Coven 13 – ‘Destiny of the Gods’ (Shadow Kingdom)
As discovered by brief discussions with peers, Destiny of the Gods, the newest from old school doomsters Coven 13, can be a polarizing record. At least in the vocal department. None can deny however, that their first new album since 1987 is loaded with slick, classic doom riffs.
Those dark and brooding riffs call to mind such acts as Black Sabbath and Cathedral. Lyrically beholden to history and fantasy, the vocals are delivered with passion and drama. Their variation of style (and pitch) from moment to moment may be off-putting for some. Time may change opinions, but this return is definitely worth checking out.
Funeral Circle – ‘Funeral Circle’ (Shadow Kingdom)
Genre: Doom Metal
Funeral Circle take their doom pretty seriously. And their debut self-titled is seriously doomy. This Canadian quintet channels atmosphere from the ethereal realms of darkness, creating spectral riffs and haunting vocals.
Slow-motion groove and howling solos collide with sweeping and epic cleanly sung vocals. A distinct air of mystery pervades Funeral Circle in its entirety, spreading the shadow of the occult across its 50 minute span. Huge riffs and monstrous tone ring with the sound of true doom. Funeral Circle sound far more ancient and reverent than you’d expect from a band not spawned in an archaic European burial ground.
Harsh Toke – ‘Light Up and Live’ (Tee Pee)
Genre: Psychedelic Metal/Stoner Metal
With a name like Harsh Toke and a label like Tee Pee Records, you should know exactly what Light Up and Live sounds like without even hearing its first wah-drenched, fuzzed-out notes. These four songs practically reek of spilled bong water and the jam freak outs are extensive. “Weight of the Sun” clocks in at well over 14 minutes, and it wears out its running time a quarter of the way through.
There’s just nothing on Light Up and Live that labelmates Earthless didn’t do far better earlier this year on From the Ages, their own four-song stoner jam album. You might cough and sputter after taking a hit off of Harsh Toke, but this stuff certainly isn’t getting you high.
Heart of A Coward – ‘Severance’ (Century Media )
New doesn’t mean different; the same old thing comes in new packages every day. On Severance, Great Britain’s Heart of A Coward perform brave new heart surgery on metalcore’s tired elements. Jamie Graham (Sylosis) leaves behind the tattooed demands of his old band and sounds laser sharp. Striking guitars annihilate all tonality.
They’re mathematically precise enough to free the drums from carrying all of the beat. TesseracT champion this technique, but HOAC are their own masters. “Monstro, “Nauseum” and “Psychophant” are genetically mutated organisms of metalcore might. Heart Of A Coward are a cruise missile blasting out the crypts of earlier bands who couldn’t find the target. HOAC vaporize it.