Today is disparate day. Two albums that haven't got a whole lot in common, but what they do have in common is the most vital part of what they do. Both bands employ unmuffled, big engine guitars in creating decibel shattering music. One strips most parts bare and then polishes those up to present clean, tight, raw stoner doom metal that is no frills, no holds barred, fist pumping power. The other constructs multi-faceted melodies on top of clear and precise stoner riffs, crafting an intricate experience that easily engages you in an experience of passionate sound. Each band has their unique approach, and each succeed in a great way. I love it when such disparate means produce unique, eternal quality.
MIDRYASI - "BLACK, BLUE & VIOLET
Midryasi are a veteran stoner/doom/psych band, hailing from Varese, Italy, originally formed in 2002, from which point they have worked their way up in the underground metal world through incremental milestones that attest to their diligence and perseverance as well as their innate ability to create superbly brilliant music. "Black, Blue & Violet" joins "Corridors" as the bands full length LPs, the latter having been unleashed on the music world in 2009 and the former recently released at the beginning of the present year.
Convulsion - Throat, Bass
Paul P. - Guitars
Udz - Keys
Sappah - Drums
Sometimes it can be challenging to classify some of the bands or albums that find their way to Heavy Planet, with hundreds of them crossing the blurred, fuzzy lines between genres. Is it stoner rock? Is it doom metal? Is it psychedelica? Is it retro/classic/vintage rock, blues metal? There are infinite combinations, all of them exciting and deeply gratifying to the fans of down tuned, heavy distortion. Midryasi, perhaps, have developed a new cross genre, something, if not completely original, at least quite rare. I would call it stoner opera.
The song structures, melodies, and hooks present on this dark album of fantastic realms are not wholly derivative, but could likely be traced or compared to some of the better known concept albums of the 70s and beyond in architecture and atmosphere. What sets it wholly apart is its penchant for down tuned fuzzery on vast regions of its quality sound, setting a hook of a different sort to work in conjunction with the brilliantly clever musical barbs found throughout the music.
As with any concept album, the fun is in exploring over and over the telling of the tale, both musically and lyrically, discovering new and different revelations, avenues, hidden recesses, and unforeseen flashes of inspiration and insight upon each telling. The craftsmanship on these songs is such that the strength of the music grows with each musical trek.
Two interesting tidbits, one about the band, one on the album. Midryasi is derived from the scientific term midriasis, describing the dilation of the eyes pupils, something most of us know a bit about, I'd wager. Track six on "Black, Blue & Violet" is titled "Nuclear Dog" and is a total coincidence. I had already listened to and loved the album before studying the track titles and song lyrics, which is when I made my exciting discovery. "Nuclear Dog" is not my favorite track on the album, that honor goes to "Hole of the Saturday Night", a fuzz laden monstrosity of epic, soaring proportions.
Head on over to bandcamp and begin an epic, enduring adventure on this extraordinary stoner rock opera.
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PEACEMAKER - "CULT .45"
This album first came across the Heavy Planet desk as a demo back in 2012 and stirred considerable excitement at the time. Now that the full 8 track LP has been released the quality first experienced back then has carried through to the album entire. This is meat and potatoes stoner / doom music, none finer, none heavier, none more satisfying than what this foursome from London have to offer, with a sound that is at once clean and ragged. Ragged by design as fuzz and distortion are carefully, passionately, unleashed for maximum effect, clean in studio delivery as there is absolutely nothing out of balance or out of place on any portion of the album. Professionalism is always welcome, especially when it come to your favorite listening pleasures.
Al Osta - Vocals
Al Lawson - Bass / Wizard
Sam Taylor - Guitar
Rich Maw - Drums
Big huge, rolling riffs of gargantuan proportions are propagated regularly throughout this album in measured and melodic method, driving deep through to the molten magma core of your soul, sparking primal urges both fierce and pleasurable. The riffs and rolls of guitar and bass play off one another in harmony and dissent, creating exquisite chaos that is tempered by the bludgeoning force of unyielding drumwork and overseen with master strokes of rough hewn vocals. There is a palpable magnetism and dynamic fury on this album that raises hackles and sets the listener on a razor's edge of brilliance and force.
Opening with the megadoom "The Siberian Problem", a song that sets the tone perfectly for much of what's to follow, and the ensuing assault of "Follow the Rats", a forceful and measured onslaught of reverberation resplendent with doom hooks and gargantuan riffs, Peacemaker set a perfect tone for "Cult .45".
On the heels of "Follow the Rats" is yet another riff leviathan of perfectly measured doom melody, "Dead Man's Keys". "Soul Cheater" is a blitzkrieg battalion of low tuned machinery mounting an onslaught of speed and blistering riffs. "Journey of the Faithful" and "Sorrow Trip" round out the album's excellent soul searing stormclouds of foreboding and arousal.
One of the excellent hallmarks of Peacemaker's music, as heavy and downtuned as it may be, is their ability to craft fine melodies, wonderous hooks, and catchy patches in much of their songwriting. They display their ability in a small, but significant way on the short tracks "Mane of Serpents" and "Grey Sky", interceding the brilliant darkness on the majority of the album with the dolorous and mournful light of this sweet, ebony pair.
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