Happy Independence Day weekend, heathens. I hope your celebration of liberty (or funeral procession, given the way things are going) is filled with beers, boats, and Pantera—as it always has been and always will be.
WHAT TO HEAR: It’s a slow release week for obvious reasons, but there’s still a few worthy highlights, starting with Kansas heavy metal legends Manilla Road and their 17th studio LP, To Kill a King (Golden Core Records). If you don’t know what to expect from Manilla Road by now—metal mastery, as Halford envisioned it way back in ’79—then I suggest you do some digging through the back catalog first. No rush though, when you do finally get up to speed, To Kill a King will still be here waiting, a worthy heir to a bloody throne.
In the frosty realm of metal noire Québécois, there are two acts that reign supreme: Forteresse and Sorcier des Glaces. This week the latter’s long-dormant doom project, Passage, comes rising up out of the St. Lawrence with As Darkness Comes (Exorcize Music), their full length in a dozen long years. Full of pirouetting riffs and stately clean vocals, this one lands somewhere between the smoky covens of Sabbath Assembly and the god-wrung peaks of Pallbearer, which is just about the highest praise I can come up with for a doom record in 2017. If that sounds cool to you, check out the preview here.
Keeping it in the Great North now, Canadian black metallers Kafirun have their new LP, Eschaton (Seance Records), thawed out and ready to rip. Meanwhile, across the ocean, Swedish Viking metal vets Vintersorg have unearthed their first LP since 2014, Till Fälls: del II (Napalm Records). A snowbound sequel to Vintersong’s 1998 opus, this one is half 2nd wave worship and half Viking war chant, easily going down as the most grandiose release of the week. If you just want something to scream into the blank of a blizzard—summer be damned—then this is it.
After that, war metal hessians would do well to pick up Pig’s Blood‘s self-titled demo (Godz of War) and/or Weregoat‘s sublimely titled (and ridiculously NSFW album art-boasting) Pestilential Rites of Infernal Fornication (Iron Bonehead). Either way, your black-booted, bullet-belted angst will thank you.
Finally, check out Krautrock (Head Versus Heart Records), the new 7″ from local experimental outfit, Think Tank. Don’t let the name fool you, however. The Tank are all about sonic slights of hand—beginning life as a DIY doom trio before evolving into what you hear here: A shape-shifting slither of indie, noise, and, OK fine, even a little krautrock. If you like the sound of that, Gen ADHD, then stay tuned for the band’s upcoming full length, set to be recorded in September as part of an upcoming residency at the Mall of Found.
WHAT TO SEE: The holiday weekend throws the whole shows thing got a bit of a loop, but there’s plenty to go around tonight with Night Rite at Lucky 13 Saloon, Psychostick at Gold Sounds, The Machinist in The Studio at Webster Hall, and Starkill at Blackthorn 51 all on the roster. Saturday remains equally busy with Black Lung at Saint Vitus, Feral at the Silent Barn, Murphy’s Law at Blackthorn 51, Fear is Dead in The Studio at Webster Hall, Michael Graves at Gold Sounds, and the 2nd Annual Iggy Pop Fest at Lucky 13 Saloon leading the way.
Things slow way down after that—with Fotocrime and The Austerity Program at Saint Vitus on Monday being the only show of note until Thursday, when Birdcloud hit Union Pool, Ostraca headline Silent Barn, and Today is the Day destroy Vitus with a little help from local avant-metal chameleons Kayo Dot.
WHAT THE FUCK: Earlier this week, it came to the attention of Metal Twitter (AKA what people who talk about metal on Twitter call themselves) that Metal Blade hadn’t been crediting their cover artists anywhere other than physical liner notes—while still using said art in a variety of digital formats. This is a shitty thing to do and Metal Blade should remedy it IMMEDIATELY. Full stop. With that said, the minor nuclear meltdown this caused on Wednesday night raised an equally pressing concern: The way we—as music fans, inherently fragile people, etc.—use Twitter has become as toxic as the problems we to take to Twitter to malign.
A sewer treatment plant for our collective frustration that the world isn’t as just as we thought is going to be at 17, Twitter is being crushed under the anvil of its own armchair sanctimony and perhaps that’s for the best. Metal Blade should do the right (and easy) thing here, but we—as metal-loving, forehead-vein-bulging retweet-evangelists—should take a deep breath. We are starting to sound like our president after a bad episode of The Apprentice, and Lucifer knows we don’t need another one of those.