Sunday, 30 August 2015

MARA ~ Self titled album from Swedish trad doomsters.

In 2012 Mara debuted their first EP on Bandcamp. three songs of traditional metal and doom, a little more Grand Magus than Graveyard but with a groove that would appeal to fans of both ,it promised good things for the future. Two years later and Mara have at last delivered on that promise with their self titled full album "MARA"

"MARA" is made up of seven songs three of which "Greed","Extinction" and "Possessed" appeared on 2012's EP. Remixed ,reworked the three songs take on a whole new life here being sharper, crisper yet losing none of the sleazy dirtiness of the originals. "Greed" especially benefits, it's heaviness ramped up to eleven going straight for the throat by losing the slow psych build up of the original and just going straight into the riff.
The four new songs stand up well if not surpassing the older tunes, "Maran" opens the album with a deliciously heavy Sleep type riff that shifts into a NWOBHM groove, swaying  back and forth between the two through to the final chord. "Thunderdrive" unleashes Mara's Sabbath side, not by the use of Iommi type riffage but by the use of  Ozzy -like melody in the vocals. "Apocalypse" is a monstrous track that opens with a thunderous drum intro segueing into a  series of delicious swinging (The)Sword type riffs, heavy and head noddingly infectious and enhanced with  slightly more aggressive vocals. "Turn The Tables" is for me the highlight of "MARA" its uber heavy riff circling over and around massive rhythms laid down by the excellent engine room of drum and bass. Vocals are melodic and once again swing with an Ozzy-like meter, counterbalancing the heaviness of the guitars with a dark delicious sweetness. In and out of this maelstrom of noise the lead guitarist lays down some stupendously majestic solos and licks, borrowing from Iommi but also stamping his own style and tone to his fretwork.
Mara are not re-inventing the wheel with their new album but if after reading this you shoot over to Bandcamp and hit the buy button you will, for whatever you decide to pay, be getting some of the finest trad. metal/doom released this year.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

TALLBOY DROP ~ THE LONG TRAIL (EP)

In 2013 a young band from Brussels, Belgium released their first EP, a home made, self titled affair it consisted of four songs of loud stoner rock mixed with a little punky attitude, well written but suffering a little from its DIY production it  nonetheless showed a band full of ideas and band who knew how to pen a good tune. Two years later Tallboy Drop are back with a new EP!

The Long Trail sees Tallboy Drop move away from the punkish naivety of  their first EP shifting instead towards a more traditional stoner sound, a sound that is further enhanced by the addition of keyboards (supplied by band friend Felix) and the professional production afforded to it by the people at Belgium's Noise Factory Studios.
From the gentle opening drone of "So Loud, So Good" through the glorious desert grooves of "When You Cry" to the stoner monster that is "My Mother Is My Sister Too" Tallboy Drop  never miss a trick, filling the three tracks of The Long Trail with delicious fuzzy riffs, solid desert/stoner rhythms, furiously hot guitar solos and topping it all off with wonderful clean vocals. Riffs, rhythms and solos are not the whole story though, Tallboy Drop know how to structure a song, filling all three songs with hooks, melodies and shifting dynamics showing that not only can these guys play a good tune, they can write one too.
The Long Trail is a magnificent example of how, over a space of time, a band can improve and mature and the only criticism I could possibly level at this killer EP is that at only three songs it's too short!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

REGULUS ~ New EP from UK hard rock/proto-metal rockers.

A little history lesson concerning the term proto-metal....
Proto-metal was/is a term coined to describe a sound that came about when bands ploughing a furrow in the fields of blues rock and psychedelia found that the use of  the newer, bigger, louder amps, made by companies like Marshall etc., produced a heavier sound with more bottom end, more distortion and more volume! The sound that these  bands created with this new technology  merged elements of late 60's psychedelic rock with elements of electrified blues creating a sound that was harder, edgier and louder than what had gone before and paved the way for a genre of music that would soon take over the world. That  genre,we now call heavy metal, had a mother and  today we  know her as proto-metal or to give her full name....prototype metal.
Today a few bands are rediscovering those early 70's fledgling bluesy metal grooves and sprinkling them with a few ideas of their own, one of these bands comes from the UK and goes by the name of... Regulus.


