Dismal Hollow: King Giant

12 Jacket (Gatefold - One Pocket) [GDOB2-30CH-001]Rating: 90%

In 2012, Heavy Metal rockers King Giant released “Dismal Hollow.” Although, not a local band, King Giant does hail from Virginia. Using styles of Heavy Metal, Blues and Southern Rock, this album really packs a punch. It’s smooth and clean, even with the dropped D tuning which gives the music a very deep sound. The overall sound is a great sounding album that blends several genres to create a style of Doom/Sludge Metal that stands alone. The vocals are a whiskey soaked style that just adds to the mood of the music.

The song structures a really good, focusing on traditional song structures of riffs, combined with intro, verse, chorus, and bridges. Lots of guitar action taking place as well. The riffs all sound good as do the leads. There are some very rich rhythm sections and awesome tempos. Lyrics deal with more of Appalachia themes. The musicianship is excellent!

Track listing:

Appomattox 6:46

Tale of Mathias 4:14

A Steward’s Prayer 5:43

Pistols and Penance 7:14

6 O’Clock Swill 6:24

The Fog 6:28

Road to Eleusis 4:24

O’ Drifter 6:17


In the Name of Suffering: Eyehategod

Rating: 85%

7209In 1990, and released in 1992, “In the Name of Suffering” by Eyehategod is the most primitive, doomy, muddy, and gritty sounding album that I’ve heard of in a long time. Many people skip over this important album for some reason. To me, this is one of Eyehategod’s most important albums in their catalog.

The musicianship is very tight. You have the tortured style screaming vocals done by Mike Williams. The ultra feedback, down-tuned, heavy, and distorted riff masters Jimmy Bower & Mark Schultz on guitar. Their sound alone is what makes this album sound gritty and muddy. Then you have bassist Steve Dale and drummer Joe LaCaze.

Musically, again the sound is very raw. The song tempos are drawn out which is why it gets the label Doom Metal. The timing and tempos set by the band are aggressive. Nothing like this was released up until Eyehategod did it. If you like Sludge Metal mixed with Doom Metal and you prefer the sound to be as raw as raw can get, then this is a good album to try. The guitar sound alone is very course and grainy. I do like the Hardcore Punk influences that you can hear, here and there.

Track listing:

1. “Depress” 4:58
2. “Man Is Too Ignorant to Exist” 2:37
3. “Shinobi” 5:15
4. “Pigs” 2:59
5. “Run It into the Ground” 3:10
6. “Godsong” 2:44
7. “Children of God” 3:10
8. “Left to Starve” 3:09
9. “Hostility Dose” 2:43
10. “Hit a Girl” 4:18

Paegan Terrorism Tactics: Acid Bath

Rating: 90%

220px-PaeganTerrorismTacticsIn 1996, Acid Bath released their second and last full length album “Paegan Terrorism Tactics.” To me this is a forgotten or very little known gem with regards to the Sludge Metal genre. It featured vocalist Dax Riggs, guitarists Mike Sanchez & Sammy “Pierre” Duet, bassist Audie Pitre, and drummer Jimmy Kyle.

I remember when I first heard these guys, which was this album here. I amazed at how good the vocals sound and how clear the distorted guitars were. It wasn’t as sludgy sounding as Sludge Metal should be. The heavy and mid tempo style basically had a Doom Metal structure, but there was a southern metal influence to it.

Musically, this is a dark album from the contents of the vocals to the overall song structure themselves. There is a creepy sense of humor to some of the song structures, “Graveflower” is one of those examples with the introduction and verse. There are some nice guitar riffs, followed by drumming. The sound and production is really clean. You can tell that these guys really put in the effort as there isn’t much filler within this album. It’s a shame that there isn’t more material out there on the band as these guys were part of the rise of Sludge Metal.

Track listing:

1. “Paegan Love Song” 5:40
2. “Bleed Me an Ocean” 6:15
3. “Graveflower” 6:07
4. “Diäb Soulé” 4:34
5. “Locust Spawning” 4:40
6. “Old Skin” 1:11
7. “New Death Sensation” 6:44
8. “Venus Blue” 4:42
9. “13 Fingers” 4:10
10. “New Corpse” 3:22
11. “Dead Girl” (ends at 7:23; hidden track “The Beautiful Downgrade” begins at 22:29) 24:08

The Art Of Self Defense: High On Fire

Rating: 90%

Artofselfdefense.jpgHigh On Fire, wow! What can I say? I love this band. They are one of my favorite Sludge/Stoner Metal bands. I love the sound that is produced by these three guys and the sound has gotten even better since their release of this album in 2000.

Musically, it’s bold. It’s got a great sound that is deep and aggressive. The bass and guitars have this harmonizing sound. Mix that with progressive drumming with whiskey drenched vocals and you have one badass Heavy Metal band.

The musicianship is tight. Matt Pike, throws out some great riffs. In fact, he throws out riff after riff with his drop D tuning, with the toned down sound and aggressive style. His leads and solos are far out. I just love the heaviness of his guitar. It’s got spunk and it even has a bit of atmosphere and psychedelic influences. His sound is almost like Black Sabbath’s “Volume 4” on steroids. His vocal approach is influenced by none other than Lemmy of Motorhead. George Rice thunders out the bass lines. His style is clearly a leading element of the deep rich sound. He does perform plenty of scales that  link the guitar and drums together. Behind the drum kit, is Des Kensel. His tempos, beats, and progressive style on the drums is what makes the music so good. You have to respect High On Fire for blending the instrumentation and creating such great melodies.

