Saturday, 4 January 2014

Doom Chart: Most Paranoid Albums of 01/04/14

Top 30 Albums
#). artist - album title
  1. Sonic Mass - All Creatures Strange
  2. Blizaro - Strange Doorways
  3. Brimstone Coven - II
  4. Arrowhead - Atomsmasher
  5. Uzala - Tales of Blood & Fire
  6. Doctor Smoke - ST EP
  7. SubRosa - More Constant Than the Gods
  8. Blackwitch Pudding - Taste the Pudding
  9. The Great Electric Quest - Chapter II EP
  10. Tombstones - Red Skies & Dead Eyes
  11. Wounded Giant - Lightning Medicine
  12. In the Company of Serpents - Of The Flock
  13. Black Majik Acid - ST
  14. Ancient Warlocks - ST
  15. Hollow Leg - Abysmal
  16. Velvet Robe - Night Soil
  17. Asomvel - Knuckle Duster
  18. Satan's Satyrs - Wild Beyond Belief
  19. Sandveiss - Scream Queen
  20. Sandrider - Godhead
  21. Sangoma - Diviner
  22. Space Mushroom Fuzz - Burning the Almanac***
  23. Dirt Wizard - No Son of Mine***
  24. Earth Witch - Earthbound EP
  25. Moosataur - ST***
  26. Tombsealer - ST EP***
  27. Choke the Palm Tree - Hoax***
  28. The Whorehouse Massacre - Altar of the Goat Skull***
  29. Mountain Witch - Cold River
  30. Iron Man - South of the Earth
*** New Album

PARANOID Spotlight on:

Sangoma is a strange beast.  A proggy, spacey, psychey stoner rock quintet from Huntington, West Virginia, there's something about the different elements all coming together that makes Sangoma sound European.  Or maybe it's more than that.  Maybe it's vocalist Blair Yorke's intrinsic style with his slightly peculiar inflection.  Or maybe it has more to do with the band's iconoclastic music after all.  While there are many divergent genres and subgenres of hard rock and metal, there is an overall American sound, and it's been there for ages.  You can hear it in the frantic pace of Sun Studio's Million Dollar Quartet, the snarling, loose heaviness of the suburban garage bands of the 1960's and in the grooves of most hungry bandcamp bands.  Somehow, there's always seemed to be a bigger emphasis on fine art in the UK and Europe, whereas in the states expression has always been king.  There's a much larger discussion here about the difference between artistic sensibilities and art history, but I won't belabor it.

Sangoma produces fine art.  That's not to say there's no expression here, but when I listen to 'Diviner' there's just something different here.  The songs can be sprawling, but the band still exerts a level of control not often found in American underground bands.  The songs can be aggressive, but aggression is not an end in itself.  There's just more to it than that with this band.  Oddly, a sampling of the band's self-titled debut from June 2012 is a fine example of the 'American sound', heavy, loose, snarling and expressive.  Perhaps the largest difference of all comes from the change in drummer.  The fast and busy Nick Stiles from the first record has been replaced by the more sympathetic Jon Linville for 'Diviner'.  The difference is readily apparent.  While Stiles provided much of the band's propulsion on the first record, that push now seems to come from the rhythm section of Garrett Babb (rhythm guitar) and Josh Harshbarger (bass).  The constant has been the consistent vocals of Yorke and the scorching leads of guitarist Greg Gilbert.

The debut isn't without its memorable moments, but in the end 'Diviner' takes things to another level.  Melody takes hold making songs like "Burnout Blues" and "Consult the Orb" unforgettable.  'Diviner' can be ordered on CD through Sangoma's bandcamp page for a frugal $6 (I got my copy!) or as a digital download for $4.  You can find the page on the link at the #21 spot on the list above.

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