In 2014 Regulus released  their full album "Smoke", a stunning album full of furious blues flecked metal grooviness ,salted with gritty vocals and hard rock/stoner attitude. At the same time as making "Smoke" the band also managed to fit in time to write  some new material and it is those scribblings that now present themselves in the form of new EP "Regulus"



"Regulus" takes up perfectly where "Smoke" left off, except where "Smoke" was a little raw and untamed "Regulus" is a little smoother and focused, the rough edges have been rubbed down a little and the sound is more streamlined and direct. Production-wise the sound on this EP is crisper, cleaner and sharper, whereas the guitars where a little blunted in the mix on "Smoke" here they are razor sharp and bright, vocals also benefit,  being a liitle less upfront and nestled into the mix rather than over it. Do not fear though that Regulus (the band) have lost any of that feral intensity that may have drawn you to them in the first place, there is still that air of chaos and glorious looseness to their grooves that made "Smoke" and first two EP's "The End" and "Titan Moon" such a joy to listen to.
Songs like "Son of a Witch" and "Blunderbuss" throb with powerful proto-metal pulses over which bluesy guitar solos soar and vocals rasp and roar, all four members firing on all cylinders. It may be a contradiction in terms but to be able to play this loose and with this amount of delicious swagger a band have to be tight and Regulus are as tight as a Scotsman's fist throughout this glorious EP.
Looking forward to hearing a lot more from these guys.....

Saturday, 22 August 2015

BLOOD DIAMOND ~ DEATH VALLEY BLUES..... Dutch Sludge!

A rule of thumb I use when browsing through record store racks or perusing the internet for new music is if something has good artwork or an interesting title .....check it out. If it has both ...buy it.
Ok this does not always work and over the years I've ended up with  a few turkeys but when it does work, as in the case of Blood Diamonds' Death Valley Blues, its a lovely feeling that leaves you with a big smug grin on your face.

Death Valley Blues contains seven blood pumping tunes of heavy sludge grooves flecked with elements of prog-like intensity and bluesy stoner swagger. Songs like "Killing Patrol", "Compulsion" and the excellent title track are jammed full of complex rhythms, intricate guitar solos and prog-like time signatures. Don't think though that Blood Diamond are all technique and no substance, these guys rock and they rock HARD! Guitars riff on overload, distorted and dirty, circulating around the solid throbbing rhythms like sharks around a wounded seal, darting in to deliver a killer lick or a scintillating solo always moving,never still. Vocals throughout  Death Valley Blues are delivered with clean raw passion and feral intensity but remain on the right side of brutal maintaining a clarity that allows you to actually hear the lyrics. Both musically and vocally this album ticks all the boxes.

Blood Diamond have in Death Valley Blues created an album that will not only please us
stoners and doomers that already inhabit the underground scene but might just appeal to some of those standing on the edges looking in.

ACID FIRE - Spanish psych doomsters release four song demo

Acid Fire are a band bound to divide opinion, there are those of you who will dig their quirky stoner doom/psych grooves but there will also be others who will not. So what is it about Acid Fire that could cause such a division of opinion... Well it's the vocals. Artem Badassian's voice, heavily accented and with a hint of, 60's psychedelic blues legend, Captain Beefheart's rabid  growl, it is you could argue, an acquired taste. Speaking for myself though, I find Badassian's tone and delivery a thing of strange, eerie beauty. Aided and abetted by David Sánchez - Guitars, Álex Miranda - Drums and Adrià Puig - Bass, Badassian (who also plays guitar) growls and croaks his way around and over the four songs that make up this EP like some deranged storyteller sharing tales of demons and desert queens, colouring said tales with his deliciously malevolent vocal styling.
Underneath Badassian's eerie mutterings the band blend an infectious mix of stoner/desert fuzz with doomy acid psychedelics. Part old school doom, part  70's proto metal Acid Fire deliver vast swathes of dark colour and moody textures sprinkled with searing guitar solos and heavy rhythmic pulses  that create a dark atmospheric backdrop for the vocalist to narrate and croon his stories over.
Whether you fall into the love or hate category there is no denying Acid Fire are a little bit different in their sonic approach and if you are reading this you have no doubt listened and formed your own opinion. I love 'em but you might not....but then I suppose that's what makes music such a personnel experience, and long may that last.

