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Sludgelord (Steve's) Top 25 Records of 2013

2013 is almost at an end and it has provided ourselves with some brilliant albums to review this year. As before in 2011 and 2012 here is my Top 25 Records of 2013.

I know some of you may disagree with my list but this has been the hardest list I have put together so far. I have re-written this list so many times that I have lost count. So this is the final version that I am submitting.

Nearly all of the albums have been linked so you can read our thoughts on the album.

12. Wounded Giant - Lighting Medicine

Lets hope that 2014 brings it's own fair share of awesome albums to check out. Roll on 2014!!!

Interview with Cat Jones - (Writer, PR Guru and Doom Metal Historian)

My next guest on Sludgelord is not a musician or part of band. But still has a very important part to play in the realm of Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal.
Cat Jones aka Head Honcho at Southern Cross PR, Respected Music Journalist for Fuzz + Hellfire, MetalSucks, Willamette Week, The Portland Passive Aggressive, Oregon Music News, Desertfest London and others.
Yeah Cat knows her stuff. She is a self proclaimed Part-time doom-metal historian. With that much talent and credibility behind her I just had to interview Cat. As she has made quite a name for herself with her superb PR work for such great bands as Sons Of Huns, Groan, Blackwitch Pudding and Chron Goblin to name but a few.
So I thought it would be cool to throw the spotlight on this fine young talented lady. And Cat has kindly agreed to talk to us at Sludgelord. So lets get started.

 Hi Cat. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today?
Hello! And thank YOU! I'm honored that you guys would think of me. Surely you must have meant a different Cat Jones.

Can you please give our readers of how you became involved with the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene, as you have had quite a varied and eventful career so far?
Well, it's my parents' faults, really. When I was about six years old, they let me borrow their copy of Abbey Road by The Beatles and I played that thing exclusively for weeks. I played it so much that even my mom said, "ENOUGH ALREADY!" Say what you want, but as far as I'm concerned, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" was the first stoner/doom song ever written. It's so slow, hypnotic, sexy and, well, heavy--everything a good stoner metal song should be. As a kid I was also constantly surrounded by bands like Cream, Deep Purple, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and all other foundations of heavy classic rock, and it always seemed like that kind of music was designed to make you feel good. I've never had any patience for music that makes you mope.
Fast forward to me as a teenager: Purchasing Songs For The Deaf by Queens Of The Stone Age changed my entire life. In a time when, for whatever god-awful reason, the whole world was obsessed with emo, slit-your-wrists music, Queens Of The Stone Age sort of blasted into the mainstream spotlight and said, "What's up, dickheads? We're real men and shit's about to get heavy." I remember buying that record the day it came out--I was 14--and taking it home and listening to it again and again, obsessed with how completely perfect it was from start to finish. It became a launch pad for me to go back and figure out where all of their influences were. From there I learned about Sleep, Man's Ruin Records, and the Palm Desert bands like Kyuss, Unida, Hermano, Fu Manchu, etc. When I started yearning for more gnarly, doomy stuff, I turned to bands like Electric Wizard, Candlemass, Pentagram, and all of that.
So anyway, now I'm 25, and after going dabbling in school for journalism, philosophy and music it just made sense to start writing about what I know. I've traveled to Palm Desert three times, I've read every book on the subject I can get my hands on, I've visited the roots of Black Sabbath in Birmingham, England where Tony Iommi had his accident and they started it all, and when I moved to Portland, where the scene is huge right now, it was easy to start writing pretty much exclusively about music that derives from the stoner/doom/sludge stuff because that's what I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by.
I know your work through various magazines and publications but recently through your awesome Southern Cross PR Agency. What made you decide to go into PR Relations work? In addition, was that an easy decision to make?
Ultimately, all I ever want to do in life is shout from the rooftops about music I love. So after about five years of doing that through writing, it sort of dawned on me that there are other ways of making that into a career. After working directly with publicists on the journalist end of things, and hearing feedback from bands about their various PR reps, it became pretty clear what works and what doesn't. I also volunteered as the media and promotions manager for the Davis Music Fest in my hometown of Davis, California for three years, so I had a general idea of how that side of the business works. It was always sort of in the back of my mind, and I was doing all kinds of freelance band-bio writing, taking press photos and sending off the occasional press release, but it was really hard to get the word out that I do that sort of thing without having a business name behind it.
Finally, in August of this year, it was Ryan Northrop, the drummer of Sons Of Huns, who gave me the kick in the ass I needed. He posted on Facebook, "How much do music publicists cost, anyway?" I messaged him immediately and said, "You know what? Give me a day to build a website. I'll be your publicist."
Why the name Southern Cross? Any specific meaning behind it?
Oh man, I'm so excited that you asked. It's my parents' faults again--They are high school teachers and I'm an only child, so when I was a kid, they'd take me on all kinds of trips. We went to Europe, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska and all over the US and Canada to National Parks and whatnot. It's not like we had overflowing amounts of money or something, it's just that they worked hard and chose to spend their money on travel instead of material things. I'm so glad they did.
Anyway, I've always been a really extroverted person, so it was tough for me to be alone in the back of a car or whatever for that long--sometimes up to six weeks at a time with no other kids around. So to occupy my mind, I'd obsess over whatever music my parents were playing. Sometimes they'd tell me about it and sometimes I'd figure it out myself, but I always wanted to get to the bottom of what every song was about. One song in particular always struck a chord with me, and that was "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills & Nash. It's about a guy who sails around the world trying to forget about a woman who broke his heart, and the only things he has left to remind himself of her are the songs he sings about her. There's a line that says, "I have my ship and all her flags are a-flyin' / She is all that I have left and music is her name." And the constellation called the southern cross, which is only visible from the southern hemisphere, has always provided a lot of comfort for sailors who have been gone from their families for months on end. I guess I've always loved how that song is rich with metaphors of music being a source of comfort and a reason for carrying on.
I actually got that particular line in the song tattooed on my arm a few years ago--half because it's so beautiful and half because it's an homage to my parents (even though they'd really rather I didn't have tattoos) because if it weren't for them, I never would have fallen in love with music as I have. So when I decided to start a PR firm, I thought for a second about a name, looked down at my arm and went, "Ah! Southern Cross PR. Perfect."
You recently told me you have only been going for 6 months or so. WOW. Great work. Was it hard going starting up your own PR Company? What hurdles or challenges did you have when creating Southern Cross PR?
Thank you! I'm just so grateful for the bands who have worked with me. It's all been quite a learning experience, as all of life tends to be, and they've helped me as much as I've helped them. For the most part it was pretty easy having a general plan of what to do because I've been in the business long enough to observe how other publicists do it, but I'd say the biggest hurdle is learning how to manage the business side of things: Contracts, money, how much to charge, etc.

