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Dali's Llama - Full on Dunes (CD) Cover Art Dali's Llama - Full on Dunes (CD)

Guest appearances by:

Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson, Desert Sessions, Yawning Man),

Capt. Sean Wheeler (Throw Rag, Charley Horse, Sun Trash),

Joe Dillon (Hot Beat Pussy Fiend) and

Scott Reeder (Kyuss, The Obsessed, Goatsnake).


Groovy and psychedelic baby! Dali's Llama has concocted a flavor of its own. Song constructions are diverse, with rockier tunes giving way to slower progressions (though no descent into attention-challenging drone). Flowing, wicked grooves that make the neck and head move! There's tons more artistic poetry in their music than in that last phrase of mine! A sense of fun and a little cutting attitude. Swelling waves of trip-distortion sweep across the hearer, big liquid pulses of dense rock-n-roll energy that make Dali's Llama a good go-to act for those needing a stoner rock fix. And this band has the coolest name in the genre. It calls to mind both the surrealist mesmerism of the artist Dali as well as the mysticism of the Buddhist leader.

Dali's Llama never get boring and beat you over the head with stupe via dullish boogie, they beat you with classic Chuck Berry tuck-the-pinky-in via slurried desert blues abstracted from the sensible space between Thin White Rope and Kyuss. Their "boogie" is chopped and channeled with a tension/release akin to the great early '70s Brit blues-rock stuff; The Groundhogs, The Edgar Broughton Band, Savoy Brown, Free with thee, uh, relaxed approach of AY-CE-fucking-DEE-fucking-CEE in '76 pork roast mode. It ain't all frenzy folks, it's got the swagger Kiss touched during "God of Thunder" and Grand Funk 'n' The James Gang groped a dozen times during many a prom, all cut with a grit-in-the-eye sensibility. The grin that knows "Hey it's all sweat and jizz 'til someone has to pay child support." Damn.

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Price: 13.99
Dali's Llama - Howl Do you Do? (CD) Cover Art Dali's Llama - Howl Do you Do? (CD)



Right from the opening track, “Flustrated,” it’s clear Dali’s Llama are having fun with their latest offering, Howl Do You Do? Maybe after eight records of straight up desert rock, the Zach Huskey-led Palm Springs, California, outfit decided it was time to try something else – and who could blame them for that? They’ve been kicking out fuzzy jams with such regularity that the routine was bound to wear them down, so a turn to garage rock and horror punk is probably just what the band needed to shake things up. A lot of their bluesy core is still in tact, but if all you know of Dali’s Llama is what they’ve done the last several years – records like Sweet Sludge, Full on Dunes and Raw is Real – Howl Do You Do? is bound to be something of a surprise. It’s like Dali’s Llama have put on a costume – a Halloween costume, appropriately enough. Underneath, they’re still who they are, but they’re playing the part of a garage horror punk band for an album.

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Price: 13.99
Dali's Llama - Raw is Real (CD) Cover Art Dali's Llama - Raw is Real (CD)



They're hardest and darkest sounding album yet.

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Price: 13.99
Damnations Hammer - Disciples of the Hex (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art Damnations Hammer - Disciples of the Hex (IMPORT) (CD)



Damnations Hammer's Lovecraftian doomy Death - deathly Doom, or whatever, turns out to be pretty darn awesome on this disc. Seriously, the crispiness of guitars' tone, the utter heaviness of a pounding bass sound, the drums of true doom and vocalist Tim Preston's serious attempt to sound like Mr. Warrior himself, they all together create one helluva scary and menacing atmosphere over the songs on "Disciples Of The Hex", that one and only Celtic Frost-ian atmosphere that always gets some loud applause and deep nods among a cultivated Metal crowd. But yeah, whether someone finds this UK trio's total Celtic Frost worship somehow disturbing - or even ridiculous and silly, I guess it's pretty much his / her headache then. I enjoy the album as it is offered to me: with its dozens of musical hints about being a true bastard child of Celtic Frost's past times. In fact, it's great even to notice some band has decided to give a fair try for Celtic Frost's heritage.

That's truly something worth cherishing I think - and Damnations Hammer should definitely earn a few extra thumbs up for that on "Disciples Of The Hex".

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Danava - Hemisphere of Shadows (CD) Cover Art Danava - Hemisphere of Shadows (CD)



Danava have always been able to separate themselves from other Iommi-inspired retro rockers by infusing an unabashed weirdness into all that they do. Hemisphere of Shadows, the Portland band’s third full length and first since 2008's UnonoU, is no exception, and, in fact, the addition of a second guitarist (Andrew Forgash) means the blitzkrieg of riffs are now twined-out to inflict a maximum assault of strange. With a much shorter run-time than previous albums and a decidedly tighter focus, Hemisphere of Shadows finds Danava reigning in their druggy psych-metal jams without strangling them, and without stripping them of their cosmic, downer, prog, and occult flourishes.

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Dark Buddha Rising - Dakhmandal (Deluxe Edition) (IMPORT) (2CD) Cover Art Dark Buddha Rising - Dakhmandal (Deluxe Edition) (IMPORT) (2CD)

Limited edition two CD boxset.

With bands like Dark Buddha Rising, that have a relatively simplistic approach to their songwriting, it's not that difficult to take a minor alteration in the music and turn it into a huge evolution of the overall sound, and this is exactly what happens with Dakhmandal. This time around the band seem to have focused a lot more on melody and vocals with their musical formula. The vocals, when they do appear, are cleverly placed around the peaks in the music, especially towards the ends of "K" and "N," almost as though they help the songs build up to their climaxes, and this is a new technique that really makes the music feel a lot more "complete," so to speak. In addition, the vocals usually come across as having quite a choir-like effect, which goes along excellently with the band's whole Buddhist/meditation themes.

