Live Review: Godhunter and Destroyer of Light in Massachusetts, 08.14.15

Posted in Reviews on August 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Godhunter (Photo by JJ Koczan)

My first time in Salem, or “Witch City,” as the sign said, which seems to have done reasonably well on the niche-tourism market based on its people-got-burned-at-the-stake-here heritage. Well enough to have a joint like Koto, anyway. The venue where this show happened is a sushi bar. A sushi bar. Because although the passion for heavy music in the area of Eastern Massachusetts is strong enough to host gigs at, say, a sushi bar, that’s also how deep the corresponding lack of decent venues in the region runs. Godhunter and Destroyer of Light, from Arizona and Austin, Texas, respectively, came an awfully long way. It’s kind of hard not to be embarrassed for the state in which I live. Often.

Led to the Grave. (Photo by JJ Koczan)But the good news was Godhunter and Destroyer of Light, and if it’s a sushi bar, well, that’s better than nowhere at all. A section of the otherwise carpeted floor was hardwood, and tables were cleared out to make a “stage,” which is to say an empty space. The kitchen stayed open — sadly, I did not have any sushi, though I’d been craving it for weeks — and locals Led to the Grave opened the show billed to start at 9PM well after 10 with their death-thrashing blend of sonic extremity very much in a New England-y vein. Dual-guitar squibblies called to mind the first time I heard Cannae‘s Troubleshooting Death and thought about the colors of autumn leaves. They were heavy, growls, screams, shouts, Slayer parts, etc. Not offensive to watch, and at times pretty right on, but not really where my head was at.

I was there to see Destroyer of Light and Godhunter, whose split 12″, Endsville, is out now on Battleground Records. Both are dual-guitar/dual-vocal four-pieces, and both have plenty of aggressive edge, so how they wound up touring and working together isn’t really much of a mystery, but they made a fitting complement at what I’d seen billed as “Salem’s first stoner rock show,” which was interesting since I didn’t think it was a stonerDestroyer of Light (Photo by JJ Koczan) rock show at all. Led to the Grave, even when they grooved beyond their melodeath and thrash influence, did so with a death metal charge, and both Godhunter and Destroyer of Light are meaner than what I usually think of as stoner rock. It’s not like it was “An Evening with Sons of Otis” (though I’d probably go to that as well). Maybe it’s splitting hairs, but Godhunter are sludge metal all the way and Destroyer of Light have some pretty clear Sleep influence, but are up to something entirely rawer.

If you don’t know the band, I’m not trying to slight them when I say they’re not as metal as their name and they’re not as punk as their cover artwork, but they have elements of both metal and punk to go along with their big, big, big riffing. On stage — such as it was — guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca, bassist Jeff Klein and guitarist/backing vocalist Keegan Kjeldsen headbanged in unison to their own grooving largesse while drummerDestroyer of Light (Photo by JJ Koczan) Penny Turner slammed away on his ride cymbal behind, setting the nod. It was righteous from the start, and they offered little breathing room from one pummel to the next, guitar leads cutting through the density of the direct-from-the-cabs wash of sound — P.A. for vocals only, house-show style — as Turner was bathed in green light and the rest of the band more or less played in the dark.

Another unfortunate staple of the Bay State show-going experience, that, but not unexpected, particularly at a place like Koto, which though it’s badass enough to put on a show like this one — their t-shirts were also killer-looking, but I did not dare ask about sizes lest I should incur the judgmental glare of the employees, several of whom I supplied with earplugs — isn’t really equipped to host it on a professional level. Again, nothing against it, but it’s a sushi bar, not Radio City Music HallGodhunter (Photo by JJ Koczan)It seemed likely to me that either Destroyer of Light or Godhunter, who closed out the night, would bust through that P.A., but neither did. On tour together and sharing amps, it wasn’t a long changeover between the two traveling acts, and I was very excited for Godhunter‘s set, which even Steve from Destroyer of Light had teased by touting the assault of volume that was to come.

