We’re now two months into 2018, and, from a metal perspective at least, it’s been a good one, with almost as many records in the past eight weeks connecting with me as there did all of last year. Thankfully that theme continues today, thanks in large part to…
WHAT TO HEAR: …prolific UK death metallers Slugdge and their slimey label debut (but fourth full length overall), Esoteric Malacology (Willowtip Records). While Slugdge—whose entire catalog exists is based around a fictional intergalactic slug kingdom, in case I somehow buried the lead—have always had an uncanny ability to make the obscenely technical surprisingly accessible, Esoteric Malacology pushes that dichotomy to its realistic zenith, weaving baffling riffs, labyrinth song structures, and massive clean hooks (a new addition for the band) into another sci-fi metal masterpiece. If you’re able take it with a grain of salt and a tongue in cheek, you’re in for one of the weirdest, wildest, funnest listens of the year, so check it out via bandcamp.
If that (somehow) doesn’t fill your weekly rad quota, don’t stress, because Iron Reagan and Gatecreeper join forces this week for a veritable H-bomb of a split (Relapse). Both of these bands worship at the Altar of the Riff, and this eight-track offering is no different, putting Reagan’s punked-up re-thrash and Gatecreeper’s sun-scorched death metal on full, cab-detonating display. Iron Reagan take the A-side while Gatecreeper get the B, but no matter which way you spin it, you’re in for one hell of a ride. Crack a beer on your forehead and give it a listen via bandcamp (yes, again).
After that, throw on some Vincent Price joint and turn up Ilsa’s Corpse Fortress (Relapse), another killer batch of horror-obsessed death/doom from the nation’s capital. These dudes have been at it for a decade now and it shows, turning in an immaculately produced, carefully constructed extreme metal record designed to do one thing and do it well: Invoke sheer, unrelenting dread. If your interest in plodding death metal is a passing thing, you might not get through it, but if you just want to burrow into a nest of buzzsaw riffs and never leave, this one—now streaming at Vitus—is definitely for you.
The can’t-miss crust doesn’t end there, however, with furiously blackened German punks Ancst returning for their second killer full length in as many years, Ghost of the Timeless Void (Lifeforce). Fueled by righteous anti-fascist fury, Ancst are as sonically fascinating as they philosophically compelling, lacing their black metal formula with elements of brutal hardcore, anthemic screamo, and washed-out ambient. You won’t find a more ruthless (or addictive) black metal release this week, so get this one tattooed on your neck over at Noisey.
Meanwhile, if your just looking for the ugliest, nastiest shit you can find this week, start with Sixes’ Methistopheles (Black Bow Records)—a dissonant, feedback-laden blast of cinder block sludge—before moving on to Bay Area grindcore outfit Knelt Rote’s black swan song, Alterity (Nuclear War Now!), a fever-dream swirl of writhing black metal textures and pure powerviolence aggression. If these aren’t fucked up enough for you, talk to your therapist.
Finally, wrap up the new stuff with The Banished Heart (Century Media), the latest long-play from Houston-based prog-goth outfit Oceans of Slumber, and Dark Days of the Soul (Agonia Records), the new full-length from blackened Polish thrash/crust heathens Voidhanger, which should provide the perfect soundtrack to your Friday night Bud binge.
WHAT TO SEE: The show week fires up tonight with Mammoth Grinder, Skullshitter, and Siege Column at Saint Vitus, riding that pit right into Saturday when that Mammoth Grinder tour hits The Meatlocker, Oceans of Slumber hit Vitus, Motionless in White play the Starland Ballroom, Sons of Ghidorah do their thing at Olive’s, and Anicon bring their righteous black metal fury to Brooklyn Bazaar.
Sunday gets Sabaton and Kreator at The Paramount, The Hell Yeah Babies at Gold Sounds, and Conan at Saint Vitus, before Monday comes around once again, this time with Alice Cooper at the Bergen Performing Arts Center and 1000mods at Saint Vitus in tow. Tuesday plays host to a free One For the Road/Elefantkiller gig at Lucky 13 while Wednesday obliterates the hump entirely with Adult Swim’s Mr. Pickles Trash-Tacular at Irving Plaza featuring Exodus and Municipal Waste and Winter Nights at Arlene’s Grocery. After all of that, things end with a flourish on Thursday thanks to Pist.on and Netherlands at Saint Vitus and the Blacklight Records showcase at Gramercy Theatre featuring Candiria, GOZU, Good Tiger, and more.
WHAT THE FUCK: Have you read enough about Taake yet? If you’ve been anxiously awaiting my take, it’s a pretty simple one: A private business can do what a private business wants, and if a private business wants to cancel a show by a band who once used swastikas in their live show in order to avoid protests, police involvement, digital controversy, and other assorted forms of Very Bad Business, then that is not only their prerogative, it’s their right. If you’re digging deeper than that, I think you’re forgetting what it’s like to live here in America—the land of the free and the home shameless fucking capitalism. Anyway, here’s “Wonderwall”.
(P.S. Not endorsing this, it’s just perfectly dumb).