It’s August and the dog days are officially upon us, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of heavy to sink your thirsty little fangs into. So gear up and join me on a weekly descent into the weird, wild world of metal.
WHAT TO HEAR: Leading the way this week isn’t your usual brand of crushing, but instead Blood Year (Sargent House), the last long play from post-metal titans Russian Circles. I’ve always found Russian Circles to be to most melody- and song-focused of the instrumetal torch bearers (Pelican, Isis, etc.) and Blood Year does little to change my mind. Added in, however, a newly noodly prog element that elevates Blood Year from the usual Russian Circles descriptors (massive, epic, emotive) to something a little more challenging. Take a break from all that screaming, gurgling, growling, and barking at the moon and check it out.
Speaking of progressive trapping, Minnesota crust-sludge outfit Grogus dole them out like blackjack hands on their new LP, Four Kings (Tridoid Records). On the surface, Grogus deal in very pissed-off, punked-up doom, but at nearly every turn in their labyrinthian song structures, riffs are clipped and cut and shuffled and reanimated in new ways and, more importantly for all you polyrhythm freaks, new time signatures. The result is disorientating, daunting, and heavy-as-fuck, so grab your metronome and give it a spin.
If you’re just here for those classic sounds, however, then feel free to skip right to Mylingar’s Döda Själar (20 Buck Spin), a frostbitten blast of blackened death from the heart of Sweden. The seven-track tornado isn’t interested in dynamics or variance or any big-budget concept like that. Instead it has one goal: To rend your head from its neck with caustic noise worship. Good luck and god speed, fellow victim.
Speaking of beheadings, Estonian (!) OSDM unit Deceitome are dolling them out like a French guillotine this week with their new full length, Flux of Ruin (Redefining Darkness Records.) If your preferred old-school palette includes chainsaw guitars and catacombs vox, this one is for you. After that keep it farm-to-table Brooklyn’s only (that I’ve seen at least) self-professed war metal outfit Ordeals and their new EP, Choose Death (Stygian Black Hand). It’s honestly more crusted-up black metal than true “War Metal”, but that’s a compliment in my book, so make sure to check it out. When you’re done there, also spend time with labelmates Hulder and their pair of new tunes, Embraced By Darkness Mysts, an intoxicating vapor of black magic black metal that will have you surfing that astral break in no time.
Finally, in our semi-annual installment of What’s Old is New Again, death-punk demons Nunslaughter have re-recorded four classic cuts (“God,” “Raid the Convent,” “I Hate Christians,” and “Smell the Burning Churches”) live in the studio for their new EP, Antichrist (Hellprod Records) while Neurosis has remastered and reissued their classic 2003 collab with Jarboe, including a first-ever vinyl pressing. Don’t walk, run over to the Neurot webshop for that one.
WHAT TO SEE: Another week in sweaty, disgusting summer shows kicks off tonight with a Heavy Metal Vomit Party featuring a Trevor Strnad (Black Dahlia Murder) DJ set and Replicant at Vitus (Free!), Bad Religion at Webster Hall, a Marilyn Manson tribute night at Lucky 13 Saloon, and Zion/MantisMass/Netherlands at Clash Bar, and perspires into Saturday with Basca/Helien at 2138 44th Road in LIC, Mindforce at Gold Sounds, Mighty High at Lucky 13 Saloon, Clutch/Killswitch Engage at the Capitol Theatre, Tragedy—a metal tribute to The Bee Gees—at Brooklyn Bowl, The Krays at The Kingsland, and the kickoff of NY Deathfest 7 at Saint Vitus featuring Immortal Suffering, Regurgitation, and plenty more. If you still have control of your limbs/bowels after all of that, check out Whale in Wasp at Arlene’s Grocery on Sunday.
Monday rolls around with UV-TV at Saint Vitus and Cinderella’s Tom Keifer at the Bergen Performing Arts Center, while Tuesday welcomes Korn, Alice In Chains, and Underoath to the Jones Beach Theater (why AiC, whyyyyy) and Bit Brigade—performing Contra and Metroid soundtracks—to Vitus. Wednesday is headlined by Lovelorn at SV and that same Korn tour, only this time at PNC Bank Arts Center, before Thursday provides the calm before the coming storm.
WHAT THE FUCK: 2020 MERCYFUL FATE REUNION, INCLUDING LIVE DATES. INSERT ALL THE ALARM EMOJIS HERE.