ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2015 Top 20

DOOM METAL HEAVEN’S
ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2015
  1. Crypt Sermon ‘Out Of The Garden’
  2. Sorcerer ‘In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross’
  3. Atten Ash ‘The Hourglass’
  4. My Silent Wake ‘Damnatio Memoriae’
  5. HellLight ‘Journey Through Endless Storms’
  6. Vaee Solis ‘Adversarial Light’
  7. Hogslayer ‘Defacer’
  8. Acid King ‘Middle Of Nowhere, Center Of Everywhere’
  9. Avatarium ‘The Girl With The Raven Mask’
  10. Mammoth Storm ‘Fornjot’
  11. Funeral Marmoori ‘The Deer Woman’
  12. Lucifer ‘Lucifer I’
  13. Heavydeath ‘Eternal Sleepwalker’
  14. Cryptrip ‘The Great Magmatic Leviathan’
  15. The Slow Death ‘Ark’
  16. Doomraiser ‘Reverse (Passaggio Inverso)’
  17. Venus Sleeps ‘Dead Sun Worship’
  18. Witchsorrow ‘No Light, Only Fire’
  19. My Dying Bride ‘Feel The Misery’
  20. Phased ‘Aeon’ / Ahab ‘The Boats Of The Glen Carrig’

CryptSermon-Cover

sorcerer-in-the-shadow-of-the-inverted-cross

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INTERVIEW: Capilla Ardiente

capilla ardiente

Chilean epic doom heroes Capilla Ardiente’s album ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’ is awesome, so we had a chat with main man Claudio Botarro…

DoomMetalHeaven: Hi Claudio, love the new album. How pleased with it are you?
Claudio: Hi! Thank you for your support! I am very pleased about the album, from the composing / rehearsal stage to the recording and release of it. It was a really satisfactory process overall.

What did you want it to sound like before you started recording? And does it sound exactly as you planned?
Well, to be honest, my first thoughts were what I don’t like the album to sounds like: Overproduced, plastic, mathematic… So we looked into old recordings, listening to certain guitar tones, specific types of snare / bass drums, etc. We had a lot of references that we took to the studio, but trying to keep our sound, our way of playing DOOM METAL. It does not sound exactly as we planned, it sounds way better!!

Having planned this album for many years, was it a very intense personal experience for you?
Yes, it has been. Music-wise, I think that I haven’t changed so much since the EP in terms of composing, but I have had a lot more time to try, fail, probe and, in the end, build songs that I’m 100% satisfied with. Lyric-wise, it reflects most of my growing process from the last six or seven years, and that’s a lot… I cannot see this album as random parts without connection. For me is a complete opus that took a lot of time to be ready.

Who are your musical heroes?
For me “heroes” have been the one’s I grew with when I was a teenager, and that made me say “OK, I’m into metal and I’m into Bass guitar”: Lemmy Kilmister, Cliff Burton and Jean Yves Theriault (Blacky) where the reason I play Bass and use distortion. Other big influences for me are Geezer Butler, Danny Lilker, Tom Angelripper, Leif Edling, Steve Harris, Steve DiGiorgio, Roger Patterson, Klaus Flouride, Jerry Only, Leo Smee, Mario Mutis, Jim Schumacher and a hundred more.

What are your main lyrical inspirations?
I think existence and self are the canvas on which the main concepts paint the history. The struggle to rise, gain wisdom, fight mediocrity, the loneliness of the search, the suffering process… All seen through the eyes of a character. A solitary one representing the individual… I don’t remember having written a lyric about “we” or “us”.

There is a clear Candlemass influence in your music – what special qualities do you think Leif Edling brought to the metal scene during that classic 1980’s period?
For me he brought a lot of things: First, the obvious Black Sabbath worship in times of “the faster, the better”. The Arabic-sounding melodies, which are their trademark and influence for a lot of bands, then and now (think Sorcerer, Memory Garden, Forsaken, and us, to name a few) and finally the EPIC way of playing slow music, with the drive-me-to-tears solo virtuoso-ism over plain heavy riffing. Yes. He is one of those bass players that can really come with some unique, fresh music.

