It’s Friday, and by now I hope you know what that means: New metal and me pushing said metal on you like a mother with not enough left in the casserole dish to save. Eat up, children. You’re skin and bones.
WHAT TO HEAR: Leading us into the dark this week are Boston doom revivalists Magic Circle and their new long play, Departed Souls (20 Buck Spin). Full of warm, crumbling-pie-crust guitar tones (I guess I’m hungry this week), sweet Fender Rhodes synth, and of course the Ozzy-isms of vocalist Brendan Radigan, Departed Souls is a trad metal triumph. But while a lot of Sabbath worship devolves into paint-on spookiness and alpha-male riff rock, Departed Souls, in the strength of its songs (even including ballads like “A Day Will Dawn Without Nightmares”), always feels cool, calm, and collected. Get in the pocket like ol’ Bill himself and check it out via Decibel.
After that, take a wicked left turn with The Valley (Metal Blade) latest full-length from deathcore luminaries (if deathcore has such a thing) Whitechapel. We touched on the potential hipsterfication of the sub-genre with Gomorrah last week, but Whitechapel take an old-school breakdown-and-a-cloud-of-dust approach on The Valley, punctuating their mid-tempo headbangers with the band’s first-ever clean vocal passages, including lyrics culled from frontman Phil Bozeman’s mentally ill mother’s own journal. If that’s not heavy enough for you, maybe you need to reevaluate some shit. Full stream below if y’all want it.
After that, sink your teeth into one half of an atmospheric black metal two-fer, starting with Ellende’s cascading, subtlety subversive opus, Lebensnehmer (Art of Propaganda). Once you’re done letting that one burn a hole in your chest, bandage the wound with Falaise and their new one, A Place I Don’t Belong To (ATMF), which leans so hard and beautifully into the post-rock/emo spectrum that you’ll be surprised to find it hails from Italy not Illinois.
Once you’re down there, keep the gyre spinning with Sutekh Hexen’s self-titled return (Sentient Ruin), a percussion-less tsunami of blissed-out black metal and torturous harsh noise that makes Phil Spector‘s wall of sound look more like a bead curtain. If that’s not enough—and honestly, even if it is—make sure to check out Totaled’s Lament (Profound Lore), an anthemic blend of black metal and hardcore from the mystery-shrouded Finnish outfit that should help scratch the itch until that new Martyrdöd joint drops later this year.
Finally, wrap things up on a proggy note with NP Complete (Translation Loss), the latest batch intricately lurching post-metal from Jersey’s East of the Wall, which pairs pretty well with Moon Tooth’s Crux, which I got my wires crossed and said was coming out last week but is actually on shelves today. If you want to read my thoughts on that bad boy, you can do so in last Friday’s installment.
WHAT TO SEE: For the not-agoraphobic among you, get out and see something this week, starting tonight with night one of Mortiis at Brooklyn Bazaar, Cro-Mags at Brighton Bar, The Muckrakers at Lucky 13 Saloon, and Face to Face night two at Saint Vitus (playing Reactionary). Follow that up on Saturday with Face to Face night three at Vitus (playing their self-titled full-length), as well as Lorna Shore at The Kingsland, Wrathchild at Blackthorn 51, and Jake E. Lee at 89 North, before bringing the weekend down on Sunday with Hypocrisy at Gramercy Theatre.
Monday finds the Bit Brigade performing the Mega Man III score at Vitus if you want to totally nerd out, otherwise just check out DMX at Irving Plaza. Tuesday, meanwhile, gets ya Cradle of Filth at The Paramount, Monster Truck at Vitus, and more Jake E. Lee at Blackthorn 51, before Wednesday goes with off with a hardcore rager headlined by Candy and Abuse of Power at Gold Sounds and a black-light special at Saint Vitus with Vanum (their much-belated Ageless Fire record release), Luminous Vault, and Bog Body. Thursday puts a bow on a solid show week with Aggression at Saint Vitus, Cradle of Filth at Irving Plaza, Boundaries at The Kingsland, and YOB/Voivod/Amenra at the Warsaw. Mmm, pierogis.
WHAT THE FUCK: If you’ve ever wondered what a Yngwie “Fucking” Malmsteen Stevie Ray Vaughnabe blues record might sound like, today is your lucky day, because Blue Lightning is here and it is absolute, steaming dog shit. Sip those lyrics slow, you masochistic bastards.