Album of the Day: Slomatics / Conan – Split

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Label: Black Bow Records

Originally released seven years ago, the split between sonter/drone/doom legends Conan and psychedelic doom explorers Slomatics is seeing a reissue on vinyl in June. It’s a fine split, and one that has been reissued several times before, but it still has a lot to offer, given that it’s the kind of record that’s perfectly summed up by the cover art of a warrior riding a snail – it’s slow, it’s heavy, and it’s incredibly powerful.

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Album of the Day: Coltsblood – Ascending into Shimmering Darkness

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Label: Candlelight Records / Black Bow Records (vinyl)

There’s been a small storm around Coltsblood recently, following the band’s decision to pull out of a festival that featured other musicians with links to Nazism. Coltsblood didn’t name the musicians in question, simply stating that they didn’t want to be associated with such things, but have still seen some blow-back as a result. So, firstly: maximum respect to Coltsblood for standing up for what they believe in, knowing full well that it would see them get negative attention. And secondly, now is as good a time as any to be reminded of how great Ascending into Shimmering Darkness, their second album, is.

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Review: Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard / Slomatics – Totems (split)

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Label: Black Bow Records

When isn’t a split a split? When it’s Totems. Though it would be somewhat accurate to consider the new record featuring Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard (MWWB) and Slomatics a split, it’s also been described by both bands as a collaboration, with the bands sharing ideas during the recording of Totems. It helps make the record stand out from most other splits released, and the creative process has obviously paid dividends, as the songs here build upon the success of previous records – Y Proffwyd Dwyll and Future Echo Returns, respectively – to produce something captivating, and as strong as either band has ever been.

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Battalions – Nothing To Lose

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Label: Black Bow Records

Originally self-released, Nothing To Lose is being given a new lease of life thanks to a coming reissue from Black Bow Records. It’s a bloody good thing, too. This record from Battalions does not mess around. Angry, loud, and incredibly heavy, this is a sludge/stoner battering that takes the best elements of both styles and puts them together to great effect. Packed full of riffs and addictive songs, this bodes very well for their forthcoming new album.

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Deadwound – Identity Shapes

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Label: Black Bow Records

Identity Shapes may only be 22 minutes long, but the feelings of filth and dirt it inspires last long after the record has finished playing. The debut EP from Deadwound is a mix of sludge and belligerent Cursed-esque hardcore, delivered in an almost painfully physical way. The largely mid-tempo stomp of the band is weighty and powerful, with moments of faster post-Converge violence interspersed to ensure that the record is never one-dimensional, even if it does deal solely in different shades of black.

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Warcrab – Scars Of Aeons

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Label: Black Bow Records

Given that they’re on Black Bow Records, and that Chris Fielding of Conan was involved in the recording, there’s no prizes for guessing that the latest from Warcrab, Scars Of Aeons, is incredibly heavy. That it combines bone-breaking heaviness with a real sense of enjoyment, and a talent for writing riffs and hooks that are superbly catchy, is perhaps more of a surprise. This is the kind of album that demonstrates just why sludge/stoner metal can be so much fun to listen to and play, with moments of death metal muscularity and melody giving Scars Of Aeons an accessible (in a good way) feel that helps make it one of the more enjoyably slices of heaviness to have come my way recently.

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Slomatics – Future Echo Returns

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Label: Black Bow Records

It seems incredible to think that, in this day and age, there are still some bands who don’t realise that there’s more to being heavy than just volume. It’s all well and good turning your amps up to 11, but without moments of contrast and actual songs, such volume ends up being counter-productive, resulting in nothing more than ambiance. Loud ambiance, admittedly, but background music nonetheless. It’s a mistake Slomatics could never be accused of making, as their latest album, Future Echo Returns, is a superb example of how contrast is just as important as volume in terms of heaviness. It’s also one of the more enjoyable doom/stoner records I’ve heard this year.

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