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Doomsday // June 2024

Hello! This edition of Doomsday is short but very sweet, with two killer albums from the prog, stoner, and doom spaces.

18 days ago

Hello! This edition of Doomsday is short but very sweet, with two killer albums from the prog, stoner, and doom spaces. As Summer kicks in, an interesting phenomenon is happening, at least on my end - I find myself both craving "colder", more abrasive music and the more cloying, fuzzy sounds of doom and stoner. It all depends on how Summer is hitting me - am I feeling overwhelmed by the humidity and heat or freed from the onus of the previous cold? If the former is true, I try to find shelter in music, blasting the A/C and diving into some black metal. But if the latter is true, and interestingly it's truer this year than ever before I think, I find myself gravitating to big riffs and feedback-laden timbres that sort of mirror the weather outside.

Regardless, the two albums on the list today are excellent. Please enjoy listening to them, whether you luxuriate in the heat or shrink from it.

-Eden Kupermintz

we broke the weather - Restart Game

Reminder: Nick Cusworth, dear friend and fellow editor, plays in this band. Regardless, I wouldn’t be covering if they didn’t deserve it. And they really do.

I liked we broke the weather’s previous release, the self-titled release they dropped in 2022. But I liked it like I like sketches, as a work which shows the promise that is yet to be fully brought forth. It felt like a great band finding their voice, figuring out how the pieces fit together and how to make everything cohesive. Restart Game, the album they released this month (yes, I’m cheating, sue me), is what the full painting feels like when you compare it to the sketch. In every way, it is a fuller, more confident, and more accomplished album, delivering on the band’s promise of fuzz-tinge, brass-filled, moving progressive rock. From the first track to the last, Restart Game sounds more cohesive, with all of the pieces the same as on the previous release but configured into a shape that more fits the vision that Restart Game is going for.

“Vestige”, which opens the album, is probably the best place to start acquainting yourself with what that configuration sounds like. From Nick Cusworth’s vocals, which sound fuller and more “in line” with the instruments, through the infectious bridge that takes over from the track’s first segments around the three minute and a half mark with its brass instruments, punchy drums, and thick guitars, and all the way to the ambient, psychedelic section that follows it, “Vestige” keeps going, motivated by an internal momentum that’s hard to resist. Not to mention the cathartic explosion that is the return of the track’s main theme, which leads it all the way to the track’s closing segment. 

There’s not much time to rest either, as my favorite track from the album, the incredibly Rush influenced “Lake St. George”, follows right after. This also belies another one of the album’s other strong points - it’s flow. The tracks are arranged very cleverly, bleeding into each other at times but also offering contrasting counter-points at others. This means that Restart Game is very easy to listen to in one go (and again, and again), since there are always landmarks and waypoints that keep you attentive and connected to the music. 

That’s quite a feat for a band on their second release, hinting at that growing confidence that I referred to above. It’s the sort of “glue” which connects the release together, even as it dips and dives deeper into progressive rock at times, only to come back to a more groove focused, stoner-adjacent vibe or to the jazz-laden segments that punctuate both styles. Regardless of which style you prefer, Restart Game has something for you, as it's chock full of great ideas and, even more importantly for this stage in the band’s lifecycle, accomplished with a certitude and professionalism that immediately sets it apart.

-EK

Saltpig - Saltpig 

The closing scene of Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects” is shockingly blissful as the three title characters cruise down an open road in their bloodstained convertible. The sun is just slightly too bright, transforming a seemingly happy ending into an iridescent realization of tragedy. The murderous trio is roaming free and the sun is far from setting on their deadly misdeeds. Occult fuzz worshipers Saltpig channel the same idyllic-yet-horrific feeling into their self-titled debut for a profoundly evil and deliciously fun journey into hell.

Saltpig wear their influences proudly on their sleeve, evoking the classic sounds of Black Sabbath and early Judas Priest while adding their own twist by way of heavy-handed distortion and a maximalist production style that lets us savor every wave of feedback. The album casually, almost carelessly, rolls between evil metallic tones and easy-breezy rock. But don’t be fooled: Saltpig is precisely calibrated to deliver a dissonant punch when the band is good and ready. “Demon” may appear a deceptively melodic, summer-ready jam, but “Heavy Water” rapidly takes our trip down a darker path with 70’s style riffs. Muscular and as tense as a standoff between the Firefly clan and Sheriff Wydell, “Heavy Water” is the moment we realize that this journey has no happy ending. Dissonance begins to infect the charismatic grooves, breaking into eerie distortion. 

The full horror of our fate becomes clear on “When You Were Dead”, a slow-rolling wave of toxic waste. A vast soundscape creates the sensation of surveying the desert under the baking sun, no civilization or hope in sight. “Burn the Witch” (my personal favorite) ups the ante with an almost danceable beat and warbled distortion that sounds vaguely industrial, channeling the furious freedom that comes with accepting your fate. An unexpected twist on the muckier side of Salthpig, “Burn the Witch” is no less dark as warped riffs fade into crowds chanting the track title. Innovative and eerie, I dare you not to love this song. 

Condemned, we march into the final song, a twenty minute monstrosity that’s pure feedback worship. Cacophonous and borderline overwhelming, “1950” flips the script of “Burn the Witch'' to showcase the full ambitions of Saltpig. The crunchy grooves have burned to blistered crisp, plodding their way across devastatingly distorted guitars and vocals. Howls are blown out into burning screams to the point of becoming unrecognizable, just another wall of sound in the hellscape. The devil’s rejects are running free and no one is safe. 

Eden Kupermintz

Published 18 days ago