My first exposure to Sacramento’s Church came back in September of last year, when I witnessed them nearly level the Starlite Lounge while opening for the mighty Dispirit. Like a complete idiot, I didn’t write about them at the time in spite of being thoroughly impressed with their set, largely due to the fact that they didn’t have much of a web presence or any recordings to point IG readers in the direction of (I did however post some footage to my YouTube channel). But much has changed since that early show; Church have finally released their debut album in the form of Unanswered Hymns and rest assured friends, this three track, forty-five minute long beast is every bit worth the wait.
Caligari Records has proven itself capable of releasing excellent recordings from just about any metallic subgenre they see fit, but some of their very best stuff of late has come from the realm of slow ‘n’ low. Whether it be the Pentagram-esque trad of Denmark’s Demon Head, or the uh, heavy death of Sweden’s Heavydeath, this is a label that knows its doom. But The Unquenchable Pyre, the debut recording from Abjvration, just might be Caligari’s most debilitatingly heavy offering to date.
At this point it’s well documented that shows during the week are typically a no-go for me; I’m a corporate lackey that’s typically in bed by 9:00 pm. That said, there was no way in hell I was going to miss Church’s tape release / tour kickoff show with Lycus, Usnea and Ufomammut in spite of it taking place late on a Thursday night (shout out to my boss for letting me take off the Friday before a week-long business trip). The Sacramento doom quintet recently unleashed their absolutely stellar debut album Unanswered Hymns in digital form, but being a physical format guy, I was dying to pick up this three song behemoth in glorious analog and hold it my hands, not to mention the fact that Church are an excellent live unit and I’ll find just about any excuse I can to see them play.
If there’s one thing I hate doing, it’s writing intros to interviews. Fortunately, Paradise Lost is a band that needs no introduction. The death/doom/gothic metal pioneers have been releasing great music for nearly three decades now, and that enduring legacy continues with their latest full length, The Plague Within, which is out June 1st via Century Media. Legendary vocalist Nick Holmes graciously answered my questions about their stunning new album via e-mail.
My first exposure to Sewer Goddess came back in 2013 in the form of Mutilation Process, a thoroughly unsettling live recording released on cassette by the always great Graceless Recordings. Ever since that initial taste of their harsh electronic depravity, I’ve longed to hear more from the band, but tracking down their releases is no easy task. Fortunately, they’ve opted to release Painlust, their most recent studio assault, through high profile noise/electronic/industrial label Malignant Records, making it much easier for schmucks like me to track down this half-hour long exercise in mechanized malevolence.
I haven’t been able to find much historical information on UK doom mongers Sloth. The band apparently formed in London in 1999, but even Metal Archives doesn’t seem to know exactly when they called it a day. My attempts to find interviews with/articles on the band online have been utterly unsuccessful, and reviews of the album are also all but non-existent. Its quite a shame really, because The Voice of God is as exquisite a slab of soul-withering stoner doom as you’re likely to find this side of Electric Wizard.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Sacramento in the ten months I’ve lived here, it’s that this city loves its doom and sludge. I’m sure as hell not complaining, especially when we get shows of this caliber; long-running LA sludge godfathers -(16)- descending upon the Starlite Lounge along with Oakland sludge/punk legends Brainoil, SF noise rockers Kowloon Walled City and hometown doom-lords-in-the-making Church was indeed a dream show for fans of all things slow ‘n’ low.