Happy 4/20 folks. No new music Weedeater, Bongripper, or Bongzilla this week, which feels like a big miss, but don’t worry, there’s still more than enough potent shit to go around.
WHAT TO HEAR: Leading us into the dark this week is Death Velour (20 Buck Spin), the long-awaited sophomore opus from psychotropic Finnish death/doom outfit Ghastly. To call Ghastly the Oranssi Pazuzu of death metal would be to overstate their experimental leanings and understate their originality, but it is nonetheless a good starting point for Death Velour’s frigid, cavernous, disorienting take on the old-school death metal movement as a whole. Full of droning dissonance and grimy riffs, Death Velour is Finnish Death metal for a post-Gorguts world and a perfect place to begin you weekly descent.
After you’re done there, also make sure to check out Ails’s The Unraveling (The Flenser), a massive slice of modern melodic black metal from the brains behind defunct Bay Area stalwarts Ludicra. Loaded with fat midrange riffs and seamlessly shifting from enchanting cleans to serrated shrieks and back again, The Unraveling smears sub-genre lines into a single pastel whole, tackling the despair of both body and mind across its six carefully constructed anthems. If you’re looking for something aching and ageless to cap your week, this is it.
The underground is also thrumming this week thanks to a trio of gore-splattered new LPs from the twisted minds over at Vrasubatlat. First up is Serum Dreg’s debut LP, Lustful Vengeance, which is perhaps best described by its closing track “Blasphemic Black Death Noise” (plus a little punked-up powerviolence). After that check out Adzlaan’s Vermillion Mirrors and Dagger Lust’s Siege Bondage Adverse to the God Head, two contrasting exercise in extremity from the same parentage (the simply dubbed R). The former is murky, labyrinthine black metal while the latter is pure power electronics-enhanced low-frequency splatter and far and away the most adventurous of the already pretty adventurous bunch. Sweet dreams, cupcakes.
Sticking with the Bay Area black metal beat, upstart atmospheric outfit Wild Hunt have their second churning, burning full length, Afterdream of the Reveller (Vendetta Records), out today. Afterdream is the culmination of the band’s three-year crawl out of the depths following the death of founding guitarist Drew Cook in 2015—a morbid treatise on depression, mortality, and other assorted forms of mental anguish. Don’t let the “atmospheric” tag fool you, however. Afterdream eschews the expensive reverb pedals in favor of jagged medieval riffs and classic black metal production, bringing their considerable songwriting chops to life in the process. Check it out via bandcamp.
Finally wrap up the week with The Everlasting Shadows (Black Lion Records)—the new full-length from The Duskfall (the other melo-death project from Gates of Ishtar mastermind Michael Sandorf)—and De Dodden Hebben Het Goed III (Century Media), the final installment in Wiegedood’s three part tribute to their fallen comrade, Florent Pevée. If you like big-budget atmo black metal, then this one is more than worth a look.
WHAT TO SEE: Things get going on the show front tonight with Neither God Nor Master at King Killer Studios, Candiria at Revolution, Haram at Sunnyvale, Kamelot at Irving Plaza, Eternal Black at Hank’s Saloon, BC35’s record release gig at Saint Vitus, The Darkness/Diarrhea Planet at Brooklyn Steel, and H20 at Brooklyn Bazaar. Saturday is equally stacked, with The Unseen at The Kingsland, Hexheart at Stimulate, Dying Fetus at House of Independents, Ministry at The Wellmont, Hawthorne Heights at Knitting Factory, and a Wasted Theory matinee at Saint Vitus, followed by Fit For an Autopsy in the primetime slot. If you’re still alive come Sunday, get your death metal on with Dying Fetus at Revolution or Genocide Pact at Saint Vitus.
Monday is quiet, save for a Rock n’ Roll Storyteller tribute to Stevie Nicks at Vitus, which is the only actually “metal” part of this whole thing. On Tuesday, get out there for Au Revoir and Sunrot at The Meatlocker, Hitman at Blackthorn 51, and The Lillingtons at Vitus, before Wednesday rolls around with a Rocks Off River Cruise featuring (wait for it) Hatebreed. Someone tell the Coast Guard to be on high alert for that one. Finally, Thursday provides a complimentary encore with Killswitch Engage at Starland Ballroom and Solium Vatalis at Saint Vitus.
WHAT THE FUCK: HOLY MOUNTAIN MOLY. So I was just gonna embed Dopesmoker here like I always do on 4/20, but yesterday Sleep announced something much, much (x infinity) better: A new album, The Sciences (Third Man), which, as you’ve probably already picked up on, is out RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. I haven’t really had a chance to dig in yet, so take my word with a, err, gram of salt, but expect the same Orange amplifier-melting boogie you’ve come to know and (probably) love in the 15 long, dark years since Dopesmoker first descended upon this humble planet.