Monday, August 10, 2015

Simon Magus - The First Year of Catastrophe

The first year of pretty much anything can be challenging. From home ownership, birth of a child, overcoming a recent death, to the first year of starting a new job in an unfamiliar city, the first one is littered with unknowns yet chalk full of potential. The First Year of Catastrophe brings devastating doom metal with annihilating riffage to the plate and knocks it out of the park.

When I first discovered the album on Bandcamp being shared and bought by the "regulars" it went straight into my wishlist. I was initially hesitant to rush into a listen based solely on the band name to be honest. Immediately Grand Magus comes to mind, whom I love and figured there is only room for one "Magus" in the heavy rock realm. For as weird sounding of a word as "Magus" is, I was flat out wrong. Simon is in fact grand, as Finkle is goddamn Einhorn mutha fuckers!

Once I got over the initial hurdle of accepting the rather stale band name, I was able to captivate myself within the folds of the classic doom concoction. Magus draws influences from the classic doom legends like Trouble & Saint Vitus but brings a modern twist of the likes of Ripple Music's own Zed & Blackwulf.

Simon Magus incorporate gnarly vocal wales into the chorus lines, melding together a unique brand heavy rock that straddles the 4 musical corners of Doom, Thrash, Punk Rock and psyched out Stoner Blues. Soaring vocals glazed with a polished gravel tone summon purveyors of classic doom while maintaining enough clout for straight up metalheads. It only took me one solid listen before the "buy now" button was fingered with no remorse.

Lyrically the record explores a catastrophic theme that fits the music like a 100mph fastball strikes a catchers mitt. No junk balls hurled from this mound of doom, it's all heat. As depressing as the lyrical theme is, it's indeed fitting for a doom band. The singer's range is so lethal it could convince a born-again Christian that they've died and went to hell, and it ain't so bad after all.

Throbbing melody stains the atmosphere while razor sharp riffs slash the airwaves with blazing groove throughout. Simon Magus may only be a studio band now, but they've set the expectation bar high with The First Year of Catastrophe and may show up randomly in a town near you and blow the doors off your favorite club. They state in their bio, "if it feels right they go with it," and they sure went with it. It certainly feels right listening to the blistering debut. Who knows Simon Magus may have more to come soon. The possibilities are endless and I believe it's in the hands of us listeners to show our support and motivate bands like this to keep it up because they got something special.

-The Huntsman

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