They didn’t disappoint on that level or any other unless you perhaps count the shortness of their set. Four songs, maybe five? They incited a sort of mini-mosh, dudes who were clearly more metal than doom meeting their cathartic riffing head-on by blowing off steam, yelling, being plastered, and so on. I moved to the side of the stage and just sort of watched it happen, Godhunter‘s guitarists, David Rodgers and Jake Brazelton, trading vocal duties as bassist Dick Williamson and drummer Andy Kratzenberg held the groove together thick and rolling at centerstage. On record, they are vicious, and while the live set had more of an overwhelming density than a harsh bite, the Godhunter (Photo by JJ Koczan)beastliness they conjured was familiar anyway, and I was very glad to have been there to see it.

Standing where I was, I kind of felt like I was observing from outside the action, but being there, it would’ve been impossible not to be affected by it, and so their catharsis offered me a bit of my own, which on a Friday night after a long week, was much appreciated. They finished and I shouted for one more song, which they didn’t have. It was after midnight and I had a 90-minute ride home, so it didn’t seem like an issue to push, but if Godhunter had done an encore, no question I would have stayed.

A couple more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Destroyer of Light Premiere Lyric Video for “Electric Shadows”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

destroyer of light

Tapping into grandiose classic doom and wah-drenched psychedelic heavy rock, Austin, Texas, four-piece Destroyer of Light are gearing up to release a new split 2LP with Godhunter that, as of today, is available to preorder through Battleground Records. Titled Endsville and limited to 300 copies available via Battleground and Destroyer of Light‘s Heavy Friends Records imprint, Endsville comprises four sides, two for one band, two for the other, each with original material and one cover track between them. No strangers to the road after having gone coast-to-coast last fall supporting their Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 EP, which was the follow-up to their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), Destroyer of Light will team up with Godhunter for a lengthy run of the East Coast this July/Aug. that includes a stop at the Death to False Metal festival in Connecticut on Aug. 15.

godhunter destroyer of light endsvilleA lot of information in that paragraph, so I’ll sum up — two good bands paired up for a split, preorders now, tour next month. Hopefully that sorts out the basics, which, if you’re going by “Electric Shadows,” which leads off their two-song side C of the Endsville vinyl, obviously aren’t a problem for Destroyer of Light. Guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca, guitarist Keegan Kjeldsen, bassist Jeff Klein and drummer Kelly Turner have their Sabbath worship down pat, but there’s more to the track for those who’d dig in, and over the course of its six minutes, they’re able to smoothly shift between wrenching doom and ’70s-style shuffle, a catchy boogie of a guitar lead taking hold in the second half to steer toward a surprisingly upbeat, if somewhat sudden, finish. The band prove just as ready to jam as doom out, and though they’re playing one side against the other, in the middle third of the track, they seem to find a riffy middle-ground that eases the transition, subtle effects swirls behind plodding riffs before Klein‘s bass announces the arrival at the next stage.

Endsville is out July 28, but “Electric Shadows” is available for those who’d check it out to hear in a new lyric video put together by Erik Bredthauer that I’m happy to be able to premiere today. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by the tracklisting for the split, the tour dates Destroyer of Light will undertake with Godhunter starting on July 29, and much more info, culled from the PR wire.

Hope you enjoy:

Destroyer of Light, “Electric Shadows” lyric video

GODHUNTER vs. DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Endsville Split Double-LP to see release in a gatefold setup on two different colors of vinyl through Battleground Records and Heavy Friends Records on July 28th, 2015.

Double album featuring brand new music from Godhunter and Destroyer of Light, plus a cover song from each band.

Godhunter (Sides A/B) pressed on 180 gram translucent green vinyl, Destroyer of Light (Sides C/D) pressed on 180 gram translucent red vinyl. Both records are housed together in a two pocket, deluxe gatefold package featuring art combining sculpture work by Bestia Dentro and photography by Andrew Weiss. Includes a digital download card for the album. Limited to 300 copies pressed worldwide.

