WHILE HEAVEN WEPT: Suspended At Aphelion: CD

While Heaven Wept has existed in various forms since 1989 (though the actual moniker wasn’t settled upon until 1991), and co-founding guitarist / composer Tom Phillips has been the one constant for the past 25 years. Despite countless line-up changes in the early years, the core of the band, featuring bassist Jim Hunter, guitarist Scott Loose, and his sister Michelle on keyboards essentially came together in 1998 and has remained intact ever since, though her husband and Brave band mate Trevor came on board in 2004 after a series of drummers came and went.

Starting out playing doom metal, they have expanded into progressive, and symphonic metal on this far-reaching release. With a prologue “Introspectus,” and epilogue “Retrospectus,” both instrumentals at each end of the disc, they really show off the technical skills that are present in this band. “Icarus And I,” features a huge chorus, a catchy melody, and includes harsh, growled vocals. “Heartburst” is slow and soulful, and features a fantastic guitar solo from founder Tom Phillips. “Indifference Turned Paralysis,” is another instrumental, but it’s faster and brings a progressive feel to the track. “The Memory of Bleeding” and “Souls in Permafrost,” are powerful songs with the latter featuring an amazing chorus. “Reminiscence of Strangers,” has blinding guitar work from Phillips and guest guitarist Victor Arduini. You need to listen to the album as a whole, because it is a dynamic and richly textured experience.

Grab the headphones, turn the lights down, and drink in the sweet sounds that are on display here. Not everyone can pull off such a feat, but this is one experience that is worth having over and over again.







ZOLLE: Self-titled: CD


Marcello Lan (guitars) and Stefano (drums) are Zolle, an instrumental stoner rock duo from Bruzzelle, Italy whose brand new release packs more riffs and heavy grooves in its less than 30 minute run time that most bands create in a career. For the past year, they have worked tirelessly to create an instrumental album that appeals to the groovy, laid back tastes of the stoner / doom rock community.

With its blurry riffs and a large drum sound – not to mention a few touches of tasteful synth atmospherics, this duo really gives the listener a ton of grooves to get into. Lan delivers a wide assortment of well thought out, crunchy power chords well suited for head banging and air guitar mayhem. Without lyrics, the songs just don’t stick with me as much as they would have with vocals, but the guys play with conviction and exuberance that makes this a really cool listening experience.

Grab a copy and let the heavy sounds flow over you and turn the lights down to get the full experience. A very interesting album that will be a definite addition to your stoner rock collection.

https://www.facebook.com/zollezollezolle  http://www.zolle.org/




Mind Reader cover art

This six track EP of stoner metal is a breath of fresh air in the piles of death metal, grind and generic releases that I get thrown my way. The band plays heavy, but not so overpowering that melody gets left behind.

This EP is full of riffs that grab you, thick and heavy bass, solos that ring out, devastating drums and gruff vocals all mixed in with melody. The band is heavy, but not in a way that will get lumped in with bands so heavy that it just becomes a morass of noise that carries no depth or any kind of tunefulness that this EP has in spades. The songs that stood out for me were “Protostar”, “Red Horned Crown”, “Flesh Of The Gods”, and “Moon Crazy”.

This loud and heavy EP has the ability to make you bang your head, but still have enough depth that when you play it for nearly every other metal fan, they will come out loving it too. This Ep does it job, it gets their music out to the punters, but because there are only six songs, it whets your appetite for more from them.

https://www.facebook.com/tstmts  http://thesunthemoonthestars.bandcamp.com/album/mind-reader

http://www.tstmts.com/  https://www.facebook.com/blacknumbersmusic

http://blacknumbers.bandcamp.com/  http://www.theblacknumbers.com/

ELECTRO PUNX: Doom With A View: CD

This one man band from Newcastle upon Tyne really does a great job of mixing things up on this eleven song album. You get punk rock, crust, a touch of ska and some electronic all on here.

Great gruff vocals, a wall of sound, guitars coming out of the mix, banging drums and a sense of having a good time while doing this all add up to an interesting release. Some straight forward songs “I’m A Leg – End”, “In Unity”, “Fight Night” and “Disease Or The Breeze”, the ska song “Time Bomb”, the electronic “Facefeck”, the doom song “Pain” and the rest of the songs with their mix of crust and anarcho punk all are well performed and have a nice edge that adds to the enjoyment of this album. You would never know that this is just one person, he does such a great job on the different instruments that it really sounds like a full band.

