Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sons Of Otis

Heavy space doom from Toronto. These guys have an amazingly heavy psychedelic sound.
If you took all your Robin TROWER, Albert King, ZZ Top, and Hendrix records, melted them down, and then pressed them into one 300 gram LP and played it at 8 RPM you`d be on the right track (
From their MySpace site:
If the Bermuda Triangle or Twilight Zone existed in the Canadian music scene, then Toronto's Sons of Otis would be their prime resident. The band creates a genre unto its own, unique enough to become a patented prescription medication. Known for their trance-like neuron-firing live performances which include spinning lights and smoke machines, Sons of Otisprove to audiences everywhere that they can summon spaceships and create supernovas. Sons of Otis have shared the stage with bands like Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch, Fu Manchu, New Kingdom, Voivod, Electric Wizard and Shallow North Dakota. The seed was planted in late 1992 by the trio's founder/guitarist/vocalist Ken Baluke, an export from Detroit, Michigan. The band was originally dubbed Otis, in homage to the character of the same name in the cult film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Enter bassist Frank Sargeant in 1994 when the band released a 6 track EP entitled Paid To Suffer. The instant success of the EP as well as a presitigious reputation in the underground Toronto music scene led them to a recording contract that same year with Canadian label Hypnotic Records. Just before their first full-length disc SpaceJumboFudge was released in 1996, the band had to affix 'Sons Of' in front of their name due to a legal conflict with a US band with the same name. SpaceJumboFudge was to be the only album to come out of the record deal. It trickled over to Europe where it garnered legendary status among fans of the 'heavy music' genre. Soon after its release, a plethora of problems arose with their label whch led to a nullfication of their contract. For the following three years, Ken and veteran bassist Frank reclusively retreated to their basement rehearsal space and re-evaluated what needed to be done. They decided to write the heavies, mind altering t tunes known to mankind. The prerequisite for Ken's writing style was simple - "If it sounded heavy when my guitar was unplugged, then it could only be even more crushing when it was plugged in". However, an unusually long germination ensued due to the fact that they went through 10 drummers, who for various reasons could not adjust to the regimental work ethic of the band, which involved rehearsing at least 3 times a week. They temporarily had to revert to the unheard of use of a drum machine (gasp!) to fill the void and create vibrations. In the summer of 1998, these same vibrations were felt in San Francisco, a place that is no stranger to seismic activity. One character awoken up by this bowel-rumbling heaviness was infamous poster artist Frank Kozik, head guru of Man's Ruin records. The resulting product is Templeball, the band's second full-length release. After a European tour with Electric Wizard, and finally settling on a temporary studio and live drummer, Tony Jacome (Shallow North Dakota), the band entered the studio for their debut release for The Music Cartel. The result is Songs For Worship. Songs contains some of the most organically dense and psychedelic riffage known to man. Each track billows forth from uncharted regions of the cosmos--especially the riffed-out version of the Hendrix classic, "In From The Storm". Ken's vocals echo from underneath, seemingly processed by a series of relayed satellites from ultra-deep space. Utilizing only the finest vintage customized instruments, amplification and recording equipment, the band has already gained notoriety as being 'the heaviest' around. Songs For Worship will only solidify this reputation both here and in distant solar systems... The next chapter in the OTIS camp was finding a full-time drummer and so it was. The Gods gave us Ryan Aubin, a young buck from the Dale Crover school of pounding!!!!! With the band now solid once again it was time to record "X". With the help of Billy Anderson, this is by far the best example of the OTIS sound!! Now teaming up with Small Stone Records out of Detroit, the band is ready for their next trip.....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Spiritus Mortis

From Finland comes Spiritus Mortis. Pretty good doom outfit. This is from their website:
Spiritus Mortis was formed in late summer of 1987. The first band in Finland to be called as a DOOM act. Founding members were Teemu and Jussi. At first V-P was only a temporary drummer but as usually shit happens and temporary became permanent. At first band was known as Rigor Mortis but at that time there was also US band called Rigor Mortis so we changed the name to Spiritus Mortis.

SM's unique sound can be heard from the very early demos. Growling bass, massive guitars and viciously thundering drums. Totally unique and unheard in Finland. Cult following was gained by reviews of demos and furious gigs. But in early '90's Finland was not ready for SM's grim world. as nothing really happened. Studies, "real jobs", military services and so on came into picture so SM almost dried out in late '90's.

From the beginning SM was desperately seeking vocalist because Teemu wanted to concentrate more to bass banging. For awhile in late '90's Tomi Murtomäki was in band as a lead singer but when original SM trio found Vesa Lampi to vocals things started to roll so Vesa replaced Tomi in the beginning of year 2000 and gave a massive boost to band. New millenium, new start. SM went straight to studio to record Demo 2000. Demo 2000 got great reviews in various Metal magazines around the world, strongest SM demo so far.

V-P wasn't really happy with playing drums because his main instrument is guitar. So SM began to search for drummer who could replace V-P. Somewhere in the end of 2000 Veli-Matti joined SM. Another boost to SM along with Vesa's joining the band.

'Forward to the Battle'-demo, recorded in early 2001 with current line up was still dark, gloomy and heavy. Loyal to the roots of SM. Trends never hurt SM. Grim tale continues like it started. Also this piece of SM metal has been very well taken by magazines and fans.

At the beginning of summer 2001 the band got their first offer to sign record deal. When this deal disappeared in the air, not due SM, band recorded so called "not for sale" demo, Hot Summer of Love, in 2002. Some copies were sent to press. Reviews were praising this piece of metal, including legendary cover art.

In January 2003 SM decided to go to studio to record debut album without any clue if any label will ever release it. During these days Vellu informed that this will be his last recording with SM. Few days of dark clouds and icy rain but SM decided to find new drummer. After trying couple of drummers during the spring we found Jarkko "Sepi" Seppälä. New chapter begins, heaviest so far!

Financial suicide worked. After sending some samples of metal to come, couple of labels approached and two of them offered record deal in the summer of 2003. SM decided to choose Rage of Achilles.

So .. Looking thru' the years back to '80's ... SM haven't changed, the world has. It's finally ready to unleash Spiritus Mortis. Debut album was out in stores in January 2004 but some bad news, again, Rage Of Achilles called it quits at autumn 2004. So again, looking for a record deal...

With a little help from Tom Phillips from While Heaven Wept they managed to get a deal from Creece's Black Lotus Records and SMs second album, "Fallen", was released in march 2006.

Meanwhile, VP had moved to Stadingrad so it was impossible to arrange rehearsals so in the beginning of 2006 Kari "Hakomäen Blackmore" Lavila was called to replace VP. VP can be still heard on "Fallen".

At the winter of 2006, normal SM luck struck again, this time Black Lotus Records called quits. It happened so quickly, SM were informed at wednesday and next tuesday BLR was dead...

After the fall of Black Lotus Records, Vesa had lost his interested of music so at the spring 2007 we let him go. Tomi Murtomäki came to help and replace him, at least for "20 years of SM" anniversary tour. Tour was the first long tour in SM history and all the gigs were excellent and audience praised the SM performance.

So, what's next? No one knows for sure but SM story will certainly continue: split with The Gates Of Slumber will be released through Emissary Records, split cassette with Withctiger containing Turku gig will be released through Metal Warning. Also SM will participate "Knock'em Down to the Size" 7" vinyl sampler and Metal Warning will release double vinyl version of the first SM album!
You can check out some SM tunes at their MySpace site.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Doom, According To John Del Russi

I thought this was an incredible description of doom and one I heartily agree with. Very inspiring.

What Is Doom? (from a statement by John Del Russi of Hierophant)
Doom-metal... probably the most extreme and most misunderstood forms of music. What is doom-metal? Creating a fitting and accurate description can be a long and arduous task, but I shall attempt to give my views on the subject of doom.

Doom, as I've always felt, is something to be experienced; not just a form of music. It is a transcendental experience into the darker, mysterious realms of being; of sorrow and hopelessness, hatred and despair; even a 'gateway' into otherworldly realms. Doom is intrinsically perhaps the most extreme form of music, being both agonizingly slow and monolithically heavy, and therefore has never become a mainstream form of listening among the masses. Its emotionality is such that, for the average person no matter their self-professed darkness, is very often misunderstood for what it truly is, or shunned out of the sheer unnerving atmospheres it evokes. In truth, doom (when done the way it should be) is the darkest, most emotional music on the planet.

Doom is extremely 'spiritual' in experience; being mysterious, dark and esoteric in its purest form. Doom is, in its own way, a very 'majestic' form of music. With the use of a wide array of accompanying instruments, from violins to keyboards, doom creates atmospheres that no other form of music can offer. Doom is extremely intense, due to its emotionality, atmospheres and heaviness, and should not, despite its sloth-like pace, be deemed as 'boring' or 'simple'. Quite the contrary, doom requires one to be a much 'deeper' soul to fulfill its compositional requirements. It cannot just be simply 'written', but must be composed; the entire artist's personal essence and emotions being expressed through every note. In truth, it is perhaps one of the hardest forms of music to compose and perform, First, to play at such slow tempos can be difficult in the aspect of timing. Second, to keep the atmospheres and emotionality of the music at a level that maintains the 'concept' of the songs is no easy feat. It takes great talent to achieve and maintain the level of power, emotionality and quality that not only express the 'concept' of the composer, but also keep the attention of the listener. Perhaps this will dispel the long insulting and ignorant prospects that doom is 'easy' to play and/or write.

