Every month when I do one of these monthly round up intros, I hope that the next month would bear good tidings and that I’d have something uplifting to write about the world. But yet again, this month has been filled with natural calamities and escalating tensions among nations don’t seem to make things any easier. With all this doom and gloom, one can only hope to switch off one’s senses to reality. Fortunately we have some solid releases this month to offer us that mental getaway. So before I bring everyone’s mood down, here’s some kickass music to check out! ~ Shrivatsan R.
It turned out to be quite a mix at the month end list this time around. With equal parts big releases (Relapse, Prosthetic, Season of Mist etc) and independent outputs, there’s something here for everyone. Many of the releases highlighted here have a ‘name your price’ offer on their Bandcamps, so make sure to check out the music and buy the release if they please you. ~ Shrivatsan R
Can’t believe that half of this year is gone already. With an every increasing writing staff here at Transcending Obscurity, our tastes have become much more diverse as evidenced by this month end list here. As always, we have tried to keep things a bit obscure, so as to cover ground not often tread by metal blogs in general. Here’s what’s been keeping the TO scribes occupied over the past month. ~Shrivatsan R
Aether Realm (USA) – Tarot (Melodic Death / Folk Metal, Self Released)
Evolution is the key to the continued survival of a species. The same thing can be said about music. As the population of bands playing extreme music grows steadily, there is a need to branch out from the established paths to stand out from the throng. Many bands have realised this need for innovation and as a result, we see more thinning of boundaries between styles (both within metal and outside).
This series of articles has focused on such evolution within the grindcore spectrum, and here is #3 with a few more underground acts that are taking the style forward.
Three years have passed since we last heard from Vancouver’s BISON with their 2014 EP “1000 Needles.” In that time, these stoner/sludge metal veterans have made a few notable changes, including recruiting ex-3 Inches of Blood lead guitarist Shane Clark to handle bass duties, as well as deciding to record new material in their hometown instead of abroad. This introspective decision has resulted in a natural progression of their sound that doesn’t undermine what they do best. Now, with the band all set to release their fifth album, “YOU ARE NOT THE OCEAN YOU ARE THE PATIENT” via Pelagic Records, we are pleased to present the album’s walloping opening track, Until The Earth Is Empty.
Until The Earth Is Empty kicks off with a melodic stoner-doom hook that pulls you in like a swiftly ebbing tide. The melody repeats, following up with a meatier version that’s complemented by a midtempo backbeat. Thick, muscular riffs carry you forward through a headbanging verse, as dry shouts shift to hoarse, bestial roars for the chorus — a surging storm of crash cymbals and guitar-hammering quarter notes like boats crashing into jagged rocks. You’ll hear variations on subsequent repeated parts, adding flavor and replayability, ensuring you’ll find something new with each listen of Until The Earth Is Empty, like when the guitars pull back at the start of the second verse in order to let the bass shine. BISON knows how to write a song with stunning momentum, proven by an aggressive palm-muted bridge that leaps into a thundering downbeat solo section that crackles with retro fuzz. The chorus crests up again — all riffs, no vocals, seeming even more primal in its power — before crashing into you with an energetic downbeat version of the mammoth intro melody. Whew!
Until The Earth Is Empty shows that BISON’s return home was not misguided, as it’s shaping up to be among their strongest releases yet. You’ll still get vibes of U.S. stoner/sludge titans High on Fire or even early Mastodon, but these young bucks (calves?) aren’t content to simply imitate — BISON’s honest, authentic songwriting approach has enough inherent heaviness to crush cars into cubes without being reliant on the genre’s tropes. As the release of their fifth album comes ever closer, BISON will be charging full-speed ahead toward what’s sure to be a landmark release for the genre this year.
“YOU ARE NOT THE OCEAN YOU ARE THE PATIENT” releases June 23rd in Europe and July 7th in North America via Pelagic Records.
There have always been few labels peddling in doom metal dedicatedly and UK based Aesthetic Death label are one among them. In my early years, I used to refer to them as being Esoteric’s label (as they released majority of the band’s catalog) and in the last decade, have unearthed some absolute gems such as Eibon, Murkrat, Fatim Elisum, Wreck of the Hesperus and more. It made sense to throw more light on the overlooked but extremely high quality and seemingly passionate label and write about some of their newer, more relevant releases. Thanks to the contribution of the fine Transcending Obscurity webzine staff, we’re able to to put together a worthy feature highlighting this doom metal label. ~ Kunal Choksi (Editor-in-Chief)
If it is possible someday, I would make a clone of myself to just keep writing about the music I listen to, without having to pay heed to any of the real world responsibilities. But since that is not possible at the moment, real life does tend to get in the way of writing. This month I had to focus my attention on other things in the real world causing me to overlook most of the releases that came out in March. But looking at this huge list put together by my colleagues, one thing is clear. I have a lot of catching up to do. ~ Shrivatsan R.
So today we have the opportunity of doing a full album stream for the Spanish sludge/doom monsters Mothersloth on the respected Italian label for this kind of music, Argonauta Records. The music is of high quality, building up slowly but setting up a solid foundation of what’s to come. It’s immediately reminiscent of early Danzig but the doom influences seep in and make things interesting and heavier. Overall, it’s a smooth yet grainy affair, with some massive riffing going on to soaring vocals. The whole album resonates with an old school vibe but the sound isn’t necessary dated. It’s this melding of genres that lends to it a fresh feel, something wholly intriguing and charming. It’s been a while since I heard someone try and sing like Glenn Danzig, and even though the vocalist here isn’t exactly trying to imitate him, the influence is healthy and well sustained. The album maintains an uptempo plodding momentum and doesn’t wallow too much in the sludge trappings, and coupled with inspiring vocals, elevates it above hordes of other such bands.
‘Moon Omen’ comes out on March 3rd, 2017 and happens to be the band’s second full length album. Argonauta have a fine album to offer and fans of heavy metal/doom metal will be sure to derive some pleasure out of it. Stream the album in its entirety below and don’t forget to support the music if you like it!
Warcrab have been signed for a two-album deal via Transcending Obscurity Records. They uniquely combine death metal and sludge to create something absolutely powerful and memorable.
Transcending Obscurity label owner announces, “Most of you may have heard Warcrab‘s track in the latest label sampler, and it’s time to open pre-orders for their epic release ‘Scars of Aeons’ for the first time on CD. It merges the heaviness of death metal with the visceral groove of sludge and the result is astounding. It sounds immense and I’m glad to work with this band for not only this album but their upcoming one as well. Cheers to Jools Green, Shrivatsan (my deputy editor) and others for turning me on to this band!”
Warcrab member Paul “Budgie” Garbett adds, “Warcrab are over the moon to be able to finally release ‘Scars of Aeons’ to you all on CD. We have waited a long time for this to happen and are pleased to also tell you that not only is it coming out on CD but there is also going to be a very limited box set available with lots of cool Warcrab bits inside. We are delighted to be working with Transcending Obscurity Records on this release and there will be more to follow.”