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HAZE MAGE - Chronicles

Release date April 19/19 (Grimoire Records)

With April 20th fast approaching, many stoner metal fans are ramping up for their beloved ‘the-numbers-do-the-funny-thing’ day. Before, however, the 20th takes a hold of your mind, fans should have their ears entranced by the one and only Haze Mage.

Chronicles, their second album, has their influences/sounds much more prominent and varied. Vocalist, Matthew Casella, seems to go from an evil lord describing his monstrosities one song, to Danzig the next. Track 6 ‘Priest of Azathoth’ even has a doomy Alice in Chains, Layne Staley, vibe to it. Every song title could be a dungeon boss in a D&D session and Casella is the perfect storyteller for their fantasy-based lyrics.

The instruments also seem to conform to the topic of the song. ‘Bong Witch’ is understandably slow and doomy, while with ‘Storm Blade’ we finally get to hear what doom power metal sounds like... It’s really good, it turns out. The album is perfect in length (45 minutes) and with the variety of the sounds/styles you won’t get bored. You even get the epic 10-minute send-off with ‘Dread Queen.’

Maryland is having a 10/10 year with metal this year (Misery Index, Tending to the Corpses, Unendlich, etc). Mana must be filling the wells with the power of metal. I get the impression that this band is very fun live and if they ever make it out to Sacramento, I would be there in the drop of a kobold’s candle (seriously, please come.)

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