Summer has always been the most conflicting season of the year for me – on one hand, the environment I grew up in for the majority of my life had been unbearable in extreme temperatures during this time of year. On the other hand, summer was and still is an indication of festivals and gig announcements on a more frequent basis, as well as new music to compensate for the terrible weather which takes over the majority of the country this time of year. Now, I find myself spending this season under some of the gloomiest and darkest skies of America, as well as my most recent musical listenings to correlate the criteria of such environments as well (It should be noted that I also find it to be quite pleasant to my liking). Grey skies, dark tunes, and a month of praise-worthy musical treasures on top of a handful of upcoming shows this month and beyond is enough to put the icing on the cake for me.
Hour of 13 – “333”
I had a hard time knowing where to begin to describe the untouchable work that is 333. I have been a long-term fan of Hour of 13 and have yet to sample one album that has left me feeling even the slightest bit disappointed. 333 is yet another traditional doom metal classic that has been left on a grand scale of reoccurring talented collaborations between Mr. Chad Davis and Phil Swanson. This piece of work is both catchy and maintains the easily distinguishable, old school doom “retro” vibe that has always radiated from their sound. Highly recommended and must also note that this is definitely an album that falls under the “replay in its entirety a million times before the next release comes out” category.
Om – “Advaitic Songs”
This is a new gem which I have most recently discovered and could not be more happy to find out of the sake of curiosity. Initially, it was the eye-catching album artwork which sparked my interest to sample this release. Upon first listening to the first track “Addis”, I knew I was in for something brilliant and mesmerizing for the album in its entirety. Although this is labeled as a doom metal release, it is an experimental album of genres of all sorts. If I were to describe Om’s unique sound in just a few words, I would simply call it “ritualistic meditation music” at best. Some of their song structures can even be comparative to that of Dead Can Dance, although far off the bar of the metal genre, it borderlines with the dark ambient atmosphere and low-tuned guitar tones which merge together beautifully and hauntingly to create almost a genre of its own and can be described as more than just “psychedelic” or sludge/stoner doom. Although given these descriptions are as close as it gets in terms of labeling and getting straight-to-the-point. This overall project is definitely something I will be in tuned with for a long time.
Bell Witch – “Bell Witch”
I was curious to check out Bell Witch since discovering that they are based here in Seattle, and prior to sampling their music I had heard nothing but positive word-of-mouth feedback about these guys, and now I can confirm that it is entirely and definitely true. As I mentioned previously, this has pretty much been a month of doom in June. The sludge-like, heavy borderline funeral doom vibe this band carries has fallen in sync with the surrounding environment appropriately well. There are 2 songs on this record which stand out most to me, they also happen to be two of the longest which fall between 11 and 15 minutes individually. It isn’t the length of these songs in particular which stood out and created more of an appeal to me (since it has become an all-too common thing in the depressive music genre), but the structures in which they are written without becoming ‘monotonous’ or ‘dragged out’ and constantly shifting in sound is what topped this demo for me. And yet, I somehow have a hunch that the best is yet to come from but surely on its way for these guys.
Urfaust – “Ritual Music For The True Clochard”
Although Urfaust are notoriously known for releasing far more limited shirts than albums, it is undoubted that this band have succeeded in creating them both one after another. This compilation falls proof to that, as there are both re-recordings and re-masters of classic “stand out” songs which sound just as good as the originals, if not better. It is more of a somewhat nostalgic release for me than anything else – revisiting the hits which sucked me into the discovery and enjoyment of this band and their hypnotic, soul-crushing sound blended in with ambiance and black metal. A recommendation for Urfaust fans both old and new.
Muknal / The Haunting Presence – Split EP
Here we have one of the most recent releases out of the Black Twilight Circle assembly. I was fortunate enough to catch both these bands live on their most recent west coast tour this past spring, and upon both the live and recording aspect of Muknal and The Haunting Presence, I can say that these two know how to put on a stellar performance as well as rank up to their sound on recording. It is equally as raw, mucky, and evil on both ends – something the BTC has been most notorious for on their chaotic lo-fi and limited number of recordings. If you happen to stumble upon this gem via cassette format, it is a recommended acquirement which you definitely won’t regret.
As this month’s piece draws to a close, releases in store for next month are already on the horizon which I am already more than anticipated for – consisting of an overrun of aggressive, heavy and melancholic music of sorts.
Stay tuned, readers.
Tracy / www.t-terrorphoto.com