Friday, 18 April 2014

Mansion - The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol​.​1 (2014) / 92%




“Wild child, you're gonna burn in hell!”




After a great EP released in 2013 that automatically topped my “albums of the year” list, Mansion from Turku (Saku Koivu's hometown!) is back with a short ten minutes appetizer to nourish my mum doom needs. This is torture though since I'm totally expecting a full length from these Finns and the wait is killing me! There's one coming this year apparently so my expectations are through the riff and if I wasn't a broke student, I would travel to Finland to attend the release gig alongside the doom legends of this Nordic country.



Mansion has this mysterious aura surrounding them, they have many members but the core seems to be the singer, a brunette with a peculiar and enjoyable voice and a vampiric man possibly handling the musical side of the project. The Metal Archives' member page and the album lineup lists all kind of members but I'm doubtful it's accurate, the band seems to use session members live or simply friends of their cult. The important thing is that the direction of the band is clear and thoughtful!



The seven inch vinyl release includes two strong numbers, side A is “Wild Child”, a groovy fast paced number with a catchy chorus that I sang in the bus despite its “occult” lyrics. It's pretty obvious that the band already evolved after We Shall Live, the twenty minutes EP was fun but it was quite contemplative and darker than the material on Vol. 1.

The first chapter of what I expect to be a series of awesome short releases has this awesome fusion feel almost reminding me of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters as it has horns (there's a trumpet solo for fuck's sake) and a nice powerful bass presence. The first song is fast, has a good riff to go along with the exceptional female clean voice with added background vocals giving a sense of urgency to the heavy, fast and hard rockin' track. It's still about Kartanoism, that weird sect that I explored more thoroughly in my first Mansion review, it's dark, occult and talks about repentance...but I'm still having a mighty amusing time!



Side B is “New Dawn”, it's almost six minutes and it's slower, it shows that the band can successfully expand their sound even in a ten minute release. It's even richer than We Shall Live since it's adding a lot of instruments, nevertheless the overall production feels rawer and heavier than the atmospheric but plain approach of their debut. I think both approaches have their charm though. Instrumentally, it's stronger than all the bands of this so called occult doom/rock trend, the guitars are shining even though they gave more place to the bass and the horns. The vocal lines are pretty much perfect, the guitar riffs are heavy, well written and supported by a rock solid rhythm section. With Vol. 1, the band evolves towards a sort of big band identity not unlike Jess and the Ancient Ones but with an ever grander scope. I would be fine with a Grateful Dead-esque avant garde doom band, in fact I would probably sell my grand mother for that. I still have two and one of them is insane.

I'll bitterly put that EP on repeat until I'm fully assimilated and can't function anymore, this will work as I'm painfully waiting for a longer release. Nonetheless, this is a good transition, catchy as fuck and intensely profound. Perhaps not as good as their debut, it's still top notch and worth your time!


Someone has to set you straight, get on your knees!”




Thursday, 17 April 2014

Serpent Warning - Serpent Warning (2014) / 92%


The Progression of Conservationism Through Doomed Tempos


Another Finn doom band, another success. This self titled album is the debut for Serpent Warning after a good demo released in 2012, the three tracks are featured here so if you missed that (you probably did), don't worry about it and check out this album as it's awesome.

The quartet evolves in a traditional, drawn out yet very catchy sort of doom. Serpent Warning is a six songs attack for the good old forty minutes length, with this duration it evades the risk of becoming tenuous. So many bands don't know how to edit their songwriting and it becomes a seventy five minutes mess that I, even if I'm a big fan of So Long Suckers, can't often endure. There's no time wasted here, the songs ranging from six to nine minutes are complete killers full of hot riffs. The mid paced tempos ensure that the listener is never bored and there's absolutely no fillers. The production is optimal for traditional doom, not too clear and heavy as fuck. It's a good reminder that we're not listening to saccharine Gothic doom pop.

