Album Review: Waste of Space Orchestra – “Syntheosis”

Waste of Space Orchestra - Syntheosis

How do you describe something that defies description at every turn?  What does ‘avant-garde’ even mean when you are so far removed from your peers that you don’t even seem to notice them? George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is not necessarily your go-to spirit guide for examining and understanding boundary-pushing psychedelic metal, yet here we are, listening to Waste of Space Orchestra’s monumental Syntheosis and witnessing abstract concepts swirling and coalescing around us. True to Hegel’s dialectical method, concrete meets abstract and both are reconciled to pure absolute during the course of the album, in the sublime manner of an eternally recurring sonic metamorphosis equal parts primal and cerebral. Continue reading

Initial Descent: March 31 – April 6, 2019

Mord 'A' Stigmata

With seemingly ALL the good stuff hitting the inbox on a daily basis it’s getting harder and harder to pick the top slots. Which means we’re having a stellar year so far, hard to argue with that. But, please argue or tell me I’m wrong. That’s the way now, right? Whatever. 2019 is shaping up damn nicely and it’s just April. Read on, there’s a lot to get to.

Poland’s Mord ‘A’ Stigmata have a tough hill to climb after 2017’s Hope and this year’s hit comes in the form of Dreams Of Quiet Places which finds the band experimenting with synths and solitude but make no mistake, black metal is still the backbone and this band still rules. Next up is the anomaly called Waste of Space Orchestra comprised of heavy hitters (look them up) that teamed up for the psych metal / mind-bending / thought provoking Syntheosis which is as epic in music as it is in scope and themes, go and experience this. Moving along, if you’re a fan of Zimmers Hole you will be a fan of West of Hell (if you’re not already) and on Blood of the Infidel Chris Valagao’s voice is still a metal treasure and the thrashing good time just doesn’t quit. Can’t let this one end without giving a shout out to Periphery who pretty much fly a middle finger to all the broisms of metal on Periphery IV: Hail Stan – try to look at that and not see Satan. But more than that, this is their heaviest release to date while still clutching the grandiose feel of Coheed & Cambria.

Enter below and enjoy all that is this week. And, do feel free to comment with all the “2019 blows thus far” or “what are you smoking” and I’ll be over here cranking the likes of Moon Tooth, Venom Prison, Mastiff, WOORMS, so on and so forth, so loud that I can’t hear your whining. Continue reading

Initial Descent: May 20 – 26, 2018

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Uada

I’ve been experimenting with some bottom shelf bourbons as of late. Most of which should just stay at the bottom but I have found a couple of real gems that will be occupying space in my cabinet until everyone else finds out about them and they quadruple in price. And no, I’ll not tell. Anyway, if experimenting with new things is something you do we have a treasure trove of new metal this week. Kicking this list off is Oregon’s melodic black metallers Uada with their second full length Cult of a Dying Sun and they’re still melodic, still crushing but with an extra pinch of experimentation. Next up is Witch Mountain with their first full length since acquiring a new vocalist and yes, she KILLS IT so check out Witch Mountain and see how good their bluesy doom really is. Moving along is Svalbard with their, vicious hardcore / black metall..ish sound and a very important message in regards to the times we live in, new album It’s Hard To Have Hope — not only is the music a kick to the face but the message is a kick in the pants to dust yourself off and fight the good fight. Last up in the opening slots is New Hampshire’s technical (NOT TECH) death metal band Unflesh with their debut Savior which is not just technical but melodic in all the right places AND it’s a ton of fun so hopefully these guys will get signed soon. There you have it, the opening four. But — you guessed it — we have much more in store so stick around. Cheers! Continue reading

Album Review: Witch Mountain – “Witch Mountain”

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Metal bands replace lead singers with some regularity, but seldom does a transition come with the stakes before Portland doom favorites Witch Mountain on their upcoming Witch Mountain.

When the peerless Uta Plotkin announced in 2014 that she was leaving the band, it had come on the heels of a phenomenal run of albums, capped off by Witch Mountain’s breakthrough, Mobile of Angels. Given the band had been on hiatus for a minute before her entry, Plotkin’s sensational voice inarguably breathed life into Witch Mountain in 2009 and helped it score its greatest achievements over her career with the group. Major media coverage, big festivals and a devoted following were among the rewards for a brisk live performance schedule and steady output. Around the same time of Plotkin’s exit, bassist Charles Thomas, a replacement for longtime bass player Dave Hoopaugh, bid his farewell, too. Continue reading

Initial Descent: October 15 – 21, 2017

Hallatar
Hallatar

As we edge closer to the end of the year the trend in long lists of new releases continues. But one thing that has remained consistent is the quality, for the most part, of these releases week to week. This week is no different here on Initial Descent and expect this trend to continue in the coming weeks. Leading us off is the emotionally stirring debut No Stars Upon the Bridge from atmospheric doom metallers Hallatar, many names you’ll recognize from this group: Amorphis, Trees of Eternity and HIM so be sure to check this one out. Next up is Amenra who continue their very distinct vision of sonic depth, dark spirituality and uncompromising heaviness on Mass VI and again, do not miss it. Moving right along is the debut Teneral from NY’s Pyrolatrous who very successfully combine black and death metal in a unique way. Finishing up the top spots this week is the doom duo Bell Witch with their mammoth one-song opus Mirror Reaper and they actually pull it off. One-song albums are a bit of a chance to say the least but also a marathon if there’s not enough substance but that’s not the case here, grab some popcorn and dig in. Like I said, the quality is already apparent but it also lies in the quantity that follows so stick around and enjoy it. Continue reading