After a week on the lamb to get caught up sleep and sanity, TOGTE is back and probably about as tolerable as ever. Extend that hibernation one more week and join us.
WHAT TO HEAR: Leading us off this week are funeral doom pioneers all-around metal legends, Mournful Congregation, who return with another leviathan of grief, The Incubus of Karma (20 Buck Spin), today. On the surface, it seems like it would be easy for Karma to get lost in two-plus-decades of melancholy Mournful Congregation trudge, but it manages to keep things fresh, folding acoustic interludes and sprawling David Gilmore-esque solos into its long-established sonic palate. Needless to say, if you take your metal low, slow, and sad, find a good window for staring and give this one a spin here.
After your done exploring your inner cosmos, throw on The Silent Vigil (Nuclear Blast), the sophomore full-length from crust-caked UK death metallers, Memoriam. Following the death of Bolt Thrower drummer Martin Kearns in 2015, Karl Willetts went to on to form Memoriam with Benediction alum Frank Healy, and the result is very much what you would expect from such a pact: Socially-conscious mid-tempo death metal that worships the almighty riff above all else. The Silent Vigil is a pitch-perfect encapsulation of that, which is very definitely a good thing (even if Willett’s Voice is going a bit), so make sure to check it out.
Closer to home, tech death horde, Replicant, have their sophomore salvo Negative Life (PRC Music) revved up and ready to go today. Dexterous and lucid without sacrificing any of its native Jersey grit, Negative Life is a must-hear for fans of local avant-death standouts like Pyrrhon, Artificial Brain, and Dystrophy, with whom Replicant have shared many a stage and, in the case of the latter, even a few members. No word yet on whether or not this one syncs up with the Blade Runner Director’s Cut, but hey, only one way to find out…
Down south, meanwhile, Tampa death metal upstarts Nightmarer and their debut full length, Cacophony of Terror (Season of Mist). If you couldn’t already guess from the album title, Nightmarer borrow a couple chapters from the Deathspell Omega Dissonant French Death Metal Playbook, while also blending in some good ol’ fashioned American chugga chugga for good measure. That and readily digestible songwriting help to elevate this one above the diminished-chords-and-a-cloud-of-oort-dust approach that has anchored technical death metal for well over a decade now.
If that doesn’t quench your thirst for brain-splattering cacophony you A. Probably have a problem and B. Should definitely check out The Absence’s A Gift For the Obsessed (M-Theory), another fit of limb-flailing death metal mania from the primordial holy swamps of Florida now streaming over MetalSucks. Meanwhile, your black metal pick of the week belongs to Swiss black metal duo Ungfell, who unfurl their frothing new LP, Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz (Eisenwald Productions) today. Blending rabid vampiric mania with melancholy folk, this one is can’t miss for anyone who takes their black metal bestial and beautiful.
Meanwhile, if you just smoked a gram to your face, check out II (Neurot Recordings), the new jumbo EP from psychedelic Finnish doom/drone outfit Dark Buddha Rising, and Used Future (Razor & Tie Records), the transformative sixth full length from The Sword. Once champions of the vest metal movement, Used Future finds the Austin outfit morphing into a full-bore space-truckin’ classic rock act, replete with harmonized guitars, glowing analog synth tones, and lyrics about highways, both astral and material. On paper, this is enough to raise a few eyebrows, but in practice it goes down pretty smooth, like a some long-lost Thin Lizzy concept album based on Tron. Check it out on your streaming platform of choice.
WHAT TO SEE: Assuming everyone is properly dug out from that demonic spring avalanche, the shows go on tonight with a Blanx 77 at Bowery Electric, Black Water Rising at The Brighton Bar, Judas Priestess at Dingbatz, Senseless at The Nest, Corot at the Meatlocker, Sheer Terror at Amityville Music Hall, Sponge at Blackthorn 51, and an Incantation-headlined Decibel Metal & Beer Festival kickoff party at Saint Vitus. Saturday is equally jammed, with The Krays at The Well, Slaughter to Prevail at Knitting Factory, Sweet Magma at Otto’s Shrunken Head, First Jason at Lucky 13 Saloon, Crimshaw Monsters at Arlene’s Grocery, Pop Evil at Starland Ballroom, and the almighty Malokarpatan at Brooklyn Bazaar leading the way, followed on Sunday by Clan of Xymox at Brooklyn Bazaar, Norma Jean at Knitting Factory, and fucking Necrot at Saint Vitus.
On Monday, Clan of Xymox take their darkwave cult down the street to Saint Vitus, while Tuesday welcomes Whipstriker to the same Greenpoint stage. Wednesday is quiet unless you’re headed out to the Meatlocker to see the second area show from Necrot, in which case it definitely won’t, before Thursday wraps things up The Rocket Queens (an all-lady GN’R tribute if you couldn’t guess) at Vitus and Monster Magnet at the rarely-heard-from-these-days Music Hall of Williamsburg. Weird that of all the metal bands they could have booked over the past 18 months, they go with Monster Magnet, but hey, what are you gonna do?
WHAT THE FUCK: Looks like Lamb of God are reviving their original Burn the Priest moniker for a…cover album? It’s a weird choice to be sure, but the fact they’re focusing exclusively on classic punk and hardcore covers—typified by the neck-snapping take on The Accused’s “Inherit the Earth” they dropped this morning—has me at least morbidly curious.