ALBUM REVIEW: Body Void – Atrocity Machine


If the sonic ambush and equilibrium-busting nature of Body Void’s Atrocity Machine (Prosthetic Records) didn’t make it clear enough: the world has been ass-backwards basically since humanity began to human.

Continue reading

CONCERT REVIEW: Ministry – Melvins – Corrosion Of Conformity: Live at The Wellmont Theater

The Wellmont Theater in Montclair NJ was burning inside when Ministry, Melvins and Corrosion Of Conformity took the stage on Saturday night.

The theater itself seats about 2000 people with general admission on the floor which is perfect for a swirling mosh pit. Built in 1922 as an old vaudeville house, it was enovated and reopened in 2008. Now under the Live Nation umbrella, it hosts some major acts and The Montclair Film Festival. It should be noted that if you are going to a show there, plan to arrive early as parking can be a challenge of Herculean proportions.

Continue reading

REVIEWS ROUNDUP: Lucifer, Shi, Crop, and The Lucid Furs

Lucifer Lucifer IV

With Lucifer releasing albums of a consistent style at a workman’s pace, it’s easy to overlook the underlying trajectory that’s been gradually in motion. There’s not much of those Occult Doom roots left on Lucifer IV (Century Media Records) as the band has seemingly completed their transformation from female-fronted Uncle Acid to what sounds like Karen Carpenter singing over KISS riffs. Fortunately, it’s hardly a drastic change as Johanna Sadonis’ sultry croon and the freerolling grooves remain as common denominators.Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: King Woman – Celestial Blues

Kris Esfandiari has released many different styles of music under many different monikers. There is Miserable, a solo, Shoegaze project of Esfandiari. Then, there’s NGHTCRWLR, an Experimental, Noise, Industrial outfit. With each project more different than the last, Esfandiari is a versatile and inventive vocalist gifted at making transgressive music. On Celestial Blues (Relapse Records), Esfandiari returns as King Woman. Following up 2017’s Created in the Image of Suffering, the sophomore album from King Woman is a shocking release that is like horror.

Continue reading

EP REVIEW: Wretched Empires – Bloom EP

I hadn’t registered so much as a whisper of St Louis trio Wretched Empires…until I learned that vocalist Tom Ballard was also the frontman for UK Sludge-Doomers Allfather. THEN my ears pricked up. Debut EP Bloom (Independent Release) shows the new outfit to be of a Blackened persuasion, which is even more of a surprise upon realising that the other two members of the unit were formerly part of Alt-Indie sextet Redbait. Curious indeed…Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Slave Hands – No More Feelings

Usually, Metal from Finland is incarcerated inside a cocoon of cold Death and/or melancholy. For the last seven years, however, Helsinki trio Slave Hands has rebelled against the norm to peddle a particularly horrific brand of Doom-flavoured Sludge, and No More Feelings (Dry Cough Records/Gate Of Deliria/Minor Obscure/Sewer Prison), the band’s fourth album in that time, continues down that solitary, diseased path.Continue reading

Slomatics – Canyons

Highly-respected Ulster Sludge/Doom outfit Slomatics is as well known for its countless splits, most prominently with fellow Doom yellers Conan, as it is for its own produce. So it’s something of a surprise to discover that Canyons (Black Bow Records) is the band’s sixth album in its fifteen-year existence, but as expected it shows a soupçon of originality in the unrelenting, slothlike heaviness.Continue reading

Slomatics / Holly Hunt – Split 7″ single


A 7-inch ‘split’ release (Black Bow), with one track each… the ways of ‘putting yourself out there’ shrink by the minute. The track from Belfast sludge-doom trio Slomatics, ‘Ulysses, My Father’, is Conan incarnate: all colossal riffs dropped from the skies, Marty Harvey‘s vocals echoing from atop Olympus, until some subtle and welcome sequencing introduces a slight quickening of pace and some pulverising stickwork from Harvey.

‘Bill Ward’, the track from Miami instrumental monstrosity Holly Hunt, is something of a powerhouse. Buzzing, crunching guitars fade in and out as if bouncing on the surface of a ‘woofer’, sucked back then spat forth with venom whilst drums reminiscent of the man the track is named after fling the riff around like a toy. The resonant power is stunning and dulls the senses in a hypnotic fashion, but in truth one four-minute track each is not the sort of advert that makes me want to further investigate, especially with the Belfast unit having four albums under their belt.

A multi-track EP could have pushed this intriguing sound further into the psyche.


Slomatics on Facebook

Holly Hunt on Facebook


Meditations on Death- Mike Hill of Tombs


Tombs_Jason_Hellman- band

One of the leading bands of heavy music today, Tombs, released what is surely to be one of the top album releases this year when Savage Gold dropped from Relapse in June. We certainly hyped the album ourselves before we ever heard a note, including it as #1 in our “Top Albums To Watch” list for this year in January. Now at Ghost Cult we interview a ton of artists, since we find this is the way to uncover the most insights about bands that fans want to know about. Tombs front man Mike Hill is a guy we have chatted with many times, so there was familiarity there that we don’t always get to have with others. His speaking voice has a certain authority to it, not unlike you imagine a judge or an college professor has. Always generous with is time, we covered a lot of ground. At the same time Mike is a no-nonsense type of guy who takes his art very seriously, and we afforded him the consideration and respect he deserves.

Listening to Savage Gold the first thing that jumps out at you is the power, clarity and immediacy of the music. We started our chat by asking Mike about the sonic changes from the last few albums and what spurred the move in this direction:

With the last couple of records there was a lot of atmosphere. We relied more on a lot of effects and reverb, sort of far away sounds. And I feel on a lot of the recordings especially, there was a lot of the details in the recording was lost. For instance some of the drum performances are almost inaudible because of the spacial effects and the atmosphere, things like that. So one of the things I wanted to achieve with this record, was to bring those details that were lost on the last records, like the technical playing.. all these little subtleties and bring them to the forefront. The way we achieved that was to go more minimal, and to scale back the effects. So we allowed just the performances of the songs convey the power, nothing else. In order to achieve that we wanted to clean up our sound to highlight those things. That was what our approach on the production side of things. That was exactly what we were hoping to achieve.”

savage gold

We found the choice of Eric Rutan, know for his pristine death metal production work to be an inspired choice:

I think John Congeleton who produced the last album, he had a pretty big hand and definitely brought a lot to the table for that record; helping to sculpt the sound and producing a very moody album. On the new album, with this kind of production, we really wanted an articulation and a detail orientated sound.”


Rutan is a guy I have admired for many, many years. I have been a fan of every band Eric has worked in, starting with Ripping Corpse, then his work with Morbid Angel, and all his stuff with Hate Eternal. They are all great bands. And I am a real fan of his production work, most notably his work on the Goatwhore records. The production of those particular records really piqued my interest in working with him. You can hear everything, and all of the the details are there. They are very brutal records, but very clear. That’s what gave us, sort of the idea, to move on with him. I think the combination of us working with him is a really great team. And I’m looking forward to working with this team more in the future.”



Tombs often has wide-ranging concept albums and we wondered if Savage Gold was any different. Also, we got a sense from repeated listens that this album was much more personal for the band. Hill explained:

It’s not a concept record the way Rush- 2112 is a concept record (laughs), but yes, it is a concept record. The songs are always related because the material was written over a period of time that was everyone’s life. We were all living together during the period of time of making this album, so all those things going on with us were the themes that made it on to the record. And there was a lot of death and dying of friends and family going on around us, a lot of people in our camp. It was never our intention to write about it particularly. But that kind of environment inspired the lyrical content on the record. And you just find yourself thinking about things differently, when people pass away. This record in general is definitely a mediation on death and beyond and infinity. The lifespan of people. We looked at this borderland between life and death, and explored that idea.”

That’s right, it’s definitely fair to say that (it’s more personal) since all of us having experienced losses these last couple of years.”
tombs logo

Where previous efforts by the band beat up your ears sonically only to stem the tide occasionally, the new album has a a sequence and a track flow that highlights the dynamic changes between songs.


It’s just a natural exploration of the things we are interested in. I’m really into playing fast and brutal, but at the same time I am really into giving things space, and subtlety and expressing myself in other ways. Maybe on the next few records, I might want to explore even more with dynamics. And I would love to have more of that in the future, more things that are there to polarize to people even more. It’s all really just different sides of the same coin.”



Savage Gold is the first album with Garrett Bussanick and Ben Brand in the band. We weren’t sure how much the guys contributed to creating the new music, based on the timeline of when they joined.



Oh absolutely, they did contribute quite a bit. The main ideas: the riffs and song structures are all stuff I wrote and always come from me. Andrew (Hernandez II) helps refine them.”


Let’s take a look at each guy. We’ll start with Ben first: Ben’s bass playing style is a real departure in style to what we’ve had in the band in the past. Carson (James) was a really awesome, solid, tone-orientated straight ahead player and Ben is more busy. His position in the rhythm section definitely helped the band improve dynamically. And Garrett’s parts and solos definitely added a lot to to the atmosphere of the songs. All of his parts and overdubs added a lot to the sound. That is how each guy contributes to the dynamic flow in the band and on this album.”




We also asked Mike about his vocal contributions to the much talked about debut solo album from Karyn Crisis, The Gospel of The Witches:

It’s great! Crisis was a legendary band here in New York. I really enjoyed their music and I thought they were very unique, especially during the time period when they existed in this city. I always admired Karyn’s artwork, but I never really got to know her until this project. The forces of the universe just aligned and allowed us to work together on this music. It’s been a real honor working with Davide (Tiso) and Karyn. Everything I have heard is great! So far I have only done backing vocals on two songs, but I am really looking forward to hearing the finished project when it’s all mixed and mastered and finished.”


Tombs on Facebook