I believe that doom should evoke the deepest of essences through the creation of almost otherworldly, emotion-laden notes utilized in combination with an earth-shattering heaviness that should rarely (if ever) be strayed from. To evoke the deepest emotions and atmospheres possible, I believe is the genuine purpose of doom; to create for the listener and experience like none other.

Though there are, like everything else in life, many people who view things differently, I stand firmly in my resolution that doom should always maintain the earth-shattering heaviness the likes of diSEMBOWELMENT, Evoken, Thergothon etc. While there are those who strive to achieve a more 'serene' form of doom, attempting to express purely the sorrowful side, I find it most lacking in power in the absence of the pulverizing heaviness of the afore-mentioned pioneers of doom. The majesty and mystery, sorrow and despair, I feel are delivered with much more power when backed by the heaviness of the afore-mentioned bands. While I have no qualms with 'calmer' moments throughout the journey of doom, which genuinely add to the atmospheres of doom, I believe there should be a quality of 'brutality' to its composition, which drives deeper the experience (especially as doom is, by definition, a brutal experience in itself). Along the same lines, it should never (or rarely) stray from
the slow-as-death pace that also creates the power and driving force that doom delivers which such punishing relentlessness.

Over all, doom is something to be experienced, as I stated earlier. It IS an experience, in the truest sense of the word. An expression of the 'darker', shadowy sides of the human self, sorrow, despair, mourning, hatred, emptiness, misery and mystery, doom-metal is something one needs to submerge one's self into, as opposed to
simply listening to it. It is perhaps one of the most majestic forms of music in existence, despite of (if not due to) its extreme form of expression of these essences and emotions. A journey through realms, which would otherwise remain unbeknownst to man, doom takes one into the deepest of depths both within themselves and external realms.

Doom shall forever remain a mystery, as that is its nature. It is intrinsically mysterious, and not for everyone. But for those who crave the most extreme experience of the deepest emotionality, atmospheres and essences possible to be expressed through music, doom-metal is the one and only path for the sullen few, who are
truly "evolved" enough to understand it and who are fearless of journeying into unknown realms of darkness.

Mourners in darkness gather, and lament your sorrows through the monolithic force that is doom.
My own inner journey has been influenced much by the experience of doom, since, as a lad of fifteen, I heard the earth-shattering power of Black Sabbath.


Sunday, November 18, 2007


As all of you know, doom metal encompasses a few different styles. One of these is stoner/psychedelic doom. Here's a video of Sonic Prayer, from the best band in San Diego, and one of the best psychedelic bands I've ever heard, Earthless. This is good shit. Check it out.


Place Of Skulls - Long Lost Grave

Here are some great lyric from Place Of Skulls' song, Long Lost Grave, from their album With Vision. With Wino singing, this song is very powerful.

Twenty years in Missouri, when I left the trees were green
Answered the call of fury, to fight for our beliefs
My uniform is splendid, my rifle clean
Mother, I'll write you letters, tell you what I see.
The cannon balls come screamin'
Ears filled with cries and moans
Sometimes I think I'm dreamin', blood on the snow
Now my belly's burnin', their lead has found its mark
So cold my legs are turnin', the world is goin' dark
I don't claim to understand the force that drives this man
Just my faith in what I'm told, bravery is gold
Mother it seems a shame to die so far away
Will someone send me home
I don't claim to comprehend the feud between these men
All I know is what I see, they don't care for me
All the glory's lies, left me here to die
Alone and cryin' I bleed.

We need to put a stop to these senseless wars.


Ice Monkey

Saint Vitus, doing what they do best. Wino plays some great guitar on this one. Ice Monkey. Enjoy.

The Miskatonic Foundation

I thought I would post a plug for a worthy record label producing doom metal in the UK. Check them out. The following description appears on the Miskatonic Foundation MySpage page. Visit their official site here.
About The Miskatonic Foundation

Hidden deep in the freezing fog upon the moors of Northern England , away from the prying eyes of men of lesser understanding lays the home of THE MISKATONIC FOUNDATION. It is here, between the four walls of a decaying mansion house, which is supposedly haunted, so legend runs, the metalchemists who make up the Foundations membership labour with little respite to unlock the ancient and arcane secrets of steel. Driven by a madness, and with an ever increasing sense of urgency as the new dark ages fall upon us all, every MISKATONIC release is untainted, pure and forged from the heaviest of metals on the MISKATONIC periodic table.

