Metallise – Purgatory Edition – Lucifungus, Witchskull, Elder soundtrack the apocalypse

Josh Nixon

Does music even exist when you can’t share it in the form of your 10, 20, 30 greatest/most life changingest chain mails on Facebook? It seems BMA is living life online for a little while and big shout out to our Patreons.

Thankfully it does, and for Canberra metal folks there’s been a couple of bloody rippers come out during this weird-ass six weeks, where music has gone from being a billion dollar industry to one you can’t even get a Jobkeeper payment for because parliamentarians don’t consider it a proper job.

So while the press in the central and north east coast seem to hand wring over how many games of Rugby League Channel 9 we’ll get this year, a slew of my mates are doing what they can to get by.

Remember, it could be all a lot worse Canberra; we could be living in New York, Lombardy, or Madrid.

Thankfully, the edge of social distancing has been taken off by highly talented friends.

First off Lucifungus released a second slab of 2-piece doom goodness in the form of seven tracks wrapped in STUNNING artwork and going by the name or Derek.

He’s not lying; it IS stunning artwork

Recording for a second time at Goatsound Studios in Melbourne with Jason PC – one of two records of this origin under discussion in this column – the whole thing was knocked over in a few days, happening only JUST before the shutdown.

The production is great, the package and merch are fantastic, and the songs are a good sludgey time. The album is available digitally on their Bandcamp.

The next record out of Goatsound this month is the third album of local NWOBHM-laced doom darlings Witchskull. The eight track affair – recorded in a time hard to imagine now; pre-bushfire, hailstones, and pandemic – is the most considered work of the band’s career to date.

The world is unpredictable, but Witchskull’s excellence remains consistent

It’s a heady blend of occult, heaviness, groove, molten guitar sounds, and a rhythm section at the height of their powers, all the while Marcus De Pasquale weaves dark tales. It has been universally praised in all reviews to date. Topped off with some great little seasoning of absolutely haunting female vocals in parts; applied to great effect. It’s bloody fantastic.

39 minutes of vital stoner metal, I wrote a really long review, but after seeing this I felt it was utterly redundant. Give it a watch; homie goes deep. I’ll probably post my review later (please do – BOSSMAN SKO).

Elder released their fifth album, Omens, and for a band that could do no wrong, the album is a bit of a let down. I really need to qualify this though. The vast majority of my friends and fans of the band are hailing this as a triumph.

You get five 10-minute songs that are epics. Five albums and several other releases into their career, the band have almost forged a signature chord progression. Where on Reflections of a Floating World you got some stunning guitar melody over those progressions, the guitar payoff here is marinated in long sections of proggy ’70s keyboards that it appears Nick DiSalvo and crew have fallen in love with in the writing for this one.

My good mate Al from Mental Cavity suggested that maybe my working from home with three kids afoot, I’m just too time poor to revel in the album’s supposed glory. But I think my prog and keyboard gas tank is running low at the moment.

What I do suggest, though, is you give it a listen. It’s some quality work, even if my keyboard/prog appreciation tolerance is low at the moment. The keys remind me a lot of Italian legends Goblin.

Lochlan Watt from The Racket has just finished chemo for brain cancer, which is a great relief. Before he took this challenge on he began a studio project with the uber talented musician, producer, and engineer Mike DeSlandes which has dropped a song from their forthcoming album under the moniker R U N. The song entitled For You is born of a desire to add breakdowns and anthemic choruses to Deafheaven-inspired black metal. Here’s a taste with more to come.

I have also been listening to some great traditional doom metal from former Solstice alumni with a band called Godthrymm and their album Reflections, along with all that goodness I dropped on you guys in last month’s column.

I really can’t wait for gigs to start up again as soon as its safe. To all the musicians, venues, photographers, artists, merch, sound, and lighting folks, I send my best wishes in getting through this shit time.

While we’re all savagely overdosing on screen time, drop by and hit Like on the Metalise Facebook and get social. Tell me what you’re listening to; share your stay home discoveries!

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