Category: doom metal

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Blackwater Holylight Releases a Gorgeous and Feverish Visual for Doom-laden “Jizz Witch”

Led by founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass), the acclaimed Portland, OR-based heavy psych act Blackwater Holylight can trace its origins to when Faris’ previous band split up. And at the time, Faris started the band as a way to experiment with what her own version of heavy should and could be both sonically and emotionally — while celebrating vulnerability in all of its forms. Secondly, Faris, who was frequently the only woman in many of her bands, desperately wanted to see how it was to work exclusively with women. 

Blackwater Holylight released their critically applauded self-titled, full-length debut last year, and as a result of extensive touring to support it, the band has managed to hone their sound and identity — with their sound evolving to the point that their live show has become about the slow build.  Interestingly enough, as a heavy band, the Portland-based JOVM mainstays sonically and structurally manage to do something unlike any of their peers in the scene: their material generally isn’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come and go in rippling and undulating waves that surface through meditative and entrancing songs, while focusing on building tension and intrigue. 

The band released their sophomore album Veils of Winter last October through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band with a different lineup — Faris (bass, vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths) along with the band’s newest members Mikayla Mayhew (guitar) Eliese Dorsay (drums). And perhaps s a result of their new lineup, their sound and writing process has changed dramatically. “The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” Faris says in press notes. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

“One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn’t compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” Faris continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

Now, as you may recall over the course of last year, I wrote about two of the album’s previously released singles — the one part doom metal, one part shoegazer “Motorcycle” and the nuanced, yet more straightforward shoegazer-like “Death Realms.” The album’s latest single “Jizz Witch” is an ominous track that further cements the band’s reputation for crafting a doom metal take on shoegaze — or better yet a shoegazer take on doom metal. In any case much like its predecessors, it’s a slow-burning and nuanced dirge that you can simultaneously light incense to and sway and headbang. 

Directed by Phoenix Wolfe, the recently released video is a gorgeously shot yet surreal and symbolic fever dream that features powerful women. 

Founded back in 2016, the up-and-coming Brooklyn-based metal act Fliege began as an inside joke shared between its founding duo of Coleman Bentley and Peter Rittweger: a metal band based solo upon David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of The Fly. Although they initially wrote and recorded their self-titled debut demo for a laugh, the effort received praise from Decibel, who called the six song set infectious,  and went on to say “Every once in a while, a band comes along, transgresses all genre boundaries and cuts a demo that stands as a genuine demonstration of a singular sound.”

Building upon a growing profile, the band, which recently expanded to a trio with the addition of Chris Palermo (synths) will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut The Invisible Seam on January 31, 2020. Interestingly, the newly constituted trio’s full-length debut finds the band moving on to more serious cinema as an influence: Ingmar Bergman’s existential masterpiece, The Seventh Seal. “Our demo tackled The Fly, but we soon realized we had to expand from that universe in order to have anything new to say,” the band’s Coleman Bentley explains in press notes. “So for this one, we chose Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, the story of a Swedish knight returning home from the Crusades to find his homeland ravaged by the plague. He challenges Death to a game of chess, staving off his advances long enough to make it home one last time — questioning mortality, the meaning of life, and the existence of God, while trekking across a dying countryside.  Within the framework of that film, we tackle the nihilism of modern life and the paradox of depression – not wanting to live but not actively wanting to die.”

Musically, the material on The Invisible Seam reportedly features a much more refined sound than its immediate predecessor: the addition of Chris Palermo finds the band adding synths to their sonic palette; but along with that, the album features Bentley’s vocals taking up a more central role while ensuring that it’s also heavier, more heartfelt and more grander, in order to fit the epic concept behind it. Along with this decided refinement of their sound, the newly constituted trio’s full-length effort finds them drawing influences from the likes of Immortal, Nine Inch Nails, Judas Priest, Cloud Rat, John Carpenter and a lengthy list of others.