It's heavy yet melodic, the sound is so rich that I thought the band had two guitarist but it's not the case. It's all the work of Antti Koponen who's very apt at keeping things rooted in a shrine of well crafted riffs and nice, short and sweet solos like the one on the self titled track (preserving the doom tradition of having a song bearing the name of your band like the forefathers of Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus.) The songs are intricate but at the same time, it feels simple and easy. Doom isn't a very hard style to play technically speaking but you need to play it with passion even if it's not complex. Plenty of bands fail at being competent doom bands because they mash decent but empty heavy slow riffs together and intertwine them with regular, boring clean vocals. You can check the new Pilgrim if that's your sort of thing, I personally forgot what I was listening after the second track on Void Worship. It's directionless unlike Serpent Warning. Indeed, the Finns crafted excellent meaningful dirges that are memorable.

The three musicians Serpent Warning are newcomers but it's truly not a factor here, they're more than competent and everything is perfectly tight. The bass can easily be heard, it's subtle and not in your face but it's definitely more present than in your overall metal band. It's important for a genre like doom that often relies on only one guitar since that's usually all you need. It's also cheaper to tour with fewer members, since the genre is unfortunately and frustratedly under-appreciated, it's essential to spend more money on beer since despair is always free.

The fourth member is also known to be in another great Finnish doom band, the bad boys of The Wandering Midget. Their last album From the Meadows of Opium Dreams was one of my favourite album of 2012. Samuli Pesonen's vocals is one of the highlight of this release, he sounds like Albert Witchfinder (Reverend Bizarre obviously) but without the dark crooners overtones and a slight higher pitched tone. His clean vocals delivery is great and he's perfect on these catchy choruses that are decorating the release like the opener “Evil River”. His accent is charming and his semi deep voice is a fit to their music. Sadly, he has left the band before the release of the album, he was replaced by a woman so we'll see how this will evolve their sound. I predict a The Wounded Kings-esque direction. They won't obviously turn into Blood Ceremony or Jex Thoth just because a mysterious entity with a different genitalia now handling the microphone, this would be a shame since their sound is interesting in its conservationism. No need to include progressive tendencies, keyboards or other random stuff that hipsters discovering metal through Pitchfork are using these days to be relevant. Strong songwriting and aptitude to deliver it is all you need. It's a proven formula!

“Nothing under the sun can change the way that we are”


Isn't that true enough? Doom is a music rooted in your gut, it's hard to fake an interest in the genre and those who do it are automatically spotted and deemed as opportunists (The Sword). Serpent Warning's only flaws that I can hear and see is the similarity between the songs and the fact that the album, apart from “Ceremonies of the Sun”, the best track on the album, is a real barrage of heavy doom without real moments to breathe. I'm not even sure that's a thing that I can complain about since it's obviously something they intended they do and it works well.

Certainly worthy of its great artwork (“Procession in the Fog” by Ernst Ferdinand Oehme) and its ominous yet enticing feeling, the band's debut signals that Finland is perhaps the best representant for trad doom in Europe with Lord Vicar now leading the charge and Fall of the Idols being one of the most underrated band to ever grace the genre. I think we can safely add Serpent Warning to the list of great Finn doom, I personnally can't wait to hear what they'll do next. It's probably not an album for doom newbies but the connoisseurs are gonna give it its due praise.


Serpent Warning on Facebook

Thanks to I Hate Records for the promo copy.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Opium Warlords - Taste My Sword of Understanding (2014) / 88%

Well cooked doom with an experimental aftertaste


After Reverend Bizarre was laid to rest, Sami Hynninen decided to explore some pretty weird stuff such as the raw black metal of Armanenschaft or the minimal droney doom of The Puritan. Opium Warlords, a solo project of varied ambitions is now delivering its third offering to the goddess of doom. I'll admit I'm not quite fond of his post So Long Suckers except for his involvement in Spiritus Mortis and their marvellous album The God Behind the God but this album confirmed that he's not messing around anymore.

