Editors’ Picks – August 2018

August sucks, OK? Even more than its slightly-less evil twin July, August is just a mess. Weather sucks all over and the oppressiveness of summer reaches its true heights. There are days where I almost feel like it’s always been summer and will always be summer, just sun and sun never-ending (and…

Release Day Roundup – 8/24/18

Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure…

MMXVIII – Pelagic Record’s Fantastic Year And The Depths Yet To Come

We’ve had our eyes on Pelagic Records ever since the label was started around the post metal powerhouse that is The Ocean. Their mission seems to be the quality release of anything hovering around the post metal and rock monikers, extending their fingers into dark folk, electronic beats and more. While Pelagic has been doing great things over the years since their founding, 2017 seems to have been a true watershed for them. From stellar releases (with names like Lo!, Labirinto, LLNN, pg.lost and many more) to new signings (like Ancestors, one of my favorite doom bands of all time), Pelagic has been all over the map of the metal community. Nothing drives home their upwards momentum more than a compilation they themselves have released, in conjunction with Visions Magazine.

Thank You For Not Smoking: Variations on a Stoner Doom Theme

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.

Eight Bells – Landless

If only the harsher elements had been brought to bear more, most importantly in the title track but perhaps even earlier, this would have been an outstanding addition to a fast-growing sub-genre. As it is, it’s a good album but when which is tinged with frustration more than anything. It leaves the listener constantly on the cusp of catharsis but without the clear cut and impassioned climax for which we long.