You have a stunning collection of clients already. Sons Of Huns, Groan, Blackwitch Pudding and possibly a few others I don’t know about. How did you hook up with them? Did you use past contacts or did they contact you?
Well, I'm lucky enough to always be surrounded by musicians in my life, so the word gets out pretty easily that I do PR work, especially with bands who know me well enough to hopefully see that I know what I’m doing.
I had been a big fan of Sons Of Huns for years, ever since I came to Portland for vacation before I moved here and saw them play a show with Witch Mountain. When I moved to Portland, I got to know them a bit better and, like I said, Ryan was the one who really inspired me to do PR in the first place. Groan have been dear, dear friends of mine for awhile, and we had quite a few adventures together when I visited England last spring. I was really excited when they wanted me to work with them on their new EP because, seriously, how can anyone say no to Groan? I also met Chron Goblin in England when they played Desertfest, though they're from Canada, and we actually camped in Washington to see Black Sabbath together earlier this year, too. I met Blackwitch Pudding through our mutual Portland friends in the band Black Pussy. 
Do you have a set batch of rules and ideals when selecting your PR Clients? Or do you listen to the music and if you dig it you agree to represent them?
Yes. I have three rules. 1) I have to absolutely love the band. There's no way I'm going to accept money to promote a band I don't actually believe in. 2) I have to personally be able to attest to the good-hearted personalities and work ethic of the band members themselves. If they're jerks or they don't work hard, there is no sense in me trying to get people to like them. 3) This might be my favorite and most important rule: I have to be able to throw out the professional talk occasionally and bro down with a band. In this scene, we all go to the same shows and know the same people, so it would be ridiculous for me to have certain people who can't talk to me as a friend when the time is right.
So ultimately, if you're a really talented band full of wonderful, hard-working people and we can occasionally drink beer, cuss and talk about life, then you're golden.
We all have a musical journey of some sort. I started being a Dance/Rave Fan in my younger years before moving onto Grunge, Hard Rock and then Sludge/Stoner/Doom. What were your musical tastes when you were growing up?
Ultimately, heavy classic rock has been an overarching favorite my whole life and always will be, but I also still go through phases of underground hip hop, new wave/goth, post-punk--the list goes on forever. And, oh my god, GRUNGE. I used to want to marry Chris Cornell so bad. Still would. And any Fiona Apple record any time will make me happy. And anyone who knows me well knows that I have a completely non-secret love for Kanye West. I think it's really stupid that it appears to be hip to hate him right now. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was one of the greatest albums ever made and no amount of him being an egotistical asshole will ever change that.