Taste My Sword of Understanding has been proclaimed as a more accessible album by Svart Records and it's definitely a fact. I don't dislike drone or experimental music but sometimes it's hard to accept that one of your favourite musician changed his style or simply isn't touching your taste like he used to before., “Doom Metal is Dead” was the demise motto when the Reverend was killed and while Kimi Kärki is keeping traditional doom alive with Lord Vicar, Hynninen branched out and investigated the insane. I'll say he's a pretty good detective since its new promo pictures are him wearing a tiger mask underneath a cloak in a forest. Nonetheless, this album is certainly not as fucked up as the first two of the project. While the seventy two minute release is perhaps its more varied opus to date, there's some filler that is cluttering the final result.

There's all kinds of slow here, eerie slow, crushing slow, psychedelic slow or even ballad slow. Nonetheless, I was a bit worried with the first two track since it's not my cup of tea. They three instrumental tracks are  riffier than the songs on We Meditate Under the Pussy in the Sky though.The opener “The Sadness of Vultures” is slow, plodding and the riff isn't very good,  the second instrumental track, the fifth song called “The Land Beyond the Pole” is better, the traditional doom bass line is tasty and the lo-fi aspect works. The last one on the album “Manisolas From Misandria” truly works though, it's pretty awesome and has this occult vibe and it's not cutting the flow of the album. These interludes could be seen as fillers but it gives the album  some breaks between the emotional rivers composing the sonic ocean of Sami's kingdom.


Illustrated by the esoteric lyrics, the album has this powerful somber aura. I always liked Sami's words, often giving the occult a silly yet endearing feeling. This time, it's pretty dark and spiritual, we only find our fun in the musical appreciation but there's still some lines of overt self indulgence as “pretentious doom” is even mentioned in “Mount Meru”. He's always been a mentally complex individual and his special lyrics are a big part of his projects' identity and this album is no exception. Vast, unsubtle as a fun elf on acid, it's a nice ride and even if it's not really taking itself seriously, it's intelligently done.

eh?

"Bring me your tears!!"
My excitement truly began with the second chapter “The Self-Made Man”, the twelve minutes song starts slowly, not quite differently from the two introductions. It takes its time to become awesome but the eight minute mark made me scream “Albert is fucking back!”. Deep, busy bass licks, heavy doom riffs, high clean charming, quasi operatic vocals, it's almost like someone revived the Reverend but he became more insane and forgot to take his meds for two or three months. The song that follows proves that, it's some sort of calm dirge with throaty harsh but comprehensible vocals, “The God In Ruins” almost has this depressive black metal vibe and I think it's quite wonderful, it gives the aforementioned variety an album of this length needs. This song goes back to the non full length releases of his old doom band where they probed other genres such as in the Harbinger of Metal seventy minutes long extended play! Furthermore, “The Solar Burial” contains some demented vocals mixed with haunted & whispered clean ones and there's also some ethnic or oriental influences thrown in the mix. It can almost remind me of the seminal world music explorers of Om as some parts don't have any guitars and are letting the bass flow freely, it has the same soothing yet entrancing flavour.

Nevertheless, this is surely not for doom newbies or those who suffer from some sort of attention deficit disorder. It's not a release that you'll listen to while doing your morning jogging (not that I do that sort of healthy activities!), it's reflective doom for adventurous people. Even though the album was composed between 1994 and 2009, it's very cohesive and it's a mix of the touch he mostly threw away in 2007 and some of the sounds characterizing his actual endeavours.

I would classify Taste My Sword... as experimental traditional doom, it's divergent enough from the Saint Vitus school to not be qualified as a return to Sami's roots and it's estranged enough from Live at Colonia Dignidad, the debut album of Opium Warlords to not be considered drone doom. The compositions were probably written before he got into drone and experimental, at least the ones approaching trad doom. The avant garde feel that was present on the first two albums is still here but minimally. It's more in the spirit than everywhere else. Sure it's unorthodox and out there but it's still done with the traditional doom atmosphere in mind.

