How the hell should I write a review about this compilation, without just adding one superlative after the other? But ok, I will try and start from the beginning with a personal introduction. I've been a fan of the Maryland/DC area since the late 80's, and I still have the days in best rememberance when I was buying every holy Hellhound disc in the early 90's with an enthusiasm as if it were parts of an ancient artifact. No matter if it has been the first album of INTERNAL VOID, UNORTHODOX, WRETCHED or THE OBSESSED just to name a few, it was the start of a long-winding love story and there's no end in sight. I'm still focused on this state in the east of the USA, and although nowadays there are a lot of interesting heavy bands around, here are still some of the most-influential roots to find.
Every MD/DC band and/or musician got his own musical signature, instead of just copying the latest heavy trend. And the roots of this highly creative scene goes back to the early 70's, if you remember bands like Pentagram and Bedemon!!! But if you want to find a detailed story about the history with all involved bands and musicians than I give you the advice to check out the booklet of this AWESOME compilation that is for me the most important one since the first "Dark Passages" album. There's no doubt about it that the guys at Crucial Blast have done a hell of a job with additional help from some of the most well-known MD/DC musicians.
"Doom Capital" contains fourteen exciting cuts and the album starts with "Sea Of Destruction" from CLUTCH, a song that could've been on "Pure Rock Fury". Neil Fallon's vocals are unique as ever, while the rest of the band delivers their typical crushing power-grooves. EARTHRIDE's "Grip The Wheel" has been also released on a Southern Lord compilation and it contains all the excellent trademarks of this fine group. Brutal heavy guitar-tones in combination with a tight playing swinging groove-laden rhythm section and in front we have Dave Sherman's wretched whiskey-soaked vocals. Once again a great track by this guys and I hope they will soonly release their second album. THE HIDDEN HAND's "Rebellion" is a song that I remember from their show at the FZW this year, and it's their exclusive contribution to this comp. This is a dark and aggressive cut, with surprising breaks and turns and it shows once again the potential of this band.
INTERNAL VOID are coming up with "Black Wings Of Deceit", that sounds as if it were taken from the "Unearthed" sessions, and is another proof that this band can't record average material. Outstanding! Next one is "Rising Sunn" from LIFE BEYOND and it's such a powerful uplifting spiritual anthem that makes you forget life's misery. To describe the dynamic of this band is nearly impossible, and this song is so damn catchy that I won't forget it until my dying day. Now we have the first new band here, although two of the members aren't unknown to the attentive observer of the MD/DC scene. NITROSEED features Gary Isom on drums and Rob Hampshire on bass, who is now the new bassist of EARTHRIDE. "Class War" is a relaxed and heavy groovy instrumental as it could only be created in this area, and I hope this band will have the chance to record a full-length in the future. Hey, I can't say how glad I am to hear a brandnew track from UNORTHODOX. Their albums "Asylum" and "Balance Of Power" are belonging to my personal holy bible of heavy Sabbathian prog psych, and "Lifeline" is their first new studio track after ten years! Singer and guitarist Dale Flood is a great significant player, like Scott Weinrich or Kelly Carmichael and "Lifeline" continues where the 1995 album "Balance Of Power" ended. Great song, so what about a new album?
I've lost a lot of positive words about COUNTERSHAFT in the past, and their contribution "Black Sky" will maybe help them to become a bigger attention. This band had released two promising demos in the past, and guitarist Greg Turley was part of Pentagram in the mid-90's and joined Place Of Skulls during the recordings of "With Vision". "Black Sky" is cross between traditional doom and old school metal, and this is the next band where I'm still waiting for the debut. Now we come to WAR INJUN, my personal favourite newcomers here, although the members are far away from being any newcomers. The band was formed by INTERNAL VOID singer J.D. Williams and guitarist Kenny Staubs (ex-Outside Truth). Other members are drummer J.B. Matson and EARTHRIDE members Kyle Van Steinberg and Dave Sherman. Well, this names promise what they keep and so is the featured track "Dangerous Prayer" simply awesome. Ultra-heavy bulldozing downtuned riffs, more sludgy than any of the member's other bands, but still very 70's like and melodic. J.D.'s vocals are once again on top, but more aggressive as in I.V. while the guitarsound is comparable with EARTHRIDE only heavier. Another band where I hope that they will come up with more material in the future.
BLACK MANTA is the next gang, and although "Days Of Yore" has been official released on a Psychedelic Fanzine compilation this is a re-recorded version with drummer Joe Hasselvander (ex-Pentagram and Raven), who teamed up with the band last year. Their heavy bomb rock is still intense and striking, and we will see what the future holds for BLACK MANTA. For me, the second unknown band here is LEVIATHAN AD with "Breathing Rust". Similar to WAR INJUN, the play a brutal downtuned sludgy mesh of 70's rock and psychedelic metal backed by clear melodic vocals. Not the typical Maryland sound, but really promising. Another new band is KING VALLEY with "$2 Brain", and I dig their heavy sound that is deeply rooted in 70's heavy psych rock, combined with tasteful hooks. Last, but not least CARRION's "Damned To Know" offers not the typical Maryland sound, because they have integrated more elements from old AmpRep bands like Helmet or Cows, but this simply underlines the fact that every here featured bands got an own musical vision.
The compilation closes with LOS TRES PESADOS, featuring Dale Flood, Dave Sherman and Jean Paul Gaster, drummer of Clutch. Their track "The Ruler", specifically written for this compilation, is a well-temperatured song that sounds like a less-progressive more psychedelic version of UNORTHODOX, and it would be great if this band will write more material. Maybe, this is the longest review you can find in this webzine, but "Doom Capital" absolutely deserved it. This is a must-have for listeners who aren't familiar with the MD/DC, but also for long-time fans, due to the fact of the mostly unreleased high-quality material you can find here.