Category Archives: Doom Metal

Paradise Lost – Lost Paradise (Review)

Paradise Lost – Lost Paradise (1990)

The punishingly bleak death metal on Paradise Lost’s 1990 debut Lost Paradise makes it the odd-one-out in a discography more renowned for gothic melody. But the five teenagers had only been together about a year before being faced with the challenge of recording their first record and, despite not having found their voice yet, they make a pretty decent fist of it. A lack of songcraft means it all kind of mushes together but they already have their doleful mix of riff and lead guitar down, there’s the occasional decent hook (“where is your God now?”), and the whole thing has a entrancingly subterranean atmosphere. And Lost Paradise has proven pretty influential in its own right as one of the earliest albums to slow death metal down to a miserable crawl. The Yorkshiremen would do much better with subsequent releases but fans of meat and potatoes death/doom could do a lot worse than check this out.

HMO Rating: 3 Out Of 5

[Paradise Lost – Rotting Misery]

Judas Priest – Sad Wings Of Destiny (Review)

Judas Priest – Sad Wings Of Destiny (1976)

The modern idea of “heavy metal” starts here. Judas Priest’s seminal sophomore album Sad Wings Of Destiny laid down the template for countless others to follow with its evil, slashing riffs, demonic guitar duels and the screaming, theatrical vocals of the one-and-only Rob Halford. This 1976 album contains four peerless classics in the humungous Victim Of Changes, the thrashing Genocide, Tyrant and the malevolent The Ripper. And, while less innovative, the deep cuts like the orchestral Prelude, psychedelic Dreamer Deceiver and the funereal Epitaph give the album a mournful, gothic construction that makes this the Priest to hear if you’re a crucifix-necklaced, flare-wearing, doom metal type. Supposedly the album’s A and B sides were accidentally reversed on initial release so we’ve all been listening to it in the wrong order. But it doesn’t matter. Listen to this any way you like: forwards, backwards, up, down, shuffle. Either way it’s a masterpiece. Actually… maybe avoid listening to it backwards. Just in case.

HMO Rating: 5 Out 5

[Judas Priest – Genocide]

Demon Head – Hellfire Ocean Void (Review)

Demon Head – Hellfire Ocean Void (Released 22nd Feb 2019)

Remember when bands used to “get it together in the country”? Demon Head do. In the winter of 2017-18 they headed out to a remote recording studio in the Danish countryside to record their third album. But this is no bucolic, hippy, communing with nature type affair. More a “getting lost in the woods, people with strange animal masks, ‘it’s time for your appointment with The Wicker Danzig’” situation. The creepy rural seclusion approach has worked: Demon Head have definitely got it together on Hellfire Ocean Void.

The Night Is Yours and In The Hour Of The Wolf are the standout tracks: occult, old-fashioned metal that will appeal to fans of Tribulation and In Solitude. There are also lots of rustic interludes and mystical ambience which, combined with the band’s Pentagram-style proto-doom, gives the album a folk horror allure. The guitar work is much improved, some exciting NWOBHM-esque workouts and solos here, and Ferriera Larsen is finding his own voice: shaking off the Bobby Leibling/Fonzig comparisons of old.

As with previous albums, there’s a tendency to meander which means it takes a few listens to grab you. But it’s their most thoughtful, consistent and well-crafted effort yet with depth and atmosphere in abundance. It builds on the promise of their earlier work and suggests exciting ways forward. Fan of pagan, old-school metal? It’s time for your appointment with Demon Head.

HMO Rating: 4 Out Of 5

Solstice – White Horse Hill (Review)

Solstice – White Horse Hill (2018)

Unless your veins run with the blood of a coward you would do well to check out White Horse Hill, the 2018 comeback album from the UK’s Solstice. And fans of early Manowar and Candlemass should consider it essential. It’s confident, bracing stuff with riffs that power like mighty oars, harmonies that sound like they’re heading out on a quest and declamatory vocals that get the pecs swelling with pride. The folky strum of For All Days & For None is a mid-album lull and a penchant for rustic interludes hampers the pacing a touch but To Sol A Thane, Under The Waves Lie Our Dead and the title-track are glorious, bearing the weight of the album like mighty pillars.

HMO Rating: 4 Out Of 5

Extra points for a beautiful digipak!

Twilight Of The Gods – Fire On The Mountain (Review)

Twilight Of The Gods – Fire On The Mountain (2013)

Twilight Of The Gods were formed as an all-star Bathory tribute act featuring the likes of Mayhem’s Blasphemer, Primordial’s Alan Averill and blast legend Nick Barker. In 2013 they took the plunge and released their own album of irony-free epic metal Fire On The Mountain.

It’s a treat to hear a black metal veteran take on the chest-beating, anthemic style of Manowar, Manilla Road, Omen and the like but it’s all a bit too sincere. There’s a pervading doom-laden vibe that works well on the moodier tracks like the Primordial-like Children Of Cain and the apocalyptic Sword Of Damocles, but the more anthemic efforts like Preacher Man and Destiny Forged In Blood prove a bit too stiff for comfort.

