Engineered, mixed and mastered by Jon Cosky. Drums on “Sign of the wolf” engineered by Esben Willems. Album art and design by Jon Cosky. Released on Thursday 5 January 2023.
For fans of Black Sabbath, Down, Sleep.
Three-piece Stone Nomads was formed in Houston, Texas in 2021 with the goal of playing heavy, sludgy, doom-inspired metal.
This release is technically an extended single, taken from the band’s debut album Fields of Doom (2022), backed by a previously unreleased track “Gallows walk” and a bonus cover version of Pentagram’s bluesy “Sign of the wolf” featuring Esben Willems of Monolord (and formerly of Marulk) on drums.
“Fiery sabbath” (track 1) opens with a meaty bass riff that’s as tasty as Megadeth’s “Dawn Patrol” from Rust in Peace (1990). It is soon joined by a sorrowful and wailing sludgy guitar lick and vocals. The song twists and turns through various tempos as it slows to a doom-filled melancholy before turning into an emotive solo. Layer upon layer of tone provides the perfect soundtrack to feeling caught up in the swirling black smoke of an inferno.
“Gallows walk” (track 2) offers a slower, more laid back opening. It’s heavy as… with a Down-like vibe. Slowing and accelerating into an urgent riff while the vocals croon over the top with a sorrowful lament. An extended guitar solo takes the song on a meandering journey, sojourning briefly in a clean, bluesy middle eight that provides a welcome space and change of mood.
Bonus track “Sign of the wolf” (track 3), written by Bobby Liebling and originally performed by Pentagram from Relentless (1993) features guest drummer Esben Willems has a more straight-forward doom-like stomp and undulating melody. It’s a fun addition, but in my opinion, the two original tracks far outshine this US doom classic.
I don’t often review singles—at three tracks, I’m breaking my rules and calling it an EP— but as soon as I heard the opening track I knew that I had to listen to this release. The two original tracks are by far the better on this three-track release. Overall, the song writing maturity and complexity, the production, the artwork, and the effortless song journeys all make for a fantastic release that absolutely makes me want to check out Stone Nomads’ debut album and keep a close eye on them in the future. Brilliant stuff!
Review score: 90%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Stone Nomad’s latest release, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Stone Nomad. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Stone Nomad for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.