DAETHLUST, The Deliverer  (2013, self-released)

The skull:
I was so hoping this was some art house-metal weirdness, because that’s exactly what it looks like. They’re actually stoner/sludge/doom, and more on that in a minute, but the juxtaposition of black and pink, with a hooded skull that looks like a borrowed still from one of the Blind Dead movies — it’s a different sort of skull cover, and a refreshing change of pace for the Skullection. Its arty pretension works for me, right down to the creepy scrawl of the album title, but I wonder if the white half circle is part of the actual artwork, or just one of those sticker dots that holds the CD inside the cardboard jacket? I don’t like this band enough to order it and find out.

The music:
5 songs, 36 minutes, and a sound that’s described as “psychedelic doom metal/stoner rock.” I wasn’t expecting much from these Germans, but they’re okay, especially if you can’t get enough stonery stuff. Still, it’s “in one ear and out the other” music at this early stage in the band’s development. The axis of this style is the guitar sound, and Daethlust’s tone is ultra-fat, out-fuzzing Kyuss at their best. Unsurprisingly, that band significantly informs Daethlust’s sound, along with early Monster Magnet, Motorhead, Egg Nog-era Melvins and early Nirvana. They’re barely metal, by my definition, but they do bring a heaving heaviness to the table, and there are enough metal touch points to slip them into the Skullection. Usually they’re just trudging through the footprints of the dinosaurs that went before them, but every now and then (as in the break and following softer moment in “Satin”) they get something interesting going. But 90% of the time they’re derivative, and with something like “Hash,” they’re epically dull. They deliver it all in earnest, and they’re young, so maybe they’ll find their own certain something pretty soon.
— Friar Wagner


ATANAB, Black Magic  (2010, Mighty Hordes Productions)

The skull:
Originally released by some other label in 2006 with a non-skull cover, Mighty Hordes put
that wrong to right and reissued this album with a skull cover. It’s a pretty okay one too, a
fairly crude drawing that is nonetheless effective. The skull is hooded, and the skull
is in rough shape: a vertical crack from forehead to nose, and a lower right eye
that shows the bone deteriorating in a kind of unzipping sort of pattern. There’s even a fuzzy-looking root or strand of fungus hanging off his left jaw. This skull has either been the victim of some pretty rad black magic, or he’s in bad need of some ASAP.

The music:
This Colombian band plays black metal that sounds like Marduk doing covers of ’80s era
speed/black/thrash metal bands. So yeah, it’s fast, the vocals are exclusively vicious, and
there are some riffs here, but there’s nothing remarkable about it. Perhaps I’m showing my
age when almost none of these newer skull-loving black/death/thrash metal bands sound impressive to these ears. Hardly any of them bring any sort of unique personality to their music — just retreads of recycled ideas of things that have been done many times before. Nothing stands out on Black Magic, but I guess when you’re calling your album Black Magic and slapping a skull on the cover, originality is not the idea.
— Friar Wagner