Label: Hypnotic Dirge Records
Despite being “only” 55 minutes long, Iris feels much, much longer. The second album from Altars of Grief is a leviathan of blackened, gothic doom, filled with a spirit that is equal parts mournful and furious. Telling the tale of a father who abandons his sick daughter, only to die and be condemned to watch her slowly succumb to illness, it is every bit as bright as the subject matter implies. And yet, there is something curiously addictive about the album, leaving listeners coming back for more, despite the heart-breaks they know will follow. Continue reading
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.
Label: Aesthetic Death (CD) / Self-released (digital)
It’s great when a band and label recognise that there’s a hunger for their early, out-of-print work. Such is the case with the original demo by extreme funeral doom band Esoteric, Esoteric Emotions – The Death of Ignorance. Seeing the high prices it was fetching online, and the increasingly poor quality of copies available, the decision was taken to give the demo the reissue and remastering treatment it deserved. Available as a special edition CD, Esoteric Emotions is a work of colossal misery, heavy both musically and emotionally, and has stood the test of time well.
Label: Napalm Records
The Boats of the Glen Carrig, the fourth album from nautical funeral doom band Ahab, is, in some ways, quite unusual for funeral doom. Whilst a lot of the genre will ask a lot of the listener, there’s something about this album that makes it very easy to sink in to, letting its waves wash over you for hours at a time. Emotionally charged, with a contemplative quality to the soundscapes it conjures, this is an album every bit as deep and captivating as its superb cover artwork.