The release won't change your opinion if you already hate his projects but for a fan, it feels like a fresh wind of change after his latest disappointing albums. I believe that Reverend Bizarre is dead and buried and this will have to do as a plaster on my gaping wounded void.


OW on Facebook

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Hades Archer - Penis Metal / 78%

Chilean Phallic Alloy Proclamation jajajajajajaja


Hades Archer from Chile is a cool band exploring the tumultuous sounds of extreme(ly) sexual metal. Led by Nabucodonosor III (not his real name!) who's playing everything except the drums, Hades Archer is surprisingly better than most people would expect even though this EP is named “Penis Metal”. Released before their two truly effective full lengths, this twelve minutes record is a cockslap to the face of metal fans worldwide and proves that the South Americans are the sickest metalheads on the planet.

Their brand of black metal blends both the old school attack of their continent, especially the unrelenting attacks of the Brazilians motherfuckers Sarcofago and Vulcano with this huge bestial influence coming from the Destroyer 666 and Blasphemy schools of riffs. Heinous, fast as fuck. violent black metal approaching black/death metal is what is delivered here. The songs are short, blistering attacks with well written heavy, aggressive riffs and simple yet catchy leads. The production is not quite raw for that kind of metal, it's almost professional and why the hell shouldn't it be! The guitars are ferocious, the drums just can't stop their vicious pummelling and the vocals are cavernous and apt at spouting the dirty, “insightful” lyrics (I think the song “Objeto” features the word “puta” 25 times!)


“PENIS METAL! PENIS METAL! PENIS METAL! PENIS METAL! PENIS METAL! FUCK!”


I dare you all not to sing that insanely stupid chorus! Metal is dumb and it's not for prude little soccer moms who's latest musical discovery is John Moyer, Hades Archer knows that and they do their best to be as kvlt and krieg as possible. Fuck intellectualism, we're not here for that. We're here to talk about penises, goats and Satan, you know, the important stuff. Their sound is the typical Nuclear War Now one, perverse troglodyte war metal metal once created by underachieving musicians who wanted to play heavy or thrash metal but didn't know how to tune their guitar or were too broke to buy a drum set not made of cardboard. It's rough but it's not amateur, there's a distinction to make. The songs are well crafted and they're highly melodic considering their style. It's of course very samey throughout its short length but if you wanted a neoclassical ten minutes instrumental song, you're listening to the wrong band, son.


Nabucodonosor is also in the excellent black/trash power trio Force of Darkness, a bit more my style than Penis Metal. Hades Archer is not as thrashy and it's way more abrasive and savage but without making any melodic or lo fi concessions. This EP, while not as good as “For the Diabolical Ages” or “The Curse Over Mankind” has nothing to be jealous about. It's a strong 10 minutes or a bit more if you have the version with the cool Sodom cover and it fucks right on your kitchen table, bareback style. If you like their style, you'll have a good time. Let the Penis Metal penetrate your head. Thrust me, cool shit.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

LIVE REVIEW: Dopethrone, Zaum, Greys & Mountain Dust @Turbo Haus, March 22nd 2014

Spring supposedly arrived one day prior to this gig but the weather in Montréal didn't seemed to notice as it was snowing and it was still pretty cold. It was my first time at this Turbo Haus venue and it was quite enjoyable even if I was on my own for the evening. This nice place is located near the Bell Centre, home of the Montréal Canadiens, the best hockey team ever. The location is kind of secretive, I knew the address but turns out the building is huge and has many rooms, mostly rehearsal spaces. I've encountered a dude who told me the door number for this haus. The gig was supposed to start at 20:00 but the promoters were waiting for the second band to show up so it started a bit late.

