Feretri - Abysmal Grief
(Terror from Hell Records – 2013)
Italian Doomsters, ABYSMAL GRIEF, certainly take their time about things. Around since 1995, they’ve only three full-length releases under their belts: 2007’s debut Abysmal Grief, their sophomore outing, Misfortune, in 2009 and this year’s Feretri. Their music’s in little hurry, too: an epic/ funeral hybrid with the odd death vocal thrown in if the mood takes them. It’s mostly slow and plodding and not particularly heavy. Swirling Hammond-esque keys drive the album, lending a strong vintage feel.
Feretri is as creepy and old school a record as the Hammer-esque cover suggests. Highlights include gothpop number Sinister Gleams, with its fuzz guitar, fairground keys and rabble-rousing, sermonic vocal, and the surprisingly upbeat Hidden in the Graveyard. Her Scythe is the heaviest track, a sprawling 11 minute doom opus with some kick ass riffing.
Feretri is available now through Terror from Hell Records
Lure of the Occult - Backyard Mortuary
(Self-released – 2012)
Unfold the inlay card within Lure of the Occult, BACKYARD MORTUARY’s debut full-length release, and you’ll find an awesome pic of the whole line-up and the words ‘Australian Death Metal’ in bold lettering. Not strictly true, one could argue: despite the filthy growls of vocalist Chris Archer, there’s a distinctly doom vibe going on. It’s still a rocking album, drummer John McLaughlin not shy of dropping the odd blast beat, but Stuart Prickett/ David Thomas’ guitars and Bianca Jamett’s bass are dirgey as all hell with their lowdown riffs and slow, feedback-drenched chords.
And then there’s the length of each track: these aren’t snappy 3 minute death blasts. We’re talking 5 minutes plus for the most part, closing track Demon’s Blood running an epic 8.12 and throwing more than its fair share of tempo-shifts at you.
Lure of the Occult is a cracking album, a low-fi, blackened dirtball grabbing all the best elements of extreme metal and shoving them right up your ass. Deal with it, bitch.
II - The Slow Death
(Self-released/ Chaos Records 2013)
BACK MORTUARY boys, Prickett and McLaughlin, turn the angst down for THE SLOW DEATH. This epic/ death doom side project is on its second album and couldn’t be more different to the dirgey riot of BM if it tried. Featuring Gregg Williamson and Mandy Andresen on vocals, his pained growls mirroring her poignant croons, this is a beautiful record in every sense of the word.
Prickett’s guitar is both sweeping and crushing, an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. Yet, somehow, II remains very much a doom record, refreshingly prog-free.
Personal highlights include opening track The Long March and closing track, Reclaimed by Dust, but it’s best just to lie back and listen to the whole album as one piece; this is one of the few times when the oft-used wanky prog term ‘musical journey’ makes perfect sense.
II is available now on CD and download and will be released on double vinyl through Chaos Records, late 2013.
All reviews by Wayne Simmons