Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Thursday 12 October 2023

Reviews: On Thorns I Lay, Body Void, Deathchant, Twin Temple (Reviews By James Jackson, Mark Young, Rich Piva & Matt Bladen)

On Thorns I Lay - On Thorns I Lay (Season Of Mist) [James Jackson]

Hailing from Greece and forming in the early 1990’s On Thorns I Lay have been creating “Pure Depressive Metal” in the vein of Paradise Lost and Anathema for 30 years and to my vague knowledge this is the first I’ve heard of them. Knowing my interest in the aforementioned bands alongside the likes of My Dying Bride and Draconian to name but a few, our Editor earmarked this one for me and I now owe him a big sweaty hug or at least a pint or two as thanks for what has easily got to be one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. 

Opening with Fallen From Grace this album kicks off in elegant fashion, a score easily befitting of a Gothic Horror opens the track, the string arrangement giving way to the more metal sound I’ve been expecting, the melody is brought forward with the band carrying it onwards, death metal - esque vocals ask the question “Are we condemned ?” Damn it this is a damn fine slab of doomy goodness, it’s melodic and morose, the sun has been shining in these parts and for October it’s unseasonably warm, this is just the antithesis for that.

Newborn Skies carries the torch, yet again another gothic melody teased from the guitar, those vocals are emotive despite the traditional death metal style. Coming in at the halfway mark is Crestfallen, an acoustic guitar opens the track accompanied by a flute, pipes of some kind, as with Fallen From Grace, the melody carries through to be picked up by that lead guitar again, there’s more of a death metal feel to the majority of the song but the elements of doom are there in the melody, the bridge and choral harmony during the final few minutes. Among The Wolves opens with a funeral paced riff, held string by the rhythm section, the lead guitar elements throughout the song and indeed the whole album are really well written and played out, it’s within these that the strengths of the songs, those doom essential melodies that conjure visions of many a Gothic trope.
Raise Empires and Thorns Of Fire round out this album and I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now but they’re just as strong as the rest; those melancholy lead guitar pieces carrying the songs as the other instruments and vocals bare the strength to hold it all together. Looking at the band’s back catalogue, the logo and artwork to 2018’s Aegean Sorrow looks familiar, so perhaps I had heard of them before but was in a different phase on my musical journey at the time; this is a really great album and I’ve only one negative criticism and it’s that I would have preferred some variation in the vocal performance, within most albums I’ve listened to within the genre there are often clean vocals, female vocals and I’ve come to associate that sound and style with doom metal. An easy 9/10

Body Void - Atrocity (Prosthetic Records) [Mark Young]

Right, you best settle down, get comfy and prepare for the incoming storm of aural violence that is about to be committed by Body Void. This is a tortured, painful trip into the world of stripped out doom / industrial / fill in the genre’s as you see It fitting for you. For me, this is a harsh, barren soundscape that is could be considered as an endurance trial.

They describe themselves as Noise Doom, I think that is a fair description as each of these from the dystopia morning alarm of Microwave to elongated Atrocity Machine are just hard. I mean truly, terrifyingly hard. There are no soft edges, no subtle moments this is just sound that wants to crush you under its wheels. Human Greenhouse sets the real tone for what is to follow, the typical doom approach is there but covered under layers of hateful noise. Their use of electronica in expanding the sound is so unique it just sets it apart and yet there are those recoginisable moments of doom we mentioned earlier – the drawn-out riff, the stabbing chords and continually pummelling drums with a standout vocal performance from Willow Ryan, who just conveys so much emotion within its almost painful.

Flesh Market comes next, starting off with a super-low dirge, punctured by sharp stabs of feedback. Lumbering through each tortured measure they really turn the screws on this one with a middle that threatens to fall apart, just to be reset at the last minute. And then they drop Cop Show, where they really start to stretch the form into what they believe it should sound like, repeating destructive lines of feedback, crashing cymbals and that on-edge electronica with vocals existing out of phase to the music that supports it, wrapping around each other with no respite. At all. Divine Violence takes Cop Show and continues that super dense, SUPER SOMETHING form of attack as it roundly pounds you on the ropes for what feels like an eternity, except this is longer. Those bands that routinely talk about bringing the brutality or the metal or whatever tagline is popular that week, they would just curl up and die when faced with this.

Atrocity Machine puts an end to it all, a ten-minute, uncomfortable album closer that takes those discordant riffs and the background electronic noise to combine and just flatten you. It’s drawn out to the point of breaking, and in effect breaking you. The place they must go to in order to be inspired to create this must be hellish.

