Pulczesar – Pulczesar

Absolutely fantastic album. Great riffs, creative and fantastic guitar work, and god damn I love those vocals. This is stoner doom done just about as well as you possibly could, at just about the perfect length. I feel like the last track is a bit of a waste, but Guilt Heavy as the Universe is just so fucking good that it makes up for that. I’m really surprised at how awesome this is for a free download, these guys need to start charging for music this good.


8.75/10

https://pulczesar.bandcamp.com/releases

Fatmate – Peneden Health Sessions

It’s sort of hard to explain, but this just feels too. basic. Like the riffs sound like they come out of a children’s album, the lyrics are uninspiring, and the atmosphere of the album is ridiculously amateur in a bad way. I’m trying to take this with a grain of salt, because even the band said this isn’t an album so much as a random recording session that the produced. It’s supposed to be more of a “snapshot as to where the band is now”. Well where they are now is in need of someone who has compositional skills. They know how to play their instruments, and they know how to produce an album well. Now they have to write songs that are a bit more complex than coming from The Children’s Guide to Stoner Doom Metal.


4.5/10

https://fatmate.bandcamp.com/album/penenden-heath-sessions

Refract – Refract

Interesting album to say the least. It’s this weird combination of doom metal and stoner metal, without really sounding like stoner doom at all. The band identifies as progressive metal and heavy metal, which is not even close to the case, further adding confusion. It’s hard to review this because the album is so short and the content is so little. It all sounds like one big song, but with not much differentiating content to drive that. The female vocals are kinda nice I guess, but overall it’s rather forgettable, other than it being a genre-bender. Also tip to the band, don’t charge 10$ for a 33 minute debut album when you have no apparent record label.


5.25/10

https://refractband.bandcamp.com/album/refract

Donggripper – Immeasurably Bummed

If you ever just want to have heavy, fuzzy, riffy metal, with none of the other bullshit that comes with it, this is the album for you. Donggripper doesn’t do anything fancy, or add anything necessarily unique, or create anything you haven’t heard before. But damn they know how to make some good heavy fuzz. I wouldn’t even say it’s that riffy honestly, the riffs themselves are not amazing, but those dirty, fuzzy chugs get me every time. This band has got their sound down, and I hope they keep it up. If they can maybe add some vocals (not too much, just enough to add some textural variety) this’ll be a band to look out for. I can’t really score this super high because of how one dimensional it is, but I’ve always said that I’m fine with one dimensional if you’re one dimensionally superb.


7/10

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ZE3o1dluE&feature=youtu.be

https://dickcrushrecords.bandcamp.com/album/immeasurably-bummed

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

Church of Misery – And Then There Were None

If this album were a cereal it would be one of those store brand ones you find at safeway that lists all the vitamins it has and how their oats taste great but you know that when you put milk in it it’s going end up a mush of blandness and regret. At least it’s good for you.


6/10

Conan – Revengeance ALBUM REVIEW

I’m not gonna beat around the bush here. There’s not gonna be any poetic introduction, no funny metaphors, and no attempt to be artful in my language. I’m just gonna cut to the chase: Revengeance is boring as fuck. Like, this is the soundtrack to a cheap retirement home boring (christ am I really that incapable of not making a metaphor in a review?). Yeah, I heard this was Conan’s weakest yet, so I wasn’t exactly expecting the world. But holy mother of fuck, how do you make an album with a cover that great so insipidly dull?

Here’s the thing, in stoner doom, like the powerpuff girls, you need three major ingredients: fuzz, heaviness, and riffs, the importance being the reverse of that order. They got spice (fuzz) down pat, but completely left out sugar and everything nice, not to mention Chemical X (which for this genre, is probably weed). Which means this album gives you a good dose of Bubbles, but completely left out Blossom and Buttercup, which were the only ones people cared about anyway (I really am completely incapable of not using metaphors, jesus on a candlestick).

Fun fact, I actually forgot I was listening to this around 1/3 of the way through. I didn’t actually notice until that weird sound that was playing in the background stopped. And I went “oh shit, that’s bad, I have to go back and listen to that”. So I started and about 3 minutes later realized “Oh right, no wonder I forgot I was listening to something, nothing fucking happened”.

The riffs? Bland and forgettable the few that there are. Heaviness? Totally fucked by a godawful production job that sounds like they wanted to be hardcore but their mom didn’t let them so they went halfway. Actually, it’s more like quarterway if we’re being real here. I’ll give credit where it’s due, the vocals are actually really good, easily my favorite thing on here. But you barely ever hear them. So instead you just get an entire album of incessant buzzing that masquerades as doom metal.

Is this review a bit lazy, probably. But I figured a lazy review that’s completely honest and to the point would be better than pulling a Conan and wasting 50 minutes of your time with no point at all.


