Stone Magnum – Holy Blessings to None (R.I.P. Records)

Tuesday, 2nd February 2016
Rating: 8.5/10

Heaviness comes in many forms – the purest of which to these ears in the metal genre is doom. Conjuring emotional turmoil and unrest from the deepest recesses of the soul, there’s a reason why no matter what seems in vogue, bands like Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, and Trouble never grow old and remain timeless. Indiana’s Stone Magnum continue in that tradition, releasing their third full-length since their 2010 inception with Holy Blessings to None – and first with Justin Henry behind the drum chair.

The quintet differs from the total plodding, snails paced tempos and riffing by occasionally injecting other sub-genre traits into the mix, most evident with the black metal trilling and speedier drumming during the 4:54-5:35 section of “Signum Crucis” (which also contains a riff reversal near the conclusion that crushes in old Candlemass fashion) or the old school power that penetrates the energetic “Stone Magnum”. Vocalist Nick Hernandez holds court as word bearer of personal struggles and the dark forces that control mankind’s existence – placing follicles on edge for “The Illusion of Faith” in a clearer, Messiah Marcolin way of speaking.

The axes of Dean Tavernier and Jim Brucks succeed in laying down the foundation – thick, magical, and respectful to the tenets of doom, because it’s all about the head banging riffs, from the chilling “As I Burn Your World to Ash” start on through to the epic sway that churns “Condemn Thy Flesh to Dust” into blissful despair. As the final lines from the title cut ring out ‘Enjoy the pain of existence/ For this day could soon by your last’, let those words become images and a true motivator to never let life pass you by or take things for granted.

To those that believe there isn’t any great new doom coming out of the current scene, especially in the United States, this scribe thinks you need to dig a little deeper and you’ll find at least two monumental bands between Crypt Sermon and Stone Magnum.

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