Originally conceived over a decade ago by the ISEN TORR & SOLSTICE guitarist, as an alternative to the myriad of so called professional labels who were releasing the same cliched and turgid musical abominations over and over, MISKATONIC is dedicated to the sounds of Doom, Epic and NWOBHM. At first, working solely, and then in conjunction with other like minded individuals, MISKATONIC has always intended to spread its grip and policy of hardline metal militancy across the globe.

Unlike other labels, we do not make a living, or pay ourselves money from our releases, every penny is spent ONLY on the bands, nothing goes to waste. And although we issue our releases on what could be considered shoestring budgets, each of them far surpass those of other labels in every aspect. From packaging to musical contents, everything reflects who we are and what we stand for.

Other "Labels" can talk as much bullshit about their "Mantra's" as much as they want, the fact remains, these feeble minded parasites have never actually released anything or invested any of their own money, instead preferring to make the bands pay for everything while they reap the profits. Like bloated Leeches, they drain the fire and integrity from the underground before they retire back to their dreary lives.

MISKATONIC says NO to the legions of bootleggers, the corrupt journalists and these greedy labels. First and foremost, the aim has to be to treat our fellow musicians and metalheads with respect by unleashing only outstanding music by bands that not only understand our ethos, but are part of the ongoing struggle against mediocrity and servitude.


Our releases to date and forthcoming...

(HPL 001) VA - "At the mountains of madness" CD
(HPL 002) TWISTED TOWER DIRE - "The curse of...." CD
(HPL 003) WARNING - "The strength to dream" CD
(HPL 004) MIRROR OF DECEPTION - "Mirrorsoil" CD
(HPL 005) TWISTED TOWER DIRE - "The isle of hydra" CD
(HPL 006) IRONSWORD - "Ironsword" CD
(HPL 008) RITUAL STEEL - "A hell of a knight" CD
(HPL 009) REVELATION - "Frozen masque" CD
(HPL 010) IRONSWORD - "The return of the warrior" CD
(HPL 011) DESOLATION ANGELS - "TBA" 4 CD box set..soon!
(HPL 012) WARNING - "Watching From A Distance" CD
(HPL 013) WARNING - "The Right Hand Of Doom" CD
(HPL 014) HELL - "TBA" 3 CD boxset....Forthcoming
(HPL 015) THE LAMP OF THOTH - "TBA" CD....Forthcoming
(HPL 016) THE RIVER - "TBA" New album!!....Forthcoming

(REH 001) V.A.- "Hail Brittania" VOL 1 7" (SLOUGH FEG Vs. IRONSWORD)
(REH 002) PAGAN ALTAR - "Lords Of Hypocrisy" DLP
(REH 003) THE LAMP OF THOTH - "Cauldron Of Witchery" 10" ep
(REH 004) PAGAN ALTAR - "Mythical & magical" DLP
(REH 005) ORODRUIN - "In Doom..." 10" EP
(REH 006) V.A. -"Hail Brittania" Vol 2 7" (TGOS Vs.WRATHBLADE)....Forthcoming
(REH 007) COLD MOURNING - "Demo's" DLP....Forthcoming
(REH 008) HELL - "TBA" 3 LP boxset....Forthcoming
(REH 009) THE LAMP OF THOTH - "TBA" LP....Forthcoming
(REH 010) LORD CRUCIFIER - "Demo's" DLP...Forthcoming

Please visit our site to find out more information about each title, and what is still in print. You know it makes sense. You can find more mp3's, interviews, up to date news and maybe, your salvation...welcome to hell.

One more thing, if you want to add us to your friends, and we don't alllow it, too bad. It was because ideologically we are polar opposites....NO TO COMMERCIALISM...

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Rocky Mountain Doom from Turambar. Say nothing more.

Dopethrone Live

Electric Wizard doing Dopethrone live. Nothing more need be said.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Candlemass Interview

A short interview with Leif Edling and Robert Lowe of Candlemass. Sounds like Leif is pretty happy that Messiah has departed.

Their new album, King of the Grey Islands, sounds great with Lowe on vocals. One of the best of the year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ocean Chief

What could be better on a rainy, melancholy day than the slow, fat sound of Ocean Chief? If you haven't heard these guys yet, you're in for a treat! Skull-crushing doom; ripping, tearing, gnawing, grinding everything in its path. Imagine Thor traveling across the galaxy, annihilating planets with his thunderous hammer. And there's just enough psychedelia to keep you mesmerized and hypnotized, as well. Awesome power! True Viking Doom, from Sweden.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I've been listening to a few tunes from a band called 137, out of New York. I highly recommend them, if you like bands like Crowbar and Eyehategod. Excellent shreddage. Major sludge. Check out this video of a song from their latest album, Force Controlled Culture. It's called Wrecking Ball.

Terrorizer Magazine

High On Fire and Down are featured in the current issue of Terrorizer Magazine. Check it out. It looks pretty cool.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


If you're interested in no-holds-barred kick-ass doom, check out Doomraiser. They're one of the reasons why the Italian doom scene is so rich with great doom bands. The following is from their MySpace page:
Doomraiser were born having the intention to pay tribute to the music and to the great family of Doom, without imposing to themselves to do it in an original way or to invent anything new, but just to pass, in the best way possible, the feeling the genre has. Straight from the Catacombs of ROMA, DOOMRAISER hits you hard with 5 tracks of total, traditional doom metal, clocking in at 58 minutes! The band was formed out of different musical experiences in 2003, and released an excellent demo in 2004. More than 700 copies were spread, and the constant demand forced the band to have it entirely ready for download on their home page. The response at it was so good that the band was invited to take part on the 2006 DOOM SHALL RISE IV, as well as playing both editions of the Roman STONED HAND OF DOOM (2005/6) and in the 3rd edition of the S-HAMMER METAL FEST with band like Sodom, Belphegor, Sadist. In December the band decided to record their debut album, then began shopping it around, looking for a label. In the meantime, a very limited edition vinyl single featuring a different version of "The Old Man to the Child" was released through Ghost Records. Contact was established and it was deemed that IRON TYRANT unleash said doombeast unto the world. "LORDS OF MERCY" will be out on October 15th, in time for the band's first European Tour. Among other dates, the band will appear at DUTCH DOOM DAY V along with bands such as Reverend Bizarre, The Gates Of Slumber and The Prophecy. After the album release the band have supported bands like Orange Goblin, Witchcraft, Nick Olivieri & Mondo Generator (ex-Kyuss) and Red Sparowes (w/Isis and Neurosis members). In may 2007, the band touring Europe again to support the USA heavy doomster Solace in their “The Black Black” European Tour.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Genesis Of Doom II

Let's not forget this one. It's Hand of Doom from Black Sabbath, live in Paris, 1970. Classic!

Genesis Of Doom

Friends, this is where it all began.

Spirit Caravan

It doesn't get much better than this. Here's Wino and his band, Spirit Caravan, doing Dream Wheel, from the very first Stoner Hands of Doom festival. Wino is the doom god.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Hidden Hand Splits Up

Alas, The Hidden Hand is no more. Here is the story from Rock Net Webzine.

THE HIDDEN HAND, the band featuring hard rock guitar
legend Scott “Wino” Weinrich (ST. VITUS, THE OBSESSED,
SPIRIT CARAVAN), has split up.

Commented Weinrich: “Without going into detail to
embarrass anyone, this is a message to inform everyone
THE HIDDEN HAND no longer exists. I cannot any longer
tolerate being promised stuff that never happens or be
accused of dishonesty. I think in my long and fruitful
career I have always tried to be fair and honest, even
going out of my way creatively and financially to make
it happen including compromise. I have put an enormous
burden on my family and myself to try and fulfill my
dreams which have not been to enrich myself
financially, but to enrich others as well as myself
spiritually and emotionally. The music industry these
days turns on the most mediocre crap, be it pop or
cheesy black metal, which is really just sickening or
laughable. So be it. I will still be wholeheartedly
dedicated to the SHRINEBUILDER project with Chris and
Al of OM and Scott from NEUROSIS. This will be a long
way off but I KNOW these dudes are FOR REAL. SO all I
will say now is thanks for believing. I’m sure some
will assume I am some ego guy who’s impossible to work
with, nothing is farther from the truth. I just expect
the same amount of fairness and respect I give. A tall
call these days, unfortunately.”

THE HIDDEN HAND’s latest full-length release, “The
Resurrection of Whiskey Foote”, came out in February.
The CD is the third THE HIDDEN HAND full-length
(second from Southern Lord) and features the lineup
that recorded the now sold-out/out-of-print “Devoid of
Color” EP from last year: Scott “Wino” Weinrich
(guitars, vocals), Bruce Falkinburg (bass) and Evan
Tanner (drums).

