Crazy good records on tap this week, five weeks until spring, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Let’s do this.
WHAT TO HEAR: Out of the gates like a shot this week are one of M. Rekevics’ many killer black metal projects, Vanum, and their sophomore full length, Ageless Fire (Profound Lore). This one’s predecessor, Realm of Sacrifice, was one my most-listened-to metal albums of 2015, and Ageless Fire threatens the same sort of dominance, finding the former duo expanding into a full-fledged quartet. That means a fuller sound, obviously, but also fist-pumping mid-tempo passages, greater melodic depth, and even some synth. All of the new additions, however, remain affixed to Vanum’s traditional blast-and-bark approach, so don’t worry, this one still rips. Luckily you don’t have to take my word for it.
Keeping the black metal bonfire lit meanwhile is Saor’s majestic new wanderer, Forgotten Paths (Avantgarde). Saor’s Andy Marshall poses a bit of a tricky conundrum—he’s cited Burzum as a musical influence in the past and there was a t-shirt controversy at some point—so please, please do your due diligence and make your own determinations about this one. But if you deem these to be acceptable infractions, what you’ll find on the other side is a black folk album of Panopticon-rivaling power, hewn in the forges of Marshall’s native Scotland and it’s songs. It’s an early AOTY contender…if we can make a judgement call on Marshall’s judgement calls, that is.
After that, one of the most underrated bands in extreme metal, Endon, returns with their new high-concept splatterpiece, Boy Meets Girl (Thrill Jockey). The soundtrack to a hypothetical horror movie about love, according to the creative forces that be, Boy Meets Girl runs the Tokyo quintet’s spastic frappe of grind, doom, harsh noise, and black metal through the concept album filter, slithering out the other side with something sunnier—but in that way, even more fucked up—than they’ve ever done. Anyway, words can’t do Endon justice so I’m done trying. Just go listen via Decibel and see what you think.
After that, hop an Iceland-bound steamer, where Reykjavik black metal duo Kaleikr’s debut full length, Heart of Lead (Debemur Morti), is ready to make its bow. Up until this point, Iceland’s Black Metal scene has long dealt in frosty second wave worship, but Heart of Lead turns things upside with death metal growls, proggy midrange riffs, and all the psychedelic fixins. It’s cool, epic, and totally out of left field, so make sure to check out the Invisible Oranges full stream before it’s gone.
That argues nicely into Sombre Dessein (Pelagic Productions), the latest offering from Swiss tech-sludge bruisers Herod, who thanks to their hardcore ethos, groove as well as the skronk. After that, give in to The Munsens, who despite their name, aren’t some schticky stoner project, but actually patient blackened doom that does the moody peaks of their native Colorado proud. Check out their full-length debut Unhanded (Sailor Records) via Invisible Oranges as well.
Finally wrap things up nice and slow with a brand new split from Un and Coltsblood (Translation Loss), featuring an absolutely gargantuan track from each up-and-coming—yet thoroughly miserable—doom talents. Turn up the grief and let this one tear you apart atom by excruciating atom.
WHAT TO SEE: A new week of live music fires up tonight with Van Halentine’s Day at Saint Vitus, Azotador at Blackthorn 51, Merauder at The Kingsland, Murphy’s Law at Mother Pug’s, and Disorder at Berlin. Saturday follows that up with Carnivore AD at Mother Pug’s, Midnight-Wading Nine at Gussy’s, Dead City Crown at New Jersey Beer Company, Andres at The Kingsland, Sevendust at Starland Ballroom, and Magic Sword at Saint Vitus, before Sunday goes off with Candy at Vitus, Stimulate Valentine’s Blood Massacre at The Delancey, Rockstar Racecar at The Meatlocker, Excelsis Tenebrae at Gold Sounds, Typesetter at The Kingsland, and Black Tooth Grin at The Warehouse.
Monday is quiet, so find some other way to honor our scumbag presidents before hopping back off the wagon on Tuesday for Pants Exploder/Dad/Somnuri at Saint Vitus. Wednesday, meanwhile, welcomes Stigmatism back to Greenpoint hell hole, bookended on Thursday by Mindfield at The Kingsland.
WHAT THE FUCK: Sure, sure, High on Fire won a Grammy. That’s cool. But right now I would like to point you in the direction of NEW FUCKING INTER ARMA. Buy a million copies of this record when it drops via Relapse on April 12th please.