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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
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.
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.
melody stains the atmosphere while razor sharp riffs slash the airwaves with
blazing groove throughout. SimonMagus 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 SimonMagus 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.