SLUDGE PROGS THE DOOM PSYCHEDELICLY VOL. 3
Sure, these are just four elements on the vast periodic table of metal, but let’s see how potent the elements are in Glacial Tomb, Siberian, and Vokonis.
Glacial Tomb / Cognitive Erosion / April 11
While this EP is just 13 minutes long, it left quite the impression on me. Glacial Tomb somehow takes doom and makes it into something that rips and thrashes at a pace the genre often can’t tolerate. Granted, it’s probably more other things than it is doom, but the tone is crunchy and dark. The drumming does a great job keeping pace until it decides to take the lead, then the poor pedals get some fury thrown at them. Thrown into the mix, for good measure, are some of those ugly dissonant riffs that are obviously a symptom of Ulcerate-us or Gorguts-itis.
Glacial Tomb is made up of Khemmis’ harsh vocalist and guitarist, an ex-Abigail Willams vocalist, and the drummer of Cult of the Lost Cause (who I luckily discovered because of this). It’s a little black, it’s a little grind, it’s a little death, but it’s fully a beast of an EP. Though it has nothing really in common with Khemmis’ stoner variety of metal, I’m throwing in a few points on that end of the meter because it sounds like a very very bad trip. It’s evil stuff, get on this one and be on the lookout for a full-length coming early next year. Now here’s how I would break down their sound in sludge, prog, doom, and psychedelic sounds, respectively:
Siberian / Through Ages of Sleep from The Sign Records / February 24
I’d really like to complain about the existence of American vs. European release dates for a minute (I thought this didn’t “come out” until this month), but instead I’ll just talk about the music. Siberian are just sludgy and doomy enough to fit this themed article, but they mix in just about everything else for your ADD riddled brain. There’s quite a bit of black metal guitar work and pummeling rhythms, but then it shifts abruptly into an almost melodic stomping hardcore riff without warning. I’m not aware of many bands that can pull of a shift like that and make both sound equally good. I have a feeling that these guys don’t like to talk about genre conventions.
You can also draw some post-metal lines here, but clocking in at under 40 minutes and most songs around 5 minutes long, there’s not a lot of filler. The filler that is there is a bit dull, but it’s overlookable. They do this thing where with false ends on a few tracks that I can’t tell if I like or not, but the explosion after the silence is always the best part of the song. I don’t think they need to slow down all the way to get the desired effect since the riffs could easily stand out on their own among the rest of the chaos. Check out the full album on Spotify and other streaming services now.
Vokonis / The Sunken Djinn from Ripple Music / June 9
I was completely unsurprised to read that Swedish doom trio Vokonis evolved from the ashes of a stoner rock band. In taking a few steps towards the doom end of the spectrum, the band mixes the familiar laid back grooves with some heavy and dark tones. These guys are pretty set in the genre in that there aren’t many surprises, but the occasional proggy interludes are all that were needed to make me take notice. When the guitars briefly drop that low chugging tone for a high-pitched southern style solo, the contrast is excellent. Sometimes waiting for them to flip that switch takes a little endurance, and I’m not sure if it’s worth it, but there are some excellent moments scattered throughout.
As much as I like the grooves, tone, atmosphere, and production, the vocals do nothing for me. They’re consistent, but not in a good way. The bark is extremely monotonous and even the rhythm doesn’t change very often. Vokonis does an excellent job making the songs distinct instrumentally, but the vocals take some of that away by not doing a damn thing to be memorable. I know a lot of very popular stoner doom is in the same vein, so maybe I’m getting worked up over nothing.