Bastard Of the Skies – Self Titled album

Thanks again to Chris and Tracie from Meltdown Records for the CD. Bastard Of the Skies are a three piece band from Blackburn; Matt plays guitar and provides the vocals, Rob plays bass, and Craig plays drums.

  1. Deputy Lou Ford. After the feedback opening an immense guitar chord leads into an old school doom riff. Vocals are more aggressive than you'd expect (at this stage anyway...). Drummer uses the kicker pedal sparingly and intelligently throughout. The breakdown/stoner section is superb.
  2. But Our Princess Is In Another Castle. More feedback to start before a chaotic, almost discordant, opening section is unleashed. This one's shorter, faster and way more direct.
  3. (Eighteen And A Half Stone) Parts Unknown. More pared down opening with a sharper, less distorted, guitar sound. Quiet before the storm as this one fuses doom, hardcore and extreme metal sections together seamlessly, yet brutally.
  4. You, Foe. The feedback returns! Traditional doom riff with basswork in the style of Year Long Disaster (although obviously way heavier!). Guitar work reminiscent of Viking Skull. Cracking track.
  5. A Traitor In The Herd. Feedback (again) before an absolutely concussive riff of brutal minimalist doom pummels you. Tempo wise it's too slow to be trad, yet too fast to be monolithic. Chords positively slice through you. Another stunning track.
  6. Michael Fucking Dudikoff. Space rock/ stoner to start doesn't prepare you for the neck-snapper of a riff that follows. This one is more traditional doom from here on in, apart form the viciousness of the extreme vocals. Stunning.
  7. Shitfire. More direct with a change of guitar tone, sounds like stoner meets hardcore. Loses its way a bit though and drags.
  8. Cowards! Cowards! Returns to more established doom territory, albeit with a punk/hardcore feel. Very driving, another quality track.
  9. Kubrick Zirconia. Menacing opening riff has the latent nastiness of a Meshuggah chugger. Chorus lets up, but this is a brutal closer.

Let's get the negatives out of the way. The feedback intros and outros get wearing and the tracks could, and should, start and end more cleanly – or is this what they would do live? Bass gets a bit lost in the production at times... but more later. The inlay seemed a bit pointless; I'm all for minimalism but lyrics or a thanks list might have been an idea. Get your positive hat back on Chop! Returning to the production I suspect it's supposed to sound sludgy and distorted, and let's face it with the guitar work in general being so down-tuned, maybe I'm being picky. There's only one weak track on here in my opinion. The rest are as good a collection of modern doom as you are likely to hear. What's most impressive is the adept way other styles are introduced.

At a shade over 39 minutes it seemed a lot shorter, which is always a good sign, especially with music this intense. I shudder to think what this will sound like live – but hopefully I'll find out soon! This CD carries my seal of approval and I'll be championing it whenever possible. Track down a copy as soon as you can!!



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