Monday, 15 August 2016
This three-track EP begins with Black Sabbath-esque riff that cuts through the silence like a gunshot in the wilderness. This opening song, Lost starts slow but quickly launches into a faster tempo that allows Phil Howlett to bellow epic lyrics until the song drops back into an abyss of doomy dissonance.
Salvation continues this theme, with a sludgy intro that gives way to a stoner-doom feel with ear-melting, repetitive chords interspersed with canny hooks. Howlett's voice gets as low as I've ever heard it and he sounds resolutely fierce.
Finally we get to the title track, and wow, I'll be damned if it's not impossible to resist headbanging to it! It starts with a machine-gun riff that harks back to Motorhead. The body of the song has tremendous shifts of urgency that propel the song to its crescendoes of 'bringing doom and death to you all... fuck you, we're Lucifer's Fall' and a classic heavy metal solo. This is the most rock 'n' roll Lucifer's Fall have ever been, and it's fantastic.
The band have just released a compilation of demo and rehearsal recordings in advance of their next album, which promises to be ridiculously heavy if this EP and those tracks are anything to go by. Available from https://lucifersfall.bandcamp.com/album/fuck-you-were-lucifers-fall
Sunday, 7 August 2016
Their debut offerring, simply titled Royyy, is one track after another of seamless worship of the riff. The band clearly enjoy their craft, as you'll discover if you watch them live, set up in a circle, and their tracks ooze personality - no mean feat given that they have no singer.
The record (is it an album or an EP? I think the line between the two is blurred these days) has so many great parts, it's hard to know where to start. The bass and guitar harmonise perfectly and the riffs are superbly crafted. Mirroyyyed and There's no Such Thing as Soft Metal are heavy and groovy, with more crunch than a family-size bag of potato chips. More subtle moments are to be had... actually, hardly anywhere: this is a heavy band, and I'll be damned if they don't pack a ton of riffs into a relatively confined space, without it ever sounding incoherent.
Mad Mary is probably my favourite track, with oodles of fuzz, flange effects and wonderful, almost funky bass playing. The drums are perfect, driving the track along mercilessly.
If you get to see Royyy live, do, as they are tremendous fun, but until then, savour this meal of delicious riffs. Hats off to you, Royyy, as I never knew doom could be this fun!
Available from https://royyy.bandcamp.com/releases
Tuesday, 2 August 2016
The most notable aspect of the band is the vocalist, Tania, whose voice is truly different. It has a twang and an androgynous timbre to it that is both haunting and rousing. Tania climbs the highs, clambering over the deep riffs, and scours the lows, mingling with sparse chords and jangling harmonies.
The band's sound mixes a rich history of rock experimentalism (think of Nirvana's In Utero mixed with 80s goth) and traditional doom, though they rarely embrace anything resembling pure metal. Instead, the songs meander through a haze of sludgy downtuned amplifier worship, accentuated with fabulous brass instrumentation that hints at the symphonic, Lovecraftian feel of the best funeral doom bands, without every going over the top.
Their 2013 album, Never, was a tour de force of bleak doom that I honestly thought they could never top, but the intervening years have not been wasted, and, after some flirtation with songs of a more gentle nature, Universe 217 have returned with a bang with Change.
There are slow, massive riffs galore, and Tania's vocals are more haunting than ever. Liberal use of reverb takes us into a despairing world of melancholy. The album opens with a headbanging, old school track, Undone, that has an absolutely massive sound. This is very well produced.
Counting Hours tricked me into thinking I would be hearing some sort of stomping grunge track, thanks to the groovy bass intro, but in reality it's a classic Universe 217 track, with massive bursts of ringing minor chords. Tania's voice is particularly clear, as it lazily scythes through your auditory system.
The album's closer and title track, Change, is 12 minutes of doom that take us through Tania's anguish via massive riffs and echoing, disturbing breakdowns. The track actually goes silent for a while before gradually building up to a bleak finish.
The album is packed with the bleakness of the best doom, and is highly recommended. I'm off press play again. One listen just isn't enough. Available from https://universe217.bandcamp.com/album/change.