VARIOUS ARTISTS


"Doom Capital" (Crucial Blast; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

The "Doom Capitol" compilation features fourteen tracks of doom, stoner, sludge, and other heavy styles of rock. But the twist is that all of these bands are based in the hotbed of Maryland and Washington, D.C. Since I am a resident of Maryland I am familiar with these acts in one way or another. As such, a track-by-track review is warranted (band "song title": description). I am fortunate that I have developed a healthy appreciation for the styles represented on this compilation and I am honored to have the opportunity to share my views with you.

Clutch "Sea Of Destruction": Although I've never considered Clutch to be a part of the true doom underground one can't deny their massive influence in the genre. Clutch fanatics will already have this track as a live version appears on their concert retrospective "Live At The Googoplex." Even this compilation serves an introduction to neophyte Clutch fans as "Sea Of Destruction" is a neat example of Clutch's ability to weld huge riffs to great songs.

Earthride "Grip The Wheel": Earthride features two legends of the doom scene, namely Dave Sherman of Spirit Caravan on vocals and Eric Little of Internal Void on drums. "Grip The Wheel" represents a classic doom track with a consistent pummeling beat blasting through the sludge-paced fuzzed-out guitars.

The Hidden Hand "Rebellion": The Hidden Hand is the latest project from the doom king Wino Weinrich. Wino is in prime form on "Rebellion" leading the band on a more aggressive and trippy approach with very good results.

Internal Void "Black Wings Of Deceit": Internal Void are a dark pleasure for me. I have a cassette copy of the band's 1992 debut album "Standing On The Sun" which I listen to from time to time. I thought the band could have really exploded, but they never did get off the ground. Luckily for fans of the doom genre, Internal Void are back and "Black Wings Of Deceit" solidifies the band's early promise in the new century.

Life Beyond "Rising Sunn": Formed from the ashes of other doom bands, Life Beyond take a more aggressive yet blues-based approach to the doom genre that recalls the sound and style of 70s heavy rock. "Rising Sunn" is a stellar track.

Nitroseed "Class War": Damn! Just what I wanted to hear! A doom band that plays only instrumentals. Nitroseed's "Class War" has a classic doom sound with an emphasis on dynamics and melody that reminds me of a Kyuss-like vibe.

Unorthodox "Lifeline": Fuzz-doom legends Unorthodox are known for combining psychedelic vibes and savage Sabbath riffing and "Lifeline" is proof that the band is one of the true few who seem to get it right with little or no effort.

Countershaft "Black Sky": Countershaft effectively employs a slow sludgy pace for their own unique stamp on the doom style.

War Injun "Dangerous Prayer": War Injun is another semi-supergroup of sorts formed from the smoldering ashes of other doom bands. The band has quickly made a name for themselves and "Dangerous Prayer" is ample proof that they've quickly found their own signature sound.

Black Manta "Days Of Yore": Black Manta's mythical approach to doom-rock is expertly captured on "Days Of Yore" with a competent merging of Clutch-styled heavy rock and classic Pentagram.

Leviathan A.D. "Breathing Rust": This epic track is mesmerizing your brain will figuratively melt into the background as you are swept away.

King Valley "$2 Brain": Wow! The vocals make this track! The vocals are especially melodic (not to mentioned soaked in reverb) which is an odd turn of events for a doom band and really makes King Valley stand out amongst their counterparts.

Carrion "Damned To Know": It doesn't take long for Carrion's "Damned To Know" to make you realize this band is looking forward instead of backwards. Carrion have taken the doom style and smashed it up with alternate rock influences for an intriguing mix that pulls doom out of its insular shell and into a more refreshing place.

Los Tres Pesados "The Ruler": "The Ruler" is a one-off song by Dale Flood (Unorthodox), Dave Sherman (Earthride), and J.P. Gaster (Clutch) that is so catchy and true to the spirit of doom that one can only hope that these three guys can find the time to hash out a full album's worth of songs.

Each band gets a blurb about their history and line-up along with a web address or 'snail mail' contact information. Great liner notes highlighting the evolution of doom and heavy rock in the Maryland/D.C. area is very enlightening and enhances this solid release. The back tray sheet actually lists other artists and websites that support the doom scene that didn't get representation on this particular compilation.

"Doom Nation: Maryland/D.C. Heavy Rock Underground" is one of the better compilations I've heard in a long time.

For more information visit http://www.crucialblast.net


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08 Jan 2016 11:33:10 -0500.