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Doomsday // May 2024

We've got stoner prog (hell yeah), silly albums which still go super hard, big doom riffs, blues grooves, and a lot more besides. So, join me, won't you? Let us dive into Doomsday!

25 days ago

Holy crap, what a monster edition of Doomsday! Let's pretend that it's not because I straight up forgot (just literally forgot) to post the April iteration! Haha, definitely not! But, what does that really matter now that we are here and there are so many fucking riffs in this post? We've got stoner prog (hell yeah), silly albums which still go super hard, big doom riffs, blues grooves, and a lot more besides. So, join me, won't you? Let us dive into Doomsday!

-Eden Kupermintz

Guenna - Peak of Jin’Arrah

Yes, I am happy to inform you that it is once again time for me to show you some mind-blowing progressive stoner rock. But this iteration of one of my favorite blog activities is anything but routine, as Guenna’s Peak of Jin’Arrah is one of the strongest albums from this prolific scene that I’ve heard in a while (basically ever since Slift’s entry this year). Holy crap, I am completely and utterly obsessed with this album! Its basic foundations should be pretty familiar: dreamy and emotional vocals play over fuzzy, robust, and groovy to the extreme riffs, while the percussion and the bass weave an agile and adroit tapestry behind them. But Peak of Jin’Arrah has a trick up its metaphorical sleeves: progressive rock.

OK now, hear me out - I know the whole idea of this sub-genre of music is to marry stoner metal and progressive rock but here’s it’s done differently. Instead of relying on the meaty and staccato influence of King Crimson, Guenna instead turn to Yes and Genesis. This is why “Bongsai” has an absolutely infectious flute break that ushers in its last passage. No, seriously; I can’t stop listening to this freaking flute part. It’s short but incredibly sweet, taking the already bright energies of the track and setting them ablaze. Elsewhere, moodier segments channel the kind of drunkenly tittering vibe of more experimental progressive rock, like on the interlude “Glastonbury Grove”, choirs usher in lyrics awash with the wonder of nature on “Weedwakcer”, and faintly folkish ballads close out the track like on “Guenna’s Lullaby”.

It’s all there, like a bus of Yes fans careened into a Camel show while holding a copious amount of weed in the back trunk. It rules so hard, taking the already whimsical and wanderlust infused themes I love so much from progressive stoner and turning them up a notch. Peak of Jin’Arrah deserves an all time top five spot of excellent stoner rock and that’s saying something; it is a further testament to the excellence and uniqueness of this gorgeous sub-genre.

-EK

Lie Heavy - Burn to the Moon

I am once again interrupting your Doomsday scrolling with a kinda/sorta/maybe doom album. Raleigh, North Carolina’s Lie Heavy deliver a strain of heavy blues that echo the golden age of grunge with genre-defying abandon. Doom metal? Not entirely. Riff city? Abso-fuckin’-lutely.

Burn to the Moon is the sound of hot summer days melting into late nights as the blistering sun cedes ground to the neon light of dive bar signs and flickering ashes drifting in the air. There’s subtle current electrifying the atmosphere in anticipation of the memories to come, bursting into pure vintage energy as Lie Heavy lays down a sizzling riff. The opening tracks are rollicking, nostalgic affairs; groovy guitar-laden jams that revel in being down but not out. You might be stuck in the middle of nowhere, written off by society, but Lie Heavy proves you can still have a damn good time. 

But darkness settles in alongside the title track, carried by a massive rubbery base that sinks deep into doomy moodiness. Vocalist Karl Agell (Corrosion of Conformity, Leadfoot) shifts from confidently nonchalant to plaintive and mournful as life begins to weigh heavy. It’s the sound of the bar after 2 am as a few too many drinks take their toll and patrons realize that tomorrow is on the horizon. The chunky guitars that oozed infectious swagger are now haunted, cascading over the bass like a funeral party following a casket. 

The grief is joyously short-lived as Lie Heavy launch into a feel-good track designed to get heads and hips moving. It’s the sort of song that will fit right in at your Memorial Day barbecue, even as it carries the untouchable cool that lies at the heart of Burn to the Moon. Whether they’re delivering high-octane bangers or heavy-ass gut punchers, Lie Heavy have captured the emotive power of the blues and wrapped it in a crushing blanket of riffs. Burn it down, friends, you have the soundtrack for it.

-Bridget Hughes

Acid Mammoth - Supersonic Megafauna Collision

Doom metal likes to take listeners back in time, but generally that journey stops circa 1971. Athenian fuzz dealers Acid Mammoth, however, roll all the way back to the Paleolithic era with their supersized occult album, Supersonic Megafauna Collision

With scuzzy guitars and 70s-style vocals that echo with a hint of drone, Supersonic Megafauna Collision feels ritualistic, building hypnotic atmospheres that beckon listeners into a hazy dreamworld. Most doom albums are built around addictive riffs that break through in precisely designed moments; with Acid Mammoth, these thick, juicy riffs are the album scaffolding. Laden with the unbelievably fuzzed-out grooves, Supersonic Megafauna Collision drips with a raw  energy that’s stacked with satisfying guitars. Everything else - vocals, drums, even perfectly placed synths - are additional layers to stack on the cement-like heaviness of the album. It’s evil, it’s hypnotic, it’s occult doom at its most primal.

