We’re waste deep in big-name AOTY contenders this week, bathing in a sea of dashed expectations and pleasant surprises. It’s gonna be this for most of the fall, so no need to belabor the point, especially when we’re kicking things off with…
WHAT TO HEAR: USBM lightning rods Wolves in the Throne Room, wheeee! Two years after the release of their controversial, and completely non-metal, sonic experiment, Celestite, WITTR return to their gnarled, mossy roots with Thrice Woven (Artemesia Records). This is black metal for the fireside, for stumbling upon on a witch’s cabin in the deep of a dark wood, its acoustic and electric instrumentation winding and tangling like unkempt vines throughout. In other words, it’s exactly what WITTR fans have been clamoring for since Celestial Lineage. In the end, it may not hit quite as hard as their classics—due more to the saturation of the earthy domestic black metal market than its own shortcomings—but it’s still a fantastic reaffirmation for one of the scene’s most visionary acts. Stream it via bandcamp.
After that, personal favorite Chelsea Wolfe returns with Hiss Spun (Sargent House), the follow up to 2015’s otherworldly Abyss. Wolfe has been a consistent visitor to the metal borderlands for years now, pulling influence when and where she sees fit, and though that approach certainly continues on Hiss Spun, it’s also the most overtly heavy release in her discography. Album opener “Spun” wouldn’t sound out of place on King Woman’s latest LP, and things don’t let up from there, with Wolfe and proto-metal-MVP-for-hire Troy Van Leeuwen droning, groaning, and glitching into a state of pure Gothic bliss. Grab you Ouija board and give it a listen via bandcamp.
In glacial doom news, meanwhile, Italian slow merchants Ufomammut lead the way with their new LP, 8 (Neurot Recordings). Full of astral effects and anchor-heavy riffs, this one is a winning push-pull that will have you blasting off to galaxies anew or sinking deeper into the flames, depending on your mood. After that, check out atmospheric Ukraine outfit Kauan‘s latest long-play, Kaino (independent). While traditionally a doom act with post-rock trappings, Kauan flip that equation on its head this time around, to decent—if unspectacular—effect. Per usual, give it a listen and form your own opinions, however.
Hot on that one’s hooves are progressive black n’ roll vets Satyricon and their new studio effort, Deep Calleth Upon Deep (Napalm Records). The Norwegian outfit have a made a career out of subtle sonic evolution, and Deep represents yet another tweak to the formula, blending their epic, cascading black metal influences with their subsequent staccato rock riffage for a release as definitively Satyricon as any before it. If you’re a fan, no real need to preach to the choir. If not, here’s your chance to get in on the weirdness.
Deep beneath the cobblestones of the Old World, meanwhile, a pair of Europe’s finest doom specimens are kicking up quite the racket. First up are French drone legends Monarch, who return with Never Forever (Profound Lore) today. It features a trance-inducing cover of KISS’s “Black Diamond”, so really, what more do you need to know? Once you’re done chugging that fine Bordeaux, turn your attention across the Channel, where preposterously downtuned UK doom outfit With the Dead have readied their latest, Love From With Dead (Rise Above Records), for its slow, horrifying rise from the sewers. They don’t come much slower or more hideous than this, so make sure to tune in and zone out via Loudwire.
On death metal fronts, the old-school revival fires rage unabated, burning with the cobweb and brimstone attack of Vacivus‘ Temple of the Abyss (Profound Lore) and the smoldering ash piles of Vastum-spinoff Acephalix‘s Desecration (20 Buck Spin). Say goodbye to your faces, kiddos.
In completely-fucking-over-the-top news, the percussive tech-death maniacs in Archspire are back with a new batch of woodshed-worship, Relentless Mutation (Season of Mist), while Dani and the Filth boyz return with a brand new corpse-fucking Cradle of Filth offering, Cryptoriana-The Seductiveness of Decay (Nuclear Blast). Say what you want about Cradle—and there’s plenty of not nice things to say at this point—but you can’t deny that they’re, at the very least, seasonally appropriate.
Finally, punk-minded metal maniacs should get a kick out of Aussie grinders King Parrot and their new full-length, Ugly Produce (Housecore Records) and Strange Peace (Sub Pop), the latest from Toronto noise rockers METZ, which gives me my semi-annual opportunity to remind you that they’re still heavier than 90% of the “metal” bands the appear here on week-in, week-out basis.
WHAT TO SEE: The week’s live pilgrimages begin tonight with MOAM at Debonair Music Hall, Kore Rozzik at Blackthorn 51, The Spits at Brooklyn Bazaar, Toxik at Tenth Street Live, and The Hard Times Showcase 10 (yes, that Hard Times) at Saint Vitus. After that, Saturday gets rolling with Mister Stratosphere at Bar Matchless, Agnostic Front at Blackthorn 51, Twiga at The Footlight, Nutcheck at Desmond’s Tavern, H20 sailing aboard the Harbor Lights, UFO at the Paramount, Book of Wyrms at Arlene’s Grocery, Between the Buried & Me at Irving Plaza, and finally a Dead Things matinee at Vitus, followed at 8pm by BIG|BRAVE, A Film in Color, and Furnace Head and 11pm by Vermafüg and Chud (FREE!).
If you survive all that, Sunday rides in with Autumn Equinox VIII, featuring Blood Storm, Deteriotrot, and more at Dingbatz, followed by Cold as Life at Lucky 13 Saloon, The Muckrakers at Blackthorn 51, Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress at Irving Plaza, Laid 2 Rest at Saint Vitus, and Sacred Reich at Gramercy Theatre. On Monday, Majority Rule hits Vitus, before Tuesday brings No Warning to Brooklyn Bazaar, Rebelmatic at Bowery Electric, and Accept at Irving Plaza. On hump day, meanwhile, Sweet Magma hit Lucky 13, Portrayal of Guilt at El Cortez, Murderer’s Row at Saint Vitus, before Thursday punctuates a crazy week with Pankow and StatiqBloom at Saint Vitus and Gojira and Converge at Brooklyn Steel.
WHAT THE FUCK: Fugazi‘s Ian Mackaye was spotted at the Juggalo March in DC this week wearing a bucket hat and riding a bike. That is all.