Now, as you may recall, last month I wrote about album title track “The Invisible Seam.” Centered around towering 80s metal riffage, thunderous, industrial metal-like drumming, Bentley’s howled vocals and a shimmering and brooding bridge, the song was a certifiable Headbanger’s Ball-inspired headbanger that found the trio further cementing their reputation for intelligently pushing the boundaries of thrash metal both sonically and thematically.  The album’s second and latest single “Four Suns” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor: a Headbanger’s Ball-era ripper, with fiery and towering riffage, thunderous drumming, Bentley’s howled vocals and atmospheric synths. But unlike its predecessor,”Four Suns”  is a pummeling and forceful bit of unease that in light of the most recent developments in Australia, Iran and elsewhere should hit close to home.

“‘Four Suns,’ as they say in Hollywood, is our threshold to adventure—a fitting intro to both Fliege and the world of ‘The Seventh Seal,’ marked for death by forces beyond understanding,” the band’s Coleman Bentley told MetalSucks. “Following Antonious Block, medieval knight, and his squire as they embark on a journey home from the crusades, it’s an OSDM-tinged banger that paints a picture of world a in rot. Graves overfed. Doors painted red. Eyeless corpses gazing up at a quartet of flaming stars that will soon burn them alive. Sound familiar? It should.”

New Video: Long Beach’s O ZORN! Releases a Sludgy, Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper

O ZORN! is a Long Beach, CA-based post-sludge trio led by Bill Kielty (vocals, guitar) and currently featuring Danny Walker (drums) and Billy Mud (guitar). Comprised of grizzled vets of Long Beach’s underground scene, the band formed in 2010. And since their formation, the trio have developed a reputation for a sound and songwriting approach that draws from and meshes elements of doom metal, sludge, hardcore and psych rock into a roaring and pummeling sound centered around enormous riffs and fiercely focused angst. 

The Long Beach-based post sludge act’s sophomore album Your Killer is slated for a March 6, 2020 release through Hard Drugs Records and the album, which was recorded at theFoo Fighters’ 606 Studio finds the band crafting the most boldly ambitious, focused and diverse material of their catalog to date. “Casket,” Your Killer’s first single is centered around enormous, power chord-driven riffs, relentless and thunderous drumming, mosh pit friendly hooks and Kielty’s anguished howls. And while bearing a resemblance to Screaming Life/Fopp EP and Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, Melvinsand others, the song as the band explains “depicts a story of a Marine that survives the Vietnam War against all odds, only to come home and his watch his wife battle cancer. In an ever changing World, now with fewer wars than ever before, the story of ‘Casket’ is a dark reminder that the ‘Rolling Death Machine’ of war is still a haunting memory for those on the battlefield and those at home fighting their own personal hell.” 

The recently released video employs an extremely DIY approach — footage of the band performing the song, shot on two iPhones and a GoPro, with a couple of strobe lights and a fog machine. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Blackwater Holylight Release a Trippy Headbanger

The acclaimed Portland, OR-based heavy psych act Blackwater Holylight was formed by founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass) after her previous band broke up, as a way to begin experimenting with what her own version of “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally — while celebrating vulnerability in all of its form. In fact, the primary idea for the project was to have vulnerability be in the driver’s seat when it came to the creative process. Throughout most of her musical career, Faris was often the only female in many of her bands and she desperately wanted to see how it was to work exclusively with women. 

The band released their critically applauded self-titled full-length debut last year. And after extensive touring to support the album, the members of the JOVM mainstay act honed their sound and identity, with their live set being about the slow build, as their sound has evolved a bit 

The band released their critically applauded self-titled full-length debut last year and after extensive touring to support the album, they’ve honed their sound and identity — with their live set being about the slow build, as their sound has evolved a bit. In fact, as a heavy band they do something unique: their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come in and go in rippling waves that surface throughout material that’s generally meditative and entrancing. But they also focus on building tension and intrigue throughout the song. 