-BH

Daevar - Amber Eyes

Windhand and SubRosa have both probably sung their best songs (the latter assuredly so) but our hunger for rich, heavy, and haunting doom metal has not abated. Thankfully, there are many voices willing to step into the void left by those titans, creating my favorite kind of doom metal. Daevar is another entry to the vaunted halls of these attempts, bringing forth Amber Eyes. At its core, this is a doom metal album through and through: big guitar riffs dominate center stage, with full bass tones and drums backing up their punch. But on top of these, in the best tradition of the sub-genre we are describing here, have been overlaid fantastically ethereal vocals which evoke the occult, longing, and a hefty dose of emotion.

On the face of it, there’s nothing exactly new about this formula but the execution is pulled off to a tee. First, the aforementioned really are exquisite; every guitar note and cymbal shines with just the right amount of light and subdued darkness, lending the album one of the best timbres I’ve heard in a while. This also works especially well with the second element, those ethereal vocals. Beyond their own pleasing timbre, they sit just a bit deeper in the mix than usual, working closely with the guitars to create a most pleasing contrast that ends up fueling most of the musical progression on the album.

Bottom line, you came to Doomsday for, well, doom and this is it - slow, low, heavy, and yet emotive, mysterious, and contemplative at the same time. If you’re looking to satiate the base desires that make doom metal move, and why wouldn’t you be, this album is for you. It knows what makes doom metal of this sort so good and pulls it off to near perfection. By the way, my recommendation would be to first listen to “Grey In Grey”, the closing track, in all of its ten minutes-plus-change glory. It’s a really, really good track.

-EK

Karkara - All Is Dust

I’ve spoken before about the thin line between Post Rock Post and Doomsday because of the many overlaps between post metal, rock, stoner, and psychedelic music. But I’ve now decided that the main element which creates this overlap is ambience; both the heavier sides of the equation, namely stoner and psychedelic, and post-rock and post metal meet on the inflection point of atmosphere and ambience. Therefore, the more “space”-y a band, album, or track are, the more they might find themselves on Post Rock Post and the more groovy, riff-oriented, and dynamic they are the more they’ll find themselves here, on Doomsday. Karkara are decidedly of that variety, continuing the tradition of kicking, direct, and immensely groovy stoner rock from France.

The psychedelic vibes here have been turned up to eleven, employing the tones of something like The Samsara Blues Experiment but retrofitting them into a chugging engine of riffs and energy. The result is an album that might as well have fit into Post Rock Post, with its repetitions, snaking ambience, and otherwise expansive outlook, but which feels more at home here amongst the fuzz and the groove. The cool thing is you don’t have to choose; with All Is Dust you get a bit of both and both parts shine the brighter for it.

-EK

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol - Big Dumb Riffs

Yeah, this is Big Dumb Riffs, so if you’re into stupid and heavy stuff, Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol’s quirky brand of totally regressive sludge will leave some footprints on your eardrums. This is as frills-less as it gets for sludgepop. Fun-sized, two-minutes-or-less stompers hang around just long enough to deliver an earworm and move on. As a whole, it’s like pigging out on junk food, but with fat riffs. It may be easy to underestimate Big Dumb Riffs’ with a snappy 21-minute runtime, but once you get snagged by a hook, you’ll likely find yourself stuffing your ear-gullets by the hour with these potent diddies.

And these dudes lean into it all the way, hell bent on turning your next BBQ into a mosh pit, pushing the hooks and riffage to the forefront at all times. This power trio has cooked up something that truly lives up to its namesake, dishing riff bombs fat enough to hang with the likes of Torche, albeit with a unique candor that balances noise rock and groove metal appeals. Guitarist/vocalist Leo Lydon’s eight-string anchors things in the gut-rumbling realm, with bassist Aaron Metzdorf doubling-down to multiply the oof factor for a full-bodied, appropriately fuzzy sound. The secret sauce to the absurd amount of groove can be found in Sean St.Germain’s tasteful, nay, utterly delicious and lean work on the kit. He keeps things perfectly simple, but drips with finesse when a little push is needed, making each track an indispensable highlight. Truly not a dud in this bunch.

The lyrics are weird and memorable, bringing to mind Les Claypool’s folky storytelling on earlier Primus records. They’re really a vehicle for fun here and serves as the personality connective tissue amidst the diverse buffet of chunky ass riffs on display here, and I can’t argue with the approach when I’m singing along to the likes of “1-800-EAT-SHIT” or “Whip It Around” like I’m a sixth grader with my first Limp Bizkit CD. One cue, “Brat” and “Whip It Around” even channel some Bizkit-y bounce, while the bassy “Papa Pop It” grooves with a Primus-y on/off rebound. There’s also an abundance of chuggy goodness, too, “Body Bag” feels like a snotty version of a Floor song, “Bastard Initiated” works in some punky tempo, and “Blue Collar Man” tacks down an S-tier off-kilter sludge riff with some whip-smart syncopation on the drums. The rest is for you to discover and inevitably get addicted to. Buckle up, this is a bumpy and you won’t want to get off.

-JJ

Eden Kupermintz

Published 25 days ago