Saturday, 24 August 2019

Merlin - The Mortal (Album Review)

Release date: August 22nd 2019. Label: The Company KC. Format: DD/Vinyl

The Mortal – Tracklisting

1.Prologue 01:33
2.Tower Fall 06:11
3.Chaos Blade 06:53
4.Ashen Lake 04:07
5.Mindflayer 06:30
6.Basilisk 06:04
7.Metamorphosis 04:50
8.The Mortal Suite 07:05


Carter Lewis - Guitar/ Keys/ Organ
Stu Kersting - Guitar/ Saxophone/ Flute
Chase Thayer - Guitar/ Additonal Percussion
Joey Hamm - Bass Guitar
Jordan Knorr - Vocals/ Storytelling/ Omnichord
Randall Tripps- Drums/ Dark Magi

Guest Musicians

Jeremy Mcclain - Accordian
Garrett Holm - Accordian
Bretstradamus - Trumpet


Progressive Doom Rockers Merlin return with their latest and perhaps weirdest offering with The Mortal. This is a expertly produced album that sees Merlin expand on their trippy blend of Occult Doom, Psych Rock, Prog Rock, Folk Rock and Stoner Rock style of music. Reviewing an album by these guys is never an easy job as each album sounds quite different to each other.

If you’re in the mood for epic progressive Doom/Folk based music then Merlin will cast a spell over you. The songwriting and vocals are top-notch from the start with songs such as Tower Fall, Chaos Blade, Mindflayer, and The Mortal State being the standout songs on the album.

Merlin cover a lot of ground of this album though the album is firmly rooted in 70s Doom Metal and Progressive Rock with Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull with the Folk Rock atmosphere coming on quite heavily compared to their previous releases.

The production is excellent and allows each member equal and valuable time in the spotlight to show Doom Metal fans what they can actually do. There is an air of intelligence to Merlin’s music that you just don’t hear compared to other bands from the Doom Rock/Metal genre.

If you’re a fan of Merlin already then you’ll will be listening to this album for a long time to come. If this is your first time listening to Merlin then they will cast you a magical spell over you told through their powerful riffs.

This album isn’t divisive as their previous album The Wizard. As it follows the same progressive sounds and themes from the start. Maybe Merlin are finally starting to settle for their own sound and their days of experimenting with music are long gone. Then again, this is Merlin we are talking about. The guys probably already have plans for their next record to confuse and delight listeners with.

Overall, The Mortal is a deliriously exciting and dark twisted vision from one of the most inventive Doom Metal bands around.

Words by Steve Howe

The Mortal is available to buy on Vinyl now from The Company KC


Album News - NEBULA DRAG Announce New Album BLUD on Desert Records

Nebula Drag is a psycho-delic three piece rock band from San Diego, CA. Definitely not your typical Southern California band… 

Nebula Drag’s music gives a nod to Stoner Metal and Psych Rock—all with a sound that is uniquely their own. The haunting and blistering riffs paired with the thunderous drumming comprises the heart of this band. Add the melodic and spaced out vocals to the mix and let a listening journey of the highest caliber begin. 

Nebula Drag will be releasing their second album “Blud” on Desert Records in September 2019. 

Their first self-titled album was released in 2016, and they also released a 3 song ep “Always Dying” in 2017. 

The band also contributed to the San Diego Gimme Danger compilation in 2018 ,released by Fresh Pots Music.

Nebula Drag will hit the road for a short tour to promote the album on the weekend of "Blud's" release:

9/26 T.B.A. - Las Vegas, NV
9/27 Time Out Lounge - Tempe, AZ
9/28 Sister Bar (Album Release Show) - Albuquerque, NM


LP Limited to only 100 copies on high quality black vinyl, these are sure to sell quickly. 

Get your copy now:

The first single off "Blud" is the song Always Dying, available for streaming now.

The album will feature 10 tracks from the San Diego "psycho-delic" space rockers. 

The album will see if official release date on September 27th, 2019 via Desert Records


Slowjoint - Jutlandian (Album Review)

Release date: August 22nd 2019. Label: Self Released. Format: DD/Vinyl

Jutlandian – Tracklisting

1.Jutlandian 08:41
2.Snot Shovel 03:24
3.Pigs 02:48
4.Out of Reach 06:49
5.Stagger Me 04:58
6.The Last Pick 03:01
7.Bottom Shelf 04:15
8.Couch Cougher 04:59


Dennis I Patrick I Tor


Danish Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metallers Slowjoint finally return with Jutlandian. Their first new album in 5 years and it’s good to see the band release a full length album at last. Jutlandian carries on the WEEDIAN based sound first heard on their celebrated 2014 debut release UP SHIT CREEK. Jutlandian sees the band playing a more grown up sound. The heavy doped up grooves are still there but this album sees Slowjoint have a more mature and depressing outlook on life.

Opening song Jutlandian is an epic 9 minute blast of down-tempo NOLA based sounds with the heavy Doom/Sludge/Stoner vibes being amped up for pure nasty heaviness and the band seem to enjoy creating a bleaker atmosphere that we haven’t heard from them before. Sometimes I do wish the riffs were played at a faster pace but Slowjoint play by their own rules on this album.

Fans of WEEDEATER and BONGZILLA will lap this album up as Slowjoint play similar kind of music as those two legendary bands.

Jutlandian sees Slowjoint writing perhaps their strongest work to date with the songwriting improving quite dramatically compared to their previous releases. The lyrics tell a more exciting narrative on nearly all of the songs with Snot Shovel, Pig, Out Of Reach and Bottom Shelf along with the title track being the most exciting songs on the album.

The demented Blues Rock vibe first heard on their debut album is still living and breathing heavily on this album. As it’s fused amongst the down-tempo Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal grooves that Slowjoint play throughout the album.

The production is quite strong for the majority of the album. There’s a few parts where the guitars are too loud and I couldn’t hear what lead vocalist Dennis was singing about.

Overall, Jutlandian is another excellent record from Slowjoint and it’s good to have the guys back playing their demented and drugged out style of music to chill out to.

Words by Steve Howe


Thursday, 22 August 2019

Album News - DRUG CULT To Start Recording Their New Album on Ritual Productions


Cosmic light calls us back into the vortex. 

Drug Cult step out of the shadows, alchemy attuned and are now ready to manifest their elemental energies once again. 

Tomorrow, August 23rd, the band enters Australia's illustrious 70s recording studio,
Music Farm Studios, in the Byron Bay Hinterland to record the follow-up to their self-titled debut rite, released during Summer Solstice 2018 via Ritual Productions. George Carpenter will continue to be at the recording and mixing helm of such surreptitious, spirited sonics.

Keep your third eye open for the serpent is stirring and a shift in your consciousness is on the horizon.


Ethereal Riffian - Legends (Album Review)

Release date: September 06th 2019. Label: Robustfellow Prod. Format: Cassette/CD/DD/Vinyl

Legends – Tracklisting

1.Sage's Alchemy
2.Born Again
8.Pain To Wisdom
9.Yeti's Hide
10.Ethereal Path


Val Korniev – guitar/vocal/lyrics
Olexander Korniev – bass
Max Yuhimenko – lead guitar
Nikita Shipovskoi – drums


Legends is the new album from Ethereal Riffian and it’s perhaps their most confident and most accessible offering to date. However the album does has it’s fair share of controversial moments especially with the socially aware and politically fused lyrics. The music is the main focal point for Legends and the album is a mixture of Grunge, Doom, Sludge, Psych, Stoner Metal and Progressive Metal sounds holding everything together.

Opening song – Sage’s Alchemy – is a swirling Post-Doom offering with the Progressive and Psychedelic sounds leading the way. The song is quite flashy in places but it shows that the band have a darker and more daring sound coming your way.

Second song – Born Again starts with a confident and heavy rhythm with the vocals coming right at you. The music has a slight Alternative Rock/Metal approach that I didn’t expect. The band move quickly to add Spacier elements to their music which they’ve done on previous releases.

Third song – Dreamgazer – adds a Heavy Metal feel to the overall flow of the album but settles down into a more cautious Psych Doom/Stoner based groove. Ethereal Riffian remind me of Soundgarden and Alice In Chains on this song and it’s quite an exciting sound with the band being quite emotional on this song.

Up next is the title track – Legends – and its’ one of the albums most aggressive songs on the album with the music and lyrics portraying a bleak picture when matched against the hard rocking sounds that show you can do something different with the standard rules of Doom/Stoner Metal.

Ethereal Riffian move into overdrive with the second half of the album. As the band become more daring with everything on this album. The music become heavier and more progressive especially on songs such as KOSMIC, MOONFLOWER and ETHEREAL PATH. The band show a real creative flair on this album and it will instantly draw you in until the very end.

The album does run out of steam near the end but it’s the overall journey that Ethereal Riffian take you upon that’s the real highlight. The album is helped along by explosive production values that will keep the listener on their toes and guessing which direction the album will take you next.

Overall, Legend is a complex and challenging album but one that is packed with expertly played riffs and fantastic vocals to match. This may not be the most straight forward album to listen to but that hasn’t stopped Ethereal Riffian from releasing their best album to date.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Against PR and RobustFellow Prod for the promo. 

Legends is available to pre-order now on Cassette/CD/DD/Vinyl via Robustfellow Prod and will be released on September 06th 2019 via a range of different packages.


Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Serial Hawk - Static Apnea (Album Review)

Release date: August 23rd 2019. Label: Self Released. Format: DD/Vinyl

Static Apnea – Tracklisting

1.Resting Waters
3.Depths and Passages 06:25
6.Diminished Return


Will Bassin
Adam Holbrook
Sean Bulkley


Static Apnea is the 3rd album from Hypnotic Doom Riffsters Serial Hawk and I’ve been a fan of this band ever since I reviewed their 2012 debut release Buried In The Gray back in the day. The band received critical acclaim for their 2015 release Searching For The Light and it’s good to have the guys back today after a 4 year absence.

Static Apena sees Serial Hawk drift towards a more Sludge/Post-Metal sound with their familiar and haunting Progressive Doom Metal grooves being added for extra weight and heaviness throughout this album. Serial Hawk draw influence from bands such as YOB, Neurosis, Pelican and Cult of Luna on this album for a more varied style of music.

Opening song – Resting Waters – has a deep and troubling aquatic vibe to it especially where the music changes direction with different layers of heaviness throughout the songs 10 minute plus runtime. The progressive guitar sounds allows Serial Hawk to play music at their own pace and on their own terms. A cool mix of Doom, Sludge, Psych and Post-Metal combining for heavy atmospheric grooves from the start.

Second song – Detach – has a more open ended Doom based sound with a Tool-esque influence especially on the lyrics and vocals. Everything else is Serial Hawk. It’s good to hear a more emotionally distant Stoner Metal sound starting to appear and make waves amongst the standard Doom/Sludge Metal vibes.

Third song – Depths and Passages – is perhaps the angriest song on the album with intense vocals from Will leading the way. The music has a reflective Post-Rock/Post-Metal feel with a more aggressive direction once the sound builds up to a more Psychedelic Doom/Sludge rhythm. The overall sound is truly captivating and reminds you of YOB in places.

Fourth song – Surrender – starts quietly with a lovely sounding Ambient driven Post-Rock score. The song is quite peaceful and remorseful with the slowly played music. A different style that Serial Hawk play superbly well.

The final two songs – Summon and Diminished Return both allow Serial Hawk to return to their heavier Doom/Sludge/Post-Metal world and where they explore a more emotionally distant part of the album. Expect more sonic experimentation on these two songs with elements of Drone Metal leading the way.

Serial Hawk feel like they’ve reinvented themselves with this album and it shows throughout the whole album. As the whole feel and flow of the album is quite different and more complex compared against the band’s previous albums.

Static Apnea could be defining moment for Serial Hawk’s career. As it’s the type of album that could launch them onto bigger and better things. This is a wonderful and emotionally driven album that’s full of rich progressive sounds and ideas that leave you wanting more.

Overall, Static Apnea is a classic sounding album in every sense of the word.

Words by Steve Howe


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DÖ - Astral Death Cult (Album Review)

Release date: September 20th 2019. Label: Lay Bare Recordings / Mercyful Tapes. Format: Cassette Tape/DD/Vinyl

Astral Death Cult  – Tracklisting

Drifting (In Methane Ocean)
Cosmic Communion
Planet Eater
Beyond the Cosmic Horizon


Big Dog (Guitar)
Deaf Hank (Vox & Bass)
Joe E. Deliverance ('E' stands for 'Epic') (Drums & Vox)


Greetings All,

It is always exciting to check out a new album that really and truly blows you away. With Astral Death Cult, Finnish titans DÖ have done just that. The band has a wickedly amazing style that is extremely hard to explain, so I’ll just let their bio do it for me; DÖ is riff'n'fuzz praising, cosmic forces worshipping cult. Their musical style is called "Döömer", a genuine combination of stoner, doom, psych, sludge with death/black metal twists here and there. That is a pretty damn accurate explanation on what Astral Death Cult delivers over the course of it’s six devastating tracks. If you are a fan of any or all of the sub genres of the heavy listed, DÖ is worth the time to check out.

The album opens with an interstellar distress signal coming in from God knows where on Intergalacticlude before exploding with feedback, fuzzed out bass and monstrous drums bringing ominously mysterious vocals. The fuzzed out heaviness continues with Atmosfear and it’s black metal sounding vocals. Massive drums and a sick bass line open the epic track Drifting (In Methane Ocean) an over 9 minute opus with unsettlingly detached vocals and dissonance that give way to unbridled heaviness. The track is a dark journey into the darkest recesses of space or the mind.

The most straightforward rock track of the record is brought to you in Cosmic Communion, with it’s immense driving bass riff and onslaught of riffs and drums it sets the table for the massive Planet Eater. This track is pure heaviness that opens with walls of noise and intense guitar strangulation over this beast that breaks down into a breakneck blackened/punk metal breakdown that almost guarantees whiplash to the listener.

The record is driven home with more blackened intensity on Beyond the Cosmic Horizon. The band unleashes the metal onslaught before breaking down into the dissonant sound of the interstellar distress signal that introduced us to this monster.

With Astral Death Cult, DÖ has brought themselves to the forefront of all that is heavy. This album could very well be a contender for record of the year. It is that good and deserves a listen from any and all that worship at the altar of the riff. I for one am joining the cult. Pass the kool aid, I am down. Let’s all dig on this intense beast. All hail the Astral Death Cult!

- Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Warren at Plug Music Agency for the promo.

The album is being released on Vinyl by Lay Bare Recordings on September 20th 2019

The album is also being released on Cassette Tape via Mercyful Tapes on September 20th 2019


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