If you decide to take Capilla Ardiente on the road, which bands would you like to play with?
Old ones: Candlemass, Pagan Altar, Angel Witch, Brocas Helm. Newers: Funeral Circle, Cauchemar, Metal Grave, Lord Vicar, In Solitude, Atlantean Kodex. Yep, that would look like a great time!

When you’re writing music, how do you know when you’ve got it right?
I think that when I’m listening to the music we recorded at the rehearsal room, bang my head and say “I want to listen to this again” we have something. I don’t make music I don’t like to listen to or I find boring.

What was (band-mate) Felipe like as a roadie for your previous band Poema Arcanus?
Yes, he was. He was around 19 years old when we first met and it has been a loooong friendship/brotherhood/camaraderie since then (he is 30 now).

Procession’s album (Felipe’s other band) was well received last year – will there be competition between you and Felipe to be successful?
Absolutely not. We are both part of each other’s musical vision and we are proud that we have 2 ways of expressing DOOM METAL instead of one. When you talk about true art, you need to put that negative part of ego aside.

Do you see signs of growth in the doom scene in Chile?
Not really. There wasn’t a DOOM scene when we started with Poema Arcanus, back in 1995, there was no DOOM scene when Procession released the “Burn” Demo in 2008 and now, when we are releasing the debut LP from Capilla Ardiente, there´s still no DOOM scene. So, no, no signs of growing here, maybe just a couple bands like Condenados, Marcha Funebre and Skull of Heretic (R.I.P.) but nothing else.

Who is the greatest Chilean metal band ever?
Pentagram, of course. Way ahead of their time if you ask me.

What next for Capilla Ardiente – some festivals maybe, and hopefully you will be able to record a follow-up album soon?
First thing after the release of our debut album would be a 12″ split EP with Polish doomsters Evangelist, where each band will tribute an old band. We will be playing Angel Witch’s ‘Waltz The Night’ in our own DOOM way. It is supposed to be released on August/September via Doomentia records. After that, we are supposed to have a gig here in Chile before the year ends and after that, we are planning an Eurotour son summer 2015, so be prepared!!!

Where’s the best place to buy your new album?
Directly from the label, High Roller Records (or you´ll have to wait until we will be on tour…)

Thanks Claudio! 
Thank you for your interest and support!

ALBUM REVIEW: Slomatics

slomatics estron

SLOMATICS
‘Estron’
Burning World / Head Of Crom (Feb 2014)
8/10

Heading towards their 10th anniversary later in 2014, Slomatics’ aim has always been to “reduce riffs to a primal state of heaviness” and “create a euphoric state of wellbeing”. This Northern Irish band came extremely close to achieving that ambition – or certainly the first part – on their previous full-length release ‘A Hocht’. But with ‘Estron’, their fourth album, they have expanded their ambitions and broadened their musical landscapes, reaching a whole new level.

Warm, rich guitar tones wash over you like a gentle solar wind, sludgy riffs melt your brain like the lava from an ancient Martian volcano, synthesizers create an unfamiliar, otherworldly atmosphere, and vocalist/drummer Marty Harvey carries you with him on a delirious, beautiful, terrifying voyage into the universal depths of blackness. The multi-skilled Harvey brings a cosmic adventurousness coupled with a sense of maturity and melody. Slomatics are no longer just about giving you a nosebleed with their stupendously heavy sound – now they’re about giving you a nosebleed … IN SPACE!

The six songs (plus one brief instrumental) are slow, gargantuan and crushing, but they seem to rocket along at a fair rate of G’s, with stars and planets flying by. Only the closing track – a bleak misery-fest called ‘The Carpenter’ – clocks in at over ten minutes and, before you know it, you’ve reached the end of the adventure. While it is refreshing to hear this kind of accessible-but-still-sledgehammer-heavy sludge, a number of the songs could have been given a little more time to grow and develop. Slomatics might have afforded themselves even greater license to get experimental, particularly with their spaced-out keys and inventive vocal patterns.

