Mountaineer’s heartfelt bursts rip through doom, gazey power on mind-tingling ‘Bloodletting’

It’s really hard to enjoy a wide array of emotions right now, because there is so much fear and uncertainty, as well as frustration, that pushing your mind further isn’t an easy thing to do. But there are ways to do this, hard as it might be to find, but once you get a hold of something that helps you transcend, you can push beyond the chaos.

It was during one of my many listens to “Bloodletting,” the third record from Bay Area artists Mountaineer, where things really came into focus for me. This record is a real step up for this band, an expansive set of songs that are atmospheric and completely heart swelling, being absolutely unafraid to show vulnerability in what can be a stupidly macho metal world. The band—vocalist Miguel Meza, guitarists Clayton Bartholomew, Isaac Rigler, and Forrest Harvey, bassist Dillon Variz, drummer Patrick Spain—combines doom, dreamgaze, sludge, and so many more elements into an imaginative collection that can fill your head with wonder. There are amazing highs here, sorrowful lows, and earnest attempts to connect beyond a superficial level with important people who are forces in life. It’s hard to really put into proper perspective here, so just go listen to it, yes?

“Blood of the Book” opens the record with group harmonizing and guitars that bring a jazzy vibe before the track bursts open, and harsh shouts rattle you. Clean singing switches in later as the playing reaches an emotional deluge, organs pile on, and the track has an overwhelming crescendo. “The Weeds I Have Tended” opens and floods the place as the vocals switch off from screams to clean expressions. Meza’s yelps have a Hetfield dryness to them, as strong playing backs him heavily, and heavy sludge pours in and floods all the way to the gates. “Shot Through With Sunlight” has a somber start before the track bursts at the seams, as Meza’s singing glazes over your eyes. Every time the song goes to a trickle, you know there’s a burst on the other side that delivers blistering playing and emotional, crushing waves. The final minutes of the song bring gut-wrenching playing that demands your total investment. “To Those We’ve Said Goodbye” opens with delicate playing and a psyche-washed, Pink Floyd-style vibe that unfurls its wings. The singing gushes as spiritual pall develops, letting the playing rush and fill you with so much heartfelt energy that it may take a moment to recover afterward.

The title track has feedback looping and clean singing scraping, really peaking over the chorus. The song is heavy as hell but also mindful and atmospheric as the guitars calm before things ramp back up again, coming to a climax that pays off with psychological reward. “South to Infinity” opens with buzzing guitars and vicious howls,  a total 180 from the previous few tracks. Later the cold winds arrive along with harmonized singing and a trickling pace that eventually explodes. The back end of the song is both dreamy and punchy as the playing continues until the fuel dies out. “Apart” flows gently at the start as hazy singing and airy playing make you want to gaze at the sky. Meza laments about being “so far apart from how it used to be” (no way he knew how prophetic those words would turn out to be) as the playing swirls and delivers hypnosis. “Ghost Story” is the closer for the vinyl version as it has the feel of a story-ending ballad that helps pay the emotional toll. “I cannot shake you, I cannot,” Meza laments while the song continues to expose the aching heart and internal wounds. “If you ever change your mind, you know where to look,” Meza calls as the waves crash down, and an acoustic dash takes it home. “Still” is a bonus track for the CD and digital versions, and the song pushes open and bustles, pushing straight through your chest. “I want this to end, I need to begin again,” Meza wails, again not realizing the weight that line would hold on the day this record is released, as the track catapults toward an ending that rings in your ears.

Mountaineer seem to have really struck something on “Bloodletting,” a record that you’ll want to revisit often just to fully examine every layer that unfolds in front of you when you take that trip. This is an album that you’ll feel deep in your chest if you allow yourself to connect fully, and as long as you’re not holding yourself back from that relationship, it’ll be a fulfilling journey. This is a great time to extend your gamut of emotions, and Mountaineer can help you get there with this really powerful album.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/mountaineerbayarea

To buy the album, go here: https://mountaineerlfr.bandcamp.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://lifeforcerecords.com/

Cosmic Putrefaction imagine odd wasteland amid death snarls on horrific ‘The Horizons Towards…’

You’re looking over a decayed, destroyed alien wasteland. You can tell there has been some sort of habitation, but you can’t tell when nor how long things have been in this state. Scanning the horizon, there is no real hint of anything lurking, but you just don’t know, and there’s no way for you to feel safe in your new surroundings.

