ALBUM REVIEW: Göden – Vale Of The Fallen


Violins will and should always belong in various subgenres of Metal, and when done right, the addition of a classical string instrument can transport listeners to vast transcendent landscapes – see Dawn Ray’d (RIP).Going even further and introducing new or grossly underutilized techniques can (and often does) represent a beacon of freshness for both the musicians and fans alike.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: BRAT – Social Grace


Where to start with BRAT? The potential is on the wall as I don’t recall too many bands that get to release their debut LP – Social Grace, by the way – via Prosthetic Records. And bear in mind that this is an outfit that formed right before the golden days of the Coronavirus pandemic so it’s not like they’ve been toiling away in the dark for the better part of a decade. So, therefore, these kids must have the goods. Continue reading


Beneath The Silt – Sludge/Doom/post-Metal Roundup: feat Godthrymm, Mournful Congregation, Vile Creature


A début EP can be a very worthwhile investment for a new band, indeed. A chance to introduce the world to their sound and style, without having to commit to (or wait until you’ve written) a full albums worth of material; a chance to not just test the water, but begin to feel out what really works and what doesn’t within a band’s prospective oeuvre. And in the case of Godthrymm, boasting a cast of talented beasts a-plenty, they’ve more than made the most of the opportunity to plant their dark and melancholic flag. Continue reading


Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart


Much darker in tone than its ethereal predecessor (both Century Media), The Banished Heart is no less beautiful in its execution. Where Winter would often soar, this record looks inward and deals much more heavily with personal, introspective feelings of heartbreak and loss.Continue reading


Trans-Siberian Orchestra Announce New Tour Dates


Co-founder and driving force of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Paul O’Neill, passed away back in April (details), but as they promised, the band will carry on and perform in his honor. Continue reading


Fen – Winter


Of all the grandchildren of heavy metal subgenres, one of the most precocious and still burgeoning is atmospheric black metal. As my colleague Richie HR noted in his recent new column for Ghost Cult, it seems that even the most mainstream bands are reaching for opportunities to expand their sonic palettes to include the more unconventional, and extreme styles. However, time and time again we return to the underground to seek greatness, from those who follow their own path, and eschew typical glory. One of those bands is Fen.Continue reading


Oceans of Slumber – Winter


Oceans of Slumber Winter ghostcultmag

Oceans of Slumber’s new album Winter (Century Media) is sort of frustrating. Frustrating like “Wow I’m really enjoying this song” and then one of the novice inconsistencies comes in and I’m punching my fridge repeatedly.

Don’t let me get off on the wrong foot here as there is much talent to be extracted from this young Houston band. For starters they have a vocalist in Cammie Gilbert who can sing. And by sing I don’t mean the metalcore melodic chorus sandwiched between barking verses. Like she can actually fucking sing. Guitarists Anthony Contreras and Sean Gary cleverly find the link between Sabbath doom and Michael Amott shred. Seems like a no brainer, right? Possible album of the month?

Not quite yet. Winter’s title track its follow up ‘Devout’ (and ‘…This Road’) serve as the cover letter to this pretty good resume. They highlight Gilbert’s vocals and pull from various strains of extreme metal and form them into a cohesive and satisfying musical package. ‘Night in White Satin’ comes close to recreating this alchemy, but the repeated hook begins to feel like deadweight. And then what precedes that is my biggest issue with Winter. Interludes.

Never thought I’d ever bring up interludes as a point of contention in a review, but counting outro track ‘Grace,’ there are five of them on Winter. While interludes is a musical trend that many a modern band resorts to (looking at you Between the Buried and Me), by going to that well so often we lose about 10 minutes of quality time with Oceans of Slumber. That’s a shame considering that the band has such a great understanding of light and shade dynamics, so there really isn’t a need for interludes. Speaking of dynamics check out ‘Apologue,’ if you to see what Oceans of Slumber sound like when they leave the melody at home. It’s shockingly heavy.

So not quite album of the month, but they’ve got the tools and with a little roadwork, Oceans of Slumber’s next could be album of the year.

HANSEL LOPEZ

7.0/10

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Goatsnake Releasing Black Age Blues June 2nd


goatsnake black age blues

Goatsnake will be unveiling details of their first full length in fifteen years entitled Black Age Blues, out June 2, 2015 via Southern Lord.

Black Age Blues is an instant classic, with each one of the nine songs an anthem, and each of the four members of Goatsnake in top form. Everything is magnified; Pete Stahl‘s vocals have never sounded so good, the rhythm section comprised of Greg Rogers on drums and Scott Renner on bass are the driving force on each track, and Greg Anderson‘s riffs are heavier than ever before.

Appearing on the album intro to “Another River To Cross” is acoustic guitar courtesy of David Pajo (Slint, Aerial M, Papa M), the track also containing previously released recordings from Goatsnake’s “The River.” Piano is played by Mathias Schneeberger and Petra Haden contributes violin and vocals. Another welcome addition to the album, across multiple tracks, are brilliant backing vocals by Dem Preacher‘s Daughters: Wendy Moten, Gale Mayes and Andrea Merrit.

Black Age Blues Track Listing:
01. Another River To Cross
02. Elevated Man
03. Coffee & Whiskey
04. Black Age Blues
05. House Of The Moon
06. Jimi’s Gone
07. Graves
08. Grandpa Jones
09. A Killing Blues

Mar 21: Gypsy Lounge – Austin, TX SXSW (Day show)
Mar 21: Yellow Jackets Social Club – Austin, TX SXSW (Night Show)
May 02: Pappy & Harriets – Joshua Tree/Pioneertown, CA
May 24: Maryland Deathfest – Baltimore, MD (w/ Amorphis, Anaal Nathrakh, Inverloch, Neurosis, Winter, more)
May 30: Temples Festival – Bristol (UK)
Jun 01: De Kreun – Kortrijk (BE)
Jun 02: Melkweg – Amsterdam, NL
Jun 03: SO36 – Berlin, DE
Jun 04: Freakvalley Festival – Siegen, DE
Jun 07: AN Club – Athens, GR
Jun 20: Crucialfest – Salt Lake City, UT

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