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HEAVYDEATH “Heavy as Death” + Review
Review by Gregg Harrington
Sweden’s Heavydeath doesn’t really need a description, because the name of the band does it for them: heavy as all hell, droning stoner metal with strong lyrical concentration on death and all its foils. Despite the band’s brief history – they formed in 2008 with the recording of their first demo – Heavydeath has offered up an extensive discography: 11 demo recordings, four compilation albums, a mini album, and the newest installment in the band’s repertoire: 2015’s Eternal Sleepwalker LP.
Eternal Sleepwalker sounds like the soundtrack to the end of days. Walls of wailing feedback, fuzzed-out riffs and slow, pounding drums lead the charge while the orders to attack are growled in a deep subhuman tone. “Ascending” kicks off the album with a simple yet completely crushing riff that is as hypnotizing as it is heavy. As the song picks up, so do the vocals, completing a descent into one of the darkest holes in the universe. Tying the track together is the droning and dissonant bridge, which keeps you entranced through the band’s seven-and-a-half minute tirade. The songs “Road to the Fire” and “Bow Down” continue to rotate between abrasive screaming and monotone singing, which is almost chant-like.
“Eat the Sun” adds more vocal flair, evoking the singing styles of Ancient VVisdom and combining it with the band’s diabolical downtempo doom delivery. It also clocks in as the album’s shortest track, just shy of the five minute mark. “Eternal Sleepwalker,” the album’s title track, picks up the pace (at least, as much as a stoner metal band can) but comes full-force into a punishing and haunting ending. What I can only presume is the band’s anthem, “Heavy as Death,” comes off as The Sword on Quaaludes and an unhealthy obsession with murder with its gritty tone and noisy cascades of guitar feedback. The CD version of the record comes with the bonus closer, “Beyond the Riphean Mountains,” which begins with sporadic drumming over winding and manipulated feedback before breaking into the meat of the track, channeling bands like Om and Sleep with its wah-driven drone.
While Eternal Sleepwalker is made up of a mere seven tracks, it clocks in at almost an hour, so before even listening to a single note, the odds of it being a great stoner doom record are pretty damn good. Luckily, Heavydeath backs it up with some really grueling riffs that are catchy yet could wipe out an entire major metropolitan city if played loud enough. Perhaps if you crank up your sound system to its maximum, you could do just that.