere in-between, an album that I could probably ignore, but I already spent the 50 minutes listening to it, and it has enough of a following that I might as well touch upon it anyway.

As implied by my previous statements, yeah this shit’s boring as fuck. Literally any stoner band with enough of a budget could make this. I’ll give it at least some credit, some of the riffs are ok, and the occasional tribal/beat poetry-like drumming is kinda cool. But that’s all the points this album’s gonna get from me. I can’t slam it because nothing here is exactly bad, but fuck this was annoying to get through. Literally 50 minutes of nauseating sameness. I mean sameness isn’t always bad. I’ve been on a bit of a deathgrind binge (well, starting to be at least) and I’ve learned that there’s a difference between good sameness and bad sameness.

Sameness that’s easy to swallow and nice to listen to is ok. I can listen to 40 minutes of deathgrind and just accept it for what it is. Fun riffs, cool atmosphere, nothing that’s going to massively challenge me other than just being br00)))))ooooo0tal. It’s nice to listen to even if there isn’t much diversity. Midnight however is the bad kind of sameness. It’s loud, obnoxious, trying to not be same while still be awfully uneventful, basically just a chore to listen to. Essentially, one kind of sameness is easy to swallow, and the other is trying to blend different kinds of flavors together and still tasting exactly the same. They’re both bland, but at least one kind doesn’t try to shit on your digestive system. Or in this case, ears.


4.25/10

Blood Ceremony – Lord of Misrule

This is the ultimate album for people who think that as long as you don’t do anything drastically awful, if you put in some kooky instrumentation, you’ll make a great album. Because that’s fucking wrong. What we get here is a completely droll snoozefest that tries to make up for that fact by shoving flutes up our eardrums. And not metaphorically, listening to this actually feels like someone is shoving a flute in my ear, but in a way where they’re trying to be soothing somehow. Like the metal is poking my brain tissue, and they’re all relaxed and going “dude what’s your issue, this is a special medicinal technique the Iroquois used. It’s from the earth man”. But by the time the album is done, I’m dead from internal bleeding and they are get arrested and and charged for first degree murder. I guess I win in a spiritual sense, but it’s not worth dying for.


4.5/10

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.


7.75/10