Windhand Soma

Chiselling space for itself between occult rock and doom metal, the second full-length from Richmond, VA's Windhand is defined by spooky confidence and granite heaviness. The riffs possess millstone weight, grinding steadily and smoothly through each of the six thick, looping tracks. The tone on Soma is as deep and rich as blackstrap molasses, slowly oozing through the cavernous grooves and slow evolution of each song. It's a smothering, enveloping textural experience, alternately threatening to cocoon or drown the listener. Dorthia Cottrell's vocals, often layered overtop of each other and hazily distorted, serve as a guide through each track's heaving structure, but she's an unreliable narrator, prone to abandoning the listener to the harshness of the musical landscape at exactly the right moment. Capped off by 30-minute marathon track "Boleskin," whose hot, prickly riffs pair perfectly with the sobbing clarity of an acoustic guitar, this is a great record for the death of the summer, the return of early dusk and fog. (Relapse)