Tag Archives: doom metal


Day four and already there’s been tears, fights, bloodied faces and threats of expulsion, oh and England fans showing the Democrats in Nevada, USA what real chair throwing looks like! What a wonderful spectacle this is! Onwards, ever onwards….



Crystal Moors are a pagan/celtic black metal act from Santander and manage to balance the folk elements with the metal elements without either overpowering each other and allowing for some great songs to emerge, leaving the listener very happy indeed.



Quercus are a new band to me, playing funeral doom metal with some avant-garde touches. Their latest album, Heart With Bread, opens with a 22-minute track and ends with a cover of Robert Burns’ ‘My Heart Is In The Highlands’. The whole album is superb; lots of prog-ish moments; think Vincent Crane-meets Peter Gabriel-era Genesis but way slower. Oh, the metal is there most definitely: the riffs are huge, the atmosphere is doom-laden and the organ is the most prevalent instrument throughout.



PREDICTION: Current holders Spain kick off their defence of the trophy with a tough match against a talented Czech Republic side, who won in 1976 (as Czechoslovakia) and reached the quarter-finals in 2012. It’ll be a good game and ultimately a draw 1-1.

Musically, although Crystal Moors are a great folk/metal band and a cut above most acts in the genre, Quercus win this one simply because their album is one of the best I’ve heard all year. Still going to check out Crystal Moors at a later date.



Lady Maggot (such a nice name) are a gothic/progressive death metal duo based in Dublin, Ireland but hailing originally from Poland. This is the kind of European union I can get behind. If you’re missing new material from Madder Mortem (six years since the last album) then you could do a lot worse than give Lady Maggot some time.



Head of the Demon mix doom and black metal motifs with nods to occult rock acts like Jess and the Ancient Ones mixed with Mortuary Drape with Tom G. Warrior-esque vocals to produce a pretty damn fine listening experience. More occult rock/metal than metal but still great all the same.



PREDICTION: ZLATAN! ZLATAN! ZLATAN! Can you guess who I’m picking? Sweden 3-1

Musically, I’m inclined to go for Head of the Demon over Lady Maggot. No real reason, it’s just there is something about the occult rock riffs of HotD that speak to me.



Shouty sludge-y post hardcore from the land of chocolate, beer and fat cat politicians. The soundtrack to overthrowing the system. Similar to Thou etc. Good stuff indeed!



2016 is shaping up to be a stellar year for metal and Italy’s Messa are continuing that trend of excellent debut albums. Bluesy occult doom (with touches of ambient and drone) with enchanting female vocals that will have you cavorting naked in the woods on the next full moon.



PREDICTION: For some reason, I believe this will be the game of the tournament so far. I know, it doesn’t have too much competition but both teams have pedigree and this is one of the best Belgium sides since the 80’s. If the Belgiums score first then it will force the Azzurri to come out and play (to quote Dee Snider). However, the longer it goes scoreless, the more chance Italy will sneak a goal and snuff out the game. Errmmmmmm………3-2 Belgium (he types optimistically)

Musically, Messa take this one with their blend of occult doom rock/metal. See you on the next full moon (clothing optional)


look at all the pretty colours!

Wellity, wellity, well! Look who’s back! Didja miss me? Waddya mean, “No!”. Well, never I have been so insulted in my life!…………………………Except that one time when I was at the International Insult Tournament in the beautiful village of Twatt, Shetland Islands; where I was called a “dobba”, a “mongoloid shoe-fucker” and a “rectum-faced-bucket-of-sex-sauce”. And that was just in the car park!

Anyhoo, another international sporting tournament is underway and I’m shoe-horning my (lack of) sporting knowledge and metal musical discoveries together for yet another highly unpopular edition of ‘Sporting Tournament of Metal’!  So come one, come all for a tournament where ethnic unpleasantness, religious bigotry, terrorism and all round, outright thuggery and hatred will appear at stadiums all over La Belle France and the cafes and bars of the nearby towns. Oh, and some football may be on offer too.

Euro 2016 explained in one handy David Squires cartoon!




With a name like Mourning Dawn, you’d expect the band to play some kind of depressive, doom metal, throw in some black metal riffs and howls and you’d be correct. Hefty riffs and great guitar solos and meaty songs keep the listener enthralled. Add the despairing, howling vocals of Laurent, and Mourning Dawn have the depth and range to become a pretty big thing.




Void Forger are a Romanian trio who play a mixture of crust, sludge and death metal. Murky production values, great riffs and some pretty good songs to boot. A grimy, sludgy way to start the day.




Opening game of the tournament and I really can’t see past the French winning this. Expectations will be high and they’ll probably scrape by with a single goal, but it’ll be good enough for all three points and will leave the French favourites to win their group. Second place will be fought out between Romania and Switzerland leaving Albania the wooden spoonists of Group A. (watch as this prediction will blow up in my face!)

Musically, both bands are good however Mourning Dawn tickles my depressive fancy more than Void Forger. Allez Les Bleus!

see more brilliant David Squires cartoons at: http://www.theguardian.com/profile/david-squires





Thaddaeus are (now) a three piece funeral doom act with traces of gothic doom, ambient married with some lovely classical/orchestral music to push the band above the likes of others in this genre. Similar to some of Dis Pater’s many guises, Thaddaeus’ vocals are reminiscent of Nick Cave and this is what makes me tingle inside!



From Uruguay come Aplanadora, who’s first album featured six Sabbath songs and was called ‘Tributo a Black Sabbath’ so it’s no surprise to discover who they are influenced by! Good old fashioned no-frills meat and potatoes 80’s metal that’s just bloody good fun!



This will be the first meeting between the two nations; Australia are the only Tier One nation that has not had a XV that has faced Uruguay in a Test match. Australia have won five of their last six Tests, this after suffering defeat in six of their seven games before that. After Wales’ victory over England, Australia will be looking to exploit an English defeat and take second (and maybe first) spot and I believe that The Wallabies will do this.

Musically, although Aplanadora are great fun and are a solid metal act however, due to the more textured layers of Thaddaeus’ music I’m giving this win to them.



Transcension are a bunch of hairy-arsed Scotsmen from the sunny shores of Greenock (which is a quaint fishing village on the Clyde!) playing some fantastic melodic death metal and with the twin guitar sound and clean vocals they give the songs a power metal/Thin Lizzy-‘Celtic’ feel to them which is very refreshing and something that makes me a fan of their music. Only one album at the moment but damn the quality of the songs make me excited to hear more from these guys!


Ares Kingdom have been around since 1997 featuring two members of black/trash metal act Order From Chaos. They’ve been releasing consistently great music since 2003 and have a new album out this year………so why I have only just heard about them now? Probably because I’m a freaking idiot! Anyhoo, Ares Kingdom are an excellent death/thrash metal act, in the vein of Bolt Thrower/Hail of Bullets/Blasphemic Cruelty, who many of you will probably be familiar with, for those (like me) who may not know them, i suggest just clicking the youtube link and listen to some amazing metal!



PREDICTION: Scotland have won all four meetings between the two nations by an average margin of 33 points and I can’t see anything from the USA to make it 5 wins for Scotland and see the Scots retake first place in the Group.

Musically this is very exciting for me. as I’ve discovered two great new bands, even if one of them has been around for a while! Both bands play different variations of death metal: Transcension are more melodic and ‘Celtic’ influenced whilst Ares Kingdom are more experienced, heavier and nastier but both bands have released excellent music. In the end experience wins out for Ares Kingdom (I’m off to buy the new album as soon as I get paid and catch up on their previous stuff) but as for Transcension the future’ looks really bright for them and I’l be hunting down their album too! (See! I don’t always sit on the fence!)



One of the pleasures of doing these posts is that I get to discover so many new bands and some great music from all over the world and here’s another band I’m thrilled to have found. Kevin Byrne is the brains behind twisted, noisy, symphonic death/doom metal act Sonus Mortis. Aggressive, harsh yet melodic, mixing the power of Aanal Nathrakh with some heavy DM riffs, cool gothic doom passages and nasty vocals makes this a great listening experience.



Romanian metal Indian Falls play atmospheric death/black metal in a similar style to Old Man’s Child, full of melody, great riffs and excellent songwriting.




The Irish have won all 14 games against non-Tier one opposition in the Rugby World Cup; those 14 wins have come by an average margin of 30 points. Ireland defeated Romania by 30 and 28-point margins at the 1999 and 2003 editions of this tournament respectively. the Romanians will probably give the Irish more of a test than the Canadians did but not much more. Ireland for the win.

Musically the Irish will take this again though Indian Fall are no slouches, I just felt more moved by Sonus Mortis.




Kicking off the second weekend of the Rugby World Cup I’m featuring some bands that I found on Instagram (@sufferingzappatache is my handle- check me out!).

Firstly we have Italian doom trio Krownn who, if you’re fans of Place of Skulls, Orange Goblin, Grand Magus etc, then you should not hesitate to click their bandcamp page and snap up the two albums that are available right now The riffs are heavy and contagious and the lyrics are inspired by the fantasy greats of Tolkien, Howard,etc. Also check out the guitarist’s Instagram page (@sealsofblackening) for some brilliant artwork.



