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Oaks - Bravo! (CD EP) Cover Art Oaks - Bravo! (CD EP)

Recorded by Toshi Kasai (Big Business).

In the tradition of sludge-slingers Karp and Big Business, OAKS have come to provide the soundtrack to your next bongload.

Oaks are next in a line of bands that extends back to old school smart asses Killdozer, the hick noise metal of Mule, Pac Rim big shots Mudhoney and the terrifyingly awesome Karp. Misfit rock music that is loud as all hell, features yelled, unfriendly vocals and offers zero timeline as far as what the band is up to goes. Bravo! has moments of the Melvins' "Houdini" and Kyuss' "Blues for the Red Sun" in it (check Deerhead) but this is not slow moving stoner metal by any stretch, or even psychedelic, "Bravo!" rages past like a thunderstorm.

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Price: $6.66
Oblivious - Goons and Masters (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art Oblivious - Goons and Masters (IMPORT) (CD)

Oblivious combines heaviness along with incredible groove to melodic stoner rock with a touch of classic '70s rock 'n' roll. Influences can be heard from such greats as FIVE HORSE JOHNSON, DOZER, KYUSS and CLUTCH, as well as older heroes like BLACK SABBATH, PENTAGRAM and LED ZEPPELIN.

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Price: $17.99
Obrero - Mortui Vivos Docent (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art Obrero - Mortui Vivos Docent (IMPORT) (CD)

While Graveyard draw more on southern rock (and Led Zeppelin), Noctum's main influence seems to be Black Sabbath; Obrero are more widely encompassing, drawing on both British proto-doom and southern rock. Although Obrero logically never reaches the slowness of acts like early Cathedral, Winter or Mournful Congregation, most of the tracks on the album do contain crushingly heavy passages, many of which are also characterized by a fat southern groove. Even more uptempo tracks are played slowly enough to come across as quite heavy, but still fast enough to not lose their groove and energy.

True to the genre of early doom metal, a certain dark psychedelia is ubiquitous on Mortui Vivos Docent, and the fuzzy guitars and blues-tinged grooves help further establish the same kind of dark quasi-psychedelic feel that is also found on Pentagram's early releases. Apart from the Sabbath, Pentagram and other early doom influences, there are several passages on the album that make me think of Trouble's Manic Frustration - especially the raw vocals. Mortui Vivos Docent is a very strong release with an authentic fuzzy sound and lots of doom, gloom and groove. Fans of original doom metal should definitely check it out, and it may also appeal to fans of southern rock, sludge metal and heavy psychedelic rock, and due to the modern touch that Obrero have given their music, fans of more recent doom metal and perhaps even alternative metal might also like it.

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Price: $14.99
Occultation - Three & Seven (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art Occultation - Three & Seven (IMPORT) (CD)

“Three & Seven” is a psychedelic vortex of audial terror. A true sonic nightmare where references from ancient horror soundtrack, ‘70s prog, classic ‘80s dark rock, classic cult metal (Mercyful Fate, Death SS), and post punk (Mighty Sphincter) bleed together to create one of the most surreal, intriguing, and intimidating releases of the year. While also at the same time, serving as the fist in the face to the female-fronted occult-doom/rock movement.

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Price: $12.99
Ocean Chief - Universums Hard (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art Ocean Chief - Universums Hard (IMPORT) (CD)

Ocean Chief's fifth full-length release! Compared to their previous album 'Sten', the tempo has been increased and the songs are a lot shorter and more melodic. Nevertheless, they retain an ominous bite that leaves your mind searing. A second guitarist was recruited to fill a perceived void in the sound. For fans of YOB, Ufomammut, Conan, Bongripper, etc.

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Price: $13.99
Ol Scratch - The Sunless Citadel (CD) Cover Art Ol Scratch - The Sunless Citadel (CD)

The five-piece maul listeners through 10 tracks of brimstone-stinking sludge and come out of it on the other end with nothing to do but pick their audience from out their teeth.

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Price: $9.99
Old Man Lizard - Self Titled (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art Old Man Lizard - Self Titled (IMPORT) (CD)

Since forming in Autumn 2011, Suffolk sludge/stoner outfit Old Man Lizard has received praise from critics and fans alike for the live shows and recorded output. This album consists of new recordings of old demo tracks as well as material recorded in 2015. For fans of a.o. Harvey Milk, Taint, Kyuss, Baroness, Earth, Mastodon and Sleep.

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Price: $9.99
Om - Advaitic Songs (CD) Cover Art Om - Advaitic Songs (CD)

When legendary stoners Sleep were put to bed back in 1998, the three members would go on to chart very different trajectories. Matt Pike embraced his grizzled metal roots with the marvellously heavy High on Fire while rhythm section Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius took what might be considered a loftier path by exploring Sleep's deeply meditative aspects with experimental outfit Om.
While 2009’s God Is Good made use of cello, flute and tambura, these were generally used as subtle markers. With Advaitic Songs, however, such adornments have become an integral part of the album’s sound. It’s not until State of Non-Return that Cisneros’ mantra-like incantations and legendary writhing basslines make appearances, and by that time they come almost as a rude incursion, lending the track a turbulent air that initially seems incongruous with the mesmerising calm that led you there. With a few more listens, however, their presence makes perfect sense, seeming as natural as the vast expanses conjured by Sinai or the long desert march and immersive chants of Haqq-al Yaqin.

The results are strange, hypnotic and utterly transcendental, capable of being linked spiritually – if not stylistically – with other fringe-dwelling artists like Earth, Arbouretum and Daniel Higgs. Lyrical themes are so oblique and obtuse as to be largely impenetrable – exactly what Cisneros is on about is, frankly, anyone’s guess. But it should be said that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, Om’s teachings have always been less about finding a goal than the overwhelming richness of the journey, and, with Advaitic Songs that journey is more glorious and all-consuming than ever before.

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Price: $16.99
Om - Variations on a Theme (CD) Cover Art Om - Variations on a Theme (CD)

The triumphant return of Chris Hakius and Al Cisneros of Sleep!!

Variations on a Theme picks up where Jerusalem/Dopesmoker left off – with lengthy, sprawling epics that border on drone yet have considerable heft and muscle. Since they’re operating without a guitar player, Om’s three songs are nothing but a low-end rumble. Hakius’ and Cisneros’ work on Variations on a Theme is impressive, especially the drumming. The three songs flow into one another, so don’t expect a hodge-podge of riffs and styles. Om work within certain specific constructs, toying with similar arrangements while maintaining a central theme.

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Price: $18.99
Ominous Resurrection - Omniscient (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art Ominous Resurrection - Omniscient (IMPORT) (CD)

Ominous Resurrection revives the flame of old black metal, conjuring the darkness, mystery, and mysticism that once ruled the genre. 'Omniscient' is a journey into the darkest corners of the human mind; the great gates of hell shall open for the initiated. Omniscient are those who broke the chains of religious dogma, Omniscient are those who received the wisdom of Lucifer, and Omniscient are those who carry the flame of Satan in their hearts! A.M.S.G.

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Price: $10.99