Finnish heshers, fake albums, and first shows from obscure French bands? Yep, it’s just another week in the world of This One Goes To Eleven.
WHAT TO BUY: As anybody who has ever braved the comment board of a metal website can tell you, the genre, for all of its wholesome, look-out-for-one-another family values, has bred some the internet’s most steadfast and effective trolls. While traditionally the domain of frustrated men pecking away in their grandparents’ basement, musicians have recently joined in on the, umm, fun, but none with greater commitment, higher concept, or better execution than Old Man Gloom, who last week released a fake version of their new LP, The Ape of God (Profound Lore), to press contacts (myself, bashfully, included) worldwide. As the rave reviews began rolling in and the hype machine neared full steam, the experimental sludge supergroup—featuring Cave In and Zozobra’s Caleb Scofield, ISIS’s Aaron Turner, Converge’s Nate Newton, and more—countered with the following:
Guess what, assholes. The Ape Of God is two entirely different albums. If you downloaded some leaked shit, you don’t have either. You have some bogus version we gave to press, cuz we knew those jerks would leak it (if you reviewed that fake record positively, thank you. We’re just THAT good).
We will always trick you.
We will always trick you.
We will always trick you.
I honestly find this all a little theatrical but the reason I’m dignifying this publicity stunt with so many precious words this week is because Old Man Gloom, in their attempt to troll the metal-verse, in fact released a triple LP, with a probably soon-to-be highly coveted (and yes, truly awesome) fake version complementing “two entirely different” official versions. If that isn’t worth your attention, well, then I guess the old adage holds true: Hell hath no fury like a scorned metalhead.
Sonically, all of this segues nicely into Anatomy of Habit’s winningly weird Relapse debut, Ciphers + Axioms, which, like the rest of the band’s catalog, combines elements of noise, post-rock, and doom into a thoroughly bizarre, but entirely intoxicating listen. Like Old Man Gloom, Anatomy Of Habit (another “supergroup”, fronted by Bloodyminded’s Mark Solotroff and featuring the crushing guitar work of Indian’s Will Lindsay) specialize in the sound of things coming apart. Over the course of its two twenty-plus-minute compositions, Ciphers + Axioms does its best to replicate the sound of rivets popping, seams stretching, the screech of the voices in our collective head, and in most instance succeeds with a placid-putrid noise structure that builds tension in every moment. The comparisons to Swans are pretty obvious and will thus be tossed around enough to convince you that’s what this record actually sounds like. Take the bait, listen to the record, but know going in: This one sounds like nothing and everything all at once.
After you’re done with that, tune in to Pacific Northwest doom cretins, Usnea, who take up the crushing plod relay baton with the release of their latest full length, Random Cosmic Violence (Relapse), today. Much like fellow Portlanders, YOB, who all but patented the four-part, hour-long doom format, Usnea break this one into quarters, stomping, slurring, and screeching through dissonant harmonies, big-bottomed riffs, and blackened melodies alike. If you somehow haven’t gotten your doom fill this year (dear God, someone bring me some speed thrash, like now), then make Stereogum’s full stream your highest priority.
If like me, however, you need something with some fucking BPMs after a year full half-time nodders, then check out Finnish crossover heathens Foreseen HKI’s fire-breathing full length debut, appropriately titled Helsinki Savagery (20 Buck Spin). Tracks like “Death Injection” aren’t reinventing the wheel—80s-indebted solos, D-beat face blasts, and, of course, headbangable breakdowns—but they are delivered with a neck-snapping conviction, earning the band widespread comparisons to Nuclear Assault and, more recently, Power Trip. Who knows when these dudes will finally make it stateside, but in the meantime, grab yourself and copy and get in the circle pit.
If your looking to relive your Myspace days, Job For Cowboy drop their fourth LP, Sun Eater (Metal Blade), today, which you can stream via Metal Injection, while their lablemates, Downfall of Gaia, have their latest blackened doom crust hybrid, Aeon Unveils The Throne of Decay, fired up and ready for the mass melting of faces. The latter is poised to be the most overlooked album of the week, so wake up and check it out. Finally, reformed death metal icons Carcass are set to return once again, this time with a new EP of Surgical Steel B-sides, Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel (Nuclear Blast). That record dropped a year ago already, and given its quick exit from the news cycle, I can’t help but wonder, given the mankind-obliterating asteroid of hype it generated, if anyone will still care about At War With Reality in 12 months time.
WHAT TO SEE: There’s plenty of heavy metal meet ups this week, starting at Saint Vitus tonight, where Brooklyn sludge cretins Godmaker host an album and book release show for their self titled LP (out today via Aqualamb) and its accompanying tome. It’s totally free and Cleanteeth, Polygymast, and Beast Modulus open, so uh yeah, be there. Things get even crazier Thursday night when French doom masters Year of No Light, currently in the throes of their very first US tour, hit Saint Vitus for a stacked two-night stand. The bill is esoteric on night one, with Oneirogen, Geryon, and Psalm Zero all bringing their brand of sonic weirdness to the Greenpoint stage. Friday, meanwhile, is blackened front to back, with sets from Sannhet, Gnaw, and one-man wizard, Vilkacis, so make your pick and grab tickets, which at $20, are essentially armored car robbery. If you still haven’t had your fill, get back out there on Sunday for some classic tech death courtesy of Polish icons Decapitated, grind vets Misery Index, and local dudes done good, Pyrrhon.
The Acheron has an equally killer weekend lineup sandwiching the best black metal bill of the week between two slabs of hardcore sourdough. First up are NY crossover pioneers All Out War with Sworn Enemy, Panzerbastard, and more, followed on Saturday by local heshers, Vorde, who headline (obviously) their own record release show alongside Haethen, KAMA RUPA, and Drowning The Virgin. Try to get some sleep after that one, however, as Sunday begins in early with a hardcore doubleheader, featuring a Blacklisted, Brain Slug, and Razorheads matinee before Forward, Warcry, Long Knife, and Ajax take the stage in primetime.
Elsewhere, things are pretty quiet, with the only other show of note happening way out in Queens, at Todd P.’s post-285 space, Trans Pecos, where Profound Lore-backed dark rockers, Occultation, open for local art-punks Cult of Youth’s latest record release show. If you’re looking to catch Occultation headlining (and sans anything self-described as “punk”), however, make sure to grab tickets This One Goes To Eleven’s Palisades show next Saturday, 11/21, also featuring killer sets from Kosmodemonic, Mountain God (who just announced their new EP, due on February 20th), and Think Tank. Come out, say what’s up, have a beer, and hear some killer music. If that’s not the mission statement for this entire column, then I don’t know what is.
WHAT THE FUCK: For the second time in three weeks, the metal community is mourning the too-soon loss of one of their own, in this case Black Tusk bassist Jonathan Athon, who succumbed to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident last Friday. Make sure to send your thoughts to his family, friends, and bandmates before cranking this one into the rafters.