PYLON - 'Doom'
I'm going to have to start this review with a few negative points I'm afraid. Three of them in fact. Firstly where did the band get their name? It may have some deep seated meaning but I cannot see one. Secondly the album name 'Doom' shows a severe lack of imagination. I love doom metal but that just reeks of a long night where nothing came to mind! Thirdly isn't so much a negative as a comedy moment. I'm a huge sports fan and on a Saturday morning I like to listen to a radio show called 'Fighting Talk' hosted by 'Colin Murray' and one of the guests they have on is German football pundit 'Henning Wehn' who is hilarious. However if he were to start a Swiss doom band who lyrics by the way are very focused on Christianity, if he did this would be it as the vocalist 'Matt Brand' sounds exactly like him! [In it to win it!!] OK enough of that, the lack of imagination shown in names doesn't follow on into the music and what you get here is a well balanced dark oriented doom album with lots of hooks and instrumental interludes to keep the going fresh and entertaining but at the same time it never really makes the earth move! Still not a bad effort!! [6.5]
SHATTERED HOPE - 'Promo 2007'
Greek doom lords 'Shattered Hope' have returned with their second demo release and follow up to 2005's 'A View Of Grief'! Don't let this two track demo deceive you though as it spans an impressive nineteen minutes in length and is from start to finish a depressing solemn and vitriolic glimpse into the darker side of sunny Greece. Often basing its slow moving repertoire around the piano, 'Shattered Hope' also hit home with some delightfully pessimistic down tempo riffs that chill the soul when mixed with the haunting vocals of front man Nikos! On a slightly more disappointing note though I felt that whilst the music is good and enjoyable, 'Shattered Hope' failed to cast the overwhelmingly oppressive mood that clogs your senses that all the very best doom bands create and that sets them on a lower level to some. This is only a small gripe though and whilst 'Shattered Hope' do tend to stray into the more mundane side of music it cannot be denied that they sound good and there is nothing about them that particularly offends but at the same time they will never set the stage aflame with their slightly weak doom style. 
STONER KEBAB - 'Imber Vulgi'
'Stoner Kebab' [Because what could be better when you are stoned than a fat kebab?] hail from Tuscany in Italy but from their sound you would be reminded of a Tennessee summer day with Jack Daniels by the barrel full and alcohol fueled shenanigans a plenty. 'Imber Vulgi' is a one song release spanning a whopping thirty three minutes in length, right out of the 'Reverend Bizarre' handbook of doom classics methinks. Now in order to create and perform an epic song of this nature you need to be sporting a few things, first of which is a sense of perseverance followed by an enormous amount of stamina and memory capacity. Those are the physical things you need though but to really make it work you need hooks, you need solos, you need darkness and ferocity! Not only that though you need to change the style of play periodically to keep it fresh and alive and entertaining for the full duration and that is what makes 'Stoner Kebab' so damn good, the fact that they do all of the above and more!! Simply put they sound damn good. Who fancies a kebab? 
TRIFOG - 'If I Could Change My Ways'
[Right Index Finger]
'If I Could Change My Ways...I'd Save It For Another Day' says the inside of the box in the under tray. It's a good start already from Chicago stoner doom icons Trifog whose new release is the follow up to a 2006 demo and which features the brilliant 'Lair Of The Minotaur' drummer. I often wonder what state this world would be in if it wasn't for stoner doom, less groove obviously and that in itself would be a nightmare so thank 'Jebus' for bands like 'Trifog' who keep that element of groove drenched filth in everything that they do. What makes stoner metal and in this case 'Trifog' so great is that although a serious music and art form it is created and performed almost as if an order the the music, a stability and professionalism just isn't needed and therefore is more fun than anything else you will listen too. 'If I Could Change My Ways' isn't a spectacular album but it has some real high quality riff-age, some straight up down to earth riff-age and a vocal style that is both haunting and powerful and just right for this bands great sound. Stoner metal is a timeless tradition that can sound old school or have modern day influence and as long as great bands such as 'Trifog' keep up the standards and the religion it will never die out! [7.5]
VIA VENGEANCE - 'Dieography'
It's time for another one man showdown, in this case Shane Ocell a.k.a Via Vengeance the one man Progressive Sludge Metal project hailing from the sun baked Scottsdale, Arizona [Famous for its golf course I believe] As we all know one man outfits can tend to be a tiny bit, well disastrous if were all being completely honest, so it's always nice to report on one that shows real talent and a great sound. Opening track "Bad Treat" may be bad for our soul but it's ear candy throughout with catchy riff-age and a simplistic yet effect melody. Its during "Decayed" though that "Dieography" really comes alive for me with a much more down tempo approach showing the real sludge element to Via Vengeance! The slow grinding mood continues to flow at a pleasing rate throughout "Burned" as well and its significantly clear that Shane's controlled sound has come with much solid practice and a real desire to play music how he feels it should be played. Sometimes what you really need out of you're music is heavy beats and a simplistic attitude and that's what you get here and the results are superb! Throughout the album the music remains fresh and lively and always catchy, in fact it's music made for the live experience with many areas and much potential for crowd participation, but what always stand out for me is the sludge riffs, slow in pace but brutal in execution that keep me gripped to "Dieography" and that's the reason why I feel it is just so damn good! 
