Rezn – Calm Black Water


Chicago band Rezn’s second full-length album Calm Black Water is certain to end up on many best-of lists this year due to a unique blend of heavy psych and doom metal that requires repeated spins in order to sort it all out.  The riffs emerge from the murky depths early on album opener Iceberg and continue throughout six heady tracks.  Rezn creates additional atmosphere by layering heavy effects on the vocals that help to fold them into the textures of the music.  The vocals maintain an ‘under water’ type vibe that contributes to the overall nautical feel of the album.

Vocal effects aside, this album floats (literally) between spacey interludes and mile-high climbing riffs that explode but then drop out in an instance as demonstrated in the track High Tide.  The track ebbs and flows along a calm beat and vocal delivery building up to a crushing riff that finishes out the track.  Rezn has crafted a beautifully heavy album that tweaks the doom metal formula with their own unique spin.  Set sail on the black waters!

River Cult – Halcyon Daze


If fuzzy riffs and stretched out solos are your thing, then you will not go wrong picking up the first full-length album from the Brooklyn band River Cult.  The album kicks down the door with Likelihood of Confusion that swings with a Sabbathian riff to open the song before Sean Forlenza’s vocals slide in to flesh out the tune.  Following Confusion is the album’s most ambitious track, The Sophist which is a huge piece of music that drops early in the listening experience but is definitely the high-water mark of the album.  Tempos shift and expand into one another as the band takes you on a 12-minute ride that feels like a late ’69 Hendrix jam.

Much of Halcyon Daze is an instrumental workout with nearly every track stretching into a lengthy jam or two before finishing.  The song Halcyon Daze is a muscular tune that begins slow picking up steam as it chugs through seven minutes of riffage and soaring solos.  Seething is a great example of the band’s ability to get lost in a psych-tinged groove before fading out in a wall of feedback.  Ending the album is Point of Failure which has a southern rock vibe to it with a laid-back build up to the chorus that really highlights Tav Palumbo’s powerful percussion skills.