Los grillos is psyched to say that my favorite heavy metal mystics, The Well, have followed up the riff-heavy wizadry of debut 7″ and subsequent ep, First Trip, with their first proper long player, Samsara. Featuring songs from both previous releases plus a few new psychedelic flights into dark, doom-laden skies, it’s an album that should put The Well right up there with fellow Austin carriers of the metal torch like The Sword and American Sharks. Rooted in classic metal yet distinct in delivery– particularly in the bewitched harmonies of vocalists Ian Graham and Lisa Alley– this thing’s loaded with driving riffs and tripped out breakdowns that’ll get your horns up and your head banging– hell, drop the needle on it with incense burning and a black light glowing, and this bad motherfucker might even light your bong for you.
Samsara is out now via RidingEasy Records. Check it out here.
If you missed gritty genre blenders Have A Nice Life’s debut deathconsciousness back when it landed in 2008, as I did, don’t sleep on this reissue from Flenser Records. A perfect mix of drone meets shoegaze meets post-punk meets eighties emotional bombast, it’s like a Cure record for people who love black metal. It’s an album that rewards close attention and lingers with you long after the last note fades. It grinds and creeps with equal parts melody and melancholy. Though the band went largely unnoticed until this year’s follow-up lp the unnatural world, it all started with deathconsciousness, and this reissue will hopefully bring it the audience it deserves.
deathconsciousness is out now via Flenser Records. Check it out here.
I came to Swedish psych rockers The Janitors through my fondness for like-minded Swedes the Skull Defekts and was immediately drawn in by their hypnotic menace, so I’m glad to say they’re back with a new ep of dark and haunting mind fuckery. Dense, swirling guitars with jagged edges that claw away at the inside of your third eye lay the foundation for songs that build on The Janitor’s mastery of creeping dread and droning but addictive melody, and anyone who’s down for more well known bands in the current psych scene like The Black Angels should definitely get down with The Janitors.
Evil Doings of an Evil Kind is out now via Bad Afro Records. Check it out here.
Alright, it’s straight back to some more retrified metal, this time by way of a band bad ass doom motherfuckers who call themselves The Order of Israfel and rock tunes on debut album Wisdom that reach back to nineteen seventy-Sabbath. But don’t let the early album Ozzy-isms throw you– once this thing settles in a bit, it’s clear these dudes have wrapped their heads around many a mighty metal album, filtered their influences through their own dark wizardry, and come up with something that goes far beyond homage to days of doom metal past and announces them as rockers to be reckoned with among the bands at the top of the current metal resurgence, such as Pallbearer and Yob. But where those bands tend to reach skyward with their epic riffs and soaring vocals, The Order of Israfel feel more earthbound, with gritty vocals, gut-punch guitars, and a number of tracks that cut to the hard-charging chase. So if you’re already down with the latest from Yob and Pallbearer but are looking to make your doom party a threesome, this is the one you want.
Wisdom is out now via Napalm/Spinning Goblin records. Check it out here.
I took a turn this week from my obsession with all things retro and classic metal (and/or new/no/cold/dark wave) to crank the volume on the latest from Iceland’s Sólstafir. Though it’s been getting mention on metal sites across the interwebs, this thing leans as much goth as it does hard rock, like Queens of the Stone Age covering Peter Murphy. Or the soundtrack to the Seventh Seal chess match. Airy, fluid guitars float on dark waves of synth, and the songs– more about atmosphere than structure, but with melody laced throughout– move seamlessly from quietly cinematic to epically heavy, taking you on a trip into the void that keeps on tripping.
Ótta is out now via Season of Mist. Check it out here.