Like Rogga Johansson needed to form a new band?? I feel his best are, hands down: Revolting and Putrevore. Well go ahead and add Minotaur Head to the mix too, at the top! I named this release as the best doom/death release for 2016, in my best of list, on this site. So Rogga grabs Bob Bagchus (ex-Asphyx), to do some drum smashing on this and Rogga doing all the rest and good dark lord almighty, this may be the best doom/death album, in recent memory. Fire up your blender and toss in: Winter, Early Cathedral, Early Trouble, the first 6 Black Sabbath albums and some Celtic Frost, for good measure, and mash that shit up!! Ohhhhh, but this is so much more, dear readers…..
Every song destroys, but I’ll just single a few out for you. Album opener, in this 7 song, self-titled album, “Drowning Life”, opens with a guitar riff, reeking of classic Sabbath and a little stoner metal. The riff is so catchy and most of all HEAVY. Throughout the album Celtic Frost guitar tones permeate and cut right through the perfect mix, to lop your head off. I really love Rogga’s vocals. More of a raspier tone, snarled very clearly, goes perfect with the album. Throw in a little nifty guitar solo in the middle and back to the plodding and perfect headbanging rhythm section. “Hidden Death in the Permawinter”, happens to have the name winter in the title and has a very Winter/Frost like vibe. Real funeral dirge, slower moments. Than the 2.12 section comes in with Bob throwing in some perfect double bass and Rogga throws in a perfectly timed growl-a perfect Holy Shit moment!! Luckily this part repeats towards the end of the track. Again catchy, heavy, memorable. One of the best doom/death songs in existence.
As I go off in a brief tangent, bear with me. I love all forms of extreme and classic metal. With doom/death I do love the real long songs; however at times, IF uninteresting will put the listener to sleep. Minotaur Head, understands the pitfalls of this and in keeping the songs to the 5-6 minute mark, this is essentially a very smart decision. It makes the song more powerful, memorable and really just plain hit you over the head with a sledgehammer.
“Only Lands For the Slaughter” has an opening guitar riff, which for some reason has me thinking of Overkill’s “In Union We Stand”. The only part is the fast guitar riffing and slow drum parts. Make no mistake this sounds nothing like Overkill, just a feel and it’s pretty killer. Rogga throws in some Frost like grunts that simply would make Tom Warrior smile from ear to ear. Throw in some guest guitar solos, across the album, one of which is from anotehr ex Asphyx cohort Eric Daniels, and you will feel the greatness and love that was surrounded in recording this album.
Other items to point out. There is a lot of traditional sounding metal moments, more in line with the classic Sabbath era and this helps to make this album stick out from any recent album, from this particular genre. The production is perfect. Great bass heaviness. Bob’s drums are powerful and fit the enormous guitar tone. The cd layout is just a picture of Rogga and Bob, no lyrics, but turn that album cover, back to the front, please. One of the coolest album covers, in recent memory. Of course the Minotaur demon priest MUST, adorn future Minotaur Head album covers. Keep looking closely at the drawing and you will discover new details, each time. A very creative album cover. I really hope this is not a one and done album.
This is such a strong debut album and honestly, I am stamping this as a future classic album. Maybe 10-20 years from now. Seriously, one of the best doom/death albums I not only own, but have heard and I’ve heard pretty much all of them. I will say again and again. Writing true heavy music is one thing-it’s not difficult. But, write it catchy and memorable-that is a whole different animal. I am humming this album, every single song, in my head and growling along with it. When you can get a listener to remember your songs, not just that the album has this many songs or that album cover, but know the beats, rhythms and tones, well than the band understands how to write music. Minotaur Head are here to crush you. No filler, only killer. Buy or Die!!
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