Side A
1. End Time Blues
2. Divided States
3. Dull Knives, Weak Handshakes
Side B
4. Cassandra Complex
5. Anthropophobia
6. The Emptiness That Is Left

Destroyer of Light
Side C
1. Electric Shadows
2. Coffin Hunter
Side D
3. Forever My Queen
4. Valley Of The Dead

GODHUNTER vs. DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Endsville bears twenty minutes of new material and a cover track from each band. Tucson/Vancouver-situated sludge faction, GODHUNTER, captured the tunes for their platter at WaveLab Studios in Tucson by Dana Fehr (North, Juarez), the newest in a steady line of titles since their 2014-released debut LP, City Of Dust, including their GH/OST:S split LP with Secrets Of The Sky and The Outer Dark collaborative 7” with Amigo The Devil. The adjoining slab by Austin-based psychedelic doom outfit, DESTROYER OF LIGHT, follows the band’s 2012-released self-titled debut album and 2014’s Bizarre Tales Vol. II EP, recorded at Orb Recording Studios in Austin, engineered and mixed by Matt Meli. The entire album was then mastered by James Plotkin. The two 12” EPs will be united in a gatefold setup on two different colors of vinyl, in addition to a digital release, the cover artwork to feature custom sculpture art by Bestia Dentro and photography by Andrew Weiss.

Directly in conjunction with the release of Endsville, GODHUNTER and DESTROYER OF LIGHT will collaborate on a major widespread tour together, which will see them both raiding the East Coast US for the first time. While previously only the rough skeletal city itinerary of the trek has been announced, this week nearly every one of the twenty-five venues on the tour has been declared. The tour includes both bands’ participation in the first Death To False Metal Festival in Hamden, Connecticut on August 14th and 15th with Whiplash, Krieg, Secrets Of The Sky, Valkyrie, Imperial Triumphant, Nightbitch, Immortal Bird, Secret Cutter and more.

Godhunter and Destroyer of Light on tour:
7/29: Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
7/30: Tempe, AZ – Yucca Tap Room
7/31: El Paso, TX – The Sandbox
8/1: Albuquerque, NM – The Launchpad
8/2: Denver, CO – Seventh Circle
8/3: Omaha, NB – TBA
8/4: Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock
8/5: Chicago, IL – Livewire
8/6: Kalamazoo, MI – Fat Guy Fest
8/7: Indianapolis, IN – Fifth Quarter
8/8: Louisville, KY – Magnolia Bar
8/9: Raleigh, NC – Pour House
8/10: Charleston, WV – The Empty Glass
8/11: Pittsburgh, PA – Gooski’s
8/12: Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place
8/13: New York, NY – Saint Vitus
8/14: Salem, MA – KoTo
8/15: New Haven, CT – Death To False Metal Festival
8/16: Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
8/17: Baltimore, MD – The Depot
8/18: Greenville, SC – Thomas Creek Brewery
8/19: Atlanta, GA – The Basement
8/20: Little Rock, AR – Vino’s
8/21: New Orleans, LA – Saturn Bar
8/22: Austin, TX – Holy Mountain

Destroyer of Light on Thee Facebooks

Destroyer of Light on Bandcamp

Battleground Records preorder

Heavy Friends Records on Thee Facebooks

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Sleep, Pentagram and Cult of Luna to Headline Psycho California 2015

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

True to their word, it’s Jan. 15 and Psycho California 2015 has announced the headliners for what looks like the best American festival lineup I’ve seen since the days of Emissions from the Monolith. That’s not to take away from the hard work anyone else is doing, but just look at the list of bands. It’s unreal. You’d want to be everywhere at the same time to see all of it. Absolutely wild.

Sleep and Pentagram were pretty clear choices to headline. Not only for being legends in the heavy underground, but for also being just about two of the only bands left. Sweden’s Cult of Luna were something of a surprise, but for a festival already showing a European reach in bringing aboard the likes of Samsara Blues Experiment and Stoned Jesus, they make sense. Hell of a bill. Kudos to anyone who actually gets to go to the thing.