Track listing:

“Baghdad” – 5:15
“10,000 Years” – 7:53
“Blood from Zion” – 4:55
“Last” – 6:36
“Fireface” – 8:35
“Master of Fists” – 10:03

Dopethrone: Electric Wizard

Rating: 90%

1530.jpgIn 2000, Electric Wizard released “Dopethrone.” “Dopethrone” is a Doom Metal album that features Jus Oborn on vocals, guitars and all effects, bassist Tim Bagshaw, and drummer Mark Greening. This is regarded as their best album.

The sound of Electric Wizard can be best described as sludgy, gritty, fuzzy, spacey and downright muddy. This is what makes Electric Wizard in my opinion, a great Doom Metal band. They take elements of Sludge Metal and Stoner Metal, combining those styles with traditional Doom Metal. The end result is an album that sounds raw with a big gritty finish to it.

The song structures are long and drawn out as they should be for this genre of music. There’s lots of audio clips and weird sound effects that gives this a more modern sound to the music vs. the traditional Doom Metal bands like Trouble and Candlemass. To best describe the overall sound, song structures, and production, I would almost use the words fuzzy, gritting, dirty, muddy, and thick. Lyrically, the album is well constructed.

Musicianship is very well thought out by the band. The guitar work has a ton of heavy, slow crunching, and heavily distorted riffs. There’s nothing polished with regards to the guitar. There are some solos and fill ins which do help to break the rhythm from bogging down.

Setting the tempo and timing of the music is the bass and drums. The bass is deep and heavy riding along side of the guitar. I has a thick sound like almost tar and is surprising clearly heard and not being drowned out.

The drums are complex using a ton of off beats staying course with a more atmospheric Doom style. The drums lines, still with the usual slower timing gives the band a major boost with regards to that thick and heavy sound. I will agree that at times, the drums seem to be almost drowned out by the guitar and bass.

The vocals are amazingly clean and polished. Although, they seem to be placed further in the background of the final mix. They have a pretty grimy sound to it as if they were submerged in mud. The vocals are an even keel of clean and screams, but without the harshness that one would expect to hear in modern Metal.

Track listing:

1. “Vinum Sabbathi” 3:05
2. “Funeralopolis” 8:43
3. “Weird Tales””Electric Frost””Golgotha””Altar of Melektaus” 15:05
4. “Barbarian” 6:29
5. “I, The Witchfinder Aka Las Torturas de la Inquisicion” 11:04
6. “The Hills Have Eyes” 0:46
7. “We Hate You” 5:08
8. “Dopethrone” 20:48

Salt the Wound: U.S. Christmas

Rating: 85%

usc.jpgIf you’re into psychedelic rock, sludge metal, and folk of the modern day, then U.S. Christmas may be a band worth looking into. I was turned onto the band when I heard the song “Black Snake” which captured my mind. The atmosphere of the music was unbelievable. There was some sort of aggression to the music and yet soothing. It was like listening to Pink Floyd mixed with Hawkwind with some Jefferson Airplane and Neil Young thrown into the mix.

U.S. Christmas is led by the talented vocalist and guitarist Nate Hall. Violinist Meghan Mulhearn, bassist Josh Holt and drummer B.J. Graves make up the rest of the North Carolina band.

Musically, this album is raw, powerful and energetic. The musicianship is very good. This album features excellent guitar riffs and kick ass leads. Several great bass lines and solid drumming round out the album’s sound. Nate’s vocal work is decent.  U.S. Christmas uses a lot of influences and places it all into their blend of music which makes this band very unique. The harmonies are wonderfully established to the point its almost melodic. Melodies and tempos vary and are not drawn out. Production of the album is decent. I would definitely recommend this album to anyone who is into this style of music.

Track listing:

Lazarus 6:27
Death By Horses 4:54
New War 5:24
Devil’s Flower 5:18
Thin The Herd 4:06
Norpo 5:40
Black Snake 7:29
Queen Of The World 4:11
Silent Tongue 12:23
Black Lung 4:45

Set the Dial: Black Tusk

Rating: 85%

black.jpgIn 2011, Black Tusk released “Set the Dial.” The trio of musicians on this album consist of vocalist & guitarist  Andrew Fidler, bassist & vocalist Jonathan Athon, and drummer & vocalist James May. Together, these three musicians blend hardcore punk and heavy metal into what the band refers to as “Swamp Metal” or what the world has dubbed, as “Sludge Metal.”

I was introduced to Black Tusk when I heard the song “Ender of All.” At that point, I ran out and picked up the album in Chambersburg. I love everything about this album. The hardcore punk style. The heaviness of the guitars, bass and drums. The sludgy sound of the music. I also love the duel and sometimes the triple vocal barrage from song to song that each person of the band puts forth.

This album has a little bit of something for everyone. If you’re into hardcore punk, you’ll immediately hear from start to finish. If you’re into heavy metal, you’ll notice the heaviness of the riffs and this album has plenty of riffs. If you’re into fast tempos and short songs, this album is for. If you’re into songs that rock and are drawn out, well there are a few on here. This album even has some lead guitar work as well.

For a Sludge Metal band, these guys diffidently fused hardcore punk within their sound. If you’re a fan of the doom metal or death metal elements that make up the other side of sludge metal, you won’t find it here.

Track listing:

1.Brewing the Storm 01:56
2. Bring Me Darkness 03:05
3. Ender of All 04:39
4. Mass Devotion 02:39
5. Carved in Stone 03:35
6. Set the Dial to Your Doom 02:58
7. Resistor 04:27
8. This Time is Divine 02:56
9. Growing Horns 03:26
10. Crossroads and Thunder 04:20