BTW..only three songs are streamed on the bands Bandcamp page but you get the fourth when you buy and download the EP.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Brazil's AGUAPESADA release new EP TROIKA

As an Englishman who knows no other language than my own, it often surprises me that I can get so much enjoyment out of listening to bands who sing in their own native tongue........then again its not always about the lyric sometimes its all about the GROOVE!

AguaPesada are a trio from Brazil consisting of Ricardo Faller (guitar and vocals), Fábio Domingues (bass) and Fernando Sioni (drums) and have just released their latest EP Troika.

Troika begins with "Um brine ao Iggy Pop (Tribute ao La Carne)" a heady mix of psychedelic atmospherics and heavy stoner/sludge grooves. As with the rest of the EP the vocals are in Portuguese and sees Faller switching from lo-key hushed tones to all out stoner howl, his guitar following suit with long sustained psychedelic notes making way for gritty stoner chords and riffs.  The rhythm section of Domingues and Sioni more than just compliment Faller's vocal and guitar work they drive it, the bassist weaving a tapestry of four string majesty in and around the songs dynamic while drummer both brutalises and caresses his skins with powerful  and skillful stickmanship. By the way the songs title translates to English as A Toast To Iggy Pop ( Tribute To Her Flesh).
Next up is "Enigma de Esquecimento" ( Enigma of Oblivion ) a track that shifts back and forth between spacey psychedelics and hard rocking grooves with Faller's guitar spewing forth mind blowing, effect laden solo's and riffs under which Domingues and Sioni lay a bedrock of stunning rhythmic thunder. Faller's vocal is the icing on the cake here, reverb soaked and moody in places, primal and feral in others, and although I cannot understand a word he is singing, his tone add a dimension to the music that would be sorely lacking if he wasn't there.
"412(Quatrocentos de Doze)" closes Troika with a bang, heavy as a truck full of lead its 4:12 mins are packed full of thunderous riffage and swirling psych guitar effects that both caresses and pulverise in equal measure. Short, sharp and to the point its a fitting end to a stunningly good EP.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

OXEN ~ THE VANISHING......Massachusetts desert sludgers release new album!

Lead vocalists can be a pain in the butt, pulling all the chicks, getting all the press attention, massive ego's etc. So how does a band get round the thorny problems associated with lead singer syndrome, well in Oxen's case it's simple, you make every member a lead singer........sorted!

  
Oxen's approach of multi vocalism pays huge dividends on their new release The Vanishing, with throaty sludge intensity sitting side by side with clean melodic harmonies.
First track "Transmission" explodes out of the blocks like a 100metre sprinter, the twin guitars of Chris Daniele and Ben Reigle spitting out delicious stuttering riffs under which Eric Racicot (bass) and Hans Dalhaus (drums) lay a thunderous barrage of angular rhythms. Vocally the track swaps between  sludgey raw solo leads and gruff clean harmonies that compliment the songs heavy stoner groove perfectly.
Second and title track "The Vanishing" sees the vocals take on a more melodic and clean tone that sits cream-like over a deliciously catchy circular riff. This song has a lighter texture than many of the tunes on The Vanishing but works well within the context of the album.
The rest of the album ebbs and flows beautifully with huge distorted walls of sound counterbalanced against ever shifting vocal displays, highlights being the sublime "See Me Scream" and  "Colour Out Of Space" the former a slow burning track that could almost be called a ballad, if it was not for the bellowed sludge vocal, and one that sees Dalhaus shine as he adds intricate fills and shimmering cymbals to his already impressive drum chops. The latter is a wonderful blend of space rock and sludge metal peppered with incendiary guitar work from Daniele and Reigle, the two guitarists going toe to toe laying down unison riffs and trading scorching solos and fills.
If you like the both the early heavy sludge of Baroness' Red album but are also partial to the lighter touch of their Yellow & Green album then Oxen may be the band for you.



