Jex Thoth – Blood Moon Rise

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy reviews the new album from Jex Thoth titled Blood Moon Rise, released via I Hate Records.



1. To Bury 02:54
2. The Places You Walk 05:05
3. The Divide 06:38
4. Into A Sleep 04:07
5. And The River Ran Dry 01:13
6. Keep Your Weeds 05:50
7. Ehjä 08:17
8. The Four Of Us Are Dying 03:59
9. Psyar 08:33

In the time since their debut release, Jex Thoth’s entire line-up has changed, save for the eponymous frontwoman. Despite this, there’s a remarkable continuity style in their releases, hinting at Jex’s total dominance over the band’s sound. Lush, mellow and haunting soundscapes, sinuous, melodic guitar lines and a certain folksy, ritualistic vibe – all the same elements are in place, and looming large over all of them is that voice, surely one of the finest in the whole female-fronted doom/occult rock scene.

Personally, I find Jex Thoth’s sound just a bit lacking in edge – I prefer her Sabbath Assembly project – but there’s no denying that this album is a fine collection of songs. To my ears, it lacks something in the quality of the individual songs, with nothing approaching the majesty of ‘Warrior Woman’ or the sprawl of the Equinox Suite, highlights of the debut album. Indeed, the first two tracks seem to flash by before they have time to fully develop, and this seems to be the case again with a later song, ‘The Four Of Us Are Dying’. The ominous strains of ‘The Divide’ are a highlight with its keening organ and ultra-doomy guitars. ‘Keep Your Weeds’ is another stand out, with a mesmerizing vocal and gorgeous interwoven guitar and organ lines. ‘Ehja’ is possibly the centerpiece of the album, an extended, traditional doom-influenced track that provides Jex with ample space to weave her shadowed tales.

‘Psyar’, another epic track, closes out the album. Its overall atmosphere is mysterious, velvety and darkly inviting, with an epic guitar solo, yet somehow the specifics feel a bit too static, a little lacking in granularity, and that’s the charge I’d level against the whole album. It’s superb mood music, great for lulling yourself into a sort of psychedelic-spacey-paganistic trance, but there aren’t enough memorable tunes or stand-out instrumental passages. It’s a fantastic backdrop, but the details often don’t really resolve on close scrutiny. It’s still a fine album for what it is, of course and might even be one of your favorites of the year if you’re not looking for what it doesn’t offer and are into all the many pleasures it does contain.



Goatess – Goatess

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy reviews Goatess‘ self titled debut released via Svart Records.



01. Know Your Animal
02. Alpha Omega
03. Ripe
04. Full Moon at Noon
05. Oracle Pt. 1: The Mist
06. Oracle Pt. 2
07. King One
08. Tentacles of Zen

Doom vocalist Chritus Linderson is on a roll. He took a hiatus from music, then returned to the doom fray at the helm of Lord Vicar, the brainchild of Kimi Karki (ex-Reverend Bizarre), releasing at least one album that will be counted among the true masterpieces of the doom genre in the 21st century. Now, he’s launched another band, Goatess, and its first album may well be another addition to that list of instant doom classics.

What sets this album apart from a lot of traditional doom revivalists, apart, that is, from the credentials brought to the table by Chritus? Most of all, the music. Yes, it’s clearly rooted in traditional metal, orthodox doom and a snifter or two of vintage stoner metal, to say nothing of the 70s hard rocking legacy underlying all these styles. But there’s nothing staid or stale about the way this band approaches its idiom. Rather than a whiff of mothballs, these songs evoke the heady, ozone-laced atmosphere that precedes a thrilling thunderstorm.

Consider the opening track, ‘Know Your Animal’. Commencing with a pedal-point riff that’s pure traditional metal, it moves into a power chord driven, fuzz-saturated refrain that cleverly works in references to the original melody. Chritus sings like a more craggy, yet soaring Ozzy, openly referencing the batmuncher’s delivery on ‘Never Say Die’, yet the song and the singer retain more original identity than the Orchids of the world. ‘Alpha Omega’ starts with a riff that is pure traditional doom: slow, melancholy and earth-shaking. Chritus cuts in with bluesy, confrontational vocals over a lurching, staccato riff, and then launches into a plaintive, wailing chorus over a vast, melodic riff. The changes are so organic, so fitting that the song pulls you along effortlessly. Songwriting of this caliber goes beyond questions of influence and style; its sheer excellence cannot help but draw you in.

Then there’s ‘Ripe’, where the bass introduces an instantly memorable, slow, bluesy figure that the guitarist then picks up, adding depth and warmth. We’ve heard this gambit  before, but the riff in question is so good, the delivery so assured, and the subsequent changes so effective that there is no questioning the validity of this old-school-rooted approach or the freshness which inspired music-making like this brings to the mix. I could continue praising each song in a dreary track-by-track commentary, but let me just call attention to the kraut-rinsed jamming on ‘King One’ and the slightly Eastern, very psychedelic touches on ‘Tentacles of Zen’.