‘Estron’ is mightily impressive, superior sludge played with conviction, skill and intelligence. If primal euphoria was the ambition, it’s mission accomplished for Slomatics.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slomatics/196382747053529

The fascinating artwork was created by Tony Roberts http://www.blackmindseye.org

 

INTERVIEW: Vestal Claret

vestal claret 10

Ahead of the 2 May release of Vestal Claret’s hugely enjoyable ‘The Cult Of Vestal Claret’ album on Cruz Del Sur Music, guitarist/bassist Simon Tuozzoli (above, right), who writes most of the band’s mid-70’s Sabbath-infused music, spoke to DoomMetalHeaven…

How would you describe Vestal Claret?
Vestal Claret is occult metal from New England.

How is Vestal Claret different to Seamount and Hour of 13?
Vestal Claret is much darker than Seamount, more obscure than Hour of 13. Phil Swanson ties all three bands together on the vocal front, but the music is coming from three different guys.

What are your plans for the band?
We haven’t talked about it. We’re extremely laid back. If something comes up, we talk about it and decide.

There’s some dark stuff lyrically – why did you want to tackle this? Why the interest in the occult?
Phil grew up in a time where there was a lot of stories about Satanic cults snatching children. He wanted to create a band that was based upon those stories and the mayhem they brought.

How much of the lyrical content is based on real-life experience?
Some of it is based off true stories. The rest I’ll leave to your imagination.

What depresses you?
When work is slow. I run an underground recording studio.

What cheers you up? 
When the work comes in.

What’s the greatest Sabbath song? 
That really depends on the day. But, most days, it’s ‘Spiral Architect’.

Which bands – from any era – would you love to tour with?
Iron Maiden. I’ve heard they are easy to get along with and they would grant us great exposure.

How healthy is the doom scene where you are? 
There is not much doom in Connecticut. The local metal scene is more like the hardcore type of metal. Unfortunately I don’t listen to much, I feel it clouds my writing skills. No disrespect to other composers.

Thanks Simon. Good luck with the new album. 
You’re welcome, thank you.

https://www.facebook.com/VestalClaret

ALBUM REVIEW: Grand Magus

Grand Magus 'Triumph And Power'

Grand Magus ‘Triumph And Power’

GRAND MAGUS
‘Triumph And Power’
Nuclear Blast, 31 Jan 2014
7/10

It’s always worth checking out Grand Magus, a band formed in the mid-1990’s with its roots in iron-clad power-doom. Almost two decades later, the appropriately-titled ‘Triumph And Power’ is the seventh album from the Swedish riff maestros, and, while there’s not much Doom Metal on offer this time around, it kicks off in suitably epic style with ‘On Hooves Of Gold’.

Grand Magus are undoubtedly a band at the top of their game, following the commercial success of 2012’s ‘The Hunt’. The new album continues the trio’s enduring passion for big, Deep Purple-inspired hooks and unapologetic old-school metal-ness. Singer/guitarist JB is again centre-stage, delivering a typically high-quality performance on what is an extremely consistent and thoroughly enjoyable album.

There are few surprises on offer: songs alternate between chugging and galloping, with a number of spectacularly memorable choruses thrown in. Not that these are simplistic, three-minute radio-friendly numbers. There are plenty of muscular Viking stylings and Manowar-ish “hails”, and even some Swedish folky influences, but essentially this is a balls-out Heavy Metal album of the highest order.

In recent years, Grand Magus have perfected the art of writing ‘classic’ metal that doesn’t sound like it’s stuck in the past. ‘Triumph And Power’ continues their journey to rock immortality with a great deal of skill and craft. They will be heading on tour with Nuclear Blast label-mates The Vintage Caravan (also riding the crest of a wave following the great response to their new album ‘Voyage’) in the spring.

STONE DAGGER: New demo from ex-hardcore legend

brendan-radigan

Stone Dagger is the latest project from Brendan Radigan, who made his name at the heart of Boston’s hardcore punk scene but who has recently turned his attentions towards the doomier end of the metal market. ‘The Siege Of Jerusalem’, the band’s new two-track demo tape, is further evidence that he’s chosen the right path.

Earlier this year, Radigan’s distinctive and hugely expressive voice (which is reminiscent of Eric Wagner… or maybe Robert Plant) was unleashed upon an unsuspecting new audience through Magic Circle, a doom metal band formed of four US hardcore veterans. Their excellent self-titled debut album was a revelation, jam-packed with ideas and ingrained with a compelling ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ vibe. Above all, Radigan’s high-octane, raucous vocals stood out. Who knew that they guy who did this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD4XVgsW7do could also do this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-5RdDRZOoQ?!

