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tiistai 10. lokakuuta 2017

Arc of Ascent - Realms of the Metaphysical

Astral Projection / Clostridium (AST013 / CR0000030)

Arc of Ascent from New Zealand is a sort of heavy stoner/doom metal version of Craig Williamson's cosmic, hypnotic and spiritual psych folk solo project Lamp of the Universe. This one is more like a real band though and also plays live gigs sometimes. On this new album Craig is joined by his mates Matt Cole-Parker and Mark McGeady. All the songs are written and produced by Craig. This is the band's third album and probably the best so far.

Most of the six songs are slow, hypnotic and heavy. "Set The Planets Free" starts up the ceremony. As is typical for Arc of Ascent, there are crushingly heavy, repetative riffs but also enough melody, variation and psychedelic elements to keep things interesting. I really prefer melodic vocals to creepy crawls or screaming also in doom metal context and Craig is not only a killer player but also an excellent singer for this kind of stuff. Anyway, the opener has a strong Black Sabbath vibe and I like it a lot. "Eye of the Sages" sounds like some of the traditional doom metal bands like Candlemass and has quite a lot of solo guitar work as well. Cool! "Haxagram" is closer to stoner rock and even reminds me of Loop. A bit more psychedelic vibes on this one, great! "In the Light" is another heavy and dark traditional doom track and has some killer riffs and hounting keyboards as well. My favourite still probably is the album's shortest track "Benediction Moon", you just can't stop headbanging to this one! Craig took out his beloved sitar for the last, long track "Temple Stone", but the more laid-back intro soon gives room for some Reverend Bizarre styled heavy pounding. The sitar makes a slight come back in the middle and then things get really heavy again. At the end the track gets some organ sounds and slowly and emotionally dies away little by little. What a great ending to a superb album! Craig has released the album on CD on his own Astral Projection label and there are three different, limited vinyl editions on the amazing Clostrudium. Recommended!

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