If you get that sensation taking on “The Horizons Towards Which Splendour Withers,” the second full-length from Cosmic Putrefaction, you’re not alone. I couldn’t stop imagining this scene as this vile expression of death metal plays out. Italian composer Gabriele Gramaglia (he goes by the moniker G.G. for this project), who also is the brains behind The Clearing Path and Summit, unleashes some of his most vicious and visceral music yet on this album. It also will play tricks with your mind, hence the strange nightmare scene that keeps playing out in my head and is detailed above. On top of that, these six tracks that run over a compact 34:31 provide just enough of a punch to get your strangest inhibitions going but never overstay their welcome. It’s nasty.

“Between Awe and Fear Upon the Burst of the Ominous Star” tears the lid off the record with death lurking in all corners, and gross, vicious growls strike as the tempo punches away and the bass playing warps. Leads open up the atmosphere, but then it’s back to straight-up mauling right up to the mucky finish. “This Landscape Sublimates Oblivion to Obliteration”  lets guitars get fired up as the growls swallow you into its stomach and release the gastric acid. The playing trudges away until we head into the stars for some wondrous imagination before reality takes hold again and delivers violence.  Vast destruction is handed out as the pace fires hard, with everything ending in a pit of vicious growls. “The Glooming Murk of His Telluric Shrieks” is full of warped guitars and buzzsaw vocals that roll in the deepest basements of hell. The playing creaks before giving way to thrashy madness, while your head spins uncontrollably, and then everything ends in a strange wash of calming acoustics.

“Abysmal Resonance Projection” bursts with strange sound effects and punishment tossed with eerie whispers. The track then detonates as a tornadic path is carved before it halts for a brief display of space synth. Then it’s back to a tempered pace that’s still ridiculously heavy as melodies swirl, and things come to an unsettling end. “The Arcane Soothsayer Carefully Sculpted His Demise” destroys from the word go as the playing is thrashy and ugly, while speaking echoes and the guitar slurs. Growls barrel through as the playing glimmers, continually ripping holes in your sanity until the keys drip the last remnants of brain matter. “Utterance of the Fall of Man” is your closer, and we’re introduced to a warm synth bath and like-minded guitars that later get eaten up by a doomy fury. The growls slither through filth while the guitars burn, heading toward another bout with the cosmos. It feels like there are stars in your head as the playing feels hypnotic, and you’re lured past the sun to terrain unexplored.

Cosmic Putrefaction’s mind-bending death metal continues to explode into the galaxy on “The Horizons Towards Which Splendour Withers,” a title that takes longer to type than it takes to hear this fascinating display, or so it seems. This is music that sparks the most morbid of thoughts and inspires vision of horrors one could not imagine alone without the accompaniment of this music. This is a massively destructive display that eats away at your brain and leads you into madness.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Cosmic-Putrefaction-331030417723505/

To buy the album, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/shop/

For more on the label, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Ashtar’s murky mashing of black metal, molten doom crashes down on ‘Kaikuja’

This day has been one technological failure after another, and considering I don’t handle stress all that well, especially with things that are out of my control, let’s just say the nosebleeds I had tonight were no big surprise. The more bogged down I get, the more I lock down creatively, and then I just have to take time away from the project to forget it exists for a while.

Stress has pretty much been ongoing for the past couple months, which I’m sure is happening with just about everyone, and a battle with it a few weeks ago led me to talking a long secluded walk, and during that excursion, I listened to “Kaikuja,” the second record from Swiss duo Ashtar. Honestly, I wasn’t too familiar with the band—Nadine Lehtinen (vocals, bass, guitar, and violin) and Marko Lehtinen (guitar, bass, drums, vocals)—prior to this record. Hey, even with all the music I hear every week, it does happen. But this experience was an eye-opener, one that revealed a band melding black metal, doom, noise, and plenty of other abrasive elements in a package that really stands out from what a lot of other artists are doing. Ashtar went from a band that lived on the periphery to me to one whose moves I plan to track as they move through their run together as a band. They’re stuck with me.

“Aeolus” begins the record with a blast as Nadine’s shrieks hammers thoroughly before the track gets slower and thicker. It tears open again as a heavy storm while the vocals slice through bone, the pace prods and strikes, and slurry guitars mix out into the end. “Between Furious Clouds” is the longest track here at 13:47, as it starts with clean, lush playing and delicate strings. The song slowly opens into a doomy cauldron as the playing bruises, and strangeness lurks behind the scenes. Darker riffs enter as the speed catches on, the doom underbelly rumbles, and a charging pace meets up with Nadine’s horrifying shrieks that meld together and exit in a blast.

