MWWB – The Harvest (2022; New Heavy Sounds)
MWWB formerly called itself Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, a fitting moniker for this stoner doom metal band from Wales that flirts with progressive rock stylings. In addition to the necessary massive riffs and pounding rhythms, vocalist Jessica Ball and guitarist Paul Michael Davies both contribute spacey synths ala Hawkwind. To that point, the title track lays down a ponderous crunch accompanied by alien-sounding motifs and drones. As contrast, Ball’s vocals are ethereal and ghostly. Another piece, Let’s Send the Bastards Whence They Came employs slow keyboard melodies, sequencers, and chants, eschewing the guitars. These tracks mostly follow songlike structures with choruses and repetition. Drummer Dom McCready and bassist Stuart Sinclair provide workmanlike rhythms with sufficient twists and turns to outshine most metal outfits. If you like your riffing with a nice bit of whoosh, The Harvest comes recommended and is a fun album. It releases on March 25.
Soonago – Fathom (2022; Kapitaen Platte)
From Germany, Soonago falls into that metal / post-rock crossover space that many groups seem to be occupying in the last few years. Nonetheless, this instrumental four-piece is a cut above and then some with sweeping walls of sound created from speed picking and power chords. Alternatively driving and melodic, the group builds to crescendos that release into angular motifs or more introspective passages that employ cello along with dual guitars, bass, and drums. But just when you are lulled into a state of relaxation, another jarring riff brings forth yet more heavy orchestral structures and subtle variations on themes. The album ends with a title track that employs generous spoken-word voiceovers. Fathom also releases on March 25.