“The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote” is not necessarily
a concept album but it is heavily layered with
historical story-based lyricism and themes. Musically
there is a subtle southern or classic rock vibe (ala
killer slide playing from Wino and even some harp by
Michael Anthony Miller) that creeps into the
foundation of their brand of dark, heavy, progressive

The Hidden Hand

I just picked up this album by The Hidden Hand called Mother, Teacher, Destroyer and it's great!

The Hidden Hand is the latest band assembled by Scott "Wino" Weinrich. Wino, of course, is a doom god, having been the driving force behind Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, and Spirit Caravan.

With THH, Wino ascends into the stratosphere. His music is becoming much more advanced and progressive. The songs are definitely doom/stoner, but not the typical sounds you're used to hearing on a doom/stoner album. There are psychedelic elements. There is a hearkening back to bands like King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Blue Cheer, and Pink Floyd. The guitar mastery and vocals of Wino melded together with the amazing drumming of Evan Tanner (recently replaced by Matt Moulis). and the bass work and vocals of Bruce Falkinburg makes for a truly classic band.

The lyrical material is socially conscious and spiritually aware, dealing with politics, the environment, and spirituality.

I have just read that The Hidden Hand has split up. More details later......

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Solitude Aeternus

Solitude Aeternus has become one of my favorite doom outfits in the last year or so. Their vocalist, Robert Lowe, recently joined Candlemass to replace Messiah Msrcolin, who departed in 2006. Lowe is a better singer, in my opinion. He will make Candlemass better than ever, while still being a part of Aeternus.

The following is from Solitude Aeternus' MySpace page:
Formed in the spring of 1987, Solitude Aeturnus are still pummeling souls into doom metal submission to this day! Out of a sheer dark desire to spread the power of heavy head swirling and pounding hell metal the band pushes onward.

The line up began as darkened soul, John Perez, quit his former seminal thrash metal band Rotting Corpse in early ’87. Perez, already a veteran metal dog, had begun to tire of the limitations of thrash and soon saw the path to righteousness in all things heavy. Already a long time follower of the Sabbath heavy sounds of early 80’s groups like Witchfinder General, St. Vitus, Black Hole, Nemesis and the like, Perez knew that the time was right to make a move into this art form known then as Doom Metal! Perez assembled a group of musicians over the next year namely; Brad Kane - Drums (an early 80’s Bay area thrasher metal brother!), Kris Gabehardt - vocals (previously with over the top Satanic death metal band Death Tripper), Tom Martinez - guitar and Chris Hardin - bass. After writing songs and rehearsing up until December of 1987, the band entered the studio in Jan 1988 to record their legendary 5 song demo entitled “Justice For All”. It should be noted that this title and demo preceded the Metallica album of the same name by some 7 months! Also of interest is that the bands name at this time was Solitude. It would not be until two years later that the band would be forced to change the name to Solitude Aeturnus.

After the release of the demo, various gigs around the local area followed. The response was lukewarm at best since no one around the area knew what to think of a band that actually played ultra heavy, slow and with melody. In late ’88 changes started to occur within the band and without going into too many details the members of the band all changed finally settling on a line up that consisted of Perez - still on guitars of course, Edgar Rivera - guitars, Robert Lowe - vocals, Lyle Steadham - bass and John “Wolf” Covington on drums. This line up would last for the next 7 years taking the band all the way to 1996. Of special interest is that Lyle Steadham actually joined the band on drums while Chris Hardin was still on bass. This particular line up recorded the second official demo of the band containing two classic tracks, “Mirror of Sorrow” and “Opaque Divinity”. Lyle would shortly move over to bass duties as Hardin left the band and Covington joined.

This two song tape caught the attention of the independent label King Klassic (anyone ever hear of the great Oxenkiller on their label?! Ahem!). The band entered the prestigious Dallas Sound Lab in January of 1990 to record their classic debut album, “Into the Depths of Sorrow”. After a disastrous first mix the band went back to Sound Logic Studios (where the two demos were done) for a remix. It was a nightmare to try to fix but the band managed to capture a great, albeit raw sound nonetheless. The whole album was recorded for a paltry sum of $3000 and done in 7 days including the remix. Shortly after the album was delivered the album suffered an insane delay due to King Klassic not having the money to put it out. After some shopping around the album eventually caught the attention of Roadrunner Records and a licensed deal followed by Solitude Aeturnus signing directly to Roadrunner followed. After numerous other delay’s the album finally saw the light of day in July of 1991 a full year and half after the album was recorded!! No tours followed although by this time SA had already written enough songs for a second album. In March of 1992 the band entered Sound Logic recording studios to begin the sessions for the second album, “Beyond the Crimson Horizon”

The budget for “Beyond” was much greater and as a result the sound was improved. The album was released in July of 1992 and eventually a US tour was set up in late Nov. with Paul Dianno’s Killers. The tour lasted six weeks and was a great success for the band. Shortly after in Feb. of ’93 the band were dropped from Roadrunner. This came as a sigh of relief for the band as the proper support from Roadrunner never came their way. It wouldn’t be until December that the band would finally sign a new recording contract with up and coming label, Pavement Records.