“Bloodstones” begins with riffs striking and ferocious vocals blasting along with them, as the ambience feels ominous and threatening. Nadine’s shrieks smash into mournful melodies, and then things begin to pick up violently. Blades flash as the terror builds, eating away at your psyche until the track finally subsides. “The Closing” slowly drubs as doomy, grimy playing chokes up veins, and Nadine’s voice amplifies the fright. Guitars rain down as a muddy texture makes your footing impossible as doomy riffs collect, and the vocals spit their final nails. “(She is) Awakening” is the closer and starts as menacing and threatening. The pace is calculating as the leads glow, and Nadine’s harsh cries slice the skin. The playing temporarily halts only to usher in echoing guitars and strings that moan like horns. That builds into a strange blaze that chokes you with smoke only to finally fade into a noise squall that swallows everything in sight.

Ashtar’s mix of doom, black metal, and unique atmosphere is on full display on “Kaikuja,” and it’s easy to understand why someone as heralded and respected as Tom G. Warrior heaped praise on this Swiss duo. This is a record that grabbed me from moment one and demanded my undivided attention over its riveting, pounding 40 minutes. This band already has found an audience among the elite of heavy metal, and hopefully more people will hear Ashtar to understand just how devastating they are.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ashtarband

To buy the album, go here: https://store.eisenton.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.eisenton.de/

Wailing Storms unleash visons of hopelessness, torment with psyche-smearing debut ‘Rattle’

Stop me if you heard this one before, but shit’s way off, man. I feel like a broken record by leading with those elements so often, but even before we entered the strange time period in which we’re in, society in general was in a tailspin and not looking to even out anytime soon. All this has done is amplify those issues and expose it with mega force.

Durham, N.C., band Wailin Storms poured their feelings of hopelessness in a world that feels more foreign every day into their full-length debut album “Rattle,” an eight-track excursion that acts as a relentless backhand to the face. But that strike is not to hurt; rather it’s to wake you up to reality, to help you see just what’s going on around  you and why you shouldn’t just take it. The band mixes elements of rock, noise, psychedelics, punk, and southern-tinged melodies on a record that covers love, death, torment, and the everyday failings of life. The foursome—vocalist/guitarist Justin Storms, guitarist/backing vocalist Todd Warner, bassist Steve Stanczyk, and drummer Mark Oates—found a home on Gilead Media here in the States and Antena Krzyku in Europe for a record that should jar you awake and demand you pay attention.

The title track gets things started with guitars emerging from the fog as Storms’ vocals echo, and the music bleeds into ominous tones. The band smashes away as the intensity builds, as Storms howls, “Rattle my heart!” while the playing bashes and everything disappears into a bluesy smoke. “Rope” punches your chest as the words are spat out deliberately as Storms calls, “Take the rope that hugs our throat and wrap it around the tree.” Guitars rush from there as the band blasts away, ending in a shimmer of echo. “Grass” feels spooky when it enters as longing is embraced, and the volume kicks in the door. “I’ll follow you with an empty heart,” Storms vows while the pace grows more fiery, and the drums pound you into submission. “Wish” blends into plodding noise, with Storms warning, “Don’t you wish her well.”  The guitars glaze and grow darker, as Storms follows up, “She’ll only take you to hell,” while the playing blasts your guts as the song tracks away.

“Teeth” starts with guitars quivering and the track slinking in the shadows as Storms demands, “Take my teeth out one by one.” The heat keeps rising, and the tension thickens as the vocals keep lashing back, and the back-end dissolves into foreboding nighttime. “Sun” starts with Storms vowing, “I am the forgotten one,” while the playing gets thunderous, with start-stop gashing that open wounds. The playing continues to gain steam as it goes on, burning the surface of your skin with dangerous UV rays you can’t avoid. “Crow” buzzes as stick taps set the pace, and the dreary ambiance spreads its wings. Storms’ vocals boom heavily over the song, as he takes on a sort of Michael Hutchence/Ian Astbury style of primal expression, as the track goes on, the rains grow heavier and harder to manage before everything slowly moves into the darkness. “End” is your closer, fittingly, and the cloud coverage darkens the skies, while mournful melodies weep, and Storms’ forceful singing cuts through it all. Group vocals join up with him later on as guitars loop through mystery, and the playing pulls back before one final gust. There, every element comes together, heating up the song’s core as its molten insides finally crack through the surface.