Monday, 17 August 2015

Looking back......Germany's HELLBOUND ~HAIL THE NEW FLESH EP

Germany is reknowned for producing classy krautrock and psych, as we all know, but it seems that the country that prides itself on discipline and efficiency can also get down and dirty too. If you need proof of this then check out Hellbound's  2011 release Hail the New Flesh EP....

Hail The New Flesh opens its joyously noisy account with an absolute belter in "Zadoc Allen", a full blooded rocker played at breakneck pace.This three minutes track gives you a perfect insight into what Hellbound were all about, distorted riffage and head banging rhythms all peppered  with the throat ripping vocals of front man Sebastian (here we go with the first names only again).Hard fast and gloriously loud!
"Daylight Through A Girls Brain" slows the pace just a tad with a deliciously addictive riff from the twin guitars of Johannes and Christian, initially it has a slightly more bluesy hard rock feel than the previous track but this soon makes way for an incendiary metal riff fest  that is driven by some extraordinary rhythm work from Markus (bass) and Tobias (drums). OK it does not have the most PC title but that aside it is still a killer tune!
Third track "Hail The New Flesh" kicks off with a start/stop/start riff then morphs into a galloping nwobhm type refrain with Sebastian's raw throaty vocal roaring and bellowing over the top with power and unbridled passion.. The moments during this song when the stuttering  guitar riff is answered by the drums is worth the price of the ep on its own.
The final track "Feaster From The Stars" sees the two guitarists alone and exploring a slightly medieval/classical theme, gentle acoustic guitars intertwine and weave around each other creating a serene and beautiful mood piece which is in total contrast to the sludge fest of the previous three tracks. It's a strange choice for a number to finish your EP on and maybe would of sat better between the second and third songs as a slight relief.. but no matter it's still a great tune and shows that Hellbound were no one-trick ponies.
Not heard much from this band since they released Hail The New Flesh in 2011 and as far as i can make out they have split, although their facebook page is still up and running,I did notice though that one former member is now in sludgemonsters Blacksmoker so things are not looking good for any sort of follow up. Still they did leave us with this monster so its not all bad.


Friday, 14 August 2015

PSYCHIC DOSE ~ SATYRNALIA ...... Occult grooves from Florida

Psychic Dose have been teasing us for a little while now, drip feeding us snippets of their occult/retro rock grooves via Bandcamp, whetting our appetites slowly and deliberately, working us up into a frenzy for the day a full album would be released. Well that day has arrived and debut album Satyrnalia is finally here for us all to hear.....but was it worth the wait?
Well the answer to that question is a resounding yes!

Psychic Dose take a pinch of Royal Thunder's bluesy stoner, a spoonful of Witch Mountain's retro doom add a smattering of Purson's pop/psych sensibility and sprinkle it all with a healthy dose of fuzz and distortion, creating a sound that is familiar but wholly their own.



Satyrnalia opens with "On Hooves I Ride", a chugging mid paced rocker that's catchier than head cold, I defy you to stop your foot tapping along to it's infectious hard rock grooves and hooky riffs. The track is further enhanced by the slightly sinister, witchy rasp vocals of Amanda Howell, her malevolent delivery giving the tune a dark doomy edginess.
The following eight tracks follow in much the same vein. Bluesy doom grooves and angular occult rhythms are driven by a powerful engine room of Aaron Beauregard on bass and Mino Mercurious on drums and sprinkled with scorching guitar tones from Andrew Costantino, the three musicians creating a wall of razor sharp stoner noise over which Howell lays her eerie, unique vocals. Songs like the awesome "Lord Of The Trolls" with its backward recorded intro and "Tying The Wind", all folky acoustics and with a slightly medieval feel, show a band who are not bereft of ideas and a band who promise much for the future.


