Thrash Hits

May 5th, 2015

Doom Metal Monthly with Pete Long – May 2015

High On Fire 2013 promo photo Thrash Hits

Pete Long is back with another round-up/overview of what’s been going on in Doom metal over the last few and over the next few weeks….

1) Hamferð
The recent solar eclipse here was something of a damp squib but, judging from Hamferð’s recent video, not if you went up to the Faroe Islands. It features the band playing ‘Deyðir varðar’ from their 2013 debut Evst as the sky goes dark and the source of all life and joy disappears. If that isn’t the appropriate backdrop for some doom metal, then I don’t know what is and Hamferð do justice to the occasion with their soft, majestic take on death-doom. It’s like Sylvia Plath started writing metal while staring at the sea. There’s serious talent here and hopefully they’ll be confirming it with another album sooner rather than later.

2) Barren Earth
If you were impressed by the pipes on Hamferð’s vocalist just now, then you are in luck as Jón Aldará has taken over vocal duties at Barren Earth and their latest album On Lonely Towers recently came out. Listeners might spot an Amorphis-like quality to Barren Earth, which is unsurprising as the band features two former Amorphis members. It also features members of Moonsorrow and Kreator; Barren Earth is a legitimate Finnish supergroup, but that isn’t why you should listen to them. You should listen to them because they have a spaced out, 70s prog vibe that is married up to metal sensibilities that leaves you drifting along in melancholy in the best possible way.

3) High On Fire
Good news for fans of the Californian band; they have recently announced details of a new album. It’s called Luminiferous, has been produced by Kurt Ballou, and is scheduled for a release on the 23 June on Century Media (at least in Europe, anyhow). This is what Matt Pike had to say about the forthcoming release:

“We’re doing our part to expose The Elite and the fingers they have in religion, media, governments and financial world downfall and their relationship to all of our extraterrestrial connections in the race to control this world. Wake up, it’s happening. All while we stare at a socially engineered lie we think of as normalcy. Unless we wake from the dream, there will come true doom.”

Anger + highly talented musicians = Good Times. I look forward to it.

4) Unsigned Band
From the very big to the very small; as ever, there are some quality bands sculling around Bandcamp. Avant Soliloque is a one man band from Romania that takes the neoclassical vibe as adopted by some black metal bands and then mix it with all the depression of doom. It fits together flawlessly – so much so that the new album, Reveries, manages to keep my interest despite being full of 8 minute plus instrumentals. That’s talent right there.

Mares of Diomedes are, by contrast, a far more straight-up headbanging experience. They’re not reinventing the wheel with their take on sludge/stoner, but their self-titled debut EP has all the assurance of a far more experienced band and brims with energy. It’s well worth a listen or three and hints at a potentially very bright future for Mares of Diomedes if they keep progressing from this.

5) Ufomammut
Ufomammut have a new album out. It’s called Ecate and it is addictively good. The humming ambient drone of ‘Somnium’ draws you in for a good three minutes before it bursts into sludge riffs that somehow both soar and rumble at the same time and that’s it. Everytime I reach that point, the next forty minutes go missing. It’s that good. The quick and lazy way to describe it would be as if Hawkwind had turned into a drone/sludge band, but that comes nowhere near doing it justice. Nothing other than listening to it will do it justice, but I’m going to try doing so anyway. Ufomammut have somehow found a way to marry up the otherworldly atmospherics perfectly with their tendencies towards pulverising doom. Their song writing abilities are spectacular; again and again, they know when to bring the thunder and when to leave you in the eye of the storm, watching it bear down on you. Because of its ebb and flow, Ecate really draws you in. It makes you love it. Put it this way – in years to come, we might look back and regard this as a classic. That good.

6) Dopethrone
For the few reading this who haven’t heard of Dopethrone, the clue is most definitely in the name. New album Hochelaga is everything you would expect from a band named after an Electric Wizard album and then a little more. It’s not just a rumbling, fuzzed-out attack on your senses – although it is definitely that in part – but there’s some very solid songwriting going that lifts them above the rest of the would-bes. And the movie samples are just downright fun. Anyone in the mood for some sinister sounding stoner, this is the album for you.

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Go read some of Pete Long’s other Thrash Hits articles.


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