Raven Starblood

December 5, 2012

Samothrace - Reverend To Stone (2012)

Thanks to Sludgelord administrator (blog with interview of the band here) for all the great bands I discover reading regularly his posts. Being now quite hard to satisfy musically, often finding things repetitive, boring and full of "déjà-vu" clichés, it's a miracle I feel the thrill of excitement growing in my spine. And I can promise this is the case with this band from Seattle called Samothrace. Doing a bad joke I'd said this LP is a complete victory. Consisting in only 2 tracks, it fulfils all expectations being totally melodic, monstruously heavy, abruptely menacing, and in the same time celestian as clouds. What's very singular in this band is this 70's flavor (sometimes Free) in the way the guitarist approaches solos and some of the riffs. Not usual in the sludge doom category, and however it's never sounding stoner. The voice is guttural, giving to the whole a sort of mythological equivalent I would not have expected from a US band (but that's silly after all). This is Hades music at its best, one of the strongest thing I heard this year (my aim being to post now only stuff I think is over the top). If you love Capricorn or Buried At Sea, it's for you, even Khanate that would have introduced some music of the 70's in their experimental sonor beverage. And the melodical guitar lines are reminiscents of the great old Penance ones. So, go quick on the bandcamp midget below listening to this masterpiece and then there on the bandcamp to buy the stuff, they need it, they deserve it, and you won't regret it.

November 29, 2012

Sonance - Like Ghosts (2012)

In these hard personal times, this band is relevant to my state of mind. From Bristol, UK, they cross several styles in this 2-track LP that are not often mixed ones with another. My preference is for the fantastic "Side A" (that's the title) track, "Side B" being ambiant drone and I'm no more able to let me overwhelmed by this kind of music now. However, at the 14th minute, the drone dissolves and a guitar enters and takes us elsewhere, in a more Khanate-inclined universe, with wonderful violins. Too sad they wait so much to get into it, it would have been a complete masterpiece, what are these 5 last minutes. "Side A" is a total success (what a shit expression, it's clear I'm not English fluent speaking when I see I use such bullshit way to write). In only the 1st minute they explore 3 musical universes and in each one they are stunning. Their atmospheric post-rock sludge is of an incredible quality.When you know the amount of bands swimming in this genre, it's a miracle that it's still possible to bring something that doesn't seem pale compared to the bests (few) in the genre.  If Khanate seems one of their prime influence, it's not as much experimental as was this great novators. You won't hear something stronger and more disturbing this year. Go there and download this monstruous musical exploratory grounds. And buy it please as I did myself. All these bands need support (that's why I decided not to provide any free dl anymore, of course this blog is not successful as it would be with free stuff but I don't care).

November 20, 2012

Zosimos - Zosimos (2012)

Yesterday I listened to almost 50 (extracts of) new stuff from doom and sludge bands and the conclusion is terrible: nothing that makes me shivers or raises in me any enthusiasm, even interest. Am I becoming an old "blasé" or is there a real crisis of inspiration in this genre? Don't know but I feel it as a cruel statement. Actually, to be honest, there's a band that made me a little hard, it's name is Zosimos (wikipedia says it's "an Egyptian or Greek alchemist and Gnostic mystic from the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th century AD", OK so let's go for Zosimos). They're from Texas and they offer a dark stoner doom à-la Electric Wizard (good period, We Live one and prior). There's even a Sleep flavour in some songs such as "Uncanny Revulsion" or "Ghost Town". Great riffs, never gratuitous or vain. The only problem for me is the voice. Quite weak actually. Not well placed and uncertain on several parts. But this doesn't ruin the album that is the only thing I can save from my doom-sludge web expedition. Not much but if you like them too, support in buying their stuff here.

November 5, 2012

Rabbits - Bites Rites (2012)

This will be without any hesitation in my Top 5 list of the best albums of the year (with Grass is Green, Black Skies and... Emily Wells). The previous one (Lower Forms, here) was a killer, this one is a slaughterhouse. Wild and unpredictable, this loud sludgy noise is what I like when music becomes violent. Compared to it sorry but most of the reste sounds vain and poseur to my ears. From Portland, this band is moreover the kind that is aware that their music will always be for happy few and assure their living with normal (and maybe boring but not sure) jobs to create freely. This doesn't make of them amateurs, they can perform their style without any limitation or compromissions. There are some so stunning gems in this LP that it would be too long to cite them all but listen to a shit like "Fight Right" and try to tell me music was better before. It's what garage rock and punk did best (think the Cramps) mixed with what 90's noise did best (think the Bastards), but it's 2012 and it's time to take the best from the past and makes the best from it for today. Go there and buy the vinyl or the MP3 (when the CD bastards?).