Announcement follows, courtesy of the PR wire:





Psycho California, the west coast’s first annual metal festival and a must see for fans of doom, heavy psych and sludge, has announced the headliners for this year’s event: Cult of Luna (May 15), Sleep (May 16) and Pentagram, who will perform First Daze Here in its entirety (May 17).

“2015 is going to be a slow year for Cult of Luna. However as much as we are musicians we are also fans,” said Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson. “Evaluating if the offer to play Psycho California was worth dusting off our instruments was not hard after looking on the line-up. Being on the same bill as Pentagram, Sleep and a festival packed with the best bands around is a privilege in itself and we’ll try to live up to that honor.”

The lineup for Psycho California is: Sleep, Pentagram, Cult of Luna, Kylesa, OM, Earth, Russian Circles, Bedemon, Conan, Wrench, Eyehategod, Indian, Earthless, Pallbearer, Stoned Jesus, Old Man Gloom, Cave In, Acid Witch, Truckfighters, Tombs, Bang, Electric Citizen, Coffinworm, SubRosa, Eagle Twin, Mammatus, True Widow, Anciients, Bellwitch, Dead Meadow, Lord Dying, Death By Stereo, Radio Moscow, Ancient Altar, Samsara Blues Experiment, Atriarch, Elder, Mothership, The Well, Deathkings, Wo Fat, Rozamov, Destroyer of Light, Highlands, Bloodmoon, Slow Season, Goatsnake, Crypt Trip, Wrench, Lords of Beacon House, Tumbleweed Dealer, Sinister Haze, Blackout, Red Wizard, Banquet and Loom.

Festival interludes will be provided by Housecore Records’ artist Author & Punisher and vinyl DJ set from Bob Lugowe (Relapse Records) and Sean Pellet (Last Daze Here).

Previously announced early bird tickets sold out immediately. Tickets for the festival are on-sale this morning with both a 3-day pass ($149.50) and a 3-day VIP pass available ($256.66)

VIP packages include a 3-day festival pass, a signed screen print concert poster by David D’Andrea, express entry via artist check-in booth, access to artist VIP lounge, a limited edition Thief X Obey festival tee, a Psycho record bag and patch as well as access to a complimentary craft tequila bar, premium microbrews and artisan snacks.

Sleep, “The Clarity/Dragonaut” Live in Chicago, Aug. 28, 2014

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Psycho California 2015 Announces Initial Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The list of bands, quite frankly, is astonishing, but even more astonishing is the fact that  Thief Presents‘ Psycho California 2015 (formerly Psycho de Mayo) hasn’t announced its headliners yet, because these sure as shit look like headliners to me.

A three-day festival set to take place at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA, Psycho California will feature the following acts:

psycho california

Here’s that list again: Kylesa, Om, Earth, Russian Circles, Orange Goblin, Bedemon, Conan, Indian, Pallbearer, Cave In, Old Man Gloom, Tombs, Earthless, Truckfighters, Bang, Eyehategod, Crowbar, SubRosa, Lord Dying, Acid Witch, Electric Citizen, Coffinworm, Eagle Twin, Stoned Jesus, Mammatus, True Widow, Bell Witch, Death by Stereo, Radio Moscow, Samsara Blues Experiment, Anciients, Elder, Mothership, Ancient Altar, The Well, Deathkings, Wo Fat, Rozamov, Destroyer of Light, Highlands, Bloodmoon, Slow Season, Crypt Trip, Lords of Beacon House, Tumbleweed Dealer, Sinister Haze, Blackout, Red Wizard, Banquet, Loom.

Plus interludes by Author and Punisher.

God damn.

Not only does it cover both coasts, huge bands, legends and up and comers, but the reach is international. Take special note of Conan, since their appearance means that Maryland Deathfest won’t be their only US date, and also Samsara Blues Experiment and Stoned Jesus — two killer European bands that you don’t even go after unless you know what the fuck you’re doing. That also hugely extends the possibilities for headlining acts. It’s an assemblage that’s beyond impressive, and if you haven’t already looked up flights to Southern California, I don’t know what to tell you. As I write this it’s after one in the morning on Sunday night, and you know I wouldn’t be doing that if my mind wasn’t leaking out of my ears at the thought of experiencing this thing.

