Missing: Slow Stuff from 2014

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The riffs were lost. Now they’re found.

This year, I surprisingly found a bunch of quality doom/sludge/stoner releases from last year that seemed to have slipped through the cracks. For all fans of low and slow, I have carefully rounded up a list of these relatively unknown albums (along with the best songs from them) into one tidy article to get them directly in your sights.


Iced Out – Jukai (bandcamp/facebook/store)

biced outr

According to Urban Dictionary, “iced out” apparently means something along the lines of showing off a ton of jewelry. I don’t know if this has any relevance to the name of these English bastards, but Iced Out sure do have plenty of pummeling riffs to sling your way. These guys mix sludge and tough-guy hardcore together to create an amazingly brawny combo that will have people wondering why more bands aren’t doing this already. If you like what you hear, make sure to check out their new EP (that I personally think leaves Jukai in the dust).


Black Capricorn – Cult of Black Friars (bandcamp/facebook/store)

black capricorn

I’ll be honest in saying that I haven’t listened to this album all that much. In my defense, Black Capricorn does not necessarily make it very easy to obtain their music. Most of their albums are released exclusively on vinyl (with very rare CD-press exceptions) and are shipped from Europe (which equals: more expensive, longer waiting time, and possible album damage). However, since the release of their 2013 album, Born Under the Capricorn, Black Capricorn has been a band that I know is well worth it to keep on my radar. Cult of Black Friars proves to be no different in that it’s good, drugged-out sounding doom that is simple, psychedelic, and plays out like the soundtrack of a horror movie. If you like doom bands that vary their albums with vocalized and instrumental songs, you may also have a higher appreciation of these guys. So please, Black Capricorn, I beg of you, make your music available to purchase digitally for us poor American waifs!


LimbLimb (stream/bandcamp/facebook/store)

limb

I really enjoyed these guys’ 2013 EP, Gift of the Sun, but was left wanting more. Lo and behold, in the spring of 2014, my prayers were answered. On this album, you can expect to hear stonery, sludgy jams that all have a real “rocking” vibe to them. This album has some general twists and turns, but overall stays in a relatively familiar tempo. While this may irk some, I can’t really seem to find much of a problem with this formula; it’s good, it’s to the point, so what more could you really want? It should also go on record that vocalist Rob Hoey has some killer pipes on him. The dude is able to maintain a semblance of range while simultaneously belting out shrieks that make him sound like he’s been eating sandpaper since he was five. Check out their new song, “Ghost Dance”, that will be on their next full-length album, Terminal, due in September of this year.


 Zebulon PikeNostalgia for the Unreal (stream/facebook/store)

zebulon pike

And now for something REALLY different, I bring you, Zebulon Pike, who have existed for over 10 years, have five full-length albums under their belt, and yet I never hear a damn thing about (Hessian, Edward, any comments?). To be honest, I am very new to these guys as well, and the fact withstanding that they are an instrumental prog/doom band who have songs that generally average out around 10+ minutes, I don’t know if they were ever poised to win many followers in the first place. That being said, as a guy who generally doesn’t care for instrumental-based doom bands, I really recommend checking this album out. These guys pull no punches with the riffs they write and make songs that move along very quickly, which eliminates the usual “when the fuck is the next riff coming in” anxiety I get when normally listening to songs of such tremendous length. No, with Zebulon Pike, I truly can just hop aboard their riff train and settle into the experience of the journey itself, taking in all of the musical scenery that whizzes by me. All aboard! (<– CT-12 note: LAME!)


Ningen IsuBurai Houjou (listen/facebook/store)

ningen isu

Speaking of bands with some history behind them, Ningen Isu has A LOT. We’re talking 20+ years with a full-length album to accompany just about each year of their existence. While it may seem dumbfounding and suspicious that these guys have never really broke into a Western market, let me assure you it’s not because of unremarkable material.

While the music on Burai Houjou follows a general heavy/doom pathway, you’ll find the guys in Ningen Isu like to change stylistic gears quite frequently. For instance, you can find simple, straight forward doom on a song like “Namahage”, then thrash out to “Meishin”, and bring it all down to the delicate ethereality of a song like “Ligeia”. These ever-changing elements make this album very well-rounded and an incredibly approachable treat to hear. Also worth noting is the interesting flavor that both vocalists Kenichi Suzuki and Shinji Wajima bring to the table when singing. Their primary use of the Japanese language adds another layer of annunciation and phrasing to their vocal sound that I personally haven’t heard in many Western metal acts (Disgustache, take note here). Listen to these guys and tell me you’re not in love (check out their back catalogue if you’re hankering for more).


