Saturday, May 25, 2013


Up until a year or so ago I had never heard of Pylon. I wasn’t aware that they had released several albums and EP’s of crunching doom metal. I wasn’t aware they were from Switzerland (the thriving metal hotbed it is, Krokus is from there I believe). Quite simply I was out of the proverbial loop! YIKES!!

After all there are only so many hours in a day and quite honestly, no one can know EVERYTHING; even if we try. So my friends as Roxx asked if I’d be interested in reviewing Pylon’s The Harrowing of Hell Deluxe Edition, in true reviewer fashion said gimme a minute to think about it… eh ok!

 My own experience with doom metal was picking up Trouble’s second opus The Skull back in 86? Or was it 87? And wondered what just befell me. Then after hearing all the hoopla about Candlemass back in 88 or 89 I grabbed a sampler to their Nightfall album and the first track was At the Gallows End, WHOA! Very heavy and the vocals of Messiah Marcolin were just mystifying.

What is sort of ironic is that when I hear Pylon I sort of hear a mix of the music of Candlemass and some of the vibe of Trouble. Epic doom with the vibe of Traditional doom, strange I know but that’s what comes across to me. Pylon delivers strong song writing and the musicianship to pull it all together.

The Harrowing of Hell is one heavy duty album. Whether I pull up The Stream of Forgetfulness with its plodding and sludgy rhythm section or the organ filled Returnal Etern the vibe and atmosphere are here, inviting you to start swaying your shaggy mane to the slow sledge hammer rhythm. You won’t find neat and catchy verse chorus arrangements but you will find strong songs.

Tracks Psalm 139 A & Psalm 139 B is perhaps the most immediately accessible here, but don’t let that dissuade you. The chugging of doom moves this release along. 

 This album is like most exceptional art, it must be savored to be enjoyed.  Don’t allow the lack of the immediate hook put you off from investigating this release further. Sure it might not be everyone’s cup of tea however this might be an excellent way to get ‘into’ the doom caravan. Being somewhat specific this release is an exceptional collection of EPIC doom metal.

The Harrowing was originally released on vinyl only in a limited run of 300 copies. Roxx has done something very special by getting two new additional tracks, not previously released Lines & Golden Voice which brings the track total to 9. However there is more if you are lucky enough to get in early there is a TWO disc issue which features a compilation of tracks from the first three Pylon releases, which as I understand it are very difficult to obtain. Honestly after listening to this bonus disc I almost like the bonus disc MORE than the new album!!

Definitely grab this album. Special guests include Ian Arkley (My Silent Wake), Jordan Cutajar of Nomad Son contributes lead vocals on three tracks, Reno Meier of Sin Starlett delivers some tasty lead work, and David Vollenweider and Vale Baumgartner also offer some quality lead work.

By the way that bonus disc I mentioned also features a re-mix of Pylon’s Falling into the Sun which sounds very nice. Pylon’s The Harrowing of Hell is a gut pounding heavy metal beast of an album. Solid epic doom metal in the vein of Candlemass. Keep the lights low and prepare for a sonic implosion. 

8 axes
 photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Wonrowe Vision, in case you were unaware, is the brain child of Mortifications own Steve Rowe. However the musical statement of Vision is very different from Morty, where Morty wants to pound you into musical submission through various forms of extreme metal;  Wonrowe Vision is pure hard rock worship with a distinct late 70’s early 80’s flair.

Pictures of the Past Present and Future is the title of the latest release from Wonrowe Vision. Pictures is sort of an odd release. There are two new studio tracks, ten live tracks and three tracks from several Lightforce demos and a Mortification version of one of the Lightforce songs.

I’m kinda confused as to what this album is supposed be, is it a live album? or a new Wonrowe Vision album? A small issue I suppose but when I hear there is a NEW Wonrowe Album I guess I’m hoping for NEW stuff.  Perhaps a couple of live tracks as a bonus are added to the end, know what I mean.

The two new studio cuts That’s Total Evil and Pictures are both good cuts, That’s Total Evil is the better of two musically. The vibe sorta reminds me of early Motorhead and The Ramones but a super catchy chorus, even though I found the verses a bit heavy handed. I've found myself hitting the replay button on IPod and CD player A LOT with this song. Pictures is a bit more poppy and as it turns out it’s an old Lightforce song.

The next ten tracks are taken from a live performance at the Metal Bible Launch on December 20th, 2012.  Unfortunately the first two tracks are the same tracks that opened the album. Of the ten tunes seven appeared on the previous album, Mission Invincible. I’ve heard a few folks mention that they preferred the live versions to the original studio versions due to production issues. For myself that has never been an issue, except in a few extreme cases and that wasn’t one of them. The live tracks sound good and except for a few vocal glitches (barely noticeable) this versions are top notch.

The Spirit of the Rock, Vaporizer, Smile Your Way Through Life are great tunes and they shine here. 

The last four songs make up the demo material of early Lightforce with one Mortification version of 12 Men. This makes a nice novelty but I really would’ve liked maybe two more new songs instead. Four new tracks and a live recording would’ve been cool. The live jam during Smile Your Way Through Life was very nice.

Wonrowe Vision is a band I enjoy. Album opener That’s Total Evil is worth the price of the album, but perhaps some other new tracks could’ve been added. The lack of new stuff was a bit disappointing. I enjoyed this release but I’m only gonna give this a 6 axe review because for a second release new music should be paramount.

6 axes
 photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png

Friday, May 3, 2013


I will state upfront I’m not the biggest extreme metal fan in the world; most of it is overblown attempts at auditory bombast which has nothing do to with music. I will also freely admit that a lot of extreme music focuses on the dark side of life, both physical and spiritual.

Some metal heads claim that they don’t “take the lyrics seriously”, well that may be but when your lyrics focus on disparaging the Lord Jesus Christ; I take that seriously. Even if your musical aspirations are worthy, (old school Merciful Fate for example) I can’t get past the lyrical statements (in the case of Fate after I read the lyrics to The Oath I was done), this is my choice and my conviction.

Symphonic Black Metal is a musical style that I really could get into except for the lyrical content, i.e. Dimmu Borgir. The better bands are well produced and they sound epic, it is rather evident that they take their craft seriously. Several of these bands could be very intriguing, except for that lyric thing.

Well I have here is an album from Norway’s Grave Declaration entitled When Dying Souls Scream Praise. This is pure Symphonic Black Metal (or UnBlack if you prefer) with a huge helping of musical influence from the aforementioned Dimmu Borgir. A fellow writer who loves this style has compared this released to Dimmu Borgir, Thyrane and Old Man’s Child. (Thanks MJL!)

The keys soar and the double bass rips throughout, with some fantastic guitar playing. Production values are fantastic as every instrument is spaced well in the mix. The layers of guitar are excellent as they completely power this musical assault along.  

Thor Georg Buer is the main brain child and song writer, yes Thor formerly of Antestor. The melodies are strong and memorable, not in a verse chorus way but in developing a string of musical thought. Tracks such as the In The Throne Room are layered with depth and thought. The interplay of guitar and keyboard is strong. Buer provides the vocals and programming aspects as well, which makes me think that the drums are programmed.

Until I actually looked at the cut sheet I would’ve never guessed that the drums are programmed. They sound excellent, I could be wrong but a drummer is not listed on the performers list. Thor’s vocal is harsh and cuts through the musical din. Kristian Larsen adds to the guitar assault and Pal Haugland delivers pounding bass guitar.

Make no mistake the lyrical concepts delivered here are nearly worshipful in their tone and demeanor. They are strong without being trite or clichéd but well thought out. Album opener Change of Heart is full on ball busting musically with a worshipful prayer as the lyrics. The entire album is this way, which just pushes this over the top as far as I’m concerned. Lyrically articulate and heartfelt but not full of sentimentalism or syrupy clichés. 

The quality of this album cannot be argued, unless you’re just the argumentative type. It’s been mentioned to me that this album is 8 years too late.  Regardless, I really believe this release will be spoken of highly in the years to come. Not sure if I’m ready to label it a classic yet, but a 9 axe review is definitely worthy. Grab it.

9 axe
 photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png