Spring release season is officially here and with it a bunch of goths in all black screaming about Pagan sun gods. God I love stupid, stupid metal. Let’s do this.
WHAT TO HEAR: Leading us off this week are legendary Irish trad/power metallers Primordial and their sprawling new full length, Exile Amongst The Ruins (Metal Blade). The follow up to 2014’s AOTY contender, Where Greater Men Have Fallen, Exile may not hit the quite the same heights, but takes Primordial back to their roots with a raw, off-the-cuff the approach that’ll make you think these guys are 20 again. The result is a little uneven, but brimming with anxious, angry energy in every hard-scrabble riff and monstrous melody. Check it out via bandcamp and see what you think.
After that, check out The Contagion in Nine Steps (Blood Music), the latest nightmare hymn from twisted UK black metal cult, Lychgate. Where Lychgate’s 2015 underground gem, An Antidote for the Glass Pill, was a micro-tonal descent into Victorian asylum madness, The Contagion in Nine Steps is something wholly new for the band, reapplying their classical chops to a brooding breed of blackened goth rock. Brimming with clean monk-like mantras, droning arpeggios, and booming Cathedral production, Nine Steps is proof that when you’re this damn good, you can do whatever the hell you want.
On the other end of the sonic spectrum meanwhile, are Seattle punk maniacs Zeke, who return from a 14-year hiatus with their diesel-huffing new full-length, Hellbender (Relapse), today. Featuring 15 90-second blasts of meth’d up Motörhead worship, Hellbender is perfect Friday night drinking music, slamming Angus Young off The Dead Kennedys at every frantic turn and somehow making it work. If that sounds like your kind of good time (if not, check your pulse), stream it now.
Also stirring from a lengthy hibernation this week are Salt Lake doom merchants Eagle Twin, who drop their first full-length since 2012, The Thundering Heard (Songs of Hoof and Horn) (Southern Lord), today. The six-year absence hasn’t dulled Eagle Twin’s glacial onslaught, with the duo (Iceburn’s Gentry Densley and Tyler Smith of Form a Rocket) churning and burning across four long-form stoner epics that conjure fever dreams of Sleep in their prime. Telling the story of a great snake that sets the world ablaze, sending a stampede streaming across the Utah plains (idk), The Thundering Heard remains rooted in nature and ruled by the riff, and what more can you ask for really? Check it out via Noisey.
On black metal horizons, Danish underground icon Ynelborgaz returns with Ukykke (Northern Silence), a brand new record from his cherished one-man band Angantyr. Raw and resplendent, they just don’t make them this unapologetically epic anymore, so make sure to grab a copy before they’re gone. Meanwhile, over in Indonesia, atmo bm outfit Vallendusk also flick the majestic switch this week with their new one, Fortress of Primal Grace (Northern Silence). Hear it here if you can’t get enough of that achy breaky black metal.
Finally, don’t polish off your weekly binge without first checking out Leechfeast’s Neon Crosses (Dry Cough). The sophomore full length from the Slovenian sludge collective, Neon Crosses is a barbed-wire pit of curdled shrieks, serpent hisses, and feedback-punctured trudge. It will leave you feeling hideous, heartsick, and all sorts of other fun stuff, so whatever you do, don’t miss it.
WHAT TO SEE: It’s one hell of a Friday night show-land, kicking off the weekend with The Flex at Sunnyvale, Monster Magnet at Starland Ballroom, Hate Drugs at Gold Sounds, Twitching Tongues at Saint Vitus, Zero Boys at The Kingsland, and the area arrival of the filthiest, heaviest tour of the year, featuring Primitive Man and Spectral Voice, at The Meatlocker. That same duo, with Unearthly Trance in support, headlines Saturday night at Vitus as well. If you need alternatives in case that sells out (and it probably will), check out Nova Lantern at Lucky 13 Saloon, 45 Adapters at The Kingsland, The Letter Black at Dingbatz, and Watain at Gramercy Theatre (minus one guitarist apparently). Blasphemous options for Easter Sunday are a little thin, but if you’re looking to get out there and disappoint your parents, The Machinist at Lucky 13 Saloon and The Hearkening at Brooklyn Bazaar can definitely help with that.
Monday, meanwhile, gets a new week going with Nexual/Caveman Cult/Pink Mass at Saint Vitus, followed by a little Tuesday reprieve. Wednesday more than makes up for that with We Came As Romans at the Gramercy Theatre, Between the Buried and Me at PlayStation Theater, and Withered/Wake/Gnaw at Saint Vitus, before Thursday wraps up another seven days in hell with Chris Jericho’s Fozzy at Gramercy Theatre (on WrestleMania week no less) and an avant-death metal special at Vitus featuring Cleric, Pyrrhon, and Seven)Suns.
WHAT THE FUCK: OK, so not a great PR week for black metal. Season of Mist have officially dropped Inquisition following MetalSucks’ report on frontman Dagon’s 2009 child pornography charges and Watain guitarist Set Teitan has stepped away from the band after photos of him giving the Nazi salute surfaced on the greater internet. That said, let’s try to look on the bright side: At least black metal has two less scumbags this week than it did last. Freddy, lead us out, would you?