Svart Records Roundup: Musta Risti, Vanishing Kids, The Sabbathian & Witchthroat Serpent
Four more albums, presented in a manner most doomy, released recently by everyone’s favourite label (to hate)
Vanishing Kids – Heavy Dreamer
November 30th | Somnambulic Doom
Vanishing Kids was born almost twenty years ago from the mind of once-and-again Jex Thoth guitarist Jason Hartman. Their first in five years, and first to come across my path, Heavy Dreamer is an excellent journey into the realms of atmospheric doom that is not entirely different from the aforementioned. Yet there is much more to Vanishing Kids, besides scratching an itch for new Jex material, or delightful “Child In Time” -references (title track). The further the album progresses, the further it steers from doom, towards atmospheric rock and 70’s psychedelia, but it doesn’t sit comfortably there either. Beneath it’s fuzzy skin beats the heart of British shoegaze band, while vocalist Nikki Drohomyreky occasionally guides her voice from hazy, dreamlike demeanor towards Jess from The Ancient Ones. Heavy Dreamer reaches into many directions, but feels at home everywhere, and somehow manages to make it all work together.
Witchthroat Serpent – Swallow The Venom
November 23rd |
Esoteric, psychedelic doom metal Stoner
The French Witchthroat Serpent advertises themselves as an esoteric doom metal band dabbling in black arts and unnatural psychedelia. Which is the kind of thing generic stoner bands like to make up to try and distinguish themselves from other generic stoner bands, in vain. While the Frenchmen do very strongly play to the stoner crowd, they’re luckily not from the most generic end of the genre. Their riffcraft is almost thoroughly memorable and while simplistic, never plain. The more atmospheric sections often falter, but are sparse enough in that they work as diversions. Rarely fast Witchthroat Serpent shines in retaining aggression in their riffs mostly unheard of among the weed-munching crowd, and even throw in a little trad doom influence at few turns. Swallow the Venom is a good record from a band whose surprisingly mellow vocalist seems to hold them back and tears away from the otherwise aggressive demeanor. Though reading the promo it seems this band wants to do something wildly different from being stuck playing stoner doom, so it seems odd they haven’t really given into any of their more off-kilter impulses flashed at here and there.
Musta Risti – Musta Risti
November 16th | Doom-boogie
Musta Risti debuted with a self-titled EP a few years back, which left a few question marks as to what the actual focus of their 70’s inspired heavy rock was to be. Even though this self-titled LP doesn’t meddle in the dynamics of their music, or go for a different style, it would seem to answer most of them. More ominous and doomy in a indolent way than your regular boogie rock outfit, but otherwise abiding mostly by the fuzz-rock standards. Black Sabbath playing Motörhead, or vice versa, would not be a mark completely off. The use of Finnish language in a music like this does apply some scent of the exotic to them, even for a native speaker, “Moottoriritari’s” solo-work takes more than a few cues from older psychedelic rock and their laid back intensity captivates. Musta Risti could still use some hooks and more memorable riffs but this a good start and the band is already carving their own niche.
The Sabbathian – Latum Alterum
January 25th 2019 | Ulverdoom
The Sabbathian got it’s start on the early days of the decade, as the collaboration of Hour of 13’s Chad Davis and Nàttsál’s Anette Ulbrandsen. Continuing largely on the path Hour of 13 had trod before them, only with a distinctly different vocal approach, Ritual Rites made little impact on me. Nigh five years later, The Sabbathian is back with a full-length debut, only, Latum Alterum sees the band undergo a change towards harsher, rawer tones and drones that aren’t, in terms of sound, all that different from Bergtatt. Anette’s admitted she had difficulties writing and arranging some of her parts, which shows. Not that she performs poorly, it’s that she occasionally sounds like her performance was ripped from another album. On the other hand, when it comes together, it comes together well, like on “Liti Kjersti”, where both, her melodic and choral vocals tie perfectly into the droning riffs, whereas it’s follow-up “Head of A Traitor” makes good use of Liv Espenaes’ guest performance and some bouncy bass lines. Though at nigh ten minutes, it’s almost twice as long as it’s ideas can carry, not to mention so similar to it’s predecessor that it might as well have been one long track. This makes for Latum Alterum’s primary issue, almost everything blurs together, and over the course of the album’s length even it’s few distinct highpoints begin to melt into the mass around them, much as if the band had intented for them to – “Head of A Traitor’s” bass riff seems to feature throughout “One Night of Cruelty”, but the intent doesn’t stand up to closer scrutiny. Mostly an enjoyable effort, but somewhat tiresome at larger doses.