Grab this and check out a very diverse and intriguing collection of songs that will leave you wanting more


HOWL: Bloodlines: CD

Coming out of Providence, RI, HOWL play metal with some doom and sludge mixed in. They got together back in 2007 and put out an EP in 2008, a debut album in 2010 and now we have their sophomore release.

“Attrition” is the start of the album with the soaring guitar playing, the powerful drumming, the bludgeoning bass and the deep growling vocals, you know that you’re in for a great ride. “Midnight Eyes”  keeps the speed and intensity up and the guitars are all playing in harmony with each other and makes for a great sounding front line, “Demonic” has great evil sounding vocals, drumming that just has a great flow, and the guitar playing gets even better with so many awesome riffs being played that it’s hard to keep up with them, and the thundering bass just adds to the mix. HOWL have a fair bit of speed to the album which makes for a more exciting sound and band members Vincent on vocals and guitar, Josh and Jonathan both on guitar, you have so much power and riffage that something will grab you and the way that they get together to play in harmony so well, Jesse on bass who adds so much depth and Timmy on drums playing fast, but with the ability to weave the bass together to create the thunderous sound that makes you move you feet to, and bang your head to. Vincent’s vocals are nice and deep and guttural, but not so buried that you can’t understand what he’s saying, you can make things out and you can hear the venom in his voice. Some of the other songs that grabbed me were, “One Last Nail”, “Your Hell Begins”, “Of War” and “Embrace Your Nerve”.

Bloodlines is a solid follow-up to their debut with enough crunchy tracks that will definitely be crowd pleasers and will be on repeat in your house. The solid musicianship and is bursting at the seams with some of the best guitar playing that I’ve heard in a long time. This is a definite keeper and you should go out and grab a copy soon.

https://www.facebook.com/HowlHeavyMetal  https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords http://www.relapse.com/   http://relapserecords.bandcamp.com/

KOLLAPSE: Kollapse: 10″

kollapse s/t (free download) cover art

KOLLAPSE is a three-piece DIY band from Denmark, that has two members from the Mighty Midgets and have recently released their debut self titled album which contains six tracks that blend together crust, sludge and hardcore / punk with dual vocals.

About halfway through the first song “Coffins”, you get the full band making a hell-filled racket, but a glorious one with dual vocals, one higher pitched and screaming and the other lower and growling, before that, you have some big time distortion on the bass that makes for a spooky beginning before going in a faster direction. “Man Machine” is a mix of doom, sludge and crust with lots of distortion and the dual vocals, but the track seems to be so heavy that the band can’t play it fast because it’s weighing them down and dragging them slowly into the tar pits, and “Liberate” starts off slow and then picks up the pace a bit and the band has a bit of a BLACK SABBATH feel to them on this track. You have two sides of the coin on here that they blend together well, the slow, dragging tracks and the faster, punch someone in the face songs that work together. The dual vocals are a nice touch, giving you a different feel within each song, the bass is a star attraction with tons of distortion and a leader on most songs, the drumming is pounding away really heavy and the guitar playing adds some texture with the quick leads here and there. “Grief”  has a layer of sludge and doom that is super thick, but is a hard track to ignore with the great playing on it, “No Gods” has a great solo in it, which is one of the rare times that the guitarist gets that ability and carries the doom / sludge fest for one more song, last song “Minamata Disease” has so much anger and it’s almost evil sounding, which was awesome.

For a debut, this was one heavy album with depth and excellent playing from the band. The production was thick and dirty sounding, perfect for these songs, because anything cleaner sounding would have taken away from the songs and experience of this album. I’m interested in hearing where they are going in the future, it should be interesting. Pick this one up if you want some thick, fat, hardcore mixed with doom, sludge and crust that’s done well.

https://www.facebook.com/Kollapseband  http://kollapse.bandcamp.com/  https://www.facebook.com/pages/5FeetUnder-Records/302601933208?group_id=0  http://www.5feetunder.com/  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Never-Trust-An-Asshole/382410541774011?group_id=0  http://nevertrustanasshole.free.fr/spip/spip.php?page=news  http://nevertrustanasshole.bandcamp.com/  https://www.facebook.com/TNSrecords?group_id=0  http://www.tnsrecords.co.uk/


This is a re-release of their out of print first album from back in 2006 with an added bonus song by this doom metal band from Indianapolis.