Other than that, the fifth installation in the Dark Buddha Rising saga isn't really much different from the band's previous efforts: the repetitive guitar and bass-lines chug along at their slow, crawling paces, gradually building up to groovy, almost jam-like atmospheres the longer they extend into their duration. And, as usual, the eerie ambient effects of the keyboards help to add a whole, separate dimension to the band's music (opener "D," and the beginning of "M," particularly), giving them a strong sense of distinction that easily separates them from your average drone band.

With Dakhmandal, as you listen it somewhat feels like Dark Buddha Rising have some kind of secret hidden behind the multiple layers of groove and ambience that they craft. Some type of deeper, higher meaning that only further escapes your grasp the harder you try to understand it, an elaborate mind game of sorts. But, of course, that's just part of what adds to the allure of the music. There's truly something to be said of this whole "less is more" direction of the drone bands: the repetition of basic musical rhythms and patterns can conjure a sort of mesmerizing trance, almost like some kind of ancient shamanic ritual, and Dark Buddha Rising hit the nail of this concept right on the head with their latest release. Have you ever wondered what Dopesmoker would've sounded like as a dark ambient album? Well, wonder no more, my metal brethren, because Dakhmandal just might be your answer.

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Price: 17.99
Dark Buddha Rising - Inversum (CD) Cover Art Dark Buddha Rising - Inversum (CD)



Since the 2008 debut 'Ritual IX', the ensemble known as Dark Buddha Rising has mastered its craft album by album, show by show. Ominous riffing, colossal doom, swirling psychedelia, repetition, repetition, repetition. The recipe is carved in stone, yet it leads to different endings-or bottomless shafts. Tension, tension, tension, lunacy. 'Inversum', the band's fifth studio full-length, is the opening of the Third Cycle of Dark Buddha Rising. 'Inversum' is a monument built upon the foundation of their past work and is sculpted with the initial principles of Dark Buddha Rising to celebrate the Black Arts of Psychedelia. Hold tight. The winds are gathering.

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Price: 18.99
Dark Castle - Spirited Migration (CD) Cover Art Dark Castle - Spirited Migration (CD)



Dark Castle’s debut, Spirited Migration, guitarist/vocalist Stevie and drummer/vocalist Rob, who also handles synth, achieve an entirely developed atmosphere that borders on prog ambiance while maintaining a stripped-down aesthetic that confidently snarls in the direction of Oceanic-era Isis and younger, rawer Crowbar. Modern doom heads will find satisfaction to anyone who’s gotten off on Rwake, Deadbird, Zoroaster or Godflesh records. Not bad for two people, and certainly a promising beginning for this Floridian duo. It feels like the kind of album that no matter what they do from here will be sought after in the coming years.

Slow sludgy doom metal that fans of acts like Yob, Zoroaster, Soilent Green or Crowbar could appreciate.

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Price: 10.99
Dark Castle - Surrender to All Life Beyond Form (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art Dark Castle - Surrender to All Life Beyond Form (IMPORT) (CD)

Guest appearances by Mike Scheidt (Yob), Blake Judd (Nachmystium), Nate Hall (U.S. Christmas), and Sanford Parker.

Easily the most all-encompassing and dynamic work the duo of guitarist/vocalist Stevie Floyd and drummer Rob Shaffer have delivered, “Surrender to All Life Beyond Form” finally captures the essence of Dark Castle the way it was meant to be portrayed; through the vast energy and uncompromising heaviness of their highly praised live show. Dark Castle’s brand of doom metal is unique in a way that the songs don’t depend on long, plunging drawn out pieces to create the effect the duo harness, but instead create an overwhelming sense of heavy dark atmosphere through a series of vicious, pummeling, and progressively structured songs that bleed together seamlessly to create an opus that will unforgivingly take hold of the listener without mercy. By combining a sense of deep spirituality and a very dark bludgeoning monolithic doom metal aesthetic at this album’s core, “Surrender to All Life Beyond Form” will serve as one of the most intriguing doom metal albums of the year.

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Price: 6.66
Dark Tooth Encounter - Soft Monsters (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art Dark Tooth Encounter - Soft Monsters (IMPORT) (CD)

Features Gary Arce (Yawning Man/Ten East), Bill Stinson (Ten East), Scott Reeder (Kyuss/Across the River) and Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson/Orquesta del Desierto).

Dark Tooth Encounter is the name of the new music project from Yawning Man/Ten East lynchpin, Gary Arce, and drummer extraordinaire, Ten East’s Bill Stinson. Although joined by Scott Reeder (Kyuss, Obsessed, etc.) and Mario Lalli (Across The River, Fatso Jetson, etc.) on almost all of the seven tracks on their debut album, Soft Monsters, the approach is much more experimental and cerebral than many of the players’ previous work, sounding like an update on the classic ‘70s art-rock of Eno.

With Gary supplying guitars (inc. lap steel) throughout, as well as keyboards and electronics; the metronomic beats of Bill Stinson; the angular guitar of Mario Lalli and the fuzzed-out bass work of Scott Reeder, Dark Tooth Encounter remain a unique proposition. Purely instrumental, and aided by the astonishing production and studio work of Mike Shear, their music is a mixture of several different elements. Their sound incorporates small elements of the players’ other outfits, sure, but there’s also hints of math-rock, prog and shades of country-rock and psychedelia.

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Price: $6.66
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