Radigan’s new band, Stone Dagger, also touch upon Black Sabbath, but the music is much more rooted in the 1980’s than anything from the previous decade. ‘The Siege of Jerusalem’ is glorious, doomified epic metal that doesn’t really sound like anyone else – which is quite an achievement in itself. Imagine Cirith Ungol and Manowar had a baby, made it listen to Iron Maiden and Trouble until it was old enough to walk, and then kicked it out onto the streets to fend for itself. That baby is Stone Dagger, and it’s hungry as hell.

We want to hear more from Stone Dagger, a new metal band with a potent mix of power and originality. Definitely one to watch out for in 2014, especially if they choose to focus on the doomier stuff. But then, we would say that.

Listen to ‘The Siege Of Jerusalem’ here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZUqFukI4fM

stone-dagger-demo-2013

20 FAMOUS QUOTES THAT SHOULD BE ABOUT DOOM METAL

1  “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop”
Confucius

2  “When we are born we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools”
William Shakespeare

3  “Rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”
J.K. Rowling

4  “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly”
John F. Kennedy

5  “Nothing I do is done by popular demand”
Steve Martin

6  “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me”
Steve Jobs

7  “If you’re going through hell, keep going”
Winston Churchill

8  “Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make”
Bela Lugosi, Dracula (1931)

9  “May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out”
J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of Mount Doom!

10  “The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination”
H.P. Lovecraft

11  “I wish I knew why I am so anguished”
Marilyn Monroe

12  “Time spent with cats is never wasted”
Sigmund Freud (we’re pretty sure he meant to say “Candlemass”)

13  “Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company”
Mark Twain

14  “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind”
Albert Einstein

15  “My life is doomed the way it is. I have no future”
Mike Tyson

16  “Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once”
Robert Browning

17  “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before”
Edgar Allan Poe

18  “I like my music to awaken the ghosts inside of me. Not the demons, you understand, but the ghosts”
David Bowie

19  “Do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness”
George Bernard Shaw

20  “Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages”
Terry Pratchett

Can you think of any more? Email us: doommetalheaven@live.com

INTERVIEW: As Autumn Calls

AsAutumnCalls_logo

“Doom Metal allows us to experiment with extremes”

Ahead of the release of As Autumn Calls’ gargantuan new album ‘Cold, Black & Everlasting’ (October 25), singer/bass player James Hawkins talks exclusively to DoomMetalHeaven about what inspires the Canadian band…

Hi James, so why do you play Doom Metal?
We play doom metal because it’s a very melodic and diverse form of music. It can be extremely dark and heavy at times and it can be soft and vulnerable at other times. It allows us to experiment with these different extremes and portray many different thoughts and emotions. I read a quote a long time ago from someone describing doom metal as a very mature form of metal. It is something that has stuck with me over the years.

Which band in the history of music would you like to go on tour with?
Good question. There’s a few bands that come to mind so it’s a bit tough to pick just one. I think it would be cool to go on tour with Opeth because when Andrew and I first started the band we were really into Opeth. We’ve seen them play live a few times here in Canada. Mikael Åkerfeldt and the gang are insanely talented musicians and we really respect the fact that they are not afraid to experiment and make the music they want to make. They seem like decent, down-to-earth, normal guys. Also I have to say Agalloch would be a close second for us. We love Agalloch. I know, neither of these bands are doom, but whatever.

What are you most proud of on the new album?
There’s a lot of things that I’m proud of on the new album. As musicians we’ve all grown a great deal and I think everyone has really added their own mark to the music. Something that wasn’t the case in the past. I’m proud of the overall feel and atmosphere because I think we’ve managed to create a very honest and sincere album.

“The world that J.R.R. Tolkien created has given me a lot of inspiration over the years”

Which public or historical figure do you most admire and why?
I would have to say J.R.R. Tolkien. The man is a literary genius and one of the most creative people to have walked the face of the Earth. The world he created has given me a lot of inspiration over the years and I still take inspiration from it to this day. His work has been such a huge part of my life for such a long period of time. He was also a very modest man when discussing his own life and his work.

