This Month’s Mini Reviews – October 17

This Month’s Mini Reviews – October 17

Nov 06

Mini heavy metal reviews for October '17


Mini Metal Reviews for Oct ’17


I couldn’t honestly say if October really was a great month for doom metal or if that’s just where my head has been lately, but it seems that my picks for this month’s round-up of heavy metal reviews leans to the slow and low side of the spectrum.


Antarktis – Ildlaante

Starting off a month of great doom releases was the debut of a new group comprised of the guitar duo of Björn Pettersson and Tobias Netzell, both of genre heavyweights In Mourning. While not a great stylistic leap from their main band, Ildlaante does find the duo straying into some different territories, namely a much stronger influence of post-metal and even sludge at times. A simple analogy would be finding the midpoint between In Mourning’s Afterglow and Cult of Luna’s Vertikal; the album has the strong death-doom foundation of the former in terms of sonics, but built on top of that is the flowing and emotive song structures of the latter, a quality complimented by vocalist and bassist Daniel Jansson’s (Ikhon) post-hardcore influenced delivery. It’s an interesting side-step after last year’s fantastic release from In Mourning and should be a must-listen for any fan of that band, especially those with a taste for post-metal bands like the aforementioned Cult of Luna or Neurosis.

Bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Agonia


The Great Discord – The Rabbit Hole

For as much as I love bands like Anubis Gate and Voyager, I don’t think it’s healthy for anyone to have the market cornered on pop-driven power-prog. Thankfully there’s the Swedes known as The Great Discord, and their powerfully catchy new album The Rabbit Hole (catchy enough that I’m including it in October’s mini-reviews even though it was a September release). If you’ve ever wondered what a heavy metal Dredg would sound like, this is probably as good an example as you’re likely to get; in fact, vocalist Fia has a very strong resemblance in his style to that band’s counterpart and there’s many a similarity in the two bands’ approaches to builds, structures, and the tendency for vocals to be the main drivers of melodic lines. And those melodic lines in the vocals is where the real power of The Rabbit Hole comes from; they are uplifting and poppy, but delivered with the energy and bombasity of traditional power metal without the theatrical cheesiness and the style is overwhelmingly effective. Backed by music with punch, crunch, and plenty of heaviness, TGD have one of the most endearing fist-pumping and sing-along records of the year. And it’s no cheap ABAB gimmick either; the band’s strong progressive style leads to a lot of diversity and exploration within each track, making for a full front-to-back play of the record interesting throughout its runtime.

Bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, The Sign Records


Hallatar – No Stars Upon the Bridge

If you didn’t catch last year’s Trees of Eternity release then you really missed out on a doom metal gem. Recorded before the tragic passing of singer Aleah Starbridge, the album was a gorgeous collection of material falling somewhere between the sounds of Katatonia and Draconian, and the album seemed to be built for the purpose of showcasing the late singer’s unique talent. To celebrate her memory, Swallow the Sun and Trees of Eternity guitarist/songwriter Juha Raivio has teamed up with Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen and former HIM drummer Gas Lipstick for the new band Hallatar, basing the lyrics and direction on the writings and poems left by Aleah. Fittingly enough for a eulogy of sorts, the music on No Stars Upon the Bridge leans more into funeral doom territory than Trees did, featuring slower tempos, a more morose atmosphere, and the always excellent clean/guttural interchange of Tomi Joutsen’s singing. Hallatar’s debut (and hopefully this isn’t a one-off) is a strong slab of death and funeral doom and marks a highpoint in the genre for this year.

Bandcamp, Facebook, Svart Records


Lo! – Vestigial

I was previously unaware of this hardcore horde of sludge purveyors from down under until this month’s Vestigial release, but I’m damn sure going to be following Lo! going forward. Their new album is hard-hitting collection of songs that flow between blistering moments of all-out aggression and simmering sections of caustic, acid-drenched doom metal. The sonic tools the band are wielding may be simple but the songwriting allows for a lot of exploration, making for some varied and intense tracks.


Vestigial is an absolutely crushing monster of sludgy post-metal that has a lot more depth and texture than one would usually expect from an album so obviously influenced by hardcore. And with enough fury and power to place it along other releases this year from the likes of Code Orange and Full of Hell this is one that needs to be blasted loud and often.

Website, Bandcamp, Facebook, Pelagic Records


Prostitution – Egyptian Blue

Once you get past the stunning cover art, you’ll immediately notice an equally striking blend of black metal, shoegaze, and psych rock in New York three-piece Prostitution’s new Egyptian Blue EP. The three tracks comprising it each vary from ferocious blasts of northern metal to wider sections of post-metal atmosphere, but even in the case of the former there is always a strong sense of melody. It is also that focus on melody that ties the songs together, along with intelligent song structures that allow the tracks to flow and build naturally, heaving and settling as needed and even making room for some spacey stuff here and there. Those progressive tendencies are really what make Egyptian Blue work so well; without them it would sound like another USBM band with a ‘blackgaze’ bent, but instead Prostitution pull together a unique and well-rounded sound from their various influences.

Bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook


Clouds Taste Satanic – The Glitter of Infinite Hell

The great doom offering for the month of October was capped off with the third full-length from New York instrumental outfit Clouds Taste Satanic. Glitter is a mammoth record, comprised of four tracks all within the 18-minute range, so this is definitely not a casual affair. Like on past releases, CTS paints their giant canvases with a mix of plodding doom, head-nodding stoner riffs, and plenty of psychedelia to go around. The longform approach to songwriting lets each riff fully sink in, hypnotically so in many cases. And that’s not a polite way of saying it gets boring; the music is anything but. The songs belie their daunting runtimes by keeping themselves interesting throughout and never letting a riff or section overstay its welcome. The room to play also allows for some giant builds, often going from slogging chord-a-minute doom to spaced-out psych-rock leads over their long course.


It doesn’t hurt to have a great sound too, especially in instrumental music; without vocals to distract and pay attention to, the sonics come into center focus. Whatever equipment the band is using to get that monster guitar tone is worth its weight in gold with how good it sounds. With good doom metal comes thunderous bass, punchy but slightly ‘verbed drums, and extra crunchy guitars, everything Glitter has in spades. Clouds Taste Satanic’s newest album may take a certain level of dedication to get into to, but for devotees of doom and stoner rock the rewards are plentiful indeed and should not be missed.

Bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook