High on Fire are back with their seventh studio album, and I’m pleased to say that the band are definitely not mellowing with age. Luminiferous is nine tracks of the heavy rock, doom and thrash metal hybrid that Matt Pike and co. have spent the past fifteen years perfecting. Equal parts early Celtic Frost, Slayer and Motorhead, with just right amount of Venom and a healthy pinch of Wino, shoved in a blender and then set alight. That best describes the sound of High on Fire, and though it hardly seems possible, the new album takes things up another notch from their previous effort (2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis). (more…)
“A rockin’ collaboration of American and Italian heavy rock musicians.”
Sonic Wolves are the new new band formed by Kayt Vigil – bass & vocals (ex-Hounds of Hasselvander, Pentagram and Hatchetface), Vita – drums (Ufomammut) and Stefano Tocci – guitar (ex-Incoming Cerebral Overdrive, Deaf Eyes). Wolfwitch is their debut demo. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by their guitarist Stefano Tocci at Ampire Studio in Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy, between December 2014 and April 2015. (more…)
John Gallow – Violet Dreams (I, Voidhanger Records)
This is the first solo offering from Orodruin founder John Gallo (not counting the album and EP’s he’s done as Blizaro) and he plays all the instruments himself. Violet Dreams is John’s homage to what he calls “all those purple doom metal bands from Italy,” namely Paul Chain. The resulting sound is a creepy, psychedelic affair with plenty of Sabbathian riffing and spooky organ sounds.
Lyrically, the album is all about dreams, or more specifically, nightmares. John provides some interesting liner notes in the CD booklet that help to explain things. They are a welcome addition, as the casual listener could be forgivien for thinking the man that created this creepy doom album was totally bonkers!
Violet Dreams is more of a doom album than John’s previous efforts with Blizaro(which was based on classic horror soundtracks, many of those Italian too) but not as full on doom metal as his most famous band Orodruin. As stated above, John does play all the instruments himself. This works extremely well on all but the drums, which I must admit are a weak link in places. He does a good job but he may have bitten off a little more than he can chew here. I would suggest some drum lessons or recruiting a specialist drummer for album two (and I hope there will be a follow up because this is really good). If you are an Orodruin fan, I’d suggest checking this out, and if you are familiar with Blizaro, this sounds enough like it to appeal to you, too.
Serpent Venom are one of the best doom bands in the UK, and their new album will only serve to strengthen their reputation. Roland Scriver’s guitar tone takes Tony Iommi’s trademark Black Sabbath sound and drags it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. The bass is crushing and the drums. Well, they sound like a heard of elephants stampeeding. Slowly. For an hour. The vocals sit perfectly on top of this wall of sludgy riffs and slow motion rhythm. They are not too high in the mix to annoy and not too low as to be obscured by the sheer weight of the music.
The only criticism I can level at Serpent Venom is this: they can tend to sound a little samey after a few tracks. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if you don’t like one song of theirs, move on. They are all very similar minus the odd tempo change. If you like what they do, you’ll love this new album. If not, it won’t change your mind.
This band is the brainchild of Canadian multi-instrumentalist Matt Emery. The music is a cross between ’70’s hard rock and modern psychedelic doom. Matt’s clean vocals remind me of Ronnie James Dio in places and are of the highest quality throughout, as are the musicianship and production.
The lyrical subject matter covers the usual occultism and sexual themes that one would expect from an occult rock band. The cover art is also awesome. I’m seeing a lot of topless women on rock and metal albums lately. Maybe we started a trend with Iron Void? I heartily recommend this CD. It’s one of the best rock albums I have heard in recent years and is heavy enough to appeal to doom and heavy metal fans too. There is even a cover version of the Blue Oyster Cult classic ‘Dominance and Submission’ on here for good measure! If you liked The Devil’s Blood and have been missing that epic psyche rock sound since their demise, you could do a lot worse than this.
“In this house, what you don’t know will hurt you.”
The career of Italian director Lucio Fulci spanned several decades and crossed all popular genres, from Westerns to Giallo, but it is for his horror films that he is most fondly remembered. Not all of them are great, but there was a period in the late 1907’s to early 1980’s when Fulci was on form. This period gave rise to the classics Zombie Flesh Eaters, The Beyond and City of The Living Dead.
Obscure European cinema releases and later 1980’s ‘video nasties,’ these films have since found a new audience with a younger generation thanks to DVD and Blu Ray. One of the coolest things about Italian horror films (aside from the gory violence), is the music. Death Waltz Recording Co. have recognized this fact, and have spent the last couple of years licencing and reissuing remastered versions of many cult soundtracks as lavish limited edition vinyl packages. I’m completely hooked on them, and I hope that the other classic Fulci soundtracks are given similar treatment, if they are available for copyright reasons. (more…)
“I detest Cannibal Ferox… it’s the only movie in the bunch of horror/gore/splatters that I was in in the ’80s that I regret and wish I didn’t appear in.”
– Giovanni Lombardo Radice (Actor/Writer/Director, Cannibal Ferox)
If ever there was a movie that could be termed controversial, it is the 1981 exploitation horror Cannibal Ferox. Directed by prolific Italian film maker Umberto Lenzi (Eaten Alive, Nightmare City, The House of Witchcraft), Cannibal Ferox is a tale of cocaine, academic curiosity and death.
And I love it! (more…)
I stumbled upon this limited edition cassette while looking at vinyl on the Svart Records website – I was there to order a copy of their Witch Mountain – South of Salem LP reissue, which I will post a review of soon.
I don’t normally go for cassettes, but when I saw the link to this recording, I knew I had to have it. Limited to only 300 copies, this cassette features the original Sabbath Assembly recordings from 2009, with Jex Thoth on vocals. I can imagine this selling quite well and becoming hard to find in no time at all. With this in mind, I made a digital copy of mine the day I got it so my original will stay in pretty much mint condition.
The songs are all Process Church hymns, later versions of which appeared on the band’s debut album Restored to One. Here, they are presented in a raw, experimental form, with sparse bongo percussion (by the band’s founder Dave Nuss, credited here as Xtian) as opposed to the full drum kit used on the bands full albums and live shows. The arrangements are a little different, too, showing some of the early psychedelic influences and ideas that were later molded into the form long time fans will know.
Bristol, UK doom rockers Gonga have teamed up with fellow Bristol-based singer Beth Gibbons (of Portishead fame) to record a cover version of the song that started off the debut album from the most important band in doom metal – Black Sabbath. They’re calling it ‘Black Sabbeth’ for obvious reasons. The video is made up of footage from the classic 1963 Mario Bava film Black Sabbath, after which the band were named.
“Humanity is doomed.”
Quaternity is the third album from Sabbath Assembly, a bizarre rock band that formed to recreate the hymns of apocalyptic 1960’s religious cult The Process Church of The Final Judgement. Their first record (Restored to One) caught my attention because their original singer was Jex Thoth, which was enough of an endorsement to at least check them out, even if they did sing about God and seemed more than a bit ‘churchy’. Spend a little time with this band, though, and you will soon discover that there is nothing traditionally Christian about their music or philosophy.
As the 40-second preview video above shows, the band haven’t deviated from their usual horror-film inspired lyrical themes, and with any luck, they never will. All 9 tracks on offer here stand up to their previous releases and while they don’t do anything amazingly different, they manage not to sound like they are aping their earlier material (even though they are, like AC/DC and Iron Maiden have done for 30-odd years, but it’s still possible to enjoy listening to them).
Iron Hearse don’t do anything unique, but they do play some of the best straight up pub doom-rock you’re ever likely to hear. We’ve heard it all before, but now it’s heavier, the playing is tighter and everything is a bit louder than last time. (more…)
The world famous De Wolfe Music Library are re-issuing some of the rarest and most sought after soundtracks from their 100 year history. Among them is Paul Ferris’ soundtrack to the 1968 classic Witchfinder General which starred Gothic-horror legend Vincent Price in the title role.
The film was directed by Michael Reeves (The Sorcerers, Castle of The Living Dead, She Beast), who died suddenly in 1969 aged just 25. Witchfinder General was his last film.
Telling the story of the sadistic and brutal Matthew Hopkins (the eponymous Witchfinder General), this was a controversial film upon its initial release, with many of the more graphic scenes of violence being cut. The director’s tragic death added to the film’s notoriety and helped forge the cult status it has today.