Bongripper simply proves vocals are optional for an idyllic doom atmosphere. For an instrumental sludge/doom album clocking 43 minutes, and with just two songs, it takes stunningly creative song writing directions. Sublime and adequately downtuned, Terminal integrates those dreary elements from doom straight into an atmospheric sludge wall.

With thick bass lines and precision beats interleaved with dreamy solos, at times it’s slow to the point where time itself stands still. Almost like ‘Dance of December Souls’ meets the legendary ‘Odd Fellows Rest’. When this sonic grind of sludge meets doom like guitar hues, it tends to become a perfect introspective complement to a misty weekend evening, probably wasted at a dim tavern, with suitable amounts of your choice for that chilled beverage.

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Review: Choral Hearse – Mire Exhumed

ChoralHearse bandphoto72

Here comes an album that really surprised me. Choral Hearse is a Berlin-based all-female four-piece who are having their debut full-length album “Mire Exhumed” released on April 16th. The group creates what they call Progressive Doom Metal, which is then impeccably mashed with Experimental Rock and Folk elements.

The album flows seamlessly from track to track, carrying the listener through dark and disturbing soundscapes. The opener, “Chronic Departure,” acts as the perfect overture to the album, opening with a very simple, ominous melody, then carrying that melody through a consistent, driving beat with singer Liaam Iman’s haunting vocals adding the third layer. In many ways, this track takes the primal beats, presents them to the listener, and then shows the ways in which they have been altered and developed to produce this record.

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Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and the remaining doom metal bells and whistles are obvious. But, Khemmis goes further, and shapes a melody built on mystical and sorrowful passages. Every aspect, including the distressing vocals is tailored to accentuate these very qualities.

Doom metal is a constrained and a well explored area populated with numerous Scandinavian and North American greats. In the past 30-40 years, they have managed to excavate all the darkest corners in this genre. But, Khemmis, quite confidently introduce sharp magical qualities to these stagnant waters. With an equally engaging Artwork, Hunted makes a compelling case for a brand new variant of old school doom.

By Benjamin Hutcherson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Review: Emperor Guillotine – Emperor Guillotine

Emperor Guillotine

Dallas’s Doom Metal upstarts EMPEROR GUILLOTINE have landed firmly within the Metal scene as one of the “newest modern” instrumental bands carrying the torch of the blueprint that BLACK SABBATH created over 40 years ago. In particular, SABBATH‘s first three albums are all over the project’s full-length debut release. From the song structures, the occasional synth noodling and the demonic Blues you cannot mistake the influence.

The project was formed by multi-instrumentalist and sole band member, Ben Randolph. A digital only release, it wets the appetite of every doom metal fan and the excitement for what comes next.

One of the biggest highlights of the record is definitely its production. It is obvious that EMPEROR GUILLOTINE reaching for a retro feel and are heavily influenced by Rodger Bain and his early BLACK SABBATH productions. Randolph achieves it in a very good way. One of the issues with bands going for this type of sound is that usually the bass is mixed too loud and dominates the material. In this case, the bass is audible but it still gives way for the guitar and drums. The guitar has enough gain, it’s powerful and greasy—just as it should be.

The songwriting is as strong; there is plenty here to celebrate. “Sailor on the Seas of Fate,” “Sea of Dust,” “The Oak and the Ram,” “Witch Mountain,” “The Bastille,” and “The Unearthly” are heavy, pounding numbers that represent this release. “Ursa Minor” is a beautiful acoustic piece that connects the “sides.” Its melody is haunting and recalls the atmosphere of 1960s inspired acoustic, folk records.

“Emperor Guillotine” is an excellent introductory release from Randolph. My hope is that the next releases will embrace more of different styles such as folk rock and progressive rock. On their next release they need to instill the confidence that they don’t need to rely so heavily on imitating BLACK SABBATH. Do yourself a favor and check this album out out.


In Mourning – Afterglow – Album Review

Artist: In Mourning Album Title: Afterglow Label: Agonia Records Date Of Release: 20 May 2016 In Mourning is a name that that have flitted around the very edges of my consciousness for a few years now. ‘Afterglow’ however, takes the Swedish quintet out of my personal periphery and re-positions them at the very forefront of […]


Novembre – Ursa – Album Review

Artist: Novembre Album Title: Ursa Label: Peaceville Records Date Of Release: 1 April 2016 This album has proved to be one of the most difficult to write during 2016 so far. And the reason for this is the simple fact that this album has had me torn in two for such a long time. However, […]