3.25/10

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

Dark Buddha Rising – Inversum ALBUM REVIEW

For the record, I’m a huge DBR fan. They’re one of the first metal bands I ever listened to, even before I really got into it. This goes back to high school, when I thought that the subgenres of metal were basically just labeled how hardcore they were, and me thinking Mayhem was some of the most evil shit I’ve ever heard. DBR was a good medium between super scary evil, and just dark enough to peak my interest. Eventually, when I stopped listening to music through youtube videos, I went through their whole discography to an ultimately pleasant outcome. Good stuff all around, nothing super elite. But I did discover one thing: DBR is one of those bands who in order to get the most out of their music, you need to listen to high. I’m not the kind of person who thinks that all music is better high, or that you need to smoke weed whenever listening to stoner doom. But there is a very clear difference in experiences of DBR music in the two states. Sober DBR is great to good music depending on the album, has nice climaxes, but doesn’t blow you away, especially if you’ve heard their music before. High DBR is a life-changing experience that transcends you to another realm, and might also cause you to create a war between the cheetos and the cherry tomatoes (which is kinda messy but very entertaining).

However I did review this sober, so I’ll be writing on that front. This was one of my most anticipated albums of this year, as I was hoping they would fix their problems of their last album, namely length and creativity. I’ll give them a 1.5/2 for this album. Length they certainly fixed, being at a very reasonable 47 minutes, compared to the over 70 minute time of their last album. Creativity is a bit of an issue. Inversum is split into two tracks, ESO and EXO. ESO sounds like a stereotypical DBR track, with all the same buildups, riffs, and samples that have been repeated in their previous albums multiple times. It sounds decent, but after so many albums of a similar sound, it starts to lose it’s luster. EXO by comparison, is a infinitely more interesting track. And strangely enough, this is because it shows that this band has a soft side. The opening to EXO is actually quite calm and atmospheric, something you don’t normally hear in this bad at all. Of course in the latter bit it builds up to the strong, dark, crushing climactic riff, but the buildup feels so much sweater here as there was actually some contrast. Turning up the volume from 60-100 isn’t going to create nearly as much of an impact as going from 20-100 after all.

I really think the next step in DBR’s evolution is to fiddle around with different dynamics throughout the ENTIRE song, rather than just building up. Maybe having multiple climaxes throughout the track, variations, or heck at least something other than the 3-4 riffs they play. Basically just some variety would be all they needed to be one of the best doom metal bands out there.

In short, if you’ve heard their last few albums, you’ve heard this album. I’d really only recommend this to those who are unfamiliar with this band, or someone who has some high quality weed sitting around their house. Otherwise, DBR certainly doesn’t drop the ball in the slightest, but they don’t really do anything they haven’t done before.


7/10

Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower ALBUM REVIEW

I should’ve listened to the cover on this one. Some about it told me this was going to be a stinker, I just couldn’t put a finger on what. Looking back on it, the cover is just so soft. It looks like the cover of some 70s hippie band’s wanky progressive rock concept album about how we’re raping the wilderness or something. It’s the kind of cover that reminds me of a retirement home, with those soft purples and baby blues, the color of the pants my grandma used to wear. In a nutshell, this album is soft as hell, both in cover and in music.

It starts with the vocals. The weak, echoey whisper like sound unnerves the hell out of me, especially in combination with the guitars that sound as if they’re not even trying. Grief’s Infernal Flower is like what stoner doom would sound like in 1971, in a bad way. The whole album sounds like it would take place in a modified Volkswagon bus, a place to chill out, do some weak drugs to seem cool, talk about philosophy as if you know something about it, and about how your generation is going to bring world peace and all that other cool shit that comes with it. And just like those promises, this record is totally empty and lacking of any substance whatsoever.

None of the tracks sound distinct at all except for the two acoustic interludes (which just furthers the whole bad hippie vibe) and the two 14 minute “epic” tracks. While those tracks are indeed the best tracks on the album, one of them (“Hesperus”) is like that because it is a complete ripoff of Electric Wizard. Very specifically, the vocals match the same vocal intonation pattern as Wizard in Black. Don’t believe me? Listen to the line from Wizard in Black “I am a God, I am the one, Into the chaos see my time has begun” and then listen to the this track. You’ll notice something very peculiar about. It’s almost as if they’re just about exactly the same… The rest of the track is actually quite boring, even though it actually feels heavier than any other song on the album. Heavier would lead you to believe that it fixes one of the problems this album has, but heavy doesn’t mean shit if there’s nothing behind it. And there is no shit in the toilet here, it’s just piss. Clear, water like piss, with the weakest stream you’ll ever see. The other of the two tracks Windhand actually tried on, Kingfisher, is actually the one track on the album I feel is worth listening to. Even though it still lacks a lot of personality, there is a sense of progression, and uniqueness. It’s extremely psychedelic, in a good way this time. It actually feels like you’re going on some sort of a drug trip, which is what good stoner doom should do to you. I still don’t think it’s worth being a 14 minute track, but none the less, I’ll take anything good I can get at this point.

Probably the biggest reason this album falls flat to me is the complete and utter lack of riffs. There are two total times on the album where I can hear a good solo, and no time at all when there is a prominently featured riff that takes a crowbar to you head, unhinges your skull, and shoves that earworm into you brain. It just feels like underwhelming noise. Windhand manages to create a sound that feels too cool for metal. Consequently, I feel too cool to give this a good score.


3/10