Fast Rites

Get your fix

posted on 2/2017   By: Dave Schalek

We have lots for you to chew on once again in this installment of Fast Rites. For example, we have a holdover or two from late last year, plus a few reissues that are well worth your attention. Genre-wise, we run the gamut from stoner/ doom, to desert rock, to thrash, to murky black/ death, and to points in between. Enjoy.

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MANGOG – MANGOG AWAKENS 

Unless you are an avid comic book reader, the name Mangog may not mean anything to you, but if you’re any kinda doom fan you’re surely going to recognize some of the names of the actors at work here. At the helm is one Bert Hall, a longtime flag bearer of the vaunted Maryland doom scene. Sadly, two of Hall’s bands, the iconic Revelation and the ridiculously prolific and underrated Against Nature both recently called it quits. Clearly not one to tolerate idle hands, Hall huddled up with ex-Iron Man drummer Mike Rix, frontman Myke Wells (Final Answer), and bassist Darby Cox (Major Company), and hammered out the Daydreams Within Nightmares EP, an indie effort offered up on Bandcamp. That earned Mangog a spot on Italy’s Argonauta Records for the debut, Mangog Awakens, and it has certainly made the best of it. As you’d expect, Mangog deals in pure-blooded classic doom in the vein of Revelation, The Obsessed and Candlemass, and speaking plainly, these guys know their business. Mangog does a nice job mixing up the punches, with somber slow-burners like “Eyes Wide Shut" and the spacey “A Tongue Full of Lies”, while peppering a slate of mid to up-tempo tumblers like “Into Infamy” and “Daydreams Within Nightmares”. On top of that, Bert Hall shares the vocal duties with Myke Wells, adding yet another layer of variation. Some of these offensive strategies are closer to the bullseye than others, but they all range from solid to excellent, and Mangog Awakens should most definitely be on the shopping list of the discerning doom fan.

[MATTHEW COOPER]

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SHAARIMOTH – Temple of the adversarial fire

Leaving a healthy twelve years in between releases, Shaarimoth returns in 2017 with Temple of the Adversarial Fire. These Norwegians prove that, even after an extended layoff, they can still put out blistering death metal that would make some of the most well known death metal artists jealous of compositional superiority. Leaning towards the blackened murkcore world yet maintaining maximum death metal riffage and blustery double bass, Temple of the Adversarial Fire sizzles across it’s forty-seven minute run-time. And, while the final track could be done away with, there are very few blemishes across the eleven tracks. Layered vocals, similar to Draugnim, working from below, above and within lead the charge ahead of a rhythm section aptly backing axe lead lines that vary from jangly to mystical. Despite its mostly laid back pacing, at no point does Temple of the Adversarial Fire feel slow or rote. Rather, utilizing liturgical style and near monk-drones for intro and effect, Shaarimoth create a gloomy hellscape akin to the wonderful cover art from Artem Grigoryev. And when the pace quickens, as it does on “Lord of Putrefaction”, your heart will bounce along in lockstep. This one packs a wallop.

[MANNY-O-WAR]

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LASER DRACUL

As far as great names for stoner/ doom bands go, I think it’s safe to say that Sweden’s Laser Dracul takes the cake. Luckily for us, their self-titled demo/ EP is also a pretty decent slice of loud, hazy doom rock, hinting at good things to come. The EP comprises four relatively meaty tunes, clocking in at just over 30 minutes in length. The opening track, “Black Moss”, is a shuffle beat ripper which is deceptively up-tempo, as the record goes full Sabbath immediately after this track finishes. The remaining three tracks are plodding, deliberate affairs, featuring fuzzed out guitars, bluesy solos, and harsh, shouted vocals. This is not revolutionary stuff by any means, but it’s the kind of unapologetic, straight talking doom that provides reassurance in a post-truth world.

[EVAN THOMPSON]

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SLEEP – THE CLARITY 

The ten minute long song “The Clarity” is the only release of new material from Sleep since “Sonic Titan”, which was included as the second song on Dopesmoker in 2003, which itself was a re-tooling of the 1998 album, Jerusalem. You sense a pattern here: Sleep’s recent original output is scant. “The Clarity” was originally released in a vinyl format with a limited run, and you could only get it directly from the band. As you might imagine, the vinyl sold out quickly and is highly sought after today. You could shell out the necessary dough on Discogs or eBay, or you can hop on over to Southern Lord Records, which has given “The Clarity” a re-issue on vinyl with new etching artwork, and a glow in the dark, clear outer sleeve. The song itself rules, by the way.

[DAVE SCHALEK]

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LO-PAN – IN TENSIONS 

Miles away from the grimy, greasy death metal that dominated 2016 is the upbeat, clean-vocaled, nearly emo-core take on hard rock of Lo-Pan. The Columbus, Ohio, natives put forth a five-song EP filled with catchy hooks, bluesy vocal slides and plenty of finger pointing sing-alongs. Harkening back to the era when heavier emo and screamo bands would share the stage with grind and metalcore acts, Lo-Pan produce rock more akin for a day at the beach than a nightmarish, post-apocalyptic dungeon lair. Using aggressive, angular riffs and direct, harmonized vocals reminiscent of Kyuss, Tool and Samiam, Lo-Pan make music that is wholly palatable and easily digested. Those of a certain age will appreciate the reverb and treble-laden lead guitar of “Alexis”, calling to mind the end years of Sensefield or Boysetsfire. Simply put, Lo-Pan’s In Tensions is celebratory, catchy and an altogether fun release in the spirit of its catalog to date.

[MANNY-O-WAR]

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MUTILATOR – IMMORTAL FORCE 

Amidst thrash metal’s astounding onslaught of ’86 came a blistering salvo of ragged Brazilian brilliance, Cogumelo’s seminal Warfare Noise I compilation, a four-way split between Holocausto, Chakal, Sarcofago, and Mutilator. A year later, the last of those dropped this simply-adorned slab of straight-up thrashing madness, filled with razor-sharp riffs and all the ramshackle ferocity that characterized the South American scene. In time, this type of thing would be retroactively labeled “proto-black” or “death / thrash,” and it’s both – here the chaotic violence of Kreator pushes against the feral heaviness of first-wave death metal. Like the records of most of their peers, Mutilator’s first was presented with a thin, tinny production, and this Greyhaze reissue offers a remastered version – mostly it’s just louder, and each instrument hits a little harder for the change, but overall, that signature lo-fi production remains. Most importantly, Immortal Force is back around, with a few extra tracks to boot, and anyone with even a passing interest in Brazil’s thrash history should know it.

[ANDREW EDMUNDS]

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DEATH WORSHIP – EXTERMINATION MASS 

Originally released on vinyl late last year, but with a limited print run, Extermination Mass from Death Worship is notable for two reasons. First, the mastermind behind the project is Ryan Förster of Blasphemy fame (fellow Blasphemy member Gerry Buhl has a hand in this, as well), and James Read of Revenge, Black Witchery, etc. sits behind the kit. Combine the murky, rancid delivery of Blasphemy with the relentless assault of Revenge, and you have Death Worship in a nutshell. Smartly delivered in a 20 minute long assault of six songs, Extermination Mass is just long enough for you to get your fix. As a bonus, an audio interview with Förster, clocking in at 30 minutes no less, is tacked on to the end as he details his goals with Death Worship.

[DAVE SCHALEK]

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ArMORED SAINT – CARPE NOCTUM 

Not enough people know that the mighty Armored Saint is a smoking live band, but Carpe Noctum should help remedy matters.  Carpe Noctum captures the band’s set at Wacken ’15 supporting the very strong Wins Hands Down.  Both the title track and “Mess” find their way into the setlist, along with stalwarts “March of the Saint,” as well as “Last Train Home” and “Reign of Fire” from Symbol of Salvation. No surprises there, but the performances are no less electric.  But deeper cuts “Stricken By Fate” and the glorious epic “Aftermath” are likely to be most prized by serious fans, especially because they are included at the expense of “Can U Deliver,” the band’s best known song.  Saint’s musicianship has always been excellent and hasn’t lost a step, and, of course, the roar of John Bush continues to defy age.  You can complain the record’s too short, or you can shut up and rock out.  Carpe Noctum, people.

[MATTHEW COOPER]

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