Beneath the Remains August 2019: Besvärjelsen, Book of Wyrms, and Wraith
Welcome to Beneath the Remains, the monthly column in which we highlight a few select releases that might otherwise slip under your radar!
It’s August, time to lie under the ceiling fan and die. Here’s some metal to listen to while going crazy from the heat.
Besvärjelsen – Frost (Blues Funeral)
With a rhythm section that played in both Dozer and Greenleaf, it’s not too difficult to guess that Besvärjelsen have some familiarity with the more drug-based side of the metal spectrum. Sure enough, Frost (the follow-up to their 2018 debut, Vallmo) takes things low and slow. Their name means “conjuring” in their native Swedish, and they do summon a witchy brew of stoner doom for your consumption. This in-between release shows where they’ve come from and where they’re going. They possess a bluesy swing not dissimilar to Windhand’s, and they’re undeniably heavy. Still, the folk-y 70s prog influence gives them more of a buoyant feeling than on their debut. Part of that lighter feel may come from their decision to reduce their bassists in half (down to one). Whatever the reason, Frost provides some slow summer stoner doom jams.
Book of Wyrms – Remythologizer (Twin Earth/Stoner Witch)
You gotta love any band that not only has a song called “Undead Pegasus,” but chooses to emblazon its cover with said zombified equine. Book of Wyrms hail from the metal hotspot of Richmond, VA. Although they originate across the Atlantic from Besvärjelsen, they share a penchant for bluesy doom jams. There are a few key differences. First, a noted sense of humor in the lyrics, as evidenced by song titles like “Curse of the Werecop” and “Blacklight Warpriest.” They also use prominent synthesizers to add an extra dimension to the songs. The song about the reanimated horse is probably the best, with some serious Uriah Heep-style classic rock soloing. There’s enough doomy destruction elsewhere to keep things feeling legendary.
Nine songs and a Misfits cover in under thirty minutes, hell yeah. This blackened thrash trio from Indiana — not to be confused with the Arkansan or Georgian outfits of the same name — rips through killer riffs and songs about Satan (in the horror movie sense, not the religious sense). They clearly enjoy Toxic Holocaust and Midnight — so much so that Joel Grind of the former mixed their debut, although CJ Rayson takes over those duties here. It’s not exactly the most ambitious music, but when executed this well, there’s nothing quite as satisfying. This kind of metal lives in hot, sweaty clubs filled with black-shirted drunks. Even on record, though, Wraith bring the heat with fast-paced scorchers like “Devil’s Hour” and “The Curse” and make “Death Comes Ripping” their own.