Stay tuned for more to come, since as the poster says, headliners will be announced on Jan. 15. I’ll be looking forward to finding out who else is in store.

Psycho California on Thee Facebooks

Thief Presents on Twitter

Thief Presents on Thee Facebooks

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Destroyer of Light Announce Month-Long US Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

destroyer of light

Austin horror rockers Destroyer of Light have no shortage of work ahead of them in slogging their way coast to coast on what they’ve dubbed the “Howlin’ Across America” tour. The ghoulish death-sludge purveyors hit the West Coast over the summer, but that couldn’t really compare to the month they’ll spend on the road starting Oct. 13 in support of their second record, Bizarre Tales Vol. 2, which came out earlier in the year on Heavy Friends Records.

They’ll make a stop at the Southwest Terror Fest on Oct. 17, and short of Boston and a few cities in the northern part of the Midwest, hits just about everywhere else, so if they’re hitting your town it might be worth showing up and buying some merch, to keep ’em flying, as the WWII posters used to say.

Info culled from the PR wire:

destroyer of light howlin across america tour

Destroyer of Light Announces Howlin’ Across America Tour ’14

Austin Doom Band To Spend A Month On The Road

Following a successful summer run on the West Coast, doom metal alchemists Destroyer of Light are set to undertake another tour in support of its Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 EP. Dubbed the Howlin’ Across America Tour ’14, the band will spend a month on the road and visit 32 cities. The Heavy Friends Records-sponsored tour starts in their home town Austin, Texas and reaches out to nearly every region in the United States.

On October 17, Destroyer of Light travels to The District Tavern in Tucson, Arizona where they will play Southwest Terror Fest. Goatsnake, Sunn 0))), Neurosis, Pelican and Author & Punisher are a few of the bands billed to play the four-day festival.

The band comments: “We are super excited about this tour and hitting some new cities that we haven’t played before. Also, this is the biggest tour that we have done; so, it is a very exciting feeling to go out and accomplish this.”

Howlin Across America Tour ’14
10/13-Austin, TX @ The Grand
10/14-Midland, TX @ Blue Max
10/15-El Paso, TX @Grynde Bar
10/17-Tucson, AZ @ The District Tavern Southwest Terror Fest
10/20-Alburquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
10/21-OKC/Tulsa, OK @TBA
10/22-Bryant, AR @ M.F. Metal
10/23-St. Louis, MO @ FOAM Coffe & Bar
10/24-Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge
10/25-Kalamazo, MI @ Satellite Records
10/26-Columbus, OH @ Carabar
10/27-Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto Project
10/28-Buffalo, NY @ The Lair
10/29-Brooklyn, NY @ The Grand Victory
10/30-Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
10/31-Shepardtown, WV @ Stonewall’s Pub
11/01-Richmond, VA @ 25Watt
11/02- Chapel Hill, NC @ The Cave Tavern
11/03-Johnston City, TN @ The Hideaway
11/04-Nashville, TN @TBA
11/05-Columbia, SC @ Foxfield Bar & Grill
11-06/Jacksonville, FL @ The Burro Bar
11/07-Longwood, FL @Hoodies Saloon
11/08-Pensacola, FL @ The Handlebar
11-09-Atlanta/Savannah/Athens @ TBA
11/10-Birmingham, AL @ The Nick
11/11-Jackson, MS @ OI Tavern/George St.
11.12-New Orleans, LA @ The Beatnik
11/13-Texarkana, AR @ The Silver Dollar
11/14-Fort Worth, TX @ The Grotto
11/15-Houston, TX @ Rudyards
11/16-Austin ,TX @ The Lost Well

Erik Bredthauer created a Tales From the Crypt style animated video for the single “Forbidden Zombi Ritual” taken from Destroyer of Light’s Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 EP. Go HERE to watch the video.

