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From Time… To Eternity

R.I.P. (2013)
Rating: 7.5/10

From the wilds of Indiana come doom metal quintet Stone Magnum. They have only one purpose in life – to play Black Sabbath-inspired slabs of molten doom rock. It’s as simple as that.

If anyone clamped their ears on the band’s 2012 self-titled debut then you would have no doubt been impressed / annoyed (delete where applicable) by the yawning vocals of Dean Tavernier, which found themselves between Ozzy Osbourne and Cathedral’s Lee Dorrian, such were their drool. The same could also be said for the almost lethargic, heaving riffs of Tavernier and Jim Brucks, and the monolithic drubbing of skinsman Brad Toth.

I’ll never forget the time I heard the gloomy strains of ‘Fallen Priest’ (the opening track on Stone Magnum’s debut), and felt that it was a little too close to Sabbath for comfort, and hoped that the band’s seven-track second opus, From Time… To Eternity, wouldn’t be so retrospective.

So, what have the doom brigade brought to the table this time? Well, the first track I heard from the new record was ‘By An Omen I Went’ and, shock horror, it still reeks of that Black Sabbath sound, especially in those guitar waves, but the vocals are certainly grittier this time around, the band having enlisted the talents of former Kommandant frontman Nick Hernandez. The band’s current line-up is completed by bassist Ben Elliot, who replaced Marty Buchaus.

Stone Magnum, who formed in 2010, is most certainly old school doom metal, rather than succumbing to the toxic stoner scene that is currently clogging up our lungs. The sound of the band is very much Black Sabbath in its oaken creak, and from there we are introduced to similarly dark influences such as Count Raven, Pentagram, St. Vitus and not forgetting Chicago’s mighty Trouble who, with their rainy vibe, seem to be the most inspirational band nodded to here.

However, it’s Swedish doomsters Candlesmass who spring to mind on the opening title track of an album which is a heaving beast of a record that weighs a ton with those slow-motion, ancient guitars. But this is not the sort of doom that rots the ears – far from it – because Stone Magnum, just like their obvious influences, provide a rather enjoyable listen, taking us down the dark path with tracks such as the ominous ‘Lonely God’, and the grooving ‘In Tongues They Whisper’.

Stone Magnum, just like stalwarts Trouble, effortlessly shift between doomy slower soundscapes and more uptempo, 70s-influenced rock. It’s far from tedium as ‘Uncontained’ and ‘In The Garden Of Beasts’ rattle by with some purpose, bolstered by that pounding drum and potent vocal rasp.

These guys may not be the most original doom band around (then again, who is?), but if you like your metal heavy and musty then wait for the rain to come and head off to the graveyard, because Stone Magnum will more than adequately provide the soundtrack for a wet afternoon amidst the tombs.

Neil Arnold

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