What’s your most prized Heavy Metal possession?
Well at this very moment I’d have to say my brand new ‘Blackwater Park’ and ‘Marrow of the Spirit’ vinyls. Both absolutely beautiful pieces of art (see below).

Buy the new As Autumn Calls album ‘Cold, Black & Everlasting’ here: http://asautumncalls.bandcamp.com/releases

DOOM DEBATE: Where do Atlantean Kodex belong?

First, a confession: here at DoomMetalHeaven we have been arguing with each other.

Should we review the Atlantean Kodex album? It is Doom Metal or just slow power metal? Do the band’s pop sensibilities – and subsequent ubiquity – mean they should be shunned on a website dedicated to what is considered a niche genre?

In the end, we decided that there is sufficient ‘doom’ (and certainly plenty of ‘metal’ and ‘heaven’) on the German band’s latest opus for us to proceed. Of course, while we’ve been bickering among ourselves, you have probably already seen a hundred reviews of ‘The White Goddess’ (Atlantean Kodex have been difficult to avoid in recent weeks) so we’ll keep it brief.

cover_ak

This is straightforward but majestically epic metal that has much in common with Solstice, Manowar (without the biceps) and Hammerheart-era Bathory. It’s more mature and well-constructed than 2010’s often frustrating ‘The Golden Bough’ and while Markus Becker’s high-pitched vocals can grate after a while, he leads the songs into spectacular, cloud-puncturing choruses. Few bands have the ability to create such an expansive atmosphere.

The album is also pristinely produced, allowing a freshness and energy to ripple through the slow, 10-minute-long songs. Atlantean Kodex’s self-indulgence remains, however, and their excessive use of spoken word samples is an uninspiring Churchillian voiceover that serves only to interrupt. The song ’Heresiarch’, for example, should have been allowed to flow without interruption, revelling in its own glorious simplicity to become a minor doom classic. But they couldn’t resist.

Our ‘heated debate’ at DMH over whether to include Atlantean Kodex here could also be applied to the band’s Cruz Del Sur label-mates Argus, who have shifted slightly away from their doomy roots. Argus released their new album ‘Beyond The Martyrs’ at the same time as the Germans unleashed ‘The White Goddess’ but with rather less media attention.

Argus-BTM_cover

Argus don’t soar as high as Atlantean Kodex, nor do they strive for such distant horizons, preferring a well-worn, mid-tempo classic metal path that nevertheless can trip up lesser musicians. Drawing inspiration from Grand Magus and Iron Maiden, the dual guitar-loving Pennsylvanians (including ex-Penance singer Brian Balich who brings his characteristically forthright vocals and big personality) also hark back to Doom Metal masters such as Candlemass, with ‘Trinity’ and ‘The Coward’s Path’ being standout moments. Hugely enjoyably stuff.

What defines a Doom Metal album is a question that we (or you, for that matter) may never agree on. Like all boundaries or barriers, definitions and opinions can change in an instant. For now, we’ll leave you with some songs to check out. Meanwhile, we’ll get back to kicking seven shades of Korn out of each other.

argus_BTM_album_image

http://cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-martyrs

IMG_4594-Bearbeitet

http://listen.20buckspin.com/album/the-white-goddess

Doom Art: the search is on

George Inness, The Valley of the Shadow of Death
DoomMetalHeaven is looking for great paintings that would make inspirational doom album artwork. Above is George Inness’s The Valley of The Shadow Of Death (1867) and below are a few more. Any suggestions?

Kazuya Akimoto, Black Gate
Black Gate, from the 2004 ‘Black Painting’ series by Japanese expressionist Kazuya Akimoto

Ralph Hotere, Red On Black
Black Painting (1968), by Maori-born New Zealand artist Ralph Hotere, who recently passed away

Robert Motherwell, Iberia 18
Iberia 18, a 1958 work by Robert Motherwell, part of the ‘New York School’ with Jackson Pollock

Rembrandt, Philosopher In Meditation
Philosopher In Meditation, by some guy called Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, dated 1632