Kelly Carmichael – Heavy Heart (2018, Dogstreet Records)
By PERRY GRAYSON
Kelly Carmichael is a man who needs no introduction to veteran doom metal fanatics around the globe. But, seeing as this genre has become a hot topic among a new generation of doomsters, I’m happy to educate folks. As artful axeman for Internal Void, Kelly has been pleasing metallic ears since 1988, when IV first hit the underground with their Basement Tapes demo. With Internal Void, Kelly recorded three full albums between 1993 and 2004. Branching out to tackle vocals as well as guitar, Kelly has released two solo albums chock full of blues/roots – 2005’s Old Stock and 2009’s Queen Fareena. And that goes without mentioning Kelly’s brief foray as guitarist in the infamous Pentagram on Show ’Em How (2004), before singer Bobby Liebling slipped off the wagon and derailed the doom legends again.
And now, with Heavy Heart, Kelly is back to rock in true raw/loud form! This is East Coast doom rawk to the core, containing eight tracks of tasty riffs and soulful clean vocals. While not as gravelly as Internal Void vocalist J.D. Williams, Kelly’s voice is lucid and every bit as convincing and worthy of praise. Kelly is ably joined on Heavy Heart by drummer Jesse Shultzaberger.
The disc opens with “Shadows Will” – a clean guitar intro passage turned verse, which leads into the doom-laden instrumental chorus and bridge parts. “Desires Tragedy” begins as a Southern rock tour-de-force worthy of The Allman Brothers, before kicking into the main doomy diminished bits. “Soupers” sees Kelly venturing into spooky horror flick style piano and violin strains, eventually giving way to a major progression worthy of Free. “The Palmist” is a swinging song in the mold of Sabbath and Pentagram, which could easily be an Internal Void number. “The Way She Heals” fuses Southern elements and a major-infused chorus with sombreness. “Vine of the Soul” is a psychedelic foray with a trippy flanging and phasing effects. “Starless Divine” reeks foremost of the South, before heading down a doomy path to a back-beating/swinging bridge. The album closer and title track, “Heavy Heart”, is an uplifting Southbound journey sure to “make you feel all right” with its Skynyrd-like vibe.