From the snowy depths of Canada (Winnipeg, Manitoba to be exact) come atmospheric black metal band Wilt who conjure up spacious, depressive  bm melodies and give the listener a real sense of bleakness and futility. There is some light amongst the shade and dark but the overall feeling is one of despair, and that’s fine with me!




Italy defeated Canada 19-14 at the 2003 World Cup; the five-point margin was the narrowest victory Italy have recorded over Canada in their seven Tests against the Maple Leafs (W5 L2). Italy have won the last four Tests between these nations having lost two of their first three against the North American nation. Both teams suffered a defeat in their opening games and with both France and Ireland already looking like they’ve got the top two spots sewn up, it’s probably just a matter pride for these two teams and I believe the Italians will have just a little too much for their Canuck counterparts.

Musically, Krownn take the erm……..crown for Italy with their retro-doom loveliness and gorgeous riffs.



Up first is South African melodic death/groove metal act Dreams Of Nightmares playing a fairly decent, no frills melodic death/groove metal. It’s nothing too spectacular and a little too much on the groove side for my liking but decent enough.



Representing Samoa for this game will be New York orchestral/post-black metal/shoegaze act So Hideous (@sohideous on Instagram). Combining elements of G!YBE-type orchestration, hardore, shoegaze and post BM riffing and phrasing, the band are a powerful act to listen to. Occasionally there is a little too much going on in some of the songs, but when the fire mix just the right amount of their influences together it makes for a potent an heady brew a emotional, uplifting metal.




This will be the fifth World Cup Test between these nations; the Springboks have not faced any other side more often (England also four times). South Africa won the previous four games between the sides. This will be a tough game for South Africa to try and bounce back from after their defeat to Japan. Samoa will be confident after their victory over the US and will be looking forward to keeping their winning momentum going. This will be a close game but I feel SA will just do enough to edge out the Samoans.

Musically So Hideous take the victory.


JUKEBOX MONKEY vs ZONDERHOOF- The Battle of the Stoner Bands!

Jukebox Monkey can be found on Instagram (@jukeboxmonkey) and are from the sunny seaside hamlet of Gravesend in the English garden that is Kent. Playing stoner metal/rock that’s similar in style to Grand Magus fronted by Maynard James Keenan , Jukebox Monkey are a powerful four piece with some amazing riffs catchy choruses and excellent songs. One to check out.


Zonderhoof’s take on stoner metal/doom is of a more instrumental variety, with huge riffs, more emphasis on the doom aspect and killer long songs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Church of Misery or Sleep album (and great song titles too!)




These two rivals have met twice at World Cups, in 1987 and 2003, with England losing the first encounter but winning 12 years ago and each of those games were settled by significant margins, 13 and 11 points respectively. England are aiming for three straight victories over Wales for the first time since 2011 however England have lost two of their last five Tests at Twickenham against their border rivals but prior to that won 10 in a row against Wales at HQ. In their last three defeats against Wales (2011-2013), England failed to score a try, however, England have failed to score a try just once in their last 15 Tests. With the Australians also in Pool A neither team can afford to slip up and defeat for one team will probably hinder qualification into the next round. England will be favourites due to being the host nation, but the Welsh will have more than enough to counter the English. A tough game settled by a point or two and with the Welsh coming out as victors.

Musically I’m going for the draw. Both bands are excellent examples of the variety in the stoner doom/rock genre. If I was to judge it I’d probably give it to Jukebox Monkey due to the great sing-a-long choruses but it’ll be a close call.


Jazz hands ahoy!

Only one game today so this’ll be a shorter post than normal but the music will still be rocking! This will be Namibia’s first game of the tournament and the question will be can they score a try? Let’s find out!



Orphans of Dusk are an Antipodean  gothic/doom metal collaboration that have one ep out at the moment and it showcases the band excellent blend of Type O Negative, Woods of Ypres, My Dying Bride and early Katatonia. If you’re a fan of any of those bands then you need to get Orphans of Dusk into your life.



The Sabbathian are another International act (US guitarist/drummer and Norwegian vocalist) and another female-fronted, Sabbath-worshiping doom act. Are they any cop or just another bunch of bandwagon- jumpers? Well, formed by Chad Davis (Hour of 13) and with vocals from Annette Gulbrandsen (Mandylion, Leaves Eyes, Nattsol), The Sabbathian sound like classic doom metal (Candlemass, Solitude Aeternus etc)  with very strong female vocals and the band sounds like the real deal. The riffs, the songs and the strong vocals put The Sabbathian head and shoulders over other female-fronted doom acts out there.




This is the first meeting between these nations. Namibia were on the wrong end of the heaviest defeat in World Cup history (0-142 vs Australia in 2003) while New Zealand were responsible for three of the five largest wins in Webb Ellis history. The All Blacks have never lost in the Pool Stage of the Rugby World Cup; winning all 25 games in this round. Namibia have lost all 15 of their games at the Rugby World Cup by an average margin of 55 points. So if you have any prayers, good vibes, well wishes or even better tries then I reckon you send them Namibia’s way! A walkover for New Zealand and quite possibly a whitewash!

Musically it’s a lot closer than the game will be! Both bands are relatively new and only have one ep out but both bands are worthy of your attention (and your money!) so this will come as no surprise to anybody when I go for the draw!



Sorry it’s been a while since my last post but I tried viewing the eclipse through a colander. I think I’ve strained my eyes.


Shallow Grave are an atmospheric sludge/doom metal band from NZ and by jingo, are they heavy! Huge face melting riffs, a menacing rhythm section and vocals that are shouted at you by a deranged, pissed off man. The atmosphere that they go for here is mayhem and destruction and they certain succeed on that level. Harsh, uncompromising, nasty sludge/doom metal at it’s best.



Aquilus is a one man black metal act that is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill OMBM bands. Mixing black metal, folk, acoustic passages and orchestral passages into one huge epic, outstanding, cinematic piece of music. A lot of his music wouldn’t sound out of place in a film, so grandiose and sweeping are some parts of this album and yet the metal is also supremely played that it doesn’t sound out of place next to the quiet, acoustic moments. An utterly amazing album that has to be heard in full to be truly appreciated.



PREDICTION: I’ve got no dog in this fight, both my teams (England and Scotland) were home before the postcards and so I don’t really mind who wins this final. Both teams (and co-hosts) have played great cricket and their Pool A match was a great display of bowling by both sides. Australia have already won this competition four times and will be looking to win it on home soil against their Antipodean neighbours (#everybody needs good neighbours!#) and the same is true of NZ. It’ll be their first World Cup Final appearance and to win it against the Aussies and in Melbourne will be extra special for them. However, despite their Pool A 1 wicket win in February, I fear that New Zealand will not have the firepower to overcome Australia and I can see a fifth World Cup title for Green Baggies.

Musically, although I love Shallow Grave and their self-titled album, just the sheer range, depth and beauty of Aquilus’ music makes him the winner of this contest.


A big thank you to everyone who has read these blog posts. I’ll be back in this format in September when the Rugby World Cup starts. The usual suspects will be there as well as Canada, USA, Romania, Italy, Georgia, Samoa, Argentina, Fiji, Tonga, Japan and Namibia, so I’ll be featuring metal bands from those countries as well as England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, NZ, SA, France, Uruguay and South Africa. I hope you can join me again. I will be posting, hopefully once a week before then but for now I’m off to bone up on my knowledge of the Namibian, Fijian, Samoan and Tongan metal/rock scene!


A little preamble: whilst browsing the Half Man Half Biscuit Lyrics Project (chrisrand.com/hmhb) I stumbled across a website/blogsite called Ruth and Martin’s Album Club (ramalbumclub.com click on it, it’s a damn fine site) and they featured the album ‘Radiator’ by the Super Furry Animals . Now I love this album, for me it’s probably one of the band’s strongest and one of my favourite 2nd albums ever made. And this got me thinking, there are a lot of albums I like that were the bands or artists second full album, so why not feature them in a post? So here it is: my first, hopefully of many, features about a band’s second album (hence the title). Now these will feature albums that I own or did own at one time; some will be good, some not so good; there will be a hell of a lot of hard rock/heavy metal featured but I will feature other non-metal acts and anything else that tickles my fancy (and my fancy does love to be tickled!) The albums featured will be the bands officially listed second studio album; eps, live albums etc will not be considered, and as I’m originally from the UK I’ll be dealing with the bands officially released second album in the UK (it will become clear when we get to some international acts)  So let’s tackle those albums.

What’s the album today?

‘Paranoid’ by Black Sabbath 1970

This wasn’t the first Black Sabbath album I owned, that pleasure goes to ‘Vol.4’ but after buying the 2 RJD-era Sabbath albums, ‘Paranoid’ along with ‘Master Of Reality’ were quickly snapped up.

Is it any good?

Oh hell, yes! Heavy metal, hell heavy music redefined. Opening with the near-eight minute ‘War Pigs’ and closing with ‘Fairies Wear Boots’  you are bombarded for 42 minutes with skull crushing riffs courtesy of Tony Iommi, without whom heavy metal  (and in particular doom metal) as we know would not exist, lyrics about death, war, hate, drugs, sci-fi themes, you know the usual metal template, blistering guitar solos and some of the most chest-rattling bass riffs and intelligent pounding drumming you ever hear.

Is it better than the debut?

It’s a lot less ‘doom-y’ sounding than the debut and there are more ideas and styles on here than the debut but both albums are very, very strong records. So, yes it’s ‘better’ than the debut but the debut album is no slouch either.

Any good tracks?

Put the record on, let the needle drop and take your pick! From the majestic opening of ‘War Pigs’, the doom-laden ‘Iron Man’, the creepy, jazzy-metal of ‘Hand of Doom’, the tripped out, mellow jazz of ‘Planet Caravan’ to the frantic buzz of the title track, there is just so many good songs on here and some that are still featured in the live set 40+ years after it’s release.

Any bad tracks?

Personal Opinion Alert: For me, ‘Paranoid’ was the first Sabbath song I heard back in the 70’s and I do feel it gets a little over played at times, enough to make me not really want to hear it for a while. And other than the drum solo in ‘Rat Salad’, I can’t find any bad tracks on here. (Don’t worry readers, there will be albums featured later on in this series that will have some very bad tracks)

Any drum solos on this record?

One: ‘Rat Salad’. Now, I’ve mentioned this before but I hate drum solos. In concerts they are great because I know that I can go to the bathroom for a piss or to the bar for a beer (or, if I go to certain venues, a pint of weak piss masquerading as beer- I’m looking at you Carling venues!) and I’m not going to miss much on stage. However I cannot find any excuse to record a drum solo in the studio and put it onto a studio album! What the fuck guys? Black Sabbath weren’t the only culprits to feature a drum solo on their second album (and I’ll be dealing with those bands at later date) and in fairness the song itself is pretty cool, the guitar and bass interplay is great and the Iommi’s solo is short and sweet. Another positive is that the drum solo is quite short on record compared to Zeppelin’s ‘Moby Dick’ and the song doesn’t drag like ‘…Dick’ does, so there’s another bonus!

So the critics loved it, right?

In Nick Tosches’ Rolling Stone review from 1971, he spends about 1,500 words dismissing the band while not once mentioning their name, the album or any of the songs on the album.  Click here to find out why certain drugs are bad (and Rolling Stone reviewers are arseholes)


In the decades succeeding its initial distribution, Paranoid has been regarded by many as Black Sabbath’s best album, and by some the best heavy metal album of all time.[20] Speaking to Guitar World in 2008, Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains called “Hand Of Doom” “a masterpiece. It’s hypnotic and terrifying and has a seductive groove. The song explodes into a twisted landscape made physical through sound.” Scott Ian of Anthrax told Nick Bowcott that “War Pigs” is “the sound of the apocalypse. It’s the sound of a vengeful God. It’s the sound of a beast crushing everything in its path.” In the Holiday 2008 issue of Guitar World, Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead called “Iron Man” one of the most memorable riffs of all time while Kerry King of Slayer cited “Electric Funeral” as having “some monster riffs that have stood the test of time.” from Wikipedia.

Did it influence anyone?

No…………………………….joke! It’s difficult to comprehend just how influential this album and this band were. The whole doom metal genre owes a debt of thanks to Sabbath, hell every metal band owes a huge debt of gratitude to Black Sabbath and some hard rock, grunge, punk acts also drink from the Sabbath chalice.

So what happened after this?

Drink, drugs, more great albums, more drugs (especially cocaine), firing the lead singer, hiring Ronnie James Dio, two great albums, firing RJD, hiring Ian Gillan, inspiring the Stonehenge scene in ‘This Is Spinal Tap, hiring Tony Martin,, firing Tony Martin and re-hiring RJD, firing RJD and re-hiring Tony Martin, firing Tony Martin and reforming with RJD under the moniker Heaven and Hell, reunion tours and album with original singer and reality tv star Ozzy Osbourne. Nothing of note really.

Is it their best album?

The first five Black Sabbath albums are quite possibly the greatest run of solid albums by a band ever. It’s difficult to say that ‘Paranoid’ is their best work but blimey Charlie, it’s a bloody good ‘un! The songs are still a part of the band’s setlist, their 2013/14 Reunion Tour saw them perform 6 of the 8 tracks from the album (‘Hand of Doom’ and ‘Planet Caravan’ the two not played) and the album still stands today as a colossal piece of music.

The album in full: