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.
Alright, you guys know I’m not much for “news bits,” but Sacramento’s Church are a band I’ve been super-duper excited about ever since seeing them open for Dispirit late last year, and now that their debut recordings are finally available on ye olde interwebs in the form of Unanswered Hymns, I wanted to make sure THKD readers had the scoop before all the big online metal outlets get a hold of this great band.
It’s been a few months since we last heard from the increasingly prolific Caligari Records, but fear not, because the label has recently released yet another slew of great tapes, the greatest of which just might be Seven Bloodied Ramparts, a reissue of the third album from obscure UK metallers Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom. Originally seeing an extremely limited physical release back in 2010, Seven Bloodied Ramparts might be a bit of an oldie at this point, but make no mistake, this is an album that deserves to be heard well beyond the handful of diehards that picked up on it the first time around.
Of all the trends that have to come to prominence within the metal underground over the last several years, the murky/cavernous death metal thing is surely the least interesting (pro tip: if you really want to piss some people off, refer to this junk as “caverncore”). In fact, I’d say my interest in bands shitting out non-riffs from underneath a pile of wet blankets is exactly zero. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the mysterious Canadians known as Malsanctum have proven that there is something to be said for this sub sub genre with Metamorbid Fetishization, their debut(?) release on Germany’s ever-prolific Iron Bonehead Productions.
There’s no shortage of great shows happening in Sacramento every month, but the dregs of being a responsible adult often keep me from going to them. When you’re a corporate lackey that gets up for work bright and early at 6:45 AM, going to a show on a weeknight that doesn’t even start until 8:00 PM isn’t really in the cards. But there was no way I was going miss out on Incantation; the death metal legends are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a string of West Coast dates, and with Funerus, Mortuous and Plague Widow in tow, this one was guaranteed to be a rager.
Earlier in 2014, Caligari Records brought us the debut demo from Denmark’s Demon Head, now the label brings us another round of Danish doom from The Hyle; has Caligari unearthed the beginnings of a retro doom boom in the country that blessed us with King Diamond, only to turn around and damn us with Lars Ulrich? Ok, two bands do not an entire scene make, but given the excellence both Demon Head and The Hyle exhibit on their first recordings, you can’t help but wonder if there’s something in the water over there.
In early December, I decided I wasn’t going to do a year end list. It isn’t that I’m all of the sudden anti-list; I still love lists, but this year I just wasn’t feeling it. I gotta be honest, after five years of doing THKD I’m fucking weary, and laboring over a list just felt like yet another metal writing chore. Besides, if you read the blog regularly and follow me on social media, you already know what I liked this year.