Doomsday – October 2017

Hello heaviest of Heavy Bloggers! Welcome back to Doomsday, our monthly roundup of All the Doom that’s Fit to Print.™ October is a special time of year, particularly in America: the weather is turning colder and gloomier, horror movies show up in earnest in theaters and cable networks across the country, and the general anticipation of Halloween fills the air. October 2017 was particularly special for doom heads as both Bell Witch and Primitive Man unleashed career-defining tours de force upon the world. But wait, there’s more! Lots more! Grab your earplugs, it’s Doomsday.

Ufomammut – 8

Ufomammut are a strange band. Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat. The Italian trio of metallers moonlight as professional graphic artists in the Malleus art collective, and also have an expansive back catalog of albums that plunder elements of psychedelic, stoner, and sludge-infused doom with reckless abandon. Given this mix of styles, the band are fairly difficult to pigeon hole into any specific subgenre niche in metal. Which is simultaneously both one of the best things about their music and one of the worst aspects of it when trying to explain how they sound in a review. But bravely shall I endure for the cause.

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.

Hey! Listen to Domkraft!

There are certain words and phrases that evoke powerful images for receivers of art and part of that power comes from the way that it effects people on such a visceral personal level. That is one of the more immeasurably important pieces of any work of artistic expression. Sometimes we reach for these symbols, words, and phrases in order to better acquaint the uninitiated with something that we ourselves are often only just beginning to understand. The need to connect and communicate, to dialogue and unpack, the importance of these signifiers is what brings urgency to the way we pass important personal affections back and forth.

Visit the Dusty Field Where Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree

Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree piqued my interest from the moment I came across their Bandcamp page. Much of what first drew me to Earth’s masterpiece Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull is present on BMHVT’s debut Medicine: an alluring cover, unique title and promises of an expansive, mesmerizing take on doom metal. It’s this last point that sweetened the deal like hemp-infused honey candy, and if you’re at all a fan of all things sludge and doom, you’d be wise to succumb to what this psychedelic dose of Medicine has to offer.

Ghastly Sound – Self-Titled

Misdirection. Sleight of hand. Tools used to create confusion often, and especially so, in the name of showmanship. This type of confusion that has fueled many a magic act over the years and a variant of it is on display on Ghastly Sound’s self-titled EP. There are times that bands span genres and styles over the course of their career to keep fans slightly off-balance but rarely do bands try that on an album, let alone an EP. Ghastly Sound says “hold our drink” and proceed over the course of four songs to throw a lot of influences and ideas at the wall on their debut.

Hey! Listen to Hexer!

Those who live during anxious times like the ones we live in now, where every day seems to flirt with global devastation, may find themselves at a crossroads between different approaches to art. Some may cling to escapism to find ideal realms away from their own or to discover some…