Friday, April 19, 2019

Bandcamp Picks - Glitter Wizard, Brant Bjork, Magic Circle, Thunderclap, Haze Mage

If HBO hadn't cancelled Vinyl, they'd have a capable ringer for the Seventies' best heavy rock acts in San Francisco's Glitter Wizard. As Opera Villains pays homage to everyone from Jethro Tull to Judas Priest (and even Edvard Grieg's "In The Hall of the Mountain King" in one brazenly Spinal Tap-like moment), it becomes clear that the flutes and moog keyboards aren't in service of emulating any particular band or style of the era, but the era itself. [€8.50]

Despite being a founding member of Kyuss and serving time in Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork has little to do with "stoner rock" these days. Jacoozzi sees the multi-instrumentalist stretch into cool jazz and Afro-Caribbean percussion, unhampered by a need for distortion (or vocals, even). The soundtrack to a Seventies cop show that only exists in burn-out fantasies. [€9]

Boston's Magic Circle are similarly fixated on the Seventies, but focus on metal's primordial beginnings. Departed Souls has plenty of galloping Priest-isms, but lean hard into the slower side of their early albums. The kind of unabashed love of Heavy Metal that you'd find painted on the side of a van. [$7.77]

If there's such a thing as "true doom", Gainseville's Thunderclap would be its most fervent disciples/evangelists. Inebriocean is devoid of the feel good grooves of stoner rock, the punk sloppiness of sludge, or any twee goth affectations; instead, expect concrete slab riffs that suck the life out of the room and recall the austere heaviness of death-doom gods Morgion. [$7]

Of course, there's no reason you can't love both weed and doom metal; as evidence, I present Baltimore's Haze Mage. Chronicles would have been right at home on Rise Above Records in the Nineties, keeping doom centered around its bluesy roots (as well as weed, H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard). Bonus points to vocalist Matthew Casella, whose Danzig-esque performance shows he's got quite a set of pipes - always a boon when you're making stoner metal. [$7]