Check 'em out.....

Thursday, 13 August 2015

OUT OF THE EARTH ~ Debut album from Greek stoner trio

I have enthused before on these pages concerning the depth of talent that is currently coming out of Greece's underground so I will not waste your time by going over old ground except to say that Greece has some new boys on the block who go by the name Out Of The Earth and they have just released a killer self titled debut album.

Out Of The Earth (the album) is an infectious mix of bluesy hard rock rhythms and fuzzy stoner grooves chock-a-block full of delicious hooks that'll have you punching the air with joy long before the last tune fades. Bluesy riffs, licks and solo's, thick with fuzz and wah pedal effects  are peeled off with ease from the fingers of guitarist Thanos (this current trend of bands only using their first names is starting to get annoying) and are underpinned by some sterling, solid rhythm work from Stellos on bass and Marios on drums . As well as holding down guitar duties Thanos also doubles up on vocals and its these vocals that give Out Of The Earth (the band) their edge. Powerful, clean and sounding not unlike Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, Thanos' voice dominates this album with it's grungy blues tones and classic rock delivery, swooping and soaring over the music like a seagull over the waves only stopping to rip out a scintillating solo or a tasteful lick from his six strings,... stunning!.
 From the alt/grunge rock of "Need" to the funky stoner of "Crave" the band never give less than 100%, voice, strings and percussion uniting together to create a sound that is both exhilarating and essential listening, making Out Of The Earth (the album)  something to savour and Out Of The Earth (the band) one to keep an eye on for the future.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

PATHOS ~ ELIXIR, Brazilian prog stoners debut new album

Ricardo Marliere, guitarist of Brazilian prog stoner band Pathos, is a very insistent man, Ricardo has been bombarding me via various forms of social media to take a listen to his band. Well today his persistence paid off and I finally relented and took a listen........ WOW!

"Elixir" is a concept album and although  I can hear some of you reeling with disgust at the word "concept" fear not, the seven songs that make up "Elixir" are more than able to stand up on their own outside of their conceptual theme.

"Portal" opens Elixir and is a stunning slab of stonerized bluesy guitar pyrotechnics that begins quite gently but then explodes into a flurry of distorted bass and guitar jams driven by solid precise drumming from Hugo Moutinho.
"Haunted Vision" is next up with Marliere and bassist Lucas Guida delivering a peach of a riff, fuzzed to the max and filthy with distortion. Vocals then enter the equation, smooth, clean, melodic and with no hint of an accent João Pedro Vieira's voice has a tone and delivery that brings to mind, UK 70's hard rockers, May Blitz's Jamie Black. In fact the whole of "Elixir" sounds as though it was recorded by one of those early 70's bands you find on youtube , you know those ones that never quite made it to the top, due to bad management or in-band politics, but nevertheless produced music of a quality and depth that still stands up today.
A perfect example of this is next track "Sophie" a beautiful mix of early prog melodic complexity and 00's gritty stoner psych that introduces a little flute colouring to the Pathos's sonic cannon and ends with a scorching guitar wig-out.
"Untitled (formally known as The God)" is a mini opera split into three acts that sees the band excel themselves both musically and lyrically. Time signatures shift seamlessly between the acts with Guida's bass and Moutinho's drums being especially effective throughout, bridging the gaps between the three movements with fluid lines and percussive dexterity. Vieira is on fine form too, his vocal tone shifting from melodic croons to impassioned wail and employing subtle changes of tone on each act to enhance the "opera" effect. Marliere's guitar tops everything off with a mixture of hard distorted riffage and textured  six string colouring, going from a wall of fuzz one minute to intricate gentle noodling the next and all in the blink of an eye, incredible.
"Ankh" kicks off all heavy and full of bluster then shifts into ballad territory. light and gentle with Vieira's voice taking on a sweet fragile edge then BANG! we are back to the heavy stuff with Marliere laying down some stunning, effect laden, guitar fire. Listen for some lovely bass fills from Guida too.
The next two tracks "The Wanderer" and "Sequel" see Pathos throw  a little diversity into the mix, the former a mix of all of the above but with a little funkiness thrown in for good measure and the latter a jazzy little workout that includes a trumpet solo, a tone poem and an absolutely delicious guitar solo from Marliere. Both tracks show that as well as rocking out Pathos can SWING!
"Elixir" is, on the whole, a stunning album full of little twists and turns that'll have you discovering something new in its grooves every time you play it, its also an album I might not have heard if it was not for Ricardo Marliere's stubborn dogged persistence ...... Thank you Ricardo

Friday, 7 August 2015

TUNA de TIERRA ~ EPisode I:Pilot.....Italian desert groovers release EP


Stoner/desert rock has always had on the flip side of its coin a more ambient, expansive and experimental side, a side that sees big fat E chords swapped for gentle arpeggios, walls of fuzz for swathes of colour, brutality for beauty. For every Fu Manchu there is a Colour Haze, for every Monster Magnet a Sungrazer. Let us not forget though that coins also have edges and that is where you will find Italian groovsters Tuna de Tierra.

"EPisode I: Pilot", the debut EP from Italy's Tuna de Tierra, may only be three tracks long but what you get for your money is well worth the investment.
The EP begins with "Red Sun" a slow burning atmospheric number that opens with a gorgeous, laid back, wah flecked, drone like guitar motif that is then joined by the bass and drums, opening the way for the sublime vocals to follow. Alessio De Cicco's voice is a thing of beauty, clean, melodic and with a mildly grunge/alt type tone and delivery, his voice floats and flows over the music, enhancing the sound beneath him with a smooth power. Around the 3:15 mark the dynamic changes and the initial riff is ramped up a notch or two,  pedals are stamped on and things get a little more gnarly and show that as well as delivering the beauty the band can deliver the fuzz too.
"Ash" is next up and for me is the best of the three tracks on offer. Heavier and slightly more "stoner" than "Red Sun" "Ash" really highlights the contributions of  Luciano Mirra (bass) and Jonathan Maurano (drums), Mirra's bass throbbing and rumbling, filling the gaps left by De Cicco's guitar (yes he also plays guitar) with wonderful four string dexterity while Maurano pounds out a solid wall of percussion, pushing and driving the music from behind his drumstool, powerful and manic one minute, gentle and intricate the next. De Cicco's guitar playing is as impressive as his voice and on "Ash" he excels pulling huge swathes of psychedelic colour from his six strings and embellishing those colours with clever use of effects and pedals to add layers of sonic texture. Stunning stuff
Final track "El Paso de la Tortuga" is classic desert rock, you can almost feel the sand beneath your feet and see the sun bleached bones as you listen. Maurano lays down a wonderful hand played conga beat over which De Cisso lays a languid laid back vocal, embellished with reverb/echo soaked guitar colouring while Mirra holds the bottom end down with some gentle clean bass.
Moody, majestic and a nice way to conclude a very promising debut from a very good band.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

WHITE WAIL ~ Promising demo from these Oregon stoners

White Wail are one for the future if their excellent demo is anything to go by.
Chock-a-block full of late 60's early 70's psychedelic groove and acid rock grit  "The White Wail Demo" is a stunning mash-mash of influences and styles, in fact one of the joys of listening to these four tunes is spotting where and whom the influences came from. The Doors and Quicksilver Messenger Service are just two bands, I picked up on, hiding amongst White Wails sonic palette ,in fact I could name at least another six bands I hear in these majestic grooves but i'm not going to ruin anyone's fun by naming them, much more fun working them out for yourselves. Vocals on this EP are an utter joy, the singer channeling the spirits of both Morrison and Beefheart through his voice, howling, screaming, crooning and generally singing up a storm, unconventional, sometimes a little loose and chaotic but bang on the money. Musically White Wail nail it down hard, shimmering guitars, solid dynamic drumming, deeply delicious bass lines and all topped off with those amazing vocals. This band are not just about borrowing from the past though, no White Wail take those 60's/70's grooves and put a 00's stoner twist to them, adding and enhancing them with their own brand of hazy acid blues, taking a sound we are familiar with and redesigning it for today.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

