Wednesday 29 May 2024

CARNWENNAN - Lotus (Album Review)

Release Date: June 01st 2024. Record Label: Darkest Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

Lotus: Tracklisting





Band Members

Alexandria Ashpond - lead guitar

Alex Waters - bass

Jack Jackal - guitar, vocals

James Leshkevich - drums


CARNWENNAN are a Sludge/Doom/Drone/Stoner Metal quartet from Albany, New York who are inspired by bands such as EARTH, SUNN0))), CONAN, SLEEP and OM whilst creating and conforming to their original ideas with their superbly heavy and highly original debut album Lotus. The album offers a disturbing and down-tuned style of Drone Metal which is made more powerful by the Sludge/Stoner Metal tones and kinetic Psychedelic energy that comes from the Doom Metal aspects of the whole album.

Lotus is part of the LOW & SLOW environment with CARNWENNAN playing the more Drone centric style of extended instrumental sounds than the usual standard guitar based grooves though the band do include small amounts of those types of grooves on different parts of the album. The vocals from lead vocalist Jack are loud, abrasive and aggressive which come into full force within the epic opening track I. 

Lotus is one epic forty minute track broken down into individual chapters where the band explore the different sides of the Droned Out environment which populates the creative landscape throughout the whole album. There are uplifting hypnotic states of blissful Stoner Metal jams with a surreal landscape appearing that draws from iconic bands such as SLEEP and OM. 

The album can be quite unforgiving when the extreme elements of music appear which pushes the Psychedelic/Ambient textures further into the background and a violent experimental sound fully takes control which allows CARNWENNAN to become quite frankly unstoppable with their layers of distorted climb to even greater violent heights of nightmarish volumes.

CARNWENNAN have a great ability to play a soothing Psychedelic based instrumental jam that lets the more uplifting guitar riff-centric style of music to become more dominant which happens on the outstanding second track II. The track is still heavy but it’s best described as Meditative Drone Metal though Jack’s harsh vocals keep the band firmly within the “DOES THIS DOOM” camp with great reason.

The final two tracks of III and IV sees CARNWENNAN adopt a subversive style of Progressive and Experimental creative energy with Ambient sounds and Psychedelic glitches combining for a slightly surreal Spaced Out sound which is perhaps some of my favourite parts of the album. CARNWENNAN know when to switch back to their more threatening Drone/Doom Metal sound which leads into the some of the heaviest parts of the album which come into full effect on the final epic track IV which lasts for a mind-expanding sixteen minutes or so.

Lotus is a beautifully heavy and wholly destructive release which goes across many layers of the Drone/Doom Metal spectrum which will also appeal to fans of the Sludge/Stoner Metal underground scene as well. The album is superbly produced and allows CARNWENNAN to play to their maximum technical abilities which produces first rate musical passages throughout the entire album.

This is an awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping record that could possibly become one of the best Drone Metal albums of the year. 

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Earsplit PR for the promo.

Lotus will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl via Darkest Records from Friday 31st May 2024.


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