Foehammer unleash mammoth doom on earthquaking, massive debut collection ‘Second Sight’

Photo by Ben Price

Doom is one of, if not the most, interesting sub-genres of metal’s entire universe. It can be played so many ways, with most of its followers willing to feast from its teats no matter the content spewing forth. Gross. Sometimes it swaggers, at other times it lets off smokes, while at others it makes the Earth’s crust quake violently.

Virginia’s Foehammer come from the contingent of bands that make it seem like your house is going to implode when they challenge your speakers. These guys finally are coming at us with their mammoth debut full-length album “Second Sight,” a four-track, 46-minute mauler designed to tear your face right from the skull. They pulverized us with their first EP, a self-titled affair released three years ago, and our eyes and ears surely were ripped the fuck open. On this full effort, the band fully unfurls their prowess and power to show exactly what they have ion their arsenal. The group—bassist/vocalist Jay Cardinell, guitarist Joe Cox, and drummer Ben Price (he just joined this year)—is fully capable of doing damage to your body and hearing, and their music makes them one of the more promising new doom bands who are looking to continue a tradition and make it even deadlier. This is world-toppling stuff, and it’s a massive undertaking to experience this collection all at once.

“Black Numeorean” has noise bleeding into a thunderous eruption, then we’re into a 10:14-long stretch that doesn’t change a whole lot during its run but does remain punishingly consistent. Lurching growls crawl, while the pace bludgeons with accuracy and strength. Every element piles on top until things begin to melt, and molten rock spills forward and fills every crevice. “Recurring Grave” is slow but massive when it starts, feeling like it’s boiling in thick oil before going on an atmospheric stretch. The track gives off a cloudy, rainy essence (which is weird because the sky just opened as I was writing this), with soloing solidifying and soaring over the mire. A burly rhythm section brings added punishment, while the song comes to a crashing, abrupt end.

“Axis Mundi” has a rustic acoustic intro that gives way to a sludgy assault. The vocals belch evil intent, while the band hammers away relentlessly, giving you no room for breath or comfort. The grisly horror is dealt on an even scale before the leads catch fire and send smoke sheets wafting. The drum kit is just pulverized, as the sound finally pulls back the punishment relents. Closer “The Seer” is the longest cut, running 16:40 and starting with noise sizzling and a Sabbath-friendly riff. The guitars continue to heat up before fully unloading, and then we’re into slow-driving hell, with your face feeling like it’s being dragged over concrete. The track again lights up, sending pillars of flame into the night sky, and then black metal-style riffs roll out and clobber, permanently infecting the melodies. The band keeps adding layers, making the weight on your chest unbearable as it hurtles toward a hypnotic ending that folds into space.

It’s no secret we like to dine freely from the table of doom metal, and Foehammer’s offerings are at the meatier, bloodier end. “Second Sight” is a tremendous first full salvo from a band that should have fellow doom worshippers frothing over the possibilities this group’s future holds. For now, we have this cavernous, devastating record that will make it feel like our world is coming to an end.

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