WARHEAD - 'Sky Fab'
[Beard Of Stars]
Now here really is a blast from the past!! Starting out a punk and hardcore outfit in 1982, that's the year I was born incidentally, Italian band 'Warhead' have moved onto a more stoner metal wavelength and this 2007 release of full length album 'Sky Fab' [Crap name I know but give it a chance] is the bands first release in nine years since 1998's 'Sand'sSon'. So as the old adage goes you should always respect your elders and in music I suppose this really is true. My thinking behind this is that if a band has lasted this long then generally they are worth listening too and must have some degree of talent. In the case of 'Warhead' this is spot on with their almost constantly fast flowing melodies, catchy tunes and pleasant and very fun sounding vocals. in fact there is very little to criticise here and 'Sky Fab' is just a good way to spend your weekend rocking out to a groove laden band who know from many years of experience how good old fashioned rock should be delivered! [7.5]
WHEN THE DEADBOLT BREAKS - '2008 Promo'
In the case of Connecticut based doom metal band 'When The Deadbolt Breaks' you have to listen just a little bit harder to hear the depth of talent that lurks beneath the surface of their 2008 demo. Due to some poor production levels this isn't the easiest thing to listen too but luckily with doom that was never really the point. With a band name that reeks of fear, fear of the unknown, fear of the dangers just outside your front door waiting to be unleashed, you know that this band are going to be down and dirty with an immense dark side to their nature and they truly do not disappoint. My only concern is the previously mentioned production on this release as it does destroy alot of the mood and atmosphere that this sludge ridden doom outfit are quite clearly capable of creating but putting all that aside what you are left with is a raw sounding time bomb of unyielding fury waiting to explode on to the music scene with a vicious ferocity. It won't be long until they do! 
WIZARD OF DOOM - 'An Odyssey In The Dark'
'Wizard Of Doom' is not a band but the brainchild of doom loving Swede 'Mickel Refsahl' who plays all the instruments and indeed even sings, such a jack of all trades this lad is. 'An Odyssey In The Dark' is not a bad title for that as everything about it oozes with a blackened vibe! What surprises me though is the quality that this one doom wizard can produce on a four track demo. This isn't for the weak of heart which is apt because this release has the power and the muscle to rip your heart right out of your chest with it's down tempo doom ridden riffs packing such a volatile force that it should come with a government health warning, which of course would only make us all buy the CD just that much quicker. I have 'Wizard Of Doom's' other demo somewhere entitled 'His Eternal Rage Of Inner Nature' and on the strength of this 2009 release I think it may be time to delve into the back catalogue and give you some insight into the past of this tremendous solo artist! 
ANGERTEA - 'Twenty Eight Ways To Bleed'
Time now for some Hungarian progressive metal in the shape of 'Szentes' based metallers 'Angertea'. What are they using in their tea? Here is a band with over twelve years experience of the metal scene and 'Twenty Eight Ways To Bleed' is the follow up to the 2006 release 'Rushing Towards The Hateline'. With a sound not too dissimilar from 'Tool' crossed with 'Nevermore', 'Angertea' don't really spill forth with anything even bordering on original but at the same time they do churn out some high quality riff-age and some well grooved melodic progressive metal that truly transcend the enjoyment line! 'Twenty Eight Ways To Bleed' is a methodical and technical journey that never lacks for imagination and always seems to sound fresh and alive whilst never truly setting the world alight. That aside though 'Angertea' feature enough hooks to be constantly catchy and enough groove laden melodies to keep things varied and entertaining! Hungary is yet again proving that its metal scene is a force to be reckoned with and 'Angertea' is just another example of what a diverse place it can be with decent amounts of talent and potential. 7.5]
APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE - 'Sincerest Misery'
[Eyes Like Snow]
This four piece doom outfit hailing from 'Indianapolis' are release their debut full length and the follow up to their 2006 EP entitled 'Embraced By The Black'. 'Apostle Of Solitude' share with their audience a great deal of grace and suffering, about the amount that you would expect judging by their given moniker yet at the same time they conduct themselves with an air of cutting grace and an extreme amount of groove laden melodies! Taking you back an age old nostalgia trip 'Apostle Of Solitude' let you in just a little to their bleak mindset and show you how doom was always traditionally meant to be played. 'Sincerest Misery' is yet another example of a band lodged deeply on the dark side unable to ever come back towards the light, but you have to ask if they would ever want too? What i do know is that 'Sincerest Misery' contains a great deal of quality music with some biting riffs and strong clear vocals to get across their miserable message just that little bit more. Although not the greatest doom act you will ever hear, 'Apostle Of Solitude' are definitely worth another listen and more than one or two of you out there will be able to contact with what these guys have to say!