The venue was very nice, the white walls are all richly decorated with esoterical and weird black drawings and it has a small bar with cheap beer. The crowd was good, maybe 80/100 people .
Turbo Haus on Facebook


At around 21:00, Mountain Dust started their set, all dressed in checkered shirts, these English dudes from Montréal are playing a pleasing sort of stoner rock with vintage and blues influences. Heavy on the organ and lap slide guitar, their bass was also quite loud. The guitar wasn't as present as much hence their affiliation to rock instead of metal even though it's still heavier live than on their sole studio recording I've found. They had some vocals isues but the venue is to blame for that, the singer had a nice southern, garage approach fitting their sound. Pretty cool band, I'll be waiting for their debut full length. I think the slide guitar and keyboard approach of the band is refreshing, I rarely think it's a good thing for the keys to be the focus of the music but for Mountain Dust, it works.

Mountain Dust on Facebook
7,5 on 10


The second band were Greys from Toronto, never heard of them before and I didn't do any research before the gig since it's fun to have surprises sometimes. After a trek in the US including some gigs at the popular South by Southwest festival in Texas, they were back in their own country. The four guys all look like clean cut kids straight from a nice suburbia but their music isn't bad, it's simply not a band that fits on this bill. They play some sort of fast, heavy, noisy post hardcore with good hooks. Their vocals were underwhelming though, a mix of classic emo screams and punk rock, they were a bit weak. They were ok, I guess, it's not a genre I'm interested in besides At the Drive-In. They'll release their debut album this summer if you're interested in that kind of music. I think gigs with three bands are the best ones, they were the one that wasn't needed for this evening.

Greys on Facebook

6/10

I know someone linked to the Swedish label I Hate records and he really wanted me to see Zaum, a band from Moncton, New Brunswick that the label recently signed and report how good was their show before the band trek the European continent with Ocean Chief. Simply by looking at the two dudes, you know it's gonna be heavy as fuck. The bassist/singer Kyle McDonald would automatically be a dwarf if we were doing some LARPing, he has a thick body and the enormous beard to go with it. The drummer, Chris Lewis looks like a bald viking ready to destroy two or three Christian abbeys.


Their stage setup was quite extraordinary and considering it was only their third gig ever, they already know how to truly move the crowd. They had a smoke machine, some lights (mostly red) and at least ten candles with their nice logo printed on them placed everywhere on the stage. They played three songs (their upcoming album has 4) and their set was around forty minutes. It was very atmospheric with a dreamy ambiance. I liked how the drummer was facing the bassist/vocalist, there's no need for guitars, suckers! Their sound is some sort of doom/stoner deeply inspired by Om, that's cool since it's a band whose music is rarely influencing newcomers. Zaum is heavier than Al Cisneros' band though, their bass licks are dirtier and there's a mix of harsh and clean vocals. Very good band and the crowd liked the performance.


8,5 on 10
Zaum on Facebook


Dopethrone closed the evening with their nasty sort of doom/stoner metal. They played many songs from this album like "Devil's Dandruff". Their mix of sludgey Eyehategod influences plus Electric Wizard heavy doom riffs is enjoyable albeit a bit samey after around forty minutes. Vincent Houde is a cool frontman with dreads flowing around and a mighty talent for riffing and soloing. The chemistry with his two friends is also apparent, they deliver intense material and they're used to do it. Their songs about drugs (from weed to heroin) and guns are pretty dope! I missed the last few songs, maybe 1 or 2, no idea as I was  pretty sick and my cold mixed with beer made me a bit dizzy. I know I'm not a metal warrior, tell your moms.
I got their last album "III" for five bucks before their set, good price for sure, I was able to spend the rest of my 20 bucks bill on beer

8 on 10
Dopethrone on Facebook


A great evening with cool bands for dirt cheap is what we got here, that's what metal and rock is all about. Finding cool, unknown places to see bands while people are too busy talking how bad the weather is.









Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Electric Mud Generator - To the Disdain of Polyhymnia (2008) / 95%


The Union Jack Prog/Psych Metal pt. V: Eloquence



Tony's notes: Polyhymnia was the muse of poetry, eloquence, dance and agriculture in Greek Mythology. Now, I don't know what this band did to deserve her disdain but I'm pretty sure it's undeserved as this album is truly magniloquent and refined in its heaviness.