October 30, 2012

Sundowning - Seizures of the World (2012)

If you loved bands such as Ocean or Buried at Sea, this one is for you. They are from Germany and with Omega Massif, they stand proudly at the top of the genre (although maybe I ignore some other great bands, so excuse me for this pretentious statement). This music grabs you by the balls (or ovaries if you are female) and take you somewhere between heaven and hell, not sure what is it but what's sure is that it's better than this boring everyday life we have to live until death saves us. They has a vibrant chronicle here on Sludgelord and they deserve it. Hope they'll have the money to release a CD since it seems only vinyls are on sale (I know vinyl is better but sorry, I listen most of my music in my car or on my computer so I need CD). Meanwhile, support them, in listening to their stuff and in buying it any format you want (here or there).

October 28, 2012

Bezoar - Wyt Deth (2012)

I don't post often here. Too much blogs, not enough time... and energy. But whenever I discover a great album relevant to any of the styles this blog's about, I jump here to share my enthusiasm. But it's true I become very difficult to satisfy. I'm old now and it's not with "warmed-up" riffs (that means "nothing new" in French) or previously-better-done doom or sludge I can feel the nice thrill of excitation. But this band from Brooklyn (with a funny name of pathology due to digestive occlusion caused by ingested hair) fulfils my criteria of thrill and excitation. Constantly unpredictable, this band (led by a female voice) is able to mix genres apparently unable to sit in the same chair. According to their biography sketch, they have actually very diverse influences (Sleep, YOB, 1349, Diamanda Galas, Swans, Mayhem, Electric Wizard, Eyehategod, Slayer, and Darkthrone). A good point to start but not always a success when the target is reached. Here it is. Of course, the Sabbath influence is major (not cited above but obvious), but they are so inventive and cross-over that it's not even possible to classify them in the doom category. Sometimes they are completely acoustic ("Burn Everything", "Nikola") and they show then how they could compete with everyone on any ground, even doom americana. Other times, they can be prog as were Jethro Tull on Aqualung ("Friend of my Enemy") and it's impressive. But there are many other 70's styles that could be cited. Not a song is similar to the other one. I don't remember a band doing such a thing in recent years. And it's wonderful that the cover sleeve is consistent with this impossible taxinomy (between Todd Rundgren, Zappa and Carcass). Don't miss this gem, one of the best thing you'll hear this year, one of the most creative and powerful. Their bandcamp site to buy this masterpiece here. Their facebook page there.

October 13, 2012

SNARF - arrak bisa ular (2012)

This band from Switzerland reminds us that this country is the nation that offered us Jean-Luc Godard, Fritz Zorn and Henri Roorda. Not that this music could be considered sometimes as a musical equivalent of these important analyzers of inner and outer self. But it shows that Swiss art is often a rude and raw. Musically, SNARF (I write in capitals since it seems the band wants it that way) could be described as hypnotic cosmic Melvinian rock (mostly instrumental although there are some incantative vocals). Many influences could be found but honestly it became impossible these days to describe this music in terms of influences as it was in traditional rock. Bands adopt a style and try to make it their own, or at least to propose an interesting approach of it. Nothing here trying to be novative but apparently the wish is to take us for a non-stop 30 min travel through different time and space dimensions. And it makes it. A real dark and windy flight over some unknown horizons. Perfect for loners like me that want to forget a little bit their mediocre environment. You can order a CDr or dl it here.

October 3, 2012

Outwailed - Black Earth (2012)

This blog has no intention to keep in touch with the constant overflow of new releases and to be exhaustive (I'm too much exhausted for that), only try to help to the diffusion of bands (music actually) I find totally seminal in the doom/sludge genre (without ignoring it if it's punk, stoner, post-rock, black metal or any not-named style). Being more severe that I used to be, or are the times much less generous, I don't find many new things that pass the threshold I require to post it here. But today (tonight for me) it's totally justified. This new band is from Finland (honestly this country knows how to doom) and it's massively good. There's in it all I love in post-rock and not what I loathe. No self-indulgent so-called poetic contemplative atmospheres, that used to work but are now only a bore. They never lose the notion that this music is mainly a depiction of the darkness of our times, and more largely of human condition. It's music for Friedrich's painting not for Jonathan Livingston Seagull (but looking at the cover sleeve maybe I'm wrong who knows). This 3 track-LP is available freely on bandcamp (here) but fuck why don't they propose to give some money so that they can make a physical version of this physical music?