Which bands and musicians do you currently listen to now? Any particular faves.
I've been spinning Ancient Warlocks' self-titled debut nonstop since I got it a couple of months ago. God, that record is perfect. And Windhand's first record, which I just picked up the other night when I saw them with High On Fire. I'm also digging pretty much everything on Portland's Eolian Empire label, especially Drunk Dad's Morbid Reality. That label is a huge force to be reckoned with in the Pacific Northwest and everywhere right now and I suspect it will just continue to get better. 

I also did a big interview with Aaron Edge of Lumbar recently, so I've grown very attached to The First And Last Days Of Unwelcome. And I know these guys are a Sludgelord favorite as well--War Wolf! Those guys RULE. Also, anything on Good To Die Records—Monogamy Party, Sandrider, Gaytheist—they’re all amazing. Oh man, and the new Whores record, Clean. Can’t get enough of that. I’m sure there are many more that I’m forgetting right now.
And as I said earlier, I don't do PR for bands I don't absolutely love, so Groan's Ride The Snake EP, Blackwitch Pudding's Taste The Pudding, Sons Of Huns' Banishment Ritual, and Chron Goblin's Life For The Living are all ones consistently blasting out of my speakers, too.
You’re visiting the UK in 2014 for Desertfest. Have you been to Desertfest before or any other foreign festivals? If so which ones have been your favourite?
Well a 2014 UK visit is actually up in the air. I suppose I won't know for sure until a couple of months beforehand. I sure hope to make it, though! It's looking like Stumpfest, another KILLER festival I work closely with in Portland, is going to be that same weekend. Really tough decision--and staying here is also much cheaper. So we'll see.
As for last year, yeah, I went to Desertfest 2013 and I have never been more happy in my entire life. That was heaven on Earth. There are no words. Someday, when I eventually pull my head out of the clouds, I'll likely write a short story about it.
The Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene is more popular than ever. I have noticed bands getting more recognition from the wider Rock/Metal Scene. Have you noticed anything different since the last 12 months or so?
Yes! In fact, that's one of the reasons I started the online magazine Fuzz + Hellfire. I am so intrigued and inspired by the fact that the music I've always loved is finally getting recognition that I want to interview everyone and write down the history as it's happening. Who would have thought this kind of music would be popular? It makes me so excited for what the future holds for rock and roll.

What things do you love most from the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene?
I love the fact that almost every single person I meet, from all over the entire world, seems to be really down to earth. It's funny that the outside world seems to have this perception of metal heads as being these hyper-aggressive, angry people. Maybe there have been some trends in metal in the past that have lent themselves more to that type, but I can definitely say that our peers in the doom scene listen to music and go to shows to feel GOOD. 

It's the heaviest music can possibly be without being negative or sad. These are generous, kind, huggable human beings who just want to get rowdy and rock out. And most of these people are doing it in addition to their taxing jobs and paying for all of their own equipment, recording time, and transportation 100% by themselves. The kind of motivation to make things happen is astounding. I'm not sure we could possibly ask for a better group of people.
What things frustrate you most from the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene?
I'm actually really glad you asked me that. There is one thing that has really been frustrating me lately. While I can't express how glad I am that vinyl is popular again (and I love to buy vinyl myself), this "limited-edition, collector's-item, comes-in-five-different-colors-and-a-crazy-case" thing in getting out of hand. Make a run of an album, as many as your operation can afford, and when you sell out, make a second run. Maybe sell a few test pressings. But if you’re going out of your way to create a shortage of something so people feel like one is more coveted or valuable than another, then you are the Beanie Babies of metal. This phenomenon is detracting from the main point of everything this scene stands for, which is minimalistic, no-fucks-given rock and roll. Especially when the band might not even be that good AND the record just came out this year.
The bottom line is that if you somehow feel smug that you own something someone else doesn't, then you're a snob. End of story. Rock and roll has no place for snobs. Give me two sides of a simple black record I paid $20 or less for and a few friends in my living room to blast the hell out of it with me and that's all I really need.
I should add that it doesn't mean I'm not pleasantly surprised when I open a record and it's a crazy color, but packaging shouldn't ever be the main motivator when purchasing music.

As you know, we are massive Vinyl Heads here at Sludgelord. Do you have any cool records in your collection?
Well, it's sort of along the same lines as what I was saying a minute ago, but I think the only thing that should make a record "valuable" is how much you love it. Or if it happens to be particularly old and rare and in good condition. Or if you happen to have a really great memory of playing it that you relive every time you open it up. So yeah, I have a few cool ones but I guess my definition for what that means might be different than someone else.
A few years ago I went to Third Man Records in Nashville and picked up Jeff The Brotherhood Live at Third Man. I especially love it because it has their song called "I'm A Freak" which is one of my favorite songs of all time and it's not on any of their full-lengths. Kill Em All by Metallica and Cowboys From Hell by Pantera always make me happy when I play them because they were given to me by my best friend Kate, and they remind me of thrashing around and singing in my living room with her in my hometown. 

I don't know--I've got every Queens Of The Stone age record and all of them have played a different, equally important part in my life. I've also got a few old Dio records that'll never get old. I hope I don't wear them out, but then again I sort of hope I do because that would rule. OH and I also completely, unabashedly love Foreigner. I have all of their records and have been known to blast them and sing at the top of my lungs while cooking.
The Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal Webzine Community is starting to grow. You have worked with both the mainstream and underground press. Which ones do you like working with most? Or is that a hard question to ask?
That's a really good question. I think it depends; the underdogs generally pour a bit more heart and soul into what they do since they're most likely not getting paid and they do it because they love it. Mainstream ones might have some conflict of interest when they have to write about certain bands to promote events they're putting on or favors they're repaying or whatever, but they also tend to be a bit more clean-looking and do actual fact-checking and edit out more typos, which I'm a big stickler about. So there are pros and cons, definitely, but I've worked with wonderful people in both areas.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start his or her own PR company?
Make sure you understand the rules of journalistic integrity. If you're also a writer, NEVER write about a band or company you're also representing. Always be honest, kind and polite. Never expect someone to do something awesome for you, and when/if they do, always go out of your way to say thank you. And if you're in it for the money and not the music, do us all a favor and quit. To be fair, I think those are all things I'd say to anyone in any facet of the music business, not just PR.
How do you relax in your spare time from the pressures of PR Work and music in general? Or is music your way of relaxing from the pressures of life?
Well the funny thing is my entire world revolves around rock and roll. So if I'm stressed out about a long day of answering emails, transcribing interviews, finishing writing assignments and updating various websites, chances are I'm going to relax by heading down the street to see more music. A glass of scotch does wonders for a bad mood, too. I also have two hilarious cats who make me laugh by acting ridiculous all day in my house, and a bunch of kickass friends to act like dickheads with. All in all, though, I love everything I do, so chances are I'm working late at night for fun more often than I'm trying to escape from it.
What is your verdict on the crowd-funding scene? A lot of bands and musicians are using it more and more to fund their next release or project. Would you ever publicise a band’s request in drumming up support from crowd-funding activities?
I think it depends. In general think there's more integrity involved when you work your ass off at your crappy day job until you have enough money to go into the studio and make a record. The record itself might be better, too, since chances are you'll have more inspiration from daily life to make cathartic music. That being said, if it's a band who has proven time and again that they're always going to knock a record out of the park, like Murder By Death, who recently crowd-funded the greatest record they've ever made, then I'd think about it.
Since 2013 is almost over. What have been your favourite and least favourite albums and gigs of 2013?
Oh man, what a hard question! I saw so many jaw-droppingly incredible shows this year. Aside from Desertfest, which was on another level entirely, I'd have to say seeing Om at my favorite venue in Portland, The Doug Fir, was one of the best. And Yob at a little bar owned by Relapse Records in town called White Owl Social Club. I also saw High On Fire four times this year, which is crazy. Stumpfest 2013 was amazing…Floor, Tweak Bird, Norska, Black Pussy, Danava and a whole bunch of others played.
Worst gigs? Jeez. I don't know. I usually try to put them out of my mind right away if they're that bad, but I’ll say that in Portland, every now and then, I’ll end up in a bar with some mopey, out-of-tune folk singer and an acoustic guitar, and that almost always makes me want to stab my eyes out. 