Electric Mud Generator can be considered as the band before A Forest of Stars, as the three members of this British project evolved towards that psychedelic multi-member troop. Instead of the weird circus atmospheric black metal sound of their younger brother, EMG plays a very interesting kind of progressive music intertwined with stoner and doom elements.

The songs are very long, approximately fifteen minutes each for more than seventy minutes of music and there's nothing wasted since I think that everything on the record has its purpose and we can't say that often for long albums. The structure of the album reminds me of Opeth's classic record Morningrise with its full-fledged sinuous epics. The quality of the compositions, the appropriation of the lengthy songs to their advantage and the use of acoustic guitars and keys can also be compared to the Swedish giants. Considering Åkerfeldt's baby is perhaps my favourite band, consider me flabbergasted by the degree of excellence demonstrated by the Englishmen on this record.

The vocals of Duncan Evans can recall the soothing side of modern Anathema, but make no mistake, this is still pretty damn metal. I think there's also a slight hint of grunge here, or at least a drop of Alice in Chains. It's weird since it reminds me of Jerry Cantrell's two latest albums both released after Polyhymnia, but eh, the metal world is magic! Maybe it's only the vocal sensibilities mixed with the hard hittin' riffing since there's nothing intrinsically progressive found in grunge.

Electric Mud Generator are undeniably English in essence, even though the influences are really not easy to pinpoint. Nonetheless, you can feel the classic side of the British sound. The progressive side seems to be minimally influenced by bands like Gentle Giant or even the 70s glory days of Rush. They're certainly all over the place musically and that's a joy to hear since it's sharply cohesive. That's perhaps the biggest strength showcased by the trio. It's hard to really classify them, there's no real links to the stoner genre apart from the groovy guitars found here and there. The line between doom and stoner here is pretty thin but you can hear the influence of Solstice (UK of course) in the epic fabric of their identity, there's a similarity in the dichotomy found in the mix of epic, clean vocals and the acoustic parts with the doom metal riffs not unlike in Rich Walker's songwriting. It's not so much an influence on the sound of EMG but rather in the structural identification. The solos such as the ones in the fabulous opening track “Galatea” are refined and can be linked to heavy metal and even, to a lesser degree, the hey days of 90s English doom/death.

The riffs can be melodic such as the groovy six minute track “She Wore Thorns”, but most of the guitar parts are emotional and driven by long instrumental sections that really go somewhere, often supported by psychedelic keys. I know some people will think they have no direction whatsoever but to hell with them! They couldn't sit through the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings movies either. This is grandiose music and the scope is ambitious but it works due to the songwriting skills of the composers.

Evans (vocals, guitars) always had an interest in the softer side of music, he even released a good dark folk album in 2013 and while this release is rooted in metal riffs consolidated with progressive/psychedelic rock, you can still feel the folk side underneath all these tasty rock shattering riffs. The twenty-two minute masterpiece that is “Five Elegies” starts with this calm introduction including some enchanting female vocals and during its lengthy journey, it explores so many musical aspects that it's hard to find the way after only one spin. Helped by the rich, deep instrumentation composed of acoustic guitars, keyboards and other unorthodox elements usually not part of metal bands, this song is a good embodiment of the album has a whole since it has all the elements of their sound. Rest assured, this is nowhere near a cheese fest and it's much more interesting and actually has a solid intellectual background opposed to many bands adding acoustic elements to their sound without really knowing why and how.

I'll not underestimate the influence of the two other members of this band. Both Jon Cumiskey (bass) and Richard Blakelock (drums) are in The Water Witch, a band also composed of members of A Forest of Stars, evolving in the progressive black/folk spectrum. I think the combination of musical vision really helped this band to achieve this original and memorable sound. The amount of subtle complexity this record has is just too much for three guys that aren't Lee, Lifeson and Peart to handle! I'm sure they're fine live but with obvious tweaks to their compositions and what do I know, it's possible to play both guitar and piano if you have really flexible feet.