September 25, 2012

Dopelord - Magick Rites (2012)

How could I left this band unnoticed? I am quite sure having seen their LP before summer, listened to it and not finding it good enough to be posted here. And tonight I find it completely stunning and it's like some sucking vampyr witch would raise from the dark side of my room to draw my blood, sperm and lymph out of my body (take it miss, I don't need anymore). Once more, it's totally under the paternal figure of Black Sabbath as reincarnated by Electric Wizard in the nineties, but I can't help considering that THIS IS MY MUSIC AFTER ALL. The one that made me felt thrills growing from my scrotum to my skull for the first time in my life (before that it was the kicks of my old man that made me thrilled and the Sabbath was the only music relevant music to what I live, more specifically Master of Universe and "Children of the Grave"). But you don't care and you're right. These polish show that the Sabbath spread their lethal virus all over the world for eternity and never the world was more made for this music than the one we survive in today. So, go to their bandcamp here, and then go the cartel there to buy the solid stuff.

September 19, 2012

Black Skies - On The Wings Of Time (2011)

When the year will be over, not sure of many things about me and my life, but what I'm sure is that this album will be in my year Top 10. Yes I know it was released in November 2011 but I discovered it at the beginning of this year and consider it a 2012 LP (even though it was recorded still one year before, in November 2010). I won't write again a new text about this band since I posted one on Forgotten Songs last February, but this album had to be on Dim Damn Doom cos' it's a sort of masterpiece and for me main other bands with "riffs" are jokes compared to it. So below what I wrote about it.

When I heard for the first time the Black Skies, I would have sworn that it was the come-back band of my hero: Joaquim Breuer from the Bastards and Janitor Joe. But no. They don't even cite them as influences but honestly it would be surprising that they are not fans. I am quite embarassed cos' I've said at least 3 times since the beginning of the year that I had found one album that will be in my top 10 of the year. Embarassed cos' if I think that one will actually still be in at the end of the year, this will be this one. In the last 20 years, I've never heard music fitting more perfectly what I'm waiting of rock. Cos' here it's rock, but as I said before, not this nostalgic shit they want to make us adopt for contempory genius, boring repetitive gimmicks of the seventies. No, based on the best of what rock offered in the nineties (Bastards and Janitor Joe but also Unsane or Liquor Tricks, see the correspondant posts on the right column) with some of the best that Stoner brought (a little psychedelic touch in the guitar solos), there is not a single weak second in this killer record. It's simply a masterpiece from beginning to end. At least for my own tastes. The second voice assured by the bassgirl (Michelle Temple) gives this little bit of female soul that avoid any testosterone overdose. I could write about this album during hours. They are from Chapel Hill (North Carolina), and I hope they'll jump over the Atlantic to play here in old Europe before we'll sink in our bankrupt. Meanwhile, go immediately buy it on their bandcamp here (I did it of course). It's not an advice, it's an order.

September 13, 2012

Can't Fake Nature - High / Low Tide (2012)

Among the musics I stopped listened to these late years, there's stoner and post-rock. The latter has given birth to too much boring Isis/Cult of Luna/Pelican followers and after all I'm not really sure I liked so much the referents. Another band, from Croatia, called Can't Fake Nature, reconciled me with the genre last year, and I did a post on Forgotten Songs here (when there was doom or sludge on it).  I feared that I wouldn't be receptive to their new album but actually I am. Nothing revolutionary for those who know well the genre, but an album I know I'll listen to again and again, and it's not really an habit for me for this type of music. I quite hate the cover sleeve, too much Battles' style and suggesting you have here one of this math-indie-so-called-experimental-rock bands but after all it's their choice. Next time ask me, I'll do some better suggestions. Meanwhile go there and get it for the price you want (don't be too stingy).