Slated for an October 11, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, Blackwater Holylight’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Veils of Winter finds the band with a different lineup — Faris (bass, vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths) along with the band’s newest members Mikayla Mayhew (guitar) Eliese Dorsay (drums). And perhaps a result of the new lineup, the band’s sound and writing process have changed quite a bit. “The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

“One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn’t compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

 “Motorcycle” Veils of Winter’s finds the band balancing fuzzy, power chords, gorgeous melodicism and a motorik groove to create a unique take on heavy music that’s one part doom metal, one part shoegaze that manages to reveal subtle nuances on multiple listeners while being headbang worthy. 

New Video: Black Mountain Takes on 8-Bit Video Games in New Visuals for “Licensed to Drive”

Stephen McBean is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he became involved in the Victoria, British Columbia music scene, forming his first band Jerk Ward in 1981. In 1984, the band recorded a demo that was re-released in 2009 as Too Young to Thrash. Jerk Ward evolved into Mission of Christ (MOC), who recorded a split 7 inch in 1987 — but two years later, the band broke up and McBean relocated to Vancouver, where he started Gus, a band that released two singles, a split EP and a full-length album, 1995’s The Progressive Science Of Breeding Idiots For A Dumber Society, which lead to McBean’s first experience with extensive touring.

In 1996 McBean asked Radio Berlin’s Joshua Wells to join his new band Ex Dead Teenager. Much like his first band Jerk Ward, Ex Dead Teenager eventually morphed into Jerk With a Bomb. Signing with Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records. the band released three albums — 1999’s Death To False Metal, 2001’s The Old Noise and 2003’s Pyrokinesis, which featured Dream on Dreary’s Amber Webber contributing vocals.

While McBean and Wells were still writing, recording and performing as Jerk With a Bomb in 2003, McBean started to demo material that included “Black Mountain” and by the following year, the duo began working on demos under the name Black Mountain with contributions from Webber, Matt Camirand (bass) and Jeremy Schmidt (keys). Those early demos eventually led to their self-titled debut album and a split 7 inch with Destroyer that featured “Bicycle Man,” and was released by Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records.

Building upon a growing profile, Black Mountain toured across North America and Europe and by the following June, the band released the 12″ single “Druganuat”/”Buffalo Swan” in the US. In August 2005, the band opened for Coldplay during their Twisted Logic Tour.

2008 was a huge year for the band, their sophomore album In The Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize, and the album received a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. Additionally, “Stay Free” was featured on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack.

By 2010, McBean relocated to Los Angeles, where they wrote and recorded their Randall Dunn and Dave Sardy-co-produced third album, 2011’s Wilderness Heart, an album that was long listed for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and appeared on !earshot’s Top 50 chart.

2016 saw the release of their fourth album, the aptly titled IV. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes and now features McBean along with Arjan Miranda, Rachel Fannan, Adam Bulgasem and Jermey Schmidt. Interestingly, during that same period McBean got his first proper driver’s license — and for him, it was as though he essentially became a teenager again, discovering a new sense of personal independence and freedom.

Now, as you may recall, the band’s newest album Destroyer derives its name from the discontinued, single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, and reportedly the album is imbued with the wild freedom and newfound agency, anxiety and fear that comes from one’s first time behind the wheel. The serpentine, slow-burning, whiskey fueled, boogie strut “Boogie Lover” was meant to evoke cruising down the Sunset Strip late at night while drawing from space rock, doom metal and stoner rock simultaneously. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Licensed to Drive” evokes a sense of wild freedom  — of speeding down the highway with the music blaring at eardrum shattering levels while sonically drawing from krautrock, space rock, Black Sabbath and Ted Nugent, as the track is centered around a motorik pulse, shimmering synths, buzzing power chords and a razor sharp hook. Get in your car, play this one loud, man.