It's quite rare to hear such poetic distinction in metal and it has to be regarded as an important feat. Their lyrics are smart and the overall artistic approach of the band is pure class. Of course, if you value simplicity, speedy riffs and a simpleton approach to metal, you're simply reading the wrong review and I have no idea why you're still here.

To the Disdain of Polyhymnia is one of the best progressive metal of its decade. Sadly it's been overlooked by the formation of A Forest of Stars, a band I'm not terribly fond of. The three members have been concentrating their efforts on other projects but I know they were planning to do another Electric Mud Generator release. I hope it's not too late! It's always a bit sad (and selfish admittedly) to dislike the direction taken by musicians that you admire but I do feel this way about them. I'm just gonna tell myself that everything they had to say about this particular style (with many roots and branches) has been said and that they couldn't top this album. Ah! I feel better already!
Mixing stoner/doom metal with folk, symphonic, progressive & psychedelic rock has never been this successful even though it's not a genre that has been tried much. EMG were able to craft a release rooted in modernity but at the same time it's coming to terms with the past in a slight yet reassuring embrace.





Sunday, 2 March 2014

Landskap - I (2014) / 67%


The Union Jack Prog Metal pt. IV: Manscaping


Landskap (Swedish for landscape but no need to be a genius linguist to figure that out) is a new band from London, England formed by many veterans of the scene. The members are coming from established bands like Fen, Indesinence, Centurions Ghost or the excellent Pantheist. Their first album simply titled “I” is a decent slab of doom metal mixed with a big dose of psychedelic rock.

The involvement of Kostas Panagiotou (Pantheist) is pretty important to the sound of this band. His organ/keyboard parts are lush and give a good support to the heavy, slow guitars. The album, composed of only 4 tracks, including a long instrumental one at the end, is a bit on the short side , it kinda feels like an EP. Instead of releasing new stuff, Iron Bonehead will re-release this album in May. With only about thirty minutes, Landskap managed to release something decent though. Their dual guitar attack (Frederic Caure of Serpentcult, who's also playing the bass here) and a newcomer named George Pan (maybe he's a satyr!) is pretty cool and the leads are well composed. The bass playing is thick and the feedback can recall the stoner side of doom. The songs are pretty slow and thick, it's pretty busy doom with many nuances but it's nothing to call your mom about.

The fact is, this project not unlike Avatarium, feels insincere in its process. Their sound, despite being pleasant, is the trendiest the doom world is experiencing right now and we see many musicians jumping to vintage doom with keys like it's the new way to become U2's opening act. I have nothing against mixing keys with heavy doom riffs and the way they did it isn't bad, really, but it just rubs me the wrong way. What we have here is a bunch of guys telling themselves they could do an album of this particular doom tendency and maybe get to play with Blood Ceremony. I don't know, man, it just seems shallow. Compared to the other projects of these dudes, this is simply not original and it's derivative.

This is a not good reason to trash a band though, musicians are always following trends, that's just the way it is. The true reason is that their songwriting is just boring and mundane. The last instrumental song is a bore and it was hard to finish it. Jake Harding is actually a good, if not a bit generic, vocalist and getting rid of him for like a third of the album is just a bad decision since he's one of the strongest parts of the band alongside the bluesy guitar solos. The production is pretty good, quite atmospheric and rich but that's to be expected from Greg Chandler (Esoteric).


The album is free on Bandcamp so take a chance with it because it's still a good time, just not something I'll go back to. Nonetheless, the fact remains that Landskap are pretty good musicians. The three minutes interlude “My Cabin in the Woods” is soft and enjoyable, but sadly it's not about the Joss Whedon movie. I'll listen to Pantheist if I want really good doom with keys.

Bandcamp
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