With the dog days approaching at a full sprint, releases have slowed up a bit. As always in metal, however, just because you haven’t heard of a band (or can’t pronounce their name) doesn’t mean they’re not killing it, so make sure to dig a little as August sets in. Who knows what unholy monster you might unearth…
WHAT TO HEAR: It’s been a big month for former hardcore heavyweights—the new Integrity anyone—and that trend shows no sign of abating this week thanks to Tau Cross‘s sophomore LP, Pillar of Fire (Relapse Records). Fronted by Amebix’s Rob “The Baron” Miller and featuring members of Voivod, Misery, and War/Plague, Pillar of Fire comes across like a crust iteration of Primordial—ancient, epic, and as heavy as a slab of sacrificial stone. Also, hands up if you’ve been missing Lemmy, because Miller’s gravel-gargling voice throughout is very nearly the next best thing. If you can’t tell, I dig this one a lot, so get over to their bandcamp and check it out.
A nice bookend for that one is I (Magic Bullet), the debut record from post sludge outfit INTRCPTR who deal in a late aughts-indebted brand of instrumetal worship (in case the whole all caps, all consonants thing didn’t already tip you off). Featuring members and of Pelican and 5ive, these guys certainly know what they’re doing and it shows, leaning on progressive sludge riffs and big crescendos every chance they get. If you’re looking for something to throw on for the road trip when you’re burned out from the road trip, look no further.
If you’re just looking to get your fall séances started early, however, then Sun of the Sleepless‘s To the Elements (Prophecy Productions), should be your mandatory listening for the week. The first new music from Empyrium mastermind Ulf Theador Schwadorf in 13 years, To the Elements is exactly what you’d expect and precisely what you’d hope for: Sweeping pastoral black metal beamed straight to you from some imaginary forest castle. Sure, it’s not a new Empyrium record, but it sounds a hell of a lot like it could be, and for now that’s good enough.
Meanwhile if you’re a fan of notes (lots and lots of fucking notes), then there’s also plenty of technical and progressive death metal to go around this week. Most notably, Wintersun‘s The Forest Seasons (Nuclear Blast), a crowdfunded tangle of symphonic proggy death metal that sounds like DragonForce if DragonForce were reared in Scandinavia (not really a compliment). After that, check out probably the most obscenely technical metal record of 2017 thus far, Gammagedon (Unique Leader), from Chernobyl-themed German death metal maniacs Cytotoxin. If you believe more is quite literally more, then these sick puppies are going to tear your face off and feed it to you.
Finally, wrap up the week’s releases on an even more crushing note with Decrepit Birth‘s Axis Mundi (Nuclear Blast), the latest full length from Santa Cruz’s most brutal musical export, well, probably ever. Enjoy.
WHAT TO SEE: Meanwhile, in off-Broadway show news, Iron Maiden lead the way at Barclays Center tonight, followed by Hank Wood and the Hammerheads at Pioneer Works, Negative Approach at Saint Vitus, Black n’ Blue at Mexicali Live, LOTION at Sunnyvale, and Leeway at Revolution. Saturday doesn’t let up either, with another night of Maiden at Barclays, Dokken at Mulcahy’s, UBI at Brooklyn Night Bazaar, Consume the Sun at Rudy’s, Meek is Murder at Silent Barn, and the final NYC appearance local hardcore legends Siege at Saint Vitus. Still itching for more, you sick fuck? Then get out there on Sunday for Murphy’s Law at Sinclair’s Pub and The Atomic Bitchwax at Knitting Factory.
Monday is quieter, with only a free White Lighters gig at Vitus of note, before Tuesday takes the torch and runs with it thanks to shows like Faster Pussycat at Gold Sounds and Stimulant at Saint Vitus. As far as midweek options are concerned, however, Wednesday is even crazier, with Hellyeah at Gramercy Theatre, Make them Suffer at Webster Hall, and Crobot/Royal Thunder at Saint Vitus. Finally, complete your weekly bludgeoning on Thursday with Novembers Doom at Saint Vitus, The Number 12 Looks Like You at Gold Sounds, Korn at the PNC Bank Arts Center (the nu metal revival begins in 3, 2, 1…), and Slayer, Lamb of God, and Behemoth in the Theater at Madison Square Garden (if you’ve never seen Behemoth before, it’s an essential one-time theatrical experience btw).
WHAT THE FUCK: Judas Priest—a band whose inclusion in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City did perhaps more than anything to usher in my love of heavy metal however many years ago—now has a video game to call their own. I assume the main arc of the game is to save the world from Tim “Ripper” Owens, I haven’t done much research on it because I have limits too. But hey, who knows. If blasting around your iPhone to “Turbo Lover” on your way to work every morning seems like a good time to you, then check it out.