Apostle of SolitudeOf Woe and Wounds (bandcamp/facebook/store)

apostle of solitude

Talk about a turnaround. It’s with no malicious intent that I say that A.O.S.’s Last Sunrise did not do the trick for me. A lolbuttzy cover slapped on top of an album that musically came off as indecisive and awkward seemed poised to make me forget about this band forever. However, A.O.S. did everything right on this album, and have truly made something to be very proud of. After hearing the second track, “Blackest of Times”, for the first time, I noticed a vast improvement in riff-writing, song structure, and just about everything I once thought wrong with them. And as I listened further into this album, it became apparent that the tracks on this album really work off one another, in essence making this a real, “true album”, and not just a compilation of standalone tracks. Employing this “true album” focus really allowed these guys to spread their stylistic wings, but have it all make sense by the time you reach the final tracks. Apostle of Solitude, you made a badass album. You have my compliments.


Desolate PathwayValley of the King (bandcamp/facebook/store)

desolate pathway

“Looking for things that still hold magic / Trying to find, but no one has it” – lyrics in “Last of My Kind”

You know who does have it? Desolate Pathway have it. These guys are epic with a capital “E”, and have captured in Valley of the King a true magic that I have yet to discover in most other bands I’ve listened to. While this album is surely cheesy and clumsy in some regards, the sheer fervent gusto and determination these guys possess shows an unspoiled, indomitable spirit that brings me back to when I first started listening to bands like Iron Maiden or Candlemass. And with the aforementioned song and others such as “Desolate Pathway” and “Shadow of the Tormentor”, I truly believe these guys have captured a magic that is sure to charm the hearts of all that are willing to listen. Keep your eyes peeled later this year for the release of their new 2-track single entitled, “Into the Realms”. (sidenote: If you want a CD, I completely recommend buying one from them – it got to me in about 2 days time).


Thanks for reading!

 

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  • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

    Fun fact: Pikes Peak, the most famous mountain in Colorado, was named after Zebulon Pike after he “discovered” it on his famous Pike Expedition. He never actually reached the top, though.

    • I had an ex who’s dad named their dog Zebby after Zebulon Pike.
      #shinfo

    • JW(E)G

      Something about historical record giving us a “Zebulon Pike”, whereas science fiction only produced a “Christopher Pike” seems oddly backwards.

      • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

        I’m not gonna lie, I had to look up Christopher Pike. This comment now makes sense.

        • JW(E)G

          I am a nerd in so many ways, except that I refuse to accept Chris Hardwick as my subculture’s representative voice.

          (if you had to look *him* up I’ll be… pleased, actually)

    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      🙂

    • CyberneticOrganism

      With a name like Zebulon, dude should have been an interstellar villain.

      • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

        I won’t argue with that.

  • HessianHunter

    Zebulon Pike are a national fucking treasure, one of the best bands no one has heard of. They don’t take promotion seriously at all, though, because it’s basically a side project for musical genius/Happy Apple bassist Erik Fratzke. I should give them a proper writeup sometime.

    • HessianHunter

      I was on tour when they released their new joint last year so I totally spaced on the new jams, which of course jam super fucking hard. Thanks for catching it, insane chalupa man.

    • CT-12

      I’d be interested in reading that if you get around to it!

    • EsusMoose

      We’ve kinda already touched on this but I only know of Zebulon Pike because of Self-evident’s drummer, haven’t gotten around to listening to them but I’ll probably change that tonight

  • Tyree
  • CyberneticOrganism

    Desolate Pathway (DP, heh) sound cool but they should really focus on some better promo pics.

    https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3932/15270383657_a7ca1155f2_b.jpg

  • Sir Tapir The Based :]

    Ningen Isu and Zebulon Pike are really tickling me!

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Vaguely remember checking out Black Capricorn, will most certainly add to the list. Ningen Isu is interesting too, will check further.

  • Don’t you fucking look at me while I’m listening to this doom and sludge!. Iced out sounds tasty. Nice write up CT!

  • Waynecro

    Zebulon Pike nearly holds my interest. I just find it difficult to get into doom/sludge/stoner stuff in general–probably because of the absence of THC in my bloodstream.