It’s hard to believe this band began as a weekend jam thing. There’s not a single throwaway element: all the songs stretch over 7 minutes (with a solitary exception, which is anyway part of a longer song-suite), and that running time isn’t the product of shapeless noodling but of satisfying, long-form structures packed with memorable melodies, riffs and vocals. It isn’t just a Chritus showcase, although the range and variety he displays is dazzling – Niklas is a versatile guitarist with mountains of feel and Findus and Kenta prove to be a dynamic, tasteful rhythm section, always wonderfully idiomatic. Goatess shows the would-be old school doomsters of the world how it’s done: not with slavish imitations of the past but by building on a legacy in an imaginative, individualistic way, neither intimidated by nor disdainful of influences.  In other words, it’s a bloody good doom-metal-hard-rock-stoner-psych album and you really ought to go give it a listen.

Dark Buddha Rising – Dakhmandal

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy reviews the new album from Dark Buddha Rising titled Dakhmandal, released via Svart Records.


1. D
2. K
3. H
4. M
5. N
6. L

Mark your calendars: June 7th, 2013 is going to be the day a new highwater mark is achieved in the drone/doom/sludge space. That’s the day Dark Buddha Rising’s new album, ‘Dakhmandal’ drops.

Few artists emerging from this space have made this kind of impact on me since, oh Orthodox and Khanate before them. When I first heard of Dark Buddha Rising, I assumed they’d be a slightly kraut-y, psychedelic/stoner jam outfit like the excellent but very different My Sleeping Karma. If you need to take a moment to shake your head in dismay at the shallowness of my thought processes, go ahead, I’ll wait. Oh good, you’re back. Well, when I heard Dark Buddha Rising’s previous album, 2011’s ‘Abyssolute Transfinite’, I realized how wrong I was. This is hermetic music, obscure and even oppressive, yet with a compelling, mesmeric atmosphere. Sparse, deconstructed passages co-exist with supermassive, dense sequences that feel like sludge metal played inside a black hole. The final impression is one of incredible heaviness, but in a ritualistic and leftfield manner.

Dakhmandal ably carries on with the band’s campaign of esoteric sonic persecution, refining it to a new peak of majesty and authority. This is completely uncompromising music, music that you have to work towards understanding, and that can be an incredibly refreshing experience after the wash of US sludge bands miming the sounds of post-peak Mastodon or Baroness. If you’re at all into heavy music, you don’t always want to be pulled along by hooks, accessible melodies and catchy vocals. Sometimes you need to listen to music that is shaped by individualism, integrity and some very twisted yet absolutely brilliant and original sensibilities.

If so, the cycle of songs on this album will serve as a series of destinations on a grueling but rewarding sonic journey. These songs may well stand on their own, but it’s clear that they were meant to be listened to as a suite.



The opening song, ‘D’ begins with the faintest hints of sound – the stray feedback artifact, a distant almost-drone that keens to itself in darkness. Three minutes in, a simple bass pulse emerges out of this mysterious soundscape. The ritual has begun. Melody starts to insinuate itself, ever so subtly, into this realm of antediluvian rhythm and drone. The claustral atmosphere opens out, as if we’re emerging from a cave into bright starlight, into the kind of atmosphere created by an Om song. ‘K’ plunges us into the world of craggy, overdriven guitars and sludgy riffs. Hollow, incantatory vocals invite us deeper into the mysteries of an unfolding catechism. The song shifts gear into a drawn-out spacey, downtempo jam before building up to a sludgy finale. ‘H’ is another serving of mountainous riffs, moving at geological speed, like a slightly less ponderous Khanate. Aggressive stasis defines this song, as opposed to the shifting musical textures of the previous tracks. This is a Sargasso Sea of sound that is eventually swallowed in mist and squall. ‘M’ strips away the sludge metal appurtenances to take us into a vaulted chamber where a mutated organ vies with other droning layers. Then, a simple, pulsating guitar melody signals a shift into something that I can best describe as shamanic. Seriously, nevermind the Morrison bollocks, this is the real deal. At times, the warm, sunshiny, mystical feel of this song reminds me of those masters of the drone, Earth, but more occult and less Cormac McCarthy. The spirits have certainly been invited to this feast. The song closes out with some wall-to-wall riffing and vocals that are reminiscent of Yob’s more mantra-like moments. ‘N’ continues mine the same vein of monumental riffs, cavernous atmosphere and transcendental sludge. How do you close out an album like this? The last track, ‘L’ takes its time coalescing out of a wash of feedback and almost disjointed drumming. Ominous, fervent vocal proclamations issue from a preacher’s pulpit, but one that is obviously stationed in some cavernous subterranean cathedral to an unknown deity. Distant, soaring choruses float behind veils of sheer noise – and then there’s a simple, insistent groove which emerges as a focus for a pulsing, hypnotic song with weird chants and harsh invocations hovering just out of reach.  It’s a monumental ending, full of restraint, power and an unusual widdershins grace.

