review

cardinals-folly

Album: CARDINAL’S FOLLY – Holocaust of Ecstasy & Freedom

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“You can only die once. After that, nothing and nobody can harm you.” 

Cardinal’s Folly are a relatively new band to me, despite being active in the underground doom metal scene since 2007 (the band actually formed in 2004 as The Coven changing their name to Cardinal’s Folly in 2007). (more…)

The-Devils_UK poster

Film: The Devils (1971)

The Devils dvdThe Devils is not a film for everyone.”

Ken Russell’s 1971 masterpiece The Devils mixes the avante garde with the blasphemous, creating an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Censored and widely banned since it’s release, the full, uncut version of the film, which includes an infamous scene involving a crucifix (known as the “rape of Christ” scene) and several other salacious scenes, has never been made available to the public. This DVD version contains as much of the film as Warner Bros. will currently allow to be released and is as good a version as I have ever seen.

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Vardis-2016

Album: Vardis – Red Eye

vardis-red-eye“Life’s a bitch and then you die!”

NWOBHM veterans Vardis originally called it a day in 1986 before reforming in 2014. This album comes in the wake of the tragic death of their bass player Terry Horbury last year. Horbury had been with the band on and off since the early 1980’s and is replaced by Martin Connolly (ex- Rick Wakeman, Paul Fox). The cover art was painted by legendary horror artists Graham Humphries (Evil Dead, Death Waltz Recording Company) and features the band as disembodied heads (with red eyes of course) and Horbury is depicted, which serves as a fitting tribute to him. (more…)

Psychedelic-Witchcraft

Review: Psychedelic Witchcraft – The Vision

Psychedelic-Witchcraft-The-Vision

“People reject us. They will never know the answer to the question that we carry in our hearts.”

The Vision is the debut album from these Italian blues-doom rockers. The album is the follow-up to last year’s Black Magic Man EP, and offers nine tracks of smoky, classic blues rock with occult-themed lyrics. Singer Virginia Monti delivers said lyrics in a suitably witchy style, and manages to sound like she means it. That’s because she does!  (more…)

Classic album: QUARTZ – Stand Up and Fight (1980)

Quartz-Stand Up and FightBirmingham’s Quartz, were a hard rock/heavy metal band who counted long-running Black Sabbath keyboard player Geoff Nicholls among their founding members. Formed in 1974 under the less than metal name of Bandy Legs, the band played club gigs and released a single (‘Bet You Can’t Dance’) for Jet records in 1976 before changing their name to Quartz (sounds a lot cooler doesn’t it?).
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Film Review: Spookies (1986)

richard-corben_spookies-poster_1987Spookies harks back to that glorious time for American horror films – the mid to late 1980’s. It has the perfect mix of stereotypical teen characters (all played by actors that are well into their twenties, in line with horror tradition) and incredible special creature effects that still look good today. No CGI here – all the effects were done with puppets and models, giving them a solid, believable look that is sadly missing from today’s horror movies. (more…)

CD reviews: John Gallow, Serpent Venom, The Order of The Solar Temple

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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-Of-Things-Seen-UnseenSerpent Venom – Of Things Seen and Unseen (Church Within)

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.

 

Order-of-the-Solar-TempleThe Order of The Solar Temple – s/t (I, Voidhanger Records)

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.

Review: Iron Hearse – Deal With It

 

Iron Hearse Deal With ItIt’s always a pleasure to get hold of a new Iron Hearse release, specially as they have only made us wait a year since the last one (Get In The Hearse, released March 2013).

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…)