It starts off with a cool intro which sets the mood of the album and then the first song begins, slow almost creeping in its heaviness. The album creeps by like watching molasses flow uphill in winter, not fast at all, except for two songs which the band picks up the pace and for them, lets loose. Those were the two songs that I liked the most, the BLACK SABBATH worshipping was a bit much for a whole album, the slowness just got to me after a while and I needed something a bit peppier. As a doom metal band, they are pretty good, the singing and playing are really well done, you can hear the talent that they have, but as a first album, you hope that they would leave behind the SABBATH and move into their own style on later releases.

I did enjoy the album and would recommend it if you are a doom fan, it would be a good purchase, I just wanted a bit more speed, but that’s what happens when you listen to doom.

https://www.facebook.com/thegatesofslumber  http://www.slumberingsouls.com/  https://www.facebook.com/OfficialAbyssRecords  http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/index.php


Southern rock from Italy with touches of stoner and doom metal, plus banjo…yes, banjo.

These guys put out some mighty tasty riffs on this album, chunky and thick guitar, heavy rolling bass guitar, pounding drums, very peppy and bouncy banjo, as if you could make it sound anything else but, and deep, raw vocals from HM Outlaw. Outlaw really lays down the sound of southern rock with his blues drenched vocal delivery, and the guitar work by Daniele Zoncheddu has that bluesy, swamp guitar sound found in southern rock. This is a pretty heavy album, make no mistake about it, they aren’t playing it light, they are throwing down the heavy beats on here and it comes out beautifully. They cover MOUNTAIN’s “Mississippi Queen” that is super hard and heavy, but retains what made the original good and builds on it and makes it into one thick sounding song with the heavy bass and the driving guitar as well as the gruff vocals.

There are a ton of guitar leads on here that will have you picking up your air guitar and go for broke learning the licks. One awesome album that will grab you from the moment you put it on.

https://www.facebook.com/Tombstone.Highway  https://www.facebook.com/agoniarecords  https://www.agoniarecords.com/

ASHES YOU LEAVE: The Cure For Happiness: CD

This female fronted gothic/doom metal band from Croatia has been around since 1995 and have released their sixth album and first with Italian vocalist Giada Etro.

There are nine songs on this album and at times the songs remind me of the goth music from the 80s during the less metal parts. The production is pretty good with everything mixed really well; nothing is buried so you can hear the subtle things going on, like the keyboards the violin and the flute really well. The band is really tight and has a lot of talent, the guitar work by Berislav “Bero” Poje who also does the deep growling vocals and guitarist Matija Rempesichas a lot of flash, Marta Batinic on violin adds some atmosphere, Luka Petrovic on bass guitar gives depth and adds to the heaviness of the album and the drumming by Saša is handled really nicely. The female vocals by Etro are a bit operatic, but done with energy and power, which made them stand out from other female fronted goth metal messes. This band has a lot of talent, just listen to the slower paced songs and the talent that they have just jumps out at you.

I have never been a fan of this style of metal, too cheesy and the vocals are too operatic and wispy for me, but these guys are one band that I will actually play again and even listen to them with my wife who’s not a metal fan. I think that she and others would like a lot of this album.

https://www.facebook.com/ashesyouleave   http://www.ashesyouleave.org/  http://www.rockngrowl.com/   https://www.facebook.com/RockNGrowlPromotion

CPT. KRONOS: The Invocation EP: CD

This EP has a strong 1970s metal feel to it with touches of BLACK SABBATH, stoner rock and doom all mixed together to form a really cool EP.

There are some parts of this four song EP that are so slowed down and heavy that it just seems to drain you of your energy and then the band gets infused to rock out a little bit with that stolen energy. “A Criminal Mind” has a touch of blues to it, “State of Emptiness” has some nice distortion on it and the title track is a great heavy track. There are a ton of touches on this EP that will make you think that you’re listening to an actual album from the 1970s with the feel that this band infuses into their music. The good thing is that they take the good rock parts from that era and made this into an EP that will get you wanting more from them, it sure made me feel that way. This is one of those EPs that you need to get if you want to expand your music taste to include what sounds like will become a classic that people will be talking about.

The band is talented and have great vocals, some nice lead guitar, and the bass and drums have the heaviness that makes this so cool, but not so heavy that you can’t take it.

https://www.facebook.com/cptkronos   http://cptkronos.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/violentjourney   http://www.violentjourneyrecords.com/