    • same. but i keep trying, someday i’ll appreciate it. for there was once a time when i didn’t like grind…

      • Waynecro

        Good attitude. I’ll keep trying as well because, well, why the fuck not? I do kind of like 7.5 Tonnes of Beard and Black Sheep Wall. CONFESSION: When I was a kid, the first time I heard Carcass’s Reek of Putrefaction, I thought it was a joke. Thankfully, it didn’t take me long to get my shit together.

    • Agreed, I think you need to be torched out of your skull and drooling on yourself to really get into 10+ minute songs.

      • Waynecro

        Although typically it’s not the song length alone that bothers me–I mean, I like old Opeth songs that go on forever. I think it’s the repetition and monotony that I can’t appreciate without chemical assistance. But, yeah, when a song is boring to me, a long run time doesn’t help it.

  • Woah, that’s a bunch of bands over here, Taco. Great job.

    I’m jamming Apostle of Solitude and digging the vocals.

  • ct-12, you’re always giving things a chance with open mind, i’m going to do the same…
    Iced Out – stuck around for the guitar tone, and i’m glad i did! catchy, headbangable riffs.
    Black Capricorn – not my cup of tea, but made good background music at work.
    Limb – i can do the uplifting, Sword-esque riffage, but just in small doses.
    Zebulon Pike – can’t do it, not for me. DID enjoy the fast riff towards the 10-minute mark doe…
    Ningen Isu – that song RIPPED, definitely going to chase down more of their music
    Apostle of Solitude – definitely into that hard-rock riffage in the beginning, vocals are great, and killer soloing.
    Desolate Pathway – barring a couple of great guitar solos, i can’t do it.
    what have i learned here? turns out, i like more doom/sludge than i thought! thanks for the killer article and recs.

    • CT-12

      Hell yeah man, thanks for giving them a chance since I know doom ain’t your thing. Glad you liked some of it!

  • The Fish Boz

    This is my kind of shit.

  • Don Henley’s Ego

    Here’s something I just discovered. It’s very old but it’s very good stoner music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhTJ2QBe_9c

    • Don Henley’s Ego

      More good stoner music. Among the forgotten bands of Detroit there were these bands and one of the best was the Bob Seger System. They were very good at what they did but they broke up when Bob went solo and later formed the Silver Bullet Band.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7NCPT45w98
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcYv0lgbWWQ
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5yYiie9myU
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxz7u8sDweY

      • KJM

        Frijid Pink is cool, but I despise Bob Seger(musically) with a passion. I would sooner subject myself to Springsteen than Seger.

        • Don Henley’s Ego

          It’s fine. I had no clue that Bob Seger could actually write music this good but I guess his late70’s stuff overshadows this greatness.

    • KJM

      I like this musically, but the vocals could be stronger.

      • Don Henley’s Ego

        Have you heard the other albums I posted? They’re all Detroit based including this band. Detroit had a lot of good bands back then such as these guys, the Amboy Dukes, Brownsville Station and others.

        • KJM

          I know some of it, but not much. ‘Smokin’ In The Boys Room’ was a huge hit when I was in grade school.

  • KJM

    I’d go with Black Capricorn and Zebulon Pike but, to be honest, not much here did anything for me really.

    Here’s a newish Doom/Stoner/Sludge album I’ve plugged here a couple times already that I’m not hearing much about elsewhere. I imagine it’s very polarizing in that people will either really like it or be bored to death.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM356IRdVEk

  • KJM
  • KJM

    5 songs, all “name your price”.

    https://beastmaker.bandcamp.com/

  • pïgchop™

    Let The Laundry Hit The Floor!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8gGOyKTj4E

    • OldMetalHead

      Good to see you Man. This is such a better blog than where I usually see you Brother.

      • Undead Karate Poopoo Samich

        Same here. I vaguely remember him from the old BM days, and from (website almost as bad as blog for fails). He has some solid tunes.

  • OldMetalHead

    That Black Capricorn is fucking awesome. It’s me contributing to a kickstarter level of awesome, which if crazy taco wanted to take advantage of the likelihood I would contribute to such a kickstarter with no actual payoff, take my money now. Fuck it. I would take the chance. PS: don’t do that and make me lose faith in mankind.

  • Undead Karate Poopoo Samich
  • tertius_decimus

    I dig Ningen Isu alot.

  • The Fish Boz

    Thanks for this post, man. Ningen Isu and Zebulon Pike are awesome…

    • CT-12

      Glad you liked them!

  • Lacertilinger

    Cheers for the reminder about Zebulon Pike @crazytaco_12:disqus
    I had heard this album and bookmarked it but changed computer