Destroyer of Light, “Forbidden Zombi Ritual” official video

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Destroyer of Light Announce West Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Austin sludge rockers Destroyer of Light are heading west beginning June 13. The riff-crunching Texan four-piece released their sophomore outing, Bizarre Tales Vol. 2, earlier this year on vinyl through Heavy Friends Records, and previously toured in the Southeast this past April in support of the album. Neither that tour nor this one heads very far north, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the second half of 2014 held more to come from the band, who skillfully blend elements of doom, sludge, thrash and stoner shuffle into a dark-sounding brew of semi-psychedelic potency.

Dates and info come courtesy of the PR wire:

DESTROYER OF LIGHT announce summer U.S. tour

Austin-based doom band DESTROYER OF LIGHT has announced a U.S. tour spanning from Texas to the West Coast in June.

Destroyer of Light formed in Austin, Texas the beginning of 2012. Each member coming from different bands wanted create slow, heavy, riff-induced music and wield it toward the masses. Gathering influences from a variety of different styles, each member brings their flavor to the table, and the music speaks for itself. Destroyer of Light is a 4-piece band consisting of Steve Colca on guitars/vocals, Keegan Kjeldsen on lead guitar, Jeff Klein on bass, and Kelly “Penny” Turner on drums. As of now, their second EP, Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 has been released both digitally and on vinyl through Heavy Friends Records. May the power of the riff compel you!

Dates are as follows (TBA dates to be updated next week):

June 13th – Austin, Tx @ Holy Mountain
June 14th – Midland, TX @ VFW Hall
June 15th – Las Cruces, NM @ The Trainyard
June 16th – Albuquerque, NM @ TBA
June 17th – Tuscon, AZ @ The Rock
June 18th – Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
June 19th – Spring Valley, CA @ The Bancroft
June 20th – LA @ TBA
June 21st – San Bernadino, CA – Black Flame Collective
June 22nd – San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
June 23rd – Oakland, CA @ Eli’s Mile High Club
June 24th – Fresno, CA @ TBA
June 25th – Las Vegas, NV @ Cheyanne Saloon
June 26th – SLC @ The Shred Shed
June 27th – Colorado Springs, CO @ TBA
June 28th – Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
June 29th – Haysville, KS @ KC’s Too
June 30th – Texarkana, TX @ Silver Dollar
July 1st – Dallas, TX/Fort Worth, TX @ TBA

Destroyer of Light, Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 (2014)

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On the Radar: Destroyer of Light

Posted in On the Radar on June 27th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Everything seems to be going as you might expect with the self-titled debut from Austin, Texas, doomly foursome Destroyer of Light, then all of a sudden a background in extreme metal becomes very, very apparent. Guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca keeps an inflection in his clean singing that’s more than a little kin to Karl Simon from The Gates of Slumber and that has its roots in the likes of CandlemassMessiah Marcolin — who did it best even if he didn’t do it first — but then Colca shifts into a vicious growl that’s right out of death metal. He doesn’t use it on every track of the self-released six-song album, but it’s striking when it comes up and if you’re not ready, half the fun (which I’ve just spoiled, I guess) is being caught off guard.

Destroyer of Light formed earlier this year in Austin, and as such, I’d imagine that one single member — be in Colca, guitarist Keegan Kjeldsen, bassist Mark Mars or drummer Penny Turner — is responsible for the songwriting. I’d guess that’s Colca, but I’ve been wrong about that kind of thing before and don’t want to assume. Whichever player it is, they’re obviously schooled in the modern interpretations of the doom of old, and the added element of extremity sits well alongside the riffy groove they craft. There are a few rough patches in the recording, but no doubt it all came together pretty quick, and as a basic demo, the down and dirty, sludgier riff of “Coffin Hunter” still gives a basic impression of what they’re going for stylistically.

And to put a name on it, what they’re going for is doom. Destroyer of Light also have a live recording up on their Bandcamp that’s worth checking out, but the album itself leaves a stronger impression. I might want more effects on the vocals next time out — something about lyrics about virgin sacrifices and all the rest just beg to be drenched in echo — but it seems from the sampling they’ve made available that the band are on the right path. They’re on Thee Facebooks here, and here’s the record if you want to check it out:

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