The band decided to get away from their familiar surroundings and took off for England to record their third album, Through the Darkest Hour. Recorded in late March of ’94at Rhthym Studios, this was to be the bands best work to date, showing a more simple and heavier direction. The production was also at it’s best ever and the band were moving their way up the metal ladder. “Darkest Hour” received critical acclaim all across the globe upon it’s release in August of 1994. After a few months of negotiating, the band went on the road with metal legends Mercyful Fate for an extensive US tour. The tour was six weeks of metal glory and shortly after the band embarked on their first tour of Europe with fellow doom band Revelation. After this tour the band went through a long break that would last until the April of 1996 when recording for the next album commenced. During this time Perez started his own Brainticket Records label as well as recording a solo album under the name of The Liquid Sound Company. The next album, “Downfall” was recorded in Dallas TX and despite recieving praise once again for their efforts, the band were extremely dissatisfied with the end product. The songs were top notch but the production quality of the album was poor. After years of hard knocks and never ending struggles the band underwent their first (and only) major line up change.

Lyle Steadham left the band shortly after the recording of Downfall. Lyle felt he needed a change of direction for his musical endeavors and did so by forming punk band the Killcreeps, and later the highly successful Ghoultown. Lyle contributed significantly to the band and his presence was not easily filled. The band continued on enlisting the services of Teri Pritchard (Last Chapter) in as temporary bassist. It was this line up that toured Europe in April of 96 with Swedish power metal band Morgana Lafey. Another unintentional break followed and a split from Pavement Records eventually occurred. During this time new bass player, Steve Moseley was added to the band. A long time friend and fan of the band, Steve was the perfect replacement for Lyle. The band then signed on to German label Massacre Records in December 97 and recorded what was to become their masterpiece, Adagio. This time going back to Rhythm Studios in England the album was recorded in March 98 and released in June of the same year. The band toured Europe in September of 98 with Savior Machine in support of the record. Adagio finally saw a U.S. release in January of 1999 through Olympic Records. Being distributed through Polygram, the Olympic deal gave the band even greater exposure in the native country.

The years following the release of Adagio were quiet for the band. John Perez delivered his second album of psychedelic rock with the Liquid Sound Company – Inside the Acid Temple and continued work with his Brainticket Records label and mail order. Steve Moseley, Robert and Covington all grouped together under the moniker of Concept of God and gigged around the local area for a few years. An album was recorded in early 2001 and will finally see a release in spring of 2007! During the next few years both Edgar Rivera and John Covington left the group on good terms. With a few temporary line-ups the band finally settled on metal veteran Steve Nichols on drums and James Martin on bass. A short tour of Greece and Germany followed in early 2007. In the fall of 2007 the bands new album, Alone, was released on Massacre Records. A stateside release is due in March 2007 through Locomotive Music. In February of 2007 a DVD performance was filmed for release through Metal Mind Productions in spring 2007. Metal Mind also reissued the bands first two albums previously on Roadrunner Records. The reissues featured a re-mastered and much improved sound quality.

Solitude Aeturnus continues its quest to produce quality heavy metal music with an emphasis on songwriting sensibilities and attention to detail. If you want pure metal with special detail to real songwriting here it is.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Grand Magus

Grand Magus really impressed me about a year or so ago, when I was viewing metal videos on YouTube. They are a very heavy power trio from Sweden who will make all metalheads happy with their skull-crunching brand of stoner and doom-based metal. I currently own two of the albums, Grand Magus and Monument, and they're both excellent.

Grand Magus was started in 1996 by Janne "JB" Christoffersson, singer for The Spiritual Beggars, and Fox, bass player for Bajen Death Cult. Drummer, Sebastian, joined in 2006. The band signed with Rise Above Records in 2001.

In the Beggars, JB only does vocals, but in Grand Magus he handles vocals and all the guitar work and both are awesome. He reminds me a lot of Scott "Wino" Weinrich in this regard.

Grand Magus entered the studio in Stockholm on October 13 of this year to begin work on the fourth album. Check out a few of their songs at their MySpace page.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Maryland: Doom Capital In The US?

So many incredible doom bands have emerged from the Maryland/DC rock scene that it seems to be Doom central in the US. For an amazing history of this movement, which is still occurring today, see this page at CD Baby.

