Cactus - Self Titled (180 gr.) (LP)
Limited edition on black vinyl.
A limited edition reissue of the self-titled debut-album by the American hard-rock band Cactus, originally released in 1970 on the Atco label. The album includes original songs as well as covers of (Mose Allison's version of) the blues standard, 'Parchman Farm' and Willie Dixon's 'You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover'.
Callisto - Providence (IMPORT) (2LP)
Limited edition of only 700 copies. Deluxe gatefold sleeve. Includes an MP3 download coupon.
Though well within established post-metal boundaries, this album has some major advantages over its many peers. First, it builds its songs around surprisingly catchy melodies instead of the usual huge instrumental climaxes. Second, Callisto has found a genuinely commanding vocal presence in new singer Jani Ala-Hukkala. The tunes on Providence tend towards the cinematic, and because they generally shy away from the more abrasive end of the metal spectrum, I suspect that they’ll often be described as “sparse.” Such descriptions couldn’t be less accurate. Even the quiet moments on this album teem with detail. Sure, they get heavy (though not crushing), but in a wholly organic and often unpredictable way. But where ISIS often feels so calculated and detached, Providence is a violently emotional record that feels more like the band forcibly expelled it from their minds than ‘wrote’ it.
Camel of Doom - Psychodramas (Purple) (IMPORT) (LP)
Limited edition of only 300 copies on translucent purple vinyl. Includes a download code.
Kris Clayton, a former live guitarist for experimental dirgers Esoteric, performed all the instruments on Psychodramas and handled much of the recording himself (vocals were captured by Esoteric's Greg Chandler), but the self-released, hour-long full-length wants nothing for texture, and is rich in its wash of heavy guitars and crushingly dense rhythms. Owing influence to the likes of Godflesh and the trailblazing cosmic doom of Ufomammut and YOB, extended tracks like "The Anger of Anguish" (13:21), "From the Sixth Tower" (11:47) and the massive apex of the penultimate "Machine of Annihilation" (21:09) hone in on a massive feel like space gone slow, Clayton‘s shouts echoing in from deep reaches while shorter set-pieces like the intro "To Purify the Air," "In This Arid Wilderness" and the outro "So it is Done" add to the ambience.
Candlemass - Ancient Dreams (Clear) (IMPORT) (2LP)
Limited edition of only 400 copies on clear vinyl. Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
Every once in a while you run into a record you can't help but like, no matter how hard you try not to. Ancient Dreams is the best Candlemass album, and is a landmark doom recording that few bands have ever managed to match. The only reason I decided to write this up in the first place was to reinforce the correct notion that this record is essential. Candlemass is one of the greatest doom bands ever to walk the earth, and this is their pinnacle recording. If you don't already have it, you should. If you do, pop it in right now and bang your head a few dozen times to remind yourself how much it rules.
Tracks filled with great doom riffs, guitar solo's from Lars Johanssen and the majestic vocals of Messiah. The production isn't that heavy compared to 'Epicus...' or 'Nightfall', but the songs really make up for it. If you're a fan of melodic doom, this record is essential.
Getting this (after nursing a failing cassette for 15 years) was like getting an old friend back, as I still know every song by heart, note for note. A lot of people claim that "Nightfall" was the best Candlemass record, but every song here gives that the lie. Songwriting, production and lyrical wizardry all come together to make this, bar none, the best doom metal album ever.The sound, while supposedly so bad that the band begged for a remix, is thick and heavy, and the remaster has punched it up to a modern gloss quite nicely. From the first tolling riff I can't help but bang my head like a mongoloid while I sing along with the almighty Messiah Marcolin. There is not a single weak track on the album, no matter what anyone, even the band themselves, may claim. "Ancient Dreams" is an album I have loved for 15 years, and I enjoy it as much, or more, than I did when I was 16. The first four Candlemass albums remain essential classics and this is the best one.
Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus - Live at Roadburn 2011 (Color) (IMPORT) (2LP)
Limited edition of only 400 copies on white vinyl. Side D is etched. Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
Candlemass' debut album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is a genre-defining classic if there ever was one - the starting point of modern epic doom metal, even. In 2010 and 2011 Candlemass invited the original Epicus vocalist Johan Längqvist back into the fold for a few select shows celebrating the album's 25th birthday. This vinyl only release captures the band performing Epicus live at the sold out Roadburn Festival in Holland, April 2011. Mixed from a professional 32-track recording and mastered vinyl under the supervision of Leif Edling this is the ultimate live version of the classic.
Candlemass - From the 13th Sun (Re-issue) (IMPORT) (2LP)
Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
Doom legend Leif Edling is back with his band Candlemass and the sound is as good as ever. From the 13th Sun sounds like the album that Black Sabbath might of put out after Sabotage if the drugs hadn't of finally taken their toll.
A great return to doomy form from the lords of the genre. Less leads, less vocal theatrics, just as much doom.
Candybar Planet - Self Titled EP (Clear) (IMPORT) (LP)
Limited edition of only 100 copies on a one-sided LP on clear vinyl. Die cut cover to show the silk screened artwork on the B-side. With download card.
The long awaited re-release of the classic Candybar Planet EP from 2000. Originally a 5 track release, it's now been expanded to 7 tracks, with the additional tracks being previously unreleased.
Captain Beyond - 04.30.72 (White) (LP)
Limited edition LP is pressed on etched white vinyl and comes packaged in a clear acetate jacket, silkscreen printed with silver ink. A purple acetate insert is included!
Selected recordings from an unreleased 1972 concert performance by space/hard rock supergroup Captain Beyond!
Captain Beyond - Live in Texas October 6, 1973 (2LP)
Deluxe gatefold sleeve. Concludes with a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Stone Free".
Captain Beyond was a band that flirted with commercial success and widespread popularity in the early 1970s but constant personnel changes, plus break-ups and reunions, left them a legacy of critical acclaim rather than lasting fame. They were an under-the-radar supergroup. Lead singer Rod Evans was the original vocalist for Deep Purple. Drummer Bobby Caldwell played with the Johnny Winter Group, while lead guitarist Larry Reinhardt and bassist Lee Dorman had been members of Iron Butterfly. Their sound was close to early British progressive rock even though they were an American band. They usually had a keyboardist as a member of the group but when they performed in Texas, October 6, 1973, they had not replaced departed original keyboardist Lewie Gold. This meant that their sound was more basic and sparse than much of their recorded material.
There is little live concert material available from this often forgotten, but very creative, band. That fact alone makes it worth a listen as it presents their energy and style well. The foundation of the show is taken from their self-titled debut album. The precise and delicate "Dancing Madly Backwards (on a Sea of Air)," the searing guitar solo of "Mesmerization Eclipse," plus "Armworth" and "Myopic Void" are all glimpses into the mind, heart, and soul of a band that was an important part of the early 1970s music scene. Not many groups can cover a Jimi Hendrix song well but their encore of "Stone Free" is one of the better renditions of his material. Caldwell seems to be the main protagonist in the release of this album and his included essay about the band is a good read. Live In Texas - October 6, 1973 is a wonderful journey back in time into the mind and music of Captain Beyond.
Captain Beyond - Sufficiently Breathless (LP)
Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
This album is far tighter and more spacey than the Self Titled. There is little to no structure to these songs. The percussion is fucking killer and seems to almost be the lead instrument a lot of the time. I'd like to be in a band that "covers" this album nightly, just taking it wherever the fuck it goes.
The debut and Sufficiently Breathless are so different they shouldn't really be compared, both are excellent in their own ways. I'm glad they made the follow up this way instead of doing two similar albums in a row.