Fu Manchu: Clone Of The Universe (At The Dojo Records)
Despite being in existence for over 30 years in some shape of form, and over 22 as Fu Manchu, I’ve never really paid much attention to the Southern Californian stoner outfit. Clone Of The Universe is their 12th studio album, and it does what you would expect. Opening three tracks, Intelligent Worship, (I’ve Been) Hexed and Don’t Panic race by, the stoner groove of Scott Hill and Bob Balch underpinned by Brad Davies’ thunderous bass and the jazz style drumming of Scott Reeder. Slower Than Light takes things down a notch before hitting hard whilst Nowhere Left To Hide has the sludgier Crowbar sound, with huge riffs and cavernous drum sound. At only 36 minutes this isn’t a long release but it’s the 18-minute epic Il Mostro Atomico that really provides the treat on an album that will no doubt please old and new fans alike. 7/10
Sinister X: The Requiem (Sinister Industries)
In existence for less than a year, Sinister X come at you from Virginia Beach, Virginia with their debut seven track EP which is a solid if routine affair. A hard rock edge combined with radio friendly tracks runs throughout the EP and if you like your metal in the traditional American style, big on drum sound and with some massive riffs, then you’ll dig this. A couple of the tracks are rather tepid, such as Takedown with its old school Saliva/Soil/Drowning Pool feel, but there are a couple of snappier hard hitters here which make it worth a listen with Stranded In Hell probably the pick of the bunch. 6/10
Windhand/Satan’s Satyrs: Split EP (Relapse Records)
Richmond’s doom merchants Windhand have released a couple of split EPs in previous years alongside their three full length albums. This split allows the band to deliver two songs of thunderous doom, the six-minute Old Evil and the ponderous, haunting and psychedelic flavoured 14 minute Three Sisters. It’s powerful stuff, if a little too slow and heavy at times although I suppose that’s the point of doom isn’t it. Three Sisters is bursting full of mammoth riffs, crushingly heaviness alternating with lighter parts which are at opposites.
Light your black candles and gather at the altar. Their County cousin’s Satan’s Satyrs provide the other half of the EP. Three tracks, all under four minutes and with a much punkier feel to their stoner doom approach, the Satyr’s fuzzy guitars provide contrast to the heaviness of Windhand with the rockabilly Ain’t That You, Baby played at a frenetic pace in comparison. Five tracks, all decent and all in all a decent thump in the face. 6/10
Salem: Attrition (Dissonance Records)
Salem is a heavy metal band hailing from Hull. Formed in 1979 following the split of the new wave of British heavy metal band Ethel The Frog, this is apparently the third release since their reformation in 2010. Like many of those bands who flirted with prominence back in the early 1980s, the rose-tinted glasses cloud how good they were way back then. This release contains some decent guitar work courtesy of lead guitarist Paul Macnamara but it doesn’t half plod along. Back & White is slower than a tractor on a ‘B’ Road, and to be honest, it sounds dated.
I’m The One is just creepy, Simon Saxby’s vocals a taste I’m glad I can’t acquire, and to be honest, if you can get past the first three tracks you deserve a medal. I must admit that it took some gumption on my part, but I failed second time around. Some things may be best left in the past. Salem are one on those things. 4/10