I could either completely exhaust myself and do four separate reviews of the albums that represent 2019’s Day Of Doom live showcase at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus Bar heading towards the end of releases in 2020 when most are shifting their focus to year end lists and preview pieces…or just do one MASSIVE review of all the releases. Take a guess where we’re going with this one, won’t you?
Four artists. Twenty four tracks in total. Almost four hours of live music. Covering North America, Sweden, Australia, and England. Saying that the latest Magnetic Eye Release is epic is probably a vast understatement, wouldn’t you agree?
But I digress.
I know I’ve said this somewhere else before but live albums can be a tricky thing to review. Do you review the performance, the band, the songs? Then there’s the sound quality to take into account. Some artists want to put out this gritty in-the-moment thing that sometimes, to be frank, just sounds like shit but on the flip side, you don’t want a live album to sound so overproduced that it’s practically a studio version of the tracks.
Luckily for all of us, Chris Johnson (Bassist/vocalist for Summoner, bassist in Deafheaven) is the MER VIP/secret weapon for Day Of Doom and has taken the stuff he honed around the city of Boston and beyond to masterfully recorded these four artists. Capturing the live magic of both artists and audience all while preserving the integrity of an atmosphere that thrives without the luxury of multiple takes or a safety net is no easy feat yet here Johnson pulls it off effortlessly with four complete records that sound astonishing.
Now let’s dive in, shall we?
Doom-filled, diabolical, yet altogether delightful, Horsehunter’s set is a whopping forty five minutes of blistering, unbridled Pure Rawk Fury laid out over four tracks. Beginning with “Bring out Yer Dead”, which rumbles on for ten minutes and change, the Melbourne quartet fuse Desert Rawk with the aforementioned Doom and elements of Black Metal as these ferocious screams permeate throughout. “Witchery” offers a short, albeit still heavy, reprieve from the colossal-sized songs that surround it but even this fervently rolls on before “Stoned to Death” rounds out Horsehunter’s Day Of Doom appearance with almost seventeen minutes of an even more caustic collision of sounds to conclude this chapter.
Elephant Tree kill from the start with their, ahem, Blues-infused “Aphotic Blues” sounding so crisp and so clean with a burgeoning buzz coming from the guitars as croons on top impart a different perspective. If you’ve never heard Elephant Tree (Or any of the other artists that are a part of this for that matter), then diving into a recording of a live show that’s practically a best of is highly recommended. Because you get tracks like “Dawn” which practically shimmers, conjuring these Kyuss-esque feels that bask in the glow of an oncoming sunrise (Think “Odyssey”) or songs like “Surma” that are equally buzzy and fuzzy while still highlighting majestic melody amidst magnanimous heapings of heavy riffage.
Domkraft kick off their set with “The Rift” which is like Clutch’s “Space Grass” colliding with the entirety of Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi’s Black Sabbath contributions while “Through the Ashes” follows that trend and bristles with a frenetic urgency ushered in by Martin Wegeland’s bass. And speaking of bass playing, can we please give it up for ALL the bass performances across these four records??? Because they’re badass. Later on, “Meltdown of the Orb” shakes and shimmies and provides a sonic lambasting while the mighty “Landslide” rounds out Domkraft’s set with almost ten minutes of superb Sludge.
On this November day in 2019, months before live music would become something of a fairy tale, Summoner sounded chunky and chuggy with an especially riff-centric mix accenting the power of Joe Richner and AJ Peters’ guitars. Beginning with “Skies Of The Unknown” off their most recent record (2017’s Beyond the Realm of Light…wow, has it really been that long?), Summoner showed off their penchant for crafting soulful sky scorching RAWK that’s symbolic, skillfully shambolic, and ultimately shreddy. From there, the Boston outfit focus primarily on the two LP’s that preceded that behemoth with six tracks enriched by a love of all things Soul, Sabbath, and Psych with particularly electric versions of “The Interloper”, “”Conjuring”, and “Horns Of War”.
Day Of Doom releases on December 11th through, duh, Magnetic Eye Records. Pre-orders have been up for a bit and you can check those out now in a variety of formats by heading here. For the latest on Magnetic Eye Records, including up-to-date news on what’s on the horizon for 2021, follow them across their social media pages by heading here, here or here, And then head here for the rest of their stellar roster.