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April 17, 2014
ORYXDunes of droning hypnotic sludge from the deserts of Las Cruces, NM.
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April 14, 2014
MAMMOTH STORMPlodding, tar-lathered metal-fed groove doom from Sweden.
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April 8, 2014
LADY FLINT Explosive stoner blues rock duo from Marselle, France.
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April 7, 2014
KING DEAD Doomy psyche-tinged spaghetti western sludge from PA.
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April 2, 2014
GROGGYBlues-obsessed fuzzy garage rock duo from Omsk, Russia.
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March 31, 2014
THE SILENT LOWMelodic, hard-hitting, attitude-driven stoner rock from Denmark.
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March 25, 2014
GRAILPsychedelic punk with a southern demonic desert groove out of Texas.
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March 24, 2014
LORD OF GIANTSincere, lumbering, 70's influenced heavy rock from Germany.
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March 19, 2014
WOVOKA Intense yet melodic, brutal gut-twisting post-metal sludge from LA.
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March 16, 2014
Torpedo riffs, hazy grooves and cosmic stoner sleaze from Portland.
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March 13, 2014
Toxic, heavy southern groove metal attitude from Brazil.
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March 11, 2014
Somber, shoegazing post-metal sludge from Columbus, Ohio.
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March 10, 2014
Cosmic, gravity-defying stoner fuzziness from Sydney, Australia
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March 6, 2014
Fuzz-filled, snail-paced riff-praising doom from Denver, CO.
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March 5, 2014
Polish doom band with female vocals is a fuzz worshippers dream
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March 4, 2014
Sleazy, fat and dirty stoner metal riffs from down under.
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March 2, 2014
Newly formed 70's inspired stoner doom band from Brazil.
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Feb. 27, 2014
Expansive psychedelics and dusty grooves from Austria.
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Feb. 25, 2014
Fuzzed-out heavy desert grooves from Catania, Italy.
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Feb. 24, 2014
Get stuck in some sludgey stoner groove from South Carolina. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 20, 2014
Heavy lightning in a bottle stoner boogie groove from Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 19, 2014
Stirring progressive ambient doom from Bath, UK
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Feb. 17, 2014
Intense instrumental sludgefuzz from these Guernsey blokes. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 15, 2014
Swirling hypnotic heavy psychedelic rock from St. Petersburg, Russia. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 10, 2014
Sultry and somber jazz-laden ambient doom from Genoa, Italy.
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Feb. 8, 2014
Late 60's early 70's influenced heavy psychedelic rock from London.
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Feb. 5, 2014
Death/Doom/Thrash from the mean streets of Adelaide, Australia.
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Feb. 4, 2014
Doomy apocalyptic instrumental Sludge from Istanbul, Turkey.
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Feb. 2, 2014
Spell-binding all-female occult doom from Ljubljana,Slovenia.
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Feb. 1, 2014
Heavy heartfelt psychedelic jams from Heidelberg, Germany.
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Jan. 30, 2014
Riff Heavy Stoner Doom with Southern grit from Athens, Greece
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Jan. 27, 2014
Chest collapsing progressive heaviness from Ventura, CA
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Jan. 25, 2014
Genre-defying atmospheric mood music from Tampere, Finland. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 23, 2014
Freaked-out psychedelic space rock from Gothenburg, Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 22, 2014
Swamp-infested grooves and fuzzy desert riffs from Portland,Oregon.
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Jan. 21, 2014
BORDEL INFERNO Gritty heavy rock, solid riffs from Rio de Janiero.
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Jan. 20, 2014
OVERLORD Melodic groove-oriented Heavy Rock from Oxford.
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Jan. 19, 2014
A DAY AS WOLVES Garage-rock inspired bluesy fuzz and roll from Alberta, Canada. Eh! facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 18,2014
NAKED BROWN Hard-hitting Polish heavy rock in the vein of Clutch and Motorhead.
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Jan. 17, 2014
Smoke obsessed Stoner Doom from Slovenia. Free demo.
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Lycus - "Tempest"

Depending on a multitude of circumstances, funerals can unfold any number of ways. If the dead has fulfilled his tenure and died peacefully in his sleep, services can operate more as a celebration of life. On the other hand, an untimely passing or long bout with illness can make for some dark reflections. Your mother is draped in head-to-toe black, your father is staring at his hands trying not to wince, and somewhere in the back is brewing a drunken diatribe from your aunt blaming everyone but herself.

What's the weather like in Oakland? Given the three haunting, mournful passages on the debut full-length from Lycus, you'd doubt they came from anywhere that ever sees the sun. Formed in 2008, the band has endured lineup changes, a full break-up, and a relocation to bring us current with the July 9th release of Tempest. How's your summer? Well, it's about to get pretty bleak. Melding a barrel of dirge with buckets of tears, Tempest is arriving just in time to keep you from taking anything for granted.

From the album's onset, the hollow thumps of Coma Burn predict no break in the procession. With drone riffs and doom pacing, there's no pretense and no deception. This is somber and pensive. The chants and growls are equally pained, more rueful than aggressive. Downward riff-mangles are split by eerie echoes, but we can only watch and wait as the gurgle meets the mire. Tin-drum space guitars wrap screeches in a sullen, smoky whisper that's slow and reflectively sad. Winds entwine the track's canopy, channeling what no longer walks. Hell... channeling what no longer breathes.

Engravings is an exercise in slow sonic extraction. The track is melodic and fluid, even when the drums spit and spurt against guitar-drawn mists. Via the hollow bounce of combating elements, the disc's theme is by now cemented in the dirty, frozen memory that's gonna ache like hell. The doom riffs here are massive, but there's an evolving, carnivorous filth that's drug out. Lycus may as well be smoking the bones of the long dead, shaking by a funeral pyre just trying to warm themselves.

The disc's title track is a twenty-minute crusher, but the clean mist of morning is an expansive introduction. Growing into a skittish, paranoid trek down a splintered-wood trail, Tempest is hooded and commanding. The strings begin to steal the show, but what's surprising is that they're neither distractive or extraneous. The elemental swirl progressively breathes and builds on a veil of choppy doom. There's even an odd thrash break, but the sway returns as guitar licks provide an awesome ambiguity. The thick contemplations realize a heady potential at the track's agonizing close. The buzzing transition from this world to the next pares down to little more than a lonely, icy stumble strewn with cobwebs. Don't bother looking back.

Lycus find their corner with an unsettling breed of dread that doesn't rely on explicit fear. What was feared already arrived and stole what was sacred. Heaviness comes in many forms, but a heart swollen and crushed may take the greatest toll. The passages are long and filled with questions, while the sporadic outbursts are natural and easy to forgive. This is one awfully, beautifully dark record. Wholly and unrelentingly painful, Lycus walk into grief with thick skin and mud-caked fists. Sit with the feeling, they'll tell you. It's the only way out.

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