September 7, 2012

Ice Dragon - GreyBlackFalconHawk (2012)

I really don't know how this band is able to release his 3rd album in 9 months. And I'm not talking about drone such as Nadja, with one note spread over 20 min (I used to love Nadja, but it's true that a Nadja LP has not totally the same meaning than a usual LP), I mean real tracks, even songs since this band refers primary to Black Sabbath. But no mimetics here. First the sound is sometimes not far from the lo-fi quality of Cherry Red records in the 80's and may sound to some more indie rock than heavy metal. Then, because in each record, the band takes the Sabbath heritage on different grounds. In the previous LP, Dream Dragon, (I was thinking to post it when this one appeared) it was progressive (in the fierce sens of the term, not the degenerate one that some call prog), in this one, it's much more psychedelic and experimental (sometimes in the Melvins/Harvey Milk way). It may sound as not finished to those who are in riffs that make your ears bleed, but I don't think much of them come visit this blog (if there's any visiting). So, on GreyBlackFalconHawk Ice Dragon takes us in new territories and in this period of boring recycling, it's fresh air to ear such music played. So go quick on their bandcamp here and get the MP3 for price of your choice.

September 5, 2012

Bongmoth - 1.618 (2007)

This album was released in 2007 but I discovered it only in 2011 and posted it on Forgotten Songs (here). But his author (Jarrod Kirby, from Australia) wrote me recently and gave me the link to Soundcloud (there and below), the complete album featuring more tracks than the one I had posted. This music is more stoner than doom but surely one of the strongest stoner LP ever recorded. Maybe because the man who did it was not a unidimensional riff lover and, the future has shown, the has a wide musical culture (he now plays totally different music, not completely my cuppa tea but excellent anyway). If only to hear the harmonica on "Illumination", one of the best stoner track in history, you must listen to this album. Great great great, even 5 years later.

August 31, 2012

Windhand - s/t (2012)

I had posted on Forgotten Songs (here) their first demo 2 years ago. I had loved it from every parcel of my old carcass. So what a joy (not really a doom word but no matter) to have their LP in (wind)hands (at least in ears cos' I don't have any solid version of this record, and everything seems sold out now judging by their facebook page). They are from Richmond, VA, USA, they play what we could call an old school doom, actually pure Sabbath-influenced one but not a one that could have been played before Electric Wizard, the band they are the nearest. The singer is a female but it's not really easy to know it. No specific-female-vocal-effects here, just a more femine Ozzy voice. But don't be afraid, it can be heavy as shit (the final of "Winter Sun", the track from their above-cited demo). Riffs are never self-indulgent or boring, and tracks never too long, in other words, this is THE doom LP that you need and surely one of the best we'll have this year. Next to Uncle Acid, The Wounded Kings or Blood Ceremony this is a band that'll count. Their FB page here and bandcamp there.

August 26, 2012

Mudbath - Red Desert Orgy (2012)

With Huata (here), we (I mean France) have one of the greatest doom band of the planet, with Mudbath, we have one of the greatest sludge band. From Avignon (the city where all the so-called theatre artists go in summer to bore to death the city of popes), they seem to come in straight line from Louisiana, a much happier place for sludge lovers. What can I say except that there's in this music heavy and dirty as a piece of lead rolled in shit, everything I like since it's onset in 1989 (and I'm old enough to have seen its birth). It's brutal and extreme but, and this is what I appreciate, slow and thick enough to bath in it and feel it better. In other words, this music is a kind of aural fangotherapy. They were apparently at the Yellfest and will be touring in November so don't miss them. If they are half as good on stage than on this LP, it will be sure a nice moment of mind distraction and ear destruction. And a band who calls a "song" "Smell Like Teen Cunt" can't be bad. Go and buy it (give your price) here.

August 25, 2012

Dyskinesia - Dalla Nascita (2011)

Yesterday I found in my mailbox the CD version of this wonderful album. I had contributed to its making in sending some money for its realization. And, with all the donators, my name is written in the (superb) inner sleeve (not dk, but my real name). And I am really proud of it. Really. I remind that this LP was in my Top 10 of 2011 (here) at number 9. Not an easy challenge when, like me, you have listened to hundreds of albums in the year. But they deserve it. Everything is great in this band. They mix the best of Skullflower with Sonic Youth and  many more but never sounding imitation at all. It's the kind of music you'd imagine for movies such as Carpenter's The Thing. I hope they'll do more of great stuff like this. And don't trust all the dumbs with shitty tastes that gave mediocre critics to this LP. They simply don't know what great music is. Go here or there to donate, download freely or listen.

August 22, 2012

Uzala - Cataract / Death Masque

dk's back and sure he's gotta be doom in the next future given the load of shit his (actually my) life became these times. Let's begin with a band I (and you I hope) really dig. They are from Portland but after all who cares since their music seems to rise from hell, but with such a wonderful female voice (yes, she sounds not unlike Grace Slick, but it's a quality, it was a fantastic singer wasn't her?), I don't fear hell anymore. Let's hope this is the kind of voice I'll hear at the onset of death and not the awful one of an old and ugly nurse from a palliative hospital unit. If "Cataract" was on the downloadable MP3, it was not on the vinyl and it's now a way to have a solid version of it (and it would be nice to have a CD but I suppose there are some money problems behind it). The B-side is an unissued one and it deserved to be known. This band can be considered a little bit too old school doom and with a sometimes excessively muddy sound but they succeed in providing great music and all this becomes the clay from which they build their idiosyncrasy. Hope they'll go on long to put some bright darkness in our life. Go there to buy it.

July 31, 2012

Sore - Carbon Black Storm

Another great Australian band, surely one of the place in universe where doom and sludge are the most inventive. Only a duo, based on successive riffs, Sore succeeds, a tour-de-force, to never be boring. And I can swear that I get bored quite easily these times, never giving much time to bands for judging if I spend more minutes on their stuff. I was more patient in the recent past, but I'm no more. But Sore grabbed me by the balls and didn't let me go till the end of their hell of soundfire. There's in this music something of the old Godflesh, a sense of industrial strenght that is not so common. And, as Khanate, they aren't afraid to reach the limit of our ability to support the distorted noise and scream they spread on our poor heads. In brief, you know this is a great LP to get, so go fast on reverbnation here where it's waiting for you, dear masochistic friends.

July 29, 2012

Battle Path - Empiric (2012)

Their previous LP of this US band was first released under the name of Black Majesty then of Battle Path. I considered this first LP as one of the best in the doom/sludge style (see here). This new one is excellent too although not to the same level than the previous one (at least for me), much more black metal-oriented (except on the 11 min of "The Waiting"). However, it's heavy and destructive as repression in Syria (I take my metaphors where I can). It's more importantly, incredibly better than most of the current production in doom and sludge that I begin to find worryingly weak after years of permanent flow of high quality and inventivity (is this the end of the movement?). Time will tell. Meanwhile, support the bands that respect their mission such as this one here. And the cover sleeve is really a must.


July 25, 2012

Harry Cloud - Indian Pussy (2012)

What is the fuck? How is it possible I missed this one-man band for so long and only discover it with his 3rd LP, 7 years after the first one? You may think that it's not totally consistent with the general doom/sludge atmosphere of the blog but I don't mind. This guy, Harry Cloud, seems much honestly devilishly sick than most of narrow-minded sparsely-neuronal-equipped members of most so-called demonic bands. I find in this music what made Godstopper (here) or The Reverend of Despair (there) so precious discoveries. They are unpredictable, do not follow any pre-established formula, and finally are the only ones to invent the music of the future in being the only ones to invent the music of today. Like life, they offer the rainbow of emotions, from feeling like shit and wanting to destroy ourselves to being joyous as a stupid dog finding the most gigantic bone ever. If I wanted to namedrop some putative influences (or seem-alike) I could name a lot but it's no use since melted together it's Single Mothers and that's all. The fact that this man has a sort of fixation on being mother and provide an iconography of "how destroy a baby" is not without interest for my other blog Scoptophilia. In brief, don't know where to classify this LP but all I know it's that it will be on the top of the lot at the end of the year and that it makes my day. Go on his bandcamp here and buy the stuff.

July 18, 2012

Adrift For Days - Come Midnight... (2012)

This new album by the Australians Adrift For Days is in list to become one of the strongest album released this year. Imagine a mix between Khanate, Acid Bath and Neurosis, all gone psychedelic and you have a small idea of what this fantastic band has to offer. It's doom, it's sludge, it's psyche, it's atmospheric, it's even tribal. Much better than the first one (that was not bad either), I can't say anything else than "go here to listen to this genius stuff asap". And then buy it like I'll do.


July 1, 2012

Huata - Atavist of Mann

Without being chauvinist, the best doom album of the year so far is for me from Huata. Chauvinist because they are French and so am I. Their previous one was a sort of masterpiece in its style (much rawer than this one), but if, like me, you don't find in Electric Wizard the thrill and authenticity you used to love in them, you'll find it in this LP. Not that Huata are plagiarising Electric Wizard but there are a lot of common points except Huata is much more 70's (the organ in particular) in it's approach and finally richer in textures and themas. A perfect way to begin this revived blog.