Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Temple of DOOM II

All great movies have sequels (which always range in quality of course) so why should blogs be any different?

Welcome back to the TEMPLE OF DOOM.

There's only going to be three areas of discussion this time around. However, that doesn't mean that I'm not going to assault you with music videos to check out. Feel free to skip past the crap you don't like. I've tried to pick shorter songs to share, but that is sometimes difficult when dealing with doom music.

Candlemass is a band that was originally meant to be included in the first TEMPLE OF DOOM, but I cut them because that blog was getting a bit long. Candlemass is definitely more on the "doom metal" side than they are the "stoner rock" side. That's not to say that they don't have their melodic moments, though. Their second singer, Messiah Marcolin, is the singer most associated with the band. He was their singer for their most popular albums (Nightfall, Ancient Dreams, Tales of Creation). 

I've always been a bigger fan of the first Candlemass album (Epicus Doomicus Metallicus) than I ever was of the Messiah-era. Its all good, though. Candlemass was like a slower Swedish Black Sabbath, with monster solos and melodic meanderings. Candlemass was very influential to the doom metal scene. Below I have one track with their original singer Johan Langqvist from the Epicus Doomicus Metallicus album, and a music video from the Messiah Marcolin era (taken from the Nightfall album). The singers sounded very similar, but they have subtle differences. 

"Solitude." from Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. (1986)

"Bewitched." from Nightfall. (1987)
Probably one of the silliest music videos ever made. Please don't judge.

Messiah Marcolin was one hell of a front-man. I mean, just look at this guy:

Of course, Messiah Marcolin is no longer the singer for Candlemass. He left the band in 1991, only to return in 2002. He came back later and toured with the band for a few years, but since 2006 Robert Lowe (of Solitude Aeturnus) has been their singer. Other than the first album, the Messiah era and their 1999 album From the 13th Sun (with vocalist Bjorn Flodkvist), I don't really dig the other Candlemass stuff. 

"Elephant Star." from From the 13th Sun. (1999)

Ok, on to the harder stuff to categorize. The many, many, MANY bands of Scott "Wino" Weinrich.

Wino may be a somewhat familiar name. It should be. The fucking guy has popped up everywhere. If there was anyone from the underground rock/metal world that deserves to be a millionaire just from street cred alone...its Wino. 

Have a look at this list of band's he's been a major part of: War Horse, Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Bullring Brummies (as heard on Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath), Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, Place of Skulls, Probot (Dave Grohl's metal side-project), Shrinebuilder, and most recently...Premonition 13

Now, I don't listen to all of Wino's bands. The only ones that I'm going to give examples of are the ones that I like best...Saint Vitus, The Obsessed and Probot.

Saint Vitus was an early doom band from the late-70's/early-80's. Funny enough, they were signed to SST Records for a while, which is a record label known for mainly signing hardcore and punk bands. To have the slow, brutal doom of Saint Vitus on deck must have made tour arrangements difficult!

This track below isn't the best representation of Saint Vitus, as many of their songs average between 7 and 9 minutes long. If you're curious to hear more...head on over to Youtube yourself!

"Clear Windowpane." from Born Too Late. (1986)

The Obsessed was the band that should have made Wino a legendary rock star, but didn't. Its the sad old tale of rock n' roll: A local band makes good with a couple of indie releases and gets major label interest (Columbia Records). They record an album that is awesome but the record label doesn't think its "commercial" enough. Instead of changing their sound, The Obsessed broke up instead.

The Obsessed.
If I had kept my long hair, I would look like the guy on the left right now.

Still, the album that was released by Colombia Records is held high on the pedestal of not only doom, but heavy metal in general. The Church Within should be in everyone's collection.

"To Protect and Serve." from The Church Within. (1994)

Last up on the Wino playlist isn't a Wino band per se, but its one that he contributed to. And that of course would be Dave Grohl's Probot.

Dave Grohl, Lemmy, Wino. Fucking awesome.

I'm a big fan of that Probot CD. I really wish Dave Grohl would get some metal up his ass again and record another one. The great thing about Probot was that every song featured a different singer (all of which were Grohl's favorite metal vocalists). Chronos from Venom, Tom G. Warrior from Celtic Frost, Max Cavalera from Sepultura, Lemmy from Motorhead, King Diamond and more all appeared on this album. And what metal project of this capacity would be complete without Wino?