What can we expect from Southern Cross PR in 2014? Any personal highlights we can expect to look forward to. Possibly Black Pussy?
I don't want to say anything yet, but there are some good things in the works. As for Black Pussy, though I've written bios for them and their other band, White Orange, and taken many photos of both, I'll probably never do PR for them because that means I can't write about them. And let's just say I've got a Black Pussy-related piece I'm sitting on right now that people will probably be very excited to read. That'll be out in the next couple of months!
Well Cat, thanks for doing this. Thanks for sending us some great releases over the last 6 months or so. Let’s see what goodies you will send our way in 2014.
Thank YOU! I’m so honored that you wanted to talk to me. You guys are just amazing. Keep doing what you're doing.

Thanks to Cat for this great interview. One of my fave interviews of 2013 right there folks.

You can check out Cat and her awesome work she does from the links below

Fuzz And Hellfire Links

Southern Cross PR Links

Legion Of Andromeda - Demo 2013

Legion Of Andromeda (demo 2013) cover art

Legion Of Andromeda is a Drone/Doom/Death Metal Band from Tokyo, Japan

The members are:

-M- axe, machinery
-R- vokills

What we have here folks is one of the loudest and scariest releases I have heard this year. Legion of Andromeda are a band not for the faint of heart. This is a band with power to give you nightmares for the rest of your natural born life.

Here is the band's own description of their music.

"Conceived, constructed and assembled in the anno domini of MMXII by the demented minds of -M- (axe/machinery) and -R- (vokills), Legion Of Andromeda is blessed by the will of total war. Sculpted in reiteration, repetition and cyclical rotation, Legion Of Andromeda impenetrable cacophony outbursts the breath of cosmic frost.

Cosmo Hammer Master of the Universe."

The band's demo release is an unflinching 32 minute ride into the more heavier and darker elements of Death and Doom Metal. Indescribable vocals matched against drone based Death/Doom Metal carnage may severely test some of you, but if you stick with it you will find some brilliant brutal riffs to chew on.

Legion Of Andromeda describe this release as "4 tracks, 32 min. of total aural disintegration. Brutal, minimal, primitive. Listen to maximum volume and fuck off."

I always love venturing into the darker side of Metal now and again. And this demo didn't disappoint me at all. Sure it's brutal as fuck but that is the whole point. This is a release for people who like their Death/Doom Metal raw, loud and violent as hell. The drone part of the demo gives this album a more nightmarish feel as it's played very dangerously in the background.

This band must have some talent as it has been recorded, mixed and mastered by Shigenori Kobayashi of Coffins fame. And he knows a thing or two about demonic based heavy nightmarish music.

The albums best tracks are Overlord Of Thunder and Fist Of The Galaxy. Both brutal heavy slabs of music showing what Legion Of Andromeda is all about. Mainly to destroy everything in sight. This is an excellent release to check out if your into extreme metal.

It's available to download on Buy Now Deal on BandCamp. If you're up to the challenge of course. Don't say I didn't warn you!!!!

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Check The Band From Links Below


Blackwitch Pudding - Taste The Pudding

Taste the Pudding cover art

Blackwitch Pudding is a Stoner Metal Band from Portland, OR, USA

The members are:

Space Wizard-Guitar
Lizard Wizard-Bass
Wizard Wizard-Drums

Blackwitch Pudding's debut album - Taste The Pudding - is currently generating a lot of buzz within the Stoner Metal community. So I decided to take a look and see what all the fuss or shall I say fuzz is all about.

Plus our good friend Cat Jones give me a tip to check them out. So here I am checking out this band. Now I have been told that Blackwitch Pudding describe themselves as Wizards. Hell they even dress up like them on stage. Check out the band members names.

I am pretty sure we just reviewed and interviewed a band called Lizzard Wizzard. Anyway back to Blackwitch Pudding. Taste The Pudding is fucking immense. There might be a lot of great humour within the song titles and lyrics but these guys take things very seriously in what they do.

If you want finely tuned and down-tempo Stoner Metal riffs then Taste The Pudding is the album for you. The album gets right down to business with excellent Montre'D. A superb hard-hitting almost 8 minute epic that shows you what Blackwitch Pudding are all about.

Blazing riffs and grizzled vocals all made by the magical power of the weed or should that be riff. Maybe it's both. But you can't deny what an excellent band these wizard's actually are. They may not be masters of magic but they are definitely masters of ther riff as Taste The Pudding is full of them.

It feels the band are playing a gig in your very own home with massive amounts of weed keeping you all on edge through out. Or that could be the albums psychedelic vibes trying to hypnotise you into surrendering your entire mind to these crazy insane wizards.

Now this album did have me laughing out loud on brilliant track - Gathering Panties - as the guys take demonic devil worshipping to laugh out loud heights with some crazy inspired lyrics of their own. Imagine Leisure Suit Larry selling his soul to the devil. That's how crazy this song is.

Now don't get me started on Shark Commando. Didn't the Syfy Channel make that as a film recently. It's another excellent song with more crazier inspired insane lyrics. That's all I am going to say.

How the fuck did this band get Billy Anderson to mix and master this release. Did they cast a spell on him. Did they sell him loads of weed or promised him loads of panties. I don't know but I would love to know how as Billy has done another wonderful job here. The album sounds incredible from start to finish.

  • Are Blackwitch Pudding actual wizards?
  • Are they over-aged Frat-boys who never grew up or passed the iniation stage?
  • Or are they undiscovered Scooby Doo villians waiting for their chance to get their hands on Scooby Doo's infamous Scooby Snacks?
I feel these are questions we may never know the answer to. And that is so damn great about this album. If these guys think they are real wizards then maybe the real joke is on us for not believing them in the first place.

Look I have gone on long enough here. Taste The Pudding is excellent. That's all you need to know. Plus it's available to buy on BandCamp Buy Now Deal.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Cat Jones at Southern Cross PR for the promo and tip about these guys.

Check The Band From Links Below


Dune - Progenitor

Progenitor cover art

Dune is a Progressive Sludge/Stoner Metal Band from Edinburgh, Scotland

The members are:

Simon Anger (bass/backing vocals )
Dudley Tait (drum)
Dan Barter (guitar/vocals)
Victor Vicart (guitar/vocals)

FUCK - Where did this EP come from. As Progenitor is a stunning debut release. 30 mins of finely tuned Prog Sludge, Doom, Space Rock and Stoner Metal. Imagine Mastodon, High On Fire and Baroness jamming together and doing a soundtrack to a fucked up Sci-fi Film. Well this is what you get with Dune. These highly talented Scottish Sludge Metallers have released a brilliant debut album with Progenitor.

It has more thrills, spills and excitement that a Hollywood Blockbuster can only dream about. The riffs are simply sublime through out. Dune are loud from the word go and they have a manic fast-paced energy that is sadly missing in some of our favourite current Sludge/Stoner Metal bands.

Progenitor impressed the hell out of me from the very first listen. Look at the excellent album cover to get the full effect of the album. As it will put you in a trance from the very first riff. I loved every second of Progenitor. I can't decide on a favourite song as they are all equally good as each other.

I would have to say it's the vocals that makes this album such a brilliant ride. As Dune have 3 outstanding vocalists each doing their own crazy insane thing. You will understand me once you have listened to the album.

Dune have the potential to one of the next big things in the UK Sludge/Stoner Metal scene as I cannot see any other band doing this sort of music. Maybe Gringo are the nearest thing but Dune have something special about them.

It's a shame Progenitor is only one for 30 mins as I wanted to hear more. It's a breathtaking debut release that Dune should rightly be proud of. Lets hope their debut full length isn't to far behind as I predict very big things for Dune in the next couple of years.

You can download Progenitor on Buy Now Download from BandCamp now. So get downloading now. You won't regret it. Trust us!!!

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Check The Band From Links Below


Altar of Betelgeuze - Darkness Sustains the Silence - Album Review

Darkness Sustains The Silence cover art

Altar of Betelgeuze is a Death/Doom/Stoner Metal Band from Finland.

The band members are:

Matias Nastolin (bass, death vocals, spoken word)
Olli "Otu" Suurmunne (guitar, clean vocals)
Juho Kareoja (guitar)
Aleksi Olkkola (drums)

Prepare yourself for the coming of 'Darkness Sustains the Silence', the debut full-length album by Finland's Altar of Betelgeuze. Have your record player ready and your front door open wide, your eager and darkly-clothed body mounted inside of it, and try (though this is not your main concern) not to scare the living shit out of your mail carrier when you snatch the LP from his suspicious and quivering hands.

Strong guitars start us off during "Epitaph" and there isn't an ant's crumb of a doubt in my mind that I am about to enjoy a very impressive body of work. It has got an instrumental sort of doom-laden Iron Maiden vibe to start us off; a very classic and infallible choice of introduction. I didn't know what turn the album was going to take once it broke into A World Without End, and then bam, hello, low, slow bass and drums of doom, how I welcome thee to my humble ears. Growling vocals are introduced and some truly evil-sounding spoken word paired with a quicker beat and this is when I realized I wasn't just being served a plate of doom-cakes, but a seven course meal consisting of every genre I love paired together with finesse.

Some damn catchy, quicker riffs come into play in Spiral of Decay. in addition to the death/doom styled vocals we are also introduced to cleanly sung vocals with a stoner vibe, paired with none other than stoner-doom riffs. My head was really banging once I hit this track.

Steamroller gives us some colossal doom to start and keeps it going with a clobbering base line throughout and more of those uniquely excellent, clean vocals. Vocally this song gives me a serious Goatsnake vibe, which I never would have expected from the beginning of the album and I am totally ok with this. "What do you say? i'm a one eyed man, i'm a one-eyed battering ram, i'm a full fledged steam roller…" Yeah, remember that, because it will be stuck in your head for days and you will like it.

Smoldering Clouds Above Orion is one of two epic-length tracks on this album. By this time i'm starting to realize just how perfectly each song is titled. Each track truly feels like it's name throughout it's entirety. We are now getting a desert rock, almost Egyptian atmosphere thrown in. Oh, wait, more scintillating death growls, blast beats. Egyptian death/doom, riffs soaring like a sacred ibis across the sky. Also being brought back into the mix is more of that gratifying baseline which transcends heavy genres and can only be described as Thorr bringing the mighty hammer, Mjolnir, repeatedly down upon your head. I mean really, if you aren't head-banging to this, I think you might need a metal health inspection.

The Approaching Storm, again, a very appropriate name for one of the more punishingly slow doom songs on the album. It ain't no funeral, but my it is fucking nice as hell on a frigid winter day. I would dare say that with the use of repeated baselines and certain other parts throughout the album that we could say there's a little drone thrown into this already rich and rare delicacy of a musical dish. With the following track, Out of Control, we get more of that stellar guitar work in the beginning and some almost thrashy guitar parts. Another track combining flawlessly the growling and clean vocals with spoken word thrown in at the end, haunting and black.

Now we come to Darkness Sustains the Silence, the gargantuan title track. It runs at the heaviness and speed of one-billion sloths in slow motion. For the first few minutes you may fall into slumber and dream a tantalizingly bleak dream as you throw your head back, before you awake, thrusting it forward again. We have more spoken word, clean vocals sparring off with quick and intense riffs, instruments becoming blackened, layers added to the sound, a dazzling guitar solo towards the end. Yet another special touch that just brings this album to the ranks of perfection is that we are given ten seconds of silence to end the track, once again feeling every bit in the image of it's title and giving us a quiet moment in the dark to let this album sink into our skulls.

Darkness Sustains the Silence is an elite, genre-transcending elixir that I feel certain will end up on quite a few lists upon it's release in 2014.This album offers a little something for everyone; death, doom, stoner, classic, drone, black metal… I'm going to go ahead and steal inspiration from the term "super-group" and call this "super-genre" (and how appropriate, being that Betelgeuse itself is a superGIANT). The band has managed to blend all of these styles together flawlessly and with absolute confidence throughout the album. No detail was left unnoticed, and each member completely dominates their part. It is absolutely delectable from beginning to end.

Written by Heather Stubbs

I agree with Heather's review of this excellent album. A thunderous album which will cause a sitr once it's released in early 2014. My advice - Buy it straight away!!!

Thanks to Raul at Memento Mori Records for sending us a promo to review. Darkness Sustains the Silence will be available to buy from Jan 1st 2014.

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