Time to get back on the horse and shine a light on some of the heavy albums that are rattling our foundations.
Curse The Son – Excruciation
Full disclosure, if you had asked me at the beginning of the year what my most anticipated metal albums were for 2020 at some point I would have mentioned Connecticut’s doom masters, Curse The Son. This is a band that has never disappointed and every release has been better than the one before it – two things which painfully few bands could claim. There’s something about Curse The Son’s brand of ultra-fuzzy doom metal that not only feels refreshing in a crowd of pretenders, but does its best to reach back to the genre’s progenitors with an honoring touch. This album in particular is able to achieve that meshing of old and new to create something that’s wholly engaging. At times it feels even heavier than past releases, yet also feels like they’ve expanded their sound to the absolute outer limits of what traditional doom can withhold. (Look no further than the atmospheric, countrified title track for something that beautifully sails along genre parameters.) At times the riffs feel chunkier than ever before, the bottom end feels more thunderous, the hooks dig in even deeper, and the songwriting exceeds even their own high bar. This is an album that will not only rattle your own windows, but everyone in the neighborhood as well. This is nothing short of a triumphant return, and hands down one of the best doom metal albums you are going to hear this year. And it’s not even close.
Mountaineer – Bloodletting
Full disclosure once again: Since this band’s debut release a few short years ago there have been few other acts that I’ve found to be as captivating in both songwriting and execution. So when I caught wind that a new Mountaineer album was on the horizon it immediately became one of my more anticipated albums. Bloodletting, much like the previous two Mountaineer albums, is less a collection of songs and more an aural experience. Taking elements of doom, shoegaze, post-metal, and dark ambient and swirling them into an ethereal kaleidoscopic vision, Mountaineer write music that is meant to be felt as well as heard. This is headphones on, lights low music that often tears at the very fabric of human emotions. It’s an album that can feel so heavy and weigh down upon you without actually resorting to sonic heaviness. As the title would attest, the themes of this album revolve around letting go and removing the things and people from your life which no longer hold a place of positivity. This catharsis, which everyone should undertake at some point in their life, is actualized perfectly over the course of these nine tracks. It helps to take the cinematic aspects of the Mountaineer sound and expound on them to create something truly gorgeous. This album has a certain accessibility to it that few other ‘metal’ albums have, yet at the same time may simply be too emotive for the average music fan. If you’re someone who isn’t afraid to look inward and truly reflect on life in general this album should be on your playlist right away.
Cauldron Black Ram – Slaver
The Covid Times, as I have dubbed them, have brought about an uncertainty about our future as a species never seen by any of the current generations still traipsing around the planet. Not because this is the worst disease any of us can remember, but because it has pointed out just how fragile all of the systems holding us up actually truly are. If you’re looking for a soundtrack to the world eventually crashing down in spectacular fashion you could do a lot worse than Slaver by Australian blackened death horde Cauldron Black Ram. Taking elements of black and death metal and slathering them at times in a glossy sheen of doom, Cauldron Black Ram write music that is meant to evoke visions of the darkest side of humanity. From that aspect, it’s a rousing success. Slaver is a violent, crushing album that further advances the catalogue of a band that has existed for far too long in the realm of the criminally underrated. From note one this record just continues to pummel, over and over again, like an out of control steamroller charging down hill. Fans of bands such as Disembowelment, Winter, and Dragged Into Sunlight should be all over this record as quickly as possible.