4 Ciénegas ~ Cuatro Ciènegas ..... Heavy Mexican Psych



4 Ciénegas are a supergroup, of sorts, consisting of members from the elite of Mexico's stoner/psych scene, Daniel (Los Dealers) - Drums,  Juan (Vinnum Sabbathi) - Bass, Fausto (Bar de Monjas) - Guitar and Gerardo (Bar de Monjas, Vinnum Sabbathi)- Guitar. In Febuary 2015 these guys went into a studio, pooled their resources and came up with an album of some of the heaviest fuzz drenched instrumental  psych'n'roll your likely to hear this year.

"Cuatro Ciènegas" is a massive album, filled to brimming over with intense fuzz drenched riffage. scorching guitar solos and hard, heavy rhythmic thunder. Made up of eight songs of speaker shredding distorted stoner psych, these tunes are heavier than a truck full of mercury yet are focused, never sloppy. The production favours the fuzz but not to detriment of the instrumentation, every individual performance can be picked out to savour and drool over, allowing the artists musical dexterity to shine through but not detracting from the overall impact of the music as a whole.
If you like heavy instrumental music, fuzzed to the max and garnished with superb musicianship then check "Cuatro Ciènegas". like a lot of things that come from Mexico it's hot and full of spice!

ALTARETH ~ BURY YOUR MIND IN MOSS..... Swedish doom'n'melody

Altareth are yet another band to come out of Sweden's burgeoning stoner/doom scene and are a band who on the strength of their latest EP "Bury Your Mind In Moss" could soon be nudging at the door of respect and admiration that is currently being heaped on the shoulders of fellow Swedes Graveyard and Witchcraft.

Altareth's sound is a little less refined than those two bands mentioned, a little rougher around the edges and in places almost raw but as they state in their liner notes "The foundation of Altareth is the meeting of heavy riffs and memorable melodies" and  this evident right through the four songs that make up "Bury Your Mind In Moss".

First track "Circles" is a superb example of the above statement. The song begins with a single note guitar motif punctuated by short sharp rhythmic stabs and little bluesy licks which then opens the door for a slammin' main riff, dark, distorted and delicious. Clean, and slightly monotone and with a hint of Ozzy-iness to its delivery, the vocal is powerful and effective and fits hand in glove with the heavy backdrop of doomy occult grooves ."Circles" finishes with a ripping  guitar solo, melodic and with touches of wah pedal, a little more Blackmore than Iommi, and takes the song to its gloriously noisy conclusion.
"Perpetual Haze", the EP's second track sees the vocals get a little more gnarly, a little growly but that is not surprising considering the immense wall of fuzz drenched noise that they have to compete with. Dark, dirty and downtuned the guitars sound as if they are heralding the coming of the horned one, the repeating riffs going around in circles building in intensity until exploding into a cacophony of  noise at its finale.
"Night" follows with a memorable riff that'll have you nodding along like one of those dogs you sometimes see on the back shelves of cars. The vocals revert back to the more melodic Ozzy-ish vibe that were employed on "Circles", a wonderful swinging nasal monotone. "Night" is probably my favourite track on this EP.
Final track "Epicloge" is a slight departure from the norm and sees Altareth donning their experimental caps, Beginning with a lovely acoustic guitar motif, it then segues into a slightly epic doom groove when the electric guitars kick in, only to then shift again into a utterly weird fluttering synth effect that takes the song to its fade. It's an odd one but does show that Altareth  are prepared to step outside the box and mix things up a little.
"Bury Your Mind In Moss" is a really good EP that shows a band who are slowly finding their feet, honing their sound, tweaking their doomy grooves until they find a sound that comfortably fits them. It's not a great EP, too many rough edges, but i'm sure it will only be a matter of time before Altareth achieve that great recording and then take their place on the podium next to their Swedish peers.