Alan Averill’s unique voice adds much-needed charisma, his lyrics are a lot of fun (“Van Stahrenberg stands with the Holy See of the Roman Empire”) and the band does a sterling job of launching into Maiden-style instrumental jousts, most notably on the rousing title track.

Fire On The Mountain places pretty low in the pantheon when stacked up against the classic bands that inspired it but there are enough great moments here to make it disappointing that they haven’t followed it up with a second album. It’s a solid effort for fans of the main players and for anyone that likes their metal with a bit of hair on its chest.

HMO Rating: 3 Out Of 5

[Twilight Of The Gods – Children Of Cain]

New Releases – 5th October 2018

The release schedule is definitely hotting up now… lots of cool stuff out today.

Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest

Behemoth’s last album The Satanist is a modern classic so no pressure on them to follow it up. None whatsoever no siree. Reading quite mixed and underwhelming reports about this but I’ll want to hear it for myself anyway, and so will you. I’ve avoided all advance tracks so far cause I just want to hear the whole thing.

Anthrax – State Of Euphoria (Deluxe Edition)

I’ve been on a tremungous Anthrax kick lately so this deluxe edition of the underrated State Of Euphoria will do me nicely. Remastered with era B-Sides, booklet and a bonus disc called “Charlie’s Archive” which is work-in-progress recordings of the album’s songs. Puts you right in the room with the band apparently. Bet Scott Ian ignores you.

Steve Perry – Traces

Whoops, almost forgot this one! The Journey vocal legend returns with this surprise solo album. Been looking forward to this and the single No Erasin’ was great so… yes. Look out for editions with bonus tracks too.

High On Fire – Electric Messiah

Matt Pike’s a busy lad. Not content with the excellent new Sleep album he’s also got a new High On Fire one out too. I’ve got most of this band’s stuff but they’re not a big fave and I slept on their last album. Might give this a go though, cause I feel like Pike is just on form lately… and they’re not on Third Man Records so that’s a plus!

Deathhammer – Chained To Hell

Fun black thrash from Norway. New track Rabid Maniac Force is total Destruction worship which is absolutely fine by me. And tell me you don’t want a copy of this for that cover alone! And it’s not on Third Man Records because Jack White is a pure plum.

Riot – Archives Volume 1: 1976-1981

Amazing looking archival release from High Roller that covers the bands early years with vocalist Guy Speranza. Available as a CD/DVD set or a DLP/DVD set, this features 18 unreleased tracks including pre-Rock City stuff, early versions of Narita tracks and a live show from 1981 on the DVD. Want.

Cirith Ungol – Witch’s Game

The returned Cirith Ungol dropped this superb new song on Bandcamp a wee while back and now’s your chance to get their first new song in 27 years on vinyl. It will also feature a live version of Doomed Planet as the B-side, taken from their performance at Germany’s Hammer of Doom festival in 2017.

And that’s about it for another week. See you next week for more new release bunkum.

New Releases – 14th September 2018

It’s time for more new releases. In today’s special themed post I’ll be overusing the word “legends”.

Deicide – Overtures Of Blasphemy

The satanic, squirrel-shooting death metal legends are back with another new album. Not heard the whole thing but songs like Seal The Tomb Below sound great. Got me thinking this might be an old-school victory along the lines of last year’s Immolation album. And Overtures Of Blasphemy also comes hot on the heels of news that Hammerheart Records are lining up reissues of the band’s back cat too… good times! Praise Jesus!

Abhorrence – Megalohydrothalassophobic EP

The legends of filthy Finnish death return with a surprise new EP. It’s their first new music since 1991 and seems to be a subterranean, Lovecraftian affair about the catastophic ecological end of the human race. Typical. You wait years for a new Abhorrence release and then the catastrophic ecological end of the human race happens just as you get your hands on it.

Virgin Steele – Virgin Steele and Guardians Of The Flame

Cool new reissues on CD and vinyl of the first two Virgin Steele albums with Jack Starr on guitarr. Not the best stuff these legends ever put out but still well worth a listen and they’ve been out of print for a while too so if you don’t have them already, now’s your chance! Lots of bonus tracks but I think I’ve got it all on previous editions already. But it’s neither here nor there cause these are getting bought again anyway.

Twisted Sister – You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll

Legends legends legends. Deluxe reissue of the band’s second album with some bonus tracks added and a live bonus disc of the 1983 Marquee show too. The Marquee show has been released in the past so I don’t think there’s anything new here for diehards but I don’t have the Marquee show so I’ll bite. The album and the Marquee show disc are getting separate LP releases too for all you vinyl-loving legends out there.

Elsewhere, Blasphemy’s 1989 demo Blood Upon The Altar gets spruced up and reissued by those legends over at Nuclear War Now! Conan’s Existential Void Guardian should satisfy anyone that can’t go a whole week without some new doom metal. And there’s even a new Uriah Heep album! Legends all.

But that’s really about the lot for this week. Happy hunting and hope you all have an awesome weekend full of exciting new music.