Wailing Storms come to us at a time when it feels like we’re constantly in the middle of those very things, at least from a psychological standpoint. “Rattle” is a great mix of anxious, frustrated rock that comes with all different types of styles with plenty of emotion and raw power wrapped within it. This is a tremendous way to blow off some steam you have building within your core from a band whose own vision of modern times feels painfully right on the money.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wailinstorms/

To buy the album (North America), go here: https://gileadmedia.net/collections/gilead-media-releases

Or here (Europe): http://www.antenakrzyku.pl/en/product-category/shop/

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/

And here: http://antenakrzyku.pl/

Nordic destroyers Okkultokrati lay down punishment with punk, metallic power on ‘La Ilden Lyse’

Photo by Remy Eik

People want to let loose and get out some energy, and I can tell that’s true because I have numerous neighbors who have decided fuck it, let’s have a party and mash as many people together as possible with no one taking any precautions. It’s nerve wracking. Here’s the thing: There are way safer and better ways to burn your extra fuel, and you don’t have to put yours/other people’s lives in jeopardy!

Very soon, you can jump right into the dangerous waves given off by Okkultokrati on their latest record “La Ilden Lyse,” which translates to “keep the fire burning.” This album blends black metal, noise, punk rock, and other elements into the Nordic’s band’s fifth full-length and first since 2017’s “Raspberry Dawn.” The record is a mauler that gives you little to no time to breathe as these nine songs take control of your life over 46 minutes. The band—vocalist Dionysiac, guitarists Black Race and Empyrean, bassist Le Ghast, keyboard plater Azoth, drummer Verminscum—is on fire here, mixing their brand of chaos with so many different textures and abrasion going on that it would maim you in a live setting. But we don’t have those right now, so let the band melt your eardrums via your stereo speakers or headphones instead and allow them to mess up your mind.

“Thelemic Threat” creaks open before riffs blow the goddamn walls down, and the vocals scrape at your eyeballs. There’s a thick punk vibe in the center of the track, and the chaos and reverbed shouts do a number on your psyche. Punches continue to land as the pace burns, and a strange horn in the fog takes the song to its end. “Grimoire Luciferian Dream” not only is a great song title but it greets you with buzzsaw guitars and snarling growls. The pace is catchy but brutal as is burns and punishes, feeling like you’re bathing in acid, while heavy riffs return and storm the shores. “Loathe Forever” has guitars glimmering and menacing vocals, as Dionysiac howls, “I want to live, I want to die!” The guitars hammer hard and with no mercy while synth rises up and forms a glaze, while the pace blasts to a furious finish. “Freezing Vortex Death Dreamer” begins with rumbling guitars and a slowly driving tempo designed to leave bruising. The vocals sneer while the guitar work carves you up, and as the playing develops, it feels like you’re caught on a tornadic display that leaves the entire room spinning.

“Cold and Cruel” dips into cool synth as the guitars get their motors revved up, and the pace ignites into D-beat punishment. The drums are on fire as the vocals spit venom, and then a wondrous cold front is created by the keys while your prone body is rolled in a pit of nails. “Kiss Of Death” has a strong Motorhead vibe, as Dionysiac vows he’s “out to get you, out to see you burn.” The chorus is simple but effective as it’s the song title shouted in your face, and later on the keys whir, the bass rollicks, and things come to an utterly blazing end. “Mother Superior” bashes away the moment it arrives, giving you no room to recover from what came before it. The track stomps guts but it also has a pretty cool melody that cuts through it, so it’s approachable but scathing. The vocals remain fiery even though the song is fun, and everything ends ins a weird synth swirl. “Lunatics-Mondsüchtig” bathes in keys at first until the pace catches fire, and gravelly shouts pummel. There are a lot of bursts of coolness along the way to temper the madness, but as the song winds down, a wall of punchy sounds strikes back, and the song blasts out in fuzz. Closer “The Dying Grass Moon” is the longest cut here, clocking in at 7:03, and riffs begin to chew right away as the playing ramps up and destroys. Words are spat as icy melody lines arrive, and the chorus where Dionysiac shouts, “In a dying grass moon,” sends blasts over and over before the track buzzes away.

Okkultokrati, like a few other bands, are coming at you at a perfect time when we need something to get our blood racing. “La Ilden Lyse” is that thing, a total mind melt of an album that feels evil, drugged out, and aggressive all at the same time. The thing is going to kick your ass all over the place, but wouldn’t it be nice to feel something a little different right about now?

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/okkultokrati

To buy the album, go here: https://southernlord.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: https://southernlord.com/

UK doom legends Paradise Lost remain gothically devastating on great 16th record ‘Obsidian’

It’s admirable when anyone with an impressive resume of work feels no need to rest and soak in their accomplishments and keep pushing their abilities as far as they can go. That’s why metal keeps going and will never stop because no one will ever rest, and we see the bands that have been pillars of the community refuse to ever quit. Fuck yeah.

So, we have a 16th record from doom stronghold Paradise Lost, and of course it’s tremendous. “Obsidian” is a nine-track (11 if you have the version with the bonus cuts) offering that is a step in a different direction from 2017’s “Medusa” but isn’t a departure for the band at all. They keep in place the harsher strains of the past couple records and the spirit of their past, but they also delve more into gothy terrain they’ve traveled all along, making this a sort of best-of-all-worlds album from these all-time greats. The music is wholeheartedly passionate and brimming with emotion, which is the most important part of this. Paradise Lost—vocalist Nick Holmes, guitarists Gregor Mackintosh and Andy Aedy, bassist Stephen Edmonson, drummer Waltteri Väyrynen—have nothing to prove, yet that doesn’t matter. Every time out they deliver the best of themselves at that time, and they do it again here. This is just tremendous.

“Darker Thoughts” opens the record feeling like a folk song that’s promising your doom. “This one-way street you’re on is going to get you killed,” Holmes warns as the track eventually opens up and as strings glaze, the hammers are dropped, and the singing turns to harsh growls as we push through a smashing finish. “Fall From Grace” has guitars warming up and flowing like warm blood before the crunch is delivered. The verses are dressed with growls while the choruses have clean singing, as Holmes repeats, “We’re all alone,” as the leads bubble, and one more bout with the chorus signals the end. “Ghosts” trudges as the guitars drip sludge, while Holmes digs deep into his diaphragm while dispersing his words. This track takes you back to the gothic sorrow of PL’s older days, as a weird, but compelling chorus powers, guitars create soot, and the track backs down a quiet, dark alley. “The Devil Embraced” has organs swimming in the murky sea as guitars and clean singing help color in the edges. “Foolish trust, the devil embraced,” Holmes pokes over the chorus while soloing later explodes and melts flesh. A last trip with the chorus and its pit of despair rounds the song to its final resting spot.

“Forsaken” opens with angelic calls stinging while guitars chug, and Holmes sings through gritted teeth. “Reverence mistaken,” he laments on the chorus, where darkness falls heavier, soloing crushes, and the fiery back end leaves ash behind. “Serenity”  punches in and is noticeably more aggressive as Holmes’ growls menace, and the guitar work twists you into knots. Soloing ruptures while Holmes foresees sorrow “til the last kingdom falls,” as the final moments tear away at your sanity. “Ending Days” has guitars coldly dripping as clean, dreary singing leads you into a cloud as Holmes calls, “Maladjusted, I suffer.” The chorus floods the emotions all over again as Holmes points, “We don’t care til it’s time to die,” as guitars light up in a rage, and the final embers fade out. “Hope Dies Young” has guitars pouring soot and clean singing pulling the heavy shadow over as Holmes calls, “Reaching out in vain, reaching out in some way,” in desperation. The chorus is simple but effective, and the playing scorches layers of flesh off your vulnerable face. “Ravenghast” closes the album and starts with a flood of eeriness as keys rush in and muddy, skull-driving playing gets going. “Your eternal kingdom dead,” Holmes booms as the ominous feeling crawls up your spine, and the band slowly crushes you. Soloing heats up and round back to darkness as things get sweltering and grim, and the track ends in a gothy haze.

Paradise Lost remain vital, pouring with passion, and as dark and morose as ever on “Obsidian,” their 16th record. This is a good as anything this band has released in the past decade, and the mix of colors from all eras of this band makes for an even richer experience. This band has stood the test of time, inspired generations of disciples, and remain one of the main forces of doom to this day. This record only enhances all of that.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/paradiselostofficial/

To buy the album, go here: https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

For more on the label, go here: https://www.nuclearblast.com/en/label/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Lengthy hiatus for …And Oceans finally ends on toppling ‘Cosmic World Mother’

Photo by Mikael Karlbom

One of the pro wrestling podcasts I listen to has been revisiting the Raw vs Nitro battle from a couple decades ago, a journey they just finished with as they finally got to the final WCVW show. It’s hard to believe how much that industry changed in that time. As far as metal goes, it’s practically a different universe unto itself since that era as sounds have warped, advanced, and gotten more extreme.

It was practically two decades ago the last time we got a new record from Finnish symphonic black metal band …And Oceans, though its members have been active in other incarnations and groups (Havoc Unit, Festerday). A few years ago, the band reformed to play some shows, and now, 18 years after their last record “A.M.G.O.D.” they return with “Cosmic World Mother,” a firebreather of an album and completely inspired piece of work that slips them seamlessly into the modern metal world. While the band started to go into smoking industrial corners in their last few years together as …And Oceans, they’ve rediscovered their black metal savagery on this 11-track, almost 48-minute album that is a revelation from front to back. There are some new faces among the band’s ranks as vocalist Mathias Lillmåns (Finntrol, Festerday), keyboard player Antti Simonen, and drummer Kauko Kuusisalo join long-lasting members Timo Kontio (guitars), Teemu Saari (guitars), and Petri Seikkula (bass), and this new version explodes with energy and power on this devastating comeback album.

“The Dissolution of Mind and Matter” gets things started by erupting right away as strong melodies lap through the fires, and an animalistic pace is achieved. The growls crush while the drums follow suit, and synth emerges at the end, sending the track into an alien cloud. “Vigilance and Atrophy” assaults out of the gates as shrieks rain own, and a synth wall adds a thick mist. The leads smoke while the drums ignite with the shrieks ripping away, melodies feeding the fires, and the synth cascading out. “Five of Swords” launches a deluge of riffs and a synth gaze, while the vocals assault the mind. Great orchestral swatches color in the madness before things get lush for a spell, and then a final outbreak soars and rushes away. “As the After Becomes the Before” emerges in a bed of keys, and then everything is shredded when leads take hold, and the enveloping playing enraptures. Electronic weirdness takes hold while desperate gasps increase your adrenaline level, pouring out its intensity into fog. The title cut has keys dropping sheets of moisture, giving off shimmers as the rest of the pace explodes. There is undeniable energy on display here while the programming gives off a serious sci-fi vibe, as everything ends in a savage gust.

“Helminthiasis” starts in a galactic void before the pace ignites, and savage growls do damage to your muscles. The playing is overwhelming, and even when things halt for a moment, it’s only to add more madness to their formula. Strange keys glaze while the drums kick up, and an ugly burst contains menacing growls and a smashing that drags you to the end. “Oscillator Epitaph” has the guitars riled up right away before the playing begins a scorched Earth policy. Amid the destruction, the song is quite catchy in spots with a foggy synth backing and a rousing temperament that disappears into the mist. “In Abhorrence Upon Meadows” is a quick instrumental that veers into deep space, dripping elegance and dreamy weirdness, pulling right into “Apokatastasis.” There, the track totally engulfs into heavy blazing, destroying whatever’s in its path. The growls are scratching while the keys give off a heavy glow behind them before another burst of savage ripping. The drums destroy the earth, while severe punishment finally melts into a synth storm. “One of Light, One of Soil” has ominous tones as it enters, with the drums swallowing everything whole. The playing rushes to the surface and bursts through while the pace plays tricks, and animalistic growls pour into demolition that continues to the destructive end. “The Flickering Lights” is your closer and starts with synth swell as the rest of the elements bleed in behind it. Once we’re in full swing, the pace gushes while shrieks assault, and the playing gets tempered but no less intense. The song feels like a lasting storm where massive shrieks, a driving tempo, and strange sound clouds meet and finally push off to the final destination well beyond this place.

…And Oceans return to this plane to find a metal world much different than the one they left in 2002. Granted, the many incarnations of offshoot bands kept the members in the mix, but it feels like “Cosmic World Mother” is a record that exists in a different mind-set from their earlier work and really mixes well with the savagery of modern times. Not to mention the music is ridiculously good, and this is an album that grabs your attention right away and refuses to let go until nearly 48 minutes later. A much welcome return.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/andoceans/

To buy the album (North America), go here: https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Or here (rest of the world): https://shop.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/