Seamount “Sacrifice”

Seamount “Sacrifice” (2010) The Church Within Records

Seamount play catchy rock infused with the power of Doom. The “Sacrifice” album was the first I heard of them. I liked what I heard: thick riffs and memorable melodies paired with a dusky and familiar voice. The voice I recognized belongs to Phil Swanson, who’s sung for more bands than I can shake a stick at… Briton Rites, Hour of 13, Upwards of Endtime, Vestal Claret… the list goes on. Now be it known— Seamount operates in Germany… so you could say Sir Swanson (of the USA) really gets around!

It would seem that the world suffers from a shortage of metal vocalists who can do the old style justice. This would explain why Swanson is so sought-after. Speaking specifically of Seamount, it’s good ol’ rock music— heavy enough to be metal, dark enough to be Doom, not so traditional, but fairly original. Between songs the tempo and atmosphere are prone to change, slow to fast, dark to light. My track of choice could be ‘Gettin Through.’

Seamount might not be plain enough for professors of traditional Doom. And it might be too ‘doomy’ to attract them who seek that trendy retro-rock. While I’m a big fan of traditional Doom, I’m also a big fan of rock n roll. Now listen up… Doom IS rock n roll. Let Seamount serve to remind you what it’s about!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seamount/144409725631012

Talking About: Crowned In Earth

INTERVIEW

Allow me to direct your attention to Crowned In Earth. This UK band is the brainchild of Kevin Lawry, whom I have interviewed. Using but four words, he describes the sound as “progressive, doomy, psychedelic rock.” So if the idea of Genesis meets Pentagram appeals to you, listen up!

Earthly Chimes

Crowned In Earth has released two full-length albums since its 2008 inception. Listen to both of them and you might detect a shift in direction. Says Lawry: “Visions of the Haunted, which came out in 2010, is a full-on traditional doom metal album. A Vortex of Earthly Chimes (2012) is a much more progressive-sounding record, full of different styles and musical texture.” Both albums will appeal if, like me, you dig the slow, dark voids of doom as much as you enjoy the bubbling light of classic rock. But why the shape-shift?

“I have always envisioned CIE as a band that will always move its sound forward,” says Lawry. “This is why there is such a vast amount of differences between the first two albums… I’m writing the third album at the moment, which will push the band’s sound even further!”

Lawry takes care of the guitars, bass, keys, vocals, and he’s enlisted Darin McCloskey to handle the drums. McCloskey is the drummer of US doom metal band Pale Divine as well as a great little-known rockin’ metal band called Falcon.  A Vortex of Earthly Chimes also includes a mellotron player, Brian Anthony, adding to the olden prog vibe.

Lawry once owed allegiance to a doom metal band called Khthon. “I actually left Khthon earlier this year to solely concentrate on CIE,” says Lawry, who regards CIE as a solo project. “I have often preferred solo work to full band involvement. I usually have a very strong opinion of how I want a song to sound so compromise can be difficult.” Though he adds: “Darin is always on hand to listen to different arrangements and give me advice, as sometimes I feel like I need an extra set of ears.”

Prior to Khthon, Lawry was flying solo with a project called Silent Winter. “The vocals in Silent winter were much harsher and growled. I’ve developed my voice a lot since then and sing in a more clean style with CIE. I really like vocalists who have that ‘classic’ sound to their voice such as John Du Cann [Atomic Rooster] and more recently Magnus from Witchcraft.”

Lawry’s work on Earthly Chimes unveils his strongest vocal performance to date. The album is an ebb and flow of dark/light and simple/complex ideas. “A few people have mentioned the album having a space rock vibe,” says Lawry, “which I don’t really hear in the music myself.” Perhaps it’s the touch of spacey keyboards, or perhaps it’s the album art that directs the mind’s eye towards space.

“[The album cover] was created by an American artist, Brian Tutlo,” says Lawry. “He did a wonderful job with the cover. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted for the album cover so I sent Brian the album and asked him to draw what came into his mind when he listened to the album.” (I’m glad Tutlo heard a scantily clad space-sorceress with dragonfly familiars and planets coming together in the background, because I like having that in my mind too.)

Presently, a third CIE album is gathering in Lawry’s mind. “I have about four songs which are arranged and another two that I’m still writing,” he says. “I hope to begin recording later this year!” Now that you know a bit more about Crowned In Earth, harken! Here you have something to look forward to.

Album Review: Mob Rules “Cannibal Nation”

Mob Rules – Cannibal Nation (2012) AFM Records

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Mob Rules are a traditional metal band wearing a power metal jacket, like Tad Morose and Nocturnal Rites to name a few. Offspring of Dio and Maiden, Mob Rules initially set the bar very high for themselves with their first two albums: Savage Land and Temple of Two Suns. Though perhaps they haven’t topped these two, Cannibal Nation reveals them moving forward while looking back. I sense improvement over their previous release Radical Peace (2009).

My favourite thing on Cannibal Nation is the mighty “Lost.” With a touch of organ and a whisper of Arabic scale it’s… if you’ve ever wondered what Candlemass would sound like with Dio on vocals, this song is as close to that unholy fantasy as anything I’ve yet encountered. Though the harmonious, catchy chorus will remind you that it’s power metal.

The other songs are reliable. On certain songs I hear Mob Rules conveying more Dio-spirit than ever before while the single, “Ice and Fire,” has a celtic tinge. The title-track, I do declare, is a tad generic: Iron Maiden riffs with added power-metal tropes. I demand that every song command my attention!

Acoustic guitars herald the beginning of the album’s final song, “Sunrise.” With its shifting dynamics, soaring vocals and acoustic guitar, it echoes a sound found on their first two albums, albeit in ballad form. I enjoy it, and I respect Mob Rules for moving forward while looking back. Despite a touch of filler, this is a solid album. It ultimately shows they’re hard at work mining for gold. I hope they unearth even more of it in the future.

http://www.mobrules.de/