Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




Top Ten Obscure Doom Metal Bands

Posted on June 19th 2010 | Leave a comment

Okay, bit of a rush job this, no links and stuff, just the band titles and comment. Just throwing it out there to see what the response will be:

10. Elder – doom band from Massachusetts, got an ep and a full-length out

9. MOAB – little known doom band, has an ep called ‘The Dimensioner’ out

8. Black Pyramid – another Massachusetts band, have released a demo, a full-length, an ep and a split with Old One

7. Catapult The Smoke – swedish band, got an album called ‘Unearth’ available

6. Orodruin – New York band, released ‘Epicurean Mass’ full length, and ‘Claw Tower And Other Tales Of Terror’, a compilation of early songs.

5. Maligno – great trad doom band from Guadelupe, Mexico. Two albums out (but hard to get hold of on this side of the world) – self-titled CD from 2006, and ‘Universevil’ from 2008.

4. Nogg (aka Eggnogg) – from Clinton, New York, this band put out their 1st under the name Eggnogg, a tasty, downtuned sludgy slab of Sabbath-channelling. Recently released a followup EP, free to download from their myspace

3. Sloth – released one cd, ‘Voice of God’, in 2001, astonishing collection of bass-heavy, blues-ridden doomtastic tunes

2. Forsaken – from Malta, they’ve release a coupla demos, coupla eps, and 4 full-length albums redolent of Sabbath-worship yet vibrant with an energy and direction all their own. Recently released a split ep with Fall Of The Idols.

1. Krux – this is the side-project of Leif Edling, songwriter and bassist for Candlemass; there have been just 2 Krux albums (entitled 1 and 2) and they are both astonishing, hard, heavy, doom-laden and angry. A new Krux cd is supposedly in the works for this year.

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Musical Grab-bag: Monster Magnet, Porcupine Tree and – yes! – Eggnog!

Posted on December 12th 2009 | Leave a comment

Just the time of year, I guess, in which the gigs come thick and fast and strange . Different bands and different sounds make different blends of thought and aesthetic sensation swirl through the brain like the fumes of incense, flowers, and, uh, warm vinyl.

Monster Magnet + Karma 2 Burn + Lions
Monster Magnet hit the stage at the Glasgow Garage on Monday 7th December, and man, it was a sound for sore ears. They were meant to tour Europe back in ’06 but had to cancel cos of lead singer Dave Wyndorf’s, er, painkiller prob. But here they are, Wyndorf looking a little heavier, but they stormed into the first explosive number and just cranked it up over the whole night. I last saw them at the QM in 2004 (with brilliant support bands The Quill and Gluecifer), and they were utterly awesome; on Monday they were actually better. There was a definite sense that they felt they had something to prove, and they gave it their all – also, there was a very good, very intense vibe to the crowd, as if they were willing the band to pull out all the stops. Faves from Powertrip included Crop Circle, Powertrip, Spacelord (which reached near-overmind heights of mass-crowd singalong unity), and Tractor, as well as stuff from Dopes To Infinity, Spine of God and Monolithic – the track Spine of God was stunning. Quite simply a 10/10 night, made all the sweeter by the knowledge that the band has just signed a new recording contract and that they go into the studio in January to record a new album.
Porcupine Tree + North Atlantic Oscillation
To the O2-ABC on Sauchiehall St last night (the 11th), to see the now-mighty Porupine Tree showcasing their latest opus, THE INCIDENT. Odd experience, the gig was – the new CD was actually the 1st PTree album which failed to hold my attention, despite having bought it new from Play.com on release. I was hoping that hearing most of it live would change my mind but sadly I still feel un-energised by it. The band played all of the 1st cd, the big conceptual Incident song as the 1st half of the concert, then for the 2nd played a variety of tunes from previous albums, and that was when the gig really came to life for me. Some utterly stunning performances then, from albums Sky Moves Sideways right up to Fear of a Blank Planet, finishing with a rousing Trains. I still haven’t figured out why Incident doesn’t speak to me; one theory is that I have grown used to certain elements of the PTree style, and that the inner landscape/personal trauma subject matter has likewise become over-familiar, in that quite a few North European bands focus on it (also, I felt a certain commonality with Dream Theater’s Scenes From A Memory, although there was much more of a mysterious narrative in that than I got from The Incident).
Support band North Atlantic Oscillation (not Engineers) should get a mention – missed the first coupla numbers, but what I did hear was very good indeed, kinda prog/shoegazery/psyche; they have an EP called Call Signs out from KScope (PTree’s label), and their new album, Grappling Hooks, is due out in March.
Eggnog – The Three
This is an album review, provoked by its sheer quality, which is playing even as I write this (AND I haven’t even listened to the end yet, its that good). Listening to the first coupla songs you`d think that these guys were channelling Black Sabbath circa Paranoid – talk about an earthshaking, epic bass and rhythm, tied together with clear and expressive vocals pitched at below the mid-range. One reviewer said it was like a Sabbath-Alice In Chains hybrid, and I can see why. This is an album released by the band themselves, a criminal shame since this is excellent heavy, heavy, doomy rock with metal overtones paced generally slower than average midpace rock (and some numbers a bit slower still), so its not a galloping racer from the Iron Maiden stable, rather an inexorable juggernaut of bluesy doom. To find out more and sample the band’s output, try their myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/eggnoggband.

Be ready for an extended period of doomification!

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Paradise Lost: Masters Of Disquieting Metal

Posted on September 18th 2009 | Leave a comment

It goes back to that double album, Draconian Times, which the band Paradise Lost put out in 1995 (heck, 14 year ago), after which I was utterly captivated by their sound, that grimly insistent, riffs-a-plenty style whose tone swung between a kind of moody magnificence and angry despair. Having tipped off Dave Wingrove to them, he sent me copies of the two albums prior to DT, Icon and Shades of God, and they were excellent too. Funnily enough, just as I was getting into them, the band underwent a kind of metamorphosis over the next 3 albums, One Second, Host, and Believe In Nothing, where they radically altered their overall sound, putting aside the metallic mix they’d used up to Draconian Times.

Those 3 albums didn’t really do it for me. They weren’t bad by any means, but purely as a personal aesthetic they just kinda…left me cold. After Believe In Nothing came out, I was pretty well resigned to the feeling that the band had left behind their previous incarnations of sound and texture and mood.

Then in 2002 came Symbol Of Life.

Bloody hell.

It was an astonishing collection of songs, dark and intense and yet somehow gathering together all the additional influences of the previous 3 cds and stirring them into that older dark and gritty sound. The impact was revelatory, even triumphant, all killer no filler, culminating in the near-avant-garde/prog onslaught of Channel For The Pain. Truly, listening to that album was a Not Worthy! moment.

Since then we’ve had the self-titled Paradise Lost cd (2005) and Requiem (2007), both fabulous, both demonstrating an absolutely consistent high standard of songwriting creativity, a kind of visionary intensity focussed into metal music that truly takes you out of yourself. And now the new album, Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us, is due for release on Sept 28th. And until next Friday, the 25th, most if not all of the album is being streamed for listening at the band’s Myspace page, and it is such a joy to hear. It really is some achievement when you think about it, for a band to come out with four consistently excellent albums in succession. I guess we’re just lucky to have them around.

To savour the flavour, click on the link:


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