Squalus – The Great Fish

Bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals. Those are the building blocks of California experimental death metal band Squalus. Their debut album, The Great Fish, walks the line between death and doom metal, with a lot of atmospheric tendencies, some sludge, and synthwave, I guess, into a somehow cohesive whole. Bass-driven metal acts are not a new thing by any means, but there are many pitfalls on the way to make them interesting and appealing, into which many of the contenders inadvertently get trapped. Two of the most obvious ones are the frequency range and the timbral diversity. Squalus hopefully … Read more

Ehnahre – The Marrow

Ever since Douve came out, in 2016, I’ve held the Boston avant-garde doom metal quartet Ehnahre in the highest of regards. Earlier this month, they released their newest experimentation on The Marrow, a four-track, fifty-three-minute slab of slow, heavy, and unbridled contemporary music. Yes, Ehnahre swims pretty close to modern classical music with their compositional approach, a feeling reinforced by their use of contrabass and piano. The band’s long, drawn-out pieces are very atmospheric and even entrancing, often relying on slow, repeated motives and spoken word passages to build a ritualistic summoning of heartfelt and mystic music. The outstanding … Read more

Ex Eye – Ex Eye

We’re not new to the name of Colin Stetson, decidedly one of if not the best saxophone player of recent history. Although his works have been a lot into the ambient spectrum, his recent Sorrow: A Reimagining of Górecki’s Third Symphony is where he brought himself into the lands of metal. Being now part of the new band Ex Eye, his fast, relentless, versatile, and innovative playing style is a perfect match for the blackened doom they spew out. Whether they drone on in drawn-out atmospheric passages or tempestuously stampede during blast beat parts, Stetson is at the forefront, … Read more

Orthodox – Κρέας

‘Orthodox’ is a rather antithetical name for such a band as this one. Indeed, the Sevillan experimental doom jazz trio don’t play by the rules, and don’t like to follow traced paths. Their most recent works are a melting pot of absurdly low and distorted bass guitars and twirling saxophones playing what they call experimental doom metal influenced by religious folklore and jazz. With their latest release, the twenty-seven-minute single Κρέας (Kréas), they push the formula even further by it being a complete improvisation. There is no understatement in calling this a free jazz record, but that description alone would … Read more

Some Happy Thoughts – Épiphanie

Born from Québec’s metropolis, Some Happy Thoughts is a metal band joining depressive suicidal black metal with doom. The lyrics, in French, talk about depression and the futility of everything, but elegantly so, with short poems fronting most tracks. There’s also a twist to it, an Épiphanie, hence the title. This vision of clarity brings a much appreciated silver lining to the suffocating black fog that the rest of the album represents. The full-length album is slow, heavy, and oppressively bleak, with a constant chirping tremolo guitar, a screaming but not shrieking vocalist, and decent production quality. Its nihilism … Read more