Directed by Zev Deans, the recently released video for “Licensed to Drive” is an extended riff on classic 8-bit video games and Mad Max, complete with leather and ax-wielding barbarians, a tricked out 1976 GMC Spirit, a guy playing trash can drums, and an enormous, mutant bat. And of course, while McBean and his buddy are playing the “Licensed to Drive” game, a cord is yanked out or something and they wind up having to watch a hilarious take on the classic Maxell Cassette tape commercial. For those of you who came of age in the 80s or grew up in the 80s, this video will bring back a lot of memories. 

New Video: Black Mountain’s Trippy Lo-Fi Visuals for Sultry “Boogie Lover”

Stephen McBean is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he became involved in the Victoria, British Columbia music scene, forming his first band Jerk Ward in 1981. In 1984, the band recorded a demo that was re-released in 2009 as Too Young to Thrash. Jerk Ward evolved into Mission of Christ (MOC), who recorded a split 7 inch in 1987 — but two years later, the band broke up and McBean relocated to Vancouver, where he started Gus, a band that released two singles, a split EP and a full-length album, 1995’s The Progressive Science Of Breeding Idiots For A Dumber Society, which lead to McBean’s first experience with extensive touring.

In 1996 McBean asked Radio Berlin’s Joshua Wells to join his new band Ex Dead Teenager. Much like his first band Jerk Ward, Ex Dead Teenager eventually morphed into Jerk With a Bomb. Signing with Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar, the band released three albums — 1999’s Death To False Metal, 2001’s The Old Noise and 2003’s Pyrokinesis, which featured Dream on Dreary’s Amber Webber contributing vocals.

While McBean and Wells were still writing, recording and performing as Jerk With a Bomb in 2003, McBean started to demo material that included “Black Mountain” and by the following year, the duo began working on demos under the name Black Mountain with contributions from Webber, Matt Camirand (bass) and Jeremy Schmidt (keys). Those early demos eventually led to their self-titled debut album and a split 7 inch with Destroyer that featured “Bicycle Man,” and was released by Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records.

Building upon a growing profile, Black Mountain toured across North America and Europe and by the following June, the band released the 12″ single “Druganuat”/”Buffalo Swan” in the US. In August 2005, the band opened for Coldplay during their Twisted Logic Tour.

2008 was a huge year for the band, their sophomore album In The Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize, and the album received a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. Additionally, “Stay Free” was featured on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack.

By 2010, McBean relocated to Los Angeles, where they wrote and recorded their Randall Dunn and Dave Sardy-co-produced third album, 2011’s Wilderness Heart, an album that was long listed for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and appeared on !earshot’s Top 50 chart.

2016 saw the release of their fourth album, the aptly titled IV. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes and now features McBean along with Arjan Miranda, Rachel Fannan, Adam Bulgasem and Jermey Schmidt. Interestingly, during that same period McBean got his first proper driver’s license — and for him, it was as though he essentially became a teenager again, discovering a new sense of personal independence and freedom.

In fact, the band’s forthcoming album, Destroyer, which derives its name from the discontinued single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, reportedly is imbued with the wild freedom and newfound agency, anxiety and fear that comes from one’s first time behind the wheel. Interestingly, the album’s latest single is the serpentine, slow-burning, whiskey fueled- boogie strut “Boogie Lover,” a track meant to evoke cruising down the Sunset Strip. Clocking in at a little over 6 minutes and centered by wah wah pedaled guitar, thumping drumming, sizzling synths, the track manages to draw from space rock, doom metal and stoner rock simultaneously — all while being incredibly sultry and apocalyptic.

New Audio: Austin-based Doom Rockers The Well Release a Murky and Uneasy Ripper

Comprised of Ian Graham (guitar, vocals), Lisa Alley (bass, vocals) and Jason Sullivan (drums), the Austin TX-based heavy psych rock/heavy metal act The Well can trace their origins to when Graham was fired from his previous band. Determined to redirect his musical focus, Graham hooked up with Alley and the two began picking out riffs in their garage. Completing the lineup, Graham and Alley stole Sullivan from Graham’s old band — partially out of vengeance and partially out of karma. The members of the trio are huge fans of cult horror films, and are inspired by early 70s psych rock and proto-metal and as a result their material revels in dark themes and haunting echoes. Interestingly, with their first few releases the Austin-based trio have developed a reputation for a sound that has been compared to Black Sabbath, Sleep, Electric Wizard and Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats. And adding to a growing profile, the band has shared stages with the likes of Kadavar, Orchid, Fu Manchu, High on Fire, NAAM, Orange Goblin, Pentagram, Dead Meadow and others. 

Slated for an April 26, 2019 release through Riding Easy Records, The Well’s forthcoming, third album Death and Consolation reportedly may be the darkest and most intense album of the band’s growing catalog. As the band’s Ian Graham says in press notes, “This one is a little more personal. 2018 was a strange, dark year. A lot of change was going on in my life, there was a lot of depression and coming out of it over the last year.” And while darker, the album continues their ongoing collaboration with longtime producer and engineer Chico Jones and finds the band expanding upon their sound and approach, at points nodding at Joy Division and The Cure — but also while being a bit of a continuation of 2016’s critically applauded Pagan Science. Death by Consolation’s latest single is the monstrous and murky ripper “Raven.” Centered around enormous and extremely downtuned, power chords and bass chords,  thunderous drumming paired around Layne Staley-delivered vocals, the song evokes a sense of unease and dread, familiar to classic horror movies — and stumbling around graveyards late at night. But more important, the song captures a band that kicks ass, takes names and will frighten  the shit out of you. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays WINDHAND Release a Roger Corman-Influenced Video for Pummeling Dirge “Red Cloud”

Throughout the past few years of the site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND, and as you may recall, the band which is currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums) can trace their origins back to 2009. Within a year of their formation, they released a two-track self-recorded CD that quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath. Building upon a growing profile, their 2012 self-titled debut became an underground hit and sold out multiple vinyl pressings within a few months. 

Released in 2013 through Relapse Records, the Northern Virginia-based band’s critically applauded sophomore album Soma received praise from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a breakthrough year, the band spend the bulk of 2013 and 2014 touring North American, the European Union and Australia supporting Soma with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak — and they made stops on the international festival circuit with sets at Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest. 
2015’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Infernal Flower managed to further cement their reputation for crafting sludgy, murky, punishing power chord-based dirges. Released earlier this month, WINDHAND’s fourth, full-length album Eternal Return finds the band continuing their collaboration with renowned producer Jack Endino — and the album thematically is centered around observations and reflections on life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows, beginnings and ends. Between Grief’s Infernal Flower and their recently released album, the members of the band welcomed the births of children, experienced a number of lineup changes and mourned an unexpected and tragic death. And unsurprisingly, as a result, the album’s material and the sequential order of its song are the direct result of those experiences — while sonically, the band crafts material that balances heavy and brooding dirges with psychedelic and meditative passages.  Album single “Grey Gardens” was part of an early batch of album singles that were among the heaviest batches of material they recorded — and while being a thunderous and slow-burning dirge, the single finds the band’s sound and approach subtly moving towards Screaming Life/Foppand Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, complete with a lysergic bridge. “Red Cloud,” Eternal Return’s latest single continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it’s a heavy and psychedelic dirge, centered by some explosive guitar work, rumbling low end, thundering drumming, Dorthia Cottrell’s smoky vocals and an anthemic hook; but unlike it’s predecessor there’s a sense of foreboding doom at its core. 

Directed and animated by Zev Deans, the recently released video  features a seamless blend of live-action and animated scenery, as it follows a washed-up and hopelessly incompetent warlock and imbecilic and hunch-backed henchman as they try to kidnap The Scarlet Woman. Visually, the video is reportedly a homage to the horror films of the early 1960s, specifically Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe series — and naturally, it’s perfect for the Halloween season.