Nothing pithy or illuminating to say this week, just more metal. Not that anyone’s complaining…
WHAT TO HEAR: At the vanguard of this week’s releases are Harakiri For The Sky and their sweeping fourth full-length, Arson (Art of Propaganda). Widely regarded as one of the most redeemable post-black-metal acts in the infinite yawning maw of post-black-metal acts, the Austrian outfit specialize in slow-burning, Alp-scraping grandeur, and while Arson is mostly more of the same (a good thing), there are some subtle differences. The riffs drive harder, leaving the band’s semi-dirty arpeggio landscapes in the dust; the color palate has been slightly expanded, from grayscale to RGB; and the audience bullseye seems to have widened in much the same way former black metal bands like Tribulation and Cloak have widened their own. Is the mystical spirit of Harakiri For the Sky lost in the process? Maybe just a little. Then again, don’t take my word for it. Check it out via bandcamp and see what you think.
After that, go ahead and get your weird on with Swarrrm’s latest screamo-death-jazz odyssey, Beginning to Break (Long Legs Long Arms). If you’re not already familiar with the Swarrm oeuvre, they’re from Japan, employ an manic spoken-growl vocal approach, and land somewhere near the middle of the Envy/Endon/American death metal venn diagram. Essentially what that means, is that while Swarrrm are full of loose screws and missing bricks, they never lose sight of the almighty hook, turning in one aching, unforgettable moment after the next. If you’re sleeping on this one, you’re sleeping on one of the most original pieces of “metal” thus far this year…and you don’t want to do that, do you?
If that’s not enough sonic madness for you, bookend that one with Chaos Echoes’ Mouvement (Nuclear War Now), which should help drag you down to the utmost depths of your chosen mania in no time. Applying free jazz improvisation to the world of extreme metal, the French trio are an ever-shifting, death-drone exercise in patience, music theory, and hardline philosophy. Despite the sonic and structural challenges, however, Mouvement, freed from the strictures of conventional song structures, is as cathartic a metal experience you’re going to have this week, begging listeners to just sit back and watch it unfold, randomly, organically, and, sometimes, without discernible reason. For a type Triple A like myself, that’s a big ask l, but hell if Chaos Echoes don’t just about pull it off.
On a more traditional note, last Saturday legendary first-wave black metallers Master’s Hammer dropped a surprise new LP, Fascinator (Jihosound Records), on Saturday, which is obviously worth a mention on holy shit factor alone. More and more, contemporary black metal bands—spearheaded by the likes of Malokarpatan—are turning to classic first-wave riffage for inspiration, and suddenly, in the year 2018 AD, Master’s Hammer feel more immediate and important than ever. Turn back the clock and turn up the shred over at bandcamp.
Last year was a pretty solid one for crossover thrash (Power Trip) and Long Island hardcore (Incendiary) respectively, and this week LI crossover thrashers Extinction A.D. combine the best of both those worlds on their ripping sophomore LP, Decimation Treaty (Good Fight Music). Inspired, almost inevitably, by the shambolic state of our incompetent government, Decimation Treaty is local, pissed off, and out-approved, and honestly, what more can you ask for from an East Coast thrash record? Check it out via bandcamp and try not to throw your back out.
Also on offer this week is a brand-new out split out of the American south, which finds Windhand and Satan’s Satyrs merging their considerable forces in service to the dark lord. One part bubbling cauldron doom, one part sludge punk, this one provides a devilish sonic mix on its own, but throw in the fact that Windhand’s 2013 split with Cough remains one of the format’s modern milestones, and you have a winner.
WHAT TO SEE: On the show front, the weekend starts about as crazy as you could ever hope for, with Incendiary/Xibalba at Brooklyn Bazaar, The Atlas Moth/Royal Thunder a few blocks away at Vitus, the G3 Tour with Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, and Phil Collen at the Beacon Theatre, and The Decibel Tour featuring Enslaved, Wolves in the Throne, Khemmis, and Myrkur at Irving Plaza. If you’re not out there getting your face torn off by one of those, make up for it on Saturday with Morbosisdad at Lucky 13 Saloon, L.O.T.I.O.N at Secret Project Robot, Ego Kill at The Kingsland, The Exploding Boy at Vitus, August Burns Red at Irving Plaza, Of Mice and Men at Gramercy Theatre, Architects at PlayStation Theater, and last, but definitely not least, American Nightmare and Pissed Jeans at Market Hotel.
You could catch your breath on Sunday, or just get back out there and see Wino at Lucky 13, the aforementioned G3 trio at NJPAC, former Cro-Mag Harley Flanagan at Blackthorn 51, and UNIFORM at Saint Vitus. After that, Monday offers some respite, before Harms Way and Ringworm blow it all up on Tuesday at Vitus. On Wednesday, check out Doyle at Dingbatz, John Corbai at Blackthorn 51, and Binary Code at Vitus, before wrapping up another one on Thursday with Sunlord at Diviera Drive and a sold-out Pianos Become Teeth gig at Vitus.
WHAT THE FUCK: Here’s an organ made from 44 hacked Furbies, which is “metal” in so far as it is horrifying. Sweet dreams, everyone.