by Anthony Abboreno

Wielding imagery of Victorian occultism and '20s pulp, The Lamp of Thoth are an eccentric doom band. The cover of their latest EP, Sing as You Slay (Miskatonic Foundation, 2009), looks like the label for a bottle of 19th century medicine ("Do not ingest! May Cause Death!"). Their riffs are also hardly typical. Intead of galloping like Priest or working a bluesy Sabbath groove, they stutter and heave. "Into the Lair of the Gorgon" opens quietly before slamming you with a riff that repeats before vanishing again, leaving you with the sound of heavy breathing. When the song finally kicks into gear, the lyrics taunt you the same way the music has: "You go in there / To prove you're cool / But now you're stone / So who's the fool?"

The weirdest part of the band is The Melancholic Lord Strange, whose vocals have the curly-mustached sneer of a cartoon villain. Like the goofball nasal intonations of early hardcore, it could be ridiculous, but it sounds badass. The riff in "The Doom That Came to Sarnath" makes me feel invincible; the way Lord Strange shouts "Bokrug!" makes me feel even more so. It isn't the sound of true evil, but rather ingrained treachery. On my worst days, I wish I spoke in this voice, wearing a monocle and cape in public, hating beautiful people, plotting He-Man's takedown from the depths of my apartment. I'll never win, but my war against winners will never cease.