This is not only one of my favorite Wino songs, but its one of my favorite metal songs of all time. The riffs on this track are really fuzzed out and heavy. It's definitely a major accomplishment. Who would have thought that Dave Grohl was metal as fuck?

"The Emerald Law." from Probot. (2004)

Wino is still out there kicking ass today. He currently plays with both Saint Vitus and Premonition 13 (as well as his own solo project, Wino), and will do just about any side project you bring to him. One might wonder how he has all this time to take part in these bands. Well, as explained in the 2008 Such Hawks Such Hounds documentary (why have you not watched that yet?!), Wino is lucky enough to be a stay-at-home dad. He raises the kids during the day and rocks at night while the wifey brings home the bacon. Livin' the life!

Wino and Kids (guitar included).

Well...you've made it this far. That is good, for we are now in the final stretch. I've only got one more block for you to enjoy, so hopefully I've saved the best for last. 

You may remember the epic stoner metal band Sleep from the previous TEMPLE OF DOOM. Sleep unfortunately suffered from a fate eerily similar to what The Obsessed went through. Sleep broke up due to record label pressures over their album Dopesmoker (also known as Jerusalem), which subsequently went unreleased for years.

Dopesmoker was an epic one-hour long song. London Records had no idea what to do with it. The album was eventually released by Tee Pee Records in 2003. The "remixed" version of the album that London Records was considering releasing (Jerusalem) is the same album, just cut into individual songs and about 10 minutes shorter. This version of the album was released by Rise Above Records in 1999. Both versions of the album are worth checking out, depending on your preference. I don't expect anyone to actually sit here for an hour to listen to this album, so I'm not posting it. But if you're ever curious, both Dopesmoker and Jerusalem are on Youtube. I recommend the Dopesmoker version. Its a good jam for a long road-trip.

There were two main bands that sprang out of Sleep. The guitarist (Matt Pike) went on to form the uncompromising heavy metal behemoth High On Fire, while singer/bassist Al Cisnero and drummer Chris Hakius formed the more calm, psychedelic band Om.

High On Fire isn't quite "doom," but you can definitely hear the echoes of Sleep in the music. Matt Pike also "sings" if you can call it that. He's got a real gravel-voice, most likely due to years of smoking and hard living. When he talks in interviews, he sounds pretty much the same as he does here:

"Hung, Drawn and Quartered." from Surrounded By Thieves. (2002)

"Rumors of War." from Death Is This Communion. (2007)

Remember that "hard living" I mentioned earlier? Take a look at these photos of the band. The first is from 2007, and the second one is from last year. It's pretty clear that Matt Pike lives the rock n' roll lifestyle to the extreme!

High On Fire, 2007. (Matt Pike in the center)

High On Fire, 2011. (Matt Pike in the center). 
Funny what a few years on the road can do to a person!

I've always liked High On Fire, but I do wish that Matt Pike had more of a vocal range. I kinda get bored listening to them after awhile. No matter how badass their songs are, Matt Pike sounds exactly the same on every song. Some people really dig that, but not me. However, that doesn't keep High On Fire out of my stereo. They just aren't a band I could listen to every day.

Chris Hakius (drums) & Al Cisneros (bass/vocals)

Now that you've been assaulted by metal, lets slow things down a bit with Om. This is a very spiritual band, with many of the lyrics dealing with God and Self. Front-man Al Cisneros is not only the former singer/bassist for Sleep, but he's also a big-time marijuana activist in addition to playing with Om. It really shows in his music, too. Many of Om's songs are 15 to 20 minutes long. Their first album only had 3 songs (each were like 20 minutes long, though!). These days, Om sticks to doing split 7"'s and singles for the most part, but they do have a few full-lengths out there.

Om is far less metal and much more...I don't even know what to call it. I've picked a couple shorter songs to sample, but feel free to indulge in the longer songs at your leisure on Youtube. All of their albums can be heard there (much like everything else).

"Gebel Barkal." from Gebel Barkal 7". (2008)

"To the Shrinebuilder." from Current 93/Om Split 7". (2006)

And that's a wrap for the sequel to TEMPLE OF DOOM. I have just one more story I feel that can be told from this well, so prepare yourselves for TEMPLE OF DOOM III, coming to a blog url near you soon. This one will be much more relaxed, and will hopefully turn you on to a few more sounds to dig.

Until then, keep it dooooooooooomy.

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