Friday, April 1, 2011

Danzig - Deth Red Sabbaoth

It's always great to find a legendary band that has been around forever but just somehow escaped your radar.  As you work through the discography you realise what you've been missing out on, but the utter rapture experienced from the pure mass of new tunes outweighs the regret.  I felt this way about Entombed, not listening to them during the mid-late 90's caused me to miss one of their shows, at which time I was probably sitting in a skate park next to a mall somewhere trying to figure out what was missing in the local 'metal' scene.  I say 'metal' because it was more hardcore than anything else.  More to the point, I always look forward to excavating timeless gems.  Danzig are the stone-skinned rock legends I only discovered of late.  Some of their songs sound very familiar to me though, as if they were hidden from view only to be uncovered when I would really appreciate them.  A few of their albums stood out for me from the start, this being one of them.

What we have here is a long awaited return to form.  A large portion of Danzig fans seemed to loathe the era in which electronic influences were dominant.  The sound was much more akin to NIN than anything Danzig were known to produce before.  This, the latest installment of a monumental discography, has thus far been received with mixed feelings.  I however, place it right up alongside their early releases.  It has all the elements which they are renowned for, but here I find that the nefarious themes and the stories they keep become the focal point, only slightly pulling Glenn back in the mix, and putting less emphasis on aggression.  Not that one would really suspect this, his wailing mandrake cries seem to intensify with every breath.  They seem to have found the winning formula again and consequently the album contains several seriously heavy, doom-ridden songs alongside a few devilish ballads.

All uncertainty concerning the "heaviness" of the album is laid to rest with the powerful opening track, Hammer of the Gods.  It introduces the fearlessly blasphemous attitude which personifies the album, and in fact, the band.  I think it was ultimately the intensity of this attitude that was lacking during the electronic period which left many fans wanting.  Woven among the more secular and muscular tracks are interludes of mystical inspiration such as, Pyre of Souls: Incanticle and its galloping follower Pyre of Souls: Seasons of Pain, or tales of nocturnal meetings between devious creatures as in On a wicked night.  These songs display a more matured sound and blend wonderfully with contrasting catchy songs revealing a continuous but varying groove throughout Deth Red Sabaoth as well as justifying their attempts at experimentation.  Black Candy and Ju Ju Bone - though not my favourite tracks - present a humorous tone and also reflect the well founded sexual prowess retained in the band’s image.

The drums on this album are solid as a rock, pounding and crashing slow-to-mid paced, keeping steady and bracing you for the impact of your head lunging forward involuntarily.  The strings are once again struck as if to give them life under a full moon, so they may howl and shriek haunting nothings into the void.  A perfect example of this is the doomish dirge Night Star Hell.

I’m not a big fan of Heavy Metal so to speak, neither of so-called Hard Rock, but this album is just too deliciously evil to turn down, call it Black Rock.

Best tracks: “Hammer of the Gods”, “The Revengeful”, “Rebel Spirits”, “Night Star Hell”, “Left Hand Rise Above”

More blues than: High on Fire, Entombed, Dala Sun
Less traditional than: Black Sabbath, Count Raven
Bigger balls than: Metallica


Friday, October 15, 2010

UFOmammut - Eve 2010

UFOmammut(pronounced "oofomammoot") are ingenious craftsmen creating, shaping and molding sound according to some clandestine and otherworldly recipe which they surely discovered on a cosmic voyage with the aid of psychedelic drugs.  I actually found out about them relatively recently, and thanks to Robin no more time was lost.  In this short and memorable period I've managed to insume all their LP's and also the split they did with another rising Italian giant - Lento.  UFOmammut consists of members of the art collective, Malleus.  They also have their own record label called Supernatural Cat.  In short, these guys are genuine, genius and prolific as fuck, adept at producing a myriad forms of astounding art.  A more holistically creative band has probably not walked the earth since 70's era Pink Floyd, and similar to these legends, their popularity seems to be soaring.

Like a universe sprouting upon command of a compelling chant, "Eve" commences by demanding our attention with a thunderously accentuated syllable.  What follows is a ringing whisper that reveals to us the story of the original strove for knowledge and wisdom which has lead many with mutual aspirations down the left hand path.  Very early on it is apparent that the whole album is enshrouded in a thrilling and exciting yet ominous atmosphere.

This tribute to "Eve" beautifully depicts the lustful worship of the essentially evil female spirit, which is one of the distinctive figures in occult inspired doom metal.  UFOmammut employ tremendous scope in their revelations and recurring resonance in their use of imagery, bringing forth undulations like a slithering Godlike Snake.

The third movement of the album (some versions of the album contain 5 tracks although the original is one continuous song) is relentless in relaying magnificent, mammoth-like riffs.  It tramples everything in its path and causes a rhythmic trembling of the surrounds.  It grabs you spectacularly from the droning ambience and reveals its fury in hellishly heavy detail.

The echoes that remain gain a life of their own and grow to usher in a snailing, exuberant climax.  The album finale dawns upon the listener in a process which results in something similar to a sonically induced culmination of thought.

The album has profound meaning and insight despite the minimal lyrical content which, however brief, enthrall one with intrigue.  The Italian maestros weave progressive electronic samples masterfully with the traditional bass, guitar and drum line-up.  The vocals are distant, discreet and enchanting and it really makes me wish they had more vocals on their other releases, although I wouldn't be able to point out any lacking parts.  The guitar and bass meet and diverge conveying a dazzling mesh of atmospheric sound.

This is a band that evolves on every release, breathing a breath of fresh air into the doom scene.  The song-writing is impeccable, the sound is clear and vast, the production is mind bending and can only be truly appreciated on surround sound equipment or through quality headphones, placing you right in the middle of their spatial conjuration, experiencing every nuance first hand.

Similar to but...
Less drone than: Nadja
More ambient than: Minsk, Neurosis
Darker than: Earth, Russian Circles, Pelican
Heavier than: Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Also check out: Lento, Mountain of Judgement

- 100%

Download here: UFOmammut - Eve 2010