Saint Vitus

It just dawned on me that I haven't written much at all about Saint Vitus. What an incredible band! Here is the bio from Wikipedia:
Saint Vitus is known as one of the first doom metal bands, starting out as early as the late 1970s. The band first used the name Tyrant, with Scott Reagers (vocals), Dave Chandler (guitar), Mark Adams (bass), and Armando Costa (drums), but soon changed their name to Saint Vitus. Their main influences were Black Sabbath and Pentagram.

Under this line-up Saint Vitus recorded 2 albums (Saint Vitus & Hallow's Victim) and an EP (The Walking Dead). After The Walking Dead Reagers left the band and was replaced by The Obsessed frontman Scott "Wino" Weinrich (at this time, The Obsessed had only released one 7"). Wino recorded three studio albums (Born Too Late, Mournful Cries & V), a live album (Live), and an EP (Thirsty and Miserable, featuring the Black Flag cover of the same name) with Vitus. He left the band in 1991 to reform The Obsessed after Vitus's label, Hellhound Records, released an album of older Obsessed recordings. Christian Lindersson (of Count Raven) left his band to fill in on vocals. He would record only one album, C.O.D. before being replaced by original Vitus vocalist, Scott Reagers. Reagers recorded vocals for the band's final album, Die Healing.

Chandler has recently resurfaced in a new band, Debris, Inc., along with Trouble bassist Ron Holzner.

On July 1st, 2003, the classic Born Too Late line-up (Weinrich, Chandler, Adams, Acosta) played a gig at Double Door in Chicago.[1] The performance was recorded and released on a DVD that is distributed through Chandler's current band, Debris, Inc.
If you haven't picked up the Saint Vitus Live DVD, do so at once!

Check out Vitus' MySpace page here.

The Gates Of Slumber

If you like heavy traditional doom, similar to The Obsessed and Saint Vitus, check out The Gates Of Slumber from Indianapolis. This description was taken from
The Gates Of Slumber is no mere band. It is, in fact, a way of life.

The Gates Of Slumber give no quarter, they make no apologies, and they will not tolerate fools. Weaned on the majesty of Black Sabbath, the power of St. Vitus, the melodic might and gallop of Iron Maiden and a hodgepodge of classic bands from Thin Lizzy to Rainbow to Mercyful Fate, the Gates draw deep from heavy metal's most powerful blood to stake their claim as newborn kings.

Live your life on your knees, disconnected from the strength of the past and the promise of your future, and the forlorn fate that awaits should come as no surprise. But choose to stand apart, to live free and proud from the masses, and you will cross into that existential realm and know what it means to walk with purpose and to march over the bones of your enemies.

The Gates Of Slumber have chosen such a path, musically, artistically and personally.

The band arose in the dark winter of 1998, born of the imagination of founder/vocalist/guitarist Karl Simon, a longtime student of myth, folklore, history, virtue and music. The band coalesced around his anger and spite toward the trendy false-metal "stoner rock" bands gaining steam at the time. His mission? To drown the would-be usurpers in their own putrid gore.

Jason McCash brought his low-end bass tone and superior song-craft to the Gates in 2001 and together the pair have blazed a trail of True Doom across their native American soil and Europe. A handful of drummers have backed up their blend of metal's mystery and rock n' roll's majesty, including Chuck Brown, Chris "The Fist" Gordon and Brian "Bob" Fouts.

The Gates Of Slumber's masterpiece sophomore album, Suffer No Guilt (I Hate), is a mission statement for those who recognize the awesome might of the truth within heavy music. With artwork from famed painter Ken Kelly (Rainbow, Manowar, Kiss), the album has built a strong following in the underground as impressive as the four "K" review it received in Kerrang!.

Suffer No Guilt follows a no-less awe-inspiring back catalog, stretching back to the now cult Sabbath Witch demo recordings. The band's debut album, The Awakening... (Final Chapter), followed suit, with collectors snatching up copies of the prized ...Like A Plague Upon the Land EP (Hellride) and the 12" single spawned by Suffer No Guilt, God Wills It, released on the band's own Slumbering Souls imprint.

Align yourself with The Gates Of Slumber. Stand up and be counted. Hear the meek tremble as the mighty persevere, rising up to take what's theirs from the pretenders and the fakes.
Listen to some of their tunes here.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Doom Art

You know, one of the best things about doom metal is the profusion of great album and poster art. Most themes are about death, drugs, the occult, and suffering, which fuels the creative fire of doom metal. It's a true art form, both musically and artistically.

Here are just a couple of examples of cool album covers.