Microdose: Hellripper, Clayshaper, White Crone, & Sallow Moth

Written by Carcassbomb

Four great albums, four short reviews. The theme is solo visions, so people who through a lot of hard work put together their own album. They’re all highly creative people who put out quality music on their own terms, and often with the help of a friend or two. I’ve covered at least one solo project every dose and half of my reviews are of solo projects, I’m just drawn to them.

Hellripper – Coagulating Darkness (2017)

Just got this one on tape recently so I’ve been jamming it a bit. Hellripper is a project by James Mcbain from Scotland. I found him through reviewing his 2019 EP and have been following since. There’s new stuff coming in 2020 and he’s recently signed to Peaceful Records so he’s nailing it pretty hard right now. It’s essential speed metal listening, just constant riff after riff and the perfect thrash vocals to back it up up. It’s the kind of energy where you listen to it and really feel that the person performing it is having a great time. And it feels that way every time. That’s pretty much the Hellripper style. It’s like a caffeinated ACDC playing goathead aesthetic black metal. It’s not just fast and heavy, it’s earnest. Really looking forward to the next LP and maybe one day even getting a Hellripper show if he makes it over here to Aus with the awesome looking live band.

The artwork on this one is by Skaðvaldur. It’s a cool scene that reminds me a lot of the Dark Souls aesthetic which will always be charming to me. Also check out the socials for live playthroughs and the like.

Clayshaper – Celestian (2020)

Visual artist and musician Clayshaper has been on my radar for a while since his demos and because of the cool artwork he did for a fellow solo project Solus which I reviewed last year. So naturally his albums are going to have a spot on artwork aesthetics. It’s a great progressive black metal album mixed with melodic death metal, it shares a lot of similarities with Opeth but fused more with melodic black metal. It’s well written and well produced with a big emphasis on guitar playing. If you’re into guitar stuff then this is one to follow, his guitar is pretty darn rad. There’s four huge black metal tracks with awesome vocals that use good placement and post mixing effects. Then there are another four instrumentals of similar tracks with strong progressive metal influences. They’re well composed and have quite dramatic movements.

If you’re a fan of melodic black metal and prog metal then this will do wonders for you, it’s definitely in its own element with a lot of scope.

White Crone – The Poisoner (2020)

White Crone is the debut metal project by established blues artist Lisa Mann. Based In Oregon. The experience from the blues carries over nicely and provides a powerful prog element to the metal and old school rock. The result is a brighter sound with plenty of attention paid to each instrument. There’s great solos and instrumental discourse throughout reminding me of Seventh Son by Maiden at some points. Vocally she switches between empowered high projected vocals and lower doom vibes that both have their story to tell. People who like music to raise swords to should be happy here, there’s a lot of epic guitar swells in the song structure that lead up to huge peaks. The bass is vibrant in its pace and often has the spotlight, it’s old school doom in essence but very perky. On this record are a couple of drummers with Larry London doing all but one of the tracks so the drumming is good and that collaboration paid off nicely. As a solo project getting an experienced session drummer can really help keep the flow of your work together.

The production quality is top shelf stuff for a debut metal album, it’s a mainstream quality recording done independently that does wonders to encapture the spirit of classic metal with an attitude of empowerment and the bravado of being really talented at vocals, bass and guitar.

Sallow Moth – The Larval Hope (2020)

This is one of my favorite death metal albums right now because it’s name your own price on bandcamp, raises money for a good cause and it’s an insanely good album. Made by Garry B from Texas. There’s a lot of old school death influence to the sound but there’s a lot more modern technical death stylings and production. It’s a good blend that sometimes even slows into a groove of atmospheric death doom and various other heavy genres. The highlights are the guitars and vocals – both of which he is highly talented at, especially the vocals which have a strong presence and range. The music carries well across long track lengths, showing a strong ability to engage the listener with ear pricking arrangements and great OSDM production. I’ll definitely be looking into his earlier work more extensively as this album is a continuation of a concept or story from the previous album “Deathspore” from 2018.

The artwork is by Anna Ziółkowska and this album is on cassette, so get on that one. 50% of sales will serve as a donation to wildlife rescue nonprofit organizations, such as WIRES Wildlife Rescue or Wildlife Victoria.

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