Saturday 15 April 2023


The Danes are on the march again, this time their target is not the green and pleasant fields of England, as it was in days of yore, this time their sights are set on the dusty cold deserts of the Red Planet! Well not exactly but this seems to be the loose concept behind Danish combo Center of the Earth's latest release "Mars", a three song opus, recorded live in the studio, telling epic tales of swords and sorcery set to a soundtrack of crushing stonerized doom and wonderfully twisted heavy psych and space.  

Center of the Earth, Frederik Holm (guitar/vocals); Jesper Laugmann (guitar/backing vocals); Aksel Brammer (drums) and Sebastian Wilsleff (bass), may not wield swords and shields but the effect they create with their music is every bit as intimidating. Low slow heavy refrains driven by thunderous drumming and decorated in tunefully roared vocals is the order of the day here, a dynamic which would normally have us placing them in the stoner doom camp, but then there is also an intriguing psychedelic element to their sound that muddies the water somewhat and gives their grooves an unexpected cosmic twist. The best example of this "twist" can be found in the epic sized "Old Fang" a song that starts off in classic stoner doom mould, with Holm waxing lyrical of  sailing across red sands with "sword and shield and death at hand" over crunching low slung power chords and pummelling percussion, but then suddenly takes a left turn into what can only be described as a dark monastic passage with the vocals taking on a Gregorian cadence and the guitars getting psychedelic and other-worldly. "Witchqueen" follows and the initial dynamic is again low slow and heavy but is saved from becoming one-dimensional thanks to some searing blues tinted guitar work and a really powerful bear-like vocal. As the song reaches towards it finale the song  morphs into a chugging stoner/proto-doom groove proving that not only can these guys doom they can also rock out. Final number "HC Mechadevil" is an absolute peach of a song to close out on, an undulating doom-ic romp packed to the rafters with dank guitar tones, subterranean level bass lines and an incredible mix of tight and fluid drumming, a word of warning...listeners may well have to turn the volume down a few notches on their listening devices for this or they may soon be on the lookout for a new set of speakers.

 Not strictly stoner doom, despite its sometimes leaden tempo's, and not strictly traditional doom, thanks to its passages of heavy psych and space like experimentation, Center of the Earth's "Mars" is a bit of an enigma. It is some sort of doom, of that there is no doubt, but its not typical of the genre nor any of doom's sub-genre's which, in a scene saturated with similar sounding bands, is probably it biggest and best asset.
Check it out ... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

1 comment: