Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Snack Series – Lays BLT

The Snack Series – Lay's BLT

Price: $2.99 Canadian for a 180 grams bag. Not too bad.

Packaging: Bright blue with a big BLT on the bag. I’m a bit disappointed by the fact it’s a smaller bag than their usual bigger ones but considering Lay's did some weird experiments in the past (during their contests, remember the cinnamon buns flavour? EWW!), it's understandable that they're not doing gigantic bags for their temporary or special releases.

Texture/look: Normal colour, same as the original Lay's brand but there's some black spots on the chips. Nothing quite special here.

Taste: It doesn't really taste like a BLT at all but this was to be expected with simulated flavors. The flavor at the forefront would be mayonnaise and then there's some slight bacon and tomato in the aftertaste but I had to eat the whole bag in 30 mins to find those. I'm a big mayonnaise fan (it's not an instrument, by the way) but those Lay's weren't really interesting. I'd say that they're a bit better than the Bacon Lay's though.

Spend your snack money on something else. They're not bad but they're uninteresting and uninspired.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Metal Bounty Hunter: Volume 11 /// 2017 DOOM SPECIAL

"Doom metal is dead", that's what Reverend Bizarre told us back in 2007 but more than ten years after the final album of the Finns, the genre is still alive and kicking. Thank god! Here's a bunch of demos or extended plays released this year. Canada, Germany, the US and even Israel are represented in this special volume. 

Palmistry – Demo (2017) / 80%

Magickal Doom from Poutineland

Full disclosure: I work with half of Palmistry as a gig promoter/booker in Montréal
and I also know his wife who's the second half. My relationship with them has nothing to do with my appreciation of their music. Doom metal is dead, anyway.

This new project from Montréal unleashed their first demo back in July and it's an insanely great first effort. Composed of a young couple, Palmistry plays super catchy trad doom with a penchant for epic moments and melodic leads. Obviously influenced by Candlemass, their music goes beyond worship and has this special touch.

The two songs are short (for doom, eh) affairs and considering it's a demo, it's really well produced. The guitar is crisp and just plain fun. The riffs are well composed, dynamic and has this quasi arabic vibe. It feels like crusader doom! The solos on "Capharnaüm" are subtle, soft and aren't unecessarily flashy. The vocals of the feminine side of the duo are solid. They sound like an occult incantation and they're pretty ballsy.

All in all, the Palmistry demo shows a lot of potential and talent and I'm stoked to be able to follow their development. It's great when the music made by friends is actually good and you don't have to force yourself to dig it!

Fvneral Fvkk ‎– The Lecherous Liturgies (2017) / 91%

Essential doom, epic as fvkkkkkk!

With members from known to almost known German bands such as Ophis, here comes Fvneral Fvkk and despite their silly name, they probably released the best doom demo/EP of 2017. Their style is midway through epic doom and traditional doom and they're already at the top of their game. I mean, we're talking of veteran musicians and not simply newcomers. The situation is similar to Dautha, the new Swedish band formed by members of Griftegård, Scar Symmetry or Wardenclyffe.
Those guys know what sound they're looking for and they have the experience and skills to create it.

Fvneral Fvkk comes from the tradition of tongue in cheek doom bands but even if their lyrics are blasphemous and somewhat fun, the riffs and compositions are serious. They do evolve in the modern doom sound as well, the Warning/Pallbearer sound is present but the Germans bring an added urgency and evilness to the formula. The production is crisp, the guitars heavy as fuck and the vocals sombre and dark. The songs are packed to the brim with desecrated doom and there's no wasted moments to be found here.

It's an essential release for any doom fans and I don't know how they'll be able to top it.

Make sure to get the digital version with the 3 tracks since the bonus song is also excellent.

Bridegeist – Waste of Kings (2017) / 75%

Fresh and tight sword & sorcery doom

The Wichita, Kansas quartet doesn't waste any time in establishing their identity. Their sound is huge, rough and immensely heavy. The dual guitars makes 'em quite fun and punishing and the harmonies are present underneath the heaviness. Just like Khemmis, they do like to mix sludgey influences to their heavy/doom and it's apparent in the use of semi harsh vocals used by Steven Turner.

Their metal is groovy, full of catchy manly riffs and while it's mostly extroverted metal, it's easy to enjoy. I mean, complex and "smart" metal is often shit and annoying. You get what you ask for here, solid steel for twenty minutes.

Residing in the same city as epic metal forefathers Manilla Road could had been an ordeal but Bridegeist delivers their own take on sword and sorcery by cranking the amps to the max and by being more aggressive than a pack of hungry hounds.

Lavaborne – Demo 2017 / 65%

Peculiar Midwest garage doom

With the technology we have today, demos are a bit of a dying art. It's totally possible to have a semi professional suburbian recording done in your mom's basement nowadays. Unfortunately, that's not the case for this demo. Ok, Lavaborne's production isn't that bad but I've heard better for doom demos. Chris Latta's (also in Spirit Division) vocals are decent but they're way too loud in the mix and it's hard to focus on anything else. His deep voice almost goes into spoken word territory at times and it adds a certain weird charm to the band. The drum machine is annoying as it often is in metal.

The songs are pretty good though, it's heavy/doom but it's peculiar and doesn't really sound like what we could expect of the genre. It has a wide array of influences ranging from grunge, hard rock to thrash. While I can't really say that I'll go back to the demo, I can say that it's interesting

P.S.: I have conflicting feelings about the artwork. It looks like a skateboard ad made in collaboration with a local nu-metal band. Sorry Chris!

Still Dead – Demo no. 1 (2017) / 67%

Still Dead are the first Israeli doom band I've came across that aren't Orphaned Land (who played doom for like twenty minutes anyway) and they're not bad at all! The raw production highlights the thick bass lines and the cavernous clean vocals well and for a debut release, it's quite professional.

The songs are moderately lengthy and offer a lot of repetitive riffs and atmosphere. It's a gloomy affair with Still Dead as you could expect from their moniker.

The thing is that the songwriting is mostly derivative and boring. They're not really fresh, exciting or super heavy to compensate for the lack of groundbreaking ideas (a direction many doom bands pick) but it's worth checking out if you want to hear true doom coming from an unusual location!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Church of Void – Church of Void (2017) / 83%

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen

Church of Void from Finland has always been a pretty damn good band but they never really won me over until their contribution to the split album “Coalition of the Anathematized” released last year. In the company of their countrymen Cardinals Folly and the totally underrated Swedish trio Acolytes of Moros, their two songs (“Moonstone” re-appears here) convinced me that they were ready to fight for Finland’s traditional doom metal throne.

The quintet lead by Magus Corvus is surely inspired by the classics of the mid-paced doom style (see Pentagram, Count Raven or Saint Vitus) but they still manage to sound fresh and exciting by bringing some external elements to the fold. Judging by their chosen aesthetics, it’s not really a stretch to say that those guys dig goth rock (true goth rock, hey!) as it’s the main flavor found in their doom recipe. In a way, I’d compare it to “Sister”, the final offering of In Solitude but with a different core sound. God knows I really liked the swansong of the Swedes.

Compared to some of their contemporary trad doom compatriots, Church of Void attacks with two guitars and this really gives the band depth and might. It’s quite obvious in the ending of “Lovecraft” with its lush and subtle instrumentation. It’s also one of the strongest moments of this self titled effort since it goes somewhere else for an instant.

The compositions are often epic in scope but also totally restrained and pack a punch. There’s two songs near the eight minutes mark but they’re not a band willing to go all in like The Wandering Midget (the reigning kind of Finn trad doom, by the way) with extended Reverend Bizarre-esque tracks. That’s probably a good thing since it’s pretty damn hard to pull off if you’re not, well… Reverend Bizarre.

They’re not an “epic doom” band but they have some slight ties to that sound from time to time. I can hear remnants of The Gates of Slumber in the vocals and the galloping riffs (check out “Passing the Watchtower” and its intense riffing.) Corvus has a deep, powerful voice. He’s pretty expressive and totally has the romantic but misanthropic feel you need to have as a doom vocalist. 

I believe the strongest asset of Church of Void is their cunning simplicity masked by strong musicianship and a top notch atmosphere.
This apparent or alleged simplicity makes them a bit too safe but they do have their moments of complete ecstasy. As far as I’m concerned, they’ll never be the best doom band out of Finland but they’ll always have their place as a close advisor to the king as they’re basically faultless.

Church of Void on Facebook