Welcome to a new year of This One Goes to Eleven, everyone. It’s business as usual, only with the prospect of instantaneous human incineration tossing some much-needed excitement into the mix. So with that mind, let’s get 2018 started before it suddenly ends.
WHAT TO HEAR: Leading us off not only this week, but this year, is Watain’s 6th full-length (and 20th anniversary blood bash) Trident Wolf Eclipse (Century Media). A throwback to the pseudo-Satanic black metal of yore, Trident Wolf Eclipse is Watain at their purest—a charred, putrid, vile pile of first-ish wave black metal wrung with goat skulls and fire. Next to Behemoth, Watain are the biggest “scary” metal band on earth, and Trident Wolf Eclipse shows why, combining serrated tri-tone riffing, animal aggression, and old-school theatrics in what seems like a damn fine start to another crazy year in metal.
Meanwhile, in direct sonic contrast to Watain (yet somehow still hailing from the same sub-genre because metal shrug emoji), are legendary Tolkien-inspired black metallers Summoning and their first new album in over five years, With Doom We Come (Nuclear Records). As is the case with every Summoning record ever, you’re going to have to deal with some cheese-whiz synth, but the reward for your patience will be as massive as Middle Earth, with hazy black metal melodies and triumphant crescendos ebbing and flowing like a solitary ancient tide. Not for everyone, sure, but if you’re into LOTR and black metal—a pretty popular cross section, it seems—then there’s no way your not checking this one out.
After that, turn your attention to modern post-sludge auteurs Sinistro and their latest full-length, Sangue Cássia (Season of Mist). What Sinistro lack in crushing riffs, they more than make up for in atmosphere and tension, dealing in ethereal Portuguese-language brood that wouldn’t sound out of place as the soundtrack to some slick, Armani-suited action flick. In other words, when some down time beckons, let Sangue Cássia provide the score.
Finally, Shining (the Swedish one, not the Norwegian one) return with a new batch of self-harming black metal, X – Varg Utan Flock (Season of Mist), today. Frontman Niklas Kvaforth, while the creative engine that makes Shining run, said and did some dumb shit this year as he has just about every year since he found a soapbox, by if you can get past the personality and the politics, there’s some pretty fine black metal waiting for you.
WHAT TO SEE: While the noteworthy metal releases are a little thin this week, the shows certainly aren’t, starting tonight with Paragnosis at Lucky 13 Saloon, Monument of Memory at Knitting Factory, Dick Vomit (jesus christ, really?) at Blackthorn 51, Alien Girls at Trans Pecos, and Teknoist at Saint Vitus, and continuing on Saturday with Negativehate at The Kingsland, Eye of the Destroyer at Lucky 13, and two EYEHATEGOD sets—a matinee at 2pm and an evening show at 7—at Vitus.
On Sunday, Vitus hosts another killer back-to-back with Noisem in the afternoon slot and local sludge titans Pants Exploder after sundown, while Bilge Rat hit Alphaville. Monday and Tuesday go into winter hibernation mode before the hesh returns on Wednesday with Geezer/The Hazytones/Sun Voyager at Saint Vitus. After all of that, wrap up another week in this frozen fucking hell with Molten at El Trebol Bar y Restaurante, Pop. 1280 at Vitus, and The King at Gramercy Theatre.
WHAT THE FUCK: We’re less than five days into 2018 and it looks like another metal-supporting venue, Bar Matchless, has bit the dust. Last year, the building Matchless occupies was sold and now, according to reports, the beloved dive bar has been given notice to vacate. Recently Matchless has been booking consistently and well, picking up a lot of the slack left in the wake of The Acheron, and although they technically remain open, all 2018 shows have already been cancelled, leaving yet another pair of beat-up black boots to fill. Sunnyvale, Alphaville, The Footlight, and Trans Pecos, consider yourselves warned. We are coming for you and we like beer. Lots and lots of beer.