Orden Ogan has made an extremely enjoyable power metal record with Gunmen. Like fellow power metal acts Unleash The Archers and Witherfall earlier this year, the band manages to make their respect for the genre’s past clear while still finding new sounds to play with. Originally a small-time act in the folk metal boom of the mid-2000s, Sebastian Levermann, the mastermind and frontman of the group, has worked to make the act one of the most unique and fresh voices in the current power metal scene. There’s so much to talk about here not least of which is Levermann’s talent for writing choruses with lots of huge choirs. Just listen to the opening title track.
Another day, another progressive stoner band! But these guys aren’t your run of the mill, space obsessed occult weirdos. No, instead, these guys (Grant the Sun, that is) are members of bands like Insense and the grindcore act Beaten to Death and their less than standard pedigree shines through and the newest track from their upcoming debut EP, “Økologisk Rave”. The track is a weird jaunt between stoner tinged riffs, Meshuggah like chugging and soloing and an overall sense of technicality melded with aggression. Over all of that plays an ecological theme that’s hard to deny, lending the track a message and purpose. Head on over below for the new track and let’s meet up later to discuss.
As a genre, stoner doom has some fairly definitive characteristics: slowed-down tempos, rumbling low-end bass and rhythm, a focus on mountainous, hypnotic riffs, and a certain intangible haze cast over it all, creating a psychedelic-glazed listening experience. But perhaps most importantly, stoner metal worships at the altar of marijuana. Proudly wearing its influence on its sleeve (and name), stoner metal varyingly employs marijuana as a muse, a political rallying cause, an artistic aesthetic, and generally as the raison d’etre for the (sub)genre as a whole. From the smoke-filled cough intro in Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” to Sleep’s epic journey to Jerusalem to Dopelord carrying the genre’s torch in one hand and a bong in the other, stoner doom is fundamentally and un-apologetically intertwined with marijuana. And yet, as firm of a grip as the green leaf has on the genre, there are contingents within the stoner doom scene that don’t embrace weed with the same fervor as their counterparts. Indeed, as counter-intuitive as it seems, examples abound of bands in the stoner doom realm that either explicitly or implicitly eschew the very association with marijuana that the scene largely views as a prerequisite.
What better format to study the interesting duality between morality and knowledge than a massive post rock album, filled with nuance and subtlety? This is exactly what Ravena did in 2016 when they released Laocoön, an impressive foray into the realms of cinematic post rock and post metal. We spoke about them recently on the blog when I covered the Open Language post rock compilation (second part coming soon!). I had extolled their virtues there but I felt that their music warrants a post of its own and so, here we are!