There is heavy, and then there is the spot that Body Void sit. It's a whole new conversation going of how we define heavy. This is not seven or eight-string guitars with riffs occupying the lower register. It is the way it feels, the dread and despair they conjure up with and that noise continually building that doesn’t stop. The feedback, the screams it’s just something else. It could be the soundtrack to your worst nightmare. Live, this must be a punishing experience and possibly cathartic at the same time. I really don’t know how to score it apart from you won’t hear anything like it from anyone else. Apart from Khanate. It’s that level of pain, brutal and brutally honest. 8/10

Deathchant - Thrones (RidingEasy Records) [Rich Piva]

The Los Angeles, California proto/psych/stoner band Deathchant is back with their third album, Thrones, brought to us from the mighty Riding Easy Records. The proto is strong in Deathchant, which makes them such a great fit on Riding Easy, the label that brings us the amazing Brown Acid Series of lost 70s proto metal gems amongst which Deathchant would feel very comfortable. The difference being Deathchant is from right this second, and thank Iommi for that, because they are one of the best bands out there doing this today. It’s not just proto metal you get as Deathchant leverage out school NWOBHM and thrash with some sludge and psych leanings to give us eight tracks of killer heavy metal.

Off the bat, the 70s hard rock shines though with the Thin Lizzy inspired goodness of the opener, Canyon, but Lizzy with a more metal leaning. I love the early Maiden style riff once the track gets going. Excellent stuff. Speaking of early Maiden, the title track has that vibe for sure, but don’t be mistaken that these guys are leaning too much to one influence, as Thrones also has a killer stoner rock gallop to it to partner with the Maiden guitar vibes, but then two minutes in you get a ripper of a psych solo that brings this track to another level. I also love the last two minutes where the pace slows down, and those psych-tinged guitars shine through. Some may not love the echoey reverb vocals, but I personally dig it as it makes these guys sound different from pretty much any other band they may share a stage with. 

More Lizzy via Maiden goodness kicks off Mirror which is a three-minute NWOBHM inspired ripper. A hazy slow burn, Mother Mary is a great change of pace to the breakneck pace of Thrones up till then, which nicely leads us into another ripper. Chariot, which is one of the heaviest tracks on Thrones. You can tell the band loved 80s thrash with one. Hoax has an almost punk feel to it as the vocals head towards an angry slant, and it works perfectly. 

Another change of pace, Earth is the most melodic song that Deathchant has ever done and proves these guys are more than just three-minute proto metal ripper producers. The closer, Tomb, is the doomiest track to start, clocking in at seven-plus minutes, which for a 36-minute album, is a significant chunk, with a Sabbath like riff and pace, until the tempo kicks in and the band kicks down the door with a an aggressive, proto thrashy punk middle, sandwiched between more doomy goodness to close us out. Tomb may be my favorite Deathchant track till date, that is how good it is.

Deathchant takes a huge leap with album number three, as Thrones is more mature, aggressive, and diverse album than their first two, but never veering too far off the path they have been on thus far. With its short runtime and breakneck pace for most of the album, Thrones will zip buy you and before you know it you are on your fourth listen in a row. This is killer stuff that needs to be checked out. 9/10

Twin Temple – God Is Dead (MRI) [Matt Bladen]

Another 8 tracks of Lustful, Satanic Doo-Wop from husband and wife team Twin Temple. Painstakingly accurate right down to the, instruments, styles of jazz, R&B, blues and gospel as well as that sizzling vibe of 45 in the production, they welcome us once again to their “most blasphemous, horny, work to date”. With tracks such as Let’s Have A Satanic Orgy and Be A Slut, it’s hard to disagree. Make no mistake this isn’t the doo-wop of your grandparents (or probably great-grandparents), you’ll get no nice, clean cut offerings such as The Penguin's Earth Angel (the title track is also a pining love song), Ben E King’s Stand By Me, or There Goes My Baby by The Drifters, but you will get dirty, sexually charged lyrics, with an all is welcome policy to individualism, feminism and LGBT rights. 

All put to twangy guitars, stirring Phil Spector-esque production and sinful vocals. Encouraging you to Burn Your Bible, from the outset, the layers and layers of instrumentation, the percussion especially reminiscent of The Wrecking Crew as drums are mixed with tubular bells for that oh so iconic soundscape. Zachary James’ guitars slither and snake as the gospel backing vocals creep in on (Fallin For A) Fallen Angel, his (upright) bass the main hook of the groove. From here there’s a Latin flavour to Lets Have A Satanic Orgy, perfect for a hot and steamy tango in a graveyard, Two Sinners brings some Wurlitzer brightness with the soulfulness of The Supremes as the jazz is increased on the dreamy Black Magick, the horns doing their thing. 

You’d swear this record came from the 50’s or 60’s such is the attention to detail, there’s even spoken word put to a soft guitar riff at the beginning of Spellbreaker, while Alexandra James is wild and defiant on Be A Slut, (although she never compromises) the composition of this would fit brilliantly on a Xmas compilation if you wanted to shock your friends. Released on the auspicious October 13th right in time for spooky season. God Is Dead but Twin Temple worship something a lot less dogmatic and a lot more fun. 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment