Doom and Gloom: Playing Catch-Up Part 2
We’re back again, ya’ll. I think we’re gonna permanently turn Doom and Gloom into a sort of minis column. There’s just too many cool releases popping up, and I really do wanna get them noticed. There’s also some not so great ones about that I wanna help you stay clear of. Occasionally, I will do some full length reviews, but this just makes more sense, as my work and family schedules are seemingly unrelenting.
Nuclear Blast| Out now here
Look, if you are reading this column, you already know who Khemmis are and how good they are at what they do. Everything you’d expect from a proper Khemmis album is here. Beautiful cleans, soaring leads, and an overall air of sorrow permeates Deceiver. That being said, it feels like the Colorado boys have really stepped up their game here. It just feels better than their previous work. If you liked Khemmis before, you’re gonna love this. If you didn’t, you’re still probably gonna like this. With Deceiver, Khemmis has sailed way beyond what their contemporaries in the epic trad doom field are doing. Don’t take my word for it, though: when I was playing the album, Mrs. Goat also listened. She gave it “an enthusiastic two thumbs up”.
Doomsday Profit– In Idle Orbit
Independent| Out Now here
Let’s get this out of the way: North Carolina boys Doomsday Profit‘s debut ep, In Idle Orbit, is very nice. Like Weedeater with a mean streak, the ep wallops the listener right out the gate. While the sound isn’t wholly unique, the album is rewarding nontheless. Sure, it’s straight grimy stoner doom, but there’s a measure of despair and anger here that cuts through the chill vibes normally associated with this sound. It’s not just the impressively gravelly vocalist shouting his apocalyptic screeds, either. Mournful melodies weave between the fantastic rhythms to keep the listener in a foul mood despite the inherent fun of the grooves.
Lyrically, In Idle Orbit, is on point. Nearly every song is a tale of eschetonic woe detailing the horrors mankind will bring upon itself through its corruption and greed. In “Scryers of the Smoke”, there is literally a segment where the vocalist repeatedly screams, “Abandon hope/ Abandon hope” repeatedly. How’s that for doom metal?
Listen, I can’t force you to listen to the ep, but if you don’t, you’re gonna miss out on witnessing the early moments of one of the future greats in the doom field.
Magnetic Eye Records| Out Now here
We’ve got another awesome album here via Altareth’s Blood. I don’t know what’s going on in Sweden, but their current doom metal scene is incredibly strong. They’ve had a few EPs out before, but this is Altareth’s debut full-length.
Immediately, the similarities to Windhand and the early years of Black Sabbath are apparent. Blood‘s pacing and style are very reminiscent of the former, while the vocals are more than a reasonable facsimile of the latter. It’s not very original, but the desired sound is executed with a level of dedication and skill that is hard to condemn. To be fair to Altareth, with this style of doom it’s gonna be extremely difficult to be innovative. Fuck it. If you’re listening to Sabbath-influenced doom, you’re just looking for a good time. On this front, Altareth delivers in spades.
Like I said, Blood is an almost 50-50 split of Windhand and Black Sabbath, but they still end up being better than that somewhat derivative description would suggest. The way they mix up those components is how Altareth keep themselves from being mere clones. While their singer’s actual voice is clearly, let’s say “influenced by” Ozzy Osbourne, he wails in a way that is far more like Dorthia Cottrell than the Prince of Darkness. Additionally, while the flow of the music moves like Virginia’s finest, there’s a love of cool leads here ala Tony Iommi that Windhand lacks.
Overall, Blood is a cool album that manages to shine despite its seemingly derivative nature. Besides, it’s better than the last album that Electric Wizard put out.
Low Flying Hawks– Fuyu
Magnetic Eye Records| Out Now here
Now for something different. Low Flying Hawks are a sludge/shoegaze band from Texas and feature members of The Melvins and Mr. Bungle. Yet, Fuyu sounds nothing like the aforementioned bands. Instead, we’ve got a sludge album that brilliantly draws out a somber and melancholy atmosphere like few other albums this year. Of course, we’ve got powerful sludge rhythms too, but they’re washed over with beautiful chord and effect choices that have more in common with shoegaze legends Scarling than say, Crowbar.
This is not aggressive music, but it is emotionally powerful. As the album centers around the hopeless tale of Sisyphus, the despairing atmosphere at play here is palpable. While its pacing can be a bit slow, and it can drag in places, the overall experience of Fuyu is quite rewarding. I do wish that the band would pare it down a bit on the next go around, though.
Dying Sun Records| Out Now here
The final album we’ve got here is the debut full-length from Hungary’s Brygmus. Vitiate is a pummeling and unrepentantly evil slice of death/doom. Forget smoky grooves and chill atmospheres. This puppy is a pipewrench slamming into an eye socket repeatedly. Vitiate is just malicious and heavy. That is all. Everything from the slightly dissonant chords to the brutally direct drums are dedicated to a slow but steady beating of the listener’s eardrums. Even the lyrics are devoted to single-minded savagery. Song after song highlights an obsession with pain and suffering. All this is enhanced by the remarkably hateful snarls of the vocalist whose performance sits somewhere between that of Angela Gossow and Cadaveria.
Though the production is somewhat dry, it still serves its purpose. Everything comes through fine. None of the musical performances are particularly complex, so I kind of feel like the addition of a bit of reverb would have benefited the atmosphere a bit, though.
A quick side note, that is a really cool picture of what I assume is Lilith.
Final thoughts: while Vitiate isn’t gonna blow your mind, it’s gonna beat in your skull.
There you have it: the final Doom and Gloom of 2021. Regardless, have a Happy Holiday, and get fat on dead animals, alcohol, and a stupid amount of sweets if you partake in such things. We’ll be back next month.