It’s been a while since I’ve opened the great grimoire of doom and inscribed a new entry. I’ve been busier than a kobold berserker with St. Vitus dance. Since we last met (over brimming tankards of dark ale), a lot of new music has been released, and I’ve written up some reviews and recommendations to serve you well on your journey…
The oddly-named Yoga’s first full-length, Megafauna is one of the most compelling and unsettling records that I’ve heard in a long time. Like the first time I listened to Coil or Nurse With Wound and really “got it,” really connected and understood it. It wasn’t just noise fraught with artsy intentions; there was something decidedly emotional about it. Mysterious chimes, drones, and bells invoke a wholly unearthly sound-world. The aggressive guitars and drums are almost secondary to all the other dimensions. Like shadows on a frost-choked landscape, Megafauna‘s creepiest tracks are also the most beautiful and brilliant.
From Georgia’s favorite sons, Blue Record is the official companion to 2007’s Red Album, and marks the debut of Peter Adams on guitar (having replaced Brian Blickle). With vorpal blade precision, Baroness have effectively created a sacred writ of an album — a testament to their progression and power. Blue Record contains powerhouse riffs, groovy cosmic dirges, atmospheric acoustic balladry, and total and utter badassery. A double CD version exists with some live tracks from Roadburn 2009. Get it now. Blue Record is my pick for the metal album that will show up on most “Best of 2009” lists.
You may remember Wrnlrd from the Flingco Sound Systems “Black Box” – Myrmidon is the seventh full-length from the Virginia ”horde.” Wrnrld — the only black metal band I know of that incorporates a banjo. Wrnlrd create a completely unclassifiable sound — distilled from nightmares into a bristling squall of evil. Layered with creepy vocals and crunchy guitars and recorded over six months by two different teams of musicians, Myrmidon is bursting with both dread and innovation of the genre. Strange and terrifying blasts of thorny sound that ooze, sting and leave an indelible impression on your eardrums.
At last, the long-awaited debut from doom supergroup Shrinebuilder, featuring Scott “Wino” Weinrich (St. Vitus, Hidden Hand, etc.), Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om), and Dale Crover (The Melvins). It’s an amazing ride of a record. Five tightly constructed songs that reflect their collective talents. Each song is a heavy epic, hewn from sonic mind-stuff – the grizzled statesman Wino trades off riffs with Kelly, a veteran in his own right. Al Cisneros gets a lengthy passage to ruminate with a very Om-like chant during “Pyramid of the Moon.” Dale Crover drives the whole beast with chops that only being the backbone of the mighty Melvins can give you. I can only hope that there’s much more to come from Shrinebuilder. With so much going on with each member (including a full-on St. Vitus reunion for Wino!), it will no doubt be a long, hard wait for the next one. I hope to be checking them out next week in B’more. Maybe I’ll see you there.