Some have described this music as dirge-like, but I think it’s more than that. Something is being celebrated here, but it is not of the daylit world we imagine we inhabit. This is bigger than Satanism or paganism. It’s an initiation into the mysteries of the sonic arcana. After three self-released albums, this is Dark Buddha Rising’s first album to be released by an external label – Svart Records. Credit is due to Svart for having the vision to take on this 80-minute exercise in sound as ritual. This is a band and a record that deserves a wider audience, although the uncompromising intensity and uniqueness of their sound necessarily imposes a limit on that audience.


Evangelist – Doominicanes

Today we have Jayaprakash Satyamurthy reviewing the new album from Evangelist titled Doominicanes, released via Doomentia Records.


1. Blood Curse
2. Pain and Rapture
3. Deadspeak
4. To Praise, to Bless, to Preach
5. Militis Fidelis Deus

Ah, the children of Candlemass, what beautiful music they make! Evangelist lack the prog edge of Solitude Aeturnus or Forsaken, or the raw Satanic appeal of the lesser-known Angel Of Damnation, instead channeling the lugubrious essence of classic Candlemass songs like ‘Solitude’ and ‘Samarithan’. When I heard their debut album, ‘In Partibus Infidelium’ I was struck by the skill, expressiveness and melodic beauty of the lead vocals, very much in the tradition of Johan Langqvist, rather than Messiah Marcolin’s more tremolo-laced vocals, as much as the lead guitar work. In that sense, the band was able to compensate to some extent for the stately majesty that characterizes their songs – a stateliness that verges on the static, without transcending into the profound dolor of funeral doom.



It’s much the same story on the follow-up, the somewhat cheesily-titled ‘Doominicanes’. The songs here are filled with great, long-lined, melancholy melodies, extended and well-crafted guitar solos and emotive, tuneful vocals. The only problem is that there isn’t very much distinctive here – there are few melodies and hooks that stand out, and very little change in pace from song to song, leave alone within songs. In this sense, they may described as aiming for the monumental pacing of Reverend Bizarre, but the more bleak, stripped-down riffing style practiced by that band was a better fit for this approach, lending it a befitting, bottom-heavy heaviness. This kind of epic doom, however, is more overtly rooted in classic metal, especially NWOBHM, and as such it needs a wider dynamic range to bring out its full scope.

There are some highlights – notably ‘Deadspeak’ which has a few interesting melodic turns and a relatively catchy chorus. The last song, ‘Militis Fidelis Deus’ also reaches a plateau of epic grandeur. And none of the other material is ever less than pleasing in its musicianship and melody. It’s just not varied enough or impactful enough in its sameness of effect. It’s a great album for the die-hard traditional doom addict who needs something to listen to in between revisiting the greats of the genre, but this group of doom evangelists need to add a few new strains to their psalm book if they want to make a convert of me.

Inter Arma – Sky Burial

Today we have Mohammad Kabeer reviewing the new album from Inter Arma titled Sky Burial released via Relapse Records.



1. The Survival Fires
2. The Long Road Home (Iron Gate)
3. The Long Road Home
4. Destroyer
5. ‘sblood
6. Westward
7. Love Absolute
8. Sky Burial


Often  you find that Metal  seems to   push itself  towards  a particular cage, and doesn’t  even  try to come out of it , sometimes to create something  that will appeal  to the  mainstream  audiences, sometimes  because  of the narrow-mindedness of the musicians  and fans themselves  and sometimes because it just doesn’t  want to . Once in a while however you do come across a band that changes things, Inter Arma is that band .


Stream the entire album from the player below


Inter Arma is a five piece from  Richmond Virginia,  consisting of T.J. Childers(Drums) Steven Russel (Guitars)  Trey Dalton (Guitars) Mike Paparo (vocals) and Jon koerkes ( bass). The band’s sound is very hard to categorize in one single word, the best way to describe it would be   black/sludge/doom metal that is strongly influenced by psychedelic rock   but that barely scratches the surface. One word that describes this album perfectly is rich, both in terms  of production, which  encompasses  a really thunderous, deep  drum sound  and also   multiple layers of guitar tracks,  and in terms of the actual  performance  which  dosen’t really stick to one formula or genre for that matter. The Survival Fires  mixes   avante-garde black metal  with  crushing sludge while  Sky burial   does the same, except mixing it with really melancholic rock ,  whereas you  have   less extreme tracks   like The Long Road Home(Iron Gate). The long road home and  Love Absolute  which  have more of a psychedelic  vibe,   mixing  spacey  effects   with simple  acoustic  guitar .  And if that’s not all there are  tracks like  ‘sblood  which is driven  by very tribal  drumming, mainly on the toms  accompanied  by  really mystical  guitar work  that sounds almost like a didgeridoo and  Destroyer which has really buzzing ,hypnotic  almost drone like guitar work accompanied  by simple minimalistic drums, which  reminds of Venus in Furs by  Velvet underground.

All of these factors make Inter Arma a challenging yet quite intriguing listen; these guys are doing something different and thinking out of the box.  This is definitely an album that I think every  music  fan will enjoy regardless of their  preference in music .